29 November 2013

The Not So Happy Ending

I have a confession to make: I'm a sucker for a happy ending. I've read several books that have made me completely miserable but then make up for it by everything working out in the end. Sure, the characters go through hell but it ends up being worth it. It makes them stronger, and it makes having to read through the bad stuff worth it.

Well, here's my second confession: my story does not have a happy ending. I don't know how this happened to me. I always write happy endings. Maybe that's partly because the kind of stories I used to write always had a villain--a very distinct antagonist that needed to be defeated in order for the story to end. Well, that isn't the case with my current book. And I haven't read a lot of romance novels, but I'm guessing they usually end happily. Not that my book is 100% romance, but still, it kind of goes against the grain.

I've certainly read books that haven't ended happily before. Usually I want to throw them against the wall. And I have this secret desire to have my characters stay together forever, but I know that can't happen. That's life, really. Things don't always work out perfectly. They're not always wrapped up in a neat little bow. Maybe that's why people like happy endings so much. If things can go so well for these fictional characters, maybe things in life can always end happily, too.

Every story is different. Every character is different. Usually, the writer will know how their story will end before they get to the ending. I always knew this story couldn't have a happy ending. It just wouldn't have made sense. My book would have to span several years rather than just a few months. And in the end, I don't think my readers would be satisfied with the ending. They wouldn't believe it. It's funny, because I think my goal for this book is for the reader to want that happy ending, but to still be satisfied when they don't get it. Hopefully they'll want these characters to stay together, but they'll be able to understand when they can't. My ending is sad, but it's not miserable. It has a silver lining. No one's going to jump off a roof once the pages end. And it's partially about growing up, so a bit of harsh learning is necessary.

Ultimately, you have to choose an ending that works for the story. A happy ending isn't always going to be the right fit. Really, it doesn't matter whether you have a happy ending or a sad one. You just need an ending that makes sense.

27 November 2013

I Have to Blog Something!

Normally on a day like today I would just skip posting a blog, but since I can't miss a single one until my 100th post, I must blog! I know, I know, I rambled on Monday already. It's been a busy week. This will be short and sweet.

I've been up since 5:30 and worked for over 13 hours straight so I'm exhausted. My feet are throbbing. Hopefully I can finish the post before I fall asl-- *snore* Huh?! What's going on?

Oh, right! I was blogging...except I have nothing to blog about. I haven't worked on NaNo in days, but I think I'm probably going to wait until November ends to officially give up and get back into editing. I never thought I'd ever look forward to editing, but I can't wait!

I think that's all I'll bother you with for tonight, since I'm about to pass out and all. I'll write something more meaningful on Friday, I swear.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

25 November 2013

Ramble Ramble Ramble

Hey, I know I've rambled before. But this one's gonna be bad. I would have just skipped it altogether, but if I don't completely stick to my blogging schedule then I'll just ruin my plan for the 100th post. Can't have that. I'm also on a double today. Again. Geez, you guys must think I work doubles all the time. Well, kind of.

I had an awesome weekend. Saw Catching Fire in IMAX and watched The Day of the Doctor, of course. I'm so stupid, I only realized that I actually have BBC America on Friday night. I thought I could just watch on demand the next day. So after I had a complete spaz attack, I was able to watch it when it premiered on Saturday afternoon. Which was awesome!

The next three work days are going to be hell. I have to deal with all of the people buying whole cheesecakes for Thanksgiving (ugh, just make a freakin' pie like everyone else!). So before Wednesday I'll be spending a lot of quality time in the freezer sorting cakes for pre-orders. It's not that much different from being outside (so cold!) at this point so it won't be THAT bad, I suppose.

Speaking of work, for Christmas, I get a sweatshirt with my name on it. This excites me far more than it should. I'm a bit of a dork.

I still have absolutely no idea what to do for my 100th post. I mean, it is on Jordan's birthday, but since I let him write a post every month, that's kind of a lousy present. I COULD save my synopsis (which I'm totally working on, yeah...) for that day. Maybe. It's a thought. If I could come up with a title before then, that would be a pretty good present and a great reason for a special post. We'll see.

I'm also doing absolutely nothing to plan for my Muse-iversary trip in February. I really need to book a hotel room and get bus tickets first. Then I can worry about planning fun stuff. Mostly I'm concerned with where/what I'll be eating. Because food is a big part of my book. I'll probably only want to eat stuff that is mentioned in the book. And obviously I won't know until about a week before so I'll know what the weather is like, but I'm still gonna hope for a picnic. Yes, in February. If you're wondering if I'm crazy, I'm thinking you've never been to this blog before...

