Okay, Woodbury Avenue is “finished.” Sort of. For more about the actual story, click here. But for more about the process, then just keep reading.
When it comes to writing, what I just did was the easiest part – writing a first draft. That’s easy for a few reasons. First, because it’s new, and that’s fun, like meeting someone new or watching a movie for the first time, or reading the first book of a series. New is usually fun. Second, it’s easy because it allows me to feel like I’m finished, but I’m really not. Third, it allows excuses. Even if something sucks, I can always say, “Yeah, but it’s only a first draft. I can fix that.”
Here are a few things that might be interesting to know about how the first draft turned out compared to how it was originally going to be:
1. There was no John or Jack until the chapters they appeared in. Was kind of a spontaneous thing.
2. Lilly was not supposed to be a ghost until that chapter in the garage. Originally, Lilly was a real child and Carrie helped him pick her up from the street during the rain. It was supposed to be a seduction scene in which Carrie saw a tender side of Jay, but Jay was only thinking lustfully about Carrie, who was going to be in a wet, revealing shirt from the rain. That’s when I had the idea for Lilly to be a ghost, and it mainly happened because of the reactions. I, and others, didn’t really want Jay to actually be a pedophile, as the scene made it appear. But I didn’t want him to be perceived as one. Thus, she became a ghost, and whatever happened was intentionally left unclear.
Also, about Lilly, she is “real.” What I mean by that is there is a real girl, don’t know her name, who rides by my house on a scooter daily. She’s got the brightest, blondest, raggiest hair that flows behind her. And she rides by whether it’s raining or not. I just pray that at no time in her life does she ever find out what she inspired. When I began the first draft, I didn’t really plan on her, but she rode by as I was typing, so I dropped her in, and it went where it went from there.
3. The original ending, the very last paragraph, was going to have Carrie and Steve leaving their house to go to a baseball game, just as the first chapter. And in the first chapter here, Carrie ran back inside for something, Steve waited impatiently, and then Carrie reappeared, but we didn’t really see a difference. But in the last chapter, I was going to have Carrie leave the house, Steve waiting again, and then a new guy was moving in. Carrie was going to see the new guy, run back inside, and come out again with a much shorter skirt. The purpose of that was to show us that Jay’s obsession with Carrie was partly what Carrie was going for, showing off for the new guy with a shorter skirt.
4. To link back to the previous point, Jay originally did not have such deep psychological issues. He was going to start off as just a semi-normal guy with a little OCD. Then, Carrie was going to continuously present herself, as was Jenn, in revealing things, which would then fuel Jay’s obsession with them. That does not mean I am trying to suggest that women who wear revealing things are “asking for it.” No, no, not at all was that going to be in my thoughts. It was more about a guy who couldn’t control himself. But then I wanted him to have deeper issues, so that there was no mistaking whose fault anything was. It needed to be purely his own fault with nobody else to blame, or at least no women to blame.
5. Originally, there was very little of Annie in the story. She was going to be mainly ignored by Jay, and she was also going to be jealous that the other women got so much attention. She was then going to pursue him, and he was going to show very little interest.
As I work on the second draft, or the first revision, I know that I am armed well because of the work of others who very carefully, diligently, and generously gave their free time to help. They gave time with which they could have done anything else. Television, movies, sleeping, exercising, playing games with friends or family, or reading something else that they knew was worth it. Instead, they were reading this story, which they did not know if it was or wasn’t worth it. I know I won’t find everyone as I look through the comments, but my thanks mainly includes in order that I’m finding them while scrolling the comments:
Also, there’s the short blonde who doesn’t have a blog but has been an inspiration, in various ways, since meeting her about 13 years ago. She knows who she is, although she might never see this.
The last time I did this, Scott (Kindred Spirit) was a big help, and I wish he had been able to read this one. He might have liked it.
Not everyone stuck with it from start to finish, but that’s okay. I appreciate that they at least gave it a shot. And if they didn’t stick with it, that’s my fault. Not theirs. I just didn’t write well enough to keep their attention.
As I work on the second draft, I have to consider what else to post on the blog. I could post chapters from previous stories that have gone unseen. I would prefer to post new chapters for a new story, but that would not be easy to write that while revising something else of such depth. I also fear that if I post chapters of previous story, readers will not enjoy it much and might disappear. Woodbury Avenue and Connecting Flight were recently written, and I have become a much better writer in the past year. Other chapters and stories were written more than three years ago, and I know they can’t be written as well as recent things, and I don’t want to be too far below anyone’s expectations. That seems like patting myself on the back, and it is, but it was done because of the kind words that many of you have offered repeatedly.
In the meantime, please – please – please do not hesitate to ask me to read something of yours. I know that I barely read any other blogs, and I’m not happy about that, but I can’t possibly write what I want to write and also read other blogs regularly. That’s why I suggest that you just give me a link to what you want me to read and comment on, and I gladly will do so. Or, like a few others, email it. That works too.
