Smokey Summer Update

smokey summer update
source; unsplash by allef vinicius

Well, I’m sitting in a smokey haze. It’s not that I’ve taken up smoking but it’s the forest, wild-fire smoke that has blown into town this week. It’s cast a yellow tint to everything including my brain.

Maybe it’s a summer slacker thing, but I’ve been avoiding my blog. Although I have more than a few drafts that are ready, I have hesitated in clicking the publish button. Don’t ask me why.

Today, let’s talk writing, editing, Hemingway, and literature.

The short story collection–TBPS (to be published soon)

You’ll recall my short story collection titled The Icing On The Cake. I’ve officially changed the title to Lost Hearts, after the final short story in the collection. I felt it captured the collection quite well and I’m following literary tradition in naming the collection after one of the stories.

Besides, when I googled my original working title, many cookbooks popped up. Same with a search on Amazon. While I still love the original title’s play on words, I decided it was misleading.

Hemingway over simplified when he said “Write drunk, edit sober.”

I’m so very close to completing the final edits for Lost Hearts-–so very close. There’s the one story I’m still re-working. New York Dreams is sitting on my desk with all my notes and scratched out sections…almost there. No one told me how excruciating the editing process can be.

Then I had an idea. Why not approach this edit with slow and rich deliberation? Choose my words with joy and reverence. Hmmm, what a new idea. Instead of agonizing over words and sentences…take pleasure in the manipulation of the story. Ask myself; “Is that what you want to say or can you say that better?”

Thus I’m enjoying the process more. That is, the process of butchering my original writing and my ‘brilliant’, original thoughts for my main characters. The thing is, I’ve grown to love these characters.

“Writing is one-third wit and two-thirds perseverance”

I thought about abandoning this whole collection. At the second round of edits the monster in my head told me it was a stupid project that wasn’t worth anyone reading. But my heart said there was no way I could abandon any of these characters. Their stories need to be told and to be read. I love them too much to leave them now. Does that sound weird?

Whether it’s weird or not really doesn’t matter. That passion is what I needed to carry on with the project. When I should be doing something more productive, I’m sitting at my desk getting into the heads of people who don’t even exist.

Speaking of people who only exist on paper, I will be interviewing Kora Stone here on the blog. She’s my MC in New York Dreams and I’d like my readers to get to know her. Heck, there’s some things I’d like to know about her. This will be a good way for me to find some things out, too. More importantly, I think you will be inspired by her.

This is my reality. Concocting fictional characters with rich lives, emotions spilling off the page until it turns red.

Who do I think I am anyway, a writer? Well, turns out I am. A writer that is.

smokey summer update
this guy will be in my town filming on Saturday. source; film district

It’s not the smokey haze that’s got me all crazy like. No, it’s just me, writing fiction, heart on my sleeve, blood on the page.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemingway

I fell in love with Hemingway books in my early 20’s. The first one I read was  The Sun Also Rises. It was the summer of ’86 and I had my nose in a book everyday. When I got my hands on Hemingway, his words had me hungering for more than Danielle Steele. Yup, that was one of my favorite authors back then. That summer I discovered John Irving when I read a second hand copy of Cider House Rules. Again, I fell in love with his storytelling. Actually, correction; the first book I read of Irving’s was The World According to Garp. That was in 1981…so I was reading more than just Danielle Steele in my teens. Later, I read A Prayer for Owen Meany. I think that’s my favorite Irving book, to date.

So now I’ve evolved from reader to non-fiction writer to fiction writer. It’s been a learning curve, for sure. I LOVE it so much that if I’m having a down day, I start writing/editing my stories or any WIP. What happens? Time flies and my heart wakes up. I feel like I can do anything if I can finish a chapter. In the meantime, let’s hope the fires die out and the smoke blows over.

“Writing is tonic for the soul”-lisa thomson

Maybe it isn’t quite as profound as Hem, but it’s mine.

Do you write fiction? Are you a blogger? How is your summer going?

