Monday, July 28, 2008

*sings* "Monday, Monday..."

Okay, so I don't actually know anymore of that song. I think it's from the sixties? At any rate. This morning, for the third consecutive week, I got up Ridiculously Early (as in 6:20 AM) to meet my best bud Jenny for a Monday Morning Before Work Writing Session. Anyone who knows me understands this to be quite shocking. I am the furthest from a morning person anyone could possibly get--I loathe getting up as much as I despise onions and temperatures higher than 85 degrees. But somehow, working on one's novel at seven in the morning on a Monday is a fantastic start to the week. And for all that griping about getting up, I do actually quite like being up early in the morning. Everything seems quieter, and the light is softer. So much possibility. Or something.

I finished editing Chapter Six of The Whale and the Tree this morning. Current word count is 108,940, nearly 5k more than the rough draft. I'm not sure how long this is going to end up being, as I already know I'll be adding a lot, especially to the latter half of the book, which wound up really rushed as a result of hurrying to finish by the end of Nano, I mean November. I am cutting stuff, too, but nearly all the cut scenes are replaced by new scenes, so I'm definitely going to end up with more than I started. Aren't novels supposed to get shorter when you edit them? Because mine definitely don't.

Back in the day, when I was 15 or so, I went to a writing conference with a couple of friends. We were very definitely the youngest ones in the room, with at 30-60 year age gap between us and everyone else. I remember asking a question (in front of everyone in the room, which is no small feat if you happen to be an INFP and 15. Wow, I was brave. I hardly ever piped up in classes during college.), and the question was this: How in the world does one go about writing long stories? I'd written a number of short stories at that point, but how anyone could possibly ever write an entire novel was beyond me. I received this insightful reply: Get your characters into a lot of trouble. Then get them out. Then get them into trouble again. Repeat as necessary.

It took me a while to apply this useful principle, but it definitely seems to have worked. I'm quite certain all my characters hate me at this point, and I don't exactly blame them, either. But really, who wants to read a story about lots of nice things happening to people? No one, that's who.

*ahem* Anyways. Currently my love triangle is gearing up and will be firmly fixed into place during the next two chapters. The triangle becomes a square in Part Two, which of course makes things much more interesting. :-) No one has heard from the Countess for a while, she's still up in the tower, and Talia is busy falling in love with Caiden, the elder brother of the guy she's actually supposed to marry... This is one of the things I'm working with during the rewrite, building up their relationship more gradually and (hopefully) naturally. It's much better this way. Kudos to Jenny (and I know there were more of you, too) who pointed this out to me. What would I do without those brave souls who read my first drafts?

So that's what's what on the writing front. Imrahil and I are working on Chopin's Ballade No. 2--it's nearly memorized now. *loves Chopin* Gotta get back to Ye Olde Beethoven soon. *shudders* That man was unusually cruel.

Currently reading: Myst (recommended by Danielle), Inkheart (rereading, 'cause it's been too long and the third book and the movie are coming out in the fall), and The Princess Academy which I've barely started and just got at the library today. I'm also reading Danielle's novel (which I haven't forgotten about, promise!), and have A Passage to India out from the library as well. I've put myself on a strict no-buying-books-check-them-out-from-the-library ban until I start building up the fundage sacrificed for my dear Imrahil's adoption. I never used to actually buy books until I *shudder* worked at Borders for six months. The only good thing about that job was the discount, which I put to good use. I have yet to recover from the actual experience of working there. Who knew that spending 8+ hours surrounded by books could be such acute torture?

Bed time. I was going to curl up with a book and read for a while, but I blogged instead. Lucky you.

Night all!


Friday, July 25, 2008

On Life and Writing (but mostly writing)

So it's been several years since I blogged regularly. I don't know if it's because I no longer have anything to say (likely), my life is more boring than usual (possible), I'm addicted to vlogging (thank you, Viddler), or I've just been using up my word quota in ridiculously long novels (which is quite true). At any rate, I thought I might as well try again.

Currently, I am enjoying my beautiful new (well, to me anyway) grand piano, whom I have christened Prince Imrahil, am rewriting my 2006 NaNoWriMo novel, The Whale and the Tree, and am teaching a rather limited number of piano lessons (which will hopefully pick up again in a couple of weeks when school starts, to the relief of my pocketbook!).

