Posts Tagged 'The Sin Series'

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Friends, Romans, and Countrymen!

Guess what!

Something awesome just happened.  Like, two minutes ago.

I finally finished editing chapter four of Fate.  I added a new part to the plot so that I have the theme running more clearly through, and I’m incredibly happy.  Um, I am pretty sure it’s longer than Version 1, but I don’t care.  7,808 words!  DONE!  So excited.

I am going to put off the editing of Chapter Five until next year, though, because I really want to focus on writing, and finishing, ‘Tweens.

Excited!

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The Edit Monster Says “OMNOMNOM!”

Heather Eats Cupcake, 2005

Yesterday I blogged about my difficulties with one of my characters and speaking in her voice.  That is part one of my difficulties with editing Fate, and this is part two: the Edit Monster.

I think everyone has their own Edit Monster.  Mine has wrinkly orange skin and bronze-colored plates like a stegosaurus.  He’s reasonably well-trained and never nips at me.  Edit Monsters certainly do tend to have their own qualities.  Mine, like any child, loves eating out.  Meaning that if I’m editing a friend’s story, it will bleed.  Lots.  And when I edit my own, it bleeds lots too, but later on I find that the Edit Monster hid the brussell sprouts under the napkin and put way too much ketchup on its meatloaf.  After the whole process, yes, I’ve cut out a great deal, but suddenly it seems as though I have a thousand words more than when I started editing.  Um, doesn’t that kind of defy the point?

Personally, I’ve always been a prolific writer.  I volunteer to do the single twenty-page essay because I know that if I try to do the 3-seven-page essays, I’ll end up doing 3-twelve-page essays.  It’s a gift, and sometimes it’s a curse.  I know I’m not alone.  Sammy, over at Access Approved, finished her first novel at over 200 pages.  Mine doesn’t get that far.

So what I want to know is… what type of writer are you?  Does editing sometimes seem add to your work instead of fine-tuning it?  And, most importantly, what does your Edit Monster look like?

Cheers!

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Deviant Artist Self-Photo (not me)

Let me set the scene for you.

The air inside the cabin is dank and musty, and you feel your allergies acting up, so you step outside on to the rough wood porch overlooking rolling fields.  The sun is just creeping up behind the farthest green hill, and the sky is splattered in pink and blue.  You’re not alone on the porch, even though it’s just barely sunrise.  But you’re not surprised.

Leaning against the dipped wood rail, her hands are wrapped tight around the bone china teacup.  She doesn’t say anything to you; just flicks her short red hair over her shoulder and takes a sip.  It’s a little strange, seeing an experienced army pilot watching the sunrise and drinking herbal tea from a cup painted with dainty yellow flowers.

Meet Jylouna Martin.

She is my nemesis.

For the last I-don’t-know-how-many-weeks I have been fighting a silent battle with her.  I avoid writing in her perspective because she simply disapproves of it.  Just.  Can’t.  Get.  Into.  Her.  Voice.  Ever. I love her character (I love all my characters) but whenever I read back what I have written I feel like crumbling up a piece of paper and throwing it violently at… something.  Only I write on my computer, and it’s harder to crumble my laptop screen.

I was pacing back and forth in my room when I reopened Chapter Four of Fate for editing.  Partially because Jyla was up to her old “you’re-going-to-write-in-my-voice?–I-think-not” tricks, but my difficulties were also coming from a different character:  Timothy Brown.  Since my goal is to finish ‘Tweens by the end of the year, I’ve been writing, even thinking a lot in Timmy’s voice.  So as I was trying to write Jyla, I was writing Timmy.  Editing is slow.

Ever have that problem?  A character voice you have a lot of trouble writing in?  What is your greatest difficulty when switching efforts from one work-in-progress to another?

Also, I wanted to share this.  I know I’m three months early, but I just discovered the band All Caps and I thought maybe some people could relate to the sentiment of this video.

Flash Fiction Thursdays: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

"Guilty Until Proven Innocent"

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

As she blinked, red dots splattered across her vision from the interrogator’s lights.  Jyla kept her hands clasped to her sides.  Her interrogator faced the steel wall.  Jyla chewed on her bottom lip and watched him, waiting for him to move, listening for his breathing; waiting for any sign of her interrogator’s humanity.

“Where were you first taken?” he asked a voice like snake.

“Borderlands,” Jyla responded immediately.  Her instruments were destroyed when her aircraft ignited, so she had no way of giving more details.  Her interrogator did not turn to face her.  Instead, he stood in motionless silence.  It made her skin crawl.

“Where.”

“My instruments were destroyed in the fire that took my Mosquito.”

“Where are the ruins of the aircraft.”

“I told you, Sir, I don’t know exact coordinates.”

Her interrogator stepped forward and placed a white gloved hand against the wall.  The outline of a door carved itself in the metal.  “That is not good enough,” he told her, and exited.

