Chapter 66: Why am I not done yet…?

Here’s a good question to ask: Why the hell am I not done my book yet? I know I’ve been pondering this very question more and more lately. Why is it that it was so easy to crank out the Nanowrimo 50,000 and then I came to a slow but certain HALT…?

I sort of feel like this right now.

Some people might say nerves. Others might say procrastination. I guess it’s a little of both. While I desperately want this book to be done, there is some part of me that is concerned about how good it really is. Especially now that I have taken into consideration a major overhaul of early story plot. I think it was around this time when I wrote Aquarius that I broke down and had trouble finishing my manuscript.

I think I may have a fear of commitment. At least when it comes to writing.

December was a busy month. January I was under the weather. February had no excuse. Now it’s March and I should be done, but I am far… far from it. With the Steam Punk convention coming up at the end of May, I feel that i NEED to be done my novel by then. I want to have something to present to people that I come across. Something so I can say “why yes indeed, I have written a steam punk book!” even if it’s not polished perfectly.

Will I go so far as to carry a copy of my manuscript in my bag? Maybe. But so much more’s the reason to have it FINISHED.

Now if you’ll forgive me brutal use of capital letters, I would like to state again that I have very little excuse beyond slight illness and overwhelming procrastination that has kept me from writing. To some extent I have let my day job (the one that pays me) take more time from me than I’d like.

If only bills didn’t exist so I could focus on writing. Like I should be doing. I envy not the house-bound women of decades past but at the same time I do consider the fact that women in the past not having to work probably helped them find time to write. Like Virginia Woolf or Emily Dickenson.

Okay, bad examples. But mental health not withstanding, excellent writers.

It’s discouraging how little money I would need to be able to stay home and get this book done. Oh well. Maybe I’ll win the lottery. I probably have just as much ┬áchance of winning as anyone else. Despite the fact I don’t play it.

Cheers and Good Writing,
Cara Spinosa

Chapter 65: Inception in my Book

A thought crime has been committed. I’ve discovered Inception within my book. But instead of a dream within a dream within a dream (Poe would be very pleased, indeed) I have a story within a story within a story.

Think this is where Macaulay Culkin got his inspiration?

I finally went back through and skimmed to see just how much of my book at been co-opted by faeries and much to my dismay I found out that it wasn’t just a chapter or two… It was eight friggin’ chapters and approximately 120 pages. I can promise you that the look that I had on my face when I discovered this was not unlike the expression on the face of the guy in the painting, Skirk (‘The Scream’).

Oh well. As annoying as this discovery is, those hundred pages won’t be tossed onto the fire. I’m not that stupid or melodramatic. For now those pages won’t be touched at all… Once I get to the editing stage I’ll decide whether they’re going to be set aside for another story and completely removed from VRSP, altered to meet my needs like a poorly tailored suit, or kept with minor adjustments.

If kept, I would need to work on adjusting the rest of the book to have a similar flavor. It would be some sort of awkward combination, like if steam punk and urban fantasy had a love child that had wings glued to its head and wheels for legs. Point being, it could either be the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen or completely ridiculous.

If set aside, when should I work on a book that utilizes it? I was thinking of working on something robot/android inspired after I’m through with VRSP. I don’t know why… I’ve just had a craving for hard core future tech robot goodness. It might be Watson’s fault. I don’t care if he’s just a computer. To me he’s way too close to being a robot. Yes, I am going to be one of those anti-robot crazies you see in all the sci-fi movies. Why do you ask?

Or I could just chop it into pieces and use what I can, either altering what sort of people the faeries are (as in… not faeries) or what’s going on.

I guess that’s for later. Now is for writing my final chapters.

Carry on!

Cheers and Good Writing,
Cara Spinosa

Chapter 64: Stop Acting Suspicious!

So as my friend Bridget has been reading my first handful of chapters from the beginning and editing out the wazoo, she brought something to my attention: My characters are doing things behind my back.

Beatrice, Why you have to be such a creeper!?

Take for instance the character of Beatrice, Victoria’s governess. In my mind, Bea wasn’t terribly important. She was simply a side character who interjects some points of interest while acting as a foil to Victoria herself. I didn’t realize that Beatrice was sneaking around, asking too many questions, and was generally acting strange about everything concerning the disappearance of Victoria’s brother, Maximus. Bridget had to point this out to me.

My reaction? I was blown away. I had written the character and the chapters, but Bea was doing stuff that initially seemed innocuous but was actually pretty weird for her character. It was suspicious enough that Bridget asked if she had something to do with Max’s disappearance.

Did she…? Now I don’t know. It’s interesting how sometimes writers happen to write in foreshaowing that they didn’t initially expect. Keeping these comments in mind, I’m going to work Beatrice into the back story more.

I guess sometimes you really do need a second pair of eyes to see what you can’t.

Cheers and Good Writing,
Cara Spinosa

Chapter 63: Rated Arrrr

Uh… so hey there. Don’t worry, my blog isn’t dead. I just have sort of found that I’m unable to keep up with updating every day, or even MWF. Also, my updating daily at this point would be kind of unnecessary seeing as I don’t have a whole lot to talk about anyway. As I near the end of my book, I clearly don’t want to spout off about the plot and there are some characters best left undiscussed.

The symbol on The Banshee's flag

What I can tell you about today, though, is a group of characters that becomes integral to the later plot of my book: The Banshees. The Banshees are an all female sky pirate group who are fairly equal opportunity about who they take into their crew.

