Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Line Up Ladies

Yesterday I turned in the micro-mini mystery short story to the editor of OC Noir. Its now in his hands and my heroine, Danielle, lingers in the back of mind, impatiently tapping her toe and wondering when the hell I'll write her book. But first, I have a MAJOR revision to my mariachi book and then I head back to 1926 for the historical and then zip back to present day for the ghost story.

Don't worry Danielle, a revision is inevitable so our time is not yet over. But then you'll have to get in line with the other ladies.

Shifting gears from one story to another, for me, is a process. I want to jump right in and yet, I don't want any of the stuff from the first project to bleed into the next. Also there's the fear that the new project won't come out the way I want it to. Invariably it never does but I still hang onto this fear because ... well, I'm not sure why. But I'm working on it. Characters come to life, they whisper secrets in my ear or in my dreams. Or, they just take over the and tell me that's how it's gonna be.

Writers, you know what I'm talking about. Readers, you get to experience it on the other side when you suddenly lean in closer to the book and hold on with both hands to see what happens next.

I've been writing the mariachi story for oh, about three years now. Each revision is like peeling skin and then muscle and now bone. It's the book that is challenging me; it looks down its nose at me and says, "Come Castillo. Show me what you got, b!%(#." And I love it.

But first I step in. I review the notes I've collected over the past month while writing the mystery. I watch the mariachi documentaries I've collected from PBS (God bless them!), review my interview notes and then sit down with the manuscript without a pen or pencil and just let myself into the world. After a thorough read during which I make no marks but take notes in a separate notebook, I open up my working outline and then reread the manuscript with colored pencils and stickies. When that's all done, I'm in.

So here I go!


Carol B. said...

Mary, thanks so much for letting me in on your work habits. I am writing the second draft of my first book, and I need all the helpful insights I can get!
Carol B.

Unknown said...

Good luck with your second draft, Carol! Have you tried reading The Artful Edit? I highly recommend it.

Mary C.

J.K. Mahal said...

Congrats on finishing the micro-mini :) As for the mariachi story, whatever doesn't kill you or your characters.... I know the book will be better for your ministrations.


Unknown said...

Thanks Jen! I read Act I yesterday and thought, "oh goody!"

Love ya,

Margo Candela said...

What a work ethic, Mary! And here I'm looking forward to sneaking off to the movies. I'm ashamed. At least I'm going to see Milk instead of Paul Blart: Mall Cop like I really want to. That makes it OK, right?

Unknown said...

Hi Margo: Absolutely, especially if you take notes on the use of plot, character development and story. Your paper is due Friday before 2 p.m.