Introducing myself (in 2000 words, give or take a couple hundred) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 10-04-2009, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! This forum looks like it's home to a very productive group of writers! Mind if I join you - I could use some of that that's going around here!

I'm about half to two-thirds of the way through the first draft of what will soon be my first novel. It also has a sequel already, waiting patiently in line for me to write it next. I'm excited about these books, even though (of course) it's taking much longer than I thought it would to actually get them written!

So, a little about me - I'm a single mom, my daughter is 19, ds#1 is 16, and ds #2 (who happens to be the product of my last egg) is eight. I'm 52, Gemini, vegetarian, live in the northeastern US - which is a cold place at this time of year, but it's pretty, I suppose.

I've been writing fiction on-and-off for a long time, since I was a very young child. (Until a few years ago when I realized there were options, I experienced my internal dialogue in text - as in, I actually saw my thoughts scrolling out in print, similar to a ticker tape without the paper. I still think that way sometimes, but I've branched out into some other styles of thinking, as well.)

My current project is a novel that I've been working on (sporadically) for more than six years. When I looked at word count a few days ago, it was 39000+ words.

The great majority - perhaps as much as 75% of that - was written during the first year or so that I was working on it. Since then, I have had some serious spurts of writing productivity from time to time, but it's been sporadic, because a LOT has been happening in my life the last few years....

Like ... (in no particular order) .... a super-nasty breakup, complete with orders of protection & a custody battle over then very young ds2, with the extremely disagreeable & irresponsible but very tenacious fighter I had foolishly married .... then amidst all the discord & stress of family court, etc., I started getting new symptoms from a brain tumor I'd been hosting for a few years - symptoms like losing all the sensation in my body, so it felt like my head was a balloon floating around on a string, among other very weird glitches - and then a craniectomy to take out the tumor, where they use a saw to cut open a trap-door in the skull, and take that piece of bone out so they can get to the person's brain and scrape out the tumor or whatever is going on.

And then, losing my job (& family health insurance) due to being out too long after a work injury..... and also having Lyme disease for 5 years now, to the point of crazy complications, b/c of not being able to get any of my MANY doctors to treat it properly... a lot of wear & tear on the emotions, dd's dad died on her last day of high school, then she went away to college, and then the Lyme disease really started to kick me around some more....

Usually I do try to keep the drama to a reasonable level.


Anyway, back to the subject of writing.....

In my book-in-progress, the MCs live in a house that doesn't actually exist IRL, but it is located on a hill that *does* exist IRL (or more accurately, it's based on a hill does exist IRL).

Anyway, I forget (if I ever knew) why I decided where these characters would be living. I do know it was one of the first things I knew about my main mc - I knew where she lived. When I first "met" her, she was actually standing at the bottom of the hill waiting for a bus, which led to me knowing where she and her family lived.

So.... it must be hard to see where I'm going with all this, right? ..... this past summer I was needing a change, so I sold my house (as in, got rid of 90% of our stuff, bought an rv & took the kids on a month-long road trip from NY to AZ...and back). I was planning to move to Tucson, actually, but the stbx got cold feet and I can't move without him because of ds2 (joint custody and ds2 actually loves his dad, whatever!) so here I am, back where I was - a little begrudgingly, but having decided to make the best of it.

So remember the character I mentioned, and that hill she lives on?

Oh, yeah - her - that hill -

Anyway I got back from AZ and realized stbx wasn't going to budge, so at the last minute before school got underway, b/c I have "primary residential" custody, I had to rent a house in ds2's school district so he wouldn't have to change schools. There wasn't much available (esp. as I didn't want to just repeat how I was living before I sold the house....). There weren't many rentals available, but luckily I found one right on the border of the school district, just in time.

The house I'm renting is "coincidentally" located on the exact hill where my mc's imaginary house is - where probably 75% of the book's action takes place.

Although I've been writing a book that takes place here, I had never even been up this hill until I looked at the house for rent - it's up a steep, long private driveway & can't be seen from the road.

