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Words

I dunno how many more words I got tonight/night before last, but I'm nearly done with Morgan's scene in ch3. Apparently there may be a second POV? Not sure. Will have to ask betas if it will be to spoilery for MMC to have a POV at this early stage - especially since a conflicting MMC appears shortly ;)

But anyway, I spent far too much time the other night/tonight reading about the meaning of tarot cards and searching for images of red-haired men. I think this is my MMC, who is currently nameless, which is why I was searching for a pic - so I could name him for his potential POV scene ;) :D Still no name. I'll work on that tomorrow. For now, I need sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

Progress and Pretties and Plans

Another 435 words on Morgan today :) I is a happy chicken.

Also, it's all mstiefvater's fault: I made art.

art

The colours don't come through well using the dodgy webcam, but I'm kind of pleased with the result. This is the first art I've done since... hmm, mid-uni? Which would be maybe 2005 or 6? And the first colour art I've done since high school :) So. Hurrah!

In a happy-happy ideal world, I'd love to complete one piece of art a week, and one flash fic a week, plus tinker away on the novel. I need practice right now more than I need anything else, and a quantity challenge is, I think, going to be much more helpful than any kind of quality challenge. So I'm stuffing the Inner Editor in a drawer (and removing her glasses :P) and I'll see how all this goes. It'll be a little tricky in July since I'm overseas sans technology, but still. I can take a sketchbook, and writing flash longhand isn't as bad as novelling.

Suffice to say Inky is pleased, and a little hopeful.

Morgan

So, I actually didn't mean for my last post to devolve into catharsis. Sorry 'bout that :) What I MEANT to do was introduce you to Morgan, MC of my new WIP (currently just eponymously titled). She... well, look. I could explain her to you, or I could just give you a snippet. So here you go. Snippet. (NEW WRITING. LOOK MA, NO HANDS!)


The worst day of Morgan Fewster’s life was the day her parents left her behind at the zoo when she was four, because they came to pick her up again and wouldn’t let her stay with the lions. The second worst day was when her best friend moved away in Year 5. Which made today only the third worst day, though with the bright sunshine stabbing her retinas like silver blades and her mouth tasting like dead mice, Morgan thought at first that it might give the others a run for their money.

“Urgh,” she said, and flopped off the bed onto the floor. It wasn’t that continued sleep on the floor was impossible; it was just less comfortable, especially as she’d landed with her elbow under her hip, and that combined with the alarm blaring on the far side of the room made it ever-so-slightly more likely that she’d actually a) get up and b) be on time.

The sweet, sweet smell of coffee percolated its way into Morgan’s brain, and her nostrils twitched. Mmm. Coffee.

That Time of Life

So, it's That Time of Life wherein I remember that I have a LiveJournal that I use to blather about the nitty gritty of what I'm writing. I don't like to do it on my main blog, especially since Main Blog is now hosted on my actual website, because that just seems a little cluttery and self indulgent.

But, when I'm ACTUALLY WRITING (le gasp), it is awfully nice to have a place to debrief about it. So here I am.

Which, yes, means I'm actually writing again. I think. :) Well, I'm writing again, and I want this to be an Established Thing, but I have had a few false starts this year as I tried to get back into it, so we shall see.

This time, though, is a little different. See, my writing life has pretty much gone like thus:

2000 - 2006? Talk lots about writing and plan lots of stories with my BFF, but never actually write anything.
2006-07 Take a creative writing course at uni. Decide I don't want to be a lawyer, I want to be a teacher so I have time to write. Actually write a few short things, and beginnings for things, and lots of general word play that isn't storylike.
2007 - NaNoWriMo. Completed, thanks solely to mercwriter.
2008 - Peck away at learning to write short stories, finish NaNo novel - yay, I have a completed novel!! Write multiple part novels.
2009 - Write Jesscapades - yay, novel number 2! - more shorts, more part novels, a novella.
2010 - Draft Sanctuary in less than 3 months. Easiest writing I've ever, ever done. Get completely attacked by the Doubt Monsters afterwards. Try to finish HNOT, but it is HARD, and not at all like writing Sanctuary, so clearly I must be doing something wrong. Make myself finish HNOT anyway, but lose all enthusiasm and passion for novel writing in the process.

2010 - 2013: Try to recover from the most epic of all epic slumps caused by finishing Sanctuary. Write a few more short stories (and I do mean few, like 4 in three years) that mostly sell (hurrah), and tinker ENDLESSLY with the four finished novels. Tinker more with said novels. Give up writing. Tinker with novels. Give up writing again.

Sensing a pattern here? Pretty much since I drafted Sanctuary, I've been in a writing funk that I have tried, with more or less success, to force myself out of.

I've been read mstiefvater's blog the last few days - and by reading, I mean going back to the very beginning and DEVOURING - and yesterday, I woke up.

