One day you are in. The next, you are out.

I feel like Heidi Klum has stepped into my book and started eliminating characters and plotlines as if they were contestants on Project Runway.

63 pages into Chapter 5, I have decided to change the story completely.

As Heidi would say, “Chapter 5, you are out.”

It’s a little scary to think that I am throwing an entire chapter out and starting from scratch, especially since it’s the last chapter of the book, but I think it’s the right thing to do. The chapter just wasn’t sexy. I was up last night trying to create an outline and it started to unfold a little, but I realized that it wasn’t a story that I wanted to read. No wonder I didn’t want to write it. So this morning, as I was making chicken taquitoes for breakfast (the breakfast of champions by the way), a new storyline came to me. This was a story that I wanted to read – a story I found interesting. I could write this.

And so I shall.

I really should stop resisting the outlining process. It’s helpful, even if the outline simply tells me what I don’t want to write about.

In my best Heidi Klum voice, “Outlining, you are in. You may leave the runway.”

Chapter 5, you are out.

Chapter 2 is DONE!!!!!

A few weeks ago I finished Chapter 2. I have bitched and moaned about this chapter for as long as I have been working on this book, and then one day, it just wrapped itself up. Admittedly, it was a little anticlimactic, given the hell I went through. Maybe that’s why I didn’t post this blog until now. But today, I feel like it was worth it.

I’m now working on the final chapter of the book. It feels a lot like chapter 2, but I know it’s just because I don’t have a clear picture of where I want to take my characters. When in doubt, return to the basics. I have relented and decided to outline the chapter in full. It’s what I should have done from the beginning, but alas…

Wish me luck.

Summer Reading List

Writing historical fiction is just as much about reading as it is writing (and re-writing).  My current reading list:

1. Slaves, Peasants and Rebels: Reconsidering Brazilian Slavery by Stuart B. Schwarz

2.  Greenwich Village And How It Got That Way by Terry Miller

3.  Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked The Gay Revolution by David Carter

4. Children of God’s Fire: A documentary History of Black Slavery in Brazil (when it arrives from Amazon)

5. And, on the recommendation of my friend Elizabeth, I am also reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions On Writing And Life by Anne Lamott

The books are proving to be immensely helpful, and I am kicking myself for not buying the books earlier.  I tried to be frugal and borrow books from the library, but ultimately, I ended up paying more in late fees than I did for all these books combined.  Moreover, I was having the most difficult time finding books that I needed in the libraries.

Now, what I wish I was reading:Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris.  Its the first book in the series that was adapted into the series True Blood.  I’m addicted to the show.  But, when I am done reading these other books, I will treat myself to a Sookie Stackhouse novel.