This is Me Doing Things

You know how sometimes you read your stuff and you’re like, God, this is so stupid?

*Smacks head against keyboard*

*gets drink from kitchen*

*puts drink back because hangovers are evil*

*stares at the computer*

*questions life choices*

*eats Oreos*

*watches HGTV*

I’m at this part of the cycle when I can either go forward or stop. Stopping doesn’t seem to do anyone any good so I might as well keep going even though I’m pretty sure the whole thing is crap. I know it isn’t, but parts of it are and I’m focused on them.  Also: this is my first contemporary YA romance which means the structure is extremely different than the sci-fi/fantasy I’ve written. Those have tons of action while this piece moves at a slower pace and now I’m questioning it’s boring-level. There are no monsters, evil dictators, spies, or wild centuries-long secrets that come to fruition. It’s just (mostly) two people in a strange situation that find love.

Which is like, every YA story minus the love-triangle and the exciting dystopian/paranormal background. I’m not even sure why I wrote it. I didn’t intend to. I was actually starting to write this really awesome fantasy thing (and will probably still) but I kept switching documents to write this other thing and somehow I’ve got it fully fleshed. I don’t think I was even planning to show it to anybody. But it’s two years later and now I am and I’m at that shit-yourself-stage because it’s so unlike what I’ve written and I’m terrified that it’s stupid/boring/lame/just like everything else out there.

But I’m going to do it, guys. I’m going to look for some BETAs  soon and just do it. I could totally not, leave it on the computer and be done with the thing, but where’s the fun in that? As terrifying as this part is in the process, I’ll feel like a real tool if I did all the work up until this point to just stop now.  Carpe Diem, right? Life is made for us to do things.

So I’m doing things.

All About That WIP

This is a writing post! 😊

Sorry—not doing Nano but I applaud and commend and totally admire you number-fetish freaks out there taking on this crazy and intense challenge! Bravo! I am sticking to my usual 7:30-9:00 writing slot. I wish I had more time, but alas, my never-ending-energy-dog demands constant attention and with him, my boyfriend who wants to know what I’m doing in here. (He knows. He’s just lonely, which makes me sad and so I stick to my strict stop-writing-at-9:00 rule so that everyone in the family has adequate attention. *Cough *Appa* Cough *Batman*)

But back to writing! Yes. I’ve been doing a lot of it lately and I figured I should share some updates with those of you interested in how the process works. How my process works, at least.

Okay, so I’m on official edit/revision 5. That means that this is the FIFTH draft I’m comfortable with saying I’ve re-worked. There were two or three previous drafts—the ‘inceptions’ I call them. That’s when the story was first forming and there were different conflicts and names… almost like it was a whole different book. BUT it isn’t! That’s what I want to scream at baby Pansters to understand. Even if something drastic changes, it super doesn’t matter. Things will always change and typically for the better. So, I’m really on my like, seventh or eighth draft and I’m finally getting there. To a place where I wouldn’t mind someone else reading it. This is the part when plot and conflict and every other piece is present and accounted for, so I’m paying attention to sentence structure. How am I going to make it sound?

I’m at the sound part, guys. The SOUND PART. Big deal. That means all the big stuff is taken care of and all I’m focused on is the sentence structure. So… after this draft, the WIP will be in the ready-for-someone-to-read stage. AKA: the shit-yourself stage.

*my least favorite*

Life of a writer, am I right?

P.S. Posting once a week isn’t terrible, although Wednesday seems to come around really quickly. I don’t get how people do this multiple times a week. And have a job. And have a significant other/dog/both AND have an actual WIP to get done AND have a social life. I’m tired just thinking about you.

Panster and Proud

I’ve been an advocate of pantsing (writing without an outline) for a while, but I’ve hit a roadblock—probably THE roadblock—for this method of writing: I don’t have an ending. Or, I did (and liked it!) but when I read through it on my fourth (fifth?) editing round, I discovered how TRULY anti-climatic it was and how everything settled nicely into place. Too nicely. Almost Stephanie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn easy. No big fight. No nibbling on nails to know how it’s going to end. Everything just kind of… worked out.

Who wants to read that?

NO ONE.

