Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Life Mixed with Fiction

Did you think I disappeared? I've gone almost two weeks without blogging. I've never gone so long without posting something. But the thing is, I've racked my brain for something and come up with nothing. And who wants to read about nothing? Not me.

Tonight I rewrote the beginning of a book that existed for 9,000 words before my current WIP won. Really, I wrote both books side-by-side to give both an equal chance, but Pieces of Moon won. Some days I ask why.

I'm posting my new beginning so we can play a game called Name That Real-Life Event. We all know that our own lives influence our fiction. So what is fiction?

And what is fact?

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Every teenage girl has an ugly-face day once in awhile. So said Claryse my first day of high school--after I woke up with my nose too long and my eyes too close together. "No matter how pretty you are, Emmaline, some mornings you will wake up, look in the mirror, and not like your face. And that's as sure as meatloaf on Friday nights."

But this morning was more than an ugly-face day. I stumbled into the wood-paneled bathroom my sister and I shared with a five year-old tornado, took one look in our streaky mirror, and screamed.

And since I was the first one up, I screamed again,

The door whipped open, and Claryse stood in the hall with one bunny slipper raised over her head. Her little rosebud mouth dropped open as the slipper plopped to the floor. "Why is your face blue, Emmaline?"

I picked up our little brother's Very Berry Toothpaste and turned on my sister. "Why do you think my face is blue?"

Claryse snatched the tube from my hand and groaned. "You were supposed to use regular old, dye-free toothpaste."

I snatched it back and hard, but I really wanted to fling it at her perfect dye-free face. "You forgot that detail when you shared your pimple cure-all with me last night."

Claryse pinched her lips together, leaned over, and gingerly lifted her slipper off the ground. "Well," she said, turning back to her bedroom. "Your pimples are gone so it looks like it worked."

I held back another scream because three screams in one morning might be too many. My pimples were gone, but Freshman Council elections were that day. And nobody was going to elect a Smurf.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Post in Which You Realize You Aren't THAT Slow

That is, the post in which you realize you aren't as slow as ME.

I've been very private about the progress (or lack of) of my rewrite. And so, without further adieu, I give you (and why? I'm not sure other than this compulsion for absolute honesty right now)...MY WORD COUNT.

37,000

(Funny that this comes in the month of NOVEMBER. Ironic even. Like rain on your wedding day or like a free ride when you are already late.)

As a smattering of you may recall, I finished my rough draft in a record (for me) two months. I finished that rough draft one year ago.

And it has been a big year. Shortly after finishing my first draft, I had a baby.

I mean, I Had A Baby!

This beautiful piece of humanity may or may not have changed my writing routine a little. And for that I kiss her snotty, teething face every day and she bites my lip with her three-and-a-half teeth.

But the TRUTH is, having a baby didn't really SLOW my writing down. Yes, there were the first few months of adjusting to new life, but normal did return.

And I got back to that rewrite, which is only half done after a year...with many plans to rewrite what I already rewrote.

Okay, you've heard many finish-the-darn-book goals from me, but here is my latest (and I hope, most realistic)...

Here's to one more year and finishing my rewrite once and for all. (Me toasting you with root beer because I'm Mormon and because I like it (root beer and being Mormon and parentheticals.))

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sippy Cups and Sunglasses

There are a few things in my life that I buy cheap and often: chapstick, pens, sunglasses, and sippy cups--because they always disappear. I don't lose them. I'm much more responsible than that. They really do just disappear.

(Okay, I'm going to have to blame my children for the Case of the Missing Sippy Cups. I think I've purchased ten for my daughter in the last two months. And then there is my son, who although four, has decided he now likes sippy cups too.)

More frustrating that chapped lips when I just bought strawberry flavored chapstick or squint lines on my face which wouldn't be there if they would just stop selling me vanishing sunglasses! IS...

...the missing perfect idea or scene or plot arc or dialogue...

These first come to me in one of three places: just before I fall asleep, while driving, or in the shower. (You know-the unburdened and emptied mind equals inspiration.)

Sometimes, in fear of forgetfulness, I'll start stringing together unrelated (but oh so related) words. Which means I'll come home chanting "park bench, motorcycle, Jean Valjean" or "blue toothpaste, cheerleader, Indian."

Then, if I write it down...even if I manage to write it down moments after it strikes...it still goes missing somehow. It never exists as beautifully as it did in my mind. Or sometimes I'll just leave it there-in my mind. File it away for later, and hope it will just show its face again when my manuscript is ready for it.

What about you? How do you salvage that perfect moment in your story which plays oh so nicely in your head? How do you help yourself remember?