Ok, one more thing.

Hey...psst! Guys! Guuuuuuys! Do you know what happens this week? No, not Thanksgiving. Pfft. Frozen comes out on Wednesday!!! I'm so excited! I honestly don't remember when I first heard about this movie, probably when they started casting since I'm a psychopath with anything related to Broadway, but I've been dying for it ever since. I mean, have you seen the cast list??? I'm drooling over it. Unfortunately I don't really know anyone who shares my obsessiveness, so I'm probably seeing it on Thanksgiving with my sister and her family. Since my four-year-old niece is the only person I know who's looking forward to it as much as I am. Can't wait!

What's everyone up to this week? Got any awesome Thanksgiving plans? And for the love of God, don't mention NaNo to me...

22 November 2013

The Final Push

Well, it's almost the end of November, and I find myself realistically thinking about whether or not I'm going to finish my book for NaNoWriMo. And it's not looking good.

I've only written about 23,000 words. Even at my creative best, I can really only write about 1,000 words an hour. I'll admit it's hard for me to write anything when it's not the perfect word in my mind. I do a lot of blank page staring.

But honestly, it's a bigger problem than that. I just have no motivation for this book anymore. And yes, it's partially because I wrote the most intense scenes already and now it's more about filling in the gaps. I really have no desire to write the flashback scenes. The narrator's voice has been shaping itself a bit more, but really only during the most interesting moments. When he starts thinking, when he's worrying about what to do in a situation, it gets boring. I do love the first kiss scene--good lord, was that intense. See, it's better when there's action.

Sometimes when I think about trying to work on this book, I sort of cringe and try to avoid it. I do the dishes or watch TV. At best, I'll write about 300 words in a day. I just have no desire to work on it anymore.

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I just want to get back to editing my other book. I really miss working on it. And I've wasted enough time NOT working on it, since, you know, it took me over two years to write the first draft. Plus I really, really miss writing in Jordan's voice. It's more fun. And I've worked on it for so long that I don't even have to think about it when I write as him. It just comes naturally. And it's not boring, unlike this stupid vampire narrator who doesn't know what the hell he wants. It's kind of like temporarily breaking up with your boyfriend for a month to go out with some other guy who turns out to be really boring.

So chances are, I'm not going to make it to 50,000. But tonight is WriteClub and I have to try! I don't have to necessarily finish the book, I just have to make the word count. But honestly, if I don't make it to 40,000 by tonight, I don't see it happening. So we'll see. I'm still going to try to get it done, or it least keep working on it until the end of November. Then I'll set it aside and get back to editing. And it'll always be there if I need a break.

Also, I was planning on running errands today but since it's raining and yucky out, that's really not gonna happen. So, more time for writing!

20 November 2013

Things I'm Doing Today

It's time for another list! Because I don't have time for a real post! Kinda sorta like my fun facts. But instead, here's a list of the various writing and non-writing things I am doing today. Hope it's worth a chuckle.

Today I am:

  • Working a double. Yay. 
  • Looking forward to the next four days off! 
  • Accepting the impending doom that is my NaNo defeat. I've barely gotten past 20,000 words. It's not looking good. But hey, four days off, you never know. 
  • Procrastinating. On several things. Activating my new phone. Finding a hotel room for my trip. Grocery shopping. Not a lot of fruits, veggies, or pretty much anything to make dinner with, but there's lots of yogurt and waffles! 
  • Totally cheating on my diet. I've lost about 8 pounds so far, but I also have absolutely no will power. Plus, you know, no food. Which results in either take out or bringing food home from work. So even the salads will make you fat. 
  • Making a motivational playlist. It seemed like a good idea. I may or may not share it once it's done. Because, you know, spaz. 
  • Geeking out that Catching Fire, the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, and Frozen all premiere within a week of each other. And that week is almost here. So much geekery, so little time. 
  • Feeling a serious need to go shoe shopping. I mean, it's getting cold. I need boots! Nice boots. With heels. In several colors. 
  • Anticipating the end of NaNo and the return to editing. Really, really want to get my book query ready. Don't get me wrong, I like my NaNo book, but focusing completely on that is giving me withdrawals. 
  • Still having absolutely no idea what to do for my 100th post. 
What is everyone else up to today? 

