Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Third Book

I filled in the blocks last night on my chart, and I only have like five days of this left in which there is any way to track myself writing and posting and stuff. I think maybe I should make a similar chart for planning my wedding and workouts. I like feeling accomplished each day that I write something, so I'll probably keep this up.

It's a dim and dreary Saturday, perfect for a cup of coffee and a nice thick book about dragons or vampires or magic schools. I love days like this. It was a cloudy, gloomy day one January when I finished the second draft of my second book. I didn't start typing it yet. In fact, that one was never typed. I do still have the notebook with the second draft in it, as well as the notebooks, tied together with yarn so I could easily reference, that contained the first draft.

I'm not sure when I started work on the third book. It was sometime my senior year of high school, I'm sure. What I'm not so sure about is what happened between my perky, cheerful, cliche-ridden second book and the beginning of the third one. I can specify one point where the story turned. A character died. Not a main character at that point, but the man died of cardiac arrest after running into the throne room and declaring that war had begun. Sometime after that, I decided, while a classical station was playing in my room, that a central character, a blind girl who was an archer, would die in the third book.

That was before any of the third book was even written.

The story took a darker turn. Not in a bad way, of despair and hopelessness, but I definitely reached back to my roots with it. I was raised on spooky stories and legends. I liked to be spooked. Not terrified out of my mind, but I appreciated a good chill now and then. Note that I didn't like horror movies, and didn't watch them. My first experience with the genre was Jeepers Creepers, which was disappointing. That whole movie was based on a Batman arc where Batman mutated into a bat thing. Seriously. It was bad. Give me zombies any day.

While the book didn't turn suddenly scary, my mind held on to the ghost stories and legends and pictures of spooky houses. It was random as far as the stories go. There had been no foreshadowing of this part, no mention of it in passing, no gun on the table when one went off. Suddenly, my two main characters were exploring this creepy old house in the countryside, because they'd heard rumors, and there had been disappearances.

I didn't hold back. Dust, dirt, freaky graffiti on the wall, broken old toys arranged meticulously on shelves, and an old doll that stared. I still think it was a legitimately creepy scene, like a good H.P. Lovecraft story.

And it was nothing like the original. At all. Somehow, between finishing the second book and starting the third, it all changed. The story, the tone, the scale of the story. Suddenly it was dark and intense and urgent. The main character questioned at all why she did anything that happened in the first book, and whether it was pointless.

I never finished that book. By that time, the work had changed so much that I simply decided to start over in college. I remember passing the time at the bookstore job I had, writing down book stuff when I wasn't outlining reports for my correspondence class, sometimes on paper circles in the cafe, when I didn't have my little notebook on me.

Thing is, I know exactly where the book was headed. I knew that a lot had to be done to get there, and that a lot had to be rewritten to provide the characters a way to arrive there.

So I started over.

At some point, I think I let my writing grow up with me. When I started, I was the same age as the main character. I think the story wasn't ready then, just as the rewrite isn't quite finished, though for different reasons regarding both.

I'm glad I didn't finish the third book, but I sure am glad I started it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Babies and Aliens

A couple of weeks ago, I was just hanging around with family in our living room. At the time, the movie E.T. was on.

Have I mentioned that I love 80s movies?

Anyway, I had this random memory come of this time I drew a picture of the aliens when I was a kid (because every youngish adult alive today has seen that movie, and don't pretend otherwise because I know you watched it voluntarily or were made to watch it at some point.)

I used to pretend I was an artist of sorts. Most of my work when I was very young was, for some reason, some slightly terrifying pictures of a baby standing in a crib. I can picture them exactly in my head, because I drew like a million of them, all the same, all on white construction paper, and mostly in red pen. Also, the baby sort of looked like E.T., but skinny. And terrifying. At this age, I also remember drawing a picture of the aliens from the movie near their ship.

Using the same sort of logic that led me to once bring a hushpuppy home as a pet, I deduced that the aliens were all named similarly, with initials only. The next part's a little fuzzy, but one of the aliens was E.T.'s brother, and was given either "A.B." or "B.A." as his name. I dearly hope it was the latter. I guess he would have been a biker alien.

I also once convinced my mom to let me watch Raiders of the Lost Ark on TV, despite the gruesome content at the beginning, because it "went nicely" with my "It's a Small World" read-along cassette. I think I was five.

All that, and I was in college before I figured out that Fievel and his family were Jewish mice, and that the beginning of An American Tail depicted a pogrom.

We all gotta start somewhere.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I guess you could call it fall cleaning.

Today, after finishing up assignments that are due tomorrow (money!) I decided to clean up my documents a bit. They were starting to take on the air of dirty laundry tossed on the floor and put in the corner.

So that's done.

