Monday, August 22, 2011

Rewriting!

Last spring, I spent the two weeks before the Boreal Conference 2011 like a sprint to write the first part of my manuscript (novel) of "science-fantasy" (science-fiction AND fantasy at the same time). I wanted to have something in hand, the beginning of a project that I could let someone read and have some comments. It gave me a motivating deadline, I was enough advanced in my plans and preparation to hold this challenge. 115 pages written in one week (ok, well, about 30 were already written when I started...) and the second week to review and correct.

On the Sunday of the conference, I've assisted to a panel "Publishing for dummies". Going there, I thought I knew what I need to know about publishing, but it was the dreamed occasion to verify. And effectively, I could guess the majority of the answers, which is a good point gained on my part! 

On the other hand, Francine Pelletier (author, who's also member of the reading committee of Alire
publisher) did a refreshing commentary. The subject was around the moment where the manuscript is completed. We have to be critical toward ourselves and get a constructive criticism from our circle... and not from our mother or best friend :

"Don't send a manuscript right when you just finished writing it, she said, and most of all, if you are convinced that it's super cool. Let it sleep in the in a drawer, forget about it for a few months, then reread it. If you are still convinced that it is super good, then it hasn't sleep long enough!"
A brilliant story needs time and reflection. I was good advise.


Back home after the conference, I received a few commentaries about the first part written. I wanted to let some time pass before deciding what to do with it (which comments to keep as good point, which one throw away...) and continue writing in the meanwhile, since it was going so well the two past weeks. Well, no. I couldn't write! Jammed! And yet, I have very detailed plans of every chapters, every scenes! for the whole book! This was "forced writing", not fluid. Not good...

At first, I thought I'd "lost the feeling" that gave birth to the story, just like what haunts me on the side of drawing and painting and I was on the edge of a panic attack: "Not another project that falls into nothingness! No no no!"

In fact, it seems that it was stronger than my head, my story claimed by itself the drawer. It retired for a few months meanwhile I worked on something else. And recently, it came back haunted me... with, on the surface, all the weaknesses, all the wrongs, all the elements that it does not make sense.

So it's time to re-write! Ah, the first time I was told I had to rewrite a manuscript (on which I worked for 2 years), I almost had a depression. My oldest friends may remember that time... Today, I know it's part of the process of a manuscript and henceforth, I no longer work two years to get back to it! I developed my working method differently, with more elaborate and detailed plans... and it is mainly these plans that are re-written! ^ _ ^

And what's really cool in a rewrite, is that suddenly, everything is possible again! For when we get to a certain point in the development of the project, we are forced through the corridors that we drawn ourselves. "Such a thing is not possible, because we have to get to this point in the plot... and if he meet her before, it no longer works due to... And he has to die, otherwise this part of plot is not working out...". By setting back the manuscript to square one, all corridors fall and ALL can be questioned. All MUST, in fact, be questioned!

I have not yet finished the new version, but I have a character who has just taken 50-60 more years old. Couples won't be the same, which allows me to introduce two new very colorful characters. I have a secondary character who has changed sexual orientation (which does not really change the story, but adds a new flavor). One of the three main characters just changed profession, which changes a little part of her personality that was ambiguous or unclear in my mind... and also changes several lines of the plot. I have some other ideas that move still, but I have not yet decided.

Who said it was boring to rewrite? = D
Well, gotta go back, I still have to develop the "plan B" of the conspiracy of the...
*She's gone*

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thank you everyone!

I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your comments and ideas, following the post "Dilemma, dilemma...", here on the blog, on Facebook or on a forum.

I was waiting for a place in a daycare, part time. The educator told me she would call me back from vacation; well, from one thing to another, it didn't work, we didn't get the place.

On the other side, my daughter -- for whom the language has blocked since the beginning of the troubles with the daycares and the many changes (that is to say, since last fall) -- has recently restarted to do some great efforts to speak. I feel like staying home with her to help her in this step that is slightly harder for her than the others.

I also found a community program where many different activities are offered for the little ones, from 2½ - 3 years old to 5-6 years old -- initiation to: music, dance, locomotion games in a gymnasium, skating, etc. -- which will start this fall. Majority of those activities are children+parents. Since she'll be 3 years old in 2 months, I think it would be interesting to build a schedule together, adding the fact that I've started to initiate her to the swimming pool this summer and now to painting in gouache (and she loves it! there's something magical in the fact of letting her paint and then hang the projects on the wall of her room).

I'm telling myself that it's not my final decision, but nonetheless, this is what I'll do until the Christmas Holidays. I'm letting myself the chance to see how it goes -- the talking, the painting, the other activities -- with the option of changing my idea if needed. =)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dilemma, dilemma...

Help!! I can not see the solution. I'm not able to reconcile the two aspects of my life!

To my right: I no longer have a daycare (again). But I feel good with my daughter! When I place her in a daycare, she does not always seem happy. It really depends on the educator and the group around her. But that can't know (if she'll like it or not) until we try a daycare... and we must sign a contract before trying a daycare.

When she does not like day care, she cries every morning on the way. On site (after I'm gone), she does not speak, when we speak to her or ask her a question, it has a reaction of total incomprehension or as if someone made a complaint about her, she freezes, she panics or cries. She doesn't blend with the group and she ceases all progress (even at home). What is notwithstanding alarming!

She has been in a group where she felt well. She had friends and although she did not like the separation from mom, she was having a good day.

I enjoy staying at home with my daughter. She restarted to flourish (something that was suddenly interrupted with the "daycare problems") and we spend some quality time together.

To my left: I'd like to pursue my projects. I wish to write novels. I would like to draw and paint and mount an exhibition, to be in the gallery. I wish to finish the small part that I miss in computer graphics to complete my "luggage" and launch myself in the illustration. I would like to teach drawing. I do not seek a glorious career in the arts or writing, but notwithstanding a little work and some income for my personal satisfaction.

My daughter is still very young and requires much attention. It is difficult to work "a long time" without interruption. Poor child, she is at home alone with me, she has not (yet) siblings.

Some projects are still possible with her at home, such as drawing (though not "easy" to continue when I'm interrupted...). Other projects are however completely impossible or at least difficult to deal with unexpected interruptions, like painting with acrylics (which asks for a extended period of time where I can escape without concerns) or write (which I have to isolate myself in a bubble of concentration completely detached from the "real world"; if it pops, I can completely lose my ideas).

My dilemma ... I would like be able to do a little of both, part-time. Find "the right daycare" where my daughter will be happy is a monumental headache. And each time it takes a period of integration and adaptation... then we can determine if it works or not. Change too frequently can also be a cause of distress and turmoil.

I probably should organize myself  with another mom in the same situation, and share our time: half a week or one every two weeks one of us takes the children while the other is doing the freelance job. But I don't know where or how to find such a person! Do you know someone? In the region of the south shore of Montreal?

I feel like I have to choose between my well-being and the one of my daughter... And immediately, I feel like answering: I take the one of my daughter! The problem is that I know that if I do not take time to work on a personal project, I'll end up in depression and I would be useless to anyone!

Please leave a comment! =)