Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shifting Gears, Part 2: Moving On

Today sees a new chapter in my life. Literally. 
I know I was complaining in Sanctuary of being driven nuts because I was letting NR perk for a bit and didn't feel like getting moving with another story but things have changed in the last six hours... A LOT.
I don't know how many of you out there remember this, but some of you know that I had written a short story back in 2000, code named RH, on my old DOS 3.0 laptop and in Professional Write. It was my first attempt at a romance novel and well, to me, it was a big "FAIL". It was too short, the story itself didn't have a lot of details in it, I had a LOT of facts wrong and even the leading characters' professions were not that plausible, notably the leading lady's. So I put it away and chalked it up to an experience and let it go. 
A few years back, I decided to see if I could redo it on Word 97 on my little Pentium 90 and I did get a lot of it expanded, etc, but it still wasn't up to my standards and once again, fell into the "dead manuscripts" file.
However, I've been bouncing around the idea to do a full rewrite on it in recent months, notably after I saw how close I was to wrapping up NR's first draft a few weeks ago. I was starting to think that if RH was rewritten, modernized and had a few changes done to it, it MAY be up to my insanely high standards. NR is close but it needs to perk and since I HAVE to have something on the go or drive everyone including myself bonkers, I thought about it a little more today and decided maybe it wouldn't hurt to look at it again.
I printed off what I have on the Acer, my current system, and it's not the entire thing. But since I'm modernizing it and will be doing a full rewrite on it, maybe it doesn't matter. The basic idea of why the two leading characters meet will still be the same but how they meet, what they do for a living and other things are going to be very different... Meaning RH itself will wind up being a VERY different story by the time I'm finished with it this time. IF I can finish it like I managed to wrap up NR's first draft, and I hope I can get into it as much as I got into NR. NR consumed my entire life for months and if ideas for RH come as quickly as ideas for NR did the last six months or so, it will consume me too! Or that's what I'm hoping for!
So far, the ideas file for RH has been started, the first draft of the rewrite is on the go and it's still on Chapter 1. The actual writing part of it may be slow going for the first while until the ideas pick up more and more but that doesn't worry me at the moment. I'm still in the planning stages of this story after all and that's okay. Ideas are coming to me, bit by bit and I'm getting a picture of each character again, plus I'm starting to see things from their point of view... The leading characters are VERY different than the ones from NR were and it will be a challenge to me to get into their heads for a while. Their looks are quite different as well and I'm going to have to get used to describing them instead of NR's leading couple! 
In some ways, it's good to be back with RH again, but in others, I see one HECK of another long road ahead of me. Starting over with another story, another set of unique and hopefully interesting characters is a definite challenge but after all the blood, sweat, tears and other stuff I put into NR after I got back into it after a year in hell, I KNOW I can do this with some luck, some patience with myself and a lot of time and effort... And a few thousand gallons of coffee, plus several months of having the story in my head like I did with NR. I thought I had lost that story but it came back to me, and it turned out to be so much better than I thought it would be when I first thought of it back in 2010. 
With a little luck, maybe RH's rewrite and the new version of it will be half as good as NR is. I'd like to see it become a much better story in the end, just like NR did. It seems if I let something like that "sit" for a while (over a year), it turns out really well, and surprises me in the end.
Have a great Wednesday everyone and don't forget that CSI is a new episode tonight. Y'all know where I will be at 11 p.m. Atlantic Time, I'll be getting my Nicky fix! LOL

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shifting Gears, Part 1: The Initial Crash Back to Earth

