Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day #8979 - Patience

Oh, Internet. Remember when I used to be a more dependable blogger here? Someone who actually posted with a relatively high level of consistency with entries that weren't all embedded YouTube videos and contained, you know, words and thoughts with substance?

Well spring is here (though it certainly doesn't feel like it here in Chicagoland) and I'm determined to be better about that. New season, fresh start.

So what have I been up to? Quite a lot. There was the Dear Cassie release at the beginning of the month and was fun, but at the same time, after that day came and went, I was left with my usual paralyzing fear that always accompanies my writing. My Amy Pond contest entry is now out in the world, and it's my only writing 'success' to date. While it did give my confidence a boost and I did send out a fresh round of query letters, the responses haven't really changed. Form rejections. Gotta love 'em. Though at least I am developing a thick skin on that front.

I was also lucky enough for my pitch to be selected for Write On Con's Pitch-Fest and I got more feedback from fresh sets of eyes. It was really helpful to get constructive criticism. Unfortunately I queried so many agents with a letter that I now know wasn't the strongest and I still have a ways to go on perfecting my pitch skills. The rational part of me is winning that internal battle, knowing that it's better I learn this sooner rather than later, but there is that dark corner of my brain where the doubts dwell where I spend a lot of time, frustrated that I still can't seem to get this right and what if I'm not meant to ever be a published author?

Patience and practice, though, are the keys to success. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself, though if I'm honest, I haven't done much writing since the Dear Cassie contest as a result of these fears. I keep planning and planning and note taking and there's been a lot of thinking about writing and my story idea.

Just not really so much writing. So this upcoming week while I'm off from work (school district I work for is on spring break), I want to step away from my procrastination-via-planning and actually start writing this project. I'm a planner, not a panster, so I know I won't be too comfortable writing without knowing quite where I'm going for too long, but it's time to get back on the bike so to speak.

There's been a lot of other things filling my days too. Family members and friends announcing engagements and babies on the way and I'm also helping directing a play at my school. But this is the Internet, so you don't get to know everything =P Just believe me when I say there's plenty of good going on too.

So that's enough for one rambling post. Hopefully "next time" will be sooner rather than later =)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day #8967 - Q&A

Hey there, Internet! The awesome and most excellent Erin Brambilla recently tagged me in a blog post on writing and all kinds of fun things, and I thought it would be a fun way to share with you guys what my big writing project thus far (the one that has brought me to Queryland) is about. So here goes!

1. Who would win in a staring contest, Harry Potter or Percy Jackson?
Ordinarily I am totally Team Harry, but this is tricky because Percy is the son of Poseidon and can control water, so that probably means he can keep his eyes extra hydrated. I've got to go with Percy on this one.

2. You’re out of black ink on deadline day, in which color do you print your manuscript to send back to your (perhaps hypothetical) editor: Cyan, Magenta, or Yellow? Why?
Cyan, absolutely. Pink just doesn't suit my story, and if I really did have an editor, I feel like trying to make him or her read 200 pages of yellow text would be a great way to get dropped by said editor.

3. Tell us about your book.

What is your working title of your book?
I'm actually working on a different project right now, but the manuscript I'm shopping around is Stage Directions.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was in theatre in junior high as well as all four years of high school, and it's a bizarre and crazy world to be a part of. There were so many times when things would happen that me and my friends would say "you couldn't make that up if you wanted to," so I decided to write a story in honor of those years and people.
What genre does your book fall under?
YA Contemporary (with a dash of romance)
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I'm so far out of the loop with keeping up with teen actors, so my answers may suck here. For Colin, I picture a young Zachary Levi and for Annie, I always pictured me haha =)
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In her final months of high school, Annie Miller deals with drama on stage and off as she juggles figuring out what her ex-boyfriend wants from her, coming to terms with her growing feelings for her best friend Colin, and being an understudy for a play in which everything that can go wrong, does.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I've been in Queryland for almost a year now with no big news yet. I'd prefer to go the traditional route when it comes to publishing.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
First draft took about 4 months (summer vacation - one of the perks of working in schools) full time, but I've been polishing and continue to work at it as I get feedback from readers.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm a huge fan of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, Elizabeth Eulberg, and Maureen Johnson so I think if you like their stories, you would like mine.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wouldn't have been able to write this without my years of theatre growing up, my summer as an actress for my local park district, and finally becoming a teacher and helping direct plays now (actually at my old high school!). A lot of that went into this book.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Theatre plus music plus cool nerds plus drama onstage and off plus cute boys =)

4. An asteroid is screaming toward Earth and only one dance craze is allowed in the hidey-hole that saves humanity: Gangnam Style, The Electric Slide, The Macarena, or The Harlem Shake. Which one do you save? (And you’re not allowed to say none) Also, if you are brave enough: Post a video of you doing said dance. THAT’S RIGHT. AN OPTIONAL CHALLENGE!
Oh this question. I dislike this question because I really don't keep up on dance crazes! Mi going with the Electric Slide because at least there is a level of full body, choreographed movement that I can do without looking too odd. It's timeless, whereas I'm convinced the Harlem Shake and Gangam are things that will puzzle and confuse us for years to come if we even bother to remember them at all, like Mambo Number 5.

5. What book are you currently reading?
I'm currently between books, but I just finished the original novel version of Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown as well as Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein. Next up is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

6. Who is your favorite author? (I give you permission to cry that you can only choose one and then I’ll let you choose, say, two or three if you must)
This question is impossible!! I have an English degree and a library degree!! Okay, if I really had to narrow it down, I will say Jane Austen and Shakespeare for my more literary self, and StephaniePerkins, John Green, and A.S. King as a select few of the YA authors I love.

7. What inspired you to become a writer?
I have always loved reading and stories and have spent most of my life caught up in day dreams. Finally I just figured why not see what happens if I write them down?

8. What’s your favorite eReader?
I have an old-school Nook which I really like for when I'm traveling, though I also use my iPad as an eReader which works well too.

9. Favorite internet distraction?
YouTube, with close runners up being Pinterest and Tumblr.

10. Favorite fictional boyfriend?
These questions are killing me!! Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightly from the Austen universe are favorites. And Captain Wentworth! And then there are so many from YA who are great, so I guess for the sake of picking one right now I'll go with Eli Stock from Along for the Ride.

11. If you write drunk and edit sober, name the drinks for each. (Like mine would be wine and coffee)
I don't do it often, but I enjoy writing with a glass of wine or a beer every now and again because I'm more willing to roll with however things come out. More often than not, though, I'm accompanied by coffee or tea.

And that's my first Q&A! I tag whoever wants to be tagged, go ahead with Erin's questions because they're good ones =)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day #8960 - Release Day

Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein is finally in print, which means I finally got to go to the bookstore and see my short story printed in a book for the first time!!