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February 2007
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April 2007

Wanted: Title Writer

Stoked to report another successful writing day ... split Izzy up into 13 chapters which once I get going on the rewrite will likely be more. Also I realized how much I suck at coming up with clever chapter titles - hell, forget clever I can't even come up with something that doesn't sound stupid: True Confessions, Just the Facts and Liar Liar, Pants on Fire to name a few. The only two I like are Mushroom Madness and Saint Rita's Revisited.

For anyone willing to read the draft when it's ready for review, one of my main questions will be: does the changing point of view work for you? I decided to go with my initial instinct to write alternating chapters between Izzy's first person point of view and a third person omniscient narrator. Matt thought this might cause the disconcerting feeling that Izzy, as an 11 year old, is telling the adult's secrets ... I'll be curious to know what you guys think.

Chunks into Chapters

Writing? No problem. But when it comes to editing and finishing a novel? Not a clue. My methods for editing essays and articles do not work on a manuscript. I decided yesterday to just create a plan and stick with it and after a full day at it, damn if it didn't work. In case there's anyone else stuck with this little "I just wrote my first draft and there's a lot to fix but where do I even start" dilemma, I'll share my method that might work.

The problem: when I wrote the draft for Izzy, I was on a tight deadline to hit 50,000 words in a month. Nothing about this draft is in order. I got to my computer every chance I had and just went for it. So the draft has some good chunks in it, but it's all very disjointed. And the narration is scattered, sometimes first person, sometimes an omniscient narrator. A mess, right?

The fix: I went through the first draft page by page while sitting at the computer with an excel document with these tabs: characters, locations, chapters, time line, themes and questions. I edited each page for the obvious mistakes, typos etc. and then filled the spreadsheet with new characters as they were introduced, adding notes as characters were developed throughout the story, etc. The most helpful part for me is that at the end of the day, I have a three page chart of the draft with every scene and page number noted so I can start organizing it into chapters. How boring to read this entry if you're not me! But I want to record the process so I can look back when this book is all done and remember how I did it so that when I start the next one I'm not stumped again.

Chapter after Chapter

You know how I love to spend some time reading about writing ... and then I'm like what the hell am I doing reading instead of doing?? Well sometimes it pays off ... and when I'm reading about writing with a highlighter in my hand I feel like I'm working. On my nightstand, far out of Lucy's reach, is Chapter after Chapter by Heather Sellers  and I just got through a chapter about "Creep" where she writes about the effect of not working on your book (or other writing projects) and how the longer you are away from it ... the harder it is to get back into it. I know, duh!!! But it was good for me to hear because I was starting to do the Station KFKD business of thinking I'll never get back into it and getting all negative about letting this much time pass from all the momentum I'd gathered after the writing contest in November. I finished that contest with 176 pages on Izzy's story ... and haven't really been back to it since mid-December. Reading that chapter gave me some ideas for how to work on the book even when I'm not feeling up to working on the computer and it also forced me to look my goals in the proverbial eye and re-commit to them. So ... it's on now. Again.

Glowing? Not so much.

So I'm not sure if I have the stomach flu that is spreading around school like rumors in a middle school hallway or if being pregnant really, really sucks. Either way, I have felt like complete crap and am turning into a negative creep. I even referred to Baby Chi Chi as "this damn parasite" which did not go over well with my co-worker and my husband. But if you can't have a sense of humor about it, you've got nothin'.

It's just hard to get excited about much when all you want to do is make the world stop spinning and hold down a couple crackers, or grapes for God's sake. I promise not to go on and on about the puking, but I can assure you that I am not going to be one of those perky pregnant people who say things like: "Oh, I loved being pregnant! Never felt better." Because that is a lie. Lie, lie, lie. Glowing? Not so much.