A brief update, some future plans, and thoughts on editing novels.

Confession time: It’s been quite a few months since I’ve posted here.

In part my absence is due to laziness, in part because of my second blog which I’ll talk about it in a bit, but mostly because I haven’t been writing. I didn’t exactly fall of the planet, or give up on my goal of being published. Instead I’ve been grappling with editing.

PSA:  So for anyone interested, my secondary blog is HERE, and it’s a bit more personal. I’ve been posting reviews of books, shops and the like, as well as my feelings about my nerd loves, and rants. Why am I telling you this? Well, this blog has played host to a few rants in the past, and a few book reviews I believe, both of which will now be appearing on my other blog. If you’re into that sort of thing check it out. If not, I’m not heartbroken. Wrampage, will remain a writing oriented blog. Onward.

A Word on Editing

For some writers, editing is kryptonite. I’ve also found that editing seems to be where many writers lose their non-writing friends and family. I can’t fathom a guess as to how many times I’ve heard people ask when the book will be done? I’ve tried explaining the process, the plot holes that need plugging, the wayward characters who need a map, the inconsistencies vast enough they’d confuse Moffat. But honestly, if you’re not a writer, and you’ve never edited something, you just won’t get it. Sorry. It’s not about seeing the words “the end” on the page. They’ve been there for many months now. It’s the stuff that comes before that phrase which worries me.

I suspect that some of the trouble arises in the unsubstantial definition of “editing”. Sure I’m editing when I fix misspellings, or punctuation, but am I still editing when I create an entirely new character to add to the story after I’ve written it? What if I delete a character? Change POV? Add/subtract whole plot lines?

Where do we draw the line between writing and editing?

In the case of my current novel, the process has been messy. The first draft was written over the course of three months, back in June-August of 2011, to the tune of 147,000 words. It was the first novel I’d ever written start to finish, and I had no idea what I was doing. Fast forward three years to today and I’ve add characters, combined others, completely changed the focus of the original plot, and added in a plethora of new subplots. As it stands, that one novel, is now the first book in an arc of 9 books within a series of 21.

But it’s taken nearly three years of “editing” to figure out who my characters are, what they’re really doing, and what they want. Many months of world building, and systems of keeping my information organized before I converted to Scrivener(=god). But to the people who know that I wrote a book three years ago, what exactly have I been doing? Nobody knows.

Being a writer, creating a world, and making people care, are all hard things to do, let alone to do well. If you’re in the middle of editing right now, firstly, I apologize because it’s supremely hard, but secondly, I’d like to let you in on a little nugget.

Writing is easy. You throw every trick you’ve got at the page, and at some point after far too much caffeine and rambling, you declare the project complete. It’s easy. One word after another. But editing, is were you take that brainchild of chaos and sleepless nights, and you mold it into something that makes sense. You give it purpose, meaning. Editing is where you test your problem solving abilities, not just your spelling. The shifting words, and restless characters and meandering plot can come together to provoke feeling from readers and writers alike. When you write a book, you give life to a world, but when you edit, you teach that world how to live.

 

Peace.

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Legalizing Discrimination? Pff. Legalizing Hate.

I just read this article and I couldn’t be more disappointed in our country.

I’m sorry. I thought this was America, land of the free. Not America, hey you don’t follow my religion let me refuse to teach, provide service, or respect your opinions. The people responsible for this bill are disgusting. Saying that you should be allowed to deny service to the LGBT community because it offends your religion is criminal. Saying that a male teacher should be able to deny an education to women because it offends his religion is criminal. Saying that doctors should be allowed to not treat patients because it offends their religion is criminal. 

You know what? I’m not Christian. So when I see you wearing a cross, it wigs me out. Does that mean I should be able to deny you respect as a human being because we disagree? NO! Should I refuse to respect your choice to be Christian, or Muslim, or Buddhist? NO! It’s your choice. This is a country where the citizens are supposed to be free. Free from persecution, religious or otherwise. This bill is an affront to the ideas this nation was founded on. 

Just because a large portion of the country is Christian does not mean that the rest of the nation should bow down and take it up the ass from discriminating jerks who think the whole country should be one big white, straight, Christian party. ‘Cause guess what? There once was a man, not so long ago, who was Christian, and persecuted the gay community. He wanted everyone in his nation to be the same and some people agreed, and before long, he had enough people behind him that they could beat down and kill any and all opposing his vision of their glorious nation. You know who that was? Hitler. You know who supported him? The church. 

You want to see where this kind of discrimination leads. Pick up these books on the subject.

