Tuesday, October 27, 2015

From Cuba to NaNoWriMo

The countdown is on. As I've already mentioned, I know.

The first countdown is to the interpreted performance of Artist Repertory Theatre's Broadway-style musical, "Cuba Libre." We will be interpreting that show this coming Saturday, October 31st, at 2:00 pm at the Winningstad Theatre. (Yes, Artists Repertory Theatre has taken this one outside of its home base on SW Morrison.)

The second countdown, which I know that you know that I know because even if you didn't know, I told you recently, is to NaNoWriMo. As of right now, my plan remains to do a complete rewrite of a novel with a messy pre/rough/first/partially edited draft. The story needs major rewrites; my writing has grown; I have new insights to the story - and it is no longer a matter of editing what is there. So, final (?) gasp for this story I like - new characters, new settings, and completely new words. And a new title. The working title has always been just that - a working title. Its relevance to the story was practically nil and the places where it was referenced, were forced and needed to be deleted, along with the old title.

Here is my my working cover and the new title of this story, my 2015 NaNoNovel.

There it is! Yesterday and this morning I was wondering about changing my plan, to no plan, or to a different story that is in my head - but I think I will stick with this one. We'll see what comes out at the stroke of midnight when the Municipal Liason announces it is time to "go, write!"

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Countdown to NaNoWriMo

The day is very near. Another year of NaNoWriMo. Big changes ahead for me this year. Maybe. Unless my characters revolt.

More to come on my 2015 process.

But, first, I have a show to interpret (the Broadway-bound, home-grown musical, "Cuba Libre" - creatied and produced by Artists Repertory Theatre).

And a few more decisions to be made about my plan.

I will let you in on a few secrets. Later. Not now.


Or maybe you'll have to catch them on the fly with me.

November is going to be a very busy month. With NaNoWriting and Theatre and ... It's all good. Living the creative life.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Roll Call

Tom Spanbauer talking at Portland's PWLive.
There were many great speakers, but his words
touched me deeply and profoundly.
I think it was August when I registered for the local Poets & Writers Live (PWLive) event. I signed up early to take advantage of the 50% Early Bird registration fee. Which was awesome.
And that was where I spent most of my day. 

It started way too early for me - but that is only in my adapted personal time zone because I tend to work late at night. By work I mean my professional "day job" though I do it at night. Which all works out really well because I also do theatre (which I know you know if you've followed me here or on Facebook or know me in person). Most theatre happens in the evening or at night; not always, but most of it. So having a nighttime day job in combination with working in the theater is pretty cool. Right? Right! But sometimes, like today, an event starts at early-for-me 9:00 am, and I can do it when I don't work late the night before. But that doesn't mean that I necessarily go to be early. 

Again, early for me, yes. But calling going to bed at midnight:30 "early" is funny. Though true in my case. Then the alarm going off at 7:30 am is early. It's not the earliest I get up, but close to it. And not often.

PWLive was worth getting up early. It was short panels and speakers, editors and publishers, writers talking about writing and writers reading their writing, and some creative sharing at the end. 

I was inspired, as I hoped I would be.

I met up with two writers I know from other workshops. One from an in-person workshop with Ariel Gore as well as in Ariel's Literary Kitchen; the other from in-person workshops in Port Townsend with Lidia Yuknavitch and Pam Houston. 

The local writer introduced me to one of her writing friends and we spent some time talking at the reception after the presentations were done. They invited me to join their casual get-together and write group and will let me know when they have their November dates set (I will be interpreting a play out of town on the day of the next one). 

In other news, now that I've mentioned November. Yes, it is nearly that time, again. NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. I have my NaNoWriMo writer's shirt and my NaNoWriMo mug and my NaNoWriMo winner's shirt will be here in a few weeks. I always order the winner's shirt early; it's one more incentive to actually finish. It would be a waste if I didn't. 

So prepare for NaNoUpdates - not yet, but soon.

I am (so far) planning a different approach this year. I am a pantser. My stories come from pantsing not from outlines and well-formed ideas ahead of time. I was successful one year by going into it with a starting place, a setting, and a cast of characters; some of them were fairly well defined before I started and I had done online searches to find pictures to represent my characters. But, often, I open up the computer and write with not a clue where we're going or with a very rough idea of what the story might be about. 

Oh, and I usually start NaNo with a title for my novel. A working title, not the actual thing if it turns out to be a thing.

So back to this year. 

I have a novel which has been in revision for a while. I've researched and read, and read some more. I've made maps and colored and circled and I switched protagonists and the new main protagonist switched gender. All fine; taken care of. No problem.

Except the story still needs major rewriting. Things deleted and added, gaps filled in, the plot strengthened. And there are not any "darlings" except the concept, the plot. No gems of sentences to cling to and save and carry forward. No - the plot, the movement of events - yes. 

So. NaNoWriMo this year is to give this novel one more chance. I will use my research and my notes and my reading and my vision to rewrite the book. I now know what has to happen when and who has to be where for it all to work. There are areas which need to be expanded; areas to complete cut because they are trash and slow the story down and don't need to be there; there are things which need to change. But I am going into NaNo with the story and a blank Scrivener project and rewriting the novel from word one. 

