26 April 2014

W is for Writing (Duh)

W is for writing, because that's what I'm doing. Right now. I've got such a good momentum going lately that I don't even really want to interrupt it with this blog post. But it had to be done. I know it's late, but I worked all day and the coffee is just starting to kick in. I'll be spending the rest of the night writing, hopefully finishing Chapter 18 and then some. It's very exciting.

Oh, by the way, one of my coworkers/readers came up to me at work last night and screamed, "WHAT DID YOU DO?!"  I guess Chapter 17 was a bit upsetting. Mission accomplished. ;)

25 April 2014

V is for Victory

I did it. I made it through Chapter 17, aka Brian's birthday party. This is my twist chapter. This is when shit. goes. down. I feel I came up with an accurate description of how a reader would react while reading this chapter:

Hmm, boring party.
Wait, what?
No. He can’t. Seriously? No no no. HE CAN’T.
YAY! He didn’t!
WAIT. REALLY? Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod! I don’t know how I feel about this! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
*throws computer against wall…except probably not, because it’s a computer…*

Or at least I hope that's how they react. Really, I was just having fun. But if they don't react this way, then I haven't done my job. Only time will tell. Having this sort of reaction would be another victory. It would mean that the readers are invested in the story, that they care what happens to the characters. Isn't that the whole point of having someone read your story? You don't want them to feel nothing. 

The fact that I got through Chapter 17 means that I actually rewrote two chapters yesterday. It was a big accomplishment. I noticed something interesting, as well while I was writing. Even though it's my book, and I knew exactly what was going to happen, my heart was pounding the whole time while I was writing, like the suspense was too much. I hope this means I did a good job. 

I seriously want someone to come up to me and say, "I hate you," after reading this chapter. I can't wait. Yesterday turned out to be a great day. Writing gives me that feeling that nothing else can. I'm happiest when I'm writing. I can't wait for the day when it's all I do. 

On a not so victorious note, I did not get around to 30 blogs yesterday. I ended up leaving 6 comments, but followed a bunch of new blogs to check out later. It seemed that no amount of coffee could wake me up yesterday and I only got my writing momentum much later in the day. See, this is why I don't make specific goals for myself, because I never reach them! Oh well, it's another day! 

24 April 2014

U is for Undertaking

Today is my only day off, so the word of the day is undertaking because of the very long list of goals that I will be attempting. I probably won't get everything done, but hey, the first one on the list is writing this blog post. Check!

I've been way too lazy all morning so I feel like I've already wasted too much time. But first I need coffee. Then I'm going to try to get this chapter done and send it off to my readers. I made a little more progress yesterday but still wasn't able to finish it. I want to get to the next chapter because I think I can rewrite it in about five seconds.

I want to visit a lot of blogs today, too. My plan is to leave a comment on 30 blogs. I've got a notebook open to make tally marks. Then I have some errands to run, too. Blech. But mostly today will be filled with writing. So off I go!

Side note: I almost posted this with the "T" badge instead of the "U." I think I'll finish my coffee before doing anything else...

23 April 2014

T is for Twists

Yesterday I talked about how I was having trouble writing the current chapter of my second draft. I wrote a page yesterday and I'm feeling much more inspired today, so hopefully I'll get the whole chapter done. The thing I love about blogging about these sort of problems is the comments and advice I get from other writers. Two of the comments on yesterday's blog really struck me, so I had to take a moment and actually consider it. They were asking if I needed this chapter at all. Since the next chapter, the one I was actually looking forward to, was so much more interesting, did I need this in between chapter at all?

My first response was, "of course I need it!" Immediately followed by, "wait...do I?" I was wondering if this chapter was one of those completely self-indulgent ones whose important points could probably be summed up in a few sentences. But then I really thought about it. I realized this chapter was necessary, and for a few different reasons. There is some important information about one character that is revealed in this chapter, as well as some symbolism being established that I continue throughout the book. There doesn't really seem to be another place in the novel to place this information.

The main reason, however, that this chapter exists, is to fool the reader. I realized the reason I'm so excited for the next chapter is that there is a big twist at the end--something the reader is never going to see coming. And that twist shatters the world that my characters have created. You know if something seems too good to be true, it probably is? That's basically what I'm doing with this current chapter. By the end, things seem perfect. My characters are happy. You'd probably be convinced that they've fallen in love at this point, even though they can't admit it. So the characters (and the readers) won't expect things to completely fall apart in the next chapter.

So maybe I'm just dying to get to the twist, but it can only be a twist if you don't see it coming.

22 April 2014

S is for Stalling

I'm having one of those problems again. I have no desire to work on the current chapter of my second draft. It's frustrating because I really want to work on the chapter after it, since it involves several shocking moments and will be really exciting to edit. I know I could just skip ahead, but since I'm sending my book chapter by chapter to my readers, I feel like I have to edit in order. So I'm stalling.

Really, I'm just not doing anything. Every day feels the same. Get up, eat something, blog, get ready for work, work, go home, go to bed. That's it. No time for anything else. I really, really, really want to finish the second draft before I leave my job, since some of my coworkers are reading it and I'd like to get some reactions. But usually whatever free moment I have is spent being exhausted. I just don't feel like writing.

The thing is, if I get past this chapter and write the next one, I don't think it will take me long to finish the book. After this turning point, there are only a few major moments before the end. There's not a lot of major editing I have to do, as far as rearranging scenes or making plot changes. It's mostly just word for word rewriting, which really won't be so hard.

