About Writing a Book

About Writing a Book

A Story by barleygirl
"

an excerpt . . . and pondering . . .

"

Tule Fog (excerpt from my next book) . . . by Margie Willis

That winter, the tule fog is lower and thicker and more widespread than Meg had ever seen it. A bleak off-white blanket smothers the delta, night and day. Near-freezing temperatures barely vary, night and day.

With no UC Davis classes in workable time slots, Meg drives up to Sacramento City College two mornings a week for a seven o’clock class. Her morning drive takes her across the three-mile-long Yolo causeway where the thickest fog rises up from rice paddies on the floodplain. It’s not possible to drive at a slower speed, which such thick fog demands, because the rest of traffic is jamming along, exceeding the speed limit, regardless of lacking visibility.

It’s nerve-wracking to be hurtling by at seventy-miles-per-hour, rushing into pure pale nothingness. It’s terrifying to see a void out in front and then suddenly brake lights flash only a few feet ahead, but braking is scary, too, because there’s a car only a few feet from the rear bumper. All this happens while racing, breaking the speed limit, along with all the other vehicles.

One morning, just as Meg reaches the Sacramento end of Yolo causeway, a seventy-car pile-up clogs the bridge’s entire three-mile span for hours. Meg misses it by mere minutes, but such a close call haunts her for days.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

When I wrote this passage a few days ago, I wasn’t thinking about the process of writing. But later I noticed a parallel . . . for me, writing a book is like barreling down the road seventy miles per hour into pure pale nothingness. I can’t remember what I wrote four days ago and I have no idea what I’ll be writing in the next few hours or days. Writing this way requires total trust in my muse.

I used to believe, if I wanted to write a book, I needed an outline with a specific plot in mind, along with many other planning steps. For thirty years, I was able to plan out a 300-page technical manual, holding all the details in my mind of where every explanation needed to go. Later, people at work asked me how to do such-and-such (an explanation in one of my many manuals) and I could tell them -- look at page 113 -- even if I wrote it two years ago.

Since neck surgery six years ago (practically on top of my brain stem), I cannot hold very much information in my mind anymore and I can’t visualize a long series of details organized into a whole storyline. I’ve been trying to figure out how to write a book with my brain-injury issues. Also, I’ve slowly improved through four years of steady practice, as far as how much I can remember . . . but it’s still nowhere near enough to hold a book-length story full of details in my mind.

The key to my process: SURRENDER TO MY MUSE.

I have no idea what this story is going to be about or where each day’s writing will take me, but my muse never fails to keep putting amazing material onto my tippy-tapping fingertips as soon as I’m ready for it!

I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had writing because it feels like reading a book and slowly finding out, day by day, what this story is about. I love this story, even though I don’t know where it will take me and I can’t remember the first 130 pages (polished & ready to publish) anymore. Writing this book, I’ve laughed until I cry and I’ve been so turned on, I stopped to masturbate.

I’ve written 160 pages in 18 days . . . I’m a writing fool . . . I can’t wait to start writing every morning. Sorry for ignoring everything else . . . such a gift cannot be forsaken! The reason I write so fast and continuously is because I’m trying to hold on to as much as I can remember!

© 2019 barleygirl


Author's Note

barleygirl
Tule fog (or valley fog) is low to the ground, dense, & cold . . .
to be distinguished from ocean fog (we call the marine layer)
which is high, balmy, & doesn't impact visibility.

My Review

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Featured Review

let that fog keep lifting and your muse keep pushing your little fingers against the keys I am not stranger to the processing issues you speak of the secret is just keep writing dear Margie let the words dictate the story I am so excited for you it makes me so happy to know your clicking away in your tree house:)

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

I am in love with this profile picture. Excuse me while I go masturbate *wink! wink!* OK! Back to wr.. read more



Reviews

God, Margie! Can't wait for the whole book. Keep writing.

Posted 1 Week Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Days Ago

Such a response is a shot in the arm & I thank you very much! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie
The descriptive excerpt you included is quite lovely, Margie. I can feel the droplets of the fog. And yes, know the terror of being chased on the road by people who seem to worry about nothing. Metaphorically speaking, life itself shakes out that way at times, so I really like that part of your story.

I took some creative writing classes where we were forced to outline an entire novel start to finish and I found it excruciating. My mind just doesn’t work that way and the creativity has to discover its own path. So, I could really appreciate your description of how the writing process has gone for you. Sounds like you’re really on a roll.

Good luck as you keep pushing on to the finish!

Posted 1 Week Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Days Ago

This is a killer piece of your exquisite mind & I Love it as always!!!! I finished my book . . . 300.. read more
barleygirl

4 Days Ago

Still weeks of manicuring & embellishing . . . a WC angel stepped up & offered to edit the whole f**.. read more
Eilis

4 Days Ago

That’s great news, Margie. Congratulations! Thanks for your (always) kind words.

