24 April 2017

Nonsense Pile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No really. I'm done.

10 April 2017

Sometimes You Need "More"

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

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

No, really, it's a lot. 

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

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

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

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

05 April 2017

So Long, Symbolism!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

03 April 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


27 March 2017

Edits, Edits, Edits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20 March 2017

Reading Your Own Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

13 March 2017

Playing Catch Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06 March 2017

Jordan Takes Over: A Crash Course in Musing

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

Ok, people, we're gonna do things a little differently today, so everybody be quiet and pay attention! Because my life apparently isn't crazy enough, I'm here to offer tips to the beginner or wannabe muse. Or for you writers out there, a more in depth look of what exactly is going on with your most favorite (just try and call us) imaginary friends. So! Where are my pupils??

*Adam waves frantically*

Just one??? Oh, by the way, I'm training Adam as my backup for when Sarah's being annoying and I want a nap. She's not going to like it, but, uh, tough something or other.

Adam: We've got a student/teacher thing going on here.

Been there, done that. Ok, one student. *sigh* Fine. First lesson! Let's talk about the ABNs of musing.

Adam: Don't you mean ABCs?

First of all, how about raising a hand when you have a question, Mr. uhhh...do you have a last name yet?

Adam: No.

Of course not. Mr. Perfect Hair. Anyway, no! The ABNs. Always Be Napping. This is crucial. A muse needs his beauty sleep. Or, you know, hers, because I guess most muses are girls but we're working for a psycho over here. Either way, beauty sleep! How can you be providing your best inspiration if you're tired and groggy? I'd say at least 22 hours a day. Are you writing this down?

Adam:....You never said to take notes....

Moving on! The next lesson is about spontaneity. If your writer is getting all their stuff together, finishing her coffee, booting up the laptop, getting the pencils and paper lined up, is that the perfect time to provide inspiration?

Adam: Well, I would think s--

WRONG! Of course not! You can't just give ideas when they're expecting them! Where's the fun in that? Where's the passion? We're not freaking robots over here! It's best to be completely random when providing inspiration. Whenever you feel like it, really, but never when they're expecting it. Now, when are the best times to provide inspiration?

Adam: Oh, wait, I know this! Uh...when she's falling asleep or when she's in the shower.

CORRECT. You've been paying attention!

Adam: ...Why are those the best times, exactly?

That's just the way it is. We don't ask questions about it. Lesson number three: withholding stuff. We can't just give it all away. That would make us sluts, now wouldn't it?

Adam: Uh..........

I mean with muse stuff! Get your mind out of the gutter. Save that for after class. Anyway, you always want to make your writer work for their inspiration and information. It shouldn't always be easy. Got a piece of information that she needs? Don't tell her! Make her think about it for months, maybe even years before you finally give it up. Like our band's name, for example.

Adam: Oh, you mean--

Shhhhhhhhh! Spoilers! We're not there yet!

Finally, lesson number four: something a bit unexpected. The complete and total onslaught of inspiration. This can be fun but also very exhausting. (Just remember lesson one!) When you're feeling up to providing a decent amount of inspiration, just go for the extreme. Hit them with everything you've got. Don't let them sleep or eat or do anything except write. Make it physically painful for them not to be writing. Every single thought and every single second should be about the story. Basically it's a giant torture session but with a really good payoff.

Thus concludes our first class. What have we learned?

Adam: Uh...I think being a muse is basically just being a jerk.

Yeah, pretty much. Until next class! If there is a next class. If I remember. If I'm awake.


01 March 2017

Secure but Overwhelmed

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

This came up on me way too fast. February always seems to end so abruptly that I forget it's even happening. I almost forgot to pay a credit card bill, mail my rent, and yes, write this blog post. Usually you get a few extra days each month but February likes to trick me.

So what the heck do I write about? I'm actually not feeling all that insecure. Overwhelmed at times, maybe, but not insecure. Well, there's always the optional question! This month's is: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?



Ok, I guess I'll talk about the overwhelming stuff.

