fireflys_locket: (Glasses Girl - Collapsingnight)
I am very nearly halfway through the first draft of Magic Inc. Book Two. Well, really, I'm very nearly halfway done with both the first and second drafts of Book Two. Because writing first drafts by computer instead of in a notebook has allowed me to revise sections as I go along. Which I know can be a killer to some writers. Getting all wrapped up in perfecting one small section instead of actually finishing a full draft of their book. I used to be that way when I was a teenager. Forever starting and restarting Dreaming in Shadow and even my fanfiction projects.

But somewhere between then and now, I got into a better relationship with revision. For one, I became more able to do it on my own instead of relying so much on outside opinions of what needed to be changed. I could see more of the flaws with my own eyes. I could also better appreciate which parts needed to stay raw and filled with emotion. The sections that basically spilled out of my soul. So, now, I am writing in scenes as I feel drawn to them and tying everything together later while also revising what I have already. This leaves me with something more resembling a second draft than a first by the time I end each chapter.

Of course, I will need to go over everything again once I finish writing, and I already have noted some scenes that will probably need more additional editing than others, but I feel I'm delivering more polished new chapters by this method. In some ways, I am hoping that streamlining my process will keep me from taking five years to write one book, but it's mostly just the natural progression my writing process has taken.

I've been reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, and mostly enjoying it so far in spite of my hesitation to read more writing tips for fear of feeling even more alienated. Anne's writing is witty and relatable. At least when she's simply talking about the many feelings writers go through and not trying to teach something. Which is to say, I still cannot relate to the "shitty first draft" concept.

I always prickle when writers proclaim that all first drafts are garbage. While I've certainly created work that was flawed and in need of excessive editing, I have not (at least for many years) written what I would consider garbage. Maybe it's because I usually spend years writing a story in my head before I even start the first draft. Maybe it's because I only write when I'm inspired, and therefore, haven't forced whole chapters out of myself before I was ready. Maybe I'm just really bad at writing, and have been doing it wrong all along. I mean, that's always a possibility, I suppose. But I think my process just different from the norm.

I spent some time recently on Miss Masquerade, which has gotten very little attention from me since the release of Magic Inc. Book One. It surprised me how I'd forgotten the ease of working on a real second draft, where the plot had been laid out and all I had to do was make everything flow better. I got to just play with words. Be a writer over a storyteller, because the story was already told. Being a storyteller has always been my priority, but it is nice to have the freedom to not worry about that part. This is why I put so much into my first drafts. So that all I have to do later is polish. It baffles me that writers often say the second draft is the hard part. But I guess that makes sense if what you threw together the first time was "garbage" and you have to change the structure of everything drastically.

I'm certainly no stranger to having structural issues to fix in second drafts, though. Part of the reason I'd forgotten how nice it could be to write a second draft was because my other second draft, Dreaming in Shadow, had a major issue. There was a scene I had meant to include in the first draft that had the potential to break the flow of the entire second half of the book if I put it in now. Okay, it probably was not going to do that. But I am an anxious person, so I agonized over how I was going to fix this issue most of last year. And in the end, when I finally came to the part in the second draft where the scene needed to go, it went. Perfectly. There was a pointless scene sitting there, holding a place for it this entire time. Ugh. So much wasted time and energy. But I'm grateful it all worked out. Now, I just hope the second draft will start to flow again.

So, maybe I can't quite relate to the "shitty first draft". But the feelings of self-doubt that often facilitate the need for them - oh, can I ever relate to those! Doubt is really is my biggest threat to staying productive, besides low energy. Part of the fight actually is against the worry that I'm somehow doing all of it wrong because my process is so different from most writers. That's why I don't like to read writer's tips. They all seem to be the same. And there are so many different ways to be a creative writer.

What matters most is the finished book. So, if part of your process is to write a bad first draft where you let yourself write freely, go for it! But I actually enjoy my planning and "perfectionism"... most of the time. I have a fairly good relationship with it when it comes to writing, at least. The combination of planning ahead but waiting for the right inspiration to hit before actually getting the words down is a good balance for me. Part of the reason I pay so much attention to my first drafts is that I don't want to edit heavily later. I want the emotions to stay raw, while fixing the flow of everything else.

I would encourage new(ish) writers to let your work be raw and imperfect. Don't let your fears keep you in an editing loop, if it means you'll never finish. Know that you can fix issues later. But don't be afraid to take your time, either. And instead of considering first drafts as being "shitty", think of them as an unpolished gemstone. It is still beautiful. It still deserves your respect. And with more work, it will shine.
fireflys_locket: (Purple Flower Book - colorvary)
There's a moment when someone asks that question where my mind begins to panic. You already want another book? Do you know how long it actually takes to write a book? I mean, I know some people can 'write a book in a month', but I am so not one of those people. My first book took over 5 years to finish (not counting the planning stages), and you seriously already want another?

It's such a well-meaning question to freak out over, I know. It's great to think people actually might care about my writing. But it's funny how it's mostly the people who haven't actually read my first book who ask it. People who have read the book only say they're looking forward to the next book. They don't usually ask directly about when the next book will come out. Which is much less stress-inducing.

But when people do ask about the next book, I have to tell them that I don't even know what the next book is. It's totally reasonable to imagine that 6 months later a writer would be working on her next book. And don't get me wrong, I am. It's just, as usual, I'm actually working on several next books. And I don't know which one will actually be the very next. Dreaming in Shadow is the furthest along. But Book Two of Magic Inc. still gets the most attention from me and is catching up. Sound familiar? Well, if you're not aware, I was having this same issue a few years ago. Yeah, Dreaming in Shadow versus Magic Inc. again. I guess it makes more sense now to work on the series I've already started. But back then, it made more sense to finish Dreaming in Shadow first, and that's the opposite of what happened. So, maybe, that will be the case again? Or maybe, I'll be having this conversation again when I'm working on Book Three. :/

All of this is really an non-issue right now, though. I haven't felt well enough to work much lately. So, that's part of why I've been so quiet online. I haven't had much positive stuff to report, so I've kept quiet. But then I remembered that I meant this journal to be an honest look at my life, both good and bad. Just because I have a book out now, doesn't mean everything I write in here has to be part of some marketing dance. In fact, that's the last thing I want. But after announcing the book release, I was so nervous to write my next journal entry... that I let it go on this long.

Now I want to tell you, future authors who also have anxiety/depression, that you are going to go through times where you will struggle to feel well enough to write. Even when you've released a book after years and years of work, you don't magically feel better. You don't get to erase the struggle out of your journey to your next book after you become "a professional". Some things definitely get easier, though. You do know that you can do it; you can make it to the other side. At least, most of the time you know. Sometimes, you look at all the work ahead and get just as overwhelmed as you were the first time around. You look at authors who release a book (or more) a year and have no idea how they do it. But you don't have to be them. You only have to be you.

Sometimes you won't feel well enough to write. But it will come back.

And my next book? It will be out when it's done.
fireflys_locket: (Purple Flower Book - colorvary)
Interested in checking out my books? Here's the place to go!

