Sunday, June 23, 2013

Becoming a 'big' and taking a break

Writing News:

It took a while, but here's the novel (don't look too close!). I have completed a full, coherent draft. And this is my post-writing outline because I tend to do things backwards. I've tried to write to outlines, but my characters won't let me.

There's still a lot of work to do, but I have 73,400 words that encapsulate the world(s) of six people; two are major characters and all are interesting, I think, even if one will make you want to punch walls. My antagonist in this story is intense. I actually had to shake off her energy after I wrote long scenes with her in them, but hey, she's alive now on the page. I can honestly say that all these characters feel alive to me, though I'm sure they need the right lighting and camera angles before they are ready to present to the world.

I'm tired. I wrote this while working two jobs and battling the most debilitating migraines of my life (still getting them but less often... I attribute ridiculous amounts of water and Vitamin B serum for the reduction). I don't say that to make excuses for the amount of time it took but rather, to really emphasize that I am exhausted. Beat. Put a fork in me, I'm done.

Accordingly, I'm going to take a little time off from my novel and from short fiction, let the ideas simmer and try to think of what my next steps will be. I'm sure there are steps. I know it's sacrilege to take a break from writing when you're not blocked, but I think it might be a good time. I have so much good reading to do. I have the BEST class of my life to teach (these students are amazing... not a lazy one in the bunch, so far). And, I have a few new personal responsibilities to pay mind to.

In the meantime, I do have quite a bit forthcoming: 1. Uno Kudo, a literary arts production featuring poetry, artwork and prose in a beautiful coffee table style format will be featuring a story of mine about two folks in the animal control business who take their jobs very seriously. This publication should be out sometime in fall '13. Here's a link to V1, so you can check out a previous edition. It's an amazing book: UNO KUDO. 2. I have a new chapbook coming out, officially, from Monkey Puzzle Press (home to amazing writers such as Bonnie ZoBell and Meg Tuite). I signed the contract last week, and I'm so thrilled to be working with this amazing press. This book will be out in 2014.

Reading-wise, I've read a few great books. 1. The Magician's Assistant. I love this book. It took me a while to get around to reading it. I find it sweet and tough and sad and beautiful. 2. Beth Hoffman, my friend and mentor, has an amazing new book out entitled Looking for Me. Not only did I read this book, I listened to it on Audible, and it's a lovely experience both ways. I have a gut feeling this story will end up on screen.

Personal News:

My husband and I are becoming a 'big couple', not literally (I don't think). We've decided to volunteer to be 'bigs' for Big Brothers Big Sisters. I'm thrilled/scared/worried/overwhelmed by the idea. We attended orientation yesterday and were shocked to find out that this program has been around since 1903. Anything that can sustain and thrive that long must be doing real good, making real change. I hope we can be of some use and inspiration in a child's life. I really do. We'll see how it goes.

Okay, so off to find out if I can live up to my word and take a break from writing... have a good week!


  1. Wonderful news, Jen, about finishing the novel AND about becoming a Big. It will enrich your life so much! My "little" and I were matched when she was in fourth grade, and come fall, she'll be a senior in college. I often tell people I got more out of the relationship than she did. You will enjoy it so much.

  2. That is so wonderful, Melissa! Thank you for sharing that story. I've heard similar stories from other folks who have volunteered at the branch here; it definitely doesn't seem like a one-way street. They said there are 700 kids on the waiting list here in San Antonio, so there's a definite need. I'll post about how it goes when we get our match. :)

  3. My characters won't allow me to craft outlines either ... LOL. Completing a novel is a huge accomplishment, I'm tickled for you, Jen. Brava! And yet another Brava for opening your heart to a youngster. I'm sure you'll enjoy being a Big Sister.

    Thanks for your kind words about my novel. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Thanks, Beth! Character-driven work is ruled by the characters. I suppose all we writers can do is throw up our hands and hope they end up somewhere we want them to go. Mine often don't, but I'm getting there. And yes, I'll be talking up Looking for Me for sometime. Your stories are gifts to the world. Thanks for the journey. :)


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