It's been less than 96 hours since NR was finished and it's finally starting to sink in that the main part of the story is finished...
It's weird. I've been so darn used to having it open on the desktop taskbar when I'm watching Sanctuary, talking to people in Facebook, checking MW and doing other stuff but now that it's NOT there, I'm finding myself with a lot of time on my hands.
NR is currently perking at the moment. This is deliberate so it fades from my mind for a while so I can catch errors, typos, grammar screw ups, verb tenses and such a LOT easier in Draft 2.
It's hard for me at the moment because I'm still reeling from the fact draft 1 IS done and I'm at odds on what to do with myself until things settle down in my mind and I can get on with things. I'm starting to go a little crazy... I have no idea what to do while I'm sitting here at the computer, helping Penth in Sanctuary and other things. I'd play games in FB but only three of them work for me due to something being screwed up in Firefox and there is NO WAY IN HELL I'm using another browser, my computer HATES Chrome and I do NOT like Internet Explorer so that's out. I'm not one for doing things like knitting, sewing, etc either so those are out too. Heck, I'm just not an arts and crafts person period for that matter! It's too soon for me to try to dive into RH, #6 or another story because my mind is still focused on NR in a lot of ways and until it fades a little more, I won't be writing at all in any story I have on the go or will be starting sometime. It's too soon, too fresh and I'm too shaky to start or work on much right now.
Still, the hands want to be busy and so does the mind... So although I am NOT an arts and crafts person, I did something yesterday that kinda shocked some of my friends. 
I got a do it yourself dreamcatcher kit and did the entire thing. 
Yep, I did it. I had to keep my mind on SOMETHING other than NR and for a while it worked. My hands were just about dead, I was cursing a blue streak and I had to redo parts of it once or twice by the time it was done but the result was well worth it. It turned out pretty darn good for a first try!

Not bad for a first try! LOL 
I had purchased the kit because I wanted something nice to add to some original pictures I'll be having done for my author's page (link is in my Links area to the left!) and NR's book cover if I ever go the self publishing route. I'm part Mi'kMaq (Nation in my area, Nova Scotia), and I wanted to have something incorporated into the cover picture of my page or on NR's cover that represented that part of my heritage... Plus the leading man in NR has First Nations blood in him so that will represent that part of NR also. (See, I DO give hints away once in a while! LOL
I also purchased some other things that will represent NR when the time comes but that's between me, my beloved mentor, my brother in law and the doorpost!
I have the stuff for the Book 2 cover of Sandra (Durham)'s Keyholder's Castle series, and I hope to get that done very soon. I desperately need a creative outlet and I want to do some photography, original pictures, but stuff that still focuses on my work or Sandra's books. It'll make me feel like I'm doing SOMETHING with it but not actually attacking NR or ripping my hair out at the roots. 
It's been a VERY rough transition for me so far, but hopefully as time moves forward, I'll go back into the writing groove, get used to NOT working on NR with new material and get into RH's rewrite or #6 or even a new story. I have a couple of ideas floating around but they haven't fully "gelled" yet and I don't think they will for a while... NR is still pretty darn fresh in the brain so it will be a few days at the least before anything new starts happening.
I'll be okay once I get my gears fully shifted, my beloved mentor told me that, and she's right. It's just the transition and shock to the system that sucks and until I'm out of this mode, I'm going to be going a little crazy... I'm to the point of where I'm considering buying a few more dreamcatcher kits and doing those despite how badly it will hurt the carpal tunnel syndrome... And I'm considering getting some beads, etc to make new earrings for myself and possibly others. Just to keep my hands and mind occupied during the transition. 
The funny thing is, I am NOT an arts and crafts girl, I normally don't do much outside of reading, listening to music or writing on a daily basis... So yeah, this is VERY odd behavior for me.
Slowly going insane...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Bittersweet Victory...

