Archive | December, 2011

Merry Christmas!

24 Dec

So the thing nobody tells you about writing until you start doing it is that in the beginning it’s less hanging out in Starbucks wearing a corduroy blazer with leather elbow pads and more sitting in your kitchen on Christmas Eve eating Handi Snacks and trying to figure out whether your heroine actually likes the hero in the beginning of the book and, if not, why she decides to try to be friends with him anyway.

Also whether or not the hero has full blown shell shock. I should probably know that by now, but I’m slowly changing my mind. Maybe he just doesn’t like people anymore. Anyway, in case you’re bad at context clues, I’ve started working on the next book in the series. I’m not done editing the first one yet, but I’m not in an incredible hurry. Nobody will be able to beta read in the middle of the holidays anyway and my brain is finally functioning.

Anyway since I love people who read my blog so much I’m going to give you a sneak peak of the main characters! Call it your Christmas present. These two make a guest appearance in the beginning of Promise Me Paradise, so the beta readers will get to meet them soon.

Sarah Gertrude “Sally” Newson — Sally is the youngest of three girls and her two sisters were 8 and 9 when she was born and her parents lead a busy social life. As a result, she spent most of her time reading. She went to boarding school with her cousin, Josie Hudson, and they spent summers together at Josie’s parents house in Florida so the two are closer to sisters than cousins. Sally did well in school, and participated in the drama program where she tended to be cast in male roles as a result of being slightly taller than most of the other girls. She’s flippant, self-absorbed, constantly needs to be the center of attention (a result of her childhood being spent largely in benign neglect by her parents), and is utterly charming about it. She’s a shrewd woman, but has an overactive imagination who loves going to the cinema. On first blush, she comes off as entirely silly which causes Sinjin to underestimate her abilities. She loves Valentino pictures and is at first surprised when Egypt does not resemble the film “The Sheik” at all. She doesn’t understand the nuances of the British peerage system particularly well, which leads to a small misunderstanding about Sinjin’s place in society and makes her believe he’s a criminal. I very much adore her.

Sir St. John “Sinjin” Cuthbert Godolphin Fforbes-Prentice — Sinjin is the eldest son of a baronet, possibly ends up knighted at some point for his service during The Great War. A career military man, he had some minor shell shock towards the end of the war and the shame of it caused him a lot of embarrassment and as a result he all but retired from public life and wound up resigning his commission not long after hostilities ceased. His parents are both quite proper, and he and his younger brother were both raised “right.” As a result of those two things, he can come off as aloof, cold, and snobbish. He feels crushed under his responsibilities. He came to Egypt hoping a change of scenery would snap him out of his funk. Initially, he thinks Sally is all fluff and no substance, but he’s rapidly impressed with her knowledge of the classics as well as the fact that she’s unaware of his mental problems and treats him like she would anyone else. He attempts to befriend her, unaware that she suspects him of banditry. When he discovers her suspicions, he lets her drag him into an adventure!

So, you know, Merry Christmas y’all! Hope you get everything you ever wanted!

So this is what it feels like to succeed

22 Dec

Guess what! The first draft is done.

No, seriously! I finished it yesterday afternoon. I know, right? I didn’t think I’d ever finish either. I was starting to seriously doubt myself.

Anyway, I sent it off to a friend of mine to read and I’m going to spend the next few days fixing the formatting and doing the most basic of bare bones editing. I’d be done today except I went to Arkansas with my mother to try to write without distractions (it worked, apparently) and we’re driving back to Texas tonight. I’ll be working on it and sending it out to beta readers sometime after Christmas.

Thanks for being so supportive everybody. This has been a ridiculously positive experience for me.

I Hate This Book (But I’m going to finish it anyway)

15 Dec

Oh hey, so I still have a blog. How about that? I’ll admit, since it became December I’ve been slacking hard. The book is so close to being done, y’all, I don’t even want to give excuses. I’m basically down to all the boring parts that I skipped the first time. So as soon as that’s done, I’ll do a read through to fix the glaring spelling and grammatical errors, probably fix a few sentence constructs and then it’s off to the beta stage. If I had anything interesting left to do, it’s probably the work of about a day. As it stands, who the hell knows? I should probably just get drunk and see what comes out because I can fix bad writing. Oh hey, speaking of bad writing!

