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Slogging. Wading through a muddy bog between shores. I can't go back to where I was before. The other side seems so far away. I am slogging in my book drafts. Sure, there is progress. Slow progress. Nowhere near the initial burst of speed in writing a first draft, freewriting 67,000 words last November. About 50,000 of those words have been rewritten or moved to the scrap heap, aka research bin in the writing software Scrivener. Now is the meticulous part of writing a book.

I recently read "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman. Basically a book about the most common mistakes editors see at a publishing company and that usually get a new writer submission rejected. I also read "Self-editing For Fiction Writers" by Browne & King. My main takeaway was to improve dialogue, show versus tell. My previous edit adds more dialogue, like shifting paraphrasing from telling narrative into showing dialogue.

Three weeks ago I went to my first meeting of the Gulf Coast Writers Group. There was a very good presentation on point of view. I realized my perspective was jumbled between past tense and present tense. I go through the draft and make changes. Again. Along the way I cut more lines and condense. Last week the local NaNoWriMo writers group met and we read excerpts and provided feedback. The feedback I received is to show how I was feeling. I have been holding back. 

While self-publishing I am reading "The Plot Whisperer" by Martha Alderson. I feel like it was written for me. A focus on meaning and how plots need to reflect The Universal Story. It basically goes like this. Meet the protagonist or main character (MC), something happens to set the MC off on a journey (physical or mental), meet the antagonist, the MC finds trouble, an event requires the MC to recommit to the journey, MC finds more trouble building to a crisis, then a transformation resulting in the story climax, a bit of this and that, the end.  

I feel like I want, no I need, to change things around again in the book. My characters are weak, my backstory is bunched up at the beginning. My fellow writers point out what I already knew, but am not facing. I am (still) holding back feelings and hiding emotions. Ugh.

On the plus side, The Plot Whisperer outlines methods to develop characters and plot. Exercises ask probing questions about the main character, which is me. As a result I have plenty of writing inspiration. Also many starting points for songwriting during 50 songs in 90 days from July 4 through September aka 50/90.

So, what is my next step? More slogging on the book. Digging for meaning in my music and art. It is time to search songs relegated to the scrap heap book for material.


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