Shana Silver: YA writer

Tag Archives: writing update

QUERY:

REVERSE is an 80k YA Sci-fi in the vein of BIG BANG THEORY meets BENJAMIN BUTTON.

Normal after school jobs are overrated, so seventeen-year-old Arden Varga steals her classmates’ memories and sells them to other students. Who wouldn’t pay top dollar for a night as the homecoming queen? Arden’s making serious bank until someone from her school for science geniuses hacks her mind-uploading app and erases her memories’ greatest hits. Vivid flashbacks rip her out of the present and dump her into past mistakes she never wanted to relive. Those forgotten experiences all feature a boy named Sebastian Cuomo, a rival classmate who breaks into school to do homework and makes even quantum physics sound sexy. Unfortunately he can’t remember her either, but the past reveals they’ve been harboring a secret time manipulation project together…and a secret relationship.

As they team up to investigate how to stop the disruptive flashbacks, who carved out their minds, and what they mean to each other, the hacker uses their secret app to make time itself go backward. With the clock counting in the wrong direction and time keeping Arden in the past longer and longer, she must find the culprit before she’s trapped forever living life in reverse.

My work has finaled in the RWA “Get Your Stiletto In The Door” contest and the RWA North Texas’s “Great Expectations” contest. My short stories have appeared in various literary magazines such as ShatterColors Literary Review and The Hiss Quarterly. I studied creative writing at Syracuse University under Junot Diaz and Mary Gaitskill, and I now work at a well-known educational publisher in NYC where I oversee the creation of tablet apps, eBooks, and other digital products.

First 250 Words:

The problem with stealing other people’s memories is you start to lose the difference between what’s theirs and what’s yours. Luckily, I know how to exploit that—as long as the teachers don’t find out, anyway. Normal after-school jobs are overrated when you have a secret during-school-business.

I flip through a list of cataloged memory files on my mind-uploading app as a line of students snakes away from me, each one wanting to buy a different experience. Charlotte Marion, my partner in crime, doles out numbers as if the students are waiting in line at the deli. Once they receive a number, they disperse across the courtyard and mill about like strangers trying to act normal before they break out in a Flash Mob.

“I need the answers to the Organic Chem homework.” The first customer out of thirty lifts a tablet, revealing a mess of stylus-created scribbles on top of complicated math problems.

Charlotte holds out her palm, indicating ten bucks. The girl shifts her weight from foot to foot, skirt swishing around bare legs. Dark clouds swirl in the washed out sky, turning the mirrored building in front of us into a sheet of gray. Cold and clinical, more like an office building than a high school for science geniuses.

Charlotte nudges my shoulder until my lips pop open. “Number two!” I yell, tapping my stiletto on the concrete path.

The customer hands me the cash, and I get to work selling the girl someone else’s stolen memory.

 

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Hey everyone! Thought I’d give you a little update as to what I’ve been up to lately.

1.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was diving straight into a MG first draft after finishing the first draft of my sci-fi YA. I ended up outlining the MG, but instead of writing the first draft, I decided to let the outline marinate for a bit. Plus, I had enough time away from my sci-fi YA that I was able to go back to it with fresh eyes and revise it. I’m almost done with this round and then it’s out to my critique partners!

 

2.

I also wrote proposals for another MG and another YA. Very excited about these as well.

 

3.

I am very excited about this:

 


That’s right! My favorite band from the 90s, the one that dedicated a song to me at a concert when I was 14 because I made them a ridiculously cute-but-dorky scrapbook and managed to smuggle it to them during a concert at a small venue, the one where the cute drummer kissed me on the cheek after that concert, the one I used to run an e-zine for that had over a thousand subscribers IS GETTING BACK TOGETHER!

Yay throwback to my teen years!

 

4.

And that’s not the only thing coming back from my teen years:

 

A Sailor Moon reboot!

 

This was also my favorite thing when I was 14! This time the anime will follow more closely. According to this announcement, the anime will debut sometime in December 2013/January 2014. I can’t wait!

 

5.

The baby now says three words. “Up,” “down,” and “hi!” And she likes to call me “dada” except she doesn’t call her actual dad that, lol.

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A Friday Five is appropriate today since it’s July 5th. And I have much to celebrate this week!

1. I finished the first draft of my new book! WHOOOOOOOOO! It’s now marinating for a bit so I can come back to it with fresh eyes.

