Editing . . . Groan

I've decided I hate editing.
This is something I've been dealing with for the past five months. I've avoided editing like the plague; ignored the suffering prose of my novel and tuned out the incessant cries of uncompleted school papers.
But now, of course, with a deadline of tomorrow for my Vision Forum short story, I can no longer avoid editing. Yesterday, I took my laptop and sat on my bed for an hour, managing to (somewhat) painlessly cut out the 52 extra words, plus another 16. 
This made me very happy.

Yet, after this minor victory, I remembered that  I now have to deal with content. Clarity. Keeping  my audience in mind.

And it's even more difficult with a limit of 1,200 words.
Though I can act OCD sometimes, I feel like it would be wrong for me to send in a story with exactly 1,200 words. I would feel like I 'barely made it'. I feel so guilty stretching the word-count.

Editing is annoying, but with a word-count is even worse. The way your stomach sinks when you finally find the perfect way of phrasing that troublesome sentence, and then you glance down . . . and the Word Count stares back up at you: 1,208 words.
I hate editing. And, of course, I'm using this blog post as an excuse for not editing.
I feel antsy and restless whenever I think about going back to that Microsoft Word Page full of text, words I don't want to change. 

I always forget. Writing is work. Now to push through the grudge-y, un-fun part of it. Oh joy.
But oh, how I love it!



This was the cover I based my story on
About a month ago I mentioned that I was writing a short story for the Vision Forum Family Catalog contest. The instructions were to write the most compelling story which artfully tells the tale of the individuals depicted on the cover in the context of the theme "Women and Children First"

When I read about it, I was ecstatic, of course.

But I procrastinated, as is the nature of me.

So here I am, over a month later, three days before the deadline, and I am finally done.

In need of editing, yes (considering it's 52 words over the limit). But finished.

My story is titled 'Redeemed'. Here is an excerpt:
I tore my eyes away and stepped toward Murdoch.
“Were all the lifeboats full?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know, Captain. I was following your orders. Women and children first.”
I clenched my jaw. “And were the lifeboats full of women and children, Murdoch?”
He was silent.
I turned and left the wheelhouse.

Now, to edit . . .


Pushing Yourself

It's always hard, after the excitement of Christmas, to throw yourself back into your "groove" with writing. 

That is, if you had a groove before the holidays. But I didn't.

So now, to start a new groove! As much as I hate forcing myself to write (it all feels stinted that way) I realize that the stintedness is part of being a writer. And though I feel as if I've said it over and over, I can't call myself a writer if I don't write.

Part of me is nervous that, after writing Enslaved  I became so exhausted that I convinced myself the best thing to do was to distance myself from prose, and fiction, and writing anything that felt even remotely close to the genre of my novel. I was so tired of pushing myself through the stintedness that I didn't even want to think about my manuscript. All writing came to feel stinted, and thus I shunned all of it (except poetry, which is quick to write and fun to read).

And yet, through all of this, I felt as though I was abandoning a part of myself. I wasn't just taking a break. I was throwing in the towel. Telling myself that "I can't go on any longer". "I can't look at that story anymore". I began to question if I was meant to write at all.

But none of this felt right. Even though I was discouraged, giving up didn't just feel lazy. It felt uncharacteristic. Words have always been my friend. Fiction and prose have always been a part of me. To try to convince myself that "I couldn't go on any longer" - just because I was tired - felt as though I was forgetting part of who I was.

Writing is like a workout. You start off a little tired. Then you get a rhythm going, and you throw your heart and soul into it.  But after a while, your muscles start to ache, all your 'umph' is gone, and you want to just lay down and go to sleep.
But the only way to get stronger is to push yourself through the aches and pains! Find that buzz of adrenaline in the back of your brain, exhale, and finish with everything you've got.

So here's a toast to New Years Resolutions before the new year begins! I don't know how many times I'm going to have to say it to myself before I listen to me: but I must force myself to write, or else forfeit part of who I am.

And that would be quite unfortunate.

Does anyone else feel as though they have lost their "groove"? Are there any other authors out there making New Years Resolutions to devote themselves more eagerly to their writing? 
Let's hope that new life is born in our words as the new year begins!

Keep pressing on . . .


Even More Poems In December

Still, it hasn't snowed yet. That's a good sign I suppose. Maybe we'll have a mild winter, and January and February won't be quite as depressing.