18 November 2013

Title Troubles

I'm amazed that I've actually kept up with the blogging to stay on schedule. November might be my first perfect month ever (posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). If I finish NaNo, this month will have been very productive. I still have no idea what to do for my 100th post. There's still time to figure it out, though.

I know I've talked about it before, and certainly other bloggers have as well, but I've been thinking about how hard it is to come up with a title. I tried some brainstorming this weekend, but it didn't go well. Every so often I'll think I'm on to something, but it never pans out. I'll usually have some smidgen of an idea, then go through the thesaurus (and the geometry textbook I got for $12 on Amazon) trying to find the words that fit that idea. And nothing ever seems right.

Titles are hard. You have to find some way to both summarize what your novel is about and draw in the reader so that they want to pick up your book in the first place. Sometimes it seems impossible. How could I possibly summarize my entire novel in just a few words, maybe even one?

When I first started my book as a short story, it had a title. That title worked. But as I developed the story into a novel, things changed. I pretty much eliminated any reference to that title, as well as any symbolic meaning that it held. It just wouldn't make sense anymore with how the novel stands now. Then there was the fiasco of the forced title, The Formula, which I feel is heading in the right direction but isn't there yet. I honestly think it needs to be more complex, because the novel itself, or the relationship that I'm writing about, is a complex one.

Maybe it's too complex. I try thinking about how I would describe my novel to other people (forgetting the fact that I usually just avoid the question), and it's always a long, drawn out explanation. I can't seem to simplify it. I could make a list of words that fit for it, but none of them stand out or fit together to make something that feels right.

Usually when I brainstorm, I just drive myself crazy and then give up on it entirely for months. Why is coming up with one phrase so much harder than writing an entire novel of complex words, characters, and situations? Will I just go insane trying to come up with one before I even get close?

It does kind of drive me nuts sometimes, which is why I avoid it. Maybe if I actually get that synopsis I've been talking so much about done, someone else will be able to look at it and come up with some ideas.

How do you guys come up with titles? Does it drive you insane? Is there such a thing as a perfect title?

15 November 2013

Dealing with Fear

Oh, you thought I was going to tell you how to handle your fear? No, no, I have no idea how to do that. It’s too scary. This is more of an outpouring of my fears. 

Everyone’s afraid of stuff. Like spiders (what the hell do they need all those legs for?). But as a writer and blogger, I’m afraid of lots of things. It’s not the obvious things, either. Like rejection. No, I expect that. I’m not afraid of it. I think I’m afraid of actually succeeding. I’m afraid of things changing. I let my anxiety get the better of me.

I’m afraid of my own drive. That it’s too much for me to handle. That I couldn’t possibly have all my ridiculous dreams and fantasies come true without curling up into a ball and hiding from them. I’m way too much of an introvert, and yet I fantasize about book signings and writing plays and movies and winning awards and giving speeches. How is that ever going to work?

I’m afraid that even I don’t understand this pull I have to write gay fiction. I’m afraid that I’m encroaching on a culture that I have no right to be a part of. That people are going to hate me for this story. That I have absolutely no idea how to make a difference, to show that this is something I really care about besides making up stories. How is that enough?

I’m afraid to share my obsessions. My quirks. My favorite music, books, TV shows. The random celebrities I love. What turns me on. All the little things that make me who I am. I don’t know why. I guess the obvious answer is the fear of being judged. Like I’m afraid about you getting to know me because you won’t understand the way I am.

And yes, I’m afraid of people reading my book. I’m afraid to even tell people what it’s about (I’m working on that synopsis, I swear). That doesn’t mean that I still don’t want them to read it. God, do I want them to. I’ve never had such passion for a story in my life. I just don’t understand that passion.

I'm also afraid I'll never finish this NaNo book. But if you're interested, I put up a quick little excerpt on my page on the NaNo site. Also, I just really want to share my favorite line of dialogue so far, spoken by Benny, the human love interest to my vampire protagonist: "It's like I'm living the gay version of Twilight...which, ironically, still isn't as gay as Twilight..." 

Oh, and my tickets came yesterday! I was going to take a picture of them for you but then I was afraid that would be too silly. Plus, see above for the part about obsessions. Now I just have to plan the whole rest of the trip! No pressure, right? I’ll get around to it...

