Archive for the ‘Work in Progress’ Category:

Can We Talk?

I have not shared any of my work-in-progress here because it has felt too close to the bone. It’s a YA. It’s about art. And it’s about time-travel. It’s about a girl who feels responsible for keeping someone else alive, and how she goes back in time and thinks she wants to stay there. It’s a verse-novel, so it’s made up entirely of poems.

But it’s time for some mutual sharing. I’m looking for a small group of young people (high school/college) and some art. We’d all need pens and notebooks and maybe sketchpads. I’m going to share part of the book with you and then we’ll talk about the girl in the book and maybe about ourselves, too. Then we’ll need the art, because art has this amazing capacity for healing. We’re going to each choose a piece of art–on a gallery wall, maybe, and sit with it for a while, and write. The fancy term for this is “ekphrastic poetry” (a term I like very much).

That’s about it.  The workshop would be free (I got a 4Culture grant for it), so all I need is the people and the art. I could take a max of maybe a dozen. If you know someone who doesn’t usually get to do this kind of thing because of money, let me know. We’ll figure out the dates when we’ve got the people, but I’d like to do it in the summer. The only constraint is it has to happen in King County. Who’s in? Who can find us some art?

Here’s an excerpt from the book. In this poem, Alice, the main character, is staring at a Jackson Pollack painting at the Seattle Art Museum.

Jackson Pollack--Sea ChangeSea Change

I could get lost here

In the tarry black of the Pollack.

It spiders me in,

Webbing faces, flames,

The sails of ships.

 

When I’m here,

I’m not there,

Not home,

Alert to every change

In his cadence.

 

If I climbed into this painting,

Tumbled

Into the starry depths

I would land somewhere

Quiet.

 

What would it be

To stop the ringing fear

Inside my head?

To lose my footing

And fall, no way

for anyone to reach me?

 

I would land in a hall of mirrors,

Each self beckoning me

To follow in and in

Until all I could hear

Was my own abandoned voice.

©2014 Katherine Grace Bond, from Looking-Glass Girl, manuscript in progress

 

What I Learned by "Winning" NaNoWriMo Through Cheating and Trickery

…and yes, I am going to buy the tee-shirt.

 

 

The task? Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Usually, Iuse NationalNovel Writing Month to get as much word count aspossible on my work-in-progress. This is already cheating—but since I’ve nevercome close to winning, I haven’t felt guilty about it.

 

But three days before the start of this year’s NaNo, myeditor says, “Katherine, we need to start thinking about 2013.” Now,this does not constitute a book contract, but it does constitute a challenge. Idecide to begin a new novel on November 1 and that this year I will”win” NaNoWriMo.

 

 

Day 1: Brainstorm—characters, ideas, suggestions from Facebookfriends, (Hula Hoops, a camel, a zeppelin and “copious amounts ofdefenestration.”) I write all this sort of thing into what Janet LeeCarey calls a “story journal.” At The Lyons’ Den in Bothell, I try to write the opening scene, but a man at the nexttable is determined to attract my attention. I turn him into an eleven-year-oldgirl with black fingernail polish and add him to my word count. My goal is2,000 words a day. I’m going to finish early!

 

Day 2: Teaching day. Spend the entire day on lessons, and theentire evening hosting the Duvall 1st Wednesday Poetry Reading at Match Coffee and Wine Bar in Duvall, But, it’s only Day 2, right?

 

Day 3: Up to 1710 words. I’ll catch up.

 

Day 4: Paesano’s Coffee in Monroe. Lots of story journaling. A hunky, shirtless guy on a dirtbike has appeared and called my heroine Principessa.All in all, not a bad writing day.

 

Day 5: My son takes the SAT, so I hole up at Caffé Ladro in Edmonds and write. I hear an NPRinterview on Joan of Arc and decide she’ll have to go into thebook—somehow.

 

Day 8: My protagonist nearly drowns, so I spent many hoursresearching water safety on Mario Vittone’s blog. Then I teach a teen poetry workshop for RASP.

 

Days 9-14:Hunky guy doesn’t want protagonistto know he saved her life. Girl with black fingernail polish followsprotagonist everywhere. Up to 12,769 words. Still behind, but I have lots oftime.

 

Day 15: Wee hours of the morning. I watch a live feed of theeviction of Occupy Wall Street from Zucotti Park. Suddenly my screen freezes.When I reboot, my entire D drive is gone. Restore takes all day.

 

Day 16: Teaching day. D drive disappears again overnight.

 

Day 17: Restore.

 

Days18-19: TEENWriteBecause I’ve put TEENWrite into thebook, I come as my protagonist’s character, an elf.

