Finished?

I think I might have finished the first draft of my current work-in-progress. I know that it could go on forever in some ways, but I feel like my characters are saying that this is it, it’s enough, it’s the slice of life they wanted told and they don’t need me anymore to keep on living their lives.

This is extremely scary, because I’m going to be embarking on my first second draft now. I don’t even know where to begin. If anyone has any tips for me, I’d be grateful.

I’m feeling overwhelmed. I finished yesterday, but today I’m beginning to really understand the meaning of having finished the first draft. I feel a little bereft, a little lonely, but also gratified and fulfilled. The human capacity for emotion is a strange thing indeed.

Sticking With (Rather, Not.)

On this blog, I’ve posted many an excerpt. I’ve mostly posted short pieces – character studies, scenery descriptions,¬†dialogue, short scenes that seem to need to belong to something longer, short stories, and a few beginnings to novels.

All this is great. It’s exactly why I started this blog – in order to try things out, try to figure out different genres and create different characters for myself to think over. I’ve practices my style, flow and different voices [at least, I hope I’ve managed to write in different voices].

But I’ve gotten addicted to having people read my work. I love posting on this blog and being able to get feedback on what I write. Why is this a problem? Well, in many ways, it isn’t. It’s good that I feel a connection and an obligation to be here, because it helps me sit my butt down and write most days.

The problem is that although I start many things, I haven’t finished a large percentage of them. Yes, I wrote a few complete short stories: The Princess Without a Name, One-Eyed Steve, Spam. But my longer works in progress always seem to shudder to a halt. I do have on fantasy novel [hopefully, eventually] that I’ve never posted anything from and probably never will, but other than that, I seem to get stuck. I don’t know if many of you remember my first attempt at a thriller, Move? Probably not. But I was so excited about it for so long, and then I just couldn’t think of anything more.

How do I dedicate the time to just one project, make it a commitment and try to finish it? Forget finish – how to I pass the fifteen page mark? I’ve written papers that were more than twenty pages long, so why do I get stuck with longer fiction? The irony is that I’m usually much more of a novel or novella girl – I enjoy short stories, but only really specific ones and only when I’m in a certain mood.

My whole goal in writing, besides the mere pleasure it brings me and the fact that now I’ve started I don’t ever want to stop, is to succeed in creating something that speaks to someone. Even just one person. When I daydream about being published one day (and I don’t allow myself to do this often, since it’s much too scary) I think about that one letter I’ll get, or that one email, from someone like me who just really enjoys reading and had fun reading something I wrote. That, for me, will be success right there. To make even one single person feel like I feel when I read novels or stories of any kind. That’s a bigger goal than I think it is, I’m sure, because all I ever hear are the horrors of publication, and I shouldn’t be striving for that in my writing anyway.

I should be striving to tell true things. Or have a basis of truth in what I write. I don’t mean that I should write an autobiography or base characters on real people – just that there should be some truth in the emotion and underlying tones of whatever I write.

This has turned into a much longer post than I intended. So I go back to my main question. How do you finish things? How do you just stick with something and finish it?

Sweet Relief – and Some Zombies

I just finished my application for the University of California schools. Meaning three campuses, three schools really. UCLA, Berkeley and Santa-Cruz. The application process was long and grueling, confusing and upsetting, disturbing and tiring and most of all FINISHED. It’s finished.

My brain feels so incredibly fried up and used and dried and broken and exhausted and strange and zombified. But at least I got this done. It’s a wonderful feeling, to have the weight of the first deadline off my mind. True, four down and still fifteen to go, but that’s something nonetheless.

In celebration, and laziness, a haiku to explain the way my head feels:

Zombies ate my brain,
Because zombies don’t eat trees,
Carnivorous swine.