D.V. Sheppard

The web-log of a duck-herding author.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

So THAT's Why I'm Bothering to Write a Book!

Lately, I've been having some personal crises. Far from being the most Duckie's-World-shattering, but still pertinent enough to get my attention was the dilemma of the "why" in regards to writing my book. I looked at my writing and wondered, "Wait, why do I like books? Why do I think it's important to read, aside from the fact that I feel it's my calling?"

It took a little while before I realized there were two problems. The first was that I hadn't read much in the past couple years. I'd kind of forgotten the joy, even as I tried to guard against the distraction from writing. The second reason, was that I hadn't read very many books that I believed were truly great or challenging. I think I've read a lot of YA  books lately - and while I really enjoy them, a lot of them don't have the depth that I'm trying to put in my own book - so I don't come away feeling inspired - just entertained. I've also read a few micro-histories. Super fascinating, and really enjoyable - but so far from what I'm writing that - again- I didn't come away feeling inspired.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine, #1)I've also grown picky. I can't tell you how many books I've  brought home from the library - read two pages and set aside. Being "particular" can be okay - being "picky" just bums you out. So Friday my husband an I went to the library and picked up some books. My to-do list yesterday included "find a book you like and read it!" I did just that. I ended up reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

This book was very enjoyable. It built up with great intrigue. It wasn't a masterpiece. It didn't have quite enough power - but it was one of the better YA books I've read in a long time. What was the most amazing thing about the book, however, was not just the story but the presentation. The book was gorgeous! The cover design, the quality of paper, the page design, the colored chapter pages, and the vintage photos - accompanied with an enjoyable story - had me spending my intermittent thoughts on who might like to receive the book for Christmas! It was absolutely beautiful- the kind of you book want on your shelf because of the way it looks and the way it feels to hold.
My Wombat

The greatest thing about it - it inspired me.

I'm no photographer - I don't intend to try to recreate Ransom Rigg's work of art. However, I rediscovered that a book can be a work of art - a thing of beauty - and I hope to do just that with my writing.

P.S. I woke up today, and my husby says, "We need to finish outlining the rest of the scenes in your book before NaNoWriMo starts." What can I say? I have the best husby ever. I love my Wombat.

Do you find that you have to keep reading to care about writing? Have you read a book recently that inspired you in some aspect of your writing?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Ah-ha!" Moment

It's Tuesday! Tuesdays are my official writing days. I try to treat it like a job and be lotsa productive. I woke up prepared for this - but after about an hour I still haven't written anything. Instead I dabbled on Facebook - got riled up by political and religious posh thereon - and decided for my health's sake I'd stay away from that for awhile. Looking for distraction, I went looking at some blog posts and laughed my tookus off watching the video on Lisa Ann's blog. Then, in an attempt to get closer to writing - I opened up Scrivener AND my Liquid Story Binder. Then through a small series of unimportant events I found myself in an "Ah-ha!" moment.

You, see I've worked on three major book projects in my ickle life. The first I wrote when I was... say... 14? It wasn't til a couple years ago, when I found the printed manuscript that, I realized that I had in fact written a book from start to finish. How cool! I hadn't remembered this.

The second book project was called Banded. I worked on this for years - probably from 15ish to 22ish. It just kept evolving and changing and it wasn't until the last year of working on it that I finally put my foot down and decided what I wanted. I practically scrapped it and started from the beginning. I then realized that it couldn't be my break-out book, so I shelved it. This was significant, because  the other day after reading someone's post, I though, "Could I really shelve a manuscript? Could I really make myself let go and move on to more perhaps greater projects? Would my arrogance allow?" (I recently realized that I am in fact arrogant. It seems being arrogant makes it hard to see your own arrogance.) Turns out I've already shelved two manuscripts.

I'm working on the third right now which has the working title of Unbanded (yes, yes, my creativity is earth shaking- astounding :p). I intend to prove myself with this book - but I've found myself thinking "Wow, I hope I can do this, I've never written this much before." Apparently, I have the memory of a goldfish, or the observation power of a blind goldfish - or both. Today, I transferred all of Banded over to Scrivenar and got a word count of 111,946. I nearly laughed. You see my prospected word count for Unbanded is 110,000.