When I started this book in 2003, it would never have occurred to me that someday I would sell the house I was living in, planning to move out west, & instead end up coming back & renting a house just four miles away from my old one, and exactly where my characters live.... for whatever reason they live here. That would have seemed SO unlikely! (But things do happen & stuff changes... plot twists...)

It is pretty nice up here, too. I have already spent so much time here, in my imagination, whether actually writing or just working stuff out in my head. The hill that goes up behind my house is very much as I'd pictured it - the ledge (in the book) is more of a plateau (IRL) but otherwise I had been picturing it very close to how it really looks.

The window behind my bed looks out up that hill, and that hill plays a big role in the story (considering it's only a hill and not a person, y/k). One mc/narrator has a secret nook (think roots & rocks) about halfway up the hill, to which she retreats when she needs space to think. The other mc/narrator's bedroom window overlooks the hill, and she sits in her room looking out that window a lot - so I have spent a lot of virtual time climbing up that hill and looking out that window (except from a different house that exists only in my mind and on my pages, but it's the same view..)

It's going OK. I have decided to really focus (which is a difficult thing for me, especially after the brain surgery, & Lyme disease which went neurological) on one thing - finishing this book (and then, while it's being readied for publication, dive into writing its sequel.

Ahh, focus.... It's hard also b/c I still seem to have a lot going on, and at the same time I know that, in this lifetime, I will not be finding a *convenient* time to work on the book. In fact, I wrote most of what I have while I was working a full-time job, taking care of 3 kids & a house, struggling to deal with a lazy abusive husband, and whatever all else). The writing just has to get crammed into each day, whether it fits or not.

Also - I'm a little concerned b/c the nature of the health issues, that are giving me the gift of having time to write (disability $) the neurological stuff seems it may have affected my writing ability. Plus, I'm finding I don't even really like what I have written so far, the earlier parts - although I loved it when I first read it/wrote it. Now I think the narrators' voices both seem too sparse, and dry, and that it's full of in-references that a reader wouldn't get b/c they're only understandable by me? But frontal lobe modification plus Lyme disease - I don't know. It's made everything a bit different, really.

Of course, it doesn't help either, that I dropped my laptop on the floor the other day & broke the screen (and, that I don't exactly know where the flash drive is with the latest backup of the book - though I *do* know it's here in this house, somewhere). I don't care, it's okay either way - it wouldn't be the end of the world if I could never access it, because this book (& the sequel) are fully formed in my head, in a way I've never experienced before. (But! I'm sure I will get everything I want from my dearly departed computer in the next few days though, it is only a cracked screen hopefully). I can easily write it over again - I was sort of wanting to b/c of the difference in how it is, and how I'd write it now - and it will be better anyway, or at least I'll see it as better.

So, there's the abridged version of my recent history. And now - I want to finish writing this book! Already! I've always had a problem with perfectionism and not finishing things, or not being able to declare them finished & ready for others to read, much less to submit anything for publication. But now, I believe I have been given a gift in the form of some time & space to kick back & regroup, along with the unmistakable message (at least that's what I'm getting from the location "coincidence") that while I'm hanging around the cold northeast for yet another winter, I will absolutely write these two books & do my best to get them published.

I just hope it can still be done, by me - the writing, I mean. I'm not exactly who I used to be, for neurological reasons, and I definitely write differently than I did six years ago! Which is weird, but I guess I can figure out how to use my new little "quirks" to my advantage as a writer, because what else is there to do with something like that, after all?
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#2 of 2 Old 10-05-2009, 02:53 AM
 
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Hi and welcome! It sounds like you've had some really chaotic things going on in your life over the last few years! I hope things will settle down for you.

You are welcome to join the Noveling thread, where a bunch of us are writing novels and sharing our trials and successes. Writing a novel is a lot of hard work and can be very solitary without places like this.

As for not liking what you wrote so many years ago, I think that's fairly normal. I wrote the first parts of the novel I'm just finishing 5 or 6 years ago, and when I sat down last November to work on it again I did a lot of cringing reading over my old stuff. My suggestion would be to avoid going back and revising too much, even though it's soooo tempting, because you can so easily get trapped in revisions before you finish a draft. Later on, have someone read it and give you some independent feedback, but for now, just write.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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