December Writing Updates

December Writing Updates

Well Hells boys and girls, it’s December! I missed my writing update last month as I was wrapped up in NaNo so let’s get back into the swing of things!

I had many a lofty goals in November to work on original fiction and that went straight out the window. So original fiction is in pretty much the same shape it was in…August? Whenever the last update happened. *sigh*

I actually talked to my side thug, Maye, about why I’ve been doing so much fanfic writing and less original stuff. She’s been doing more poetry than long form. And we’ve both come to the conclusion that writing stories we want to submit to agents exerts a ton of artistic pressure. Every line you’re thinking, is this a cliché? Does this make sense? Is there too much exposition?

And certainly, I want the fanfics I post to be good, but we’re all here for fun. No one’s paycheck is in jeopardy if I only get six reviews on a story. The only person I’m in competition with is myself, not the hundreds and hundreds—thousands even—of other writers in a slush pile.

I’m trying to find a way to shift this fanfic mindset back to my original writing, but it’s hard. Although, with the way my fanfic has been evolving I told Maye by this time next year I might be able to change some of the details and submit it as original, lol.

Hey man, if Fifty Shades of Grey can do it, I sure as hell can.

oOo

Anyway, fanfic updates!

I have scrapped my previous posting timeline.

Let me explain before you grab torches and pitchforks.

I had a reader suggest a story over on Archive of Our Own called Iacon Prophecy by ntldr. It’s set in the Barbarian AU. It’s not a humanformer fic, which is why I’d skipped over it previously. It’s a great story and just wrapped up not long ago. I absolutely loved the idea of a more primitive take on Transformers and I started writing a story with that in mind.

And so, I now have about 100K words written for a Ratchet-centric piece set in what I’m calling the Primitive AU because I’ve left out all modern devices. Of course when I started this it was just going to be a one story deal and going to be kind of short. And then I kept writing…and writing…and thinking and writing. And now this first story is probably going to another 100K before it’s done and I have already outlined the second and third stories in the series. Series is tentatively being called Constellations.

I’m still going to do the sequel to Where the Lonely Ones Roam and get up Tracks’ story for the Street True AU, but the priority has shifted a bit. I really like this Ratchet series. So I want to get at least this first look at Ratchet done and posted and then I’ll start on the others.

oOo

I also started an open ended series of unconnected stories under the title Of Gods and Mortals. They’re mythological stories because I loooooove mythology and I want to write a story for each major culture on Cybertron and then move into subcultures. So far I have a Polyhexian myth and an Iaconian one. I think next I’ll do Vos or Praxus. These are all with OCs but as another reader, Vela13, commented, these stories do relate to the universes I’ve written already and others that haven’t been written yet.

They don’t give away any major plot points or anything like that, but it adds some new textures and perspectives to characters if you really want to nerd out with me.

oOo

Make Believe I want to have wrapped up this month because January and February are going to be hectic. Also, my focus is drifting more and more to this Ratchet series so I need to get this Red Alert/Jazz thing wrapped up before my attention drifts too far.

I have four chapters left to write, next chapter will be up this week after I fine tune it a bit more.

 

That’s all I’ve got for you this month! I’ll check in again in February!

 

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August Writing Updates!

August Writing Updates!

Hey, I’m getting pretty good at this bi-monthly update. I mean, this one is juuuuust under the wire but, fuck it. We’ll call that progress either for how organized I am or for blogging practices.

But, let’s get on to the updates!

oOo

Last Rites: Starting with original content! If I can stick to my schedule, which I was doing really well with until I up and went to Vietnam, but oh well. Still hoping if I have enough coffee and snacks tomorrow I can finish the middle portion of this. It’s really close to being done. I have most of the major scenes written, not it’s just down to the details.

