Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Dear Self Doubt,

Posted: September 20, 2008 in Uncategorized
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Hi! Wow, it’s been a bit hasn’t it?  You look good…strong.  You been working out?   Me? Oh, I’m doin’ alright, just pounding away pointlessly on the keys as I realize my story is not so made of win as I thought it was.  I mean, who needs a plot right?  Who needs to show not tell?  Apparently not this girl.  Cardboard characters…sure!  And have I told you that I obviously have no trust in my readers or my writing ability because I state the same things over and over and over and…well, enough about me Self Doubt!  What have you been up to?   Ripping apart the self esteem of some poor girl just trying to get to the ending, huh… Hostile takeover, gotta love those.  It’s always so fun to break the tough ones.  OMG SERIOUSLY?! She really thought it was coming together and she’d get to THE END in the next week?!!  What a total noob!!!! I mean, has she MET you?! 

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Revisions AHOY!

Posted: September 7, 2008 in Uncategorized
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After a day of pondering and a call from He Who Is Still Refered to as Roomie Though He No Longer Holds This Title and I think I’ve made progress.  HWISTRTHNLHTT had a few things to run by me on his own story and then we were talking about one of my plotlines.  I’ve unofficially officially decided it has to go… see, it can be set up a bit, but it’s a book 3 issue that really can’t be dealt with now.  And NOT having it will actually both explain and improve the other plotlines.  So there it is.  Luckily, the cut was endorsed by HWISTRTHNLHTT (who will shortly be receiving a well…shorter nickname).  So that’s where I stand.  I’m hopeful, though feeling some trepedation… Wish me luck.  I’m back to the shortened work schedule which will work well with this stage.  Hopefully I’ll be making much progress over the next few days…

I r tired.  I r tired lots.  Sigh.  I’m still editing, and making progress, but honestly I’m just totally procrastinating on the ending.  See, my first book was written in feverish hivey spurts.  This one has had a serious lack of hive and I actually, yanno, LIKED writing it.  But my last book was a flop, due to my ending having a major case of teh suck.  I knew it had teh suck.  I tried to fix it.  I changed it a lot.  Like to the point where I’d tell someone I was changing the ending and all I was getting in return were a series of groans.  I was never happy with it.  Agents were not either.  I had a decent request rate.  The ending just…sucked.  Which I’m fine with.  That story was more therapy than anything else.  And it was the story I wrote to PROVE I could write a book. 

But this one is different.  This one has THE ONE in big shiny neon flashies.  They were not put there by me.  They were put there by people that heard what it was about and were eager to read it from the first few thousand words. They were, in other words, put there by people who rock.  People who I’m afraid to let down. 

I fear the ending.  I fear when I get there it will not be made of win. 

Warning: Edit Mode

Posted: September 2, 2008 in Uncategorized
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After the move, writing never quite made it back to the forefront.  Sure, there was tinkering and a bit of progress was made.  I dabbled through the first 150 pages or so.  A few little changes were made. 

But now the time has come. The scheduling gods have smiled upon me, and I have only a 4:30-7:30 shift today, tomorrow off and then another 4:30 to 7:30.  Can you guess what I’ll be doing with that free time?

The amusing thing is that my new roomies haven’t seen me in Writing Mode yet, let alone Editing Mode.  I posted a disclaimer on our dry erase board on the fridge that reads:
    Leah will be in EDIT MODE until Friday morning.
         Not responsible for:  Coffee consumption, cigarette consumption, Ranting and/or crying, Proclaiming myself the best writer ever born, Proclaiming myself the WORST writer ever born, Swearing, General bitchiness and Human Sacrifice (Roomies are immune).

I think that about covers it.  Poor Heather has it the worst.  She was like, "I’ve seen the writing effect. I’d call you and you’d rant about people I had no idea about for an hour and then go "OH! Ihavetogothxforthebreak" and hang up."  As former Roomie said laughing, "That poor girl has no idea.  Batten down the fucking hatches!"

