What I Wrote Today – 5

What I Wrote Today – An excerpt from my work in progress, Beanstalk & Basket. Jack is stuck on the last page of his story and would be completely bored – if he hadn’t just met the girl from the story next door.

Coming to you fresh and unedited – subject to change before future publication. Enjoy!

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Jack’s mother was where he left her when he returned to the mansion that night — sitting at the long, shiny wooden table in the dining room, counting gold coins, stroking the magic goose, Gertrude, who sat peacefully in her lap. She was chatting with the enchanted harp, Penelope, who was sitting on the table strumming herself and clearly not listening. Penelope looked like a normal harp, only with a woman carved into the bow, and her enchanted arms stretched out and her nimble fingers strummed herself expertly. Jack had gotten rather tired of harp music, but he couldn’t exactly complain about Penelope. He’d rescued her from a giant and she was eternally undignified in her gratitude towards him.

“There’s my hero!” Penelope called, waving merrily to Jack.

“Hello, Penelope,” Jack said, waving back and hurrying past the dining room to the stairs that would lead up to his room in the tower at the back of the mansion.

“Jack!” his mother called sharply.

He stopped short and poked his head into the dining room. “Yes, Mum?”
She looked up from her stack of coins and looked at him over the top of her small golden glasses, which she’d bought after he landed them in the lap of luxury with Gertrude and Penelope. “Where have you been?” she demanded. “The servants told me you never came round for supper,”

“Uh…just out chopping trees,” Jack replied.
“Ugh,” his mother grumbled. “I wish you wouldn’t do that. You don’t need to work. If anything you should go out and play, not work,”

Jack shrugged. “I enjoy working,”

She scoffed. “Imagine that. A boy who has reached his happily-ever-after, with a fine home and all the comforts of life, feeling any sort of need to go out and work!”

Jack sighed. He and his mother simply did not understand each other. For her, work meant survival. For him, it was…necessary. Fun at times, yes, but it was more that he felt like he’d go crazy if he wasn’t doing something.

“I’m tired, Mum,” he said. “I think I’ll go straight to bed,”
“That’s what work does to you, Jack, it wears you out. Isn’t that right, Gertrude?”

Gertrude looked up, honked as though in agreement, and closed her eyes again.

“Goodnight, Mum,” Jack said.

“Goodnight, Jack,” she called back. “Rest up. Maybe tomorrow you’ll have a little fun,”

Jack thought about that as he climbed the spiral staircase to his room — the only room the servants weren’t allowed to clean. Whatever happened tomorrow, he was pretty sure it was going to be interesting. He was going back to the gap. Maybe he’d see Red.

 

Thanks for reading, God bless!

Clare

 

More Like This: 

What I Wrote Today – 1

What I Wrote Today – 2

What I Wrote Today – 3

What I Wrote Today – 4

4/27/18 – UPDATE

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It’s been a while and I wanted to give an update on me and my writing because this matters to me and if you’re reading this, maybe it matters to you, too.

  • It’s been almost a full year since Good You Were Here went live on Amazon! Craziness. To celebrate the anniversary (May 19th) I’m probably going to be doing a giveaway. More on that in the future.
  • I finished a first draft of my short play, Royal Bring Your Dog to Dinner Day. I was writing it for a local homeschool group and learned they are not actually going to be performing a play this year. No worries. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing it performed sometime in 2019.
  • After finishing the play, I picked back up my 2015 NaNo Novel Tulip Season. There’s a lot of very good stuff there but it needs some work and some revising. Not a lot of headway on that but we’ll see. Definitely a story I want to finish and send out into the world sooner than later.
  • I got a little bit stuck and overwhelmed with Tulip Season since it’s a longer book, so I picked back up a story I’ve been developing probably since 2010. It has a working title of Beanstalk and Basket and it’s a crossover of Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood. I’m really excited at the prospect of writing a book for a younger audience since my 13-year-old sister and 8-year-old brother love reading and have been asking me for books geared more towards them.

There are several reasons why I’ve been more absent for almost a month from my blog and from my writing social media in general. I’ve been busy with: life in general, my two other jobs, family/friends/relationship. But I’ve also been struggling with a general lack of sleep, some anxiety, and imposter syndrome.

If you aren’t familiar with imposter syndrome, Wikipedia defines it thus: “Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.”

For me, this has meant feeling like my writing isn’t ‘that good’, that no one really cares about my writing, that I’m too lazy to be a full-time writer, that I should stop trying to make it more than a hobby because I’ll just be wasting my time, and that no one will take me seriously. I have good support systems helping me overcome this but it’s going to be a process. Over this last month, I kept wanting to give updates, especially as I was tip-typing away and making progress on stories, but I kept thinking, “Eh, no one cares, it doesn’t really matter.”

But it does matter. A lot. Stories matter and no one else can tell the stories I have to tell. It may be slow going, but there’s no reason I can’t potentially help support myself with my writing. It will take a lot of hard work, but I’m capable of hard work. I want to put in the work. I just have to believe it matters.

So there’s my update. It is still my goal to have a blog post up every Tuesday and Friday. My overall writing goal for the year is to publish at least one book. I had originally had the lofty ambition of publishing at least three books, but I’m okay with downsizing that goal so I can put out something truly beautiful.

Thank you for reading and thank you for sticking with me. Stories coming soon, I promise. 

God bless,

Clare

 

Related Posts:

Future Projects – 1

What I Wrote Today 4

It Is Good That We Are Here – The Why Behind the Title

 

 

What I Wrote Today – 4

An excerpt from the play I’m working on for a local homeschool group, currently titled Royal Bring Your Dog to Dinner Day.