Next month is slotted for redoing the ending and having the whole thing coherent enough I stop picking at it. So by the end of September I hope to have Last Rites complete so it can sit for a minute.

oOo

Starting in October, I’m getting back into my middle grade story Charlatans. I still love this concept and I’ve reworked the character and her motivations and fixed the storyboarding. The biggest challenge for this story is the word limit which I’m stalwartly ignoring until I have it finished. October I’m looking at getting from the beginning to the mid-point.

If things go smoothly, I might finish it. But all that will depend on my work schedule and whatever else comes up in life. Also, this is the youngest I’ve ever written so making the situations believable as well as reasoning chains and choices are a challenge to me. But I haven’t done much with Charlatans in three or so years and I’ve re-storyboarded the beginning so maybe it will be easier now that I have a better idea of what I’m doing.

oOo

November kicks off NaNoWriMo so I’ll be coming up with another idea to work on during this month as well, which should be fun.

This month is jam packed with writing. If I don’t finish Charlatans I’ll be doing it this month, I also have a fanfic writing schedule and one of those stories should also be completed this month. Honestly, I’m looking at writing 150,000+ words this month if I stay on task and get done what needs to be done.

oOo

December is an Editing month, I’m going back and editing Last Rites and will hopefully like it enough to send off to my betas for critique. This is also the month I’ll be working on my synopsis and query for Last Rites. If I can stay on schedule and get edits done and back my goal is to start querying agents when I get back to the States sometime in April.

January is another editing month. I’m looking at getting Charlatans edited enough I like it to send off to my other betas. And if both stories come back and I get edits and rewrites done during this month, I’ll swap betas and resend.

oOo

February I’m diving headfirst into a story I started for NaNo a couple years ago about Death and his bounty hunters. It doesn’t even have a working title yet, but the story’s climax is right here in China so I figure my last month of teaching here would be a good time to get started on that.

If I like whatever I come up with for NaNo I’ll also be pecking away at that during February as well. But who knows. Last two NaNos I haven’t been really thrilled with the concepts and they’re just sitting in a file.

oOoOo

And for those of you here about the fanfics!

August I’m looking to get another chapter done, like, this week. I wanted three chapters done this month, but I think two is a good start. Like I said last update, the story is starting to get kinda heavy and I’ve been dragging my feet getting it done. There are eight chapters left with what I currently have outlined so September I’m looking to wrap up Monster.

And then I think I’ll find a fluffy story to write because sometimes I even depress myself with the shit I write.

Has anyone ever written Ratchet/Prowl? I don’t think I’ve seen that. Maybe I’ll write that.

oOo

Anyway! October, I will be devoting time to Breach and hopefully get about 50,000 words written for that which should put us right at a good cliffhanger. I’m hoping to finish Breach in November, but again, that will depend on my work schedule, how far I get in my original writing, and what my NaNo project look like. In my writing hierarchy, fanfic comes second to original content. So it could well be December before I finish it.

I’ve gotten myself out of the quagmire though and I really like how Red Alert’s character works in this one. The ending for this one is probably the most nail biting one I’ve ever written so I’m really excited for you guys to see it.

oOo

If I do finish Breach in November, the next story is coming from the Street True AU and we’re going to learn more about Tracks! Tentative title is Nightmare and, as it’s storyboarded now, it won’t be as long as Master’s Apprentice so I should be able to finish it in a month if my work schedule isn’t weird.

This story should start to answer some questions about how the war started and who/what Helios and the Prowler crew are. Also, it will give more clarity to the first couple of chapters of Master’s Apprentice and Ratchet’s odd reflection on his choices and why he goes to hunt down Blaster. This one is definitely more political than Master’s Apprentice and gets deeper into how the war was fought, how it is fought, and what happens to the soldiers that fight in it. It’s pretty heavy, but Tracks’ story is a keystone storyline.

oOo

And *drum roll* January, I will be starting the sequel to Where the Lonely Ones Roam. Still not sure what the title will be but I am certain there will be plenty of angst and H/C. I have a couple of key scenes written and already love this one more than WtLOR. I’m so excited for you guys to read it. This one is definitely going to be long so I’ll be working on this through February and March.

