Sunday, November 29, 2020

Weekly Goals 30-11-20

 Well, I hit 50K on #CatholicSchoolLesbians on Saturday, and wrote a bit more on Sunday, so I think I'm on track to finish the whole book this week.  Hopefully on Wednesday when I've got the day off to write, but if not, over the weekend.

I feel like I'm in a good place to finish.  I just have all the Shakespearian misunderstandings and death to get through.

Then there's going to be a ton of rewriting and revising.  I already know I made a whole bunch of wrong turns in the story which I will need to fix.  But at least I have a story to fix.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Celebrate the Small Things 27-11-20


This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I'm so close to reaching my 50K in NaNo!  I would have busted through that milestone today if I had managed to get the day off I had planned for, but my bosses had other things in mind. 

But I'm not worried.  I'll get to 50K tomorrow and I will hopefully finish the book on Wednesday when I take the day off I had booked in for today.

It's going to be a short, messy draft of the book I wanted to write, but at the same time, it's certainly been one of the easiest books I've written so far.  There's a lot of editing in my future, but I'm okay with that.  There's not the same time pressure when it comes to editing.

How have you done this month, if you were NaNoing?  And if you weren't, tell me about the rest of the world...

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Books I've read: Unpregnant


This was a very quick and entertaining read about two ex-friends on a road trip to get an abortion.  It doesn't exactly sound like it would be a laugh, but the situations these girls got themselves into were often hilarious.  Especially with Veronica's douchebag boyfriend in hot pursuit, desperate to stop her from getting to her appointment.

And boy is he a douchebag!  Any guy who fucks with birth control to get a woman pregnant on purpose is not a guy you want to stay with.  

Veronica is actually kind of a bitch and I didn't really warm to her until the moment her boyfriend revealed his treachery.  And even after that, there were a lot of moments where she said and did things I thought were extremely selfish.  But by the end of the book she had redeemed herself somewhat and I didn't dislike her nearly as much as I had.

All the time I was reading this, I thought how great it would be as a movie, so it was no surprise when I reached the end, to discover the writers are screenwriters.  The whole book plays out like a comic road movie with a few serious undertones.  And I believe it may be made into a movie at some point too.

It's basically a story about female friendship and over the course of the book Veronica learns how to be a better friend after learning what true loyalty can be.  

I'd recommend this one if you're looking for something quick and light that doesn't take too much out of you.  It was kind of exactly what I needed this weekend.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Veronica Clarke never thought she would wish she’d failed a test until she finds herself holding a thick piece of plastic in her hands and staring at two solid pink lines. Even the most consistent use of condoms won’t prevent pregnancy when your boyfriend secretly pokes holes in them to keep you from going out-of-state for college.

Veronica needs an abortion, but the closest place she can legally get one is over nine hundred miles away—and Veronica doesn’t have a car. Too ashamed to ask her friends or family for help, Veronica turns to the one person she believes won’t judge her: Bailey Butler, Jefferson High’s own little black cloud of anger and snark—and Veronica’s ex-best friend. Once on the road, Veronica quickly remembers nothing with Bailey is ever simple and that means two days of stolen cars, shotguns, crazed ex-boyfriends, truck stop strippers with pro-life agendas, and a limo driver named Bob. But the pain and betrayal of their broken friendship can’t be outrun. When their fighting leads to a brutal moment of truth, Bailey abandons Veronica. Now Veronica must risk everything in order to repair the hurt she’s caused

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Weekly Goals 23-11-20

 It's the final week of NaNo so my goals are much the same as they have been through November: keep writing.

I hit 44K yesterday afternoon, so I'm on track to finish NaNo this week.  I will probably even go over the 50K mark before the end of November, although I'm not sure I'll reach the end of the book.  I won't be far off though.

I have purposefully kept most chapters a few hundred words shorter than I would usually write them so I have room to add stuff while I'm editing later.  And there is going to be a lot of editing.  I've realized a lot of things about my characters as I write that I didn't write in earlier, so I will have to go back and make sure those things are clear.

So this week's goal is to get to that 50K and if possible finish the book.  I'd like to be able to leave it for a few weeks over the summer break so I can come back to it with fresh eyes in the new year.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, November 20, 2020

Celebrate the Small Things 20-11-20


This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I've had another really good writing week and am now about 200 words shy of 40K.  So I feel like I'm definitely on track to hit the NaNo 50K before the end of the month.  The story is moving along nicely too and I feel like I'm hitting all the right plot points.  I know I need a few extra bits and pieces earlier in the book, but that can come later.  Right now I just want to get to the end.

One thing I hadn't considered is that I'm writing in two POVs, but one of these POV characters dies before the end of the book...  So I guess the last quarter of the book will be from a single POV.  Or maybe I can move things around so she dies later than I had originally planned.

