Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day Thirteen- When Your Luck Runs Out

I didn't write at all yesterday. GASP! Scorched was unscathed the whole day. The husband made a point of noticing that I reach 51K and then sit back and do nothing.

I was just busy "networking" aka "running all over the internet commenting on everyone's business."

However, it is Friday the 13th, and I wanted to talk about dust bunny books. There are two books that are commonly held to be your "practice" books. The first book you write--and anything written during NaNo.

I've got this first book--the first book I wrote, and I don't know what to do with it. They say your first book is a throw-away book, but I like this book and it's integral to the Sarah series. I don't want to throw it away, but it's sort of... pacing impaired. I think it may have been over-edited. Plus, it's about someone with OCD written very stream of consciousness, so it's choppy from that too.

Has anyone recovered a book that was drawer-worthy? or will edits just Frankenstein it to something hideous and unrecognizable?

I almost feel like starting over, but I don't want to do that either. Ugh. I just don't know. Plus, the poor thing was even shifted to be second in the series, so it suffered through a batch of rewrites over that. I have friends clamoring to get their hands on this other series, and some of the later Sarahs are rocking awesome. I really wish I could save Devi from the middle of the books and give her an entire series.

It's not that bad, but... ugh.


Also, can you actually shelve books? Will you shelve your NaNo book if you're writing one? I can't stand to see books shelved. It just seems so sadly tragics. Stories going untold. Characters thrown away. Sniff. Sniff.

BTW--I'm still sick. It's time to see a doctor about a culture I think. (I meant a throat culture--because I'm not sure if that made sense. I'm a little impaired myself today.) I'm worried I have Strep throat. I used to get it so often when I was in my early teens that they decided I was a carrier. Now, I seem to have no tolerance to it. This has been an odd sickness. I'm not piling up Kleenex by the box load. It's just in my throat and lungs. Every time I get something like this and bring up Strep throat, the husband goes into public service announcement mode with the kids and brings up that Jim Henson died of strep throat. I think this makes us sick in a new way, but I can't be sure.

B got an award today, though. She got a "Terrific Kid Award" at an assembly. T got this last year and has turned into a braggart about it--to the point that he's become a pest. Thank goodness that B got hers now too. We get to put the bumper sticker on our car and become one of "those" parents. It feels like we're slapping on a badge of "uncoolness" in doing so, though. I'm not sure how to counteract it. I did wear a Pantera sweatshirt to the assembly, so that would win me cool points--except for the fact I wore it because it's warm and snuggly. Well, also, I've never gone to a Pantera concert, and I don't know where I got this sweatshirt. I usually get "nods" from teenagers that see it--like I'm hard core. Is it wrong that I don't correct their impression?

Happy Friday, everyone!


  1. Is Pantera still popular? Either way, way to stay hardcore.

  2. Correction: Was Pantera ever popular?

  3. If they'd ever been popular, then they'd be considered lame now. Popularity is fickle. Obscurity becomes cool without the ugly shine of glory.

    That's why we truly want to just be obscurely well-known... not popular.

  4. Let the teenagers think what they want. LOL

    It definitely sounds like it's time to see the doctor. I hope you feel well soon!

    My first book was edited to death! I really can't put either that one (or the second) out into the world in good conscience. But several years have gone by now. And I was thinking this week that I could still resurrect the story, by pulling it out and basically beginning the book all over again. It sounds like a good idea because I have a lot more to give it now as an author.

    As for the original draft, I can use it as a large collection of notes to help me remember certain plot or character points. If one of the scenes still works, it can be put into the new book.

  5. My brain hurts after reading your comments section. Ow.

  6. My very first book is a monstrosity. 175K YA fantasy with no plot. It will NEVER see the light of day. I loved my characters so much that at the start of the year I re-wrote it completely. New stories, setting etc. It was better but still...
    I'm considering yanking the four main characters out of the fantasy realm entirely and giving them a story. One day.

    I have another book (The Freaks) which I think has a good story but would need an entire re-write. With Charms I'm hopeful but realistic. I will shelve it if I need to.

