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Posts Tagged ‘Lure of Lemons’

I’m working on the final stages of my novel. So–to make sure everything ties together with a little bow–I find myself doing nearly constant research with my previous books. And today I had a good laugh, because I discovered a document entitled Bloopers. All I can figure is that during the backbreaking work of editing Xsardis, my mother/editor and I went a little bit crazy. We created a Blooper Reel of editing mishaps, misunderstandings, mis-writing, and snarky (albeit well-meaning and well-received) comments.

Take, for example, this comment from my editor and chief: “Doesn’t this person have a name? Call him a small elephant if you want, but give him a name!”

Or this one: “Why did coloring help her use a slingshot?”

Or this encouraging word: “It’s probably written right. You just can’t read.”

Or how about these completely random and I-can’t-quite-see-how-they-are-relevant comments: “Pant girl!” and “I think you need a chicken in this story” and “Put a skirt on a continent.”

Hmm… What does it all mean? I can see how I could mis-write “asked us to flee” as “accessed a flea.” I can even see how my poor description of someone’s downcast eyes as “his eyes fell down” could leave my mother with the impression that the eyeballs “rolled out and dropped onto her shoes.” But the rest? Well… Let’s just say that what happens in the editing room should probably stay there.

In the pursuit of a refined novel we’ve pinned each other to the wall to discover how to break free; we’ve chucked paper at each other to get out angst; we’ve drank too much coffee; arm-wrestled for who is going to read; and had some minor mental breakdowns when I need to get a sentence just right and she wants to discover if a character lives or dies (really, why is she so impatient?). But, all in all, as evidence by the Blooper Reel, my editor and I have had a glowing good time doing it. So I’m looking forward to round 5 with the Lure of Lemons… That editing process will come sooner than I think.

Ps. If you can’t tell that I absolutely ADORE my mother and that we have a fabulous working relationship, you really need to read this blog more often and get to know me better… She’s awesome.

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Why is it easier to blog than to work on my novel? I cannot really say. Except that with every few hundred words I write here, I have the privilege of hitting the word: Publish. Whereas, with my novel, ‘publish’ will not be an option until many more months of labor have been inserted. Oh, yes, and several thousand dollars. Nevertheless, I do make progress on my novel. And with each word I dutifully type into the Word document I get just a little bit closer to finishing.

Some novels are hard to write because you lack inspiration. Others, because you lack focus. Still others, because you lack incentive or experience. But a select few novels… These are hard because they hit a little too close to home. They express more of yourself than you meant to share. And going to the computer to type no longer feels like an escape from the every day. No; it feels as if you are reliving your every day.

Now, all along I have protested that this novel has been a painful growth spurt–and I do believe it is. But I am also beginning to wonder if maybe the novel is so hard because it is so much of myself. I can recall writing Asandra (Book 2) and telling my mother that it was too sad. No one would like it. And yet, it was the novel where people began to say, “You let us see so much more of you.” It was the tale that got people really, really hooked to my writing.

So, in truth, the Lure of Lemons may turn out to be the epic failure I fear it will be. Or it may become yet another turning point in my career. Either way, the answer will not be found on this blog or in procrastinating any longer. It will be found in finishing the work and risking myself yet again to share it. The consequences for failure won’t be so extreme; but the rewards for success will be sweet. So I had best get back to drafting…

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For those of you a little more interesting in my personal musings than in my writing advice, I offer you a second post for the day. One that still touches on writing but focuses more on Your’s Truly.

I’m breaking ground on my novel–again. The writing of the Lure of Lemons has been a herky-jerky ride (note: Spell-Checker doesn’t think that herk-jerky is a word. Merriam-Webster would disagree. Feel free to click on the link for the definition and for proof that I don’t blatantly ignore all rules of grammar and spelling.). One minute, I’m tapping away at my keyboard with lightning speed, inserting glorious paragraph after glorious paragraph. The next, I’m at a dead halt for days or weeks. Then I’m up and running again. I will breathe a deep sigh of relief when I finally finish the draft. I feel as if I have been on one of the old, wooden roller coasters and have been jammed and pushed and whipped around until I am nauseous, dizzy, and covered in bruises. Okay. Maybe that’s a stretch. But not much of one.

