30 April 2014

Z is for Zoning Out

Woo, we made it! It's the last post of the A to Z Challenge! I'll admit that coming up with an idea for Z wasn't easy. I didn't have some grand finale planned for my last A to Z post. But then I realized there is something I do that is a central part of my writing process. And that is zoning out.

I'm sure when most people zone out, their minds go completely blank. I guess if that's true, then I've never really zoned out at all. Really, it's impossible to turn my brain off completely, even when I'm trying to fall asleep. There are always thoughts running through my mind. Most of the time, those thoughts are about the fictional characters I've created and their lives.

Since I was eight years old, I've always pictured stories in my head. I make up other people and the things they go through, then eventually write those stories down. I really have never been able to understand how everyone doesn't do this. So when I zone out, I'm not thinking of nothing. I'm thinking of people, places, situations, even worlds--all things that I've created.

I love to picture scenes from my stories in my head before I write them down. It's a bit of a rush to mold every aspect, every character and what they're doing, figuring everything out so that it's perfect before I actually put it into words. I picture these scenes over and over again until they drive me absolutely nuts and I just have to write them down. Once they're written, though, I have a hard time picturing them with the same clarity and passion that I did before. But that's what rereading is for, I guess--making sure the words match the scene I saw in my head, and then getting to read that scene over and over again.

So I guess I could say that zoning out is a part of my writing process. It's basically how I brainstorm. Plus, it's a great way to kill some time. :)

29 April 2014

Y is for Yikes!

I honestly had no idea what to blog about today. I did not get enough sleep but I just had to get up to watch the Tony nominations. And I really want to get back to writing. It was really frustrating to have to stop myself and go to bed last night. But, you know, you can't write if you can't keep your eyes open!

Since I'm nearing the end of my second draft, I gave the last few chapters of the first draft a reread yesterday morning to see what was left, and it was kind of scary. I think there's still a lot of work to do. The end is way too rushed. The second to last chapter was just a bunch of short scenes trying to wrap up all the loose ends before the last chapter. I was cringing while I read it. It's frustrating because every moment is necessary, but I don't see how I can stretch out each part to make it more meaningful.

And do not even get me started on the sex scene. Ok, maybe it's too late. I knew this would be a hard scene to write and I knew it still needed a lot of work. It's not really the physical aspects that bother me so much. It's more about the mood, the emotions in the narrative. It's all off. I feel like I need to either rip the whole scene apart or just start over completely. Which is also scary.

So yes, there aren't a lot of chapters left to rewrite. But there is still a LOT of work to do.

28 April 2014

X is for X Marks the Spot

I honestly couldn't come up with a good post for the letter X. I mean, come on, X? There aren't a lot of words that start with X. But as I was brainstorming, this phrase stuck in my mind, mostly because I've reached another point in my WIP where something BIG happens (and not something upsetting like in the infamous Chapter 17). Due to a rather impulsive (and sexy) moment, the whole dynamic of my characters' relationship is forced to change. This change moves the story forward, because such a dramatic moment can't go unnoticed. Things have to change, and eventually this leads to a breaking point.

So my X isn't just about my sexy scene (Aw, really? Darn.). It's about reaching the ending. I think it's going to happen a lot sooner than I initially thought, especially if I keep up the momentum I've had for the past few days. It's kind of bittersweet, because I really really want to finish, but that also means that I'm done writing. I love my book, so I'm not sure how I feel about this. Of course, I'll never really be done. Once the second draft is complete, there will be more edits (although I'm hoping not a complete rewrite again), agent research, queries, waiting, rejections, and hopefully at the end of that agonizing journey, I'll be published. Then that starts a whole different sort of journey.

But I'm getting way ahead of myself. Right now, I just have to go write this sexy scene. Yay!

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.