Monday, November 11, 2013

To Seek Out New Life and New Civilizations...

Tenso!
I do not own this image.



That's how I feel. Like I'm manning the USS Enterprise and boldly going where I haven't gone before...and everybody wants to jump ship.

First, let's just get this out of the way: I'm not doing NaNoWriMo. Boo! Hiss! I know, I know. I suck. But I was 75% sure I would pull it off...and 90% sure it would be absolute garbage. I barely had a concept and the tentative beginnings of something that could have been good. But that was all. I'm a pantser but I usually always have a hazy sketch of what I want to do. And ALWAYS have a clear beginning and an end. No, they may not stay the same, but at the start of a new project, when the journey is shrouded in the dense fog of the unknown, I KNOW HOW IT WILL BEGIN AND END. This time, not even close. So, yeah...it was a no go.

BUT! I'm still taking November off from my MS and have started research for my next project. Captain Kirk, can you save me?

My new project is a YA historical. Yikes! I'm excited and scared shitless. If done right, I think I can have something amazing, but the chances of it being done right are not in my favor. There's so many things that can go wrong. Let's make a list shall we?

1) Authenticity 

 That's an obvious one.   From clothing to food to customs to clime to politics...everything has to be right! Historical fiction has to be based in fact if it is to be believable, and I know I have my work cut out for me. I didn't study this culture or time period in college. I don't learn about it as a hobby. This is all new to me. Big and strange. Did I mention scary? And no, I would not have been chosen for Dauntless, just so ya know.

 

2) Voice

It's bad enough that I'm doing a historical, but I had to make it even more of a challenge by making it YA. Teenage voice is hard enough to get right in this day and age, how the hell am I going to pull it off for a teenager in the 15th century?

 

3) Crossover Appeal

I want my novel and voice to be authentic, but I also want a teenager today to be able to relate. I know the issues a teenager faced back then would not be the same as those of today, but I want to be able to bridge the gap, making my characters issues understandable while, of course, keeping them authentic.

 

 4) Not Knowing When to Quit

I need to do enough research to get the job done, but not so much to bog down my thoughts and my story. I know too much research can become a hindrance and I need to figure out that line before I cross it. I don't want to write this thing only to realize on word 87,484 that the majority of my story is me sprouting off facts and figures. I want to become one with this world, so when I write about it, I can pull the reader in, not lecture him/her on history.  



Okay, I think that's enough with the lists, don't you? You get the idea. So, why am I doing this? Why do I sit down with my stack of library books that smell like they haven't been opened in a decade? Why am I putting myself through so much stress I'll probably get an ulcer?

For the thrill of it, mate! Oh, and because it's bloody good fun! (No, this is not a hint.)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hi-Ho It's Friday!

I've been neglecting my blog and I'm sad to admit, I'll probably neglect it even more int he up coming months.

I've been busy with CPs (yes, I finally finished my first round of edits!), contests, and soon, NaNoWriMo. I tried to write an outline to prepare for November, but yeah, true to my pantser form, it didn't work out. Ah well, I'm excited nonetheless.

And speaking of excitement, I just found out I didn't make it into the NOQS contest. No, it's not a typo, I'm still excited. Before I found out I didn't make it, I thought I was lying to myself when I said I'd still be excited for whoever did, but turns out, it was the complete truth. Sharing in the success of someone else has been almost as awesome as if it were my own (not quite, but almost).

Writing can be a lonely endeavor, and sometimes, a depressing one. I'm so glad I found AQC and finally got the courage to join Twitter. It's amazing how supportive us writers can be. Just one more thing that makes us awesome. So this is my post to everyone out there that has ever given me advice, a word of encouragement, or even favorited a tweet.

Thanks and rock and write on!

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Solemnly Swear You are Up to No Good: Transitioning Tokens

You've all heard of the token black guy, right? You know, he's in movies and sometimes books to add diversity. "We may be a group of white heterosexuals, but look, look, we know a black person!" Riiiight. And if it's a horror movie/book, we all know who's going to be the first to get axed.

We've come a long way from the token black guy. It can be a chick, an Asian, an Indian, or the more recently popular, the token gay guy. I'm all for diversity in books, no matter what form it comes in, but it's a little disheartening when the diversity comes in the form of the token: clich├ęd, quiescent, and apparently useless.

My current WIP is diverse, but it isn't multicultural. I wish it was, but that's just the nature of the beast and I feel no need to change it. They're all American teens, even though I have two biracial characters (Black/White and Iranian/Black) and a Polynesian. My southern sweetheart is a lesbian. Am I going overboard? Maybe. But I don't think so. This is how the world is now. Some settings call for an all white cast, but more often than not, that isn't the case.

