Tuesday, May 29, 2012


So, dear readers, it seems I have joined the ranks of writers everywhere: just a few days ago, I got my first rejection as a writer. Don't get me wrong, I've had little rejections along the way, but it was mostly things like a short play of mine not being chosen for a school performance or losing an essay contest. But now I'm in the sort-of real world. I've started sending stuff to literary magazines. Around the end of last month, I sent a new short play I had written off to a lit mag on a whim. The other day, I got a short e-mail from them saying that they had decided not to publish it, but remarking on things that they liked. I suppose that's better than simply saying, "We've decided not to publish it. Thank you for your submission" and being done with it. Now I feel like a real writer.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thesis and Class Excitement!

Geez Louise, it's been another month since I posted.

HOWEVER, it has been an extremely productive month! I've been meeting with my playwriting/thesis advisor weekly, which pretty much means I get my world rocked by his wisdom and suggestions every seven days. Seriously- he's opening this play up for me in ways I don't know if I ever could have conceived. The first two acts of SOTM are now totally different and I'm really happy about that. I've cut a few scenes, added a few more, and rewritten the scene I've hated for two years to the point where I almost love it.

The biggest difference is that it is no longer a children's play in any way. This is startling to me, and surprisingly so; I knew it wasn't for little kids, but I figured it could still be considered TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences.) In fact, recently I've been asked by several people if it is and I've always said yes. But no more. Of course, my advisor says it's never been a kids' play; if it were, I'd have to take all the crazy asylum stuff out, which I don't want to do, and now that I've added some other things... I've written an adult play. WHOA. Rachel, the YA writer, has written something for adults. What is this madness?

But when my other thesis advisor, the one who's overseeing all of us theatre seniors, asked me what I thought about this change, I said, "I was never setting out to write a children's play. I was setting out to write a play." Which is true. I just want to write something good and moving.

And while I don't think that this play is Pulitzer-worthy, or even submission-worthy at this point, I do have a fan. I asked two recent graduates from my university to direct, and the first one who answered seemed pretty interested. I sent him the play around 11:30 one night, and he had read it and e-mailed me about it by 9 am the next day... saying he loved with the play, that he thought it was beautiful and had a mature voice. I was ecstatic, and it's going to be fantastic to work with someone who's just as excited as I am. Right after the director had agreed to direct it, I got a response from the other guy, one of my friends, who was all about it, too, but I told him that the director had gotten there first and was very enthusiastic.
To be honest, I kind of thought I would get someone who was like, "All right... I'll direct this college's kids reading... blahhhh," but instead, both the candidates I asked were really nice and great about it, and it's just awesome to have gotten such a fantastic response.

The reading is scheduled for April 23rd, but a month before that, I'm having a private reading, which was cast this week. Hopefully hearing the play in people's voices will give me an idea of the changes that need to occur and also what works, before I present it to a bigger audience. A month is not a long time to make thohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifse changes, but hopefully I can do it.

Also in writing news, my Poetry & Fiction II class has been going swimmingly. My first critiqued piece wasn't so great, but I think I've redeemed myself with my last two, which have both gone over very well. I just got back from having my third piece reviewed, and at the end the professor casually mentioned that that should edit it and send it out. Maybe I just will...

Also, shameless plug: I mentioned my collab blog last time, and it's been doing really well! Come on over and read it!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Good News of the Day!

Yes, I have been gone for longer than anticipated again, but I return with three pieces of good news!

Firstly, if you've been reading this blog for a bit, you may recall my mentioning a sci-fi novel. At one point it went by the the title Quarantined, which was then shortened to Q and then I abandoned that title altogehter when neither of those fit what the story had become. For probably about a year now, it's simply been known as The Untitled YA Sci-Fi Novel. And as of yesterday, The Untitled YA Sci-Fi Novel was completed.

Of course, I use the word completed lightly; this draft is finished. But I'm really happy about this. I've been working on this novel on and off, and then consistently this year, for over two years. I made a mess of it in November and spent the last two months cleaning it up and finishing it.

I hope to get a NaNo reviewer go over it and get some feedback, then work on it some more!

Bit of News #2 is that my friend and critique partner Stuart have started our collab blog. It is a writing blog, including book reviews, and we've gotten great reception so far. Check it out here!

And Bit of New #3 is that my final semester of undergraduate (and possibly all, but never say never) education is upon me, which means that I will be completing my senior thesis. My thesis is a new draft of my play, Straight on 'Til Morning, culminating in a staged reading of it. My playwriting professor has offered to be my mentor and I'm really excited. I'm meeting with my thesis teacher tomorrow to discuss the details and I really can't wait to meet up with my mentor on Wednesday. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

NaNo and a World Premiere

I'm still here, I promise. My life has been ridiculously busy. The world premiere of the play I'm in happened on Thursday night and I have my fifth show of the week today. This play is one of the best I've ever been in- possibly *the* best- and working on it has been the most amazing experience of my life. But I'll get to that in a second.

If you're wondering what happened with me and NaNo- I won! I nearly dropped out a few times; rehearsals and schoolwork were keeping me really busy, but I just have to win now that I have twice before. So I finished with a little over 51,000 words.
I'll just reiterate the tip I gave in the last entry: DO NOT do NaNoEdMo. It completely destroyed my novel and I think I'll have to do a complete rewrite. It just takes your mind to the complete wrong place when you're writing and editing at that speed. Next year, I'll be doing NaNo the traditional way.
When I have time, I also need to check out what's up with my word count; Scrivener says I only have 32,000 words, but that's impossible since I had 33,000 words before I even started NaNo. Thankfully, I have this novel backed up several times. I learned my lesson from the Great Word Loss of NaNo '09.

