Internetless Girl

I thought I’d write a little haiku*
–my internet is slow, and buggy, too–
To let you know I still exist
And daily draft my manuscript

And not to worry, I haven’t died
I’ve just been otherwise occupied
While my internet has been down
And the library is closed in town

Not a single WordPress post goes through
So what’s an internetless girl to do?

I’ll soon be back. Don’t you fret.
I won’t waste a single minute
Of posting time once I’ve come back–

But, for now, here’s grumpy cat.

(j/k. It couldn’t even load that.)

*Obviously, I am terrible at haikus.

Why no one comments anymore

The other day, when a friend tweeted a link to her newest blog post, my urge was to respond right there on twitter, knowing I never feel like commenting on blogs anymore. And that stopped me. Because a comment is a comment, right? And yet it was so much easier to comment via twitter than her blog.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, because bloggers have been complaining for a while now about the dearth of comments. Certain blogs seem to do okay, like Nathan Bransford’s blog, and the Pub Crawl ladies, but most suffer the same thing. Even on my own blog I’ve noticed people will often click “like” over posting a comment.

So of course everyone is wondering why. Yeah, it’s a pain, but didn’t it always used to be a pain? Even more so at one point, when you had to fill out all the captcha boxes that would fail to load properly and complicate it further.

But I think back then, when I examine my own behavior, I was more hungry to be heard. I had Important Thoughts and I wanted to share them. Also, I admired other authors more, craved their interaction more. Building my readership and networking with other bloggers was a lot more vital to me than it is now. At least, it felt more vital.

Now I’ve chilled out a bit. Readers come with time, I realize, and since I’m blogging more about the things I enjoy, the emphasis is off getting other people’s responses–I already know I liked what I blogged about. The right folks will, too.

And I think we were all more hungry back then. Blogging peaked, what, five years ago? Three? The whole thing had exploded. We were all eager to jump on the exciting new thing that was happening. Publishers were encouraging authors to blog and start blogs, and starting to dump more of the promotion responsibilities on authors.

Now…I think we’ve all chilled out a bit, not just me. People realized they didn’t like blogging. Or that too much blogging made them burn out. Tons of people burned out. People realized it was easier to tweet 160 characters or less than blog 800 words or less.

Those are my thoughts, but what about you guys? Feel free to comment. Or not 🙂 But for those of you brave adventure types who dare to comment anyway…what motivated you to do it?

Mandy out!

The Pros and Cons of Absolute Write

 

So last week, I did an overview on Absolute Write for those who hadn’t heard of it, detailing some of the most helpful boards (such as a query letter critique forum and one to find beta readers! All here in my last post.)

But for those of you who’ve heard about Absolute Write and are considering joining, I wanted to give you the heads up.

First the disclaimer: Absolute Write is a FANTASTIC resource. It definitely helped me become the writer I am today, got me in the know, and helped me meet a wonderful group of writers. I even got to beta the first two chapters of Beth Revis’ Across the Universe because we met on Absolute Write.

On the other hand, this site gets a bad rep, sometimes. And when you’re new or confused, it can be difficult to sort out what’s true and what’s just someone ranting about their bad experience.

So here it is: a list of needs-to-knows about Absolute Write, and the pros and cons of each.

 

It contains wealth of information about the publishing industry and submission process.

Pros:

For those still trying to sort out how the publishing industry works, this is great. You’ll learn all the basics and a lot of the advanced material as well. Including material about advances. (Bad pun. Bad pun!!!) For newbie writers who think they’ll wrap their manuscript up in a nice box with some twine and mail it off to a publishing house, this will give them a bit of a reality check. And let’s face it. We need those reality checks sometimes.

Cons:

It’s easy to focus too much on getting published. Hanging around the AW boards when you’re writing a first draft can be torture, and because it all sounds so exciting and businesslike, there’s an internal urge to jumpstart the submission process. This results in a lot of newish writers diving into the world of rejection letters before they’ve ever focused on craft, and a lot of older writers will seem to have plateaued. This, in turn, results in people turning to self-publishing and POD prematurely, because they have been doing this for X-many years and are ready to be published.  Simply put, they got overeager and then disappointed too early on.

 

You’ll tap you into the writing (and blogging) community.

