Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Write Stuff [11]

Write Stuff (formerly Working Writer Wednesday) is a weekly meme based on the Wannabe Writer meme hosted by Sarah at Confessions of the Un-Published. This meme (I changed the name so I could post on any day of the week) is what prompted me to start Writer Quirk, so I am thankful to Sarah for creating it and allowing ANYONE (even a quirkster like me) to join up. So go visit her site and the others who participate. Do it.

Where I am in the writing process:  Halfway through my rewrite, thanks to writing about five chapters in a short amount of time. So roughly 37k words right now.

My current problem(s):  Epihanies. I know I'm going to have to change the beginning of my novel, and normally I'd be freaking out about how to do that, but I keep having ideas that I want to go ahead and implement but I can't because I'm trying to finish the stupid thing!

Sarah's ???:  What are your favorite dual narrative novels?

My answer:  I haven't read very many but in general I like them. I loved how the multiple narratives worked in the Midnighters Series by Scott Westerfeld. And even though the romance was too much for me, I liked having both Luc and Frannie's viewpoints in Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers. I like it when you see through the eyes of two different characters and you know their paths are going to cross. It just adds a lot of anticipation. It also works to add dramatic irony, which is always fun. Multiple POVs are less fun when they're necessary (think Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer) so the story can move along while one character is out of commission. But, again, I haven't met one I haven't liked...yet. ^_^

My ???:  Have you ever considered writing a dual/multiple narrative novel?

That's it for this time!

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Missing the Boat

Recently, I realized how many "boat" phrases appear in our (American) vernacular.

"Whatever floats your boat."     "I'm on a boat!"     "We're in the same boat."

"Don't rock the boat."     "Just off the boat."

But for a YA writer, the idiom "missing the boat" is probably the one that is most relevant.  As we're typing out our first, second, fourth, tenth draft of our novel, we're watching the shelves, the publishing mags, and the blogs with a slightly paranoid eye.  When you've yet to be published, your book yet to be "out there," there is this sometimes feverish need to get it done so that you don't "miss the boat" in terms of book genre trends.

Many unpublished writers have heard the advice from their forerunners not to write for current trends, because by the time your book makes it into the hands of readers, that trend will likely be long past.  And it was probably frustrating for all those with vampire novels in the works, whether in the early or late stages of publishing, to see Twilight take off like it did, creating a hurricane of trend that swept up their work with all the rest.

But what is a writer to do when their current project's genre hasn't trended yet?

My friend and critique partner, Meg from Myth-illogical, is writing a YA novel surrounding, well, myths, specifically of the Greek variety.  So when she and I started seeing all these Greek myth oriented books appearing on blogs, well, I freaked a little bit.  I had to know exactly what each of these books was about because I didn't want the ship to sail on Meg's type of story without Meg being on the boat!

And you know what books I'm talking about, don't you?



And the honorable mentions (because they were out before the trend):


But there is one key difference between all of these YA novels and their respective series and the one Meg is writing...and I'm not going to tell you what it is.  I'll let you discover what it is yourself when it gets published.  ^_^  

(Just so you know, the first book - because it is going to be the first in a series - is quite awesome and I love it.  Hence the overprotective book-stalking of those shown above.)

But because of this key difference, Meg has not missed the boat.  Yet.  She is working diligently to finish her book.  But she's not the only one feeling the paranoia of "missing the boat."

Yep, me too.

But, as far as I can tell, I haven't missed the boat yet either.  My current project has a magical base, but unless there is a giant trend in contemporary novels and a huge backlash against anything with magical/paranormal/supernatural themes, I should be okay.  But I still have to wonder where my book will fit in if (when, WHEN) it gets published.

Judging by what has appeared in recent years, my novel may share some similar situations/themes/settings as these books:

Let's call them 1, 2, and 3, for simplicity's sake.  Based on reviews/summaries of 1 and 3, and my own reading of 2, my main character is similar to the MC in 3, in that she has a magical heritage but does not do magic.  My MC's view of magic is more like that of the MC from 1, but the magic itself is more like that in 2.  The setting is also like 2, and so is the series arc of "something bad is going on in this world that needs to be stopped."  And 2 also has some mean girl/betrayal things that are similar to mine.

