Sunday, December 27, 2009

Writer's Block?? Pfft! I laugh at you! Ha ha ha!

So the past week has been dead in terms of my writing. Sure, I could blame the holidays. Well, okay, I DO blame the holidays. Still, there's another, more intimidating reason for the backlog I now face: the BLOCK!

I've sat around and mulled over the "climax" that was coming - trying to work out the transition, deciding what to reveal and how soon, wondering which characters would come into play and how, debating the pros and cons of this setting over that one, considering the pacing of different possibilities as well.



Anyway, today I got sick of sitting around and not getting anything productive done on my book. So I sat down with a notebook and pen (still my preferred medium over the keyboard), and talked to myself:

- Okay, so what happens next?
- I don't know. You tell me.
- Well, you're at the climax.
- Yeah, but WHICH climax?? I've thought of too many to choose from.
- Whichever one you want.
- Yeah, that doesn't help me at all. - I don't KNOW which one I want.
- Okay, well what are the things you definitely need to happen?
- I need [lots of stuff that would spoil the ending if I dished it all here].
- Alright, good. Now what are the things you want to happen, if possible?
- [More stuff that may or may not make it to the finished product]... Hey, maybe this could happen: [insert new outline notes].

Bada bing, bada boom! Block is gone! Yay me :D Now where are my fireworks, dang it??

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas? Now? I don't know what you're talking about...

Okay, so Christmas is next week and I can't wrap my head around it. Already?? Granted, I missed out on the Christmas bug last year. But the little guy seems even more elusive this time around. Maybe it's still the idea of a hot Christmas. Maybe it's the fact that I'm not working, and so I don't have the days off to look forward to. Whatever it is, next week seems like any other week to me (notwithstanding the fact that the boys finish school today and will kick off their summer break on Monday).

Now for a novel update: I'm right around 63,000 words at the moment, and I'm heading into the climax. That seems just about right on target to me, especially since I have some things I need to add and tweak later on. While I'm not hitting my daily targets nearly as consistently as I did in November, the count seems to be climbing pretty steadily. So I should still be able to edit in February and then shop around to a few different agents in March. Fingers crossed that the story is actually, you know, good!

And now for some good news and shameless plugging. The quarterly mag in which my story is being published is available to purchase. It's only $3.50, and you can read my flash fiction (in the Winter 2009 edition) and shower me with your accolades. Or just ignore me if you hate it... Either way, I love you, too!! So I'll give you the link... go there and shop away. Enjoy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I won!!!

I won NaNoWriMo 2009! Wow, what an experience! I've written more in the last month than I ever have, and it's been totally worth it. Not only do I have the product of my efforts in black and white, but I also have the satisfaction of knowing that I am capable to do whatever I want to do in life. (Yes, I can think deep on demand...)

So while I've still got plenty of writing left to do before I hit The End, the rush of this last month has been thrilling and exciting on a whole new level. I can't wait for next year!

Now for the acknowledgments...

I'd like to thank the Academy...

Er, no. Sorry:p I couldn't resist.

No, seriously, I do appreciate everyone who's been encouraging me. It really helped me get over my own anxieties of believing that I AM a writer, not just that I'm aspiring to be one. So thanks!

Here's to living life to it's fullest, getting everything we want in life, and slapping life around a little until it's forced into submission:)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Almost there!

I just made 75%! I have to say, it's a very liberating experience to realize that I'm actually capable of telling a story of this size. I mean, all my life, the idea of writing a book was something that totally intimidated me, and I never saw it as something I could obtain. But now that I'm three-quarters of the way to my NaNo goal (though I'll still have an extra 20k words or so to go on top of that), I finally see that it's really not as daunting of a task once you've broken it down into doable sections (a little writing every day, chapters broken into scenes, etc.). And I just added another subplot today, so that always helps. As does my new random character who will prove vitally important at the climax.

I've decided that (obviously) I'll hit my 50k, and then I'll take December to add the extra content that I need before I can start revising. I was planning on revising in January (after taking a break from the book, stepping back and getting some fresh perspective), but depending on how long the extra 20k or 30k takes, it may be pushed back to February. Even still, that's not a bad effort in my opinion - 4 months (hopefully) to a drafted novel ready to shop around to agents/publishers.

