16 February 2011

Waiting for the End to Arrive

I am writing a romance novel. Well, mostly I'm writing this blog. But I got to this point because I'm writing a romance novel, as I clearly state over there in the right column. Everyone knows I am writing the book, and often check on my progress, either indirectly ("Hey, send me some new chapters!") or otherwise ("Wow; how long have you been at it now?").  The kids keep asking me if I'm done, which is starting to freak me out a little, because I desperately want to say, "Yes, Mommy has completed her opus. Come take a look!"  Even the Captain will occasionally ask me where I am in the story. I tell him, and then I map out where I'll be going with it, and it makes him sad. Because he has lived a version of this tale, and he feels for my hero. I remind him that the most basic requirement of romance fiction is a happy ending.

The truth is, I'm a little...stuck. I keep looking at the word count to make myself feel better (78,565), but honestly, I know what I have to do, and I'm just procrastinating. The next chapter is what I consider "transitional." It serves to move the story along, but with no major events (a.k.a. sex, or fighting) contained within it,  it's more difficult to get jazzed up to tackle the writing. 

I also decided, somewhere along the way, that it might be a good idea to learn  more about how to actually construct a romance novel. This may have been a mistake. Now I worry about "showing" instead of "telling," and the dangers of "head-hopping" (not as exciting as you think). And I have discovered that I prefer to edit as I go, as opposed to just getting the story done. How does one do that, without laboring over words?

I chose the poems for the blog at the beginning of this week. I wanted there to be a thematic arc, through the phases of life and love. Reading them was a reminder of my own journey, alone and together with the Captain, who many years ago was my boyfriend. And remembering that time has made me curious about my characters again.

I am going to try and recall the feelings I had at the beginning of the novel. I will conjure the summer heat, and warm skin longing to be touched by another's hand. I will remember the thrill of the first kiss, and the joy in stolen glances. I will close my eyes and be transported back in time to the wretched airlessness of heartbreak. Then I will wake, and, hopefully, write my happy ending.

Now, about when you find the happy ending...

The Hush of the Very Good

by Todd Boss
You can tell by how he lists
                                          to let her
kiss him, that the getting, as he gets it,
is good.
             It’s good in the sweetly salty,
deeply thirsty way that a sea-fogged
rain is good after a summer-long bout
of inland drought.
                            And you know it
when you see it, don’t you? How it
drenches what’s dry, how the having
of it quenches.
                        There is a grassy inlet
where your ocean meets your land, a slip
that needs a certain kind of vessel,
when that shapely skiff skims in at last,
trimmed bright, mast lightly flagging
left and right,
                      then the long, lush reeds
of your longing part, and soft against
the hull of that bent wood almost im-
perceptibly brushes a luscious hush
the heart heeds helplessly—
                                          the hush
of the very good.


  1. Anonymous16.2.11

    Oh Megan, that poem is grand! At first it just made me long for the shore, but then, well it just, it just went that other poetic way. Thank you so much for sharing this!
    And yes, take heart, from what I've seen and heard, you are not alone in experiencing this stage of your work.
    (I might agree with you about not wanting to know too much about the "rules" though. But maybe that's just me, and ya know, I don't have a book in the works so ... ha ha, I now DO have a story for Delia's blogfest though!)
    p.s. I finally remembered what else I was trying to tell you, before the commenting mishap. I read "how I failed Five" to Dan every day. We can SO relate! Hats off to you and the Captain. (I would say cheers, but some of us don't drink.)

  2. Anonymous16.2.11

    I like that poem, very nice.
    I am not writing a book but I wouldn't be able to edit as I went, I just chuck stuff down and then go back and fill in gaps, take stuff out, tidy up etc.
    Good luck getting through the next bit, you're a fabulous writer.

  3. @curiousmisskris: Ah, chucking it down is what I should do! The funnier part is that I've gone back and revised earlier chapters that I thought were done. So, clearly I shouldn't be so labored in my choices. Thanks for the pep talk!

  4. @Julie: This poem is a perfect example of what I wish I could do. I love how you can hear the ocean and the reeds in the words, and how the alliteration and the long vowels at the end force you to slow down, like the calming effect of love. Or something like that.'Tis beautiful.

  5. Right there with you, Megan. And for this time in the process (however often it occurs), I read this: http://www.nanowrimo.org/node/1065561 , and I know I am in good company. Keep plugging, you can do it.

    Also, the poem is beautiful. I so wish I could compose like that.

  6. @Delia: I went to the link. I feel better. Thank you. Now I have to go find the words.

  7. I had dinner with a friend last night and was telling her about you, this blog, and specifically the post about a cat living among dogs. When I finished she said "wait, she has FIVE boys, AND she writes a blog, AND she is writing a book?" I said, "yes." "When?" She meant the writing part.

    In other words, no one sane thinks you are dawdling. In fact, we are in awe. It will get done, have no fear.

  8. You know the transitional things (sans action) are the things I dislike most in life. I would be terrible at writing them for anyone. And that would include characters I don't like.
    With that said, I hope you finish the book soon because-based on your blog-I'd love to read it. :)

  9. Thanks, Sarah. After reading everyone's comments, the opening lines of the chapter came to me! I wrote only a few sentences, but they mattered. So, I feel better.


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