Monday, February 27, 2012

What's Next?

First, I just want to mention the new blog look so you all don't think you're going crazy :) It's a significant change from the last look, but I like it much better. It's more "me".

So, now that I'm making some nice headway in the New Novel, I'm thinking about what I want to write after it's finished. It's a standalone, so there are no sequels I need to worry about. But that does give me a new kind of worry: what will I write next? I have tiny, baby snippets of ideas that could be cool if I take the time to flesh them out. I know one idea, another standalone, I'll probably visit some time in the future for sure. But lately I've been thinking about my first novel. The one I set down a few months ago to start working on the New Novel.

The problem is that it needs SO. MUCH. WORK. And I know that since I've already written the draft it should be "easy" to fix it up, but it basically needs to be completely rewritten. And there's a world within it that I didn't really explore in the first draft that I think I'll need to flesh out. I'll need to dig deep into a lot of things I just skimmed the surface on in the draft's intimidating. Can I pull it off the way I think it needs to be done? Can I do it justice?

The more I think about it, the more I want to start working on it again. When I stopped working on it to let it "sit", I honestly wasn't sure if I'd ever go back to it or not. I thought that maybe it was just meant to teach me how to write a book, to show me that I could, but not meant to actually *be* a book. Well, the way it looks now, it should never, ever be a book. But it could be if I worked on it. Um, A LOT.

Have you ever felt intimidated by your own ideas? If so, did you write them anyway, or let them "stew" for a while, or move onto something else? How do you decide what you want to work on next? Luckily, I still have a few months before I even finish New Novel, so I have time to think about it :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hi, My Name Is Amanda, And I Am A Serious Procrastinator

Dudes. The end of February is next week and I still haven't started a short story for the month! Someone yell at me and make me do this, please. I also have 6,000 more words to write in order to reach 30k on the New Novel by the end of the month.

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I am a serious procrastinator.

I've always been like this. ALWAYS. In high school I would be so late handing assignments in that one time I crumpled the assignment up, and when I handed it to my teacher I said, "I just found this at the bottom of my locker!" Like, OMG, it must have just slipped out of my binder two weeks ago and gotten crushed at the bottom of the locker so obviously I did it on time and it's not my fault that it's late!! Yeah, ridiculous excuse. And yes, she believed me and I didn't get any points deducted. *hangs head in shame* But I DID end up telling her the following year, when she was no longer my teacher :)

I really don't remember a time that I didn't wait for the last minute to get something done. Except when I was planning my wedding, but that's a different story! It's funny that I'm a procrastinator, actually, since I'm so in love with lists and organization. I'm noticing that with writing, though, procrastination is a beast I really need to tame. My word count goals are great, but if I slack off until the end of the month, then I get totally burned out after a hectic week of playing catch-up. I'd much rather stay steady throughout the whole month.

How do I make myself do this?!

I think it's just a force of will and FOCUS. I have a cray-zay goal for myself for next month. It's probably not crazy to most people, but as I am a sloooww writer, it's pretty crazy for me. I'm hoping that the big goal will be motivation enough for me to stop listening to highly addictive songs that are impossible to write to, because these songs have been a major source of procrastination the past few days. Actually, it's just one song. A song you might have heard or seen people talk about online recently.



This song has kept me in a constant state of Hyper for the past two days, which includes but is not limited to: watching this video over and over and over, etc., dancing around like a psycho, and bouncing in my desk chair. The Husband has told me to "Stop singing that song." But I cannot!

At least this form of procrastination is fun and not evil.

Anyway, I better stop listening to it because I have words to write and not a lot of time to write them. Stupid procrastination. I apologize if any of you become addicted to the song...but not really because it's awesome.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Personality Types

Have you guys ever heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment? I'm sure you have. I hadn't, though, until last year. For those of you who haven't, it's basically a personality test. A really, really in-depth one. The actual test is insanely long, but there's a shorter version you can take online if you click here. My results the first few times I took it were INFP, and sometimes INFJ. I re-take it once in a while just to see if it changes, but it's always one or the other. The letters in INFP stand for I (Introversion) N (Intuition) F (Feeling) P (Perception). The opposite of that would be ESTJ: E (Extroversion) S (Sensing) T (Thinking) J (Judging). There are a total of 16 combinations, each complex personalities.

