#vampiredetective… or not?

I’m frustrated.

This weekend, I posted twice about my vampire detective, Andrew.  He has such an interesting story, and I’ve been really feeling the vibe to dig into it.  I originally wrote his short story two years ago, and it was wonderful.  I’ve always, always, always wanted to write about vampires, and this short story was the beginnings of a future novel.  I knew that there was so much more in there to explore, so much I could pull apart and play with.  When I wrapped on Alex (and finally figured out how to let go), I felt ready to move on.  Ready to play with something new.

I spent some time reading, loitering on Tumblr, bingeing on Netflix, but I’m starting to feel the bug again.  I want to create something.  So, I started letting my brain wander again.  I asked the question, what’s next?

I was circling between three stories.  The first, and the most obvious, the one I said I was going to work on next, is Mason.  I want to write his story, I really do, but the problem is that it’s changed.  A lot.  The original novel I wrote for Mason isn’t even the starting point anymore.  If I’m diving into him again, it’s an entirely new story with new characters, a new plot, and a kind of new setting.  I’m just not ready for that.  Mason was the result of several months of writing short stories, and then several weeks of research, planning, and writing.  I don’t even know the purpose of his story anymore.  Eventually, I’ll get back to the novel I originally wrote for him, but there are at least two that come before that, and I don’t know what their purpose is yet.  I don’t know why I’m writing them, why he needs to be in those spaces.  It’s like a brand new idea again.  He needs to stew for a while.  I’m just not in the right headspace to work on him like that right now.

Which is okay, but that means I’m eliminating one of my three.  The second one is one that just recently came to me.  Which definitely contradicts all of the above about Mason because starting a brand new story is the same exact thing, but Mason is a character I’ve already gotten to know, and thus someone I need to reshape.  This tends to take a bit more work than creating something new.  And it’s not just that he’ll require more work–I’m just not ready to write him again yet.  He’s going to be so different, and I need to figure him out.  Slowly.  Back to this new story, though.  Sister witches.  I’ve got most of the characters done–two witches living together with their demon friend (they accidentally made friends with him when they summoned him, and he decided to stick around).  The plot felt like it was going to come pretty easily enough, and I was excited to work with women for a change.

And yet, that wasn’t right either.  I want to write it, yes, but it’s not jumping at me.  I shrug when I think about it.  Yeah, that’d be cool.  It’s not like the Pen boys, which I spent hours talking about when I first thought of them, days thinking of nothing but them, whole months obsessing over them.  It was a bone deep ache.  I needed to write their story.  Sister witches?  Eh, someday.

Alright, only one novel idea left, then.  Andrew Levi, the vampire detective.  I was excited.  Was I finally about to get the chance to write about him?  I’m always coming back to his Pinterest board to add things or to just scroll through it, wondering when it would be time.  Was this it?  Was it time?

Honestly, I’m not sure, and I’m fairly frustrated about that.

I’ve got all the characters ready for it.  Andrew, turned around Alexander the Great’s reign, and so potentially very old.  Once the head of a coven, but forced out, so he fled to Boston, and has been working as a detective there for nearly 20 years.  Sam, his human partner, who’s known about his supernatural nature for some time, and didn’t blink twice when she found out.  Fun and funny, she keeps Andrew from just falling into a black hole of not caring.  Between them, four very different dogs–Andrew’s three Doberman’s, all named after Greek gods and goddesses, and a heavy reference toward hellhounds, and Sam’s little shit dog, a Boston terrier named Pistol.  And then, the other side of vampire culture–Penelope, Isaac, and Eli.  Penelope was part of Andrew’s old coven, and followed him to Boston in secret to keep an eye on him.  She’s currently working on her PhD in philosophy, and would just like to live a normal life, thank you very much.  But between her roommate (Isaac: getting his masters in biology with a concentration in anatomy, human, fitness enthusiast, proud father of Gomez the hedgehog and Morticia the turtle), her best friend (Eli: also a vampire, trying to convince Penelope to join his coven, typical vamp narrative), and the cashier at the bookstore (Owen: human, doesn’t know anything about all this supernatural nonsense), she’s having a hard time of it.  And then there’s the villain–good old Dmitri.  Russian, the one who forced Andrew out, and completely obsessed (understandably) with the fact that Andrew can walk in the daylight, so hellbent on finding him and killing him to experiment on him (that might mean drink his blood, who knows?).

