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OMG all of November passed and I did not blog?!

Here we go: Audiobooks, Grooming, Christmas shopping, THROUGH TO YOU, Snow, Shoveling, Back Pain :(, Critique Partners <3 <3, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Crisp, Sleeping, WIP 12k!

It's that time of year! Hardly even time to Twitter! :)

SPARK, FIRE, and THROUGH TO YOU

I realize I’ve been an erratic blogger lately.

Okay, fine – ABSENT blogger. But this is starting to sound like the diaries I tried to keep growing up. Every entry started with, “Sorry it’s been so long…”

ANYWAY, I have a good reason — a GREAT reason for being *quiet* lately — a new WIP!

The working title is THROUGH TO YOU. It’s shaping up to be more high-concept magical realism, which is where my heart lies. <3 :) *happy sigh*

I’m SO excited about this new wip…over the last few weeks I’ve been battling out characters and point of view most of all. I had to take a huge GULP when I realized my MC is male AND he’s telling the story in first person present-tense. This is so foreign to me! But that’s how the story is taking shape, and it feels so natural as I go, I’m not going to argue! Bite my nails, yes! But I’m going with it!

As far as SPARK goes…still waiting. Sorry, that’s a crappy update, but it’s all I’ve got!

I also finished FIRE by Kristin Cashore last week. With no free time to read, I listened to it (as usual) on audio at work. I have to say, I like this recording much better than the one of GRACELING. FIRE was read in the traditional way by a single person, whereas GRACELING was done by Full Cast Audio. The actors who did GRACELING were great, but much as I love Bruce Coville…it’s just *jarring* to hear one person read the narrative, and a slew of different actors read the lines of dialogue for different characters. It works well for plays, but not so much for books.

ANYWAY, I really, really loved FIRE. The “monsters” were such an interesting, unique concept for fantasy. I admit I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but anything called a “monster” that is devastatingly beautiful and alluring is an automatic win with me. ALSO there was so much talk of blood, sex, affairs, menstrual bleeding, pregnancy and babies, my head was reproductively spinning! I love what a wonderfully feminist writer Kristin Cashore is without coming off like she’s on a soap box. I got the same impression from GRACELING, and it’s just SO refreshing. The women in her books are strong, but still feminine, and they deal with the issues of women in a realistic and mostly positive manner.

I’m trying to decide what to listen to next, but LEVIATHAN and GOING BOVINE are both in my queue. :D

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?

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.

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?

Ladies and gentlemen, we have word count…

Yes, a whopping 587 brand-spanking ~*sparkly*~ words on the new WIP!!

I’m not officially signed up for NaNo, but I consider myself a member of NaNoWriLife…all the same, I consider myself challenged by my self (possibly more powerful than an internet of other novelists) to crank out the words. DO YOU HEAR THAT, ME??

It might be too sad to do a word-meter, so we’ll just celebrate these words without comparing them to the ones still unwritten. But I am soo excited. :D Also, that DARKNESS thing I was worried about might not be as bad as I thought.

Now if I can just put down MORE words in a 2nd POV, we might actually be going somewhere…

New MS Mumbles

So, everyone knows what you do while you wait to hear back on queries, right?

You stop obsessing over THAT MS and move on to a NEW one.

I guess I’ve reached that stage, only it’s not in MS form yet…people, I am outlining. (!!!!!!!) Never thought I’d say that.

And it’s going really well! I had a super-cool idea for a new premise, and first few chapters, etc. I think I know the right direction to go on POV (there will be TWO this time – 1st-person, I think…if I can bring myself to do it. I heart 3rd-close). I even know my characters a *little* bit already. And I HAD been stuck trying to figure out where the whole thing was going to go (after said super-cool premise), but today I THINK I KNOW.

BUT…………..this one is going to be a lot "edgier/darker" than the last one. And I don’t know how I feel about that. I mean, I have absolutely NO problemwith edgy/dark material. I love reading it, and I’m excited to write this story. But it’s like, SO different. I feel like if both books ever made it into print, one would need a pseudonym or something because they just DON’T go together.

I mean, both books do have some similarities…I like to write speculative fiction based in science. For the most part (My YA heroes are Christopher Pike and Scott Westerfeld). And this new MS is going to be like that…only a little heavier on the sci-fi. Which kind of surprises me, but REALLY shouldn’t considering the idea for it, which would make you laugh at me about this if I told you what it was. (Sorry! Sekrit!)

And on top of the sci-fi lean (which is really just fine by itself), my MCs and what happens to them is just a little bit scarier. It’s darker, grittier, and so are they. They make my last MC look like a Puritan. So I’m like…is SHE TOO PURE? Or ARE THEY TOO DARK? Or are they all who they need to be and I should just shut up and understand that the two worlds will never meet…except on a hypothetical bookshelf? *headdesk*

EFF!! Is for FINISHED!

My revision….~*drumroll*~ is done. 

MIND FIRE Pages Revised :

Zokutou word meter
244 / 244
(100.0%)

Ended up adding about 1700 words, for a final count of 59,759.

Now it’s off for first-round-catch-the-embarrassing-stuff family review (thank you sis!), and then…real crits.

My head just exploded.

Down In It

I feel a bit guilty about choking off the oxygen to my blog, but these revisions are owning me. And I realized today that I haven’t cleaned off my desk in…longer than I’m willing to say…because ofthis BOOK. Agh! Luckily, S respects this as my space and doesn’t care if I crap it up (the food table is another thing). But today I stepped back for a minute and felt the shame. I MUST finish revising so I can send this thing off for crits and rent an EXCAVATOR.

Just to expose myself completely to head shakes and tsk tsks, there are at least three months+ of bank statements and a wedding invite RSVP I haven’t sent yet in that thing on the wall (I’m IN that wedding – so um, yeah)…There are Christmas cards, receipts, bills (paid/unpaid), uncountable sticky notes on every surface available (I have a sticky note problem – I stick sticky notes to sticky notes – I have a notebook that I write stuff in, and then stick sticky notes on top of the pages), a three pount free weight, two car registration renewals, an extra laptop battery, a christmas ornament, a birthday hat for my dog, a baseball hat I got for free, ~10 CDs in boxes, 2 loose, a copy of UGLIES I heart too much to put away, oh — and LOTS of CAT HAIR.

I know what you’re thinking…what about that nice black file cabinet…hmmm? I think it rusted shut.

Yams.

Mind Fire: Rewrite
 

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
41,306 / 70,000
(59.0%)

OMG, look at that! This is funny. I’m probably up too late (I swear this is writing related), but my sister is pregnant and she’s been sending me these weekly email updates she gets about the growth progress of her baby - Like for instance, this week baby is the size of a head of cauliflower. So I’m kinda tracking the progress of MF the same way. Except I don’t use vegetables… But if I did, I’d have to say this week, MF is about the size of a really cool-shaped Yam.

Which reminds me…the very first “report” I ever wrote in school was on the Yam. I picked it from a list of topics…because it was easy to spell. I had actually never heard of yams. My laziness backfired. I learned something anyway. Go figure.