I first heard about it from a writer. I think I was reading a blog or something, and the person mentioned that to get to know their characters, they took the Myers-Briggs test as if they were that character. Then, with the results, they were able to better understand the character's personality. I was intrigued, so I took the test myself. I have to say that I'm usually skeptical about stuff like this. I pretty much roll my eyes at horoscopes or those stupid quizzes you can take online that say "Find Your Relationship Style!". But this is not a horoscope or a stupid quiz. I was seriously BLOWN away by the accuracy of this test. Like, I spent HOURS pouring over the information. I had revelations about myself after reading up on my personality type. Really, I was astounded. I took the test again as if I were my husband, and then when he got home, I forced him to take it himself. I was very close to getting his right and was quite smug about it :)

Basically, I LOVE the Myers-Briggs test. I have so much fun reading what it says about my personality type, but I haven't tried it yet for my characters. It sounds like a good idea but I feel like I get to know my characters just by writing them. Maybe I'll try it out, though.

If you've never taken the test, I highly recommend it. After you take it, definitely go through the links to read up on your personality type and see if it describes you! It's SO much fun (at least to me)! If you have taken the test, what's your personality type? Have you ever tried something like this to get to know your characters?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday Things

Ahoy! Three things for Thursday:

1. I am 17,000 words into New Novel. It's going smashingly for the most part, except that I had to delete a scene the other day. I hate deleting, because it feels like wasted work. I'm glad I caught it early though. 

2. Two words: Treasure Trolls. Ever since Jessica Naccari mentioned them I've been obsessing over getting some for my desk! Do you remember them? I got a whole play-set for my birthday once. Ugh, I wish I didn't throw it out! Wouldn't they be cute for a desk or office? Just a few. Not a whole army because that would be creepy.

3. Another obsession: Ghost Towns by Radical Face. Actually, I'm obsessed with the entire album. I've been listening to it non-stop all week. Listen to it, and then if you know what's good for you, listen to the whole album and buy it :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When It Gets Hard

Writing isn't always a cake walk. Sometimes the words are slow to come. Sometimes you're easily distracted, and you're doing more Twitter-checking than writing. Sometimes you have no idea what's going to happen next, and you watch the cursor blink, blink, blink while your mind goes blank. Sometimes you see the scene in your head, and it's perfect, but you're having trouble translating it to paper.

There's an endless arsenal of things against you when you write. That's why it's hard. That's why not everybody does it. That's why even less people finish, and even less than that get published. But we WANT it, don't we? So we find ways to push through the hard parts.

I'm not a serious plotter--at least for this WIP--so my hard parts tend to be the "What the heck happens next?" kind. I know the ending, though. That's something that I MUST know before I even begin. Maybe not the exact details, but a general sense of how things turn out. I also know a few scenes that happen throughout the story. Again, nothing specific, but they are points that I know I'll get to eventually. Before I get to those points, though, is where I have the trouble. So what I've started doing is having brainstorming sessions before I even sit down to write.

Basically, I play my WIP playlist, lay on the floor or couch with a notebook and pen, and THINK. Clearly, it's a very scientific process. I plan out the next scene, writing a small summary of it in my notebook, and then I write it. Then I plan the scene after that, and then I write it. I do this until I get to one of my pre-planned "points". And then I do it again. I have to admit, it's a little stressful not knowing what's going to happen next, but I've tried plotting before, and I always, ALWAYS stray from it. Characters evolve or things pop up that I didn't expect. So even though this way seems harder to me, I kind of like it better.

Now it's your turn :) What's the hardest part of writing for you, and what do you do to push through it?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Short Story: Jinn Rising

Happy Friday! So I've decided to share my January short story with you. It's a bit lengthy for a blog post, but I guess an average short story length? The funny thing is that when I started writing it I was determined to make it a normal, contemporary story with no paranormal elements. Ha! I don't know what made me think I could do that, but the story changed pretty fast. Have a great weekend!

