Monday, October 13, 2008

Six Random Things

A few weeks ago Nikki, a fellow Goddard student and blogger at More Purple Houses, tagged me to tell you six random things about me and then tag some other bloggers. Here goes:

1. At Starbucks, I order a decaf triple venti soy one sweet-n-low latte.

2. I don't care for onions or cooked spinach although I will eat small amounts of spinach if it is chopped and mixed with something else. Onions I will pick out of everything whether raw or cooked.

3. I currently have braces after having had rapid palatal expansion surgery. I hope the braces will be removed very soon.

4. When I was a teenager, my mother, Ellen Buddelmeyer, was the drive-time radio disc jockey for WCVO, the Christian voice of central Ohio. I did not think this was cool.

5. I began letting my hair grow as the official start of my mid-life crisis. It is now well below my shoulders. I have no plans to cut it anytime soon.

6. When I practiced law, I memorized the punch line of every lawyer joke I could. When someone began to tell the joke, I said the punch line to spoil it. I have forgotten most of them.

There. That wasn't so bad. I'll tag Sea Side Shooter and Mel.

Friday, October 03, 2008

How Do You Begin?

“I always do the first line well, but I have trouble doing the others.” - Moliere, from The Ridiculous Precieuses

My quest to fall in love with a new book project has made me think about how I stumbled upon the idea for my last one. I've been in an on-line writing practice group since July 1997. On October 24, 2004, I wrote the following opening lines on the topic, "This is What I Know:"

Normal people would have rallied around a bottle of Jack Daniels or resigned themselves to a lifetime of platinum drips to prolong the inevitable. But we were not normal people. My father was not a normal man.

When I reread the full 10-minute piece, I knew it had the makings of a book. Dad’s death. My depression. Our golf. Three topics intertwined. Even though it wouldn't be a novel, I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) and used the month-long structure to pull the material out of me. During November 2004, I wrote 50,000 words about my father and golf. Each day I pulled up a memory and wrote 2,000 words not stopping to figure out how the pieces went together. Of that original writing practice, not one complete sentence remains in the book, but it gave me the doorway into the project. That’s what I’m looking for again - an opening.

Now I have two projects, a novel and a memoir, vying for my attention. I alternate working on them. For the novel, I look forward to NaNoWriMo again this November. With the memoir, I’m using the free novel-writing software yWriter. I hadn’t discovered yWriter when I began the last book, but it proved exceedingly helpful to plot the NaNoWriMo mess after I'd written it. This time I’m attempting to plot both books before I begin the writing. I find this awkward. There may indeed be two types of writers: those who plot before they write and those who plot after. Ignoring the strong possibility that I might be an after-the-fact plotter, I’m creating chapters and scene descriptions, trying to make something vaguely resembling a three-act play.

I don’t have a complete answer to the question, “How do you begin?” So I’d love to hear your input. Please let me know how you begin a writing project. I imagine there are as many methods as there are writers.

(c)Nita Sweeney, 2008, all rights reserved
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