Monday, December 26, 2016

A Good Book Here, A Good Book There

Took a hiatus. Yeah, I am sure you all noticed. Been trying to get things moving along and with that I had to slack and so I slacked on the blog. Now allow me to share our little artificial tree that our son and his grandma decorated with glee.

In the last two months or so, I no longer bring my computer upstairs. Instead I have started to read at night. While this may not sound like any big deal, it is a little for me. I love to read, but due to school, home, obligations, and writing a novel, I somehow pushed reading an actual book to the side.  Like a lot of folks I got more caught up in the rabbit hole of the internet. Now, I do love getting sucked down various rabbit holes, but I also felt that I needed to actually unplug.
Allow me to sidebar a bit here.

I had been struggling with my book for a very long time. In the last 6 months or so it got worse. I had lost the true nature of the story and could no longer hear the character voice. I am not the first writer this has happened to, but considering how much time and effort I had put in to this story it destroyed my sense of self in a way while also exposing various other ticks and broken defensive tactics i have used for many years. Clearly I needed some help along this crooked road to get my head right and not just with writing. I did research online and I found a mindfulness therapist. Yes they exist and yes she is fabulous.
One session we discussed who am I writing for? What is my audience? This is something I had struggled with for as long as I could recall. Who wouldn't want to have the glory of a Pulitzer or Man Booker attached to their name? Then it hit me. Did I really care? I wanted to tell stories. Did it matter if they used words half the population never head or rhapsodized for ten pages about the color and texture of sand? Was that even me? While I admire those that do fine literature well, that is not where I belonged. All this time I had fought against my true nature, my true voice. Wasted a lot of time too. My stories are vivid, but not in a mystical realism way. My characters are real people in the worlds I put them and they have feelings and thoughts and habits. So why did I fight it? I am a mass market writer. There is no shame in that. There is very good mass market fiction out there. The thing is, it had been a long time since I read anything truly mass market. I looked up the genre on goodreads and headed to the library.

By recommendation of my therapist I got "Killing Floor" by Lee Child. Yes it is Jack Reacher and I got sucked in so hard to the story that I was surprised. I had to stop myself from caring if the writer used the same word twice in a paragraph. This is an odd thing  I get bugged about, but I threw out those old ideas and said, "Who cares?" The story moved. I wanted to know Jack Reacher. I could see and smell the scenes without tons of details that weigh down some books. The writing was fun and fast and exciting and I loved it. To really state how crazy I am, I just finished, in two days, the second book "Die Trying". I will be ordering the third in the series from the library.

Meg Cabot was next and totally random. I was trolling the aisles of the library and the title of the book caught my eye, "Boy Meets Girl". Written in emails and notes it was hilarious and I really enjoyed it. The second book of hers I grabbed was, unbeknownst to me, a sequel, but it did not matter, I read the flap copy, laughed out loud and took it home. I have to say I really enjoyed "Overbite".  I do agree with other readers I would have liked the ending to go a little different, but otherwise it was a quick, funny read.

I also have, but have not started, "Sacre Bleu" by Christopher Moore.

Believe it or not, this has helped my writing tremendously. I trashed my novel, yes all 88,000+ words and have started from scratch. Was this easy? Nope, I would be a liar if I said it was a joy.  There is no pleasure taken in restructuring something you have worked so hard on and thought was right. To dismantle even the character's character has been tough, but it makes sense to me now. This new creation was the real story I have needed to tell. Maybe the other ones were too, but right now, where I am, what is currently going on paper is what wants to be told. So that is that.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!