03 April 2019

Can This Book Write Itself Already??

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Here we are again! I think I've gotten into the habit of checking in with these posts on where I am with my third draft of Uneven Lines. Last month I was on Chapter 24. Things went a little differently  than I expected because I was creating a GIANT subplot chapter, which I wasn't really comfortable with. I only have a few super long chapters in the book and they're really only that way because they take place over the course of one day. I decided to break up this chapter by scenes.

So, suddenly Chapter 24 was magically done! And I'm almost done with 25. I literally just have one snippet of a scene to finish. I think I'm struggling with it because it involves my characters playing music, which I always find very awkward . But, you know, my characters decided to be musicians, what can I do? Luckily there isn't a lot of it in this book and I don't really have to worry about it until the sequels. But for those I'll probably have to write some original song lyrics and holy crap I am not looking forward to that.

I think I have an idea of at least some dialogue to finish this scene. Basically, Jordan has a new friend Madison over (they're plotting a master scheme, as one does), and knowing his friend Eric has a crush on her, tells him to bring his guitar over and they play a few songs (possibly some horribly cliched ones). And then it goes something like this:

Madison: Can't you play something from this decade?
Eric: If you don't like The Beatles, you're not human.
Jordan: True, but I'm more of a Stones guy.
Eric: You know, I could tell that about you.
Madison: CAN'T I JUST LIKE TAYLOR SWIFT??
Jordan: .....
Eric: ......
Jordan: I also like Taylor Swift...

Or something like that? I dunno, I'll figure it out. I always do. Even if it takes me days. Or weeks. Or months. Or years. I'm not even kidding, sadly...

Anyhoo, the IWSG's optional question for this month is: If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

You mean besides the aforementioned scene? Can I pick the whole rest of the book? It's not a lot, actually. No, wait! I pick the sex scene. I've already written that like three different times and I'm still convinced I'll never get it right. But I think maybe I can't picture it properly because I'm making so many changes to the end that I'm just not there yet. I have to get there before I can see it.

If I could wish the rest of this book done, I definitely would. Especially the parts I don't have figured out AT ALL. I'm definitely not an outliner, but this is basically what I have left after I finish 25:

- Wrap up Subplot #1
- MAJOR MAIN PLOT EVENT
- something something
- Wrap up Subplot #2
- something something
- something
- SEX SCENE
- Last chapter/denouement type deal

Yeah, wishing for all those something somethings to write themselves. And the sex scene. And the last bit. Because I think the very very end of the book kind of has to point to what exactly I was trying to say through the whole novel. And I feel like I got it horribly wrong in all my previous drafts. I *think* I'm still keeping the last two lines intact, and those should help me figure it out because I've always felt like they say a lot.

I think all I can do at this point is take it one step at a time. So I should probably get back to that music playing scene...

06 March 2019

Random Editing

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I'm really quite terrible keeping up with blogging lately. I've only done IWSG posts for months. I don't know, I think partly it's a motivation thing, or it's an idea thing (or lack thereof, I should say). I don't want to stop blogging but I don't feel that drive to do it like I used to. It could just be that I want to focus on my book and can't give my attention back to blogging until it's done. That sounds like the best reason, right? I'll go with that.

This month's optional question is: Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

This is actually a tricky question for me! Not because it's hard to choose, but because I don't really give myself a choice. I always write in first person, so I'm always writing from the point of view of the protagonist. And it's been quite a long time since I've written a story with a typical villain, too. So I guess I choose the protagonist because that's the character whose head I want to be in, because it's his/her story to tell. I'm sure writing villains is fun, but I just haven't come up with a story where I needed to write from that perspective.

On the other hand, Jordan is a bit of an antihero, I suppose, so maybe I get the best of both worlds. Or maybe I just like really flawed characters...

Every month I feel like I make just a little bit more progress to update on. Last month I was on Chapter 23 and this month I'm on...Chapter 24! I'm actually more than halfway through it, so it may even be done by the time you read this post (fingers crossed!).

I've recently realized that while I'm working a lot on the book and trying to finish it, what I'm really doing is revising. I've been calling it editing this whole time but I'm a big fat liar because I'M GOING TO HAVE TO GO BACK AND EDIT THIS THING WHEN I'M DONE. Ok, ok, it's not a HUGE project like this whole third draft has been. But I still need to go through and edit my overused words and whatnot. And let's not forget SHOW DON'T TELL. I have mixed feelings about that rule. Ok, so, Jordan thinks A LOT and over-analyzes everything, so yeah, there's a lot of telling. But I do need to make sure the spots that NEED to be showing are actually doing so.

But what I have been doing to kind of keep the daunting task of editing from being too scary is keeping track of the little things I think of along the way to go back and change. The random or weird things. The things I think back on wondering why the hell I did that.

