Monday, August 31, 2009
And I'm coming to the realization...ok that's a lie, I've kind of known this about me, but I've tried to deny it and change it and hide it and...finally I can admit-the truth is, I can't plot things out to the tenth degree. I just can't. I can decide like 70% of what's going to happen when and in what order...but there's a part of me that just knows like...I need this scene, or I need this thread and it's going to enter into the storyline in as organic a way possible and I can't determine that moment no matter how much I want to. It comes when it comes. I think I'm in charge, but parts of my story really do write themselves.
So thanks to yesterday's awesome advice from the FNC...I got a big chunk of my plan down and then I had to stop -realizing these key little bits were floating around waiting for me to actually write before they could find a home and thus detail for me the map of the second half of the book.
So my plan has been to rewrite chapters 1 and 2 tonight, but that just hasn't happened yet...I blame procrastination and fun things I posted over at the FNC today.
And...I babysat all day-ALL DAY-and I'm just tired. I don't know how you moms do it!
So I'm making my best effort...oh and prepping for the class I'm teaching-yikes!!! Wish me luck!
PS Lament by Maggie Stiefvater is AWESOME!
PPS Only a few hours until Catching Fire comes out :-)
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I acquired quite a few books this week so I thought I'd do an unofficial In My Mail Box Meme which was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie but hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
1. Blood Promise, Richelle Mead
2. The Hollow, Jessica Verday
3. The Body Finder, Kimberly Derting
4. Kissed By An Angel Trilogy, Elizabeth Chandler
5. Rampant, Diane Peterfreund
6.Once A Witch, Carolyn MacCullough (Ive been dying for this ever since I read the premise bc her hook sounds creepily close to my own book's hook, except I'm not actually writing about witches)
7. Dark Of The Moon (A Dark Guardian Novel), Rachel Hawthorne
8. Unclaimed Heart, Kim Wilkins
Ok....now back to dreaming about/working on my revision and working on/procrastinating work on preparing to teach my class this week.
But...this party was outside and I arrived at the exact moment that the skies opened up and said, "I hate you, Alfapha," err...the skies opened up and let loose one of those hard pounding rains that doesn't let up for an hour.
So I got to sit in a tent with a couple of partygoers, all inching our chairs closer and closer together to stay dry. Everyone was really really nice, so that was ok, but I was still getting wet and sitting there for an hour, getting sweaty and wet and waiting when I should've been able to dance and go...
Anyway, an hour after the rain started it stopped. And I told the hostess I needed to dance since I had other places to be. Only problem...I was dancing outside...under the tent...which was soaked!!!
So I take off my cover up, step out of my shoes and start dancing on super wet ground under said tent.
My feet got soaked, the after effects of the rain plus being under this tent meant the humidity level went through the roof and I was literally sweating heavy heavy drops of water that were rolling off my face in I think a somewhat comical way. These were the like the drops of sweat we write about when we're trying to describe someone really hot and our critique group says, "um sorry no one sweats like that in real life,"- they do...actually they do!
But the worst part...the elastic at the bottom of my harem pants suddenly decided to malfunction and not work anymore-which is really bad bc it means my pants might hang too low and I'd be in danger of stepping on them. I could maneuver through this, except that with the soaking wet ground, my wet feet were getting caught in my pants and the pants were getting weighed down with water, tangling over my feet and hanging way too low.
The whole time I danced, I was internally cringing everytime I stepped on my pants and I was sure that any second, my pants were going to wind up around my knees-then it would have turned into a very different performance. Luckily that didn't happen...and I somehow got through my dance.
But I think this is the last time I dance after the rain...
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Anyway I've been up for a bit reading through my draft of Rose Lily and having mixed feelings-some parts I really love, some...not so much.
I read somewhere awhile ago that when you revise you are supposed to re-vision the story, like allow it to newly form again and some of that advice is starting to sink in. I'm getting some ideas for a few new scenes that I think will really help with character development, and I'm also seeing ways to pull back on a lot of other scenes and tighten things up.
It's kind of exciting and kind of very frustrating. I'm excited to make my book better...but I so want to be finished with it already!!! I'm now entering into my 3rd year of writing this book (like hardcore almost daily working on it-even though I had the idea back in the summer of 2004).
We'll see how much work I get done today. I'm torn...I want to work on this....but I also need to prep for teaching...and I have a belly dance performance I need to prepare for early in the evening.
I'll let you know how it all goes. Hope everyone else's Saturday is either totally productive (if that's what your looking for) or a lot of fun and relaxing (if your the sort of person who takes Saturday off). :-)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I mean, ok technically I did have a printer, an 8 yr old one that I don't think worked properly when it was 2 yrs old and was always out of ink, but yeah basically I had no printer-at all! Ridiculous when you're a writer. Obviously I've bribed certain people with printers to be my friend (no not really...maybe a little) and I've used a lot of my student printing account at school...but finally today I got one!
If you've never gone shopping with me for electronics, let me tell you, its an experience-a bad one, but rather painless. My sister Eva was there and she can verify.
See, I promise you I'm smart, I have an ivy league education and I studied Greek and Latin (see, smart!) but when I walk into an electronics store, I turn into the biggest bubble gum airhead in the world.
Here's a dramatic recap of my printer shopping today.
Frankie: (Walks with wide wild eyes into the printer aisle)
Helpful Salesman: Hi, can I help you find something?
Frankie: Huh, oh yeah, um doh...duhh...uhhhh, I like... need a printer...?
Helpful Salesman: (wonders if she is right in the head) Sure, anything in particular you were looking for?
F: Ummm like one that prints?
F: (tries to get her act together and sound intelligible) Ooooh oh actually I know...I need a printer that prints and will talk to my laptop, and also...double sided printing is cool too!
HS: Yes, double sided printing is cool.
