falling down, not getting up

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Abandoning a manuscript always makes me feel guilty, but some stories fall to earth and won’t fly again no matter what. Yet I’ll spend considerable time–months, years–trying to mend a failed manuscript. Because it’s my fault it failed.

A faulty premise is sometimes at the root of a failed story. And I don’t know what to do about it, but I’ll try to do something. I’ll keep working on it, re-visit, re-shape, re-do, never getting anywhere–like to the end. The rainbow remains the color of mud and the pot of gold is full of rot. Ugh!

Then comes the moment when I must decide–leave it and move on or slog through it regardless because there is something to learn from failure. Well yeah, I guess. So far I’ve got 4 failed novels–3 slogged to a finish, 1 sliding down the precipice–and I think I should let them be and kick the guilt demon in its teeth.

Thank the Muse A Fall of Diamonds is not failing. I tossed about 20,000 words on the junk heap and as of today the manuscript stands at 65,874 words and I’m making progress. waterhouse_my_sweet_rose

the eaves drip

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Rained last night. This morning the grass is damp, the eaves drip, desiccated leaves stick to the soles of my ballet slipper flats. I walked around the yard hoping to spot Loki’s red tag but no luck.

She caught the bracelet collar on something, managed to pull free but it unhooked and her tag fell off somewhere. Luckily I’ve got the tag from her first vaccinations with the National ID number on it so I’ll keep that one secure.

I’m in that empty head state that descends once I’ve finished a major writing endeavor like Nano but I don’t like to drift so last week I did setting development work on A Fall of Diamonds and yesterday I read over the short story I finished in October to see how to improve it.

Alabama’s winter weather shifts every day. Some days are cold, a roustabout wind hisses about the house, some days a thunderstorm shakes us and furious rain beats down, and some days outside is humid, no breeze at all, just warm, still air.

Saturday frost slicked my car’s roof and Tuesday dawned warm and misty. The pecan tree is just about bare of leaves and the squirrels have moved out for the winter.

Today I’m going to run that short story through my mind again. Maybe it doesn’t need much more work, but I’ll see. There are a few things that need doing. It has a January 31st deadline for the anthology so I expect to have it ready to go soon.

I’m planning 2017’s writing agenda. I have two stories out right now and my fingers and toes are crossed. They’re both good pieces. I’ve got a personal essay to submit too but have to go over it, make sure it’s properly polished before winging it to the chosen publication, and in January for sure I’ll be back working seriously on the second draft of  A Fall of Diamonds.

My Christmas gifts are all mailed off, 12 more days–Merry Christmas!

 

nano progress

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Day 23  1463

Day 24  Took the day off for Thanksgiving

Day 25  3406

 

Managed another 3 pages, updated today’s count. Close to the end and I’d like to finish before November 30.

Meanwhile I’m also writing a science fiction short story, Point of Pride. I’ve finished the first draft and I’m now in the middle of revising it. The magazine I want to submit to has a December 1 deadline so I’m a little bit under the bus already.

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nano progress

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Day 21  1696

Day 22  1950

 

12,717 more words to go on A Fall of Diamonds. It’s a mess of course, not sure I can call it a novel but it’s more like the makings of a novel. I’ve got so much plot in the story I don’t know what to do. And I still struggle with scene and sequel structure. People say your premise tells you what scenes you’ll need. Really? Outside of the opening scene I never know what scenes I’ll need. Every novel is a mystery to me. That’s why I write scenes out of sequence, creating a crazy quilt of the story. I put them together later, and I guess I have developed enough skill to be somewhat successful in writing fiction. I’ve published a few short stories and cobbled together three passably decent novels (not to mention all the Nano manuscripts in my files) but even the three good ones still need work, not ready for prime time yet.

I guess though I’m being too hard on myself and not recognizing that all I have to do is to keep writing. So despite my bouncing about and banging into walls, I’ll keep writing.

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