It's all very Shakespearian, so pretty much everyone dies by the end...  Doesn't leave much for a first person narrator.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Books I've Loved: Even if I Fall


I think Abigail Johnson has become one of my favorite authors.  I've read five of her books now and every one of them has totally kicked me in the feels. She writes characters who are very real and puts them in the most difficult situations, yet somehow they always seem to get through them in the end.

In this one, a girl is dealing with her beloved older brother being in prison for murdering his best friend.  Initially Brooke didn't believe it was possible, but when Jason confessed, it was even worse.  She and her family are now almost entirely isolated from the rest of the people in their small town and unable to move on.

Things change when Brooke runs into the murdered boy's younger brother Heath.  Despite being wary of one another, the pair soon find themselves drawn to meet in secret.  No one else can understand the different, but similar losses each has experienced.  They both know how horrified their families would be if they knew they were meeting, so every one is heightened by this understanding.

When Brooke visits Jason in prison and he says something that leads her to believe he and Calvin were not alone the night they fought, she clutches at this as a way to prove Jason's innocence or at least find out more about what actually happened that night, how the sweet, gentle brother she thought she knew could do something so monstrous.

As she digs deeper into the mystery, she discovers that truth may be more painful that the reality she has been living with since the murder and the collateral damage to those she loves might be devastating.

I loved the way Heath and Brooke's relationship developed.  It felt real and organic and almost inevitable.  Both had such raw, visible pain that came from a shared source.  Only they could understand each other and what they were living through.

I also really liked the different relationships Brooke had with her brother and her younger sister.  It was clear the three siblings were very close, but also that they each had their own relationship with the other.  The sense that that closeness was lost was palpable through the book, as was the pain their parents felt, even as they dealt with it in very different ways.

So, if you're like me and love books that explore the complex dynamics between siblings, families, friends and lovers, this is a definite recommendation from me.

But don't just listen to me.  here's the blurb:

A year ago, Brooke Covington lost everything when her beloved older brother, Jason, confessed to the murder of his best friend, Calvin. Brooke and her family became social pariahs, broken and unable to console one another. Brooke’s only solace remains the ice-skating rink, where she works but no longer lets herself dream about a future skating professionally.

When Brooke encounters Calvin’s younger brother, Heath, on the side of the road and offers him a ride, everything changes. She needs someone to talk to…and so does Heath. No one else understands what it’s like. Her brother, alive but gone; his brother, dead but everywhere. Soon, they’re meeting in secret, despite knowing that both families would be horrified if they found out. In the place of his anger and her guilt, something frighteningly tender begins to develop, drawing them ever closer together.

But when a new secret comes out about the murder, Brooke has to choose whose pain she’s willing to live with—her family’s or Heath’s. Because she can’t heal one without hurting the other.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Weekly Goals 16-11-20

 We're past the middle of November already, if you can believe it.  

This week's goals are very similar to last week's: to keep writing my NaNo book.  I finished the weekend with just over 31K and my goal for this week is to add at least another 10K.  Which should be achievable.

A lot of it isn't great, but I feel like I'm much more in the story and in my characters' heads now.  The writing has been really easy the last couple of days which is always a great feeling.  Hopefully this will continue as I get into the really messy part of the book.  The truly Shakespearian stuff.

And that's about it for goals this week.  Keep it simple, right?

Friday, November 13, 2020

Celebrate the Small Things 13-11-20


This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I've had another pretty good writing week and am now just over 26K into #CatholicSchoolLesbians.  Hoping to crack 30K before the end of the weekend.

It's all pretty terrible writing, I think, but I'll take care of that later.  Right now it's all about getting the story and the characters down on the page.  I'll pretty it all up and force it to make sense later.

And that's about it for celebrating this week.  There hasn't been a lot of time for anything other than work and writing...

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Books I've Read: The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods


This book sounded fascinating, and in some ways, it was.  In others it was a real disappointment.

It's called a thriller, but it really isn't.  The thriller element is part of a second narrative that runs alongside Arty's story about leaving the idyllic community in which she'd grown up.  I won't say much about it because I'm sure the author meant this part of the book to surprise readers once it becomes clear what is going on in this second story.

Personally, I just found it annoying and confusing, but I can't explain exactly why without giving away the surprise.  Sorry to be vague, but I'd hate to spoil the book for anyone...

Arty is a fascinating character to explore as she discovers the world outside the clearing in which she grew up.  I felt like maybe she adapted to the outside world too easily, that she'd been taught so much about it by the adults in the clearing it wasn't quite as alien and frightening as I imagine it really would have been.

