The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, September 10, 2012

I HATE When That Happens

        Don't you hate it when you get something marvelous to read, and you can't put it down? Other things call to you...the laundry...lesson plans...the dishes...plucking the stray white eyebrow hairs that have formed a huge (but scattered) community and are apparently there to stay.

          The night before last, I was up until 2:00 in the morning--reading. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. I finally surrendered--reluctantly--because I was going on a hike this morning. I had to get at least a little rest. 

photo by DARREN STONE
 
          My eyes looked...well, they looked horrible. I'm sparing you the image of what they actually looked like, and am instead using this cool, purplish eye. Just add a large gray Samsonite bag under the eye, lots of red vein-y things across the white of the eyeball, and wrinkly, crepe-paper skin surrounding the eye.

           Last night I was up til 11. I finally finished it. I was compelled-- by the plot--to get to the end so I could find out how all the loose ends got tied up.

          For months, a writing friend and WWWP, Lynn Obermoeller, has been sharing her manuscript with the other WWWPs. Some meetings, she would share a submission for Chicken Soup or Sasee or some other publication. Other meetings, she would share a small piece of the novel she created during NaNoWriMo 2012.

          It's really hard to keep the momentum of the story going if you only get bits and pieces of it. Especially if the novel has some shreds of mystery about it, if there are some elements of suspense embedded in the tale. Waiting a couple of weeks or a month for the next installment became unbearable...

           A novel is like a baby the writer gives birth to. A memoir or other piece of nonfiction is like an adopted bambino--in some ways even more difficult than the "conventional" way of bringing your "creation" into the world, but the writer's baby nonetheless. However, a novel is totally new, completely coming from the writer's imagination. And you have to tread lightly when the nose, the eyes, the mouth---when they all can be traced back to the writer. Friends might want to crowd around to see the new arrival, but parents are fiercely protective. They might say, "No visitors right now."

           When the other four WWWPs demanded to get a copy of the manuscript--all of it at once--Lynn was brave enough to surrender. And then, I imagine she held her breath. Probably is still holding her breath. 'Cause no one wants people to gush over your "breathtaking" baby when--in actuality--the baby is hideous (for all you Seinfeld fans).

              What has been keeping me up late during the last two nights? Lynn's story. I am not really prepared for work today, will probably stumble through my schedule, I'll be observed by a roving group of administrators and it will be apparent I did diddly-squat (work-wise) over the weekend, I will be brought into the principal's office to be reprimanded, I will cry out, "But I was reading Lynn's story. I couldn't put it down. I had to finish it," and my boss will shake his head, I'll get fired and will have to become a stripper a slurpee machine operator to support my family.

              All because of a well-written story...

             What book or WIP (work in progress) is keeping you up at night lately? Or If you're planning on taking part in NaNoWriMo, what ideas do you have so far? Or What's the bravest thing you've ever done as a writer?

          


16 comments:

  1. Yes, the entire manuscript in hand makes a huge difference. I'm reading a book by a guy who knows nothing about which he writes: female sexuality. You;d swear he was a teenaged boy with his cliche`s. I am ready to ditch it.

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    1. Linda--Ug! Ditch it. It sounds awful.

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  2. Sioux, you are way too kind. Since I'm working hard on NOT letting the inner critic take charge, I will say, with grace - thank you. Looking forward to your feedback.

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    1. Lynn--You are welcome. I do appreciate that you shared it with us. That takes a lot of guts.

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  3. Now, we all want to read it, Lynn!

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    1. And hopefully, everyone WILL get a chance to read it.

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  4. Dang it! I've got three strikes. No book is keeping me up at night. The thought of NaNoWriMo gives me a headache. And I'm not very brave at all.

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    1. It's all relative, Val. So you not VERY brave? What's the most brave thing you've done? (And me thinks you doth protest too much. Have I butchered Will enough?)

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  5. Hi Sioux,

    Lynn's manuscript must be a great one to keep you reading into the wee hours of the morning, and I'm impressed that you took a hike so early in the morning.
    As far as what keeps me up at night--other than my hubby's snoring and the owl in the neighbor's yard--nothing of late.
    I tried NaNoWriMo and lasted about a week.
    The bravest thing I've ever done as a writer was to read one of my short stories that had some off-color language to a mixed audience, but I read the off-color words really, really fast and kept my head down.

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    1. I would have loved to hear you read that, Donna, since I know you RARELY read your work in a really public venue.

      I think you should try NaNoWriMo again. I ended up with one huge hot mess of a story last year, but I am planning on beginning this year differently--with a plot "skeleton" but other than that, trusting in the process.

      Would you consider trying it again? Let me know, and I'll be glad to be your cheerleader.

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  6. Gosh, I didn't know Lynn had written an entire book!! That is wonderful...and the fact that it kept you up half the night....Wow! Thanks for sharing this info, Sioux!

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    1. You're welcome. And yes, it is indeed compelling.

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  7. I am so jealous that you now know what that entire baby looks like! I'm still savoring Elizabeth Berg's The Pull of the Moon, which I highly recommend to anyone, but especially middle-aged women. Then I will enjoy the rest of Lynn's novel. Don't you dare even hint at what happens. Even though I might ask you. ;)

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    1. Tammy--I promise to not divulge a single detail.

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  8. OMG! I want to read it!!! Sioux, thank you so much for stopping by to say hi. I'll read that other book you recommended too.

    Hope you have the best week,

    Kathy M.

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  9. I remember many years ago when I had a desk job and was reading The Firm by John Grisham, I couldn't put it down. My friend gave me a tip for reading at work. She told me to make copies of the pages, so I wouldn't look like I was reading a book. I could put the pages in a manilla folder so it looked like I was reading a file! I didn't get to use that tip because I stayed up (way too) late the night before to finish it!

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