Monday, January 20, 2014

~ First Draft ~


  'My own experience is that once a story has been written, 
one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there
that we authors do most of our lying.'
                                                               -Anton Chekhov                  

I suppose that quote shall be my fate as I say ..... I've completed the first draft of my latest novel;

'The Bootleggers Wife, a Love Story.'

But oh well, I shall revel in the deliciousness of that first heady flush that comes with typing those small but oh so powerful words; THE END. At this point I can easily convince myself that this labor of love will only need a quick touch up. A comma here, a misplaced quotation mark there, one or perhaps two small typos and voila', I'm done. Certainly nothing that a simple brushstroke can't take care of.

But then the truth of the matter settles in. First Draft....not to be confused with:
Bank Draft
Cold Draft
Rough Draft
Down Draft
Over Draft
Back Draft

The first of several re-writes stare me in the face.
I'm with Mr. Checkhov; for me the first and the last chapters are the most difficult.

The first chapter ,of course, because I'm trying to find the right voice. Each character is unique and wants to tell their story in their own way. I hear them clearly, but the task before me is to insure that YOU hear them as I do. Sometimes it takes a bit to get into the rhythm and find that sweet spot. I have to find my way. By the time I come to the end of my book and I'm totally immersed in my character and her world, it is easy to see where changes need to be made back at the beginning.

The last chapter  is difficult because I'm sprinting to the finish line when I should have been stopping to smell the roses. I'm in such a hurry to get those last words out there, that the last chapter usually needs a lot of work in the re-write stage. But hey, that's what first drafts are all about, right?

Here's a picture of me, the tireless scribe, working on my first novel.

For now, I'm on a short break; a two week leave of absence from the manuscript that has eaten up every spare moment for over six months. It is necessary to step away, to breathe, to gather my thoughts before diving into the deep end. But if the truth be told.........I can't wait.

Monday, January 6, 2014

~ Birds of a Feather ~

  "The difference between the right word and the almost right word, is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
                                           -Mark Twain


Birds of a feather flock I'm told. And so we did, on Saturday last. Two local writers groups, Ozark Romance Authors and Sleuths Inc, pooled their resources and hosted 'The Mega Critique Group and Write-In Event' at The Creamery Arts Center. There was room at the table for everyone no matter what kind of bird you were. 

What a fabulous way to kick off the new year; with a day devoted to our passion. 

Dozens of people thumbed their noses at the cold January day to sit in a room surrounded with their brothers-in-arms. It is a universal truth that the next best thing to writing, is to be in a room full of like-minded people and talk about writing. In my case it's even better, because my best friend was sitting beside me. Two souls joined at the hip.

Fingers were flying across laptop keyboards. The hushed atmosphere made it all the easier to pick up on the creativity crackling in the air around us. I plugged into the energy and my story soared. Two hours whipped by in the blink of an eye.

Writing is grueling work.....therefore the hoards must be fed. The hosts of our party took good care of us. And once we had been properly fueled up, we were prepared for the last half of our day.

Critique sessions were offered for the brave souls who were willing to put their words on the table and allow strangers to run their fingers through them. Please don't break anything and play nice, I whispered to myself. Encouragement was served up with a smile and a red pen and I am happy to report that no writer walked away from the room bloodied or bruised. 

What stories begun in this room will find their way to the public at large? Who knows. But it was a wonderful day of camaraderie and my battery feels fully charged. I look 2014 in the eye as I roll up my sleeve and say,