2. I celebrated finishing the first draft by diving into the outline of a MG idea I’ve been playing around with. I’m excited to try my hand at MG.

3. Yesterday was America’s birthday and tomorrow is my baby’s birthday. I can’t believe she’s already a year old. How did that happen? In celebration, she learned to climb the stairs this week. In related news, I now find it much more difficult to go up the stairs thanks to the gate blocking my way.

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She’s celebrating the Fourth in style.

4. She hasn’t said her first words yet but I’m working really hard to ensure they are “Doctor Who.” She can’t say “mama” yet but she can almost say “doctor.”

5. This was the first year since I graduated college 10 years ago that I didn’t watch the Macy’s Fireworks live, either in NJ in Hoboken or in NYC. I’m not the biggest fan of fireworks, to be honest, but it still felt weird to go to bed at 9:30 last night and miss them entirely! But I knew the baby would be up at 5:30am like she always is despite me wanting her to sleep until 8, and so I had to be old and lame. Oh well. At least I’m refreshed and ready to write today!

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What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk similar to the Currently… post that has been circulating. This is shorter and a bit more manageable to allow us to connect with our blog followers on a weekly basis. Feel free to join in!

 

WHAT I’M READING

I’m slowly making it through my BEA pile. Right now I’m about 2/3 of the way through THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner and I absolutely LOVE it! The best way I can describe it is Titanic set on a spaceship, crash included. The characters are very similar with a socialite in a fancy and uncomfortable stress and a guy from the wrong side of the galaxy. What I really love though is the authors turn this trope on its head by having the female be savvy enough to save their lives when it counts and the boy being a famous war hero and not just a street smart urchin.

It’s a survival story but it’s also a mystery about what exactly is wrong with the abandoned planet they’ve landed on. I have a huge place in my heart for science fiction, especially stories set in space or foreign planets thanks to my dad who very nearly went to school for Astronomy (he spent a year at MIT studying it in grad school before switching to optometry) and growing up hearing all about his fascination with space and science fiction. So anyway, I love it! And I should also note the writing itself is gorgeous.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m still writing that same sci-fi book, at about 75k now and I only have four scenes left to write! I so want to finish my first draft this week but my schedule keeps thwarting me (see below). It probably won’t happen until next week. Sigh. I’m aiming to at least write the big it-all-goes-to-hell chapter that comes next. On top of that, yesterday I got an idea for a MG and ended up outlining half the novel during a boring work meeting. Shh, don’t tell my boss. I’m super excited about this one. I’ve been wanting to write a MG for a while now.

 

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

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All the books I’ve been reading at BEA, of course! FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell in particular. This book is about a girl who is more interested in the fake world of a story she loves (think Harry Potter) than the real world. All she wants to do is write fanfiction, putting her own spin on the canon of the tale, so much so that she ignores her own life in favor of the fictional characters. Not only did this book speak to my inner geek because there have been times I cared way too much about fictional characters even if I never wrote fanfiction. But what this book is also about is writing. The art of it. The act of it. How you get swept up in it and how sometimes there are obstacles inside yourself blocking you from putting words to paper.

I am going to share my favorite quote from the book with you (though please note this is from the ARC and the quote may change in the final print version). This quote is one I now have taped up at my desk at work. It’s one that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently as I near the end of my first draft. And it’s one that inspired a blog post I’m in the middle of composing and will hopefully post tomorrow.

Every word felt heavy and hurt, like Cath was chipping them one by one out of her stomach. That was the beauty in stacking up words–they got cheaper, the more you had of them. It would feel good to come back and cut this when she’d worked her way to something better

 

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO

Busy busy busy! Last weekend we drove 5 hours each way to Boston for a wedding. We dropped the baby off at my in-laws and I was super excited for a good night’s sleep in the hotel room. But turns out after having a baby and not really drinking anything for almost two years due to being pregnant and then nursing, I am now a light weight. Yep. Three drinks spread out over the course of the night and the room was spinning. I feel like a freshman in college.

We also had Father’s Day brunch with my in-laws, of course!