Read more... )
fireflys_locket: (Rin Fireflies - fireflys_locket)
It's hard to focus on this last chapter of Magic Inc., mostly because of all the stuff that comes after it. Editing and sharing and formatting, and I still can't figure out what I'm going to do about a cover. I'm partially excited to share this story with people because I've put so much work into it the last five years, but I'm really not sure if I can trust the world to understand my innermost thoughts. And that's what a lot of Magic Inc. (the series) is.

It would be so much easier to put Dreaming in Shadow out there first, because for as much as Jodi and I are similar, she is not me. Her story is not about me. Dreaming in Shadow was always a book, meant to be shared with readers. And I have been sharing that story, in its many versions, for over ten years.

Magic Inc. was never meant to be a book. It was the world that keep me going when there was nothing hopeful in my reality. It is so deeply personal that I keep asking myself, "Why did I decide to make this into a book? They'll never understand it." But it became so key to the rest of my universe that it wouldn't make any sense to take it out now.

I'm very behind living your truth, being yourself completely, and not faking anything. I don't mind sharing my deepest thoughts in blogs or tweets, because I'm not ashamed of my own truth. But it's different with this because people - readers - seem to think they own a story just because it's been shared with them. They don't understand that, at least for some writers, writing is pulling words right out of your soul. Saying a story belongs to the readers, to me, is like trying to claim an experience as your own just because someone confided in you about it. I want to share my world with readers, and I feel like I'm meant to do that. But this story is mine, and it always will be mine. People can like it or dislike it; it's not about that. My fear are the people who'll try to say "it shouldn't be this way" because they think they know better than I do about my own creation. People who will think Jane's feelings aren't realistic, even though they were my own.

It was one thing for someone to not like Jodi and basically say she was a bad person. Jane is me. This story is my story. And anything more than a "this is not for me" is going to hurt a lot worse than criticism for any other story. So, why does it have to be my first book done? Why was there such a pull in me to make this story into something I could share? I seriously feel like there's a chance this series will appeal to NO ONE. Yet I had to write it. More than nearly anything else I've worked on. What does that mean?
fireflys_locket: (Namine Sad - warplanes)
Things change whether you want them to or not. I don't believe that everything changes drastically, like there's nothing consistent or reliable in the world. But everything does shift in some way over time. You hope that there will be good shifts. And sometimes, there are. But more often, it seems harder to tell.

I don’t suffer daily now the way I did when I was in school. I’m not constantly bullied or having to deal with terrifying fear of people’s ridicule. I mostly get to do what I want to do. Work on the things I love. Stay away from painful experiences. Leaving school was a necessary shift in my life. I know that for certain now. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things I miss. Things I missed. They’d be over now, anyhow. High school is long gone. I’d be where I am now, regardless. But maybe not as far along. I guess it’s impossible to know that for certain, but I know myself pretty well. And I haven’t changed much.

Still, things have shifted in my life. (Just… very slowly.) I’ve been considering changes in my writing plans lately. I mentioned part of that here. I am getting closer and more open to the idea that Magic Inc. might be my first book. That story has actually been part of me the longest and the deepest. Maybe it makes sense. Maybe if I had known eleven years ago that I would be able to turn my secret fantasy world into a series then I wouldn’t have planned Dreaming in Shadow to be my first novel. But at that time, I was still in school, and the idea of sharing that world would have been terrifying. Sometimes, it still is.

But I love it. And I want to share it, even though it’s scary. Magic Inc. is wish fulfillment in a lot of ways. But it’s also the raw and real pain of a girl who often feels lost and alone. Who is bullied into feeling she can never be loved and accepted. And who, eventually, is shown that those fears were wrong. That she has a strength inside of her that makes her important in the world. That she belongs somewhere.

Dreaming in Shadow deals with a lot of those same things. But it was never as personal of a story for me. Oh, I always loved it. Depended on it. Poured my heart into it. Feared its end would break me. By no means do I feel like it is less important for me to put out there. It’s all just a matter of when.

But that’s not the only thing I’ve been thinking about. The past year and nine months, I’ve been working mostly on second drafts. I’ve been typing and revising Magic Inc., Dreaming in Shadow, and even some of Spun of Silver. And I’ve gotten so used to typing. I’ve started to (mostly) make notes in more organized Word files instead of scribbled in notebooks on my desk. And when I’ve occasionally gone back to writing by hand with The Town of Raindrops or Miss Masquerade it all feels so awkward. I used to love writing first drafts in notebooks. But it just doesn’t feel right anymore.

So, what do I do? The idea of writing out Magic Inc. Book Two and any future stories by hand makes me want to cringe. And I’ll be able to edit things more easily and quickly in Word. But I’m scared it won’t be the same. That I need that extra step to properly flesh things out. It worked so well for so long. But if I cling to something that isn’t working anymore, it might suck out the joy of writing new stories. I already feel honestly exhausted thinking about things continuing the way they have been.

I talked to Jill about it. I’d been meaning to for a while, and I finally mentioned it last time. What we both thought was to test it. Raindrops is only a few chapters in. If I start revising what I have now, then pick up the new stuff where I left off, I should be able to see if typing new stuff really works for me. So, that’s my plan for now. I’m still scared. Shifts, even good ones, can feel terrifying. But sometimes, you hold onto things that no longer work for too long, and when you finally let them go, you wonder why you waited. I feel like this might be one of those times. But I guess all we can do is wait and see.
fireflys_locket: (Ron/Hermione Book Kiss - aivlis88)
I haven't written an entry in a while. I've been kind of busy. Probably not in comparison to anyone reading this, but enough to tire me out. I'm just about finished with what very limited Christmas shopping I was able to do this year, and I'm seriously ready to go into some kind of introvert hibernation. Just me and my books and games and writing. Oh, and music, because my quest in actually owning the music I listen to was aided greatly by online Black Friday sales. (Also there have been incredible sales for anime and manga here, if that's something that interests you.) But back to what I was saying, I've been wearing myself out, and I need a break. I'm behind on so very many things, partially due to my September/October breakdown, and I just want to stay home and do more of those things and less going out, which often exhausts me for days afterward.

But the one thing that has picked up during this tiring time is reading. I think I've read more books this year than I've ever read in a year before (even if you disregard the couple of manga I threw in there). It decimates the past two years that I've been keeping track of. in fact, I've read more this year than those two years combined. I know 25 books isn't much compared to some people, but I feel pretty proud of myself anyhow. And I've mostly read books I really enjoyed, too. I've rated all but two books as four or five stars. I actually can't believe how lucky I've been to find so many amazing books. And the two books competing for my attention now seem likely to hit four or five stars, too. I've also been really wanting to reread some of my favorite series soon, but I'm hoping GoodReads adds an option to count rereads for challenges and such first.

And I have been making some progress with things like writing. I've now revised 26 of 34 chapters of Magic Inc. - versus 7 of (probably) 37 of Dreaming in Shadow. And it's making me really consider going back on my plans to release Dreaming in Shadow first. But I keep wondering why that is. Is it because I really think Magic Inc. should be my first published novel now, or am I just desperate to release something so that I don't feel like such a fake? So that I don't get so sick with jealousy every time I see a writer announce a new book or "brag" about their NaNo success? There's a part of me that knows I have to go at my own pace, but there's another part that says I should have finished something by now. That I'm not a "real" writer until I do. Which is crazy, because there are plenty of talented writers who never publish. And I probably would have published Dreaming in Shadow by now if I weren't working on four other stories and endless outlines at the same time, but I have absolutely no desire to give my multi-story workstyle up. It keeps me always excited about something, instead of dragging through one thing at a time.