 

oOoOoOo

After February, updates are going to be slow for everything as that’s the end of my contract here in China and I’ll be traveling around both here and a couple other countries as I make my way back to the States. I refuse to do another 18 hour flight so writing time will be limited to…whenever I stop taking pictures and write I suppose.

Writing Update: May/June

Writing Update: May/June

All right, time for another writing update! Let’s see if I can keep up with doing these bi-monthly.

No, I have not started earnestly writing the sequel to Where the Lonely Ones Roam. I have a few scenes written but I don’t know if any of them will even make it into the final draft. As I said before, I don’t think I’ll post anything until the end of this year. Although, the tentative title is Spark which is also the title of a Digital Daggers song like “Where the Lonely Ones Roam”.

I think I said in my last update I was looking at fleshing out Cybertronian culture and religion and I really do want to make this coherent and sensible, not just a bunch of strange things cobbled together. And, I’m looking at taking a weeklong trip to Zhangjiajie next year after my teaching contract is up. This is really significant because these are the mountain ranges that inspired me to write Prowl as he is in this story.

So the sequel might not be up until after I take that trip because I know that’ll change probably everything I’ve written thus far.

Long story short: Sequel will be up eventually, but not any time soon.

oOo

Breach! Oh, this has turned into a delightful quagmire. I am still looking at turning this little thing into multiple chapters, but a wonderful review got me thinking I want to try and write this from Red Alert’s POV. Aside from that brief chapter in WtLOR, I’ve never tried to write Red Alert and it’s actually harder than I thought it would be. His paranoia is his most obvious trait, but I’m finding other subtle layers that I think deserve more spotlight.

I also think it would work really well with a One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest vibe and I’ve never written anything like that before either. This little oneshot is turning into a pretty extensive writing exercise.

So, like I said, quagmire. But, think once Master’s Apprentice is concluded this will be easier. I need to stick with having no more than two WIPs at one time.

oOo

And what a great segue, Master’s Apprentice has one chapter left! And I’m so glad everyone has enjoyed reading it so much. I’ve had a lot of fun writing Ratchet and little First Aid. And I saw quite a few people enjoyed Red Alert and Prowl at their most sociopathic; excellent.

Master’s Apprentice is the first in an AU called Street True, so there will be more stories with the crew as they appear in this story. All major characters are getting backstories: Blaster, Red Alert, Prowl, Tracks, Helios, Wheeljack, Ratchet, etc. I’m even going to try my hand at writing an Optimus Prime story because he needs to have a voice in this. Ironhide is a possibility, but I might weave his narrative in throughout the Prime’s. Annnnnd, someone asked if Jazz will make an appearance. Uhhh, maybe. Currently, I don’t have a background story for him that’s really significant. For this AU Jazz is going to be more like a background specter; spooky XOps prowling around at weird hours that no one ever really sees.

I think the next story will be how Trailbreaker met Blaster, Red Alert, Prowl. Or, I might decide to go with the tragedy and we’ll find out why Tracks is so very messed up.

oOo

Monster! Boy-howdy, has this story taken a turn since I first started writing it. Ah well, all the better for it. If you’ve not noticed, it has been changed to a DeathFic and that is for Major Character Death.

It’s brutal.

I already wrote the last scene and I’m pretty sure y’all will set your computers on fire and I’m really excited to get there. Because much like George R.R. Martin, I thrive on my readers’ tears. But, if you want to stop reading before things take a turn you’ve got…one more chapter. I have some characters I’ve never written before coming up in the next chapter and one of them is going to really throw Jazz for a loop. And then shit is gettin’ real.