Pros:

One of the hardest things about writing, and any art form at all, is that it’s so isolating. We create for ourselves but we crave other people’s appreciation. Writer’s need other people for support and encouragement, for wisdom, for networking and beta-reading, for mentor and mentoree relationships all across the board. Absolute Write does this. You’ll meet other writers in the same boat as you, and when writing a first draft, having other people care (and talking to you through the cave walls, so to speak) can be a life saver.

Cons:

Community is great. Distractions are not. Some days, it’s a whole lot easier to go on Absolute Write and talk about writing, while never actually typing a single word. It can be a time-suck if you’re not careful. And it’s very, very easy to get into the “wish I had written, don’t want to write” mindset. On top of that, the community is very single-minded. Sometimes fighting for your creative license can be like swimming against the tide. And finally, it’s easy to feel legitimized about, say, the quality of your novel, just because the people at Absolute Write told you it was submissions-ready.

 

They’ll push you.

Pros:

You’ll be whipped into professional shape in no time. All those embarrassing newbie mistakes (like calling a manuscript a book, or saying “fiction novel” in a query letter) will be corrected in no time. You’ll learn a lot of the inside phrases and rules such as show-don’t-tell, BIC (butt in chair) and no ly-adverbs. You’ll feel educated, invigorated, mildly intimidated, but equipped. The AWers won’t accept any crap when it comes to procrastinating and they’ll encourage you to improve your craft.

Cons:

Every new writer needs to learn the rules, but eventually you need to learn when and how to break them. AWers have a tendency to strip away any rule-breaking they see, even if it lends to quality or voice. Plus, if you continue to break the rules, there is a lot of lecturing involved by older members who think you’re just being obstinate. I think every AWer goes through a period of feeling the pressure of the community weighing down on them, resulting in guilt and stress. AW tends to focus too much on the rules, and forget about things such as recharging, guilt-free writing methods, inspiration, or how to slow down and improve your craft rather than push for marketability.

Finally, AW has no patience for people who aren’t sure they want to go all professional yet. If you’re noodling around and just want people to praise your first drafts, it won’t happen there.

 

They’ll help you develop a tough skin.

Pros:

If you’re going to survive the publishing world, you’ll need to remain persistent, and you’ll need a tough skin. It’s that simple. Learning how to deal with constructive criticism, query letter rejections, editorial feedback, bad reviews–it’s essential, because rejection never really stops. And AW will not coddle you. AWers ask other members to rip their piece to shreds, and the other members will. They’ll do it nicely and helpfully if they can. But they will in fact rip it to shreds.

Cons:

Not everyone can take having their work ripped to shreds. Tough skin takes time to build, and AW doesn’t have much of a grace period, although people will try to be more conscientious of newer writers. But you’re basically expected to take your medicine without complaint, protest, or justification. And because they strive for excellence, they can always find something new to comment on. Sometimes this is discouraging and confusing. And for the newbie writer, who is still dabbling at this, who haven’t gotten a taste for it yet and are still trying to decide if it’s worth the effort–all this criticism can push them in the wrong direction.

 

And two final pros and cons:

Pro:

As a writer, you’ll grow up in this community, and you’ll grow fast. They’ll foster you along the way and equip you with skills and resources you’ll need to survive in the publishing industry. You’ll hear names, and later those names will become published and even famous authors, and you’ll become connected without even realizing it. (Remember when I betaed for Beth Revis? I was just being nice, but she remembered me later on. It’s a connection I couldn’t have made now.)

Con:

Eventually you’ll grow out of this community. Although I am definitely speaking from personal experience, I’ve also heard from a lot of other writers who started in AW and slowly moved out of that sphere as they got more independent and gained agents or publishing contracts. There becomes a point when you realize AW is repeating the same things they’ve always said, and they don’t have anything more to teach you. On and off you might get frustrated with the critical nature of the community there, and you might start leaning more on your crit partners or agent. This isn’t a bad thing…it’s just part of the natural progression of maturing as a writer.

 

* * *

So.

All that said.

The takeaway, here, is that Absolute Write is really and truly a fantastic resource, but you need to be aware of how best to use it and whether it’s right for you. If you’re new at writing and you’d like to improve, but you’re not ready to face too much criticism yet, you might want to lurk around the boards for a while and soak up the information first. When you feel like it’s time to step up your game, then you can join and start asking questions and requesting critiques. Even more established writers would find AW helpful.