Even after he left, Jylouna did not move.  She knew the walls were mirrors, and people were watching in.  She suspected that the King’s Men thought that she had betrayed the King and given her aircraft to rebels hiding in the forest.  And even though she knew these allegations were false, she had no way to prove it.

.

Author’s Note:
Seeing an upcoming deadline, I’ve switched from working on ‘Tweens to editing chapter four of Fate.  The character here, Jylouna (Jie-L’ow-Nuh) is the character whose voice I speak in for that chapter, but she is also my most difficult character to write.  I’ve been having difficulty getting back into her head.  Please let me know if this is flat or feels forced.
Much love,
Amber

One Step At A Time

Shane Reading Backstage during The Letter

Last night, I had a decision to make:  go to bed?  Or write?

A while back I decided that yes.  Yes I am invested in The Sin Series, but if I publish, I want to publish a one-shot book before trying to market a series.  Because The Sin Series is like… my life… I don’t want to pitch that one to agents and have it turned down and be forced to self-publish, if I publish at all.  If I’m going to be turned down, I want it to be with a one-shot, so I can learn and improve and use any feedback I get in also expanding The Sin Series.  That left me with two options:  ‘Tweens or Absolutely Mad.

Absolutely Mad is a book that draws on the verse of Alice in Wonderland.  Since Lewis Carrol’s canon is no longer under copyright, I am free to do whatever I want with the characters and the world.  The main character, Yvette Hatter, is cynical and sarcastic, but curious enough and has an imagination, so it doesn’t take a huge leap of faith for her to believe that she has been pushed into a magical looking glass into the world of Wonderland, where a half-crazed Cheshire Cat is making himself dictator of the land.  It’s very much a distopian novel, but it’s out of all my usual conventions.  Absolutely Mad is written in the first person, to begin.  The story is also only told by one character, Yvette, which is also out of my norm.  Because this story is so far out of the normal for me, I don’t want this one to be the first one I venture into.

The other option is ‘Tweens‘Tweens was inspired by several things, from a comment made by one of Bryan’s roommates (“Everyone knows that covers are impenetrable to monsters!”) to an episode of Charmed (season two, I think) to someone telling me that I was good at writing children’s voice (gee, thanks!).  ‘Tweens starts in the real world (allowing me allusions, thank goodness) but there are ‘tweens all over the real world during which people, especially children, are susceptible to the Land Between.  Things like dreams and doorways, where children and those who still are a child at heart are liable to be scooped up by creatures of the ‘Tween and taken into their world.  Lucy Brown is seven years old, and her parents think that she is prone to nightmares and will have nothing of her complaints.  Her older brother, Timothy remembers the Land Between and is there to help her when he can, but he’s also a college student and is beginning to get tired of his little sister crying to him constantly.  He doesn’t have much of a choice, though, when Lucy is snatched away into the Land Between, and the only person who knows enough to go after her is Timothy himself.

So.  To tie in the first sentence, last night I had a choice:  go to bed, or write.  I compromised.  I wrote 1000 words in ‘Tweens.  In fact, I made good progress in Timothy’s voice, bringing him into the the Land Between in his recurring dream.  I was really pleased with myself.  I think that ‘Tweens is going to need a few good drafts before I will even think about querying (and that’s after finishing the manuscript) but I am always pleased whenever I am able to sit down and get something done like that.  Even if it’s only 1000 words (which takes me about an hour), it’s something.

On a side note, I noticed on Miss Rosemary’s blog, she has her specific story goals in the sidebar.  I think that is something I should consider doing myself.  I’ve never been one for due-dates, but if I manage to get published, I will be working on deadlines, and it’s something I should get used to.  Besides.  Left to my own devices, I get nothing done.

Right now?  Right now I am going to go read another 25 pages in Alabi’s World for school and then I am going to sit down and push my way through ‘Tweens until I need to leave for work at  4:30.  Sounds like a good, productive plan to me.

Don’t Rain On My Parade.

Kids dressed up as an elepahnt for the Children and the Arts Day parade in Peterborough, NH; June 22, 2010

“Don’t tell me not to fly, I simply got to. / If someone takes a spill, it’s me and not you. / Who told you you’re allowed to rain on my parade?” ~ Barbara Streisand singing Don’t Rain on my Parade as Fanny Brice in the musical Funny Girl.

So this morning all my plans got condensed and smooshed into teeny-tiny crumbs too small for a mouse.  Sammy’s lovely, furnished basement flooded last night, and the poor dear spent many, many hours with her family containing it.  It was muchos sad, and or plans got pushed back an hour.  But I completely understood, and in her position, I probably would’ve cancelled, so I waited patiently.  This morning, I decided it would be a good plan to try to work on chapter five anyway, so I was feeling good about life.  I pretty quickly forgot about the brief lapse of disappointment and continued my day.

