Tag Archives: writing lessons

#PitchWars is here!

I’M SO F#$<*&@ NERVOUS!!!!

Sorry, Cap.

Anyway, as I’m sitting and deciding on whether I’ve chosen the right mentors for my story…
Should I really submit the revamped Darrows? Because it is somewhat a repeat.
Who should I really submit to? Because they can help make me or break me right now.
Is every single person who read that story being sugary and fluffy with their praises or are they being so-very-true blue?

I just now–like literally right this second–remembered that I hadn’t even done a #PitchWars Bio for this year. Not that much has changed since last year. I’m still writing and unpubbed, except now I’m also serving up coffee and talking to everyone under the sun at my coffee-house job…

The story I’m submitting:

Love, Darrows

This is the retelling of the whole Cupid tale from myths of yore. And I say it like that because most people think of Cupid as being Greek myth, but he started out in Roman myth circles. Which my story touches on both here and there. The twist to my Cupid tale is the fact that my Cupid is gay. Plus, there is a Psyche (the original Cupid’s love) but I’ve included the other erotes and Greek/Roman myth characters and stories to create a modern-day, high school Cupid with his own unique story and personality. Quentin Darrows is seventeen–a poetic little $#!+, too–and in love with his best friend who loves to date anyone, male and female alike. And this poor Cupid is just trying to cope with it all.

(Quentin is going to kill me for using this Cupid image. He really doesn’t like babies in diapers being Cupid.)

Love, Darrows is a modern take on a Cupid who can’t control his own love life with his phone app arrows, so he fights for his boyfriend, Lex, in any way he can. The story I am submitting it part one and part two, Love, Carter, completes the tale.

What I am ready to do:

I am ready to rip this baby apart if I have to. I want to learn and make QUENTIN THE BEST DERN CUPID ever! I want to get his story out there and into the world. Give him the wings to fly because I know when he does, he’ll fly far! I’m ready to work hard and absorb all the advice a mentor wants to give. Be harsh with me, because I need the honesty to get my story living. I’ll stay up all night. Work all day, except when I’m working, and even then I’d be working on Darrows.

I just look forward to having new eyes and new thoughts on something that’s been with me for years.

Even if I’m not chosen, MY ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO GET DARROWS PUBLISHED.

What I typically write:

Usually my stories fall into a million different categories. Well, except for my NYC-RomComs. I write adult and YA. I usually go contemporary with my tales, though I’ve been in and out and twisted around almost every genre out there–Paranormal, supernatural, retellings, rom coms, myths, knights and princesses, angels and demons, ghosts, dystopians, mystery, space, and superheroes[ish]–with the exception of horror.

What I read:

I like almost any kind of story. Romances tend to be in my top picks (most recently Mónica B. Wagner’s Frosh series and Rachel Van Dyken’s The Matchmaker’s Playbook series). I love a good non-romantic series (see the Lunar Chronicles and Divergent). Graphic novels–Scott Pilgrim, Agent Carter, Spider-Gwen, and Ms. Marvel are among the tops ones I read.

Well…I just love a really good book I don’t want to put down but then I regret when I finish reading because I want to keep those characters and events with me forever.

Favorite Movies/TV/Netflix/Hulu

In other words, random stuff that has nothing to do with writing, yet has somehow inspired me in so many ways.

Anything Chris Evans, my favorite being What’s Your Number?

And Scott Pilgrim…

I like Captain America, The Avengers, Underoos (aka Spider-man), Back to the Future, Star Wars (Han Solo), Guardians of the Galaxy, Parks and Rec, The Office, Rick and Morty, Supernatural, Brooklyn-9-9, Stranger Things, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Friends from College, iZombie, Game of Thrones…

I CAN’T BELIEVE CAP KISSED MARGERY TYRELL!!! *WORLDS COLLIDE*

…Westworld, you name it and I’ve probably watched it. Almost anything you can find at a Comic Con panel or that will make me laugh. Or sigh. Or go awww, or even just…

Random things about me:

I am becoming a polyglot.

I speak American natively, and I have many years of Spanish under my belt. Recently, I started learning French, Norwegian, and Japanese. (I have plans for Swedish and Italian in the future.) I can already label some items and ask questions in French and Norwegian. I also can recognize a lot of Hiragana on packages (and read a few things) when I’m shopping at Daiso–Japan’s answer to the dollar store.

