"All the cool kids are doing it."

Peer pressure and a moment of I-have-no-clue-what-to-write-next-or-if-any-of-this-matters brings me to a new blog post today.

The time’s ticking down until the first week of February when my first packet is due. As always with me, I’m white-knuckling in these final days after not pacing myself well for the past few weeks. It’s my first packet, though, so I’m going to crank it out as I always have when a deadline looms and try to do better next month. It’s been a learning experience. Also: thank goodness for snow days.

At this point, I’ve got nearly 17 pages done out of 25-30. I think it’s going to be closer to the 25-end this time around, plus the 5-page craft essay which I plan to do this weekend. Still have no clue how to write one, but that’s what Google is for.

Speaking of Google, it’s my best friend lately. I’m writing about France, and it’s really helping me fill in the details. I think that’s another major reason in my dragging pace; I’m nervous about inaccuracies. Why didn’t I just pick some silly romance story set right here in Rhode Island? That would’ve been much easier. But I guess this isn’t about telling the easy story anymore. And I haven’t written ANYTHING about my time in France, save for journal entries while I was there. I’m scared, but I think I’m supposed to be.

I know what the climax of this story will be, and I’m avoiding it like the plague since that’s the stuff I’m scared to write. Instead I’ve been fleshing out the two other side stories and character relationships, which I guess is just as important. Next month I’ll start tackling the tough stuff.

I’m scared my mentor is going to send it all back and say, “What’s the point?” But scrapping everything wouldn’t be the end of the world. I’m also pretty sure there’s a damn good story here, so I’m going to keep on writing until I find it.

Good luck to everyone else in finishing up your packets!

The devil’s in the detatils.

I’ve got about six pages done for this month’s submission: only 19-24 pages to go before the end of January. I didn’t write all weekend and feel like a failure, but I plan on getting a big chunk done Wednesday night while Nicole is at work.
There’s something quite scary to me about working on such a big thing. I think that—compounded by the fact that I’ve never had any sort of writing routine—is why I avoided it all weekend when I had so much time on my hands. I mean, I washed dishes and cleaned the apartment instead of writing. You know there’s something going on.
I was scared that it, my story, would swallow me up and not let go of me. I was scared that I would hit a wall and not have anything left to say. I was scared that I would get all the way to the end and realize it was shit and have to start over. So I just didn’t start at all. I need to stop being so afraid, but when you’re a “big picture” person, the details can be kind of terrifying. I mean: where is this story going? What’s the climax going to be? Should it be darker? How will I end it? I’m sure these are normal questions that I don’t need to answer any time soon, but they’re driving me bananas.
The six pages I do have are pretty solid. I showed the first two to a friend of mine who also lived in the little French city where my story takes place, and she said she could see everything clearly. I hope it’s the same for people who haven’t lived there.
On top of the novel, I also want to get one of my short stories to a place where I can try to submit it, or at least bring it in July for the workshop and then re-work it and try submission afterwards. So I have ideas for that kicking around in my head alongside the novely stuff. There’s also a piece of me that’s not entirely convinced that my short story shouldn’t be part of my novel, but I don’t know if I can pull of something so dark.  Oh, yeah, and then there’s the craft essay to do.

So that’s where I’m at. Pardon my neuroticism. Hopefully my inaction will make you all feel much more accomplished in your progress this month 🙂

New Journey, New Blog.

I just finished my first residency on the way to receiving my Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Fairfrield University, and it seems my fellow MFA’ers are overwhelmingly fond of Blogger. In an effort to keep up with them and also let them know how I’m doing in the writing department, I’ve decided to create this blog. It’ll be just for my struggles and (hopefully a few) triumphs as I work towards my first completed manuscript.

I’ve never even tried to write a novel before. The closest thing would be a murder mystery I wrote in sixth grade: The Murders of (on?) Mirror Lake. Damn, I was proud of that thing. Sure, it was totally predictable (spoiler alert: the next-door neighbor who seems really nice…isn’t! Dum dum dum!), but it had chapters. Somehow, my eleven-year-old self was perfectly comfortable in long fiction. Since then, however, I’ve been strictly short, if not flash. I went in to the residency thinking I’d do a collection of short stories. But as I got feedback from my workshops, all I heard was “we need MORE from this story.” I realized that what I thought were short stories all these years were actually 10-page summaries of novels. This leaves much to be desired, as you can imagine.

So, I’m off to Novel Land, a country I know little to nothing about. But if my sixth-grade, Catholic school self wasn’t afraid, why should I be now?

Guess I should go try to write a few pages on my actual manuscript now that I’ve blown an hour creating this thing. Cheers!