 

(Messenger enters stage left)

Chef: Another message, Messenger?

Messenger: Naturally. (Shakes out the scroll) Ahem. A Message from Her Majesty the Queen to the Royal Chef. Dear Chef. The dogs will be arriving shortly.

Chef: Wait, wait, wait. Dogs? What does she mean, DOGS? And why are they arriving shortly? How long from now is shortly, exactly?

Messenger: Let me finish. Ahem. The Duchess and the Other Duchess and I are getting our nails done, we will be joining the dogs just as quick as we can. Give them a little appetizer and keep them entertained. They’re no trouble at all, I promise.

Chef: (wailing) No!

Messenger: (Finishing message) Thanks a million, you’re the best, love and hugs, Her Majesty the Queen.

Chef: Is there a postscript where she says haha, just kidding?

Messenger: There is not.

Chef: (putting head in hands) Of course not.

Sous: (patting the Chef on the shoulder) There, there, Chef. It’ll be okay.

Messenger: Any return message, Chef?
Chef: Uh…tell her it is our Royal Pleasure to watch the Royal Dogs.

Messenger: (giving the chef a thumbs up) I will do that. Hang in there, guys.

Chef: Yes, yes, thank you, Messenger, goodbye.

(Messenger exits stage right)

Chef: Anyone know how soon shortly is?

(Trumpets blast)

Commis 1: I guess shortly is over now.

(Reenter the Messenger stage right with Chubby and Tubby and one leash dragging behind him)

Messenger: May I present to the Royal Kitchen Staff, the Royal Dogs.

(The kitchen staff all bow to the royal dogs)

Commis 2: Not to be disrespectful, but isn’t there someone who’s job it actually is to watch the Royal Dogs? You know…maybe a Royal Dogsitter?
Messenger: There are actually five of them, but they all have the day off.

(Royal Kitchen Staff all groan)

 

Thanks for reading! God bless.

 

More Like This:

What I Wrote Today – 1

What I Wrote Today – 2

What I Wrote Today – 3

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

 

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 2/31 – NaNoWriMo Lookback

At the last minute (November 1st) I decided to do NaNoWriMo 2017. I tormented myself over it because I was supposed to be editing Being Daniel, right? But the truth is that I was getting really burnt out on Being Daniel. I decided it would be good to take a break and have some fun.

(For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an online challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November.)

So I rolled up my speed-writing sleeves and started on a book currently titled Where Your Story Ends — a story that will tie together the plots of both Good You Were Here (my first book) and Being Daniel.

I’m so glad I did. Here’s the skinny:

Where Your Story Ends is about high schoolers Kenny and Peach. Kenny has his convictions called into question when he befriends a disabled man named Mal, while Peach struggles to find her place between her separated parents. It’s a little bit comedy, a little bit romance, and a lot learning to find hope in suffering. (I’m undecided on this but there may even be some supernatural elements.)

Around day 27, I was feeling a little bit bored and unmotivated, so I channeled my inner 13-year-old and went on elouai.com and made some avatars for three of the characters.

WYSEcharacters1.jpg

Some fun crazy facts:

  1. The first time I did NaNoWriMo in 2010, I wrote a story called My Hero which, I’ll be perfectly honest, is a total train wreck. It was basically a soap opera, but it did have a few good elements and I loved my main character — a girl named my Patricia who goes by Peach. I always hoped to go back and salvage some of that story. This year that’s exactly what I did.
  2.  I almost added Kenny’s storyline to Good You Were Here because a lot of the themes were very similar, but in the end, I’m glad I kept it to just Angela, Evan and Lazlo.

So how did my NaNoWriMo go? Was it tough? Was it fun? Did I win?

Yes to all three.

It was tough. About halfway through Week 3, I felt like I had run out of story to tell. I still had over 15,000 words to go and it started to seem like I was adding new scenes I’d just have to cut later. That was frustrating, but it was better than most of my other NaNo years where I got to 50k and wasn’t even halfway through the plot.

It was fun. I love this story. I think it will be a truly beautiful one and I hope I’ll be able to share it with the world sooner than later. (Being Daniel comes first, I promised!) It was also really fun to write about teenagers again. That might sound strange, but Good You Were Here and Being Daniel are both about adults ranging from their 20s to their 70s. The dynamic is different. With teenagers, there’s this youthfulness and innocence that is more enjoyable for me, even though the content is just as heavy as it is in my other stories.

I did win!

Here’s a graph of my progress throughout the month of November:

NaNo17Stats.jpg

It took me almost two weeks to even get on track. The goal is to write 1,667 words a day, which really isn’t that much, but I just couldn’t seem to get there and every day I was farther behind. Eventually, I did. And then I fell behind again. Caught back up. Fell behind. Over and over. But in Week 4, I finally buckled down and was able to finish on Day 29 with 50,030 words.

And there you have it. My NaNoWriMo 2017 lookback. I’m so glad I decided to do this. It was exactly what I needed. 10/10 will do it again. I’ve already made it one of my goals for next year. 

Speaking of which —I know it’s almost a full year away now, but I strongly encourage anyone who has ever even thought about writing a book to try NaNoWriMo 2018. It’s such a good way to motivate yourself to get the words out and worry about the details and typos later. Plus, it gives you a beautiful community of people all encouraging you and working towards the same goal to lean back on whenever you need it.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for Blogmas Day 3 tomorrow!

God bless,

Clare

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.

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    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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(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