December 2012 - further up and further in

Saturday, December 22, 2012

happy birthday, because i’m irish!

Saturday, December 22, 2012 10
happy birthday, because i’m irish!
One year ago as of this month, my friend and I were having a conversation about why a certain Irish boy was so good-looking.

The answer was, of course, "because he's Irish."

And thus, Because I'm Irish was born.

As of December 20th, it is one year old.

I feel incredibly sappy about this. I suppose it's a little weird to be writing a blog post commemorating the birthday of ... my novel. But my dad said, "They all become your children, eventually."

It's so true. This book is my baby. More or less.

Time to celebrate. And just try your best to ignore the sap.

>> facts about the birthday book <<

- I never intended this to be a novel. Seriously. It was an inside joke that I intended to write a mere short story about. And then it turned out that one of the members of the boyband was evil. And involved in illegal activity. And he didn't want anyone to know about it, so he blackmailed people into joining the band...

It all went downhill from there.

- Fiona Bartulli is my main character, and her name happened by complete accident. I was typing, looked over at my dad and said, "I need a last name." He said, without missing a beat, "Bartulli."

It stuck.

- Fiona plays violin.

- The book is set partially in NYC. Other notable locations include Tennessee and Ireland.

- My favorite scene in the book takes place in Ireland, atop some gorgeous cliffs. I read over it a week ago, and I had tears in my eyes.

- On my characters' trip to Ireland, their car runs out of gas and they walk a few miles to a gas station, which caused me to have to ask my international friends about Irish gas stations. Never again, I hope.

- One of my characters surfs.

- I still don't know how it actually ends. I ended it with a devastating cliffhanger, and when I reread it last week, even I agree it's a rubbish ending. So it will be getting a happier one. I just don't know what it is yet.

- This is the second book I've finished and it's the one I'd like to pursue publication with.

- After finishing it in July, I started in on a round of edits, adding and beefing up scenes. Unfortunately, I didn't finish the edits before putting it back in the shadows for a bit. This is due to me not feeling competent at all to edit a first draft, and not wanting to mess anything up.

Because I stopped editing, this means I have tons of half-finished scenes. Such as a scene where my main guy character takes Fiona to meet his family, and his mom opens the door and says hello. End scene. I'm serious. I really need to fix that, which is my first step before sending it out to be beta-read, I suppose.

- This book is entirely filled up with guys. It's about a boyband, what do you expect? Aside from Fiona and the band's tour manager, there are no girls in the story. I had one character, Lark, who was a cellist in the band and sister to one of the members. She lasted about 500 words before being thrust into oblivion since I forgot all about her (and she was starting to annoy me... and Fiona). Oops.

- My friends and I are currently writing an alternate universe where our characters meet each other. Fiona's best friends with my friend Caroline's character, Beck. Their relationship is pure sass and she's nicknamed him Agent 007.

- Because I'm Irish fulfills my long time fascination for adventure and suspense.

- The reason I think I finished this book so quickly and with minimal effort was because of two reasons. 1, I really did not research before starting. Instead of getting hung up on what kind of guns my villains should use and what Ireland looks like in the summer, I just dove headfirst in. This is one of the most beneficial things in writing I have ever done. Now that the first draft is finished, I can spend time researching. In fact, I visited Ireland on Google Maps last night. It was lovely.

The second reason is that I took the advice of a famous writer: When in doubt, kill someone. Unfortunately, I can't remember who that famous writer is, or what the exact quote was. All I know is, it stuck with me.

Now, I didn't kill a character every time I got stuck, but what I did do was up the stakes. I'd do something drastic. Like introduce the possibility of death. Have my villain whip out a gun. That kept the pace moving so dang fast. I remember being bored only a few times while writing this book. And that was so wonderful. I wish all my novels could be like that.

>> meet fiona <<

“Irish accents apparently impair my thinking abilities. Who knew?”

“My eyes slowly slid open, even though they still felt like anvils were dragging them down. I wanted to sleep for a week. Or a month. Or maybe even a year. Yeah, a year sounded good.”

her favorite movie is The Princess Bride
she quotes it all the time.

she's sassy. very sassy.

she got kidnapped by the boyband while checking out at Wal-Mart.

during the writing of this book, she fell due to the fact that she was wearing ballet flats.
she nearly broke her nose.
at least, that's what she thinks.

oh, yes. and she's one of my favorite characters of all time.

Because I'm Irish, thank you for coming into my life when I needed you most. Thank you, God, for giving me a novel that would bring me through many rough times. Thank you for the smiles. Thank you for the laughs.

Thank you for the memories.

Now, let's go change the world.

hold on, we're gonna make it if it takes all night
hearts racing like a rocket at the speed of light
don't fight it, we've been running for far too long
we're going back where we belong
so hold on we got our wings and we're chasing the wind
farewell to all the places that we have been
and if it takes us all night long
we're going back where we belong 

- thriving ivory

(check out Because I'm Irish's Pinterest board for even more awesomeness.)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

rose petals: nanowrimo 2012

Saturday, December 08, 2012 9
rose petals: nanowrimo 2012
So, NaNoWriMo has been over for a week now. I kind of left you all in the dust.

Oops. Hehe, sorry about that.

So basically, I meant to do a final vlog but everything has gotten away from me, especially when it comes to my health. When I'm not feeling well all the time, it was really hard to find some time to sit down and talk to a camera. Also, I was lacking confidence in my abilities as a video blogger, judging by how rambly and awful one of my vlogs turned out.

Anyway, yes. NaNo's over. Speaking of which, another reason I dropped off the face of the planet was because I was doing a lot of this:

That's right. Catchup.

Somewhere around Day 18, I stopped writing because my health flared so bad. I didn't write anything substantial for about a week. And then, on day 25, I decided I wanted to try to win this thing.

