Thursday, September 18, 2008

Taking a minute to talk about life...

I try to avoid too much analysis of my personal affairs here, but tonight I think I have a relevant thought pertaining to my most recent noveling endeavor.

I was cast in a challenging role in a play here in town, and I'm excited and terrified. Excited because I finally have the chance to test all the theory from classes and observing other directors. But the girl playing my daughter is incredibly talented, and I don't want her to be stuck acting opposite a line-reading, phony schmuck who thinks screaming and crying is good acting.

I'm terrified to dig deep enough to find the real tears that I believe are necessary in portraying this character. Christine should cry. I should cry. But I can't fake it. I was never good at faking anything. I have to trust myself to act the part.

Alright--insecurities aside. What does this all have to do with the novel?

The fiercest obstacle for me has always been developing conflict strong enough to motivate my characters. Being brave enough to hurt them is difficult for me. Bad things happen in life. I'm just the kind of person who swallows my tears and ignores those things. "If you believe things are better, happier, brighter, then they will be." I need to accept that my life is not perfect, accept that Christine's life is not perfect, accept that Evelyn's life is not perfect, have a good cry, and do what I can to deal with the situation. That's a scary thing to do.

Monday, September 15, 2008

More developments for this year's novel...

Evelyn's friend's name will be Nayeem Sameer. I'm still working on the villainess... She's a tricky one. Is she independantly evil? Or she affiliated with some larger, evil organization? She will have an evil sidekick, though that idea is still only a wisp of possibility.

My most promising ideas lately have been coming from my dreams. They have been so vivid and colorful, though also disturbingly realistic. I wake every morning to review the previous day, sorting the imagined events from my actual past. I have been dreaming all sort of occurrences in a few particular locations that I don't believe I have really visited. The dreams are not recurring--the events change--but the places remain the same. Have I been to these places? Should I include them in my story? When I was much younger, I dreamt of an old-German style cottage, and I drew a picture. I showed my drawing to my next door neighbor who told me that almost the exact house was in a city I had never been to before...

Perhaps I should include some element of the paranormal in the stories, especially some small psychic connection or small premonition. After all, how many people have "known" when a family member has been hurt or has died. I'd also like to play with symbolism in dreams, since it has always been an important part of my own development. Blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. It's something I have struggled with my whole life, and it is an especially important issue for middle schoolers.

I often wonder whether I have an over-active imagination or whether I am actually crazy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And so the planning continues...

Lately, I have been collecting notes and pictures to inspire this year's NaNoWriMo novel. I had never thought to add a photography element to the process, but I have been reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close lately, and the photography is an integral part of the story. Plus, Lynda Barry's Cruddy is next on my reading list, followed by The Invention of Hugo Cabret, so if I immerse myself in work incorporating both a pictorial and verbal element into the novel, I'm sure it will rub off on my own work. I still have to reach 50,000 words, but hopefully looking for inspirational images will help to fuel the fire when I hit the mid-book lag.

On an entirely different note, I made a New Year's resolution this year to read 10,000 pages of "reading for pleasure" during 2008, and I've now read just over 7,000. I think I can read 3,000 more in 3 1/2 months!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I am not giving up on my NaNoWriMo book from last year, but I have a great idea for this year's book that I'm itching to start. I have really made the effort not to start actually writing it, but the outline is swiftly developing. I'm planning on using part of the outline I wrote for a middle grade book last year and mixing it with some of the characters I have been working on this summer.

A teaser: My lead character will probably be named Evelyn Pendergrass.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Remember how I was going to finish the re-write by Labor Day? Yeah, so, it's Labor Day, and to my credit, I have rewritten about fifteen pages...

...of about one hundred and ninety. Considering I was aiming for three hundred, I think it is fair to say I missed the mark. I would like to finish before November, but who knows?