The Drafting Twilight Zone: Tips for getting it out and over

So you’ve unlocked your writing with your key of imagination and as you move through it you fall through to a dimension of sentence structures; a dimension of grammatical woes; a dimension of endless prose. You’ve moved into a novel with multiple character development and plot twists. You’ve just crossed over into the Drafting Twilight Zone.

Yep. The story of my life right now. Even though I feel like I’m so close to finishing the first draft of my next book, I can’t stop going back and wanting to add subplots and gradual detail. All stuff that I don’t even know you guys need but I feel is necessary.

In hopes of getting out to this whack ass drafting dimension of insanity, I took some time to see how the pros have handled this.

Try Stephen King’s technique that he shared in On Writing, which he learned back in high school. It’s a simple formula:

2nd draft = 1st draft – 10%

So he states that,

“Even today, I will aim for a second-draft length of thirty-six hundred words if the draft of a novel runs three hundred and fifty thousand words, I’ll try my damndest to produce a second draft of no more than three hundred and fifteen thousand … three hundred, if possible. Usually it is possible. What the Formula taught me is that every story and novel is collapsible to some degree.”

Great words. But this is for the second draft, which I’m kind of in but not totally. So then I found pretty nifty advice from Sarah Waters.

“Don’t panic. Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends’ embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce . . . Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way. And if all else fails, there’s prayer. St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, has often helped me out in a crisis. If you want to spread your net more widely, you could try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, too.”

Good advice but a bit vague. Then I ran into Neil Gaiman’s words, who’s the author of American Gods—a novel and show that I just devoured. He gives me exactly what I needed, and wanted, to hear.

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.”

So guys, it seems that the only way out of the “Drafting Twilight Zone” is through. Full steam ahead bishes! My hope is that once I’ve finally finished this process, an ingeniously articulated masterpiece is created for yout reading delight. Here goes nothing.

As I glue myself to my writing chair, focused on finally knocking this out, be sure to check out my free short story series on this blog. Catch up. Don’t be lame. Friday is always a great day to read.

DNC’s Short Story Series Presents: “Complicated

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#writerslife Working on My Ship

There are so many moments in life where we lose ourselves in the world’s chaos. Moments where our roles overlap so much that we lose sight of how valuable it is to give each responsibility their necessary nurturing.

That has happened to me over, and over, and over again. And, I understand that will continue to happen again and again if I don’t openly receive the messages, signs, or green lights that God has put so masterfully in front of me.
Where is this thought coming from or going? Let me share…

I’m in editing mode of my next book. The book that I want to pitch to agents and publishing houses. A book that I know tells a story that is new, sexy and introspective. Hence, my due diligence to get it right.

But trying to get it right has been muddled with so many other existing priorities that I’m trying to juggle at the same time; each losing steam because honestly, my brain is exhausted.

So, I come into work today, thinking solely about how to prioritize my work for the day, and notice a uniquely shaped purple package on my desk.

Befuddled by this object, I open it before sitting down to find out that it’s a card, pens and an angel.

Two pens exclaim the message “Tell Your Story” and “Writing Is My Happy Place”. Then tears began to fill up my eyes because it is true. Writing IS my happy place because it lets me tell my story.

The Angel has “Joy” etched in her robe, with an open embrace to the sky.
The card, well the card says more than I want to share in this post because of its personal message and now its home in my heart. However, I’ll sum it up like this:

Sometimes, we don’t know how our actions or words influence the world that we live in. Sometimes we only notice how chaotic it truly is and how we just need to stay afloat. But sometimes, we need a reminder that our purpose is not to “just stay afloat” but to build a ship that helps the world around us, guiding it in a direction we have been entrusted to go.

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The mom of one of my close friends reminded me of that. She gave me words and gifts that woke my spirit back up to complete this book, and the others that will soon follow, to keep blogging and sharing these moments because they are truths in many ways, and can empower those who may not feel that they can also “build a ship”.

 

“…empower those who may not feel that they can also ‘build a ship’.”

Have you started working on your “ship” yet? You definitely should. I’ll continue to work on mine too.

Stay passionate!
DNC

Drafting Woes: Confusion on Where I’m Going

Forgive me readers. I know some of you are invested in my literary journey and may be wondering why you haven’t heard from me. Why my blog has been slow, or why you haven’t received my month newsletter.

That answer lies in both my unbelievably busy personal life, but also in the tug of war that is continuously happening in my current W.I.P.

On the personal front, my children’s lives are moving so fast, I’m just trying to keep up.

But on the writing front, there are so many ideas and edits that I want to make to the first draft of this new piece (check out the teaser), that I’m all over the place–jumping from chapter to chapter.

I’m starting to realize that my drafting “lifestyle” is mimicking my personal lifestyle; Jumping from one scene to another at lighting speed. Trying to mold character fast to finally get to the end. That has to stop, IMMEDIATELY!

So I’m rearranging my schedule again to get some dedicated hours in a week, at least one day. It will more than likely have to fall on just one day, unlike my daily writing six months ago. But that’s what happens when you’re a passionate writer who is also a passionate life player (mom, wife, sister, friend, colleague, etc.).

Sometimes change is necessary to keep your spirits high and love flowing. My love for writing continues.

So here’s a promise: I’m posting once a week on this here blog (yes a little gangsta talk means I’m serious).  And I’m actually going to start story boarding, which initially I hated thinking about doing since it seems so structured and I’m such a free writing spirit (or at least I try to be) but now I get…I get it guys. Then I’m also going to continue connecting with you wonderful people in dis here writing community.

Matter of fact, I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to join New Roots Living for their October workshop, Publishing Demystified: A Coaching Workshop for Writers. This is a great event for writer’s who not only want an insider’s look on my and another writer’s journey, Eryn Donnalley, but also hands-on coaching about your own literary journey.

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See, I understand that sometimes when things seems chaotic, seemingly pushing you into a corner, slowing or even stopping your drive all together, God reminds you that this all included on your journey. It’s not a corner, but just a moment of reflection; like timeout. And not a dead-end, but a left turn.

Stay passionate people!

P.S. Look out for my short story series. Since my drafting process is taking a lot longer than I was hoping (but it’s definitely necessary for this piece), I’m inviting you to indulge in some passion-fy stories along the way. Stay tuned.

 

3 Ways to Practice What You Preach

As a mother, wife, author, sister, daughter and so on, it can be hard to “practice what I preach” but here are a few tips I shared on HERCrisis.com that have helped me to do exactly that. Check out “3 Ways to Practice What You Preach”.

Make a Revelation - Seek a Revival - Join the Revolution

One of the reasons I started Monday Motivational posts—previously Monday #Mid-WYFEMotivation—was to share positive insights from my own plight. My goal was to push us all past those “bad” moments to refocus on the greatness ahead, which has been a lot easier to do than I ever thoughts.

THEN one day, just a few weeks back, I was actually invited to give a motivational speech to a group of women…say what?!

Yep. God said, “now go practice what you preach.” I’m not going to lie, I thought He was nuts. You mean, you want me to go say what I write about? I only give this advice verbally to my close friends, and I don’t even know if they use it!

I definitely had a moment of doubt, honestly, several hours of doubt. Then I used three ways to get back on track. Three tricks that may also help you…

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