I have about a gazillion things to do for the anthology. I have to do my final edits. I haven't written anything for the joint blog yet, and I have interview questions for pretty much everyone to write. Plus we're trying to set up a blog tour and do more marketing stuff.

SPEAKING OF WHICH. We have a sign up form for the blog tour! I literally finished it while writing this post!!! Because I wanted to include it! Look at the exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, click HERE to sign up! The tour is going to run from May 2 through May 31. There are a few different options for posts. If you sign up for a review, we'll hook you up with the publisher to get a review ebook copy.

It can be really hard to balance real life and all of the stuff I need and want to do. I'm halfway through my edit of Chapter 5 for Uneven Lines. The end of the chapter needs a bit of work (which is a little frustrating since the first half was pretty much perfect). So I've kind of been avoiding it since I want a large chunk of time to sit down and figure it out. Usually I have too much to do or I'm just too tired after work.

So I've been working on Shiny New Story quite a bit. I guess I'll take any progress with writing as a win. I really really like it, even though it's super complicated (yeah, because UL is simple *pfft*). I love my characters and I want to hug them. But I swear to God, I cannot write a story without a secret romance to save my life. Can't do it! I've never had nor wanted a secret romance why do I keep doing this???

Well, that's about it. I set my alarm for 5 AM every morning but I always wake up at 4:37. EVERY DAY. I don't know what that is either.

Ever feel overwhelmed? What time do you wake up in the morning? 

27 February 2017

Balancing Multiple POVs (with Flashbacks!)

Things are complicated here in Shiny New Story Land. The good news is that I think I've actually figured a couple things out. It has to do with the order of the chapters. Since I'm dealing with two first-person POV characters, as well as action happening in the present and the past, it seemed a little daunting before I even started planning it.

A big factor about this story is that there's a secret that I want to keep from the reader until about halfway through the book. The thing that bothered me is that it seemed strange for both characters to actively be keeping the secret from the reader. Character A has more people in his life and needs to try harder to keep the secret, so I thought he would be more likely to have his walls up, even to the reader. I think if Character B was by himself, which he often is, he would have no reason to hide it from the reader. Plus, when the secret gets revealed, I thought it would be odd for both of them to suddenly be open about it when they weren't before. They're not the same person so having them act the same way will not help the book.

That's when I realized I didn't actually need Character B's point of view in the present. Not yet, anyway. There's really nothing that happens to him that's very interesting. It's his flashbacks that matter, at least until later on in the story when the more suspenseful moments begin. So I figured out a plan.

Here is what I think I'm going to do. For the first half of the book, it will go:
  • Character A Present
  • Character A Flashback
  • Character B Flashback
And will continue in that order. Character B will only get flashback scenes for the first half of the book. Then when we get about halfway through, the BIG GIANT SECRET REVEAL happens. It will go something like this:
  • Character A Present--secret is heavily implied but not actually stated (if the reader doesn't get it then I haven't done my job, or they have serious problems paying attention)
  • Character A Flashback--origin of secret is stated and discussed 
  • Character B--Present--secret is confirmed again from his point of view 
This is where things switch up. Character B will get his first present POV chapter to basically confirm the secret. From here on out, the chapters will go like this:
  • Character B Present
  • Character B Flashback
  • Character A Present
Basically I'm trading Character A's flashbacks for Character B's present. Ok, that may be a little confusing. Character A's flashbacks were pretty much just leading up to the secret reveal. After that, there really isn't anything to tell from his past. Character B, however, still needs flashbacks because his past story will keep going up until pretty much the very end. But now I need his POV in the present when things start to change. And now he can be open about the secret because it's not a secret anymore (to the reader, at least). 

I still can't decide how I'm going to differentiate between the past and the present chapters. I'm sure the pattern will help a little, but since I'm going to switch it up halfway through, I know I need some more indicators. For the character POVs, I'll most likely just put their name as the chapter name. But for the past vs. present, I'm not so sure. I could write the present chapters in present tense, and past in past tense. But I really just think I suck at present tense so I'm not so sure. 

