I started Rayne back in 2003 and I never got around to finishing it. I moved to France, I turned away from fiction-writing for several years, and ultimately decided to focus all of my attention on finishing TBSOL — a task that has taken way, way longer than I ever expected.
Rayne never received the sort of attention that TBSOL did, despite being out there on the Internet for many years as a free read, but that honestly didn’t bother me too much. In a lot of ways, the lack of interest was a bit of a relief. I didn’t feel as guilty taking time away from it. I didn’t feel any intense pressure to finish it. Most of all, it gave me the time and space I needed to admit that I wasn’t 100% happy with the story. I wasn’t even 60% happy with it. The attention the story did receive, however, convinced me that it was a story worth telling. continue reading →
I was chatting with my friend Lish this morning and she said, “I miss the LJ days.” I couldn’t help but agree. LiveJournal is still there, of course, and many people still use it, but it isn’t what it used to be back in 2001 when I first joined. I made a lot of friends through LJ, and I often miss having daily insights into their lives. Now we’re all scattered across the Internet, our online presence a random assortment of fragmented moments. A tweet here, a photo there. The virtual landscape evolves, and people move on.
When I switched from LJ to my own blog I suffered a bit of a brain freeze. LiveJournal felt safe to me. I felt like I knew who I was writing to whenever I posted something there. I didn’t feel self-conscious. Here, though, I’m never sure. I think that uncertainty is partly to blame for my occasional bouts of silence. It’s not that I don’t want to write (although sometimes I don’t want to write), it’s more that I’m not sure who it is I’m writing to and that affects what I want to say.
At 33, I really thought I’d have a better grasp on who I am as a person and as a writer. But these days I’m more inclined to believe that none of us really knows who they are. We’re all desperately looking around, constructing and reconstructing ourselves, following other people’s leads and trying to appear as though we know what we’re doing. It should be the easiest thing to be who we are — what else can we be? — but I think it’s what we most struggle with, in the end. That feeling of never quite fitting in.
My point is, I, too, miss the LJ days. continue reading →
As some of you have noticed, I’ve been kind of AFK the past few months, and that’s been frustrating because I hate pulling these vanishing acts. I’ve been more or less around Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr lately, which only left me feeling guilty that I hadn’t updated my own website.
Mostly, I didn’t know what to say that would require paragraphs instead of bite-sized chunks of random text. I know what people want me to say, and that’s that TBSOL is finished.
Alas, it isn’t. There’s only a few chapters left to go, though writing sometimes feels like pedaling very slowly on a stationary bike. And so, the answer to the question IS TBSOL DONE YET? is a disappointing no.
One day soon, though, the answer will be yes, and believe me when I say that no one is more impatient for that day to come than I am.
In the meantime, there have been questions popping up in my message streams, so allow me to answer some of the more popular ones: continue reading →
4 notebooks I use the most
1. (first from the top) I have no idea what to call this notebook, so on the inside I wrote, “This notebook is a lot of things and does not wish to be labeled.” I use this notebook as a kind of sketchbook, but it’s also where I write down my favorite quotes. Or write out random thoughts that don’t really fit anywhere else. It’s also where I stick all of those post-its that I write random things on.
2. I wrote about logbooks before. I got the idea from Austin Kleon, whose post on the subject is a lot more interesting than mine. It’s essentially a daily list of things about that day. I am terrible at keeping journals, but I’ve been fairly successful at keeping logbooks. You’ll notice that this one says “2011/2013” and that’s because I stopped writing in it at some point in 2011, and in 2012, I got one of those Moleskine daily planners and used that one as a logbook (though I utterly failed at maintaining it for very long that year). And then I picked this one back up back in February, and have been more or less consistent with it.
3. This TBSOL notebook is actually the second TBSOL notebook I have because I filled the last one up. There are four tabs to this notebook: outlines & notes, possibly include, future scenes (outlined), and to type up. Outlines & notes is essentially just that. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’m awful at outlines, and have to force myself to do them (because they really do help). In ‘possibly include’ I have a lot of random scenes or conversations that came to me at some point or another but that I’m not certain will make it into the book. In “future scenes (outlined)” I have scenes that I came to me, and I know will make it into the book, but won’t happen until much later. And in “to type up” I have the current scenes/chapters that I’m in the process of writing. I find it easier sometimes to write things out first, especially with scenes that are giving me trouble.