I admit, I did almost write this in a way to avoid the major character death, but we have so many “Jazz/Prowl is a Decepticon sleeper agent that slowly changes because the power of friendship/love!” Be real now, this isn’t MLP, you know you don’t want another happy ending.

oOo

I am still trying to work out a good Soundwave story. I really, really, like Soundwave but I just can’t come up with a story where he fits. No matter what I think of he falls flat or doesn’t mesh with the setting or other characters. I don’t think I can write a feel good story with Soundwave. I think anything I write with him is going to be tragedy in every aspect. Which is cool for me, not for people who want a “Soundwave is such a great mech!” story. You see how dark I’ve got the Autobots, you really think I can write Decepticons as being sweet and altruistic deep down inside?

oOo

Next ambitious project! Uh, Pre-War merging into War possibly going into Post-War following Prowl, Red Alert, Jazz, and Bluestreak.

Oh yeah.

And I mean from how Jazz met Prowl and Red Alert to how they went from frontliners to officers to how they meet Bluestreak all the way to what they wind up doing after the war ends.

Unlike the Street True AU where Master’s Apprentice is set, this one will be in chronological order and all the better for it. It will either be magnificent or a screaming train wreck that will make me trash my computer and never write again.

oOo

Miscellaneous: Have fully storyboarded the Extended Universe snippet from WtLOR where we find out how Prowl met the Twins. It’s a really short story, no more than four chapters, but adds some good texture to all the characters.

Also, expect more oneshots like Fear and Broken Pieces, Game Change, etc. I find on Sunday nights when I’m too tired to pick up where I left off if a multi-chapter story oneshots are the perfect way to write without falling asleep on the keyboard.

And, when speaking with a reader, they mentioned a Starscream/Skyfire story. That’s not a pairing I’ve ever really considered because I always thought Starscream’s personality was too unstable for anything less than a Trine bond. But. That short conversation got me thinking and now I think I might start storyboarding a story that explains how and why Starscream became a Decepticon.

oOo

And way down here at the bottom: Original Content!

I have the first section of Last Rites—formerly Rebel Love Song—written. I have the Brothers and Maidens section storyboarded and need to write it. From there, I’ve opted to change the ending quite a bit which is really going to up the stakes for her in the next book.

And she shall remain nameless. I’ve weighed the pros and cons a few times and I’ve made the executive decision to stick with what I set out with. She does have a name, and readers will learn it, but how they learn it is more important than what it is. Unless they know what the literal translation is, then that shit is going to Blow Minds.

And that’s about the only original writing I’ve done.

Writing Updates!

Writing Updates!

Like the title says, this has nothing to do with my traveling, so if you’re following for adventures you’ll have to wait a little longer. But, if you’re following because of my various stories I have scattered about cyberspace, you’re in luck!

I realized last night when I opened the newest document for Master’s Apprentice that it’s been like three months since I updated that and I don’t want you all thinking I’ve abandoned it. It’s alive; I just haven’t had the time or energy to tackle it.

I have Master’s Apprentice storyboarded pretty much to the last chapter. At this point it’s just a matter of having the time and headspace to sit down and crank it out. I really like this one, it’s really evolved from where I had the idea initially and I’m pretty happy with how the characters are evolving as I write.

MA is priority #1. Any writing I do will be focused on that one so it will be updated as soon as I get it written.

oOo

Next! Monster I have about three more chapters storyboarded. I still have no idea how long this one will be but the settings in the upcoming chapters are heavily influenced by my time in Cambodia so I’m really excited to get them out there because I’m pretty sure you guys are going to love it. I also really like this incarnation of Jazz. His character evolution is really challenging which makes him a lot of fun to write.

I’m also adding in other characters that I haven’t written before and don’t see much of so that’s taking time too. I don’t want to Dr. Frankenstein these characters together and wind up with a mech or femme that’s not somewhat true to their G1 origins.

Annnd, since writing Ratchet in this storyverse I’m about 99% certain he’s going to have his own story because he’s just too damn awesome to not have an extensive background. But that’s way in the future, I haven’t even come up with a plot. I just know it will be him in Ahnkmor.