But the caveat is, you’ll always need to keep a balanced mindset about what you’re learning there. Definitely do learn how to follow the rules. Realize at some point you will learn how to break them, and that this is okay. Don’t feel you have to follow everything they say to the letter. Learn how to be your own judge–and learn how to judge yourself critically. Develop your tough skin, and then surround yourself by people who know how to encourage as well as suggest constructive changes. Put yourself out there, but don’t be in too much of a rush to get published. Learn how to write for yourself first.

That’s my two cents, anyway. As they’d say on Absolute Write, take it with a grain of salt.

 

Truly and always,

-Mandy

How to Use Absolute Write

 

 

Back when I was a fresh little nooblet of a novelist, and the publishing world was an enormous mystery I couldn’t figure out how to unlock, I stumbled upon Absolute Write. It was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me at that time. It educated me, honed me, tapped me into a community of many other intelligent writers, gave me a kick in the butt and a fond farewell, and sent me on my way.In fact, you will hear a lot of writers mention Absolute Write, but for those not in the know, it can feel mysterious and confusing.

So here’s the dish.

The Absolute Write Water cooler, often shortened to Absolute Write (or just AW,) is a group of web forums dedicated to everything writing and publishing. The layout can be a bit intimidating at first, but there are a couple of important boards that will really help you navigate your way around:

The Basic Writing and Novel boards, where you can discuss almost anything about how to write, such as plot and character, while the novel board focuses a little more on novel-related writing topics, such as the three-act structure, climaxes, etc.

Then under the AW Writing Lab is one of my favorite sections — the Share Your Work (or SYW) boards. These require a password (vist) which is always kept in the description. These boards are wonderful–broken up by genre, you can post sections of any work, whether it be in progress or ready for betas, and get critical feedback. Best of all? They have a Query Letter Hell board–which is where you can get crits on your query letters! Utterly invaluable.

An unspoken rule of etiquette is to crit at least a handful of other people’s works. People respect this a lot, so if they see you asked for crits but not giving any, they might skip critting yours in favor of someone more friendly. So keep that in mind.

Then there’s the Blogging & Social Networking board, where you can network with other bloggers, announce when you’ve started a new blog, and in the Did You Update Your Blog Today? thread, you can post links to your current blog posts and find links to other writer’s blogs. (This one is a huge resource!)

Finally, there’s the Beta Readers forum, where you can find people looking for betas or crit partners, post your own beta reader request, or discuss the beta experience. (Another huge resource!)

And to use the old adage, that’s just scratching the surface.

 

* * *

 

However. People tend to have polarized feelings about Absolute Write. Some will rave and rave about it’s helpfulness and how awesome the community is, which is true. But others will say they don’t use Absolute Write anymore, and will admit, in a way that makes you wonder if there’s more to the story, that Absolute Write has it’s issues.

And this is true as well. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum, so in my next post, I want to talk about the pros and cons of Absolute Write, and explain a little better how to use this resource the way that’s best for you.

 

Until then!

 

truly and always,

-Mandy

 

 

 

Recent Reads, July Edition

 

 

Hello lovelies.

So I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to read in massive spurts. I will order 4-6 books from the library, devour them in about a week and a half, immediately order more, and devour those as soon as they arrive. I’ll repeat that, oh…say four times, over the course of two or three months. Which means about twenty books or more in that three month time period.

And then I will stop for a while *

But the stopping is IRRELEVANT because right now I am in the middle of a surge and, oh look, books!

Series I’m in the midst of:

Endlessly, Paranormalcy #3

Don’t Judge a Girl by her Cover, Gallagher Girl’s #3

Only the Good Spy Young, Gallagher Girls #4

So a while back I got into the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter when I saw the title of the then-newest book in the series, Out of Sight, Out of Time, and read that it involved amnesia. Amnesia! I thought. My favorite. Also, friends of mine, namely Chandler Craig, had been raving about the Gallagher Girls for a while. So anyway I gave it a try. I got hooked on the series, but I’ve always been reading with that goal in mind of getting to the elusive fifth book with amnesia…and now I’m finally there! The next one I read will be it! I’m excited, because the series has been sweet but a bit light up until now, and only in the last two books has it really started darkening up a bit. I’m liking the heightened tension and stakes, and I can’t wait to read the fifth in the series. *Cue dramatic music*

Then there’s Endlessly.

