Tags: adventures in writing

The Nine Stages of Dating a Novel

From Nathan Bransford's blog

By: T.H. Mafi

LUST

there you are, just staring at your computer or eating your carnival corndog or spacing out in the middle of a conversation when it hits you. A SHINY NEW IDEA. it’s beautiful and original and nothing like the rest of them and for a perfect moment you can already see your future together. you know you have to have it before someone else does and your next move is going to be critical. luckily, enough people commented on your blog today that you’re feeling confident. extra-attractive. you decide to make it yours.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEE

everything is surreal. you can’t stop thinking about it no matter how hard you try and let’s be honest – you don’t really want to. you’re convinced that this time everything is going to be different. this is The One. the one that’s going to make agents cry over you, editors throw money at you, bestseller lists around the world make room for you at the top. maybe you have a title already? maybe you’ve even written a really excellent first paragraph? you don’t care. none of that matters. the only thing that really matters is Oprah is going off the air. she has no idea how much you were looking forward to that interview.

ANTICIPATION

things are still pretty good. you’ve told Facebook and Twitter and the only five friends you know in the real world that you’re writing a new book and people seem moderately interested which is already better than last time. you haven’t really started writing yet, but you will. in fact, you’ve already got the first chapter written! and the more you read it, the more you’re convinced you’ve never written anything quite as incredible. you can’t wait to dive into the story! SERIOUSLY. you can just feeeeeel how amazing this is going to be. maybe you should buy a new outfit to celebrate.

PROCRASTINATION

well! you've written a few chapters! but GOSH you are just so BUSY these days and the kids are so CRAZY and work is just HECTIC and you've discovered all these really awesome websites recently and it's now become a "thing" of yours to refresh your email and update your Twitter and "Like" at least five things on Facebook before you open up that Word Document. but it's not like you're avoiding it or anything! it's just -- you're having a bit of a rough patch! but you'll work through it! you'll figure out this plot twist! well, first you'll figure out a plot but then! then things will work out! you just need to find a way to communicate your needs! relationships are ALL ABOUT DIALOGUE!

EXPLETIVE

WELL MAYBE IF YOU WEREN’T SO DAMN NEEDY I WOULD PAY MORE ATTENTION TO YOU! DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT? DID YOU EVER THINK THAT MAYBE I HAVE TO PAY THE BILLS AROUND HERE AND MAYBE I CAN’T SPEND EVERY FREE MOMENT OF MY LIFE STROKING YOUR FREAKING EGO AND MAYBE YOU SHOULD JUST WRITE YOURSELF ALREADY I’M SO SICK AND TIRED OF THIS CRAP I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO YOU ARE ANYMORE WITH YOUR UGLY ADVERBS AND THOSE STUPID DANGLING PARTICIPLES YOU THINK MAKE YOU SOUND LIKE SHAKESPEARE GOD YOU'VE CHANGED INTO SOMETHING I CAN'T EVEN RECOGNIZE MAYBE WE SHOULD REALLY STOP FOOLING OURSELVES ABOUT THIS WHEN CLEARLY I'M THE ONLY ONE TRYING TO MAKE THIS WORK I HATE YOU SOOOO MUCHHHHHHHHH

INFIDELITY

you didn't even see it coming! I MEAN GOSH THINGS WERE GOING SO WELL! but there it was. sitting on the outskirts of your imagination the whole time, teasing you with promises of what could be. ANOTHER SHINY IDEA! it was wearing a flippy skirt and red lipstick and it sounded so intelligent you couldn't help but fall for its false proclamations. but you were too dazzled to realize that this new SNI was only a distraction. it was fleeting. unfulfilling. a concept with no tangible form. a cheap thrill with no literary value. you feel cheated. you feel dirty. YOU'RE SO ASHAMED.

GROVELING

you messed up. you never meant to leave but things were getting tough and maybe you have a problem with commitment and really, it was a mindless fling that meant nothing! you realize now what a mistake it was and how wrong you were to leave. it wasn’t like anything even happened! it was just a moment of weakness and NO YOU'RE NOT THINKING OF THE OTHER ONE RIGHT NOW you already said you're sorry SO SORRY YOU SWEAR IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN YOU ARE NOW FULLY COMMITTED TO SEEING THIS PROJECT THROUGH NO MATTER WHAT.

LOVE

blood. sweat. tears. so many expletives. a million points of compromise, hopefully lots of kissing. really excellent dialogue. stupid digressions you'll edit out later. adventures you weren't expecting, secrets you didn't know you had, new things you never thought you'd learn. BUT YOU DID IT. you stuck it out. you wrote a freaking book.

CONGRATULATIONS!

i hear you're expecting a sequel?

T.H. Mafi is a girl. She's 22. She writes YA novels and owns more coats than pants. She also happens to be repped by the ever-fabulous Amy Tipton of Signature Literary Agency.

From May to June (Mayday, May Day to Jammin' June)

Hello all of my writing buddies.  Well, another month has past.  Can you believe it is June already?  Wow.  

I am continuing with my Monday check in of weekly goal setting and progress reports.  I now declaire June, Jammin' June.

It's been a lot of fun to see what you guys are working on and how your projects are coming.  Being publicly accountable makes me less inclined to slack off and procrastinate. 

My writing observation of the day is: writing goes faster and slower than I think it does. 

It is slower because since March, I haven't accrued a great increase in word count.  I've also made major changes to the story twice which has slowed down said word count.

It's faster because I feel like I've gotten a whole lot of work done anyway and made great progress.  My document hasn't grown, but my notes and outlines are increasing exponentially.  Things are really starting to take on a life of their own.  Last night, I sat down and made a flow-chart looking thing of the characters, their power structures, and how it all relates to what will/has happened. It looked like a spider web :)  Cool beans.

