Sunday, November 22, 2009

Winter is coming.

...Or so the Starks are always telling us.* And it's true: even in California the temperature has dropped enough so that I am sitting in front of a warm, cozy fire as I type this. Winter is a good time to write, because the days are dark and I spend so much more time inside. This year is proving to be a bit stressful, however. I have a little over two months to make my Themistocles novel presentable to an agent/editor, and although that sounds like a lot of time, anybody who writes knows that it's getting down to the wire.

Technically I have a finished story. A story that is held together with string, paper clips, glue and scotch tape. It's just BARELY there. And over the past few months I've been struggling to make just the first THIRD decent. It's proven to be somewhat of a nightmare. The beginning of Themistocles' life coincides with a crucial period in the development of Athens. The problem is trying to shoehorn Themistocles into the picture without it seeming forced. There's also the problem of pacing. I don't want the story to drag nor do I want it to feel rushed. It's a precarious balancing act that has me writing, deleting, writing deleting and writing again. To say that I sometimes feel way over my head is an understatement.

At any rate, hopefully I'll be able to tame this monster idea before February, when the writer's conference in San Francisco takes place. Meanwhile I'm also tinkering with a shorter, more current story idea (taken from short pieces I've been writing for Jason Evans' writing contests), so if all else fails I have that (though I WON'T give up on Themistocles!!!)

I hope my readers are having luck with their work! :)

*George RR Martin

8 comments:

Gary Corby said...

Good luck with the edits Meghan. I know what you're going through, believe me.

On the plus side, this does mean you're a Real Writer. Real Writers edit.

Carla said...

It can feel like two steps forward and one and a half back, can't it? On bad days, the other way round. Good luck.

Scott Oden said...

And then there are those days when you get no steps forward and only a serious ball-kicking back (by a guy named "Mongo" who prefers steel-toed shoes with hob-nailed soles).

That's my Autumn, thus far :/

Don't worry, Meghan! It will come together.

Constance Brewer said...

Meghan - the important words in your post "I have a finished story". That's more than a lot of people can say. You done good! Congratulations!

Meghan said...

Gary--

I'm glad to hear I qualify as a Real Writer. I feel better knowing that editing is a HUGE part of the job.

Carla--

Thanks! I need all the luck I can get. :P

Scott--

Seriously, why won't this Mongo leave us be!!?? We just want to entertain ;_; I won't give up though (and can't wait for your newest story about Greece as well!)

Constance--

Thanks! I have to admit it feels good to say I have SOMETHING like a story to turn in (sorta) so I know I just have to fill in the blanks. :)

Anonymous said...

God helps those who help themselves........................................

deliverance32 said...

"so if all else fails I have that (though I WON'T give up on Themistocles!!!)"

Do not give up on Themistocles. Athens did in the end, to her cost.

Best wishes to you and the editing.

C.

Steven Till said...

Best of luck, Meghan! I know it's been about a month since you posted this, so how is the progress coming? I've had similar struggles with my own novel. I'm on the 4th revision now, and I'm still trying to make the first few chapters decent.

You mention pacing, and I believe pacing and rhythm are such important elements of any story. At this point, I'm constantly reading and re-reading my chapters, and then writing and editing, writing, and editing until the sentences flow together seamlessly. Finding the right mix of exposition, dialogue and action is certainly troublesome. Sometimes, you don't realize how much the pacing is off until you go back and re-read the entire chapter(s) as a whole.

Again, good luck! Will you ever post some excerpts on your blog? I'd be interested to read them.