24 April 2017

Nonsense Pile

I wasn't going to write a blog post at all, but since I skipped last week I thought I'd better try to get through it. So prepare for the nonsense!

What's going on with me? Too much. I think. I can't think straight right now, actually. I'm all over the place. There's always too much I want to get done in a day and not even close to enough time. Especially if I'm working.

Writing stuff! I'm still working on the Chapter 7 edit for UL. It's never ending. I'm pretty much rewriting the last part because the whole scene has always been so rushed before and it really just doesn't make sense that way. I just want to get to Chapter 8 so bad because I know it'll be so so easy and fun. But Chapter 7 is a bitch. This whole novel is a bitch. I've been writing it for 6 years, for crying out loud. Oh well. I trudge on.

I've been trying to read more. I keep picking ridiculously long books, though. And I'm a slow reader. I am trying to read more poetry as well, though. At least those I can get through more quickly.

Speaking of poetry, I think reading it just instinctively makes me want to write it. I just wrote two poems back to back today while I was trying to read. I mean, they're stupid and they're about the same person but maybe I can carve something out of them. I'd like to go back and edit some of my older poems and try to get them published.

Guys, the release date for Hero Lost is a week from tomorrow! Yikes! I'm working on all this blog tour nonsense. Try organizing 12 authors and 17 blog tour stops. But I'm a crazy person and a control freak apparently because I don't want help. Except my Excel spreadsheet. I do have 4 people who signed up who HAVEN'T EMAILED ME BACK AND I'LL BE COMING AFTER YOU and I'm so sorry I think I'm dehydrated. Too much coffee. Check your spam folders, prease.

I've also been cleaning my apartment like a crazy person and my husband has actually been willing to throw stuff away. It's a miracle! We donated two whole trash bags full of old clothes and are throwing out all the junk we don't actually need. It's actually starting to feel like there's space around here!

Ok I think I'm done. I'm so sorry for the nonsense. I think I have a fun collaboration post with you-know-who next Monday and then it's IWSG on Wednesday (after the book release! *GASP*).

No really. I'm done.

10 April 2017

Sometimes You Need "More"

I have a certain note that tends to pop up as I'm editing my novel. 

I'd say I write it at least once on every page. 

No, really, it's a lot. 

That note is, of course, more. Really, I've looked at it so many times I'm not actually sure it's a real word anymore. I guess it's a good thing that I notice the need for more, though. A certain paragraph may not seem clear enough, or not dive deep enough into what's going on or what the characters are thinking or feeling. At least if you know a scene needs more, you can eventually figure out what to put there. But what do you do once you know you need more? How much more do you need? 

For me, the "more" note usually means that I rushed through a scene or a moment. I didn't draw it out enough, give the characters enough to say so that it seemed realistic and got the point across to the reader. Or maybe I had an idea and I got the bare bones of it down but I didn't really give enough to get the point across. Sometimes when you're writing a first (or second) draft, the ideas may not be as concrete as you'd like them to be, but you know there's something there so better to put something down to fix later than nothing at all. 

In the case of that last more more more,  I had definitely rushed the end of the chapter. I don't know how I didn't notice it before. I've literally spent two chapters of one character saying "we should get together somehow," and the other responding with, "no no no absolutely not." Then in less than a page I have him change his mind and say, "yeah, ok." I obviously need to get to that point for the story's sake, but I got there way too quickly. It just doesn't make any sense for the pace of the scene or for that character at all. There needs to be way more thought process and way more discussion for him to suddenly change his mind. Because it shouldn't be sudden at all, it should be gradual. Even if that change of heart happens over the course of one scene, it still needs to be drawn out properly.

Hence all the more. At least I know where it needs to happen. What exactly that "more" needs to be, can be a little bit trickier. But I take it one paragraph at a time.

05 April 2017

So Long, Symbolism!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

So, it's April. How is it April already??? I know a lot of you are participating in the A to Z Challenge, but I've decided to skip this year. I have a GIANT list of reasons for that (some I'd rather not get into) but the main thing is that I really need to focus on editing my novel and I know doing the Challenge will take away an entire month from that. It is rather relaxing, though, not having to worry about getting posts done and visiting others. Now I just actually have to make good use of the free time.

Recently I was doing some setting research that led me to a heartbreaking realization (ok, I'm exaggerating a little). It really just started out in Chapter 7 with the narrator mentioning a ten minute subway ride to get to another character's apartment. I just wanted to make sure it actually would be ten minutes--turns out, yes, I had that right all along--depending on which station my MC lives closest to, I'm flexible with that. But at least it was believable enough to work.

