June 26, 2010 – I Hear People Who Don’t Exist

8:30AM

I finished New Moon at 2AM.  It didn’t take me an hour to go to sleep, like I thought it would (although I did have a long day; I started it at 6AM the day before), but at 8AM I was wide awake, thinking about my book, the Twilight saga, and blog posts.

Did I ever mention that reading is something I like to do almost as much as writing?

So, here I am 30 minutes after waking up, eyedrops taken, but not helping much (they don’t work for eyestrain, which is what I’m getting into now).  A nap will have to happen today.  I do not function well at all with less than nine hours of sleep every night.  A lack of sleep makes me a little goofy or, depending on how you catch me, extremely short-tempered.  My husband may be both; he didn’t hardly sleep at all last night, and has been having pretty bad insomnia for a while now.  A nap will be in order for him today too.

10:50PM

I actually didn’t take a nap today (nor did my husband; I blame his sudden, angry urge to clean house at 8 o’clock at night on a lack of sleep), but I’m definitely not going to stay up until 2AM again.  I’m about halfway through Eclipse.  Or is the third one New Moon?  I’m reading them so fast, the titles aren’t connecting to the story.  And if I leave here to go to the bedroom to look at the title, I’ll probably stay in there and go to sleep.

The reason why I only read half a book today (I know, so slack of me, but in my defense, they are getting longer) is that I spent a large part of my time writing on my own book.  I had forgotten how much reading can make you want to write.  Like I said the other day, I haven’t had any good fiction to read in a while.  Normally my reading consists of non-fiction that I read for medieval research (now you know why Anselm, Micah and Isaac are all from the middle ages).  Good, bad or indifferent, I haven’t read fiction in a while. 

I just don’t pick it up and read it like I used to.  Come to think of it, when was the last time I went through one of my Jean M. Auel books?  I used to read bits and pieces of those all the time.  Have I just read them so many times that they’re memorized to the point I don’t feel the need to re-read them?  Or have I—much more likely—been caught up in my own story so much that I haven’t wanted to step into anyone else’s?  Like I said yesterday, when I’m reading, I get into that world; when I’m writing, I get into that world.  Hopping in between worlds—like I’m doing now—can be disorienting (and it doesn’t make me very social; my husband is spending a lot of time barely existing). 

Reading something fiction—anything, not just vampire-based stories—helps the writing (try that if you have writer’s block), but sometimes I can’t tell what to think about first.  Should I analyze the plot of the current book I’m reading, or think about a new scene for my own?  This is what makes going to sleep at night a bit difficult.  I actually go to sleep thinking about something.  Something of my choosing (usually).  It’s like I get to play a movie in my head and go to sleep watching it.  But having hopped between two worlds—mine and those of another writer’s—for the past couple of days, I don’t know which movie to play, so I end up getting disjointed pieces of each in such a way that it’s not relaxing, but frustrating, and I can’t go to sleep.

Anyways, I have gotten an extraordinary amount of writing done on my second book in the last few days.  I actually got started before I picked up Twilight, but that was just fuel on a small fire.  In the last three or four days, I have written nearly 30 pages.  It was a scene that I had already let play in my mind (a movie I ran for many nights), and I started finally getting it written down when I started reading.  And then it—plus some—just flowed out of me like the first book did when I started writing it in November.  

I have to admit, although I wrote some scenes for the second book—and got a ghost of a plot outlined for it—while I was still immersed in writing the first book, I have had trouble writing it.  I have been pretty well finished with the first book since about April, but I haven’t done any significant work on the second since then.  I actually did a fair amount of work on Rose’s book, but this second book just felt sort of blah.  I didn’t have a lot of action planned for it—not like the first book.  Which is good and bad.  One, I don’t feel that exciting, twisting plot lines are really my thing, so the less I have to try and strain myself to write some that are decent, the better.  Secondly, poor Kalyn needed a break.  She needed some time to unwind and live almost normally for a while.  No one needs one endless drama; it’d break anybody’s spirit.  Third, Kalyn and Anselm need some time to work on their romance, the old-fashioned way: dates, conversation, the occasional argument. 

