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  • Storytelling

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Oct. 29, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be reposting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    I am not a good oral storyteller. I am a much better written storyteller. Relating a story to someone orally is a lot more difficult than writing it down for me. Bryon is a much better oral storyteller. He can take the slightest event and turn it into a twenty minute detailed narrative. He’s especially good at relaying hunting stories.

    He would have been an extremely valuable member of society back in the days before writing when oral tradition was the only way histories, laws, folk tales and literature were relayed. Think The Illiad or The Odyssey but much shorter. He’s such a Homer.

    He can spin a yarn or tell a story in a way that’s both engrossing and interesting. Of course, sometimes he uses his power for evil and not good and tricks me with elaborate fairy tales and when I finally ask, “Really??? You’re kidding!”

    He says, “Yeah, I’m kidding.”Aaaarrrrrgggg!

    He used to get me all the time that way.

    I’m still not immune to his ruses but I do still like to hear his stories. He fishes me in every time. And trust me, in the past 25 years, he’s had a LOT of stories.

    I’m a much better written storyteller. I have to see the words appear before me and then rearrange them like puzzle pieces until they are just right. When I TELL a story, I don’t have that luxury and under pressure, the story loses it’s cohesion and impact. Sometimes I hear myself talking when I’m trying to tell a story and think, what the hell am I even saying? This story makes no sense.

    It makes perfect sense in my brain. Somehow it between my brain and my mouth it loses it’s potency.

    The great thing about writing is that until the very last minute you can edit it, rearrange it and dress it up in different clothes until it’s just right. Then, if you still aren’t happy with it, there’s always the rewrite.

    I haven’t worked on my novel much this past few weeks because I know that is what the next step is: the rewrite. I have ideas for at least two more books so I can make it a trilogy. Trilogies are very hot right now. But I can’t do that in the first person, which is the point of view I’ve used for the first 50,000 words.

    The good news is that when I do finally sit down to rewrite, it should blow up as I am able to expand the vision of the characters and flesh them out more making it pretty easy to reach my 75,000 word target. The bad news is that it’s going to take some extensive time and uninterrupted concentration to do it.

    I had really considered trying to participate inĀ NaNoWriMo in November where you write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days but I think I will be better served to concentrate on working on the one I already have in progress than starting another one. So I’m punting NaNoWriMo and hope to work on the rewrite instead.

    Maybe if I can spend the next 30 days working on the rewrite, I’ll have a brand spanking baby New Year book by 2012.

    Write on.

  • A Novel Effort

    Last summer I got hit with a hankering to write a novel. I have read more than a hundred paranormal romance novels in the past two years and each time I have thought, “I can do this!” So I finally decided to put my money where my mouth was and give it a try.

    As a former English teacher and a graduate of a very respectable state university with a BS in English Education, I figured, why not? This does not, however, mean that I have perfect grammar or always use the correct word. It means I have some good ideas and I need an editor … and spell check.

    I first tried to write a novel several years ago when I had what I thought was a great premise after my husband and I cleaned out his grandmother’s incredibly disgusting and packed apartment and moved her into a care facility. We found a lot of crazy and interesting items and papers during our efforts which led to all sorts of questions and potentially mind blowing secrets.

    When I got home, I started the novel. I made it about 24 pages and lost steam. I was approximately 276 pages short of a novel. I binder clipped the pages together along with my internet “research” and stuck it all into a folder, likely never to be seen or worked on again. It was dead to me.

    Writing a novel is something I think lots of people secretly aspire to achieve. Being a published author would be even better. I think people assume every published author has basically hit the J.K. Rowlings lottery jackpot or can at least quit their day job.

    I have been researching this assumption and it turns out it’s not exactly the case. Sure some authors hit the trifecta of published book, best seller, movie deal but most don’t. Some self-publish their literary children and others quietly stuff them into a drawer or the back of their closet under some mothballed sweaters.

    It’s not easy but it is exciting to consider the possibilities.

    It all starts with page one and ends 300 some pages later. Even if it’s a stinker, at least it’s an accomplishment that has a tangible result; a huge pile of paper with words you typed from your very own brain. No one else can do THAT for you.

    Then if you actually finish the damn thing and want to try to publish it, there are a whole new host of obstacles to overcome. Of course, if you never finish, you’ll never have to worry about any of that.

    As of today I’m on page 115 of my third novel attempt. I think this one might actually go the distance. It’s exhausting and exciting all at the same time. It’s also pretty all consuming. I’ve been working on it since August 5th of this month. I write in long hand at lunch time while I snarf down my Subway Buffalo Chicken sandwich in one of the five counties I cover for work. Later I slink off to my upstairs office until midnight most nights typing up and amending my copy from the day.

    When I finally make it to bed, I can’t fall asleep because things keep happening to my story in my head and those characters just won’t shut up. My brain keeps writing the next scene and finally I have to turn the light back on and write down some notes or it will be lost forever. That’s a good problem to have. I’m not complaining about that.

    Well, I’m off to write.

    Page 116, here I come.