This weekend I have a bachelorette party for my old college roommate (talk about feeling like a freshman!). We’re doing a cooking class, which I’m really excited about! And then the next day is the baby’s joint 1st birthday party with my nephew! Quinn doesn’t actually turn one until July 6, but my nephew turned one on May 8, so we’re splitting the difference and doing the party in between their birthdays since it’s the same guest list. And also because my sister lives in Florida and she’s only in town this weekend. I’m really excited to give Quinn a cake to smash (or more accurately, throw on the floor while laughing maniacally).

 

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I’m taking a cue from my friend Chandler Baker and participating in What’s Up Wednesday this week. What is that you ask?

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk similar to the Currently… post that has been circulating. This is shorter and a bit more manageable to allow us to connect with our blog followers on a weekly basis. Feel free to join in!

 

WHAT I’M READING

Technically I’ve been spending most of the day reading the #BEA13 schedule in prep for tomorrow. I also just started THEN YOU WERE GONE by Lauren Strasnick, which Denise Jaden kindly mailed across the country (er, technically countries) so I could borrow it. I’m so glad she did! The writing is gorgeous and the story won’t let me go.

 

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m 60k into the first draft of my new WIP. I’m going to keep the details mum on this one for now since it’s still in the very early stages and who knows what will change in revisions. All I’ll say is that it’s a high concept YA sci-fi. And it has lots and lots of kissing in it.

And I love working on it!

 

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

Pre-emptive answer: BEA. Because it always does. Even though I come home with achy feet, a sore back, and needing a year’s worth of sleep, I also always come back re-energized with writing and the publishing industry in general. It’s amazing to spend three days surrounded by book people who love reading books and love making books. Other things that are inspiring me not related to books: the gorgeous cinematography on Teen Wolf, which I’ve just started watching. The finish line getting closer and closer at the end of my draft. Lying in bed trying to sleep, apparently, since that’s when I get all my best ideas.

 

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO

Well, you probably already guessed what I’m up to this weekend. I’ve also finished season 1 of Teen Wolf and I’m hoping to watch season 2 before season 3 begins. Then I’m going to move on to Arrested Development, which I have also never seen. And it’s my 3-year wedding anniversary next Wednesday. How has it already been 3 years? Not to mention that in July we’ll celebrate our 10-year dating anniversary. (And also the baby’s 1st birthday.)

Aside from reading and writing and that other thing that takes up my time from 8:30-4:30 on weekdays (coughWorkcough), I’ve been spring cleaning. We tackled the basement two weeks ago and our walk-in closet last weekend, throwing out anything we haven’t touched or worn in at least a year. Next on the list of things to put on trial: my beauty products. I have way too many, and I only use a select few. Bye bye hair gel, the tribe has spoken.

 

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1. I decided I want to do a vlog for part 2 of my BEA recap, but I haven’t had a chance to film it yet. Hopefully I will have some time this weekend and it will go up on Monday! However, I am going away this weekend because…

2. It’s my first year anniversary with my husband! HOLY CRAP THAT WENT FAST. Especially considering I waited 7 years for that wedding! We are going to Atlantic City this weekend (aka VegasLite) to celebrate. Neither of us gambles, but we like to people watch and there are exotic pools at the Borgata, and we’ll go out to a nice dinner. Then on Sunday we are going to stop at my parents’ house on the way home since the bakery that made our wedding cake is making a mini-replica for our first anniversary, so we’ll share that with my family. Very excited since I didn’t really get to eat anything at the actual wedding, now I can indulge!

Since this is the Paper Anniversary, I think this clearly means the hubs should buy me books as a gift, yes?

3. In other gift news, I am finally getting my 30th birthday gift from my parents this weekend (only about 2 months too late). An iPad!!! I hear it can sync with Scrivener, which is super exciting to me. I also got a portable keyboard for it to make typing on the go easy peasy. Mostly I’m looking forward to reading some of the Galley Grab and NetGalley books on it.

4. As far as writing updates go, I am revising 2 books and outlining a new one! The outlining is just happening naturally whenever ideas come to me, I’m not necessarily seeking them out. Very excited about all three of these things!

5. I have summer Fridays and it’s almost quitting time, so I can’t think of a number 5 except to say have a great weekend!