If your story is set in a NY city high school, is there a reason all your characters are white and as straight as a raw spaghetti noodle? You may be tempted to write what you know, but trust me, there's no magical information you need to know to add diversity. I've been friends with all different types of people, and although their parents may be a little unique (coming from a YA standpoint), and some of their customs a little odd, on the day to day, they weren't some mythical creature to learn about and study. They were just as typical and unique as blonde haired, blue eyed Jane down the street.

Multicultural stories are awesome and take a little research, but diversity can come in all shapes and sizes and shouldn't be shied away from just because it's in the realm of what you don't know.

Now that that's out of the way, there's another token that's making his way on the scene and it's driving me crazy! I read a lot of YA because that's what I write (and bygum it's frickin' entertaining!) and in a number of books I've read recently, there's a teenage genius. Don't get me wrong, I love a smart character (hello, Hermione Granger anyone?) but the smart character is starting to serve a different purpose. The I-am-smart-and-have-a-big-vocabulary-and-this-is-the-only-way-I-can-show-you purpose. Ugh. You know typical teenagers don't use words like panacea or equanimity, but you want to show that YOU know those words. What do you do? Throw in a character who uses big words and says smart things all the time. Oh look, now you know I'm smart. Riiiight. No. Now all I know is you're a grandiloquent (I can do it to) ass who threw an inconsequential character in the mix just so you could toot your own damn horn. Stop. Now. We all know what you're doing and it's annoying. If you can't help yourself, don't be so obvious about it and for the love of Godiva Dark Chocolate, give them a purpose! Don't make them stand around the entire novel prattling away about how it's so hard to be so smart and use such impressive vocabulary.

Thank you and goodnight (actually, it's noon, but yeah)! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Killer Within

In honor of it being Friday the 13th and in early celebration of Stephen King's 9/24 release of Doctor Sleep, I'm going to waver from the usual Poetic Friday post. I know, I know. Go wipe your tears. Take deep, calming breaths. Poetic Friday will return next week at it's regularly scheduled time.


Doctor Sleep 

Over the years, I've become a big chicken. 



No, not that kind of chicken. I'm talking about my inability to sit through a scary movie without peeing my pants. If I'm watching TV, I'll cover my eyes if a commercial preview for anything remotely scary comes on.

I don't know what happened. I used to be able to hang tough. Not once hide my face. And nightmares? Psh! Who cares?

Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers were my peeps. R.L. Stein, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King, my BFFs.

Then something happened. I have no exciting, traumatic story to tell. I got older. I got yellow. My sister is STILL trying to get me to watch Insidious. Uh, yeah right. Not going to happen.

But for some reason,  I just couldn't part with one of my BFFs. Yeah, Stephen King and I are still two peas in a very whacked out pod. What's bizarre is that he's the one who scares me the most. I'm not talking about murderous cars, or psychotic clowns, or even ax wielding fathers (although they do scare the bejeesus out of me).

 


I'm talking about the deep, dark places he takes us to. The places that has me people watching for days and wondering what the guy in the impeccable suit and tie is capable of. Human nature is a dangerous place to examine, and King knows how to weave a tale that brings out the killer within, in a scarily believable way. He makes us want to board up our windows and lock our doors...and he has us begging for more.

Take Under the Dome, for example. The actual dome was nothing, it was the things that went on inside the dome, the actions and reactions of the people who were trapped, that had me terrified and a little afraid to go to sleep at night. He does it in The Mist as well. Of course the mist is scary (the unknown always is) but the scariest thing is what isolation does to the people, bringing out their inner demons.

Monsters, ghosts, ghoulies, and whatever else you can dream up, I promise you there is nothing like the thing that could possibly live inside us all. I pray I never have to find out. And for your sake, I hope you don't either.

If you haven't read Under the Dome, you should. It's classic Stephen King at his finest.The TV show? Uh, not so much. I tried to watch but I couldn't get into it.





Anyway, reading is much better than television, but I'm sure you know that already! Happy Friday the 13th!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Day to Remember

We go about our lives, the day to day hustle and bustle, and things start to blend. Did I have spaghetti on Monday or Tuesday? Was that last week or the week before when I went to the car wash? When did I last talk to my mom on the phone?

They blend. We forget.

Some things, some things are seared to our brains and etched in our hearts, that we will never forget. I can barely remember what happened on Monday of this week, but I remember twelve years ago to the day, in its entirety.

