I’m here! Sorry for the post-free days. As many of you know, for the past two years, I’ve been working on my first book. I finished a 280+ page early draft ages ago, and I’ve been editing it ever since. I hoped to be completely finished by the end of the summer or, at the latest, end of 2009. However, the project took a different turn. I killed two chapters I’d already written and created new ones that were more fully developed and gave the book a stronger arch. God, I’ve learned a lot over the past 24 months of working on this thing. In writing a memoir, there are so many different ways to re-tell the story. For example, take today. Thus far, I:

  • Woke at 7:00 a.m. to the sound of a rooster crowing (my cellphone’s alarm clock ringtone). I don’t usually use an alarm but I did today because I stayed up late last night and I worried I’d oversleep.
  • Read morning news online — BBC News and New York Times.
  • Checked Twitter, Facebook and my blog.
  • Showered, brushed my teeth, put on lotion, dressed and left the house.
  • Logged 20 blocks (1 mile) for my daily morning walk.
  • Ate Cheerios for breakfast.

No one wants to read a laundry list of “I did this, then I did this, then I did this.” So, if I was writing a story about of my morning, it would read very differently based on the theme. If I was writing about being a native Illinoisan living in Manhattan, I’d focus on the fact that I use a rooster’s crow as my alarm, and I’d describe how different it feels to walk a mile surrounded by skyscrapers instead of cornfields. What I ate for breakfast wouldn’t matter so much, and I’d leave that out of the story. If I was writing about healthy living, I’d focus on the fact that my morning beauty products and toothpaste are made of all-natural and organic materials. I’d talk about the importance of diet (eating Cheerios instead of fried eggs and bacon) and exercise (walking a mile every day). In that story, the fact that my alarm clock is a rooster’s crow wouldn’t really matter and I’d leave that out of the story. Either version could re-tell what happened to me today. But, the specific details included in the story depends the larger “theme.”

So, that’s what I’ve been working on with the book — figuring out which details of my life should be included and which ones shouldn’t. The other thing I’ve been doing is: editing. Now that the story is more fleshed out, I have to make it more readable. As an example of editing, check out this sentence on Nicolas Cage’s Wikipedia page:

“Despite these successes, most of his lower-profile films have performed poorly at the box office compared to his mainstream action/adventure roles.”

For clarity and to ease the read, the sentence could be edited as follows:

“Despite mainstream successes in action/adventure roles, many of Cage’s lower-profile films have delivered poor box office results.”

I’m not editing Cage’s wiki, but I am editing my book line by line to make it a clearer read. So, yeah, that’s the book update. At present, it looks like I’ll be finished by the end of this month. In fact, though (thankfully!) I’ve already been approached, this is the very reason I haven’t signed with an agent yet. Until I’ve written the whole thing, I didn’t really know: (1) what the book would be or (2) when I would finish it. I’ve contributed chapters to others’ books, written articles and completed other creative projects, but this is my first book. It’s nice to finish it on my own time and without the pressure of outside deadlines.

What’s next? Starting in February, the next step will be to pitch agents. Once I’ve found the right one, they’ll pitch the book to publishers. Once it’s found a publishing home, it will be printed and ready for bookshelves. Of course, there are no guarantees. So, my fingers will be crossed throughout the whole thing. And, of course, it’s an ongoing process. (Once I have an agent and publisher attached to the project, they’ll likely request additional edits, changes and others things.) For now, I’m just really happy about the progress I’ve made thus far. Okay, so, this was totally a long, disjointed post, but I wanted to let you know what I’ve been up to on the writing front. I’ll be back to updating Funky Brown Chick on a regular basis now. Expect more sex, dating and relationships posts this week! :)