What I’m Reading
I've just finished UNRAVEL ME by Tahareh Mafi, which I enjoyed, and now I have a host of new books to chose from -- I'm looking forward to Chuck Wendig's THE BLUE BLAZES in particular. (ARC Provided by Angry Robot.)
What I’m Writing
I've just passed the 30k mark on Leviathan Rises, and the voice is finally starting to feel solid. I managed to go back and fix the first chapter, which had been not-quite-right for a while, and now I'm working on the rest.
This story is proving tricky because I wrote those 30k haphazardly: jumping around the timeline, skipping to exciting scenes, writing sections with no idea where they'll fit. Now that I'm on the end stretch, I need to go back and pull it all together into solid chapters, and that's rough going.
Worth it, though. I really love this ridiculous oddball of a story.
What Inspires Me Right Now
I'm on a musical kick! Mostly listening to Fall Out Boy's new album Save Rock and Roll, and this gorgeous track by a new musical find, the band Les Friction:
"This force is in love with you. It wants you safe. It wants you well."
What Else I've Been Up To
I'm thinking very seriously about doing my theory test in the near future, and I've been studying for it in my spare moments.
I'm also trying to eat healthier -- more fruit, less sweets, more water, no fizzy juice, and multivitamins ahoy. It's working reasonably well, my sleep is settling down and I'm more aware of issues with my blood sugar level. I just need to up my exercise amounts to go along with the new regime.
Last but not least, I'm playing the free horror game Ib. I wasn't convinced an 8-bit game but be creepy, but I've jumped out of my seat a few times. It's a great little game.
I've also been asking my friends what messes these seamonsters-in-human-form could get into as they run around the British coastline. Some of my favorite suggestions: getting angry at chavs in the cities, taking a dive to some underwater wrecks, visiting the Giant's Causeway...
Thanks to a spree of bad health I'm not sure I'm going to be able to meet my Camp NaNo deadline -- I've just passed 15k and my target was 30k by the 30th March.
But hey, progress is progress, so I don't feel too bad about it. Now, I'm off back to work, but before I go -- how's it going? What are you writing? Is it going well or are you running into problems?
Sound off in the comments. I look forward to hearing what everyone's up to. :)
I've been tagged for The Next Big Thing bloghop by the very talented YA horror writer Robin Moran, whose blog you should go visit to learn about her creepy YA ghost story Lapse.
The idea of this bloghop is to highlight the writing you're currently working on, so I'm covering my Camp NaNo story about seamonsters. How excited am I to get the chance to blether on bout my work-in-progress stories? VERY. VERY EXCITED.
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The lovely UK publisher Fox Spirit had an open-call for short stories that was well-recommended by friend and fellow writer Rob Haines. They've currently got a submission call on for their Fox Pockets series, a series of pocket-sized books containing around a dozen short stories.
Leviathan Rises started out as a short story for their 'Under the Waves' prompt, and after it was done I still had more left to write about that world, so I kept on going...
What genre does your book fall under?
YA (Young Adult) Urban Fantasy.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I almost never cast actors for my characters, preferring to draw designs for them when I can, but for Leviathan Rises I wanted to have a strong image of my characters. The main female character came to mind relatively easy -- an older version of Amandla Stenberg, who plays Rue in The Hunger Games.
The main male character, the Leviathan in question, took a bit longer to find. I had to trawl through smartly-dressed male model images for hours. It was terrible. My life is so hard.
Eventually I found Torian, a model for Photogenics Media. Here are some images from his portfolio for your enjoyment:
What's that look for? Leviathan's get shirtless a lot. You'd be surprised.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A runaway teenage girl and a seamonster on a mission from God team up to stop the world drowning in a biblical flood.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm hoping my agent will enjoy it when it's done. (Fingers crossed!)
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I'm still working on it. Hoping to finish it next month during Camp NaNo. Wish me luck!
What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
Hannah Moskowitz's "Teeth" for a similarly dark 'n gritty take on seamonsters.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
After watching Supernatural, I was unsatisfied with their take on Leviathans. Computer-generated teeth? Really? That's all you've got?
These big, biblical beasts have quite a backstory, and their lore stretches back much further than just the 'seamonster with big teeth' from the show.
When I saw the 'Under the Waves' short story prompt, I saw a chance to create my own versions of humanoid Leviathans. And so the fun began...
And now to play TAG!