Even beyond that, I have the plot.  Andrew & Sam are tied up with a series of very strange killings that Sam thinks are vampires (victims are drained of blood), but that Andrew thinks is the work of some underground cult (no other signs of vampirism, but plenty of cultish stuff).  Penelope is overwhelmed with her thesis (in Greek mythology, of course) and trying to keep Isaac out of trouble (he always seems to be getting into fixes with vamps or being arrested by Sam).  And on top of all that, we’ve got Dmitri, who’s finally found Andrew in Boston, and is going in for the kill.  Surprise: the underground cult murders are actually his coven, and it’s all going to unravel in spectacular fashion.

There’s more, too, but too much will spoil the fun.  So, I’ve got characters, setting, and plot.  It’s all there.  It’s practically wrapped itself.  All I’ve got to do is tie the bow.

And yet.

Here I am.

It’s not calling to me.  I’m not jumping at the chance to write it.  I’m not even really all that excited.

I hate this.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, and I’m sure it’s something that’s happened to almost every other writer in the world.  This terrible feeling where none of your ideas seem good enough.  Or, in my case right now, that the novel you just finished (Alex) is the one you can’t stop thinking about.  Which sucks for me because Alex’s story is over.

I keep sighing loudly in frustration, so bright side.  I’ve been telling myself to play in both the shadows and the light, so here’s the thing.  I’m also thinking about the Pen boys.  I hadn’t intended to write the second book of their story, but maybe that’s where I’m headed.  Before I get ahead of myself, too, it’s not really their second book.  I’m going to write summer novellas so I can play with them outside of school, too, and do all the fanfictiony stuff that I don’t get to do in my novels.  So, maybe that’s what’s next.  We’ll see.  For now, I’m going to keep reading, I guess.

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August Reads

Hello, and welcome to a new segment on the blog!  Around the end of each month (or beginning of the next since I’m bad at this), I’m going to be talking about the books I’ve read during the month.  Originally, I was just going to start reviewing books individually, but then you’d have a new blog every few days, and that seems excessive, so instead I’m going to put them all in one.

Quick history.  Way back in the day, I was not an avid reader.  Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s true.  Growing up, I read pretty regularly, but once I hit middle school, it was more about fanfiction than regular books.  During high school, I really only read what I was supposed to during school and not much else beyond.  In college, I was doing much of the same, but also reading a few books outside of my curriculum.  This mostly consisted of reading (and rereading) Maggie Stiefvater and a handful of adult novels.  I thought that when I graduated college, I would start devouring books left and right.  Instead, I bought a bunch at one time, stuck them on my shelf, and forgot about them.  Nothing was changing.

In the year of 2014, I read 18 books.  Eighteen.  That’s how many I bought in a single week in August.  (FYI, I’m not crazy, I had Goodreads back then, so I had begun logging the books I was reading.)  In 2015, a little better, I read 34.  I remember wanting to read 50, and just laughing at myself halfway through the year.  There was no way, I thought.  Last year, I read 64 books.  Finally, life was beginning to change.  Why?  Well, I no longer had required reading, I had a normal, 9-5, no weekends job, and I had finally (finally, oh my gosh) started reading YA outside of Maggie.

So, here we are.  So far, this year, I’ve read 57 books, and my goal is 75.  Almost there!  This month, though, I’ve read 6, so let’s dive in!

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What: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Unicorn Training by Maggie Stiefvater & Jackson Pearce
When: 7/31-8/1
Rating: ★★★★★
Review: I’d never heard the term auto-buy author until recently.  Apparently, it’s an author that you automatically buy a book from, even if you have no idea what it’s about.  This is not one of those books, but this is one of those authors.  This is the second in a series of middle reader books about a young heroine who can communicate with mythical creatures and her best friend, who is highly allergic to almost all mythical creatures.  In this one, Pip and Tomas attend a competition and end up helping their old friend Regent Maximus, a unicorn terrified of literally everything, successfully compete.

It’s adorable.  It’s very well written, the illustrations are fantastic, and the story will leaving you gasping and laughing.  There’s a bit of mystery in there, and I totally did not see that plot twist coming at the end.  It’s a really quick read, and if you’re a fan of Maggie, I would definitely recommend it.