You know that feeling that you get when you surface from reading a particularly gripping novel, like you're blinking in the light of the real world and can't quite remember what you were just thinking about, and everything's all disorienting? Yeah. That's how I woke up yesterday morning, and bizarrely cliched though it sounds, I felt like everything I'd been stressed about for the last several months had been the dream. Bizarre. Really, really bizarre. And I just kind of had this epiphany: the problem isn't writing, it's what I'm writing. I've been trying to write the wrong thing.

I started out writing high fantasy, because that's what I read as a teenager, because that's what my more genre-wise friend handed me, and this thing called 'young adult' hadn't really taken off yet. But it didn't fit me as a writer. Neither, it turns out, does classic urban fantasy. I love reading it (at least, I rabidly devour Ilona Andrews), but writing it ... just isn't me.

Stupid. I even TOLD the psych last year (whom I was seeing for post-natal depression) that I was quitting writing because I needed to find my voice. So I knew even then I was trying to write the wrong things. Why was it not until yesterday that I realised this?! Oh, the glories of the stupidity of the brain. Sigh.

But anyway. What Maggie Stiefvater writes is very close to what I want to write - at least the tone. Although that's not quite right, either. *wavey hands*. Look, I know what I mean, and a combination of all of these things means I think I've finally figured out what 'me on the page' actually looks like, and this means that, for the first time in several years, I've started work on a new novel. NEW-new, not new-but-actually-just-a-sneaky-way-to-rewrite-one-of-the-old-four-novels new. NEW.

And it's sassy and it's snarky, and it speaks to issues that I find interesting and tangled and relevant, and I really really like it. And so, thankfully, does my crit partner, and my baby sister (who is my ultimate testing ground for YA fiction, since she's a voracious teen reader :D). Win.

Now all that's left is to hope that this continues, yes? :)

Blah.

Right now, I am so SICK of this novel. Just, like, ready to tear it to shreds, throw it in the bin, and ignore it for another two years. The edits were pretty smooth initially, but I hit the 75% mark and realised I'd completely failed to set up the big emotional turning point >.< Only I couldn't figure out what to do, and then I was dithering with line edits, and then I spent ages polishing the opening, figured out how to implement the fixes I'd thought of, did so... And now I'm back to that 75% mark again, staring at the current scene wondering if there's even a point. Sigh.

People who've read it just to give me a yay or nay have loved it (one person at the raw draft, my husband and one crit partner at the 75% edited stage), but I'm frustrated. On the one hand, I want crits to come back and tell me it's fine, it's amazing, it's a bestseller, blah blah - because on one level, I do have confidence in this story. On the other hand, crits never come back like that, and the one person who's managed to read at least some of the currently-complete version of the first half has had a couple of suggestions for improvements.

They're perfectly reasonable suggestions, but that annoys me right now as much as anything else, because I'm annoyed at MYSELF, for having read the stupid thing so many times and STILL not picking up on these things. I'm in despair about my ability to edit a novel to publishability at all, because while I have confidence in the story, I have literally edited the first half to the extent of my ability and it's still not right. Only just, and I haven't sat down and done a complete, start-to-end read-through yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm still missing the emotional arc that I tried to hit.

I'm despondant. I need to keep pushing through and just get to the end so I've got it at least edited as much as I can, and send that out to betas. But betas are busy people, and especially at the moment, and this is the first novel I've really tried to fix, and I'm drowning in my own uncertainty, because every time I think it's right, I have to change things, and it's making me doubt my abilities.

....

I know. This is a very self-indulgent post. Sorry. I know this is all part of the process, part of learning and being a beginner (if an advanced beginner). It's just... hard.

But anyway. I'm going to go edit that stupid scene now, and hope it isn't as pointless as it currently feels. Rah.

/mope.

The Edits, The Edits!

They shall be the death of me, I think. But regardless, I am halfway through (scene-count halfway, not wordcount halfway, sadly) the FINAL POLISHING EDITS of Sanctuary. The back end requires more work than just polishing, though, so I'm still a few weeks away from finishing - but I'm hopeful that Sanctuary will be out the door at the end of August, provided the betas don't find any glaringly horrible plot elephants. (i.e. holes the size of)

My main task today was strengthening the emotional arc of the MC - I hit 75% of the way through the edit a month ago and stalled because I realised that I hadn't set up the emotional arc properly, so the great fail/butterfly moment didn't actually have the impact it needed to. I'm satisfied that I've hit it this time through the first half, so that's happy. I added in about 700 words of new stuff, extending Edge's emotional down point and strengthening it - before, I had her nearly being killed and then having nightmares about it that night and then the next day being emotionally fine, if jumpy o.0 Now I have her taking a couple of days out, and being a lot more hesitant when she gets back into things, so I think that works better.

Anyway, I'm rambling and need to think about getting sleepy to go with my tired, since it's midnight and I have company all day tomorrow.

In other non-writing news, I go back to work on Monday after having had seven months off (to have the small person, who is now 23 weeks old), so I'm actually quite terrified. But there's not much I can do about it - I have to go back if we want to eat, and the small person will be at home with his dad part of the time, and at work with his dad part of the time, and I will still be home with him part of the time too, since I'm going back to a 0.8 load instead of fulltime (1.0)... So yes. We shall see. I'm sure everything will be fine, but I like things settled and decided and fixed, so at the moment it's just generalised anxiousness wondering how it will all work.

