December 2014 - further up and further in

Friday, December 26, 2014

Lost Girls & The Saga of Impending Rewrites: Beautiful Books #3

Friday, December 26, 2014 2
Lost Girls & The Saga of Impending Rewrites: Beautiful Books #3
If you're just joining us, welcome! I'm participating in my meme with Cait, Beautiful Books. I'm talking about my novel Lost Girls, which I just finished on December 2nd after writing it during NaNoWriMo. I'm super excited. You can read more about Lost Girls in the previous installments here, and here.

And for the record, the people in the graphic are my three main characters: Jem, Evee, and Hal. In that order. And I love them all. 

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how well do you think this book turned out?


A 6? A 7? It's not all the way there, but I was actually pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. Well, the second half of it at least.

2. Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan? 

Technically I'm rewriting for the first time with another novel, Because I'm Irish. But by the time I get to editing/rewriting Lost Girls, my n00b rewriter status will still stand.

To prepare myself... well, I'm planning to let Lost Girls sit until maybe January, or whenever I get done with Because I'm Irish rewrites. Then I'll probably cry a lot and then try to fix the sagging and confusing first half of it.

3. What’s your final word count? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book? 
Final wordcount is 53,117. I'd hope to lengthen it, but I think the first round of edits may end up having the opposite effect, since there are some useless plot details I need to take out. Then again, I have to add some scenes so that I don't have a severe case of instalove. So we'll see. I don't think I'll know until I'm actually doing it.


I couldn't find a gif for this, but to quote The Incredibles, "WE'LL GET THERE WHEN WE GET THERE!"

4. What are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?
Characters. Jem, Evee, and Hal grew leaps and bounds throughout this novel, and now they're in perfect (albeit slightly unstable) emotional states for the sequel.

5. What’s your favorite bit of prose or line from this novel?
(Slightly edited to take out spoilers.)

"I pick up the hoodie, my hands shaking, and press it to my nose. It smells like the sea, infused deep into the fibers, but it also has the earthy smell of him. He was never one to fuss with fancy colognes. Instead it smells like a weird mix of tobacco, chemicals, and peppermint, but it’s [name redacted]; every stitch of it is.

... I will carry on for both of us. [name redacted] is a part of me now; we’re one. I’ll live the life he never got to have. I’ll cure cancer, I’ll help people, I’ll be kind, like he was. I’ll let his love for humanity seep into every portion of my being.

With my life, I will make him proud."

  6. What aspect of your book needs the most work? 
The first half. The Lost Girls plot kind of took backseat throughout the whole thing, so I need to figure out if I am keeping it in or leaving it out altogether. (Which is unfortunate, since that's the title and I'm rather proud of it. Do you think I can make it work? "Why did the Lost Girls go away halfway through the book?" "Well, because they're lost, of course. THE CLUE IS IN THE NAME.")

7. What aspect of your book is your favourite? 
All the plotlines regarding science and major corporations. It was very evil and diabolical and I loved it.



8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed out? 
I think they still need to be fleshed out in the text, but as far as in my head, they've grown tons since I first came up with this novel idea, and even from the first Beautiful Books here.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process? 
I'd put my character Cooper in even earlier, since he turned out to be a major character. I'd also maybe rethink the whole Lost Girls thing, since it wasn't a huge part of the novel, unfortunately. (Yet.)

10. Did anything happen in the book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?

Ha. Yes. It started out pleasantly with the appearance of Dr. Susannah Lovelace, my main character's boss. I was not expecting her. (She, along with everyone else, disappeared halfway through the novel--why me?!) Then there was a Barry Allen cameo that took shape and became Cooper Matthews, a character whom I love. Then there was Cooper's sister, Bryn, who helped Jem get out of a sticky situation and promptly disappeared. (And created her own novella centered around her family and her other brother, but more on that later.)

Then there were the lost girls themselves--Joie was unexpected, as were Daiyu and two lost boys, Scrapper and Freddy. And then there was that character I unexpectedly killed. Mm. Yes. Lots of unexpected things. Overall, I'm incredibly glad these things happened. They took my novel from drab to fab.

Oh, yeah. And then there's the fact that Lost Girls now has a sequel. More books to write. Ugh. But also yay.