Empress of a Thousand Skies (Empress of a Thousand Skies, #1)

What: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
When: 8/3-8/11
Rating: ★★★★
Review: This was excellent.  I don’t read a lot of science fiction purely because I find a lot of it just too over the top, or requires too much suspension of disbelief.  Which I know is crazy because I read fantasy novels with dragons, but there’s just something about science fiction that I usually can’t get behind.  This, however, did a really wonderful job at paying specific attention to the human aspects of its characters while also letting them travel through the universe, and thus sucked me in immediately.  The story revolves around two major characters–Rhee and Aly.  Princess Rhiannon is the only living heir to the Ta’an dynasty, though this might have been a mistake.  After her entire family was assassinated, it appears someone is trying to finish the job as Rhee prepares to take the throne.  Alyosha, born on Wraeta, which was destroyed by Rhee’s family, is just trying to survive, and doing pretty well for himself–until martial law is declared and Wraetans blamed for trying to incite war.

Woah.  There’s a lot in this book, but Belleza manages to really hone in on aspects that draw the reader in.  We empathize with Aly, we’re afraid for Rhee, and we cannot wait for them to meet.  The war, the racial injustice, and the assassination plot are all still very relevant, but they take a backseat to the characters, and this makes the story both relatable and easy to follow.

I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 only because there was a lot of description lacking in this book.  I think, because of the map, I was able to follow along and visualize things, but there were a lot of times when I didn’t know what their environment looked like.

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What: The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín
When: 8/12-8/15
Rating: ★★★★★
Review: YO, THIS BOOK.  Let me tell you about this book.  This was very hard to put down.  There’s a blurb on the back of the book that says, “For those who have been sleeping too well at night.”  AND YUP, PRETTY ACCURATE.  Okay.  So the story revolves around Nessa, who is going to be “Called” soon.  Going in, I wasn’t really sure what that was going to mean.  I was getting a Village-esque vibe from the cover and summary, and even from the beginning of the book.  And then, are you ready?  It’s my favorite thing in the world.  HOMICIDAL FAERIES.  My dudes, let me tell you, faeries are not to be trifled with.  Now, quick history lesson, the first time I started reading Maggie’s books, I stayed away from her two faery books.  Faeries, I thought, really?  Yeah, really.  After reading Maggie’s books, I dug into the lore a little to find out that faeries are definitely not nice, and will definitely steal your soul.  So, there’s that.  And this novel plays with the dark side of faery lore in an excellent way.  Nessa, who is disabled, is determined to outlive the Call.  Three minutes in the human world equals about a day in the faery realm, and if you survive those three minutes, you won’t be Called again, and you, well–you don’t die, basically.

This book IS SO GOOD.  I did give it 5 stars, and that’s because of the story and not the writing.  The writing leaves a lot to be desired, but the story is so excellent that it deserved all five.  It was absolute torture putting this down.  I wanted to just read it straight through in one sitting, but wanted to live in the world so badly that I made myself spend three days with it.  It’s riveting, and you’re never sure if Nessa is actually going to survive.  Like I said, the writing is kind of not great, but the story is just so incredibly well done, it’s definitely worth the read.

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What: This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
When: 8/14-8/16
Rating: ★★★★★
Review: Recently, I had a bad time of it with books.  From probably May to August, I wasn’t really enjoying anything that I was reading.  This time, when I went shopping, I made sure to be really choosy, and I originally wasn’t going to get this book.  The last time I got a book haul, none of them were magical, and I think that’s part of the reason I was so disappointed in a lot of them.  However, I was still writing the Pen boys at the time, and this book is about five boys, so eventually, I bought it.  And thank something because wow.  Right there on the cover–Five went in.  Four came out.  Oh man.  This follows the story of the River Point Boys, five of whom went hunting one morning, and only four of whom came out alive.  No one knows who shot Grant, and you don’t find out until the second to last chapter, I think.  We see them mostly through Kate’s POV, though there are chapters that are told from a first person POV, and holy moly, guys, I thought it was one specific boy the whole time and was completely wrong.  It’s your basic murder mystery with a romantic subplot, and it’s amazing.

I was floored by how much I liked this.  Like The Call, I didn’t want to put it down, but I didn’t want it to be over, so I took my time.  IE: two days.  Sure, whatever.  The romance in this was so unexpected and beautiful, which probably made me love it even more.  The boys, too, are so complex and so not what you think they are.  It’s just–there’s circles and circles and circles in this book, and it’s a truly fantastic read.

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What: Witchtown by Cory Putman Oakes
When: 8/17-8/22
Rating: ★★★★★
Review: I’ll be honest, I bought this book because of the cover.  I judge books by their covers, and I’m sorry for that, but I’m not going to stop.  However, when you’ve got an interesting title (come on, Witchtown, heck yes) paired with a really gorgeous cover, and it actually sounds interesting, that’s just a recipe for magic.  Witchtown follows 16-year-old Macie O’Sullivan, who is sick of jumping around witch havens and stealing from them, and just wants to settle down.  She’s a Void, someone who cannot connect with magic, and so depends solely on her mother, Aubra.  This is the story of their very last con, in Witchtown, and what exactly that looks like.