I remember what I was wearing. I remember running out of my dorm room and into the common room to gather with the rest of my classmates in front of the TV. I remember the looks on their faces. The silence. The tears.

I remember the resilience. I remember the strength, the kindness, the unity.

I still have the candle from the vigil.

We still remember. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

UGH.

I have no idea what's going on with me, but it's been super hard to find inspiration and motivation. I haven't written in almost a week, which is just nuts! I've worked on my query, so I guess that counts, but...not really.

I plugged away at my MS for four months, and I finished it about...wow, over three weeks ago! I was so hyped up about my edits, but then something happened. I don't know what it was. Aliens. Pheromones. Radioactive Spiders. Who knows, but what I do know is I need to get my butt in gear but I have no idea how.

I thought reading would help, but no. Six books later (The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Paranormalcy, Dualed, Graceling, The Goddess Test, and The Iron King) and I still haven't found that push I was searching for.

Should I battle through it and write anyway? Should I wait for it to pass? I have 82,000 words just waiting to be sliced and diced, added to, and made beautiful, but absolutely no motivation. Even knowing Miss Snark's First Victim's Bakers Dozen contest is coming up is not even enough to get my butt in the chair.

I promised myself I'd start in on it after Labor Day, but that day has come and gone and then some, and the crickets are still chirping. I blame it on lack of sleep, my two year old, house work, a crappy weekend job, and whatever else I can think of.

But it's all me.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Poetic Friday

Yes, I know, this is such a cop out on actually taking the time to write a post. I am deeply ashamed.

And frankly my dear, I just don't give a damn!

Okay, I do, but my brain is so fried, I'm having a hard time typing, let alone thinking of something to write about. So yeah, here's a poem I wrote over ten years ago.

Again, accept my deepest apologies.


Always Ever After

Once and always ever after your sleeveless heart,
Frail men commit countless dire deeds.
I cannot say it is such a shame for us to part. 

Please love with your neck and head apart, 
Maybe then to the breast the brain concedes. 
Once and always ever after your sleeveless heart. 

The many contours of my life are still left to chart.
Will I not leave before my very soul bleeds?
I cannot say it is such a shame for us to part. 

Clawing their way over your high rampart,
They seek in the dark that which none else precedes. 
Once and always ever after your sleeveless heart. 

A future of plans that only one could thwart,
Are thrown in the wind and fall to dead weeds. 
I cannot not say it is such a shame for us to part.

Torn between two- the ignorant and the smart, 
One must succumb so the other succeeds.
Although once and always ever after your sleeveless heart,
I cannot say it is such a shame for us to part.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Terrible Twosday

Someone should have warned me sooner that terrible twos stretch out into terrible three, four, and five.

My little one will be three soon, and I was all excited, talking to my sister, telling her at least the terrible two phase will be over.
She laughed.
And five minutes later, after she composed herself, she basically told me I was an idiot. Yeah, I should have known it wouldn't be that easy, that three wasn't some magical age of perfect behavior, but damnit, I was in delusional bliss.

I used to shake my head at those people on Nanny 911 and all those other shows, wagging my finger and thinking they should be ashamed of themselves. Now, I'm not saying my little one is a plague upon my household, but I totally understand now. I GET it.

What I also get: It's totally my fault. Yes. It sucks.

I spoiled and coddled and cooed to my heart's content, and now, I'm paying the price.

So now I'm going to go chase him around, pick the things out of the toilet, and for dessert, get a toy chucked at my head and a penny shoved up my nose while I'm sleeping.

And I wouldn't trade it for all the chocolate in the world.

Monday, August 19, 2013

I'm Baaack! Motivational Monday


Hello all!

It's nice to be back blogging. I didn't think I'd like to blog, but I figured I should learn the ropes, along with Twitter (which btw, I'm up to 58 followers!). I still find myself having no idea what to say on Twitter, not knowing if I'm overstepping any bounds if I just hop into someone's conversation, so it's still kind of awkward for me.

But blogging is different. Just me and my thoughts. It's nice.

Anyway! WriteOnCon! Awesome! So sad it's over! Okay, I'm done, but seriously, it was pretty cool. This was my first year checking it out and I learned so much. One of the "speakers" I found most helpful, wasn't about queries or pitches or anything technical. It was about walking.

Yes. Walking.



 
CC Image Courtesy of Loop_oh on Flickr

Okay, it wasn't only about walking, but about people watching, and realizing no two people walk the same. So why should any two people write the same?

