Shelving Being Daniel & What’s Next?

I promised an update on Being Daniel at the beginning of February, and here it finally is.

Like I planned, I started over and rewrote Being Daniel from the beginning. That process started out very rewarding and exciting and as I went, I thought, “Awesome! This is going to work!” But then something happened.

I got to the part that had really given me trouble in my original draft, the part that I had rushed because I didn’t know what to do with it; the nitty-gritty of why the relationship between the primary characters doesn’t work. I found that I still didn’t know what to do with it. But I kept trying. I had so many ideas and did more research to be certain I was portraying this emotionally abusive relationship as sensitively but authentically as possible.

Unfortunately, I’ve realized that now just isn’t Being Daniel‘s time. I’m not in a place where I am able to mentally or emotionally dig deep where I need to, but even more than that, there are elements in the story that aren’t fully formed in my head and heart. I’ve gotten feedback, tried writing my way through those underdeveloped parts and given it my best effort; the story just isn’t ready.

So now what?

Well, I’ve been asked to write a play for a local homeschool group! I wrote a play two years ago for them and it was such a fun experience watching them bring it to life. I’m going to focus on writing the best play that I can for them and see where I am after that. I’m hopeful Being Daniel will be a published book someday, but I’m at peace with shelving it for the time being.

Thanks for reading, God bless!

Clare

 

More Posts on Being Daniel:

Writing Alcohol

Being Daniel – 95 Days To Go

What I Wrote Today 1

What I Wrote Today 2

What I Wrote Today 3

Being Daniel Concept Art

 

What I Wrote Today – 3

They headed out of the city on US-63. Isabel drove very fast and efficiently. She rolled the windows down and leaned back in her seat, a small smile on her face.

Tony gazed at her, his heart pounding. He looked across the car at her and took in the sight of her, windblown but the happiest he’d ever seen her. She was beautiful and wild and all he wanted was to touch her. He reached out and rested his hand on her knee. She rested her hand on top of his and kept her eyes on the road. Her small smile widened for a second.

“I haven’t done this in years,” she said.

“What?” he asked.

“Drive,” she answered. “Drive just to drive. Just to go fast and go far away,”
“Is that what you and Daniel did?”

She nodded. She lifted her hand off of his and turned on the CD that was in the player. Tony had never heard any of the songs that played, but the music seemed to turn their drive into a scene from a movie.

“What is this?” he asked.

“Thriving Ivory,” Isabel replied. “This album is from 2008,”

“I love it,”
“Really?” she asked. “Some people think the lead singer’s voice is weird,”

“No, I like it. It’s different,”

They fell silent and lyrics filled up the car.

You’re talkin’ in your sleep like there’s nothing more to lose/ Well hey you know you’re not alone,

‘Cause honey, I get lonely too, and it feels so familiar, must have been here before, singing ‘I don’t wanna go, but I don’t wanna hurt anymore’.

Tony kept his hand on her knee and she kept both hands on the wheel.

About half an hour later, Tony saw a sign for Lake Louise State Park, and Isabel signaled to exit. They drove into the park and Isabel let Tony pay the entry fee at the front office, then kept driving. They passed camping grounds and a picnic area, and finally, Isabel stopped the car and parked in a small lot beyond a sign that read Lake Louise Dam. She got out of the car, taking her coffee along with her, and led him towards the sound of steadily flowing water.

As they exited the parking lot, Tony saw the dam. It looked like a huge version of a fake waterfall set up in someone’s yard, with water from the lake spilling into the river, flowing down over the sloped concrete barrier.

There was a family with three small boys playing noisily around on the far bank, running in and out of the trees, but otherwise, the place was deserted. Isabel walked right up to the dam and slipped off her shoes before sitting down on a portion of the barrier wall. Tony took his shoes and socks off and sat down beside her. She had a melancholy expression on her face as she stretched her leg out to let the water from the dam spill over her foot.

The little family came back across the shallow water and left, taking their noise away with them in a minivan. It was quiet except for the sound of the water and Tony’s heart pounding away in his ears. He broke the silence after a few minutes. “Why here?” he asked.

“This was our place,” she said, looking out at the lake. “We’d come here whenever we needed to talk.”

Tony popped the lid off his cup, sloshing a little on his hand. He licked the coffee off his knuckles and looked at her. Her gaze was fixed on the water, as though she was were seeing something that made her very sad.

“So that’s what you want to do right now?” he asked. “Talk?”

Being Daniel – Concept Art

Do books have concept art? They do when I’m writing them, that’s for sure.

I am a highly visual person and it can be hard to translate the ideas in my head to words on a page. With Being Daniel in particular, I’ve had a hard time staying focused. Sometimes when that happens, the best thing for me is to do something else creative but still related to the book. That usually means making soundtracks or graphics to kind of a set a tone or capture the aesthetic I’m going for.

