As any follower of my blog knows, I haven't been writing much lately. In all honesty, I haven't written much at all since the completion of my first novel, and at the same time, my discovery of RWA and the realization of how clueless I was. The revisions on that one completed novel are HUGE and daunting, because NOW I know exactly how many problems the manuscript holds. So what do I do with it? Nothing.
There are a lot of writers out there that write that first novel and then it's forever tucked in a drawer or hidden under their bed, trading gossip with the off-season clothings and the occasional dust bunnies, and every now and then chattin' it up with the sex toys hidden under there in the hopes that the children never delve in the darkness as their mother perpetuates the myth of monsters under the bed.
But not my first novel. The book is good. The premise is unique. But it was written by an amateur SO green that her olive skin damn near glowed. Although I've started several other stories since then, none of them are more than a chapter in length. The ideas are there, the stories showing promises and fun in the revelation of plot and character, but yet I don't pick them up and work on them.
Also, if you read this blog, you know that I plan on writing fulltime come the end of August, when my youngest of the four heathens starts school. I will have all day to write, to plot and plan and kill the darlings in my books. And if you read the PASSION thread here, you'll see why I'm postponing. Because I know once I open the door where the stories live, they'll flood out and the damn will be very hard to stop back up again. I become consumed, and it's a bit frightening. As much as JBM wants to implement a schedule, I just don't work that way. I'm left-handed, to begin with, and he's SO anally right-handed (and thus, left-brained) that he can't understand my fears and my trepidation. And now Foster is up my ass too, pushing and pushing, wanting me to produce results and "work on my gift". Well, I WILL. Someday...
With the plan that I'm going to start writing full time in the fall (late summer), I've decided to spend that time reading anything and everything. My TBR (To Be Read) shelf is literally overflowing, and that's just "my line". That has nothing to do with the crapload of craft books I've gotten. As posted, I've finished King's ON WRITING and I've moved on to Lukeman's FIRST FIVE PAGES. Up next will be Maass's WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL. While reading these on the craft of writing, I'm able to read fiction for the fun of it. I just started Kathleen O'Reilley's THE DIVA'S GUIDE TO SELLING HER SOUL and on page 11, I'm already in love with it and the concept. Thankfully, I can read a non-fiction at the same time as fiction, the only way I can absorb two books at the same time.
My reasoning is thus: Why write, or revise, when there's SO MUCH for me to learn? I don't want my next book to have such wicked revisions looking at me, mocking my fear and my time and everything else on the freakin' planet. I want to do my best the first time, to have a first draft with only one re-write. So I need to finish SELF-EDITING by by Browne & King and NO MORE REJECTIONS by Orr before I even begin to look at my next idea and committ to paper. Does that make sense?
But when will enough be enough? At what point does the idea of studying the craft of writing replace the precious time to actually WRITE? I don't know. I really don't. I'd like to think I could study in the mornings then write at night, but my tenacious personality just doesn't work like that. So I'm doing things in typical Brenda-style. All or nothing. So I'll continue to consume the craft books while ideas float in and out of my mind. I am noting things as they come to me: Witty stories, quirky personalities and even fabulous titles, and making note of them so that when the time comes to sit down and PRODUCE, I have an arsenal to pull from.
On a writing note, rather than study/craft, I do have a goal: I plan on entering the Always the Bride contest with my first book (the first three chapters have been revised to hell and back) from when I finaled in The Merritt. I've been absorbing the feedback of judges, and I've already got huge plans for changing the first part yet again. So by the time Nationals is over, I should have a firm gasp on reworking THE HAUNTING OF ELIZABETH.
In the meantime, Liz is just gonna have to do with bumpin' uglies with Alex and wait her turn to get to the revisions. I'm sure she's miserable at the idea, but she'll live.