Thursday, June 23, 2011

Who ARE you?

So one of my friends checked out the blog and had a few comments, (and if you follow me on Twitter, you know my friends don't hold back) the conversation went as follows: Friend: It's cool. Me: Just cool?  Friend: Well, it's kind of boring.  All you do is talk about writing.  Me: *stares* Well, it's a blog about my WRITING.  Friend: It's just that you're also a person.  People are probably reading your blog and thinking who IS this chick?  Me: Huh...

So that got me thinking, (and re-reading every post) and I realized that I don't actually talk about myself that much.  Just writing.  So, for my friends and anyone else who reads this blog, here are ten things about me that have NOTHING to do with writing.

1. I was raised by a single mom. Again, if you follow me on Twitter, you know about my mom.  But I think this fact says the most about me because I was totally shaped by my mom's crazy antics and unmeasurable strength.  I'm hardheaded, independent and just a titch crazy.  I owe all of this to my mother.

2.  I'm a typical second child.  My sister is seven years older than me and, I believe, was raised by aliens and then planted at our house because we're nothing alike.  She LOVES rules and I hate them.  She was a beauty queen and I used to draw on the back of the auditorium seats at her pageants.  She has never dyed her hair a strange color on purpose and well, I like color.  She's freaked out by tattoos and I love them.  The only things we have in common are a mother, (so she SAYS) and a thirst for knowledge that has kept us in college for far too long.  Oh, and she's a little crazy too.

3.  I'm not big on marriage.  Don't get me wrong, I love when other people get married and I love weddings.  My best friend Meg, who I met on the school bus when we were eleven, got married almost two years ago and it was the best.  I even let her set the date for the day after my birthday because I was so excited.  (Side note:  The year after her wedding, she had a baby on the day BEFORE my birthday.  She's taken over my life.)  Anyway, I can't commit to a pair of shoes or a hair color, so settling down with a guy for the rest of my life just seems out of reach.

4.  I love sports.  Seriously, I'm a sports junky.  From football to racing to baseball and tennis; I'm obsessed.  My guy friends have to tell ME to calm down while watching sports in public.  I'm That Girl.

5.  My cats are amazing.  I have two: Blaze is seven, all black with yellow eyes.  He's a loner like me.  BooBoo is twelve, a Maine Coon (read: HUGE) and has dependency issues.  I got BooBoo when I was fourteen and for the life of me can't remember why I named him that.

6.  I'm addicted to Netflix.  Oddly enough, I don't watch many movies on Netflix; I stick to TV shows.  I'm working my way through the complete series of Friday Night Lights now.  Netflix is where I discovered Veronica Mars and Sons of Anarchy.  I will be forever grateful.

7. This past January, when my job was "restructured" I was offered a promotion to stay with the company and turned it down to finish school and really give writing a shot.  There is a lot of budgeting involved but I'm giving myself a chance to do what I've always dreamed of doing.  I know, I know, this is about writing but it's relevant.  I'll never ever stop writing, even if I'm never published, but this is a time to focus on it full-time, (along with finishing school) so that when I'm seventy I won't look back and wish I'd gotten a chance to write all of those books I was always thinking about.

8.  When I was in college for my associate's degree, I worked at a newspaper but was bored to tears with all of the facts.  I like making up stories much better.

9.  I don't like Shakespeare.  I think he should have just gotten to the point, although I do enjoy his sonnets.  This may not seem like a huge deal to a lot of you, but try being a Liberal Studies major in literature class and admitting this.  I think they wanted to kick me out. 

10.  I love to cook.  There is nothing more relaxing than baking things, except maybe chopping them.  I don't know why but it calms me down.  This is why Martha Stewart, Paula Deen and Ina Garten are my heroes and why I watch The Food Network WAY too much.

Okay!  So there are some random facts about me.  Hopefully this shows my personality a little more so I'm not just that girl who blogs only about writing 24/7.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Can't stop, won't stop.

So, last week, a week before my self imposed deadline to finish my current WIP, I wrote the last word of my first draft.  Exciting!

As I mentioned in my last post, I'd kind of been immersed in writing , so much so that my friends were begging to talk about something else and my first readers were tired of the 20 questions (fine, 100) that followed everything I sent them.  I'm not saying I was mean, really, just... focused on getting answers.

Anyway, I love what I have, although since the book took a little bit of a turn as I wrote it, I know I'm going to have to re-write a lot of the beginning.  After my last revisions on KC, I feel like I have a better idea of my revision process although, (like I do about everything else in the writing world) I worry that it's completely the opposite of what I should do and what everyone else does.

First off, when I'm working on a WIP, I write 2k words a day.  I'm a pantser, so I don't outline or anything, I just jump right in.  I'd like to say that I don't write on weekends but that kind of goes out of the window when I really get into the groove of writing.  I actually took two days off before finishing this WIP and started recapping when I wrote again, like I was starting the second book and needed to remind the reader what happened.  It was a mess and I think I was doing it for me because I felt like I hadn't written in MONTHS but really I just took the weekend off.  Anyway!  I don't like taking time of from writing.

I always read and revise the previous chapter before I write a new one, just to get back into the groove of what my characters are up to.  These aren't in depth revisions or anything, I'm basically catching myself every time I write "my" instead of "me" which I do ALL THE TIME and I don't understand why.

