They say the first step to recovery is to admit you’ve got a problem.

Deep Breath. Okay. I’ve got a problem.

(Crud. I’m realizing I’ve already admitted this problem before right here in my Live Journal. I’m not sure admitting it is going to be of any help, but here I go…)

I am plot challenged. I go along okay, for a while, full of verve and voice and joie-de-vive, and then by golly if I don’t come to a place where I have no idea what happens next. So I reread and then I get bogged down in what I’ve got. I contemplate jumping ahead to something that I KNOW happens, but then the terror of making all the pieces fit together makes me freeze. And then I begin to think it’s all just a bunch of crap with no point and I’m not meant to be a novel writer anyway.

I know, I know, you’ve told me before that you all feel this way when you’re writing a book and if I keep plowing forth it will sort of all magically become clear when it comes time for the second draft. I only half believe you. That’s good. Half belief is better than doubt. I half believe you because on the one novel I did write a complete draft of, it became so clear what I need to do to revise it as I neared the end of the first draft that I began to think you might actually be telling me the truth. And when I go back to revise it, I do think the second draft will be easier.

Last time lisa_schroeder told me to go read Cheryl Klein’s notes on plot. So I did. And they were tremendously helpful and encouraging. And when I’m ready to revise the first novel, I will read them again. But now I’m in the middle of writing the second novel and rather than throw my hands up in despair and open up a dozen picture book files in order to try and get something, anything, accomplished, I’m reading this book:

I can’t say it’s just rocking my world yet. I haven’t found the secret to finishing my book yet. But at least I’m looking at plot with a little less desperation in my eyes. It’s making more sense and I don’t look as much like a rabid animal today. Okay, whatever. I still look like a rabid animal but I’ve got total confidence that I’ll actually be able to sleep tonight and I’ll wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to work on my plot issues. There’s the slightest glimmer at the end of the tunnel. It could just be the dying embers of my plotless novel as seen through my tears. But it might be light. And I’m sprinting for it.

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1. I’m already beginning to think about publicity for my picture book, ME WITH YOU, that will be out with Philomel in May 2009. (It’s up on Amazon, though there’s no cover image yet and they’re supposed to change my name to Kristy from Kristin Dempsey.) This book celebrates grandparent/grandchild relationships (well, really it celebrates ANY wonderful relationship, but it will be illustrated by the wonderful Christopher Denise as a grandfather bear and granddaughter bear.) I’ll be in the States for six months out of 2009, perfect timing for publicity, but at times it seems quite overwhelming. One step at a time. I need to come up with good plans and then take it one step at a time. I should have another picture book out in Fall 2009 (MINI RACER, Bloomsbury) too, so hopefully I’ll be able to do a little publicity for it too before I head back to Brazil in January 2010.

2. The Olympics are over. The sheer variety of sports was very pleasing to my kids. My son is already thinking about London 2012. He says we’ll just have to be satisfied with watching ball games between now and then.

3. I don’t really have a third thing. But if I’m making a list it seems like I should have more than two things. Actually, if I’m making a list, the first thing on it should be CLEAN UP THE KITCHEN. So that’s what I’m off to do now…

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Far Too Long

Yes, it’s been far too long since my last post. I was derailed as a blogger over the past month or so by a trip to the States that included a writer’s retreat (time spent with amazing women, all of whom are writers I admire deeply, and a lot of work accomplished to boot; also, met my oh-so-smart, oh-so-savvy agent; she is a joy!), two weeks of vacation (where almost no writing was accomplished — other than three articles for an upcoming FACES issue on Brazil — but much relaxing and playing and lounging and eating and attempting to surf *was* accomplished. That surfing thing was a blast, even though I’m not quite the expert yet.

Once back in Brazil, we entered the sick bay and have each been through colds and such, the strangest of which was endured by my youngest, with fever, hives and seemingly uncontrollable swelling, especially in her face. Luckily, she had no problems breathing but it seemed like a classic allergic reaction, only we can’t figure it out. I managed to stay well through all the other sicknesses, until today when I am decidedly coughy, achy, sniffly and sneezy. I’d like to take some Nyquil and go back to bed, but it doesn’t look like that’s in the cards. It’s a back-to-work-week in many ways: back to a novel I’d like to finish, back to a house I’d like to organize (can you say simplify?), and back to a habit of daily exercise.


Okay, so maybe the exercise can wait till the achy-ness goes away.

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