Wednesday, March 18, 2009

At the finish line at last.

I got lost in writing over the past two weeks. It felt a little bit like being under water for a while holding my breath as I worked towards the end of my little book in revision number two. In the process I added another three thousand words to the thing. I ask myself over and over why am I doing this.
  • It keeps my brain working
  • I stay focused
  • I have to remember what I wrote in chapter one when I am in chapter twelve.
  • The story has to be clear in my mind.
  • I feel a strong need to do this for some reason.
  • It is fun to make something new. To dream up something new.
  • It takes courage to believe in trying this without an agent or publisher. ( yet.)

So I suppose I am doing this for the exercise of my brain. Plus it is fun. Whether I ever again find a publisher interested in even looking at my work is not the point at this time. What is important is that I finished it and brought it to a conclusion that works. This is very important to me because for a while I was worried I could not actually pull it off. Now I have asked my twelve year old well-read grandson to read it over for me. He has agreed to check it out. I am hoping he will be able to set me straight in case I have missed anything in the world of the children in the story. Plus he can critique it with honesty. I hope I am up to it.

I am happy about my manuscript. My 10500 word chapter book manuscript. Not big. But bigger than a picture book and a lot more editing than a picture book. Whew!

Yes. I AM HAPPY about my story. I like my story. I believe in it. It works. I did it. And it works as a fun story for kids to enjoy.
Now I think I may sketch up a few characters from the story. This may or may not work well enough to be included with a proposal. I just have to try for a while. Besides it is good to take a break from sitting down writing and editing and changing things for hours at a time.
I bought new pencils, a new sketch book and the paper I love to work with when illustrating things. Beinfang graphics 360 translucent marker paper because it is great for sketching character design with loose pencil and then tracing over the drawings to refine them into line.
And I have also bought a new spiffy looking pad of Strathmore 70 lb Drawing paper which it says is good for coloured pencil and graphite drawings.
I will see how it measures up to Stonehenge (my favourite) for pencil work.
Maybe I will record my progress here at Maple Pancakes.

This would keep me moving on it while I wait for Jacob to read over my manuscript for me. There is nothing to stop me except myself.
And I have sent a copy to my friend Liz in Enderby. She is a writer and a teacher of creative writing. I read the whole thing to her over the phone last week and she loves it. This is good. But I always have to remember she is also my best friend and therefore maybe she isn't going to see it for what it is. But I value her advice and perspective. And I know she would tell me if it stinks. She is good at that.
And I have sent a copy to Stephen who is great at editing. He may also have some new ideas to add to the humour of the story. Meanwhile I keep tweaking it and getting new thoughts and adding and changing the thing as I wait for them to get back to me.
So now. Today I will get out the sketchbooks and warm up to drawing again.
Because I like to post images...I posted a little sketch I did last fall for another project. It is coloured digitally with Corel4X photo paint. She is a little too 'cute' and I hate cute. It was supposed to be a doll who looked alive yet was a doll with legs that would not bend. Therefore she is stiff and too cute like the particular doll. But I learned about what I could do with my photo paint program so it was not a total loss. And I can post her here because she is mine.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Paper Toys

Today I discovered a talented American illustrator, Marilyn Scott -Waters, who has created a wonderful book titled The Toy Maker. It is a paper craft book and what makes it unique is that she also has a website where she generously provides a number of free paper toys in the form of pdf files and if one has a colour printer it is easy to print them out and put them together. What a great idea for children all over the world to have access to these creations via the internet. I just have to mention it here. Since I have been dabbling in a paper doll idea for some time I was so pleased and delighted and not surprised that someone else has similar interests. Her toys and creations are delightful.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Taking The Writing Seriously Is So Hard Some Days

I have been up and down and all over the place. I need to keep working at something and I keep feeling I am accomplishing nothing yet I am doing all kinds of stuff and maybe if I vent a bit and write I can feel better.
At this very moment a hail storm is pounding my windows and a cold chill is pushing through the window glass. Whew. Winter is back with vengeance from the Arctic after a morning of sunshine and dropping temperatures. I feel sad for the many little crocuses that were spreading their petals towards the warm sun this morning when I walked the dog wishing I'd taken along my camera to capture them in the perfect light and shadow.
Today I wrote (by hand into a new notebook) four new chapters of a NEW attempt at capturing my young 13 year old experience in a new way. I have been following Elizabeth Lyon's book MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVER and as I follow her advice in the first chapter, I think she has set me off flying into new territory. I am revising my manuscript that I've been sitting on for five years now. Now I have the story and making it from a too close to home and much too dark memoir into a fiction adding stuff along the way...It is amazing how much more fun it is to write this way. And more fun to read I think. I am so glad I took her course last October. It is hard to take positive criticism yet it is so good when one listens finally and Sees how to make something better. Like taking a painting course from a pro.
I have no idea if this is working because I have only myself to critique myself and besides I am no way ready to expose this to anyone yet. Yesterday I was depressed because I wasn't s writing or drawing. I feel so much better now that I am writing today. Man! That BIT advice... Butt In the best.
Now the hail has stopped. It was amazing. The streets are wet with puddles so the hail has melted already. Good. I hate icy sidewalks.
I took what I wrote today and I read it into my sound editor on my computer and listened to my voice coming back at me. I do believe I have captured a twelve year old voice of an inexperienced kid. This is what I want. I think it is so much better than my first seven drafts. Haw. This is totally different but since I have the story so entrenched in my head I somehow know where I am going yet I Don't!
Writing is a lonely business. Painting is a little less lonely since I can paint and draw with music or TV on. But with writing I need mostly quiet although I have been playing James Taylor's COVERS album music today and dancing around a little whenever I catch the beat.
Maybe I am flying with the writing today. This is a good thing. It is the music, the music helps.
I can write and have music on after all!

I think I need a writing group of other supportive writers but I don't know how to begin.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A Family Celebration Yesterday

We celebrated my son's birthday yesterday. Afterward I managed to put together a little video of a few moments when the dreamy chocolate cake (store bought but what the heck!)was brought into the room alight with candles with the family singing away. So here's the post if anyone comes by.

It is about three minutes long. Maybe less.

The cake was delicious!