"Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer went public with the description of her new book. It's pretty generic but it's specific enough to scare the living shit out of me.
As part a gathering with a small group of fans in Vancouver, where the two-part film version of Breaking Dawn is shooting, Stephenie Meyer revealed some details about the as-yet-untitled novel she's reportedly working on: "It's a fantasy that takes place in another world where people are using bows and arrows and swords. There's a little bit of magic, but it's a very limited form of magic. The characters are human, and some have the ability to use magic and some don't. It's pretty dark. People die. The main character is a 17-year-old girl, and she's kind of cool."
Errands today. Life does not stop despite looming deadlines. Costco beckoned. And besides, it's a half day at school (every Wednesday) and sometimes I don't even get into the groove until eleven. Hardly seems worth the effort to write with such limited groove time available.
I did have the opportunity to proof and expand upon the battle scene I wrote yesterday. Tomorrow, I will trudge forward.
My name is being mentioned to one of the biggest agents in the entire literary industry today. Fingers crossed.
Only 1500 words written today but I am content with this because it was a battle scene and those are vicious to write. Pun intended.
I will mostly likely have to go back and fill in some details tomorrow, but the bones of what happens is down in pixels, so I am happy. It required quite a bit of stewing this morning in order to think through what exactly needed to happen during the battle so that it just didn't seem like a battle thrown in for no reason. The characters must somehow learn something, either about their enemy, or about themselves, that will factor in to the final battle at the end of the book.
But planning that for each of the main characters takes time, and not every detail had been worked out in the outline. Hence, the stewing.
Some of my best work is after a bit of thinking. It may not be sitting in front of the computer and meeting your daily quota word count, but for me, taking a shower, doing your hair, making and eating lunch all while plotting out a battle scene in your head is considered a good day's work.
Putting it down in pixels was the easy part and took me only an hour. All the work happened prior. Now, if only I could do the laundry only in my head, now, that would be something...
I spent a bit of time this weekend stewing. If I am only in to Ch 2 and I am already struggling for words, then something was missing from my outline and I needed to go back and find out what...
Hence, the stewing. I wonder if my family could even tell I was only halfway cognitive this weekend? Poor souls, destined to combat my distracted brain.
Anyways, I found what I was missing. The primary character growth arc. I had the plot, check! I had the conflict between the characters, check! I had the beginning, middle and end all planned out, check! What I didn't have, is how the main character would be changed by this experience. Nobody comes out the end of a battle like this unscathed. What was she going to learn about herself? How was she going to have to evolve during the course of the story to succeed?
That was the question I had scratched upon, but not really thought through. Problem solved, however, because once I figured that out, I wrote 2,400 words today, lickity split.
Based upon the advice from a very gracious and best selling crime novelist I had the opportunity to chat with, I am setting a goal of 2k words a day. Today's extra 400 words will help make up the difference from my short fall last week.
At this rate, I hope to be completed with the first draft in 20 working days.
Who knows? Perhaps I could have this book "e-vailable" by the end of the summer.
Did I just coin a new word? Someone contact Websters.
Tomorrow I have a therapy session, oops, I mean a coffee date with another writer, so I'm hoping that will instigate many creative thoughts and help expedite the beginning of Chapter Two. I'm sure the caffeine and sugar boost won't hurt either.
Until then, I'm dealing with other things, but broke down and bought a new tiny notebook for my purse so I could write down all the little thoughts that keep invading my head at odd times. Like at my daughter's karate class, at the grocery store, etc. etc. At least this way, even when I'm not sitting at my computer, I can still utilize the First Draft Mind Freeze.
2100 words written today, and I am nearing the end of Chapter One. I have spent a vast amount of my free time re-immersing myself in the land and words of fantasy.
Perhaps you can tell by even this blog entry the difference. I've been reading fantasy favorites from my childhood, namely R.A. Salvatore's "Streams of Silver," which I actually purchased the e-book for, and then happened to find my old paperback buried in the back of a bookshelf in the room I call, "The library." It's really a sitting area in my bedroom, but I have three book shelves in there, so I call it the library. It makes me feel good, even if it is stretching the truth a bit. Plus, I've been reading "The Hobbit," of course, which has always been one of my absolute favorites. I just love dwarves. I can't help it.
