Fan Girl Moments!

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Matt Smith playing Dr. Who (Season 7 Part 2) Source: Fanpop

I have some very exciting news to share with everyone! I recently landed an amazing internship and got accepted to become the official fan girl of Dr. Who on Fangirlish!

I’m a huge Whovian so having another outlet to geek out over Dr. Who’s story, characters, and cast will be so much fun! OK, I promise not to continuously use exclamation marks throughout this entire post (though it will be hard…). I love the idea of being part of a larger blogging community. It will be so fun.

Now my other amazing news, which is more closely related to writing. I am now interning for Gennifer Albin, author of CREWEL (helping with the Crewel twitter account, setting up events for her, things of that nature). It’s a great way to see the inner workings of the publishing world and what happens when a writer can make their writing a career. Plus, Albin is an amazing writer so just getting to work with her will be a great experience.

I don’t really have much more to say, since I just started the internship and have yet to post on Fangirlish. But I’m so excited.

NaNoWriMo 2012

As many of you might know, this month is National Novel Writing Month. This year is my first entering it and I think I’m doing pretty good. I read a lot of posts on how to prepare for it (Publishing Crawl has a good one). For the most part I followed them, even without thinking.

But, as you can see, I’ve already achieved the recommended 50,000 words. So, technically, I win, I guess. How did I manage this in just seven days?

First I didn’t write all of October. That was pretty rough. I don’t think I’ve ever gone an entire month without writing or revising one thing or another — well, at least, not for a long, long time. Instead, I spent all the time I would be writing reading instead. The story I’m working on now, Terrifying Tora is the working title, is a paranormal thriller. I guess. I’m not 100% sure on that. I want it to horror elements, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s horror in genre. So, I read a lot of horror stories. October, the month of Halloween, seemed like a great time to catch up on all the horror stories I wanted to read.

I love zombies. They’re my guilty pleasure, so I read Rot & Ruin, This Is Not A Test, Ashes, and a few other zombie/people-turning-into-zombie-esque-things stories. Reading such great books always makes me want to write… but I resisted the urge and picked up another book. I also read a few fantasy YAs (such as the amazing Daughter of Smoke & Bones).

Maybe it’s not fair to say I didn’t write at all in October. In September I got the idea for Terrifying Tora and started outlining the story. I worked on that outline throughout October so that I had a pretty thorough one. I knew how I wanted to start it, the main ideas I wanted to get to in each chapter, and how to end it. That’s a form of writing, right?

Honestly, out of everything, I think that outline helped me the most. I didn’t have to wonder “What next?” because I always knew. And once November hit I finally allowed myself to write, so I wrote… a lot to make up for the fact that I didn’t write at all. I also set the whole first weekend of November aside to write — I’m lucky my life isn’t as hectic as some. I barely looked at the word count and then when I finally did it was pretty high already.

The stories not finished yet, I still have a couple chapters to go but I’m getting there, thanks to NaNoWriMo.

Learning From Others

As a YA writer, you’d think I’d have joined SCBWI already, wouldn’t you? But I hadn’t. For some reason I had it in my head that you had to already be a published writer in order to become a member. Turns out I’m wrong, which is wonderful. I suppose it was officially a week ago that I joined SCBWI. Now I’m a member of the local chapter and a critique group here. It’s an online one, like the other critique group I’m a member of, but it’s small and filled with only YA members. My other critique group is constantly growing (I currently have no idea how many members there are…) and from all sorts of genres, which is nice because of the variety of prospective that comes along with that. I think the SCBWI one will trun out to be great. I’m also working on joining an in-person critique group.

I joined at just the right time for this. The third weekend of October, the local SCBWI chapter is hosting a writer’s conference. Of course I quickly registered to attend it, which is super exciting. It’ll be my first writing conference. This is going to be a great experience, both the critique group and the conference. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot and grow as a writer.

Also about a week ago I decided to give a Writer’s Digest course a try. I’m a VIP at WD and do some of their webinars from time to time, which are always interesting and insightful but I don’t think I’ve ever really learned something new about writing. I just like to do them to hear a literary agent’s POV on things. But I decided to the the First 10 Pages of Your Manuscript bootcamp anyway. It was one weekend and three literary agents, two of the three were YA enthusiastic, would look over the first ten pages and give insight into what worked and what didn’t.

I really think I learned a lot from that. I had been thinking about tweaking my manuscript in a certain way, but unsure of how to go about doing it. The literary agent I got, the lovely Paula Munier, was extremely nice and extremely helpful. She really went above and beyond to help everyone who attended. Another great thing came of it, all the YA writers who were attending decided to get together online afterwards and continue critiquing each other’s work.

Writing can be done in solitude, and for a long time I did it just that way, but the more I open up the others and share the more I learn about my own writing style and the more I grow. I’m really glad I joined SCBWI and very glad I did WD’s Bootcamp. Getting other people’s perspective is invaluable.

To NaNo Or Not To NaNo?

I think most people have heard of NaNoWriMo, even if they aren’t writers. I’ve always wanted to participate, just to see if I could really write a novel in one month, but I never have. Mostly because for the last couple of years I’ve been focusing on Vanishing Valerie or a different manuscript I had written — the latter is a hopeless cause. Anyway, I’ve finished with VV for the most part. It’s out in the query/partial land and there’s nothing to be done but wait, wait, and wait.

