Sodaro's Stories

November 29, 2012

Reflection on my first NaNoWriMo…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 8:06 pm
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So I tried it…and I will definintely be back next November to try it again. National Novel Writing Month was a fantastic challenge, and as with every first attempts, I learned a few things.
I only got to about 22000 words out of the 50000 goal…and I have figured out why this happened. I know where I fell short and why I fell short and what I will do to not fall short on my next attempt.
I write every day. It may be crap or it may be fabulous or, as usual, it may fall somewhere between the two, but every single day, I put shiny pen to blank paper. The pressure of getting to 50,000 words though, had me thinking I could only put shiny pen to Redeeming Trust paper…I wouldn’t let myself play with any other story because I was sure I would get distracted and not complete my goal…ah self-fulfilling prophecy…I got distracted by writer’s block and was not able to complete my goal.
My normal way of writing is to stay primarily with one story…to focus mostly on one plot line, but if I get stuck…I allow myself a little play time with something else, a poem or a scene from another novel…just something to break the block and let me continue on with the story. This is the system that works for me…and I didn’t allow myself to do that with the NaNoWriMo challenge. I stayed with one story and one story only and when that story got blocked…I couldn’t break the block because staring at the piece of paper didn’t help at all.
I got unblocked by writing two poems that let me explore what was truly the problem. The scene involved a wedding…and I haven’t given much thought to such things for about 2 1/2 years and evidently…my block was due more to my thinking about the guy I wanted to marry and not about the story at all. I didn’t want to write a wedding because I didn’t get to have that one that I wanted. Two poems written in a booth at Perkins, where the manager pointed out to me that I must be blocked again because I’m ordering pancakes. And I realized the inspiration I could use for the wedding was the video tape I was blessed to watch. I couldn’t marry the man I thought I was going to…but his sister’s wedding was beautiful and full of so much love…and that would be perfect for Chapter 14. Had I allowed myself to write the poems earlier, maybe I would have achieved the word count goal…or at least gotten closer to doing so…or maybe, as I believe with all things, things worked out exactly as they were meant to.

November 26, 2012

Addiction

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 6:43 pm
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Hi, my name is Michelle and I haven’t written in 8 days…8 excruciating days of not putting pen-to-paper, 8 days of having no release, no freedom, no connection with the truest part of me. I could give you a thousand excuses…I have had rough drafts to edit as it is the end of the teaching quarter. I could tell you that it is difficult to switch back and forth between the editor and the creator. I could tell you that the weather change hit my sinuses so hard that I couldn’t remember what my actual voice sounded like. I could tell you that picking up a sort-of job cut into my time and messed up my schedule. I could tell you that holding my 2nd novel, Arianna’s Honor was overwhelmingly beautiful. I could tell you that the last 3 days I have barely been able to get out of bed. All of these things are true and yet none of them is enough of a reason to keep me away from my shiny pens and blank paper.
I have never had an addiction. (Coca-Cola doesn’t count, I hear). But I am addicted to writing. It is all I want to do…all I think about…when I am talking to you, you can bet I’m thinking about writing. When I’m teaching and earning my paycheck, I’m thinking about writing. Every person I meet is a potential character in a current or future novel. Every conversation I hear is potentially a bit of dialogue that I consider fair game. The most attentive and talented lover still competes with the call of the pen. The best time I have with friends still has me longing to put the pen to paper and see what comes next.
Those who know me best and love me most understand my addiction. They laugh when I haven’t been active in the conversation for a bit…knowing that mentally I am writing or working things out with my characters. I don’t do this to be rude…I do this because I am addicted. I want to write. I need to write. It is as much a part of me as the blood in my veins…and I need a fix. I need to write. This need is why I say that none of the reasons (valid though they may be) is enough. Writing keeps me sane. It keeps me whole. It keeps me…me. And it has been too long.

November 18, 2012

My first time…

I want to talk for a minute about my first time…because next week it is going to happen again, and while it will be amazing and breathtaking and will probably alternately make me scream and leave me speechless, it will never surpass the first time.
Last July, I opened the cardboard box from iUniverse and held my first book, Whatever you Make of It for the first time. Have you ever held a tangible form of your dream? A degree? Something you created? A significant other? A child? Yes, then you understand. I just stared at the green cover at first, memorizing every detail, much like I would do with a lover, wanting to savor every memory.
I knew, upon holding this dream come true, that my life would never be the same — that my life would never go back to what it was before. And I am more thankful for that than I will ever be able to express, for before I held my book for the first time, I was not living the whole life I was meant to live. At that moment, I knew I was supposed to be a hyphen: teacher-author or author-teacher, depending on the day. My life changed forever with that first time.
Next week I received my copy of Arianna’s Honor. I know I will go to my mailbox every day, holding my breath wondering if today is the day. Here’s hoping I don’t pass out on the way to the mail.
I know my second time will be amazing. It will make me scream and will make me unable to speak coherently. It will be beautiful and Arianna will be more incredible than I ever imagined,but as breathtaking as it will be, as much as it will be more than I have dreamt of…it will never surpass my first time.

November 15, 2012

Staying in Focus

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 3:17 pm
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Okay, first of all I want to say that I am truly enjoying the challenge of National Novel Writing Month. It is an exhilarating experience to watch a novel grow daily, and even though I am behind on my word count, I am thoroughly enjoying the process.
One difficulty I am having, to stay in focus, is my morning routine, which also happens to be my routine for when I get stuck at a chapter break, or stuck mid-chapter, or stuck, period. My tried-and-true way to break the block and un-stick the stuck, is to freewrite, which is fine and absolutely always gets the pen moving across the page again. The problem is that, as is the nature of the freewrite, it can start anywhere and end anywhere.
In trying to keep my focus solely on Redeeming Trust, I am not wanting to think about or write on any other story or project. I know my muse all too well and if she gets distracted by another story or a shiny bit from another novel, it is very difficult to reign her back into the project we are in the middle of…because if she loses focus, then so have I, and Redeeming Trust joins the pile of partially completed projects.
I may or may not get to 50,000 words by November 30th…but I will finish this first draft before I work on another project because I want to see this through. I want to have more finished projects than half-finished. I just need to stay in focus.

