Trollbooth Blog #8

 

Designed by Margie Markevicius @ margiesmark.com
Designed by Margie Markevicius
@ margiesmark.com

If you haven’t been following my Trollbooth blog, you can catch up here.

As you may have seen on social media, the second draft of Trollbooth is finished.  A marathon session of work over the long weekend got me to the final sentence; there were times I felt the way I did writing my second novel back when I was 19 – like I was in an ever-expanding zone where my fingers flew over the keys.  It was good to find that place, even if real life requires me to have a baby monitor on the desk, too.

The novel checks in at 175 typed, double-spaced pages, which translates to a  respectable 43,750 words (approximately).  That was about what I estimated looking over the handwritten first draft a couple months ago.  However, I think this one’s going to get bigger.  This isn’t the usual way I work, but I’m not exactly big on “following the rules” when it comes to art.  This time, rather than make a sculpture out of a big chunky block, it appears I’m going to have to add some more material here and there, then chip away as I go.

The reason for this is inconsistency in my writing routine.  Factors good and bad contributed to me getting up late (which, as a morning writer, cuts into my creative time) or not writing for stretches of days during the Trollbooth first draft process.  Whenever that happens, I fight with myself.  I feel like I should be further along in the writing, or that I have to get to a certain scene/event/whatever as soon as possible because it’s been rattling around in my head for days.  It makes me rush through the creation process, and it’s noticeable when I’m working on the second draft.  It sticks out like hot pink spray paint against a black background filled with nice, neat, white printed sentences.

In my third draft, I’m going to have to scrap away that graffiti without destroying the words underneath.  I’ll need to add detail and some exposition as I round out a narrative that’s already big on action…but perhaps isn’t as alive as it should be.  There aren’t enough lights on to chase back the shadows, and in this case, the shadows hide the creeping death called shoddy work.  I’ve got to banish that demon.  This book means too much to me to let it stand.

Before that happens, I’ll need to step away from the Enchanted Forest State Forest for a couple weeks.  Another project for my writers’ group anthology requires my attention.  I plan on keeping record of my process throughout that project, the way I have with Trollbooth.  Doing so has helped me understand my work, my process, and hopefully how to eliminate some of my weaknesses, and that’s never bad.

It’s also been nice to have a greater connection with you, dear reader.  Because of comments, and also because as an artist, I believe engagement with audience is a part of the overall creative process, I’m much more aware of those whom I can, should, and will entertain.  I have fun writing these stories, and so it stands to reason that what I write should be fun for you, too.  Thanks for taking some time here on the Imaginary Playground.  As Halestorm says, “Here’s to us.”

 

Trollbooth Blog #7

 

Designed by Margie Markevicius @ margiesmark.com
Designed by Margie Markevicius
@ margiesmark.com

If you haven’t been following my Trollbooth blog, you can catch up here.

Well, better late than never.  Sometimes the choice is between writing and writing about writing, and my policy there has always been work first, other schtuff second.

Anyway, now I move onward…by looking back.  Hmm…

I guess I’m in a snarky mood.

I’ve begun to see light at the end of the Trollbooth tunnel.  I’ve got about 140 pages typed, and as far as I can remember the manuscript didn’t go over 200.  I’m hoping this weekend  I can regain my off-day focus and maximize my time and production (translation: I need to stop sleeping in, even when life throws me curveballs).  Ideally, I’d like to finish the draft by Memorial Day.

In terms of my writing, I’ve noticed that I need to slow down and take more time getting as much translated from my imagination to the page, in my first drafts.  As I’ve watched Trollbooth develop, I’m seeing disconnects between my mental images and written accounts of place and character.  It’s going to mean more work for me in the third draft.  I’m starting to wonder if this rush tendency has to do with my less-than-consistent writing habits over the last year.  If so, correcting the problem will become a paramount goal for me; I’m actually making the work harder and less fun by doing it this way.  It’s fixable, sure, but it’s gonna be an unnecessary pain in the ass, like accidentally breaking the replacement for a part that’s broken.  In short, I can do better through discipline and consistency.

On the positive side, I’m pleased with the plot.  It feels a little too quick, but that’s because I was rushing through it for the reasons outlined above.  A little fill-out for place and people will downshift the narrative just enough so the reader can catch her breath.

Trollbooth Blog #6

 

Designed by Margie Markevicius @ margiesmark.com
Designed by Margie Markevicius
@ margiesmark.com

If you haven’t been following my Trollbooth blog, you can catch up here.

I hit the century mark this morning!  That’s right, 100 pages and counting, all typed up and in desperate need of shaping.  That’s all right, for now, since that kind of rewriting comes in the third draft, not the second.  Plus, it’s an accomplishment in itself; I managed to not fight myself and just transcribe, which is in line with my writing process.

More good news: I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel.  I can look ahead in my journal and see the end less than a hundred pages away.  The story itself is settling into its final shape now, too.  I always have a depressing time looking at the beginnings of my own novels because the ideas inevitably change as I figure out what works and doesn’t.  It’s like knowing you have to clean a whole house, eventually, but the room you start in is the one with the biggest, nastiest mess.  Trollbooth is becoming more coherent and consistent as I go on, so I’m taking the pluses where I can get them and trying to be happy about it.

I also fought a sense of needing to catch up this week.  Having endured illness, I feel like I’m behind on where I want to be.  That makes me want to type faster, but everybody whole does any serious typing knows there’s only so high a rate of speed you can type at before you just start stroking the wrong keys more often than not.  I don’t mind a heavy spellcheck at the end of every session (I walk the speed line every day), but I can’t stand sitting here at my desk going, What the fuck does jsyenaka mean?

I’ve also made a setup change on my desk.  Up until the middle of last week, I’ve had my journal propped to the left of my two monitors.  Naturally, that led to me keeping my head turned left – a lot.  My neck started getting sore.  It also felt like I was looking at the screen too much, just to relieve the muscle strain.  That led to distraction by typo, or me rereading what I just typed, which takes me out of the transcription game.  I solved the problem by moving my journal and stand in front of the left monitor and sliding the document over to the right monitor.  This way, what I’m working on is right in front of me, and I can still glance at the draft on the screen to make sure I didn’t do something stupid like write two pages in italics.

Overall, I feel good about the novel.  It’s gonna be short, but it’s got life in it.  Weird without being gross, which is yet another line I walk.  Luckily, that’s the kind of thing I enjoy.