But for some reason I went into research mode and turned into some kind of psychopath. I've always had a vague idea of what neighborhoods my characters lived in, but I wanted to make sure it was realistic for them to live there. So this leads me to browsing actual apartments and wondering if a character could afford an apartment on the Upper East Side and...well, probably, but said apartment would be a lot smaller than how I pictured it in my brain. But that's not a big deal. Easy fix.

The devastation came because I've always kind of wondered if a certain detail about said character's apartment would actually be realistic. I don't even know why I haven't done the proper research before, but I decided I needed to settle the matter.

So all this nonsense is about windows. I've always had this character's bedroom not have any windows. This was for some pretty heavy symbolism. It was just one of those things that worked and made sense but I wasn't bashing the reader over the head with it too much. I'm pretty sure I only mentioned it twice. But if they're able to read between the lines, it was saying a lot.

The problem? It's actually illegal for a bedroom in an apartment to not have any windows. In New York, at least, and I assume most other places. I know what some of you might say--so what, do it anyway! I'm just not sure it's an important enough plot point to do something that would never happen in the real world. Was it a cool bit of symbolism? Yes! But am I willing to have the reader question if the story is realistic over it? Uhhh...not really.

So, farewell symbolism! You were cool while you lasted. I guess I'll just have to put up curtains.

03 April 2017

Jordan Takes Over: When a Muse Gets Writer's Block

**The first Monday of every month, I let my muse take over the blog. I apologize in advance.**

I'm gonna have to be honest with you people. And yes, that's a thing I can do. I have no idea what to write about today. But Miss Writer Lady wouldn't let me skip my post so...here I am. I mean, I know you'd be devastated if I skipped this month, but hey, at least being devastated is more interesting than being bored.

I hate being bored. It's literally the worst. This is usually why I end up causing trouble--because I'm bored. It's basically why my novel exists. Hey, you try living pretty much alone at 15 because your mom sucks and doesn't care about you and your friends are lame and you're still in the closet so you don't have a boyfriend. I mean, what do you want from me? I have to find some way to amuse myself.

Anyway, God, why did I go there? We've been working on my book so much lately, I can't help it. I guess that's a good thing. I need attention! Almost as much as I need naps. But when I need naps I just send in Adam to work on some Book 2 or 3 nonsense so if Sarah is complaining, I don't want to hear it. She's got plenty to do.

Did you think this post was going to be coherent? I told you, I have no idea what to write about. And that's ok because I'M NOT ACTUALLY THE WRITER. I don't have to make words. I make the inspiration and then she makes the words. That's my job. Get over it.

I'm not cranky, I swear. And don't listen to Sarah or Adam or any other character in any of my stories who's ever met me on that one. Just trust me.

I'm gonna go ahead and cut this short before it goes down in complete flames (don't make the obvious joke!). So what exactly do you write about when you have no idea what to write about? Or do you just not write? I don't know. I told you--I'm not the writer.


27 March 2017

Edits, Edits, Edits

I don't know if you knew this, but editing is hard. Even when it's easy, it's hard. Basically, editing can at times be easier but never actually easy. Editing never goes at the fast pace that writing can often go at. You know, when words are just flying onto the page. Rewriting and cutting goes at a much slower pace. And it's never as much fun.

Ok, for all this moping, I'm actually very glad to be in my editing cave right now. It means that I'm getting something done. I've temporarily abandoned Shiny New Story and while I occasionally drift into Sequel Land to write a quick little snippet (dammit, Adam! Stop letting Jordan take naps!), my main focus is on editing Uneven Lines. Woo hoo!

Chapter 6 was particularly tricky. It's a very complicated chapter. Getting it right was no easy task. I've actually always had this thought that I should cut the concept this chapter introduces because it was just too much. But I knew if I did that, basically the whole premise of the novel falls apart. I think I was just afraid of writing something controversial. But I guess the only thing worse would be to have a story be controversial and not commit to it. To try to water it down. If this is the story I'm telling, then I just need to go for it, and punch the reader in the face with it. Figuratively, of course.

So I just had to commit to it. For this particular chapter, that meant adding a lot. I ended up adding two whole pages when it was all done. It seems that most of the notes I write myself when taking the red pen to each chapter say something like, "MORE." Sometimes what's there just isn't enough. In this chapter I wrote a lot of "React!" notes because I didn't feel like Jordan was reacting enough to things that were being told to him. And this was some pretty heavy stuff that any normal person would have a rather large reaction to. Even if he wasn't openly reacting so the other character could see, there still needed to be a lot of thought process for the reader to see. I got a bit frustrated with it and wrote "REACT, DAMMIT!" when I had to make the same note several times.