Daiso is one of my favorite places to go.

I have a growing collection of Funko figures. Mostly Captain Americas. The first one I owned  was Han Solo I found back in 2011/2012. Then Marty McFly and Doc. Then Chewbacca. Then when Cap came out…and so on and so on…

Recently, I used a plastic Coca-cola crate and turned it into a shelf for my Toby Stanks (yes, I did that on purpose. #TeamCap #SorryNotSorry) and Underoos Funko figures on the other side of the room from Cap and me.

I like photoshopping photos into looking like a comic or something someone drew. (This is one I did for a coffee project at work.)

I am allergic to sulfites, meaning that virtually everything I eat will make me sick–including my beloved fruits and veggies. I was never vegetarian but I really don’t like meat especially without ketchup or a sauce or seasoning.
The only thing I like without that stuff is the Flying Dutchman from In-N-Out. So I’m there a few days a week.

Despite my allergies and my body’s inability to handle food properly, I have managed to lose almost 100 pounds…which is a great feat, IMO. It’s still a work in progress, though.

I always wanted a Captain America sweater, but when I couldn’t find one that not everyone else would have, I looked up knitting patterns and figured out how to knit my own…It’s a great comfy sweater perfect for reading and rainy, cold days.

I like to draw.

I now draw the boards for my store.

this isn’t the best one, but it is the most recent.

 

L’il Sebastian. Because…

 

And…well…if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a HUGE fan of Chris Evans. He has the BEST SOUL anyone could own.
Everyone at work picks on me, a lot of people roll their eyes, but I will defend him/that fact to the death.

MY FAVORITE CAP IMAGE:

Why? Because it always reminds me that when things look bleak, when you’re feeling down, when all looks lost in the world, keep fighting, keep hoping, keep working and you will come out of it a better person and hopefully on top of it all.

I plan on staring at this one a lot in the coming weeks when the mentor/mentee teams are announced. (And hopefully long after as I’m readying Darrows with my mentor’s help.)

Well, it’s time…

Time to begin. Isn’t it? (sorry, channeling Imagine Dragons there) Time to get those mentors listed and get Darrows into the mix.

*deep breath*

Thanks for taking the time to read. And sorry about the fangirly me. (not too sorry, though. it is who I am.)

GOOD LUCK TO ALL WHO ARE ENTERING!!!
SEE YOU GUYS ON THE FLIP-SIDE!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

all gifs found on giphy.com

all images are mine.

Leave a comment

Filed under amwriting, aspirations, back to the future, Chris Evans, determined, i resolute, LGBTQ, love carter, love darrows, love story, Pitch Wars, posted from another site, publish it, the fangirling has made it here, write

Mr. Holland’s Opus

Anyone remember that movie?

It came out about the same time as Powder.

Both movies made me weep crocodile tears and kill off about thirty trees’ worth of tissues. They’re both one of those movies that I could only watch once, but I remember vividly and has yet to leave my mind.

Anyway…That’s the reference. The actual story for this post is this: I’ve decided that Human Touch may very well be my Mr. Holland’s Opus, but instead of creating the most beautiful piece of music, I’m trying to create a saga type tale along Harry Potter lines, minus the wizards, add ghosts, demons, but still witchery and religion mingling in a rom com YA.

Yeah, I still need a lot of work on finding the perfect genre for this sweeping series of stories that I would love to finish, that I want to share with other people, that I know is supposed to be out there in the universe somewhere rather than sitting in various Word docs and Scrivener files…and sitting in my brain.

This story has been ___ years in the making. The story idea started in my head in 2010, written out in a short “Note to Self” post-it on my computer–a literal post-it stuck to the laptop lid. 2011 it was a passing thought as I couldn’t figure out the story, the hook. 2012 it clicked when I was at Comic Con…and I was literally seven to ten people (depending if I let the others in my group go before me or after me) away from meeting someone while camping out for the Thursday Hall H opener. And after, I sat thinking, as most of the line was going to sleep…this is how my ghost would feel if this guy just missed her. She would be super bummed, like it should happen, but she’s a fracken ghost in love with a human…

And everything just became a waterfall. Possible names. Possible places. Events that go on in a high school senior’s life, things my ghost would have missed out on, the things that have changed from the 1980s to the (then) present day of 2012.