So I’m ashamed to admit that when the Paranormalcy series first came out, I sort of shuffled my feet and decided I didn’t feel like it. I was tired of paranormal. And paranormal was right in the title. But the covers were pretty…So I watched how the series developed, and decided I might give it a try. Eventually. Maybe. Perhaps.

Sometime last winter I finally gave Paranormalcy a try–and I loved it. Early this spring I read Supernaturally, the sequel, and was a little less enthusiastic. So I was nervous, about the final installment of the trilogy. Would it be meh, would it be angry-making, would it be anything as good as the first? Then I read Endlessly and realized all my fears were unfounded. It recaptured the magic of the series and kicked it up a major notch. I was very excited.

Books That Were/Are Big (and I read them, yay!)
(if belatedly, boo–)

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Different Girl by Gorden Dahlquist

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

And I have to say guys, these books were well worth the read. Eleanor & Park reminded me quite a lot of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, in that it was honest and real and sweet–but also challenging, and sometimes gritty; sometimes gritty to the point that it lessened my enjoyment of it. However, it was every bit as awesome as everyone said it would be. Definitely lived up to the hype.

Timeless by Alexandra Monir felt like a tad bit of a let down; the cover was just so beautiful, that I found myself hoping for a YA version of The Time Traveler’s Wife. While Timeless was fun and easy to read–it reminded me quite a lot of Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz, and Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard–it didn’t have the intensely complex feel I like in time travels. So I think expectations spoiled this one for me.

The Different Girl, however, was a real fun surprise. I wasn’t going to read it. Like at all. I thought it looked like a creepy dystopian, but then I read a few reviews by people who had also thought it would be a creepy dystopian, and said they were disappointed, and I thought, hmm…so I read the sample pages available online. And sat up. And paid attention. Because I was hooked. I reviewed this book, somewhat, on my Goodreads, but basically it was a lot quieter and more intriguing than I had thought–it reminded me a lot of Melody Burning by Whitely Strieber in the sense that it was different, and a bit quiet, but very intense in it’s way.

As for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making? Out of the fourty two books I’ve read so far this year, it was one of only eight that I rated a full five stars.

I LOVED it.

It was everything everyone said it would be. More. It was the Alice in Wonderland I had always wanted to read, without being as weird or creepy, and the ending was fantastic, and everything about it was fantastic. I’m desperate for the sequel. Enough said.

Then we have A Long, Long Sleep which, like The Different Girl, I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to read. Initially it looked intriguing. A while ago I ordered it from the library in one of my sprees…read the first two chapters…and thought to myself, shoot. I know exactly how this is going to go. And put it down in frustration. But then, because I am stubborn sometimes, especially with books with pretty covers, I ordered it again, and this time I skipped ahead. And got hooked. And went back and read up to where I was. And phew, boy guys, I am sooooo glad I gave this the second chance. I’m not sure what it was about chapter two that had turned me off initially, but once I got past it, I loved everything I read.

A Long Long Sleep is actually a sci-fi adaption of the fairytale Sleeping Beauty, and I loved how this translated to a girl who gets lost in cryo for sixty years. One of my current WIPs is a cry story–TES, if you were keeping track–so it was a lot of fun to compare notes, and also, the book was an excellent read. I really wish it had gotten more attention than it did when it came out, because it’s so well written.

Bottom line: I was so excited to finally read so many of the books that had been lingering on my TBR list, and that I enjoyed them so much!

 

Last but not least:

Each library book run, I tend to include at least one book by Diana Wynne Jones, Robin McKinley, Sarah Beth Durst, or one of the books from each of the series I’m currently catching up on (Gallagher Girls, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, and Jackson Pearce’s Fairytale Retellings series.) That way I know I’ll have at least one or two really awesome books per reading splurge.

My obsession with McKinley is the sole responsibility of her novel, Pegasus. I’m sure my obsession with Pegasus will end at some point. Maybe when she finishes the series. Who knows. Whatever. Until then, I have been slaking my McKinley-obsession by reading her backlog of previous works, and yay for me, she has a lot of good stuff to read. So far I’ve dug into some of her most popular stuff–I read Sunshine (thumbs up, it a bit creepy) and Chalice (had no idea what was going on in that story!) and The Blue Sword (hmm) and I’m also reading her online serial novel, Kes. So I thought it was about time I got into her fairytale retellings.