So, maybe I will end up publishing Magic Inc. Book One first. But if I do, it has to be for the right reasons. Otherwise, I'm not really staying true to my vision. And that's one of those things I never want to betray. I have to do things my way, at my pace, and with all my heart and soul. Even if that means I have to wait another year or two to release my first novel.
fireflys_locket: (Pretty Penelo - ryfee)
I've been so missing from here lately. You can't really blame me. I've been hard at work on other things. But the halfway point of the year is quickly approaching, and I find myself thinking about a lot of things. Seemed like the right time to make a little update.

My birthday wasn't the colossal disaster it often has been. And just before that, I managed to finish my big cleaning project that I'd been slowly working on for over a year and really focusing on for months. I'm still getting used to it being finished. Sometimes, when I'm sitting around watching stuff on YouTube, I sill get this twitch of guilt that says, "You should be cleaning!" I'm not sure how long it will take until that goes away.

Meanwhile, don't think that means I've just been watching YouTube all the time since I've been done. Well, I've certainly done a lot of that, but I've also been writing quite a bit. While I was focusing on cleaning, it was really hard to switch that focus over to writing. I'd started to think cleaning had become my life, and I no longer felt like a writer. But since I've been finished, everything is flowing nicely again. And it took hardly any time at all to go back to normal. That was such a relief. I always worry when I don't write for a while that it will never come back. That seems crazy, because I can't really survive without creating; it's that much a part of me. But for an anxious person, that's all the more reason to be scared.

But writing's been fine. Maybe better than fine. I reached a milestone last week. I've revised 20 chapters of Magic Inc. so far. Those chapters will still have an editing phase to go through once I've completed the second draft, but I really think most of the chapters I've revised are 90% done. The revision flows so perfectly most of the time, and writing Magic Inc. is now one of my favorite things to do. It just feels right. And there's really only one one bad thing about that...

Dreaming in Shadow. The revision process is so night and day between my two main projects. For now, it stands at 20 revised chapters of Magic Inc. and (almost) 5 of Dreaming in Shadow. Dreaming in Shadow for a long time was the project I could always turn to. The one that felt right. The story destined to be my first novel. And I still want it to be my first release. But working on the second draft is painful. The structure of the early parts is ten years old now, and there's so much to fix. It's exhausting and emotionally draining. I actually do think the revision is turning out nicely so far. Possibly even more polished than Magic Inc. But it's dragging on and on, because it's painful, and I don't have the strength for it most of the time.

I'm holding on to hope that it won't continue to be this bad. That once I've moved onto the more recent writing, it will become less stressful and draining. The oldest writing in Magic Inc. is only four years old versus ten years for Dreaming in Shadow. That's a pretty big difference. Not to mention that I planned out Book One of Magic Inc. a lot longer before I started it. And I've learned that tends to work better for me.

I started to think about goals last week. How far things have come since the beginning of the year, and where things should go next. I actually finished cleaning, which part of me still doesn't believe. And I'm one book away from my little reading goal, which means I've read as many books as I did last year in half the time. (I finished Allegiant today, but I'm not ready to talk about it yet...) Writing is going really well again. So, I started daydreaming. What was a goal I could I reasonably accomplish by the end of the year?

I think could could finish revising Magic Inc. Book One. There are 14 chapters left and about double the weeks left in the year. If I only worked on that story, I could probably finish, and depending on how editing goes, have the story completely done by the end of the year. I could release it early in 2015, and finally, be a published novelist. I honestly think that is a reasonable goal based on what I think I could actually accomplish.

But I'm not going to do that. Why? Because I would hate it. I would hate being confined to one story, even the one I'm enjoying the most. Making a goal like that would drain the life out of me. I like freedom. I like being able to follow my inspiration wherever it wants to take me. That, to me, is what following your passion is about. Not making grand goals and pushing yourself to reach them. But following your heart and soul as they guide you through your bliss. You may disagree, and that's okay. How you follow your passion is up to you. But as I've said before, I am so done with trying to force writing out of me. And yet, it keeps flowing. Just the way it wants to.
fireflys_locket: (Purple Flower Book - colorvary)










I was tagged by my friend, LK Hunsaker, to join this writing process chain. I love answering questions and talking about writing, so I happily joined in! Just be forewarned; this may get long.

LK Hunsaker is the author of many books, including The gallery, which was released last year. I actually reviewed The gallery here earlier this year. You can also read about her writing process here. LK has been a big inspiration for me ever since I met her in 2011. She's given me hope that I actually can finish and release my own books.

Onto the questions!




~

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm mainly working on the second drafts of two books, Dreaming in Shadow & Magic Inc. Book One. I've written a lot about Dreaming in Shadow here, but since then, I've finished the first draft. The second draft is coming along well, but it has been a lot of work! On the other hand, Magic Inc.'s second draft has flowed easily most of way through. I've still put a ton of time and effort into it, and I'm currently much further along with it than Dreaming in Shadow, even though I'm planning to release DiS first. These stories are both incredibly close to my heart, and they've gotten me through really hard times. There's a part of me still scared to reach the point where I send these extremely personal stories out into the world, but I'm trying to focus on the excitement of writing and sharing the gift of these stories with other people.

On the side, I'm also working on finishing the very end of the first draft of Miss Masquerade, and the beginning of my newest story, The Town of Raindrops. And then, there are literally a hundred other stories in my head, all in this same same universe. No, seriously, you should see my story list. And those are just the ones with titles. Sometimes, I feel like I have a curse of abundance, because I'll never be able to write all these stories in my lifetime.

How does your work differ from others in the genre?
That's an interesting question. There's a lot of YA Fantasy/Romance out there. And I certainly find they tend to focus more on the characters, much like I do, than Adult Fantasy. So, I feel like I'll fit pretty well into that genre. But I do think my plans to include a lot of real teen and young adult issues are something different. A lot of my books will deal with bullying, anxiety, depression, and sexuality, among other issues. I hope to eventually show a variety of characters, and cover some things that professional publishing seems to shy away from. I want to give a voice to those who struggle with feeling different and misunderstood. These are some lofty goals, and to be honest, I'm quite nervous I won't ever reach them. But I believe I was given these stories for a reason, so I will do my absolute best to give them life.

Why do you write what you do?
I've always focused on fantasy, because that's where my soul dreams. I see (and write) magic as a manifestation of strong emotions. My emotions have always been extreme and passionate. Writing characters with the ability to effect the world with their thoughts and energy is an amazing release for me. When it comes to the relationships, I'm just a hopeless romantic. I write about soulmates because I really believe they exist. That doesn't mean everything will be perfect all the time or that those relationships don't take work. And well, there has to be a story to tell, right? Throw magic in with that, and things can get extremely complicated. Still, I believe everyone has person made for them out there, so that's what I write.

How does your writing process work?
I touched on this a bit in my previous entry, but I'll go more in depth here. Way more.

