New Things Still Coming…Someday

A while back I mentioned something about a special secret plan having to do with my writing.

I wanted to announce that I’m still working on it. Very slowly. I have a lot to learn, and I’m enjoying learning it all, but it’s a lot to take in. Someday I will put together a new site with some things I’ve written to show them off and learn from them and stuff. I want to do it my way, though, and that is taking work. I think it will pay off in the long-run, though.

I know you are all on the edge of your seats, but you have to wait a while longer. Be patient!

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Writing Progress (A Smidge)

A quick update on last week’s post. I did some work on the big revision, and I think I only did it because I wrote last week’s post about trying to do something. I didn’t want to wimp out on you guys. And I’m pretty impressed with what I accomplished, even though it wasn’t a whole lot.

I made a new outline of what I wanted to change, and it’s doable. There are even some things I’ll probably get to keep, and I might get to put back in a scene I loved but immediately after writing the first time knew I had to take out! (Chances are I’ll still have to take it out eventually, but I at least have hope now.)

So this week I’ll be back to typing, but at least I have some hope now, and I think my work will be on an upswing (hopefully).

Work Slowdown

Well, things have been going very slowly. This tends to happen after I finish a project. I basically need to step back and take a break from it. This break coincided with a very stressful point in the year–the end of the school year, a pretty bad cold, other things–so I wasn’t very motivated to force myself to work on it either.

I’m not sure if I’m ready to get back into it yet or not. I work our school’s summer camp (which is the same as school only there are a few less children, they are younger, and we have to deal with kiddie pools and popsicles and lots of sunscreen) but it should be less stressful at least. I’m also still not sure how I want to rewrite my book, and I’m definitely not ready to start my next project, but the only way to figure out my next path, at least for me, is to try to start writing through it anyway. I’m taking it easy this week still and just testing the writing waters.

Oh, and I still have a YA post in mind. Maybe next week…

Do First Person Narrators All Sound the Same?

I write and read primarily YA. The last manuscript I wrote I used first person, and for the one I’m revising I’ve used a very close third person. Many YA books are told in first person. I’ve speculated before (waaay back in the archives) about how teenagers probably relate best to the first person voice because they really feel like they become the character. Though I think, in general, teenagers don’t think about this as much as the author does. They just know what they like. Barry Lyga has said that people have been adamant that his close 3rd person book, I Hunt Killers, is actually in first just because it’s so intimate and in Jazz’s head. So, basically, using the POV that’s best for the story is what’s important, no matter what the trend is.

All that being said, I feel like every book I’ve read lately that’s been in first person sounds like it’s being told by the same person. I even just finished an adult sci-fi adventure story where the main character was a 30-something woman who still sounded to me like any snarky teen–even my own first person narrator sounds this way. And I don’t know why. Their personalities are different, and they have different ways of speaking. I think that conversational tone just has a cadence that shows up in every story. Female narrators vs. Male narrators are slightly different, but are still similar to me.

My pickiness may have to do with some YA disillusionment I’ve been experiencing lately (and I plan to make this the topic of next week’s post)–I tend to go in phases of highs and lows toward writing, and I’ve been in a low lately. Right now, though, I just don’t care for first person narration, but I’m dying to read a book where it is used well. I think to pull it off you’d have to have a really unusual character to begin with. One that might have done it was Lo from The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison where the narrator has OCD. Does anyone know any other good, original-sounding first-person narrators (modern, not The Great Gatsby or anything, and it can be adult, though YA is preferred)?

What to Do When Facing a Full Re-Write

I think I’ve known this a while, but I’m now positive that I will be re-writing both the beginning and end of my book. I have an idea of where to start with the beginning, but I’m still not sure what to do about the end. And all this probably means the middle has to have just as much done to it to make it consistent. I’m okay with this, but it’s just like, sigh, here we go.

So the beginning doesn’t introduce the conflict fast enough, in my opinion. I think it’s interesting from a character standpoint, but it doesn’t get into the story fast enough, and that’s a problem.

And the end isn’t believable enough–even for me, and I my imagination gives things a lot of leeway.

What do I do now that I’m facing all this? Well, I’m going to finish typing it all up anyway, and as I’m doing so, I will be keeping these problems filed in the back of my head. Hopefully my head will work it all out during this time. And if it doesn’t? Then I’ll just start writing anyway. Sometimes when you’re stuck you just have to write your way out of it.

So here’s to my second first-draft. Can’t wait. (At least I can get plenty of use of my main character’s new name.)

Following Trends and Slowing Down

Have you ever noticed that when you have a problem or concern nagging at you that it seems like everyone else is talking about them? Or is it just me?

Like how I had this feeling that my book idea is on par with some current trends, and I felt like I had to rush to get this done so it wouldn’t look to agents like “oh, another alien story–pass.” And then I see all these blogs and articles saying not to rush when editing, not to worry about markets or trends when writing and editing, and to give your work time to breathe. And I’ve heard this before, but this time reading them it’s like they’re speaking to me! So I have slowed down, and I’m going to keep telling myself not to worry, my book will be awesome and will stand out no matter what the markets are doing.

And now that I’ve decided this, I can concentrate on all the other articles that are speaking specifically to me, like making a strong plot, fleshed out characters, descriptions, and ack, research…so, basically what every writer needs to work on.

An Update on My Big New Idea

I mentioned a while back that I had an idea on what to do with some of my old manuscripts. Well, I’m still working on that, and I’m now in the middle of a web design class. Right now I can do just about nothing web design-wise, but I’m hoping this will put me in the right direction for my plan.

This is the best way to go back to school. It’s an online class, so I can do the work whenever I feel like it, the lessons are very easy and very well-written out by the instructor. There’s even a class discussion board that people actually use. And there are quizzes, but the scores are just for my own enrichment and I can go back and retake it if I miss any (which I haven’t yet). What makes any class or learning activity great is that I’m enjoying it and interested in it, and even though it’s easy, I’m learning something new. (Seriously, the hardest part is making my hands get used to typing tags–they never push the right keys!) So two thumbs up!

Hopefully when this class ends I will be well on my way to bringing this idea to life.