How About Now?

I have written 10 novels, 1 children’s book, and a couple of non-fiction type book projects to date (I’m sure there are more in here somewhere). My biggest novel is the one I am still rewriting. I know there is going to be a day (gawd, let it be soon) that I will have to officially put the baby to rest in a colorful pasture filled with big, beautiful trees and hopefully lining the shelves in an Amazon warehouse – or wherever books go these days.

I get asked the publishing question a lot. Do I have any books published? The answer is no. Not yet. Articles, yes. Books, no.

I am gun shy about self-publishing although I’d like to give it a try. But I don’t want to be hasty and just publish garbage either. I have a few shorter fiction pieces that I would like to rewrite and edit and eventually self-publish.

The book I’m working on now – a historical fiction book about Los Angeles during WWII and mixes in city corruption and a dose of Dodger bits is one very close to my heart. The characters feel like they are alive somewhere in another dimension (okay, that could be reading-while-the-hubby-watches too many episodes of ‘Fringe’) and I almost hate to see them go. But, it’s time. I need to get this book out of my stack of “Work in Progress” and out into the world.

Gasp.

I am working with someone who is reading my chapters, one at a time, and her input has been invaluable. I’m not any less scared to send it out but her responses have been encouraging.

I wonder sometimes if the pressure to “publish” (Or as my mom so kindly points out, “when are you ever going to publish something worthwhile?” Ouch.) kills some of the creativity or if I’m just making lame excuses?

It reminds me of a time my dad used to make these wooden animal basket things. He would cut the wood, paint them, nail them into turtles, bears, ducks and the minute my mother (I’m seeing a trend here, doctor) insisted he start selling these wooden animal baskets his creativity and desire for them diminished and he never made them again.

Look, I’m totally not saying if I sell my book it would kill anything. Except maybe my back from too much jumping up and down. Those days are – well, anyway.

But I do feel the pressure. And it isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. I am motivated at the moment to wrap up this almost-final rewrite before I start school at the end of next month.

I have many chapters left to plow through and all I seem to be doing is ADDING to my word count and not taking much away. But right now I am working through plot issues mainly and tightening up the writing and editing where I can, although that isn’t my total purpose yet. It is so close – and yet so far.

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July Begins A New Writing Project

So, here I sit on July 1st with a project already knee deep waiting for me to begin.

Or rather start it back up again.

I wrote this novel – a historical fiction about two families living in Los Angeles in a small, shanty-type town during WWII before the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles – back in 2012. It had seen many outlines before I finally settled on one and wrote out the 65,000 first draft. And then it sat for awhile as I worked on other projects.

Finally I decided it was time to edit the damn thing…

…Which took me over a month just to get the plot reorganized and making some kind of sense. I researched a bit more, read a lot, talked to a few baseball fans, and made a million notes. I moved chapters around, added characters, refined characters, and made notes to rewrite terrible dialogue and cut out a bunch of crap that didn’t make sense.

Then I delved into the project and for a couple of months at the beginning of the year I hit my stride.

While I can write two, sometimes three chapters a day on a first draft – somewhere around 6000 words if I really sat here and didn’t get distracted by the laundry and the cleaning of windowsills – I most certainly can’t rewrite/edit that fast. In fact, these chapters were taking me a couple of days just to get through one.

And even with the rewriting the project isn’t even close to being finished yet but it does make a substantial dent in correcting all my plot holes, character missteps, and choppy narrative.

When March rolled around I realized I needed to get my (new) book outlined for the April NANO. In April I wrote that book (Salem Girls)and then, as I mentioned in a previous post, life took over and I had a two month long houseguest, kids, school, and an illness that is still gripping me in a bronchitis chokehold. (In another words, blah blah blah.)

And…here we are, July.

Already.

While I toyed with the idea of beginning another novel – a first draft I could surely write in the 31 days of July and finish off with about 70,000 words, give or take, and another first draft to add to the growing pile of other first drafts – I decided, no. I would not start another project but work on my Los Angeles historical novel and get the rest of it rewritten.

When I left off I was somewhere around 85,000 words in act 2 and on chapter 17 of 43. There are several chapters in the middle of act 2 and act 3 that are newly added Sub-Plot chapters that were not in the first draft at all…which means a lot of “first draft” writing and requires a bit of research on my part as well since it deals in an area I am not totally familiar. When this book is finished it will well exceed the 100,000 word estimate I placed on it. Of course, it will need to be edited (again!) this time for grammar and fine tuning. 

But first I have to get lost in the story again. And have given myself the month of July to hopefully make my way through the 26 chapters I have left.