F: Yeah! But does that feature like totally jack up the price?
HS: Ummm yeah it does.
F: Oooh its not so cool anymore.
HS: (awkward)This printer here isn't expensive and it does double sided printing and it will talk to your laptop wirelessly.
This guy was actually really nice and tried to be super helpful, I'm just hard to help bc I'm so clueless. But we ended up having a nice conversation surrounding me buying the cheapest paper possible bc I'm printing out my book to read and revise and give to people. He was really excited when he realized he just sold a printer to a writer and I told him the premise of my book and he was like-OMG Knights RULE! So all in all it was a successful shopping trip and I think I was redeemed a little in his eyes from being a printer ditz to a writer.
Anyway off to hopefully make a dent in more revisions tonight!!!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
More importantly, afterwards I decided to go to Target for a few items to enhance my professor wardrobe-I've got to dress the part and to be honest, I don't have many professional type clothes-I'm pretty bohemian and I don't look my age (vegan benefit) so I know if Im going to be taken seriously, I've got to look the part and look a little older.
So I went in and I saw this black dress that looked like it might be professorally if I paired it up with a cardigan...so I took it to the dressing room and...
Well you'd never know it from the way it hung off that hanger, but I accidentally stumbled upon the MOST PERFECT LBD IN THE WORLD!!!! I don't think I've ever looked this good in a dress before-SERIOUSLY. Also, it turns out it's strapless. I could never wear this to work, although I want to wear it everyday.
What can we all learn from this?
Don't ever go out searching for the perfect little black dress. Go find something else and I swear your soulmate LBD will find you:-) Oh and I did find some professor clothes...but nothing as exciting as that dress!
I'm waiting for people to finish Blood Promise so I can talk to them already...grrrr. It's starting to sink in a bit...and I have to say, I love Richelle Mead to death, but its not my favorite in the series and the end...I won't give anything away, but my issue with it I think is that I know the plot of Spirit Bound (based on the cliffhanger) and I expected where I think Spirit Bound will end to be the way Blood Promise was going to end. Is that cryptic enough? I was kind of expecting something like what she wrote at the end all along and was surprised we'd have to wait for another book. AAAAAHHHH the waiting!!!
I'm still struggling in revision land and plotting out my entire series land. I honestly don't know exactly how this is all going to end and if its going to be 4 books or 5 or 6. I used to know...but since this draft that changed things...the story got bigger and thus requires the big bad ending (of the series) to be bigger. So I'm trying to sort that all out and its making me crazy!!!!!!! CRAZY I tell you. I'm sifting through literally hundreds of pages of notes I've been taking since 2003 (bc I think I may be combining another series with this so its one big one).
Man I wish I could just go lock myself in a hotel room for a month and sort this out.
Anyway last but not least, from time to time on my blog I mention my awesome friend Joanne, who is not only one of my amazing alpha readers but is an amazing indie book seller and keeps me supplied with my arcs. And now...she has a blog too and can share her awesomeness with everyone! Check out Joanne at My Brain On Books!
Ok thats all the update for now, hopefully Ill get out of this writing funk of plotting and planning and griping over my first draft. I guess this sort of thing happens to everyone...right?
UPDATE: Im looking over at my original book ideas...ok let me back up and explain something here.
Back in like February 2003 when I was a sophomore at Cornell...I had my BIG IDEA moment sitting in a student union center studying before a club meeting. I had my idea, my moment when I remembered how I'd wanted to be a writer my entire life and I knew what I'd write about. I began world building, putting together my history, creating characters etc and I did this until like the early summer of 2004. I had a dream...a dream that would eventually lead to my current story Rose Lily.
For years I've been working under the assumption that I'd write Rose Lily (who started as a sort of minor character in my original series) and then I'd write what I first came up with.
I've been struggling with reconciling the two series and now that I've been deeply looking at the original...I know now that 6 and half years later...I'm ready to let it go!
And I feel FREEEEEE and...relieved and I think now I have the freedom to end my story the way it needs to. I can finally accept that my first book was just that...a first book and its led me to this one and I don't need it anymore.
OMG-I am so relieved I've come to this decision, I can't tell you. Alright, back to work!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I don't even have anything to say about it yet bc I read it so fast I don't think its all sunk in. I would have liked to read it slower (cant wait for the audible, I just love listening to these books in particular) but I had to get to the end and know what was going to go down for some peace of mind. I think I know where Richelle is going now with the series, but I guess I'll have to wait for the next two books...
It did get me thinking though about my overall storyline which I realized is still a bit hazy in parts. So I've been trying to get all of that in order. I feel like I need to know everything that is going to happen before I can fully commit to this revision so Im trying to sort all of that out. I mean I know mostly what I'm planning, but I want to make sure its all there and solid. Somethings are still percolating in my head like whether or not I will ever write a companion series to Rose Lily (actually my original plan was to write this other series and my MC was just a small side character, hehe she clearly changed that). But if I don't write the other series-it takes place in the same world and im wondering how to use certain elements of it in this story-which could be fantastic, but I need to be sure before I make a decision. That's weighing down in my mind.
I also picked up a copy of Rampant by Diana Peterfreund which looks pretty fantastic.
Tomorrow I have orientation at Arcadia-I'm almost starting to feel like a real professor, which is a good thing since I kind of need to teach in a week. YIKES!!!!!!!!
So that's all, hoping inspiration comes to me and I sort all of this planning.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Highlights of my tv watching:
A Knight's Tale was on and I flipped to it right at the moment that Heath Ledger does that adorable dance that he invents from his fake country while Rufus Sewell simmers in the background and then suddenly David Bowie goes all medieval on everyone and they are dancing and grinding to Golden Years and I love it!