There are a few other options, I guess. I could put the characters' ages at the beginning of the chapters. A is 18 in the present and B is 23. A's first flashback starts at 16, but B's start when he was 14. Since B's flashbacks cover a long amount of time, I know I have to show when they're happening. Or I could add something like, "9 years ago," "7 years ago." I'm not quite sure yet. I'd like to read some books that have a good amount of flashbacks and see what those authors have done. It won't really affect how I write the different story lines, just how they're formatted, so I can keep writing as I'm figuring it out. 

The good news is that I *think* I've come up with names for my characters. I'm not 100% certain but I'll start writing with them and see if they stick. These characters have been particularly difficult when it comes to giving me their names, and considering the fact that the most difficult character ever gave me his name right away, it's been frustrating. Characters can be jerks. 

Ok, this was probably super confusing since I'm the only one who actually knows what's happening in the book! But what can I do? The characters aren't the only ones who have to keep secrets! ;)

20 February 2017

Don't Avoid the Edits

Do you ever avoid doing something forever because you dread how difficult it's going to be? And then when you finally buckle down and do it, it turns out to be the easiest thing ever? Welcome to my life.

So I literally have on foot in Shiny New Story Land and the other in Editing My Novel City. It's confusing. I shouldn't be doing it. But since both stories are occupying my mind, I figure, what the hell? Go for it. Since most of the time I'm not doing much of anything, I want to take advantage of the sudden surge in creativity.

Last Thursday, I managed to edit Chapter Four of Uneven Lines. I've been avoiding it for quite some time. I can't actually remember when I got through Chapter Three. There was an actual legitimate reason for my avoidance though: MATH. No, really, look. Chapter Four has an actual diagram of angles for a math problem:

Ok, the novel doesn't have Instagram filters (I'm sure that'll be a thing someday, though). But yes, actual math. Here's the thing. I don't like math. I was relatively good at it in high school but I never liked it. And I didn't have to take any math courses in college. So anything that isn't basic everyday knowledge flew out of my brain a long time ago. But I made the fantastic decision to have math be a factor in my novel. Genius, right?? *cough*

So, I thought this chapter was going to be a nightmare to edit. To sum up the chapter, my characters are solving a geometric proof and flirting at the same time (did I mention my book is crazy? I love it). I've always been afraid that it would make no sense to anyone who doesn't have a whole lot of math knowledge (someone like, I dunno, myself). While I adore this chapter and think it does so much for the story, I worry it may not make complete sense to everyone. And that's why I've been avoiding it: I didn't know how to fix it.

Well, when I finally sat down and put red pen to paper, it turns out there really wasn't much to fix. If you look at the same exact scene in the first draft, it is a hot mess. It's just there; it isn't doing anything symbolic or intricate or even moving the story forward, really. When I rewrote it for the second draft, I cracked down on it like a crazy person. I somehow figured out what the scene needed to be doing and made it happen. But somewhere along the way I forgot. Silly me.

I kinda had to trust all the math stuff knowing that when I first wrote it I actually did the work and the research to make sure that actual problem is correct. There are words like "congruent" and "transversal" thrown around in this scene and after being away from it for a while, I'm just like, yeah, sure, ok. Math. Does the reader have to be a math expert to get this scene? I don't think so. I think it's doing way more than just showing you a math problem and that's just what's on the surface to make the scene happen in the first place.

And when I went through every page? Not a whole lot to edit. Some line by line fixes. One page had so many instances of the word "So" that it made my head spin a little. I get why they were there; there is a lot of dialogue that starts like, "So now we..." or "So how do we..." Yada yada. But I neatened it up a bit so that they're only there when necessary. My biggest change of the chapter was actually the very last line. Something about it always bothered me and when I figured out the solution I went a little crazy with joy. It was kind of like it had been staring me in the face the whole time but I couldn't see it.

So maybe from now on I won't avoid editing just because I think it's going to be hard. Because chances are it won't be as bad as I fear. Until I get to the last third of the book which needs to be completely rewritten, of course, but I'll worry about that when I get to it...