Jinn Rising

The thing is, I’m not sure I wanted it to happen this way.
I stood in line for Jinn Rising’s performance with Jessa, shifting my weight back and forth between my knee-high platform boots. The sidewalk was gritty, and the people in line were gritty, and I thought I fit in pretty well with my carefully selected outfit. Jessa picked out the bright blue mini skirt, and I chose the fishnet black top. Together with the boots and my outrageous makeup, I was perfect.
Perfect for Dylan—Jinn Rising’s lead singer, a senior, and way out of my league. But tonight, I’d find a way to get his attention.
“Liz, move up!” Jessa said, nudging me onward. The line had shifted forward and we were getting closer to the bouncer, a scary-looking bald guy with tattoos. When I thought of the word ‘bouncer’, he was exactly the kind of person my mind conjured up.
“This is a good idea, right?” I said. I knew it was a good idea. It was a brilliant idea. I just needed the reassurance.
Jessa made an aggravated noise. “For the millionth time, this—is—your—chance! Now put your game face on and make Dylan want you, babe.”
I laughed, a nervous, shaky sounding thing. No, I could do this. I’d been dreaming about this since freshman year, when I first saw Dylan perform at the school’s Battle of the Bands, with his spiked blonde hair with the tips dyed blue, and his eyebrow piercing, and the way he ripped his wife beater right down the middle after screaming his lungs out and the whole school went wild, and I’d nearly collapsed from swooning so hard.
I could do this.
Passing the bouncer wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, and I walked into the club with a slight increase in confidence. I was in a club. I looked awesome. I had a plan.
The club was basically a warehouse. There was black fabric draped everywhere, strobe lights, a bar, and the stage.
The stage.
The music was so loud that it reverberated inside me, pulsing in time with my heartbeat like I was the music. The stage was the center of it all, and Dylan was the center of attention, and the music was the key to making him mine. He was breathtaking. He wore dark jeans and a black T-shirt that read the band’s name in white lettering. He raised an arm out to the side, exposing a tattoo of a star constellation on his inner bicep. His hair had grown out a little, so the spiked, blue tips were taller than usual and there was more blonde now than blue. He moved like a snake, slithering across the stage, and I couldn’t help but move my body along with his music. I was the prey, helpless against his power. But not for long.
“Damn, he’s sexy,” Jessa shouted over the noise. She bumped her bony hip against mine and flipped her sparkly black hair. Ever since I’d known her, which was only for the past two weeks, her hair was always sparkly. It looked like she’d doused her locks in glitter, except the glitter never washed out. Whenever I asked about it she just laughed. “Are you ready, girly?”
I swallowed. “Maybe we can just dance for a little longer? It…it makes me feel strong.”
“Of course it does, babe!” Jessa laughed and spun in a circle, though I couldn’t tell if it was a dance move or one of her random outbursts. She had them frequently.
Jinn Rising started a new song, a slow, primal beat that I felt in my bones. I wasn’t naturally a dancer, but Jessa brought it out of me, luring it to the surface until I couldn’t contain it anymore. I liked it. I liked the freedom I felt as the music moved through my body, and I liked the way people looked at me.
I liked the way Dylan looked at me.
Oh my gosh. Dylan was looking at me.
Breathe, I told myself. Just dance. Feel the music like Jessa taught you.
As if she could hear my thoughts, Jessa shimmied up to me and said right in my ear, “Feel the music. Feel it.” I could smell the almost sickly sweetness that encompassed her. It made me giddy. At least, I think it was the smell that made me giddy. I paid no attention to Dylan and let the music take me where it willed. “Good girl,” Jessa said. “You’re ready. Are you sure you want to do this?”
My dancing faltered. “I…I think so. You said it would make him love me, right?” I stole a glance toward Dylan, and his eyes were on me. I felt brave and flashed him a smile. Peeling my eyes away from him again, I said, “Yeah. Yeah, I’ll do it.”
Jessa’s onyx eyes twinkled in the strobe light. “You got it, babe. Do what I told you.”
She pushed me forward, closer to the stage, the speakers, the music. I was surrounded by bodies, jumping and swaying and gyrating, but I felt alone. I closed my eyes and danced to Dylan’s song, concentrating on it, but above all on Dylan. Lose yourself to the music, Jessa had said. And that’s what I did.
I didn’t know for long I’d been absorbed in the music, but when I opened my eyes everything was different. I was still in the club, and Jinn Rising was still on stage, and Jessa was still laughing and swishing her sparkly hair, but it was all…wrong. It was all wrong. I felt like I wasn’t tethered to my body anymore, like I was standing in this spot but everywhere all at once, and I was pulsing with the sound that blasted from the speakers.
was the sound.
I walked through the crowd and bumped into a skinny guy with aviators. “Sorry,” I said.
The guy didn’t look at me. He didn’t acknowledge me at all.
I weaved around him and toward the bar. I needed a glass of water, but when I tried to ask the girl behind the counter for a glass, she acted like I wasn’t even there.
“Hello?” I waved my hand in front of her face.
My heart thrummed in panicked cadences. I spotted Jessa back on the dance floor and stalked over to her, grabbing her arm and spinning her around.
She giggled, delighted. “Hey, girl!”
“Jessa,” I hissed. “What did you do to me? Why is everyone acting like they can’t see me?”
Jessa frowned and twirled me in a circle like I was a little girl. “So ungrateful! But not to worry, babe. Dylan can see you. Look…he can’t keep his eyes off of you.” She nodded to the stage and I saw she was right. Dylan was watching me with hunger in his eyes. He was singing to me. And for me.
“I don’t understand,” I said. I wanted to repeat it over and over. “What’s going on?”
“You’re his muse, babe!” She squealed and jumped up and down in time with the beat. “What does Dylan love more than music? Nothing. So what did I make you? Not some pathetic human girl who fawns over him. Oh no, he would never go for that. You’re his inspiration. You are the essence of his music, now!” She grabbed a random guy from the crowd and threw her arms around his neck as she danced.
“Wait!” I cried. “What does that mean? What am I supposed to do?”
Jessa was suddenly lost in the crowd, and though I pushed through countless people and threw them back to get to her, they didn’t see me, and I didn’t see Jessa. She was gone.
I turned to the stage, slowly, disoriented. Dylan sang out the lyrics to my favorite Jinn Rising song, pointing to me.
You’re mine, my love.
Be mine, my love.
I’ll take you away.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January Round-Up