Wow! That's crazy. A year after I decided to take the plunge and just be the writer already, I could be sending out my manuscript. Wish me luck:)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yeah, I'm crying. So what?

I just killed off my main character's best friend. And I'm so sad about it! I guess I was able to convey the emotions well enough (at least for a first draft) since I'm a blubbering mess at the moment. Tristan even came to give me cuddles because I kept saying through tears, "That's so sad!"

I guess this is the downside of living vicariously through your characters...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Halfway, baby!

Second post in one day. Sorry:) But I think this deserves its own post. I just made the halfway mark to 50k! I was worried that I would be struggling around this point, but I'm just starting to get to the meat of my story. So the next couple weeks should be just as productive as the last two.

Hmm, I wonder if this justifies getting half of my reward early...


One of my stories is being published!

I was completely thrilled this morning when I checked my email and found an acceptance for a story I submitted for publication! My kids probably thought I was going a little insane as I clapped and shouted, re-read the email, then started the cycle all over again.

What an awesome feeling it is! Cam (my husband) asked how many readers the magazine reached and my response was basically, "Dude, they're paying me to publish my story. That's all the validation I need!"

I'd love nothing more than to dish the story here and now for all of you to enjoy, but of course, I can't do that. So, anyone interested should stroll their merry little fingers over to and have a look around the site. Obviously, you won't be able to buy the issue with my story in it yet, since it hasn't been published yet. But if I'm not mistaken, it will be identified as Vol. 11, Iss. 4 - Winter 2009 "Waiting for change always seems to take longer than you would expect."

So yeah, there you go. Woohoo! I'm so excited!

And I'm giddy. Which means I should stop now.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I've hit the 20k mark!

Despite having just gone through the most hectic weekend I can remember, I'm still on track to win NaNoWriMo! I've just hit the 20k mark, and I can't wait to keep writing my story (which, by the way, will so not be finished at 50k).

As for the writing itself, I'm definitely starting to understand what so many authors mean when they say things like, "I'm just the transcriptionist of the story that needs to be told," "You get to know and love your characters as you write," and "The characters tell me what happens next, not the other way around." Just today, my main character assaulted his best friend! And last night, I was quite literally in tears when he was having an emotional meltdown. (Even now, thinking about that scene makes me sad for him.)

So while I may not be a professional writer (yet!), I am certainly learning so much from the experience of getting into a story and developing it in a way that intrigues me. I value the time I have with these characters, and I hope that one day, many others will, too.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I just broke 10,000!

I feel like I need a reward! Any suggestions??

This experience is so amazing! For the first time in my life, I feel like I actually am the writer I've always wanted to be. What a fantastic feeling:)

The only frustration I have at the moment is that my last chapter has proven more wordy than I anticipated. Yes, that is a problem. Well, not so much that it's wordy, but just that I haven't been able to get the whole thing done. I think I'll spend a little time tomorrow (assuming I can scrounge a few minutes here and there) tweaking my outline to get it looking a little more polished.

Then again, maybe I need to just suck it up and write for a few hours until I get the longest chapter of my book finished...

Monday, November 2, 2009

This is turning out better than I expected!

So I'm 2 days in, and while I'm not breaking any records in the word count department, I'm sticking to my targets pretty well. I've got a prologue and a 1st chapter done. Yay for outlines!!! (Side note: while in high school, I would've NEVER said those words!)

And the best part is, I was really worried that because I have a really detailed outline, I'd end up writing the dry, "point A to point B" kinds of scenes/chapters. But I'm actually throwing in a lot more material than I put into the outline. So I've already got an extra character that will probably come into play later, and a whole other take on the book itself.

Woohoo! Yay:) Go team! Or...go me:)

I'm done.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Done outlining. Now I just have to write the book...

I finished my outline for NaNo. I gotta say, I'm pretty stoked about it. I'm actually surprised with some of the ideas I came up with - I never thought I was that creative:)

I've assigned myself one chapter for everyday of November, and broken each chapter into a few scenes. So getting to my word count should (ideally...hopefully) be a lot easier than if I were to just wing it. I've tried winging a book. And that book is still only half-way finished after about 8 months of time to work on it:(

I've also found some really good writing books that are helping me a ton in my planning. But at the end of the day, I can plan all I want, but it won't get the dang thing written...