There is romance (though I don't know which of these mine is most like in that aspect) and mine has tragedy similar to 1.  Family dynamics are probably most like 3.  But my story is not urban fantasy like 3, and there are no fey or creatures - part human or otherwise - in my story, like 1 and 2.  And I'm pretty sure mine is twisty in a few ways that is not like any of these.

So, though my story has elements of each of these novels, in its entirety, mine is pretty different from each of them, and each of these books are also very different from each other.  This gives me hope.  Magic is a subject that is pretty much always there in YA, but because it is so variable from book to book, it is hard to define magic as a trend, especially when things like vampire, werewolf, fey, and angel novels are easier to recognize and lump together.

And though I know without a doubt that more YA books containing and revolving around magic are going to be published before mine ever will, I can't count my novel out yet.  I think I will literally keep pushing at it until I see at least ten published books so like mine that it is uncanny.  I'm going to keep writing, all the while hoping that I finish before I see that boat in the harbor, about to set sail without me for the ever-changing waters of the Sea of Trends.

What about you?  Do trends affect how/what you write?
Have you "missed the boat" or are you ahead of the game?

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Write Stuff [10]

Write Stuff (formerly Working Writer Wednesday) is a weekly meme based on the Wannabe Writer meme hosted by Sarah at Confessions of the Un-Published. This meme (I changed the name so I could post on any day of the week) is what prompted me to start Writer Quirk, so I am thankful to Sarah for creating it and allowing ANYONE (even a quirkster like me) to join up. So go visit her site and the others who participate. Do it.

Where I am in the writing process:  Getting back to it.  I'm trying to ignore what I've written thus far so I can finish the rewrite before NaNoWriMo in November.

My current problem(s):  Just getting back in the swing of things.  And not going back to make sure what I'm writing is inline with everything already written.  I was taking a slower approach with the rewrite, but honestly, it is almost an entirely new draft, so I'm trying to take that mindset and not let editing get in my way.

Sarah's ???:  How long do your breaks from writing last?

My answer:  Usually several weeks. I wrote all through last November and half of December, took a break for about three months, then started up and didn't stop until a couple months ago because life was getting hectic the nearer my wedding got.  But even during my fiction breaks, I still write, turning to personal essays, poetry, free-writing, whatever. I try to never stop-stop writing.  But sometimes you just need a break from writing fiction because there is so much planning and and intentional thought involved.

My ???:  Do you plan breaks from writing or do you just write when you feel like and not when you don't?

That's it for this time!

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Museday [6]

I stumbled across this duo here and instantly fell for them and their music.  It took literally one song to inspire me.  So who and what is it?

Today's Muse is...Like I'm Alive by Grand Vanity.

I really don't know how to describe Grand Vanity's music except that it rocks, but subtly.  This song has a pretty long intro, building up in such a way that you are listening to every note and beat, waiting to see what's coming.  Then the lyrics begin, and the take the same course as the music, slow and building then the chorus hits.  And the crux of the song is whoever the singer is singing about makes him feel alive.

When I first heard this song, not only did I love it, but it gave me an almost instant visual, like a scene from a movie.  The song's intro is playing, showing the MC of my novel at her locker.  Something catches her attention and she looks up and toward the end of the hallway.  Then we see her eyes widen, a look of awe spreading down her face.  The camera then switches, showing the feet, boots most likely, of a guy, walking around the corner and into the hallway. His steps are in sync with the riffing guitar as the camera pans upward to show us that he is devilishly handsome, dressed impeccably, and headed right for the MC.  Then (because I know what happens between them throughout the rest of the story...and no, I'm not telling *_^) as the chorus, the "You make me feel like I'm alive!" sounds with the guitar behind, I see a montage of all the moments from later on when he makes her feel alive.

So the song serves not only as an awesome intro for one of my characters, but it also explains why my MC is drawn to him, because he makes her feel alive.  And also it's just an amazing song.  ^_^

Unfortunately, I could not find a video playing this song, so below is the link to Grand Vanity's Myspace page.  I hope you visit and listen to their music, especially "Like I'm Alive," which is listed second on their track list.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Letter to Writer Quirk Readers

My fellow quirks,

Change happens, and it is happening to Writer Quirk.

