Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Slicing Up the MS

My word count is down to 111k! Yay! Have a party and jump up and down deliriously!

It's a lazy day off here in the great northwest. I've spent the day so far researching more literary agencies, sending off a few more queries, and editing until my eyes want to pop out of my head. It's amazing how exhausting editing can be. Now that I've spent a good amount of time just deleting unneeded words, I've actually started deleting scenes. Such a painful process. But hopefully the end result will be a more concise adventure novel with a quicker tempo.

Hoping to have the word count down to 109k by the end of the day, since I might be putting in a shift tomorrow when I would normally have the day off.

Enjoy the sunshine, everyone!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Research Wish List

If there's one thing I've learned from reading whenever I have the chance, it's that, to create a good book, you have to be believable. Even in fantasy novels you have to have an element of reality so the reader can connect, and continue to enjoy the novel. That means doing your homework. For  those of you who have looked at my "Works in Progress" page, you know that my main novel, the one that is nearing completion, takes place on the ocean. Now, my father had a career at sea, so I can get tidbits from him. But below are some books that I would love to have which concern everything from the dangerous job of coastal mapping, to pirate tactics in the 18th century.

Two Years Before the Mast
The Coast Mappers
The Ocean Almanac
Encyclopedia of the Sea
Seafaring Lore and Legend
The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers and Rogues
The Pirate Dictionary
The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Suprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down
The Sea Rover's Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730

It's amazing how one's work can come across in the books they wish to read, isn't it?

A Day in the Life of A Writer NOT On Their Day Off

8:30am-9am: Wake up, groggy from reading too late. Fire up laptop to look at the latest blog news.
9am-10am: Get up, reluctantly and eat breakfast while reading, then shower. You can get in some extra reading if you hold the book/kindle while frying drying your hair. This no longer works on me since I have a pixie cut and don't have a use for a blow-dryer.
10am- 11am: Edit novel or send off another query. Nail biting or head banging against keyboard are suitable actions during this hour
11am-11:15am: scramble to put a lunch together, then leave the house for work
11:30am-2:30pm: Compile character profiles and think up snappy dialogue for protagonist. Work.
2:30pm-3pm: lunch aka "time to fire up laptop and edit a little bit more or look at blog updates and research a few literary agencies"
3pm-6pm: try out a few facial expressions that you think your protagonist should use in response to certain comments from antagonist/other protagonist. Work.
6pm-6:30pm: Get home, trying not to mewl as your sore feet trudge up the front walk.
6:30pm-8pm: Read or edit or goof off depending on soreness of afore-mentioned feet.
8pm-8:30pm: eat dinner. Try your darndest not to fall asleep in your plate of chicken and peas.
8:30pm-12am: lie down, rest feet, research more literary agencies/edit while watching mindless TV and chatting with friends. Get a good night's sleep.

Repeat as needed. Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wonderful Surprises

Last night I was in the company of my two best friends who came to visit me. We talked and giggled and received birthday gifts and ate and watched a movie. We concluded the evening at midnight by falling asleep. The next morning we repeated the eating and laughing over breakfast before I received a wonderful surprise.

Three other friends showed up in this little coastal town. I felt like crying with happiness. First of all, let me say that I adore my job. It is fun and exhausting. But seeing those friends here, well it made me understand the phrase "my heart swelled with happiness."

I got to go around town with my 5 friends and play on the beach like a little child. I am going to miss these girls so much. Three of them are leaving the state within the month for college, you see. And this was the last time I would see them for several months.

I tell you all this so that there is a written record of this most wonderful of days. I love my friends, I love my work, I love writing. To be able to combine all three is perhaps the greatest part of life.

Friday, August 26, 2011

When Life Gets in the Way

For the first time in weeks...I did nothing literary today. Didn't read (which in alone is shocking), didn't check any of the blogs I follow, and didn't even open up my book to edit it.

Instead I woke, a little achy and tired from a bad night's sleep, and slogged through a day at work that was enjoyable but a bit rough. Whether it was the 30 pound box falling into my arms and bruising them, or ignoring the older gentlemen whose eyes linger a bit longer than is comfortable, I am just exhausted.

The good thing about working in retail, I have realized, is that you are never at a loss for character descriptions. Whether it is a caricature or a realistic portrayal, people are characters in themselves.