Here is the piece that I made yesterday for Being Daniel.

bdconceptart1.jpg

I just used some free domain silhouette images and PicMonkey and this is what I came up with. In case you haven’t been clued in, Being Daniel is about a dysfunctional relationship between two people who need to love and forgive themselves before they can love anyone else. Because I’m a sucker for romance and can much more easily write a beautiful story about true love, it helps me to have this image in mind while I’m working on this story.

bdconceptart2.jpg

What do you do to stay focused while writing? Let me know!

Thanks for reading, new post coming Friday. God bless!

Clare

 

Other posts on Being Daniel

Writing Alcohol

Being Daniel – 95 Days To Go

What I Wrote Today 1

What I Wrote Today 2

 

Starting Over

I have officially started re-writing Being Daniel. I opened a new document and labeled it Being Daniel Draft 4. I’ve taken my outline and I am going to rewrite the entire book, scene by scene.

Why?

I am so horribly burnt out on this book, it makes me want to cry tears of rage just looking at it. I’ve been plugging away at it for months now and while the story is pretty good, it’s incomplete. There are holes. It’s really badly written. It’s making me mad and I want to quit.

I’ve decided that, instead of quitting, I’m going to start over. I’m not sure how but, as I was writing this book (really fast, I might add), stuff went awry. I have no sense of who my two main characters are. That is unacceptable. I believe this story is important and beautiful, but I have messed up somewhere along the line.

This is one of the perks of self-publishing. I can set my own pace and pursue the projects my heart is in. That being said, I had originally committed to publishing Being Daniel on December 14th. It’s been almost a month since then and I haven’t even touched it since November started.

So, here’s my plan. I am going to hit Being Daniel hard for the rest of the month of January. If on February 1st it’s still misery and suffering just to look at it, I’ll let it go and move on to something else. I quit writing from 2012 to 2015 because people kept telling me, “You have to finish all those unfinished books sitting on your computer before you can start something new.” And it absolutely killed any desire I had to write. The truth about me as a writer is that sometimes, no matter how much I grind away at it, a story just isn’t going to come. It isn’t ready.

That might be the case with Being Daniel, but I’m going to give it a try.

Thank you to everyone who beta-read Being Daniel in its original form. Please don’t feel as though it was a waste of time — I was able to come to this decision because of your feedback and concerns.

February 1st, I will either announce a tentative publication date or that Being Daniel is being put into storage indefinitely. I have a goal to publish three books this year, and while Being Daniel was intended to be the first of those three, I can’t let it slow me down or stall me out completely.

Thanks for reading. Stories coming soon, I promise — and new post coming Friday!

God bless,

Clare

 

Other posts on Being Daniel

Writing Alcohol

Being Daniel – 95 Days To Go

What I Wrote Today 1

Blogmas 2017 – Day 21/31 – What I Wrote Today 1

Happy Winter Solstice!

Confession time – I honestly haven’t been writing since NaNoWriMo ended. I was, for a while. I was writing blog posts for Blogmas. But even writing my writing actual blog posts has kind of shriveled up since I unexpectedly moved to a new place a week ago. No regrets, but I realized, “Hey, just posting something on my blog isn’t the point. The point is to be writing. Every day.” So this morning I intentionally sat down to write…something. Anything. This is what I came up with. It isn’t much. It may not even make it into the final draft of Being Daniel. But I wrote something, and that’s what counts.
What I Wrote Today 1 – 12/21/17

Jill came over. The door wasn’t locked so she let herself in. She found Nick sitting on the floor in front of his couch, gazing at Tony who was fast asleep.

She went and sat down beside him. Without speaking, she slipped her arm around him and he took her hand.

“How is he?” she asked softly.

Nick shrugged. “Slowly sobering up,”

“How are you?”

Nick sighed. “I’ll get back to you on that,”

Jill kissed his cheek and rested her head against his shoulder. “You aren’t going to throw him out, are you?”

Nick scoffed. “Of course I’m not going to throw him out. What would happen to him if I did? He would never admit it, but he needs me. I’m all he’s got.”

Jill nodded slowly. She studied the pinched expression on Tony’s sleeping face. “Poor guy,” she murmured.

“It’s mostly self-inflicted,” Nick said.

Jill smiled sadly. “I know,” 

“I love him, Jill,”

“I know you do,” she said. “I love him, too.”

 

Thanks for reading, God bless!

Clare

 

Check out the rest of Blogmas 2017

Get a copy of Good You Were Here

Blogmas 2017 – Day 7/31 – 2018 Goals

First off — need a Christmas present for someone who likes to read? Particularly someone who likes to read sad books? Need a good cry yourself? Want to support me? Consider buying my book Good You Were Here, available on Amazon for only $7.50! Ships with Amazon Prime! Signed copies available for $10 if you just ask: claremariespeltz@gmail.com.

