Titles and Doings

Wah! MUCH has been going on here to keep me from posting!

One of the most EXCITING was getting to meet Susan Adrian and her lovely family while they were in Denver! Suze is one of my FAVE Twitter acquaintances, and it was awesome to see her in person and spend time talking YA (under the guise of a baseball game with husbands), and finding out that she is EVEN COOLER in person! See, I have proof:

Em&Suze

(I’m the dorky one on the right) Oh, and the Padres slaughtered the Rockies, but oh wells. Most fun I’ve had at baseball all year!

Aside from meeting AMAZING and TALENTED fellow writers, I think I mentioned in my last post that I FINISHED MY REWRITE. And since then, I FINISHED MY REVISIONS. So I could no longer prolong the inevitable - the chocolate reward bunny met his demise. And then I got a stomach ache. But it was the best one I’ve ever had. :)

I proceeded to get even MORE stomach aches because I SENT my ms out to be read by other people – NON-family members – YA WRITERS – for feedback. *sweats*

I haven’t heard back from everyone yet, but the initial response has been more positive than I EVER expected, and I’m a little overwhelmed. Obviously the ms DOES need more work before going out to query AGAIN, but I think this last start-to-finish rewrite was the best move I ever made (don’t I say that about EVERY step of revision? Hee).

BUT – MF (Mind Fire) might just be getting a new title. Okay to be honest, I’ve never been overly ~thrilled~ with MF… S came up with it when I first realized my ANTI-TALENT when it comes to titling, and it has functioned pretty well as a working title. I’ve even grown attached to it. But (sorry MF) I never could say I <3 Mind Fire.

And did I MENTION the anti-talent?? Because let me tell you – what I lack in title inspiration, I COMPLETELY make up for with my ability to PUN ANYTHING. I have 1,000,000,000 brilliantly cheesey names for a book which (somehow though written by me) didn’t come out cheesey…I don’t think. Well, okay there might be a slice or two of muenster in there. Omg guys, PLEASE tell me if it’s cheesey, I can take it…

A few examples from the Title Slush Pile: YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD FLAME — THE ELECTRIC SIDE — CARRIES A FLAME — TELEFREAKS — HOT DESIRE.

Ohhh yeah. Every book has them – the titles that NEVER were and NEVER will be! I promise this book is NOT a bodice-ripper, so…back to the drawing board. I’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel of my iTunes library listening to EVERY song I own for inspiration. I even listened to…Ace Of Base.

Might have to sit on it for a while.

But LUCKILY I’ve also added to my music library these past two weeks! My BFF Jodi tried to tell me about Regina Spektor MONTHS ago. And just like ME – I didn’t listen! But Regina kept popping up EVERYWHERE, and when she made it to my ears via Pandora on my Blackberry…I couldn’t help getting hooked. She hasn’t offered any title inspiration YET…but she makes me feel ~good~ which is awesome. So I leave you with one of my fave songs, Apres Moi,  from her album BEGIN TO HOPE – pick it up, she will make you HAPPY!!

Great Finishes, Oration, and D100D

This should be about THREE blog entries, but by the time I realized that was going to happen, it was too late to write them separately!

Thing that have been going on with me:

I FINISHED MY REWRITE. Gah, that felt good. I had been saving this dark chocolate bunny since Easter on a shelf above my desk, waiting for that beautiful moment when I typed THE END (again) to consume it as a reward for my months and months of work. Unfortunately for me, when I DID type the magic words, I was totally sick with some horrible spring-is-here-but-you’re-coming-down-with-plague cold, and I didn’t even WANT the bunny. Which is so wrong. So now he gets a stay of execution and he’ll have to be revision bunny. But he’s not getting out of this intact. Whahahahaha.