And this tale started spilling onto journal pages decorated with birds and trees. And when I had a rough plan, I began to type and type and type. Through tired fingers, tired brains, and temporary carpal tunnel as I’ve never typed that much before in a single sitting. Nikki and McClane came to life. The only thing I didn’t have, was an ending. Did I want to go typical HEA or did I want to go with reality?

I opted for HEA with a twist, leading to another book, then another, then another, then plans for two more just on their story, plans on four others for stories of other characters, then the alternate ending story which, truthfully is a book within itself (and almost completed in first draft now).

Spring 2013 – I had the first three books of Human Touch series typed. I call this first half of the series my baby, though it’s been said to never call it that. But in my eyes, it is. July to April to complete the three (very long) books in first draft. Nine long, learning filled months. The amount of time for a baby to grow and be born. My baby.

Fall 2013 – The first work was edited and formatted and re-written…a few times…then voila! I considered her done. Researched queries…which admittedly is still a weak point of mine…and sent them out. No after no. I’ve had about four personalized noes, feels like a thousand form noes, and a few that said it was great, but the genre was falling apart and they were taking less Paranormal Romance YA…which, this truly is being about ghosts…not that Vampire/Werewolf stuff they say is Paranormal. (THOSE ARE SUPERNATURAL!)

So fine. I put it away for a bit. Made some changes. Wound up expanding on the story. to over 150,000 words…and it still doesn’t cover everything.

And after taking out what was considered “non-essential” I had it down to 126,000…but it lost so much to me. Nikki’s personality was gone. Events that run through all six books, some through three, gone. Nothing made sense anymore. I hated it.

Summer 2014 – Queried that version. Again, the same amount of noes. pretty much just like that first list. So I put it away. Very far away. I even have drafts in a folder labeled: NEVER LOOK AT THESE AGAIN

Seriously. Those drafts are horrible. I hate them, but I refuse to delete them. Reminders of how terribly things can go wrong when writing.

Fall 2014 – Started another series, Love, Darrows. (As if I hadn’t written Last Man Standing, Life Imitating Art, Life Inspiring Art, and an untitled novella in there.) And it took a while to find my style and voice. I am pithy. I am also very verbose. (150,000 + words for one book!…*looking at Order of the Phoenix and wondering the comparison on that.*) I don’t like info dumps, though everyone critiquing my story (except the BFF and someone whose opinion on writing I trust more than Honest Abe) kept harping on show don’t tell. But I was showing. Maybe not in long-winded descriptions like most authors seem to do, like most agents seem to like as these books/stories are published. I think it detracts from the story. (see also The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo) I think describing bits and pieces that are important works with all of the events going on in the story. You’re getting the story. You’re getting the descriptions. You don’t need to know that McClane is in a western style shirt that is blue plaid with small black lines broken up with white and a t-shirt under that came from some band Nikki thinks is fake because Thirty Seconds to Mars makes no sense, though DeLoreans going 88 mph to time travel makes perfect sense, and how those items pair well with his tight denim jeans then the boots, cowboy not work, but I’ve seen some places where even the color of the shoelaces have been described just to paint the complete picture.

I hate it.

So it would go with me that Nikki would notice the worn jeans that are just right tight. She would jaw drop at those old boots of his, as though he’s been riding out on the range all day and is just now swooping into town all dusty. But then they talk… He says, “Hey, Kitten. You ready?” as “Hi, Cowboy,” wisps from her in a quiet breath. She can’t think of an answer to the rest. That hours later, during a hug, Thirty Seconds to Mars must make some great music. That t-shirt has been worn a thousand times, because it’s the softest thing she’s rested her cheek on. McClane’s football-sculpted chest rock was hard though. Then during their moonlight stroll, he offered her this cowboy shirt that was blue, plaid, and thin when she was shuddering from the cold breeze swarming them.

Something like that. That’s not even a part of the story which is how easy those characters are for me to write.

So here we are. 2015. Summer-ish. The story has been put away for a year now. One whole year–with the small exception of formatting a chapter for self-pub(?) here and there as writer’s block hits or I am too tired and it’s easier to type what I see than think. . And these characters are screaming at me. Like taking Cruz, Tyler, and Jamie–three guys from the newest story I’m writing–and shoving them to the side as though they aren’t important. McClane, Nikki, and Jaden are screaming at me, “Pay attention to us!” And a thought hit…what if I took my longest draft to date (the 156,000+ one) and kept the events the same, because they are perfect, and used my way of show not tell, only highlighting the most important things to these characters instead of painting out every little detail like I have.

