10 August 2014


"It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." Mark Twain

It's been so quiet around this blog that at night you can hear the crickets chirp. And I think that's okay. Crickets really are quite lovely and remind me of lovely things, like sleeping with the windows open, warm nights, swimming pools, the way the grass feels under bare feet. I'm a big fan of summer and this has been a great one.

June-->July-->August has been a lot about traveling and a lot about writing. I started in the Midwest, touring North Dakota, Minnesota, and a bit of Canada. More recently, I've been at the Oregon Coast and exploring more local haunts. I logged a lot of miles in the car, spent time visiting family and friends, and kicked off Camp NaNoWriMo.

I've been doing Na(tional)No(vel)Wri(ting)Mo(nth) every November since 2009 and have "won" every year. They started doing "Camp" a few times each spring/summer as a way to participate on a smaller scale and at a time that might be more convenient. I had a friend who was really interested in doing it and wanted someone to do it with so I agreed to sign up.

I have to say, it is A LOT harder to commit to that much writing time when the outside world is so very inviting and when you are doing so much traveling.

I gave a lot of thought to the project I wanted to work on. I've had a few story ideas percolating in the back of my mind, but the more and more I thought about it, the more I knew I needed to continue working on one I'd already begun.

So this summer was a return to the story of Jezebel & Holden, two characters who've been with me for the last four years, two characters whose story I've been struggling to get right.

A couple months ago I passed around some work-in-progress pages to a few critique partners for feedback. While it got me excited to rewrite in earnest, it also showed me that I was still struggling with some of the same background issues with Jezebel's character I'd always been fighting against. There were too many problems I still hadn't solved.

As July 1st approached, I realized what I needed to do, what I needed to work on more than anything else, was figuring out Jezebel's real story, what exactly happened to bring her to the where the story begins. I had to go back to move forward.

So I wrote 50,000+ new words in which I explored Jezebel's life Before. They were more a series of short stories where I asked myself a question about a particular event in her past and then wrote about it. Some of these were tough questions. Jezebel didn't have a particularly pleasant childhood.

I had some serious, major story breakthroughs that gave me some answers and some directions and a great deal of understanding I just didn't have before. I did also cheat and write a few of Holden's scenes and another scene from a character who is central to the story, but whose voice I'd never heard.

Camp NaNoWriMo, though it was painful (and at times exhausting) to sit myself down in a chair and write, proved to be exactly what I needed. I'm really grateful and glad I did it.

August has brought me back to editing and rewriting. I've been spending time rereading Wired for Story by Lisa Cron, asking myself some important questions as I try to finish this novel once and for all. It has been a slow, careful process. I'm getting a few new pages ready to send out for critique and am hopefully on a better track these days.

2014 Camp NaNoWriMo