So here goes NaNo. Wish me luck:)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Here's my NaNo commitment letter :)

NaNoWriMo 2009 Commitment Letter

These are my commitments to myself for NaNoWriMo 2009:

I will write like there’s no tomorrow to tell as much of the story as I can today.

I will not re-read anything that I’ve already milked for its word count.

I will not be ashamed of using the long way of explaining things for the sake of the word count.

Once I’ve hit my target word count, I will continue writing until the scene/chapter is done.

I will write every day until the first draft of my book is finished.

I will not spend time worrying over the right word.

For the sake of my word count, I will not avoid too many uses of “he said”.

I will go off on any tangent that I can bring back to my outline.

When I think about writing, I will get my butt in the seat and do it.

I will email my work to myself everyday to avoid the potentially fatal loss of data that computers occasionally cause.

I will not allow myself to be distracted by Facebook, Farkle, Bejeweled, or any other unnecessary internet application.

I will enjoy my writing experience.

I will not put additional pressure on myself to do any better than I do.

I will win NaNoWriMo 2009.

When I win NaNoWriMo 2009, I will reward myself with a full-body massage, an entire packet of Chocolate Scotch Fingers and a Milo.

I am capable of adhering to these commitments because I am talented and because my story needs to be written. I am the writer of my story.


Rebekah D. Hay

Friday, October 23, 2009

Plotting away...

I've been working on my plot outline for NaNo. (Considering that next week is my last week of calm before the storm that is NaNo, I really need to get this thing nailed down.) And I've realized how crazy plotting can be. Like, I know what's going to happen. I know the little happenings that will eventually be lined up just right to push the story forward. But for some reason, even though I know it in my head, actually seeing it in outline form is proving really difficult. It's a really weird feeling, knowing I know what's going to happen, but not knowing how to show I know what's going to happen. Or ... something.

I've also run into another interesting predicament. My story is moving to a very different genre (mystery/crime) than I originally expected (romance), and I've read very few mystery/crime books in the past. So while I know I want some high-impact events, I'm pretty clueless when it comes to the possibilities. Ugh, I think I need to get to the library tomorrow...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Inspiration, anyone?

So, yeah. If I'm gonna do this writing thing, I guess I should take a look at whose writing really inspires me. And the first name that comes to mind is Edna St. Vincent Millay. I've loved her work for years. I remember my mom giving me a book of her poetry for Christmas, and I thought it was the best gift ever. Apparently, I've always been a bit of a nerd:) Anyway, here's my favorite piece of her work:

Sonnet 02: Time does not bring relief

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide

There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,— so with his memory they brim
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So I guess I'll blog after all...

I've gotten pretty excited about pursuing my writing career. I (hopefully) will be starting a writing course in January/February, and to kick things off with a serious bang, I've signed up for NaNoWriMo this year. I'm pretty stoked about it, although I need to get more writing done each day now to get used to the daily grind of NaNo. But I am preparing for the book itself as best as I can. I've got characters and a decent plot. All I really need now is a setting (it's gotta be somewhere that's artsy with a big city within about a few hours' drive) and some subplots (working on one, but that's as far as I got). Oh, well. I'll get to it eventually. October 31st hasn't arrived yet, so I'm good...

Also, I started writing my first novel in about February this year. And while it's kind of been sitting around stagnant for a few months, I've had a few ideas simmering away on that back burner for a while now. I'll probably get back into it once November's over. I think the biggest problem I'll have with it (as I've suspected from the start, even though that didn't change the plot at all...) is the fact that I'll definitely need to do some "on location" research. See, the majority of the book is set in L.A. And while I've been to LAX, I hardly believe that qualifies a person to write about the mass of chaos that is Hollywood. So...if and when I make it back home for a visit, I'll probably squeeze in a few extra days to hover around L.A. and try not to look like a tourist so I can get a bit of authentic material. Anybody wanna come along?? (BTW, that totally sounded like I have a clue of when I'll be able to do this research, but in actuality, I have no idea how soon I'll be able to make the trip.)

Anyway, here's to the start of whatever I can make of this passion of mine:)