So there may be updates over the next few days, there may not.  I’ll let you know who survives and in what condition…

Over on Query Tracker Kate Quinn had the idea of starting a blog chain.  The idea is that there will be a topic and each of us will link to the next person’s blog (hence the chain part…) for different takes on the same topic.  The first topic is Writing Methods.  The chain starts here with Kate’s post on what made her “finally  just freakin’ do it.”   I’d post all the other links between the two of us, but it’s a chain sweetie so to get the goods use the lil clicky mouse thing 😉

My Take…

So many writing methods, so little time.  Yeah, I could go the traditional route…tell you how well Butt In Chair works for me, but that’s not really gonna help YOU is it?  After all, you’re reading my journal instead of writing the great American Novel.  And BIC is great and all, but I’m posting on here and not writing.  The fact that we’re both here, slurping up random journals, checking out youtube, downloading songs… Well, I’m here to tell you you’re off the hook.  In fact, give yourself a cookie because you’re doing it right.  My writing method? 

Distraction.

Shiny links, odd news on Yahoo, random chats on gmail…every bit of it is important to my writing process.  I never know what’s going to spark.  Which little sparks are going to flare and take the plot in a completely different direction.  I’m not an outliner.  AT ALL.  I never know where inspiration for the next story is going to come from, let alone the next scene.   But that is a big part of my method.  Not outlining, not knowing leaves me open to all kinds of possibilities.  The key is making distraction work FOR you.

Ya know Reapers…the novel I’m working on now?  Well, for the sake of this blog I’m gonna part with an embarrassing  little secret.  The short story that’s grown into Reapers was inspired by a line from…….Jackass.  Yes.  MTV Jackass.  Johnny Knoxville Jackass.  And what was I supposed to be doing while I was watching Jackass?  I was SUPPOSED to be writing a short story for a Fiction Writing class. 

I’d hunkered down at

‘s parents house with all intentions of getting to BIG SERIOUS WORK.  His parents were out of town. all that week.  But did we throw a party?  Drink till we puked?  No, we wrote till 2am almost every night they were gone and were elated about being able to.  I still think that’s pretty damn cool.  Anyway, the story was overdue.  I’d promised my prof that I had the story done, would bring it in the next time class met.  Total lie.  At about 9 pm I hadn’t even started it. 

I’d been staring at the blank page for about an hour before the shiny in the form of Jackass won out (keep in mind, this was almost 8  years ago…I was 19 or so.  People stapling their ass cheeks together was decent entertainment in those days…*sigh  Ok… it still cracks me up).  I can’t remember the specifics of the episode…how it all went down…only that one of them was skateboarding in some kind of skimpy blue lycra thing, wiped out and slammed into the ground.  The line?  “Skin and concrete do NOT mix”. 

From that, came the story of these weird, jaded and absolutely sociopathic teenagers watching a guy on a ledge.  A jumper.  Betting on whether he was going to do it or not.  The whole short story popped into my head.  From WHERE I don’t know, but it was there.  I wrote most of it that night.  Lege worked on it too, editing it and adding in some of his flavor.  The story was only about 6 pages or so long.  I stumbled over it a few times in the years between then and now, giving it a quick read through before stuffing it into a moving box or tossing it into a folder for safe keeping.  I always felt a little…off after reading it.  Those kids never really sat right with me.  I knew there was more to their story.  I just couldn’t figure out what.  Finally this past March with Lege’s blessing, I decided to do something with it. 

But I didn’t start writing the novel.  Again, I went for the shiny things instead.  I knew it was set in NYC, the teens in the story were kind of goth raver types.  I spent a good 3 days or so making myself a soundtrack.  Techno wasn’t my thing, but it was THEIR thing.  I downloaded and fell in love with the beats of Paul Oakenfold.  I searched out German Industrial techno…  Not writing but all part of my writing method.  I lost myself in their world.  I scoured images for hours, finding pictures of models, actors, even a random kid on myspace who happened to look like my character Jarrod.  For about two weeks, I researched subjects I thought might relate to them.  Quotes, songs…anything that they’d like.  Eventually, Eden’s story fell into place and Reapers was born. 