Oh, and someone asked if Monster is the same storyverse as Where the Lonely Ones Roam, it is Not. These stories are their own entities.

oOo

Other updates! I have tentatively started storyboarding the first chapter for the sequel to Sparkling. No idea what it will be called but so far it’s less cute and fluffy than Sparkling. OCs are getting better characterization and I’m really working hard on making the antagonist a three dimensional character and not just a convenient bad guy.

I’m guessing I’ll start getting this written after Monster and Master’s Apprentice are wrapped up. I don’t know if it will directly after those two are finished because who knows what wild plot bunny will bite me. I didn’t know I was going to write Monster until I had the first page written and decided I really liked the character.

oOo

Second: I have a couple of scenes written for the sequel to Where the Lonely Ones Roam. This one will be several months in the works. I’m really delving more into Cybertronian culture and working out the mythology for both Prowl’s and Ratchet’s respective cultures.

Really, I just want you to know that I am working on a sequel, but honestly, I can’t see any of it being posted until closer to the end of the year.

I also have a spin-off, for lack of a better word, for the WtLOR storyverse. That might be up before the sequel. It’s about the Twins and how Prowl found them and I really like it.

oOo

Miscellaneous: I have a couple chapters written for a “How Prowl and Jazz met” story that I’ve been picking away at for a couple months. That one might go up after Master’s Apprentice is finished.

I also have a TFP storyverse for which I have five chapters written. It’s centered on Breakdown, Knockout, and a human OC. I think the reason I haven’t put it up is because there are so many human OCs I just can’t bring myself to add to the numbers.

That and I keep changing how I want Knockout and Breakdown’s relationship. Are they BreakOut or are they companions-not-quite-friends? I don’t know and it really screws with how I write certain scenes if I can’t pin these things down. That one might be awhile coming.

And lastly, I have a few starts for Soundwave centered stories, one of them is hella depressing so it’s probably the one I’ll work on the most because I live for character angst. I also have an idea for a post-war Starscream story that I’m certain will make you hate me. Honestly, I could probably have it written already, I doubt it’ll be more than two chapters but really, I don’t know if I can be that terrible to Starscream.

I have also started a hesitant foray into Star Wars VII stories. They only peripherally involve the main characters; primarily they’re focused on the Stormtrooper ranks. And by hesitantly, I mean I have one page written and I haven’t touched it since December. So that may never see the light of day but we shall see. The characters haven’t faded, I think they just need a different plot.

oOo

Annnnnd for those of you who have been and want to read my original content…

I haven’t done a damn thing.

Not. One. Thing.

I haven’t even opened the files. Maybe once I’m settled in China and have a kitchen where I can make tea and popcorn I might hazard opening something but that won’t be for a month or so. I’ve been thinking about it though. I’ve been thinking long and hard about settings, characters, and really fleshing out the cities and people who live in them.

If there’s one story I’ll get into immediately it’ll be my little assassin that I started to write back in July. Or I might start one about an ESL teacher who’s actually a cryptobiologist. I haven’t thought that one all the way through. Who knows.

I want to write a story based in Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville but right now the experiences haven’t had time to really settle and shape. I keep trying to force characters out and they always come off as stilted and two dimensional. I know when I get to China I’ll have the same feeling. Hopefully after a couple months I’ll be able to at least craft a setting and find a character that fits.

What Happens in Muncie, IN…

Hello citizens!

Man, has it been a rough month for anyone else? Camp NaNoWriMo just wrapped up and Goddess above, I have never had to fight for a word count like I did last month. I made it, barely, but I’ll recap that later once I catch my breath.

The really exciting thing that happened in July was just last weekend. The all mighty Midwest Writers Workshop was last weekend and it was Glorious. I’m not the first to blog about it, I’m usually two steps behind in this. So, to see a play by play of what all went down over the weekend check out Mo’s Media Minute and subscribe. She’s really a much better blogger than me and has one hell of a life story. You should pester her to get her memoir written. Get on that. Another great recount of MWW13 comes from the always fabulously fizzy Fizzygrrl. Follow her too, because you just can’t have enough exuberant swearing in your life.