Now I'm going to blab about writing, so run away quick if your eyes glaze over whenever I'm around you and start going on and on about how cool it would be if a troupe of mini elephant tamers moved in next door and wreaked general havoc on the world by turning the moon into a lovely lot of Brie cheese (now there's an idea).

Novels In Progress:
  • The Rose Queen (Nano 2005). The plot is basically Narnia meets 13 Going on 30, and tells the story of Daphne Riddle, a destitute girl from 1840s England, who walks through a rose garden and into another world; there she makes all her dreams come true, but that's not necessarily a good thing...
    • As of last summer, this novel is in its third draft and needs another go-through. It's close, but I'm not quite satisfied with it yet, and I'm pretty sure I still have some pacing issues. I adore the ending, though, and still think the story has a ton of potential.
  • The Whale and the Tree (Nano 2006). The plot revolves around Talia and her mother, the Countess, who are banished to a tiny province on the edge of the North Sea. Talia is betrothed to a younger son but falls in love with the eldest, and the Countess locks herself up in the tower and slowly goes crazy. Myths, tracing the histories of nine gods, three stars, and a tree, are interspersed in the main storyline, and the two story threads meet up by the end.
    • As aforementioned, I'm currently editing this one. I'm on Chapter Six of Twenty-Six, so there's a long way to go yet, but I know I'm improving things drastically, so definitely heading in the right direction. I've had a ton of people read the first draft and they've all been immensely encouraging; this story already has fans pulling for it. :-) Anxious to start querying agents once I finish the edits on this one. After that, of course, The Whale and the Tree will take the world by storm and I'll make a million dollars. Until then, I gotta keep slogging through the rewrite. :-)
  • The Fire in the Glass (Nano 2007). A companion book to The Rose Queen, but not a sequel. It's about love, and second chances, and fire and water, and a huge evil Worm, and... The plot is ridiculously complicated, so I'll just go with my one-sentence summary: She's dead in his world, and he in hers; their worlds collide.
    • I've got 209,000 words of first draft!! I wrote the first 100k during Nano, and it took me through March to finish the rest. Huge and daunting, I am completely terrified by the prospect of editing this one. But I will, one day.
  • On Journeys Bound (Pre-Nano 2005). Sort of a pet project, this has a more traditional castles and princes and battles type of a storyline. Currently about a third into the second draft, which is a vast rewrite of the first draft, which is actually a vast rewrite of an ancient not-so-short short story, which is a rewrite of an even more ancient idea... This is one of those stories that just won't leave me alone. I definitely intend on finishing it when more pressing projects are finally out of the way.
And then there's the screenplay I wrote for Script Frenzy, Pink Sky Dragon and the Moon, which is decent enough that it deserves editing (and sending off into the world, and becoming a major blockbuster and making scads of money), too. It's a modern retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, and is set in America's most adorable city, Portland, Oregon. :-)

So as you can see, LOTS going on in the writing aspect of my existence. As to the eternal question of What Exactly I'm Going to Do with my Life I still have no idea. Something to do with a cute little house (with a cute little garden), two cats (a ginger tabby and a black one with green eyes), a piano (guess I can check that one of the list!), a noveling desk by a window somewhere where it rains regularly, and lots and lots of tea. For vacation I'll be off to Ireland, Egypt, Europe, New Zealand, India, and Russia, respectively--gotta do something to inspire the scads of novels I'll be writing!

In the meantime, I'm going to teach piano lessons, play Imrahil for hours and hours, and plan for NaNoWriMo 2008, which is already starting to distract me from my editing project. 99% certain at this point that it's going to be called The Silver Crane. It's set in the same world as The Whale and the Tree, and will feature three love stories, murder, revolution, a ghostly old man in a library, and a Sleeping Beauty-esque story thread. I'm already getting excited about it, and it's currently percolating in ye ole subconscious, ready to be Snowflaked when I finish editing.

And that about wraps it up. I'm hoping to update this semi-regularly with writing progress and life progress, and maybe even some movie and book reviews for good measure. Hope you enjoy, and leave me comments! I heart comments. :-)

If you've made it this far, you get a cookie, here ya go! *hands readers cookies*