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I Want to Talk About TBSOL

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I really do.

I want to talk about what I’m doing, what I’m thinking of doing, and why I’m thinking of doing those things. I want to explain my choices. I want to walk you through my plans.

I want to talk about TBSOL because I’ve never felt like writing this book was a solo journey. So many of you have been there since the beginning, giving me feedback, reading my drafts. So many of you continue to be there, and continue to support me through all of my versions and all of my craziness, and I love you for it. Truly. Thank you.

I want to talk about TBSOL.

But I’m not going to.

I promised myself I wouldn’t. I promised myself that this time around, I would shut up and just write.

This time around there are no beta readers, no beta team. It’s just me and the keyboard and a whole lot of coffee.

And it’s really effing weird.

So, this post is mostly to say: I’m alive, and I’m writing. I’ve been writing. Off and on. On and off. Well and poorly. Fast and slow. Word after word after word. I’m writing.

I’m not going to talk about TBSOL. This may be the last time I mention it for a very long time. A very long time. Like… at least a week.

But, since we’re friends…

One of my favorite authors, Caitlín R. Kiernan, had a blog back in the day in which she talked about the daily process of writing one of her novels, and as a writer, I found this blog fascinating and invaluable.

I don’t expect to offer anything nearly as fascinating or invaluable to my own readers, but I didn’t want to feel completely disconnected, either, since some of you do love and appreciate the minutia.

So, for those of you who are interested in process, or progress, or in the general abstract randomness that goes into the writing of a book, I’ve started a thing here: http://process.ingriddiaz.com

I don’t know exactly what it is, or what it may become, but it is there for the curious. More importantly, it is public, but mostly hidden, and not filling up your Facebook feeds or inboxes.

It’s a win-win.

Finally: No matter where you are in the world, I pray you are safe.

As always, thank you for your existence.

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writing

Anyway.

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I’ve been stuck reworking the first few chapters of TBSOL for over a year. It was a half-hearted effort. I felt drained. I felt tired. I felt stressed and weighted down by the knowledge that people are waiting.

The last time I let K read anything I’d written was months ago and she said, “I don’t like it, I’m sorry. I don’t know what you’re doing.”

Nothing was coming together. The flow of the story was wrong, the characters were wrong, and every time I tried to write, all I felt was rage.

This week, the rage went away. I don’t know why. It just went away.

For the past few days I’ve been writing the way I used to write when I was younger, back when it was just me and a keyboard, sitting at my grandparents’ house in Puerto Rico, typing away and not giving a crap.

I couldn’t remember what it felt like to start writing and not want to stop. I couldn’t remember what it felt like to write this novel without a thousand voices in my head telling me which way to go.

I don’t know how long this feeling will last, nor what will come from it. I don’t know if this is a new version, or an old version, or an edited version. I don’t even care anymore, honestly. All I know is that last night was the first time in our twelve-year relationship that I handed K pages of TBSOL to read and didn’t wonder at all whether or not she would like them.

I knew she would.

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writing

My Writing Process

I was invited along on this Writing Process Blog tour by fellow author Blythe Rippon.

Every author answers the same four questions about his or her writing process, and tags someone else, who then tags someone else, and so on and so forth.

1. What am I working on?

I’m working on two things simultaneously. The first is the final draft of TBSOL, which is currently making its way through an arduous editing process for which I am solely to blame. It should, hopefully (and eventually) emerge as something resembling a publishable novel, but for now it remains a frightening creature looming over my head.

The second thing I’m working on is an LGBTQ young adult series called The Midnight Sisterhood, which is set centuries after a series of cataclysmic events leaves the world looking very different from how it does now. The story revolves around a group of teenage girls who belong to the vigilante branch of a female-only secret society. When one of their missions leads to a murder, the girls decide to take their spying missions and vigilante assignments into their own hands. What could possibly go wrong?

2. How does my work differ from others in the same genre?

I believe it has more goats. Or, at least, a more plentiful essence of goats.

I don’t spend my time comparing my work to others, or thinking of ways to make my books stand out. I think every story is unique and that every writer walks his or her own path.

I will say, that regardless of genre, my stories will always feature lesbian and bisexual characters, humor, and romance. I don’t ever see myself writing anything that doesn’t include those things.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve talked about that here and here, and probably elsewhere, too, but I guess to answer this specific question, I write what I do because it’s what is in me to write. I couldn’t write anything else, and I wouldn’t want to. I like to think that what we do in this world makes a difference, perhaps only for the short-term, and perhaps only in small, indiscernible ways, but that’s enough for me.

I don’t write for money, or fame, or social acceptability. I write in the hope that it makes someone smile, or laugh, or feel less alone, if only for a short while. We’re each responsible for our lives, and the things we put in it, and we’re responsible for the things we leave behind. I want what I leave behind to be full of hope and positivity.

4. How does my writing process work?

I usually start with a very basic idea of what I want to write. TBSOL started with the idea of someone famous falling in love with someone not famous over the Internet. Rayne started with the idea of a witch falling in love with a psychic. With The Midnight Sisterhood I decided I wanted to write a young adult series about a female secret society.

I write a lot of my ideas in a notebook and build on them over time. Each book has a notebook that’s filled with scenes, or scraps of dialogue, or general ideas for plot, but nothing comes together for me until I start to write.

I’m definitely more of a pantser than a plotter. I prefer to be surprised.


To continue this lovely tour, I am tagging the awesome and talented James C. Femmer. Take it away, Jay! Hey, that rhymed.

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writing

10 Things That Are Different In TBSOL FV

“What’s the main difference between all the different versions of TBSOL?” 

The words.

That’s the short answer.