While I was cleaning a little, I saw the mess I'd made of my book. I'd been writing it in bits and pieces, so I could get through it and hide it. It's a mess right now. I'm not even sure how to piece it together. Another good half of it is on Google Drive.

Ultimately, that's why I started back with ink and paper. It feels more organic. Shoot, it just feels neater. I feel like the finish line is just that much closer. This story that has grown and changed and been so near and dear to me is finally almost near the end, at least as far as the first part is concerned. I can see myself holding the finished product in my hand, even though there's still a lot of typing and editing to be done after now. But the point is, I'm close!

Messes notwithstanding.

I think I've decided on a cover design now, something not too ambitious, but sort of beautiful in its simplicity, at least in my mind's eye. Also, part of the story changed. Just a small part of something, but it's very big for the story. I'm pretty ecstatic.

Pretty tired too.

I think I'll go do some more organizing now.

P.S. Check out my tags to see some elements that will be present in the finished story.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Hushpuppy

When I was a little kid, like four or five, I very much wanted a puppy. I would play with the dog next door through our fence, and my parents had had a dog named Sam when I was a baby, but at the time, we didn't have any pets.

One night, we went out to eat at some barbecue restaurant or another. (There's a wealth of them here, trust me.) I'm not even sure we whether we were eating with friends or family. I don't know what I ate.

But I remember the hushpuppy.

I'm not sure at what point I was aware that the fried cornmeal was called that, but I knew the word, apparently. During the course of the meal, at which many hushpuppies were served and consumed, I managed to get attached to one. For some reason.

I decided that it was my puppy (being literal here) and declared to my mom that it was my pet and I was taking it home. Mom warned me it would rot before long. I kept it anyway. I must have had a balloon, because I had a balloon string to tie around the hushpuppy as a leash, and I took it home.

To keep it hidden from parental eyes, I stuck him under the edge of my bed, so happy to have a pet.

After that, I have no idea what happened. I went looking for the hushpuppy one day, and it had apparently run away. Or rotted, as my mom said. Or maybe fed a nice family of mice. I don't know. I don't even think I reacted.

And that is the not so tragic tale of the hushpuppy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Swear I Saw It

I randomly got really excited about my book last night, because for the first time, I can really visualize it.

Okay, maybe not so random.

I also had a dream last night about spaceships crashing and genetic testing. Anyway, back to the random excitement of memory.

I may have told this story before, but here it goes again. Sometime this summer, I was reading Ragecomics when I came across one that had a girl with a Poker Face seeing a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey on her teacher's desk. When I saw that, I pictured in my mind a copy of my novel, finished. Printed. Bound, with a dust-jacket.

I think that little glimpse of finishing has really been a motivator. I thank God that He gave me that little gift.

I'm getting closer to the end, and I know where the story is going. I literally didn't two weeks ago. I'm so thankful for the idea to do this 30 day thing. I might keep it up even after the 30 days are up.

I'm now looking at the daunting challenge of self-publishing. I mean, not just uploading it to Kindle. That's not too hard, because Amazon isn't strict about how it looks. Smashwords is, but not even that's horrendous. Formatting and making a cover are about all you need to do for a digital book. It's not comparatively that much.

Not when you put it up against a print book.

I've been comparing different companies. CreateSpace versus Lulu versus Lightning Source, all of them with pros and cons. The biggest issue is cover design. I'm not a graphic designer, but I'm also not one to make something terrible and just throw it out there. I'm picky and meticulous and too broke to hire someone to design the cover, so I'm going to tackle it myself.

I'm not worrying anymore about it being all for nothing. It's all for something. Someone will read my book. I've sure as heck enjoyed writing it.

I'll be happy if I can just fill a gap for a reader somewhere.

Because before anything else happened, that was why I started writing.

I hope someone enjoys.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I was healthier in high school. I know I was. I remember what I ate and what I did.

First came the "burn 3500 calories a day" thing the summer before my freshman year. I literally sat for hours on the exercise bike we had, because there was nothing else to do. I couldn't drive, and we lived out on Highway 301. Not exactly within walking distance of a pool, and that summer, the pool we went to wasn't even open that much until mid-July. So I read a lot and sat on that bike and tried to burn off a pound a day while watching A Makeover Story on TLC. It didn't work, but hey, exercise, because we lived on the world's shortest dead-end road and didn't walk the dog much.

I started to go to the YMCA to work out when i was in tenth grade. Every day after school. It was good stuff. I also played softball, but let's be honest, it's not exactly an aerobic sport except for the ten seconds you're running to a base.

Okay, so, yeah, pretty general self-improvement, right?

