Well this is… Different

Well, it’s been a while. I think. My sense of time has gotten completely jumbled for about a month and a half.

So, news? Not much happening. I’m looking for an adult to read my finished manuscript because I would really like to have that opinion before trying to do anything with it. I also am completely at a loss when it comes to trying to get the thing published, because I have no idea where to start. I know that I should try and get an agent first, but I don’t even know how to begin doing that.

Ugh.

In brighter news, I’ve picked one of my plot lines to work on as my next Big Project. I have this board, you see, hanging in my room. On this board, I stick post-it notes and little scripts of paper and napkins. What these are are story ideas, and I write them down as soon as they come to me, and usually scramble for the nearest writing source (which is sometimes a napkin from the table of Applebee’s). I store them there for later, when I’m not as busy and need a new project. Since one manuscript has been completed, I’ve moved on to start on my new one. The topic of this new story? Witches.

Yes. I went from psych wards to witches. And it is weird.

I also have this major change of narration. The character is totally different from my previous manuscript’s narrator, and it’s like having an identity crisis. I’m also in present-day on this new one, instead of hundreds of years into the future. I do like challenges, though, so that’s why I picked this plot. Currently, there is a very, very rough draft of it that’s only about 1/8 complete. Hopefully I’ll have a free weekend soon and can stay at an aunt’s or grandparent’s or even friend’s house so I can sit down and just work on it.

Also, I got a twitter account, if anyone is interested: @LenaJax

Hope everyone’s start of autumn is going swiftly!

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I Guess I Should’ve Shared

Throughout the years, I have been an introvert when it comes to writing (I’m sort of an introvert in general, but that’s more of a recent thing). It’s rather rare for me to hand out something I’ve worked on, and if I do I stress out the entire time my pages are in the possession of someone else. What do they think? Am I super pathetic? What if they show someone else? What if they steal the idea and become super famous and everyone loves them? What if they just ignore it?

This past year, I’ve gotten a bit better about that. I care a lot about my manuscript because of how hard I’ve worked on it, and I want it to be the best it can be. So I’ve put my worries to bed and locked the bedroom door for now (the best I can, anyway; I try my hardest to ignore when they start knocking for me to let them back out). I’ve asked friends to read my story.

This has not gone greatly.

I cannot find enough people to be readers. I’ve sent the manuscript to three people who agreed to take a look at it for me so far. One of the readers was absolutely fantastic, though her feedback was compliments, which was nice, but I wanted help for improvement on the story. Another reader is doing well, she’s being super picky (as requested), but with school she’s super busy and I get replies for each chapter about twice a month. The other reader has not opened the email. I would ask my family, but the only readers in my family are busy or scoffed at me when I asked them.

I’m not sure what to do about it all yet. I may just have to proofread it to my best ability and hope that it’s enough.

Out of Mind

I used to think that authors were exaggerating when they would reply, “You’ll have to ask the characters themselves” when a reader would ask them a question about why whoever in the book did such and such a thing.

That was before I started writing a book of my own.

Now, I understand, because whether the writing is actually good or not, I have found that this book takes up most of my thinking space. I’m basically obsessed with my own story, as self-involved as that sounds. Whenever I am writing, I picture my main character sitting next to me on the floor, cross-legged and pleading, “Lena! Please write my story! I want the world to know.” And while at some points I feel like my character is my own person that I created, he’s actually more of a best friend of sorts that I met a month ago telling me his life story, because in a lot of ways he’s his own person. While I like putting bits of my thoughts or emotions or memories into a character’s story, he does things that I would never do. We are separate, and maybe that’s why he is such a vivid figment of my imagination.

So, to those authors that replied with, “You’ll have to ask them yourself” whom I rolled my eyes at, I understand now. Because if I was asked why my main character did such and such a thing or felt such and such a way, the truth is that the answer would occasionally be that he told me that was how things went down or that’s how he felt in his story as he took another sip of coffee on my bedroom floor, and that’s just all there is to it.