Usually, a new story idea comes to me through a dream or listening to some new music. Occasionally, I get an idea from watching or reading other stories. Recently, I've expanded into finding myself getting attached to sims I've made up personal stories for during the playing of The Sims 2 and turning them into real characters. Whichever way it comes to me, I'm often totally obsessed with a new idea when it comes to me. Well, first, I think, 'Another story idea? How on Earth am I going to be able to get to another new story?' Then, I obsess over how much I love it, and how much I absolutely need to write it. And I struggle with the desire to drop everything else and start the story right away. But I don't, because I've learned that rarely works out for me. So, I just obsess quietly about this new idea, and watch as it blossoms almost by itself. I feel very guided during this time and the rest of the planning stages. It's like the story and characters know themselves completely, and I'm just getting to know them along the way.

Once the obsessive stage is over, that idea joins the rest in waiting. By this time, I usually have a title and main character names. The next stage might sound odd, but it's collecting a soundtrack. Music is intrinsically tied to my writing process. As I gather, sort, and listen to music on my computer, I create a very light outline of the book by linking songs with scenes of the book. This process takes years. The book grows with random progress as new scenes comes to me, mostly through the music. Once I have a large selection of music on the soundtrack, and the book has had plenty of time to grow, I start to think about the next stage.

For a lot the books that I'm currently writing, I went straight from the light music soundtrack outline to the writing stage. I hated the idea of forcing myself to outline my stories, when I already knew them so well. However, last year, I finally got over my resentment and started making more full outlines. This came from anxiety that I'd never have enough drive to write another full book after I'd finished the three I was working on. I did a full outline for The Town of Raindrops, which convinced me that the story really was ready for its first draft, and I really could make it happen. I also have a nearly finished outline for Magic Inc. Book Two, and I've started a few for other stories.

My first draft stage is an incredibly important part of the process. This is how most of the story comes to be. I've heard other writers say that their first draft often varies greatly from the finished book. This has not been my experience in the slightest. The first draft is the core of my story. All the important parts of the plot have already been figured out in the soundtrack and/or outline stage, so all I have to do is write! HeH. I said that like it was easy. Not really the case. The first draft takes years for me to write, because it takes a lot out of me. Now's the time to bring the characters to life, to make sure I hit all the important parts of the plot in the right places, and to make sure I'm instilling emotion into the text. The writing, itself, might be messy and raw, but it has the heart of the story beating within it.

Then, comes the second draft. Phew. By the time I get here with a story, I'm exhausted. I finished three first drafts last year, and it was so hard. In some ways, finishing a first draft is kind of a bittersweet goodbye. Saying goodbye to the story that was yours and yours alone. My stories don't change their core in the second draft, but they do become something I'm writing with the intention to share. I always write for myself every step of the way, but I am starting to make sure what I want to say and show is actually what's coming across to readers. The second draft is a polished version of the story. The wording usually improves greatly over the first draft. I also take this time to expand sections that go by too fast, add details where they are lacking, and try to make explanations clearer. I don't often cut sections out as much as give them a overhaul, if needed. But really, the plot changes very little. It's the same story it always was, just with a new coat of paint.

I've yet to go beyond a second draft, but I expect the rest of the process to be going over the text at least a few times for mistakes and typos. Right now, I'm finishing the revision of each chapter without going back over it at all, so I know I'll have some editing to do when the second draft is finished. Then, it will be tweaking any parts that need it, and hopefully, gathering more friends and acquaintances to read and give opinions. After that, I'll need to get my dear friend, Mallory, to help me put together a cover. And the rest... we'll see when we get there!

~

If anyone wants to join this chain, let me know! I'll post your info down here.

fireflys_locket: (Valerie's Happiness - fireflys_locket)
It's a new year, and I'm actually pretty excited about that. It's freeing to put away the complications of a long year and start fresh again. I felt pretty good at the beginning of last year, too. But this year might feel even better. Maybe there was just more I wanted to let go of. Truthfully, you can start fresh at any time, but this is a really powerful time to try.

I wrote out a post about what I wanted for 2013, and I decided to look back at it now and think about how the year went.

I've said this before, but I think 2013 was by far my best year when it comes to writing. I finished two first drafts in the first three months of the year. It was an emotional, bittersweet experience. For a while it was mostly painful, but I can look back with pride. (I put everything I have into writing first drafts, so it's definitely worth something at the end.) I spent most of the rest of the year working on the second drafts, resulting in about 15 nearly ideal chapters of fiction. In October, I took a little break from revision to start a new story. I also finished the first draft of my half of Spun of Silver, and got started on its second draft. And got very, very close to finishing the first draft of Miss Masquerade.

And almost all of that work was done without putting pressure on myself to constantly be getting stuff done. I didn't make sure I had something to show Jill every week. I chose to follow what I felt most called to work on at that moment... whether that was writing, revising, outlining, building houses, making Sims, sorting music (which sometimes leads to amazing new ideas), or even just relaxing and taking in inspiration. And it led to my most productive year ever.

I also did a lot of organizing in 2013. I didn't completely finish clearing a space for a new bookshelf and DVD cabinet, but I put a slow, consistent effort into sorting through stuff. I get really anxious when it comes to empty spaces in my room and letting go of possessions, so there was really no way to get this done more quickly. And I'm proud of myself for just getting this far. It may not seem like a big deal from the outside, but inside, it's a huge deal, trust me.

There were some things I didn't do so well with, though...

Health-wise, 2013 was a total flop. Well, I didn't get super sick or anything like that, which I'm quite thankful for. But I probably put the least amount of effort into eating healthy and exercising since I first started thinking about that stuff. If I'm honest about it, it's been a continual downward slide since my Grandma died in 2011. I don't know exactly why, but it's something I've noticed. And I don't really feel comfortable talking about weight and exercising, which maybe isn't helping. I do know that - like it or not - I am a very low energy person, and I have to be careful with where I put that energy. Last year, I chose writing. A lot. And I'm not exactly sorry about that. But I would like to put a bit more energy into health matters this year. If I could even just shift out of this downward slide a tiny bit, that would be great.

Another thing that suffered was reading. I only read 11 books in 2013. That's not even one per month. I've always been a slow reader, but this is pretty bad. Still, I actually know exactly what went wrong here. I spent most of the year reading books I felt like I needed to read over what I really wanted to read at the moment. I had books to review, books from writer friends, and books from writer acquaintances. That's not to say I didn't enjoy those books. I definitely did! (Well, except that book I reviewed. That, I could have skipped.) But I constantly had another book next on the list, instead of just following the flow of what was really calling me. Having everything scheduled is very draining to me. I like to have important necessities planned out, but when it comes to the rest of my time, I like randomness paired with intuition. There was a point where I wasn't even enjoying reading anymore, because I had turned reading into work. That's when I finally followed my intuition and took a break from my list to read some books I was really excited to read. I think I would have enjoyed the other books I read last year more if I had spaced them out better from the beginning. Lesson learned, I hope.

So, what do I want to do this year?

Well, I'd love to have another great year with writing. I learned a lot about revising and editing last year. Writing second drafts has really built my confidence as a writer. I'm finally pretty consistently proud of the work I'm doing. A lot of the time, revising has flowed exceptionally well, probably because I spent so very much time building a good base. But certain parts also had their difficulties. More than I expected. In that way, it's been both easier and harder than I expected it would be. That's why I'm hesitant to set any large goals this year. I think there's a good chance I could finish Magic Inc.'s second draft this year. But I'd also like to spend more of my time on Dreaming in Shadow. Then, there's Miss Masquerade. I don't think there's any chance I won't finish the first draft. And I'm excited to get started on the second draft. As for Spun of Silver and The Town of Raindrops, they are more side projects right now. But who knows? I just want to follow the flow of my inspiration wherever it takes me.

