Rusty Fork VIII: Nearing the End and Looking Forward

Rusty Fork VIII: Nearing the End and Looking Forward

I have around 20,000 words left to write on my current draft of WCAG. In the grand scheme of things and looking at how far I’ve come, that is not a lot of words, but they are some of the hardest. All the pinning and pissing and lallygagging have led to these words.

I’ve been calling my current draft the second draft when really it’s more like draft 1.5. In January, I was stir crazy and decided to print off everything I had written. I felt like I was walking around a dark cave, bumping into rocks and swiping at unseen bats. I needed to shine a light on my progress. What I found was horrifying:

Boring chapters that led nowhere. Two useless characters eating up scenes. Plot that needed refining and motivations that needed a kick in the head.

I started over with the plot. Dissecting and rearranging scene by scene, trimming the fat, and sewing it back together. I noted the holes and the sore spots. I immediately cut two characters and about 20% of the writing without a second look.

Then I began the current draft. It’s a better draft. Not perfect. It’s still its own monster that will need to torn apart again, but it’s more cohesive and more to the point I’ve been trying to make all along.

For the first time, I feel like I’m coming to the end of something. I’ve started and stopped projects before, but nothing as ever been complete–only glimpses into imperfect daydreams.

I need a plan of attack…

Here are some of the writing goals for the coming months:

  • Finish my “second” draft around 100,000 words

Duh, this one is a given. I have a set a deadline of May 1st, but deadlines are always meant to be broken. I want to finish this draft as soon as possible, though, because I’m starting to grow restless. I have other stories I’d like to plot, but I don’t want to spend too much time on new projects when this is still unfinished.

  • Find a critique partner

This might be the hardest thing on the list, and I still have no idea how to find one. Any suggestions?

  • Take a break!

Read. Relax. Don’t think about WCAG. Stop it! Stop thinking about it! Let it simmer.

  • Take a mini writing retreat to review my second draft and make a game plan for the third

I want to take a solo writing retreat in Hickory, NC. In previous Rusty Fork posts, I’ve mentioned that the town in my story is based heavily on Hickory, NC. I’ve done research on a bed and breakfast in the area, and I would love to take that time for myself when I read through my second draft. I don’t want any distractions. Being at the location of my inspiration would also spark some much needed mood.

  • Vlog more of my writing experience 

I’ve already started this one! This will not become a weekly thing, but I would like to vlog my experiences whenever I’m feeling motivated because I have found others’ vlogs motivational to my own work. I would like to help entertain and inspire others. It would also be neat to have for the future reflections, as well.

So there is a simple list of some short-term goals.

It’s important to remember that the end of the second draft is not the end the story.

It’s all an endless pursuit of artistic endeavors. I can strive for something, though. I can polish the story until it shines, until the surface is clear enough for some reader to see something of themselves on the pages.

I have to make a human story out of a monster.

How hard could that be?

Link to Previous Rusty Fork Posts

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Thursday Thoughts: The Currency of Friendship

Thursday Thoughts: The Currency of Friendship

I had a fitting for a bridesmaid dress today. I am in two weddings in 2018. TWO. (I am also attending 3 as a guest. I already want to die.)

Both are for college roommates. I was picked because it is courteous and customary. I am an outlier friend. I never answer group texts. I never remember birthdays. I screwed up our secret santa group last year because I accidentally sent a gift to the wrong girl. I am not proud of this. I don’t think I am cool or quirky.

I am a terrible friend because I feel better when I am alone. I am a terrible friend because I am mad when I am not a part of everything. I want to keep my cake and eat it too.

Kinga Rajzak and Mijo Mihaljcic in AnOther Magazine F/W 2014 by Anuschka Blommers and Niels Schumm

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships in regards to my current WIP. I’ve never said much about the plot, but it does involve a homecoming and facing friends you have abandoned–facing the fact that your friends did not sit stagnant in your absence. How much do we owe to another person?  Is it terrible to think you owe or are owed something in a relationship? Maybe.

Friendship is beautiful, but it is also hard work. I wish it was as easy as a photo on Instagram.

