1. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Graveleye's Rock and Roll Breakdown Machine

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by graveleye, Dec 17, 2018.

    Where to start? I've never done a progress journal before. In fact, I've never kept much of a journal in the first place. But I need to think out loud about what I'm going through, and try to work my way through all this without just giving my story away. I'm not sure how long this will last or hold anyone's attention (including mine) but I'll give it a shot.

    A little background - I'm finished with my first novel "The Stars of Everywhere" (~95k words) and I've sent out about 30 queries and been passed 18 times. No worries. I got all the time in the world right? Not really, but I'm not sweating it yet. I'm pretty sure my query letter could use work, but that's another story and source of irritation for me.

    The Stars of Everywhere started out as an autobiographical account of a precious summer in 1986 that I spent away from home with the boys in my rock band. I quickly realized that I needed to make it a work of fiction, just drawing on my real life adventures and my imagination. Perhaps it's bit of fantasy fulfillment, but I don't care. I wanted to tell a story, and I wanted it to go the way I wanted it to go, not how it really went down. In a way, it's a sort of loping story, like the movie Dazed and Confused or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (tall order to stand up to that kind of writing haha). There is a plot of course, but it's not a cliffhanging nail-biting, adventure. I guess it leans literary, in that I have tried to bring the reader into the mind of a young man who is blundering along in life, trying to follow his dreams. It's not as if there isn't enough in the way, but throw in some romance, heartbreak along with the petty shit that goes on in general, he's not having an easy time. So far, the reviews have been pretty good, except my 75 year old mom, who put it down and "forgot" to pick it back up again. Probably a bit out of her generation anyway. :/

    Honestly, I wonder sometime if my story is too real, if that makes sense. It's real life stuff that can or could happen to anyone at that point in life. Does that make good reading? Ta hell if I know!!

    I've toyed back and forth about whether to write a direct sequel, or to branch off with one of my other more minor characters, one I found intriguing. Unfortunately, Gary's backstory is going to have to wait, as compelling as I found him to be. I decided to go ahead with a sequel, approximately two years after the conclusion of Stars. Since it ended in a happily ever after kind of way, I struggled with where to even begin.

    So I thought. And thought. And thought. I'm a pantser for the most part. I write notes, but I don't organize things well. I think this is because I'm a musician and songwriter so I'm used to committing vast amounts of information to memory, and sorting it out in the old gray matter. I'm also a caver (some might call this spelunking.. more on that later) and a rock-climber, so I am always thinking many handholds ahead of where I am presently clinging for dear life.

    So, I finally came up with a plot. Once I have the end in mind, it's all a matter of how to get there. I've used up a good deal of my personal anecdotes and memories in the last book so now it's almost all my imagination. That's the fun part, right? The only problem is that since Stars ended HEA, I had to conjure up a world of hurt for my characters. And oh my, I've done it too. I didn't want to. I love my characters, and I want them to be happy, but that's kind of boring. Honestly and from the bottom of my heart, it's killing me inside. I'm really struggling with it and I've found myself angry, jealous...the whole realm of emotions that go on when bad things are happening in your relationship. These are feelings I have not felt in years, and for a moment I thought to savor them, but the reality is that it really hurts me...my imaginary characters suffer, and I get the true manifestation of their suffering in my heart. Is this normal? I get weepy thinking about it all, but it hurts so good. Hopefully I will be able to make my way through this without a breakdown.

    I just started it last week and I'm already written several chapters, and I'm about 6000 words in and I don't see any barriers in my way, except finding the time away from the day job (and recording studio) to sit down and write. It's pouring out of me, more than I can keep up with at the moment, faster than my fingers can type.

    My MC is wealthy now...rags to riches. He's talented, earned respect, and has a beautiful fiance. While before, all he wanted to do was quit his day job and be able to do music without worry for money, now he's going to find that all the money in the world won't fix his problems. And he's seeing this all around him, to various degrees in his peers in the industry.

    "I Used to Love You, Annie Day" is my working title at the moment. It will probably change as the story progresses.