Oh yeah, and bunny…I plan to finish revisions this weekend, FYI.
:D My 17-yo niece Aurora graduated high school last week, and we flew to Ohio to cheer her on! I think people tend to forget how hard high school is – maybe not necessarily the academics all the time (ok, they have their moments – damn you, AP European History), but anyone who spends four years just surviving the social constructs of teendom deserves some CHEERING in my opinion. So we did. :)

I’m sure everyone has been to at least ONE high school graduation (although I did not attend mine). This time around, while listening to different people talk, I couldn’t help thinking AUDIOBOOKS have ~ruined~ public speaking for me. Sure, I was expecting platitude-laden speeches about the “places you’ll go” and how this is the “first day of the rest of our lives” mixed in with metaphors about the sky and the sea…but oh dear. As Neil Gaiman once said of poetry: “It’s all in the delivery.” S finally suggested that the principal was probably a good principal BECAUSE he doesn’t speak well. Which shut me up because it seemed to make sense, and didn’t all at once. But MAN, I just HEART audiobooks. You need to know what you’re doing to record those things, and I salute professional audiobook readers for mastering the craft! And I also ~secretly~ want to record my own book someday.  Um, but back to shooting for publication first!

Aaaaannnd from Ohio we went to Virginia to see my sister and her husband and my 9mo-old niece Audrey who is a ~ways~ from HS graduation, but hey, this Baby Einstein stuff is completely insane, so you never know! Also, I AM SO NOT READY TO HAVE KIDS. Eeep.

Anyway, I took some advice from my Twitter pals and brought along THE DUST OF 100 DOGS by A.S. King  to distract me on the flights – and it was ~FANTASTIC~. I give it FIVE eyeballs rolled in sand (!!!!!). YES!! It is the perfect book to fly with if you’re an anxious flyer in need of distraction. There are all kinds of threads to follow and weave together, tons of pain and sorrow, love lost and found, and – PIRATES! And a freaking GIRL PIRATE!!! How cool is that?

The dogs didn’t play as huge of a role as I anticipated, but I appreciated everywhere they appeared in the book. Since I have gained more than my share of knowledge/experience with dogs through my day job, I read all of the Dog Facts carefully, just waiting for King to slip up…but she was flawless. :D Every dog her voice slipped into was completely in character, not overly anthropomorphized, and just all around spot-on, right down to the pit bull. I’m excited that this book is *out there* as an amazing story, and also because people could really learn a thing or two from it about dogs and behavior!

The other thing I loved about D100D is that it never shied away from being REAL. Yes, there were more than a few moments that turned my stomach or made me wish I didn’t have to be a witness to the scene, but too many books fade to black when things start to get tough, and I don’t think that’s fair to the readers OR the characters. There is a point where things can become gratuitous, but I never even glimpsed that in this book. I don’t want to include any spoilers, but let’s just say that people are only human, A.S. King knows people AND dogs, and she knows how to weave a good yarn. Aye.

Off to pwn my revisions! Squeee!

The Future is NOW!

Way back in 1995, up-and-coming actress Sandra Bullock and hottie Englishman Jeremy Northam starred in a movie that sent every synapse in my brain firing YES, YES, YES!  That movie was called The Net:

The NET

I haven’t watched The Net recently, but I’m pretty sure anyone watching it now – who’d never seen it before – would look at me, nod politely, and shake their heads.

But I am TELLING you – in 1995 this movie was The Shizzle! Except there was no such thing as shizzle yet either. GOD my birthday is just closing in trying to make me feel OLD, isn’t it?  But I digress.

This movie HAD my 15yr-old self in the first five minutes. Sandra Bullock – a slightly unconvincing hermity software analyst – sits down at her computer and click, click, CLICK – orders a PIZZA. I wanted to rewind the movie in the theater to watch it over and over, but of course I couldn’t, so I just dragged my friends to see it again and AGAIN. This was something I had been WAITING FOR and now it was in a movie which meant that it was going to HAPPEN. Right?

Let me give a little background if I may… I would never ever describe myself as being on the cutting edge of anything – unless I give myself a paper cut. Heh. But I WOULD describe myself as incredibly impatient. When I saw BACK TO THE FUTURE 2, I was like Where are the flying cars? STAR TREK made me indignant that medical testing could not be done with tricorders yet. And when I read Scott Westerfeld’s UGLIES series, the hoverboards and hole in the wall almost made me melt down asking WHY don’t we have these things yet? But I think to my credit, I tried to work with what I could: I had one of the very first PDAs – a Handspring Treo, and soon after, the sweet Treo accessory and predecessor of cameraphones: The Eyemodule. I also had an mp3 player that never quite worked - before the iPod was ever conceived - and well of course I had one of those Nokia candybar-style cell phones as soon as I was old enough to get one – with interchangeable color covers!