I want to get myself on a pretty regular sleeping schedule that lets me have the optimum amount of rest and time to get things done. For me, that's getting up at 8:30AM, getting my early morning stuff done by 10:30AM, leaving the rest of the day open, until 9:00PM when I relax in the living room with my Mom, then get to bed by 11:30PM. Yeah, I like to sleep 9 hours. It's what I usually need.

And once I get myself comfortably back on that schedule, I'll start trying to fit in more exercise with that extra time.

I'm definitely planning to get another bookshelf and cabinet in my room this year. I'm going to get the rest of the stuff off of my floor and binned. Hopefully, soon. (But like I said, I can't push it.) And we'll see what happens after that.

I'll try to read at least 12 books this year. Haha.

I'm still looking for more balance when it comes to friendships. I met a few new people. I occasionally connected with old friends. I think there were some improvements over 2012. But there were also times, I felt like giving up on socializing altogether. Ultimately, I'm still looking for my tribe.

As a big part of that, I'll (of course) keep calling in my soulmate. Because finding him will always be my most important goal. Until I do. Then, it will be creating a beautiful life together where we can support each other's dreams.

I want to wish you many blessings in the year to come. I hope you meet your goals and thoroughly enjoy the journey there, too.
fireflys_locket: (Stupid Weather (Kagome) - fireflys_locke)
It's been a long time since I really enjoyed Christmas. At least as long as I've been out of school. (Eight years, for those counting.) Mostly, holidays just depress me in general. Even my favorite holiday, Halloween, turned depressing the last two years. Pretty much, any day that's supposed to feel special depresses me, because it doesn't feel any different, so there must be something wrong (with me). I know I'm far from the only person who feels this way, especially with Christmas. But holidays feel lonely and disconnected. My Mom and Joe usually go to some busy family holiday party, and I gladly stay behind. But even though I know I'm making the right choice for me, I feel left behind. Alone.

This year was somewhat the same as always. And yet, the build up to Christmas felt very different. I was more angry than sad. Christmas has become so materialistic and over-hyped. And I'm tired of it. I'm tired of feeling lonely, because I can't handle family parties. I didn't want to get presents, and I didn't even feel excited to give them. Besides a few presents for kids (which were more fun to buy), I didn't buy much for people this year. I just wanted to skip over the whole end of the year.

Except that this was the 10th anniversary of the dream that inspired Dreaming in Shadow. And I wanted that to feel special. But it didn't, either. I wrote a little bit to celebrate, but I was really tired from the one day of Christmas shopping I did with my Dad. (In fact, I was exhausted basically all week because of that, but it was nice to finally see him.) This was more disappointing to me than Christmas. Holidays are basically a lost cause for me... but I'm finding it hard for something really important to me to pass without any special feeling. The same thing happened with finishing my three first drafts earlier this year. In that case, it was all so bittersweet. But either way, it's hard for me to recognize any sort of personal achievement, because I don't feel like I deserve it. Yes, writing is going really well, and I'm quite proud of my work these days. But I never feel like I've actually reached a point that's worth celebrating. I only see how much work there is left to go.

I just want things to be back to normal. In all honestly, I've balanced myself better this year than ever before. I had a rough Spring, for sure, but it wasn't as bad (or as long) as most rough Summers. But there's a sense that in order to balance my normal better, there has to be less of a positive tip as well. I've never ever had high highs to balance my low lows. But I think my highs are even lower now. It's probably worth it; living in panicked low times is beyond words. But it would be nice for some things to feel special.

I just don't know how to do that.
fireflys_locket: (Glasses Girl - Collapsingnight)
November is over, and as it was ending, I finally got some writing done again. But honestly, I'm tired. It's been a long year. And I can feel the holiday depression starting to creep in. I think it's time to give myself a break. It's been a rough couple of months in terms of writing, with big highs and even bigger lows. And in all of that, I gave myself a lot of grief for not being like other writers who can, apparently, push through rough spots. If you can manage to succeed at NaNo, I am in awe of you. I still am not behind what it stands for, but hey, if it gets you writing, that's great. Everybody's different.

Except... I've yet to meet another writer who writes the way I do, with years of care and attention to that first draft, and having it be the very core of the story, only needing very small changes plot-wise. What I've heard from other writers varies between considering all first drafts to be garbage or thinking of them as only a light road map that will undergo a lot of changes. I also seem to work a lot slower than most writers, needing lots of recovery time if I push too hard. I know NaNo can be a great motivator for some people, but just the idea of it almost makes me sick with anxiety. I have discovered over the years that pressure does not motivate me. It breaks me, utterly and completely.

I don't know why my writing process is so different, but it's just the way I've always written. And it's what works for me. When I try to compare myself to other writers and their processes, it doesn't help motivate me to work harder. At best, I get a lot of work done over a few days but only end up completely drained and sick for weeks afterward. So, I really need to stop that.

Besides, the way I work has its benefits, too. Maybe I "lose time" relying on being rested and inspired to work, but what I end up with might need less polishing overall. All the time that goes into my first drafts has allowed me to be very confident in working on my second drafts. The second draft of Magic Inc. has gone amazing well, and I honestly believe it will only need a few read-throughs and small fixes before it will be ready.

But I have to admit, the second draft of Dreaming in Shadow has been a little more of a struggle. I still think it's going really, really well. But it's been a slower, more troublesome process. Between March and December, I've typed and revised 12 full chapters of Magic Inc. In that same time, I've only finished one full chapter of Dreaming in Shadow. It is a very long chapter, to be fair. Well, in comparison to the length I normally hit. But I think I know why this draft is progressing so differently than Magic Inc.'s.

First off, as of right now, I believe I will be publishing Dreaming in Shadow before Magic Inc., even though Magic Inc. will likely be done a lot sooner. Dreaming in Shadow was the first idea that overtook me, begging to be written. And I decided, nearly 10 years ago when that happened, that it was meant to be my first novel. So, I'm trying extra hard to make this the best draft it can possibly be. And that might be slowing me down a little. There's also a lot of exposition in the first couple of chapters, which has needed extensive pruning and revision. Most of the first quarter of this book was written nearly 10 years ago, and even though I've gone over those early parts several times, it still needs the most work. The earliest parts of Magic Inc. were only three years old when I started the second draft. I've also been trying to get more opinions on Dreaming in Shadow. So far, it's been hard to find people who have enough time and interest. But Jill gave me some feedback on what I had of chapter 2, and a few minor changes made me feel so much better about it.

There's still work to be done on both of these stories, for certain, but I think what I have is actually very good. I don't think I've ever felt as confident about my writing as I do about these second drafts. Will they ever be perfect? No. But nothing really can be objectively perfect, anyhow. I'll make them the best they can be. Meaning, I'll create in the way that produces my best results, which includes making plenty of room for rest and trying very hard to not compare my process to anyone else's.

And, somewhere between here and perfection, I'll be ready to share my novels with the world.