I hate this book. But I’m going to finish it anyway. Beside the fact that “it’s character building!” I’ve come to a realization (and a metaphor!):
See, I knit. I’m good at it. I don’t do it all the time, but every so often my fingers start to itch and all of a sudden my entire family comes into possession of new scarves. When I first learned to knit, I was about 10. It was impossible. I’m making these little tiny bitty loops with STICKS?! Are you high, grandma? My stitches were too tight, I was adding and dropping every which way, the entire thing slanted to the left and it was just impossible. How the hell do people do that, anyway? I threw it down in disgust and didn’t try again until I was in high school. Well, it turns out grandma wasn’t high, actually. When I picked it back up I had a book and a complete inability to knit in the round, but I kept trying. And you know what? I’m good at it now. I can cable knit in a movie theater or while taking notes. I’ve made lacey cowls and an entire shawl in 48 hours. I’ve written patterns. Once, after a long break from knitting, I couldn’t remember how to cast on but set it up anyway and as soon as I had the yarn in my fingers muscle memory took over and next thing I knew I had the cast on finished.
I thought about it harder. I took an art class that focused on chiaroscuro and suddenly my recreational art progressed in leaps and bounds. I didn’t draw anything for a long time and regressed to an earlier style.

I’m going to finish this book, not because it’s any good, not because I love it, not even because I want to at this point. I’m going to finish it because I want to get better and because I can get better. I will get better. That is my solemn vow to myself. I will get better and I will become the writer I want to be and the writer I think I can be. Cross my heart and hope to die.

Oh hey, apparently this is my tenth post! Yay me!

Farewell, Ungrateful Traitor

1 Dec

Well, it’s less than 2 hours until December and NaNoWriMo is over. I’m not crushed for word count. I’ve been ahead all month and I’ve gotten past the climax of the book. All that’s left is to write the conclusion, the epilogue, and go back and insert some scenes I skipped and I will have a first draft of a novel. The entire process should take about a week and I just don’t even know what to do with myself now.

Farewell, NaNoWriMo. I hardly knew ye.

I am still looking for beta readers if anyone out there is interested. This draft is god-awful but it’s a first draft and therefore it is allowed to be. The hard part is now I have to let other people read it and tell me what they hate about it so that I can make it better. I am very good at accepting insults because there is no way you can hate this book more than I do right now since you haven’t just spent 30 days trying to force it out of your soul with a sieve and a pickaxe but you never know.

I feel like I’ve done some terrible things to literature this month, but there have been little successes. For example, I’m rather fond of this line:

He didn’t dare move, to break the spell she was casting over him. Maybe she was a mermaid, he thought. Maybe this was the real song of the Siren – not a beautiful melody, but love.

Because when I look back at this book, the one thing it’s lacking is MOAR MERMAIDZ.

I’ve also discovered that I’m not as funny as I think I am, but that I am quite good at writing someone with a concussion, so there’s that.

But there are the other, less tangible rewards and those are the important thing. I’ve gained the courage to actually write something and let people see it. I’ve spent my life not putting the effort in because I’ve always assumed I couldn’t do it, that I didn’t have the patience, that I didn’t have anything to say. Well, now I have things to say and I find that I’m much more patient than I’ve ever given myself credit for. I’ve almost finished the first draft of a novel. How many people who I let make me feel bad about myself have ever done that? Not many, I would imagine.

I’ve also finally started being comfortable identifying as a novelist. I’ve never done that before. Hell, my Twitter “about-me” section says that I write romance things sometimes. I’m not great yet. I’m not a fantastic author who’s going to change the world, but I’m getting better. I’m learning and I’m growing. I’m closer now to the person I’ve always wanted to be (and never thought I could be) than I was in October.

The best thing about doing this is the community of people I’ve found willing to talk to me and help me and take an interest in my characters. I’ve always been a bit of a solitary person, but I don’t think I’ve discussed writing with another human outside of a classroom since high school when I used to write fanfiction. And even then, that wasn’t exactly a round table of ideas. This is the first time I’ve tried to accomplish something with help and I love it. I could say I did this all by myself, but it’s actually more impressive that I did it with help. I’ve done lots of things by myself, but this is the first time I’ve ever actively sought help and that’s a big step for me.

I’ve decided I’d rather fail than go to my death bed having never tried, and that’s the important thing.