14 February 2017

Abducted Life Release Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I'm going to overdose on chocolate and also not go out with the hubby because I used to work in a restaurant and I'm not insane (well...). Today also happens to be the release day for Patricia Josephine's new book, Abducted Life! I've already got it on my Kindle, so once I wander out of Shiny New Story Land, I can't wait to read it! Check it out!

Savannah Janowitz’s perfect life was destroyed the night she and her boyfriend vanished without a trace. When she reappears a year later––alone––she’s a shell of her former self. Robbed of her popularity and her boyfriend, she has no memory of what happened to her. Savannah struggles to move forward as strange, new abilities manifest.

Evan Sullivan never gave extra-terrestrials much thought until the night he and Savannah were abducted. While Savannah’s memory was wiped clean, he remembers every horrific detail. Constantly reminded of the experiments that made him less than human, Evan hides in the shadows and watches Savannah rebuild her life without him. But neither can let the other go.

When their paths cross, Savannah and Evan finally see a glimmer of their old lives return. As they face what happened to them, they soon discover they aren’t safe. There’s more to fear than what’s hiding in the stars.

Available for 99cents at Amazon.

About the Author

Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

You can find her lurking on Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Wattpad. Find the latest news at her website or sign up for her newsletter. A link to all her books can be found here.

13 February 2017

What to Do About Flashbacks

Greetings from Shiny New Story Land! Where I should definitely not be residing. Where the story is so shiny and so new that the characters don't even have names yet! But they have made out a few times! (Priorities!) But seriously, it kind of feels like being a fugitive on the run. I'm currently hiding from the You-Should-Be-Editing-Your-Novel-Squad and the Federal Bureau of Anthology Blogging and Marketing. I'll have to assume a new identity.

The good news is that I'm actually using Scrivener for this book and trying to plan it out before I really get into writing it. But of course, this story is already complicated and I'm trying to figure out how exactly I should write it. The dual POVs may be tricky at first since I've never actually written that way, but I think once I get the voices down it should go more smoothly. So what I really haven't figured out are the flashbacks.

I'm not sure I've ever written an actual flashback. I've had characters quickly reference things that have happened in the past, maybe even a dream sequence or two, but never an actual whole scene that takes place in the past. It's not really the actual writing of the scene that seems difficult, but how it should be placed alongside the scenes that are taking place in the present. I know they can be distracting and jarring if not done correctly (or even done correctly). But with the way I want to set up this story, I need a lot of them.

I realized that I am basically telling three stories at once. There's everything that's happening in the present, which will be from both characters' points of view. Then there's Character A's flashbacks, which are pretty much all about how the characters met and formed a relationship. Then we have Character B's flashbacks, which are all about his troubled past. They all kind of collide when some people from Character B's past come back to cause some more trouble.

So far I think there will be a lot of flashbacks in the first half of the book, not so many (or perhaps shorter ones) towards the end. I'm just not sure where to place them. Should I break up each chapter into half present action/ half flashback (depending on how long the flashback needs to be). Should each flashback just be its own chapter? Do I put the flashbacks in italics or do I write the present action in present tense and the flashbacks in past? I've never been that good at writing present tense so I'm a little wary of this, although I do think it would make it much clearer for the reader (and reading all those italics could be annoying). And of course, I have to do all this not for one, but two characters.

So how the heck do I tell three stories at once without it being distracting? Am I already setting myself up for failure? I have no idea yet! I think I should find some books that rely on flashbacks as well as some writing tips or articles on the subject. Otherwise I'll just keep mapping out the story and try to figure out what works.

06 February 2017

Jordan Takes Over: Mix it Up (Also, I'm Not a Girl)

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

Look, I feel like there’s been some confusion for people who don’t regularly stop in here (I know the regs know waaaaaaaaaay better. Especially anyone who’s been to a Muse Party and had to deal with my sass in person). But it seems that every so often whenever I make my monthly post, someone comes along and leaves a comment that calls me Miss or Ms. Muse. Well, I’m just gonna have to put my foot down here.  

I’m not a girl. I am, in fact, a guy. I could explain this more graphically if you’d like, but Sarah says I have to keep it PG. And I thought I was allowed PG-13!! Not fair. 