Betrayal: Churches and the Holocaust

Twisted cross:The German Christian Movement

This is where hate and ignorance can lead. Don’t support this. I’ve been to many church services in my life, and even attended Catholic school for a year. And while I don’t consider myself part of that faith, there is something to be said for being a good Christian. A GOOD Christian. Being kind, and compassionate, and preaching love rather than hate and violence. I wonder what kind of Christians these guys are?

Peace out.

Final results – Bout of Books Readathon

Well the challenge is over, and the time has passed. Many pages were read and I suspect a good time was had by all who participated.

During the week of January 6th-12th I finished 1 book and read 5 others for a grand total of 1,3 49 pages.

In order: I finished Stardust by Neil Gaiman                   Monday 6th

One foot in the grave by Jeaniene Frost                             Monday 6th

The Vampire’s assistant by Darren Shan                            Tuesday  7th

Not your Ordinary wolf Girl by Emily Pohl Weary       Thursday 9th

Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan                                          Sunday 12th

At Grave’s End by Jeaniene Frost                                          Sunday 12th

 

So I hope everyone who participated in the Bout of Books Readathon 9.0 did an awesome job, and here’s to getting life back on track after spending the week reading my eyes sore. ^__^

 

Bout Of Books READATHON 9.0

For those of you who don’t know, I started a youtube channel a while back to review and discuss books. Being a writer, I think it’s just as important to read a lot, as it is to write a lot, so I’ve been really focusing on pushing myself to read a ton these past couple of months and I hope to extend that well into 2014. So here are my plans for the Bout Of Books READATHON 9.0.

It actually started yesterday Monday the 6th, but I only just found out about it twenty minutes ago. That being said I actually finished reading two books yesterday which was crazy unpredictable planning on my part. For those of you unfamiliar with Readathons, the idea is to read as much as possible in a short period of time. This challenge started Monday January 6th, and will continue till the 12th. It’s not too late to sign up, if your feeling like getting your inner reader on, so please check out the Bout of Books website 

This week I would like to read:

Stardust by Neil Gaiman  Monday 6th

One Foot in the Grave by Jeanine Frost  Monday 6th

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairy Land by Catherynne M. Valente

Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl by Emily Pohl Weary    Thursday 8th

The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan     Tuesday 7th

Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan   Sunday 12th

Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan

So those are my goals for this week. Stay tuned for updates on how it’s going. I hope everyone finds plenty of time for reading this week. Cheers!

 

UPDATED January 12th Noon: I’ve just crossed some books off my list. I’ve still got about 12 hours to go, let’s see if I can read another book or two? ^__^ Happy bout of books readathon!

Goals for 2014

Now that everyone’s (hopefully) sober, and the new year has officially been rung in, I think it’s time we got our noses back to the grinding stone. I personally spent the last few hours of 2013 finalizing my goals for 2014, so today I’ll share a few of my more writerly goals with you.

Being an avid writer of lists, and a sporatic procrastinator do not a novel write, I’ve found, so I find it best to divide my year/months/weeks, with goals. I used to come up with prizes and consequences but after many months-years of tyring to sustain creativy productivity, I’ve come to the decision that if you have to bribe yourself to do something, it’s either not worth doing, or you aren’t doing it for the right reasons. So no consequences, no grand gestures for a deed well done.

-Win Nanowrimo 2014
I realize this happens 10 months from now, but I felt really bad that I lost this year since I won the last two years that I did Nano. So this is really important to me. ^_^

-Win Camp Nanowrimo 2014
I tried looking this up, but so far I don’t think they have announced the dates for which months will be “camp”. I’ve also got a schedule for which projects I’m working on this year, so I’ll probably only do one of the months.

-Rewrite C.O.S.
This is the first book I ever tried to write and boy has it been through some big changes. I’m working on the second full rewrite at the moment, but really this is like 8th version of this book.

-Send C.O.S. out to Beta readers (Hopefully send out queries later too)

-Rewrite Violet
I wrote this book last year and tried editing it very soon after I finished it and couldn’t find the heart to do anything productive with it. But I really love the story and it’s not the far off from being where I want it to be so I’ll be making that a priority this year.

-Outline a sequel for Violet
I’ve got a large cluster of notes that venture past the ending of this novel and while it might only become a Novella, I’d like to flesh some of those ideas out.

-Edit 5 short stories
The pile of forgotten short stories on my hard drive is seemingly endless. A couple of them still make me feel warm and fuzzy inside so they’ll get some attention this year.