When I started Writer Quirk, it was about, well, writing.  I had, as a writer, determined to focus on writing YA and actually make something of it instead of just writing here and there and having files gather dust on my computer.  I had stumbled upon blogs, both about YA books and writing YA, and decided to jump in, mainly to join a writing meme hosted by Sarah over at Confessions of the Unpublished.

Then I began seeing all these book blogs, and it looked like so much fun, so I started following the blogs and joined the routine: reviews, features, memes, followers, giveaways, etc.  And it was fun.  And then I took a break, because I couldn't keep up.  And then I got back into it, and tried to be like all the greats out there, and book blogging became extremely time and energy consuming.

And I just can't keep it up.

Okay, let me qualify.  I have the time, the energy, and the desire to blog.  I just don't have the time/energy/desire to book blog.

From what all the great YA book bloggers say (there are many successful ones with how-to tips on book blogging), a great book blog worthy of a following should have regular postings, great content, a blogger behind it who is involved (commenting, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and more.

I tried.  I really did.  I wanted to have a great book blog, but honestly, I cannot keep up in the world of YA book blogging.  To speak honestly, I, as a book blogger, cannot really offer up much in the way of new or better content than the thousands of other YA book bloggers out there.  I maybe had a different take or voice on things, but really, the only thing truly different was me, personally, and what I thought about the books I read.

And I don't want to lose the joy of blogging, but unfortunately, when you are one small blog among so many, many great ones, it is hard to focus on the fun of it and not trying to be as good as the rest.  It is hard enough trying to keep up with the Jones' of the blogging community, especially when your offline life is rather full.  I now have a husband, and I also have a disabled mother and an elderly father, several pets, a full time job, four church commitments, and a novel I'm trying to finish before the next NaNoWriMo in November.  Book blogging was stressing me out, and the thought of returning to it even now that life sans wedding plans has calmed a bit, is distressing.

In other words, I can't really afford to do anything that I don't feel 100% about, and I just don't feel 100% about book blogging.

But I do feel 100% about this blog, so Writer Quirk is not going away.  Things are just changing.

I am no longer going to classify Writer Quirk as a book blog.

That might sound like quite an insignificant change, but it's a little bigger than it seems.

Let's face it; no matter how much a blogger loves YA, much of a blogger's energy is so that GFC count will grow.  There are very few people who enter the blogging world to share their opinions to an audience of zero.  I know I didn't. But I also didn't start out thinking I was going to be creating posts just aimed at gaining followers.  I will concede that those posts also served other functions, but I was operating under the mindset that if I didn't do this or that, I wouldn't gain/retain followers.

I love YA, but I love the rest of my life too, and the blog had gotten off-track from where I had intended it to be.  But I'm not going to let those things drive my blog anymore.  This gives me more freedom to post what and when I want to since I'm no longer going to be trying to keep up with the standard for YA book blogs.  I'm sure most of you know this, but the YA book blogging community has pretty substantial standards for YA book blogs, and those that are deemed great operate at quite a high level and constant, and sometimes feverish, pace (depending on if you blog ahead of time and schedule or do it week by week).  I have always blogged (on other blogs) in more of a laid-back manner, going with the flow of my mind rather than on a timetable, producing content on a certain schedule.  There's nothing wrong with the way the book blogging operates.  I'm still following all the book blogs on my feed because I still love the YA book blogging community.  But book blogging is just not the course for me.

So, Writer Quirk is headed back to its roots.  I am going to continue blogging here about my journey as a YA writer, which will include more personal content (though not too personal, of course).  And when I feel like, I'm going to review YA I read.  Because I still read YA.  Of course I do.  I wouldn't be writing it if I didn't read it and love it.  And I hope you'll continue with me as I head on this renewed path.

I want to thank each and every reader, follower, commenter, blogger, for joining me here.  I know many of you only follow or are only interested in book blogs, and since Writer Quirk is no longer that, I completely understand if you remove me from your feeds.  That's why I wrote this, so that those who came for the regular reviews, memes, content, etc., could know I wasn't trying to hoodwink them by not doing those things anymore.

But if you want to stay tuned to see if a YA writer can become a YA author, and ride with me on the roller coaster that is writing, please do.  It's always better to travel with friends than without them.

With all my writerly heart,