Spindle’s End was a retelling of Sleeping Beauty (which I guess means I read two such retellings–this, and A Long, Long Sleep in one month. By accident! Hah!) (But both were very different, so.) It was a lot of fun. It read like the non-Disney version that feels much closer to how the original story might have been. I liked it a lot, and it’s been a while since I last read any McKinley, so I’m back to having my obsession slaked for a little while.
(I’m not really obsessed.)

(Sort of maybe kinda.)

(COUGH)

So! I’m already halfway through my goal of 80+ books to read, this year.

This is great considering I haven’t been including re-reads, which would have added about 15 books or so. And I’m very excited to be close to a Barnes & Noble again which (hopefully) means I can keep up with reading the new YA releases instead of twiddling my thumbs and waiting for a library to get them in, or preordering them on my starving-student income.

Yays all around.

What have you guys been reading?

Also, afterthought: I’ve been extremely busy with the new job, and because it’s physical labor, I’ve been pretty beat afterwards. So I haven’t had much energy for blogging despite having things worth blogging about. But I’ve got a couple posts lined up, including another weekly Pinspiration, an author interview (!) and another Making Up Meals style foodie post (but with desserts, not meals. NOM.) (And PICTURES. Nom nom nom.)

So as soon as I get a weekend to myself, there should be more blog things occurring. Hopefully.

So double yay!

 

truly and always,

-Mandy

*Were you guys waiting for me to explain why I stop reading? I thought I’d save that for another time. Because, I know, the intricaciesof my reading habits are sooooooo fascinating. Ahem ahem.

WIP Wednesday – The Minor Flirtation, part 2

My last novel, MIRRORPASS, took me three years to finish. I am not normally that slow of a writer. Spending so long on a single novel was torture. It was three whole years of having new ideas and not being able to write them. When it finally (finally, FINALLY) came time to pick a new novel to focus on after shipping MP off on submissions, it was a pretty even tie between two ideas.

One was Shutterbug.

At the time, Shutterbug was brand spanking new. Like maybe six months old, or even newer. It was the idea I had begun because I wanted something entirely unlike my other novels to think about; I wanted sweet, early teen romance;  I wanted a boy protagonist, and dual POVs; I wanted to set it in a city, which I’ve never done before.

The other idea was old. Very old.

Before I wrote MIRRORPASS, I took a whack at this big-concept story called “The Eternity Shift,” about a girl with a deadly disease getting frozen in cryo, by accident, and waking in a world where everyone was cursed with immortality and couldn’t manage to die. They wanted to die, though, because immortality sucked, and they were all cryo survivors in a weird new world, and nobody knew how they’d gotten there. And somehow this girl have managed to stay mortal when everyone else hadn’t. So she had this cure.

It was a great idea, but I didn’t realize how many flaws it had until I got that iconic 20k into the first draft. I pushed through, though, for another 10k, until the story petered out just short of 30,000 words and I had to trunk it. It was the first novel in years that I’d gotten so far with and had to trunk. It was a colossal failure. And even worse, the idea refused to release it’s grip on me. I still liked it, after all that waste.

So. I told the idea, fine. I’ll keep you. But you have to sit nicely on the shelf with the other bits and bobbins and percolating concepts, and every once and a while I’ll try solving you again.

Which it had done quite nicely. Over time, especially while writing MP, whenever I got bored I would take my Eternity Shift idea down off the shelf, poke at the beginning (and by poke I mean write 2,000, or 5,000, or even 8,000 words) until things went wrong again and I had to stop. I never managed to get it right. Ever. I’d solve one piece of the puzzle, but find the others were still mucked up.

Thing was…while writing MP…I started getting close to solving The Eternity Shift. (Which abbreviates to TES. Do you mind if I just call it TES? I’ve been doing that in my head, and it works great.) By the time I finished MP, I felt TES was almost ready to go again. Maybe was ready.

But Shutterbug was maybe ready, too.

And so was Time Travel story, come to think about it.

As you know from my previous post, The Minor Flirtation, trying to write two novels at once is, in my opinion, not only a very bad idea, but also pretty near impossible. I had to let all but one go.