Maybe we should bring back Myspace top friends–at least I would know where I stand.

This post is starting to sound like a sub-AIM-away-message (before subtweet was a thing). It’s not. It’s really not. I have lovely friends who have put up with a lot of my bullshit. I have friends that I have known since 4th grade who understand me and can go months without seeing, but I always feel comfortable around.

But I see my faults when I try to be a friend. It’s uncomfortable, but it is necessary. They make me want to be a better person.

Maybe one day I’ll be a friend worth talking about.

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Thursday Thoughts: Self-Doubt is a Bad Date

Thursday Thoughts: Self-Doubt is a Bad Date

This blog has turned into a LiveJournal, and I am not angry about it.

I’ve been in a funk recently.

Self-doubt is a trap. I want to cut off my arm and run. I want to trap someone else in it, so I can get away.

I can tap into my selfishness easily, and that worries me. Would I be the asshole in the apocalypse movie? I’ll work on that.

I have a lot of things:

Self-doubt about my writing.

Self-doubt about my future.

Self-doubt about the choices I have made.

Self-doubt about the choices I do not get.

Self-doubt is a creative killer. I’ll work on that.

I am going to kick self-doubt in the nuts. Or the uterus. Maybe I should not assign a sex to an idea.

If self-doubt were a person, they would still wear Ed Hardy.

If self-doubt were a person, they would vote to end net neutrality.

Don’t date self-doubt, Elizabeth. They are not the good kind of bad you need.

Self-doubt is not dark, handsome, and mysterious.

They don’t even own a car.

Self-doubt drives a moped.

audrey-peck-moped

How about a self donut?

Thursday Thoughts: Mourning Halloween

Thursday Thoughts: Mourning Halloween

I need a few moments to mourn the end of Halloween.

 

I just finished Stranger Things 2 a few days ago, so this post is literally just going to be photos of Winona Ryder being the goth queen inspiration that she is.

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Yeah, I’m a basic fucking bitch, still living in the 90s. Let me have this moment. Halloween is over, and now I have to deal with all the mouth breathing, Christmas folk. I just want to live in the dark for a little bit longer.

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This Dracula adaptation was horrible, but Winona was beautiful and perfect.

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Give me spiky bangs or give me death!

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Don’t worry, I won’t post any photos of the Ryder/Depp relationship. He is a scumbag, and I hate how everybody romanticized his relationships with Ryder and Kate Moss. Seriously, go on to any Instagram model’s account or some aesthetic bullshit account, and I bet you $20 they have some black and white photo of either pairing, usually with #goals in the caption.

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I watched some pretty great horror flicks this season. The stars were Raw (2016) and Super Dark Times (2017).

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Both handled extreme violence involving young people. They were shot and acted brilliantly.

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Until next Halloween…

Rusty Fork VIII: Coming Back from a Break

Rusty Fork VIII: Coming Back from a Break

I began the initial outline of my current WIP in November of 2016 and started writing shortly after that. We are now entering November 2017, and I stand at 70,000 for the first draft. Based on the scenes left to complete, I have around 10,000 words left. Maybe. It’s hard to tell sometimes.

This is just for the first draft. I know there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Some of the first scenes I worked on will need to be completely overhauled for a more cohesive plot, but I am not discouraged. I have tried my best not to think about everything that needs to be re-done while there is still so much that needs to be done.

Every writer’s process is different. I think that is the hardest part about getting writing advice from others because everybody has their own way of doing it, and that is part of the journey–discovering your way or faking it until you make it (and even faking it once you make it).

In the Nanowrimo world that we live in, it appears you should have a first draft in 2-3 months. Which is mind-boggling! I know there is that fear of letting your story go stale. Trust me, I was fighting that fear through most of the spring, but I have discovered I am a slow first drafter. My work, lifestyle, and mental/creative abilities don’t allow for breakneck-paced writing. This could be seen as an excuse. “You should write everyday.” “Find the time.” I get it. If I was writing full-time, I could probably turn out a draft that quickly. If I wrote during the work week instead of going home to watch Real Housewives every evening, I’d probably be more productive. I’m trying not to focus on the ifs right now. I’m trying not to compare myself to other writers.

