Monthly Archives: January 2016

Roadblock

I’m hitting a bit of a wall with writing. This stupid fecking draft will not die. I vowed to get it done this past NaNo, but that didn’t turn out so well. I failed again. Did I even make it to 25k? I can’t remember. I’ve blocked it from my mind. It was another year for personal growth as I got swamped with work projects and refused to bury my head in writing to cope with it.

The trouble is, I still haven’t overall finished it because there are so many issues I don’t know how to fix. I don’t feel, currently, like enough big stuff happens to get to a satisfactory climax (wahey). It needs editing, and while I’m aboard the objective critique train, I am starting to worry that I’ve gone a few stops too far. I’m doubting myself.

There are those really gripping books you read where there are good but boring bits in between the good scenes where all the cool stuff happens. There are books you read where the author clearly didn’t understand that no one else cares about the tiniest minutiae of the characters’ world (Thomas Hardy I’m looking at you) and there are books that are basically one high-octane scene after another. I’m having trouble finding that balance.

I’m writing it, so of course I feel like all of it is good stuff and crucial information (apart from all the duff stuff I’ve already wiped and feel better about). But I’m trying to look at it from the perspective of a reader, at all the times I got bogged down in a story when I just wanted to get to the action. But then going back to read that background stuff when suddenly, oops, there’s something you can’ understand in a big scene if you don’t. That’s fine. That’s what I’m going for. I need to keep those subtle hooks as well as the big T-Rex claws. But how do I decide what’s filler, or just boring, and what isn’t?

I originally thought about making it two books, just because the titles “Once Bitten” and “Twice Shy” are begging for it, but maybe I don’t need to do that. I don’t feel like I’ve run out of steam necessarily, but I do need to actually decide how it ends and what happens. And the more stuff I go back over the more I want to change. Which is good. I’m not deleting things, really, just shifting them about to try to balance the pace of it. I spent a lot of time back in 2009 writing it for NaNoWriMo where the goal is just to write a lot of words. So the first bit has had a lot of pruning for completely pointless waffle. But the middle bit is now problematic. Shit, I don’t know.

I still don’t feel like I want other people to read it, but maybe I have to bite the bullet and just get some proper outside perspective. Rivka is currently in the middle of official editing for someone else, and I don’t know who else to subject to this teeny-bop nonsense. I’m not ashamed of it, much, but if it’s not your thing, it’s harder to get enthusiastic about constructive criticism. I’m trying to do this like a proper grown-up writer; with a bit of a scientific methodical thing. Take scenes out here, put them in there. Bridge those gaps. Build the tension, spin it out, ramp it up. There has to be a certain amount of deliberate construction. You can’t just write it all perfectly the first time.

I can write. I know I can. Usually. I can do the good words thing. Stringing together sentences and paragraphs and whole chapters that go somewhere… I have done that. It being a challenge to get it right isn’t a problem. It takes hard work and drive and time, and that’s fine. But I do really want it DONE. At least for the story to get to a conclusion.

That and I’m starting to feel like the main character is totally wrong. Is she acting realistically? I am afraid of entering Marysue Town. If I’m aiming for YA, the market has changed a bit since Twilight. An arbitrary cut-off, but that’s when I think it full on exploded. To some extent yes you need the readers to buy into the fantasy and wish to be that person on their thrill ride, but on the other hand, teens are smart. So are adults who read YA. And they don’t want to be talked down to, or to read yet another bland, drippy girl-silhouette who acts like a lovesick moron.

I have to get to the end. It deserves an ending. I feel like it could be, if not this generation’s War and Peace, at least a reasonable book. I won’t give up.

Right, boil the kettle. I’ve got some words to write.

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The Story of Rivka’s Christmas Present – September 2015

Here we are on 20th September. August got away from me before I knew it. I had a lovely holiday and then it was back to work, and so the quilt had a lot of things templated up but nothing really done. Then I realised it was something stupid like 120 days until Christmas and I thought I’d better pull my finger out.

So far, I have:IMG_0084

Cut and stitched the lettering at the bottom

Attached the bottom white panel to the green meadow section

Cut out lots of other pieces

Roughly constructed most of a lion

Dyed some cotton to make the sky

It’s not going too badly, but a lot of the lion I’m having to do by hand because of the fiddly seams and angles. It’s worth doing because I have more control over it, but it’s frustrating because it takes longer. It does feel like more of it is done than I think, and that it will come together pretty quickly.
Next jobs:

  • Find some pink/peach for the face and hands
  • Do some dragonscale smocking detail for the dressIMG_0101
  • Sew the bottom part of the skirt and the lion together

Then we’ll be crackalacking. As long as I don’t break the machine again. I was trucking along nicely, adding the bottom piece of skirt wreath with some killer zig-zag topstitch, when the foot level broke off! Just enough left to still vaguely work, so I locked off and got the fabric out, but… dayum. Luckily, Rivka had some glue so I’ve stuck it back on and am hoping it will hold. In the process I managed to get glue all over my hands and tip over a chair covered in clean clothes.

 

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The Story of Rivka’s Christmas Present – July 2015

Alright. For this project you will need:

  • pens
  • paper
  • tracing paper
  • fabric
  • time
  • to be insane

I have decided to make Rivka a bed throw/quilt thing. Yup. It’s currently 4th July, and the design has been drawn out for a month already. Now I’m on summer vacation and Rivka will be out at work, I have more time and space to sort things without her seeing what’s going on. I’m aiming to have the main machine parts done by October so I can do the hand-embellishing.

So what’s my design? I have chosen to recreate a Tarot card. I am doing Major Arcana VIII – Strength. I chose this card because it is about the quiet dignity of perseverance when things get tough. It’s about going on when you don’t think you can. It’s that core of steel. I had a couple of decks to look at and I looked at Pinterest as well, and have stuck with a Rider-Waite style. I adapted the hairstyle of the woman in the card to be more like Rivka, because she really represents this card 100%.

At the moment (July) she is dealing with some tough stuff. Yes, she has been upset about it; she’s not a robot. But she’s not caving, and she’s not letting it rule her life. She is doing her best to punch it in the balls and rise above it. Her dedication to writing and promoting other indie authors is an inspiration and even though it drives her up the wall sometimes, she really cares about her author community and she wouldn’t give it up for anything.

That’s why I took this card:

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And made it look like this:

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As you can see I was brave and Sharpied it, and I clearly can’t draw hands, but I’m pretty proud of myself. Today Rivka is going out to teach a lovely lady how to make felt, so I’m going to start work on the lettering at the bottom. This thing is about the size of a single duvet, so it’s a struggle to even lay it out in the craft room upstairs at the moment. I have too many boxes up there! I have enough black to do a few letters, and the strip of white at the bottom. I might even cut some lion pieces. Oooh! I need a new box to keep all the pieces in.

At the moment I’m feeling excited. Check back in a week or so and I’ll be regretting the whole thing!

Photo updates and stories to follow!

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