11. What was the theme and message? Do you think they came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring them out more? 
Hahaha. What theme? What message? Mostly this was a lot of people running (or wheeling) around and dealing with Bad Things and People Dying.

I kid. I think the theme and message will have to come out through later stages of editing, because right now I have no idea what it is. I think the main goal I had was that I wanted to show Jem coming to terms with the fact that she's in a wheelchair--embracing it, and actually even liking it. I wanted her to realize she wasn't broken like she thought. In some ways, that did come through, but I need to edit some of the scenes to make it more clear and distinct, I think. And, of course, it'll take even more shape in the sequel, I hope.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes? 
Both. If not for NaNo, this book wouldn't exist, much less be finished. But at the same time, I do like the freedom of being able to write what I want when I want. So... compromise between the two?

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.) 
Well, first of all, Inkheart meets X-Men is something I want to see now. Write it, my fiends.

Secondly, I guess you could say this is Divergent meets X-Men meets Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. meets The Fault In Our Stars. Weird, yes? I know, I know. This novel is so weird.

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?! 
I cry of relief and then go start the novels I wanted to write all during November. (Like Because I'm Irish and Metal and Bone.)

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?
I want them TO WEEP! I want their hearts to be simultaneously broken and cheering over the events that transpire. I want them to miss the characters we've lost, sympathize with the ones that are left living, and completely feel it with every fiber in their soul. (That sounded a bit toooo evil.)


If you want to join us, there's still time! Head over to the Beautiful Books linkup here.

plot details and excerpt copyrighted by sky walden, 2014.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

She Returns, Alive

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 4
She Returns, Alive

I know, I know. No post in 12 days. I'm ridiculous.

For some reason, December has been 10 times more busy than usual. I also keep meaning to put up my Beautiful Books post, but I can't decide on a main image to use. (I could never run a viral movie marketing campaign.) I also can't decide what my favorite line from that book is. (Again, I could never run a viral movie marketing campaign.)

So what exactly have I been doing, besides not writing my Lost Girls Beautiful Books post?

1. I have been working on Grafted Magazine. My end-of-year thoughts are in the pages of Issue 4--check it out!

2. I have been (trying) to rewrite Because I'm Irish, even though I'm currently at a wordcount standstill. The current goal is January 15th, 2015. We'll see how that goes.

3. I have been busy running The Fangirl Initiative. I love it. Being in the leadership position of a group project like this has been awesome. But for the record, I can't imagine running something bigger, like a super-secret-police-organization. I admire you, Fury and Coulson.

4. I have been taking a college course on the Psychology of Criminal Justice. The only problem is, it was an 8 week course and due to it being archived, I had to finish it in three days. Challenge accepted and completed. I finished it today and my brain is done. I loved it, but I will also not be attempting another bit of school for at least two weeks. (Sorry, Mom.) Hello, holidays! My first college class and this is the result. I'm an overachiever.

5. I have been babysitting a lot. My mom runs a home daycare and due to this we always have little ones around. There's one who is my little buddy and he's moving away this week. :(

6. I have been watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and crying over the mid-season finale. (And starting The 100.)

7. I have begun my addiction to Pentatonix and other a capella bands like Peter Hollens. I had knowledge of them before this, but now it's baaad. 

8. I have been eating yummy food, like potato chips as a treat. Well, that's just right now.

What's up with you guys? Hopefully, I'll be back to posting like normal soon. Unless I'm abducted by aliens, which could happen. And if I don't see you before Christmas, I hope you all have a peaceful holiday season!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Beautiful Books #3: Let’s Talk Editing

Friday, December 05, 2014 1
Beautiful Books #3: Let’s Talk Editing

Hello, writerlings! Welcome to the third round of Beautiful Books! Beautiful Books is hosted by myself and Cait from the newly-minted blog Paper Fury! Our goal is to help you get to know your novels better.

The Info

What is it? Beautiful Books is a three-month-long blog event link-up focusing on three different stages of writing: plotting, writing, and editing. (This month, December, is focused on editing.) This link-up was designed with NaNoWriMo in mind. NaNoWriMo is a writing event where you write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Because a lot of writers will be writing a novel this November, we decided to make it easier by helping get your juices flowing! We'll be focusing on plotting in October, writing in November, and editing in December. We also have the possibility of doing a bonus round at the end of the other three months, but we'll keep that mostly a surprise for now!