Well, I also turned into sort of a hippie around the same time I got into Lord of the Rings. I gave up pork, avoided red meat, didn't drink soft drinks (at all, ever) for like a year, and ate a whole lot of veggie burgers and tofu. I gave up dairy milk in favor of soy milk, and I drank a ton of tea and water.

Lately I've been missing those days.

I know I was healthier then, mostly because of what I didn't eat. I felt good most of the time, except for the times when I was sick. I mean, the exercise helped too, but the human body is a whole thing and needs completeness in nutrition to make the exercise work. What gets  me is, I moved less then. I was in high school. I sat for seven hours a day, five days a week.

I'm gonna go back to how I ate back then. It really shouldn't be too hard. I still don't drink a lot of soft drinks at all. Maybe once a week. I just know that the terrible food at BJU didn't help (and there weren't options unless you wanted a salad that took a chance on being slimy from wilted lettuce.)

So, I guess I'm going to give the hippie thing a try again. Feels pretty awesome.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Post Worship Munchies

I grew up in a church that started at 11:00 A.M on Sundays. When I started going to a new church, their second service started at 10:30. I'm really good at getting ready fast in the morning, so I'd get up at 9:30 on Sundays that I actually went to church.

My church now has switched to one Sunday service, which starts at 9:30. I have to get up at 8:30, but that's not too bad. (No, I'm not used to it because I didn't go to Sunday school all that much growing up.) With the new schedule, church lets out around 11:30 or before.

Today we were planning to eat lunch with our aunt, but her church starts at 11 and ends around 12:30, so we had a nice window of time between getting home and changing clothes.

Bring on the Sunday munchies.

I think I know why, too, because all my life, I grew up with the rigid schedule of church then lunch. And today, we had Triscuit crackers, which would be more accurately named Triscuit crack. Yes. I munched them along with two small cups of coffee. After actual lunch at Taco Bell, I crunched some numbers and figured some life changes out.

It's been a strange day of munching and crunching and making decisions that I won't divulge here quite yet. But I'm pretty excited.

Bring on the awesomeness.


When I'm at the gym on the elliptical, listening to Pandora on my phone, my thoughts turn to the story I'm writing.

Like a lot.

And I realized some time back that my favorite songs form a sort of soundtrack to my books. I imagine scenes in my head to correspond with the songs, and that really helps.

Now, I don't absolutely have to be plugged in to my music to write, especially where pen and ink are concerned. The other day I got a lot done just because of the peace and quiet at work. It was great. But today, in the car on the way back from a family day trip to my Gramma's house, I turned on my Pandora app, which is constantly set to an Angels and Airwaves station, and went at it.

I got a lot done and left somewhat of a cliffhanger for myself. There's some definite character stuff and I'm almost to the end of that chapter. It was a really great part I was happy to get finished, because I liked it so much. I accomplished something today.

I guess all this to say, when the book is nearer to being ready, I'm going to put up a list of the songs that have found their way into my story, and I'll link to any videos I can find. You've probably heard them before; even better. It's really just an insight thing.

Anyway. I'm just excited about the amount of work I got done today. Along with the stuff I've figured out lately, it seems like it's all coming together.

It's a great feeling.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I've Got That Friday Feeling...

I have always loved Fridays. I know I'm not alone in that. The reasons have changed over the years, of course.

When I was younger, it meant I could stay up late, since I didn't have school in the morning. It kept that meaning as I grew, but added on that autumn Fridays were best, and there was nothing quite like football and hot apple cider. When I got into college, it meant hanging out with new friends, and the potential of Saturdays, because Greenville South Carolina is pretty cool if you like to shop, which I do. Even now, despite the fact that I work every other Saturday, there's just something about Fridays.

The potential, I guess. The feeling that Saturday is coming, and that's one day with no rules or alarm clocks (though I set mine sometimes for fun, in order to defiantly turn it off, because I'm weird like that) and nowhere you really have to be, and plenty of time to do fun stuff, like working on a book. I remember doing that as a teenager, when the first draft of the second book (yes, I wrote two whole, terrible novels and started a third one that improved) was penned.

Tomorrow, I'll be doing the same at some point. Last night, I finished up a part I'd been working at for several days, in which the characters encounter a creature I wrote when I was in high school and honestly never thought I'd see again. While it's in the text for only a short time, it's nice to have it back. I look forward to using it in the future, because in the original short story (same universe as the two novels) these things were scary, the one break from utter unintentional goofiness.

And about that third book I never finished...

It was the turning point. The story became darker, the need more urgent, and the situation more intense. It differed so much from the original, in a good way, that it became the major catalyst for rewriting the entire story from the beginning. 

I'm glad I didn't finish it, because you know that always means the story's not over yet.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Last night I made myself stay up and write. I was about this close to going to bed without pulling that notebook out of my computer bag and writing at least a page.

