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.