...hopefully. ^_^;
fireflys_locket: (Pinwheel Summer - fireflys_locket)
So, hey... I'm back. I'm just going to make this a quick one. I posted a longer explanation of why I've been missing, but I put it under a lock for now. It's been hard to write a normal entry after posting that one, so this one might be a little awkward. Things have gone back to normal in general, but I just want to get things back to normal here.

Though I haven't been around to say, writing has been going pretty well. I have 7 chapters of Magic Inc. revised and typed up. That story is flowing so well, so that's what I've been focusing most of my writing time on lately. I also started the second draft of Spun of Silver. I typed out 12 pages that day, which has got to be a record for me. Still working on that first chapter of Dreaming in Shadow. I'm not sure why I'm taking so long with that one. I guess it might be because I invited a lot of friends to read that prologue, and I want the first chapter to look really great before I show it off.

And then, there's Miss Masquerade, which has me dragging myself through the last bit of filler. I didn't so much finish the most recent chapter as give up on it (temporarily). It's been rough comparing how well my second drafts flow with how Miss Masquerade is going. It's really close to the climax, but it's so much harder to write than everything else I'm working on. Still, now that I'm done with filler, I'm hoping I'll at least be more excited to work on MM. That should help.

In some sadder news, a couple of people died recently. MaryAnn's Mom died after being in and out of the hospital a lot. It's been a long time since I've seen her, and I feel a bit bad about that. But mostly, I'm just sending blessings to MaryAnn and her family. And Ryan Davis, from Giant Bomb, also passed away. Though I never met Ryan, he's been pretty constant in my life since the end of 2006. Those Giant Bomb guys have gotten me through a lot of hard times, where the only thing that would get me through the day was constantly watching their videos. I believe both of these people have gone on to a better place, but it's still very heart-breaking to know they're gone from this world.


Blessings and love to all. Try to live the life that makes you happiest and treasure the time you have.
fireflys_locket: (Fortune Teller Clare - fireflys_locket)
Hey, guys. I've decided that my emotional exhaustion might mean I need a break from writing for a few weeks. I don't plan on staying away from it completely, but I'm taking the pressure off, because I've been so tired this week. I want to focus more on coming up with new ideas and thinking about which stories I might want to start after my main three are done. But I did want to share this sketch, that my very talented friend, Mallory, created of Jodi from Dreaming in Shadow. I've asked her to do my cover, and I already love what she's made for me.



I really see Jodi in this sketch. Mallory has been there with me through the whole process of Dreaming in Shadow's creation (in fact, you could say she's a big reason why this story exists at all), and even though she still hasn't read a lot of my newest version, I believe she knows these characters better than anyone besides me. I can't wait to see more of what she will create for me, but I've told her not to worry about getting anything major done right now. After all, it will still be quite a while before the book will truly be done.
fireflys_locket: (Purple Flower Book - colorvary)
I've been missing from my journal, and I apologize for that. I've been busy with writing. And not writing. But always thinking about writing. So, my mind has been busy as can be.

Sunday, I finished Dreaming in Shadow's first draft. I cried. And I actually felt accomplished. More so than I did - at least, initially - with Magic Inc. (Maybe Jan was right in saying completing Magic Inc. first would be better.) It was definitely bittersweet, though. I spent a lot of this week doing things, that reminded me of around the time I started writing Dreaming in Shadow: Peter Pan and Final Fantasy X-2, mostly. They both eased the bitter part just a little.

I've been thinking, though... it's funny how nostalgic I can feel about pretty much every period of my life, even though I was miserable through each of them. I don't know if that means my life keeps getting worse or I just need the distance to appreciate things better. Still, if I focus for more than a moment, the bad feelings of that time sweep me up again, and I relive them with excruciating - if temporary - pain. Nostalgia is a dangerous monster for me. A lovely sleeping tiger in a den. Don't get too close.

But I was proud. I was also scared. I've hinted before that Dreaming in Shadow has an ending which people could see in a certain way. A way I wasn't intending. And once I finished, I was worried, so worried. What if even Jill couldn't get what I was really trying to represent? No point in even putting this book out if that was all people would ever see.

But that's not what she saw at all. She saw the real meaning without even a hint of an explanation. She 'got' it. In fact, she loved it. The ending. The story. The connections to the rest of my world. All of it. And suddenly, I was flooded with relief. I'd done it. I'd actually accomplished something really special. I'd expressed a complete feeling. And it was lovely... not just in my eyes.

There is work yet to be done. I think that goes without saying, since most people seem to have a different idea of what a first draft is to them. To me, it is the complete story, just in a raw state. Few things will change. Some things will be added. Nothing important will change. I usually figure out most of the important stuff before I even start writing. Mostly, it will be a lot of slight wording changes and making things clearer. Adding more depth where it is needed. And I am so excited to do this. Truly. Most of the major emotionally hard work is done. Now, I can breathe easier and just focus on making the story the best I can for future readers.
fireflys_locket: (Kagome Hands - fireflys_locket)
Okay, deep breath. I was triggered really badly this past week. Looking back at the post, that did it, I can see that it was more of a build up of emotion than just a reaction to that one post. (But I think that's how a lot of triggers work.) It didn't help that Jill was out of the office last week. Sunday just left me feeling so miserable that I was scared. I felt like the mostly decent mood I'd kept up for a month was finally failing me, and I was crashing down to the ground. I had a couple of really bad days. Then, I started to realize something. I'd fallen back into this mode of stressing about writing and not letting myself rest without guilting myself about it. I had given myself a lot of pressure to get a lot of writing done while Jill was gone, and I did, but I ended up drained and easily triggered. Of course, I'm always easily triggered, but when your energy is low, it is hard to bounce back.

The other part was the writing I had done (and hadn't done). I decided to avoid writing the big climax of Dreaming in Shadow in favor of writing the hardest chapter of Spun of Silver. It may be the hardest chapter I'll ever have to write, on a personal level. In fact, I almost guarantee it. But I had decided to lay everything bare in this story. To make this version of me, the real me with my real issues. And I didn't want to gloss over things. If you're expecting an typical paranormal romance from my side of Spun of Silver, look somewhere else. I have high anxiety, body issues, and people issues. I've written myself as I am and Morgan as how I imagine him to be. Neither of us are your typical love interests. But there is love, and there is romance. And intensity. And passion. And that's going to have to be enough for you.

Anyhow, writing that chapter was such an emotional challenge for me. And not everyone I turned to understood. But some did, and I made it through. But I was still very drained.

The other thing I wrote over this time period was a very long chapter of Magic Inc., where Jane tells Jenny a fairytale. Parts of this fairytale have been around almost as long as Magic Inc., itself, but I had to strip away the parts, that weren't mine. After all, I had blended in a lot of stories into my secret world back then. At that time, I was creating it just for me, with no intention of ever writing it out. The fairytale flowed very well most of the way through, with some help from Ally recommending that I start watching Once Upon a Time. (She didn't even know I was working on a fairytale; it was just perfect timing.) So, I tried to busy myself with the fairytale to escape the emotions, that Spun of Silver had brought up in me. I won't exactly say I regret this, because I adore the fairytale, and I'm very proud of all the work I put into it. But instead of giving myself a rest after writing that difficult Spun of Silver chapter, I jumped right into the fairytale the very same day.

