I Love Writing!

I’ve been watching all the posts on Facebook and Twitter with pictures describing the frustrating life of a writer. I have to say, I can identify with most of the frustrations. Stereotypes have a way of ringing true, even though we hate to have anything reduced to them.

As far as informal classification of writers goes, I’m what is known as a pantster. There are planners and pantsters. Planners work with outlines and such, planning and creating plots in advance for their creative works. Pantsters, on the other hand, write by be the seat of their pants (trite I know). How about we call it making things up as we go along? I don’t depend on pre-planed outlines or work with a map in mind. I caddiewomple. (Great word, isn’t it?) It means I travel purposely toward an as yet unknown destination.

The result of which is this. When I work through the rough draft, I’m excited. I want to find out what my characters will do. I watch the story unfold as the typing proceeds.

The entire draft is a matter of discovery — waiting for things to unfold like a young flower. I watch my fingers create the story.

It sounds almost creepy.

I know I have a good character in the making, or a working ensemble when they start telling me what and how to write. I do love it when that happens. It sounds crazy; maybe this is one of the things that lends credence to the thought that all writers are crazed fools who barely have a grasp on reality. Dunno.

I do know that I have an enormous amount of fun waiting for things to unfold. Pleasure in this spot in itself is not so different from the preponderance of writers. I’m not alone in the enjoyment of the rough draft. We all have fun.

Now please don’t jump to the conclusion that my days are pain-free at this stage. They are not. However, I will say that during the rough draft, my eternal quest for the perfect word is somewhat lessened, but this draft is more for situations, plot, and digging my characters into and out of trouble.

As I said, the bottom line point is this – the rough draft is fun.

After the rough draft comes editing.

Several of my writer friends loathe this part. Editing is the point at which we throw things away and cut stuff out, all because the words don’t quite belong in this particular work. Many writers wail, ululate, and lament how unfair life is that they have to hack away some of their best work. But they must keep in mind the truism, “If life were fair, there would be no surgery.” Hell, I will go even further. If life was fair, I would be six feet tall, devilishly handsome, and have a dimple in my chin. I wouldn’t have grown older either.

But alas, I’m not; not this either; not even a hint of one. And son-of-a-bitch, I did get older. So cutting I must go, yes editing I must go, high ho the dairy oh …

The difference in me, compared to other writers, is this. While it does pain me to scribble and scratch-out the dead passages from my manuscripts, It enthralls me with how my Work In Progress (my WIP) reads once I toss out those words. One of the constants in my world of writing is this: my craft always flows better after I go a few rounds with a professional editor.

Oh. I’m not there yet. I’m still talking about self-editing.

Anyway, during the editing portion, I dive deep, looking for that perfect word. What I love about this part is my WIP takes on more vibrant color and fleshes out more. All this to help the readers envision the things I’ve written. There is a by-product at this stage; I learn new words and increase my vocabulary. Words have always fascinated me. In the next edit, I tie-up lose ends and close any open plot loops.

The last self-edits polish the work, and then it’s ready for me to send off to an agent or professional editor. More magic happens with them. These people are vital to the success of any written project. Their fresh eyes, along with their massive intellect and incredible insight, help me reach the vision I had throughout the project.

After all their fresh eyes dissect it, the work may be ready to publish, and I loved every step in the process.

I am at this point with my next novel, The Great-Zero Sum. I am so close that the cover reveal is going to be this week. I love the cover, and I think you will too. The only people who have seen so far are the designer, Jojo W. Shelly, and I.

So, stand by. Big things are happening – I will reveal the cover and then comes release day.

The Great Zero-Sum Is on the way!

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Life at our house

Well, breakfast is over, and boy it was about as fun as a kick in the scrotal sack.

Between getting the cereal, eggs, milk, applesauce, mopping spills, and the hunt for silverware, it was exhausting. (The kids lose more flatware than … I think I’ve purchased enough cheap cutlery to outfit an entire college dorm floor for a year.) I can’t leave out the marathon scream from the youngest daughter because she wanted to make sure every person who had ever lived heard her, even if they had been grave bound for centuries. Your ears may even now hear a faint remnant echo of her blood coagulating from the effort she used to produce the scream.

My apologies if the noise perforated any eardrums. I finally had to turn my hearing aids off to pick the tyke up, put her in my bedroom, and close the door. We need a soundproof room where I can stick a child when they turn up the volume like that. It would also be great for me to sit in while I blather about as a result of living in the house with everyone.

I used the wrong word. It should have been everything instead of everyone because we have quite the menagerie. I’ve talked about our animals in other blogs, so let me say we have several animals. And while it can be a challenge to live in this house with so many humans. It is an arduous task for me to live with all of the creatures.

Yesterday the two outside dogs escaped. The pony opened the pasture gate that borders on the front yard. This pony is the one my youngest daughter (see above) thinks of as a disabled unicorn. She loves unicorns and calls this animal her ‘corn. In her mind, since our unicorn does not have a horn, she must be disabled.

But back to the dogs.

When the pony exited the pasture and entered the yard, the dogs did a double reverse and ran out into the field, and gone! Yeah, that’s right. Gone. The oldest one has a history of running away, and when he returned the last time he had a crushed rear leg. That injury sidelined him for months, almost a half year. If we’d have known how long it would take, and what he would have had to live through to heal, we would’ve put him down. It would have been kinder.

The fear of duplicating what happened then is real.

Here’s where I’m going. During the search for the missing dogs, the kids and wife stumbled across a neighbor who had a litter of weaned puppies ready to be separated from their mother. The result of that is now, I have another dog.

Have you read the Clifford books, the ones about the gigantic red dog? This new puppy is white, not red. However, this pup will grow into a colossus of a dog. I’m talking roughly about a large one of those Saint Bernards that have a keg of brandy you might remember seeing in an old cartoon. She is not a Saint Bernard, but she will be that large. No, I’m not happy about that. Well, the brandy doesn’t sound bad. Maybe I can work with that.

I think the food bill will be tremendous. Plus, any time you have that amount going in an animal, there will be a proportionate amount dropping out the exit. Yeah. I’m going to need a bigger shovel. Oh well, maybe it will turn into a two kid job. Now I can feel a smile working.

I have enough to do right now without adding more to my to-do list. I have to finish both upcoming novels, The Great Zero Sum and The Dao Factor. There is Zero Sum’s cover on order which Jojo will deliver soon. (By the way, my cover designer is outstanding. Her name is Jojo Shelly, and I’ll post her website address at the bottom of this blog.) I will have a cover reveal as soon as I can. All of this plus the labor of formatting both books into the required formats. It will be my first solo attempt at formatting a novel, so I’m anticipating a few problems what with the learning curve and all. I am also working on the rough draft of the next novel, The Null Factor. I can’t forget my blog. So, the last thing I need is something else that eats up my time. I forgot to mention, I work as a substitute teacher during the week, and that puts a considerable crimp in my time.

I will say two things about the substitute job. There is an absolute satisfaction about working with these kids because I usually work with the classes other substitutes don’t want – discipline problems and disabled kids. It also gives me a chance to study reactions, mannerisms up close, along with keeping tabs on my feelings during all the troubles in the classroom. All of it is good fodder for writing.

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