What a great idea cynthialord has for us all to share photos of where we live. I thought I’d start with the broad view and move closer as the week goes by. Here’s Belo Horizonte, my city of choice for almost 10 years now. I live in a building just outside of the picture in the lower right hand corner. It’s a city of 4.5 million people and spreads much further in all directions than this picture can show. The pic was taken from the southern end on top of Serra do Curral, the mountain that runs along the southern edge of the city.
1. It’s worth repeating again. I finished the first draft of my novel this week. Then, I took one day off from writing, and jumped straight into a second novel, a YA. Only three thousand words so far, but it’s a start!
2. I leave in less than a week for a trip to a working writer’s retreat! I’ve got some research to print out for the YA I’ll be working on, have to pack for myself and my three children (who are so excited about staying with their grandparents while I go on retreat). My husband will join us a week and a half later and then we’ll have a couple of weeks of vacation on beaches in South and North Carolina.
3. Today was the last day at work for one of the San Diego editors who worked with me on Surfer Chick at Harcourt. My fingers are crossed she finds another job in publishing because I’d love to have the chance to work with her again.
4. There’s nothing on tv, except an old Sex and the City. I’ve never watched an episode of Sex and the City. Have I actually missed anything?
5. I only had four. Whatcha gonna do?
As of 3:42 pm, this very afternoon, I am a novelist. Albeit not a published novelist. But a I-have-completed-a-first-draft-of-a-novel novelist. In fact, it is so far from being something publishable that I’m not sure I’ll ever choose to revise it. But I didn’t give up on it. I finished it. I’d started others. And there they sit, languishing in their files. But not this one. For the first time in my life, I gutted it out and finished the whole story.
Making it publishable it what revision is for, right?
It’s been 10 days since I last posted but I have been writing every single day, mostly on the novel that I think has a long way to go. I’m hoping to finish the first draft in the next two weeks. But I’ve also been revising a picture book for one of my current editors in the hopes that we’re close to making a deal and getting a contract. (Remember? It’s the pb-that-I-feared-to-revise, but that I eventually fell in love with again.) I’m still in love with it and hope I’m closer to what the editor wants. I KNOW it’s improved/deeper/more detailed, so that gives me hope.
I’ve also started notes on a new novel (believe it or not, I think it’s a YA!) that I’ll be working on in a couple of weeks at a retreat. I’ve got some research to do that I’ll need to take with me, so I’m hoping to find time to pull that together before I leave on July 3rd.
This week, I’ve got to decide what I want to have critiqued at that retreat. I think I’m going to send something short, a picture book perhaps, something that would be easy to revise on the side while I work on my new novel.
My picture book, Surfer Chick, which was going to be a Harcourt book, is now headed to Allyn Johnston’s new imprint at S&S. I’m thrilled of course that it will stay with Allyn, as she is a surfer herself and a wise and funny editor to boot. She was my pick from the time I began to write it.
In other news, I hurt my neck yesterday and had to go to the hospital for pain relievers and muscle relaxants. I’m much better today, but a litle loopy. Suffice it to say, I won’t try pulling heavy mattresses off of the top of a bunk bed by myself again.
I am severely plot challenged. It’s happened again. I get to the middle of a book where the going gets tough and suddenly a new voice and a new novel idea pops into my head, with a great beginning.
Beginnings. Sigh. Beginnings come easy to me.
And so the question comes, do I stay with the novel-that-feels-like-it’s-headed-nowhere-fast, or do I skip down the road to the newer-exciting-feels-like-it-has-a-hook novel?
My solution this time is that I’m compromising. I’m sticking with the novel that feels like it’s headed nowhere fast because I must actually finish the first draft of a novel at some point in my life, and it’s the closest one to being done. And then, if I do time every day on the sucky-novel-that-will-never-be-published-but-must-be-finished-to-prove-I-can-finish-something-long,
then I can play for a few minutes a day with the voice and characters of the newer, more exciting novel. Which will be fun, I think.
Right up to the point where I begin to search for a plot for it, anyway.