I'm really tempted to just invite all The Inkbots to give this a shot, because it's fun. But to name some specific names:
It's a short read, and fairly ordinary as far as interviews go, but this line shines in it:
“If you read what teenagers write, it’s much, much darker than anything a YA [young adult] author would publish. They write hopelessness, despair, suicide, murder. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. That’s the age you’re reckoning with stuff. And I think that if you’re a YA writer who isn’t engaging with that on some level then you’re leaving them to fend for themselves.”
I write in the Young Adult genre, and there's something deeply reassuring in this quote. I'm a pretty relaxed, cheery person day-to-day, but the one common element in my writing is it always goes dark.
There's a lot of information out there about the Dos and Don'ts of writing YA, and while seasoned pros will kindly advise you that there are no rules it's hard to ignore all the well-meaning shouts of:
I was a morbid teenager, to say the least. I read dark books, watched dark movies, listened to dark music. I didn't quite reach the gloomy depths of Goth or its little sister Emo, but I definitely dipped my toes in those waters. As a writer, I want to read the sort of books teen-me would love, and I won't paint over the dark parts.
Good YA means not talking down to your readers, and as Patrick Ness says, writing out the dark parts is just another way of underestimating your reader.
I'm going to be keeping this is mind whenever I start doubting my writing.
I was wavering over whether to join Camp NaNoWriMo, a month-long NaNoWriMo running in April, until I heard the news:
They let you set a word count.
After that, I was sold. I don't want to rush 50k in one month, but I have a first draft to finish and 30k (1k a day) seems much more manageable.
So I'm set! This April, I'm taking part and writing 30k in one month -- here's my camper profile.
I'm not quite sure how this 'cabin' system works but I'd love to add blogger friends in it. Drop by with your username in a comment and I'll try to add you to my cabin group.
Today, for their Road Trip Wednesday question for bloggers, YA Highway asked: We're already 1/4 of the way through the year--where are you on your reading and writing goals?
The year was off to a good start, but man, March has really knocked me off the wagon.
I wasn't doing so bad earlier in the year, but now that I'm back from travelling I'm behind on my February targets... and my March goals.... and meanwhile March charges on relentless, refusing to slow down and let me catch up.
I'll be back on track soon but I'm behind on writing and reading, plus balancing a new bout of illness, so you might need to give me a few days.
I'm not sure if I'm doing good or bad on this, actually.
I'm completely failing at editing my YA with giant robots, which I am very ashamed off, but in the meantime I've finished a short story, started two others, and written about 12k of a new novel.
So hey. I'm not resting on my laurels, but I'm going to try to ease myself back towards the all-important editing this month.
I'm technically ahead of my goal. Goodreads likes to tell me that I've read 13 books toward your goal of 50 books, and 5 books (8%) ahead of schedule.
Buuut 9 of those books are comic books, which won't count towards my personal reading targets of 50 books. And I've totally lost my steam towards the end of Febuary, so I've got a lot of catching up to do.
I'll get to it, though. I've got my determined face on and everything.
Now that January's in the dust, it's time to see how I stacked up to my January targets.
Writing Targets: Finish editing REBEL and send it off to the lovely agent. On a tight deadline for this one, trying to get it all done and dusted ASAP.
RESULT: By the skin of my teeth, I got it done. I completely misjudged the time it would take to get through this revision. Other writers did warn me, but I got sucked into writing a first draft and lost a month. Lesson learned.
As a result of this, my January was otherwise known as 'The Month of No Sleep.'
Thank are due beta readers Vonny and Erika, who made this task much less stressful for me, and to the Hi-Arts Work In Progress scheme which also sent an incredibly useful report.
Now I need to bite my nails and pray that the revision isn't horrible. I had nightmares about track changes this morning. (I'm not joking.)
RESULT: Read Seraphina, Teeth and Batman: Year One along with Saga and a few other books I wasn't planning. I actually got a lot of reading done this month, surprisingly, and I'm off to a good start on my 50-books-a-year target.
I completely failed at my non-fiction reading targets, though. I'll have to try harder this month.
Blogging Targets: Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2013, some New Years babbling about personal changes, a review of Seraphina and some sketchbook scans.
RESULT: Blogging took a backseat to the deadline crush. Might get some of these done belatedly this month.
Art Targets: Clothing studies for REBEL, life and reference drawing. Art is low priority this month because writing is going to be quite intense.
RESULT: And as expected, art also took a backseat -- a deliberate one, or else I would've procrastinated for hours.