But the problem with not having a lot of action is that there’s not much to drive the plot.  Your characters have to think and speak of interesting things if you’re going to have a book that’s readable at all.  And as well as I know my characters, they just weren’t talking to me; I think they needed me to write them into a quit place and leave them alone.

It’s funny—and this may be sleep-deprivation talking; I warned you I can get goofy when I haven’t had enough—but I don’t feel like I write my characters so much as they write themselves.  I feel more like a medium channeling spirits than someone who has to methodically craft characters from the ground up.  I probably should be a little worried; I haven’t actually channeled a spirit before, but let’s say I have had spirit contact.  And I have heard them talking to me.  When I heard them, though, they were nearby; when I write, I haven’t ever been aware of having anyone in the room with me—but I must admit that I’m not anywhere near as good about sensing that as I used to be.  I was much better when I was with my college roommate, who was also sensitive; we seemed to get a boost from each other. 

But anyways, scary shit aside (as my husband would call it), my characters were taking a holiday for a while, but now Kalyn and Anselm, at least, have decided to talk.  To one another.  And they’re making all sorts of progress.  Yes, I confess, they’re going to have sex.  I’ve already written it (it was an agonizing 8 hours to write about three pages of a scene which probably would have only lasted, in real life, about 30 minutes—and I might be being generous with that).  And it was a great scene—not just the sex, but what lead up to it.  A brilliant idea on my part: an awards ceremony for Kalyn in Jerusalem at the Convening.  Don’t know where I got the idea, but I absolutely love it.  It changes the dynamic of her relationship with Anselm, so sex becomes a possibility.  But it was sort of hanging out there in the breeze.  I knew where they were going to live, once they were finally free from von Gault, and I knew who was going to live there—more or less—but everything in between Kalyn and Anselm’s fight about his killing the traitor at the end of the first book, and having sex in the second book was pretty much non-existent.  I did manage to get them out on one date (still not a very exciting date scene), and I got in a good fight scene between them, early after they settled at the new house, but then they clammed up.

Now, suddenly, they want to have a relationship.  They’re having long conversations, the sexual tension between them is growing stronger (I was about to use the word “mounting” there, but that’s an innuendo that Micah could drive a Mack truck through), and I’m starting to see the fill between Point A and Point B.  Because there definitely needed to be some fill in there, some real relationship development. 

Anselm and Kalyn neither one are the type to go have a sexual fling at the drop of the hat.  Anselm has a brick-wall security fence thrown up around him (not to keep Kalyn from getting in, but to keep himself from getting out) that has to be worn down over time.  And Kalyn needs to seriously learn some patience.  As Anselm asks her himself, “Do you feel we need to have sex in order to validate our relationship?”  Yes, she is as impatient as Anselm accuses her of being; she’s trying to have everything at once.  She only knows that she’s wanted to possess him for as long as she can remember, but she doesn’t know why. 

In these recent conversations between them, she’s backing off the mindless grabbing and is stopping to actually appreciate what it is that she wants.  She’s leaning about him, coming to appreciate him.  That doesn’t mean she doesn’t still want him, and that doesn’t mean she won’t still get him in the end, but when she does get him, she won’t have to snatch it, like a kid in a candy store.  She will take him like an art collector taking a prized painting home.

Okay, now it’s time for sleep.  My eyes really need some rest—reading a monitor is almost as bad as reading a book—and I have church in the morning.  Not to mention my husband is offline now and is not-too-quietly killing Nazis.  Or maybe he’s a Nazi killing Russians.  I don’t know, but there’s a war on, just on the other side of my monitor, and a war correspondent I am not.  Now that he’s staying up late, I’m going to have to switch to getting up early so I can have some alone time to write.  I need quiet to channel the spirits (and maybe some Enya); the sounds of gunfire and explosions disturb my delicate Inner Eye.

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