What I’m saying, is there are a lot of great bloggers who have already covered this.

My favorite session came from Colleen Coble – Award Winning Author of Tidewater Inn where we discussed the layers of a story. We turned the class into a think tank and for an hour helped those brave souls willing to tell the 20+ people in the room about their book add depth to their characters, their settings, and plot line. And no, I was not one of those brave souls.

While the faculty was amazing and informative, Author Hank Phillippi Ryan had a wonderfully inspiring closing speech, my highlight happened to come from a fellow attendee. I’m very shy, socially awkward, and woefully lacking in confidence. I’ve been told that I often come across as aloof, cold, and angry because I don’t talk to people and am hesitant to initiate conversation. It’s agonizing because I really would like to talk to you, I just don’t know how to do it. I’m in awe of people like Fizzygrrl who can just burst into a room like the Kool-Aid man and make friends. It’s like a superpower. So when an attendee stopped to tell me I would make an incredible protagonist because of my style and confidence I almost fell over.

Me?

Me?

Madam, I am a fraud. I’m selling snake oil, cheap health insurance, a bridge in New York, and ocean front property in Nebraska. You must have me confused for someone else. The coffee must have been laced with LSD.

I can’t remember what I said. I’m certain I stumbled through some kind of thank you because I’m Midwest Polite right down to my chromosomes, but holy hell. Me?

It’s just one more story from MWW. I swear, for three days in July Muncie, IN turns into Vegas. Anything can happen.

But you can talk about it later.

The Sound of Madness: We All Fall Down

“Everybody feels these moments of sadness and moments of loss. And sometimes I think everybody can relate to sitting alone and feeling like crap and a friend of yours comes up and starts, you know, “Come on, feel happy!” And you don’t want that. Sometimes it’s all right to let yourself live in a moment and let yourself be upset about something and so that you can show yourself that, regardless of how low you feel, you can always rise out of it; but not at that moment. And so the song ends with the lyric I believe we all fall down but I don’t say, “But we get back up.” It’s just, sometimes you fall down and sometimes you feel low, and that’s okay.” ~ Andy Biersack, (Video)

I was one of many who saw Black Veil Brides’ Legion of the Black back in January and I knew as soon as this song started it was going to be one of my favorites. It was back in January that the only thing I was looking forward to in my life was the release of Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones album and the concert in Cleveland on the 22nd. My first manuscript, Tiger, Tiger was sitting untouched on my hard drive, I hadn’t read anything in weeks—which as a self-professed bibliophile is unheard of—and I was having a hard time even getting up in the morning.

Then, in March, I quit my job. And I was happy for a couple weeks. I finished Tiger, Tiger and started getting serious about querying and started writing again and started looking for a part time job I would be happier doing. The rainbows and sunshine didn’t last long. I hadn’t really intended to quit my job until the first weekend in May and didn’t have the money saved up that I needed/wanted.

Be absolutely honest, my mindset the last two weeks has been no better than it was when I was slogging my way through a dead end job I hated. I’m angry, I’m depressed, my moods are in flux. I wake up in the morning and I want to scratch my skin off and start somewhere new. I need a job and I know I can get hired on in a restaurant no problem. But I don’t want to go back to something that pushed me so close to the abyss of No Return I almost fell in. But if nothing else pans out here in the next two weeks I’ll have to go back to the thing that almost killed me.

            “Lost it All” gets me on a damn near spiritual level.

I ruled the world. With these hands I shook the heavens to the ground.

I laid the gods to rest. I held the key to the kingdom, lions guarding castle walls.

Hail the king, of death.

 

Then I lost it all.

I’m dead and broken.

My back’s against the wall. Cut me open.

I’m just trying to breathe, just trying to figure it out.

Because I built these walls just to watch them crumbling down.

I said then I Lost it All.

And who can save me now?