What things are you afraid of? Heights? Clowns? Or ten thousand rejection letters? 

13 November 2013

The Sparkling Comment

Today I'm gonna talk about the influence of other people's comments on blog posts. And pimp some people out. 

But first! In case you were just dying to know, I did get my concert tickets. So Phase One of the Muse-iversary New York Adventure is complete! Phase Two was asking my boss if I could have President's Day off, so I could make it a two night trip and not be rushing around to only do one thing. He just sort of chuckled evilly and said, "As long as you work Valentine's Day..." Yeah, like I really thought I was getting out of that one, anyway. So Phase Two is complete. I'm not sure what Phase Three is at this point (Profit!), probably finding a hotel and getting bus tickets and blah blah blah. The more fun part is finding book-related things to do. Like, maybe a trip to the Met (do you think my boyfriend would mind? We've already been twice...). And a picnic in February is totally plausible, right? 

Geez I really have the tendency to ramble, don't I? 

So! Comments! If you're like me, you put a blog post out there and you spend the rest of the day stalking Blogger or your email for comments. I absolutely love getting comments. I crave them. It's fun to interact with other bloggers, and when someone leaves a comment it shows that they really took the time to read your post and put some thought into how they would respond. Plus, it gives me the chance to check out their blogs and learn something new, since I always like to return the favor. 

It's exciting to get a new person commenting. You've probably never seen their blog before so you have something new to check out. It's a good way to meet other bloggers. It's also just as great to have some bloggers who always check out your posts and leave a comment. You'll usually get some attention for your more insightful posts, but it's also nice to have people respond no matter what you're writing about. Quick shout out to two of my favorite blogging buddies, Aaron Browder and Casey Lynn Clark, who almost always leave a comment on my blog, even when I'm rambling about absolutely nothing. You guys are awesome!

I have an interesting story. Last Wednesday for my Insecure Writer's Support Group post (which you should also check out, by the way, it's the most awesome of all the blog hops), I talked about my insecurities over whether or not to let people read the first draft of my book. A lot of people have asked me, "When can I read it?" and I'm not sure if I'm ready. Since it was IWSG day, I got more comments than usual. And almost every single one said that I should get a second draft ready before giving it to anyone. I did want advice, because I was so uncertain, but I'll admit I was a little disappointed. I've been working on this story for a long time and I'd really like for people to read it. But after reading the advice of other writers, I thought, ok, they're right, it's not ready and I shouldn't give it out. 

But then I got one last comment. I was actually checking my email on my phone leaving work after a double. I had to stop and stare at it for a while. It was the sort of comment you don't get every day. It sparkled, it outshone all of the other comments that came before it. This comment was from David P. King, and I feel I have to share it to do it justice: 

This may sound awful and I don’t mean it to, but I’ve come to learn that there are many types of readers – some casual, some critical. And I tend to let my casual readers be my alphas and those who will dissect every last sentence my betas. This helps spot the obvious problems first and the tiny ones become more noticeable while editing the next draft. Do share your story with others, especially those who are willing to help…

Whoa. I was completely thrown back by this comment. David was saying what no one else was, and it made perfect sense to me. Why not let some people read? Most of the people who have asked to read are coworkers, who are just interested in the fact that I wrote a book at all, especially after my years of working on it. These are not people who are desperate to critique, who will be able to rip it apart. That's not even what I need right now. I'm perfectly capable of ripping it apart all on my own. Once I've fixed everything that I feel is wrong with it, that's when I'll need people to point out what I missed. 

Maybe what I need right now is just that sort of confidence boost of someone reading it at all. Even if it's complete garbage, if they find just one moment that they love, then it'll be worth it. If they find things wrong that I haven't noticed yet, that will be worth it, too. 

So I've made the decision to share, probably with the people who keep bugging me at work about it. I do need to do a tiny bit of editing, basically fix all the parts that I'd be embarrassed to have someone read. But nothing too extreme. I kinda just want to put it out there. I'm not sure who my beta readers will be yet, maybe I'll seek out some former coworkers from the bookstore who are avid writers and readers. Who knows? But at least right now I have a starting point. 

11 November 2013

Monday Morning Ramblings

I don't have any set topic for today and I've got a lot of things on my mind so I think a rambling post is in order.

