Sunday, August 28, 2011


Right now, I'm editing part of my critique partner's novel while he's editing mine. This has actually never happened before, and we've been having fun saying that we can't be mean to one another because we have each other's babies. There is a big difference between what we're reading, though. I have the latest (of many) drafts of the fantasy novel he's been working on for years. He has the fourth draft of my second complete novel, which is contemporary suspense. I've read almost every draft of his novel; this is his first glimpse of mine.

I've mentioned how honest my friend is about my writing. I mean, he told me straight out that the intro of this book sucked. In fact, it sucked so much that it actually made him much less eager to read the rest of the novel. He has started it since, however, and is teasing me with Facebook messages that say things like, "Just thought I should tell you, I'm reading TOSOL again. The darkness is overwhelming." When we got together last, he asked me who I was reading when I was writing the novel. I mentioned John Green, and he nodded. "You can see his influence," my friend said, totally making my day. Another thing that did so? Him saying he was pulled into my novel. I was practically dancing.

I think this all goes to show that a) one can recover from a bad beginning and b) I am growing in my writing. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

That Awkward Moment When You Realise Your Novel Has Already Been Done

I'm sure it's happened to most authors, but I had the terrible realisation that my story has already been written, even if it's in a different form. I was watching TV the other day when a movie trailer came on... and there was my novel.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned what my current novel is about, but it's a sci-fi YA about a fifteen year old girl who contracted a disease two years before the novel begins. Unless a cure is found, it will kill her within the year. If you watch the trailer, there are similarities.

Of course, a few days later, I've calmed down enough to see that there are more differences than similarities. Yes, the characters in the movie contract a mysterious disease that kills quickly. But it's more quickly than in mine. It also hits a lot more people- the disease in my novel is extremely rare. I also only tell the story from a patient's point of view- I never go into the minds of doctors or parents or friends. Still, it freaked me out a bit.

I guess there are no original ideas... and I wouldn't stop writing my novel either way.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Writing Together

Most readers of this blog know that I've done National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) since 2008. NaNoWriMo has a sister project, Script Frezy (or Screnzy), which takes place in April. I've always wanted to do it, and when I was living in London this past semester, I had the month of April off from university. What a perfect opportunity, I thought. I had an idea that I had scribbled down while on a train from New York City in May of 2010 but hadn't developed.

One of the great offerings of NaNo and Screnzy is that they have leaders for every location involved in the projects, and these leaders organize get-togethers so that participants can meet up and write together. I'd always wanted to attend one of these, but was unable to do so until I did Screnzy this past April. Transportation was a problem in previous years, but London is so easy to get around, even (or perhaps, especially) without a car, that I was able to attend most of the writing sessions.

While at these sessions, I discovered the joy of writing with others. Writing has always been a solitary thing for me- I don't write with anyone and I show very few people my writing. But meeting up and writing with the new acquaintences in the Costa at Piccadilly Circus made me extremely productive. There's something driving about sitting with other writers who are writing. You feel you need to keep up, and there's just this inspiring atmosphere.

I loved attending these meetings, but due to traveling around Europe in the same month, I didn't get to go to all of the meetings. However, I got so much done in that environment that I was determined to bring it home.

I've talked a lot about my critique partner and friend on this blog, and this summer, I suggested to him that we write together. He assumed I meant our collaboration novel. I told him that, while that would be nice, too, I thought he should try just writing his novel while I was writing mine. I found out just this week that he wasn't too sure about that; he'd never done it and wasn't sure it would work for him. We've gotten together a few times since then and he told me he loves it. It's even better to work with him because he knows me and he knows my writing, and vice-versa. It's a really awesome experience to be able to talk through hard places; last time we wrote together, I needed to have my character transition from homesickness to determination in what she was doing. On my own, I probably would have just moved on to a different section, but with my friend there, I was able to discuss the section, read him what I had, and he gave me this great idea that helped me finish not only the section, but the chapter. For his part, he asks me things like that, too, but mostly uses me for a dictionary/thesaurus :p

If you're wondering what I was working on during these sessions, it was not TOSOL. Though my friend has given me suggestions on how to fix that awful introduction, I'm waiting to get some edits back from other readers (my friend is currently finishing up edits on his own novel to turn in to me in a few weeks.) I was instead working on the novel that used to be called Q/Quarantined. It no longer bears that title, but I haven't yet found a replacement. I did, however, discover something interesting about said novel: it's officially science fiction. I never, ever though I'd be a writer of science fiction, but I'm definitely having fun with it!

In other news, the lovely Deirdra from A Storybook World has granted me the Powerful Woman Writer Award. I'm honored to be given it, and you should go and check out her blog!