11.01.2010

wishful thinking

YOU (imaginary) GUYS. All of my characters for LAYLA: FAST TIMES AT MOUNT MYTHICAL have their own plot arcs. Not that they didn't before, but now the information's written down and shiny and magic marker-y. Right now I'm as happy as this girl with the balloons. (Well, I can't exactly see her face, and therefore can't see The Happy—but she's frolicking in a field with BALLOONS. That means she's happy, right? RIGHT.)

I CAN ALMOST SEE THE END OF MY STORY. I will also now proceed to knock on every item I pass that is wood. And do my homework so I don't have to worry about it while I'm trying to finish LAYLA AND THE HALF BLOOD HARPIES. Or that's a lie, because I hate homework.


*Current draft* word count of WIP:
30110 | 65000

10.29.2010

the importance of being edited

Lately I've been baffled by under-edited books. Sometimes stories really do need another edit; it's Truth. I’ve read fully published books that feel more like first draftsand unless you're a writing profesh, there's a pretty good chance your first draft sucks. And probably your second. Maybe even your third.

Embarrassing example: In my main writing focus (which was my first EVER), my MC didn't develop a palpable personality until the fourth or fifth draft. (They were all partials, but DANG.) She had her hints of wit and pinches of personality, but mostly it was just me trying to put a book together by writing out some kind of immense manifesto. But that's also how I got to know my characters and whittle them out. Like tiny wooden bear figurines, obvs.

It's important to get that massive over-detailing out of your system, if only so you learn how NOT to write, and so the words you've already written can be inspiration in laterbetterdrafts; that's the point where page-long descriptions and the vast majority of adjectives should get cut down (and hopefully characters develop personalities). Oh. And it's really okay for characters to purely "say" things. They don't always have to "agree" or say "angrily" or "carefully" . . . or is all of that just from MY past drafts? It's totally possibly. Make sure it doesn't happen to your final drafts by EDITING! And then EDITING some more!

Last thing (which I'm sort of stealing from my creative writing class): Dialogue’s an awesome way to show readers what the story's trying to say. It avoids over-explanationand the readers going, "Oh my Calliope, muse of epic poetry; I GET it."

Happy writing! Please don't punch me (if you actually read this)!

*ALSO! It's mine and Harpy Layla's one-year anniversary. I hear a margarita being blended tonight!

9.14.2010

monotonous? me?

EDIT: Given the fact that I've become a better writer (a girl can dream) since posting the original snippet of LAYLA: FAST TIMES AT MOUNT MYTHICAL, I'll post a scene from the latest draft instead. Without further (or, y'know, any) ado:

“I’m not a millionaire, you know.”
“Well what do you suppose we do?” Cam mocks. “Molt into butterflies and flit up into the ether?”
“Butterflies don’t molt.”
We’ve made it as far as the end of the driveway, grazed by a weeping willow on the sidewalk, where Cam stopped me when he learned I don’t have a car. I’m currently worth like thirty dollars; of course I don’t have a car. According to Cam, our plans are now ruined. I’ve also learned his full name is Sycamore. Sycamore.
He makes an odd face. “Yes they do.”
“I can’t believe your mom is forest spirit-y and you don’t know that caterpillars transform into their less fuzzy counterparts. Snakes molt.”
“Well, unfortunately for me right now,” he says, resting an elbow on our mailbox, “my dad was a god of the land, not of the air.”
“So you–” Oh. Shit. I just heard what he said. “You don’t mean that literally, right? Your dad’s a . . . land god, as in . . . a really great lumberjack or farmer or . . . something.”
Cam does that sheepish back-of-the-head-scratch thing in reply.
“But wouldn’t you think gods can’t –” I shut my mouth as quickly as I can, but I think he hears last word anyway. – die.
His muddy green eyes turn up to the purplish sky. “They can, as it turns out.”
That's it! Hopefully-Line is still set for Thanksgiving. . .

8.29.2010

but I digress. . .

Whatev-line has come . . . and gone.

Am working on six different stories. SIX. Is that normal? I actually DO like all of them, so that's probably a good sign.

'Til the next.

