Getting Caught Up

So I’m starting this blog a little late. I guess that means we have to play catch up. Before we do that, however, just a little bit about me:

My name is Stephen Kaplan (hence the web address). I am 20-years-old and I live in the vast, faraway land known as Canada. I live in an igloo and have a pet polar bear I ride around everywhere; or so people think. Truth be told, I wish my life was that awesome. Sadly, I am just your typical average wannabe writer. I’ve been trying to write a novel since I was ten, even though my spelling and grammar were…well, they were as good as a ten-year-old’s can get. Nowadays they’re much better and I’d even say they’re damn good (though definitely not perfect, I do make mistakes and I tend to put commas where semicolons are needed, but I digress).

My grade eleven and twelve English exams I did something that I was warned not to do, I wrote short stories. See, in the high school that I went to, each year we were given a different topic and we had to write something based around that topic. Most people chose to write essays, I hate writing essays so I chose to write a short story. Short stories, poems and other forms of creative writing are generally frowned upon for these exams because the people grading it will grade it based on their opinion rather than whether or not it was factually accurate. However, I succeeded. I think a 38/40 for my grade twelve English exam is a damn good score. I don’t recall what I got in grade eleven, but I definitely passed.

Even in university I’ve been told that I’m a good writer. Granted they were referring to essays that I had written, but I’ll take whatever compliments I can get. So here’s the thing, in the previous paragraph I stated that I hate writing essays, however, I enjoy writing creatively. This is one reason I want to be an author and the main reason I hate school. Essays just aren’t creative, no matter what you try to do you always have to do a lot of research and you don’t get a lot of freedom in what you write. Other reasons that I want to be an author include (but are not limited to):

– Writing whatever the fuck I want.

– Improvisation, as in anything can happen while I’m writing that I didn’t originally intend on writing about.

– The adrenaline rush that I get when I feel motivated to write or get a new idea.

– Again, writing whatever the fuck I want.

So now comes the fun part, catching up on what’s going on. April 2012, I started writing a book. See, back when I was ten I didn’t have the patience or focus to actually write a full book. The first short story I think I ever actually completed was in grade six or seven (I can’t remember which). It was called “Attack of the Nunjas”. No that was neither a typo nor anything to do with nuns. It was a ninja-like race that came from another planet and took over the human race. It was stupid, but it was something that I had fun writing about (and if I could find it again, I’d love to give it another read). When “Eragon” came out I figured, “If this teenager can write a book, so can I.” Unfortunately the book I tried writing at that point didn’t make it past page 22 and, reading it nowadays, it pretty much sucked.

Anyway, April 2012, I set out to write yet another book. I wrote chapter one but was in a rather pissy mood at the time and it showed. After finishing chapter one I decided that I wasn’t in the right mindset and I would come back to it later. A few days went by and suddenly the best intro sentence ever popped into my head. Inspiration struck me at such a random time, but I had to write. I rewrote chapter one and even did chapter two. I felt really good about myself. One year and one ex-girlfriend later I finally finished the first draft of my book in April 2013. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I wrote the final words of my book. It was like I was a kid who just ate a shit-ton of sugar. I was bouncing off the walls and going crazy with excitement. I hit print, took pictures of the manuscript and let all of my Facebook friends know how awesome I was.

Within a couple more months I had finished the second draft of the book with help from my dad. He gave me good advice and input on how to improve many of the chapters and parts of the book. After we finished with that I decided to read the book myself and make sure that it still flowed naturally and didn’t have any inconsistencies. Also, my uncle told me that he was friends with a local publisher and was going to be having lunch with him soon and would mention me and my book.

I got the guy’s card and, after nearly completing the third draft I decided to give the guy a call. He told me to send the first part of my novel (as it’s split into three sections) and he would get back to me after he and his executive editor both read it. I was excited and, after many weeks of anticipation, I finally got a call back from the publisher. We setup a meeting and…well it was rather disappointing. It only lasted about fifteen minutes and to sum it up: it’s a good start, has potential, but needs work. Apparently the dialogue is stilted (even though I worked fairly hard on making the dialogue natural), the characters are two-dimensional and (the weirdest comment of them all) there are no transitions between scenes. He complained saying that the characters go from point A to point B but we don’t see how they get there. Many times the main character will get into a taxi to go from his house to a different location. I didn’t realise that I needed to add every little, tiny detail in his cab ride. Can’t you just assume that, if he makes it to his destination, everything went swimmingly? I feel that, if nothing happens between point A and point B, then to add in random details is pointless (see what I did there?). But I digress.

I talked to my dad about it and we’ve come up with some good ideas, but unfortunately it involves having to rewrite an entire chapter and changing a lot of scenes in various other chapters throughout the book. I’m not looking forward to that and lately I just haven’t really felt motivated like I did before. I’m taking a small break at this point to read the Stephen King book “On Writing” which was recommended to me by the publisher, but I’m afraid that I won’t feel motivated again about this book. I really want to be an author and I would love to see my novel on store shelves, but if I can’t find the energy to write my novel I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Well, here’s hoping that this blog will create some sort of new spark in my brain that’ll get the gears turning and make me want to go back to writing my novel.

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