-Complete 3 first drafts
I’ve got about 4-6 novels in the 20k-40k range of completion, and several of them I really want to finish, they’ve just been pushed to the back burner while I worked on C.O.S. and Violet. Well no longer. ^__^

That’s it. I’ll also be aiming to read 104 books this year, so that’ll be interesting. As it stands, 2014 is going pretty well for me. Let me know your goals (writing related or not) in the comments below and tell me how 2014 is shaping up for you.

Happy Scribbling.

Accomplishments of 2013

For better or worse, the year is over and whether or not we accomplished our goals, or neglected them 9 out of 12 months, this is the moment when we fess up to what we really did in 2013. At various points this year I tried Milwordy (writing 1 Million words in a year- 3 times, reading 40 books in the year, editing some books.)

Here’s what I actually did.

-wrote-

Wrote 223,000 words

Started a really cool YA Fantasy/SciFi series that blows my own mind.

-edited-

Finished the 2nd rewrite of my first book ever (which probably has three more to go but holy fuck it’s starting to look like a real book now.) >_<

Edited, reorganized/started rewriting my third book ever. (conveniently ignores the second book I ever wrote because wow is it terrible. Haha.)

-read-

Read 38 books.

Finally figured out how to effectively use my Goodreads account. >_<

-personal accomplishments-

Got married to my fiance of 7 years.

Found a job I love that leave me lots of time to write and read to my heart’s content.

In going back through my old Milwordy blog, and personal diaries to calculate my word count for the year I came across this thing I wrote on my very first Milwordy blog post back in February.

I want to look back on the year and say “Damn, I accomplished so much more than I thought I ever could.”

Welp, Dear 11ish months ago self, you did. Congrats. Here’s to 2014 and surprising yourself.

Happy Scribbling.

Top 12 books of 2013

So it’s that time of year again. The time for overly ambitious, hastily made goals that will likely be forgotten some time shortly after Valentines day. Rest assured, I will most certainly be joining in on that mad-holiday tradition, but for the next week or so I’d like to take some time to remember 2013. In keeping with that idea, I’d like to share with you my top 12 of the books I read in 2013.

For some context. I read 38 books in 2013 (also I realize I have a week left but honestly, who gets anything done when there’s families and partying refusing to be ignored?!)
Of the 38 books I read:
22 were Young Adult novels
11 were Adult novels (Fantasy/Scifi/Romance genres)
5 Short story anthologies

Of those 38 books, 6 were books I’d read before. For the sake of fairness I’ve excluded books I reread from my top 12 list, since they were good enough to reread and most of them would wind up on my top 50 books of all time (Which I haven’t actually listed, but now I think I’d like to…).

Without further ado,

1 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Set during World War II, this story is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. Truly, masterful story telling aside, this has beautiful word play that kept me engaged till the very last page. Of course when I reached the last page I sobbed with the book clutched to my chest for almost two hours. This was an emotionally devastating tale which follows the life of a young girl’s exploration into the world of books, both reading and writing them, while the war rages on and her family hides a Jewish fist fighter in their basement. It’s also narrated by death. Cause it needed another reason to be fucking amazing.

2 The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffennigger

Yet another story which made me weep uncontrollably. Clearly I’ve got an issue with abusive books. As a writer, I’ve never come across anything that is written in such a way, and honestly, I don’t think there is another story in existence that could support such a convoluted/broken method of storytelling and convey the character development that takes place in this book. If you haven’t picked this up, or have only seen the not particularly well done film adaptation, this story follows Henry, a time traveler, from the age of about 4 to 50 AND the life of his would be wife, for the entirety of her life. Aside from being a spectacular length of time to follow two characters around, the scenes of this book are out of order (sort of) because of Henry’s ability to time travel. If some people are born with a destiny, Audrey is certainly one of those people because no one else on earth could have told that story with as much grace and tragedy.

3 Looking for Alaska By John Green

Speaking of Tragedies. *sigh* If you’ve ever read a book (or seen the film adaptation) of any of Nicolas Sparks works (ie. The notebook, A walk to remember, Dear John, etc.) then you truly know romantic heartbreak. Nicolas Sparks makes it his mission to write the worlds most singularly beautiful love stories, filled with anguish, and impossible circumstances, only to have the lovers overcome everything in the second to last chapter of each book. The last chapter is where they die or worse forget each other. Feel free to disagree but I think Nicolas Sparks is a douche bag.
That being said, John Green is absolutely phenomenal. He’s also Nicolas Sparks for nerds. That’s right. John Green writes smart, snarky, insightful romances, filled with 3D characters (not just the lovers) and inevitably heartbreak. I cry every time I pick up one of his books, but his power as a writer is, I think, in his ability to make the reader think. To be curious and strive to be awesome, in spite of and because of circumstance. I can’t say enough good things about John Green as a person or a writer. He’s a personal idol of mine and I made it my mission this year to read all of his works, which is why he’s got three of the books on this list. Needless to say, I loved this book.
So instead of telling you what this book is about because I don’t know that I could write an accurate summary without spoiling my favorite bits, I’ll just give you one of my favorite quotes from this book.