 

I stood above

another war, another jewel upon the crown.

I was the fear of men.

But I was blind, I couldn’t see the world there right in front of me.

But now…I can.

 

‘Cause I Lost it All

Dead and broken.

My back’s against the wall.

Cut me open.

I’m just trying to breathe, just trying to figure it out.

Because I built these walls to watch them crumbling down.

I said then I Lost it All

and who can save me now?

 

I believe that we all fall down, sometimes.

Can’t you see that we all fall down?

I believe that we all fall down sometimes.

 

            Here’s a Link to the song.

This is the song that sits with me when I feel overwhelmed by everything and when it all seems out of reach. This song tells me to take a breath, stop scrambling, stop panicking. Just breathe. This song is my safe place.

It’s also the song my character in Rebel Love Song is modeled after. She falls a little more every day. Without the plucky “but we’ll try it again tomorrow” sentiment at the end of the song it leaves her open for a gauntlet of decisions. She’s low, slipping deeper inside herself, and there’s the question of whether or not she’s going to give this song a hopeful ending or if she’s going to lose herself. Who can save me now?

Adventures of Aria: Culture Shock

            I recently read an absolutely amazing YA supernatural book by Jennifer Lynn Barnes called Raised by Wolves. It’s on the younger end of the YA spectrum—the main character Bryn is fifteen—but she was complex, witty, and smart. I finished this four hundred page book in only a couple hours. I couldn’t put it down long enough to even get coffee. I was completely absorbed in Bryn’s struggle, both emotional and circumstantial. I cried and laughed and cheered at the end. In other words, read this book.

            A few hours later—after coffee, shower, food, etc—I picked up an anthology of YA short stories centered on the theme of “warriors”. I picked up this particular anthology from the library to see how my character Aria stacks up against other “warrior” types. I got three pages in and I haven’t picked it up since.

            So soon after reading Ms. Barnes’ book I couldn’t get into the flat character of the first story. I can’t even remember his name. He was so…simple. His thoughts are shallow “warrior” thoughts about fame and glory and marrying a beautiful girl in the noble class. As a prolific reader of fiction, this is so genre standard it was boring to the point of anger.

            The thing that really pricked me about this is that it is genre standard. Every book I’ve ever picked up that involves a tribal or non-Caucasian culture has this flat character. The sentences and vocabulary is simple, short and they lack variety. It’s almost like these characters are written for grade school children not teens or even adults. The catch is, once these simple characters come into contact with the dominant, primarily Caucasian, culture they suddenly gain depth and more complex emotions. Suddenly, the syntax is more elegant and the vocabulary elevated.

            My character, Aria, sprang from Inuit/Nordic cultures. She lives in a clan society, but she isn’t simple. Her emotions are complicated when it comes to who and what she is and how she interacts with her clan. If I were to change her setting to the modern world, certainly she would have trouble describing modern technologies, but that wouldn’t make her any less intelligent.

            This sub-conscious ethnocentric assumption needs to stop. So you’ve chosen to write a character with more melatonin than you? That doesn’t mean they are stupid and slow witted children who need a more dominant culture to hold their hand and “educate” them.

Adventures of Aria: Necromancing the Snow

Currently Playing: Black Veil Brides, Devil’s Choir (on repeat)

I have finished my second manuscript—the first that will see the light of day—and as I re-read it for the hundredth time I’m still stunned that I actually wrote these pages. I can’t believe I sat in Cathy Day’s (http://cathyday.com/) novel writing class a year and a half ago and, from the depths of my mind, created these characters and the world of Tiger, Tiger.

I. Cannot. Believe. It.

It’s far from being perfect, every read through I find something that could still use more polishing and tinkering, but at this point every time I try to fix it I make it worse. And if I learned nothing else through four and a half years of college writing courses, author interviews, and literary agent blog posts it’s that this is actually a good thing. I’ve reached the limits of my current skills and it’s time to ask someone else to lend their talents and skills to this manuscript.

