Friday, February 1, 2008

Back on Track

My funk has finally lifted and I'm feeling much better. I'm sure it has a lot to do with my parents' arrival tomorrow, but I've also taken a big step with my book. Big step for me, anyways. I've been stuck on what to do with a couple chapters because everyone says you shouldn't have too much backstory, but how do you determine what's essential and what's not when you're writing about yourself? To me it ALL seems like backstory.

As I've debated this over the past couple weeks I've also been freaking out because a newer friend has offered to critique my book. I don't know him well but from what I've heard he does a wonderful - and fair - job so I was very excited that he agreed to help. Oh yeah, and he's a HE. Eek! I know I need to get over any insecurities I have about what I've written, but it's different when it's a novel. This is ME! And now he's really going to get to know me.

My plan was to send him my manuscript when my parents arrived so I wouldn't be tempted to work on it while he has it. Another reader still has it, too, and I don't want to make a lot of changes while they're helping me. So, now that I've sent it off I feel an incredible amount of relief. I can stop editing and move on to the next thing.

I mentioned several weeks ago that I came up with an idea for my next book and while it's been bouncing around in my head I've struggled to actually get anything down on paper. I wrote an opening scene when the idea first came to me but beyond that I've been stuck. Well wouldn't you know it but the minute I clicked send and wiped the sweat from my back, the ideas started flowing. I wrote nearly 1000 words within minutes of sending the email.

I've marveled at other writers who say the story just streams out of them, that it writes itself and they are merely the mechanism bringing it to life. I felt a little of that while writing my memoir but since I was writing about things that have happened to me it didn't really seem very mysterious that the ideas came from me. Right? Well last night I got it. Characters plucked themselves out of thin air, dialogue formed before I realized it and I even managed to describe the setting. Hmm.

At the moment I've only written by hand and I think I might stick with that for now. My keyboard is losing its fight with the humidity and I spend as much time backspacing as I do typing, plus my friend gave me an awesome journal for Christmas that's just begging to be filled with a new story.


Kristine said...

Awesome friend!

Melanie Avila said...


Janna said...

Wonderful, Melanie! I'm so glad things are really going well for you. Kudos for editing the memoir. And more kudos for your inspired work on the new ms. I've had fits and spurts like that... and I'm desperately seeking it again.

Good luck!

Kate Boddie said...

I feel the same way when it comes to writing my fantasy novel. I look at what I wrote and go, "did i really just think that up?" I've never tried anything remotely close to a memoir but I can vouch for the wonder of ideas and how they appear out of nowhere, something I'm truely grateful for.