Anyways, other than re-reading old favorites I also have been watching fantasy movies. Namely, "Return of the King" (Lord of the Rings 3, for you non-fantasy obsessed readers), and even found a childhood favorite of mine on Netflix, "Ladyhawk," which now I realize has one of the worst sound tracks in all movie history and is quite cornball. But the dialogue was well written and it began my slow and steady girl crush on Michelle Pfieffer.
For my listening pleasure I have Two Steps From Hell's "Invincible" album on repeat, which has various short orchestral pieces meant for movie trailers. Some of them are quite epic, and they help in putting me into an epic mood.
I think my self-assigned "homework" has succeeded in helping me re-adapt to not only fantasy, but third person narrative. It's like putting on an old comfortable shoe. First person has been, and I think now, always will be, my least favorite point of view to read and to write, aside from second person, perhaps. I never realized how hard it was for me to write in first until suddenly I'm writing in third again and I manage to write out 2100 words in two hours.
This is my voice. It makes me terribly sad I had to waste three years trying to follow the marketplace first person trend, only to realize, though I could fake it rather well, it was not my natural voice.
I like old comfortable shoes. It's good to be home.
I ignored all else, and got selfish today. "The Beast Call" needs a sequel and I am not about to get it written if I don't sit down and concentrate. Dishes be damned. Job be damned (sorry boss!). Tweets and Facebook can go click itself. I must sit down and start work. I am not going to fulfil my dreams otherwise.
So I took a few phone calls, ate an egg white omelet, drank some coffee, drew some maps for the new book, wrote a few character breakdowns, cranked up the inspirational epic music and got about 1700 words written.
It's a start.
And that's about all I can ask for at this point.
NEW RULE! I MUST WRITE A MINIMUM OF THREE UNINTERRUPTED HOURS A DAY. RAIN OR SHINE, OR SICK KIDS, OR LIFE. BE. DAMNED.
I know you all probably think I'm insane for spending my time doing stuff like this, but I find it incredibly helpful. I always try and find a "theme song" for each of my books, because a) I'm a music fanatic and b) it helps me to listen to the music before I start writing to get into the right "mood." Crazy. I know.
But for those of you slightly off your rocker just like me, here is the link to the "theme song" for "The Beast Call."
Perhaps it is the dream of all writers, or perhaps it was just mine, but I had great visions of one day being "discovered" and becoming a working writer. Not even a best selling author, but at least one who made a living at it. Sure, I had day dreams of being on Oprah, or having a line of fans waiting to have me sign a copy of my book for them, most above all else this dream involved having an Editor who read my book, knew it inside and out, loved it and even worked with me to make it better.
This all elusive non-existent Editor. My editor, I thought, would be a woman. I have no idea why I decided this. This She-Editor would give me notes that I felt would help my book grow, while still maintaining the integrity of the message I was trying to portray. My She-Editor was also at a major publication house and my book would be on the shelves of any book store I walked in to. I could walk through the aisles, find my book, and a huge satisfied smile would cross my face.
This was my dream.
And in order to achieve this dream, which many successful writers have, I would need to follow the traditional road of finding a literary agent, who would shop my book, and then find my She-Editor, and my She-Editor would help me rewrite my book until it was positively perfect and the rest of everything would just fall in line.
But, this process takes years. For some, decades. And after working towards this goal for five years, and three and a half novels, and about two to seven drafts of each of those three and a half novels later, I am no closer to this goal than I was when I started.
Still no agent. Still no editor. Still no book on the shelves of every book store.
I must be doing something wrong, right? I must be! I'm attending all the right conferences, I'm meeting a slew of fantastic people, I've queried some of the best agents, and even had partial and sometimes full manuscript requests. But no bites.
