Thursday, May 21, 2009


Tomorrow is our first anniversary! I'm not sure what's expected on an anniversary. I think it's sort of a birthday for relationships, but without the cake. I really wouldn't mind an anniversary cake, honestly. But we're going out of town and staying in a bed and breakfast. My 28th birthday is less than a week away; cake can wait until then!

Sometimes, when I try to remember what happened a year ago, I pause. I think, there's no way that a year could've passed by so quickly. But considering what's happened since we were married - I don't feel like I've been cheated by time.

I'm genuinely happier than I've ever been in my life. I hope our next anniversary finds life just as spectacular for Rebecca and me.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


When I first started this blog back in February, I had a very clear mission statement. I wanted to describe the entire writing process of a book, from beginning to end. I already had one-and-a-half under my belt (along with a novella and a few short stories), and thought that this would help me refine the whole process.

And see how well it went! I complained, whined, and procrastinated. And, this morning, I finally finished the first draft of Mrs. Shadow. The complaining and the whining is the important part. Finishing was only a side effect. Seriously; I'm no closer than before to figuring out how to write. It's like falling down a hill and somehow finding that I've managed to cross a finish line on the way.

The more I write, the slower and slower I seem to get. When I moved here, I figured I might get down 3-4000 words in a good day. That may seem ridiculously optimistic; one cannot write that much and expect it to be good. And, of course, I didn't manage it; by the end, 2000 words was a good day for me. When I'm working on a first draft, I don't care about good. My first drafts are *never* good. I have to rewrite 90% of it. For some reason, that's what works best for me: it's about making a framework. I have to make the framework before I tear it down and replace it.

For instance: when I first started the book back in March, I had the basic spark - not a unique idea, but something that made the wheels in my brain turn. I couldn't *stop* thinking about it; I kept thinking of complications. I know this is vague, but that's because I don't want to spoil the book for my wife, who isn't going to get to see it for a few more months.

So I sat down with the name of the character, a really shallow idea of who she was, and a little bit about what was going to happen in the near future. And then I started writing. I know; there should probably be more preparation. But that's the point of my first draft; it IS preparation. While writing, I find out who everyone is, what they want, how they react. It's a big surprise.

The first page I started writing was a little girl's birthday party. Without thinking about the consequences, I took away her mother and gave her a very young stepmother. And then I kept going; let the characters interact however they wanted.

And the stepmother ended up being one of the most important people in the book. That's the reason I have to come up with a framework - I had no idea. I thought that certain people would die; certain others would disappear. I was completely wrong about most of it.

There were times I had no idea what would happen. Those were the worst; I had to force myself to sit at that keyboard and type a thousand words of what I can only assume is pure drivel. Enough to get me to the next exciting point.

In any case - the book is finished, and it's awful. No one's going to read it. But there's good potential; there's a decent book waiting to be carved out. I'm putting it aside for a couple of months and taking a break. Rebecca and I are going to be celebrating anniversary / birthdays in the next two or three weeks; once that's all over, I'll get back to revising The Cherubim, and - eventually - Mrs. Shadow.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Early May!

Rebecca suggested I update my blog. "You're like a toddler running around after preschool," she said. "You need to find yourself a juice box. Metaphorically speaking."

She's right. What made things worse was when I came to update, I'd forgotten the URL. I was so ashamed.

What's new on the news front? Nothing, which is one of the reasons I haven't updated in so long. It's a little embarrassing, like trivial Facebook status messages. Starving Author... is excited about spinning class. Starving Author... needs a new set of brakes. Really, it's hard to keep an interesting blog when things are so dully consistent.

What's happened since the last post? I went on a second job interview and, afterward, emailed the interviewer to tell them I was no longer interested in the position. This is a dangerous trend, I suspect. But I pulled out a slip of paper from my last position filled with notes I wrote in a conference, and here are a few highlights:

"Quiche ? (?)"
"Cant do this for a living WAFFLES"
"Im part of presentation WTF?!?"
"Jeopardy got UGLY"

There's an trend of strong capitalization and ludicrous punctuation that I don't like. I need (or, at the very least, want) to find a position with minimal ... bureaucracy, to put it nicely. It's not that I mind work; I love work. I love thinking, planning, and acting. And I understand the need for bureaucracy. But when I have to go to meetings where I have time to play Jeopardy, think about multiple breakfast foods, and consider a dead-end future, I either have to love the job or be adequately compensated. Or both.

In any case, so that I can move on, let me note that both positions were not only steeped in bureaucracy, but also paid less than what I'd need to live off of. I'd gladly work doing something I love for cheap - at least for a time. Trader Joe's: I'm talking to you.

I've made little discoveries and observations about life in the last two weeks: namely, that things are better than I could hope for, life is lovely, and I hate tuna fish. I hadn't realized before.

I'm nearly done with my newest book - it should be wrapped up in the next couple of weeks. I have the same reservations as I did before; I like the idea, but I don't know how well it works. I'm going to sit on it a couple of months and reread it. So when I'm finished, I'm going to take a break until June or so; Rebecca and I are going back to Memphis for our anniversary, my birthday is the following week, and I think a week without writing would be reasonable. Then I can get back to The Cherubim, and - maybe - get it into shape so I can begin querying.