Saturday, November 28, 2009

Keeping Motivated

November has been a busy month with NaNoWriMo and with just three days left until the end of the month (a little less given the time of day on Saturday that I'm writing this) it's gone very well. I've neglected a few things -- like blogs, Facebook updates, Tweets, etc. -- in favor of getting my word count, and I'm proud of the progress that I've made.

Come December I will be reviewing my work and beginning the polishing process, as well as revising an old novella of mine to finish it off. It'll be a nice combination because they're both pieces inspired by the same time-period: one is an homage to Charles Dickens (complete with a main character whose name is Charles) in a city not too dissimilar from London in the 1800s; the other is a steampunk story in a city very like a mid-sized one from America or Britain during the Industrial Revolution.

I've had some battles with myself over the course of the month -- the worst I've had in a while -- over the validity of my work, the worth of it, the reason for it all. It's frustrating to doubt yourself; it's even more so to produce so much and question why you're even doing it to begin with. I've been lucky to have a lot of support from friends, writing colleagues, and my girls, so that's helped. I just wonder sometimes how plausible it is to really move forward with a work like this.

I enjoy the editing process, though, and I hope that will invigorate me as I begin to piece through both works and try to find what it is I love about them. I haven't done much with "the Charles story" (which is what I call it because after six years it still has no title), and I'm eager to delve into it again and fall in love with favorite character.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Things That Make Me Cry

I've been running a writers workshop in a town north of where I live. Last night was the third meeting, and it went well -- as have all the others. We are working on characters and character development, because the majority of the writers there are new to the craft and have a lot to learn. I think creating believable characters are always a great place to start to write memorable stories.

As a good example of character development, I read Mary Robison's Yours, which is a poignant story about a man and his wife carving pumpkins before Halloween. I've read the story a dozen times, or more, and yet something about it at that reading nearly made me cry in front of the group. There's something about short stories -- and I suppose novels are the same way, only they take longer to read -- that hits you at a certain time and strikes a chord. That's part of why I love short stories. Each reading gives something new to the reader; each new interaction with the story sheds some new light on the reader's perspective of the world. It is that moment -- that personal revelation -- that I really strive to find in others' works, as well as my own.

Writing has been going well lately, though, which I'm happy about. NaNoWriMo is in full swing and even with folks in town and a new niece, I've been happy to have reached my word count every day (plus a little extra).