I started to second guess myself. I thought, nobody wanted this manuscript, what do they want? They want character driven novels in first person. Alright, I'll write one of those! Done. What? No one wants it? But, what do they want? They want YA dystopics? Ok! I'll write one of those! Done. What? No one wants it? But, what do they want...?
You get the point.
Even though my heart of hearts is willing to crawl across broken glass stark naked in order to achieve my ultimate goal, another part of me is willing to accept that times have changed, and really, what am I trying to achieve?
Do I want to be a "famous" writer? Or, do I want to have people read my work?
If I am able to bypass the traditional publication process and head straight for eRelease, which many big time literary agents are now encouraging their clients to do, why am I still holding to that dream of being on Oprah? It's her last season, after all. I think it's safe to say that ain't gonna happen.
And why am I clinging to the dream of having my book in every book store when book store chains are closing and suffering left and right, and eBooks are outselling both paperback and hard cover books?
Oprah's leaving. Book stores are closing. And big name publishing houses have lost their monopoly on book distribution.
So really, what am I missing?
I am ready to let that go too. What was my She-Editor but a distant hope of having my work be perceived as perfect? Guess what, sweetie! There's no such thing! Even if a She-Editor ripped my book to shreds and rebuilt it from the floor up, to the point of architectural artistry, it would not guarantee the book would be reviewed well. And who's to say this She-Editor would make it better? I had one award winning writer friend give me a note on one of my manuscripts, and after spending a year rewriting it to this writer's specifications, they re-read it and told me to put it back the way it was. Oey.
I'm letting go of Oprah. Bye Oprah! I'm letting go of finding an agent. Good bye pushy bulldog agent of my dreams! I'm letting go of finding my mythical She-Editor. Good bye my perfect architect! And I'm letting go of book shelves. Good bye Borders!
I'm so excited I'm shaking a little. In anticipation of (hopefully) requests for partial submissions, I have spent the last two days reading my YA fantasy to verify it was ready for submission.
As I blogged before, it's three years old, and holy crap Toledo I am so excited I could cry.
It's good. It's funny. It's got action, adventure, romance...It's great! I love it!
I'm wondering, honestly, how the hell I wrote it? For one thing, it's in third person omniscient, which most great fantasy novels are, and I have to say I miss writing in that point of view.
First person is so limiting, and I feel so very trapped in the mind of my main character. How freeing to use words that your main character wouldn't use. How fantastic it is to describe an action scene from all perspectives and not be limited to what only one pair of eyes can see and only one heart can feel!
Heaven forbid this book should actually do well, and I'd have to write another! I've been writing in first person for the past three years and DAMN, I'm rusty as hell.
We are moving forward with plans to have it published. An agent would be great, but is not mandatory.
Now I just have to secure cover art and write a paragraph teaser for the 'description,' perhaps get a quote from a best selling author recently published at the company I work for?
I'm so excited! This is so cool!
Alright, forgive this momentary ego trip. Don't worry. I'll be back to bagging on myself soon.
It had been a while since I'd sat down and read my high fantasy YA adventure. I'd written it three years ago, and have named it a different title about a dozen times, but I had not sat down in one sitting to see if (three years later) it still thrilled me as much as it had when I had finished it all those years ago.
Often times, when a writer goes back to read something they've written a while ago, and this has happened to me quite frequently, the writer finds themselves quite disgusted at how awful their own work was, because they'd grown as a writer since then, or come to find a different voice since writing the last draft.
But for me, this YA high fantasy is an absolute hoot and a holler and oh, so much fun to read. Hell, I was laughing out loud, crying and shooing my children away so I could keep reading.
That doesn't happen to me. I hate almost everything. This is new.
This also means I plan to continue reading tomorrow (ran out of time today) and upon its finish, forward plans to continue querying.
It's actually ready. I hadn't bet that it would be. I only hoped. Now, I know.
Are you feeling creative? Do you have the urge to do something fulfilling? Do you knit, crochet, needle point, read for pleasure, write or paint? Do you sometimes marvel at the fun of gardening? Do you revel in free flowing ideas and keep a note pad handy for when these things occur to you?
