Day: August 11, 2017

My Novel: Father Figure (Week 6 – Friday, August 11th, 2017)

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Writing a book runs the range from easy to difficult. At times, the words are exactly as captivating as you need them to be. In others, the words feel more stilted than one could possibly imagine. First drafts are only meant to be the initial release of the story in your head. I encountered both extremes during the course of the week, but in the end, it all came together quite nicely. I’m still baffled how six weeks ago this was barely a figment of my imagination and now here we are with 40% of the first draft written. I present to you Father Figure’s weekly status:

writer

Status:  Friday, August 11, 2017 – Week #6

  • Research
    • Let’s not discuss.
  • Chapters 1 thru 6
    • Editing went well. I cleaned up a few grammar issues. Dropped in a few connections for surprises in later chapters. Overall, there are moments in the story where I find myself a bit teary and at others excited. I should be ready to share two chapters with the beta team before the end of August.
      • Describing the onset of a winter blizzard in the deep fields of a small Ohio town has been intense. But some of the descriptions I’ve included feel like a few paragraphs of my best writing.
  • Chapters 7 thru 9
    • I committed to drafting three chapters this week and I’m happy to say I met the goal. I’m finally back down with a count around twelve pages per chapter, which is what I had planned. I feel good about not being too wordy, and I’m inclined to think the initial chapters have some backstory and/or descriptions which might be pushed forward a bit to balance out the page count and keep the interest in the action growing more fervent.
  • Chapters 10 thru 11 (BONUS!)
    • Ever the Type A personality, I wrote an additional two chapters this week. I have not edited them, just let the words fly from my fingers to the characters on the laptop screen. I’ll decide next week if that was a good idea or a bad one based on how well written they seem after a few days distance. But… it was important to push myself if I want the entire first draft complete sooner than the original plan.
      • TIP: Sometimes writers get caught up in details along the way. I wanted to name a specific music artist or song in a paragraph, but needed to research the perfect option. I had a choice: (a) take 15 minutes to find it and get lost down a rabbit hole where I lost the momentum or (b) add a “____” to be filled in later. Always add the line, you will get more done in the end.

 

 Next Steps: Plan for Week #7

    • Edit Chapter 7 thru 11 to match tone and voice of earlier chapters, include additional details and check repetition in words or phrases
    • Write chapters 12 thru 15 with a target to end up in total at ~ 210 pages & 65K words
      • At that point, I’ll be 55% complete with a first draft
      • At that rate, with 5 more weeks to finish the remaining 45%, a first draft needs to be complete by 9/16 when I leave on vacation. It will sit untouched for 2 weeks to let my mind process in the background, then I can begin editing in early October upon my return home.

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • Building characters is an incredibly fun experience. I’m not certain how other writers embrace the process, but for me, each one lives and breathes with me throughout the day. Let’s take Amalia, the main character, as an example. I know what she looks like and I watch in my head as she walks around a college campus.
    • I know the little flip she does with her curly hair
    • I notice the way the wind carries her perfume across the library entrance
    • I knew the adrenaline markers across her body when she’s afraid of the guy who appears to be following her
  • The campus is remarkably similar to where I went to school merely because I need a setting. I’ll adjust those particulars later as the visualization is about how Amalia behaves. She has a few distinguishing features (no reveals here!) and in order to convey them throughout the story without constantly repeatedly saying the same thing, I have to imagine
    • how her body would walk
    • how it would sit
    • how it would interact when she was intimate with someone
  • I’m not one for fluff, so I need to have a strong sense of not only how her body moves, but how she feels about the way it moves. When I add in the backstory of her relationship with her mother and father, it gets more complicated.
    • what words did her mother use to teach Amalia about femininity
    • how did her father handle his daughter becoming a woman
    • what happens when she goes from small town to college campus.
  • These are things that, at least for this writer, don’t just flow out of my head and onto the page as I’m writing. I need those details worked out in advance, incorporated from the outline into the book at the proper time. It’s a rather organized approach, but at the same time, I feel it brings depth to the character whereas if I just wrote it as I thought of the sentiments, it may not feel strong enough for what I’m trying to accomplish.
  • On a scarier note, I stumbled upon a few potential changes to an event that I’d planned to occur in a chapter I wrote this week. When you have a character with more than one love interest, you need to be careful to clearly show why (s)he would feel attracted to each potential suitor. Though I’d summarized a half page about each relationship in the outline, it didn’t feel distinct when I wrote it. I wasn’t convinced that I’d built a proper explanation or desire to distinguish what each love represents. I have some re-thinking to do which at first made me nervous, but now I realize it will help set up the conflict in a way that readers might not even be sure who they want to be together. I love a good challenge!

