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Friday, February 12, 2010

A Book Lover's Diary

My sweet husband bought me a wonderful little "Book Lover's Diary" for Christmas last year. With everything that has transpired this past year, I've yet to do anything with it. But, I absolutely LOVE IT!

So, as I'm enjoying another "snow day," I've picked up the little book, and have decided to begin recording the contents of my "library."

This journal is fabulous! A true reader's companion. You can make book lists to read, record books that you've read, lists books you want to own, books you've shared and with whom you've shared them (to insure their return, of course! ;-) etc. And, it's not very large.

If you want one, check out the Victorian Trading Co. I love that place. I own many things from them. They have a simply delightful array of items that evoke feelings of the past. Simply inspiring.

On the writing front, I've overcome my meltdown, of sorts, and have decided that until I get a definite sense of direction, I'll work on my new WIP and leave my revisions for a little while. In the past, when I have felt driven, it's usually a cue for me to take a step back and relax.

I've reinstated my writing classes as well. Now, I'm awaiting my next assignment. I'm hoping to have my old mentor back. He was so helpful and encouraging to me. I've recently recognized the need for accountability in my writing life. Not that I'm lazy, by no means... just have a lot on my plate, and I allow my writing to suffer because of it. I've not treated it with the respect and attention that it needs and deserves.

What has occurred to me is that the thing about blogging your personal writing life, is that you can come off somewhat "bipolar" in the process. You can swing high then very low. You think things are going well, then, "WHAM!" You've hit a brick wall, face on. It's the nature of the beast. It's an emotional journey. But, what fun would life be without a little emotional drama now and then?

"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." - Oscar Wilde

xoxo CJ

Shoe Mood:

Baby, it's cold (and very snowy) outside!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Counting the Cost of Taking a Risk

Presently, I'm enjoying a rare and totally self-indulgent day to myself, afforded to me by the always hoped for, sometimes prayed for, ever welcomed event called the "snow-day."

Being that I work in a preschool, when the upper grades in the district have a call for a delay, we have the day off. I was really hoping for this one, and I got it... YAY!

I don't want you to think that I don't absolutely love my job... I do! It's just that I've had so much activity in my life, that I desperately needed some me-time. Today is "Me O'Clock!"

So, I plumped up my pillows, grabbed my current non-fiction read, a cup of coffee, covered up with my warm, cozy quilts and simply enjoyed the morning. Then the time came to take my 11 yr-old to school, shovel the drive, and sit down to catch up on my blog. So, here I am. The laundry can wait.

On the writing front, I've not gotten very far with my current revisions. (Are you honestly shocked by this? I think not.) However, I'm slowly, but surely, poking along. I'm trying to decide a few things about direction. I'm rethinking some advice an agent gave me. Yet, I'm not so sure that I want to go in that direction. I have to decide if I'm honestly willing to change the "bones" that much. It would be a major change in my character. Actually, it would change a lot. Who am I kidding? Only the names would stay the same. Well, the premise would be the same, I guess.

I'm just trying to decide before I get too far in my fourth revision. Do I want to keep my original intent and stick with it through "hell or high water?" Or, do I take the advice and do a rewrite to make the whole thing more "marketable" to a different age group? This has been my inner debate for over a year. Same premise, different time frame in the life of my main character. Crap!

Up to this point, I've been somewhat stubborn and inflexible. Well, not totally inflexible. I did one rewrite with a flavor of the suggested changes incorporated. But, it wasn't ultimately the total transformation that may have worked. Or, would it?

I'm quite the purest at times, to a fault. I think that many of us as writers are. We have our moment of brilliant inspiration. We free write until our fingers bleed. We research and rewrite. We revise, revise, revise, revise... We believe in what we are saying to the point that we refuse to compromise our characters and who we see them as. We know them, intimately. We gave them life. They are real. Then, we are faced with the thought of changing them. These characters are created from the depths of our being. We bought into them. We believed in them and what they had to say.

Then, when we are presented with other thoughts and directions, we have a decision to make. Do we remain pure and faithful to our initial inspiration and consequent plot-line? Or, do we take the input, and break-down our character to mere shadows of their original self? That is the question. Will they end up a Frankenstein or will it be a beautiful rebirth of someone we loved?

It's a gamble. But, isn't that what this industry is? One big fat gamble? Some writers are fortunate enough to roll the right combination. Others are not so lucky. Either way, there's no winning without the risk. I just have to decide how much risk I'm willing to take. My decision means the difference between a mere revision (I say that "tongue in cheek") and a complete rewrite.

Hmmmmm... I'll have to get back with you all on this one.

xoxo CJ

P.S. "High stakes yield high success." - Donald Maass

Shoe Mood:

Enjoying it while it lasts!

Must Reads

  • "A Long Fatal Love Chase" by Louisa May Alcott
  • "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell
  • "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith
  • "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo
  • "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier
  • "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing" by M.T. Anderson
  • "The Grace Awakening" by Charles Swindoll