8.02.2010

a lobotomy would be good right about now

Layla the Harpy's Playlist:

'Layla' – Eric Clapton
'Rabbit Heart' – Florence & the Machine
'Rest My Chemistry' – Interpol
'Der Kommissar' – After the Fire
'Talking In Your Sleep' – The Romantics
'Brick By Boring Brick' – Paramore
'To Lose My Life' – White Lies
'Heaven on Earth' – Britney Spears
'The Boy Who Destroyed the World' – AFI
'Don't Bring Me Down' – Electric Light Orchestra
'Rebel Yell' – Billy Idol
'Frozen Creek' – Circa Survive
'Two Receivers' – Klaxons
'A Perfect Sonnet' – Bright Eyes
'Girls' Marina & the Diamonds
'Running up that Hill' – Placebo
'Kingdom of Doom' The Good, the Bad, and the Queen
'We Are the Involuntary'Underoath
'Blood on our Hands' – Death From Above 1979
'Monster' – Lady Gaga
'Host Disorder'Every Time I Die
'Staring at the Sun' TV on the Radio
'Diamond Eyes'Deftones
'Oh My God' Kaiser Chiefs

Totally botched my "deadline," but Layla and I needed a well-deserved break.Now I'm working on something NEW. Plot points have been floating around in my head for a while and now they're puzzling themselves together for me, in the POVs of both a girl and a boy (which, holy crap, can I think like a boy? hopefully?). It feels . . . good. A slow stream of a story versus the silty puddle of Harpy I had to skim through.

Snippets of research:
Effects of chemicals on the human body
Chernobyl
International flight times
Bullet trains
Passport stamps

HOPING to be done by the time the new semester starts (three weeks). But as I've found out about self-imposed deadlines, I suck at them. They're more like whatevs-I'll-finish-when-I-want-even-if-that's-never lines. I WILL BE DONE BY THANKSGIVING. Please, brain of mine. Cooperate. :)

7.14.2010

decisions, decisions (elude me).

Tonight I started re-writing. Even though I told myself I wouldn't do anything else until I wrote "the end." Figuratively. But then a new perspective popped into my brain tonight, which really wanted to be typed out. Oh. And Secret Creature MC has a new name: LAYLA. Which I think might be her fourth name now. Crippling indecisiveness is really not a good quality. Ever.

I'm really liking the new way I've written the story, but I keep wanting to copy and paste from my last draft. I will refrain—or TRY to—so this really can be a whole new draft. And hopefully the best one. I mean, come on already, self. Either way, Layla (hello, Clapton, and your awkwardly subjected masterpiece—very YA love triangle—I can't go twenty minutes without listening to) will not be ignored! Or shoved away into the scariest recesses of my brain to be forgotten, either.

7.06.2010

the first one

First blog post EVER. Why, one might ask (although hopefully nobody actually reads this one, 'cause embarrassing), did I get a blog? This will stand as a goal-setter for me. Am writing—wait for it—a book! But we'll call it a story.

A story about three teenage girls of mythological nature—actual creature affiliation will remain secret in the interwebs for now. A story where my MC is thrown into a totally different world (comprising gods—hello, Persephone—and monsters, heavens, myths, tartarus, etc.), and also hopefully where said character makes the reader cramp up from all the laughing they've done along the way. (Don't stomp on my DREAMS!) A story that I hope actually becomes FINISHED. Not too much to ask, right? Right. I hope.

Word count is at 67K, and the last scenes and a plethora of edits remain. Then it will be DONE. Or as done as a "completed" work-in-progress can really be called. I do have a nasty tendency to edit while I write, and my biggest goal will be to STOP that. Just finish the story. Then edit. Otherwise this last part will take another six-plus months. No fun.My goal for the writing-wise-but-not-totally-finished-wise finish line will be . . . July 25th. Yes. Then edits! Then critiques! Then, according to just about every author out there, more edits! Then? We'll see.

I have a feeling writing these blog posts will probably feel a little like having long writing-a-story conversations with myself, but what can you do? Here's to a finish line (or really, are they more like rest-points than finish lines?) in my future!