Friday, July 26, 2013

What's the sound of one hand clapping?


I forget which project it was for, but I wrote a post called What's The Sound of One Hand Clapping? ages ago. 

What do you know, someone answered that question for me. Skip to about 3:56 seconds in. Go on. I'll wait.




My bad ankle kind of sounds like that sometimes. 

Now, granted, that may resemble the hand gesture I just made a few minutes ago because...

It's. Finished. 

That is, Draft Three of my historical fiction is done being written. It came out to:

Word Count: 116, 653 words

Page Count: 416 pages

Chapters: 50

This is the first third draft I have ever written. I think I had decided to refer to this as the I Hope It's Okay Third Draft.

So, what next?

-I sleep.
-I catch up on DVR'ed TV shows and Netflix movies
-I badger someone to read bits of it and tell me it's not completely awful.
-I go back and edit it. Maybe add in more description here and there. But not a full-scale draft. Just line editing and other nit-picky stuff.
-I start writing a query letter.

And now, I shall collapse into bed.

Also, I think I might have a title in mind. Stay tuned.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Dear Book the First,

Dear Book the First,

The other night I started reading a multi-chapter fanfiction. I enjoyed it because it was cute, fluffy and light. And, of course, in the meantime, I'm writing myself into a stupor because I'm almost done with this third draft, so reading something else for a sec was a mental break.

But something about this fanfic made me think of you, Book the First, so the other day, I reread you in your entirety for the first time in years.

I'm sorry that I've called you "bad." It was the best I could do at the time and you're not actually that terrible.

I mean, yes, there were parts of it that made me cringe and roll my eyes at my own writing ignorance at the time. And there are things in there that are just shoehorned in for absolutely no purpose. And the POV leaves a little to be desired. But the point of writing you, Book the First, was to bring the story to a close and I did that. So I'll stop referring to you as the "bad one."

The "bad one" should only apply to that one truly appalling fanfiction I wrote that one time when I was 19. Something about France and Orlando Bloom. Anyway.

But back to you, Book the First. Granted, I didn't even bother to title you properly. And yeah, Lennon did come out being a wee bit too close to the real me, which is why I decided against writing contemporary-set stories for now. But I'd forgotten that I had subplots in there (ha!) and angst and the friendship-into-relationship trope that I seem to be so fond of. But most of all, I was surprised to read that Gabriel actually has his own personality because I had such a hard time getting him on the page.

My male characters like to morph into whomever I'm Google-stalking at the time.

Another thing--you're actually kind of funny, Book the First. There's a lot of autobiographical stuff in there, mostly from college, that came across well. It didn't come across as too inside jokey. But yeah, there are a lot of one liners in there that I laughed out loud at reading.

Which is awesome, but there aren't too many jokes in the current WIP.

In closing, I want to say, for a first completed novella thing, you're not too bad, Book the First. I mean, yes, you are kind of on the writing level of a better Real Person romantic comedy fanfiction, but you're not as horrible as I kept thinking you were. So I'm sorry that I almost considered deleting you from the blog or almost considered not tagging you correctly. I started the blog with you and now I think it's an important past step in my writing life.

Now, Last Request. That one might be as bad I think it is...

Love,

Michelle


Monday, July 15, 2013

Lazy Toward the End

Current word count: 108, 275
Current page count: 386

So I am definitely writing (mostly copy/ pasting) toward the end of draft 3 and I am sliding into my typical end-of-the-freaking-story behavior. I am copying and pasting scenes from the second draft in, because they fit, but instead of going through them and correcting them, fixing them up, I'm just leaving them there with minor corrections.

Why do I get so freaking lazy toward the end of a book?

This has happened with every book I've written, resulting in a hell of a lot of work after the draft is over and a really sucky last third of the book. And I don't want it to happen this time. I mean, I'm definitely heading toward 4th draftville after this, but I don't want 4th draft to be as rewriting heavy as this 3rd one has been.

Basically, I need this part to build to the climax and then end. That's it. Yet I can't seem to get my brain to agree with my logic and actually do it. I used to think it's because I get tired by the characters and the story at this point, but I don't think it's necessarily tiredness. I've been working on some form of this story for, like, two years?

Does anybody else come across end of the book laziness?

Friday, July 12, 2013

To New Adventures: 54 Below


I've said this before and I'll say this forever: one of the greatest, greatest benefits of growing up and living in New York City is the access to the arts. I would be a vastly different person without the museums, plays, musicals, and tours of historical landmarks I was taken to at a very young age.

My friend Jess drags me out of the house quite a lot--thank God, or else I would be a babbling, anti-social idiot--to go see things. We have similar enough taste when it comes to entertainment. Last summer, we saw Once The Musical. We loved it. We loved the leading man, Steve Kazee. We loved the jeans he wore in the show.

So, tonight (July 11th) we ventured off to 54 Below, a small venue under 54th Street in the city. It seems like 54 Below has a variety of acts, largely of the theater community, since it's in the theater district. Steve Kazee and his band, The Shiny Liars, had a run of shows this week.