    My precious young characters, I love you both, and I am so very sorry what I am about to do to you. You have no idea yet, but I do. You're going to be hurt and alone, and have no idea that I'm right on the other side of the screen, suffering with you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
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  2. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    I just can't seem write on the weekdays. I spend all day at work just dying to get home and write, but when I get home it won't happen. Thank goodness I have a lot of time coming up. At least I do have my notebook to jot down ideas.

    I came up with a name for my antagonist after a bit of toil. I find it odd that my MC is not going to have a single bit of direct interaction with him, but he's still the one who's going to do his best to screw things up.
    I wrote a little bit of backstory between him and the MC (and his fiance), and found myself seething with anger again. I need to figure out how to reign in the emotions and just confine them on the page but I get so caught up in it.
    I guess I should be thankful I don't have such drama IRL, but I think a good bit of emotion is good for creativity. Still, I'm projecting too much and it's become a distraction.

    Oddly, I can see the ending so clearly and so beautiful that I'm tempted to go ahead and write it now, but that would go against my rule of linear production. Beginning to end. No peeking.

    I expect that I will have added another 6000 words by Christmas, and about that much again by New Years.

    I am way more excited about this story than I was it's predecessor, so I guess that is a good thing. Maybe the enthusiasm will show up on the pages.
     
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  3. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Another 2000 words today, but who's counting?
    I've really jumped right into the story this time rather than take a lot of page space getting things set up. I guess this is probably an advantage of it being a sequel, in that I don't need to go through all the introductions. However, on subsequent rewrites I may consider working it so that it might stand alone, especially given the lack of interest in the first book.
    I probably won't be able to write much tomorrow for family is coming over, but I have all day Monday and Christmas.

    On a funny note, my mom finally told me she finished reading it and loved it. Most moms would love their kids novels, of course, but she just about reads a book a day and has no problem in critiquing the bad ones. Mine, she says, is not bad.

    So maybe not good either, but not bad:)
     
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  4. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Just passed 10k words. Progress is being made. Ten thousand words in ten days. I guess that's not too bad.
    I also got past a painful part of the story, one I had not been looking forward to writing. But it's over now, and I can resign myself that it's done, and I can get on with the rest of it.

    Two more terribly painful parts to go, but we're going to have some fun in the meantime.
     
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  5. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    I'm grateful to have had a long talk with a young doctor, who has provided me with a wealth of information on trauma from motor vehicle accidents.
    He even went as far as to research critical care protocol from the late 80's, when my story takes place, noting that medical procedures have come a long way since that time.
    I'm going to give him a big shout-out in the acknowledgements.

    In the meantime, since I can't sit at my computer and write for a few days, I've been filling my notebook with notes and story lines. I usually don't do this much, but it's helped.
     
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  6. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Just passed 18,000 words. This is progressing so much faster than the last one.
     
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  7. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    20,000 words. That's 10 grand in a week.
    Goes to show how quickly you can travel when you know where you're going for once!
     
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  8. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    aggg I'm within spitting distance of 30,000 words but I have to stop.
     
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  9. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    I introduced a new character and I'm really starting to like her a lot.
    I hadn't intended it, but now I kind of want her and my MC to sleep together.
    That would change everything though, so I'm in a dilemma about it.

    Then again, so is my MC. :superconfused:

    The story takes place in 1989. I got online and searched around a bit and lo and behold, I found and printed out a 1989 calendar, boxed dates for writing in. This has become extremely useful in plotting out the sequence of events and scenes in my story. Through in some historical weather data and it just advances the realism to me. The reader won't care, since I'm not listing specific dates, but it sure helps me get my imagination rolling.

    1989 seems like yesterday to me. Was it really that long ago?
     
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  10. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    You're really rolling along! Congrats!

    I use a calendar and historical weather data, as well as the academic calendar from the year my FMC entered college, and it all really does help. It can be good for creating weather-caused drama when you need ideas, too. (My current novel takes place in 1982, with some backstory in 1974.)
     
  11. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Thanks!I find the seasons and months of the year, along with historical weather to be excellent writing prompts as well.
    For instance, in my last novel, I was looking at the historical weather data for 1986, and found there was a snow storm and was able to incorporate it into the story.