If I’d done the Butt In Chair complete concentration on word counts thing right off the bat, this story never would have come about.  Sure, eventually you’re gonna have to knuckle down and write, BIC and all that.  Discipline isn’t a bad thing by any means. 

But if the words aren’t coming, don’t be afraid to let your brain run.  Stuck halfway through?  Need a plot twist?  Forgive yourself for watching this, or this or even this (FYI, if you write a story about what happened to Andre  or Zombie Snails you will be made of win 🙂  )  Forgive yourself for giving in to the call of America’s Next Top Model.  For daydreaming and listening to the ranting man sitting next to you on the subway instead of popping on the Ipod and setting to work.   Maybe those crazy mutterings are the plot twist you’ve been waiting for. 

Distraction.  It’s not a weakness. 

It’s a method. 

(This is a blog chain… the next link can be found HERE  (you’re up Kiddoc!)

A REAL day off!  Not a lack of work but a thousand other things to do day.  Not a well, maybe after the grocery store and painting and bill paying and packing I can write a bit day.  A WRITING day.  I’m like, completely unnaturally excited about this…which makes me sad.  All my days used to be this way and I didn’t take every second and squeeze potential out of them..mostly, I watched a couple hundred clips of Brotherhood 2.0 and searched for interesting music for my soundtrack.  Which is precisely why I NEEDED a day job, but not THIS much of a day job.  This one leaves my brain fried post 8 pm and though I stay up till about 2, I’m pretty worthless writing wise.  I’ve tried going to bed early and waking up to write, but I’m cranky in the morning so that doesn’t work so well and then I’m extra tired during and post work so I don’t even get to talk to my friends or anything.  Clearly, I need to win the lottery. 

Things I should have mentioned but didn’t…

Yesterday was

 ‘s bday!!! Go wish her a great year and give her anti creepy guy vibes (she needs them…)

Also, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone has been out for a week now!!!!! Buy your copy here! 

Life updates:  I’m moving soon…and until the others get there, I’ll be living in a gynormous 3 bedroom house by myself.  This is very scary because a. I’ve NEVER lived by myself…in fact, when I moved in with

 it was the first time in my life since I was 2 1/2 (when Sister was born) that I had my own room.  And when I’m alone the overactive imagination goes into overdrive. It is not good that my grandpa died in the house only a few months ago…not that I’d be afraid of him being there, just….not in the dark alone.  And I have a cat who apparently ALSO has an overactive imagination and will periodically hiss at “empty” corners and puff up before taking off to hide.  At least I tell myself it’s his imagination.  I predict sleepless nights.  Roomie type people will not be moving in for another month and a half, so I’m trying to get my friend David to come stay with me.  He’ll be able to play some shows out here, so it’ll be a working vacation, but it’s the GETTING him here which is proving to be the problem.  Stupid gas prices… *sigh  Here’s hoping…

Alright, time to grind the juice out of this day and make myself a word slurpie…I’ll keep you updated! 

Pretentious Adventures

Posted: May 17, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I have some kick ass friends.  I just wanted to point that out.  The past two days I’ve had not one, not two, but THREE offers from friends to come move to various parts of the country.  E. even told me she’d pay for me to get out to Cali, and that I could stay rent free.  A. in Tucson is also offering not only a room for me, but a room for my Roomie as well, totally rent free.  It would be great to get out of Ohio and to try someplace new.  But though I’m dying to get out of here…there’s a really big

This is my niece, Aubrey.  She’s gonna be born in July and I really want to be here for that.  So any trips will have to wait until after then.  I’m also waiting to see if I get the okay to move into my grandma’s house.  If I do, it’ll be cheap rent and I’ll be able to save some money that way too.  I just have a lot of options right now to consider!  Isn’t life funny like that? 

In writing news, I’ve finally tipped over that huge hill and am speeding down the roller coaster again.  I’ve been working on one of the scenes I was stuck on and am about 500 words in for today!  EXCITED!!!  