Now I’m faced with the sucky part of the pantsing lifestyle: finding the missing obstacle. The story itself hasn’t changed; the ending is still the ending. But I need to make it harder to get to which means interweaving a new obstacle or broadening the current one (I tried that, but my characters didn’t seem to go for it). So, new obstacle it is.

I went back and forth on whether I should leave the (okayish) ending or chance a rewrite and rework a good portion of the story I’ve been writing since the beginning of last year. Not a long time in the scheme of things, but it usually takes me about a year to produce a decent project and I’m already past my own deadline, so to rework stuff would push it out even farther out. Then I thought—psshh, who cares? I’m not letting anyone read it. (This is the same lie I tell myself with every book. Helps diminish anxiety so I can write for myself and not the audience.) I was okay with no one reading it until I realized I’d be letting the characters down. They depend on me to tell their story, after all. What kind of author would I be if I didn’t tell it right?

So, I’m reworking BTT.

But it’s going to be BETTER.

SO MUCH BETTER.

Pansters, I wanted to share this with you so if you ever reach a point where you have to double back and maybe cut out a lot of awesome stuff for even MORE AWESOME STUFF, don’t let it get you down. It happens. And don’t let a plotter swoop in and convince you that this is why you need to outline. You don’t. You just have to believe in your choices and trust yourself. Trust your characters and trust the process.

If you do that, you’re golden. 😉

Seeing is Believing

I’ve stopped visualizing which is a big no-no when you’re a dreamer. The key is to visualize. Always, always visualize so you know what your goal looks like. So you recognize it when you get there. I’m not sure when I stopped visualizing all the things I wanted. Feels pretty recent, like the past couple of years, probably when social media blew up and my confidence took a backseat to fear. Or maybe I stopped visualizing when I had no (or very little) sales on my first book. And my second book. And my third. And my fourth.

It’s hard to keep the image of sitting on Ellen’s couch (yes, I imagined this. Shut up) discussing my widely popular novel and laughing over all the trials of getting there when literally no one is buying it. I had this whole idea how everything was going to happen and when it didn’t, something shifted. Me, I guess, and with my lack of readers it became harder and harder to picture myself there, on that couch.

Which is BAD.

I need to start up again. If I have any hope of actually making it, I  need to picture myself next to Ellen,  being my charming and witty and wonderful self (and not having panic attacks. Stupid anxiety). It’s the only thing that’s going to get me there, imagining the future I want.

And you need to keep it up too. Whatever your dreams are. Visualize it. See what it looks like so you know where you’re going. It’s VITAL and I haven’t been doing it as much so I’m going to start again.

What about you?

Do you visualize your dreams?

Engines Ahead?

I’m writing this (YA) contemporary romance and it’s proving harder than I thought. I think it’s because I can’t rely on major action-packed events to build the romance like I did with my series. I have to depend on smaller exchanges and a lot of conversation and I keep thinking a lot of conversation is bad thing. But how else do characters get to know one another? They talk.

Right?

In times like these, I deflect to the classics. My classics. Eleanor & Park and The Sea of Tranquility, obviously. Love stories that I love, love, love! Love stories that I pocket for rare occasions: the how-to’s of good romance. Not harlequin. Not BSMD. I’m not into punishment or alphas or how tattooed of a bad boy asshole he is. Yuck. It’s not real. I like real. I like genuine.

E&P is real. TSOT is real.

I believe their stories, probably because they’re written with authenticity. That’s what I’m trying to do with Autumn and Alex. I’m trying to be really real with it but I feel like I’m just jumping from scene to scene with them chit chatting around the central ark. I don’t know. I guess I’m not used to writing a straight romance without aliens and monsters and threats getting in the way. So why the switch? I have no idea. The heart wants what it wants and I guess this is it for now.

Anyone else try a new genre having a wee bit of trouble? Or extra doubt?

First Day, First Paragraph Tag

first-day-first-paragraph-tag.jpgJoleene Naylor tagged me like, weeks ago, but sometimes I’m forgetful and I remember things at the last moment. Like that I was tagged to do the First Day, First Paragraph Tag for January. But WOOP for being #1 of 2017, bitches!