    I like to be able to know when the leaves fall in autumn, and when the flowers bloom in the spring, right down to the when the crocus pokes it's little bloom out of the snow. It can really add an element to the story, to my taste anyway.
     
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  12. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    I couldn't agree more, Grav. It's very grounding to know "where" you are in the year and what the weather is. May the writing gods and muses be with you this year!
     
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  13. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Thanks! And while you're at it, send a literary agent my way for the first book!
     
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  14. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    ~6000 words in one day.
    I'm almost to 40k.
    I can't believe the progress, considering looking back, I hacked out the first sentence on December 15th.
    40k and a lot of story left, so I feel like I can start breathing easier now. I'm definitely not going to fall short. I would much rather have to cut than add.
     
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  15. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Just shy of 50k now, adding two lengthy chapters over the weekend. It's killing me to not be able to write during the week because of work. I'm inspired all day long to write, scribbling furiously in my notebook, but then I get home and I'm too frazzled to do anything but stare at it. I tend to do some editing and revising during the week, so it's not a complete loss, but there is no way for me to address the blank page after a days work.

    I'm so into this too. I had fun writing my last one, but currently I have a really good story going, and I'm so excited about it I could probably hack the rest of it out in a few weeks.
    This is the curse of my life going all the way back to my music days. If I didn't have to worry about the day job, I would be light years down the road with the creative things that truly interest me.
    It's a conundrum.
     
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  16. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    I've just discovered your journal. Brilliant work so far!
     
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  17. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Thanks Stormburn!

    I have a boatload of leftover vacation days, so I'm thinking about making this a three day weekend and write from dawn to dusk.
     
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  18. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    There is something haunting me about this whole project and it comes from a song of mine that seems to have become something of a theme song for the story.

    The song is a romantic one, and the inspiration for the lyrics came from a spinning amusement park ride, which is mostly fun, but eventually you want to get off of it. The song then describes the stars, and how they are constantly spiraling across the sky as well.
    In the song, he says to her, "open your eyes, I'm still here..." and "open your eyes, it's spinning..." as if they are on a the ride, and he wants her to see and enjoy the experience.

    I didn't mean for it to happen, but a source of comfort for my MC is his perception of "the stars of everywhere" (hence the title). When he is alone, troubled or in a far-off place, he finds comfort in the fact that the same stars are wheeling overhead, no matter the circumstance or where he happens to be.

    And then it it hit me, especially with the way that this particular song seems to be such a part of the experience for both me and my MC.

    The ride and the sky are the same. His whole world is like a spinning amusement park ride, and sometimes he wants off, and sometimes he just enjoys the ride.

     
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  19. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Productive day....right at 50,000 words now.
    Plenty still left, but the more I crank out, the easier I breath.

    Cool thing is that I still have tomorrow and Sunday set aside just to write. I might be at 60k before I know it.

    Honestly, word count isn't important to me as much as telling a good story, but seeing how there are some standards out there, I feel the need to track it as well.
     
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  20. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    I love this. That's beautiful, and I like the poetry of that within the rough and tumble world of rock and roll.

    I could also relate to it. While I'm sure this isn't an original idea, an ex and I each used to look at the moon whenever he'd call from the road. Sounds silly, but looking at the same thing at the same time was sort of comforting in the same way the stars are for your MC. I ended up having my MC and her guy look at the moon during their phone calls when they're on the road as well.
     
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  21. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Thank goodness someone gets it! I've been worried that perhaps that would be a little too eccentric of a character quirk for folks to understand.
    I'm the same way, though, and have even written songs referencing the heavens as a constant to assure two lovers that even though they are miles apart, they're still blanketed by the same sky. It just seems so comforting to me to realize that no matter what's happening, the sky keeps wheeling around overhead.
     
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  22. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    I've been meaning to comment on this. I love how poetic this is. Not every reader will get poetic prose, but the ones who do will love this.
     
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  23. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Here's the track in case anyone's interested.

     
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  24. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    I like it. I'm feeling an early 70's prog rock vibe ( that's a high compliment).
    Thanks!
     
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  25. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    Thanks Stormburn:) I appreciate the compliment. I grew up in the 70s so I suppose that era rubbed off on me.
     

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