Now I understand where some of the confusion may have started. I don’t really blame you if you just stopped in one day never having heard about me before and just assumed that I’m a girl. Well, first of all, this blog belongs to a girl. Most muses you hear about are also girls. And of course I have a name that could be a girl’s or a guy’s. So sure, fine, I’ll cut you some slack.

Or perhaps you were confused by me talking about a boyfriend or a hot guy or something. Well…you can do math, can’t you? (Let’s not talk about me and math. That’s a looooooooooooong story).

Plus, you can’t actually see me. But remember the Anti-Valentine’s Day Muse Party? With the cartoons? In which I am so clearly a guy?? Remember???? Here, I'll refresh your memory (this is also a fairly accurate representation of my relationship with Sarah): 

She's the one in the pink dress, if that wasn't clear. I don't like pink.

Why does this require an entire blog post, you say? I’m not just whining here, I swear. And it is not because of my "fragile masculinity," no matter what Sarah tells you. Yes, I can have that. Doesn't mean that I do.

Well, because writers can write about whatever the hell they want. And they can write from whatever character’s point of view that they want. So just because a writer is a girl doesn’t mean her first person narrators all have to be girls, too. She can write from a guy’s POV. Or vice versa, of course. If writers could only write about characters who were exactly like them, that would be soooooo boring! Blech. Ugh. No thanks.

That whole "write what you know" advice can be complete crap, really. What, are you all just supposed to write autobiographies? Have a little diversity, people. Mix things up. Write from someone's point of view that's different from you. Write about things that never happened to you. Research exists for a reason, right? I mean, sure, my life story would probably be pretty interesting (not trying to brag or anything), but is everyone's? Who wants a boring story? NO ONE. Duh. 

So, in conclusion: write whatever characters you want. Also, I am not—I repeat—NOT a girl.


01 February 2017

The Anthology Where It Happens

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

This post is kinda sorta a sequel to another IWSG post called "Wait For It." Ok, so the references will make a lot more sense if you've listened to/seen (you lucky duck! *side eye to my August tickets which may or may not be chained in a briefcase to my wrist*) the musical Hamilton. Because when it comes to my writing, how I go about it, how I deal with motivation, I am, in fact, Aaron Burr. 

Ok, so you may be scratching your head even if you know the musical inside and out. Basically, I would call myself a hesitator. I do not actively seek out inspiration, I don't even push myself very hard to get any writing done--even though I want to, and I do want great things to happen with my writing. And I do get terribly frustrated seeing other writers succeed and thinking, why can't I have that? All the while knowing deep down the answer is that I'm barely even trying. 

Still with me? Horribly depressed now? Don't worry, we'll fix that. This story has a happy ending (and does not end with a duel). 

So, you all know about the IWSG anthology. We'll talk about this year's in a bit. I actually have to go back to last year's anthology to tell this tale. When they first presented it, I thought maybe I would enter. I bounced around a few story ideas but didn't feel that strongly about them, so I didn't write anything and didn't enter. Obviously, you can't win if you don't enter. Of course, I was happy for the authors who won and were published, but I couldn't help thinking, what if? 

I put the thoughts aside for about a year, that is, until they announced the theme and deadline for the second anthology contest. I didn't have a concrete idea in mind right away, but I thought, I have to enter. Why would I want to be on the outside looking in over and over again? I can't get anywhere if I don't even try. So it was a bit of an epiphany. 

(I wanna be in the room where it happens, the room where it happens...err, I mean, anthology. You get it). 

The thing was, once I actually started plotting out my story, I just had this feeling. If I could get it done, and edit the crap out of it, I really did think I stood a chance to get in. And for once I was not horribly wrong. I did get in! It was good! I was no longer on the outside looking in! There may have been some dancing.

And you know why? Because I actually tried. Because not only did I put my mind to it (because ideas come easily to me), but I actually motivated myself until I pulled it off. I didn't just sit around and wait for an opportunity to come to me. I had to actually get it for myself. So, there you have it. 


On a related note, all of the authors for the Hero Lost anthology have created a website you can find here! There's lots of info on all of the authors and our stories. We should be adding some regular blog posts pretty soon, too!

