Feb 22, 2011

Rechelle's Diary: 2/22/11 - The Best Writing Advice Ever Given

There are approximately eight to ten incomplete manuscripts stored in a folder on my computer under the heading of "My Manuscripts". Some consist of only a few pages while others have several chapters completed. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided to choose one of these incomplete manuscripts to complete as my first novel rather than begin with a new idea from scratch.

While I was in the process of trying to choose the perfect manuscript, I began questioning the reasons why I had so many unfinished stories waiting to be completed. I remembered having all these wonderful ideas and stories floating around in my head when I began each manuscript, yet each time I had waned as each story progressed. Despite the incompleteness of my previous attempts, I knew that becoming an author was the right path for me so I began looking for answers and direction on how to keep myself in writing mode and how to stay motivated enough to actually complete my manuscripts.  

A few days later, I stumbled on this post by Clay Rivers and had a true aha moment when I read the following:
"The goal isn't to write it perfectly the first time. The goal is to get it committed to paper, be it real or virtual. Don't edit yourself on your first draft. There will be plenty of time to go back and edit your manuscript."
Although River's post is actually addressing the topic of writing a memoir, this is universal advice and it described my situation perfectly. I had been hindering my own progress by being too much of a perfectionist!

In the past, I would stop dead in my tracks, smack in the middle of an idea stream, to edit what I'd just written. Additionally, each time I would sit down to write, first I would read the previous pages I had written. Then, while reviewing them, I would notice a misspelling or inconsistency and immediately, the anal retentive side of me would kick into edit mode and rather than writing additional pages and getting my ideas onto paper, I would get stuck editing. The worst part of it is that until I read River's post, I really hadn't been cognizant of it.

From this moment on, I will not be going back and reading previous pages, nor will I begin editing until I have completed the entire rough draft. I really believe that this will benefit me greatly and that my manuscripts will no longer be "casualties of my perfection".

Feb 18, 2011

Metamorphosis: The Beginning

Artist: Emerald De Leeuw (epilogue.net)
Earlier today I sat down at my keyboard intent on selecting one of several "in-progress" manuscripts to concentrate on and complete as my first novel. As I was reviewing them, one particular story titled "Metamorphosis: the Beginning" resonated with me. A tale that recounts a young woman's transformation and spiritual rebirth matched exactly where I am currently on my own life path as I transition from life as a Crime Scene Investigator and Law Enforcement Officer to becoming an author.  
Here's a little sample from Chapter 1 for your review:
" Wringing her sweating hands together, Victoria Huntington continued running the details of her escape plan in her mind. She couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. The Sanguine moon of her twenty-first year was less than a week away and at that time, as the last living female descendant of the McKlaugh coven, she would receive an infusion of power and would assume her mother’s long vacant role as Berkshire’s Grand Sorceress. There was just one problem. As the Grand Sorceress she was bound by coven law to mate with and serve the coven's Grand Master, Mason Dechlan, who was also her legal protectorate. He had managed to manipulate the coven's tenants to gain full legal control over her in the years immediately following her parent's questionable deaths, and once he was able to tap into and manipulate her powers, he would become the most powerful warlock in history... unless... she stopped him."
I look forward to your feedback but please keep in mind that this is just a preliminary draft of a work in progress.   