The fresh rewrite is not as crazy as it sounds. Really. Thing about it. With a main protagonist change, I probably have to write more about her, right? Because she wasn't the main character, her scenes are shorter and limited in depth and details. The book didn't start with her - but now I see it should. And what I thought was the inciting incident wasn't. When I discovered the true inciting incident I also discovered that the thing which happens - which has to happen for all of this to make sense - the character I thought was the protagonist has to be there but as it is written, she can't be there.

While this book has a bit of the speculative feel about it, there is not time travel. There is - well, nevermind; I will hold that thought until November, until I get it a little more solid in my head and in my story. 

Roll Call :
Today I took a day off of interpreting, including theatrical interpreting preparation.
Today I went to PWLive, heard good advice and inspiring words, met up with writing connections.
Today I had a nice, leisurely dinner out, alone, quiet, contemplating the event.
Then, today, I went to a dance performance - the first of the new White Bird Uncaged series; more creative inflow.
Today. A good day.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Another Brief Update

photo by Rooze - I love this one and I've used it before. And it's true.
Another update.

Not that I have anything really important to say. Not that I don't have anything important to say, either.

I mean - what constitutes importance? Right? No, now I'm blabbering in the page. In public. Not a good idea.

So the update I alluded to elsewhere (yes, it was on Facebook). I posted that I've been doing a lot of reposts and posting about interpreted performances, as well as some other things which touched me in some way. But mostly about theatre and interpreting. Which is all good.

Then it hit me that I wasn't posting much about what I'm doing personally. Or what I'm doing with my writing. So I posted something - about my kitchen witchery experiments with fermentation. Which are continuing and we're still alive to show that I haven't poisoned anyone yet! I have handed off one set of multiplied kefir grains to a friend (both water kefir grains and milk kefir grains) and I'm preparing to pass off another little bundle of milk kefir grains. That is all going great and it's fun and I really do feel like I'm brewing up some concoctions. And they taste good. Most of them. Like with my daily green smoothies. Mostly good but once in a while I hit a less than stellar combination and I make it through by thinking "healthy" as I drink it.

So. The writing.

I have already set up my 2015 NaNoWriMo page. Which is way, super early for me. Yes, I do have a title already. Which is also super early. And I have already done some preparation.

Whoa! Wait! Did I just say that? I am actually preparing to write this novel? I'm not being a pantser?

Yes, that is what I typed. I don't think I will have a full outline with backstories and graphs and plots and photos with circles and arrows and names on the back. But I have a plan.

See, what I'm planning for this year's NaNoNovel is to rewrite an earlier novel. It's one I liked at the time, but it had some major flaws, of course. A pre-draft of a novel and it was all over the place in terms of story and a mess. I've tried reworking and revising, I did some research, I workshopped parts of it. I did scene breakdowns and character breakdowns and on and one. It was the one I took with me to the Rockaway Beach Writing Workshop with Lori Lake last year. There I mapped out the entire story and had some helpful and amazing insights to the story. And the characters. And I did more revision and rewrites. And then ....

I realized the only way to save this story I really like is to rewrite it from the ground up. Well, not 100% because I do have a plot, I have some characters (though I need some changes). I have places and some scenes. Though many scenes will change, I believe. And big pieces need to be completely removed and replaced and reordered. What I feel like is that the novel I currently have is actually a narrative style outline (with extra material) for the novel.

So, in preparation, I read the book which has a central role in my novel. No, I'm not telling you any more about it than that. A few of my writing friends and partners know more, but that is all I'm going to write about here. So I did actually read the whole book, from start to finish. One translation of the book, anyway, and I have two more translations to read.

Yes, this book plays a major role and, yes, I had not previously read the entire book. I read about the book. I read excerpts from the book. I read criticisms of the book. But I had not read The Book Itself.

Now I have. Read the book.

What I found in my reading is that much of what I incorporated is not that far off from The Book's story. Some of the characters which reappear - sort of, no, I'm not telling more - in my novel were a good surface level match. In reading the actual book, I discovered that my premise for the inclusion of The Book and the inciting incident (which was one thing I discovered at Rockaway Beach last year) were very compatible. There are decisions I need to make and details to add to bring some things and people more to life, but at a basic level, I didn't do too badly.

There are also some things I need to figure out, such as about how some of this stuff works in the world of my novel. Those decisions and rules may not be overt, but for my story to hold together I need to make some policies and consistencies.

I also have some decisions to make about characters. The current characters and The Book characters and some other things which happen which I'm not telling you about right now.

No outline to follow. Except for the map from the workshop last October. The map basically lists who is in which group, the major events, and the order in which they happen. I will not have a written outline of who does what when and how and then fill in the words. But I will have a character list - with the expectation that someone new may show up! And I will have a few pieces of character development I need to include. And I have a few events which need to take place for congruency with The Book.

So I will be semi-pantsing? Or maybe not.

And, perhaps, this is all too early and when I open my laptop to write at the midnight transition from October 31st to November 1st, all of this could go on hold and a new set of characters with an entirely different story may show up to dance on the page. I will follow them, I think. I have learned that forcing my writing is almost never productive and it certainly isn't fun.

NaNo is coming and I'm ready. I think.