On Wednesdays, a slow day life-wise for me, I double up.  I've dubbed this Double Up Wednesday, which is really just a way for all of my friends and family to know that when it's DUW, I don't want to be bothered.  On these days, I try to write between 4-5k but I split up my writing.  I've got this weird eye thing happening, where my eyes get really sensitive to light if I'm on the computer for a while, so I take a break and go to a bookstore, lunch or even grocery shopping.  Anything to get away from the WIP and the computer.  The bookstore always helps get me motivated to write more because I see all of those fancy, shiny books and I want one to be mine.  I love DUW.

All of this means it normally takes me about a month to write a first draft.  I know a lot of people say to walk away from your WIP for a long time but I can only last about a week, which I'm in the middle of right now.  It sucks.  Next week though, I'll dig back in.

What I feel is weird about me, (in a long list of weird things) is that I don't cut down my word count during revisions, so much as add them.  Sure, I cut scenes that I don't think are needed or that slow down the pacing but I still end up adding words.  I word build a lot during revisions, and add things that only finishing the first draft can show me need to be added.  During my last revision of KC, I added 4k words.  And I cut out a lot.  Weird.

Then, of course, I read the WIP somewhere around 9,849 times.  I read it on the computer, on my nook, printed out, on the comp again, maybe one more on the nook, who knows?  It's just a lot.  And this time, I'm going to send this (as well as KC) out to beta readers.  I'm on the hunt now in fact, so if anyone is interested in reading my stuff, let me know.  I'd totally be willing to swap too.  And then maybe we'll be friends forever.  Probably.  In my head, we will be.

So July is my revision month and hopefully I have a new, shiny idea for another book while that's happening, so August can be a writing month, followed by September being another revision month.  We'll see how that goes with school.  All I know is, November is officially reserved for NaNoWriMo.  I'm so stoked for this because I've never been able to participate because of The Old Job, which maybe I'll talk about soon.  The only thing that will interrupt this will be a day to celebrate my birthday and a day to celebrate my little baby niece's first birthday. (And of course, if an agent wants to sign me before or during November, I will do whatever the hell the ask me to do.)  Other than that, I'm writing.  I need a doorknob hanger for that!

So what's your process like?  And don't forget, anyone interested in being a beta for me, let me know.  Remember the lifetime of friendship, okay?


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Update and Writing is Like...

I've been writing.  That is all.

I swear that's what my life feels like these days.  I have other things going on but it seems like all I can think, talk and dream about is writing.  I'm positive my friends are starting to hate me but there is no cure for being close to finishing a book.  And if there is, I really don't want one.

I'm in the home-stretch of MISFITS and more often than not, I'm in love with this MS.  It's easily the funniest and yet darkest book I've written and the intensity is about to pick up as I get closer to the end.  I have a friend who likes to read as I write and she said she's going crazy waiting to see what's going to happen.  As a writer, there are no sweeter words.

MISFITS will be my third completed book and I've realized that each one is a different experience.  My first was so hard to write and took forever to finish.  After it, I figured it was perfect and that revising was for those who weren't as blessed as me.  That book is horrible.  Someday I will rewrite it because I love the idea but *shivers* that book is just bad. 

My second book, KILLER CUPCAKES, took a month to write and years to revise.  Since I wrote it, I've revised it more times than I can count and read it more times than I want to think about.  The funny thing is, I've only queried it for a short amount of time and to a very low number of agents.  I think I've mentioned before that I took a break from writing.  I'm talking YEARS from writing, to see if something else was what I really wanted to do.  It wasn't.  But KILLER CUPCAKES was written before that break, I queried a small number of agents, got good feeback and then did something else for three years.  Six months ago, I decided that my Something Else wasn't what I wanted and that writing was.  Five months ago I entered a contest with KC and won, and I've revised it (a few times) again since then.  I've sent a small number of queries out again and am waiting for more feedback.  I'm optimistic.

Then I realized that if I'm really serious about being a writer I needed to write again.  So a few months ago I pulled out a story that I started after KC (before the break) and loved it.  I'd only written a few thousand words at that point but everyone that I'd let read it really liked it.  That book is MISFITS.  I started seriously working on it again about two months ago, but with revisions of KC in the mix, I've probably only really put a little over a month's worth of work into it.  I plan on finishing MISFITS is about three weeks.  I'm totally, completely absolutely positive there will be a good amount of revisions because as I've worked on it, things have changed and I've realized that there should be more worldbuilding. 

So I guess it's different, and yet kind of the same, every time.

I was tagged by Marian for a Writing is Like post (thanks for the tag, Marian!) and I couldn't think of anything to compare writing with until I wrote this post.  I realized as I wrote that for me, writing is like climbing a mountain.  It's a different mountain every time, but the process is pretty much the same.  I make my way up the mountain, figure out which is the best way to go and dream about the easier climb down.  As I reach the moutaintop, I can see the finish and the way down and then the end of the book is the easiest and most exciting.  And each mountain I climb, I'm more comfortable with the journey, I know how best to get to the top and I know how amazing it is to finish.

And I'm almost done climbing my third mountain!

I'm going to tag:
1: Ashley Graham
2: Jennifer Pickrell
3: Kimberly from Meetings with My Muse

If you want to play, post what writing is like for you and then tag three others.  :)