Friday, October 26, 2007

Making A Literary Life Friday: Stages

The Writers' Group has always been four women at different stages: older children, younger children, new to the craft, long sloggers, nevermind four distinct personalities! This week found us all taking on life, the literary, and the business of writing from all angles. Where does life find you as we head into the best of autumn?

The writing's never been better! I know, that sounds either vain or stupid (I'm hoping it's the former). I fell in love with David Almond's writing three or four years ago (Skellig, Kit's Wilderness, Heaven's Eyes). He is a British writer who kicks butt clear across the Atlantic. He writes what is called magical realism. Well, so do I, now. Hey, if Stephen Colbert (of the Colbert Report) can decide to run for president as both a democrat and a republican, then I can take a chance, too.

So far, I've thrown away three versions of my WIP. Very frustrating. I began to panic that my protagonist's story wouldn't come through the way I knew it should: desperation set in. When I feel desperate in life, I practice a lot of Yoga. It centers me in ways I won't go into here, but suffice it to say that it quiets all of the voices that swirl to and fro, and back and forth in my head. I don't think during the postures or salutations, there's no racing at all. But the other day during shavasana (corpse pose done at the end of practice; it's considered restorative) it came to me how to tell his story. I could have wept, I was -- and am -- so grateful. What do you do when the story won't come?

I am refining, smoothing the two chapters before the last chapter, which is written in the sense that it is on paper but needs review. Once I have a couple of threads more tightly pulled (tension, anyone?) I will wrap and send before the next Literary Life Friday to the Group. I know what I want to poke and prod at already quickly before sending to agents; will they agree? Now I can polish my query letter, butterflies hatching one after the other in my stomach.

I am in love with a whole new set of characters in my WIP. I'm researching and sketching characters and writing. Though it is hard to find the time while promoting my parenting book, I'm taking a lesson from Lisa and scheduling time in to do so. No matter how many ups and downs there are in this business, when I sit down to write I am home.


Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Here in the Heartland, we finally have some fall weather and gorgeous fall color. I've sent off a finished MS to my agent, so I'm feeling both a sense of accomplishment and nervousness. I'm wavering between thinking it really works and worrying about what might not. I've also got the next WIP swirling around in my head which is fun--I can't wait to really sit down with these folks and get to know them.

And in less then 4 weeks the house will be full of kids returned from college and other family and I'll get to cook up a storm I can't wait.

Lisa Marnell said...

Wow, Judy,

That must be odd (and stressful), waiting for feedback from your agent. I will be in that boat soon. I don't think I will sleep.


Ello - Ellen Oh said...

THese are my favorite posts that you guys do. It is so fascinating to get a glimpse into all of your creative processes. You all have such a distinct voice and style and it is always great to pop by here. Thanks always for the great posts!