Though this book was pretty predictable, it was also a fun read.  There’s a lot of magic in here that I haven’t seen in other novels, and so I was really pleased–herbal magic, rituals, natural versus channeling.  If you’re into witches, definitely pick this up.  It just explores so much of the lore that most novels ignore in favor of standard spellwork and crystal balls.  It also has interesting, complicated characters, and it didn’t give the villain a redemption arc, so that was pretty cool.  All in all, fun, 5 stars for the lore, and well written.

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What: Lost Boy by Christina Henry
When: 8/23-8/29
Rating: ★★★★
Review: Alright.  I didn’t want to give this 4 stars, I wanted to give it 3, but that’s purely because it made me uncomfortable, so it deserves 4.  This is a Peter Pan retelling, obviously, but it makes Peter the villain, and I’m just–not okay with that.  But, setting aside the fact that there’s no way Peter could ever be a villain (he’s Peter Pan, guys), this was really well done.  It tells the story from Hook’s point of view, starting with him as a Lost Boy and showing why he turned into Hook.  Without giving too much away, it’s because of Peter that he becomes nasty, hateful Captain Hook hellbent on killing Peter.  I will admit, too, that it makes that very plausible, and really opens up Hook’s character on a level we’ve never seen before.  And Tink’s in it!

This was not only well written, it took the story of Peter Pan and turned it onto its head.  I could, in an alternate universe, see how this all could have happened this way.  I’m upset about that because Peter is near and dear to my heart, but Henry managed to take the fierce, angry Captain Hook and make him sad, growing up Jamie.  Fair warning, though, that some of the original Lost Boys (from the cartoon) are in there and die, and also that though Tink comes in at the end, she’s only described as a firefly and doesn’t show up all that often.  There’s a lot of blood and murder and fire, and if you’re a Peter Pan fan, it’s going to be painful to read at times, but it is really well done, and I have to give it that.

And that’s that!  I’ve already read one book for the month of September, and I’ve just started the second, so keep an eye out toward the end of the month, or beginning of October, for September reads!

Letting Go is Hard

I’ve tried to write this blog twice already–the post Alex blog.

I know I only just posted the blog introducing him, but he and the Pen boys were novels I started while this blog was still private and primarily about Mason, and thus never really got to show the beginning.  Although, like I said in his intro post, Alex really began several years ago.

This is not about his beginning, though.  This is about his ending, something I’ve never written before.  Yes, this is technically his third draft, but I never actually wrote the first two all the way to his end.  And honestly?  I’m not sure how I feel about it.

When I finished Pen boys, I had an actual dance party.  I put on Miley Cyrus’s new song (because hell yes, Harrison would have it on repeat), and I boogied through a few sun salutations.  When I finished Alex the Destroyer, I–went to bed.  I’m not even lying.  Granted, I had to be up early the next day, and I finished writing around 9:30PM, but still, I just went to sleep.

I woke up, hiked a mountain, and went about my daily life.

I worked 9-5, I taught yoga on Tuesday, and I just–did my thing.

It’s been almost two weeks, and I’m still not sure how I feel.  Well, that’s a half-truth.  I know how I feel, I’m just not certain I understand why I feel the way I do.  Well.  Okay, it’s all a lie.

I’m in mourning.  I know this, and I don’t like it, particularly because I know why.  When I said Alex is me, I really meant that.  A lot of his story (minus the drugs, obviously) is based on fact.  A lot of the weird, dumbass stuff he does, I did.  There is a lot of fiction mixed in, and his story in no way reflects my actual life at that age, but Alex’s personality, his interests, and his passion is all mine.  He likes the same music as me, wants the same things as me, and is as wild about life as I am.  He is me.

What does that say about me right now?  Because, if I think about it like that, then I just wrote the ending to my childhood.  Which is disconcerting, to say the least.

But even if I don’t think about it like that, Alex has been with me for 13 years.  He is my oldest fictional friend, the first I ever created, and the one that, really, I spend most of my time thinking about.

How do I do this?  How do I let go of him?  There is no second book.  His story is over.  I’ve written everything I wanted to for him.  Is this really the end?