But I did.

I'm pretty tired, because I sort of tend to get lost in the moment when I'm writing by hand, but I'm glad I did it. I was desparate to get it done enough that the scene doesn't drag, not at all, because at that part, the main chararacter is pretty desperate herself.

This 30 days thing is not so easy. I mean, I talk all the time. I have a rant ready for every occasion, according to family. I should be able to do this every day, but it's harder than I thought it would be.

A visit to Target last night got me all ready for Halloween and Christmas. I know, I know, those aren't that connected, especially depending on what church you go to. But for me they are.

See, a huge chunk of my family was born in the fall and winter months. For my dad's side of the family, it's one big celebration from the beginning of October (dad's birthday) to the end of January, during which time there are a lot of birthday parties, burgers on the grill (let's face it, I live in North Carolina; it's still hot until November), and pizzas consumed.

And that's all separate from Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That's why I love Halloween. Something in the air changes. My birthday falls three days before. All the shows I watch have "Halloween" episodes. People in my neighborhood decorate, which means lots of twinkling orange lights and grinning pumpkins.

For me, Halloween officially kicks off the Christmas season, and that's when the real decorations come out.

Christmas will be tougher this year. I mean, physically. While Minnie used to prod at the tree skirt and rough it up to make it comfortable, Pippa will, I believe, enjoy drinking out of the stand. I mean, she's discovered the joys of toilet water this week, so sap water should be even better. She also will most likely yank ornaments off the tree and possibly will unwrap presents.

Oh boy.

So, here's to the start of the Christmas and Halloween seasons.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review: Grimoire: Lichgates by S.M. Boyce

Today you get a book review.

Ever since my hometown library and local bookstore both displayed a depressing inability to stock the books I liked when I was a teenager, I looked for the perfect "young person goes on epic adventure" book. I've been able to find books that I've massively enjoyed, of course, but I still like the coziness of a nice, warm adventure. It's like a great cup of chai in paper and glue form.

Or, in this case, digital.

I actually bought the Kindle version of Lichgates because it was pretty affordable, but Boyce also has a paperback version available. I used my phone to read most of the book and, eyestrain notwithstanding, really enjoyed it.

The book starts out with Kara, one of the  main characters, going on a hike in the mountains and stumbling on something called a Lichgate that leads somewhere else. Before this even happens though, the reader is drawn in by the main character's emotional struggles, the reasons for which are revealed slowly. We also get into the head of Braden, a dude from Ourea, who first forms a friendship with Kara that hints at something more. Lichgates is far from being a romance, though. It's just sheer adventure.

One thing I liked was that it was free of long, drawn-out explanations of every moment in a duel between two swordsmen. It described if the characters were fighting, but the author really seems to understand how to keep the audience interested.

I very much recommend Grimoire: Lichgates to anyone looking for a good book to read this weekend.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This Is Getting Harder

Man, I'm writing every day but I don't feel like I'm saying anything. I mean, I could get political, but that's a little too easy right now, and I need some time to get that post together.

The book's going well, but right now I'm staying up too late and writing far too little in it each time. But a little bit of writing is getting done, which is more than I can say for before I started this thing. I wish I had a long time ago. I guess I just didn't think about it, and I figured "oh well, I love to write, it'll just come automatically."

It doesn't.

Even when you enjoy something creative, it's never automatic. You'll want to put things off, and you'll get things wrong, and suddenly it's a week later and you haven't done anything.

I think this is why people get stressed over weddings.

Well, that clicked.

Monday, September 17, 2012

If I Could Do That Every Day

So last night, between the last posting and the time I went to bed, I got out my pen and notebook and went to work. Though I had to make myself stop since it was getting quite late, I made myself stop at a good pause point, with an idea of what's coming next. That's the best part.

The hardest part, honestly, is staying in my main character's head. I don't go into any other characters' heads; they are revealed through dialog and action. It's a good thing the book's a raw draft. That means I can fix it later. I'm up to the challenge.

Tonight I hope to sit down a little earlier with my notebook, especially now that I have an idea of what's happening next. I mean, I know how the book will end, but the details are super important, especially what comes next. It's finally exciting. There's a home stretch, and even if the raw draft isn't quite finished by the end of this 30 day thing, then a good huge important part of it will be. And that is truly exciting.

And Again

So, technically, y'all will be getting two posts on this date. Oh well. I stay up too late.

So far, I've faithfully taken some time every day, before I go to bed, to write a blog post and work on the book. It's honestly getting a little harder, but I like filling out the chart, and knowing I can each night is really cool.

I know, it's sad, isn't it?