All of this mostly to escape the fact, that I was terrified to finishing Dreaming in Shadow. What was worse, was that I was ashamed of this feeling in the first place. I felt like I'd come so far from that place of being scared, and now, I was moving backward. But life doesn't always move forward in this straight line. It reminds me of the second episode of The Wonder Years, where Older Kevin says something about life being a series of advances and retreats. This is very much what I believe, but sometimes, we all get caught up in trying to push forward too quickly.

So, for a good week or so, I was really beating myself up about it. When being scared does actually make sense. I'm three chapters away from the end of the story that has stood by my side since before I left school. Three chapters away from ending my first novel. That's scary stuff. Sure, I need to be able to work through that fear and, eventually, come out on the other side with a finished novel, but avoiding acknowledging a fear doesn't make it go away. Avoiding feeling your feelings makes them worse in the long run. So, I'm scared. That's okay; this is important enough to work through. But it's also okay to work through it slowly. I was getting caught up in this idea of possibly finishing those 3 chapters in two weeks, when that is totally not how I work.

So, now, I'm trying to breathe. To rest, to feel. And just be okay with all of that. Today, I finished up the fairytale, which is the second to last chapter of Magic inc. Book One. When I posted that on Facebook, Audry said I was an inspiration. I immediately react to most compliments by brushing them aside. It's hard for me to feel good about myself, ever. But I am living my dream and being myself completely. And you know, those are always good things, even if it's me doing them. Yeah, that's the closest I get to giving myself a compliment. We're all works-in-progress, after all.
fireflys_locket: (Sparkling Lake (Valerie) - amillionicons)
I am a slow mover. Compared to a lot of people, I change very, very slowly. And actually, I like that about myself. I'm a constant. I'm reliable. Even when I do make a change, it's usually just growing to accept a part of me that was always meant to be that way. It makes sense.

Still, there are some changes I want to make this coming year. It's around the time to think about resolutions, and though you can make changes at any time, there is something, that feels sort of special about it. So, I thought I'd talk about my ideas for next year.

I'll barely make mention of finding my soulmate, because pretty much anyone, who knows me at all, will know that's the most important thing to me. But I also feel I need to make some more friends or at least rekindle some old friendships. I'm extremely lonely, and though I have friends I love, they are always so busy. Both of these hopes for the future really come down to finding relationships with a better balance. To be really important in someone's life. Important enough, that they will make our relationship a priority in their life. But there's only so much I can do about that right now. Basically, just be open to it and pray for it. I can't make people love me. So, let's move onto some things I have more direct influence on...

This year, I talked about ending the first draft of Dreaming in Shadow by the end of the year. That hasn't happened, though it's awfully close. I could still make it happen; I don't doubt that. But I'm not someone who needs to push themselves to prove a point. Times I've tried, I ended up with regrets. When it comes to writing, I usually hate whatever I write when I'm under pressure. I don't want to hate the end of Dreaming in Shadow! It's too important, and I'm nervous enough about other people hating it. So, I might not "succeed" in the traditional sense of meeting a goal, but I certainly put a lot of effort into it. That's good enough.

For next year, I want to actually finish the first drafts of Dreaming in Shadow and Magic Inc. Book One early on and get solidly into the second drafts of both stories by the end of the year. It also would be nice to finish up the first drafts of Miss Masquerade and Spun of Silver by the end of next year as well. That's a lot of work to be done! Again, I'm not going to give myself too much pressure. This is one of those goals I'm going to put effort into, but I'm not going to make any huge changes in how I'm going about it. The exact goals are not as important as the idea, that I just want continue to progress.

There is one goal, which requires an actual change. I'm probably not willing to make as much of a change concerning this issue as people would recommend, but I'm making a compromise I know I can actually live with. I talk a lot about my issues in this journal, but I don't think I've touched on this one very much. I'm basically a mini-hoarder. Well, not in the sense of like having old pizza boxes or 40 cats or anything that self-destructive. I have a lot of interests, and I like buying things. This results in a lot of stuff. I'm not going to stop buying things, because I never spend more money than I have, and I need to constantly be able to have just the right thing to inspire me at just the right time. I've already started to release some things that no longer serve me, like books I know I'll never read again. And it feels good to make donations, but I still have a lot of stuff.

I think it's not the amount of stuff so much as what I do with it. I've used my stuff kind of as a nest to keep me safe. It's something that I've done since I was little, and it does need to change. I like a little organized chaos, but I've been feeling things are getting out of hand, even for me. I have pile of stuff basically as wide, long, and high as my bed. Things have been bad like this for a long time, but I've come into a place in the last year of getting more money than I'm used to on a regular basis, and more than ever before, I am not able to sort through the incoming stuff even a quarter as fast as it is accumulating. I know, it's a curse of abundance. But I'm also running out of places to put the things I'm keeping. My bookcase is getting stuffed, and even after removing my CDs and putting them on their own shelf in the basement, my cabinet won't take long to fill again. I need more shelves and cabinets for storing things, but that pile needs to get out of there first, because there is literally no place to put any more furniture in here.

So, next year, I am going to get a bunch of huge plastic bins and finally sort through everything in that pile. I expect this to be a hard job, both physically and, even more so, emotionally. But this is something that needs to happen in my life, and it needs to happen soon. I've already spent a lot of time going through old toys and such in the basement, and I need to get that job done first, but I think it's been preparing me for this job. Maybe I'll document the process a little. And hey, I'll probably find some really cool stuff at the bottom of the pile. Or just really silly stuff like my long lost Aaron Carter CDs. Yeah...

And there's one other big thing I want to do next year. I want to work a little more exercise into my regular schedule. I really don't feel comfortable talking about dieting or exercise or anything that involves my body - it's a Social Anxiety thing - but I do want to make that change in my life.

Now, to distract you from that last paragraph, I want to share these videos with you about making changes from Gabby Bernstein. She was there to inspire me during the switch of 2011 to 2012, and now, she's doing the same thing this time around. The reason I'm making this post is that she says it's helpful to write out your goals and share them with others to get support. I hope she inspires you, too, if there are changes you want to make for the new year. Share those with me, if you feel like it!

Just in general, I really would love it for people to respond to my entries. (I know they've been sparse lately. Apologies.) Even if you're usually pretty quiet, always feel free to talk to me about anything. I am honestly one of the nicer people you'll ever meet. My therapist has been telling me I might need to actually invite people like me to come out of lurk mode, and it finally seems like the right time to start.

I love you all!
fireflys_locket: (Happy Lean (Clare) - retropd_icons)
My November didn't start out that great, but since then, it's been buzzing with mostly good things. Including lots of writing!

I'm back on track with Dreaming in Shadow. I took a couple months break from it, and I'm finding that was a really great idea. I'm so excited about it right now, as I head through to the end. If you want get a taste of the excitement, check this post. I have my work-in-progress synopsis there, as well as some other fun details.

Magic Inc. is even closer to its first draft being finished. So, the "race" is still on to see which story will be my first full draft of a book. I'm more excited about Dreaming in Shadow as a novel, at the moment, but I'm more excited about Magic Inc. as a series than just about anything. I just keep pushing through the first book, so I can get to the exciting things coming later in the series.
fireflys_locket: (Purple Flower Book - colorvary)
Okay, my last entry was intense. But I needed to get it out before I tried to tackle this one. A friend and fellow novelist, LK Hunsaker, tagged me from her blog to do this little set of questions. I love questions, by the way. In fact, it's somewhat traditional for me to fill out questions or surveys on my journal, when I'm at my worst. It gives me a temporary focus.