Posted: May 16, 2008 in Uncategorized
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Alright, enough of the wallowing.  This blog was getting a bit moody and negative, so I figured I’d post something good and happy!  It’s cross-posted from my Myspace 😉

So I was perusing a blog and stumbled upon this video.  Some of you (hi, Roomie) know of my complete obsession with music.  There’s a singer named Imogen Heap that I have kind of a love/hate relationship with.  Now, I know a few of you might be turned off by her whole voice/ computer overlay of voice thing (hi, Jacinda) but while watching this video of her performing, I realized that the way she puts it all together is a lot like writing.  So if you could just bear with me and watch the video, I promise I’ll pull it all together at the end? K? Press play now  and then start to read…

Play.

When I start out writing a WIP, it’s just me on an empty stage.  I have the tools there, all ready, but essentially it’s just me and my computer.  And then there is the tentative first lyric.  A single sentence that sparks a new life into creation.  A moment later, some detail will strike me…it could be a character trait (like in the Reaper story I’m working on, with Adam’s go-to-when-in-doubt sarcasm) or some slight quirk that brings their everyday life colliding with mine (Eden’s obsession with caramel coffee)   These are layered, woven together until they hum a pulse into what used to be just a few sketched out words.  I start to feel for these people who some part of me acknowledges live only in my head, but I wonder about what they’re doing in their off moments when I’m not peeking into their world. 

That moment when the voice gels and becomes it’s own soundtrack is the moment that the clapping starts, the conflict enters the picture.  In my story, it’s the introduction of Libby.  She is a girl after answers, forcing Eden into revealing things to the reader that Eden wouldn’t otherwise let you in on. 

And still the layers are there in the background, the dynamic of my group of friends, their loyalty to each other and Eden, their Valkyrie.  And the lyrics change, just as the song does.  The harmony falls away, still there though it’s only heard in snatches, and the story takes over.  Plot lines are threaded and connected until there is a chorus, a gasp for breath caught on tape, the brush of two hands together altering everything.  In my book, it’s the same.  There’s the moment where Eden, strong and uncrackable Eden is left in tatters over a broken necklace…a gift from a lost love she can’t quite shake.  And the comfort that Adam shows her, changing their dynamic and the chorus just enough to be noticed.  The clapping is where the lost love returns-Az, fallen angel with wings and all (not what you were expecting hopefully, and just like Imogen’s hands clapping, it’s something that starts out small and grows to become a full fledged part of the back story)

I just sit back and listen, typing what I’m told.  I become a vessel for them, just a doorway that lets them out.  I’m kind of sketchy in public during this phase, caught up in my head a bit too much (but usually still not enough).  I kind of hermit away and you can usually find me surrounded by empty frappachinos and coffee cups and wrapped in a blanket that I pull over my head to keep out the light from the TV that Roomie is watching next to me.  Candles have to be lit, the flames help me focus just as much as the blanket as blinders trick.  And the real world gets very far away…

And then suddenly, the floor drops out and there is only vocals.  Just me again, terrified by the story, by what I’ve written and how it just takes over everything.  Where I spend hours staring at the screen in a panic.  Will anyone actually want to read it?  Does it make any sense?  Is it all wrong?  Oh my god, it is isn’t it?? Should I toss it all?  Start again? Give up? 

But then the harmony comes back, the layers build and there’s another explosion of words, another round of conflict and I find myself smiling and back in the game.  I let myself fall a bit for Az, and how he genuinely cares for Eden.  I root for Adam, the underdog, not sure if his devotion will be enough.  And suddenly I can’t do anything but write, sure that I’ll finish it…hey, it might even be a series! (or an album in the case of a song)  This is kind of where I am right now.  The second (third?) happy honeymoon period.  I can’t wait to see where the story goes, where the song goes. 

This video just totally caught the whole experience for me. 