Check it out. Jocelyn Davies is one clever cookie. Writing and Walking

This piece not only spoke to me, it screamed, calling me and pulling me out of a major funk. We all have moments (at least I hope I'm not the only one) when we think our work sucks. When we think we're not good enough. Well, I was going through one of those periods and it didn't help I was reading The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. It's beautifully written, the protagonist is uniquely loveable and strong, and well, I'm love, love, loving it.

But as I was love, love, loving it, it made me reevaluate my own MS. Did my protag. have enough of a voice? Were my sentences too clunky? Did I include enough emotion to break through and touch the reader?

I was in a funk people. It was so stinky, I was about ready to hurl my MS into a fiery abyss (send it to the trash file on my laptop)!

Then I read the article by Davies and it was just what I needed.

I shouldn't feel the need to live up to someone else, some other book. I should write what I'm inspired to write, how I'm inspired to write it. Is it some epic, world-altering masterpiece? No. Is it something I would enjoy reading and am proud of? Absolutely.

Don't get discouraged. Don't pull out the yard stick and measure yourself against anyone else. Do you. Be you. Stay true to your vision. Don't be afraid to go your own unique way.

CC Image Courtesy of mhumphrey on Flickr

 And that my friends, is how I stayed motivated.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Posts Next Week

Not sure if anyone reads these, but just in case, I thought I'd let everyone know I won't be posting again until Monday (19th).

Lots of work + Under the weather + Hyperactive two-yr-old = No time for blogging.

Boo! I know, I know. But I'll return Monday, better than ever, and maybe even sharing some awesome info I glean from WriteOnCon!

Write on, in the writer-est, writer way you know how!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Poetic Friday with a Twist

Instead of posting a poem, I decided to write a quick post on the importance of rhythm. Of course it's a critical component of poetry, but also in prose. Things have to flow, have to come together in a way that doesn't trip up the reader.

So what should you do to make sure your writing has rhythm? READ OUT LOUD. Okay, you can whisper too, just as long as you can hear yourself. Don't cheat and read it in your head, because trust me, it is not the same. You'll catch all sorts of things, and notice when the natural rhythm is thrown off. This is especially important in dialogue, so even if you don't want to commit to reading your entire MS aloud, you should definitely take the time to do it with your dialogue.

I wrote a lot of dialogue I'd considered well written, but when I spoke the words out loud, some of it was awkward and unnatural. So go shout, and let it all out. You'll be happy you did.

Okay that's it. Back to editing. Oh, and WriteOnCon is almost here! Woot!



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Monday, August 5, 2013

Motivational Mondays

This is going to be a rather selfish post.

I just finished my first draft of my WIP! Woot! My goal was to finish yesterday, but since that didn't happen, I'm one day over the 4 month mark. But that's okay. I finished 89k in 4 months! *Pats myself on the back*

Okay, now that I'm over that, I can let the truth sink in-my first draft is a rambling hot ass mess, but, luckily for me, I love editing. It's the part I really get excited about. The correcting. The cutting. The making sure my characters stay true to themselves. The making sure I don't have any plot holes. Oh yeah. I'm stoked.

I know some people hate this stage, and I completely understand why. It's when you get up close and personal with your MS and after awhile, it squeezes you so tight, you can't tell up from down. You've read the same typo over and over again and guess what, you still haven't caught it. Oh, and that awkward sentence that tells the reader absolutely nothing? Yep. Makes perfect sense to you.

This is when you have to take a step back. Put it away for awhile. Work on something else. If you're going the traditional route, work on your query. Come back to it in a week, or hell, even a month. If you don't have fresh eyes when you read your MS, you're going to miss a hell of a lot of errors. The truth is, you'll always miss something (that's what professional editors are for...or a kick ass CP), but with fresh eyes, may the odds be ever in your favor (sorry, couldn't resist)!

I know there is a ton of stuff I need to change without even needing to reread, such as, one of my characters motives completely changed about 20k in so yeah, unless I want her to look like a psycho, I need to change all that. I'll edit things like that now, and after, I'll stash it away and come back to it.

I have plenty of things to keep me busy, like WriteOnCon! So excited! This will be my first year participating and even though my MS isn't ready to see the light of day, some awesome members of AQC convinced me it will be well worth it!

Oh, and I have some books I need to brush up on (also recommended by AQCers [Agent Query Connect - check it out if you haven't already!])- Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King and The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass (who is also an agent).

Awesome books, go check 'em out!

OK. So I guess this was kind of motivational, right? The name of the game is "Get 'er done!" and "Fresh eyes are the best eyes!"

