The Hushing Days has finally claimed paper, a riotous amount of ink and paperclips aplenty.
The whole of the novel lies across my kitchen table in an inelegant sprawl reminiscent of a long-legged teenager just in from finals.
Held together with the aforementioned clips, the bulk of the manuscript rests in quite readable font on crisp and new paper.
The last three chapters, however, lie crammed in miniscule script on the back of earlier chapters, as my paper supply ran dry. Chapters 17, 18 and 19, therefore, will require a magnifying glass and possibly tweezers to edit. Well done, me.
Besides that tee-tiny glitch, the printing out of the first draft went remarkably well. Relieved to the point of shock, I followed my book’s lead and committed an inelegant sprawl myself across the couch.
Hard copy days are, well, hard… at least for someone with the mental stability of a spent dandelion in the wind.
There’s some leeriness going on. Some precognition b.s. spoiling a perfectly good Monday morning.
Normally, I would just pop my meds and wait for the mellow to hit, but since it’s not my brain stinking up the joint with doomsday-ness I’m at a bit of a loss.
No, I can’t even blame the four-legged, furry muse for this one. She’s tucked and stuffed and snoring at my side. No ill inklings coming from that quarter.
So, where, oh where are the fateful undertones coming from?
Um, well, that would be my printer.
See, my printer is neglected. Terribly. I’m literally going to have to Swiffer it off before I turn it on. So, I suppose, a little nerves at the prospect of printing out the entire first draft of a honking-huge novel is reasonable, but…
I could really use some team spirit from the office supplies, ok?
Yes, yes, I know that paper jams and ink shortages are on the horizon, but there is no need for apocalyptic thoughts.
I promise on those four horsemen coming over the hill.
Great. Now, I’ve caught the leeries.
It’s hard copy time!
With only one more Brone-Reimagined scene to sweet talk out of the old imagination, tomorrow I will be ready to send the whole of The Hushing Days to the printer.
It will be the first time the novel will feel paper beneath its words.
The first time it will luxuriate in ink upon its plot.
The first time it will feel the dreaded Red Sharpie of Rebuke across its back.
Trust me, it’s going to be a long, hard process.
There’s still a heck of a lot of writing to be done, a lot of writing to be tweaked or tossed outright.
Glaring holes in storyline and character will be tripped upon, breaking ankles and spirit.
It will no doubt be a day of slack-jawed horror for all involved…
But, man, I’m looking forward to it!
Chloe the Happy Masochist
It was late in the day, and I was feeling like a big, authorial zero.
Although I had gotten 200 words written in prose I was reasonably happy with, the other 600 lay in front of me like fresh roadkill, i.e. best to look away before bloating and projectile vomiting occur.
So, feeling like a failure, down in the proverbial dumps, I forced myself to write at least one more strong, literarily sound sentence…
50 minutes later, my 600 words were staring smugly at me on my computer screen all fierce and cocky with their bad selves, and I was staring right back at them with a big, “Look what I just did!” grin.
Writing happens like that sometimes. A “Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am!” moment from the writing gods.
Treasure these quickies, my friends.
Luxuriate in the afterglow.
They are, alas, few and far between.
Now that I’ve been re-couched (in a hot, little, red number, no less), I am ready to resume the “Full speed ahead!” pace on The Hushing Days.
With only 5 more full writing days left before my self-imposed deadline on July 1st, I have a lot of work to do.
But, fear not, I also have a plan!
The Brone situation has just about cleared itself up. (The troublesome major character has been shifted into soft side-lighting, leaving his supposed honey center stage.) I should only have another two days of writing to get that plot nicely fleshed out and ready for edits.
Speaking of edits, here comes the plan… After all Brone issues are tidied up, the first printing out of the entire manuscript will occur!
Once I have the entire book laid out in front of me, a critical eye will be raked across its body. Notes of blemishes, inefficiencies, over-efficiencies, and completely absent parts will be made, studied, hyperventilated over and then dealt with using an abundance of speed, tact and TUMS.