Here's a poem I wrote a couple years ago, in the middle of the night. I love those moments. Yes, writing can be difficult sometimes, but, fortunately, we get those moments of sudden, inexplicable inspiration, too.

One more thing. Keep your eye out in the coming months - I'm planning to hold a contest after the holidays connected with poetry and imitation. The prizes will consist of full-color illustrations of your protagonist. So keep checking - contests will be coming soon! 

Hope in Shadow

Shick, Shack, watch your back,
The twisted dreams are turning black,
The drum of all the swirling shadows,
Come to meet us in the shallows,
                            When the world is quiet.

Trin, Trun, time to run,
The shadows come when there's no sun,
The shouting of all the wicked sins,
Cannot be heard over their din,
                            I cannot hide from it.

Bim Boom, in my room,
Hiding from the impending doom,
My sadness compels me to ask how,
My tears my only comfort now,
                            Darkness uninvited.

Hoop, Hope, prayers like soap,
Washing, tying, my dreams like rope,
They lift me from the treacherous ground,
They urge me on, I'm lost, I'm found,
                             I will turn and face it,
                             My weapon vanquish it,
                     With HOPE I can win.


More Poems in December

Ah, yes. It's getting colder. And any studying I have to do is getting more and more annoying. The holidays are creeping up. And poems keep coming. . .

Stay Out Here
Winter skies
Tired eyes
Pink and blue
Cold and true
Old regrets
Wash away
For today
As the sky
Says good-bye
To the sun
Winter chill
Christmas thrill
Glow inside
Old yuletide
Carols sing
New bells ring
Lets stay here
Finding cheer
In the skies
And good-byes
Winter tears
Freezing fears
New-found joys
Life enjoys
Carols sung
Stockings hung
Winter skies
Tired eyes
Go to sleep
Winter deep.

I can't sleep
Winter deep.


Poems in December

I've been writing a lot of poetry lately. I guess I find December to be a poetic month. Not in the way that you would think of spring or fall being poetic - more in it's own, unique sort of anticipation.

Here's one poem, which I'm sure many authors could identify with. I will be back with more shortly.

This Paper

New journeys, new ventures, new things to behold:
Stories upon stories that nobody’s told,
Hearts are laid barren upon wasted slate.
Words, they pour forth, but they all come too late.
Too many times, as I wander here
I have felt the cursed claws of fate.

They dig and scratch and hold me back,
The passions of ambition crack.
Yearning to live, to help create -
I am the one who I berate.
Life’s far away, once felt so near -
Myself that I’ve begun to hate.

What happened, when I used to write?
The words that fall like stars tonight
And burn until I separate
From the world I infuriate.
My breath too shallow now to hear -
My paper I incinerate.

This paper I incinerate.


Author's Secrets

I don't know about you, but I don't like to feel as if someone is hiding something from me.

Now, I don't mind secrets. Secrets are fun. Secrets are meant to be kept. But secrets are also told. They are whispered here and there, and I can grasp snippets of the truth, even if I'm kept guessing.

But I hate it when someone hides something from me.

Do you know the feeling? When you're in the middle of a really great novel, disasters popping up left and right, slowly destroying the hero's world . . .

And yet you can't escape the nagging feeling that something is being hidden from you.

It's an odd feeling, one that's hard to describe. If I could pick one word for it, I'd say 'contrived'. Or maybe even 'distanced'. You feel as though every character is held ten feet away from you - even the hero - so that none of their reactions feel genuine or real. You're never quite sure what's going on inside their heads . . . but it's not because they are reclusive characters. The characters aren't keeping secrets. The characters themselves are secrets. It's almost as if they want to tell their story, but someone on the outside isn't letting them.

These sorts secrets are the fault of the author, not the character.  It's a nagging tendency, when I'm  caught up in a really interesting idea, or an in-depth plot, or a fast-paced action scene, to loose the reality of the characters. I get too fixated on the story and so I refuse to let the story's characters be themselves. But, if I neglect to do that, then the story isn't really a story at all.

Actually, though we say "a story's characters" - if you think about it, the characters don't belong to the story. The story belongs to the characters. The events of the story are all contingent on what they decide to do, not what the author decides should happen. Without them, there would be no story. So it's best to let them do what they will, I think.

So, from now on, I'll be saying "the character's story", and I won't make them keep any secrets!