I am tired, and plan on spending the evening watching TV and putting my feet up. To quote Scarlet O'Hara, "After all... tomorrow is another day

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Day In the Life of a Writer on Their Day Off

8am: wake up and be angry that your body is so accustomed to getting up at 8 that you can't sleep longer
8am-9am: read guilty pleasure novel you've read 50 times, skipping scenes you don't care for
9am: get up and make breakfast (aka pour cereal and milk in bowl, search frantically for spoon in dishwasher)
9:10am-9:40am: eat breakfast so slowly that cereal goes soggy all the while reading either guilty pleasure novel #1 or a different one. Too early to do serious reading
9:40am-10am: clear dishes, mop up milk that spilled from spoon while attempting to get utensil from bowl to mouth while reading the climax of the book
10am-11:30am: turn on laptop and proceed to spend way too much time reading other writer's blogs, looking on amazon for new guilty pleasure books, and trying to keep up with publishing news
11:30am-2pm: turn on television with mindless movie, mute or put on low volume, then edit novel while regretting not showering after breakfast since you now smell like warm milk
2pm-3pm: Research various components of the novel that popped into your overstimulated head while butchering the word count  editing
3pm-3:30pm: take short break to eat lunch because you were getting lightheaded from hunger. Switch movies
3:30pm-4:30pm: Either edit some more or read serious novel. My pick of the week is Sense and Sensibility
4:30pm-5pm: If you were editing, switch to reading, and vice versa
5pm-5:20pm: finally take that shower all the while thinking of the mistake you made in your world building at one o'clock. Now you smell like plums instead of milk. Thank goodness
5:20pm-7pm: eat dinner, watch mindless sitcom, chat with family about novel while they look at you with glazed eyes
7pm-9pm: spend time flipping through new projects that you've put on a back burner to polish your current manuscript
9pm-9:30pm: research a few more literary agencies to query and add to your ever growing list
9:30pm-12am: read whichever book you please, preferably with milk and chocolate nearby since you were such a good girl and worked hard today

8am: wake up, regret reading till 1 accidentally. Remember that you have to work. Decide to read just a little bit more before you absolutely have to leave.

Have a great evening, everyone!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Going Over to the Dark Side

I did it. I got a Kindle. Sigh. I didn't get it because I wanted one, but because if I wanted to read new books in college without them taking over my dorm room, I needed one. It hasn't been so bad. I've gotten over 62 books for free so I'll be taking a crack at some classics this year. And I've also purchased Before the Storm by Marian Perera, which is a light read but enjoyable.

Sill count me among the proponents of paperbacks though. I love the smell of a fresh or old book, love the feel of the pages on my hands, love the look of a book that is crinkled with age. All you get from a Kindle on that score is a bookmark telling you your page number.

Ah well, at least I'll be able to do some pleasure reading in college.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Up and Running

First off, my apologies for the delay in posting. I've been compiling and ressearching a list of literary agencies to query once my current round of editing is over.

On that note, I have actually sent off a query to one agency, but am still waiting to hear back. I hear this is the hardest part about getting published - the waiting. As a teenage writer I doubt half of my queries will even garner responses.

But that's okay - I'll just keep plodding on, writing and editing until I have such a good ms that no one selling YA will want to turn me down.

In other news, there was a power outage at work yesterday that lasted for about an hour. So I got a refresher course in counting change without the help of a cash register, and I had to write down each purchase so we would have a record of what was sold.

Books, books, reading, reading, work, work. That's my life!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Final Farewell

On a short trip home, I went to Borders and bought about 12 books. From Frankenstein to Mansfield Park to A Walk to Remember, I went with my favorite genres and required reading for my English class. It was a sad day. I wish I could have spent hours browsing the titles, reading the synopses and spending tons and tons of money. But alas, I could not.

I've already completed one of the books I bought, and am part way through Frankenstein.

I am going to miss Borders. I have many happy memories of going through the aisles and picking up a title here and there. My friends and I have made dates to go there. And now it's going away.

I'm going to miss Borders.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Well I never thought summer would be more exhausting than 9 months of school. Excepting the one summer where I bounced from horse camp to horse camp, to a day camp where I was outside exercising every day in 90 degree heat, to Europe, I have never been this busy over the summer.

I just got back from seeing Les Mis, and absolutely loved it. My family and I took the long road back to the house where I'm staying this summer, and stopped several times to look out over the vast ocean. If you have read some of my other posts, you will know that the ocean is a prominent point of Deceptor. The love of the sea that is so integral to the main character is something I created from my own experience.

My family has a history of going to sea, usually as part of the military. Now, I am not to be one of those sturdy men, but I was given the bug when I was very little. To me the sea is a contradictory thing. It can create a lulling noise that drifts you off to sleep, but the sound of the waves has been the death knell for many people. It is always there, but never constant. Each crashing sheet of water is different, although we can predict its power.

But I digress. If you wanted to hear about the ocean you'd read Moby Dick. As I was saying before, my summer has been exceptionally busy. But I have been slowly editing my book for what seems like the hundredth time. I have changed a key element of the plot, which requires careful inspection of the novel to make sure the change remains constant. And I am cutting the length of the book. 4000 words gone so far, as well as a large portion of the evil "that"s.

Progress is slow since I work 5 days a week and am usually exhausted the other two. I am also in contact with a writer at my college and we are exchanging pages to edit, which I love to do.

I swear I'm almost done. My last comment is actually a question. Since I would like to apply for an internship at a publishing house during the summer of one of my college years, where should I look? New York is where most of the publishing houses are, but do they take on college kids for just a few months? I'm out of my depth here.