Summer. Everybody waits for it, but when it gets her, it is too damn hot. Because of the oppressive heat, I have been struggling to get up in the mornings, so today, I went out of writing routine. I got up, fed the kids, the cats, and the beta fish, and then, went back to bed. Then, and hour later, I got up, cleaned my room, swept, and did laundry. On cue, my husband came home with a load of vegetables and avocados, so I made us omelets for breakfast.
After all of that, I had the energy to write.
I put in a good eight pages into The Harvest. Sometimes the writing flows; some days it is so, so slow. Today, it mostly flowed. You can read the draft linked above. A number of my friends are actually reading the regular draft posts, but alas, no comments yet, which is fine. (Buy it when it's out.)
Well, I have to keep this one short, again. Today, I have a number of long meetings this afternoon and evening, but I will try to sneak in some writing time tonight. Unless it's too hot. Ha.
Write, just write through the swamp, whatever that is for you. #Resist
The writing of The Harvest was kind of slow today, mostly because I woke up late. It has been raining, and the heat and mugginess make me sleepy. Then, my daughter asked that I make her pancakes and a squishy egg, which I did--from scratch. Two bites later, she was, "Done eating, Mommy!"
Sluggish as I am, I did manage to put in a decent scene, but I am going to have to re-write it later. The first arena battle should pop, and this one was a bit rushed. I had numerous ideas of who should fight, but in the end I pitted Dean Andreanna against a traitor.
On another writing front, I have been spending more time with my characters. That is usually awesome, except this morning I was zoning out and grabbed a heated stove grill. Real smart.
That's all I've got because I'm due a nap. I met my writing goal, although I think I only produced about six pages. So slow!
Trudge on, trudge on. #Resist!
I just submitted my poem, "Lo Tierno" to Poets Responding. What are they responding to? Fascism.
For a Father's Day call for subs, I am going to submit a poem I wrote in college, if I can find it to La Bloga. I am sure I have other dad poems. That one is due June 20th, and I am only writing it here, so I don't forget.
I also want to write Aaron a poem, too, because he is an awesome dad. Just is.
Well, that is my victory dance for the moment.
(Thanks visitors liking my page!)
Grow a pair of balls. #Resist!
I finished the very long Ashley section in my rolling draft of The Harvest. That is the fourth rewrite of my novel draft, a post-apocalyptic coming of age piece, which it is getting a major overhaul. I have been thinking about the length of the chapter, which alternate points of view, and I realized, I have been trying to force the Alan and Ashley sections to be equal in length and content, if that make sense. But, in truth, the narrative is about Ashley, so if they are not equal, fuck it. I mean, any time you try to force your writing, you are making an error.
Today, I have a good chunk of the day to write because my husband has taken my daughter to the zoo. I pretty much set the goal and informed the universe and my beautiful family that this novel is going to be done by June 2018, then onto the reshaping process.
I am horrible at revising my work, and have learned a lot from writing this long piece. Like, I should really follow the writing advice I give to my creative students and map out characters and conflicts more. That will save a shit load of work later, especially if you have a memory like mine.
So, here's a metaphor for you, Writing is like the Party. Revision is like the Clean-Up afterwards. One is energizing and fun. The other one wears you down while you have a hangover. Still, both are equally important, and you can't leave your house a pig stye. How's that for some writing truth?
This week is also supposed to be the launch week for my first self-pub. I await the guru Eric Allen Yakee to disengage himself from the she-Kraken and come to my house. There will be delicious mole and horchata and my signature rice. Yankee is a fantastic political poet, and he has urged me to send my poems out. Guess what I'm doing in the next two weeks? Growing a pair of huevos and sending my work out. You can sample the recent ones in the Poetry section.
I wrote one for my mother for the first time. I will never read it to her, of course, and if any of my siblings on Facebook rat me out, I will end you! I will avenge myself my writing poetry about you, and it will be foul.
Well, I am going to clean the dining room and start working on my summer school syllabi. I am really excited to be teaching creative writing this summer, and I hope to have my digital pubs out, so I can walk my students through the process. Don't get me wrong. I don't emphasize publishing, but some of these writers' work is sublime, and they are ready to launch their work into the vast expanse. They just need a nudge. I mean, the world is so jacked up, it needs more beauty in it.
