Hey, remember when I used to have Flashback Friday? But then I quit doing it because several of my girlfriends were all, “Oooooh, I’m gonna send you some pictures to use for Flashback Friday but then they didn’t *coughAmyandStacycough* and I kinda ran out of funny old pictures of me from the eighties so I just quit coming up with new posts?
Well welcome to Fiction Friday which is really nothing like Flashback Friday except that I’m going to try and put up new posts on Friday (sure, like I haven’t said that before).
I’ve been sitting on this post for a while because I wanted to get my blogging groove back a little before I mentioned the main reason I took the last four months off from posting. I’ve already said I was a little burned out and busy with the first full time job I’ve had after being home with the offspring for ten years, and that’s all true, but there’s another reason I didn’t post anything for a while. Remember when I said a few posts back that writing a novel and querying agents was on my bucket list? Well I decided I’d better get started because that book was not going to write itself.
I’ve been working hard on it and as of today, I’m approximately 40,000 words in which is roughly half of the 80,000 words I need.
What a process.
I am learning how to write a novel as I write a novel, if that makes any sense. I think taking writing classes is great and you can even get an MFA if that’s your thing, but nothing can teach you as much about writing as novel as sitting down and writing one.
I spend a lot of time over at AbsoluteWrite.com and cannot say enough about the excellent feedback and assistance I get from the wonderful writers that hang out there. If I’m not writing, I’m over there learning something new.
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but the whole reason I started this blog was to have an outlet for my writing, to get it flowing again after years of putting it on the back burner because the offspring needed my attention more than my writing did. And the blog ended up being a blast and I met so, so many cool people who reached out to me and for that I am totally thankful and blessed.
But fiction was always the one thing I wanted to accomplish. And let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger. And I know some of you would like it if I wrote a book about the Yeti but that’s just a lawsuit waiting to happen (sorry Elisa and Jules!).
Right now, I am totally immersed in getting my first draft written. There are two types of fiction writers, outliners (people that have a pretty detailed outline and know their beginning, middle, and end) and pantsers (who have a general idea but just sit down in front of the computer and start writing, letting the characters tell them where the story is going – flying by the seat of their pants, if you will).
I’m an outliner and the challenge for me now is turning that outline (really just a 5K word summary) into an 80K word manuscript. Once that’s complete, I can turn around and rip it apart. Move scenes, improve the pacing and flow, and layer in description.
And edit. Oh my God, the editing. My first draft needs a lot of things to turn it into the second draft and I can tackle that head on as soon as I get the first draft done (self-imposed deadline: August 1st). Then it’s on to the second draft which is when it will get really hard but really fun. My motivation to power through the rest of the first draft is the excitement I feel when I think about being knee-deep in the second. About how the manuscript will change and grow and become that much closer to the final draft.
The art of writing is re-writing and there is a commonly held belief over at Absolute Write that you can’t revise a blank page so just get it down on paper and go from there. I totally agree.
Do I think it’s the next hot best-seller?
Oh hell no.
But what I do believe is that I can actually be one of those writers who finishes the novel they started.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last four months. And I thought you might be interested in coming along for the ride. It’ll be super fun. Or filled with rejection.
One of those.
But even if every single agent I send my query letter to rejects me, I can still say I wrote a novel.
And that binder I told you about, that Lauren decorated with the kitty stickers?
It’s filling up. And that makes me super happy.