12 February, 2015

Around the Way Girl

Last week was one of those shitty, everything that could possibly go wrong did, kind of weeks -- with a disgusting, agonizing flourish.

Found out I can't afford car insurance, so I'm without wheels.

My boss/friend accused me of lying AND cheating him with my monthly pay.

Then, and on three separate but eerily close occasions, I got thrown under the bus online for innocent oops's on my part and which could have been avoided had the upset parties PM'd me instead of ranting in public.

It's also two days away from the dreaded love-fest otherwise referred to as Valentine's Day.

When my mind is troubled, it's too hard to concentrate on anything else even if doing just that is part of the cure.

I know better, in other words, and yet a few days nights are still spent wasted, and with me munching on potato chips while watching Asian dramas instead of doing what needs to be done -- like writing the next novel.

Instead of escaping to dramaland, I should be escaping to my fantasy realm and working on the next scene, but I don't because I can't.

When I'm pushed and can't shove back, my next option is to retreat. I avoid people and online social anything, I read, and I watch television.

When I get over myself and start to feel normal again, then I go back to doing what needs to be done; kicking and complaining about the wasted time all the while, too.

So, I let go of everything that occurred to make me anxious and got back into the thick of things with this current WIP.

I'm happy with it so far.

And then I received feedback on my published novel from a few people who finished reading it.

LOL . . . cringe.

If anyone is dying to find out what is wrong with their writing, it's me. I already know my strengths weaknesses and have spent decades trying to fix them all. I need to hear the good and the bad if I hope to become better.

Trouble is, after receiving that feedback, it made me question this latest WIP I'm so proud of and that seems (to me) like a thousand times better story and even written in a better style than the first one.

And, sure enough, as I went back through the WIP and started to see where the feedback came into play, the urge to want to scrap the whole thing became increasingly desirable.

So, I did what every grown woman in a mental crisis would do: I ran to my son for help.


Yeah, I'm embarrassed to admit it as much as I was to do it, but that's water under the bridge now.

Look, he's a literary genius, alright? It's like having my own personal Neil Gaiman around to offer up words of wisdom, sage advice, and all things miraculously simple about how to write the perfect novel in the perfect style and with the perfect audience in mind.

Seriously, the kid knows his stuff when it comes to all things literature. He's read far more than I ever have or probably even will - with a concentration on the classics as well as the thought-provoking, hipsters-love-it-so-it-must-be-good kind of writing.

He's fluent in Spanish and has read several works in that language by their acclaimed authors, too. He's a Latin/Greek scholar who graduated at the very top of his class before going on to Magna from a teaching college with a degree in literature and certification.

And, what the HECK would a guy like him know about romance novels?

He gets it, and he wants to see me succeed.

Besides, I make it a point to skim over the va-va-voom parts in order to assure myself it won't be the last time we ever get together for just such an occasion ;-)

So, I read my work to him and he gave me his critique.

#1. He hates the leading lady. She's stuck-up, selfish, insecure, and vain.

#2. He thinks my plot is phenomenal and can't wait to find out where it all leads.

#3. He agrees with the other critiques about my writing being too point-of-fact with not enough show, imagery, and pause.

#4. He'd like more back story instead of having her explain what happened at times in her life.

#5. He wants me to stop listening to what other people think and just keep writing the way I know how. He says there's nothing wrong with my style or POV. "The mechanics will follow after you get the details in writing."

Now, I've always been accused of telling versus showing, which makes it my strongest weakness in my writing.

  • I started out this way by telling friends the things that popped into my head waay back in middle school.

Conflicting reports about style and POV confused me to the point of becoming a stunted author. One person says one thing, another says another, and they both contradict the same aspect. 

Who is right and who is wrong? 

  • I'm still working on that one and will eventually get back to the real me who doesn't mind describing things without sounding invasive or matter-of-fact.

I hear no one likes back story, flashbacks, memory sequences in a novel.

  • So, how is the main character supposed to let the reader in on her quest to discover whether her family is really cursed or not if I don't have her go back in time and piece things together until the truth is finally revealed?

If the reader doesn't like third-person omniscient or never heard of Deep POV, then they aren't going to like any of my work.

Okay . . . so, I get where my leading lady isn't such a wonderful person after all. My son made me see where she's being a dufus when she should be lamenting the deaths that occurred as a result of the plane she was on that crashed.

However . . . she's supposed to be in a state of shock at the time she meets the leading man. She's not fully aware of her surroundings and has subconsciously blocked the accident from her already troubled and years-worth of conditioning mind.

Instead, she's checking him out and questioning his sense of style, his job choice, and his apparent lack of a decent income.

We didn't get to read as far as the next chapter, where she comes to in her hotel room and falls apart in despair, consumed by memories of the crash, thinking she is to blame because of the curse, and how awful she had behaved inside the emergency room.

I guess leaving things for another chapter isn't a good idea even if Stephen King would tell you otherwise.

AND THEN I went to bed with a new novella by an author I met online. I've already read another of her works and like her style. This second novella opened in a way that made me want to question the leading lady's choice of attitude.

I didn't like her very much, and by the end of the 2nd chapter, I was really not rooting for her at all.

But, then half-way through three I was like . . . ah! I totally get her now.

I had to laugh at the irony.

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