(a screencap from day 27. the way my stats spiked cracks me up.)

So I did. I had about 19,000 words to catch up on. And somehow, by writing exorbitant amounts, I caught up.

And I made it.

I won NaNoWriMo.

This makes my fourth year participating and my third year winning. And it just feels good, you know? To accomplish something. 

This novel saved my sanity this month. It gave me something to focus on when a lot of areas of my life were falling apart, physically and emotionally. It reminded me to write for myself, to just write for the sake of my own sanity. It made me remember how much writing has helped me emotionally in the pastIt became my escape again, and for that I am truly grateful.

Rane and Lynx are one of the most adorable couples I've ever written, just fyi. I find that I learn things with each NaNo that I do, and this year one thing that stands out to me is that I learned that I can write romance. This is kind of something weird to admit, but I never thought I could before. I was worried I'd write something too sappy, so all my romances were like very deep friendships. I love these kinds of relationships, but for this year's NaNo, I accidentally ended up writing something different. Last month, without me forcing it, Rane and Lynx's relationship became extremely deep, beyond any other couple I've written. They had extreme amounts of emotions and sadness and hope and they're so bittersweet. It was so lovely, actually. I wrote about rose petals and burn medicines and war wolves and all of these things will always be what defines Rane and Lynx. ♥

(Rane also has more fangirls than he did at the beginning of the month, which is something I didn't think was possible, but his fanbase has definitely grown. Good on ya, mate. You deserve it.)

I love my other characters too, like Charlie, Enda, Clay, Anchor, Fritz, and Spice. Two of them, Charlie and Anchor, were actually in Silver Tears, but their characters deepened so much in this novel, as did Lynx's. I really feel like exploring the storyline of the outcasts was a good choice, because now I can revise it and make its cameo in Silver Tears even better. I have building blocks to work from now, and that makes me so happy.

Overall, I'm happy with the way my novel turned out, especially because I didn't have anything planned at the beginning of this year. I thought this novel would be an absolute disaster. I'm thrilled that Broken Wings proved me wrong.

On the writing front, I haven't written much at all since the clock stroke twelve on November 31st. Once I hit 50k, my motivation to write significantly dropped. I do want to finish this novel, and I promised myself I'd push myself to do so once November ended, but so far that hasn't happening. I actually think though that I need to take some time to recover. Writing the insane amount of words that I did really pushed me, especially because my body is in such a frail state already. So with that in mind, I don't feel so bad about taking a break.

I want to give some credit my NaNoWriMo support group for keeping me afloat this month. There have been several times where I'd wanted to give up, but these girls kept me going. We call ourselves the Tea-Spitters, and we've become a very close-knit group. I feel like I've found a cozy writing place to call my own. And it's truly lovely. Shout out to you, my fellow Tea-Spitters. Stay brave, stay strong, stay true. And remember: your choices will change the world.

That's a good note to close on, actually, as we end this chapter and transition into the next. Remember this, my world-changers, my friends with passion planted deep in their hearts. Remember this, fellow writers. Remember this, my starry-eyed dreamers.

Your choices will change the world.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

my paper heart

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 8
my paper heart

So here's what's going on with me.

I've hit my very rock bottom. And it's kind of a good place to be.

Because sometimes, when you hit rock bottom, that's when you can come back up again. That's when you can heal.

I've sustained a lot of grief, wounds, and trauma in my lifetime. I've lost a lot of friends. I've felt abandoned and rejected more than once. When I was nine, two family friends lost their children in the same year. I also lost a friend in a very sudden and traumatic way this year, and it's all come to a breaking point.

And I'm realizing that I never fully dealt with that. All of it.

So here I am, at the age of sixteen, having all this pain and grief resurface. It's a pretty horrible place to be. I'm glad that I can start to heal now, but that doesn't mean it isn't pretty hellish in the meantime.

See, the way I am is that I don't want to hurt people. Trust me, that's the last thing I want. So somewhere along the line I decided that it would be better to hurt myself by keeping everything inside of me than by hurting other people by letting it out.

My heart is a house that's full of a bunch of trash.

And it's time to clean it out.

So this is my journey of hope, of life, of love. Of pain and tears and suffering.

And hopefully, of healing.

This is me. Broken paper heart and all.

I hope you can be gentle with me during this time. Treat me gently. Trust me, it will mean the world.

Because after all, dreams and people break so easily. So do hearts.

Please be careful with mine.

I wish I could cross my arms, and cross your mind
Cause I believe you'd unfold your paper heart and wear it on your sleeve
I wish I had covered all my tracks completely cause I'm so afraid
Is that the light at the far end of the tunnel or just the train?
Lift your arms only heaven knows, where the danger grows
And it's safe to say there's a bright light up ahead and help is on the way
I forget the last time I felt brave, I just recall insecurity
Cause it came down like a tidal wave, and sorrow swept over me
Then I was given grace and love, I was blind but now I can see
Cause I found a new hope from above, and courage swept over me
It hurts just to wake up, whenever you're wearing thin
Alone on the outside, so tired of looking in
The end is uncertain and I've never been so afraid
But I don't need a telescope to see that there's hope
And that makes me feel brave.

adventures in dictating

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 9
adventures in dictating
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present--adventures in dictating.

(click to view larger.)

:: a few notes ::

1. The random NAZI is because I was trying to tell my cat to get off the table. True story.

2. This was when NaNoWriMo was still happening 
so that's why I wrote that I wasn't sure what was happening with it.
Trust me, I know what's happening with NaNo now. More on that later.

3. New blog design. Check it out.

4. I hope you're all doing well. 
Hopefully I'll feel up to posting on this dear old blog soon. :)