Sunday, March 29, 2015

Twelve Fucking Pounds 2: The Return of the Twelve

Holy God, I have been a lazy sack of shit this winter, doing virtually nothing that required standing outside of my day job. It's no wonder that I put on a little weight, although from what people tell me, they can't tell in the slightest (I associate with some wonderfully kind liars).

I attempted a bike ride, and seriously people, that shit wore me out. I was breathless and hacking and gasping for air like a drowning man, although instead of water I was suffocating on Cottage Inn pizza and bread sticks, with a soda to wash it down. I can barely stand to look at myself when I think about that. I'm in the process of getting myself back into proper shape, with no belly and plenty of stamina for a bike ride to and from work. It's a refreshing little reminder about actions and consequences and all of that jazz. 

So as stated in a recent bloggy blog, She Sees Metaphors is nearly complete. At this point all that I have to do is give it one more read through for stragglers, purchase the ISBN and bar code, and apply the cover art once it's done. I'm coming upon the end of a rather long and educating chapter of my life with the conclusion of She Sees Metaphors. I won't lie, it's rather emotional.

She Sees Metaphors is not my first manuscript. Before that, was a small little autobiographical thing I called Summer Gypsy, which was a blast to write. Being a memoir/novel type thing, I wrote the first draft in about three months, and wanting to give myself some time before the rewrites that never happened, I remembered a short story I wrote called Sometimes I Miss The Lies a year or two earlier. Since Summer Gypsy was so much fun, I decided that I wanted to do it again and so Sometimes I Miss The Lies was chosen to become my next novel.

I learned quickly that writing a novel purely from my imagination and writing one that was essentially just recording things that happened with some embellishments are two completely different animals. Between work and school, it took me an entire year to finish the first draft, which was, putting it nicely, fucking garbage. I was ready to toss the whole thing out. It didn't work. There were so many problems with it that I didn't think I could salvage anything. I was ready to move on.

Thankfully, a dear friend of mine told me that I definitely had something, it just needed to be reworked. Since she's much smarter than I am with all things literature, I decided not to toss my baby into a dumpster. This coincided with me talking to Chris Galford at a party one night, and buzzed off our respected whiskey choices, we talked about starting a writer's workshop. At the time, Chris was finishing up his debut, The Hollow March, and entertaining himself working on some short stories, so it was the perfect opportunity. We assembled some writer colleagues from around town and from that point on, Sundays were the day for our Writers Group (something so much fun that it deserves a blog of its own, so stay tuned for that). 

Unsure of my current draft for She Sees Metaphors, I decided that I should start over, and with that I was cast into my second lesson of writing a novel: the rewrites.

I don't think "rewriting" is a fair term for phase two of crafting a novel. I think that "deleting" is a much more applicable word to describe the process. Of the entire first draft, almost all of it was removed from the novel I will be publishing this year. I say "almost all" because I kept a few concepts, but even those are different from what they were when I first started. With these few ideas, I began another year long trek into crafting a novel, one that was a little better, a little tighter, but still kind of sort of shit. I knew that it was going to need work, which is why most of it was crafted on a typewriter which, along with longhand, I will always and forever argue being the two best methods of crafting early drafts. There's no internet, no word counts, no formatting. It's just you and the story.

Then came along draft three and I was sure as fucking hell that this would be it. The big finale. The last one before I moved on to the next.

Ha.

So that's it. That's how She Sees Metaphors came to be. (We can discuss the publishing process another time, because I definitely have some words on that.) I think this book, which isn't a very long book, took me so long to craft because I was also learning how to write and developing my style in the process. I will also blame full time academia and work, but the learning played a massive role. It was a fantastic education and I'm glad to have experienced it, as it was far more valuable than college ever was. I am immensely proud of my novel, flaws and all. I can't wait to share with the three or four readers who are not my mother.

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