Okay, so time to take all these 29 chapters off the blog. When I have revisions, I will let you know. Thanks again and again for your invaluable time, attention, and assistance. Be back soon. I hope.
11 thoughts on “Woodbury Avenue – epilogue…ish”
I think your process has really been cool. Your writing structure was so easy to follow, you could go from one chapter to the next. It’s wonderful that you were so well organized, it made it easier for us to follow. I wish I had that sense of planning. I’m writing my content like a Tarantino movie, going back and forth in time. There’s no way I could ever publish one chapter at a time since, well they’re not written in that order.
That being said – if you lost some readers in the process it is not because you do not write well enough. Shame on you for saying that (imagine how it makes us feel when we consider your stuff superior) 😉 The content isn’t for everybody. It’s pretty out there. Maybe even with too many ugly realities on the human condition. People like Jay, John and Jack really do exist, many are even far worst without any redeeming qualities. And often you don’t even know you’re staring right at them.
I also think it’s sad that you feel the need to justify that your goal is not to make it look like women are the cause of any ill treatment because of how they dress. I didn’t in any feel you hinted at that. Jay – his character – is the kind who thinks if a woman wears a short-short skirt she’s looking for it, and deserves what she gets. Readers need to understand there is a difference between building a character and the writer’s personality. I hate that you needed to justify yourself. One must wonder how a guy like Stephen King may feel…
I do hope you’ll keep us posted on changes, or questions you may have about doubts or anything. It was so fun to be a part of this process. And again I have to ask: Has it really been 5 weeks?
0.o what am I going to do now? (ha! jk)
Well I save my reading up so it never has to end. I’m the same way with good tv series and movies. I hate it whe good things end, so I take may time to savor the moments. I like how you write your dialogue … I have yet to master that without having my readers feel like they are on a ping pong table…. Do you have a FB, I like to follow my fave writers on FB, Twitter and etc. TY for the mention above 🙂 Wish you were still teaching!
twitter is @brainsnorts i don’t prefer to put my facebook name here, so i’ll email it to you instead.
first chapter was put here on june 2. last chapter july 9. that’s about 37 days. five weeks and two days.
as for justifying anything, you wouldn’t believe the things that happen around here. a couple of weeks ago i commented on a blog post someone had written about women’s rights. specifically, they wrote a post asking why we don’t see more statues of women while there are so many of men. so i asked the writer to name ten women she thought deserved statues. she mistakenly took that as a challenge, as if i were saying that there aren’t ten women who deserve statues, when i was just asking her opinion of her top 10. whoa boy – i then got such an attack upon me by women who misunderstood what i had written. the names they called me were horrible, and one of them said something like, “I was on your blog and i saw what you are writing. you’re a horrible person who obviously hates women, otherwise you wouldn’t be writing that crap.” needless to say, there was no convincing her that it’s just a story, not an endorsement.
so, yeah, have to justify it, just in case.
i used to write horror/paranormal stuff. then it got boring, and i realized that there’s a lot of real “horror” on any street in any town on any given day. that’s when i realized that i want to write about that kind of horror instead.
and i did. but not without your help.
yes, the content is not for everyone. but i don’t think it’s possible to write for everyone and also write well. i wanted to be edgy and push you to the point of possibly putting it down, cringing from what you were reading, not wanting to know, but wanting to know. like the car accident you can’t look away from. i think it worked, but i needed encouragement so i knew if i was or wasn’t going too far. and it all worked exactly that way. people who read, and read well, sensitive people, were able to let me know when i was going too far and helped keep me in line. mostly.
i think over the next month or so, i can probably post chapters from a previous story that i’m sure you haven’t seen. and i think i will write a post tomorrow or the next day in which i summarize a few other stories, and then people can tell me which they might be interested in reading.
thanks again. if my writing is “superior,” it’s only because you and others helped.
i’m sure you got some slashing (how many times do you think Larry Hagman got slapped in the face during the DALLAS days?) and that’s why I said it was a sad thing. People are limited in their minds when they can’t make that distinction.
But I’m superior to most people, so that’s why I stuck around, that’s why I’m sitting here on a fine Friday evening replying to you…
I may be superior, but what the heck is wrong with me? ha!
your hat is a little sideways, but that’s not “wrong,” just style.
I just really, really like the way you write.
that’s how it starts. thanks. i kinda like it too. 😉
I love reading what other writers do as they prep their MS. I’m just starting draft #2 on a blogged series so I’m glad you mentioned that you are taking yours off the blog.
I am an editor by nature and trade but I HATE editing my own work – cant see the woods for the trees or commas
Happy 2nd round to you
and happy 2nd round to you too. good luck to all of us, and thanks for peeking.