Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'M FREE... Sorta

Today I took my last exam here in London, the one for which I have been studying about five hours a day, every day for the last month. In the last few days before the actual exams, I studied less and procrastinated more, mostly with my biggest procrastination tool, writing. I'm telling you, those hours during which I was supposed to be studying were hours that I made some serious progress with TOSOL. I finished writing a scene that should have been very simple; it was just a conversation, not much moving around and definitely no combat (just that should have made me breathe easier.) But as easy as it seemed, it's a scene that's given me the most trouble of late. I can't decide if it's because it really was difficult or my inner critic was in good form. Either way, it took me a good week and a half to write the 4000+ word scene, writing and deleting sentences over and over again. However, now that's it over, I'm pretty satisfied. While there isn't much action, there's a lot of information given, tension built, and questions asked... or at least I hope so.

I had hoped to get the fourth draft to my two readers by the beginning of June, but I don't think that's going to happen. I have almost five days before my family arrives in England (!!!), and of course I'll be spending my time with them until we leave on the twelfth. Besides all of those excuse-y reasons, there's still a ridiculous amount of work to be done on this draft. I've already made a ton of changes, all of which I'm happy with, but there are other changes, some huge, some tiny but still significant, that need to be made before I can even think of sending them off. Those will take serious time to accomplish in a way that won't make me cringe as I hit the 'send' button on those e-mails to my readers.

In other news, I know I haven't been doing WIP Wednesday for, well, a really long time. This is for a few reasons. The first is that I learned that posting on the internet is technically using your first publishing rights, which can hurt you if you want to get that work published in the future. Since both of my current WIPs are two that I want to publish, I've decided against posting sections from those. (If anyone knows differently about the publishing rights thing, please correct me.) The second reason is a little more vain: through my England blog, a few people I actually know have discovered this blog. *waves to people I know* *hides* I created this blog under the safety of being anonymous (though I suspect at least one person I know discovered it nearly a year ago), and in real life, I'm very shy about my writing. This has also made me a bit reluctant to post my work. (Note to said people: it's not you. It's me. I'm ridiculously shy.) It's not that I'll never do WIP Wednesday again... I just don't know when it will be back.

Until my family gets here, I am free to write as much as I want, so I think I'll visit a cafe or two over the next five days. I write so much better in a cafe environment, and hopefully I'll get a lot of work done.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Well, I finished writing the combat scene. It's not great- my lack of experience (in both writing these scenes and combat in general) definitely shows, but it's okay for now. My critique partner is good at writing combat scenes, so hopefully after he reads the novel, he'll have some suggestions on how to make it better.

Since I finished that, I've been working on more additional scenes than I realised were going to be added. One thing I'm definitely not good at is cutting scenes. I'm fine with writing scenes and not putting them in- I do that all the time. But cutting things after they've been in there for awhile? Not so great. I may have to do this with TOSOL, though- my last reader pointed out two or three scenes that, while well-written, don't give any new information and therefore aren't necessary. In fact, I just now made the decision to cut a scene. See, I'm growing right in front of you :p

I'm still feeling guilty about not working on my script while here in England, so I vowed earlier today that this coming week, I will work on it at least a little bit. I've been focusing on TOSOL because two people are waiting to read it, but I really want to get some of this script done as well.

Now back to studying- I'm terrified of this English-style exam and I've been studying my butt off for the pas week and a half.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A New Obstacle

Oh, this novel is killing me. In a good way (sort of), because all of these challenges are leading me to a better and more realistic novel, if it all works out and I write it well enough.

Now I have a new obstacle. In the end of the novel, right before everyone dies, they need to fight back. I didn't have them doing so and both of my readers wrote "WHY AREN'T THEY FIGHTING?!" And why don't I have them fighting?

Because I've never written a combat scene before. Not a real one. I've had characters captured and hurt, but said characters have always had zero knowledge of any combat skills and didn't have the skills or the chance to defend themselves. In TOSOL, Lyddie has limited (still some) knowledge/skill, but her aunt has more, and the villain has even more. Even though Lyddie is disarmed fairly easily by the villain, I need to know how one can fight with her prop as well as how she can be disarmed. These are all things I'm not good at, so I've taken the coward's route and avoided it... until now.

The muses are not smiling down upon me. I've been trying for days to write this scene. The pace is all wrong, and it sounds like I don't know what I'm talking about, despite the reading I've done on the subject.

Ugh. And I thought writing the make-out scene was hard. Any suggestions on how to write a fight?

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Growing (I Hope)

I think I'm growing as a writer, slowly but surely. It's been happening over the years, of course, but over the past eight months or so, I've been recognizing signs that I am. I have been told that one of my downfalls as a writer- of novels, of scripts- is that I miss great opportunities in my story. I set up a great "in" for something to happen... and then I don't think to try it out. It's never on purpose- I just never recognized that there was such an opportunity. But over the past few months, I've noticed that I'm catching more of these, seeing new avenues that I've never seen before.

I decided that for next years NaNoWriMo, I'm going to finish up Q/Quarantined/whatever it's going to be called once I'm finished with it. Long-time readers may remember that I started this project back in September/October 2009. I've been working on it on and off since then, and as of now, I have around 31,000 words. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words, and while I'm not sure that Q has 81,000 words to it, I chose to finish this project partially because I know I will be challenged to try new approaches to the story to get those 50,000 words. Plus, whether or not is has 81,000 more words to it, I know it still has a lot; I have so much still to say about the story, and I'm excited about that.

Also, I've found that one of my favorite things to do as I figure out a story is to write a scene or two from a different character's perspective. This allows me to see the same scene from a different angle. For example, for TOSOL, I wrote about Lyddie's mother's capture from the mother's point of view. It didn't go into the novel and I never planned it to, but knowing what happened to her was really helpful, and I can look back on it now months later as I reassess and completey revamp her character. I also wrote a flashback scene between Lyddie and her sister that occured right after their mother had been taken. It's adorable and touching, and while it didn't make it into the novel, I know that they had that moment together and it helps me to write other scenes between them. This is something I never did when I was a younger writer.

I've spent the past couple of days since making my plot chart working on some new scenes. I have a few that I need to write, and as I work on them, I feel like I'm looking at them with a better eye for wording and the like. This is not only from writing, I think, but from editing. I know that if I'm not careful, this "eye" will turn into my usual Type-A1 fear of not being perfect, but I'll try to stay away from that, as that's what keeps me from writing, not spurs me on.

I'm excited to see these changes happening in my writing and I hope they continue. I know I've got a long way to go, but growing bit by bit all brings me closer to my ultimate goal- to be published. And I'm not going to lie- I got an e-mail from a girl who I was in a creative writing class with in the fall. She and I have a lot in common, but we've both been too shy to communicate in anyway but over the internet. I had written and asked her if she was taking any writing classes this semester, and in her answer, she wrote, "I hope you're keeping up with your writing- you're so good at it." Even little stuff like that can make my day :)