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Evan feels like he should be dead. He has survivor’s guilt from a terrible accident over a decade ago. He dwells in the past, thinking of all the things he would take back if only he could. But then he meets Angela.

Angela is dying. Her life consists of managing her congestive heart failure symptoms and preparing for death. But then she meets Evan, a locksmith who can open anything except his heart. They get to know each other, and Angela begins to believe there is time to live before she dies.

Lazlo wants to kill someone. He can’t think of any way to get back at death for taking his wife from him. But then he reconnects with Angela, the dying girl across the street from him, and he has to decide if he will fight off the shadows in his life, or let them consume him, with violent consequences.

As the year runs down, the three of them must come to grips with death in their own ways and struggle to continue living in the moments that have been given to them.

Think about it.

Without further ado…

2018goals1

2017 has been a good year for me. It really has. I think a lot of that is due to the fact that I actually started setting goals with tangible steps to achieve them. I still have a long way to go, but I’m determined to keep setting goals and growing into the best version of myself.

Here, in no particular order, is my first draft of my 2018 goals.

  • Learn hand-lettering – This is something I know I’m totally capable of doing and absolutely love. I just need to get on Pinterest and invest the time.
  • Go on 3 dates? – I have no idea if this will happen. It will depend on whether or not I meet anyone I actually want to go on a date with. We’ll see.
  • MOVE OUT! – This is just about my biggest priority. I’m determined to be in my own space as soon as possible. January sounds nice. Trying (failing) to be patient.
  • Publish 3 books – Being Daniel will come out as early as possible in 2018. I’ll aim to get Where Your Story Ends out by early summer. I’m not sure yet what I’ll have for you after that, but I’m going to stretch myself and try to get another book out in the fall or winter. Exciting stuff coming!
  • Actually try to learn Spanish – I’ll be perfectly honest – the movie Coco is the driving inspiration behind this goal. I’ve tried twice now and haven’t stuck to it, but I really want to expand my brain and my vocabulary.
  • Travel 2 new places, anywhere. – I always grow when I travel. I have a sister out in Arizona I want to visit and a friend is talking about road tripping to Florida, so we shall see.
  • NaNoWriMo – Doing NaNo this year has absolutely convinced me this should be a priority next year.
  • Cut down on stuff – I have a lot of ‘what if I need that someday?’ junk filling up my room. I want to have only the stuff I need so I have less I need to haul around with me wherever life takes me.
  • Create a nice summer wardrobe – I hate summer clothes. This year I’d like to invest in clothes that I actually like and don’t make me squirm.
  • Exercise somehow – To be fair, I gave this a solid try this summer. I wasn’t even remotely consistent but I was much more active than I have been in the past. Currently, my plan is to get myself a jump rope and at least do cardio.
  • Save $3000! – I really want to build up a respectable savings account. Every time I’ve saved up, it’s been to pay for something huge (trip to Italy, another trip to Italy, laptop, car…) and I want to finally have money put away and invested in my future.
  • Pay off loan woot woot! – I currently have less than $600 to go on my loan and I can’t wait until that is GONE.
  • Road trip with friends? – I have a friend who I really want to introduce to Lake Superior in Wisconsin and I also want to go back to the Grotto of Redemption in West Bend, Iowa. We’ll see.
  • BLOG CONSISTENTLY – No explanation needed.

I’ll be looking at this, adding to/editing it throughout this month, and hopefully, I’ll go into 2018 with an awesome list of goals and a clear plan to meet each of them.

Got any goals for 2018? Think setting goals is dumb? Let me know!

God Bless,

Clare

Click here to check out all of Blogmas 2017

Click here to buy Good You Were Here on Amazon

Being Daniel – 95 Days to GO

I got a countdown app to keep track of how many days to go until the publication date I’ve set for Being Daniel – December 14th, 2017 (my 23rd birthday). So here we are with 95 days to go, and I’d like to share a few random facts about this early Christmas present I’ll be sending you guys:

    1. Being Daniel is not actually finished, but it’s getting there. My goal is to be done writing the story by October 1st, which gives me all of October to edit and all of November to get it proof-read and perfect for you.
    2. Current word count for Being Daniel is approximately 37,000. Good You Were Here has a total word count of 33,318, so I’m guessing BD will be around 42,000 when all is said and done. Hopefully, no one minds a longer book that costs just a little more. (My guess is Being Daniel will be an even $10, if you’re curious.)
    3. I don’t have cover art finalized for BD, but here’s my initial prototype:

      BDCover3

      Look familiar? Yep. I’m purposefully trying to recreate the look from the GYWH cover.

