By Terri Rocovich
OK, since Alison got us on the subject of writing I thought I would continue the theme. As you all know I juggle keeping up with my training barn, my own competitive career, writing non-fiction projects for clients (to help pay the bills) and trying to finish my novel. I now think I have broken the Guinness book of world records for the number of years a novel has been in the works. I try to set a few hours a side several days a week, but often my best laid plans go array.
So my question to the group is: How do you keep plot lines straight and consistent when you have sometimes long breaks in between writing sessions? I find myself sometimes in an endless cycle of rewriting and rehashing plot lines rather than just moving the story forward. It is driving me crazy. It is the little details of dates and names of minor characters and other little details that I worry will be inconsistent but I think I am also wasting a lot of time by constantly rereading what I have done. I do tend to be overly anal about details, (gee does that sound like a horsewoman) but also don't want to get far down the line and discover that I have really screwed up some of the details.
I keep telling myself that I am going to take a week or two off and go away somewhere and just write, but so far this year it has not been possible. This book is one very important item on my bucket list and I am very frustrated at my progress. Please any advise would be greatly appreciated.
And another concern - do any of you worry about too much of your personal experiences creeping into your plot lines? I know that each writer puts much of their own soul and personality into each book, but how and where do you draw the line? Much of my plot has very little to do with my own life, but some of it sounds a lot like me or people I know. Am I worrying for nothing?
OK, now that I have lamented about my writing troubles, I also wanted to add my endorsement to the air vests. I primarily ride in dressage and eventing and especially for the sport of eventing, I think that the air vests are the most significant safety improvement since ASTM/SEI helmets and the standard safety vests. Yes I have seen several riders forget to unhook, but as mentioned in Jami's post, most rider's only forget once and the replacement canisters are only around $20. I am in the process of buying one, and am requiring them for all of my students riding at Preliminary and I strongly recommend them at any level. When the parents of my students complain I reply, "what is cheaper, the air vest or a trip to the emergency room". That usually ends the complaint. I am going to start wearing them even when I am just starting a young horse over fences. There are 2 brands on the market, one more expensive than the other, and both are endorsed by top riders. I have not decided which one I am going to buy but I think you can't go wrong with either.
I was at Rolex this past April when Oliver Towend took at horrible fall at the double down bank. I am convinced that the fall could have been a fatality, or at very least a significant head and neck injury, had he not had on his airjacket. As we all know, riding horses has its risks no matter what discipline and yes, eventing is one of more high risk, so why not take advantage of safety advances when they come along.
Now if we can just get everyone, western, dressage, trails, etc. to wear a helmet, and make their kids wear them, every time!
What do you think? Safe riding and writing to all.