writing
writing

New Beginnings

I wrote about 840 words of TBSOL today, and finished a scene that turned out much longer than I intended it to be, but it was a lot of fun. Writing this version feels a lot like writing the first one. It’s not a version that’s trying to do anything. It’s not intended to be better, like v2 was, or shorter, like FV.

This version is my playground. It’s me trying to find my voice again. It’s me trying to fall back in love with writing again. It’s me figuring out how to listen to myself again, instead of feeling overwhelmed by what I think other people want. It’s hard to explain what I mean by that, but it doesn’t matter. It’s enough that I understand why all of this felt necessary. This book, and all of its iterations, have made me who I am today, both as a person and a writer, and I have no regrets.

This will be the last version of TBSOL, not because I have finally discovered the perfect way to tell the story, but because I’m ready to find out what happens next. And whether it works, or falls apart, I can’t really know. The point is, I’m no longer afraid to find out.

I think of this version as a new beginning, both for the story, and for my life, and that is how I’m approaching the writing of it. It feels like closure, but it is also a fresh start.

writing

If it makes you happy…

The Midnight Sisterhood. Notebook #2.

I didn’t write today. I wrote yesterday, and I wrote the day before. But at 4am, I was like, “I think I need to remove this one character from that scene I wrote today…”  And then I was like, “Do I, though?” And then I wasn’t sure. So I spent the day staring at my news feed on Twitter, in a state of perpetual horror and shock, and then the day went poof.

So tomorrow. Tomorrow I will remove this one character from this one scene, and then finish it.

This draft of TBSOL is 100% about making myself happy. I have not, for one second wondered, “Is it good?” Whenever I’d give K things to read before, I’d always ask, “Is it good? Is it well written?” These were the things I was preoccupied with. With this draft, I hand her pages, and I’m just like, “Was it fun to read?” I can usually tell by how much she laughs. Making her laugh makes me happy, and making people happy has been the entire purpose of this book from version one, page one. So, onwards we go.

Today I scheduled Chapter 18 of TBSOL over on Patreon. Coming up next, that which is highlighted, and beyond…

 

writing

I’m back to blogging, but first, let’s talk TBSOL

Last time I wrote on my blog about TBSOL was back in November of 2015, and I said I wasn’t going to talk about TBSOL for a very long time.

Well, here we are, two years later, and I’m finally ready to talk about TBSOL again.

Today I scheduled “Chapter 17” of the new draft over on Patreon. Last week I finished what I’ve been thinking of as “Part I” of the book. There’s a lot left to write, but all of it feels doable in a way that hasn’t felt doable in a very long time. Mostly, the book feels fun again. It’s also (I think) a bit more ridiculous than FV. It has 100% more Nutella poetry, in any case. keep reading…

writing

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.

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.

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.

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). keep reading…

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.

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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“Are you ever going to update Rayne?”

rayne

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. keep reading…