Down Time

The problem with spilling your guts, the theme of my very first post, is that they remain all over the place for all to see. One of these days I’m going to get some good news, and if you’ve been following my blog, you know I’m running out of time. I have set a goal for myself and I may have to re-think it.

I have one iron in the fire still, and a few briquettes are still glowing but the fire has dimmed significantly. I am at a crossroads and the quality of my writing is hitting me in the face. If you’re not writing, you are not a writer. A little humble pie is a good thing, I suppose. My very first novel, it seems, is not the work of genius I thought it was. What was the purpose? the joy I felt while writing it. Was it for my benefit alone? At this point I have moved so far along from the story, and the intimate relationship it created, that it seems like a vaulted thing better left vaulted. Since I have been mulling over book 3 I know the depth of work in a 60,000 word novel. There is a lot of ground covered.

I am also confused by all the rules, regulations, and opinions of what is correct grammar usage. While critiquing other authors’ work, I see all kinds of ‘poetic license’ being used. I have book 3 being professionally edited and I am going to ask and settle on a style of writing that is best suited for me.

Never start a sentence with And, it happens all the time. Incomplete sentences are not acceptable until they are. Commas, don’t get me started. At quotes end; comma, end quote, lower case ‘she said.’ Grammar check is politically correct. And on and on. (That last sentence is an exercise in rebellion.)

Tense, POV, so much to consider when writing. For me, a lot will depend on this professional edit of the first sixty pages of my MS, I did have to submit sample pages and was encouraged to continue. I also learned that the encouragement given in agents’ rejection letters is a common script. It looks like this latest rejection is taking hold, tough skin, stiff upper lip, duck’s back, etc.

I’m learning that a writer needs to walk in the shoes of their characters, feel the physical expressions. What constitutes a smile? What does a feeling of happiness look like? What about a unique habit of biting a lip or twirling a strand of hair on the end of a finger? There are layers of depth when considering a person’s reaction to different stimuli. There’s the person herself, the room she just walked into, the scents surrounding her and the effect of the weather on her hair and clothing. The fabric she’s wearing, the color of eyes, hair, and shoes all add to the scene and the mood you are trying to portray.

Showing, sad, weary, angry, thoughtful, it’s kind of a science being able to explain a person walking across a wooden deck besieged by rain on a cold November morning. What would that be like? The wind, feeling wet and clammy, the smell of the sea because the deck is attached to the summer home that you are closing down for the winter. Isolation comes to mind, and the end of something wonderful, or sadness because of a death, the person on the deck is the daughter of the man who lived there year round and now the rain, cold, and the frigid feeling is personal. However, you can still be sad on a sunny day on the same deck, in the middle of summer. The water stain is only under the eaves and the rest is bleached from the sun.

I have recently gone through another story of mine trying to add such detail, to conversation to personal attributes and scenery. It has almost doubled the word count. My stories are too fast paced. I am a woman of a few words, and I have to learn to embellish.

I am trying.

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