Anyway, it's really getting good. Because I've exclusively been working in pen and paper, writing is fun again. I feel like there's no such thing as writer's block when I'm doing it the old-fashioned way. I don't sit and stare at a blinking cursor or scroll desperately to look for things or get distracted and start editing. I just write, and it feels good to be doing that again. It would probably be a whole lot quicker to only write on the computer, but that's not me.

When I'm working on the novel, I use a speckled composition notebook and a Pilot pen. I don't use anything else. I even replace the cartridges, because it is cheaper than buying new pens, and Walmart started carrying blue again. I think it's the little ritual there that feels so good, or maybe the way the ink flows so well and how the blue just jumps off the white page.

The first version of this book, for the first and second drafts, were completely handwritten in whatever ballpoint I could find, on stacks of paper stapled together. Literally. I kept the sheets in my pocketbook and I carried backups. I still have the paper, and I have no plans to get rid of them. Most of the book was written in my ninth grade World Geography class. When the second draft was finished, I typed it on my family's Gateway desktop.

Things have come a long way since then, but there's still nothing quite like putting pen to paper and just writing. Such a good feeling.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

This is Awesome

So I had this one character I wanted to show up at some point, and I wasn't sure where to put him in.

He showed up last night, right where I didn't know I wanted him.

Like I literally wasn't sure where he was going to pop up, and now that he's there, I also have more of a direction for a part I was getting increasingly nervous about approaching. And now it's working out.

I love this.

In other news, there's some more (non-fiction) writing work opening up for me, which will hopefully allow me to make some changes. I'm excited. It's a little stressful to think about, but hey. At least working for myself means I spend little to nothing on gas.

I really hope I'm as inspired as I feel, because I seriously have some wedding stuff to do.

Also Doctor Who is on tonight.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Unique Just Like Everyone Else...

When I was in kindergarten, I somehow got ahold of and understood the whole "bring the teacher an apple" thing.

I gave my teacher an orange.

I thought I was terribly unique.

I think since then, I've been seeking that same feeling of triumph, the pride that comes with knowing you're different than everyone else.

When I'm working on my novel, and things are getting tedious, and it's starting to seem like some really slow spy movie that could hardly be called a "thriller," I still sometimes push on. Even when I know a scene doesn't belong and I don't like it anymore, because hey, it's different.

I don't think I'm going to do that anymore.

I'm also not going to change things just because they aren't different enough. I think I may have included, by accident, a creature in the story that could possibly be confused with a certain mythological creature (and I'll let you figure which one.) While looking something up the other day, I realized that this creature might be in my story, by accident, and that my turn off some people.

But I love that part of the story way too much, and not in a bad way. It's a major piece of the plot. It's important, it's terrifying, and without it, well, there might just be a drama about two high school kids facing the perils of college applications and standardized testing.

Plus I have not once, since that realization, thought "oh, maybe I should change it..."

It's my story. It's unique because it's my voice, because it has substance, and because there's much more to it than uniqueness for the sake of being different.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Weddings and Book Covers

Okay, so one of the weirdest things I've been mentally fussing over lately is cover design. Books need covers, even if they're only published digitally. There still needs to be something that says "hey! check me out!" and while I'm great at decorating myself when the mood arises, I'm stressing a little over the cover.

Thankfully, I've been able to put it out of my head for a bit while I concentrate on the actual writing, which I guess is the whole point of doing the 30 days thing. The novel is what's important, ultimately.

Still, I've seen some really awful covers out there, and I really don't want that for my work.

I glance longingly at the covers of Harry Potter, Eragon, Twilight, and others, because, like the book or not, the art for those books, and many others like them, is just so gorgeous. They have the benefit of a professional designer working for them.

I don't, nor can I afford one.

So I do worry a little.

But, I guess it's like my mom said to me the other night when we were watching an episode of Bridezillas and the awful person of the week was freaking out. I had said something like, why get stressed over stupid stuff. (I think I might have spoken too quickly...I sorta forgot about bridesmaid dresses amid all the goal-setting and book writing. Bleh.) I got a reality check when my mom told me to remember that when things did get a little stressful on my future wedding day, but that, regardless of what happens, you're still married.

I'm so applying that to my book. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Setting Goals with Little Boxes

So things are looking up, changing for the better and all that. I've picked up a lot of writing work lately, plus definitely motivated to keep submitting articles to Constant Content.

It's pretty awesome.

Also, this 30 Days thing is working out. I have a little chart with 60 squares, 30 for posts and 30 for actually working on my novel. The novel's been coming the slowest, but it's happening. It's actually happening. Because I can't stand the thought of leaving one square empty, this thing works.

I hope it becomes a habit. I've picked up a few more readers here, too. So thanks, guys.

I'm really hoping I could turn writing into something I can do full-time. I also want my book to be successful, of course. I can just visualize it, in print and on Kindles and iPads and computer screens.

