Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Official First Draft

Today, I finished the Official First Draft.

It's not perfect. Not nearly. But all the plot lines, are, I think, coherent. The voice is mostly strong and consistent, at least as strong as I'm capable of at this point.

But, since my very first note on this whole thing almost 7 months ago, I'm starting to think that there might be the slimmest of slim chances that it might be published. Whether self or with a small publisher, I don't know, but I finally believe enough in the story and the characters and my ability to see something through this far to say that with some confidence.

It's on the Kindle and the Kindle Bot is reading it to me aloud. This begins the second-pass edit. I'm beside myself with excitement.

Some stats of a new type:

Title: The Travelers
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Paranormal-ish Romance
Word Count: ~80,000 words or ~325 pages
A little bit about it:  The only remarkable things about bored, directionless high school senior Annika Fitzsimmons are the painful dreams she has night after night and the boy with blue eyes she always sees in them. During winter break, a visit to her grandmother reveals that Nik's future lies in Traveler's City. What she doesn't know is that her arrival there will change everything.

Listening to: The Travelers Playlist. I'll organize and post an updated version here soon. :)
Obsessed with: My first draft read by the KindleBot. LOVE. IT.

I'm still looking for betas, and I'll be contacting those of you who expressed willingness/interest soon. If you're still around, thanks for reading. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Editing: Trimming the Fat

I've written several incarnations of the Big Dramatic Scene Where Everything Changes (one of them, at least). I had poured my heart into each of them, found it difficult to delete even a single sentence, and so all of them remained smooshed together in the Scrivener doc with random tags like: ***REWRITE THIS!!!**** or ***ANOTHER IDEA**** or *!!!THIS ONE'S A KEEPER!!!* So today I began the hard work of separating them, rewriting some twistier twists and fillers, and separating the fat from the meat (there is a lot of fat.)

Edited: One scene, about 600 words axed (whew!)
Listening to: "Happiness" by the Fray. Again. On a loop. Seriously, this song is INCREDIBLE.
Obsessed with: Finishing this edit. I seriously can't keep my hands away from the keyboard. And that's a good thing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Editing: What's the Worst That Could Happen?

It's been awhile. I've totally stalled on this blog over the last month, namely because I've been trying to balance moving into a new house (!!!) with doing a first-pass edit on this WIP (!!!) and something had to go on the back burner.  Most nights, I'd type some words, stumble into bed, and pass out. No time to do a rehash of the day's writing work. Or, as I've learned to say, I didn't make it a priority.

The triumph? I continued to work on the project nearly every day. (In addition to feeding my children, keeping the house clean, hosting a few little parties, etc. of course.) It's a bonafide first draft now, with, I think it's safe to say, all of the plot points solidly in place, and all characters where they're supposed to be. That is, until the second edit.

Most of the work I've been doing over the past month or so since I've posted has involved making things very, very bad for my characters. I had a decent story before I read this incredible, inspirational blog post by Natalie Whipple, but it had such a big influence on me that I started asking myself at every turn of the story - "This is a bad situation for my characters, but could it be any worse?" If the answer was "yes," then I made that worse thing happen. I think the story is a lot more compelling now. So, thanks, Natalie. (I have a girl/writer/mom crush on you and I wish we were besties.)

So here's a rundown of where I stand, writing-wise. I have 36 chapters and the draft is hovering right around 76,000 words, or about 300 pages. My main worries are that I've written a Mary Sue that everyone will hate, that the story sags in the middle, and that some things about the writing make this a non-page-turner (one being that I use third person tense, which is not that popular for YA right now.) I'm working under a quasi-deadline to have a draft manuscript to someone in the next couple weeks or so.

Here's where I stand, future-wise. I feel like I've invested too much time and energy - almost seven months of writing every day - to just store this baby in my drawer. I have a contact who is high up in the food chain of a small, up-and-coming publisher, and he's requested a full manuscript just as soon as I'm ready to let it out into the world. The sooner the better, he says. I told him I'd have it to him two and a half weeks ago.

I'm pretty sure the writing sucks. I'm pretty sure some characters are flat. I'm pretty sure it's not an intriguing story. Which is all a way of saying: I'm pretty sure he's not going to want it. (I'm not one for self-promotion, can you tell?)

Then, I'm at a crossroads. I could just sock it in a drawer and fondly remember the seven months that Nik and Davis were my constant companions, and congratulate myself on writing a story/book/whatever when most people only dream of getting that many coherent words all together at once. I could shop it out to small publishers or even agents, which I understand takes even more time and energy and a lot of stress. Or I could self-publish it in e-format and feel like it's out in the world. If you have your own Amazon page with a book with your name on it, maybe that's some small kind of accomplishment, even if you're ranked 118,487 in Kindle rankings. Or maybe I put it up there on Amazon for free and let any good reviews make me feel happy and accomplished.

I'd love to hear what you'd do next.

Time for stats:
Edited: 10 chapters in the past week (!) Yeah, I love this part.
Listening to: "Happiness" by the Fray. A hauntingly beautiful song about the elusive and stunning nature of happiness.
Obsessed with: Cilantro.

(If anyone is still reading this, thanks. Love you to pieces.)