I found a new documentary on Cleopatra...except this is all pro her sister Arsinoe and is focused on figuring out what she looked like and making Cleopatra out to be a killer....dude I love Cleopatra, she wasn't a killer, she was an ancient politician...she had her sister killed to secure her throne so she could ensure the safety for her entire country (and mind you her sister drove her out of her country and from her throne when she was like 20 and tried to kill her...so...I'd never do this, but I can understand where she was coming from considering the age).
One minute of The Secret Life of the American Teenager which once again reinforced my absolute abhorence of this show and I'm sorry but teens do not talk this way-at all-do not want!!!!
Ok so while we are on the topic of tv, lets talk some more about it. Me and the tv have no had very good relations for the last few years in that I barely watch it-at all. Except for the occasional Sunday night Vh1 reality-ridiculousness and yes I still do have Brett Michael dreams...I don't know why.
In high school, I had my shows I had to watch and I used to get so excited about fall and the new seasons and new shows and I'd make a list of what shows to watch.
First show I was ever truly addicted to...Melrose Place...when I was 12 (yeah...)
So I'm SUPER excited for the new Melrose Place-totally watching it.
Second: Party of Five -OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGG LOved that show though I don't think I ever watched the last season or the last 2, I don't know it gets hazy after Charlie has Diana. Where is my new Party of Five?
Third: My So Called Life. Seriously the very first thing I intend to do when I am a multi-millionaire is to produce the new My So Called Life. This will involve completely recasting everyone, but will also mean setting the show in the early 90s complete with flannel shirts and grunge fabulous. I intend to refilm the original episodes with my new cast-word for word, scene for scene (I know this sounds crazy, but whatever I'm a multi-millionaire producer-I DO WHAT I WANT). Then we will finally get to a new episode and after like 15 yrs of waiting on this cliffhanger we will finally know if Angela starts to have feelings for Brain Krakow (yes Brain, I prefer the Jordan Catalon pronunciation to just plan old Brian), and whether or not Angela and Jordan can survive and if she will ever EVER be friends with Rayanne again.
Whew. I just realized I'm totally copying Donna's recent FNC post on tv...oh well, I love Donna and I'm a copy cat-see how you've influenced me?
4th Obsession from my teen years: Buffy....need I say more.
5th: Dawson's Creek (but...I only could handle the first 2 seasons and even then I like to pretend that certain episodes were bad acid trips and didn't actually happen). Here is my issue with Dawson's Creek-JOey ends up with Pacey and not Dawson...which ok fine I think they were probably a better couple (I dont know I didnt really watch) and Dawson was clearly the King Arthur of the show and Pacey clearly Lancelot and we all know who gets the girl in the end). But the thing is, that the show was set up for Dawson and Joey to get together, and that was I think Kevin Williamson's original intent but then he left and it all went to crap. Had the show not been set up where these two are supposed to be soulmates, I could have jived.
Let's skip to college and post college...Grey's Anatomy!!!! Except I stopped watching after season 3, sorry but I don't appreciate having the same storylines regurgitated over and over and over again and when I know the writers have lost sight of the characters, have no overarching storyline and are writing episodes that betray the story just for ratings...grrr.
So ok, I'm going go back to the couch now and watch some more and see what happens. But I know that I'm totally planning to watch Melrose Place, The Vampire Diaries and hopefully So You Think You Can Dance. America's Best Dance Crew, my reigning fave...not doing it for me right now, where are the Beat Freaks and Quest Crew-I miss them!!!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
And what have I accomplished today? I edited two chapters. 3...just not going to happen. Its midnight and I could make myself stay up, but I think my brain can really only handle so much before it turns to mush every 24 hours. So I'm going to call it a night, better quality than quantity right?
Maybe I'll be lucky and do two chapters tomorrow.
I'm coming to a point in my story where its about time for some of the plot to be changed around a bit...so this could slow down the progress. We'll see. I might need to actually read the whole thing as a whole before totally figuring out what needs to be fixed.
Chapters Revised: 8
Chapters to Go:14 (yay)
Page Count: 499
Word Count:140, 953
I heard that Blood Promise was 126,000 words...wonder what Breaking Dawn's word count is? After I get this revision totally together I have such serious cutting to do!!!!
As you all know Friday was my last day of work (at my most regular job-pre-school teacher). But I was still going to be working full time this week babysitting. Actually it turns out I'm babysitting the following week (which now gets tricky because I'll be balancing that along with my first week of teaching).
I don't want to think about that week at all (especially because I'm sad now that there is no way for me to get to DC or Virginia for Richelle Mead's book tour :( I was sure I'd get there one of the days (its about a 3 hour drive, but so worth it). Now with all of my committments...there's no way:( Le Sad!!!
So I don't want to think about that week At All!
But this week is now suddenly wide wide open (aside from the fact that I have staff orientation at Arcadia and about 100 things to do in the library-and oh yeah Blood Promise comes out on Tuesday so thats going to totally occupy my day).
So I'm thinking...how much of this revision can I finish realistically during the week? Monday? I bet I could get 2 chapters done even with working in the library. Hell, today I might even do 3 today since 7 is some kind of lucky fluke of near perfection (trust me it's a fluke).
So let's say I end today with 9 chapters revised and pull off 10 and 11 tomorrow...that sounds like a good plan. I'd like to revise one chapter on Tuesday...but let's be realistic, nothing is going to get done until I get to the last page of Blood Promise. Hopefully I won't be spent at the end- completely emotional and dying for the next book like I was at the end of Shadow Kiss. OMG!
Anyway I don't think I really had a point to this blog, just wanted to kind of play around with my plans since my schedule just like flip flopped on me.
Aside from all of that, I'm seeing The Time Traveler's Wife tonight with Donna-super excited, though I heard already (obviously) that the book is better.
UPDATE: Ok so suddenly Im back to babysitting almost full time this week. Thank the Universe I have Tuesday off to read Blood Promise. Though of course this means maybe not as much work will be done...hmmmm. Ill just do the best I can.