So definitely gonna be setting little mini-goals that can be monitored using crayons.

So pumped.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


The other night, my family had a cookout at my uncle's house. At the end of the night, when everyone was breaking up and about to go home, someone put it on the History Channel. It was playing that thing they put on every year around now, with no narration, only time stamps and video.

Since it was the beginning of the program, it was showing glimpses of a normal Tuesday. I think there were some parts of Good Morning America, some clips of President Bush jogging, all pretty early in the morning, before anything happened.

The first time I watched Star Wars Episode I, it struck me how that high voiced, pretty naive little boy in the movie would become Darth Vader. It's a weird feeling, because you already know what will happen later.

I got a feeling like that watching those clips.

Only it was for real.

When I see those clips and videos of the hours and minutes before the planes hit the towers, I know what's coming. I know that in the story, very soon, the nation will be rocked to its core. A chill will go down my spine, the cell reception will buckle under the weight of so many trying to just reach someone, and life will change forever. Irreversibly. It's the point of no return, and if we knew what was coming next...

The pre- and post-9/11 worlds do not come one without the other. In the future, when people are curious enough to ask my generation what it was like, we'll tell them what both times were like. We may have been shaken to the core, and a shadow cast over the future, but shadows aren't permanent, and the light came first.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Sort of Bonus!

So last night, I ended up posting quite late, so technically, y'all get two posts today. But still, the 30 days, 30 posts, 30 chapters thing is totally working out. I really need to work earlier in the day, though. Writing the actual novel is pretty addictive, and I have to make myself stop when I'm tired. Anyway, that part went well last night. I'm getting into the groove with the novel again by writing things on pen and paper. My handwriting is awful, but I can read it, so later I can type it. Happy me!

Last night, I found out I sold the usage rights for an article. I also heard back about another writing job that looks like it's going to have a lot of work available. Things are looking up money-wise...maybe some other changes are coming soon? I hope so. I also got eight hours of sleep last night and the night before, which I definitely plan on doing more often. I feel awesome!

Alright, so I have officially posted. On to more writing.

More Badness

Not the good kind, either.

Here's some more of the strange weirdness I wrote when I was fifteen. Tonight it will be short.


[Here we pick up in mid-paragraph. She just petted the dog's head.]

That day, Anya's parents were away shopping in the next town with her baby sister, so there was nothing to do. [Is anyone surprised at the potential child abandonment going on here?] Then, Anya remembered the woods. she had been wanting to explore them ever since she had seen them a couple of weeks ago. [For reals, what is with this family?] Those woods appeared to be the only good aspect of the move. [There is something wrong with these people.] And since there was nothing else to do [kudos to young me for totally thinking of the audience and reminding them of things over and over], Anya put on her shoes. [How exciting.] At least there's the woods, she thought. [THESE PEOPLE NEED A HOBBY.] Probably the only good thing about moving to this town. [*sigh*]

Anya walked out of the house and toward the woods [JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT], with Tiki [he's her dog] following. She found a trail and followed it. [Maybe she'll find the bodies?] Anya loved to explore places just as her mother had. [Oh dangit, another one.] Perhaps even more so, and she had gotten lost more than once. [Mom was apparently the brains of the operation.] And every time that Anya had gotten lost had been slightly frightening. [No crap, Sherlock.] But still Anya loved to explore.

She strolled slowly [repetition just to drive the point across], looking around the woods [not even gonna bother here], and suddenly [DUNDUNDUN, or ELLIPSES!!!], though Anya had thought the path continued, she was in a clearing. A gray, dead looking clearing, filled with rocks, shriveled fruit on the branches of a gnarled, ancient tree, and some gray vines. [I actually like the way the tree sounds.] But, in a few seconds, the place brightened astoundingly [ASTOUNDINGLY GUYS], and everything in the clearing turned a slightly blue color. [The heck is "slightly blue"?] The wrinkled fruits plumped up and turned a deep, royal blue. [LSD is a heck of a drug.]

"Wow," Anya said in awe. This place had smelled old and stale; now it smelled good, but not a heavy, flowery smell. [Totes glad it didn't smell like old lady perfume.] Something fresh hung in the air, something like lemon, but earthier. [So Lemon Pine-sol, I guess.] Anya picked one of the fruits off the tree and inspected it. "It looks alright," she muttered to herself. [I knew the psychosis was a family thing.] So she took a small bite. [Because that's always a great idea.] The taste was wonderful; sweet, spicy, sour, cool, and oddly warm all at the same time. [Apparently it tasted like General Tso's Chicken.]