I'm up way too early and having an anxiety attack. But the good kind. I'm waiting for tickets for the American Songbook series to go on sale. Technically, they go on sale tomorrow, but not if you like their Facebook page! So I'm just sitting here waiting. I have a hunch they'll go on sale at 10, but since they haven't actually said so, I must stalk the page all morning. I know, I'm a complete spaz. But if I get tickets to this particular show, I get to plan a really awesome trip to New York for my three year muse-iversary! (Since, you know, last year's was so successful and everything). Hey, when the universe tells you to do something, you don't question it.

The great thing about being up early, though, is that I get to watch Buffy.

Speaking of vampires, I guess I'll talk about my NaNo progress. As you can probably tell from my abundant enthusiasm, it's not going very well. I've had trouble focusing lately. Between that and work, I'm about 5,000 words behind of where I should be. If I can get back the same momentum I had on the first day, I should be able to get back on track. Right now it's kind of discouraging, though.

I realized something last night that could potentially be pretty awesome. I'm getting close to my 100th post here (this one is the 85th). And if (and this is a pretty big if) I post on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until I get there, my 100th post would be on Monday, December 16. And well, because I'm a spaz, remember? Why don't I just reschedule that for the day before, December 15, because guess what day that is! Yup, it's Jordan's birthday. If I could have my 100th post on my muse's birthday, well, that would be pretty damn awesome. The only problem is that I actually have to stick to my blogging schedule. I can't miss a single post. It's going to be tricky. It's going to take a lot of ideas and a lot more motivation. Because, that's right, the universe has spoken!

Do you think I can stick to my blogging schedule? Anyone else being a spaz about anything? Falling behind on NaNo? Or just watching Buffy? Crickets?

08 November 2013

Having Some NaNo Issues

I almost forgot to blog today! Work was blah, and I have to be back tomorrow morning at 7 for some lame meeting. Also, I sliced my thumb open last night on a can lid (not stitches worthy, but still pretty bad). So I'm only functioning with one good hand. Hey, I really don't mind reenacting scenes from my book, but the part where Jordan cuts his finger while chopping vegetables and blood gets everywhere--not my first choice! I do love that scene, though...

Anyhoo, I thought I'd check in with my NaNoWriMo progress. It WAS going really great, but I've fallen behind in the past few days. Not ridiculously behind, but I'm not exactly happy about it. Maybe the fact that my narrator has a weak voice is bothering me. I'm not exactly going for a masterpiece here, but I do want to get it done and I still want it to be a good story.

I pretty much know exactly what my problem is. I wrote the first two chapters in order, then started jumping around writing random scenes. Mostly the ones that I've been playing over in my mind since I came up with this story. Which is ok, I guess, in that I'm getting out the ideas I already have, and it's ok if I fill in the gaps later.

Well, it would be ok, if I wasn't already writing all the good parts. Seriously, all the violence, suspense, kidnappings, bad guy staking, and man on man snuggling (hey, I'm leaning more YA here, nothing too sexy). All of it! All the good parts! Guess what happens when I write all of the good parts? They're done! And I know what you're going to say, everything should at least be interesting, if not intense. I'm just worried about getting bored. I'm avoiding the flashbacks altogether. I know it's because I don't want to write them. But they're part of the characters' background stories that need to be told. If I don't add the flashbacks, you'd wonder why these characters are in the situation they're in, and how they became vampires in the first place.

I just don't want to write all the parts that I find interesting and then get bored and give up entirely. I guess that's why falling behind on the word count is discouraging. As long as I stay ahead, I'll have more motivation to finish. But why am I wasting my time writing this blog? I could be writing my NaNo book! See ya!

How is everyone else doing on their NaNo books? Having issues, too?

06 November 2013

Second Draft Woes

It's that time again! The first Wednesday of every month is the Insecure Writer's Support Group day. Check out Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog to learn more!

First Wed of Every Month

There’s plenty for me to be insecure about lately. I’m insecure about my NaNo book, but I think Jordan pretty much covered that on Monday. So I’m aware of what isn’t working, and I’m just trying to push through with it, hoping that my narrator grows a backbone.

What I’m really insecure about is diving in to the second draft of my newly finished novel. For several reasons. The first of which is that editing is scary! It’s so different from writing a first draft. The first draft is fun; it’s passionate. It’s all about words flying onto the page and not worrying about how perfect they are. Well, editing is more about hard work. It’s about getting those words to be perfect. I don’t even know if that’s possible. In poetry, people say that the work is never really done. A poet can even look at a piece they’ve published and think of ways to make it better. Is the same true for fiction? There’s a lot more to work with, so you’d think that every time you looked at one page you’d find a word or two to change. So when does it end?