Well, waste no more of your precious time because I have a solution for you!
Have sick children!
I'm not talking VERY sick children. Nothing serious. That's not even funny. But if for some reason Junior I & II (and possibly III & IV, etc.) have a cold, just enough of one to keep them home from school, just watch as every creative thought in your poor tired brain is drained of any free thought or idea! Or better yet, try and be creative with your sick children home and have a cold yourself! That's almost as much fun as a root canal!
Just be amazed at how quickly you wish you were deaf!
"I'm thirsty! Can I have juice?" "My head hurts! Make it stop!" "I'm hungry! Can I have stack?" "My nose keeps dripping, where's the tissues?" "It's a commercial, can you fast forward?" "I want toast! But I 'forget' how to make it!" "I forget how to butter it!" "I don't know where the butter is!" "The toaster's not working!" "Where are the butter knives?" "Will you cut off the crust for me?" "Mommy?" "Mom?" "Mama?" "MOM!" "What are you typing?"
I find it utterly amazing that sick children are no longer able to perform the simplest of tasks like: 1) use a remote control - which when well, they have no problem using at all 2) finding things - apparently, when sick, children discontinue using their own eye sight and prefer to look for things using their mouths. "Mom? Where's the [insert item here]?" 3) getting their own snacks and/or drinks - now, don't get me wrong, if a child is REALLY sick and unable to get out of bed, or vomiting, or has a migraine, I will gladly clean barf buckets, make toast and pour drinks BUT, if this child has a head cold (the exact same one I have), and I somehow am able to move about, then surely they are able to reach across the coffee table and push a button on a remote control instead of yelling at me from the other room, making me get up, schlep across the house and when I say, "Yes?" have the child ask me to turn up the TV.
I've been sucked into a black hole. Please, please, please, let this black hole expedition be short. Please.
My writing was neglected this week, but for good reason. Life at this "little" digital publishing company just got really busy, and all of the sudden I had things to do.
It's all good. I like being busy. My dishes are mad at me for being piled in the sink. My dog is still shedding and leaving tumble clumps billowing about my baseboards, and my kids have become used to the phrase, "Not now, I'm working." Which, in the past, meant letting me get through my game of Zuma Blitz on Facebook, but now, actually means that I'm working. But, despite all that. It's still all good.
But three things are happening at the same time and I need to get into high gear next week. This week was medium gear, now I'm going to need high to keep ahead.
1) Queries. I think the timing might be right in the market for my three year old high fantasy, "Rebel Yell," so I sent out a few queries to literary agents, even though my bosses here at work keep telling me agents are a thing of the past. We'll see. Keep your fingers crossed. 2) Dystopic. Remember that YA dystopic I've been writing? Well, I'm on the home stretch and I just need to get cracking in order to finish (the first crappy draft, it's nowhere near ready). I must, must, must finish that pronto. Time is of the essence. 3) The Amulet Chronicles. Once upon a time a television executive and a bored "retired" (aka. housewife) television writer thought up an idea for a book and decided to write it. Three years later, several near hits, one former agent, and a friendship on the brink of destruction and it looks like we're going to relaunch Book One. It's a middle grade time travel adventure series with boy and girl lead characters, and who knows, maybe we'll make a dent enough to finish Book Two, which currently lays half finished and dormant on my external hard drive. 4) Work. Book covers. Proof reading. Interview questions. Sub-contracting invoices. Social Networking. Let's see what else they throw at me. I'm ready.
But I'm also overdue with the laundry and about ten minutes late to pick up my kids from school because I've been blogging.
Dang. That's four things, not three. I'd better get cracking.
I'm a blogger. I blog. I'm a Facebooker. I facebook. I'm a Twitterer. I tweet. So, I spent the better part of my entire weekend and most of today (well, all of today, to be perfectly frank) setting up the social networking for Premier Digital Publishing, the company I work for. That's what I get for asking, "What's taking so long?"