At this point chapter 7 is done (took longer than it should have bc since it was so good I was super picky trying to make it reallly good). Now working on 8 then seeing Time Traveler's Wife, then hopefully finishing 9! Update with stats later.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
This revision thing is starting to depress me a little because I'm realizing how much work I have to do on this draft to make it better and how much work its going to take to make it the best it can be. I'm willing to do it, but man, why is it so much work! This is why my large page and word counts obsess me so much. Seriously people write short stories, the longer your WIP the longer it takes to revise and the more your brain hurts trying to wrap your mind around every detail and theme and image and character within your 500 page word document. Does Word have a limit on how long its documents can go?
All right well at least I know that with every chapter I fix, I'm a step closer to finished. So here are more stats for you. Let's review with where we left off the alpha draft.
22 chapters, 489 pages, 138, 217 words.
Beta Draft of Rose Lily:
6 Chapters Revised!
16 Chapters to go...
Page Count: 497
I think I feel a little better about my WIP from revising chapter 6 which was pretty easy and didn't require that much touching up. But finishing chapter 5 really put me in a wierd mood because it was so fraught with error, over explaining of things I'd mentioned 100 times already, and bad bad sentences that I stumbled over reading out loud.
Do any of you guys read your stuff out loud to check for readability? I always do and stumble over my words a lot, but I think its because I try to read really fast, since in my head, Lilliana is thinking things really fast, quickly jumping from idea to another trying to figure out whats happening. When I slow down it I can read it better, but it doesn't sound like her as much.
Ok, I'm sure that like 1,000 of those words in my word count are "was." I'm going to have to spend some time removing all of the passive voice sentences.
Now what to do...watch some season 1 Tudors (aka the best season)?
Friday, August 21, 2009
You took an unusually long amount of time to revise. You were full of telling and not enough showing, as well as odd grammatical errors and misspellings. I don't know why you took so long but you did. It may have been because it's Friday and I'm tired and on Fridays I'm a little distracted because well, that's like a universal law of the day known as Friday. But mostly I'd like to blame you. I hope you are decent now, but something tells me I may have missed a thing or two despite my iced venti soy vanilla latte (which by the way my purchase of my writing drink addiction involved spying on a couple on their first date and planting a slightly innapropriate book by their table which they then picked up-all I'm going to say).
Anyway here be the stats for you (mostly for me).
Chapters Revised: 4
Chapters to go: 18
Page Count: 495
Word Count: 140,444
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I just have to accept the fact that this beta draft isn't about word counts but about clarity and continuity and tone and feeling and theme, and when I get to the gamma version, the word count will be minimized...or not.
People like to read a lot, right?
Here are your daily stats:
Once again we ended with 22 chapters, 489 pages and 138, 217 words in the alpha draft.
Chapters Revised: 3
Chapters To Go: 19
Page Count: 492 (eeek 3 more pages than the alpha draft).
Word Count:139, 464
I have no words (hahaha ironic).
Ok, so I'm heading to bed, tomorrow is my last official day at my job as a pre-school teacher. And from here on out, I'm a belly-dancing/professor/librarian writing her book. Whew, at least my life tends to stay high concept.
Also...I'm salivating with envy for all the bloggers who somehow managed to get a hold of Blood Promise all ready. Why do you tease me with pictures and torture me with reviews?
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The bad news -I was doing so well, and then my word count went up!! EEEk. I found faster catchier ways to say things so I was saying more in fewer words-I swear. But I also found more to say....
So here's how we ended:
Rose Lily Draft 1:
Word Count: 138, 217
Page Count: 489
And here's where we are today:
Rose Lily Draft 2:
2 Chapters Revised
20 Chapters to go!
Word Count: 138, 508 (I'm going to word count hell!)
Page Count: 489 (I went down 1 yesterday and now right back where I started...err ended).
Ok that's it I'm super exhausted!!! Night all!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Rose Lily Draft 1:
Word Count: 138, 217
Page Count: 489
Rose Lily Draft 2:
1 Chapter revised
21 Chapters to go
Word Count: 138, 181 (look see already my WC went down).
Page Count: 489 (ok haven't done any damage yet here, but its really the word count I want to decline).
Stag Heart (RL from RH's POV):
Word Count: 1,567
Page Count: 6
Oooh look this makes me sound so much more organized than I am.
Also back to this Pandora thing, I REALLY like Seattle Grunge, but I was a teen in the 90s-totally knew that!
Ok I couldn't resist, I just looked at chapter 1 one more time and now I have a new status update for it.
Word Count: 138, 114 (woot even lower)
Page Count: 488 (I'm down one-exciting)
I'm going right into work on revising chapter 2 so I don't lose speed. Luckily the first few chapters are pretty solid just need tightening, but once I head towards that murky murky middle, some things are going to change.
I have made it my plan to revise at least one chapter per day-that seems like a good goal, so in 21 days I'll be ready to hand over my ms to the beta readers (some of whom are already threatening to bite my head off if I don't deliver-I will do-I promise!).
Also, I discovered Pandora...well I didn't discover it...I just sort of finally got there. And I learned something important about myself. I do not like alternative indie rock. Who knew? Now maybe Pandora was streamlining me with alternative indie crap, but I passed through a few songs and me not like. But on the other hand, I DO like alternative industrial. See, I would have never known this about myself without the help of Pandora.
Also, I may require a vanilla soy latte about this time, and I might need to obsess over whether or not to buy the new Phillipa Gregory.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Ummm I am VERY excited for this movie, it looks fantastic, though I don't quite understand the trailers...I think Chris Weitz is saying, "RPattz-fan girls, please dont hunt me down and kill me bc of the lack of Edward in this movie. I'm working with what they gave me, no I don't want to hear Bella cry for an hour and 45 minutes either but I didn't write the book, ya know. If it makes you feel any better though, we have lots and lots of shirtless Jacob, and shirtless Jacob, and running jumping climbing shirtless Jacob and just when you thought you couldn't get enough of Shirtless Jacob, BAM! shirtless wolfpack and then more shirtless Jacob."