Do I have to be doing NaNo to participate? Absolutely not! While the general format is suited well to writers doing NaNo, we want this blog link-up to be for everyone! Just pick a work-in-progress and you'll be good to go. If you don't have a novel that works for the entirety of the blog event, you can feature different ones, but we'd prefer you focus on one WIP if at all possible. The point is, you absolutely don't have to do NaNoWriMo to participate, and we really want you to join! Come one, come all!

How does it work? The format is really similar to Beautiful People. Each month, we'll be posting 15 questions, except this time for you to answer about your WIP. These questions will correspond to either plotting, writing, or editing, and are designed to help you with each of these stages. Even if you aren't to the editing stage yet, they'll be designed to get you at least thinking about what you can do to make your book the best it can be--or, you know, the most beautiful book it can be. Either one. You'll take our 15 questions and answer them on your blog, then come back and link up here! And don't forget to go around and read the posts of the other participants--it could be a great way to make friends!

What about Beautiful People? We had hoped to do both concurrently. But, as it worked out, we haven't been doing BP, just Beautiful Books. Thankfully, you’ll consistently have Beautiful Books around to fulfill your blog link-up needs, and there’s always the archive if you get the itch to do BP as well. (We're aiming to start BP up again in January or February!)

So... what do I do? Sit tight and read the questions Cait and I post, then use them to help you think through one of your novels! Then link back, and overall, be your awesome self! Also, if you want to share this with your friends, we aren't at all opposed! Making this one big party would be really cool.

The Questions

  1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how well do you think this book turned out?
  2. Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan?
  3. What’s your final word count? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book? 
  4. What are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?
  5. What’s your favorite bit of prose or line from this novel?
  6. What aspect of your book needs the most work? 
  7. What aspect of your book is your favourite?
  8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed out?
  9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process?
  10. Did anything happen in the book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?
  11. What was the theme and message? Do you think they came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring them out more?
  12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes?
  13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)
  14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?!
  15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?

The Blog Buttons

When making your post, don't forget to add either one of these blog buttons so people can find the link-up! If you have trouble with the image code, linking back to us is an acceptable option, too!

 


The Linky

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My First Rewrite

Wednesday, December 03, 2014 4
My First Rewrite


There's something you should know about me: in addition to usually not finishing NaNo novels, I also have not successfully completed edits, revisions, or changes of any kind. (I admitted this dastardly fact here.) The few first drafts I have finished continue to sit on my hard drive, stagnant, as I wring my hands over how I should edit them. (Hint: I never do.)

I titled the post this way because it's reminiscent of a baby--"my first steps", or "my first word." In some ways, though I've been writing for ages (as pictured above), I still feel like a baby in my writing journey. The reason for this is, obviously the lack of rewrites. I have good intentions, but I never actually do anything. This is probably due to the fact that I hate change with everything in me, and sometimes writing is my refuge from changes or difficult things in my life. So changing my writing?!? How ghastly! No can do.

Except, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps yesterday and said to myself, You will rewrite something. 

This "something" is Because I'm Irish, my novel of 3 years. It's my soul story, the one I come back to time and time again. The first draft was started in 2011 and finished in 2012. I was only fifteen and sixteen. I was little. (Comparatively.) And as such, my writing style has changed and grown so much now, at the age of eighteen. When I look back on Because I'm Irish, the writing needs an update to where I'm at now in my writing journey.

I've known this for a long while. I had good intentions of editing BCII as soon as I finished it. But fear stopped me. Time and time again, I was terrified. What if I mess up what made me love it in the first place? What if I make it too different? 



I wrote about this in Courage to Rewrite, where I asked you lovely blog readers to tell me how to rewrite something. (I'm clueless, I tell ya.) One comment in particular stood out to me, from my dear friend Lauriloth. She said,
I promise you, when you rewrite Because I'm Irish you're not going to lose the heart of it. Because rewriting isn't blowing away the magic, it's dusting off the grit to let that heart shine brighter than ever. After your rewrite, Because I'm Irish is going to be something even grander. You're probably going to get discouraged...a lot. Rewriting is overwhelming work. But just hold on to that love of your novel and keep trekking through. Because if you love something, you're going to want to make it beautiful. And that's just what rewrites are for. [read more]
These are the words I held onto when, yesterday, I finally started rewriting BCII. (!!!)