(Oh, on a random parting note, I pulled the HTML code from my memory banks, and I think I will be able to display images without overtaxing my allotted Weebly space. And I am still able to post the novel draft, which was troubling me. I was worried I would not be able to post the *.pdf anymore, but I was joyfully mistaken!)
Today, write something nice about your Mom and do your hard writer work, even the house clean-up. #Resist
Out of all the parts of the writing process, revision is what I struggle with the most. It’s something I need to practice regularly and be just as diligent about. Over the weekend, I revised both “The Long Walk” and “Paranoia: The Corrido of Andrea Quinta”. Once "Paranoia" comes out on Smashwords and Amazon, you will have to read the improved ending, which is not as “purvy” or confusing as the original ending.
Revising is hard because it forces you to cut and remold sections you love. It leaves you exhausted, not energized like when you word vomit and create. However, it is a really important part of the writing process, and I am committed to giving my all to every part of crafting my fiction and poetry and book covers.
Today, my writing goals are to copy edit the stories one last time, revise the book cover to reflect both story titles, and work on my novel The Harvest.
I do have a bit of bad news. Weebly says I have maxed out my file uploads, so I will have to suspend the posting of files and images for a while. I am going to upgrade to the Premium option on Weebly, so be patient while this overhaul takes place. I suppose that’s the universe telling me to publish my shit and not take up so much Weebly bandwidth, but 100MB is not a whole lot.
Well, this morning, my family and I are heading back to Chicago for a Memorial Day Barbecue. I hope you all have a great rest of the weekend!
Keep writing and honor the heroes in your life. #Resist!
This morning, I went into an intense writing fury, and while I was hiding in the hotel bathroom, (we are on a lovely family road trip) I managed to add more tension to "The Long Walk". I must say, I am rather happy with it. I played up the racism with the neighbor, and I think the main character had enough obstacles. There was internal growth, and it ended in hope. At least I think it did. I also pulled the "The Corrido of Andrea Quinta" which you can sample in the Antojitos section. I am combing over that piece, although I think that one is "done".
I ran into a manager here at the hotel property, and she was telling me her boyfriend is a poet with notebooks full of poems, so I gave her my contact info and author site. He read my site and said, "She is all fire!" That's a compliment. My buddy Yankee also recommended that I send my work out, and that is definitely something I plan to do. I really liked these last few bits of poetry, I spun out, and am feeling more confident in the poems that are emerging. It's like one writing energy feeds another.
That's why, I wrote one on the way here that was maybe a bit too confessional and somewhat hyperbolic, but I like how it flows. I am still working that piece out. It is called "Verde Tierno", and will be in the Poetry section, soon as I paste it there. I guess I have moved on from Twitter poems to full length poems, but I still like to Tweet one out every now and then.
Well, I am actually itching to get back to my novel, The Harvest, so it's back to going into revision mode. I need to knock these two out before the energy ebbs. All I need is some cold wheat beer, and that would make the experience complete!
Do what you love to the max, even if there is no beer or red wine. #Resist!
You ever read your novel or chapbook, and you're like, "Woooo," flying high because your work sings. Then, you hit a patch, and are like, "What the mother-fuck? How did I let this slide by?"
I had a few of those moments, yesterday, when I was reading the draft of The Harvest my novel draft on my phone. I was really checking to see what the experience was like reading the novel from the phone as some of my friends and unknowns are doing. (Plus, it's on my bucket list to write a novel on my phone.) But, then I caught these patches of errors and plot contradictions, which I am obviously not going to address until I finish and start Frankensteining the shit out of it.
Still, the plot, whether an up or down draft, is moving along nicely. I had Ashley reach the rebel camp, and I tried to add some sexual tension between her and Strike. Of course, I am going to play that up in later chapters and make it a point of conflict with Alan. Of course.
But, like I said in my previous post, the contact with the rebels and Alan is going to be brief and sporadic until they can be together again. Today, I made that section shorter than I meant to, and added an element I hadn't even planned on. You know how characters run away from you? Well, the characters ran away.
And that is all I have got. In real life, I am going on another road trip with my family, and I have already warned them that I am going to read my work to them along the way.