Fangirls (salivating)" "RPat-who?"
Chris Weitz: "Exactly"
I am so Team Edward in the books (Jake just pisses me off and has....strange tendencies) but for the movies, I'm Team Jacob all the way, and apparently so is the trailer, check it out.
Send help and vegan chocolate, lots and lots of vegan chocolate!!!
Maggie Stiefvater has done it again. Woman, when do you sleep and how are you so creative? She has composed the music for her trailer and created the artwork and animation.
Check out her livejournal for a chance to win an arc of Ballad among other things:-)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Also, the FNC hosted a guest blog from Beth Revis! Thanks Beth, your post is made of awesome!
Next, I am SO inspired by the movie Julie and Julia (as you will know when you check out my guest post) that I went out and bought My Life in France by Julia Child, and Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously. I am quite possibly going to vegan hell for such blasphemous purchases.
Also, because I am excited for the movie, and because Maggie Stiefvater recommended it and wrote Shiver afterwards, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
And... I'm totally sucking a$$ at gettin my revision act together, even though I claim inspiration. I mean, I feel inspired, really I do, but its almost like I don't know how to go about it. I've never had to revise 489 pages before. I'm used to throwing away and starting over, the fact that I'm mostly keeping my novel is a very new concept to me.
But...I did do some writing today of Stag Heart, my novel Rose Lily from the male's POV. So because I so terribly miss my writing updates, I shall give one for Stag Heart.
Chapter: Working on chapter 2 (Ryan's a lot less loquacious than Lilliana)
Page Count: 5
Word Count: 1,520
So far, I'm enjoying it and I'm surprised by it. There are somethings happening in chapter 2 that suddenly make other things make sense, but I never knew these things were happening. Geez, Ryan what is with all of the secrets!?!?! Well now that I'm writing your story for fun, I will find everything out, everything I tell you, you can run but you can't hide!!!
Ok, so I'm not really sending you to Australia, but I am going to send you to her blog to read my post. Steph is super cool. Thanks so much for having me:-)
Guest Post Here!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I love this title, I want to hug it and squeeze it and smush it! For anyone who has read Rose Lily (hehehe it feels sooo funny to be able to call it that) I think you will understand that it fits not only some of the characters, but some of the objects, themes and names in the story and somehow sits on top of it all on a really symbolic level.
And I just took a shower and book titles 2 and 3 came to me :-)
So at the moment I have:
Book 1=Rose Lily
Book 2=Scattered Petals (this fits soooooo well with my plot I'm freaking out)
Book 3=Fallen Leaf
Im soooo excited....and ok....I know I swore I wasn't going to do any sort of Midnight Sun thing by writing Rose Lily from Ryan's POV, but I kind of titled it...what can I say I'm on a title inspiration kick and so Ryan's story (were it ever to see the light of day which at this point it most certainly will not) is called Stag Heart.
Ok, my work here is done!
Original Title=The Seven Sisters Brandywine
Current Working Title=Brandywine
Possibilties for Titles:
The 7th Brandywine
I think I'm feeling partial to Rose Lily at the moment...actually a lot....hmmm
Anyway please head over to the FNC today, there is a SERIOUSLY fabulous interview up that I did with Maggie Stiefvater as well as a pretty funny review of Shiver.
So let's see in good news, I got the job yesterday. I'm now teaching freshman comp at Arcadia University. I love it there, got my masters at Arcadia, got to travel to Scotland through Arcadia, they also have a castle on campus-what more could you want?
In other good news, my alpha reader Julie gave me her feedback and...it MADE MY DAY!!! Plus Joanne of awesomeness finally finished reading and though I'd been convinced my ending was on crack, she said it made her mouth drop open (one of the revelations), had her on the edge of her seat during the action and the very end was adorable. YAYS!!! I'm super excited about my feedback and this is definitely helping to motivate me to get cracking on my revision.
But in not so good news...
I'm still not really getting anywhere with my revision, though I absolutely must get through chapter 1 because I have to submit it to the SCBWI for the Fall Philly Conference-I'm having a pro-critique (my 3rd one). Hopefully that will go well, so far both of the previous editors who have read my work asked me to submit to them when I was ready.
And lately I've been thinking about my love interest, the sexy Irish Ryan Hart. Every now and then I feel like I don't have the strongest grasp of him. He is very secretive and elusive, keeps a big wall up around him. He is usually the character I most often complain about, he drives me crazy when he is supposed to drive my MC crazy. So I'm feeling inspired to start rewriting the story from his POV-just so I can be sure I know exactly where he is coming from, and then that way I will be actually writing while I work on my revision. (DOn't worry I have no intentions at all for this rewrite or re-vision of my story (no Midnight Sun ideas are in my head).
Ok I may or may not go back to bed for a little, or do some laundry or write...back later to update.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Also if you head over to the FNC today you can see my thoughts on character development and Aladdin HERE.
Lastly, Julie one of my alpha readers finished reading the WIP (she read the whole thing in 2 days...technically she read it in just over 24 hours). So...part of me thinks the speed is a plus, but she is making me wait until tomorrow morning to hear her thoughts-OMG!!!!
Also I'm going on a job interview tomorrow...eeeekkk! So I'll also be updating my resume tonight...
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
But then if the first readers are the beta readers...who are the alphas? The writer?