Jeez Margie, I just knew you were up too summat, I just never guessed it was summat so big.. I reckon there are gonna be an awful lot of grateful scribes and a helluva lot more satisfied BG aka Margie Willis fans around town when da book in question is out... sounds like some kinda record too dont'ya know :)

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

I hugely appreciate you & many others who read the books I wrote last year. But now that I'm doing t.. read more
Neville

2 Weeks Ago

always welcome, always a pleasure (BITs) fondly N
You have gotten so many comments on this and you should be so proud of yourself! I enjoyed what I read and can relate so much to "The key to my process: SURRENDER TO MY MUSE." because that's the only way I can write. I tried the outline style but my outline kept changing with the story because my muse was in control. The little critter snarled and laughed at outlines until I too surrendered! Thank you so much for your wonderful written words my friend.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

Writing is so easy for me becuz I don't feel like I'm doing any work . . . so I hurt for the writers.. read more
great title! love the immersion of the opening ... i love the fog ... had never heard of the different versions nor names ... nice job of setting and scene ... just the word "delta" inspires my imaginations ... as the story and developing characters lead you ... it will unfold ... writing or attempting to write an essay, short story, novel, screen play, in my opinion are all very natural courses for poets to take .. after all a poem contains all the elements needed for such expansion ... because of a couple free online classes on story telling and writing .. i have the beginnings of several stories i flatter myself to think there may be more in them one of these days .. ;) but the thought of the task seems daunting ... when I travel Nursed and worked at the PICU at UCLA i was absolutely terrified and stunned the first time i experienced the horde had gone from 70-80 mph to 5 and were all wracked up only minutes ahead ... i drove to work from downtown LA to the hospital on those 8 lane night mares and it was barely dawn .. the break lights that first time .. i misidentified as rear running lights ... crazy! i sat easily behind the wheel with Meg ... thinking of you more than my visits dumplin' :) peace and joy and write write write!!
E.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

WOW! What a detailed share! This is the ultimate, to have you be so ramped after reading me, that yo.. read more
barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

F****n new mouse clicks of its own volition!
(wasn't finished yet!)
Anyhow, thank you .. read more
The fog sounds like what I saw in the San Joaquin valley. Once driving from Bakersfield to Lemoore, I had to drive with my head out the window, gazing down at the stripe on the road. Going seventy would've turned my hair white.
It makes me a little jealous that your writing is on fire, but I'm still happy for you. Go with it while it lasts!

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

What I'm going thru (as far as being on fire) is almost embarrassing, it's such an affront to all th.. read more
I am always awed by your flair for detailing, be it a story or a poem and so it is surprising to know you have an issue retaining stuff after the surgery. I'm an aspiring book writer too...one who never gets beyond the first chapter of any measly attempt made so far.

I read this story of your writing journey thus far, thrilled and rapt. There are so many takeaways here...Well written, Margie...

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

Always before, I have hurried thru my writing. I get it to the point where it's "good enough" & I st.. read more
DIVYA

2 Weeks Ago

Well, the end result reads effortless and lovely always. You’re welcome my friend.
Hi Margie. It's interesting to have a wee peek at what you are up to. From my own experience of writing a novel it is an exciting adventure and I didn't suffer from writers block. I knocked out about 80000 words in few months then sat on it for half a year before tidying it up.
Can I give you a wee comment on your excerpt - I might well be wrong but you seem to be using different tenses. You're using the present tense a lot but then say 'Meg had'. In the second para you say 'Meg drives' in third person but the next para sounds like first person. Please tell me I'm wrong. I had the bad fortune that two friends that promised to proof read backed out and I was left with loads of slips.
I'm not too clear if this is fact or fiction but you mention plot. Even without your memory problems I found it tough making all the bits of my fictional jigsaw puzzle fit together. I had to put a lot on paper - places, people, timelines etc.
I loved the experience and I write 10000 words of the sequel but I've got hooked on these bloody short bedtime stories for folk out in the BioShock whatever a BioShock is! I've never met. Ha ha. Predictive texting says boondock.
Keep writing!
Alan

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

The "tenses" thing is complicated, but I think I'm on it & I'm okay with how it's going on that scor.. read more
Margie, please let me know when it comes out, but if you think im driving over something called You Only Live Once causeway, which is shrouded in fog, then you have another think coming I bet it has the same theme tune to every horror flick that has a white chick that opens the front door and says hello, is anybody there, when a creak is heard, instead of hiding her silly white a*s under the bed.
But then again, if thats the narrative of the tale, then im sure it will have eighteen sequels and merchandising out your ears. 😀
I wrote a book once. I like to think of it as part autobiography, part self help guide to life, containing my lifetime of experience and much less wit than i think.
Well, i say book, it was more of a pamphlet to be honest.
Well okay, it wasjust a flyer with the letters W, T and F, alongside a question mark.
Im far too distracterated to be able to manage such a feat, but my one piece of solid gold advice to any author, that is 100% guarenteed to work, is.... Ooh, a squirrel! 😀

Ps, i never tire of using that joke. 😀

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lorry

2 Weeks Ago

You haven't tried all chocolate though... Said the black dude to the virgin 😀
barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

I don't prefer a big thick uninterrupted bite of chocolate. This delightful accent is meant for clin.. read more
Lorry

2 Weeks Ago

I will never understand women 😀
let that fog keep lifting and your muse keep pushing your little fingers against the keys I am not stranger to the processing issues you speak of the secret is just keep writing dear Margie let the words dictate the story I am so excited for you it makes me so happy to know your clicking away in your tree house:)

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

I am in love with this profile picture. Excuse me while I go masturbate *wink! wink!* OK! Back to wr.. read more

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Added on December 30, 2019
Last Updated on December 30, 2019

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barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



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