My actual writing goal is to fully revise "The Long Walk", which I hope to launch next week. I am going to couple it with the "Paranoia," after all. That is if Eric Allen Yankee, comes over to my house for some delicious mole and horchata and shows me the Amazon ropes again.
Captivate your audience today, but not with ropes. #Resist!
For you writer friends, how long do you let your freebies run for? A few days? A couple of weeks? I am thinking since this will be the first of many pubs and I am an unknown, a couple of weeks. I am revising this story one more time before I launch it. Nope, this one is not in the Antojitos section, but I may couple it with "Paranoia: The Corrido of Andrea Quinta", since that story has been up on my author site for some time.
It's a test launch before I weave and spin out "La Bruja del Barrio Loco."
This morning I worked on The Harvest, which is coming along nicely. It really is an overhaul from previous versions. I have been writing and rewriting this novel for so many years now, but now, I've hit my stride. I will finish this draft by June 2018, no doubt.
This morning, I had Ashley meet the rebellion. It will be a short interaction because Ashley needs to finish her candidacy. Besides, she has unfinished business with Dean Andreanna, that vile bitch. I have also had her contact Alan, which again will only be temporary because Alan is about to encounter more struggles. So stay tuned!
Well, this morning, I am taking my son to school, so I have to cut this one short. Plus, I have to clean the house. It looks like teenagers live here, which they do not.
We are going on another trip, so I want to leave my house in relatively good order. This trip is awesome for me because it will mean more time to write and to read to a captive audience in the car along the way. Ha ha ha.
Keep that action moving! #Resist!
I wrote more of my novel The Harvest, and I figured it was high time Ashley took a swipe at Dean Andreanna. So stay tuned for that development. You can read the rolling draft in The Harvest Draft section.
On a writer note, I briefly introduced a cool side character, and killed her a few scenes later. She served her purpose and gave Ashley some empowering advice, but sometimes a few dead characters here and there help the plot move along. My main issue with some writers is when authors needlessly kill a main character. Not to spoil it, but Joe Hill did that with one of his more likeable main characters, and while I understand why he did it, as I am sure there was a Feminist reason for it, the death really pissed off my students who were reading the novel.
Sometimes a death, though, doesn't have to be physical. I think about The Hunger Games and how some characters died to us, the readers. Peeta died to some extent, but he came back to a version of himself when Katniss had children. Gale, on the other hand, just flat out died to me, when he made horrific choices and had a clear personality transformation, an unexpected one. I think I prefer that, instead of flat out killing a character.
Now, with that said, one of my students who gave feedback on "La Bruja del Barrio Loco" was really mad at me for killing Flor. She had to die though. The antagonist in that story was so powerful that nothing short of a human sacrifice would have stopped her. Plus, just like the characters in fiction take a life of their own, sometimes they die of their own free will. It just feels right.
And that is all I've got. On a real note, I am still fighting this cold, and although it's only been a minor impediment to my writing process, I'm tired of being sick. Ugh. I have to ready myself for real union battles today and need to rest up and give myself some strategize.
Kill your main and supporting characters with maximum discretion. #Resist
I had a fantastic time writing my novel The Harvest this morning. I closed out another Alan section, and moved onto the Ashley section. They finally encounter each other, if for a brief moment, and I tried to slow down that scene. Ashley for her part, also sees Alan, but does not, cannot, acknowledge him to protect him.
I also have a risque scene with Dean Andreanna who is probably too vile a character. I may soften her up a bit, not her shitty habits and inclinations, but add something to give her a more human quality. But, she is a predator in many ways, and every awful sense of the word, and if there is a death scene, hers will be appropriately excruciating and violent.
Well, I accomplished all of my writing goals for today. So, I'm off to rest. In real life, my husband was trying to take me to the doctor, but I wanted to stay home and write. (Plus, I'm not running a fever.)
I want to stand firm, and make this writing a daily habit. For sure, I think I can finish this novel before the summer semester starts June 6. I really do. That probably means I have to put in a good five hours of writing a day or more. And what an immense joy that is!
Well, I hope you reach your writing goals today.
Shoot for the stars, even if you hit the lamp post. It's still higher than you. #Resist
Dr. Jesú Estrada,