Well...I have decided that I am going to have alpha, beta and gamma readers (hopefully that's it and I don't end up with omega readers). It's fascinating to me the reactions I'm getting from my readers whom I now affectionately referring to as my alpha readers (hehehe, alpha makes me think of Rachel Vincent's werecats). So far, Donna, Geoff, Laura and Julie have sucessfully completed their alpha-ship. And I have three more official alphas to go, Ilana, Lucas and Julie, all with whom I work at summer camp.
I'm hearing pretty similar reactions from everyone, or when I mention I want to change this or do that, they agree or get excited about it, so I think so far I'm on the right track. And apparently, word on the street is that my ending which I believed to be on crack...is not on crack at all. It's not perfect, but its not on crack, and not being on crack is always a good thing in my book.
I have a few other people asking to read (OMGz really, you want to read my book-I-love-you), but at this point I know my issues thanks to my awesome alphas. So I'm dubbing my next readers the beta-those who can look at my WIP with fresh eyes, and hopefully everything is fixed. Then if the betas make suggestions I can work on that (or not if I fix thing so spectacularly) and then I will comb through to make sure there are no grammatical mistakes, misspelled words, missing words or repetitive thoughts and then I shall ask for some volunteer gamma readers to make sure I'm there. And then I'm sending it off .
I really like this! I have a plan and I like having a plan.
Also, apparently I really don't like doing revisions despite my awesome plan and excitement about the changes I'm going to make. I've been having the hardest time making myself sit down, the complete opposite of how I was when I was actually churning out the WIP.
And I know this because I found myself daydreaming about my adult paranormal series that I haven't written yet but that has been percolating in my head for awhile. I plan to write book one of that once I'm seriously into edits on my current WIP and its out to agents.
So, I give you update, there you go. Have a great night!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I get the whole pitching thing, you know a real quick one sentence summary of what your book is about. The youngest daughter of the headmaster at a prestigious magic school is the only one unable to perform magic. Ok check.
But explaining the climax and all...I felt like such an idiot! Seriously I was babbling away and every word out of my mouth sounded horrible.
Here is my impression of me explainin the ending:
Ok like there was this magic rabbit that hopped in a tree and the tree grew genie lamps that fell out of the branches on the full moon which was important to a plotline in chapter 3 when the donkey who wore glasses said oh watch out for those falling genie lamps and then everyone took a drink of kool aid and went for a walk on the boardwalk but the bad guy was waiting in the sand except a tidal wave took him over to another beach so they rowed to the next beach and found grass that smelled like daisies and they threw grass at him and then he died...
Disclaimer-There are no genie lamp trees in my book or rabbits or grass that smells like daisies, but that's how it sounded in my head. Ridiculous!
So does anyone else feel this way? I mean I guess you could say it sounded ridiculous whenever you discuss any fantasy book's ending to a person who hasn't read it before, but man, that was awkward.
In other news, I was pretty sure that Jon Gosselin was driving behind my car after I stopped at the supermarket.
Monday, August 10, 2009
So I guess this is an informal In My Mailbox post which is usually hosted by The Story Siren and usually posted on Sundays, but there you go.
1) Prophecy of the Sisters, Michelle Zink
(I've been eyeing this book and now I don't have to eye it anymore, I own it!)
2) Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse, Kaleb Nation, aka The Twilight Guy
3) Deadly Little Lies, Laurie Faria Stolarz
(I've been waiting for this one, read Deadly Little Secrets in one sitting).
4) Fire, Kristin Cashore (Sara gets to steal this from me first)
So excited...and now I'm off for a meeting with the FNC.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Sara enjoying a cupcake
Donna with Stella Madison and a cupcake
Anyway, later that night I attended the annual Golden Heart Awards Banquet run by mom:-) Unsung heroes in the community are given awards by the Golden Heart group and local congressman and senators. It's a really beautiful event and a chance for me to dress up and channel my inner Angelina Jolie (I'm convinced I have one). So here are a few more pictures. Then I have to get back to work on revisions-yikes!
Some goofy pictures with all of my siblings:-)
So that basically means for 6 years I've been considering this book The Seven Sisters Brandywine, or in short, SSB. And for those 6 years that title rocked (in my mind) and it made sense. Here I shall show you why. I present to you the premise.
Seven sisters each gain a single magic power the morning they turn sixteen, except for the youngest, Lilliana Brandywine.
But now....well my book is a bit more complicated, I've explored the world I've created much more deeply, including the lives of others who get a magic power on their birthday (originally the girls thought they were the only ones until book 2). Now, we know that lots of people have the magic gene (which is always always passed down no matter what, no ifs ands or buts about it-sorry no squibs) so that makes it much much worse when Lilliana doesn't get her power-she is the first person in history, not to mention the headmaster's daughter and the youngest of the most famous magical family in America-pretty bad. But now I don't know what to call it. In my head I've just shortened it to Brandywine.
Last night I went to the annual Golden Heart Awards Banquet-I shall post on that as well, and everyone ( I mean everyone) was asking me about the book, how was it going, where was I (finished-finished I say, except for revisions). But for the first time ever (it would seem) everyone wanted to know the title. After being asked what my book is called fifty times, you can understand why I am plagued by this sort of thing on a Sunday morning.
Here is what I know about titles.
A Curse Dark As Gold is an awesome title and I'm pretty sure that Cheryl Klein, aka editor of awesome created the title (if I remember correctly). Elizabeth C. Bunce originally titled it Charlotte Miller.
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher was orginally titled...oh crap I'm drawing a blank and too lazy to look it up, it's something close to this though....The Audio-Biography (instead of Autobiography-clever) of Hannah Baker, A Life in 13 Tapes. But Razorbill said no, un-uh!
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead...originally called Kissed by Shadows. Looks like Richelle kind of got her way with book 3 though, Shadow Kissed.
Janice Harding originally titled her upcoming debut The Pain Merchant, which is AWESOME, but her US publishers said, "No actually your book is called The Shifter." I'm still totally excited for this debut and Janice is getting interviewed by the FNC but man, her original title was cool.