30 January 2017

How to Immediately Over-complicate a Story

Do you like a simple story? Something straightforward, completely linear, no fuss, no muss? Well, this post may not be for you! But stick around for some exciting information and maybe you, too, can come up with a ridiculously complicated story before you even write the first word!

Ok, so maybe that's not a great selling point. But over-complicating a story is just kinda what I do. What's unusual this time is that I haven't even started writing it yet.

So getting a new story idea could not come at a worse time for me. I really just want to be working on my third draft for UL, and I've got a lot of anthology nonsense to work on. I just do not have time to be working on something new, or even something different. But the universe had other plans, because I just got a shiny new story idea. And boy, is it shiny! Meaning:terribly distracting.

I actually got this story idea from a dream I had last week. There were two characters who were in an interesting situation, and when I thought about it afterwards, it was like: "Huh. Now why would they be in this situation? What has led up to it? Where do they go from here?" And so I kept thinking. And before I knew it, a plot started rapidly unfolding. The beginning of the story wasn't completely clear, but the middle and end seemed pretty solid, and actually, exciting. I couldn't stop thinking about it (SHINY!!!).

Here's where it gets complicated. Based on the whole interesting-thing-about-my-characters'-relationship-that-makes-me-want-to-know-more-and-hopefully-the-readers-too factor, I know my story actually has to start in the middle. Why? Ok, I'll break it down. Basically one of main characters begins the story by telling the reader that he has two secrets. I'm thinking one of the secrets gets revealed during the first chapter. The other secret, however, I want to keep from the reader until maybe halfway through the book. I'll drop hints, of course, but I want there to be a reveal and have them go, "WAIT. WHAT?" Because why not??

So there's that. So basically the secret happens before the book even begins. I'm thinking there will need to be some flashbacks to explain how my characters got to this point. But that's not the only thing that makes it complicated. I know I have to have two POV characters. I really dislike doing it in most cases and try to pick a character to be the narrator, but in this case, I really think it has to be two. During some of the more suspenseful moments, my characters are split up, so you'll have to know what's going on with each of them. Plus one of my characters has a very complicated past and I know that will be the focus of most of his flashbacks. The other character doesn't really know that much about it but it will be important to the story.

So: two different POVs. Plus flashbacks. For both of them. Sounds easy, right? I don't know why I do these things to myself. But it's soooooooo shiny...

23 January 2017

Hero Lost Cover Reveal!!!!

So this cover reveal today is awesome for many reasons. First of all, I didn't have the brain capacity for a blog post today! Since I worked this weekend, I'm exhausted and brain dead. I'm way behind on my reading goal and don't even get me started on the whole working on my novel thing. I'm trying to keep up with the promotion plans for this book, but to be honest, I'm a little overwhelmed. I also have to do laundry today. I think I need a day just to breathe (and sleep).

But anyway, the more awesome reason is that the cover is here for the Hero Lost anthology! In which I am one of the authors! I still can't really believe it. I think I'll have a post for February's IWSG that will go more in depth with how I made the decision to write my story and submit it (and will actually kinda be a sequel to an older post--weird).

But I'll stop rambling. HERE IT IS!!!

Hero Lost
Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption!

Release date: May 2, 2017

16 January 2017

Why are Girls Bad Kissers? (or, Symbolism After the Fact)

I find there are two different ways that symbolism pops up within my stories. Either I plan it ahead of time and figuring everything out before I even write it, or it just shows up on its own and then I have to dissect these moments and maybe even flesh them out so that the symbolism actually makes sense. Funnily enough, it's usually the latter. For the most part, I don't plan out symbolism. It just happens. 

When I say "symbolism" I actually mean a few different things. It can be actual symbols--an object or something that occurs and represents something else. Or it can be other things. Moments that connect over the course of the story. A similar theme or idea popping up over and over again. Really just anything extra that makes you stop and go, "huh." It means more than what is just there on the surface. 