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38 Replies to “Smokey Summer Update”

  1. I love your words, whenever you find the time to share them with us. And you are absolutely 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt a pure writer, one who bleeds on the keyboard and burns in the night. You’ve always had a knack and clear voice and I love to read anything you write so I’m excited to see what’s ahead for you!!

    PS–I’ve always loved that Hemingway quote 🙂
    Charlotte recently posted…A walk down memory lane  My Profile

  2. Writing is most definitely a process! I have tried to write fiction before but not with much success. I’ve been having a pretty good summer I must say. 🙂

    1. As a prolific blogger, YOU know!Going from non fiction to fiction is a writing curve 🙂 You certainly are having a fab summer. I love reading about your adventures!

    1. Yes, I’m sure you’ve felt that same connection or love for your heroines, Chrys (Beth comes to mind). I had to change my attitude regarding editing. It has really inspired me to work harder. Your edits were extremely helpful, Chrys!

  3. What a wonderful news Lisa! I am so happy for you that your book is almost ready…looking forward to its release. I know how time consuming and exhausting editing is!
    I love the way you have shared your inspiration and success through quotes…I am glad they kept you going despite those thoughts of dropping this project. We all face such scary monsters but success stands right behind them. Stay blessed dear friend! 🙂
    Balroop Singh recently posted…#Haiku Life Watchers #WritephotoMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Balroop! Do you like my acronym, STBP? 😀 Yes, writing and bringing our writing to publication is a labor of LOVE. The mean monsters seem to come out when we’re working on creative projects…

  4. I am a writer, but I don’t write fiction too often, or very well for that matter!
    I like simple and happy stuff. I think I’d be a good children’s book author. All my heady stuff comes out in the blog.. sometimes even in sponsored posts.. oops.
    I love A Prayer for Owen Meany. Never had as much luck with his others!
    Tamara recently posted…5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Have Late Summer FunMy Profile

    1. Tamara, you would be an awesome children’s book author! Your heady posts are beautiful. Nice to hear you’re an Owen Meany fan, too 🙂

    1. Thank you, Deb. It’s amazing how long that editing process can go on for. Then I need space from the story to get some perspective again. The fires are awful. We’re only getting the smoke though, so i shouldn’t complain. It’s been over a week of haze 😛

        1. Me too, Deb. The fires are another thing to worry about that we have zero control over. Sometimes I have to take a break from the news so I don’t get all upset…
          I will try your trick and pretend I’m someone else reading my story for the first time ha! Beta readers are a wonderful resource for getting fresh, unbiased eyes on the story.

        2. Oh, absolutely, we need beta readers. But we must be our own beta readers first and there’s no way to be objective unless we take a few walk aways for a few days for fresh perspectives. 🙂 x

        3. So true, Deb. That’s exactly what stalls me. I’ll sit it out for a while but it will be on my mind. I’ll play around with ideas in my head “What if….” haha. It’s quite the process.

  5. I love how you choose to look at the editing process. It sure makes it sound more fun and less tedious, which is exactly how it should be. After-all, you are polishing your baby and making it shine.

    Oh and btw, ‘getting into the heads of people who don’t even exist’ is extremely productive. Because if authors did not do that, the books that we love would not exist. And call me crazy, but I do not want to imagine a world without my fictional people.
    Shantala recently posted…Indian Authors in American Libraries | #ChattyBlogs August LinkyMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Shantala. Your comment made me smile. I do not want to imagine a world without fictional people in it either. Point well made and thanks for that reminder!

  6. “Writing is one-third wit and two-thirds perseverance”. Now that I’m blogging, I can relate. Thank you for sharing this. It’s good to know it’s not just me.

    1. So true, Lynn! That’s one of my own quotes 😀 Blogging takes a great deal of perseverance to maintain. Thanks for stopping over!