Back on Track

Posted: April 17, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I’ve really been struggling with the Reapers story.  I wasn’t expecting such a roadblock (silly,right?) because the first 200 pages came SO easy! I’ve had a couple weeks of Panic Face now… but the good news is IT’S FINALLY PASSING!   I have to admit though, there were moments where I really thought about setting this aside, which would have been heartbreaking.  I love this story!  I love the characters, and the few people I’ve let read scenes seem to be clamoring for more.  One even declared I wouldn’t be able to beta read for her if I didn’t finish, which is a HUGE incentive because the first story in her series was amazing and I’m DYING to know what happens next (The Hollow by Jessica Verday, being published by Simon and Shuster in Fall 2009! GO JESS ……ahem. ) 

In my newly confident (and possibly insane) state I’ve decided to post a scene!  Let me know what you guys think…(update:  after about an hour of staring at the story I’m back in panic mode lol.  But I’m not backing down!  FEARLESS (ish)!!!!!  I’ve decided to just go with the first two pages.)

Eden ran two fingers over her perfectly gelled hair, the black strands sliding waves across her temple and down her cheeks in pin curls.  In the mirror back at the apartment, the light had shown red through the material draped over the shade.  She’d thought she looked like a 20’s style movie starlet; older than her seventeen years.  Eighteen, she corrected herself, though really the numbers didn’t matter anymore. 

The curls had taken hours to get perfect, and now the breeze whisking down the avenue had knocked the shape out of them.  

Sighing, she flicked a piece of lint from her long black coat, pulling it around her to keep out the chill as her eyes drifted to the solitary figure pacing the ledge twenty stories above.  “So, ya think he’s gonna do this shit or what?” she asked.

Next to her, Adam shook his head in amazement, his long brown bangs falling into his eyes.  “An to think, five minutes ago I wasn’t afraid of you.” 

    Eden stared daggers until his smile faltered. “Then clearly I’m slipping,” she said.

Swiveling his attention towards approaching sirens, Adam’s face was smothered in sapphire and ruby as a quartet of police cars broke around the corner, lining up along the curb.  As always, it seemed the law was the last to arrive. Eden and her group were anonymous enough in the crowd that had gathered.

     “Pigs are here.  Should we jet?” James asked, looking to Eden for the decision.

     “When have they ever been our concern?”  Eden tucked a pink lock behind the multiple studs piercing her ear.  “Besides, they’re here for him.  We can stay a while longer.”  Breaking form, she offered James a twitch of a smile.  He relaxed and shot one back.

     “And we wouldn’t wanna miss the Grande Finale,” Adam added, gesturing upwards dismissively.  Eden noticed even Jarrod was watching them now, seeming amused as always by Adam’s insistence on testing the boundaries.  But then his eyes too found their way up, past the awning of the old hotel, past empty window after empty window until again they found the man. 

    “Well there’s gotta be something better to do!  She blew a defiant breath up into the night sky, watching the frozen vapor spin in a lazy twirl.  Giving up on the glamorous curls, she separated one of her pink highlights and twisted it around her finger until it hung limp with too much product.  “Can’t he just jump already so we can get on with our lives?”

Spirals…

Posted: April 5, 2008 in Uncategorized
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Today has been a down day.  I have so much personal drama going on, and I’ve lost confidence in my WIP.  I read something in a thread on AW where someone had asked an agent if she’d be open to rewrites when she invited him to submit a future work.  The agent told him, “There’s a problem with the foundation.  You can’t fix it by wallpapering.”  This is how I feel about my work these days.  I love the characters, but I just can’t get a handle on their world and all its details.  And the more I try, the less I seem to grasp it.  On top of that, the most wonderful thing has happened and my roommate had TWO offers of representation.  With a third still considering.  And they are all amazing agents.   I’m the third of what I’ve come to think of as our little triad, the only one without an agent, and so I’m really feeling the pressure.  It’s like when you pull a muscle, and you know if you keep going, you’ll only make it worse.  If I try to force it, I’m going to freeze up. 

And on top of that, there’s a little voice in the back of my head whispering that this isn’t the story I’m supposed to be telling.  So what to do?  Keep going with a story I love, though I know is fatally (possibly) flawed?  Try something new?  I just don’t know anymore…