Monday Map: Wait! I’m Holding the Stupid Thing Upside Down!

Okay, honestly, I’m not all that impressed by the “success” record of my Monday-Map posts. Last week, I tried being flexible with myself and, yes, I was less stressed, but I also got almost nothing done on my writing. Other things, sure. Writing…meh.

I’m going to say that I was gathering inspiration. Some of that was in reading a couple of brilliantly written books: Dana Stabenow’s latest Kate Shugak mystery, Restless in the Grave and John Green’s The Fault in our Stars. Some  more was going up to Books Inc in Burlingame for a NYMBC (Not Your Mother’s Book Club) signing with Robin LaFevers (Grave Mercy) and Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers).  Robin said something (as usual!) that really struck a chord for me: that she sometimes starts writing a book with a lie–the lie, to herself, that nobody else is going to read this book, that she’s writing it only for herself. This frees her up, obviously, to play with new ideas, but it also lets her push some limits that she might keep herself back from, if she let herself accept that the story would have a wider audience. Something in me feels like I need to get back to this place–back to what I love about my historical fiction’s MC, about what I want her to be.

This week, I’ve got some free hours. And the map thing? Well, I’m shifting directions, pulling what my GPS navigational voice calls “a legal u-turn.” The one thing I did get done last week was that I sent the two most recent versions of my picture book off to my critique group. I was feeling muddled, lost about which way I should be doing. I knew there were some big differences between the two drafts, and I was feeling like I couldn’t look at them straight, see whether one was better than the other, or whether I should be merging them both into something new…again. Lo and behold, my critique group loved the newest version and just had a few things to say about that.

So this week, I go back to being a picture-book writer and reviser. I’ve got a chunk of hours free tomorrow and later in the week, and I’m going to dump out a draft of one story that’s been calling to me (and being way too patient with being ignored), and then I’m going to put some more time into revising the first picture book. Goal? Get it back to the critique group for the next meeting for the next pass.

As to these posts: they may stay, they may go. I guess I’ll see next Monday!

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