November 7, 2012

if 1 is good, then 5 is better…

So I am really enjoying getting to be a part of the National Novel Writing Month challenge. I have wanted to do this for the past few years, but as it tends to…life has gotten in the way. But this year…it is going strong.
An idea occurred to me…that if I can write a first draft in the month of November and that is good…then I could continue that pace and knock out some more rough drafts…say 4 more (that is my timeframe for unemployment benefits).
Imagine that…I would have first drafts of Redeeming Trust done, I would have First Down done, I would have Stealing Second done, I would have Breaking Point done, and I would have Playing it Safe done. WOW!!!! That part of it sounds excellent. Then spend time editing them and getting them ready for the publication journey. Wow…that would be amazing.
The reality of it though…is not quite as shiny. First of all I would probably have no friends left. I tend to shut out the world when I am on an inspiration frenzy and having a word goal of 1500-1700 words a day causes quite a frenzy. So my doing that for 5 months total would definitely take a toll on my ability to be a normal person with actual friends and a “social life.”
Also…the problem exists that when the writing is good…I will sometimes only eat cereal…not because I don’t have food in the house…but because it is fast and easy and can be eaten holding the spoon in my left hand…or go to Perkins where they know me and keep my coffee cup filled and leave me to my pen and paper.
Another factor…is the pure exhaustion factor. As exhilarating as it to be on an inspiration high, it is also exhausting. I don’t sleep much, certainly not daily, right now…but when I do sleep…it is pretty close to coma. Doing this for one month is intense…doing this for 5 months in a row may be downright unhealthy…
But the idea of having more first drafts done does hold an unshakable appeal…not even going to pretend I’m not considering it.

November 4, 2012

the ups and downs of being a writer…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:26 pm
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“Every writer I know has had trouble writing.” Joseph Heller
Some days writing comes easy-breezy. The pen is a natural extension of the hand and my characters act out the scene in front of me and all I have to do is keep up. This was day one and day two of the NaNoWriMo challenge. I got my word counts to where they needed to be, I felt on top of the world. I was euphoric.
Yesterday, and this is always a sign that I’ve come down from the high, I was more concerened with my handwriting than I was with my words. It was painful to get to 1000 words, but I wouldn’t let myself get up until I had gotten to that point at the very least. I do have some standards, after all.
The thing with writing is that I do it every day. Some days it is all sunshine and smiles and my pen glides across the page…Some days it is as if I am having to etch words into stone using a toothpick…but I do it every day. It may be first thing in the morning (my preference) or it may be right before I go to bed at night (which can have some strong effects on my sleeping time, as you can imagine). It may be for an hour…it may be for a day, whatever I have time for on that particular day.
I sound manic-depressive. I know this…but I would be willing to bet that any writer worth his or her salt would say the same. Days when it comes naturally, I forget that this is “work” that this is something I get paid to do. Days when it is a challenge to get one more word written down, I think people are crazy to choose this profession. Of course…we don’t really choose, do we…
Today I will try again. I will add to my chapter from yesterday and I will get my word count in. I will get this done. It may not be pretty, but it will be a first draft…which is, after all, the entire point.

November 2, 2012

Arianna’s Honor

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:28 pm
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Arianna’s Honor (my 2nd novel) is now in the design phase!!!! After some editing suggestions from them and some editing suggestions from Jessica Toll, and an ending I can smile about…I sent her off as a final draft…then, as things happen, there were some miscommunications, but yesterday I received the email that she has made it to the design phase!!!! And there was much rejoicing.
What does this mean, you ask…well…having done this all with Whatever you Make of It last year…I can fully say. I don’t remember, but I know it is forward progression. Most of the process with Jac and Jyn went by in a blur …a highly euphoric, holy rusted metal, Batman kind of a blur.
What I do know, is that progression is good as it means that Arianna is one step closer to having an ISBN, which means I am closer to adding to my book tattoo, and people are closer to getting to meet her. So sounds like good things to me.
As I know more…so will you.

November 1, 2012

National Novel Writing Month…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 8:12 pm
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I am really excited about participating in the National Novel Writing Month challenge this year. This morning I started off my sequel to Broken Trust and had so much fun. I want to pencil in a kind of outline to have some sort of game plan. The words had a great flow from the pen (a pen that supports breast cancer awareness) and I enjoyed my stay at Perkins (despite the woman who was wearing entirely too much perfume).
My waitress remembered me (and my notebooks)from IHOP and took down my name and book title so she could check out my book. She remembered that I would always come in with my notebooks. It was nice being remembered. It was nice having her ask about my progress.
She told me I could have one of the booths in the back corner if I ever needed it; I told her that I was usually pretty good at tuning out noise when I was in a zone. (This is also why I don’t write when I am at school…I tend to lose myself in my words).
I surpassed my writing goal for day one…I am trying to pace myself, but I am also thinking I want to pick my pen up again today as I don’t feel as if I have said all I have to say just yet.
The challenge is going to be focusing on only one novel right now, not bouncing around with all of the projects vying for my attention.
I am taking advantage of this beautiful gift of time. I am so very blessed right now and I am completely in love with my life. National Novel Writing Month…I welcome your challenge.

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