I have a feeling that when J.K. Rowling said "Hey sup Bloomsbury UK, um can you get Arthur Levine in America on conference call? Right, great. So Harry Potter book 7 will be called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. All right? K, thanks, bye!"
I don't know the story behind this, but Becca Fitzpatrick, if you happen to stop by maybe you can shed some light. Was Hush, Hush always your book title or did someone else decide that (because it's awesome)?
Any ideas on how I should come up with my own title -it feels wierd to be titleless. Or should I not worry about it, because someday soon I'll have an awesome awesome publisher who is all like, "Oh hey Frankie, how's it going. So your book Brandywine, uh-huh. FYI, so NOT the title. We're going to go ahead and call your book Made of Awesome."
And I'm like, "Oh really? Thanks. I would have never thought to call my book that."
My awesome publisher, "That's what we're here for, Frankie, to slap titles on books of authors like you who just don't know what to call things."
Me, "Oh thank you publisher! Now I don't need to worry anymore."
And...I'm pretty sure my lack of sleep loopiness has just gone into overdrive. Ok I'm going to go and come back later with a more sane post.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Here's a super pretty picture of cupcakes to get you excited about mine. Though I can pretty much guarantee that my cupcakes will not look nearly as fancy.
Oh I wish...anyway...
So Laura ended up reading my manuscript in two days-woot! We went out to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant and spent the whole time discussing it. The verdict is=she loved it and wants the sequel! Squee!!! I was seriously biting my fingers the entire time she had the manuscript-I mean she's my friend, but this was the first time she was seriously reading any of my stuff and I've been talking for so long about being a writer that if she didn't like this, I was going to feel really stupid. But alas, I don't have to! In a way I think showing your writing to someone you're close to is scarier than showing it to a complete stranger like an agent. Like the actual experience of showing it to a stranger is scarier, but in the end the outcome isn't such a big deal. If they don't like it-oh well, move on. But if your sister doesn't like it-OMG you are scarred for life.
Speaking of which-right now my baby sister, the social butterfly of the family who barely spends anytime at home (yes she is the most popular girl ever!) is sitting here on a Friday night (you don't know my sister but this is SERIOUSLY unheard of) and she is reading my book too. Um...happy dance.
So back to my night, after Thai food, Laura and I went to Target with the intentions of buying things for her new apartment. We walked inside talking about looking at things like microwaves and shelves and carpets and other functional things that make apartments habitable. But in reality, we spent almost the whole time in the shoe section trying on fuzzy slippers. Laura bought three pairs of shoes. So basically her apartment has nothing in it, but she will be able to wear shoes inside:-) We are so productive!
Then we made the obligatory daily trip to Barnes and Noble so I could stalk the YA section and feed my soy vanilla latte addiction with one of my favorite barristas who doesn't even ask for my order anymore. He sees me and just pulls out the soy. I started rereading City of Bones for fun and convinced Laura to buy Shiver...
...I just finished listening to Shiver on audio since I'd been in the mood to return to Sam and Grace's world and you know what? It's better the second time (which is rare). What I love about Shiver and Maggie Stiefvater is her storytelling isn't at all flashy. It doesn't grip you in your chair so that you can't get up until you've reached the end just so you can get there (I mean those are fun too), but its more like you just want to relax into her world, hang out there, live there for awhile. And then weeks later when you've forgotten about that flashy-ending-book, Maggie's words stay with you (particularly when they are describing scenes that involve a bathtub). This makes me uber excited for my interview with her.
And that's really all that's fit to print or blog or post-whatever, at the moment. I'm off to the kitchen!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I realized (after Donna went on a major campaign with me) that I had given too much importance and significane and storytime to a character who really doesn't need to be in my story except for very devilish reasons. Now I know just what to do with him! I also picked out a story line that is going to be saved for a later book. And decided to simplify a certain character's motivations while making another's a little more complicated.
All in all, its coming together. Mostly the fact that Donna finished reading the whole thing and thought the ending actually made sense has relieved me to no end. I don't have quite as much work as I thought I'd have. But I need to get cracking. So now I'm just waiting to hear back from Laura and Joanne and then I'll be cranking out draft 2 as fast as I can.
Also please check out the FNC for a lot of fun videos and a new upcoming interview with Maggie Stiefvater, author of Shiver. She is my current author crush. It turns out we share a similar love for the Aha "Take On Me" video which totally reminded me of her book-she understands I don't expect everyone else to. We also have a thing for bathtubs. Don't ask, all will be revealed soon. Gayle Forman interview is coming soon too-I am SUPER excited for that-I LOVE Gayle!!
Anyway I'm getting pumped for my revision now, but sniff sniff, I have to go sleep! Why aren't there more hours in the day?
OK now that that's off my chest let me talk a little bit about revisions. So I have my printed out and bound copy of my book and I carried it around with me all day, showing it off to people all like "yeah look at this, see these words, yeah I typed them, uh-huh!" And while it's not an actual ARC or anything, its still really nice to hold, and much easier to read then my HUGE word document on my computer.
I spent some time today reading my opening. I was kind of dreading rereading the beginning because my experience has usually been of me reading something I wrote with one eye open and cringing, but I was kind of getting into it. I mean its by no means perfect, but I can safely say that this book is the best thing I've ever written. Yay! I'm slowly starting to get ideas for how to move a few events around, particularly at the end-where it counts.
I'm not really revising quite as rigorously yet as I'd like to be. I think I'm maybe still in shock that I finished and I'm also exhausted. So a couple of things are starting to fall into place in my mind, but not everything. It's going to be hard to really fix this until I know for sure the direction I want my ending to go in.
In other news, Laura currently has a copy on her and she is reading it-like a book-cool! So far she likes it which is exciting. So not a whole lot of new to report here. I definitely need a break through...fingers are crossed!!!