So, of course, I've started a list! Which is equal parts useful and ridiculous. Hopefully some of these will make sense out of context, or at least be good for a chuckle:

Random Things to Edit

  • Find another word for “gorgeous” to describe Tom in Chapter One. We all know that’s Jordan’s word. 
  • Are we really supposed to believe that Tom whisks egg whites by hand for the soufflĂ© but then busts out a hand mixer to make cookies??
  • I think the “tell me you'd rather have just my lips” line in Chapter 22 would be more powerful if Tom just came out with it instead of Jordan asking it - shows desperation
  • Make sure Eric calls Jordan by his first name at least once and never by his last name
  • The “I think it’s just two” line in Chapter 7 is probably a hitting-the-reader-over-the-head-with-a-cast-iron-skillet kind of moment 
  • Possibly add more math stuff and also more cannibalistic undertones
  • Be consistent with Jordan's present tense thoughts--italicized or no? I’d rather have them not italicized even if that’s an editor’s nightmare but either way, make sure it’s consistent 
  • Make sure Brian's name is never typed as Brain...especially because he doesn't have one...

And that's it *so far*. I'm sure other ideas will hit me in the head as I go back through the story. That's after I finish the third draft. Which I'm still working on. And should probably get back to...

06 February 2019

Cookies and Cupcakes and Cake! Oh My!

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Well, another month has gone by and....well, I actually haven't accomplished that much. Last month I was on Chapter 22 of my third draft and this month I'm on (drum roll please).....Chapter 23! Woooo...hoo? At least it's something, right? A few weeks ago I thought I'd finished 23 but decided it needed one more scene to break up all my subplot nonsense. Since this was a brand new scene that I had no idea what to do with when I started, I'm still working on figuring it out.

But since that's pretty much all I've got going on with writing insecurities, I thought I'd tackle the IWSG's option question this month, which is: Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

Writing has always been my thing since I was little, and while I have attempted other outlets throughout my life (there was that guitar I bought but never learned to play), the thing that pops into my mind is BAKING!

I've always liked baking. I took a cake decorating class when I was thirteen, so you'll never ever see me slapping frosting on a cupcake with a butter knife. I like to try new things and pretty much any time my family gets together my niece expects me to bring something (but she doesn't like cheesecake! I can't even...).

But I won't bore you with the details. Here's some pictures to get you drooling instead!

There are cookies...



Brownies...



Cake...


And my specialty...CUPCAKES!




There are a lot of baked goods in Uneven Lines, too, so I guess I merged my creative outlets! Those pink cupcakes where actually inspired by a scene. There's also a scene where one character makes chocolate souffle, which I've never tried (just watched several Youtube videos about making them). I'll let my characters be more adventurous. 

02 January 2019

To Pitch or Not to Pitch?

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!


It's a new year and I've decided for once to not make any concrete goals. It never goes well. I did, however, finally accomplish my goal of watching 100 movies I've never seen before (see the list here) in 2018. For books I made it to 68/100, which is the closest I've ever gotten. I won't be trying it again this year, but I definitely want to accomplish it someday.

But onto the new year! One of the first things I wanted to do was take part in the IWSG's Twitter Pitch on January 15. Like, I took the day off from work and everything (I'm about to max out on my PTO hours so it was a good excuse to take a day), and I've always wanted to do it. But I don't know if I'll actually be ready in time.

So I've come up with a few questions to ask myself in the next two weeks in order to decide if I should pitch or not, starting with:

Did I finish the book?

Kind of the most important one. As of writing this post, I'm working on Chapter 22 of the third draft. I think there will be 26 or 27 chapters when I finally finish. If I can really motivate myself and not slack off watching too much TV or something, I think it's possible to finish in time. But honestly, if I'm only one or two chapters away from finishing, I may pitch anyway (please tell me if this is a horrible idea). Only time will tell.

Can I pick an age group?

I know I've talked about this many times before, but I still haven't quite figured it out. Genre is easier because I'd go with contemporary. But age group? Errrrrrr still deciding. I've always leaned toward Adult, even though my main character is 15, because it's not exactly a book I would want younger readers reading. But it could also be New Adult? Maybe? In my two sequel ideas my MC is 20 and 22. Those ideas feel more like NA.

Remember when I said this book is unsellable??? *sigh*

Can I actually sum up my book in a tweet?

This is a tricky one because I have a serious problem summarizing my book, particularly in a way to make it sound appealing. Remind me to never ever write about a taboo relationship ever again please. I know a lot of people in Twitter pitch parties use comp titles as well, and I don't have any of those, at least not contemporary ones. I've always called it Lolita meets the Catcher in the Rye, but am I allowed to do that? Those books are old and very good. Kinda feels pretentious. I have no idea.

Can I write a query letter?

On the off chance that one of my tweets gets liked by an agent or publisher, hey guess what the next step is??? And I do not have a query letter ready. I've tried writing one before and it did not go well (let's not talk about that again...). And if I'm spending all this time trying just to finish the novel, I probably won't get a query letter done in time as well. I try to justify this to myself by saying I could spend the next day or two AFTER the Twitter pitch doing this, but that probably won't go well for me.

And that's about it. I feel like the odds are against me! But I guess I'll just keep chugging along trying to finish the book and figure everything else out.

Are you participating in #IWSGpit? Am I completely insane???