"The rules of the blog hop are simple: Answer ten questions about your WIP (Work in Progress) and tag five more writers/bloggers to do the same. A chain of links will lead you, dear reader, to a forest of wonderful writers all busy creating new books just for you… or so I'm told. So here's my contribution to the chain."

I know a few writers read my blog, so please, carry on the idea! And let me know when you post it! As far as I'm concerned, tell us about whatever creative projects you are working on. Doesn't have to be a novel.

What is the working title of your book?

For this, I'm going to talk about Dreaming in Shadow. I still believe it may be my first book actually out there, and I'm planning to refocus my attention on it next month.

Where did the idea come from for your book?

Plain and simple, I took a nap on December 24, 2003, and I had an awesome dream. When I woke up, I knew things about the characters. Names and personalities. Certain things that were going on with them. It was not my first awesome dream idea, but it was the one, that made me say, "This is it! My first real novel!" I've been working on it ever since.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young-Adult Fantasy/Romance. I believe most of my writing can be categorized this way, though I do like to think I have some fresh ideas to bring to the genre.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, boy! This will be fun. I can't do this for all of my books, but I can for this one. I really lined up some names of characters after actors I had in mind. These might not be accurate in the idea of being the right age to do my movie now, but here we go...


My main character Jodi Thompson is inspired by Rachel Hurd-Wood as Wendy Darling. With shoulder-length light brown hair, she'd be perfect.


Jeremy Summers is very clearly inspired by Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan. Needs to be blonde with ocean eyes.


Drew (last name left out for spoiler reasons) is inspired by Andy Lawrence. He needs shorter jet-black hair and grey eyes, but he's a great match.


Drake (last name left out for spoiler reasons) inspired by Drake Bell. Looks are 100%. I don't know why I put him in such a dark role, but most actors would love that, right?


Jamie Thompson played by Justin Whalin as Zach Sands. He was not one of the original concepts, but he fits really well (for more reasons than I can say). Just needs dark blue eyes.


Shaye Whittaker played by Alexandria Deberry. Shaye has honey-coloured eyes.

And my newest casting...


Tiffany Heart inspired by Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy VII. Played by Shay Mitchell.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Ooh. Tricky.

"A girl with emerging magical powers tries to save her lost love from the path of darkness he has chosen to follow."

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published, because I refuse to let someone else decide how my book will go. While my books do cover a lot of average Teen Fantasy/Romance tropes, I also have a lot of storylines and relationships, that are different from the normal market. I will not be told (for example) to straighten out gay characters.

How long did it take to write the first draft of your book?

Eep! I'm still writing it. I've written and rewritten the early parts of Dreaming in Shadow so many times, but this is my first go at a full first draft. But it's nearly done. I'd have to really think about when I started this one. Perhaps, 2007?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmm. I may have to think on that one. I am not as well-read as people think.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The dream and the 2003 version of Peter Pan. I also was inspired a bit by a fanfiction, which will remain nameless for now, for spoiler reasons. And all the lovely music I collected for the Dreaming in Shadow soundtrack, particularly Coldplay, for this one.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Magic, visions, and a girl deciding between protecting her love and doing the right thing. Actually... let me give you my work-in-progress synopsis!

"Jodi's been in love with her next-door-neighbor as far back as she can remember. After his disappearance, visions lead her into dangerous close encounters with the gang leader she believes to be her lost love. Jodi is willing to do anything to protect Shadow, but her actions lead to upsetting consequences. As she gets closer to Shadow, she will be forced to choose between protecting the boy she's always loved and saving the lives of innocent people."
fireflys_locket: (Dance Suprise (Clare) - degrassijunk)
Okay, deep breath. Things are going better, much better than last week. The drama from last week faded, and I got a ton of writing done, due in part to some lovely fic inspirations. I wrote 3 whole chapters of Magic Inc., one of which was 9 pages long, and a little selection from the future. I don't know why I seem to have some really good weeks, then some really bad weeks, when it comes to writing, but I'm just going to go with it. I'll write when I feel it pulling me, and I won't when it's not. That's just how I seem to work now. (Somebody remind me of this next time I start moping about a couple of poor writing weeks...)

I even went with a friend for lunch and a movie on Friday. I really wanted to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but it's still not anywhere near here, sadly. We saw Hotel Transylvania instead. It was cute, and it had a bit of a soulmate theme to it, which I always love! I just want to find my zing. *Sighs* Please, don't make me wait until I'm 118!

But back to writing... I'm sure I've mentioned that Dreaming in Shadow is to be my first published novel. Well, that's what I always thought, anyway. When I came up with the idea for the story at the end of 2003, I was certain of it. But now, nearly 9 years have passed, and Magic Inc. has become my main writing passion. In a way, this is a good thing. Not that long ago, I was scared out of my mind about finishing Dreaming in Shadow. Now, I'm excited about it. (Mostly.) And Magic Inc. has at least 10 books, just in the main story. What I'm writing now is just the beginning, and it will be a very, very long time before I have to worry about it ending.

But see, there's a part of me that worries if I let Magic Inc. Book One be my first novel instead of Dreaming in Shadow, I will be letting my 14-year-old self, whom I promised DiS to, down. Though in a way, it will be validating my poor dear 9-year-old self. (And in some ways, I like her better. I made a lot of my worst mistakes at 14. But that's a story for another time...) But really, it isn't a contest... or a race. Both books will get finished eventually. One will be the first, and the other will have the benefit of more experience. Though it's likely they'll both be finished around the same time. And who knows, maybe Miss Masquerade will sneak up on both of them? Okay, I doubt that one, but still... all three are quite on the right track, so things are - and will be - as they should be.
fireflys_locket: (Purple Flower Book - colorvary)
It's strange. Dreaming in Shadow keeps moving forward. And I'm not scared. Or well, I'm a little scared. But it's that sort of nervously excited feeling. I want it to move forward. I want it be complete. I want to edit it. I want to hold it in my hands. I want to share it with the world.

Though I still have about 10 chapters left, I wrote out most of the epilogue after finding the perfect song. And then, I also finally wrote out what I think will be on the back cover. I've tried to come up with a synopsis before, but this one just came to me. Like most good ideas, it hardly seems mine.

"Jodi's been in love with her next-door-neighbor as far back as she can remember. After his disappearance, visions lead her into dangerous close encounters with the gang leader she believes to be her lost love. Jodi is willing to do anything to protect Shadow, but her actions lead to upsetting consequences. As she gets closer to him, she will be forced to choose between protecting the boy she's always loved and saving the lives of innocent people."

Most of the people I've shown are really excited about it. Which makes me excited about it. So excited that I almost can't contain it. Then my mood starts to dip down, and I feel awful again. It seems to happen every night. It's exhausting. I'm always having to fight a battle against myself. Especially in the Summer.

I am trying, really trying, to hold onto this excitement. Most of me feels ready for the next step. It's just that, in other areas, I also feel as stuck as ever. This one thing going right - even as important as it is - can't make me happy alone.

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