 

Days20–26: School break. When I’ve had a goodwriting day, I get to watch Dr. Who.Make it to 17,963. 32k to go, which is somewhat alarming. Make plan for writing8k per day which is, frankly, impossible. Paste the story I wrote at TEENWrite into the book for another 857words. This is not really cheating.

 

Day 27: My daughter, Sarah walks by my office and says innocently,“Why don’t you include your story journal in your word count? It IS part ofwriting your novel.” Word count jumps suddenly by 7k.

 

Day 28: My friend, MollyBlaisdell dares me to write over 8k in a day.She uses Muppet Movie tickets as bait. (Molly’s picture book THE BIG FUZZY COAT is a contender on theMeeGenius Author Challenge) I add 8265words, including Psalm69, which I cut and paste in its entirety. (One of the characters prays alot.)

 

Day 29: One of my characters says, “Do you want me to tell you whatHindus believe?” Bing “What do Hindus Believe?”Seconds later I have 160 more words. Realize that one of my characters is a CatStevens fan, and paste the lyrics to “TheWind,” “I Wish, I Wish” and “How Can I Tell You?” into my story journal (nowpart of my word count). I go to The Wayward Coffeehouse in Seattle, where I write like crazy with a bunch of otherWrimos.

 

Day 30: Teaching day. Have not slept since yesterday. Phone meetingwith publicist in the morning. Get son from clarinet lesson. Grade stuff. Conversewith a student about leprechauns. Teach in an even more crazed fashion thanusual. Go home. I have seven hours to finish this book. 7775 words to go. Hunkyguy in book writes a very nice song. Characters sneak into the Lan SuChinese Garden. By 11:15 PM, I have 47k… There isNO WAY I will write 3,000 words in 45 minutes! I wrack my brains. And this iswhere the real cheating begins: My “secret blog” contains words. And myprotagonist and I muse about similar things… I paste in two blog posts. Notenough. I write more on the Lan Su scene. Still not enough. It is 11:52. Didn’tI start another book with that one character who’s in this book? I paste in theopening of that book And…I WIN!!!!!

 

So, now Ihave learned my lesson: It doesn’t matterwhether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game? No. It matters thatyou win.

 

1) In 30 days, I have writtenapproximately 150 manuscript pages. I have a full outline and 19 characters. Ifpressed, I could probably write a synopsis tomorrow. (Note to Leah—please don’tpress. The one I send later will be better.)

 

2) This manuscript contains huge gaps,but the writing is actually pretty good—maybe even better than writing I’ddeliberated over.

 

3) When there’s no time to figure outall the whys and whens, write “the heart of the scene.” Like the heart of the TARDIS, that’swhere all the power is, anyway.

 

4) DIALOGUE is the backbone of a novel.

 

5) Get a little help from your friends:When I was ready to give up, my friends were there with cheers and challenges.And, I got great tips from the Nanowrimoforums, which I’d never thought I had time for.

 

6) Even though I am a NaNoWriMoRebel I still feel giddy with success. Hitting that 50k, even with “illegal”content, gives me the confidence that I needto turn a viable book into a publishable book.
Katherine

Writing Difficult Books

My WIP right now is a tough one, as it takes me back to a painful time in my life, and to relationships I’m still sorting out. Today in my story journal, I made two lists. One was “What I Believed Then;” the other was “What I Know Now.” I only want to share the second list, and I share it because I know I am not the only person to have grown up with mental illness in my household. If any of this resonates for you, let me know:

What I know now is
  1. Mental illness changes people’s personalities
  2. Mental illness is…an illness.
  3. Mental illness seems a lot like an evil spell
  4. You still have to set boundaries with a mentally ill person, even if it is because of their suffering that they are behaving irrationally.
  5. It is hard to treat a mentally ill person like an adult and like a child at the same time. And sometimes it feels as if you are doing just that.
  6. Honoring a parent does not mean entering into their illness
  7. You have to find your own ground, rather than grounding yourself in your parents.
  8. Setting boundaries can create distance in relationships.
  9. Things don’t always turn out the way they “should” turn out, and people don’t always behave the way they “should” behave. This is not because there are “good” people and “bad” people. It’s because we are ALL affected by sin and death.
  10. Our job is to find and cling to God, and from that place make decisions about what we will do in relationship with others—including a mentally ill parent. Our decisions should be grounded in God, not in whether a family member will be angry or pleased with us. It is possible to say no and still be loving.
  11. Our job goes beyond self-preservation. Self-preservation is not the end goal. It may be a means to the end goal, or it may not. The end goal is to be in Christ.
  12. The mentally ill family member is not the only one behaving badly. Sometimes the crucible of mental illness in the family brings out the best or worst in other family members.
  13. A mentally ill person may still have deep wisdom to share. Mental illness does not disqualify a person from membership in the human race.