  7. In addition to my blog, I’ve started writing my own book this month. It is a story of my own journey during my Mother’s illness. My blog started as the journey of grief through a grief counselor’s eyes and I’ve always wanted to turn some of my emails (more like an ongoing journal) to my friends into a book. I’m finding I cycle in regards to the energy I have but right now I simply keep writing The editing will come later.

    1. Good for you, Sheryl. That sounds interesting and will in the end, help others going through that process. Good luck to you. p.s. the first few drafts are the most fun.

  8. Ah, I love this so much Lisa! I love that you are tackling such an incredible mission to write these stories and develop these character’s rich perspectives and I’m SURE it will be a worthy read when you are done.

    THIS: Then I had an idea. Why not approach this edit with slow and rich deliberation? Choose my words with joy and reverence. Hmmm, what a new idea. Instead of agonizing over words and sentences…take pleasure in the manipulation of the story. Ask myself; “Is that what you want to say or can you say that better?”

    That is so inspiring to me. And a great reminder for me to do the same, when I feel stuck or apathetic or down right done.

    I can’t wait to *meet* and learn about Kora. 🙂
    Christine Carter recently posted…To All The Christian Teen Ministry Leaders: You Need To Talk About THISMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Chris! I believe in these stories and won’t give up until they’re published. 😀 I have designed the cover and will reveal that probably in September. Editing can be a dreadful process but it doesn’t have to be. Tedious, yes but it shouldn’t be agonizing (which it has been at certain times LOL). I’m happy this has inspired you in your own work, Chris. That is wonderful! I can’t wait to introduce Kora here at The Great Escape 🙂

  9. Glad to hear the collection of short stories is coming along. It’s been smokey in my neck of the woods as well. My AC broke and needed replaced in late-June right when temps were nearing a hundred, so that wasn’t fun. I’ve been enjoying writing narrative nonfiction. It’s a skin that feels more like my own, as writing fiction tends to make me feel less at home.

    1. It’s coming along, almost done 🙂 I recall my hot water tank gave out during pre-christmas -30 celcius weather (back in Alberta). These things always seem to happen at the worst time! Narrative non-fiction sounds perfect for you right now with all you’re going through. I hope to read your work!

    1. Hi Kim, the fires are still burning but the smoke has lifted and we’ve finally enjoyed blue skies and stars at night again. Thanks for the reminder to get back to work! 🙂

  10. You are a brilliant writer my friend. I get in slumps and it’s hard to drag myself out of. I love those Hemmingway quotes – he makes it sound like it’s just so easy to do. It’s not though! It’s not!
    For me it’s medication changes that make the fogginess so bad that I can’t string thoughts together. OY. What helps is just writing journals. Like stepping away from what I was working on and just diving into other writing. I know that sounds like procrastination but it helps me not get frustrated and muck up what I’m working on. Gah it’s hard to explain. We all have our weird writing processes don’t we!
    Friend, you’re going to write something wonderful. I know it.
    Kimberly recently posted…On To The Next Big AdventureMy Profile

    1. Aw, Kim, your words are music. Thank you! Slumps are bummers. I’ve been procrastinating lately, too. Hemingway makes it sound like a breeze. His writing feels like a breeze as well.I would never know by your writing that you suffer brain-fog. I like your solution to free writing in a journal. I also do that as it seems to open the brain a little more. Here’s to writing… *lifts glass* (half-full of course).

  11. “Writing is tonic for the soul”. It’s you and it’s beautiful Lisa.
    I love your post and I love the idea that your book is nearly finished. I know editing can be quite frustrating. But you made a good point in changing your perspective about it – I am sure you’re finding pleasure now!
    Can’t wait to read you…
    Till then sending you love from sunny Paris.
    marie kleber recently posted…A history of “violence”My Profile

    1. Hey Marie, How is your summer? Have missed you…but I’m sure you’ve been enjoying Paris all summer. Love back to you!

    1. Writing fiction is a whole other animal.Thank you, Vishnu and I’m so glad you’re interested in my fiction writing. 🙂

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