And yesterday, since it was bothering me and I couldn’t go to sleep until I had it done…

I took chapter two…the real, almost original start to my story, the moment I love…it starts with him and her and it will end with him and her…and typed it out as though Nikki was talking through Quentin with less poetry. So far, I’ve condensed 2,505 words down to 1,600, and divided two-thirds of a chapter into two smaller chapters.

I rather like it. This is just a smidge more Nikki from the first drafts then the rambling long-windedness I hate.

So I’m now toying with writing the rest like this. Like Quentin without the poetry, but with the voice on an 18-year-old girl from 1989. Like it was. Taking this format that a few agents have liked enough to ask for full drafts of Darrows…That maybe there is a light to the end of this Human Touch tunnel

My Opus.

3 Comments

Filed under author woes, editing worries, finding myself, human touch, learning lessons, love darrows, my opus, paranormal, rewrite it, self publish, self-doubt, supernatural, write

As Homer Simpson would say…

D’OH!

Yeah…that about covers it.

Yesterday, I did my kill-myself-until-I-die exercise routine. Turned on the water and checked email while pacing about in my exercise gear and waiting for the hot water to kick in. In my email, I found something that had me falling to my knees and crying hysterically. My story, Love, Darrows–yes, the same baby I belly ached about last week–had a callback…um, that’s an acting term, sorry…chapters and a synopsis request. I still can’t believe it happened.

I read the thing like a zillion times, through tears and notified those that would get it…and after my very tears-of-joy-filled shower, I sat down to reply to the email.

I copied everything from my MS into Google Docs to format it for email compatibility. Then copied and pasted from there into the email as requested. Yay me for getting it in there correctly, although I had to go through and create all the necessary indentions for paragraphs. PITA, but done. Yay me for doing that correctly again.

I’m really good at this point.

Then yesterday afternoon, I had my first “D’oh! Moment” of this journey. I freaked out thinking the agent asked for a summary instead of the synopsis…which would mean I sent THE ENTIRE WRONG THING! And I freaked and the severe shakes came back…and I couldn’t face the email she sent…and after an hour I checked because I wasn’t getting anything else done…and there it was in black on a white screen: “synopsis”. Mild heart attack. No damage done. Good. I could breathe again.

Then I was trying to fix my Google Doc with indentions, a royal PITA (oooo….The Royals starts on E! this weekend!) and I found a missing word from a sentence! It had to have been lost during the copy and paste process… UGH!!!

Major panic mode two. Do I send an updated email with the word replaced or not? A quandary I have yet to figure out. All because I don’t want to look like a newb, although I am a MAJOR NEWB at this! That decision is still up in the air.

Panic Mode three. DEFCON 1!!! I keep thinking my response left a lot of information out of the body of the letter. Though I’ve Googled plenty of times of what to do when someone requests chapters or pages, the only advice was to follow the agent’s request to the letter. Which I did—Yay me! But I haven’t found anything about what to say in said letter. And I keep thinking I should have added more info…I did add the title, and thank yous and mentioned her request and label the email as requested, but I didn’t put in pages or word count, I didn’t mention YA novel…And I keep thinking I should have. Right? Did someone blog this and I missed it or wasn’t in the circuit at the time?

So today, I am left with this MAJOR D’OH! MOMENT hanging over my head, questioning every little thing I’ve done…Analyzing how wrong I’ve done it.

I thought sending queries was tough. I’m just totally clueless…

…but I am still going to keep working my way towards that ever calling goal of getting published, learning from my mistakes along the way. And I’m super glad someone got Quent. He is a hard sell, but so worth it. Love ya, Darrows!

all gifs found on {giphy}.

2 Comments

Filed under author woes, CW dramas rule, fictional beginnings, love carter, love darrows, publish it, query, self-doubt

Got it all figured out now.

Why this character o’ mine has been a PITA to write…

found in a general google search for writing.