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1. There are big changes ahead for me starting next week. I’ve been freelancing for the past eight years and I have a love/hate relationship with it. I had a lot of full-days off to write, but when I did work, it was 10-14 hour days, every single day, often including weekends. I worked in the TV industry, which ran on a production schedule. Add to that an hour and a half commute into NYC when I only live 10 minutes from it (mostly because I commuted at off hours and would have to wait 20-30 minutes for each subway and bus). And I never knew if I was working until the day before, which made it hard to plan my schedule and stressful in terms of stability. I could be booked for a single day, I could be booked for five months. To sum it up: Since I’d been working a lot in the last year, my writing had been suffering because when I got home at 10pm, I pretty much only had time for dinner before I crashed into bed.

I’ve been thinking about switching careers for a while now for a lot of reasons besides more abundant writing time. I really wanted a steady 9-5 job like the rest of the world. Specifically, I wanted to switch into the publishing industry because I heart it so much. So when my critique partner, Jen Hayley, left her job to move to the UK, she recommended me for the position. (Seriously, this is when critique partners go above and beyond!) I’m happy to say I’m starting next week!

The job is in publishing in the e-publishing division and it lets me combine my graphics and computer programming background with my love of publishing. I think it’s an up and coming field with a lot of new technologies to explore and hopefully I have something to bring to the table. I’m really excited!

It will give me more time to write if I get home by 6:30pm each day instead of 10pm. Plus all my weekends will be free! And now I can go to all the YA events in NYC that start at 6pm! In the past, in order to go to them I either had to leave work like 3 hours early or I had to schedule myself completely off and lose pay (since some places don’t like you leaving at 5) or I had to skip it. There are a lot of other things this new schedule will let me do that I couldn’t before (like go to the gym).

2. And even better, they sent Jen to BEA last year so I am hoping for that as well! (If not, I will just take the days off and go anyway because I can’t miss it! But it would be nice not to use my days off now that I only get so many.)

3. That being said about lack of writing time, I took off all this week to give me a break between freelancing and full-time. And I’ve been kicking major butt on my WIP! I’m soooooooo excited about this book. My agent is excited about it! And I love the way it’s been coming out in revisions. I’m a first draft overwriter, which means I’ve generally been axing 1000+ words per chapter in revisions, which is AWESOME. It’s a lot of work since the first draft needs a ton of rewriting and reordering but the voice is flowing, the plot is just so fun, and I think my main character is quirky and fun and different from anything I’ve written before. She has a passion I don’t exactly share so I’ve been doing a lot of research to make sure her voice is accurate. I’ve been learning a lot! And I can’t wait for readers to meet the love interest. He’s my favorite one yet!

4. It was 62 degrees in NYC yesterday and it’s supposed to be the same today. Please stick, weather! My Mac weather widget claims it will be 35 again on Tuesday but I choose not to believe! So from now on I will stick with my mantra: I believe in vampires but not weather!

5. Below I’m going to post the answers to the quotes I posted on Monday in case you’re interested.

“Why are you like that?”
“Like what?”
“Like how you are.”

MY SO-CALLED LIFE. Speaker: both Angela and Jordan say the same thing to each other, but in different contexts.

“I want you to know I did save you. Not when it counted, of course, but…after that. Every night after that. I’d see it all again…do something different. Faster or more clever, you know? Dozens of times, lots of different ways. Every night I save you.”

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Speaker: Spike.

“You are my life now.”

Come on, I had to include at least ONE Twilight quote, right? Speaker: Edward Cullen.

“I am you know.”
“What?”
“Yours.”

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Speaker: Tara.

“I thought our story was epic, you know? You and me. ”

“Epic how?”

“Spanning years, and continents. Lives ruined and blood shed.”

VERONICA MARS. Speaker: Logan Echolls.

“You know you like her. Would it kill you to admit it? Maybe treat her halfway decent? Because, you know, she deserves it. And she’s not going to wait around for you forever.”

MY SO-CALLED LIFE. Speaker: Rayanne Graff to Jordan Catalano, about Angela.

“You’re so beautiful–it hurts me sometimes.”

VAMPIRE ACADEMY. Speaker: Dimitri.

“I just have to say it once. You just need to hear it. I love you. And it’s because I love you that… I can’t be selfish with you… Why you can’t know this. I don’t deserve you…But my brother does. God, I wish you didn’t have to forget this. But you do.”

VAMPIRE DIARIES. Speaker: Damon.

When I turn around, he cups my face in his hands and he kisses me so deeply that I don’t know who is breathing for who, but is mouth and tongue taste like warm honey. I don’t know how long it lasts, but when I let go of him, I miss it instantly.