    As for my NaNo story, I can't imagine I'll shelve it. I love it too much and I think it's the best thing I've written so far.

    I think most people end up shelving some of their earlier works because usually it takes at least 1 book before get half-decent. At least that's what I think. That said, it's hard to let go but the more you do it the easier it gets. I want to be published so I have to be realistic--not everything I write is going to cut it.

    Sorry for hijacking your comments section! I hope you feel better soon.

  7. No, thanks, Jade. That's exactly what I was asking. You totally can't shelve your NaNo book. I forbid it.

    L.T.--I'm sorry. It's probably sugar shock from the amount of times I mention Frosting.

    Mary, that's sort of what I'm wondering. Starting fresh, but using the story as a jumping off point. I don't know. Maybe I'm being too hyper-critical. It's hard to say. I might need to wait a few more months for more perspective on it anyway.

  8. I shelved my first book. No one will ever see it again. E..V..E..R. I think it clocked in at around 120K. Embarrassing, horrifying, vile book. Edited beyond all recognition. Put on life-support and re-worked and revised... but is the story on life support going to have a worthwhile quality of life? Will it ever be the story my mind envisioned? Not in my story's case. So I pulled the plug. Exhuming it sounds like icky business and definitely nothing I plan on doing.

    And Wendy, I think you're right. It's time you see a doctor. Wait, is that what's wrong with Geeky/Wonderful Husband? Have you infected him? Your poor sick home! And you still managed to take care of Sinister for me... If I could I'd email you chicken soup with fresh baked pillsbury croissants.

  9. Seriously??? you are at 51 k??? How is that possible?? Oh, I know, now you have extra time so you are going to come over and work on my novel for me. Aw, Wendy, that is soooo sweet. I'll make cookies for you. And tea.

    I have resurrected from the drawer, but usually in the form of a complete-from-scratch-rewrite. If the idea just won't leave you alone, you kind of have to do something.

    Good Luck.

  10. If I can't bring my first MS out of the drawer someday, I'll open a vein--I swear.

    Anyhoo, You can get a My Honors Student can beat up your honors student bumper sticker:D

    You have an award over on my blog, BTW.

    Get better, soon.

  11. Diana, Mmm...pillsbury rolls and chicken soup. I don't know what the husband has. He slept for a long time, so it's not what I have. I can't seem to sleep unless I've taken all kinds of drugs. We've been sitting around watching "Castle" today. It's hilarious.

    Shelley, what kind of cookies? Most of my ideas can't leave me alone unfortunately.

    Tina, I think the same thing. I really hate to leave it in the drawer.

  12. I'm trying not to get sucked into the urban legend that a first manuscript will never get published. But, I do agree that the first book is always a learning experience. A big one.

  13. When I think urban legend... I think much more exciting things...usually of people getting their kidneys ripped out and being left in a bathtub full of ice in Vegas. Still, leaving this manuscript behind feels a little like that... I mean... without the ice... of course.

    I HAVE learned so much from writing and more writing--so much more than I could have from just reading and studying.

  14. Sadly, I'm very big believer in the "Million bad words" concept (that you have to purge a million bad words before you get to any good ones). I have 5 screenplays sitting on a shelf gathering dust, and I know if I were to ever go back and read them it would depress the crud out of me. The ideas themselves may not be so bad, but trying to keep bits and pieces when the writing is so far away from what it needs to would be worse than just starting fresh. It's a depressing thought (thus why they sit on the shelf). But maybe you already got your million bad words out and the draft isn't so bad.

    Also, my husband had a cold this whole last month, and it settled in his chest and throat like yours. It wasn't strep, but he still needed antibiotics because they were worried all the fluid in his lungs would breed pneumonia. You might want to go to the doctor. (BTW 3 days on antibiotics and he was 99% better.)

  15. I have to start watching Castle. Right now we're watching Tosh.0.

    Regarding Wendy's excellent topic (again). I've been teetering on the brink of shelving my second book... the one that needs to go to third person (hee hee Wendy, okay I'll stop!). *Ahem* Anyway, if it ever hits the world some far off day, it would not be an exaggeration to say that it would be wholly thanks to Wendy, who will not let it be left on the writing battlefield.