      gywh16

    4. While Good You Were Here and Being Daniel are technically unrelated, I have a third story in the works that will connect them, making a sort of loose trilogy of books, all with similar themes. So be excited! No date for book three yet, but it’ll probably be early Spring 2018.
    5. Being Daniel will be set in Rochester, MN. I did a nine-month internship in Rochester over 2014-2015, and I thought it would be cool to set a story there. I set GYWH in a location I’d never actually been to (Newport/Jamestown, Rhode Island), so I decided to go easy on myself this time. Also, some of the themes in the book (anxiety, feeling lost, not really knowing yourself) were things I actually struggled with while living in Rochester.
    6. No will die in Being Daniel. There is, however, a dead character who is frequently referenced throughout the story. Sorry, guys. Death is a great literary tool and I can’t seem to write stories without it.

I hope you enjoyed these random facts/update on the progress of my next book. I’m trying to set up a schedule to be more consistent in blogging, so if there’s anything you’d be interested in having me blog about, let me know!

Thanks for reading and God bless,

Clare

Writing Alcohol (1 of ?)

As I type this, I’m sipping a cocktail made of some sparkling Izze juice and pomegranate vodka. I enjoy very few alcoholic beverages, have only had one shot in my life, have never been drunk, and I can have just as much of a good time with or without booze. I feel like I’m obligated to enjoy it just because I happen to be a 22-year-old woman. I’m still waiting for that magical day when I ‘grow up’ and love drinking wine. Wine is so classy and sophisticated.

Yeah, I hate wine.

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x

(Sorry, Kermit – and Mom.)

Meanwhile, today I finished an outline for a book in which the main character, Tony, is an alcoholic struggling to stay sober throughout the duration of the story. Here we face the challenge of writing what we don’t know! *Fireworks go off and fizzle out pathetically in the distance*

Not only am I a lightweight whom God did not create to dig the taste of liquor, but I don’t personally know anyone who I would consider an alcoholic – not even anyone who I would consider a reckless or stupid drinker. My older sisters are expert social drinkers and my mom is a wine snob, while my younger sister is an actual bartender.

So my knowledge of alcoholism is limited to TED Talks, Wikipedia, and Captain Jack Sparrow. Obviously, I’m not going to cut this element from my story. It’s part of the character, even if it’s not part of my personal experience. I’m just going to have to seek more sources and make sure I portray alcoholism – and recovery from it – as honestly as I possibly can.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – how alcohol and writing seem to have a very close-knit relationship. Many of the most famous authors in history were alcoholics. Ernest Hemingway is credited with the line “Write drunk, edit sober.” (although the internet tells me the quote is actually from a writer named Peter De Vries) My desire to write drinking and alcoholism into my story has nothing to do with wanting to fit in with the “writer aesthetic”, and everything to do with my desire to write authentic, human stories. Just because I don’t enjoy most alcohol and genuinely thought until like three years ago that everyone just pretended to like it because they liked getting drunk (don’t ask me how I developed these delusions) doesn’t mean that none of my characters will drink.

I’m blessed to have been raised in an environment where alcohol has always been used for celebration and enjoyment, and never viewed as a dangerous or sinful thing. When I was three or four, my grandpa would let me sip his beer. When I was fourteen or fifteen, my mom poured me my own glass of wine for Easter dinner. Even though I never really liked it, I was introduced to it in a way that made it seem like nothing more than a fancy adult treat – grown-up soda and juice, as it were. So, in spite of my own indifference towards booze, it’s definitely a part of my life and it finds its way into my writing easily.

For example, in my book Good You Were Here, drinking happens frequently, and for different purposes. Lazlo is drinking to try and numb his pain when he’s first introduced, but at another point, he’s calmly sipping a beer on his front porch. Evan drinks a beer on a picnic at the beach. Angela’s parents enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.

This is the first time I’ve tried to write a character who has a problem with alcohol. Everything is different now. No reference to booze can be casual because, for Tony, it’s anything but. He’s constantly battling with the temptation to drink, and ‘just one’ is never enough. It’s not fun to enter into the perspective of an addict and explore that painful enslavement, but, whether I like it or not, Tony is an alcoholic. I can’t change that about him. I mean, I could. But the funny thing about writing is that your characters tend to take on a life of their own, and you can tell when the author is making them do something that isn’t authentic to them. 

So, off I go into the process of writing a novel currently entitled Being Daniel, about a twenty-something who has hit rock bottom entirely due to his unhealthy relationship with alcohol. If anyone has any personal experience they’re willing to share about addiction and recovery, please feel free to contact me. I promise I will do my best not to sugarcoat or misrepresent this sensitive and serious issue. 

Thanks for reading, God bless!

– Clare