JELLICOE ROAD. Narrative from Taylor’s POV about Jonah.

“Hey, I have to tell you something.”

“I’m sorry, we’re past the confessional portion of this program. We’re on to the make out.”

VERONICA MARS. First speaker: Logan Echolls. Second speaker: Veronica Mars.

“How did you find out I didn’t do it?”

“I didn’t. I just realized I already knew.”

TITANIC. First speaker: Jack. Second speaker: Rose.

“Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.”

DIRTY DANCING. Speaker: Baby.

“I was hoping it would be you.”

VERONICA MARS. Speaker: Veronica.

So you like me huh? Your mom says you like me.

MY SO-CALLED LIFE. Speaker: Jordan Catalano.

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I’ve been juggling between all these trenches the last few weeks: revision trench, nano trench, wedding planning trench, plus I’m still trying to keep up with the thousand TV shows I watch AND read two books per week. So far so good on all that. Blogging? Not so much. Then add to that a new job I’ve been working 10-12 hours a day at plus commuting takes as long as two hours each way. That’s where I’ve been the last two weeks and that’s why I haven’t had much time for the internets. I’ve had to make cuts and so I figured I might as well cut the time suck until things slow down again. I suspect the rest of November will be like this. Anyway, here’s my progress on some of the above. Also, if you need to reach me, the best way is via email, which is on the sidebar. I’m still checking that religiously!

1. Super Secret Retelling revisions are going very very well. The book is out with critique partners right now. I’ve been revising as I get their notes. I have two scenes left to add. I think chapters 1-17 are in pretty good shape at the moment. The rest are getting there as I get to them. I’m very excited about the way the book is turning out. Right now it’s on the longish side for YA (around 85k), but I’m working on shaving it down. Hoping to get it to my agent asap! Ideally, it will go on sub in January.

2. Nanowrimo. I was off to a great start doing 3k a day and having no trouble and then I started this freelance job and I lost all my free time. I don’t get home until after 10pm and I haven’t been able to get a seat on the bus for my commute so writing on the alpha smart is out too. The last few nights I’ve been struggling to get 1k-2k written because my brain is on sleep mode at that point. Hopefully I’ll have some time to catch up this weekend (I’ve got two 4-hour car rides to and from Boston that I can write during). Right now the book stands at 32k. I’d prefer to be at, like, 39k by the end of the day but it’s not going to happen. I was hoping to get the entire draft written in November (which tends to be about 90k for a first draft…I always overwrite at first, which I prefer. I like having things to cut in draft 2) but I may have to settle for just 50k or whatever additional I can do. I had a really detailed outline for this book, but I’ve started to stray. A love triangle cropped up I hadn’t planned on and I’m loving it so I’m going with it. I think I may have a case of an unnecessary character as well so that person might get axed in revisions.

3. TV. The three weeks of Glee withdrawal were hard to deal with. I have a major crush on Puck. I wish the last episode wasn’t so preachy, even though it made me cry. I’m still absolutely loving Vampire Diaries. I also have a crush on Damon. I like the risks that show is taking. Surprisingly, I’ve been enjoying Grey’s Anatomy. I think it’s because George and Izzie are gone at the moment and I never liked them. I nearly gave that show up last year and the year before. Also I adore Modern Family!

4. I read Prada and Prejudice and Rampant recently and really enjoyed both of them!

5. I signed up for the YA/kidlit ALA tweetup happening in January in Boston. Anyone going?

6. This weekend I’m going to my future-in-laws’ house in the Boston area because they’re hosting a "ravioli making party." Sounds fun!

What’s up with everyone else?

