Progress Report: Various Scribbles

My day-to-day writing is a bit more scattered than it’s been in months — not in terms of getting things written, but in all the different things I’m working on. As I wait to revisit Please Give, I’ve picked up projects that were waiting in the eaves, and started a few new ones.

I’ve worked the most on a new short story. Right now, it’s called Wither. It’s an end-of-days tale with a focus on nature, told from the perspective of a young girl named Katie who forages for food the way her parents taught her. As she looks for food, she remembers her parents bringing her to the woods to live, and everything they taught her about the earth sustaining those who sustain it (or her, as Katie’s parents would adamantly say). Her parents’ extremities reveal themselves in time with the earth’s shifting health, and Katie remains trapped in the middle.

It’s a shift from both Please Give and my usual chillers in terms of tone, but that’s made it all the more interesting to write. In its current form, the past and present are broken up by a poem; so both my fiction and poetry sides are at play. I’m a better fiction writer than poet, but I do enjoy writing verses every now and then.

I’m approaching the final third of Wither, and trying not to get distracted by the next short story I plan to start once Wither is done. Currently titled We Really Shouldn’t, it details a reunion between two lovers with conflicting ideas on whether or not they should do what they do when they meet. It is a romance, but in the way I would write a romance, which in my short stories at least, isn’t always so romantic. I’ve outlined the story to help scratch the itch I have to start writing it, as I have trouble writing two or more pieces in tandem and want to at least complete a first draft of Wither before moving on.

I’m also putting together pieces for The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales. Once Please Give is with my editor, I plan to focus my time on getting the collection … well, collected; and ready for self-publishing as an ebook. I’m excited to get ever-closer to sharing these four tales, especially since I’ve talked about them so much over the past several weeks. I also look forward to hearing what you all think of them.

Finito

It’s done. The first full draft of Please Give is done.

It’s not complete. I’m going to let it sit for a few weeks, so I can approach it with fresh eyes as I read it through from beginning to end and polish it into a second draft.

But for now, there are no bracket notes. No gaping holes in the narrative. No fixes prickling my fingertips and bringing me back to my keyboard. No missing characters, no characters I need to remove, no questions stirring over and over in my head, nothing. Nothing but a finished first draft. A finished first draft of a book.

It feels good.

And because I’ve written so many words over the past several months, I leave you with the following to express my feelings on the first draft’s completion.

hot-rod

annie-dance

work-hard

shoulder.gif

kimmy-hands

oshie-stick

The Final Countdown

275 pages. 124,000+ words. Thus far.

This, my friends, is the final countdown.

I’m chugging along on Please Give, and feeling both scared and excited with each bracket note erased and each page added. It’s close to done. This may actually get done! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!

Being done with a full draft won’t mean being completely done, of course. Once I have a finished draft, I plan to do a quick formatting edit, then leave it be for at least two weeks. That may seem like a short amount of time, and it’s certainly shorter than the six weeks that Stephen King recommends in On Writing (which I just finished). But, considering how much a part of my life this book has been, leaving it for two to three weeks will already require a great deal of discipline. Working on this every day for the past seven months hasn’t happened because I’ve felt like I had to. This book has been fun to work on.

But even fun needs to wait, and so do stories. During those two to three weeks, I’m going to work on things that have nothing to do with Please Give — though they’ll bring their own fun to the table. I have a few projects in mind. One is revising The Campus Coffee Shop. This was originally scheduled to appear in The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales. However, my editor and I both agreed that it not only needed more revisions, but that it needed a different collection to call home. So, that story is still in progress, and will appear at a later date.

I also have a couple ideas for my next novel, and plan to spend the next two to three weeks getting one started. I plan to start small, in the form of notes, an outline, character lists, and the like. I may also start writing if I feel so compelled, perhaps in short bursts, as I did with Please Give. I’ve already done this, truth be told, with two different novels I’ve had swimming in my head over the past few months.

Finally, the timing of completing a first draft of Please Give is coinciding nicely with a writing contest I may enter. The 30 Day Collective will present a theme on April 21st, and participants in the contest must write a story that fits that theme within 30 days. Regardless of when I complete a first draft of Please Give, I plan to wait until at least May 16th to pick it back up and read from beginning to end. That’s almost 30 days from April 21st. A happy coincidence, and one that seems too good to ignore.

It’s an exciting time for writing, and I look forward to working on all of these projects in the days to come — and even more so, I look forward to sharing it all with you.