"Well, Tiki, we've found somewhere to go when we get tired of that house," Anya remarked to her dog. [Gee, Anya, bitter much?] So that day, she and Tiki stayed there in the clearing. they were playing with each other, jumping around, [what the heck kind of game is that?], when Anya tripped over a rock, turning it over, and fell. She sat up, laughing to herself, thinking how stupid that had been. [Good, because in real life, all of that that happening at one time would pretty much just, like, explode a human ankle.] But suddenly [DUNDUNDUN] there was a loud creaking noise, like some ancient, rusted door had just been opened once again. Anya got up and turned around. In front of her was a door. [Because we didn't see that coming.] Or a large hole in the shape of one, anyway. [So a door.] Beyond stretched a long, dark tunnel. Even though it gave her spine chills, Anya was curious. So she whistled for Tiki [and I don't know why, because he was literally right freaking there], and the two of them stepped inside.


Okay, that's all I can take for now.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Novels Are Like Little Businesses

I was a little mad at myself last night. Through no fault of my own (and I won't elaborate...) I barely got a couple of paragraphs written yesterday, in the novel. Before I went to bed, I made sure to write something, just so it was done, even though I had to work this morning.

I read Rework this week. Yes, it's about business, but I felt like it applied a lot to me as a writer, especially in the context of writing a novel. I've gotten a nice little chunk of the story done, and I've cut things here and there.

I guess a novel is like a business, sort of.

I think a lot of small businesses fail because they dont understand their customers. Case in point, there's a small restaurant where I live, in two locations, one downtown. It's been there for years. We got the cake for my brother's Eagle Scout reception from there. They do cakes and such, but a huge seller is their lunch box. This consists of an entree (sandwich, chicken, chicken pie, etc.) chips, another side, and a dessert. They are literally two doors down from a bank that employs hundreds of people. This place doesn't even have a dining area, but the food is awesome, quick, and affordable.

We've also had a French cafe, a fancy Mexican restaurant, and a bed & breakfast try their hand at success in the same area.

They all failed.

Where I live, no one goes downtown for the experience. Most of the people there are working. After dark, people go home to the other side of town or wherever they live in the county. The Mexican place failed despite the attraction of live music. The bed & breakfast closed because a) this isn't New England and b) it had a great view of an old hotel that probably has hourly rates. I'm willing to bet that the French place didn't quite understand its customer base or possibly priced itself out of the running. It may have been that rent was too high and the food was too special (because for real, my town will stiff you on downtown rent.)

Know who you're targeting for your writing. Mostly it's subconscious, but readers like to have that "they get me!" moment when they read. No, they won't say it out loud, but they also probably won't put your book down after five pages.

Anyway. I highly recommend Rework.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Alright, so more excerpts and snark are coming this weekend.

This 30 days thing is actually working out okay for now. I have gotten loads more done than if I hadn't set this thing up. That said, I really would love to write full time.

I've also been reading Rework the past couple days, and it's been pretty inspiring. My brain feels like it's going overtime. I definitely haven't found any contentment with daytime TV lately, which does signal a personal change. I did try to bounce some ideas off my fiance last night. I was basically too tired to attempt a toss, but it's nice to know my brain wants to do stuff that late at night.

Yesterday I actually cut out this disgusting part of the book where the characters find that they have to go through an animal carcass that's roughly the size of an elephant. When I wrote the scene, quite a while back, the squelching and crunching just seemed like a great fit.

When I went to type it up, it just grossed me out. It was also tedious and boring, and relied on something gruesome to make it interesting. As that's the reason I don't like slasher flicks that much, that scene had to go.

I'm still a little afraid of this venture. I'm scared to fail, because why bother if most self-published (and even house-published) novels aren't wildly successful?

I bother because I have a story to tell, and I intend to do just that.

This story's been cooking for over ten years. I think it's funny when there are YA book trends, because you know only one or two of the probably twenty on the shelf are honest. Sometimes there are reprints (like the Vampire Diaries, which was first published in the early 90s, and reprinted because, well, Twilight.)

The most honest stories are the ones that you must tell. Not the ones that the market says are hot, but the story you cannot get your mind away from. Tell the story that's chasing you down.

In other words, bother.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Just kidding on the bad excerpts thing. I didn't bring my old manuscript to work with me, so I think I will save that for tomorrow or the weekend. Not entirely sure...

So anyway.

I'm pretty good at dialogue between characters. In fact, I had that noted at least once in a creative writing class I took for my minor. In writing, it is the thing that comes most natural for me. That's the part that ends up the most believable, and that is helpful because dialogue reveals a lot about characters whose heads you can't get into.

My four characters have helped loads in making my story more believable. When a character is lifelike, it's easier to see their world as real.

I started thinking of this the other day when my brother was watching the Lord of the Rings movies. I seriously have seen the first one no less than twelve times.

Personally, I blame the work that went into the making of the movies.