Are these tidbits confounding you? Raising and peaking your interest? Or you’re just waiting until I have something more real to share? Thanks for listening.

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Summary of Father Figure (only read if you’re new to the book)

  • One young girl’s need to escape the mundane life she’s grown up in and another young girl’s quest to find her father, unaware of all the circumstances they’ve both been placed in due to decisions and actions occurring nearly 20 years ago and that both women have made in the present. How well do you really know your parents? Do they truly understand you? Can you ever truly escape the past?
  • A contemporary fiction novel set in two time periods with two primary characters:
    • 1998 – Amalia Graeme, about to turn 18, attends college, leaving behind a mother with whom she had a difficult relationship. While Amalia has a boyfriend, she’s secretly attracted to an older professor, Dr. Jonah West. She begins an affair with him and realizes she must come clean to her boyfriend. After she tells the boyfriend, they have a huge fight and she leaves to find Jonah who she thinks can comfort her. Along the path, she’s attacked by a stranger and her life is never the same again. Amalia makes a few choices which will later have disastrous consequences.
    • 2018 – Amalia, going by Molly and living in NYC, sends her daughter, Brianna, away to college. Just like her mother, Brianna begins dating one of her professors, probably looking for a father figure, as she’s never met her real father. Brianna has always accepted her mother’s story that her father was a military man with whom Molly had a one-night stand and later found herself pregnant with no way to find him. When Brianna uncovers her mother’s old journal, she learns the shocking secret that her mother never knew who the father was because it could have been more than one man. As Brianna searches for clues to find her father, she stumbles upon a few facts which could completely change the future. But when the stranger who attacked her mother re-surfaces, not even Molly knows if she can protect her daughter anymore.

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 152 – Matchmaker

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Matchmaker: a person who arranges relationships and marriages between others, either informally or, in certain cultural communities, as a formal occupation

dolly

Ever since I saw Hello, Dolly earlier this week, I cannot get some of the songs out of my head, nor the other famous one: “Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match…” All these tunes prompted me to make today’s 365 Daily Challenge word ‘matchmaker.’ At some point in our lives, we’ve all met or been exposed to some form of this meddler, the (wo)man who takes it upon himself or herself to set up other people, trying to bring joy and happiness into a new couple’s life as they meet for the first time. It’s a divisive topic. Some say “bring it on,” while others scream “mind your own business.”

Looking back throughout my days, I’ve been setup on a date with someone else a few times; it never worked out. I luckily have no horror stories to tell, as the worst that ever happened to me was that the guy was quite fickle. A friend from high school thought we’d be perfect together, so we all up met up for drinks. The match brought one of his friends (a girl), I brought one of mine (a girl), and then we had the matchmaker (a girl) who brought us together. Date seemed to be going fine, but the girl he brought kept sitting on his lap, crossing the line between very friendly and ‘did you two need a room?’ Though I would usually just ignore it, the entire situation puzzled me, as we were kind of on a date, yet tried to make it a casual group thing. I felt forced to ask the question… explain my point of view… but my words fell into a deep hole, and I’m not sure an “ah-ha moment” ever actually came out on the other side either. Nonetheless, I doubt you care to hear the end of that story. The point being… matchmakers… always trying to meddle in other people’s lives assist their friends.