Anyway….

 

 

Those who have been tagged have to:

  1. Publish your own post on the first day of the next month.(If I tag you now ((Loni)), you will post February first. )
  2. Use the graphic above
  3. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you. (Thanks, Joleene!)
  4. Explain the rules, like I’m doing now.
  5. Post the first paragraph of a story you’ve written, are writing, or plan to write someday.
  6. Ask your readers for feedback.
  7. Finally, tag someone to do the post next month and comment on one of their posts to let them know the good news.

I’ve decided to tag Loni Townsend because she’s brilliant and funny and creative and I dug her book, This World Bites. You should check it out too.

This is from my current WIP, Better Than This. I finished it like, yesterday (last minute, remember?) so I’m still not sure if this is how it’s going to go… but, well. Take a look:

I hate Leo Warskowski.

Correction: I hate Leo Warskowski with a passion.

Last week he took a Sprite from Amber’s lunchbox and poured the whole thing into her back-pack. The whole bus watched and no one stopped him. No one said a word. The week before he made up a song about Carrie’s weight and sang it at the top of his lungs, over and over again until we got to school. We had to listen to chants of ’fatty, fatty, can’t you see/cookies and donuts are not fat free’ for over twenty minutes. Carrie cried the entire day.

Thoughts?

This is like the seventh or eighth revision. I’ve lost count. And after another comb through the WIP, it’ll probably change again.

 

Anyway, thanks again for tagging me, Joleene, and for forcing me out of my introverted cave of shyness. I owe you one. 🙂

 

Blood Moon Rising and Savannah, Bitches

I was supposed to advertise this, like, a whole bunch last month, but with my 31st birthday *cough I’m still 26 cough*, an awesome trip to Savannah, and a whole lot of working OT and being somewhat stressed at work, I didn’t. Time got away from me and here we are in October, the very month I was supposed to talk about because it is the month of the Blood Moon Rising. And thirteen nights of Halloween. And pumpkin-spice everything season. But mostly that first thing. Because Blood Moon Rising is a month-long event of celebrating authors (and their works) of Fantasy, Sci-fi and horror. You know, the things I write. 😉

Here’s the rundown: every day an author takes over with a few days highlighted for interactive activities, special talent days—stuff like that. Some people do giveaways. I would like to do one if I ever figure out how to, but until then, it’s a whole bunch of my writing up there for me. If you’re interested, my day is this Tuesday, October 4th. I’ll be posting a few short stories, some Q&As and various segments from my dark fantasy romance, Rozmarie & Josiah. I’ll  also be posting throughout the day (literally on the half hour) and would love it if you would stop by. Or hover in the corner and watch silently. Either way works.

But you should definitely think about swinging by at some point to check out all the cool people and things. It’s a month-long event, filled with tons of different authors all doing different activities, all sharing their fantastical, science-fictiony, horror-tastic works. And word has it there are prizes. Even a Grand Prize that readers like YOU can win. All you have to do is hang out with us for a bit, comment or like, and you’ve thrown your name in that hat. It’s that easy. I’ll also be there, lingering creepily in the background, hanging out with the fellow weirdos as well. You know, where I belong 😉

Alright, now onto all those awesome Savannah pictures you had no idea you’d be seeing until this very moment:

Because Batman is a history buff…

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Fort Jackson

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Here we go!

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…something, something, history…something…

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Who doesn’t enjoy a good view of invaders?

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and a tunnel of doors

Onto the city!

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I mean, I had to

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…which we later found out was haunted…

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When they say ‘fried quail’ they mean literally fried quail.

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part of SCAD

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graffiti from a bathroom

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And there you have it. A quick picture tour through “the most haunted city in America”, which is interesting since St. Augustine makes the same claim…

Remember, Blood Moon Rising is a month long event – so it’s happening now! Be sure to think about dropping by this Tuesday (Oct 4th) and maybe even acting on that thought. I’d love to feel your invisible presence. Yes, even you my silent stalkers  🙂

P.S. You should *totally* go to Savannah. It’s awesome.

P.P.S. And get the pralines from the River Street Candy Store. Possibly the best thing you’ll ever do. Trust me.