But my excitement over these things was always outweighed by the fact that none of this stuff was quite there yet. The bitter slogan on this t-shirt says it all – this was supposed to be the future!

So imagine my delight – now that I have a Blackberry which combines phone (communicator), camera, PDA, and even music player in ONE – when I found out YOU CAN NOW ORDER PIZZA ONLINE.

*dies*

People – THE FUTURE IS CLOSING IN. I am so excited, and I promise you it’s not just about pepperoni. My WIP covers this a little bit…it’s kind of a speculation on how I wish/wonder if humans could develop in teh future…with some kissing. But seriously, I don’t know whether to be excited that I got to experience SO MUCH of the amazingness that was the 20th Century (which reminds me of ANOTHER awesome future movie starring Sandra Bullock - don’t laugh – DEMOLITION MAN) or if I should be SAD that so much more will happen in the REAL future when I’m long gone.

Did I mention I had LASIK too? COOLEST. THING. EVER.

Now…some bad things happened to Sandra Bullock in THE NET too…in short, a guy she met online (sooo cool in 1995, trust me!)  wasn’t who she thought he was and proceeded to steal her identity – but she was a smart, sexy, computer-savvy girl as we all should strive to be – and she CRASHED their whole evil plot with the stroke of a key. 

I think it was because she ate amazing internet-ordered pizza, don’t you?

Me Fail

Consider this the public stocks. A place of learning.

Someone please throw tomatoes at me – preferably rotten ones. Have I ever mentioned I hate tomatoes?

Recently, I swapped 50 pages with someone. We were trying each other on for size as CPs. Now, I have a long sordid history trying to find a great critique partner… I have searched the mountains high and the valleys low on my quest for a CP that *fits*. So when I glimpsed this person on the horizon and thought, “Hmmm…” I held back hope.

BUT SHE WAS WONDERFUL. She ~got~ my writing, had ~amazing~ useful suggestions, and did I mention she RAWKS? I was so impressed by her speed and skill, even before she was finished, that I hopped to it and completely immersed myself in her work. And IT WAS WONDERFUL TOO. Her story grabbed hold of me, her characters made me feel…I turned on Word comments and went to town with praise, and suggestions where needed.

Then I wrote this special someone a big long email going over the major points, but saying “more details in comments.” And then I hit send.

For a whole week, I made sure to tell her what a great CP she was, and how her comments were so helpful! I fixed all the places she found in my own 50 pages that needed work. Then I sent it BACK to her, and she read through AGAIN in one night!

And THEN she mentioned (with a true honest internet smile) that she couldn’t wait to see the feedback I had for HER book.

And I was like ??? And then I was like (O_O) And THEN I was like *DIES*

I went through EVERY email we exchanged (there were many – we have much in common), and there were many attached files…but not the 50 pages I supposedly sent with praise and comments! So in thirty seconds I ATTACHED, wrote self-berating email, and hit send.

And the best part is…she is STILL amazing…and STILL talking to me!

So the moral of this blog entry is…RECIPROCATE. And even when you THINK you’ve done it right…CHECK. No one wants to lose an amazing CP like a green flash on the horizon. I am lucky my heretofore-CP-luck didn’t catch up with me! This MAY in fact, be the start of something beautiful… :)

You Make My Heart Pound Throbbingly

Recently, I’ve been reading a very successful YA series (NOT Twilight). These books are right up my alley – they’re paranormal, action-filled, humorous, and the concept is unique. And most of all…I am ~swooning~ over the male love interest. *c’thunk, c’thunk, c’thunk*

But OMG the writing is atrocious.

All through the series I have been asking myself WHY I am so compelled to keep reading when I am literally tripping over unnecessary adverbs down every page. Not only that, but this author has a habit of telling, telling, telling. Don’t get me wrong, they often *show* what’s happening with the characters quite effectively – but it is almost always followed up by a sentence or two *telling* the reader what they were just shown.  