Now back to the play. As I believe I mentioned, it's a brand new play written by a very young playwright, a recent graduate. However, her credits are quite impressive, and I'll admit to being sort of star struck whenever I saw her (which wasn't often before this weekend, as she lives in New York and I'm in Philadelphia.) Even though she's only two years older than I, I always felt like a little kid around her because I was so intimidated by her credits and her writing skill. Last night, however, I got up the courage to ask her about something mentioned in her program bio: being produced at the Actor's Theatre of Louisville. I happen to be looking there to do an apprenticeship, and who better to talk to about it than someone who's already done it?
As it happens, she hasn't done it; her friend did, but the playwright's work was the one the friend produced. But with that one question, doors were opened. Besides being introduced to the friend when she comes to see the show next weekend, it also finally started up the conversation that I've been longing to have with the playwright about playwriting in general. She's such a nice person and I very much enjoyed talking to her. She asked me if I wrote too, and when I told her I did and gave her the plot of my play, she said she'd love to read it! That was a "whoa" moment for me, and now I'm nervously looking over my most recent drafts to make sure they're not embarrassing. But what an opportunity!

The process of working on this play has been nothing but inspiring to my own playwriting endeavours. When next semester starts, I expect I'll be writing a lot more, as my play is my thesis!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On My NaNo Progress

What, me, procrastinate? Why would I do that? No one in their right mind would willingly write a blog entry during NaNoWriMo when they're already two days behind, which will turn into three if that person doesn't finish before rehearsal in two hours. No, you're imagining things...


To be honest, the situation is not as dire as it seems. Because I made the decision long before NaNo to include editing in my work count, it's much easier to make up 5000 words or so than it would have been in previous years. (By the way, by "editing," I don't mean a word here or there. I mean like really working on a scene and polishing it.)
However, as I knew would happen, I'm suffering the guilt over not doing NaNo traditionally. And besides the fact that that's stupid- people do this all the time- I also know that if I were doing NaNo traditionally, I would have dropped out by now, as the show I'm in is taking over my life in a very wonderful way. We open in two weeks exactly, so things aren't going to get any easier.

One day, I'll come to my senses, either about being crazy enough to do this every year or about accepting my own decisions without guilt.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Today as I was waiting for my art class to start, a girl came over and asked me if I had time to take a survey. I said sure, and when she gave me the paper, I saw that it was about relationships and technology. A few of the questions asked what my reaction would be if I caught someone looking through my phone/Facebook/e-mail/room/computer without permission. For most of them, my answer was that I wouldn't reall care. Sure, I would be a little annoyed that they just assumed they could, but I have nothing to hide. But for one, the answer was different: my computer.

Like all my other technological items, I have nothing to hide on my computer (computer here meaning documents, pictures, etc.), nothing I'm ashamed of, even if I'd rather people didn't see my awkward adolescent years in photographs. But I have a mini panic attack at the thought of someone going through my documents, and that's because of my writing.

I've always been protective of my writing. I don't know why. I suppose that a good part of it is definitely that writing is one of my favorite forms of expressing myself, so it's me in those words, my ideas, both good and not so good. I experiement, I explore, and I take chances in my writing. And while I may not be the best writing, I do consider myself a fairly good one. So why do I want to make sure that no one sees what I write?

I know that a lot of it comes from my being a perfectionist. I want my drafts to be flawless when I show them to someone, despite that the word "draft" implies everything but perfection.

I've had this blog for a few years, and I think maybe one person I know in real life has read this blog, and he found it on his own just recently (hi, Caleb!) I haven't even shared this blog with my critique partner, whom I trust implicitely.

I wish I had the courage to share my writing more. I don't think the reactions would be bad. But I think it'll take awhile for me to get up the courage.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

NaNo Prep

As I have since 2008, I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year. But after three years of being a NaNo purist (writing- or attempting in 2008- 50,000 new words in the month of November), I'm changing it up a little this year... and I'm not completely happy about that.

I'm a little OCD- I like to do things the same way, all the time. I make bets with myself: I bet you can't keep this up for the rest of your life. I betcha. And so even deviating from an annual thing is kind of screwing with me. But I both want and need to do it, I think, and it's not an unheard of thing and so is still officially accepted.

I'm going to be doing what is usually called NaNoFiMo. I will be finishing up a novel I began to work on in September of 2009 (the sci-fi YA one.) I will probably not write 50,000 more words of it (as it's already nearly 35,000), but I will be adding possibly a good 20,000, maybe more, and I also plan to edit the book in November.

There are a few reasons for this choice:

1) I really want to finish this novel. I've worked on it sporadically for over two years now, and I really want to move on with it (though not from it.)

2) There are a few people (and by a few I mean two :p) who want to read it, and by editing it, they won't be reading complete brain vomit, which is always what my NaNo novels are by December 1st.

3) While I'm not busier than I was last year, I'm more worried about the busyness, and I want to be able to concentrate on outside things more than I usually do during NaNo.

I want to get as much as the novel done as I can before November so I can edit thoroughly (including rewrites of existing scenes and most probably adding new ones) when NaNo comes along. I'm very much looking forward to this November, however unorthodox it will be.