Thursday, September 30, 2010

I finished my manuscript last week.

This time I reached the end of it and knew it was actually the end.  I have passed the 54,268 thousand word document called St. Jude's Shelter for Hopeless Causes off to most of my final readers and I wait for the feedback. This is like it has been before. I wait with the same doubts and still the waiting is waiting, but it is also different. I have changed the book hugely, cut out parts that I loved, rearranged the whole thing and done it again, finally discovered what my MC is really thinking. Thanks to all you folks that help me get it here:  early writing group Sean and Laura, my writing partner Andy (jeeze I cannot thank you enough!), Paul Michael Murphy (who's feedback was totally valuable thanks for slogging through that draft!), Heather (my dear! got me to a new beginning), Jon (yes you totally did help over and over), and last and perhaps the midwife to me and the book in this final form, Marisa(I am so grateful that you loved it's oddness). I will never write a book like this again. And not just because it is totally unique and beautiful in it's finished form but also because I know a lot more now than I did when I started (say amen to that)!

The things Next Book have going for it:
-Confidence and momentum (the antithesis to all the stalling and floundering I did on last book).
-Writing Partners from the first words instead of writing into a vacuum.
-Daydreaming and playlists and having fun!
-Knowing more about pace, tension and character, so as not to torture quite as many folks with my words.
-Knowing how to hear critiques - I've had a ton of good practice getting and implementing feedback and I would not be here without it. It is a hard thing to do and I appreciate all you all have done for me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I went to Steve Brezenoff's reading

Last night Steve Brezenoff read from his new book THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF -1 at Magers & Quinn. Steve and I met a year and a half ago at a Loft conference. He told me then about this book and in the time since has provided me with loads of useful info. It was a pleasure to get to see him and support him back! The book is told by four different narrators, one of which just has a bit part. Steve read us the first chapter of each of the others.

A lot of things come up when you watch someone you know read. Like: What parts will you use if your time ever comes? How would you answer that question from the back about inspiration? What will you do about the swearing parts when your mother-in-law is in the audience? Or worse, your grandma?!

I did once read my work in front of a crowd. It was required for my MFA degree. I was extremely pregnant at the time and couldn't breathe to save my life, partly because my lungs were scrunched to my throat and partly because I was standing in front of a room full of fellow writers and family. I wrote nonfiction back in grad school and had decided to read the vacuuming parts of my essays. What can I say, vacuuming then is a fact of my life. They also happened to be the funny parts. But I botched it all as I rushed through the whole thing panting and shaking.

Steve's reading was perfect. He paused to prepare us (and his MIL) for the swearing. He took his time and sips of water. He answered the inspiration question and even one about getting into character. He read his three narrators and they were funny and touching.  It whet my appetite for the book (not that I wasn't already chomping at the bit). His reading did everything a reading should do. I wish you could have been there.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Taking a little break and a quick reading review.

I am not gonna blog today and I am sorry that I have not been getting out and about much to blogs lately. I am very excited about my revision and am going to continue on in that venue. You can catch me in The Practice Room if you have been missing me. Find the schedule through the door off to the left.

Reading update:
Finished THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy. Couldn't help but love all it's beautifully written horror. I cried at the end. Thought of it the whole time I was canning the day before yesterday (tomatoes from the garden and apples from a neighbor). I hope some post apocalyptic boy and his father find it. I hope my family doesn't ever live that way.

Finished SAVING FRANCESCA by Melina Marchetta. My new favorite author! I loved it's odd density. Gives me some hope for my own dense writing style. And she has such different books in her repertoire This was the second book she had written, JELLICOE ROAD which you may know, her third. I have dreams of a quiet yet brilliant writing career like this. Reminds me of Sharon Creech, not as much in writing style as in career style.

Finished FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK also by Melina Marchetta. Did I say she was my new favorite author??? Fantasy. Hard to get into, but I often find that with world building. Something about the themes reminded me very much of THE LOST CONSPIRACY. In the end I loved the characters and devoured the book.

Didn't finish WHALE TALK by Chris Crutcher. I liked the voice of the book but in the end I found it boring because there was just too much talking and not enough action or interaction really.