But anyway, I'm getting off track. You're probably wondering what the heck this has to do with girls being bad kissers. I realized that while there are only two teenage girl characters in UL (and only one of them gets real page time), they had something in common. Jordan just had to tell the reader what sloppy kissers they were. 

I honestly don't even know where that came from. And it's definitely not supposed to be some kind of "Oh, he's only gay because every girl he kisses is terrible at it!" thing. No no no no no. I'm definitely not in the position to be giving any wrong impressions in this book. So why the bad kissing? In the first chapter he mentions going on one date with this girl Kristen, who is--obviously--a bad kisser. Later on in the book he actually does start going at it with another girl, Madison--also a bad kisser (until he shows her what's what). 

So. What exactly was I supposed to do with this nonsense? Cut it? Only have one of them be a bad kisser? It just seemed like a weird thing to keep mentioning, and really wasn't all that necessary of a detail (especially for Kristen). 

I actually went in a different direction with my thought process. I thought about the main female character--Jordan's mom. It's pretty obvious throughout the book that she's a neglectful mother. I don't think she ever would have kissed her son, even when he was a baby. So what the heck does that have to do with my sloppy kissers??

Well, these are really the only three women mentioned in the book. I figured that maybe there was a way for some kind of symbolism to happen here (especially because I love things that come in threes for this book). The final scene with Jordan's mom has always been a big fight, although it's going to change a lot from the last draft and I still have to figure out what to do with it. But the basic idea is that she betrays Jordan in some way and he feels he can never forgive her. So I was thinking, what if in her desperation during this moment, to get his forgiveness and actually be a good mother, maybe she tries to kiss him--on the forehead, cheek, maybe even the hand--just something. And he still rejects her. I think it could be a powerful moment if done right. 

So I'm definitely still figuring it out. But I think there's something there. I think the bad kissing girls can be more about building up to the moment with the mother rather than having anything to do with sexuality or that sort of intimacy. Hopefully it will be fun to figure out and not too much of a struggle!

09 January 2017

Speed Up or Slow Down?

I've been having a predicament when it comes to editing lately. Ok, I've had several predicaments over the course of editing this novel, but one in particular seems relevant right now. I finally finished up my Chapter 3 edits and Chapter 4 should be relatively easy (just line by line edits, no major changes--hopefully I can get it done in one day). So that brings me to Chapter 5, and also to my predicament.

Well, technically it's about Chapter 5 and Chapter 6. They've always gone pretty much the same way. In Chapter 5, my characters admit that they're attracted to one another. In Chapter 6, one of the characters reveals a darker secret, and then my narrator is left wondering what to do with all of this information.

My concern with this is that I've been feeling like Chapter 6 may be slowing the story down. It's basically just a giant conversation. The information is important, but I've wondered if it really needs an entire chapter to get the point across. So what I wanted to do was take all of the important bits and move them onto the end of Chapter 5 instead. Then the story could keep going at a faster pace.

Well, that's what I planned on doing, anyway. Now that the moment is finally approaching, I'm not so sure if it's the right decision anymore. There's already a lot going on in Chapter 5. Every part of the story beforehand has basically been leading to this moment. So it's a lot to deal with already. Then the information in Chapter 6 is a lot to take in as well. So maybe it's too much to put into just one chapter.

There's also what happens after these chapters. Basically a decision has to be made and I'm worried if I combine these chapters that the decision happens way too quickly. Maybe it won't seem realistic anymore if the action is sped up. There's a thought process involved and if I speed up that process it may seem irrational.

So what to do? Speed it up or slow it down? I'm leaning toward the latter at this point, AKA keeping exactly the way it's always been (just writing it better, of course). That way--hopefully--the reader won't be overwhelmed and wondering what exactly is going on.

04 January 2017

The Year in Which I Do Stuff

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

So it's that time of year where everyone is making goals and resolutions. I'm usually on the fence about creating them, because I tend not to follow through on actual goals. But this year, I would really like to make some accomplishments. So here are the goals:

1. Finish the third draft of Uneven Lines. 
I'm pretty sure I've had some version of this goal for the last six years (for the 1st and 2nd drafts), and probably this exact goal last year (and the year before...). I think I want to finish it by the summer (maybe June-July), although I wouldn't be opposed to anytime sooner than that, and get some actual beta readers for it. Then once it's done figure out what to do with it.