Feb 16, 2011

Rechelle's Diary: 2/16/11 - A Long Time Coming

Image: Writingdesksonline.com

I am so excited that I have created a space, both in my home and on the web, where I can actively pursue long held dreams of becoming a published best-selling author. I remember days of recording what now seem like such insignificant happenings in my "journal". Writing provided me with the means to constructively release my bottled up emotions and was very therapeutic. It wasn't until I was in high school that my imagination really kicked into overdrive and I began crafting spell binding tales of intrigue and suspense. Unfortunately, most of my stories were locked inside my head and never managed to get transferred to paper. There was the occasional short-story that I had to write for English class, which seemed to impress my English teacher very much, but I was not in a place at that time where I had very much self esteem or faith in my own talents and abilities. It was much safer to keep the stories floating around in my imagination critique and ridicule free. Teenagers can be so unforgiving and insensitive.Throughout the years, I continued to journal my random thoughts and kept thinking to myself, "You should really write a book." Self-doubt and the fear of failure and rejection kept rearing their ugly heads however, and although I would start a manuscript, I could never seem to get past the first couple of chapters. I would talk myself out of the entire process by convincing myself that I was not lucky enough or talented enough to get anything published. This cycle of starting enthusiastically then quickly giving up became a routine for me.
 I did manage to author several blogs over the years, however, these were also short lived as I circumstances forced me to work multiple jobs in order to sufficiently support myself and my son. Let me be the first to tell you that law enforcement officers are so very underpaid, especially in comparison to the level of danger that we experience each and every day. The hours are long and the job is a thankless one that breeds indifference and threatens to eat away at the officer's spirit and humanity. Burn out is high in this profession and it's not hard to see why. I have been burnt out for years and the job no longer satisfies me the way it once did. So I think the universe sort of steered me towards the road I am on today, seeking a different career path, something rewarding  and fulfilling. I need that in my life.
Fortunately, through all these years, my mother always had faith in me and my writing talents and never stopped encouraging me to pursue a career a writing career. Thanks so much mom! I love you for that and for always seeing the possibilities and talents in me that I sometimes didn't recognize in myself.
It has taken a lot of soul searching and quite a few years (a couple of decades actually) to get to the point where I finally feel ready to become, and to live as, a writer. I have finally managed to put aside all of the insecurities of the past and devote myself to the pursuit of this revived dream. So, I have pulled out all those unfinished chapters and am seriously committed to turning those forgotten pages into tomorrow's best-sellers because I am a writer!

Feb 11, 2011

Rechelle's Diary: 2/11/11 - Finishing Touches

Well, I have spent another long day tweaking my blog, twitter, and facebook pages. I would just like to say thanks to all of you aspiring and published authors who have already visited and left feedback about the site and for the wonderful reception and encouragement that I have been shown so far by the RWA community.
I must confess, however, that I did take a rather long break this evening to curl up on the couch and watch two of my favorite movies (based on two of my favorite books of course), "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, and "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell.
Image: cinemasource.com

And aaahhh, Mr. Darcy....swoon, the absolute perfect romantic lead. He is stubborn, and a bit arrogant, yet still tender and vulnerable when it matters most.

Image: backseatcuddler.com

I think my favorite part of the entire movie (2005 version with Keira Knightley & Matthew McFadyen) is the scene depicted above towards the end of the movie. After Lady Catherine's visit Lizzie is standing outside in a field and then sees the sillouetted Mr. Darcy sauntering towards her out of the morning mist. There is just something so sexy and alluring about that scene. You can just feel your heart in your throat as you can see the trepidation and hope in Mr. Darcy's face.
And let's not leave out the crass Rhett Butler. It is fitting that only a fiery, independent, and determined woman like Scarlett O'Hara could capture his heart. He saw beyond her  haughty "Southern Belle" facade and identified with the real woman that lied underneath despite her many flaws. And in true romantic fervor, he was willing to go the distance in order to claim her affections. 

Image: Charlenefilmblog.com

I think tommorrow I will have to delve into the psyche of these two men a little deeper after I've actually slept and had time to reflect more on exactly what it is about each of these men that make them such attractive characters, and how I can incorporate some of these traits into my hero. For now though, I'm off to bed.

Feb 10, 2011

Blog Under Construction

Image: stampthat.com

I'm so glad that you found your way here. As a blogger, writer and aspiring author, I needed a place where I could share my thoughts and ideas as I embark on the journey towards fulfilling my life-long dream of becoming a best-selling author. It all begins here and I want to share it with you.
Please bear with me as I am still developing my site and will be making changes to the look, feel, and design of the site as this project progresses. I will be posting here regularly, so please pardon the mess while the site is undergoing its final constuction phase.