4. The YA Project notebook is in its infancy, but here is where I’m putting together all the building blocks of the YA series I’ll be writing after TBSOL. The other day, for example, I started working on a secret code the girls will use to communicate with – which was a lot of fun. See if you can decipher this message: 9QN01YQ // V1 // VJQ // DQVM // VQMY.
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For my birthday, I wanted to write a list of 33 things I’ve learned in 33 years, because 33 seems like an age that would grant access to a bottomless well of wisdom and knowledge (it doesn’t). I could probably come up with 33 things off the top of my head, like “you shouldn’t get attached to anything on the internet,” or “being kind might get your heart stomped on, but odds are you’ll regret it less than being cruel.” I could make a list like that, but I think I’ll wait until I turn 40. Certainly then I’ll be wise and all-knowing, or at least think that I am.
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I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my own creative processes (because I often think I don’t have one) until someone asks me how I go about doing certain things, and then I feel like a dummy because I don’t have an answer prepared. Writers should know what they’re doing, right? So I’m told. Anyway, this has been happening more and more often, so I thought it was time that I organize my thoughts on the matter – or at least attempt to – so that next time someone asks about my “writing process,” I can be like, “Oh! I wrote about that. Here’s a link!”
So, we’ll start with character building.
My next project after TBSOL is going to be a young adult series that revolves around four high school girls who belong to a secret vigilante group. You can read a very rough draft of the first chapter – here.
So, here’s how I’ve gone about creating my four girls.
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I’ve been writing, that’s my excuse. I was reading over my LiveJournal from a billion years ago (give or take), and I realized I used to be a person who shared a lot of nonsense about myself. So that’s what I’ve got today: nonsense.
Yesterday, I shared chapters 43 and 44 of TBSOL FV with my lovely beta team, after two weeks of writing.
Chapter 44 was rough. I have no idea why it gave me so much trouble other than I was in my head the whole time. I was worried. I was scared that I’d let people down. That even after rewriting it, it would not be good enough. I don’t think I’ve worked on a chapter that much since….ever.
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I’ve been working pretty much non-stop the past few weeks, trying to get my next novel finished. I’m not done yet, and I’ve got lots left to write, but sometimes it’s good to take a step back.
I’ve spent the past couple of days brainstorming and planning and outlining, which does not come naturally to me. I envy writers who can create outlines and plan out entire stories, and then zoom through the writing process, having already done so much of the work ahead of time. I can’t do that, even though I try and try and try again.
In the past, I’d sit at my computer and go, “Eh, I have no idea what comes next, but here I am typing anyway.” And words would pour out, and that’s how I wrote A&V, and the first few chapters of Rayne, and the entirety of TBSOL v1 and v2. And this method worked. It usually got me from point A to point B and from Chapter One to The End. But the finished product never felt like The Best I Could Do.
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In this week’s episode, our crime du jour stars a guy in a yellow poncho. I have one just like that from when I went to Disney. I used to wear it whenever I cooked up meth in my parents’ garage. Oh, did I say meth? I meant smores. I’m not even sure what meth is because I only saw one episode of Breaking Bad and all I learned is that sometimes you end up pantless in the desert.
Anyway, this dude is wearing a poncho and I think he’s making instant soup. His secret ingredient looks like vodka. Perhaps he’s practicing for Iron Chef: LOLWTF. “And your secret ingredient is … GAP jeans!” A la cuisine!
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As part of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, I was tagged by Ann McMan in her post last week.
The purpose of this hop is to introduce readers to writers and works that might be unfamiliar. This includes new releases or Works in Progress (WIP). This is week 25 of the hop.
According to the rules of the hop, I will be answering some questions (the same ones for every other blog hopper) about either my newest release or my WIP and then at the bottom of the post I’ve listed authors who will do the same thing in their blogs next Wednesday, December 19th.
What is the working title of your book?
My novel is called The Blind Side of Love, but I’m pushing to call it The Blind Side of Spacegoat Abductions because then I can use this cool book cover I made up:
But unfortunately the book isn’t really about spacegoats or abductions, so maybe I’ll have to save it for the sequel. continue reading →