So... I guess my point is... if I've done it once - I can do it again!

Does this happen to anyone else? Do you catch yourself not remembering the credit you earned in accomplishing things? Perhaps thinking you couldn't write something "moving" enough, or long enough, clever enough or maybe make a character "real" enough - only to go back to something you've written and see that you actually have done just that?

Friday, October 19, 2012


Something wicked this way comes!! That's right - it's NaNoWriMo! 
Yeah, I know, it's a little early. You have to understand though, that I've only known about NaNoWriMo for a few years, and the past couple Novembers were times of transition. I was embroiled in distractions... things like... my wedding, moving, etc. I've consistently remembered NaNoWriMo over midway through the month. This year, I'd like to participate! 

Sort of. 

I've succeeded with the first step, and that was to remember it. Unfortunately, I'm not really keen on officially participating because... well... I really don't want to write a new book - and that's kind of one of their very few rules. So, instead I'm going to unofficially participate. Conveniently enough, my projected word count for the fantasy novel I'm working on is 110,000, and- wow, actually, as of right now I'm exactly halfway there. This means that after I write another 5,000 words before November (and I better ~.~ *holds bat up to my Lazy Butt threateningly*) - I will have 50,000 words left til I'm done (give or take, of course). 

So my NaNoWriMo participation will be to write the remaining 50,000 words of my novel. It feels outrageously daunting (especially considering that it took me months to write the first 50,000), but the incentive of finishing is oh so tasty! *slurp*

How 'bout all y'alls? Any of you officially participating in NaNoWriMo? How about unofficially? 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Go Figure, But with Good Humor (IWSG)

I haven't been around much lately. Busy being sick. Apparently I consumed some contaminated water oh- about two months ago - and suffered the consequences - for... about two months! Luckily, my symptoms stayed clear of the more foul and unfriendly side of things - meaning, the bathroom and I did not become partners. Mostly I just felt feverish and miserable. Dr. Kind (that's not his name, but he's not the same doctor as Dr. Cool, and he really is more kind than he is cool) used is magical non-western powers and has helped me get all better. Hurray! Feeling good!

This meant, however, that my writing life was stuffed into a box at the back of my sock drawer, and I spent hours upon hours (*cough* meaning about 90) watching Lost. I did other things too - like dishes and laundry and web surfing and online Christmas shopping - but yes, mostly I let myself be sick, ate lots of homemade chicken noodle soup, and watched T.V. I liked the series. It helped that I knew from the start the big "surprise" at the end. I think too, that I'm pretty forgiving of unexplained things - think it has to do with my love of fantasy. That's not to say that they didn't botch some things pretty bad, but the actual end "surprise" was pretty precious, I thought.

Anyways - as I haven't posted in a month, I suppose the only other big news would be these three things. First, that I had a sort of mishap with my hair. Wombat is awesome and trims my hair for me. He's getting better and better at it! But this time, being the loving and giving Wombat that he is, he sort of tried something new and messed up. He finished, and practically with tears in his eyes, professed that I looked like a recovering cancer patient (absolutely no offence intended). I'm pretty chill about my hair, and assured him that its fine- I'll just be looking like my little brother for awhile. Second, I had my birthday. Hurray! Third, I got a day cut at work, and Wombat gave up a day of work for religious and personal reasons. We'll be fine, but it puts a serious hamper in our goal to save a bunch of money. Oh well, we'll figure it out.

With all of this behind me - the good and the bad - I've finally felt re-inspired to write. Which, of course, means that I've been very busy with other things and haven't had a chance to do very much. My daddy bought me a license for Scrivener for my birthday though, and I'm determined to get back to work. I don't know if the rest of you ever feel like this, but lately, when I've felt like my life has been shaken and I don't know which direction to go - I hang on to the fact that I completely believe that I'm meant to be a writer. Do I feel insecure as a writer? Well, yeah. I feel like a farce much of the time. After all, you can't really be a writer if you don't, ya know, write. It's too important to me to let my struggle with being a "real" writer get in the way of trudging through the blizzard of self-doubt towards real success. It's only a matter of time, practice, and persistence. So here's to all y'all that know you're meant to make it! Keep believing! Let it be a driving force! Renew your efforts! Kick trash! Write! Booya!