I've been applying 'the seat of my pants to the seat of the chair' if you'll pardon the cliche, pretty steadily over the past couple weeks, building about one chapter per week. The manuscript is about 70,000 words long. An 'average' novel runs somewhere around 100,000, so at a wild guess, I'm 3/4 of the way through. That's good, because that's about how much plot is left.
Carol and Courtland's on-again, off-again relationship is off again, due to what amounts to a silly misunderstanding, but isn't that typical? How often a little bit of information masquarades as a whole truth!
It reminds me of when we first moved to this lovely house where I live and write these days. We took possession in August.
Looking out our new sliding glass doors to the back fence, all we could see beyond it was a massive wall of trees, cottonwood and fir, cedar and maples. Our new home was in the country, at the end of a narrow laneway of a road, so we made an assumption: All that lay on the far side of our fence was the derelict track of the old E&N railroad and more of "the bush" as we call it here on the Island. Acre for acre, this Island is a lot more 'bush' than it is streets and houses and human habitation, so it was a not unreasonable assumption.
Nothing Here But More of the Bush
That was in August
Come September, the leaves began to fall. By October, the wall of trees out back had become an airy screen, a tracery of green and gold. At night, we began to see glimmers of light. Instead of the 'nothing but bush' of our August assumption, we discovered hay field, barns, houses, pastures with horses, cattle and even a couple llamas on the far side of our wall of trees.
People are like that too, aren't they? We might think there's 'not much beyond what we can see' but when the season changes, much more is revealed.
And then the season changes yet again...
One of the joys of being a novelist is that I enjoy the illusion of being omniscient: I know more about the characters than they know about one another, ha-ha!
Carol may thing she has discovered a fact about Courtland that reveals the entire subtle mystery of his character, but as the writer, I know differently.
My question is how the heck is she going to discover her mistake? That's where my so-called omniscience collapses out from under me. I haven't a clue how that discovery is going to happen, but in order for this part of the plot to wrap up in the next 30,000 words, I'm going to have to come up with something!
Luckily, I've got some other folks to write about before I get back to Carol and Courtland. I trust that by the time the others have jumped through their necessary hoops, I'll know how to move those two forward.
I began with a cliche, so I'll end this note with another: It is said that writing is "90% perspiration and only 10% inspiration" but oh my goodness! I'd be in the ditch without the 10%! I can only hope it will keep showing up. If it does, I promise to do the other part, and get this latest novel out to you as soon as I can.
All the Best Always, Elaine
You may have seen on my Facebook page that I've entered my first Chesney Creek novel, All of These Secrets, in a "cinemagraphic novel contest". They're looking for unpublished or small-circulation novels that could be turned into a Hollywood movie.
It's an Exact Match for my Dearest Dream and Sweetest Fantasy!
I've been imagining this for years, fantasizing lunch with the Director, being interviewed by the pundits, walking the red carpet (behind the Movie Stars, but still....!) I've even gone so far as to tell a few trusted friends about this fantasy of mine, and how it could happen:
"First," I tell them, "First, I have to finish the #4 novel and find an agent who is willing to take it on. She or he will find a really hot publisher who will throw all sorts of money at marketing it, and the rest of the series. Then some Hollywood-type who is looking for a new project will discover my work and voila...! A movie contract! Fame and Fortune! Glory and ...."
It's just a fantasy. Fantasies are fun. And who knows, anything can happen, even miracles!
I found the Contest, I entered the Contest.
The rug, that red carpet of fantasy
has been jerked from under my feet.
The little voice in my head is whispering so softly that I can't even hear it, "Fat chance sundance! No way your pissy little novel is going to win. Get a fluffin' grip." I can't hear it, but I can feel the effect. It's pushed me straight into the old familiar pit of Despair, Discouragement and Hopelessness. That's how the trap works: First, you're waltzing along on the red carpet, la-la-la. You feel Fantastic, so you do something bold and unusual - you enter a contest. BLAM! The rug's gone, you're falling, SPLAT!
All of which is true, but here's what I know: If I let my unruly mind moan along like, I'm almost assuredly going to attract NOT WINNING. I get that. I know it's how the world works: We get more of whatever we focus on.
Focus on what makes me feel good, attract more to feel good about.
And the corollary, au contrarire:
Focus on what makes me feel like ****,
Elaine H (for Hannah) MacDonald is a fiction writer, grandmother, mother, homemaker, gardener, baker, seamstress and more, not necessarily in that order. She lives on Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada.