Friday, March 26, 2010

Are We There Yet?

My dad in one of my favorite pictures. 
Did you notice the waterspout in the background? 

My dad is funny about traveling. We went out on the gulf most weekends, it seems, when I was young. It didn't matter if the trip was for two hours or a long weekend or a whole week of lobstering in the keys. It didn't matter if we had done our assigned jobs or not, he could be counted on to be snarly.

Pack the cooler, pack the boat, pack the car. Grump at the kids, grump at the weather (invariably HOT growing up in FL), grump at whatever has the ill-fortune to be in the way. As soon as we'd get in the car and shut the doors, he could laugh again. Enter vacation.

As a writer (and as a vacationer, too bad for my kids), I've realized I'm the same way. It's been a year and a half since I started my novel in earnest. It took four and a half months to write the first draft. And thirteen and half months to get it to where it is.

Which is where, exactly?

My plot is interesting, a new twist on a very old story, I think. Microtension, character arc, chapter arc, flow. People say they like my characters. They feel like real people.
I told one of my readers that I had realized that there wasn't enough inner motivation for my MC to risk everything and I was going back to fix that and my reader said, "Good. I told you that a while ago."


I didn't see it before. I do now. I see the flaws, and the sad thing is that I know I don't even see all of them.

Understanding what to fix is an expansive feeling, but one that I've learned to distrust. It is a feeling that says, "If you fix this one more thing, I'll be ready for people to read me," but it lies. It waits for you to fix that thing (only if the muse is particularily generous) then turns back to you and says, "Oh, and one more thing."

I'm ready to get in the car and go. The suitcases are packed, waiting beside the door, and I realize I forgot clean socks. And my toothbrush. And did I remember to get the jewelry for the wedding we're going to?

I just want to be on the road. I want to be there already. I'm at that point where my husband  would say (were writing the book, packing and querying, the trip), "I'll get the suitcase. Get some ice water and wait in the car, okay? Put on some Enya."
 Sigh. I'm taking a few days easy on the writing. Gardening, tidying up, cleaning out some closets. I'm going to find my inner zen-state. And Nathan has his second triathon tomorrow, so we'll be having some fun there, too. Wish him luck! I'll see you on Monday.


  1. I hear you. I HATE that itchy, antsy feeling that makes you want to be done, be done, be done - and put it out there, put it out there, put it out there. And I definitely am not one of those writers who needs encouragement.

    In the end, Kelly, I think you have the right idea: Stick it out. Make it perfect. Scream at the computer every now and then. Take a break. Eat some chocolate. You'll get there. You will.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Krista! Everybody gets this way, right? Thanks for the permission to eat chocolate. That's what I was missing in my mental game, today at least;)

  3. You've already started your journey, now you just want to reach your destination. Since you are now arriving at the same conclusion your readers have given you, I think that you will get to that point.

    Good luck to Nathan!

  4. Like the comparison! Thanks for sharing this.
    Happy weekend,

  5. Gave you another award, Kelly. Come check it out.

  6. I feel the same way about my manuscript. I keep thinking I'm a day or three away from finishing this draft, and then something pops up. Thanks for sharing where you're at, and good luck with tweaking your story to get it just right.

  7. Thanks for the kind words, everybody!