So it was a lot of work. Cutting old stuff and adding new stuff and elaborating and rearranging. But eventually I got it done. At least I think I did. It seems done. I don't think I'll know for sure until I edit the next chapter. Then I thought I'd read through Chapters 5, 6, & 7 and make sure they all flow together nicely. These three chapters have a certain connection in regards to what is going on in the story, so in order for everything to make sense, they have to work together.

The good news is that I've already taken the red pen to Chapter 7. The bad news is that it's a much hotter mess than I thought it was. Observe the numerous markings:

A lot more "more"s to deal with. Oh well. All in a day's work, I suppose. Or several days. 

20 March 2017

Reading Your Own Story

I've kind of always had this idea that if you're not your own story's biggest fan, then you're doing something wrong. When you write something, you're not just telling any story. It's the story that you want to tell. It's something you're passionate about. You love (or hate...or both...) your characters; you want every moment to be absolutely perfect. You wouldn't write something that you wouldn't also want to read.

Unfortunately for me, sometimes reading my work can be distracting, but it has its benefits as well. I usually get into a "my writing is terrible no one will ever want to read it waaaaaaaaaah" mood and then I don't even look at my book for weeks or months. But when I actually go back and start reading, I think, "oh wait, I really like this." So reading serves as a bit of a confidence boost.

That's not to say that everything's perfect. I'm still editing, of course. But I do think the first two thirds of the book are pretty much all set, just need some minor edits along the way. So when I read through those chapters, I actually get sucked into my own story. Sounds silly, right? I mean, I wrote it. I already know what happens. But sometimes I can't help it. Despite all my self doubt and procrastination and lack of motivation, I really do love this story.

So occasionally I get sucked into my own story. Last week I finished my Chapter 5 edit and then I printed the next chapter so I could put the red pen to it. But it was pretty close to bedtime so I didn't really have the brain capacity for editing. I did still have some for reading, though. I read the whole chapter--no editing, just reading. I thought of a few ways to fix it, of course (mostly the fact that it's way too short and rushed) but I didn't write anything down.

The next time I booted up my laptop, I kept reading. I went onto the next chapter. And then the next. I had started reading at Chapter 6 and now I'm on 11. If I hadn't worked all weekend I'd probably be further. I know I should be editing, of course, but it's nice just to enjoy the story, too. It's fun to read lines I forgot about, find parts that make me laugh. I know which parts need a lot of work, and which parts just need some minor edits. And I know once I get past Chapter 17 I'm definitely not going to enjoy it as much. (Because the last third sucks!) But at least I'm enjoying it now.

So should I be trying to edit more? Probably. But at least I know, for now, that I do like my story.

13 March 2017

Playing Catch Up

Hello blogging world! Is everyone still out there? Ok, ok, I did post something last Monday (or someone did, at least), but I've been a bit out of it since then. After working all day then running a million errands, I started to feel very sick. I had a fever off and on from Monday night until about midday on Wednesday. Luckily I had Tuesday off work but I ended up having to call in sick on Wednesday, which is my first time for this job (been there almost a year and a half). Anyway, I didn't do anything for days besides sleep and watch TV and cough my lungs out. I didn't even look at my computer until Saturday.

So I've been playing a bit of catch up. I had to finish up the final anthology story edits because I was procrastinating on that forever before I even got sick (even though I literally had 6 things to fix). I still haven't gotten anywhere with other anthology stuff (writing interview questions, writing posts for the joint blog). I'm trying to form some kind of schedule for myself where I work a little bit on it (and other writing stuff) every day.

Speaking of other writing stuff, I've written about 13,000 words of Shiny New Story so far. Named all the characters but no title so far (no surprise there). I didn't do any writing while I was sick so I lost a bit of the drive I had, but I have gotten a little done over the weekend so I'm hoping it will come back.

Before I got sick, my writing drive did shift gears a little and I was suddenly working on Book 3 for some reason (listening to too much Adele). Don't ask. I spent a day or two on that and wrote about 5 pages. Some of the stuff I really like but I can't tell anybody about it because it's extra spoilerific.

As for editing UL, uhhh.....not so much there. I did glance at Chapter 5 but knowing I have to rewrite the second half of it I just said to myself, "I don't want to. Someone else do it."

I'm hoping I get that crazy writing/editing drive back that I had a couple weeks ago. I was somehow able to work on everything old and new and got a lot done. I would love to be able to do that all the time.

But anyway, enough rambling. If you didn't see it before, the other IWSG anthology authors and I have set up a blog tour during the month of May to coincide with the release. If you'd like to sign up, fill out the form below and we'll get in contact with you soon (something else I still have to do...)!