I spent a tortured month or so turning them all over in my minds, writing bits and pieces of their beginnings while trying to figure out which one I wanted to spend the next 6 months+ with. And in the end, as you may have guessed, I chose Shutterbug.

Time Travel story behaved nicely. It kind of like, sighed, and went back to sleep.

But TES did not play nicely. TES hovered. It waited a month or two, and then presented itself with brand new solutions that made everything which hadn’t worked before work. Crap.

But I told myself, no. You are writing Shutterbug. You can poke at TES, but you cannot write it.

Okay. Poking at TES. Writing Shutterbug.

That seemed to work okay. TES, it seemed, still had a few minor details to iron out. (Does she run into the forest? What would motivate her to do that? And like, do I really want her to be a dancer? Should she have another hobby, maybe?)

And that was fine. Shutterbug roared ahead and lurched to halts during finals. Roared ahead again. All in all, things were going good.

And then…

Sigh.

Then this month happened.

TES happened.

I was doing my poking thing to TES, as I commonly do. This was on the wings of a sudden spurt of inspiration, as it usually is. Nothing unusual here. Except that for the first time ever, I was landing those first chapters with voice.

VOICE. The voice of TES has eluded me for so long. I have known the plot I wanted to write, much of the feel of how I wanted to execute it; I have even known the voice I wanted it to have. But the subject matter was so…strange, sometimes, that it was nearly impossible to hang onto the voice.

And this time I did.

Not only that, but I got the love-interest-sortof-maybe guy right, first try. And I got the tricky opening plot points right, first try.

EVERYTHING WAS WORKING RIGHT AND WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE SHOULD I STOP SHOULD I KEEP GOING I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DOOOOO.

I kept writing. Couple days ago, I tweeted about writing 8,000 in one day. Yeah, that was in TES. This morning I woke up, sat up in bed, had an important paragraph I knew I needed to type before I lost it, and ended up writing 2,500 words before breakfast. I added another 1,300 this afternoon.

TES is going nuts, guys. I’m already at the 14,000 mark and it’s been less than fourteen days. Because I’m switching back and forth in time, I have a good first third of the novel plotted out almost in entirety. And I am already very close to getting over the speed bump I’ve always encountered during the first plot movement–the second plot movement is where things always used to fall apart. Thankfully this time I’ve solved that.

I know, once my characters enter the third plot movement, things will have to slow down because I am very vague now where things go from there. Which is kind of a relief actually, because hey. Backup plan! I’ll be forced to stop writing and just think for a little while. Which will give me an opportunity to pick Shutterbug back up. In case, you know. I dropped Shutterbug to write TES.

Which I don’t intend on doing.

I intend on writing Shutterbug and TES at the same time.

Even though that never, ever seems to work.

Even though you always say to yourself, “but this time is different!” and it turns out, no, it’s not.

What can I say? This time is different.

*Headdesk*

 

*

 

And that, guys, is my crazy WIP update. I’ve decided to start including some kind of stats with these WIP posts, so, here goes:

SHUTTERBUG MEETS (INVISIBLE) GIRL — YA magical realism with romantic elements. 16-year-old Toby McCleary sets out on a renewed quest to find the mysterious disappearing girl of his childhood, with only the clues in an unsolved mafia case, the pictures on a lost camera to guide him, and his own faith to guide him.

Current word count: 82k out of 85k
Why this is not as good as it sounds: because I’m just wrapping up Act 2. I lingered too long on a specific plot movement, and now I need to get the plot back on track by hammering out some important scenes so we can get to the good stuff. Am working on hammering out those now–successful so far, in that I wrote one already this month (between writing TES. Hah, hah.)

And speak of the devil! Introducing, my second-possibly-WIP…

THE ETERNITY SHIFT — a YA dystopian. A girl who loves to dance wakes up in a future cursed with immortality, where, as an accidental beta-tester for the first cryogenic pod, she’s the only mortal left.

Current word count: 14k out of 90k
Status: Moving from the opening, establishing chapters (which have always given me grief in previous drafts) to the exciting part, when Robin starts digging into her relationship with the guy who she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with, because he was bred to be a killer and oooh…tension!

TES also has a Pinterest. In case you’re interested. (Because getting a Pinterest is, like the first thing I DO with new ideas nowadays.)