But now November is coming and I have a chance to participate in NaNoWriMo 2012, should I? I recently finished a different story, Pandora’s Hope (that’s the working title for now, it could change). And by finished I mean I completed the first draft, it’s needs some serious revision. So should I just focus on that or write a new story? I don’t want to fall into one of the most common lies writers tell themselves: I’ll come back to this story after I write this other story. And, of course, it doesn’t happen. But, then again, I don’t know. What if the story I could write is better than the story I have already written?

What if the story I’m going to write for NaNoWriMo is the one that will get me a lit agent then a publisher then — finally — published? I hate the world of what ifs, but… I’m not sure. Either ignore the impulse to join NaNo November and focus on my WIP or ignore my WIP for a month (risk ignoring it for longer) and write another WIP. What do you think?

I have a while to wonder about it. For the time being I’m trying really hard to plow through all my To Be Read list. What better way possibly prepare for NaNo than by reading?

The Not So Pretty First Draft

I’m officially finished with the first draft of my WIP, which is currently nameless. Coming up with compelling, meaningful, titles has never been a strong suit of mine. It’s 85K words and a YA urban fantasy (no shocker there, right?). It’s considerably different from my complete manuscript (Vanishing Valerie) which is currently out in the land of partials and queries. Unlike VV, it’s first-person and present tense. I’m not sure if it’ll stay like that through the revision stage. I mean, it’ll probably remain first person but the verb tense may change.

For the most part, it turned out like I had expected. I’m sure you all know it goes when you’re writing, sometimes the story takes a completely different turn. A couple characters turned out differently than I had envisioned, but that’s fine since it took the story to where I wanted it to go. But… really, Hemingway’s quote couldn’t be more right. It’s decent, but really nothing remarkable. I need to take a big step away from it before I can start to revise it. I need fresh eyes and to figure out how to make it better — and, mostly, whether I’m going to change the verb tense or not.

So what am I going to do with that time? Focus some on the querying process for Vanishing Valerie, of course, but mostly read. Read, read, and read some more. I really think that it’ll help me with revision more than anything else. I was reading an article, Envy or Inspiration, over at Magical Word today and it really was perfecting timing for me. Sometimes I struggle with being envious over the amazing books I read, but I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s their final products. Their polished work that took them multiple drafts to get to, so of course my lousy first draft is nothing in comparison.

What about everyone else? Do you feel your first drafts are pretty good or just awful? What do you do to prep yourself for the revision stage?

Facing Fears: Rejection

I got my first rejection Sunday, which was nice. I know that might sound weird, but I was really looking forward to the first rejection. I wanted to know how I would react. Overall, I was impressed by how quickly the agent replied and how kind of a rejection letter it was. I thought I would be upset, perhaps even really devastated, but I wasn’t. I won’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed, but it was just a dull pang for a moment then it was gone. Like when I was applying for a job but only submitted a resume, then received an e-mail saying that they were going for different candidates. It was a bit disappointing but I was over it in a couple minutes.

I’m not really surprised by this, I didn’t think I would be too emotionally distraught. I’m aware that the publishing industry is a business and this is just part of the process. Maybe when there are less agents on my list it’ll be more upsetting. It’ll probably be different if I get a rejection on the partial I sent out, too. But I’d rather face a fear than wonder what if?

Source: Wikimedia.org

I actually like being scared. I’ve had an irrational fear of sharks since I was a little girl. Extremely irrational, even, since I grew up in a land locked state. Though, I did spend my summers between Louisiana and Florida so I did go to the beach. In order to get over that, I decided when I was in Australia to go snorkeling with some reef sharks. Of course, those rarely bit or attack people so it wasn’t dangerous but I did get over it. Now I’d like to go to South Africa sometime in the near future to see some Great Whites (don’t worry, I know better than to try and swim with them).

So, even though I worry (fear, really) getting to the end of my literary agent list and seeing nothing but “rejected” next to each name… I’d rather let that fear inspire me to write the best story I can and keep trying instead of giving up. On a related note, I came up with an idea for a YA that deals with fearful things (aka horror). I’ve completed a synopsis for it and might try to do that during NaNoWriMo — either the November or August one.

Friday the 13th

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

I’m not particularly superstitious or anything like that, but I did love the movies. When it came down to the battle between Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elmstreet, and Halloween, Jason always won. I would always marathon all those movies depending on the time of the year when I was a kid. My mom never wanted me to, because I had a tendency to be completely freaked out for weeks. For ages I was scared that Michael from Halloween was going to be in my closet with a knife, but I couldn’t sleep if my closet door was closed (I don’t know why, it’s just one of those things — still is even).

I never really had fears of Jason. I imagine I would if I ever went camping and/or went to camp as a kid but I don’t get camping. Why pretend like you don’t have AC when you do? And God forbid I have to deal with bugs. I hate bugs. I only got into hiking and whatnot when I was in my late teens, even then I’d rather just keeping hiking until I got to a hostel. There was really nothing to do when it came to Freddy, other than not sleeping and I never did that.

For whatever reason, when I realized this Friday was the 13th, I decided it’d be the perfect time to start querying wider. I just like the idea of really kicking off the submission process properly on today. It helps that I’ve got everything in order now. Though, I’ve had it in order for a while now… but just a little too nervous to finally do it.

Except, of course, I made a mistake when I sent a query to one literary agent (I put the wrong name! What a silly mistake!) but I just resent it with the proper one and hope that’ll do.

That’s that, I suppose. I’ve started the query process. It’s really finally happening. I get the feeling I’ll be very flexible by the end of all this. I’ve decided that I need something to do after each rejection, something that helps me process it and move on, and it’s yoga. I’ve been doing it for a while, but not with any real conviction. Now I’ll have no other choice.