The sequel to my superhero novel has a title and a cover. Feast your eyes!
Well, my NaNo is going better than I expected
This year I’m challenging myself to write two books: the sequel to my super hero story (which I finished by the way), and a book I’ve been sitting on for quite some time called The Die-Happy List. So far the latter makes up about 16,000 of my total. My plan is to write 5,000 a day, alternating which book I’m writing on. So far, so good! How’s your NaNo going?
I joined it because Ramisa brought it to my attention and it looks like Inkpop! You can read a little about Hexbound’s journey here. I haven’t posted any stories or anything yet, since I’ve barely had time to breathe and each chocolate muffins (my school’s convenience store now has Otis Spunkmeyer double chocolate muffins. I am ecstatic).
But I’m excited nonetheless just to look around and feel the place out. I know at least a few former Inkies have crossed over, so fingers crossed I’ll find some of my old friends.
I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I hate any of the various other sites I’ve joined. They all have their merits and I’ve actually enjoyed them. But something I’ve always wanted from a writerly site is a strong sense of community, and I have never joined a site that had a sense of community as tightly knit but welcoming as Inkpop did.
Sure, we had our bad apples, but it was a great group of writers who wanted to hone their craft and encourage the writers around them. I loved my Inkies.
But anyway. I’m going to try not to get romantical about it. Suffice to say, I’m super excited about Hexbound and if I like it enough, I may close down my accounts on other writing sites and just focus on the one.
I may have mentioned at some point that I got a creative writing scholarship for school. I can’t even tell you how happy that made me, and for a thousand different reasons. somebody thinks my writing isn’t crap. I don’t have to take out another loan. It’s all kinds of good. It’s also a work-study scholarship, which means I get to work in the office of the university’s press.
In short, I’m a proofer again! Yes, I know, some may not find nitpicking over grammar and syntax to be a fun thing, but I’m obsessed. I like the rules, and I like smoothing out awkward wording. I play around with words in my head all day long.
This is my senior year at AP, so I’m glad I got the chance to work with the press. I don’t have a lot of responsibility, of course, but I like running errands, proofing, and organizing. I’m going to make a great editorial assistant. I can feel it in my bones.
I haven’t written on Project X in a thousand years, and to be honest I don’t foresee any serious writing happening until November, which… do I even need to say it? NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH! BOOYAH! I’m super excited. Sure, I have no idea what I’m going to write, but when have I ever?
Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly.
Whether you’re a first-time writer, indie or traditional, it’s always a nervous moment when editorial feedback arrives from an agent or editor. Here’s what to expect and how to cope.
There will be changes
Always. Even if you’ve had beta readers. Even if you’re a seasoned pro. Of the 14 or 15 full manuscripts I’ve submitted, there was only one where the editors didn’t want to change anything, beyond tiny niggles.
When my characters are happy, I’m unhappy. When my characters are unhappy, I’m happy. I’m not a sadist, just a writer (which may or may not be the same thing). Two days ago I made the horrible mistake of ending a chapter on a good note, with lots of smiles and happy feels all around.
The next morning, I didn’t want to write. Normally I like to leave some burning questions unanswered for the characters at the end of the day so that I’ll know exactly where to go the next morning. It’s much easier for me to pick up writing again if my MC, in this case, Madison, is hanging off the edge of a cliff. I know that I have to either make her fall or get her back up over the cliff edge.
I know exactly why I don’t want to write this obviously stupid story anymore. For those brief seconds that I let everyone be happy, I bored myself. I know that in rewriting that perfect happy moment is going to go bye-bye, because if I bored myself with it, it’ll definitely bore other people.
But in the meantime, I have to suck it up and throw some more madness into the mix and force myself to write through the doldrums.
Twelve days ago I rode my camp horse, Shadow, for the last time before camp ended. She’s a sturdy but small Tennessee Walking Horse, and she’s so delicate and fine-boned that I suspect she has some Arabian in her. Since I was the smallest person working at the barn, I got to be her exercise rider.
All summer, Shadow and I did a variety of things. We went on trail rides, rode bareback, worked over poles and did figure eights and other shapes around cones. A few times I rode without reins, attempting to steer her through balance and legs alone, but she didn’t take to it.
Well, twelve days ago I brought my younger sister to the barn to give her a little lesson on Shadow before the mare headed off to her winter home. Shadow hadn’t been ridden in a few days and had decided she no longer cared to listen to the rider on her back.
I was in shorts and giant Muck boots, but I told my sister to hop off and I’d hop on to give Shadow a firm reminder of who was in charge here (she and I often have debates on this point). My boots were too big to fit into the stirrups without getting jammed, so I crossed the stirrups over the saddle in front of me and rode that way.
That little change, riding with my legs hanging long, completely changed my seat – the way I sit in the saddle, the way my balance was distributed, everything. Up until that day, Shadow and I always had trouble maintaining a trot for more than a few strides, but just for kicks I gave it a try.
She trotted perfectly. Letting my legs hang long gave me a much deeper seat, and I was able to sit the trot comfortably and easily.
If you aren’t familiar with what trotting, sitting a trot, stirrups, reins, saddle, etc. are, all of that may not have made much sense to you. In a nutshell, I changed a small but significant thing about how I was riding Shadow, and I got tremendous results on a problem I’d been struggling with.
I’ve had the same kind of success with writing. While I was editing Summer Rush, there were two characters who were giving me a lot of trouble. One, in particular, I hated so much that every time I had to write a chapter with him in it, I’d procrastinate and whine and moan. On a whim, I decided to combine the two characters into one. It ended up giving me one character I really liked. He ended up being integral in the story line.
A lot of times it’s easy to become fixated on the big things. In trying to deal with Shadow and my trotting problem, I could have tried changing the equipment we were using or having someone put her on a lead and drag her into a trot. In writing, I could have fiddled with those two characters forever, trying to turn them both into someone useful and entertaining.
But sometimes the simple fix is the best one.
There are seventeen days until I move back on campus to good old Austin Peay, and I’m trying to figure out what books to take with me. A little while ago I bought a new bookshelf to lighten the load on the old one, and somehow this new one is already filled. I don’t know how that happened.
My bedroom is being repurposed since my sister and I are both moving out this time, so sadly I can’t leave my bookshelf intact until I get back. Most likely I’ll be boxing up books to go into storage. I’m already looking forward to the excitement of unpacking them after graduation, but in the meantime, I have to figure out what I can do without for the next nine months.
I have to keep all my SPEAK books, I know that. Eon and Eona are always keepers. But my giant collection of horse manuals and writerly books… I like to have them nearby, but I’ve read them all, so… so… so many decisions to make.
One day, when I have a room of my own, I’m going to put an air mattress in the middle and line all the walls with bookshelves. I’ll never have to choose one book over the other ever again.
Friday the 2nd was my last day working at summer camp. While I still have a small part-time job on the side, my days had abruptly emptied themselves. Today I had no external responsibilites. All day I found myself checking the time, trying to make sure I didn’t miss… what? I don’t even know.
Whenever I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands, it makes me lethargic. Sure, I had about twelve hours today to write, read, do laundry, clean my room, etc., but I decided to lie on my bed and moan about how bored I was.
Tomorrow I’m going to give writing my best shot and hope that this laziness doesn’t travel with me throughout the rest of the week, which promises to be equally free of outside responsibilites and distractions.
(Although I didn’t write on Project X today, it’s still hustling along at 32,600 words. Yay!)