dancing with the muse

July 24, 2018

Sorry it’s been so long since I updated. Real writing has eaten much of my free time in recent days, and I could not be happier about it. I got the best compliment this morning that a writer can possibly get, in my humble (or not so humble, lol) opinion. My aunt has been beta reading Song for the Seacrossing a couple of chapters at a time as I get it typed up. Beta reading, in case you don’t know, is reading a work in progress and giving honest feedback. Aunt Peggy is very honest. 😊

 

Anyway, I just finished editing (and in some places substantially reworking, because as I said earlier, the original draft was written several years ago and some things, especially descriptions of places here in town, where the story is set, need major updating) chapters 12 and 13 of the total 16 plus epilogue. I printed them off and passed them along to my eager beta reader. She’s quite the early bird usually, but this morning, she was all bleary- eyed…because SHE SAT UP LATE READING MY STUFF.

 

As I’ve worked my way through the manuscript, I remembered the original process of constructing the story. It feels very like a roller coaster to me, ups and downs progressing along. Around chapter 11, it starts to inch upward, like the tallest hill you ever rode up in a teeny theme park car. It builds, and builds, and hits a peak in 13, and poises there for a few pages... and then, the last 3 chapters are this breathless tear, flying at top speed without really much of a pause anywhere! I’m glad that feeling I had as I wrote it seems to be coming across to at least one reader.

 

Besides that, it has this nice little plot twist that I love. An editor made me cut it out years ago, said it just wasn’t believable. Um, HELLO, it’s a sci-fi murder mystery romance. And then they still didn’t buy the book. There’s a principle in writing: kill your darlings. It means sometimes, if there’s something you really love, but it doesn’t fit the story you’re trying to tell, you have to cut it. Thing is, I had to rewrite the whole last third of the book to excise that element, and I HATED what I ended up with. It felt flat. My heart was not in it, and boy howdy, did it show. So until I located the only surviving copy of my original draft, I didn’t really want anything to do with this book anymore. Once I did, though, is when I started this revision, and I’m loving the book again.

 

Anyhow, that plot twist? My aunt loves it. And better yet, when she hit that, she said she started flipping back pages and finding the hints I sprinkled through previous chapters and going ‘well crap yeah, I should have seen that coming’. I cannot tell you how good that made me feel. All the way through the story, I tried to put in very subtle hints at the directions I was going. As a writer, you hope those will, almost subconsciously, prepare the reader, so when the sheet gets pulled off and the big reveal happens, they will have the exact reaction my aunt did: they’ll gasp, and then they’ll flip back a couple of chapters and start pointing to the hints and saying ‘YES!’

 

I mentioned last time that I’m writing all new stuff too, just fanfic right now, but it’s my play time, so it’s needed too (lol). It’s going quite well! I’ve posted several chapters of a story and gotten good reviews from fellow fans AND fellow writers, which is the best! Of particular note, one writer whose work I’m a fan of has left me some terrific praise. That makes you feel especially good because that person knows where you are at, what you are working through, and is peculiarly well placed to give positive or negative feedback in a form you can use. Yay!

 

Mom’s foot has healed well, She isn’t complaining about it, her nurses say she is settling well, and I get only occasional calls from her. When she calls, she doesn’t know where I am, or what time it is, so I just go along with whatever she says, talk to her for a few minutes, and then gently extricate myself. Similarly, when I go to see her, she usually asks when I have to be back at work. I say something like ‘well, I’ll have to leave in a little while so I have time to go get some lunch before I head back’. That way, she actually ends up pushing me out the door, more often than not. It’s not like I look like I’m starving, of course; but mothers feed kids.

 

I haven’t snagged a job yet but I’m open to all kinds of possibilities, Remember when I said I wasn’t above enrolling in bartending school? LOL, not kidding. Thought about a short computer coding class, even. I’m not picky. In a perfect world, I’d find something I really enjoyed that paid enough to cover my bills and had good benefits. Right now, I’m managing on savings still, plus a little bit I make from freelancing, but that won’t last forever. I’ve given thought to finding a smaller house; I LOVE my house but it really is kinda too big for just me, and a smaller place will save me a lot.

 

Let's see, what else is going on. I learned a new dish. Chicken shawarma! I love it when I get it at a Greek/Middle Eastern place, but making it at home is much better. It takes a little planning, but it isn't bad. The first time I made it was with some leftover chicken, and even though you can season raw chicken and cook it, I find I like it better if I cook the chicken and slice it up, make up the seasoning paste, mix it all up and stick it in a ziplock bag in the fridge all day, then warm it in a skillet at suppertime. it's so good, I think I've fixed it half a dozen times since I learned it and haven't gotten tired of it. It isn't hard at all and it makes the house small amazing!

 

 

 

Still contemplating a sneak off to that big sci-fi con, if I can get family to feed the cats and be on call for any mom-related needs.  I figure I might as well get as many me-things in as I can before I chain myself to an employer again, you know? Another reason I’m writing as much as I can, because when ideas are racing through my head and I have to force them down to focus on mundane things, it almost hurts. That’s the bad side of creativity when you can’t make a living at it. I’m not thinking about that right now, though. Dang it, I am going to enjoy this! it’s come back, when I feared it never would, and I am gonna dance with my muse every second I can.

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