So it's been an eventful couple of weeks since I posted last. The honeymoon of writing 31 pages in the first couple was disrupted by a week filled with insomnia and panic at thinking I was losing key Interlibrary-loaned books to due dates.
I only wrote 1 page that week, and I was both pretty cranky and pretty hard on myself for it.
But then this Tuesday at my writing class (which officially began my 4th week of the experiment) we workshopped my first chapter.
Did I agree with all the comments? No. But I was able to apply grains of salt as required and it was exhilarating to get audience feedback. One can get so much in one's own head when one's writing that it can be a relief just to know that they mostly got what you were going for.
Plus, putting together the patterns of feedback can help you to discover where the reader gets stuck.
As it turned out, I needed to throw out my first 2-3 warmup pages, which weren't as active, and replace them with an actual scene that served the same purpose as the pretty warmup description had.
At my followup conference with my professor, I showed him the new version and got lovely lovely confirmation that I'm on the right track.
This--THIS!--is why I'm taking a class while doing this while I have the opportunity.
And so the workshop got me back on track and inspired again. So far this week I've written 12 pages, and there's a very good chance I'll get more done by Tuesday's class.
Plus, not only was I able to renew the key book I thought I would lose--I now have it until the end of March--but I discovered that the work I did during my seemingly dead week was intensely useful as it was a highly important source for me to get the gist of before going any further into the plot.
The insomnia? Now that, I have yet to realize the purpose for. Maybe I'll have some characters who will have it before the end of the book, and last week's experience will help me to empathize with and communicate their experience of disrupted productivity.
I don't know. But the great thing about being a writer is this: It's all potentially material. I love being back in the thick of the process because even on the down times, it never fully feels as though anything in my life will be wasted.
And I deeply, deeply love the way so much of my knowledge, skills, and experiences of the last few years are able to be applied in this particular project. It very much feels like I've been training my research and writing and narrating muscles for this moment.
There will be more weeks like last week, I'm sure--I won't always hit my page goals. But getting 42 pages of new manuscript, almost half of which has been revised into a second draft of sorts, down in less than 4 weeks is pretty exciting.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
NaNoWriSpr: Ups and Downs
I'm a writer, an incurable reader, a narrative theorist, a media researcher, a scholar/author/writer/consultant, a PK, and the Queen of Soup Making. I write a lot, and I've taught a wide range of topics in universities. Along my journey I've picked up a PhD in Communication from Purdue and 2 degrees in English. I've been turning my ideas about communication as author-audience relationships into a communication paradigm that can be applied to a wide range of situations. I'm also writing a historical mystery series. I'm a member of Sisters in Crime, and the co-chair of the Mystery and Detective Fiction Caucus of the Popular Culture Association. My MA thesis focused on connections between T. S. Eliot and Thoreau, who each wondered about how to remain still and still moving. Before I went to grad school, I spent 7 years working for a division of HarperCollins Publishers.