Maybe I am simply a snarky writing snob.

And yet…when the love interest takes the MC in his arms, my hearts pounds in my chest.

So I guess I don’t really need to ask myself WHY I’ve kept reading. I suppose if characters/a story is strong enough, it can make you look past the bad writing. It’s just one of those things that makes me face-plant along the writer’s path. I peel my face off the pavement, pull pieces of gravel out of my wound, and look down *unbelievingly* at the writing that made me fall. And then *I think how that fall HURT*.

All of this makes two thoughts run in circles through my mind: If this book is what’s successful, I’m never going to make it. And then, If this person can be successful, darn it, SO CAN I.

…Hello Mr. Doubt.

A little rewrite analysis:

1st Draft: taught me all of the above about adverbs, telling, and BAD writing in general.

2nd Draft: taught me that even with nice writing, all the elements in the book MUST tie together – despite how badly I wanted to tell those pages and pages of backstory or have that unrelated shih tzu run through that scene.

3rd Draft: Isn’t finished yet but…maybe will ~finally~ bring all the lessons of Draft 1 and 2 together??

Or maybe I’ll reach the end and have a well-written story no one wants to read.

…she said *sulkily* and walked off to finish Draft 3.

The 25th Hour

PANTS FIRE Rewrite Progress update: 106/270.

Let’s not talk about that.

It’s funny all the things that run through your mind about a story when you can’t actually work on it. I have a small business that is turning out to be (shockingly) recession-proof, which I am SO thankful for. But unfortunately, the work keeps me away from home and computer ALL DAY LONG and that means my brain goes crazy while I’m unable to work on PANTS FIRE, and then when ~at last~ I actually get home and sit before the keyboard to let all of those thoughts flow out…I fall asleep. This. Is. A. Problem.

Purchasing my Blackberry was one of the most sane-making things I’ve ever done. It has a (so far limitless) memo pad that I can type notes into all day long as ideas strike me, and then it syncs all the new ideas to my computer when I get home. <3 It also allows me to keep up with email and Twitter. :D (This is the sane-making part). I work *alone* all day. I get about five minutes of socialization with each of my human clients along the way before I get started working on their dogs. I listen to audiobooks/NPR so my brain doesn’t turn to mush (iPod = BEST INVENTION EVER), but Twitter allows me to connect with other writers all day long. It’s as if we’re all sitting around chatting and I can choose to respond or just “listen” if I get busy (ftw! better than coworkers!) – and all while I’m at my very NON-writer job. 

But I would still like to say: Crackberries are addictive. Make an informed choice.

So even with the aid of my beautiful Blackberry (did I mention it is pink?), I’m still working on that whole MAKING time to write. Until someone invents dictation software that can magically edit out “Um…” and “No wait,” and “Oh no, maybe not that…” I will just have to battle against sleep. And possibly eating. Breathing is next. Shall I re-subtitle this blog? Writing YA while starving my A**? Writing YA to the very last breath? How about simply WRITING YA AND FINISHING MY REWRITE??

*headdesk* PANTS FIRE must go forth and query! I need rest!

New Digs

New blog! New month! And darn it, I’m forcing accountability on myself.

Here is my measly rewrite progress: 93pages/270 total 

On the bright side, I’ve FINALLY made it to the ~all new chapter~. On the dark side, I watched Star Wars III again and Padme was still “woe is my plight as a woman” and Anakin Skywalker was STILL scary-girlfriend-stalker lame. But at least HE turns into Darth Vader. What is Edward’s excuse? All he’s going to do is ~*sparkle*~.
Anyway, by the end of the month, I expect that number to say 270/270 or something ~similar~.

Also, I have only stuck my tiny toe into the coolness of WordPress (so expect there to be some redecorating ’round here), but I can tell you right now I’m never going back to LJ. :D
Welcome to my new digs.