I sat down at my desktop.  I really like my desktop.  It’s a useless piece of crap if you want to actually do anything with it (i.e. games, internet?  Slow as a snail) but for writing, it’s ideal.  No distractions.  I sat, crossed-legged in my office chair and… nothing.  I sighed.  I spun around in circles.  I poked at the keys until eventually (five minutes later) I made a paragraph appear.  That was about all I could handle, so I tottered off to check my email on my laptop, and eat a bagel, and play two rounds of Pokemon with my brother, and play two-and-a-half hours of Rock Band.  All, naturally, incredibly productive for my writing life.

At 2:30, I left for Keene, arrived at my destination fifteen minutes before I was expected (yeowch), achieved a scoop on delicious, different mango-raspberry sorbet from Friendly’s (Free Ice Cream day for the win).  I would like to take this moment to note that I could have had anything on their menu, and I picked sorbet, which is significantly healthier than Mocha Chip or whatever yumminess I usually get.

When I got back to Sammy’s things were still a little chaotic, but I still did get to spend a little time with her.  It wasn’t as much as we were expecting, but I really enjoyed it.  I brought my typewriter for her to play with and she seemed delighted with it, and I liked to see her that happy so I’m loaning it to her for a week.  I trust her.  I know it’ll be returned in tip-top shape. Oh yeah. And I got a page of writing done, too. It wasn’t the whole chapter, but it was important progress.

After that, Bryan took me to Panera Bread (yummy!) where I tried both the Cuban Chicken sandwich (not bad, but I’ll stick to my Smokehouse Turkey) and the French Onion soup (delicious).  Today was a day of trying new things.  We spent some time together and had a delightful evening.  I felt very close to him tonight, and that was nice.  Sometimes, I step back and ask myself “what the heck am I doing with this moron?” but tonight wasn’t one of those nights.  We played half-a-game of Nightmare Before Christmas Monopoly and we sat on the wall beside my driveway and chatted for a while.  It was nice.

So today?  Today presented me with grumpy friend’s parents, a shortened visit due to water disaster, parental badgerings, heat, a troublesome too-social-for-his-means brother… and I worked through it all, had a great day, and I’m in a fabulous mood.  Tomorrow I get to tell Mattie the good news that he’s been waiting for, and you know what?  I’m really happy today.  When everything tried to go wrong, we all made it go right.

So you know what, life?  Don’t rain on my parade.  Because I can capture every drop into a great big, shimmering blue swimming pool, splash around, and have a blast.  Nothing’s going to keep me down today.  It’s a great feeling.

Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmatic.

Amanda reading the program for "The Letter" in the Green Room.

“I’m so excited / and I just can’t hide it. / I’m about to lose control / and I think I like it.” ~ I’m So Excited by the Pointer Sisters.

There is something about that song that disturbs me.  Every time I read the lines above, I relate it to something different.  At the moment, the image in my mind is that of a hyper-active puppy meeting an apple-red fire hydrant.  That image, naturally, is not the one I want to convey; the song always gets into my head when I am thinking about something I am excited for.

I am excited for tomorrow.  Tomorrow is Saturday.  That in itself should be enough of a perk.  I am not working tomorrow, which, despite my lack-of-paycheck this last week, is still a nice respite.  I will also be seeing Sammy tomorrow, which, in this case, I am excited for.  See, we have plans.  We are going to be writing (unless something changes).  I am bringing my typewriter (erm, and my laptop) and I am going to finish editing chapter four of Fate.  For real this time.  Maybe.

I haven’t written properly in a while.  Every once and a while, I’ll pump out a piece of flash fiction, but hardly anything worth noting.  I think I’m burnt out from writing, which is terribly, but I’m finding every excuse not to do it.  Really.  Every excuse.  I feel like I’m in elementary school again, fighting with myself to do homework.  The only way I could summon up enough willpower to do my math homework in elementary and middle school was to tell myself that if I did five problems, I could read five pages of insert-Tamora-Pierce-novel-here.  After about an hour, the math homework would usually be complete.  It was an intricate rewards system that is no longer effective now that I am in college.

Seriously, though.  Writing feels like work.  I blame my writing classes.  My college writing classes haven’t been useless, per se.  The teachers have all been very helpful.  But the students are all just like me (or the have as much enthusiasm as me, at any rate).  We’re all tired.  We did the work, just barely, so now can we go back to bed?  It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I worked five hours at my other job today, then I had three classes, and I was up until three am trying to get homework done and I’m just not used to putting this much stress on my body.  So much to do, so little motivation.

Tomorrow, I am telling myself, will be different.  I will finish edits on chapter four of Fate.  My brother is watching Alice in Wonderland right now; maybe I’ll go join him and get motivated for Absolutely Mad.  I have a million options; all I need to do is sit in front of my computer and write (not go online).  I think Sammy will help me keep focused, and maybe I can help her keep focused.

Or, at least, amuse her with the typewriter.


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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