You know, writers like to think the blank page is scary, but the terrifying part has only just begun. After months of writing, editing, crying, screaming, and moping it’s time to send my baby out into the world. The query letters are written, months of combing through agents via social networking and google searches have finally come to a head. I can’t put it off any longer. If I want even a chance of making some kind of living off my imagination, other eyes must see it. Fortune favors the bold, right?
I haven’t slept more than three or four hours a night since I wrote my first query. I’ve gone over those eight letters four and five times, re-read the submission guidelines, picked up every book I could get my hands on that felt like it fit with the world and characters I created.

I Am Terrified.

I know agents aren’t big scary creatures. I talk to them on twitter and I’ve met a few at the Midwest Writers Conference (http://www.midwestwriters.org/). They’re good people who love reading and writing just as much as I do, hence their occupation.

I’ve been telling myself for a year to brace for form rejections and, really, I thought I was ready. But now the time is here to send my manuscript into the world, as prepared as my beta readers and I can make it, and I’m not ready at all for that rejection. I could cry just thinking about it.

All those pesky “what-ifs” I could shoo away while immersed in the world are now coming up hard and fast. It’s time to take a critical business eye to my work; is it saleable? What audience am I aiming for? What genre? What sub-genre? Are these first ten pages good enough to hook?

A lot of the agent profiles I looked at said they were looking for “excellent” writing, “wonderful” worlds, “endearing and complex” characters. Their Bestsellers are listed, their authors and all their awards are proudly displayed.

And then there’s me.

This is my first novel. I don’t have any awards. The only things I’ve submitted were three poems to Ball State’s Broken Plate magazine and received a polite form rejection for all of them. Is my writing excellent? Is my world developed enough? Are there too many details? Not enough? Does my character properly show off her many sides or is she only one dimension?

I don’t know if I have the ego to handle eight and more form rejections for something I’ve spent two years pouring blood, sweat, and tears into.

The Sound of Madness: The Beginning

 

            It being the start of Camp NaNo, I thought I’d really kick this blog off with what I’ll be occupying myself with this month. I’ve spent several months, even years, with the idea percolating in the back of my mind; there are scraps of paper with random words and short phrases jotted on them scattered in journals and drawers, and when I look out my window I see the characters on the street.

Now, either it’s time for medication or it’s time to write.

Music is a part of who I am. I’m always listening to something while I type. A lot of people use background music, this isn’t something new. This has never had much of an impact on my writing; it’s just something to occupy my mind when I hit a snag or to block out background noise or a way to set the mood for a scene. But this manuscript, this storyline, these characters; they’ve proven to be quite different from anything I’ve ever written.

The story wriggled its way into my head after I got Black Veil Brides’ album Set the World on Fire. Track number six has become something almost sacred to me. It’s the song that hit the top of my “Songs that will get me Fired” playlist for work. It’s the song that gave me the courage to flip my major from anthropology to creative writing my final two semesters of college. It’s the song that told me to look beyond this dying town and go. If you’re a fan, you’re probably humming the chorus by now, if not; the song is called “Rebel Love Song”.

This song is freedom. I can’t fully express the buoyant joy the chorus fills me with, the teeth-grit determination the verses give me and the inexplicable feeling of flying I get when that guitar solo kicks in. And it’s that whirlwind of emotion, that impact that goes deeper than skin when you hear the words, that my newest manuscript is built on and why it’s working title is Rebel Love Song.

I’m writing my character to embody these songs that—through my own hectic life—have become pep talks, shoulders to cry on, hands to pull me up, and a friend to sit with me when I start to break.

I have tailored a song list to fit this storyline. Every section, every chapter, right down to the paragraphs; correlates with a song. And I hope I can find the words to do these songs and these feelings justice.

 

P.S. It’s not too late to join Camp NaNo this month! You can sign up at www.nanowrimo.org or www.campnanowrimo.org. You can find me there as Writing_Fiend. Happy Writing!