Twitterspeak

Hello, LJ. Yes, I know I have been neglecting you…but you see, I met Twitter.
(O_O)
Yes, that Twitter.
(~_~)
No, I don’t think Twitter is better than you…but maybe a little easier to handle when things get tough.
(>_<)
Ohhh, don’t feel that way, LJ. I still <3 you.
)-0_0-(
In 140 characters or less.
(#_#)

So um, yeah…in Twitterspeak, this is what I’ve been up to this week:

Damn you guys…I think I might want to rewrite MF…AGAIN.

I was sitting here racking my brain w/ a plot problem for current WIP, and kept getting ideas for MF instead. *headdesk*

Eff eff eff eff eff!! Last year I took a machete to this ms…this year it will be a CHAINSAW.


~*LAUGHS EVILLLLLLY*~

Insert Big Band Xmas Music Here

Obviously, I survived Thanksgiving — and am a stronger person for the freezing cold air mattress and massacred pumpkin pie. I had no idea you COULD screw up pumpkin pie until my dad tried to make it this year. *shudder* On the plus side, ~amazingly~ I had no flight complications, which is good cuz it keeps reinforcing the idea in my mind that flying does not equal dying! Hoooray!

In other news, I discovered that trying to conjure my muse from a freezing cold air mattress in a frigid not-at-all private corner of a dining room in the middle of the night with a screaming baby down the hall…doesn’t work. I wrote one sentence on my still-new WIP, and ended up deleting it when I got home. BUT…after I deleted it, a whole chapter came gushing out! So lesson learned: vacations are for being on vacation…even if they are incredibly family-filled freezing cold events. Don’t bother trying to write, but save it up for later:

YOU FOE progress:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5,221 / 65,000
(8.0%)

And now that it’s starting to roll, I’m really excited about this story! Eeeeeee! Nothing quite like realizing you have the bare bones of a for real, whole entire story rattling around inside you — AGAIN! Though the new-WIP ego has already started to squawk in my ear about how much BETTER it is than the last story, and if I loved that one, just wait till I type the last word on THIS one because I ain’t seen nothing yet…so now my first book has a hit out on this second one with the big mouth. Things could get ugly.

The other thing tugging at the back of my mind is the genre-trap…again. I had a hard time fitting MF into one category, and now I’m having that trouble with YOU FOE, though it’s ~slightly~ easier this time. There is at least one classical sci-fi element…which kind of makes me laugh because it’s something I *never* thought I’d be writing about. In fact, I never set out to write sci-fi PERIOD. But like I said, this story is BOSSY. And like MF, that one little element of sci-fi doesn’t define everyone and everything in the story. For the most part, my characters are normal YAs with the usual YA problems…and um, then comes the sci-fi to make everything more complicated. So IDK…I mean, I guess you could say the same thing about Twilight: Everyone is normal except the Cullens who are doing their best to appear normal. But…isn’t that true of EVERYONE in high school?

The Summertime Prince

This is not a teaser…and anyway it’s officially not Tuesday anymore.

I wrote this poem almost two years ago. It’s about the guy who um, initially inspired the *love interest* in MIND FIRE, which I had begun around the same time. Writing the poem got me excited to finish the novel, ~*mah first novel*~, so…it’s definitely not the greatest, but it is special.

~*~

The Summertime Prince

 

For twenty years, he’s carried that staff

selling his pretzels, with a bow, and a laugh.

Wooing young maids in his Renaissance style

light kiss on the fingers, a dazzling smile.

But mums guard your daughters the rest of the year

he’s a shape-shifting dragon, or so I do hear

Come winter, a pirate’s ship he will sail,

down to New Orleans, into port with a hail!

To tend bar for his brethren of fallen souls

writers, actors, politicians, he’ll wear all their clothes

Even a mendicant mask, he dons with a wince

he’s no stranger to it, this summertime prince.

And when the last snow melts from the gray New York skies,

“Tis time for the Festival!” home again he will fly

To wield staff anew, and break a young girl’s heart

in the deep Sterling woods, romance is his art.

Those blue eyes will settle on full ruby lips,

nothing taken for granted, curving bust, swaying hips.

And with a “Huzzah!” grasps his naïve young lass

In beautiful talons, she’s his prey, oh alas.