Yesterday, after finishing Lost Girls, I just kept writing. (I wrote a total of 6,045 words yesterday--say what?) I worked a bit on my story Metal and Bone, but at the back of my mind the whole time, I was thinking: I missed Fiona and my characters so much during NaNo. Maybe it's time? 

In the end, my friend Caroline gave me the advice I needed to hear: You literally just have to start writing.

After finishing Lost Girls yesterday, I'm starting to realize that half the difficulties writers face are related to our mental state. It takes a conscious decision: I am going to finish this novel. I am going to rewrite this novel. I will. I can.

Now, after all the mental stressing I did, I've realized: beginning to rewrite BCII wasn't so hard. All I had to do was choose to not listen to the tiny voice inside me telling me I couldn't do it. All I had to do was choose to rewrite, because I want to give this story my very best. All I had to do was just do it.

So here we go, with my first rewrite ever, on a story I love from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. It's been a long time coming, and I'm so excited. At first I was worried, but Lauriloth was right--dusting off the grit to let the heart shine better than before is worth it. I already see BCII shining clearly, and I have my vision. I know where I'm going now.

It probably won't always be that way, and I'm still terrified. But, as they say in The Princess Diaries, "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. From now on you'll be traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be. The key is to allow yourself to make the journey."

I've allowed myself to make the journey, and it feels marvelous.

So if you're where I was for the past three years, don't worry. The fear you feel is normal, but you don't have to stay there. You can do this. Your story needs you, and together, you can make this journey from first draft to published novel.

As you rewrite, remember the saying, "Little by little, one travels far." (It's true, especially in rewrites.) Also remember the words from Galaxy Quest--"never give up. Never surrender."

But most of all, remember this simple slogan:


JUST DO IT!

You can do it. I believe in you! And my growing second draft and I are with you in this together.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

In Which I Finally Finish a NaNo Novel (!!!)

Tuesday, December 02, 2014 7
In Which I Finally Finish a NaNo Novel (!!!)
I've never finished a NaNoWriMo novel. I always get to the point of 70k. Then I stop. Because I just can't figure out how something ends. 

Thus it is that for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 I still have a bunch of unfinished first drafts. Sad, isn't it? Now, I got somewhat closer to finishing something with my 2013 novel, Petrichor. But despite my greatest efforts, my plan to finish it before November failed. (It will be finished soon, however. I promise.)

Thus it is that Lost Girls is the first NaNo novel I've ever finished.


I made it my goal to finish my novel this time. I was going to do it. I set my goal on myWriteClub for January 15th. 

But no, that is too small, I decided. Let us make it December 5th.

My dear friends challenged me to a word war today. After about three of them, I was realizing: this book could actually be finished today. During the word war, I had a stroke of inspiration on how it could end. 

I had come up with my ending. Now it was just a matter of writing it.


I put on a playlist on Spotify and right as Eye of the Tiger came on, I knew... this novel would be finished tonight. 

I wrote the very end of the climax, which was actually really violent and gross (and I still don't know how to feel about it). And then I wrote my last scene which wrapped everything up. Well, kind of. Because now I need a sequel (it's official). And in that sequel, things happen. Difficult things. It isn't unprecedented, though. In this book I separated my OTP, and there was lots of angst. (Which, I'll admit, made me happy. For a couple days, I wasn't sure how to end it. Then when I came up with the idea to separate my OTP, I knew that was the right ending. Call me sadistic; it's probably true.)

I couldn't decide what line to end it on, so I may have finished at 4:55, but I kept tweaking the end sentence. I decided I couldn't tweak it forever, so at 5:00 pm on-the-dot I decided to call it: Lost Girls was DONE at a grand total of 141 pages and 53,157 words.

It feels fantastic, really. I'm proud that I finished what I started. This is the fourth book under my belt, and overall, I'm really satisfied.

Now, we just have to survive revisions!