Dolly is a matchmaker in the 1880s in New York City and Yonkers. She’s a widow who holds hundreds of jobs, always with a business card and a new title for whatever you need. She brings together couples all across the bustling city, ignoring her own needs until she’s simply grown too tired of it all. Enter a somewhat charming and rich older man who is searching for a wife… oodles of antics occur and in the end, many couples are united despite all the chaos that ensues. It’s an overly simple summary of a truly remarkable show, but since these posts won’t be as endless as they’ve been in the past (I hear you cheering — NOW STOP THAT!), it shall suffice. I’d heard of the show before the revival came to Broadway, but had never seen it. My friends were absolute crazed when it came back to life with Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce in the lead roles. They insisted on tickets, I shrugged my shoulders. “Sure, sounds fun, do what you will…” I said. They shot me furtive glances, I heard the whispers… “Has he lost his mind, it’s Bette.” Then I watched a performance on the Tony’s and thought, ‘oh, this could be good.’

And yes, the show was amazing, despite the concerns that grew inside my head over the course of the following weeks. You see, some ladies in my apartment building had been gossiping about it weeks ago when we were all at the gym. They sat on a weight bench for about thirty minutes admiring the lovely equipment. I was doing some weird form a squats and lunges, listening in as one does in the gym when seventy-ish women are talking about the show you’re soon to see. “Her voice wasn’t as good as I expected.” “She called out a couple of days and might not finish the run.” I tried to complete my routine, but it just wasn’t working anymore. Not because my life would be over if I missed seeing Bette. But W’s life might be… he had his heart set on seeing her in the show. And I don’t like seeing his heart in a bad place.

And a funny thing about W and me, at least in as far as how he and I met; it was through a matchmaker of our own. I know, crazy how things come together despite what I said earlier. But I promise, there’s no trickery at hand here. This particular matchmaker was quite pushy. Every day I had a message, a reminder, ‘You two should really meet. You’d be good together.” There’d be side-by-side pictures displayed on a phone screen with a few comments dropped to convince me. “You’ve got so much in common. And you live so close to one another.” I believe there were even percentages and blocks being discussed. And then on a weekly basis, a reminder would show up. “You haven’t checked anyone else out this week. Aren’t you forgetting about someone?” You see… our particular meddler was none other than “Match.Com.” Yes, we met through the Internet. And each day, it would tell me he lived a few blocks away from where I worked. Our profiles had 95% in common. And that I still hadn’t exchanged a message with anyone else on the site. But I digress… online dating… perhaps a topic for another day.

Hello, Dolly was all that you’d expect it to be. It’s one of those shows that is unafraid to truly connect with the audience. Certain lines in the show that related to problems in today’s political dramas garnered funny facial expressions from the actors, tons of laughs from the audience. Bette and David took the art of repetition and doing nothing to extremes. In at least 4 or 5 moments, they did zilch on stage for at least two minutes, but it was captivating. Sometimes she was trying to feed him, others she ate food herself while nothing else happened. How many marshmallows can one woman stuff in her mouth? I think they were marshmallows. And every night? Poor Bette, that’s not good for the body. I should know. It’s how I eat my cookies. When I get them. Someone told me I couldn’t have them anymore.

The voices were good, not stellar, but when combined with everything else, it transported you to the setting and you felt absolutely enamored with it all. I knew none of the music, yet it enthralled me. I knew none of the actors other than the two leads, yet I have a few selected to follow to other shows. Though the story took place nearly 150 years ago, it was timeless. The staging was marvelous. The entrances and exits were unexpected yet what we’d all predict if we had a moment to stop being entertained so we could actually process what was happening. It was non-stop shenanigans with a fresh breath of comedic timing and the humor we absolutely all needed. If you’re going to be in NYC, pre-plan as it’s hard to acquire the tickets. But if you have the chance to see the show wherever you are, it’s definitely worth it.

Have you ever seen Hello, Dolly? Been to a matchmaker? Suffered through online dating? Think of the stories we could share…

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • In honor of this lovely show, I am not including a Recommended Blogger to know today. It deserves the spotlight all on its own. We’ll return with regularly scheduled programming over the weekend.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.