I'm thinking of taking my writing with me to work today, since I'm working a position where I'm pretty sure I'll have some down time. I was kicking myself last night for not bringing a notebook since it was a lot slower than I thought it would be. And hopefully I'll get through this chapter. Otherwise I'll just keep stalling.

21 April 2014

R is for Reading

Like most writers, I love to read. Writing and reading pretty much go hand in hand. My problem is that I never seem to read all that much anymore. Every year I make a goal to read 100 books, and every year I fail. I never even come close. This year I've only read two books so far. Two! It's pathetic!

Like everything else, my problem is time. I don't have all that much of it, so whatever free time I have left after work and well, life, I try to spend that writing (try being the main word there). But I also know that when I do find time to read, it makes me want to write more. It's so much easier to get inspired when you're reading regularly. So while I try to use my time to write, I know it also suffers because I never read anymore. So basically, I can't win.

So I'm really looking forward to having more free time. I miss reading. I don't even know who my favorite authors are anymore. If someone asked me what kind of books I like to read, I wouldn't even know how to answer. I really would love to read anything I could get my hands on at this point. I do love my Kindle ever since I got it, and I bought a bunch of books written by my blogger buddies, but I still haven't gotten around to reading them. I think I'll start slow right now. I'd like to devote just a half an hour a day to reading. We'll see how it goes.

How is everyone else doing? Do you feel reading fuels your writing? What books are you reading right now? I'd love some recommendations.

19 April 2014

Q is for Questioning (with an excerpt!)

Ok, I have to admit this post is kind of a cop out, because hey, guess what! I'm on another double today! *headdesk* But it also occurs to me that I've never ever shared an excerpt from my WIP, Uneven Lines, so it seemed like a good day to do so. You know, since it's already written...

If you want to get to know someone, the easiest way to do so is to ask them questions. You can find out where they came from, what sort of things they like to do, etc. Some people are shy and aren't always going to willingly give up that information, so you have to dig deep to get it out of them. This sort of questioning is a central part in the first few chapters of my book. When Jordan first meets Tom, he wants to get to know him, but it isn't easy. Tom is shy, and since it is actually his job to tutor Jordan in geometry, he likes to keep the focus on that. Of course, this isn't good enough for Jordan, so he starts asking questions. Lots of them. All the time. He asks so many questions that Tom can't possibly ignore all of them. So each answer is like a tiny little victory.

But anyway, to the scene! I like this one because it shows a few sides to Jordan--he's crafty but he's also still a typical teenage boy who zones out and fantasizes. As far as the questioning goes, he's able to find out something about Tom that he's been dying to ask, but is able to do so without being too obvious. My favorite part, though, is the very last line, and it's probably my favorite chapter ending in the whole book.

So here is the scene from the second chapter. There is a very brief sexual reference at the end, but like I said, he's a typical teenage boy *wink wink*

            Figuring out the volume of a sphere is in no way necessary to life. I’m sorry, it just isn’t. The only spheres I was interested in were Tom’s eyes. I was trying to name their exact shade. If I dug out my biggest box of crayons, I wouldn’t have found a match—not sky blue, not cornflower. I mean, they were blue, like, gorgeous blue, but sort of clear, almost. Like Caribbean waters. I just hoped he would actually think I was paying attention since I was staring at him.
            “Jordan? Are you listening at all?”
            “Huh?” I shook my head. I had been zoning out a bit more than I thought. I glanced down at the notebook in front of me. “Where were we?”
            “Where were you?”
            I guessed my daydreaming had been more than obvious. I shrugged. “Swimming.”
            He just blinked those blue eyes a few times. I should have said drowning. “Oh, ok, swimming. In February?”
            “I was thinking of someplace tropical.” I yawned and stretched my arms above my head.
            Tom sighed. “Well, we’ve got five minutes left. You can do one more problem.”
            Always with the freaking math, this one. I groaned, throwing my pencil onto the table. “Seriously? Can’t we just call it a day?” Not that I wanted him to leave or anything. But if I came up with a good question I could get him talking for those five minutes. He frowned, so I sighed. “Come on, this is pointless. You could be baking something delicious right now instead of staring at circles.”
            He just stared at me, completely serious. “They’re spheres. They’re three-dimensional.”
            “So’s a cake.”
            I rolled my eyes. “How does this crap not bore you to death? It’s ok, you can go. Don’t you have a girlfriend to go see or something?”
            He chuckled and shook his head. “No.”
            I picked up my pencil and tapped it against the table. I had a thought, and I tried to fight it off, but I just couldn’t help myself. I mean, I had no proof. Not even the tiniest shred. God, I just wanted it to be true. “Oh, I get it. Boyfriend?”
            His entire body jumped as he looked back at me. “What? No.” He looked down at the table, quickly scribbling, but his flushed cheeks said it all.
            I dropped my pencil on the floor and fumbled around like an idiot to get it back. I sat back up, trying to keep calm. Didn’t want to start drooling or anything. “So, um…what was that formula?”
            I was so excited that night that I couldn’t get to sleep. You know, until I rubbed one out and slipped into a coma. But before that, I had a million thoughts going through my mind. This little sliver of information was my greatest victory yet. I just didn’t know what to do with it. Just because he was gay didn’t mean I was going to get anything out of him. Not that I wanted anything. Or did I? I kept telling myself that it didn’t matter because there was no possible way he could ever want me.
            Then again, I always liked a challenge.