ANYway, enough rambling. It's late. WE IS SLEEPINGS.

*tap tap* Is This Thing On?

...yes? It is? Oh, dang. Wish I'd brushed my hair.

*ahem*

Anyway, um, hi. My name's Amy. I used to hang out here, like, maybe a year ago? I think? But you probably don't remember that. It's been a while. And the last year... well, I haven't really got much done, with my writing and stuff. So you know? Not much to report? But anyway, I found this place again, kind of by accident, I was visiting a friend and just happened to wander past on my way home, and thought maybe I'd stop in. *looks around* It's... kind of nice, here. Casual. Comfy. I can talk about writing here like I can't on my main blog.

*takes a seat* I might hang out here more often, I think. I like the decor. It smells good.

I guess I don't really have anything much to say today. I haven't been keeping stats at ALL this year, not even what I've worked on each month. But, you know, I kind of spawned a minion, so that's a pretty good excuse, right? And anyway, no one's really interested in me catching up on that kind of stuff, right?

So. I have to go now - it's late, and bed calls, and the small person will be up for food in a few hours - but I just wanted to stop by and say, hey. I still remember this place. I'll try to visit more often.

Thanks.
*steps away from mic*

And Yet Still We Live

Yes, that's right; I'm still alive. Just barely - it's been a very, very insane couple of months, which I am tearfully, relievedly, most honestly grateful that I do not have to live through again. *wavey hands of incomprehensible relief here*

All of which means I haven't really been doing much writing - if any at all, really. However! I do have two new stories on the go, one of which will be a YA novel, and the other of which a short story of some kind of length.

Curse Horse, the temporary title for the YA novel, is inspired by an awesome, plotty dream I had a couple of weeks ago, and involves - yes, of course - a curse horse, and knives, and dogs, and hidden towns, and a mysterious villain who I really need to get to know more. Wrah!

On The Hill, the short, plays with an idea that's been simmering for a VERY long time - the Hill Where Things Are, a place that reveals the absolute truth about anyone and anything that steps on it. It's a murder mystery with a weird, medieval beast and mobile phones and a girl too young to have the Sight, and is in present tense o.0

Jesscapades is still ... in existence, but I'm doing the wavey-hands-of-uncertainty at it again. I'm GLAD I've done half of the rewrite on it, and it's MUCH better having just the one POV, and the plot, especially in the second half, is much stronger - but I can't help but wonder if I've lost some of the raw spark from the first draft by making the MC no longer a Shard. So there's a tiny part of me that wonders if it might not be better to start again AGAIN, and write from one POV still, but from Tara's POV. I think a small part of me as been thinking this all along - I certainly remember having these ideas way back when I first thought about revising it - but I didn't want to lose the title, which doesn't really make sense if Jess doesn't play such a major role anymore :( So yeah. Wavey-hands-of-uncertainty.

But anyway, as I determined on my other blog earlier tonight, I haven't stagnated, so all is still well, even if it IS slow, so you know. I'll figure it out eventually :)

Rah!

We Can Has Writing!!

So. Yeah. Posting here. It happens. Furrealz, I promise. O:)

Anyhue. Last time I posted was the 11th... On the 12th I did something, can't recall how much though. Then 14 through 23 I was out of town and internet at a camp. Twas a very shiny, highly awesome camp, chock full of squee, so yay! It was, however, totally devoid of writingness. So you know. Not much to report there.

This week has faired somewhat better: something like 171 words on Monday, enough to top that up to about 600 on Tuesday, 1k on Wednesday, I think nothing yesterday, and 1667 so far today. I say so far, but it's 1030pm, so more words = rather unlikely. I think that's how my week went; it's entirely possible that the week as reported exists only in my head, and the week as reality is gone from memory, but meh. Whatevs.

Anyway, today was good. Liana did much poking of the Me, which caused the Me to do much writing, which is happiness all round. I finished chapter 3 and wrote all of chapter 4, which isn't nearly as impressive as it sounds since chapter 4 is about 100 words more than HALF the length of the previous chapters, but meh. Progress! We can has it! *waves flag and pretends to be coherent*

Anyway (for the third time, if we count 'anyhue', which we clearly are), in today's ramblings we have the first view of the shiny pretty tower, the MC being temporarily imprisoned, a 'prison' break, and an almost-kiss. Wootwoo.

And now, I collapse into bed.

It Continues...

Progress is slow, but it is, at least progressing. 462 words tonight, getting Jess into the Shard Academy for the first time. The only bit that could even marginally pass for a good line is this, near the end of tonight's work:

Jess glanced at the fence behind her. “Traitor,” she muttered.

No good out of context, but you know O:) :) 

Despite the fact that I haven't written since Thursday (emotional rollercoaster of a weekend, oi stab), the month's total remains respectable: 3526 so far. And we're about a third of the way through the month, so you know. I might make my "10k minimum" for the first time since August, which was the first time since April. Wrah.

And now... Zonk.