Also, I can't seem to get through an entire day without a vanilla soy latte. So I'm off to find one and stalk the YA section of Barnes and Noble...it's Tuesday...new release day...I may not come back empty handed...we'll see...
Monday, August 3, 2009
So Geoff read the entire book last night-OMG-and we got to bounce around some ideas I had about the ending which now I am completely obsessed with perfecting. It's funny because I spent two years totally consumed by my opening, rewriting and rewriting it so many times that I think the FNC is still traumatized and shudders if the words "Chapter One" escape my lips.
But really, can you blame me? I mean as writers (especially newbie unpublished writers) we are told over and over again how important the begining of a book is by agents, by publishers, by writing conferences and classes and I think there's even a book called "The First Five Pages" and SCBWI hosts First Page Sessions all the time. We are taught to believe that we have to hook them with our first line, amaze them with our witty dialogue on page one, wow them with our voice. And the only way to get published is to do that. Agents decided whether or not they want to read your book and represent you by asking for the first few pages of your book. Readers in book stores decided to buy a book by opening the first page. Well I'm not saying this isn't all true, it is, but there is more!
No one ever starts with the end of the book, and agents never ever say to you, "hey please send me a one page synopsis and your really awesome climactic scene from the end."
Except for Kate Hudson in that one movie she did a bunch of years ago with that guy where she would open to the end of a book before deciding if she would read it and the guy was a writer and she was a typist and had to type up his book because he neded to finish it so that the Spanish mafia wouldn't put a hit on him because he borrowed some money to go gambling or something like that. What was it called?
But really, it's the end of the book that makes readers happy and that causes them to recommend your book to their friends. No one ever goes, "OMG this book had the best first line ever, you should totally read the whole thing." No! They recommend a book because the overall experience of reading it was great and this was cemented by a really fabulous ending!
You know what happens when we don't like endings...we get angry, we resent the author, we throw our books across the room and we do not recommend that book to our friends, in fact we unrecommend it-yeah!
So you can see that its only natural now that I would become a bit obsessed and consumed with the ending. I want readers to come away feeling satisfied and happy with their entire reading experience and not feel cheated by a really cool opening that just fell flat. I just hope that this obsession of mine doesn't last as long as my opening first chapter obsession did (nearly two years). Because I really want to finish my book and have it be perfect soon so I can send it out.
And then Twitter about it!
Ok...so I totally just went to IMDB and I found it. The Kate Hudson movie is called Alex and Emma and the guy is Luke Wilson-now I remember! Woohoo!
Kate Hudson says, "Write a better ending next time, Luke Wilson or you are going to lose me as a reader! No, I don't care about your totally sweet first line or the awesome cliffhanger at the end of chapter one, I want a better climax dammit and you need to deliver...LUKE WILSON get your mind out of the gutter! I'm talking about literature here!"
Sunday, August 2, 2009
The Scottish Highlands near Glencoe taken from inside my tour bus.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I like it for now, might change it again, but I only know how to use the little templates and color options they give you here. Some blogs I've visited are soooo awesome looking and I have no idea how they do it. Seriously, is there like a website out there called Pimp My Blog? Because I need it.
Anyway....I'm finishing this baby today! TODAY I SAY!
I'm working on chapter 20, after this I have 2 chapters to go.
Here is an early evening update:
Page Count: 455
Word Count: 129, 253 (OH MY GOD! My Book is going to go on SUCH A DIET when I finish!)
Ok, back to work...eeeek!
I also had my first experience driving with a GPS and I have to tell you that I did not like it at first! I was totally freaked out having this non-corporeal voice yell things at me like "Turn left in 500 yards" and I'm like "OMG what makes 500 yards? Aahhhh!" But I got used to it and it got us to the Borders Jay was reading at, although it started to get loopy at the end and tried to tell us we had reached our destination when we were really at a police complex...hmmmm. Maybe this GPS realized the connection I have to the law and bookstores...
Anyway, we made it to the signing just in time (which is usually what we do, we're not quite early birds or fashionably late people, we're sort of the people who would walk up the center of the aisle and bump into a chair at the same moment Jay Asher is walking up and being introduced...oh wait that was just Donna, hehe).
All right, well here was the first bit of excitement. Because 13 Reasons Why is told from the perspective of Hannah Baker, a girl who committed suicide and Clay who had a crush on her and their POVs kind of intermingle through the text since Clay is listening to Hannah speak about why she killed herself on audiotape, Jay needed a girl from the audience to volunteer and read Hannah's part while he read Clay's.
Guess who read Hannah?
I did! Donna volunteered me and so this is the story of how I kind of did an official book reading in a book store with a best selling author (good practice I think for when I get to do this later when I'm lucky enough to be on a book tour).
Check out Jay's version of events Here! He posted a cool picture and the craziest thing was he remembered meeting me at the SCBWI Winter Conference in NY. I asked him to sign my copy of 13 Reasons Why and told him it was actually my second copy because I broke the first. True story. This is pretty blasphemous for a librarian, but I lent his book out so much that one day I just opened it and the thing went to pieces. He forgave me though.
So after the reading, Jay talked a lot about his journey to publication and how he came up with the idea and then perfected it. We got to ask a few questions (Donna was great at this) and then we got in line for signing and to take pictures.
So...while we were waiting in line we got interviewed by a reporter from the Star-Ledger, New Jersey Local News Service. We're not quite sure where this interview was going, but if we made the paper, we'll know Tuesday and let you know about it :-)
Here is a pic of me, Jay and Donna.
Afterwards we spent some time in our favorite section, YA! And then we made the journey home, making one pit stop through a completely darkened little neighborhood that screamed serial killer all so we could find a Panera, because girls have got to eat:-)
Hope you enjoyed our book signing adventure!