Now go write. Yeah, I'm talking to you. 


Friday, August 2, 2013

Poetic Friday

I so was supposed to post on Wednesday, but I figured I could let it slip since no one is reading this anyway! LOL

I've been so busy with my WIP The Oath Taker, then I got side tracked with The Way You Look Tonight by Bella Andre, so my post got pushed to the side. Putting up old poems of mine don't take too long, so I may as well do my Friday post.

Happy Friday everyone (or no one)!

I Do

Break into me
Shatter my eyes
Pry open my mouth 
Slither into my belly
Up my spine and crawl
Into that space behind
My ear

You've grown too fast
I've become
Your second skin
I'm paraded around, stretched
Out of shape

I've grown into you
I climb out
When you speak
I stare at you, laugh
At the sight of me
And by mistake
Swallow myself


Monday, July 29, 2013

Motivational Monday

Getting Back into the Swing of Things


I don't know about you, but for me, it's always hard to get back into writing after the weekend. During the week, I have a routine and I follow it (well, 99% of the time). Then the weekend comes and throws everything out of whack!
I find it easier to do if I reward myself for my efforts. Whatever it is you would rather be doing than writing, make sure you do it (or get it) right after you've met your daily writing quota.
Or maybe you're one of the lucky ones who's so excited to get back to writing, or maybe you write everyday and don't need to "get back to it".

I used to feel guilty, thinking "maybe writing really isn't my passion" when it was hard for me to sit down and start writing. If I feel like this, does that mean I don't love it as much as I think I do? I spent a long time thinking this way, thinking I should love to write, 24/7, all the time.

Then I wised up and realized we all have our moments. It's okay to not feel like writing and look at it as if it's a chore instead of something fun. As long as those feelings are in the minority. Now, if you feel that way all the time, that writing is a chore and you never feel like doing it, then maybe you should step back and reevaluate things. Ask yourself why you're writing.

Are you writing because of someone else? To get rich? To prove to your girlfriend/boyfriend you have a creative side even though you'd rather be watching Sponge Bob Square Pants?

Writing should be fun and it should be something you love doing, but it's okay not to love it all the time. Sometimes you need a little motivation, that extra push.

So, reward yourself. Or if you're reluctant because you're on a scene you're struggling with or not to fond of, just skip it!

I used to think I had to go in order, that I had to sit there for hours agonizing over a scene just so I could move on to the next scene, which I was so excited to get to. Then one day I said, "Wait, what the hell am I doing? Why am I torturing myself when I can just come back to this?" And so I did. And never looked back! Well...until I had to go back and finally write the damned scene. But by then, I was in a better place and it wasn't as hard and frustrating as I originally thought. 

So, don't be afraid to skip around! Writing doesn't have to be linear, even if your story is! (sorry about all the !!! but this was something I struggled with and it still exciting to think I overcame it)

Do what's best for you and your writing. Always. There is no right or wrong way to write. Just write the write way, and you'll be fine!

That reminds me of the touchy subject of outlining...hm...new blog post? Me thinks so.

Friday, July 26, 2013

POETIC FRIDAYS

It's Friday!

I would say "yay!" to that but I work on the weekends so there's nothing to celebrate.


I've decided to post a poem (from yours truly) on Fridays. I've been concentrating on my Urban Fantasy--I'll write more about that later--so most of the poems are from years ago (high school and college).

I strayed away from writing for a long time, and now that I'm writing again, I should devote some time to poetry. Maybe these postings will be my inspiration.

Without further ado,

Seedless Soil

Mother Earth has lost her child
Her claim on us has broken
We'd disowned her many years ago
The end of days has spoken

When rain no longer can wash away
Our troubles and our sorrow
When we no longer have the faith
the sun will come out tomorrow

This is when our better days
Have long since passed us by
Boughs of trees will hang their heads
Ashamed to see Mother cry

She's loved us since the dawn of man
We've repaid her with trouble and toil
Poor Mother Earth, now all she has
Is a world of seedless soil

Thursday, July 25, 2013

OMG. Did I really just start a blog?

Hello everyone!

So, I'll make this first post pretty short because, well...I have no idea what to say! I'm just so excited I actually started this thing, because I've been thinking about it for months.

Social media scares the beejeesus out of me- I use FB to play games, made a Twitter account but have yet to tweet, and wait...yeah, I don't even know what else is out there, so I'll just leave it at that. But here I am, blogging away, feeling pretty awesome.

What better way to get out my feelings about writing than to write about it?