As of 5:14 p.m. Atlantic Time on October 19, 2012, I did something that a year ago, I never thought I would accomplish...
I typed in "THE END" in NR's First Draft file. 
It's official: I have completed draft 1 of my first full length manuscript!!!
I had three full writing days this past week... Wednesday saw me diving into NR the instant Hubby was out of the driveway for work, Thursday it was pretty much the instant Son was on the bus and although I stayed online for an extra hour, I was into it again for the entire day, determined to get as much done as I could.
It has been one HECK of a roller coaster ride with the last few chapters of NR, both for the characters and myself. Chapters 41 through 46 go from highs to lows so fast that one's eyes may cross if they're not paying attention. Heck my eyes were crossed with all the twists and turns in the final few chapters of the story!
Well, the build up to the finale was interesting to write... I had to show a few things that were leading up to it, in some cases very slowly and the intensity of some of those scenes knocked me for a loop!
The finale was written up yesterday and while I was writing that up *SNIFF!* I thought about how I could tie up ONE last loose end that was mentioned in the first half of the story, in the final chapter or the epilogue. As I read over the last few chapters the idea came to me and even though Son was home from school, I plugged away at it until I had the rough draft written up.
At 5:14 p.m. Atlantic Time on October 19, 2012, I typed in "THE END" and hit save... Then let out a HUGE scream of VICTORY! I had completed my first draft of my VERY first full length manuscript!
It still hasn't sunk in yet and it feels weird to see "THE END" at the end of it... I keep thinking I should be writing and then I'll remember the writing part of it is done and I am now in the process of editing, proofing and formatting it.
Part 1 of the story had gone into "DRAFT 2 MODE" a couple of weeks ago but now the entire manuscript is in it. Draft 1's folders and files are now moved into a special place on the hard drive for "Completed Manuscripts, Draft 1" and it's off the desktop. NR's Draft 2 file and folder is now there in its place and it feels very weird to look at the file without seeing all of the ideas files, my original notes files and everything else... Only Draft 2's file is in there. It looks so bare! LOL
The fun part of it has begun... I have started the formatting by changing the font from Verdana size 10 to Times New Roman size 12 (the preferred font and size for publishers) and removed ALL spaces from between paragraphs (minus what I worked on this week, I'll do that later today) and put indents in so I know where each paragraph begins and ends. The verb tense correction has been started, I'm in Chapter 5 at the moment, and I'll soon be setting it aside to "perk" for a while... I'm not sure what I'll be doing next but I'll see. I have RH and Untitled #6 to work on but I'm not sure if I can dive into them just yet. NR is still somewhat in the brain and I see there are a few spots that are a little "bare" that I may add to. 
As the title of this entry says, the victory is bittersweet for me. I'm happy I finally finished getting the characters' story down but at the same time, it was very sad to say goodbye to them and their story. I've lived with them in my head for the last year or so and now that it's done, they're fading away a little bit and my head is starting to feel "empty". 
But.................
There are two characters from this story that I may write about so I may not have to say goodbye to the main characters of NR fully... I had a suggestion from a few friends and my mentor that if there is another single character from NR I could write about, see about doing it. 
I'm not sure if I will or not. NR itself is still too fresh in the mind for me to think about starting anything new at the moment. A series isn't what I had planned to do when NR was first conceived, nor was it planned to be one at all even recently. I'll think on it more after NR starts to fade from my mind a little. We'll have to see I guess. Anything is possible after all! LOL 
So now the fun has started and I'm determined to get NR fully edited, proofed, formatted and done PERFECTLY to send off to publishers. I'd like to start sending it out within a year if I can do it. I also need someone else to look at it for me to see what I missed. I have a few friends who would be happy to do that and I'm going to take one of them up on their offer... And I know exactly who would be perfect for it. I also know that my beloved mentor will be getting a prescreening copy of it, because I know she'll give me an honest opinion on the story and she'll find out a little bit of what life is like over here along the rugged Atlantic shores of Nova Scotia.
I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me out with the first draft of NR so far... Everyone who has read excerpts and gave me some constructive criticism, gave me a shot of positive slaps of "you CAN write" when I needed them, anyone who helped me with research and everything else.
I will be updating the blog as things happen but probably not as much as I was while I was writing draft 1 of NR. I'm going to be very busy while I'm getting that ready to send out to publishers and helping my mentor with some projects in Sanctuary and with her own writing and books. I also have to get an original picture made for the "cover pic" on my author page in FB, along with a new and original avatar and maybe even design a cover for NR if I decide to go the self publishing route.
It's been a VERY long, intense, sometimes scary, sometimes happy roller coaster ride the last year or so that I've worked on NR, but you know, looking back... It wasn't so bad most of the time. Once I had gotten rid of the "middle part" (The MMG/interlude file) and changed how things moved forward from chapter 4 on (I did a rewrite back in March for it! LOL), things snowballed and the next thing I knew, I was buried in the twists, turns, ups and downs and loopidy loops of this story... I never thought it would turn out to be more than just a simple love story when I first came up with its idea back in June of 2010... I thought it would be worthy of just a "romance" but it turned into a journey... Not just for the characters, but for myself as well.
It still hasn't sunk in yet. LOL
Have a great weekend everyone!