Thankful to be Done!

Hope all my American friends have a Happy Turkey Day!
Hope all my American friends have a Happy Turkey Day!

Well, I did it! It took twice as long as expected, but I finally finished a 50,000-word first draft of my YA.

Phew.

Time to relax, take a breath, enjoy the peace–

Wait, I mean time to work on a second Threadcakes entry, plot out a new book (gotta love it when an idea grabs you and won’t let go), and start getting ready for the holidays!

Either way, for now my work on that YA is done for now. I always let my books sit for at least a month after writing to get some distance, and I’m guessing I won’t even open that file until next year.

Which is good. Because right now, I’m not sure how much I like it. But I’ve felt like this before about books. I *hated* my other YA when its first draft was done. Now it’s my favourite thing I’ve ever written, and it’s sitting with Bri waiting for revision notes. But I needed some time and space to be able to make a rational decision. (I also needed lots of revisions.)

So, while I don’t know if this YA will ever make it to the revision stage (it feels pretty blah to me at the moment), for now the best thing I can do is occupy myself until it’s time to re-read it. Who knows, maybe it’ll surprise me.

P.S. If you’re interested in seeing how my Threadcakes entry is going, check out my Facebook and Twitter, where I’m posting up some progress shots. (It looks like this cake is going to continue my new trend of “things taking twice as long to finish than I had planned,” but hopefully the end result will be worth it!)

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Descent Into Darkness

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Supermoon!
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Supermoon!

This new YA I’m working on is without a doubt, the darkest thing I’ve ever written. My last YA touched on some heavier themes (and may have brought a critique partner or two to tears) but this one is…well, it’s hard to write.

Putting yourself inside the brain of a character who’s suffering can take a toll, especially if you tend to be on the empathetic side of things. My spirits have been low, my moods much more gray since I’ve been writing this new story. (And that’s before everything that’s happened in the last week, right now I can barely get words out.)

A lot of the things I write about stem from very real events in my past – although spun out and expanded on in the most dramatic way possible – and dwelling on such dark moments can feel like a waking nightmare.

And yet I persevere. Because I think it’s important to get this story (these stories) out into the world. Because if I can touch just one person with my words, it’s worth it. But this comic by  b. patrick says it much more eloquently than I can.

So for now I’m going to buckle down and finishing sprinting through the darkness to the end of this draft, in the hope that I can find some light at the end of all this darkness.

 

Looking for Trouble

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It occurred to me the other day that if anyone checked out my browser history, they’d think I’m pretty messed up.

Right now my writing-related search history includes:

  • domestic violence statistics and stories
  • acetaminophen overdoses
  • symptoms and treatment for liver failure
  • Steampunk fashion
  • internet abuse gone viral
  • alcohol abuse
  • female comic book characters & sexism
  • gaslighting (the psychological phenomenon, not pre-electricity-illumination)
  • doomed lovers
  • Fifty Shades of Grey analysis/recaps
  • the running speeds of various animals (for a friend’s book)
  • warning signs of an abusive relationship
  • the history of SlutWalks
  •  about 500 recipes
  • Marvel vs DC
  • body dysmorphic disorder
  • narcissistic personality disorder
  • different ways to kill yourself/someone else using what’s in your house

So, basically, if a crime occurs near/to me, either my husband or I are screwed, and may be calling on all of you as witnesses. “Honest officer, it was just research for a book!”

What about you? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever had to research (for a book, class, etc.) ? Tell me in the comments.

How the Writing’s Going (Beautiful Books Link-Up)

This week, the lovely Cait over at Paper Fury is hosting a blog link-up to discuss everyone’s NaNoWriMo projects/WIPs. I’m not doing NaNo this year (good thing, since I can’t seem to get words out for the life of me), but I am still trudging away at my YA, so I thought I’d join in the fun by answering the questions below. You can join in the fun (or just check out what everyone else is up to) by heading over to Cait’s Beautiful Books post.

  1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going? Hahahahaha. Oh wait, you’re serious? Uh, my mental state isn’t great, but I’m not we can entirely blame that on my WIP (although expect some blog posts soon about the effects of writing about dark subjects).  As for how the novel’s going, I hit 32,000 words this week, which is about halfway to my minimum word count-goal of 60,000, and I’m close to halfway through the plot I’ve outlined.
  2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)? “What about Zak Lin?”
  3. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel? Ooh, this is a toughie. My MC Mia is a lot like me, so I have to like her (even when she does stupid things…also like me). But it’s also way more fun to write a villain, so I might have to pick him (no spoilers).
  4. What do you love about your novel so far? Hmm, this is the most “adult” novel I’ve ever written (still a YA, but lots of sexy times). I’m both loving it and finding it extremely awkward/embarrassing.
  5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes? Honestly, because I’m fast drafting, I don’t really go back and re-read what I’ve written until I’m finished. I’m pretty sure the pages are littered with typos (I’m typing faster than I can think most of the time), but I’ll see those when I go back to revise after my cooling off period. I’m sure there’ll be some doozies.
  6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why? I like the fresh feelings of beginning, all the introductions and setting things in motion, but I don’t always find my voice or hit my stride until partway through (thank goodness for the magic of revision!) But I think endings are my favourite: I’m a combo pantser-plotter, so I know where my story is going, but not always how I’m going to there, so the end often comes as a surprise (actual convo between me and Hubs when nearing the end of an ms “I can’t stop now, I need to see how it ends.” “Wait, aren’t you *writing* it?”) This time I know exactly what’s coming…and I’m dying to get there and write the scene, but I have to let a few other things unfold before I can.
  7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space! I usually sit down with a hot drink (tea or cocoa), and sometimes a blanket wrapped around my shoulders–my house is cold!, in absolute silence. I typically write during the day, while the kids are in school, but I find I get the most done if I can start right away, as soon as I get home from dropping them off, rather than doing chores, etc. first. I think I’ll skip the photo, due to mess (did I mention I’m fast drafting right now?) but, I either work in my kitchen at the island, or at my desk in the dining room.
  8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)? I work alone–because I’m Batman. No, wait, actually it’s because I’m so self-conscious about how terrible the draft is that I don’t want anyone seeing it before it’s gone through some major revisions. But I will blog about how the writing’s going (check out my last post here), post word-count updates, and occasionally tweet out crowd-sourcing requests, (usually help figuring out if a pop culture reference is too dated, which,–spoiler alert–they usually are. Because I’m Batman, uh, I mean, old.)
  9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard? Knowing that this is what I want to do as a career. Knowing that if I don’t get published soon I’m going to have to go and get a “real” job that will suck my soul and eat up all my writing time (or just leave me too exhausted to write). And, giving myself permission to write a horrible first draft, just so long as I write.
  10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice? 1) Revision is where the magic happens, and you can only revise words that exist, so… 2) Get your butt in your chair, and write. Don’t wait for inspiration, don’t spend hours stressing over the wording of a certain sentence, just write. But… 3) Take breaks if you need them. Some of my best plot holes have been solved by going for a walk (usually in search of sugar & caffeine).

Well, that was fun. I can’t wait to check out everyone else’s answers. Happy writing!