Saturday, April 18, 2015

Weekly Update: 4-18-15 Reading and Writing

My proofs came the day after Easter.

The beautiful book feels hefty in my hand. It's real. It's an actual object with my words inside. Granted, it's not the final copy. I still have to go through it one final time for spelling and grammar errors, as well as making some minor changes to the cover.

But having it makes it seem much more urgent for me to get everything ready for the big June release date. My Brea Library Writer's Group has talked to me about throwing a launch party, which I think would be a nice way to celebrate my accomplishment, as well as dip my toe into promotion. I've never even been to a launch party before, let alone thrown one, so this is all very new to me. I'm drawing on my support system, by asking other writers how they throw launch parties and by recruiting people in my writer's club to help me.

* * *

April is Camp Nanowrimo, which means I'm once again tackling 50,000 new words in the space of a month. As per usual, I spent the month before brainstorming and had a vague outline of where I wanted the story to go. Normally, I just use the time to write out sections of The Originals, the sequel to The Changelings. But this month, I decided to try something new with Counterfeit Diamond.

Counterfeit Diamond: When an earthquake causes a tower to collapse, Edda, a poor native urchin, discovers a magical diamond that changes her appearance. Re-creating herself as Diamond, she's able to blend in with the wealthy foreign merchants. But a talking raven knows her secret. Set in magical version of late 18th century Indonesia.

The first week was agony. The second week was a massive pain in the rear end. I was consumed by doubts. Despite having researched the setting on and off since summer, I still felt like I had no idea what I looking at and felt the urge to start researching with a vengeance. Also, the beginning rambled on too long and dealt with themes like racism and colonialism, that nobody wanted to read about, and I didn't particularly want to write about. I couldn't figure out the action scenes. I hadn't developed the raven character. It was all a mess. I could see in my mind the story sucking up all my time, never finding an audience, and being a terrible disaster.

Then, this week, it inexplicably got easier. Maybe it was because, after boat loads of set-up, I finally got to the good part or maybe I just let go of expectations. I'm at about 33,000 words, right where I need to be, and I have no idea where the story is going, but that's not the point. I stopped angsting and just wrote and it seemed to get easier after that.

* * *

Or maybe Shakespeare helped me to write.

Preparing for this summer's Shakespeare by the Sea production schedule, I decided to read The Tempest. Well, that was part of the reason for reading it. I was also feeling stupid, which is a natural hazard when you sub for high school students. I kept thinking, back when I was in high school, in addition to reading all the assigned books, I found time to squeeze in classics like Dracula, Wuthering Heights, Lost Horizon, The Ox-Box Incident, The Man and the Iron Mask, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And what had I read this year? Practically nothing.


Reading put me in a dreamy mood. I wanted to write Shakespeare fanfiction and I did (oddly, about Romeo and Juliet). Initially, I felt guilty for dropping my preordained writing schedule and indulging in a spontaneous flight of fancy. But I think Shakespeare re-wired my brain, because after that, I became more focused and passionate about my writing and the rest of the week proceeded smoothly and productively.

1 comment:

  1. The Tempest! Stormy seas and enchanted islands are a feast for the imagination. Good luck with the launch of the book.