Not that I minded! I am pleased as punch to help. And I learned quite a bit about the process, which of course, is all good because the moment we stop learning, we become like a bottom feeding shark who has stopped moving and we, well, we croak.
BUT, I have a few choice words for you, Facebook. Your Company/Business set up process is for the birds and the functionality is even worse. Do you know how easy it is to post on a personal FB page? It's an absolute breeze compared to a company/business page that doesn't even HAVE a place where you can post a new photo album. It doesn't even have a 'Profile' button so you can go back to your wall. It's horrid.
You supply five little windows at the top of your business page to fill with 1 photo and once those are full, apparently, you're done. Forever. No matter how many people "Like" your page. No matter how many times you try to go back into each album to add more photos. You can't. There's no where I haven't pushed to try and find it.
I'm nearly blind from staring at the company FB page today trying to see WHERE ON EARTH the add another photo album function existed and finally came to the conclusion it didn't.
Not only that, but it keeps asking to connect to my contacts to send out Invitations and despite doing it twice the invitations never went out and I am stuck on Step 1 of the "Set Up" page and I am wondering if that is why I have been unable to move forward.
I spent hours in your Help section, but hardly any of the Help supplied applied to the company/business pages. I sent in a suggestion, and got an automated response thanking me. Big whoop.
PLUS, I don't want or need the "Get Started" page, I am a Facebook expert! Right? Or, at least I thought I was until Saturday when I had no idea how to create another photo album. So simple.
AND! I tried to get a user name for the company/business page and it wouldn't accept my cell phone number because I'd used it on my personal account. I HATE YOU! YOU SUCK!
Dear Facebook, Please make the company/business Facebook Profile Page more similar to that of an Individual. I'm frustrated. I'm blinded. I'm DONE. Please fix it so my bosses don't think I'm an idiot. Please fix it so I don't think I'm an idiot. Thanks.
Tym grabbed my hand and ran for the door. How he knew where it was in complete darkness, I wasn’t sure. But I followed him.
We burst into the main room of the warehouse and down the stairs and went to Tym’s room where he grabbed an old canteen with a strap, which he draped over my shoulder, a note board, which he put into a satchel and slung over his own shoulder, and a battered army jacket, which he tossed to me.
“Put it on,” he said, pulling on a sweatshirt. “It’s going to be a late night.”
Then we were running. In between each warehouse was an alley filled with abandoned cars, overflowing trash bins and mountains of garbage. We ran by a few empty warehouses then turned a corner. Then ran by some more. I had no idea where we were. I felt like a rat trapped in a maze. All the warehouses looked the same. Covered in graffiti and dirt, with gigantic roll away doors.
We were about three blocks away when we heard the sirens.
“Damn,” Tym said.
We turned another sharp corner and kept going.
My lungs stung and I found it hard to keep up, but Tym dragged me along, the whole while cursing under his breath and formulating escape plans.
“Nope, can’t go that way, they’ll have that exit covered. Damn! Alright, let’s try this. Hell!”
When we reached a chain link fence, Tym opened a hole held together with twisty ties and shoved me through, then crawled through himself on all fours.
On the opposite side of the fence he took my hand again. We ran down the block of old empty factories, then turned a corner and found ourselves in the middle of a fish market.
Booths with rotting fish stank the block to high heaven. I immediately gagged, but since I’d thrown up all the food in my stomach before, it was only bile. Tym saw me struggling but didn’t slow down. He pulled my hand. I kept my other hand over my mouth to keep from spraying the crowd of people with vomit.
There were no cars on the block, only booths and a throng of people. There must have been hundreds, all packed together. The people shouted, haggled and fought with one another. It was bedlam.
“Keep your head down,” Tym said.
I pulled the collar up on the army jacket then covered my mouth again, choking, and put my head down. I blindly allowed Tym to lead me through the crowd.
I couldn’t understand why people were buying the rotted fish. But the street was packed. Old women with baskets, young mothers trailing toddlers, young men with bloody aprons. We bumped and pushed through them like a bulldozer. Tym didn’t even bother to apologize as he shoved people out of the way.
