Inkpop.com, an amazing site formerly run by HarperCollins, has been sold to Figment.com.
If you haven’t heard me mention Inkpop, then I’m surprised. Inkpop has been my home for three-ish years. The community of Inkies there is amazing, and through it I met some of my best writing friends (ladies, you know who you are). It helped me learn to write intelligent critiques of writing of all types, keep my mouth shut when I myself got a less than growing critique, and it challenged me to write stories far outside my comfort zone.
How, you ask?
If you haven’t heard me mention Summer Rush, where have you been? I started writing Summer Rush on April 24 of 2010, but there was a whole lot that got me to that point before I ever dreamed up Lexus and Rush.
Rewind to late 2009, when I’d just finished writing the first two books of my Angel Saga. I wanted to see what people thought, so without much though, I uploaded my favorite of the two, Angel from Hell, and sat back to see what happened.
A lot happened. I got critique after critique of people who liked it, but told me quite frankly that it needed some work. So I went to work on it and started returning some of the critiques I’d received. I found myself drawn to one type of book in particular – humorous romance. It all started with a little something called “The Importance of Getting Revenge,” which I utterly adored. Over the next few months, I abandoned my Angel books (sorry, books; you know I love you) and started toying with the idea of stepping into a genre that I would never have thought of touching with a ten foot pole.
Opening a Word Document
It wasn’t until April that I got up the courage to start. In my usual careless fashion, I pulled open a Word document and just started to write.
“I was thinking, Dad, maybe we shouldn’t have Rush and Maya over this summer.”
And so it began. I spent the next eight months writing a book that I wanted so badly to make people fall over laughing, because there can never be enough laughter in this world. It was one of my better first drafts although it was still rough, but I had more fun writing that thing than I’d ever had before.
I wrote the first four chapters and posted them immediately. A few minutes later, I had my first critique! Everything built from there. I got multiple comments every day, and someone was always messaging me to make sure I was writing the next chapter. I wrote faithfully every day and thought about Summer Rush constantly (thank goodness it was summer, or my school would have really suffered).
When at long last I came to the end, I posted the final chapters, closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, and held my breath.
THEY HATED IT.
I almost had an aneurism. I’d thrived off my fellow inkies’ approval for so long and now they betrayed me? How could they? I almost cried. I rewrote that darn ending three times for them, searching for that perfect thing that would make them happy, and they still didn’t like it.
Finally, I sat back and took a deep breath. Yes, I realized. This ending is a piece of crap.
Since the beginning, I’d written Summer Rush as a book that I’d want to read. That was the important thing. So as I set about to rewrite that darn ending for what felt like the millionth time, I went back to that mindset. And I wrote an ending that I liked and they accepted.
It was November of 2010 that Summer Rush became a top 5 project and was reviewed by a HarperCollins editor. I walked on clouds the entire month of December and well into January, until I received my critique.
Cue the dramatic fall to earth.
It wasn’t a harsh critique by any means, and the positivity and encouragement in it makes me smile to this day. But I knew I was going to have a lot of work to do. But I wouldn’t have to do it alone. I was contacted by one of my fellow inkies, this absolutely fantabulous girl called Beatrix Renning (I’ve always called her B on here), who wanted to become critique partners. I couldn’t scream “YES YES YES!” fast enough.
It is now almost March of 2012. I’ve edited Summer Rush seven-going-on-eight times. It’s a novel I am proud of and has taken longer than any of my other novels to write. It’s only the second of my 9+ novels written that I’ve edited. It’s taken me on a very long, very hard, very exhausting writerly journey that I am still only in the middle of.
Inkpop and the inkies are partly responsible for that. I have never found another community of YA writers so enthused about writing and committed to the craft; nowhere else have I found so many people willing to put their time and effort into each others’ writing and selflessly cheer them on when they take strides in their journey.
I don’t know where I was going with writing before Inkpop and the inkies, but they’ve certainly steered me in the right direction. I can’t even count the times when an inkie kicked my butt into gear and told me to keep writing away when all I wanted to do was crawl into a corner and eat Oreos.
Sometimes I still want to crawl into a corner and eat Oreos, but not for any reason that has to do with writing.
Inkpop made me a better writer, a better critic, and a better member of the writing community. No matter what site or group I join after it’s gone, it’s still my number one.