Sunday, January 8, 2012

At a loss for words

There are some days when the words just won’t come. Of course this is counterbalanced by those days when I can sit at my keyboard and type for 8 hours straight and still feel like I haven’t gotten it all down.

I’m still editing Living Canvas, although the editor who had started to work with me dropped out. Now I’m not going to say anything nasty about her, although I’m extremely disappointed that although she knew exactly what the story was about (evidenced by a detailed synopsis) she suddenly decided that she didn’t edit my genre. ANYWAY, there is a Plan B.

Living Canvas is one of those stories that I somehow can’t let go of, and for that reason, it has been through the meat grinder more than once. I began writing it 5-6 years ago and realized, after the first few chapters, that it didn’t have any direction. My first several attempts at writing were all by the seat of my pants - let the story flow, I’ll work out the details later kind of writing. Living Canvas is the first story I wrote where I understood the importance of at least some sketch of an outline. Otherwise you just have boring characters living a day-to-day life. This story has been recrafted into an inspirational (which nearly got picked up), a straight romance, a paranormal (which it was always intended to be, but lacked direction), and a murder mystery. With all the rewrites, I’ve reached a point where I don’t remember which storyline follows – enter the enhanced need for an editor. I think I finally have “The Story” that I want to tell. This is the last incarnation – whether it sells or whether it sucks (pardon my language). In the meantime, I still have Epitaph to clean-up if I hope to sell that one and I have two outlines for new stories waiting for the chance to gestate and find their way onto paper.

All those things people tell you when you begin writing – write what you know; stay true to your story; etc. – it’s true. Maybe that’s why Living Canvas is so personal for me. I got lost somewhere along the line trying to fit it into a cubbyhole and got away from the “my idea” part of the story. Beta readers and critique groups kept trying to mold my ideas into their own and because it started out a little tenuously (without direction), I followed everyone else’s thoughts. Now I love my Beta readers and my critique groups, but the important thing to remember is that the story is MINE. Even in this version of Living Canvas, one of my dearest friends kept trying to push me into an alternate story line that didn’t work for me. That being said, she did give me one crucial key to this version which “makes” the story for me. The way she wanted me to use that idea was so far out there that even I couldn’t wrap my head around it. She’s a wonderfully creative friend, but sometimes her ideas run amok. Fortunately for me, I was able to rein it in, and in the end, it helped me focus my thoughts into what I wanted for this story. Me. Now it’s just a matter of improving my characterizations, which is something that I have to work very hard at. It’s difficult when you see something so clearly in your head to realize other people don’t see it the same way. It’s the work part of writing – conveying those visions into words. And that’s the direction my editing has taken now.

So wish me luck, and keeping my fingers crossed that the new editor can help me make sure I haven’t lost a thread in the story or repeated a scene in the latest version (because honestly, even in reading it again, I can’t remember if I included it or omitted it this time around). I’m hoping to have this thing DONE so I can move forward.

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