Tag Archives: Splitting the Sky

Been wearing my writing hat

And yesterday I took it off, hanging it on the nail that sits not far from where I do.  Actually, there is no hat, or nail for that matter.  What matters is that I’ve been writing a book, and yesterday, I finished it.

During the last few years (2009-2011) I’ve completed a lot of manuscripts.  I’ve published eight of them, not in chronological order, one was even written back in 2008.  But the words have poured from my head and fingertips, a strange flood that I was powerless to cease.  Not all of them will see any more of my attention, but some will, enough that I have books up the wazoo, but I still write, I cannot stop writing.  I have curtailed the writing, in part due to my eldest daughter’s wedding, publishing, not wanting to work so hard.  But I didn’t want to miss Camp NaNoWriMo; June was a whirl of nuptials, but in August, I was going to write a new novel!

And I did!  Splitting the Sky ended up at 92K, will probably be published, someday.  I had no idea I was going to write a sci-fi tale; it hit me after Sally Ride died.  The previous idea never grabbed me enough to force the issue, and Splitting the Sky was written per my usual routine.  I wrote.  And wrote.  And wrote just about every day from 1 August, and when I finished yesterday, shortly before lunchtime, I was thrilled.  Exhausted.  Amazed.  No matter how many first drafts emerge, I am always shocked.

I did it.  I wrote a novel.

However, I did not feed the hummingbirds, and they’re floating around, looking aggrieved.  None inside the house are starving; thank goodness my kids know how to cook.  My husband was sick, so I took care of him.  My brother’s been fighting fires all month, so I wrote to my sister-in-law and my nephew, and will hopefully get over for a visit next week.  I talked to my parents, watched sport, finally watered some sorry-looking plants, and wrote.  This might sound odd, but I had forgotten how draining it is to write.  It’s not as easy as it looks.

Even when the words tumble from buckets, it’s still butt in chair.  It’s also an odd, unyielding focus.  It’s pulling stuff out of a hat, sometimes a writing hat, sometimes a cap squeezing like a vice.  And sometimes it’s just pulling words from one’s backside.  I’ve had some of those days too.

During those very fruitful years, writing never felt this wearying.  I’ve been sleeping very well since the beginning of the month, and last night I conked out before eight, I just couldn’t go anymore.  I’m not that much older than I was three years ago, I can’t pinpoint the reason for this level of blah, other than at the end of last year I started taking a more relaxed tone with the writing, which continued with the book I finished this past May.  Splitting the Sky was back to my no-nonsense method, and yeah, I can write a novel that way.  But maybe I don’t want to write that way anymore.

I don’t want to work so hard, not with publishing, and apparently not with writing either.  I cut my teeth on NaNo, a hard habit to break.  I chucked what was going to write this November because it needed more research than I’ve had time to do.  I like wearing my writing hat, I really do.  I can’t publish without writing, but as everything evolves, so does how I get those words on paper.  After pulling back a bit, this month I jumped head-first into the NaNo pond.  Now I’m standing on the edge of the grass, shaking out a sopping hat, wondering how the water will be in two and a half months.

I suppose come November, I’ll find out.

Sometimes writing is hard

Not the word count; it’s a blessing that sentences fall into the document as they do.  Especially when writing about an impending disaster; in the WIP, the details are fictional, but based on the Challenger and Columbia accidents.  Accidents almost feels wrong, because people knew what could occur, they knew the risks were more than high; they were deadly.  That’s the hard part, trying to get the sentiments correct, on both sides.

I can write angst in my sleep.  Writing action is more difficult.  Writing some meld of the two is new, and while paragraphs tumbled from my fingers, there was a cost. I need to note today’s chapter, hoping I got it right, not in the balance of excitement to terror, but in those lost in similar instances.  Judith Resnik from Challenger and Kalpana Chawla on Columbia are the inspirations for my current project, as well as Sally Ride; all are gone, but they were real women with dreams and joys, heartaches and uncertainties.  Their fellow astronauts had equal hopes and fears, and all died doing their jobs.  I’ll never expire from writing, no matter how poignant it gets.  But sometimes it’s not easy.  This isn’t the first manuscript to make me shake, but it’s been a while.  And maybe this one is deeper, because there are real people I want to honor, and that’s a pretty tall order.  Tomorrow is the fall-out; while I look forward to it, again, I want to get it right.  I know, first draft and all, but even in spitting out the initial manuscript, I don’t want to lose the essence, no matter how deeply I have to breathe.


Now it’s late

This has been a long day; I rose at five a.m., am still conscious at eight fifty-four p.m.  In the meantime, I’ve written the second chapter of Splitting the Sky, edited a couple of chapters of the last Alvin’s Farm novel, um…  What else did I do today?  Chatted with my kids, sat in the sun while eating a bagel, watered plants, savored a crit partner’s astute comments, oh I know!  I imported my year of publishing blog to WordPress.  That’s how comfortable I’ve become with this site, that in the space of less than a week, I’ve sorted this website and blog, and imported two others.  One is about Splitting the Sky.  The other was started last December tracking one year in indie publishing.  I think it looks okay, or maybe it’s just so late that my brain’s fried and tomorrow is another day.

Good thing I had a leaded cuppa at two this afternoon.  I was gonna need it…

Starting a new book today

It’s called Splitting the Sky, and it’s directly inspired by Sally Ride, Judith Resnik, and Kalpana Chawla and the rest of the lost Challenger and Columbia crews.  When Sally Ride died early last week, I went on a Wiki quest, click click click.  I was nineteen when Challenger exploded, and while I had no desire to see space, Ride’s adventures were a huge inspiration.  We were living in England when Columbia broke apart, nearly ten years ago.  Who were those people, besides astronauts?

Ride lived a quiet, private life, what came to light after her death.  What might Judith Resnik and Kalpana Chawla and all those other travelers achieved?  We are astounded by flashes of light and plumes of smoke, but those persons, precious and singular, seem to fade from consciousness.

Word counts and other novel musings can be found here.  I’ve been inundated with the playlist, resounding with Doctor Who tunes, Willie Nelson, and The Police, among other artists.  Those songs thump and clash with furious noise and much tenderness, what all lives contain.  Listening to it yesterday my heart raced, my soul teemed with wonder.  Emerging strongest was the thrill of breathing life into characters, continuing the tale.  I can’t extend Resnik or Chawla’s lives, but I can honor them.  Those space shuttles will remain as lore for ages.  Those aboard them shouldn’t be forgotten.