2. Get back into blogging.
In 2015 I went a little psycho and blogged every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Last year I didn't blog much at all. I'd like to blog every Monday at least. I really have no idea what's been going on with other bloggers lately, too, so I'd like to make sure I visit everyone more often and branch out more to new blogs. I'm on the fence about doing the A to Z Challenge this year. I actually do have an idea that won't be a ridiculous amount of work and could be fun, but I'm just not sure if I'll have the time.

3. Do NaNoWriMo.
I know, this is waaaaaay in advance, but I figure I need to start thinking about it now. I've halfheartedly made this a goal a few times before, but I've never accomplished it. I've never even come close. So this year, I'd like to do it. AND: I want to write the sequel to Uneven Lines for it. That's why I want to start planning it now. I want to make sure I have every detail mapped out before I start writing. There's also a bit of research involved so I'd like to get that done before writing rather than sorting it out after.

4. Read 100 books. 
I've made this goal before, and I know it's incredibly unrealistic. But I still want to try it. Last year I only read 3 books (one of which was a reread), which was pretty pathetic. While I'm not exactly sure if I'll reach 100, I'd like to get closer than ever before. I'd like to read all of the books I already own, and not just fiction--nonfiction, poetry, etc. I think if I have a few books going at once it may help. We'll see.

5. Watch 100 new movies.
I've made this goal before but I've never actually achieved it, even though it would be much easier than the 100 books goal. Last year I only watched 48 movies, which was way less than my usual low 80s from the two years before. If I watch one movie every three days or so, this should be pretty easy. Only movies I've never seen before count.

6. Have an awesome 30th birthday.
Ok, so it's not until August, but I'm already trying to plan it. Well, because for Christmas, my husband got me Hamilton tickets (!!!!!!!!!) for the day after, and I bought tickets for the Amelie musical on my birthday. That's all I have so far, but I have lots and lots of time to plan everything else. I'm hoping to travel to NY the day before my birthday and leave two days after.

So that's it, pretty much. I would like to look into publishing some smaller things (like all those poems that have been sitting around collecting dust), lose some weight (and keep it off!), organize my apartment, yada yada. The really good news is that I've actually started out the year with a big accomplishment, but I think you'll read about that somewhere else...*insert evil laugh* Hopefully I can take the momentum and run with it.

Do I have terribly unrealistic goals? What are your goals for the new year?

02 January 2017

Jordan Takes Over: What'd I Miss

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

I just want everyone to know that Sarah picked the title for this post. Because she's nuts. I will not be dancing around and singing like Thomas Jefferson, thank you very much. Well, I could sing, if you ask really nice (or bribe me with chocolate). But no musicals!

Here, I'll sing a little something for you...I know something you don't know! OUCH! Sarah just pinched me! She's so mean. Seriously. Just wait for Book 2. Torture city.

WHERE WAS I???? Stop distracting me! So yes, I have been gone for quite some time. My last blog takeover post was in August (whaaaaaaaaat?). Now, I wouldn't say that I've been lazy (so you shouldn't, either), but in my defense, it's hard to motivate myself to write a blog post when Sarah isn't really writing them either. I mean, really. What do you people want from me?

There was supposed to be a point to this post, wasn't there? I can't really remember what it was. Ok, so the title is kind of fitting. I've missed quite a bit. But you've missed everything about me, too! I mean, I finally turned 21 and nobody threw me a booze soaked Muse Party?? Rude. It's ok. In the real world, Adam and I went clubbing and we danced and I blacked out. Fun times. In muse world, well...I guess I took a nap or something. Also fun times.

But what's going on in blogging world (exactly how many worlds are there...?)??? Fill me in. I'm running out of things to talk about here. Uh...what's everyone's favorite kind of tea? If you can guess mine then Sarah will make you a batch of cupcakes. No I didn't ask her, but it'll be fine, trust me. I'm very persuasive.