We have six women aboard The Morrigan: Zelda McCarthy, Sloane Laurent, Isabella Klein, Adora Romano, Rowan O’Connor, Olivia Valente.

Zelda “Mad Dog” McCarthy is the captain of The Morrigan, their elegant, narrow ship which is bolstered by two hydrogen balloons. As part of The Syndicate, these girls work under the law of Captain Faust who rules the entire western European pirate fleet. Zelda came to power under the guidance of Faust, having previously worked as first mate for his ship before she was granted her own ship. Growing up in poverty in Ireland, she jumped at the chance to get away from the squalor and famine of her home. She is not a bad person at heart… She is simply afraid of being a nobody and having nothing to her name but the clothes on her back.

Sloane is Zelda’s first mate. She also tends to handle most of the actual planning since Zelda is what we like to call a “free spirit” which pretty much means that she isn’t interested in anything besides sailing her ship. While Zelda is the big name on the operation, Sloane is the brains behind it. As far as our multicultural crew is concerned, she is French. Sloane is quick to anger and extremely protective of her Captain, although Zelda may not realize the extent of Sloane’s feelings… If ya know what I mean.

Isabella is a hulking blonde German woman. She is most likely stronger than all of the other girls combined, and that’s saying something. At six and a half feet tall and lacking a good grasp of English, she comes across as stupid… but Isabella is surprisingly smart. Unfortunately even the crew of The Morrigan treat her more like a blunt weapon than a strategist. The only one who knows how clever she really is would be Adora.

Adora is the wildcard of the group. It’s hard to tell where her allegiances lay and for the most part, she tends to do what’s best for herself. She joined The Banshees out of necessity to leave Italy after the death of her husband in the Bava-Beccaris Massacre of 1898. She began traveling west on her own and eventually met up with Isabella, who was also escaping the increasingly chaos of her own homeland. As the wife of a farmer, Adora uses a scythe to fight. She’s also a bit unhinged.

Olivia, a Spanish girl of Moorish decent, is hard to read. She is multi-talented, able to do anything from man the helm to repair a hole in the deck to fixing the rigging on the balloons. When she isn’t busy, she spends a good deal of her time playing the mandolin. She doesn’t talk, although she clearly understands English. The others think she may be mute, as they know little of her life from before.

Rowan is the youngest and newest member of The Banshees. Only eleven years old, she was captured and taken prisoner when The Morrigan took down a pleasure yacht. Since the yacht had less goods and money than they had hoped, Zelda took the little girl to join her crew. Since the girl was only a few years old at the time, she has now come to think of the pirates as her family and Zelda as a sort of mother figure. She tends to spend most of her time in the crows nest of the ship and acts as look out.

So, that’s an introduction to The Banshees who feature prominently in the upcoming chapters. Here’s to hoping I can finish up my book as a whole by the end of February!

Cheers and Good Writing,
Cara Spinosa

Chapter 62: Now updating Fridays only

Finished chapter 19.

Went back and changed the end of chapter 19.

Working on chapter 20.

Decided that from here on out, at least for now, I’m only going to update this blog once a week. Let’s say I’ll update on Fridays to let you know how the week in writing went.

Too busy right now to write more.

Back to chapter 20.

Chapter 61: Small Victories

I'm dumb.

I finally finished Chapter 18.

‘Nuff said?

I need to continue on to Chapter 19, lest I be stuck again.

Oh, also… I just realized when searching for that image over there that you win a “medal” and not a “metal”. I was thinking that it was named after what it was made of. As my husband just corrected me: Medal is short for medallion.

…Guess that just goes to show that writers can be idiots.

Cheers and Good Writing,
Cara Spinosa

Chapter 60: Writer Woes

I apologize for having not posted over the past few days and for spotty posting in the last week or so. Much to my chagrin, I have allowed my involvement in other things distract me from writing in all forms. I haven’t really been working on my novel, nor have I been blogging. I have been keeping up with my new food blog – but I can’t rightly call typing up my recipes something that requires creativity.

We all need motivation. Unfortunately, I'm alergic to carrots.

I’ve found that many times, writers block isn’t the true issue for writers. It’s not a problem of creativity or of knowledge of what to do next in your story… It’s a huge problem of motivation. The past few weeks I have simply not had the motivation to glue my fingers to the keyboard and do my job. Because it is my job. Catering? That’s a pass time. What I do to pay the bills. Writing? That’s what I pour my passion into.

Unfortunately with a normal job, you have people harking on you to work. Plus, if you don’t work, or work well enough, you’ll get fired or demoted. I can’t be fired from writing my novel. No one else is going to come in and take it over and finish it for me. Although it’s not a professional job, I can’t really call out sick or take a vacation day because writing is path that requires your attention 24-7. I don’t get paid for write since I’m not a published author, but by ignoring my novel for such a long period of time, it’s basically like I’m giving myself a pay cut. Because time is money for an unpublished writer.

You have to decide what things are worth to you when you only have so much time in the day. Do you really have two hours to spare looking at cute animals on the internet? You should probably reserve that time for cooking dinner, eating (with your face not in front of a screen), and spending some quality time with your significant other. Otherwise you’re either taking away from your writing or from the important aspects of your life.

The longer you procrastinate, the longer it takes to get to the point where you can start attempting to query agents. It will take longer yet to get published. The first step to being published is to WRITE YOUR BOOK.

…I guess I just need to remind myself of that sometimes. It’s awfully good motivation.

Cheers and Good Writing,
Cara Spinosa

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