How long this process will take is anybody’s guess. Fingers are crossed for two weeks, but reality is planning for four.
*feels a cold sweat coming on*
I think I’ll get a head start on those TUMS right now.
An author is loathe to allow changes to her fragile writing cocoon.
Once she is ‘in the groove’, as they say, disturbances to her immediate environs is dangerous not only to her project but to the disturber as well.
Yesterday, two men came and took my couch. (The fact that they worked for a charity, and the fact that I am receiving a brand new, better couch today is not the point, ok?)
While I have many other places in which to settle my writer’s derriere, my creative spirit wanted only the couch yesterday. Chairs, beds, floor, and one really frightening moment at a desk, were all tried and dismissed with a disgusted huff. (FYI: My four-legged, furry muse jumped on the “This is crap” bandwagon too. I can always count on my dog to help things along.)
So, I got no writing done yesterday.
Instead, I fussed and fumed and spoiled-bratted myself into quite a tizzy.
Bottom line: Acknowledge the sanctity of your cocoon and bow to it… i.e., always have a spare couch handy.
I’ve had to temper myself of late.
Tamp down on that “I could be a great mystery writer!” delusion of mine.
Put a cork in my desire to put a Miss Marple or a Sherlock Holmes in my every story.
While I’ve been rearranging Brone’s place in The Hushing Days, I’ve found myself upping his significant other into Poirot status.
You can’t overwork a romantic lead. Fine tuning them to the point of blinding brilliance is bad form. The reader will not only scoff, the reader will put the book down.
Very not good.
So, put any Doyle-ish aspirations aside when sculpting an ensemble romance. There will be time to shatter that delusion later.
For a book which is so agonizingly close to being done, there is a heck of a lot of fluidity still left in my old gal.
Whether this manipulability practically throbbing from The Hushing Days is good or very, very bad, I have no idea. My four-legged, furry muse is virtually mum on the subject, only giving me an enigmatic little smile whenever I beg her for answers. “Oh, you’ll see, young one,” her eyes gleam in a very Yoda-like way, “You’ll see.”
Excuse me, but I’d prefer just to be told.
Or a little written reassurance would do.
Would a thumbs up or thumbs down from the muse in charge be too much to ask for?… Apparently the answer to that is “Uh, yeah,” since my muse/dog has no thumbs.
Fine. Me and my waterbed-ish novel will go off and slosh now.
Anybody have some Dramamine?
With the re-imagining of Brone and the addition of the historically inaccurate Pettypool, The Hushing Days has taken on a simplicity that is both kind to the writer and refreshing to the reader.
Yes, I feel my confidence soaring. (Admittedly, it’s more like a single engine prop plane put-putting across the sky than a Boeing jetliner, but I’ll take my soaring however I can get it.)
With only 9 days left to reach my self-sanctioned deadline, I know I’ll make the word count. That has been my chief goal, and I am absolutely giddy at the prospect.
Loose ends, connecting paragraphs, last minute fluffing and unfluffing is incredibly easier when you’re not checking out the word count every other sentence. (Been there. Done that. Hate it.)
So, excuse me while I enjoy a little literary high-flying.
It certainly is pretty up here.
Hang with me on this one, guys. It will only take a second…
Lahar: a volcanic mudflow or debris field with the density of wet concrete. It can be of such width and depth that it creates its own path, defying prediction. As long as it is moving, the lahar is fluid. When it stops, it quickly becomes solid.
Found this word last night as I was trying my very best to keep my troublesome little, panic-pocked mind out of the weeds… in other words, it was a bad mental health eve.
Anyhow, I thought it described perfectly my chronic Panic Disorder.
Tomorrow, this blog will be back to The Hushing Days frenzy, but today a nod to my true everyday battle needed to be made.
Thanks for your patience.
Have a blessed Sunday, everyone.