Happy February! I can't believe we're a whole month into 2012 already. Cray-zay. So, remember that post I wrote about goals? Well now that January is officially over, I'd like to reflect on how the goals went. Obviously you don't need to obsesses over every monthly goal, but this is a good way for me to keep myself on track for the year. I think I'll make a LIST. (I'm only talking about writing/reading-related goals right now, but there were more!)

1. Write 15,000 words of New Novel. I did this, but just barely! Made it by the skin of my teeth. (I never understood this expression. I mean, teeth don't HAVE skin. Is that...the point? I don't even know.) I literally wrote the last 1,000 words yesterday. I really had to push through them, but I'm glad I did.

2. Write 1 short story. Check! But again, JUST BARELY! I actually started it in the second week of January, and then forgot all about it until two days ago and finished it last night. I've actually never written a short story before so it was different to have to end a story so quickly, but I think it's good practice. I had a lot of fun with it though! Perhaps I'll share it with you guys. PERHAPS. I might be too shy about it :)

3. Read 2 books. I actually read 4 books, so ha! Here's what I read:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I highly, HIGHLY recommend The Fault in Our Stars. It was not what I thought it would be. I laughed SO much throughout the entire book--like, serious laughter, where I had to put the book down sometimes just to soak in some genius lines--and I also cried. And let me say that books NEVER make me cry. Never. So this was truly rare. If you know what's good for you, you'll read it!

I'll also share something that I failed at, that is not writing-related: Learn a new song on the piano. I literally did not touch my piano the whole month. My goal is to learn 6 new songs this year, so I still have time. I'll just need to be more disciplined in adding it to my schedule.

Did you guys have specific goals for January? How did you do? If not, did you read any good books or get a good bit of writing done?