More realistic is Arty's lack of distrust of the people outside.  She has only ever lived with people who are peaceful and loving so doesn't have any understanding of the danger people can present or the kinds of discord that can exist between them.  I would have expected the people in the clearing to have warned her about people on the outside, scared her into being terrified of their worldly ways and their decadent consumerism.  But they clearly didn't, because Arty trusts everyone who speaks to her.

As she moves through this strange new world she's discovering for the first time, she learns about betrayal and distrust for the first time, but still seems to manage to be upbeat and sunny.  There are also some unbelievable coincidences that help her on her journey, but I could almost forgive these because they seemed to work with her character.

Overall, I thought this was a fascinating idea that just wasn't executed as well as it could have been,  Which in many ways is the kind of book that frustrates me the most - so much potential wasted...

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

A commune hidden from the world. A terrible accident. A lifetime of secrets to uncover. The new YA thriller from Emily Barr.

I've been trapped here for days. What if I die here? I decided to write down my story so that one day, when I'm discovered, they will know who I was and why I was here.

Arty has always lived in the Clearing, a small settlement in the forests of south India. But their happy life, hidden from the rest of the world, is shattered by a terrible accident. For the first time in her sixteen years, Arty must leave the only place she's ever known, into the outside world she's been taught to fear.

Her only goal is to get help from a woman called Tania, who used to live in the forest, and the Uncle she knows is out there, somewhere. As she embarks on the terrifying journey, pursued by an enemy she can't fathom, Arty soon realises that not everyone is to be trusted. She's looking for answers, but what she'll learn from Tania and Uncle Matthew is a shocking truth about her past.

Everything is changing too fast for this girl who came out of the woods, and is she running into a trap...?

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Weekly Goals 9-11-20

 It's all about NaNo again this week.

I managed to get just over 18K written in the first week, but I know I'm not going to get that much done this week.  My goal is to get over the 25K mark by the end of this week, which should be achievable.

And that's really it.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, November 6, 2020

Celebrate the Small Things 6-11-20


This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I've had a great couple of days writing and have over 16K written of #CatholivSchoolLesbians.

It's not great writing and I already have notes for myself all over the place telling future-me to move certain scenes, cut out various plot points introduced early on because they're no longer needed and change other things, but that's what vomit drafting is for, right?

I feel like I'm getting there.  I'm reaching a pivotal moment in the book (probably too soon, but I can fix that later) and feel like the rest is going to be really fun to write.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

IWSG - November

It's the first Wednesday of the month so it's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group!

This month's question is a goodie too!

Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

There are many reasons why I write what I write.

Primarily I write YA contemporary, although I occasionally dabble in other genres and styles, particularly when writing short fiction.  But YA contemporary is my main genre and my real passion.

I love writing for and about teens because the teenage years are such a tumultuous and heightened time in anyone's life.  It's the period in which people become who they will be for the rest of their lives and they try on ideas and personas and beliefs until they find the ones that they find the most comfortable.  

It's a time of great change as kids grow more independent and start the process of separating from their families.  It's also a time where things are experienced for the first time - first love, first heartbreak, perhaps even a first time away from home.

And amongst all this is the hormonal upheaval that teens deal with, making every emotion heightened, every decision life or death.

And teens can be so mature in many ways, while still being children in others.  I love immersing myself into this world and these characters because there are so many choices ahead of them, and so many of them will be bad ones.  I love to throw my characters into situations they are not prepared for, just to see what they will do, how they will navigate their way around the various obstacles and challenges I throw in their path.

And that's why I write what I write.  I keep trying to write a novel for adults, but somehow my heart and my mind always goes back in time to when the characters were younger, to the moments that made them who they are today, the things that shaped the adults they have become.  Things that inevitably came before the story I sat down to try and tell...  

I have a book coming out next year that sprang directly from this kind of scenario.  I sat down to write a book for adults about adoption and abortion and family betrayal, but when I started to write, I began questioning how two of my main characters came to have the relationship they had in the story.  And when I started exploring this in my mind, it ended up becoming another YA novel.

Maybe one day I'll actually write that story I initially sat down to write...  Then again, maybe I won't.  There are too many other characters populating my mind, demanding that I tell their stories.  And they're all teenagers.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Weekly Goals 2-11-20

 It's November, so this week's goals are all around NaNo.  I had hoped to write 5K+ on the first day to give myself a big cushion, but only managed around 3,500 in the end.  My goal is to hit 15K by the end of the week.  Possibly more, if things go well on Thursday and Friday when I'm off work to write.

I think things will go relatively smoothly once I get through all the introductory stuff and move into the real meat of the story.  Right now I'm still working out the two girls' voices and introducing the key characters - all the stuff I'll probably end up cutting out in the final draft.

What are your goals this week?