I’m also nervous because I really want people to read my story, and I’ve had some people express interest in it, but I’m afraid to give it to them. I don’t know if I should wait until I have a second draft. But then I think, wouldn’t it be easier to combine my own edits with whatever critiques they have, rather than doing two revisions? But there are some portions that I know need to be fixed. There are some parts that embarrass me and I don’t want anyone to read yet. I know Chapter Eight needs a complete overhaul. The setting doesn’t feel developed enough. I’m still uncomfortable with the sex scene. And some of my potential readers are gay men, so I have this fear in the back of my mind that they’re going to tell me how wrong every single aspect is, not just with the sex scene, but with how the characters act and well, everything!

So I’m not sure what to do. Give my first draft out or fix everything that I know is wrong with it first? 

But I’m just dying to get some readers who aren’t my boyfriend who just says everything is wonderful. I’m having these fantasies of going into work and having someone come up to me and say, “I just finished Chapter Twelve and I hate you,” or “Oh my God…that fight scene…I was in tears!” I want it so bad. But what if I don’t get that? What if everyone hates it? Or thinks I’m some kind of weird pervert for coming up with it in the first place? 

I don't know what to do but I guess this is just the sort of thing I'll have to deal with when I actually publish it. Some people are going to love it, some will hate it. Some people will get what I was trying to say, others will think it's sick and wrong. I'm still hesitant to give it out even though I think for the most part it's a good story, just with a few hiccups. But I also feel I should give it out now while people are still interested, before they forget all about it and don't care anymore.

What do you think? Should I give out my first draft or edit first? Anyone else going through the second draft woes? 

04 November 2013

Jordan Takes Over: Creating a Voice

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

Sarah wanted to write a quick little paragraph to introduce this post but guess what? I get one post a month and it’s MINE. So no. No no no. I’m plenty good at explaining things.

But first, holy shit I haven’t posted since we finished the book! No one has given me any credit! You know it’s not entirely my fault that it took so long, right? But we won’t get into that. I mean, yeah, the end was tough, but I don’t think everyone is just peachy spilling their guts over how they lost their virginity. So there. But yeah, it’s done! I won’t get into the second draft woes. She’ll probably write about that on Wednesday. *heavy sigh*

So I guess we’re taking a break to write about VAMPIRES. Ugh. Whatever. It’s only a month. But it’s kind of like being in a relationship with someone for a while and then they turn to you and say, “Oh by the way, honey, I love this super lame thing and you have to love it, too!” And you’re stuck.

But anyway, we’ve been writing away on this thing for only three days and she’s already having doubts about it. I mean, like, put on the brakes and give up sort of doubts. Because she’s got good ideas, but they’re just not translating to the page the way she wanted. As usual, I figured out the problem right away. And it’s all about voice.

The problem is the narrator, Alex. He’s a wimp. He’s not even a good vampire and he can’t decide who or what he’s attracted to—boys, girls, or just someone whose blood smells tasty. He refuses to kill anyone and that’s really what gets him into trouble with the bad guy, who’s still nameless, by the way. Needless to say, I don’t like him. And I had absolutely nothing to do with creating him, thank you very much.

The other characters are cool. Jackelyn is the best—she used to be a slayer who tried to kill Alex and when he beat her instead of letting her die he turned her into a vampire. So since they’re eternally linked or whatever, or because she just wants to annoy him to get revenge, they live together. And she kinda still wants to kill him. Benny, the love interest, isn’t exactly a strong character, but he’s well developed. He’s sort of fragile and naïve, and he was abused as a kid and is afraid of the dark. I mean, come on, you’re dating a vampire and you’re afraid of the dark? That’s some complex stuff right there. Oh, and the baddy is just sadistic for the sake of being sadistic. Who doesn’t love that?

I’m getting off track here. I’m supposed to be talking about voice. Your character’s voice is never gonna come to you instantly. No, not even mine. When Sarah first wrote the short story about me, guess what? It sounded like a girl’s voice. It takes a while to craft a unique voice. The first step with me was to just throw in a bunch of f-bombs and then we worked from there. Now it’s hard for her to NOT write in my voice. It’s like second nature. It’s probably because I’m so awesome. Does my voice annoy you? I’m not as bad in the book, I swear.