I really feel like I am being assimulated into the outliner camp and away from the pantser camp, though there will always be some pants in my outline.  What you do with your pants is up to you.  (Yeah, I know bad 'Manda humor.  It's a genetic thing.)

Okay, back to work (like office work, the stuff they pay me for).

On the writing front

I haz nu piktur computer counter thingie.

I've decided to expand my novel.  I don't know if it will wind up being 100,000 words, but it is an end in sight.  I am going to combine the ideas I had for this novel with the ideas that I had for the second novel.  It seems characters from the second want to appear now.  And by keeping Dell around, I can actually make it work.


May Pole

Mayday May Day - Monday Check In


How is everyone doing this fine summer(?) day?  We are already hitting 90F, so I'm calling us summer even though I think this is still officially spring.

Yay!  We finally got some rain.  We are 12 inches behind for the year.  Not good; I'd hate to see another drought, but probably a good thing for our coast with the oil spill.

I don't usually post pieces of my writing on the internet.  For me, it's kind of like wearing your underwear in public.  Kudos to you if your ballsy enough, but you better not have holes in them if you embarrass easy.  I'm also of the opinion that if you don't put it out there, you don't learn nuthin.

So, in the interest of learning, I was Janice Hardy's first victim...um volunteer for her Real Life Diagnostics.  She gave me some awesome feedback and showed me how to look at things (hopefully) to overcome my problem of Show vs. Tell.

Now, if I can only replicate her sage advice...

Escape Artist - PodCastle, Round 1 - 3

Escape Artist's forum has posted three rounds of fantasy flash fiction for PodCastle.

Yay to everyone that entered.  All the enteries are released in batches so they can be voted on.  As they accrue votes, the flash moves up in the ranks.  The winner gets their story released as a pod cast.

Go and check it out. Sign into the forum to read and vote.
You do not have to have a story submitted to do so.

I will have two stories coming out sometime during the month.  See if you can figure out which they are :)
May Pole

Mayday, Mayday - Check In

Hello to all you folks that wanted to keep on posting your goals and your progress.  April was a crazy month.  It sounds, though, that several people made, met, or exceeded their goals.  You guys Rock! 

I didn't do too bad the last half of the month.  I'm really stoked that I have found a crit partner, may we help each other muchly and I have an accountablity partner who I'm hoping will keep me on track.  Now I just need to keep butt-in-chair and fingers-to-keys. 

My goals for this week are:

1) To finish the chapter on Mariyam. 
2) Spare a couple of brain cells to write SF flash for EscapePod.

What are your goals for this week?  Do you have an overall plan for the month?


PS
Feel free to come up with another name for May.  We never picked one, so I just winged it.

Crits, Partners, and Betas - What works for you?

Howdy Folks,

I was wondering if you guys were up to sharing your process of working with your citicers/partners/beta readers.  How do you handle your exchange and interaction with each other?  Do you go through several passes of revisions with one person or a couple of people?  Do you exchange chapter-by-chapter, large chunks, or whole novels?

I know everyone is different and finds what works for them, but I'd love to hear what works for you?
50000 of smut

O.K. I'm awake now

and it's only taken me until 12:58pm to get there. 

Just in case you guys are interested (because I know you all can't wait to find out what is going on in the Manda World), I am really stoked about this new chapter I'm working on.  It was one of those that grabbed me and wouldn't let me continue writing other chapters until I finished it.  It is going to make the segue to Tularean that much easier.

On another front, I am tired of not having this WIP finished.  I've been sitting on it way too long, procrastinating, and letting my "but" (thank you Jon) get in the way.  It was really nice to write and finish up some shorter pieces this month.  I feel like I have this WIP hanging over my head and I want to be done with it.

So, here's to finishing up!

Be an Agent for a Day - Nathan Bransford


Oh, how fun!

And this is the second time in less than a week where I kick myself for not being finished with my revisions. Guess that tells me I need to get off my butt.

So, for this contest, I shall put off the role of Lax Writer and put on the hat of Busy Agent :)


From Nathan Bransford's Blog:
http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/04/be-agent-for-day-ii-sort-of-scientific.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NathanBransford+%28Nathan+Bransford+-+Literary+Agent%29&utm_content=LiveJournal

On Thursday we discussed the query process and whether or not queries adequately reflect a underlying work's quality. Can someone really make an assessment of a book project based on a query? Really really?

Let's test it out. Here's how this is going to work.

Today I will be soliciting queries from you, the esteemed readership of this blog. I will semi-randomly select five of them. (I say semi-randomly because I'm going to choose one genre from which to select the five queries, which should eliminate any possible Internet genre bias.)

Tomorrow I will post the five queries on the blog. There will be a poll and everyone will have an opportunity to vote on which one they would request if they were an agent.

On Wednesday I will post links to the first thirty pages of these novels so that everyone will have an opportunity to take a look and vote on which partial they think is the most likely to sell to a publisher (and like any busy agent, you need only read as much of each as you need to make a decision).

On Thursday we shall compare notes, see if the most-requested queries corresponded with the most-liked pages, and discuss What We Think and What We Have Learned.

On Friday we dance!!! (Just kidding, on Friday we recap This Week in Publishing).

If you'd like to volunteer your query and first 30 pages for public consumption/semi-competition, please e-mail said query and pages to querycontest@gmail.com. It would be great if we could leave the sample pages up as long as possible so that people can continue to check out this sort-of-scientific experiment, but after the contest concludes if you need/want me to take your pages down for any reason I shall do so, and of course all rights belong to you. If you are chosen, please keep your identity/participation top secret while the experiment is going on so as not to compromise the voting.

In case you missed last year's Be an Agent for a Day event, the posts can be found
here.