Those three films weren't slapped together hastily in front of a green screen. The filmmakers took their time to make Middle-Earth as real as it could possibly be. Tolkien did them a favor when he made up an insane history for Middle-Earth.

I had never thought about that before my brother said it.

And I realized it applies very heavily to writing.

I wonder if I lost that for a little bit. Did I believe my story? Am I trying to copy anything? I mean, the book has in no way lost its roots. I worry a little that I tried to put too much grittiness in it and lost...something. I've sometimes described the story as "this, plus this, with a little of that."

I tried to make it too small. Problem is, we live in a very big universe.

I believe my stories now. I believe the world in which they're set.

That doesn't mean the story's perfect yet. But it's really close to being good enough for me.

I think now I've recaptured what I lost, the honesty of wonder.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Keeping Up with Me (And a Preview!)

Okay, this 30 posts thing is harder than I thought it would be. I did write a chapter yesterday, and now I'm frustrated as to where it should go, because I don't like it much. It's literally hard to visualize, which usually means nothing good. Once a scene become tedious and boring to write, or a character stops speaking for long periods of time, when they started off well, I know that's just about the end for that scene or character. I recently dropped a character and I feel a little relieved.

I also feel a little spooked.

It's not a superstition thing. This character was just too easy to replace. Dropping her tightened the story up. Thankfully, none of my other characters have been able to shut up for the time being, so I'm happy. I now know where this chapter is going.

But writing this novel was so much easier when the whole thing was terrible.

Speaking of which, I think I'll post another excerpt tomorrow.

I need a good laugh.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Remakes, or I Think I'm Old Now

So this past weekend, Season 7 of Doctor Who premiered. We get BBC America. Naturally, I commandeered the TV for watching a little Who. I won't spoil it for you, I promise, but there were Daleks (the name of the episode mentioned them, so really, not a spoiler.) After that, I watched Sherlock Holmes (the 2009 movie.) The night before, I had started watching The Hitcher (from 1986) on Youtube, and finished that movie up.

That's quite a lot of input into my poor little brain. I ended up having some dream in which there was a suicide note and I was turning into a Dalek. Pretty tame, actually. I had a dream with bandaids that made me gag, so I'll take the Dalek thing over that any day. (I hate bandaids.)

Lately I've been on an 80s kick. That happens every couple of years. Literally I will possibly soon be all about the 90s, which is when I actually grew up. But the 80s fascinate me right now, and coincidentally, a lot of my favorite movies were made then. I'd read some good reviews of The Hitcher (the original) and checked it out.

It was a decently creepy movie. There was gore, yes, but not a lot of it, no more than anything I've seen watching any of the crime shows I watch. It wasn't a slasher flick, in other words, but very psychological.

But they made a remake in 2007.

Sean Bean played the antagonist.

I haven't seen that one, and I don't really want to. For one, I can never really take that actor seriously as a bad guy. He's too human. He might play a criminal, but he's never unlikeable. Also, 2007 is possibly one of the worst years you could have picked to make a movie in which a lower antagonist is the absolute isolation of the highway, with no cell phone and no one you can trust. The original was scary because if you were driving alone, then you were really driving alone and unconnected.

So I wonder how the approximately million remakes coming up will hold together. I mean, they already remade Footloose. I don't know if it was any good, but it appeared to be all about country music and line dancing, with all the fun of a CW "next week on" promo. Pretty in Pink is most likely next, and I've already heard that they're remaking Dirty Dancing, though that may be just a rumor. (Hopefully a rumor, because it would probably be just pretty much one of the Step Up movies, and uhm, ew.) They've already remade Red Dawn. I saw the trailer, and it looks to be pretty good, from a technical movie standpoint. But is it believable?


I feel old. I'm defending movies older than me.

I'm gonna be like one of those kids I knew in college, who were born at the age of like 85, only unlike Benjamin Button, never got younger.

Someone get me some sugary cereal now. I need to grow down.

Monday, September 3, 2012

30 Days, 30 Posts, 30 Chapters


I've decided to make September (roughly) my own month for getting the book done. I am promising myself that the book will be done, finished, completely, by my birthday, as a present to myself. Yeah, I'm nicely busy. With my part-time job and the attempt to go into writing full-time, this should be interesting. Especially the next time my puppy climbs on my chest in an attempt to eat my chapstick while I'm wearing it.

For 30 days, I will post here about stuff, mostly my book or other fictional outlets. I'll also write a chapter of my novel, either on my computer or by hand, the latter of which I prefer.

So here y'all go. First post of this little thing. Chapter coming later today. :)

I'll be more interesting tomorrow. For example, this past weekend I uploaded Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, and one very tense 80s movie into my head.

My brain had a field day that night.