Monday, March 23, 2009

Descend into the pages.

You know, the most frustrating thing in the world is wanting, needing to do this great thing; having the ability to do this great thing--and then constantly falling short somehow. So for me, finally, after fifteen or so years of writing and failing miserably--I've finally wizened up( or so I'd like to imagine) and decided to take a different approach.

If you look in my drawer at home, I have at least eleven or so stories that I've started and then cruelly abandoned. I'd liken it to a teenage mother leaving her newborn baby in the trash, but that's a bit melodramatic. Though I'm sure you get where I'm coming from. Eventually I find them again, usually when I've decided that I can't stand the cluttered mess called a bedroom, shared by myself and my one year old daughter Israel. I sit down on floor, leaning against the bed and then I start reading the yellowed and stained pages--slightly surprised I came up with such a great idea. So imagine me sitting there reading this, and then it comes to an abrupt halt in the middle of a sentence and I'm thinking, "What the f@#$!". And then, for the life of me, I can't remember why I stopped writing it.

This has happened to me about a million times. But I've always been of the mind that I'll get that one brilliant idea and then I'll write it as it's in my head and I won't need anything silly like an outline, or plot synopsis...or anything that will take away from my actual writing time. So after all this time, I've FINALLY realized that I may have been...wrong.

I've always relied on my raw talent. I know I'm a pretty good writer. I know that I'm really imaginative and I don't mind thinking outside of the box. But at the age of 28, I've also realized that I need some sort of structure to hold all of that 'outside of the box' in so that it makes sense.

A very good friend of mine, one of the very few people that I've allowed to read my writing told me that I have these moments where I just seem to fall into the paper and everything comes together the way its meant to. And it's usually an occurrence I'm not even aware of or trying to replicate.

I know I get stuck with trying to 'sound' like a writer, and I end up losing myself in trying to create a persona for myself--and it NEVER once worked out for me.
It has caused me to realize that I am a very silly and stubborn girl (or maybe I've realized that a long time ago, and I'm finally at the age that I can accept that I can be utterly ridiculous at times.) good people, today is the day that I try it another way. My dream is to become published. My dream is to be able to write these amazing stories that inspire an emotion not yet tapped into--and be able to support my daughter while doing something that I love almost as much as I love her.

This blog will be my documentation descent into the pages so to speak. My failures, my triumphs and everything else in between will be here for your view. I imagine that one day, once I am published, I'll go back and read this very first entry and realized that I had an epiphany that actually lead me somewhere.

So the other day I was spring cleaning while my daughter was with her grandmother this weekend, and I look in the top drawer of my dresser (which has been recently dubbed by my boyfriend and as 'the crap drawer') and I see this notebook folded in half with coffee stains on it. The first page is torn at the bottom so I could only read the first half of it. I forget about reading for a while, and I'm leaning against the wall reading this story--I think when I first wrote it I called it Theory of Adam or something like that. And it wasn't just a few pages--it was like 30! So as I'm reading it, I find myself laughing out loud at some of the banter between these two characters and actually feeling empathy for this alcoholic bus driver named Benny. I actually started to believe they were 'real' people.

I couldn't believe I wrote that! After nearly two years of writing utter tripe (at least I viewed it as tripe) I had come upon a gem and then just dismissed it. I get entirely too discouraged with myself and I realize that I've been doing myself a huge disservice.

That's not to say that in the course of picking up this project AGAIN, that I won't get discouraged, that I won't be tempted to toss it aside--because that would be a huge lie. I know myself too well.

But I think I'm going to ride this one out; win, lose or draw. I'm not really going to be putting up chapters or anything here for obvious reasons. These ideas are hard enough to come up with, without someone plagiarising your stuff. I might decide on excerpts somewhere down the line, but for right now, I'm going to take it one step at a time.

Day 1 the *cue dramatic music* Outline

Outlining. I'm not gonna lie, I kind of--hate doing it. I tried it once and it totally killed my mood to write--for like a year straight. I found myself trying so hard to follow the format that I was spending more time thinking about the outline than actually writing and it left me really dejected. *insert obligatory sad face here*
However, there's this strategy called the 'Snowflake Method that I heard about from a published author by the name of Randy Ingermanson. What's awesome is that he managed to explain it in a way that doesn't seem difficult at all and he doesn't sound completely narcissistic about it either. But basically, his approach is starting small with your story and then building it into something epic (in a manner of speaking, cuz yanno, snowflakes aren't necessarily something I'd call epic. But you get the picture). Here's his site.

So tonight, once I get home and provided my daughter gives me a moments piece, I'm going to try and get the outline done tonight.

Here's hoping it doesn't completely suck.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your posts so far. Interesting reads to say the very least. I'm looking forward to seeing where all of this takes you.