So I know why this book is bothering her so much. Alex doesn’t have his own voice yet. Sure, it’s fine for the character to be wishy-washy because that’s something for him to overcome. But his voice shouldn’t be, and right now it is. There’s nothing very striking about it, nothing to distinguish him from anybody else. But honestly, we’re probably not going to make it perfect AND get the whole book done within a month. The best thing we can do is make the story interesting, and then if she wants to go back and edit, then we can craft the voice into something better.

But if she keeps WORRYING about it, then nothing is going to get done. Nothing. We just need to go with it.


01 November 2013

NaNo is Here! Gay Vampires, Shorter Chapters, and Why I'll Always Be a Pantser

The time has come! It’s finally November 1!!! The first day of NaNoWriMo. I’m so excited to finally be doing this. I just hope I’ll have enough time to get it done.

I guess I’ll start by revealing the plot of my NaNo book, since I’ve been so psychotically secretive about it. You might as well know it all. Here’s the synopsis I’ll be posting on my NaNo page for Blood Lust (Blech. Titles. Why do they vex me so?):

Alex is still breaking in his fangs. The vampire who made him is long gone, and he’s stuck with Jackelyn, his psychotic protégé—a former slayer who may still want to kill him. With only two years of being a vampire, he’s taking immortality one night at a time. But after saving a boy from a group of bullies, everything changes. Benny is shy and a little damaged. And he’s gay. For some reason Alex feels drawn to him, and is now forced to question his sexuality along with his existence. When he finally accepts the relationship for what it is, a new threat arises when an older vampire comes into town, wanting to probe into every aspect of Alex’s life. Now Alex must protect his human companion and prove his love, not only to an unbeatable enemy, but to himself.

Thaaaaaaaaaaat’s right. I’m combining my love of fantasy with my love of gay fiction. Someone had to have seen this coming. Besides my sixteen-year-old self. This all started with a really bad short story that I wrote, and then I tried to develop the characters more, but it just never worked out. But it always stayed in the back of my mind, and now I feel like I’ve finally figured it all out.

Obviously my NaNo book is going to be completely self-indulgent. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think it’s a good story. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, plotting out scenes in my mind, repeating lines of dialogue over and over so that I would remember them. But I haven’t written down a single word. I’m really a pantser when it comes to writing a book. I don’t like to outline. I don’t usually even write in order.

My favorite thing about a new story is to imagine the scenes in my head like a movie, sort of indulging myself with the story before I write it down. If you can’t enjoy your own ideas, then how can you expect other people to enjoy them? The images will usually plague me until I get the words down, and then they’ll be gone. Since these scenes will relentlessly bother me until they’re written, I don’t really worry about forgetting them. It’s actually bittersweet to write them down and let them go, but I can always go back and reread.

For a while I’ve thought about plotting out Blood Lust, maybe making an outline or just writing down ideas for a few scenes. But every time I tried, it just didn’t feel right. Because that’s really not my style. And I’ve learned not to fight my instincts when it comes to writing. They’re usually right.

Some good news! On the editing front, I had an intense two days of marking up my manuscript, and managed to get through the whole thing. It was like editing boot camp, with the muse as a drill instructor, screaming, “What do you mean you’re hungry????!! Food is for wimps! Pick up the goddamn pen!!!” (Side note, Jordan says he could never be a real drill instructor. Too much distracting eye candy.) Surprisingly, there aren’t really any scenes that I feel need to be cut. Several that need to be rewritten of course, or trimmed down, but everything feels necessary to the story.

What I have realized is that my chapters are waaaaaaaaaay too long. I need to break them up. For the most part, I think each individual scene could work as its own chapter. My next step before rewriting will be an outline of sorts (gasp!), writing down each scene with a brief summary, maybe on notecards. I’ll be able to see what scenes can stand on their own, maybe shuffle a few around, and, the most exciting part, writing a few new scenes to fill in the gaps. If I can somehow manage to balance this with NaNoWriMo, I think I’ll have a second draft by the end of the year. Then I’ll probably get some readers and maybe even start querying. Ahh! Scary times.

Well, I’ve got to start cranking out my NaNo book. I’ve got work all this weekend, so I’m aiming for 3,000 words then I’ll do a lot more during the week. Of course, Jordan will be taking over on Monday for his monthly post. I have no idea what he’ll be writing about, so that probably means he doesn’t either. Now that’s scary.