“So I walked back into my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”

4 Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

“When things break, it’s not the actual breaking that prevents them from getting back together again. It’s because a little piece gets lost – the two remaining ends couldn’t fit together even if they wanted to. The whole shape has changed.”

5 An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

This is actually my least favorite of all John Green’s novels, but it has some of my favorite quotes by him in it, so here, enjoy them. 😀

“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”

“You don’t remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened.”

“Colin did not laugh. Instead he thought, Tampons have strings? Why? Of all the major human mysteries – God, the nature of the universe, etc. – he knew the least about tampons. To Colin, tampons were a little bit like grizzly bears: he was aware of their existence, but he’d never seen one in the wild, and didn’t really care to.”
6 Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman And 7 Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman Are both terribly hard to describe aside from saying that they were unpredictable. Both are collections of short stories, some much longer than other, some like poetry, some fantasy, some sci-fi some horror, but mostly very weird. They are the kind of collections that give you an idea of what other people’s nightmare look like. All in all, I’ve picked these up several times over the months since I’ve read them and while all the stories didn’t do it for me, the ones that did are absolutely unforgettable. Which is impressive when discussing short stories.
8 Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

I’m gonna be really honest with you. I picked this up because A) it was free for my kindle, B) I’d heard the name before and thought it was “classic”. This book wins this year’s What-the-hell-did-I-just-read award. This is a story about a man, who wakes up one morning to discover that he’s been changed into a giant freaking spider during the night. Yep. WTF.

9 Howl’s moving castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I’m a huge fan of Studio Ghibli, and a few years ago they adapted this story into a break taking animated film that I fell in love with. So when the book came up for 1.99 on Kindle, I snatched it right up. The story is similar enough for the characters to be recognizable to me, and emotionally captivating, but the plot is rather different from the film. It also has a unique tone of story telling that is not quite fairytale like, and not quite high fantasy, but some where in between.

10 Crewel by Gennifer Albin
In a world populated with thousands of YA Fantasy series, this was a fresh idea among a host of repeats. This dystopian fantasy follows a girl’s life as she becomes a spinster, literally a woman who spins the fabric of the universe around us. From weather, to crops, to people, spinsters control life and death of everyone in society and as the main character quickly learns, things aren’t always what they seem to be. I originally got this because it was a daily deal on ibooks, but after reading it I immediately ordered hardcovers of the original and the sequel.

11 Dead Girls Dance by Rachel Caine
This is actually the second book in the Morganville vampires series, and while I read the first book this year too, it was this one which hooked me on this 15 book series. I suspect that quite a few more of those books will wind up on my top 12 for next year. My favorite thing about these books is that the main characters aren’t vampires, and everyone involved is very aware that vampires are pretty wicked, and they’ll eat you before they kiss you.
12 Matched by Ally Condie
So I actually read this entire trilogy (Matched, Crossed, Reached) earlier this fall, and it falls into that awkward place where I really enjoyed it, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes YA Dystopian, but I’m glad I don’t own it and I don’t think I’ll ever reread it. While the characters are multifaceted, and the story is compelling, there just isn’t any fun in this series. I don’t want to spend more time with the characters, even though they are good people, and while I loved the messages and points made in these books, I’m not convinced I missed anything on the first read. For other fans of the genre, I think this lacked the intensity of the Hunger Games, and the imagination and creativity of The Uglies trilogy. Just my two cents. I did really like that the series has three points of view as it goes forward though. Matched is narrated by Cassia, Crossed by Cassia and Ky, and Reached by Cassia, Ky and Xander.) I was impressed that the author was able to narrate with three people over the course of the series and they were each their own conflicted person.
Naturally I can’t follow the rules, not even my own, so here’s an honorable mention to round this list off at 13. ^_^

250 Things you should know about writing by Chuck Wendig

This is the single most helpful book on writing I’ve ever read. And while I still occasionally flirt with other writing books, this is my mistress. Just so we’re clear.
So I think that just about wraps this shindig up. If you’ve read any of these books, and have any fantastic opinions you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments below. Also, go ahead and link me to your own top books of 2013 if you got one, and I’ll see you guys later this week for those horribly ambitious goals we talked about. >_<

Happy Scribbling.