“Where do they get the fish?” I asked.
“This isn’t a fish market,” Tym said, not slowing his pace.
I heard the sirens in the distance. They didn’t seem any farther away, which meant they were gaining on us.
“What?” How could it not be a fish market when the booths were lined with fish and sloppy bloody ice?
“The fish is just a ruse. This is the black market. You ever need something? It’s sold here. You just got to know who to buy it from.”
“Don’t look up! When we reach the end of the street, up and to the left there’s a big black glass building,” Tym said.
“The bridge is next to that building, okay?”
“Sonya and Doc will meet you there. If neither one of them shows up, you come back here to this street and you talk to Eron. You hear me? Eron. He’s an old friend. He’ll get you out of Central.”
“Don’t look up! Don’t let anyone see you!”
“We’re almost to the end of the street. When I say run, run! And no matter what you hear, you run to that bridge and you don’t stop. Okay?”
“You don’t stop, you understand?”
“Okay, I understand.”
“Alright, here we go,” Tym said.
I looked up.
At the end of the street there was a security squad car coming to a stop. I instinctively slowed, but Tym pulled me along. I looked behind us and saw two squad cars parked from where we had entered the street. The guards were making their way through the crowd, headed right towards us.
We were trapped.
“What about through one of the shops?” I asked.
“The shop keepers would shoot us dead in a second. You ready?” Tym asked. We were feet from the edge of the market.
“Does it matter?”
We reached the end of the block, Tym pulled me onto the sidewalk and we strolled in the opposite direction of the security guard, who was pressing his finger to his ear and talking.
“Head down,” Tym snarled.
I put my head down, nearly falling over my own feet trying to keep up with Tym’s feverish walk.
I looked up and to the left and sure enough, there was a big black glass building.
Tym saw me notice and gave a small nod. He then looked behind at where the guard had been.
“Stop!” the guard yelled.
Tym let go of my hand. “Run!”
I tripped. My face hit the sidewalk like a sledgehammer. Tym helped me scramble to my feet and then I stumbled to a run.
I could hear Tym running behind me. His boots slapped the pavement with heavy clunks.
“Stop!” the guard shouted again.
There was a sharp and loud pop.
Tym wasn’t running behind me anymore.
I looked back. Tym was on the ground. I slowed but he was screaming.
“Run! Run! Run!” His glasses had broken from the fall and dangled from his face.
The security guard had a gun aimed right at my head. Our eyes locked for just a second before I turned away.
Oh my God, I just left Tym to die!
But I kept running.
Tym was screaming at me to run.
Like the biggest chicken shit in the world I ran.
I heard another pop and a sob erupted from my lips.
I expected to feel the bullet pierce my back but it didn’t. The sound was behind me.
My feet couldn't slow. They moved without my consent.
My arms pumped and with a burst of speed I whipped around the street corner and ran right towards the big black glass building. It was a few blocks ahead of me now. I ripped off the army jacket and dropped it on sidewalk and kept going.
Up ahead, on the boulevard, rows and rows of ethanol cabs lined the streets looking for work. I crossed the street in between them and ignored their honking.
Sobs clogged my throat.
My eyes burned with hot tears.
On the opposite side of the street, people filled the pavement on one end, piles of trash on the other. I assimilated into the crowd without missing a step. I slowed to a fast walk, and wiped my wet face with the back of my hand.
My heart beat so fast it hurt.
Oh my God, Tym.
He’d known. When he was telling me no matter what I heard, to keep running. He knew. We were surrounded. That was it.
But the guard.
He’d had a clear shot on me and he hadn’t taken it.
Why’d they let me go?
The sirens had stopped. I glanced around at both ends of the boulevard and no security squad cars were in sight.
The guards should be out in force to capture me. I was the whole reason they’d been in The Corporation Headquarters to begin with! It was all my fault. Yet, somehow, I had gotten away and everyone else had gotten captured. Or killed.