54 Below is a bit, um, classier than the usual places my friends and I go to. We looked over the cocktail menu (there is a minimum spending amount per person) and were perplexed by the alcohol. We're not big drinkers in the first place and our taste in alcohol runs to rum and coke and beer.

So we chose cocktails (I can't even remember what was in mine, but it was yummy) and ordered our entrees, split a side dish and munched.

The set-up is interesting. It's not a very large room, so the bulk of seating is at long tables. It was a little cramped, but we made it work, and our server was AMAZING.

The stage area. 
By the time dessert was in front of us, Steve was on stage and began his set. He wrote songs that he wrote, singer/songwriter style, with lots of hilarious banter in between.

At one point, at the end of a string of banter, he threw in, "Blue Ivy!" To which some of the room cracked up. He explained that that is how he gauges the age of the room.

Other things I remember about tonight's outing:

-Jess and I both saying, "I feel like a grown up!" as we were seated.
-Man from Kentucky.
-"I'm not this cool off-stage."
"Monday night...I thought there was a dead body in here. It was like playing a wake!"
-Jess, about our neighbors, who were trying to think of a status update for Facebook: "Does EVERYTHING have to be on Facebook?"


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Period-Speak

No, this is not an exclusively girly post. Boys, you are safe to read on.

I called this "period speak" because that's my nickname for the type of dialogue I use in my book, dialogue that comes out of writing a period piece. Also, this was inspired by an involved Twitter conversation I had with my cousin, ilovetoread09, who tweeted that she was confused by a review on her medieval-set fanfiction, complimenting the language. To quote my cousin: "All I did was not use contractions."

Which made me think about the dialogue in my story, set in Georgian England. A few people have remarked that the dialogue sounds authentic, which is so gratifying because I would hate for my characters to sound like me.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Update

Just a quick fly-by update:

1) I changed the name I post under. It's the first time I've done that (I've changed the name of the blog four times). I decided to bring it closer to my real life name.

2) I've had a really productive writing weekend. I went from page 305 on the 4th of July to page 335 as I type. This portion of the book is definitely the home stretch, but it's also challenging, revision-wise. A storyline I wrote extensively in the second draft is getting cut out of this draft, so that better things can take over. Only thing is, those better things are either completely new to this draft or expansions of events that happened in draft two.

Also, I remember having problems figuring out La Climax in the last draft. I have a better idea of what it will be and I know how it's going to end now.

This last part of the second draft is choppy. Damn. Much rewriting necessary.

So, official stats so far:

Page count: 335

Word count: 94, 461 (this might make this the longest thing I've ever written)


Friday, July 5, 2013

My Favorite Book



I didn't have a designated favorite book until college. This strikes me as strange for a budding writer, particularly one who has had her nose stuck in a book since approximately third grade, and has been writing scraps of stories since I was nine years old.

I had favorite books but they were always supplanted by new favorite ones. Nothing that I could really point to as  my Favorite Book of All Time.

In Expository Writing in college, we had to do a quick presentation about our favorite book. I didn't have one, so I fudged it by talking about Amy Tan's The Hundred Secret Senses. Somehow, I didn't think that talking about my favorite romance novel of the time would have sufficed.

And then, over the winter of 2006-2007, in my last semester in college, I read Atonement by Ian McEwan and it became The Favorite Book and remains so. Not to say that having A Favorite means that I don't find other books to be amazing or mind-blowing in their turn, of course.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award :-)

I didn't anticipate starting July off like this, but...Krystal Jayne at The Narcissistic Rose has passed on The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to moi. Do check out Krystal's blog. Her posts are always engaging and interesting.


Isn't it gorgeous? This is my first blog award! Here are the rules:

The Rules:
1. Display the award on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who gave you the award.
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award and link back to them.

So, for #3:

1. I started reading romance at 12 and historical romance at around 14. I always loved history and historical fiction. I read every available American Girls collection book during reading time in elementary school and I have literally become absorbed and obsessed with historical periods over time.

2. I love Monty Python. "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" cheers me up on the worst days.

3. I'm actually 4 feet 10 inches tall. But I tell everyone that I'm 4 feet 11. In fact, all of my official documents say I'm 4'11".

4. I am half Japanese and half Irish. I speak Japanese, but I don't read it very well.

5. I do a pretty amazing (if I say so myself) Donald Duck voice.

6. I like to bake, but I'm still pretty hopeless at cooking.

7. I like going to the theater to see musicals and plays; definitely one of the great advantages of growing up and living in New York City.

And now, #4:

You see, Krystal nominated a singleton (me) and I'm not sure that I even know 15 other bloggers, so I'm going to nominate one person also. This blogger posts very thoughtful and insightful posts on a variety of writing-related topics and I always come away entertained and learning something new. So I'm nominating Diane Carlisle at Are We There Yet? for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.