When I originally wrote out the lists of events and timelines for what happens beyond the first book to the end of my characters’ lives, I wrote it all out from the intention that it was all going to be under one POV. Human Touch. The one main character, Nikki, would tell you what happened, how it happened, why…

But book two–Wide Awake–was almost complete. And I sat thinking…with the events as they were, she couldn’t possibly be the narrator of part three–Souls. It would be singular, minor, uneventful, boring, depressive…this list could go on. Bring in my other main character, McClane. He could say everything for her from his side.

Let me tell you, he was a bear to write. A massive freaking grizzly. I goofed off more than not. I had to tell myself every day, “I can no longer be in awe of you; I have to be you.” And being someone outside of her…with her plans…was the most difficult thing.

But as time has told me, it was a great POV for that piece of the story. McClane did what Nikki couldn’t–tell a great, action filled part of their story to round out the events. It worked.

A few months ago, after having written four other novels and a novella during the time after finishing Human Touch‘s first three books, I kept thinking of this story. How could I just drop it at book three when I had at least three other books worth of material to tell about this duet? Well, now trio.

But, this part of the story couldn’t be told by McClane. And Nikki…it wouldn’t work for her. The events that happen, the majority of events that take place to impact their future, takes place on someone else’s storyline.

Bring in Jaden…

my own alter

Or the inspiration for this character (long story)…Listen to his voice, get his image in my head. Apply my verbiage and dialect, mannerisms, attitude…

Well, there are parts and events that have been as easy to tell as slicing through a stick of butter with a hot knife. Those wrote themselves. It’s the parts that still need to be covered that isn’t as easy. I want to write them from Nikki’s POV, just like that I wanted to do with the McClane POV. I’m avoiding Jaden like a guy who won’t stop asking me out. I hide out in places I’ve not been in a while. Photoshopping. Blogging. Twittering. Tumbling. Handwriting a story to avoid my computer at all costs like I might get a Skype ding or an email will pop up…

And I realized today…while listening to Sick Puppies that was on the playlist for another novel I wrote last year…the song I loved when I happened to write out this list of events for Human Touch and beyond played…and it hit me…It’s because I see it with her eyes. Still. These events, even though she’s not around for some of them (because that would be awkward) need to happen or the other two books will crumble like a condemned building.

While I’ve been thinking about how to do this, how to format this story to make sense with the crazy timeline and spaced out events, it dawned on me. Four. As in Tobias Eaton/Theo James. Yes, Divergent. The Four book is a series of short stories from Four’s POV (LOVE). And why couldn’t I write out each of the four or so years, breaking it down as its own short story to compile into one book? Why not? What rules are there other than my own, self-imposed ones to writing my story in my way?

And it’s like everything became unlocked and unblocked in my head. EXCELLENT! Hopefully, I can tackle this from that angle…seventy-two percent (if my math is correct) of the events are done as of right now…

Me & Johnny. You are going to be complete soon, my friend.

Leave a comment

Filed under author woes, human touch, inspiration, learning lessons, write

Basking in the aftermath of a total fallout.

A week ago I was thcilsose to never writing again.

it happened after finishing the rewrites on chapter 19 of Human Touch. I reread the story, and was mortified. It was dark, depressive. The main characters were merely pod people of their former selves. The parts I loved the most, what I loved the most ceased to exist.

When that happened, it hit me like an atomic bomb. The story I had loved so much was obliterated. So much so, I had to turn my back on it. On writing. I couldn’t even stand looking at anything I had done. It was all crap and  I needed a distance.

Thank Heavens for things like retail therapy and art journaling. Anything to keep my hands and mind busy… And off of Disaster Land.

Musical scores from movies came into play…something about the wordless music allows me to think… And it clicked as to why I was so unhappy.

i was writing my story for so many others and no longer for myself. The more I tried to make someone else happy, the more I lost my story, the more I lost myself. If I didn’t have my heart in it, then why was I writing anything? And it hit me… Write this story from the beginning. Start it with something cheery and nice, because this story was always supposed to be a fun read, a fluffy YA paranormal romance. A few dark or dramatic bits here and there for the sake of having interest… Just nothing as dramatic and dark as what it had become.

Now this story has a new beginning. It’s almost like it was put into a witness protection program. The characters are back with a vengeance, and the story is being told in my way incorporating some of the advice that others have given me. After a chapter and a half, I feel that it’s been redeemed and will come out better than ever. Word counts be damned.

2 Comments

Filed under author woes, learning lessons, rewrite it, self-doubt