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1. Last night I stepped back into high school. One of my favorite bands from the 90s, Letters To Cleo, played a reunion concert in NYC after an eight year hiatus, even though they all tour with Miley Cyrus now as part of her backup band. I attended the concert with my best friend from high school, Jeremy. Lyrics to songs I haven’t heard in over a decade came back to me like they’d never left. I have a lot of history with this band. Back in high school, I used to run a super cool (read: super geeky) music ezine devoted to my favorite bands. Actually, I ran several, each showcasing a separate band. Due to my research on fun articles for the ‘zine, I learned a lot of tricks about getting backstage at concerts. Now, I should note that I was around 14 years old with a mouth full of braces. I looked kind of adorkable in a pinch-your-cheeks and help-with-homework kind of way. I would make scrapbooks for the bands I saw, printing out the pages of the ezines and filling the rest with drawings I did. I’d sidle up to a bouncer or a bartender, acting all innocent and endearing and ask if they could find a way to deliver the scrapbook to the band. This worked on many occassions; one band even dedicated songs to me at a concert. Though Letters To Cleo didn’t appreciate me enough to dedicate any songs, I did receive something better from them back in high school. The drummer, who I had a major crush on at the time, kissed me on the cheek to say thanks for the scrapbook. I hoped for a repeat performance last night. My boyfirend even gave me permission! Sadly, I didn’t take into consideration that he might not have aged well or that he would have developed poor judgement when he decided shoulder-length curly hair looked attractive on him. Nor did I take account that I am not 14, and while in high school I could stay out until 3am and go to school the next day, I could barely keep my eyes open by 11pm. As soon as the concert ended, I made a mad dash for my bed. I entertained grand plans of posting photos of me with the band, then and now. I can only do the then, and I promise to get the photos from my parents’ house the next time I go home. They are quite funny, and very embarrassing. Anyway, I’m feeling nostaligic today, the songs evoked long-sleeping emotions in me as I recalled listening to certain songs on repeat in my room until they spoke a mantra about particular events in my life. So for now, I leave this bullet point with one lyric I hadn’t heard in years. I dedicate to all those boys I crushed on in high school who never knew I existed:


Though it would be a kick to get my way / I hardly ever do
And the closest that i ever get / Is nothing on you
   "I’m A Fool"

                     

2. Concerts always make me think of writing. I started my foray in writing novels at a concert, though not a Letters to Cleo one. I’d been writing short stories for years, had notebooks full of poetry, a very detailed journal, and even won a few competitions in high school. But I hadn’t written a novel until I attended a Goo Goo Dolls concert back when I was 17. We had just studied Camus’ The Stranger as well as Hamlet. You could say I was on somewhat of an existential kick. Standing in the crowd of that concert, knowing how much the lyrics affected me but the lead singer didn’t know I existed, it changed something in me. I wanted to affect someone the same way. Give back, if you will. I knew I had no business trying out the music industry. Though I play a lot of instruments, I’m far from musically talented. Mostly, I memorize and practice certain songs until I get them right, but I can’t quite hear the difference between playing it well and playing it decent. I am tone deaf. If I ever auditioned for American Idol? It would probably become a classic YouTube video everyone laughed at. Until the Goo Goo Dolls concert, it had never occurred to me to write a novel, something in long form, something someone besides my teachers or friends would see. That night after the concert, I sat down and started. I came out with a book of absolute crap because it had no plot, no characters names, and contained essentially 75k of existental ponderings. But I’d done it. I’d written something in long form. It taught me not to be afraid again. (And Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I ever forced you to read that thing.) Thankfully after that, I started writing things with actual premises and plots and conflict. I also learned the beauty of revising. But whenever I go to a concert, I’m reminded of the day I started writing, and that’s what I find myself thinking of today.

3. I’m also thinking about how tired I am. I must warn you all, when I’m tired, I tend to make bad jokes! I am trying to keep my lips zipped at work, but a terrible one just slipped out. My poor coworkers; they should invest in earplugs. I’d like to sleep in tomorrow, but I’ve got to get up early and brave the cut throat jungle of the mall parking lot for Christmas/Hanukkah shopping. Last time my boyfriend and I tried to go to the mall three weeks ago, we drove around for an hour looking for a spot before giving up and indulging in ice cream instead. That may have been a victory instead of a failure, depending on your perspective.

4. Writing update: I’ve got two scenes left to write in the super secret WIP. I hit a roadblock a few days ago and realized my carefully planned outline no longer worked. Luckily, it only affected the last act of the book. I took some time to mull over the new direction, and I think I know what to do now. I hope to finish draft one by the end of the weekend. Incidentally, I’ve made a lot of progress on the brainstorm book idea I blogged about last Friday. I’m now 6k into that one and it’s going really well. The super secret WIP is nearing 100k, which is pretty normally for me. By the time I’m done, it will be down to a managable size of about 70k I predict.

5. Part Two of my ode to outlining series will be up tomorrow. I’m still organizing my thoughts and going through my outline/WIP for the best excerpts. The concert and busyness at work derailed my progress so far.

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