I Have Actually Completed Something…. Something to do with Writing!

So….

The other day I finished the first draft of my manuscript!

This is super exciting for me because I’ve been working on it whenever I can (which wasn’t much for a while there, school and whatnot) for about the past four months, and usually if something goes on longer for two weeks (besides a really good television show… but not even then sometimes), I give up on it. It was nice to proceed and actually finish something for once!

Yesterday (the day after I officially finished the draft), I took a day away from writing to regroup. I finished the book I had been reading and started a painting I’ve been putting off for a while. I also got dressed and went outside, which is a huge accomplishment that I feel very proud of, even though the entire time I was out I was thinking about going back home.

This weekend I won’t be doing much writing, because I’m going on vacation from Saturday until Tuesday (hooray for a suburban packed with chatty female family members on a way to a concert), but I’m going to start revising today anyway. Now that the first milestone is complete, I have this rush to get to the end so that I can have a clean and polished final product to hold in my hands. It’ll be nice having something to keep my mind distracted, because lately I have been getting very overwhelmed at random times and I breakdown, and that’s rather annoying/tiring.

So, without further ado, on to press play on Julie & Julia as I begin revising!

Daring Enough?

I don’t think I’ve ever had as hard of a time with writing something as I have with this book.

I will sit here on my creaky bed, leaning up against my propped pillows as I stare at my computer screen and/or notebook, wondering if I should just press delete after highlighting the whole last paragraph or so. I worry about offending people, mainly. I’m dealing with writing about psychiatric wards (of sorts) which is sort of a big no-no in the writing world, I’ve begun to notice, even though nobody has actually come out and said it. It’s not that I don’t have a lot of knowledge about it, because I do. My mother was a nurse in a psychiatric unit for a while, and I’ve spoken for a good two hours or more to someone close to me that was actually a patient in a psych ward back in the sixties or around that time, and they’ve both given me very helpful information and answered any questions I had. I think what I’m really scared of is different audiences that will criticize me for how I wrote different scenes or what those scenes contain. I have scenarios that talk about things that maybe not everyone wants to hear about or are really touchy about. Here’s the thing, though: when you’re writing about a psych ward, you’re going to have characters with touchy subjects in their lives. That’s just something I have to deal with.

When I am about to delete sections of the book that I am worried someone may not like, I remember what one of my main characters has said (as cliche as that may be): “Well, you’re supposed to write for yourself.” Right you are, Z. I have found that if  I want to write anything anywhere near decent quality, I cannot sit there sipping my tea and debating whether or not a stranger I don’t know will get ticked off by the words on the page. I have to write what I want to write and how I want the story to play out for now. When I’m finished getting through writing it, I can worry about changing things because they’re not necessary to the story and/or because my audience won’t like it. Until then, I must march through.

Getting Past the Scene

I’m having a mini-crisis.

I’ve been working on this one scene in my WIP, just this one, but it has already taken three days for me to write it. Within these three days, I’ve written about four and a half pages, which is not acceptable for summer break in my book. I should be getting a lot more done.

It’s not the I have writer’s block, which is usually the case. Normally, I sit there knowing how the book will end but not what the next step towards getting there is. I don’t even have that as an excuse this time, though. I know exactly what’s going to happen, and I can see it like a movie clear as day in my head. I even made an outline last week (which I never, ever do) of what will happen from now until the end of the book. I’m not bored, either (if it’s not writer’s block, it’s boredom). I’ve been having the ambition and the writing crave every day lately.

I think it’s that I’m hopeless while writing. I look back at older parts of the manuscript, and I get this sick pang in my stomach. The words I am writing are nowhere near publishing material. I supposed I am feeling so disheartened that I’m stalling finishing the story so that I don’t have to face disappointment.

I can’t be thinking like that, though. It’s not good. I’m just going to wire my brain to remember that I’m not writing to get published right now, I’m writing because I like to write.

I hope that everyone else’s writing endeavours are going well! Keep on keeping on, lovelies.