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.
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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.

Literary License

I have posted on more than one occasion how much I hate Chapter 2 of my book. The fact that I am still posting about this particular chapter after many, many, many months speaks to my unique level of aversion. I’m aware that I shouldn’t feel like this about any chapter I’m writing, and in fact, seriously considered throwing it out all together. I brainstormed on creating different characters and pushing them through different trials, but inevitably, the truth came out. It wasn’t about the characters.

It was about me. I don’t hate myself. Not today anyway.

I was uncomfortable with the character because he is Judas. I have a pretty staunch religious background, and while I am not currently practicing, it still made me uncomfortable to play around with religious cannon.

I called my mentor to ask him about it, and he joked that I was going to hell. But in the end, it comes down to literary license. What that means in the eyes of God, who knows. I’m not turning Judas into a saint, but I’m not painting him as unforgivable either. I want to humanize him.

This chapter is indicative of much of the reconciliation I have had to make in my life. Gay and Christian (and Democrat). Do the three have to be mutually exclusive? This chapter became a symbol of my struggles over the last decade. (And here I thought I was just writing a novel.)

I had a productive conversation with a friend, and she made me feel much more comfortable with the chapter, which I hope will help me to move through it more smoothly. Opening up my black and white perception of individuals in the Bible, including Judas, and allowing for their humanity to be seen (or my interpretation of their humanity) has only helped me to understand myself better. I know that sounds cheesy, but with everything we write, we should learn a little bit more about ourselves. After all, we can only write what we know – even when it’s fiction – so seeing a piece of me in this character I’m creating is not wholly evil.

The point is, I am working on the chapter now, and hopefully it will be a little easier.

:(

I haven’t been able to bring myself to write. This evening I started to feel guilty so I figured, if I can’t write, maybe I should read parts of the previous chapters and see how they feel. Maybe I would be inspired.

Most of the writing was only slightly better than terrible. The ideas are there. But the writing… Oh. Dear. God. To think that I’ve shown some of these pages to people is…embarrassing and unbearable.

Yes, I know we are our own harshest critics, but I’m not writing for anyone else. On the bright side, I know what some of the passages need to flow better. On the other hand, it’s very discouraging when I really just want to get through this draft. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, but I’m really disappointed with what I read.