I moved into an apartment with my boyfriend around June (yeah! for taking the next step and boo! to rent). My WIP sat, abandoned, in farthest corner of my mind it had ever been. My WIP was malnourished. I thought I was losing it like so many story ideas before. But I learned to feed it. Slowly but consistently. I listened to the playlists that once inspired me. I reread scenes, so I could fall back in love. I wrote out notes to plot solutions that were plaguing me from the beginning. I researched topics that I found interesting. I wrote on work nights. (Gasp!) Maybe only 100-200 words at a time. I wrote writing prompts from the POV of my characters, so I could find their voices again. Like I said, everybody is different. I’m not sure how to tell if a story can be resuscitated after a break, but I did it because I have believed in this story from the beginning. More than any other story before it.

Coming back to a story after a break is much like coming back from a break in any relationship. You have to work at. It cannot be forced. Don’t force yourself to be happy with a story you don’t believe in anymore, but remember, if you still feel it, deep down, you can climb out of any hole, like Samara AKA that chick from the Ring movies.

Other Rusty Fork Posts:

Rusty Fork I: The Why

Rusty Fork II: Strength

Rusty Fork III: The Tools

Rusty Fork IV: Location, Location, Location

Rusty Fork V: Character-sitter

Rusty Fork VI: CAMP NANOWRIMO

Rusty Fork VII: I failed CAMP NANOWRIMO

 

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

There’s something buzzing in my head.

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I decided one of my minor characters will be a beekeeper. Big mistake. I have spent hours learning about bees because a beekeeper should sound bee-lievable. I don’t even know how big of a role this character will play, or if they’ll even make the final cut. I think beekeeping has become a new form of procrastination.

When does research hinder instead of help a project?

I’m not sure, but bees are so hawt right now.

Bees drinking the water from the Bird Bath.

Bees drinking water with a hummingbird. So cute. omg

Did you know that a queen bee will mate only once? She stores enough sperm to lay eggs for the rest of her life. Oh, and the males lucky enough to mate with her? Their genitals are pulled out while mating, and they die. Talk about a healthy relationship!

Bees are clean freaks. Disease is a very real threat to a colony, so workers will clean off bees who look dirty. When a bee dies, the hive will slowly push the body out one by one like macabre crowd surfing.

Beekeeping is very intense, and my anxiety is not built for a hobby like that. I’d probably quit after the first bee died. Imagine a whole hive!

APIARIST Beekeeping Suit - Fencing Veil - Total Protection for Professional & Beginner Beekeepers

Hawt. Can I get one with pockets?

APIARIST Beekeeping Suit - Fencing Veil - Total Protection for Professional & Beginner Beekeepers

Where did she go?!???

But I see why people do it. It’s not all about the honey, money. From what I’ve read, a lot of people do it because it is a chance to be part of nature. Bees are an integral part of our lives. 80% of food is pollinated by flying insects, and most of that is by the honey bee. A beekeeper is the guardian to thousands and millions of little workers. It’s almost like playing god. Playing god to little bomb ass bitches who would sting you to death if they had the chance. Now that is the dream.

 

buzz buzz, bitches

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

I’ll set the mood. You bring the booze.

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Thursday. Not as good as Friday, but it’s better than Tuesday.

I thought I could put my rambling thoughts in a Thursday post. Thursday Thoughts! So fucking original.

Thursdays are great because I begin to mentally prepare to write. I’ve tried writing during the work week, trust me, but I usually have no motivation to write after work. I think I’m going to try changing that in the new year (the excuse people give this time of year — “i’ll do x in the new year!”). Thursdays and Fridays start to feel more like the weekend, so I am usually able to find some mental strength to turn out a few words. Saturdays and Sundays are my most productive days. I have a pretty set ritual now of going to Barnes and Nobles, like a basic bitch, getting an iced coffee at the Starbucks and spending a few hours writing. I know! It’s basic, but it’s really effective to be surrounded by books when you are trying to write one. The endgame is always in sight.