64, 064 is my word count. It may not sound like much, if you know about writing novels or about the million people it took only one month to complete 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo (again, click on the link if you want to know more). Of course, I did that challenge too, but had to scrap most of it and start over. Sometimes experiments fail. And the writing techniques I employed for NaNoWriMo left me wandering around in the dark once I was finished. But its not so much about the specific word count as it is about my process.

Given my experience with four novels (Issym, Asandra, Xsardis, and Mark of Orion), I know that my first draft should only be about 108,000 words, which puts me well past the halfway mark. And once I reach the last quarter of the book, I usually pick up speed–as if I am running downhill. So the good news is: I’m nearly to the home stretch. To quote Einstein as he rode a motorcycle in the adorable movie IQ, “Wahoo!”

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For four days I have left you. Four days for a more noble cause than usual. I have been writing. Back to the drawing board with my novel, a fresh Word document before me. I keep from the first, failed, half-finished draft only that which makes the story soar. My novel and my soul are better for it. For four days I have written, indulged in the Psalms as a refuge from the swirling words of the Lure of Lemons, been rigorous about taking all medicines (new and old, prescription and supplemental), and tackled my wild life into submission.

Patient friends who sought me out through mid-November to mid-January are finally getting a little more of the attention they deserve. Precious family members are finally the confidants they ought to have always been. Life, slowly, is beginning to make sense. As if I am coming out of the fog of illness that was my life.

But my room already begins to show signs of sickness again. An unkempt desk, a chair that houses lost objects, and a dryer sheet too far down on the floor to bear picking up. This time, it’s not the bitter surges of Babesiosis that strikes me. Just a common cold. The kind that makes you drink too much tea and turns your nose raw. It’s quite the relief to feel normal sick. My head might seem a little fuzzy, but its the physical kind of fuzzy that is not nearly so alarming.

Sister Kate and I pulled into the mall parking lot today and just sat for a long time. She shared Jeremiah 29:11, a verse we all have heard too much (if that’s even possible when it comes to Scripture). But instead of focusing on the ‘prosper’ part, she highlighted, “For I know the plans I have for you…” (ESV). God knows the plan. It’s in His mighty, wondrous, talented hands. So sick with Babesious or sick with the common cold or starkly healthy, I’m in the book that He is writing.

And it is far better than any story I could ever craft.

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I am at 41,073 words at only twenty-three days into the NaNoWriMo challenge. I am so close to the end that I can taste it. Of course, this is not a particularly high word count for a supposedly-full-time-writer, but considering the equal parts law firm, publishing, and writing life that I have I guess I am doing okay. Nor will 50,000 words be the end of my journey into the Lure of Lemons. No. It feels much more like the beginning. But I am nearly at the blissful end of the challenge.

There is something brilliant about having to challenge yourself to write everyday. Still, I think that perhaps my ability to see ahead and to write with actual talent may be suffering. So while NaNo was fun, I may opt out of the WriMo life next year. We will see. For this year, it was exactly the push I needed to get back into writing after months of editing. Maybe it will be useful again next year.

I am looking forward to the end. To find time to re-read and fix and sharpen what I have written. To gain new perspective on where I have been and where I am going. To enjoy storyboarding and to capture inspiration by reading again. Yes, I anticipate the end of 50,000 words. So why is it so hard to put the remaining 8,927 words on the figurative paper?

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I fell back in love with my series yesterday. Finally.

It was a good deal of work to tread through the first eight chapters of my sequel, sorting details and setting up a continuation of the story. I had lost sight of what made my cast unique, had failed to keep the details straight, had misplaced the time to storyboard before drafting, and had generally been feeling quite yucky about the whole ‘Lure of Lemons’ sequel idea.

So yucky that I was beginning to think that I needed to being write two series at once. I may still do this. It might be a good way to keep my brain ever-challenged and allow creativity to have its natural ebbs and flows in each story. It would look something like this: write Book 1 in Series A, write Book 1 in Series B, write Book 2 in Series A, write Book 2 in Series B. As far as the validity of this style, we will just have to test it out and see.

In the meantime, I will enjoy falling back in love with Pallen and Cressa and Marcus. Finding solace in the crazy moments of life by their sides and expression I can’t find with my words in theirs.

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