    "I'm going back for the story, Di."

    "No Wendy! It's not worth it! There are adverbs all over the place! The story is crawling with unrealistic dialog and vocabulary that will go over the average YA reader's head! And sentence fragments!"

    "No story gets left behind, Di. Not while I've got a keyboard to type on."

    "Wendy, come back! Noooo!! Ahh! The horror, the horror. So many cliches, such terrible pacing, oh my bleeding eyes. Why, Wendy? Why!"

    "Calm down, Di. See? It's alive. It's not that bad off, really."

    "Oh. Look at that. And I was gonna leave it out there to die."

    "Just work on it. I really think it might pull through."

    Annnd, blog hijacked. Semi-sorry about that. Hope you're feeling better and getting some rest. Glad to hear the husband might be spared.

  16. Wow--that was a solid hijack right there, Diana. Very thorough job. For a second, I looked around and thought, "Wait! Whose blog am I in now? Is this mine? Is it Diana's?" Slowly, the madness receded, and I went and had some Frosting, and everything became clarity. I call it "Clarity through Frosting," and it's a special therapeutic device I use whenever reality seems too realistic.

    Shannon, when you first said "a million bad words"--I was totally thinking of profanity, and I'd be soooo far behind in that case. Luckily, I've written so much that I might actually have written more bad words than most of the rest of you. I might be king, queen, princess... but not Prince... because not even Prince is known as Prince anymore.

    I totally need to go see the doctor. I just seem to get so much better around the middle of the day, and then, late at night, it hits me down again. Ugh. I just keep thinking "Wow... I'm so much better" and then "NOT!" My lungs are feeling crappy again now. I've got issues with pneumonia hitting me over and over too. It's just so hard to go into the doctor and say, "Okay... this might just seem like the trail end of a cold, but mark my words... I'll be miserable later on." I hate sickness like this.

    I'm less sure of how I'll feel tomorrow than how well Diana's book will fare. (Okay... go with me, Di. Think Les Miz... and sing: "It will live... Diana, it's going to live! It's too soon--too soon to say goodbye.") Beautiful. I cried... but that might be from coughing. Annnd, blog taken back. Thank you. Thank you very much.

  17. Nicely done, Wendy. At first I thought the blog was still up for grabs, but the ending was solid. And I know what you mean about the doctor. They could be on death's door at home, but they're never sick at the doctor.

    Flashy Fiction is back with a new prompt. Hint hint!

  18. Oh no! I think I have strep too! Poor Jim Henson :(

    First book is definitely collecting dust right now.

  19. I didn't give it to you, Mariah--just so we're clear. (I already had my sister ranting on me via texting over not seeing the doctor earlier this week.)

    Diana, HAH! HA HA! Boo yah. This is still my blog. Thanks for the flashy fiction tip. I got excited and ran there to go my mind revving. I knew that Deb wouldn't let us down, though. Deb doesn't do that.

  20. I'll admit to having a first novel tucked away in my briefcase which sits at the tippy top of our bookcases so no one, NO ONE can reach it. (Except my husband who's graciously agreed not to touch it until I'm in the grave and even then, might be kind enough not to.)

    Not sure I have my million words down yet. But I'm close! So maybe NaNoWriMo will push me over the ledge...or onto the ledge...whatever.

    I'm distracted by all your entertaining comments. I laughed so much my hubby asked what I was reading. ;)

  21. Wow, Catherine. In a briefcase? You take this very seriously.

    There was a writer who insisted that his family destroy all of his stuff after he died, but they didn't listen. Thinking... thinking... thinking.

    Kafka! I'm almost sure. Yes. He wanted everything burned unread. Luckily, those he left his stuff to--disregarded his request after his death. (Well, I say it's lucky, but Kafka's dead so it's hard to say what he might have really wanted even if he had received acclaim.)

    So, we'll see. Your husband might find the next great novel in your briefcase--or he might agree with you. I think you should live forever just to keep us in suspense.

  22. blog hijack, peed my pants funny.

    That's it. I'm out.