So yeah, Thursdays are days when I start organizing my thoughts and scenes I’ve been mentally working on at the beginning of the week. I research. I journal. Why not place some of that information here?

I was reading a New York Times article this week that mentioned Tina Barney, a photographer known for using the incredibly rich as her subjects, and I fell into a hole of her making. I would never consider myself a person with taste when it comes to photography (I don’t have tastes for much), mostly, because I know nothing about photography. It is the rich portaying the rich which doesn’t really hold much weight in our post-Occupy Wallstreet world, but I found them fascinating.

A pretty sassy interview with Barney listed below.

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2017/09/26/tina-barneys-embarrassment-riches/

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My favorite^

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I love the rigidity and spontaneity of the poses.

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I’ve found a lot of inspiration from these photos. My characters come from a dying, southern family who once held power in a small community. Not very different from the New England elite of Barney’s photos, but closer to the equator.

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I think we’re always drawn to the lives of the rich because we want them to be inhuman. We want them to be miserable. We want them to be Scrooge before Dickens. Sometimes, a lot of times, they are the eccentric assholes we pictured, but a snap can never capture a whole person and a reality show on E! can’t tell you the whole story.

A family is still a family, especially an unhappy one.

Why are we so drawn to family drama?

Let’s Catch Up

Let’s Catch Up

(Remember when this was a book blog?)

 

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I’ve found a lot of inspiration in vintage photos for my WIP. We like to think of the past as uptight and the breeding ground for polio and consumption. We forget that the past was full of people. So many people just trying to awkwardly navigate this carbon fireball, just like us. One day we’ll be the old photos that girls collect.

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And yes, I am STILL working on the same project I was working on months ago (See: Rusty Fork). I took a two month break from writing because I moved in with my boyfriend, and I was getting use to living with another person.

Writing is a top priority now. I am sooo fucking deep in this project, you guys. I can taste the ending. It tastes sweet. It tastes like the future.

Phoebe Bridges is my current musical muse.

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Will I resume book reviews? Easy answer: yes. I don’t know when that will be, probably when I read another Sarah J Maas book. The lack of reviews does not mean I am not reading or reading bad books.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett changed by damn life.

It’s about family and who owns family secrets. Who gets to decide the narrative and the destiny of a family. It was beautiful. I read through my tears for the last 50 pages.

I just really haven’t had the energy to read, write review, and write on my project.

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The McMansion Hell blog is the best thing on the internet. Read it. Soak it in.

http://mcmansionhell.com/

I have found that architecture is something that I really, really enjoy reading about. Don’t worry, I won’t become a building snob or anything, but I never realized (this is going to sound dumb) how much thought is put into design. But in McMansion, she really breaks down what architecture is and how it affects the world around us, how the world affects architecture, and she does it with humor.  You’re learning, but it never feels like you are. I want her to write a book SO much.

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A plethora of bitch faces. A bounty. A gold mine of bitch faces. My heaven.

 

See you soon!

Good Boy: Book Review

Good Boy: Book Review

Photo on 5-24-17 at 7.59 PM

*No Spoilers*

Listen guys, I don’t know much about hockey. I know there is a puck. And skates. And ice. I know there is something called a power play, but I don’t know what is so powerful or playful about it. I know that live games can be fun when you have a beer in one hand, a giant pretzel in the other, and players fighting on the ice. That is about how far I can stretch my hockey knowledge, but somehow Elle Kennedy (and Sabrina Bowen) have made this sport a large topic in my reading this year.

Read more

A Court of Wings and Ruin: Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin: Review

*Spoilers*

ACOTAR Review  (GoodReads)

ACOMAF Review (Bitchy Fantasy)

This book is probably the most interesting one in Sarah J Maas’s career because it’s her first attempt at completing a story. Yes, there is the second trilogy coming (give it to me now!), but from what I’ve heard, it will be from a new perspective. New storyline. Same characters? But different story. I think. I’ve been reading Maas’s books for years now, but I’ve never heard her say “the end”. The end is the most important part. It determines if you have a good or bad taste in your mouth when you close the book for the last time.

So what did I taste? Read more