18 May 2017

Diving In

One of the strange things about writing is the ups and downs of the craft. Last week I was ready to throw in the towel (well, not really) and this week my novella is edited and nearing the final draft. I took the advice of one my characters who said, “Maybe he was afraid to wade in so he decided to dive in instead.” And that’s what I did. I forgot the fear of never finishing, ignored the fear of writing substandard prose, and dove in.  It’s funny when that happens. So many times my characters give me advice, yet I created the character and wrote the quote. But somehow I know that isn’t entirely true. Someone else is whispering to me, and I’m just putting words on the paper. 

11 May 2017

Thoughts of Quitting

So, what’s going on in my writing life right now?

Well, I wish I could say that I’m almost finished with book three and plan to publish it this summer. But I can’t. I am nowhere near that stage of the process. Things seem to be moving along at a snail’s pace. And the old feelings come back every now and then—is it really worth it?

Book three is turning out to be a massive project, and I can’t rush it. I think it is my “breakout” novel, meaning, it is different than the other two, and therefore, it will take time to get it right. The plot is complex and a lot of research has gone into the story. I have been working on it for almost a year now, which isn’t really that long. It took two years to write Vocation, and that wasn’t nearly as complicated.

I have to be patient.

But, writing is hard, and I have had thoughts of quitting. Maybe two books are enough. After all, most people don’t write any books. Yet, there is an important story that needs to be told in Incorruptible, and that is what keeps driving me forward.

So, while I’m working on Incorruptible (and Corruptible), I will be doing some promotion for Vocation. I am really fond of that novel, and I don’t think it’s getting the attention it needs. I have a call out to a small Catholic company who may be interested in offering copies of Vocation to their customers. Right now, we are in the preliminary discussions, but I have high hopes that I can reach a wider audience with their help. Just as Incorruptible needs to be written, Vocation needs to be read.  

I am also going to have a new author photo taken this spring. I’m not sure my first photo captured who I am as an author (and person), so I thought it would be a good time to make the change. I’m in the process of setting up a photo shoot. I want some outdoor shots, so I have to wait for the perfect weather conditions.

So, I keep pushing forward, trying to ignore the negative thoughts that invade my mind, thoughts that tell me to quit. 

27 April 2017

On the Subject of Embalming

I am now on the fifth revision of Incorruptible. This time around I am correcting plot problems. I have two major plot problems. Both can be corrected by strategically adding information somewhere within the narrative. They both also require research.

This past week I have tackled the subject of embalming. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I can say my protagonist is a mortician, and I am familiarizing myself with embalming equipment. I’m not sure how much will end up in the novel. There is a delicate balance that I am trying to maintain. A novel is fiction, after all, so a lot of what I write comes from my imagination. Yet, it needs to be realistic, too. I have to keep my readers in mind, so I need to maintain a level of realism without being overly graphic. It is not an easy thing to do.
    
One of the criticism I’ve had about my writing is that I am not very descriptive. There is truth in that. So I am trying to add more descriptive prose. Yet, I am someone who doesn’t really like a lot of description in the novels I read. I tend to be bored when people describe scenery or physical features of their characters. My mind wanders, and then I find myself pulled out of the story. I also don’t like an author to tell me everything. I like to use my own imagination. So again, I am trying to find a balance in that, be a little more descriptive when necessary, while at the same time, not bore my reader with a lot of unnecessary details. Again, it’s not an easy thing to do.

In the next few weeks, I am going to call a local funeral director and conduct an interview. A lot of the information I need about funeral homes and embalming in general, I have found on the internet. But I need a live human being to answer some of the more interesting questions. I’m actually excited about it. I can’t wait to get into the mind of a real mortician.

I’ll let you know what I find out.