Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Diary of a Mad Writer: I Needs tha Dash!

            It occurs to me that I update my website the way some people update their blogs. Once in a blue moon full of updates that only keep you entertained for five minutes. Then it’s on to the next big thing in the world of link hopping.
            So. You wouldn’t know this by checking out my website, but I have mentioned it here that Blood Shadows is finished. Well, the first draft anyway. Since I finished it on August 5th, it’s been sitting quietly on my computer, and not much writing has happened since. The main reason for that? I’ve been wrestling with the new beginning chapters I want to add. The thirty page prologue that I wrote in twenty-four hours needs to be cut up into individual chapters, and I have done that at least. However, I wanted to add some more meat to the beginning, to give a better introduction to the world and to the main characters before jumping in with the main conflict of the invasion. The problem has been deciding how to go about it and I think I finally figured it out.
            The night before the second draft of my senior seminar  paper was due, a friend and myself locked ourselves in the study room in our dorm, armed with our research, our computers, and junk food and energy drinks. I crashed before she did, after putting in seven hours of straight work on that draft. As a writer, I learned a lot from writing that paper. For the first time, I learned the true meaning of drafting and rewriting. That night in particular gave me something else as well. It was arguably the first time I lost myself to work. We broke up the monotony by playing on Facebook and Twitter and having 3:30am giggle fits, but it was all about slamming out the words and WRITING. Since then, I’ve had one other instance where I lost myself to work. When I wrote 14,000 words in twenty-four hours. When I spent all day and the better part of the night banging away on the keyboard to produce a thirty page prologue.
            As a writer, there is no greater adrenaline rush that leaves you with an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. These times of a Mad Writer Dash are precious and do not happen nearly enough. And where I’m going with this is that I need one of those times to happen NOW.
            These new chapters that I’m trying to add are spelling out a lot of work ahead with this story, in addition to the revising that’s been on the to-do list since August 5th. It’s going to require locking myself away to focus all of my attention on this story and fleshing out these characters. Unfortunately, my attention is constantly being drawn away by other matters. When I want to be writing, I feel like I should be doing something else. I think it’s the jobless guilt syndrome.
            After so many years with these characters, I feel like I’ve finally gotten the storyline right. They are exactly where they are supposed to be, and my greatest fear is letting this sit too long and then I will start wondering if the storyline is right after all. The main characters of Blood Shadows, Elana and Markus, have been with me since 5th grade. They have evolved and changed forms more times than I care to count, not unlike myself. And finally, we’ve found our way together to a story I believe in, something I would be proud to send to a publisher for inspection. Once I finish polishing the story to pure perfection.
            I’m fascinated by struggle and how people react to it. I’ve always gravitated towards writing about struggles for the fate of the world. I’ve long admired characters who lose everything they love and get back up for more, because laying down to die just isn’t in their blood. It is the greatest lesson I think books have taught me, how to get back up after a fall. And as a writer, I want to pass it on to the next generation of readers and writers.
            I just have to write the damn thing first.

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