So ANYWAY. That concludes my massive two-part WIP update.

 

What about you guys? How are your WIP’s going? Does anyone else out there storyboard with Pinterest like me? Share!

 

Truly and always,
-Mandy

The Minor Flirtation, part 1

 

 

At some point in every writer’s life, typically sooner rather than later, they are tempted to write two stories at once.

Sometimes it’s because they have two brilliant (or three, or four) ideas at once, and they CAN’T CHOOSE. Often it’s because they had a brilliant idea, started writing it, and around the 20k mark things got…a little less exciting. A little slow. A bit tricky. They looked out the window to stare moodily at the landscape, when BAM. Brilliant new idea goes flashing across the glass. And, well. Brilliant new idea just won’t go away. It becomes a minor obsession. The not writing it, the idea of giving it a try.

Especially when it’s a really good idea. That makes it easier to justify. (This one is more marketable, I should be writing it first.) (This one has a better hook. Agents will like it more!) Yeah. Right.

There is also a third scenario, which involves crazy deadlines and being forced to write two things at once, but that’s an entirely different beast and I’m nowhere near qualified to discuss it.

Tonight I want to discuss the minor flirtation.

 

 
Ahem. The minor flirtation with IDEAS, you know: the idea flashing past the glass.

We all have this, I think, through the course of writing novels; and I’ve learned to channel these flashing ideas into short stories, to give me something new to think about that will resolve neatly and allow me to continue writing my WIP. But in the past it was always like, OMGOSH, this is such a good idea, I have to write this. No, I mean I really just have to write this. I can’t abandon old novel…but I could do both! At once! They’d inspire me to write each other. They would give me breaks from each other, and that way I’d be twice as productive.

That’s always how our thought process goes, isn’t it? But the answer is…no. Even if you think it’s part of your process…it’s probably not.

 

 

I used to know people, great writers, back on the Absolute Write forums, who did this. They’d start out with one WIP in their siggy, and then they’d have two, and then three, and then four…until the old ideas were trunked and the new ones became old ones. It was a never ending cycle. And the only way out of it was to  shut the door, pick one idea, and write it until it was done.

So that’s always been how I’ve done it. Once or twice, very rarely when I simply can’t STAND it any more, I’ve tried writing two things at once. Usually it’s with some sort of stipulation, like, when story #2 stalls out around the 20k mark like I expect it to, it’s back to WIP #1 with you. Or sometimes I’ve allowed myself to pick away at a secondary story that has had a sudden resurgence in interest, because I doubt it’s going anywhere at the moment. I’ve noodled with this idea before, and it has a long way to go before it can become a full-fledged novel. So there’s no worry it will try and take over. I’ll ride out the flirtation, learn what I can learn, and go back to my WIP without any guilt.

 

 

*

 

So.

This is the point when I normally start giving you examples based off my own novels. The problem with that is, the examples are long. They involve an Awful Lot of Blabbing. So this time, I decided instead of making one incredibly massive posts…

I’d split it into two. Part 2 comes Wednesday, when I will be discussing one of the other alternatives, that I may or may not have slipped into. COUGH. But for today, what do you guys think of about the minor flirtation? Have you ever struggled with it? How do you deal with it? Has anyone out there ever managed to write two novels at once and done so successfully? Because, despite what’s coming up in Wednesday’s post, I just have a hard time believing that could work unless you were really, really motivated.

(You people with deadlines, I feel for you. Deeply. How do you stay sane doing that?)

Until Wednesday!

 

Truly and always,

-Mandy

Weekly Pinspiration! #1

 

 

Hello world. How have you all been? It’s been nasty and rainy here, and I’ve had a dog of a time getting my internet to play nicely. But on the flip side I have been doing a LOT of writing (yay!) both in SHUTTERBUG, and another novel that has been percolating for ages. Which, naughty, I know. In this case alternating between stories seems to spur me on even further, so for now I’m going with it.

And of course if I’m writing, you know what that means. Pinterest. Big time.

Here’s just a few of my favorite pins from the last week or so. If you have a Pinterest, feel free to link back into it in the comments! I love finding other writers with cool story boards, inspiration boards, etc. You can always follow me too, of course, for more similar perusing 🙂 I’m ThisCreativeA and I do a ton of storyboarding on there!

Without further ado. The pictures. *Le happy sigh*