The medium-length answer is that it depends which versions you’re comparing. If you’re asking what’s different about the final version and the first one, the answer is everything. If the question is about the final version and the second, then almost everything.

The long answer is a lot more complicated, so I’ll attempt to go into it in list-form, because lists are fun.

(This post assumes you’ve read at least one of the versions and know what TBSOL is. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then this will probably make very little sense and I apologize ahead of time. If it helps, I drew some pictures about TBSOL v2 once explaining what it’s about). continue reading…

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writing

TBSOL Weekend Writing

TBSOL FV is kind of a mess at the moment.

Several things are to blame, I think, but ultimately it’s my lack of self-awareness that often gets me into trouble.

The book got away from me the past few months because I was trying to hurry … because I was impatient … because I was stressed about things that were mostly in my head … because I lost myself.

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” -Sylvia Plath

It’s so true.

TBSOL is kind of a mess at the moment, but I’m going to fix it.

Last night, I was watching Scandal, and I said to K, “I think I need to remove that scene where *spoilers*.” And she asked, “Why? Do you think it’s too much?” I said, “I think the timing feels wrong.” So, I finished watching Scandal, and I removed the scene, then wrote 1300 or so words of another that I pulled out of nowhere.

 

TBSOL FV

 

What it looked like a few days earlier:

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And onwards we go.

Have a wonderful week, everyone.

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writing

Good Writing Day, Today Was

I’ve been “writing” every day for weeks now, though mostly I’ve just been sitting here for hours at a time, forcing out sentences and deleting them. Hating everything. Starting over. And over. And over.

I’m pretty sure I’ve re-written chapter fifty about twenty times. The other day, I managed to finish a scene I’d been fighting with for hours on end for weeks, and I thought, YES, it’s DONE. I can move on. But I couldn’t move on. Each time I sat down to write it, the words got stuck. The dialogue fell flat. I wrote, and deleted, and wrote and deleted.

I figured today would go no differently, but this morning I sat down to write, and decided to go back to the scene I thought I’d finished. Frustrated, I deleted half of it. I re-wrote the middle, and re-wrote the end, and kept on going until I’d written two more scenes, and half of another. I can’t remember the last time that happened. After months of struggling to put one word after another, fighting to get anywhere at all, I managed to finish the chapter, and start the next.

A little while ago, I printed up the chapter for K to read, and she said, “I really love it from here onward.”

She pointed to a sentence in the middle of the first scene, and I looked at it and sighed. “That’s everything I wrote today, starting from that very sentence.”

She said, “Everything before this doesn’t sound like you.”

I thought it fascinating how she could pinpoint the difference between the stuff I forced onto the page over the course of three weeks, and the stuff that flowed easily over the course of two hours. It’s also very frustrating. I’ll have to go back and fix the beginning, but I’m happy knowing the rest is good.

Writing is, above all, about not giving up.

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writing

“Are you ever going to update Rayne?”

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I started Rayne back in 2003 and I never got around to finishing it. I moved to France, I turned away from fiction-writing for several years, and ultimately decided to focus all of my attention on finishing TBSOL — a task that has taken way, way longer than I ever expected.

Rayne never received the sort of attention that TBSOL did, despite being out there on the Internet for many years as a free read, but that honestly didn’t bother me too much. In a lot of ways, the lack of interest was a bit of a relief. I didn’t feel as guilty taking time away from it. I didn’t feel any intense pressure to finish it. Most of all, it gave me the time and space I needed to admit that I wasn’t 100% happy with the story. I wasn’t even 60% happy with it. The attention the story did receive, however, convinced me that it was a story worth telling. continue reading…

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writing

Creative process: Character building for my new YA series

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I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my own creative processes (because I often think I don’t have one) until someone asks me how I go about doing certain things, and then I feel like a dummy because I don’t have an answer prepared. Writers should know what they’re doing, right? So I’m told. Anyway, this has been happening more and more often, so I thought it was time that I organize my thoughts on the matter – or at least attempt to – so that next time someone asks about my “writing process,” I can be like, “Oh! I wrote about that. Here’s a link!”

So, we’ll start with character building.

My next project after TBSOL is going to be a young adult series that revolves around four high school girls who belong to a secret vigilante group. You can read a very rough draft of the first chapter – here.

So, here’s how I’ve gone about creating my four girls.

continue reading…

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writing

Remember When I used to Blog About Things?

tbsolch37I’ve been writing, that’s my excuse. I was reading over my LiveJournal from a billion years ago (give or take), and I realized I used to be a person who shared a lot of nonsense about myself. So that’s what I’ve got today: nonsense.

Yesterday, I shared chapters 43 and 44 of TBSOL FV with my lovely beta team, after two weeks of writing.

Chapter 44 was rough. I have no idea why it gave me so much trouble other than I was in my head the whole time. I was worried. I was scared that I’d let people down. That even after rewriting it, it would not be good enough. I don’t think I’ve worked on a chapter that much since….ever.

continue reading…

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writing

Writing TBSOL FV (A Few Words About The Process)

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I’ve been working pretty much non-stop the past few weeks, trying to get my next novel finished. I’m not done yet, and I’ve got lots left to write, but sometimes it’s good to take a step back.

I’ve spent the past couple of days brainstorming and planning and outlining, which does not come naturally to me. I envy writers who can create outlines and plan out entire stories, and then zoom through the writing process, having already done so much of the work ahead of time. I can’t do that, even though I try and try and try again.

In the past, I’d sit at my computer and go, “Eh, I have no idea what comes next, but here I am typing anyway.” And words would pour out, and that’s how I wrote A&V, and the first few chapters of Rayne, and the entirety of TBSOL v1 and v2. And this method worked. It usually got me from point A to point B and from Chapter One to The End. But the finished product never felt like The Best I Could Do.

continue reading…

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