A writing friend of mine told me to celebrate all the successes, no matter how small.  I told him I’d had a dance party for the Pen boys, but nothing for Alex.  At first, I thought maybe this was the problem.  Maybe I hadn’t celebrated the ending of his story.  The problem is, I don’t want to.  I’m not ready to.  And that’s a tricky thing with characters that you love this much.  Sometimes, they’re ready to move on, and you’re not.  But I have to find a way to.  Yes, I still have 6 additional chapters to write into the story, and yes, I still have edits to do, but I have to find a way to let go of him now.  I have to let go of this story.

Yes, I have to.  If I’m still lingering in Alex’s life forever and always, nothing I write after this will have my full concentration, my full heart.  He can still exist in my soul, but he can’t be the driving force anymore.  I did it.  I told his story.  It’s time to let go so I can move on.

But how?

I don’t have an answer for you.  I have an answer for me, but in general, answering the question on how to let go of characters and their stories is impossible.  There is no surefire way to let go.  There is no tested and proven method.  It’s different every time.  For the Pen boys, I danced.  I rejoiced.  And truthfully, I’m not really letting them go.  I have two more books with them, so we’ll see what happens at the end of the third.

I can tell you this.  For Alex, it took seeing Green Day live before I was ready to let him go.  Now, I know this sounds crazy, but remember who Alex is.  First and foremost, before the drug addiction, before the abusive home, before all of the drama, he is a musician.  The one thing in life that is his constant, that always brings him joy, that steadies him and brings him hope and helps him through everything is music.  I’ve already talked about music a few times on this blog, so it comes as no surprise to me that, for this particular character, this was what helped me finally exhale.

And the strangest part?  I’ve been writing Alex for 13 years, and I’ve been waiting to see Green Day for 13 years.  The world works in weird ways.  When American Idiot first came out, there was almost nothing I wouldn’t do to see that tour.  Almost nothing.  I was 12, which meant I definitely couldn’t afford those tickets, and I really didn’t want my first Green Day experience to be at Gillette Stadium.  So, we never went.  Over the years, my dad fell out of love with them, and this was before I could, or would, go to concerts by myself.  And so, I never thought about seeing them live again until Revolution Radio came out last year.  This was it, I thought.  I’d gone to a few concerts by myself, and I was going to this one.  And then my dad said he wanted to see them.

Fast forward several months, and two days ago, I finally, finally, saw them live.  They were on for two and a half hours, and it was the best night of my life.  It was, hands down, the best show I’ve ever been to.  It was everything my entire youth has been building up to.  Funny, isn’t it, seeing how Alex has been there for my entire youth, as well.

Disclaimer: I do not cry at non-Panic! concerts.  I’ve cried once at a concert–Josh Groban, go figure–and Panic! shows just don’t count because it’s Brendon Urie, guys.  Do you really expect me to hold it together?  Fact: I bawled my way through the entirety of Still Breathing.  The whole thing.  As soon as Billie said they were playing it, I started crying.  Done for.  What in the holy hell?  This is why:

Am I bleeding?
Am I bleeding from the storm?
Just shine a light into the wreckage
So far away, away

‘Cause I’m still breathing
‘Cause I’m still breathing on my own
My head’s above the rain and roses
Making my way away
‘Cause I’m still breathing
‘Cause I’m still breathing on my own
My head’s above the rain and roses
Making my way away
My way to you

Oh.

Okay.

Alex has a lot of songs, but this one–this one was never intended for him.  Most of his songs are pre-2007, but I should have known.  Jesus of Suburbia is THE SONG.  It inspired a lot of the material in his story, and it’s the one I turn to when I need help getting into his head.  And boy, does he love that album.  My first thought when Green Day came onstage was, oh, my little punk rock asshole would have loved this so much.  He would have, too.  He would have died to see them live.  And somehow, we saw them together.  Still Breathing was the exhale I’ve been waiting for.

He’s still breathing, and I’m still alive.

We Need to Talk About Alex Hart

Fun fact: I haven’t seen that movie, but I really want to.  It looks like one of those movies that’s going to break my heart.

Alex Hart.

Where do I even begin?

This blog is so that I can give insight into at least one writer’s insane mind, but I kind of messed up with the Pen boys and Alex.  I decided to do this after I was already well into their stories, so the beginning nervousness and freak outs aren’t really documented for these two.  However, I wrote a blog talking about the beginning of the Pen boys, however belated, and I’m going to give Alex the same space.  Warning: this may will be long.

Alex’s story starts in 2005.

Good grief, that was twelve years ago.  I was thirteen, I think, and in the seventh grade.  I’d been writing Harry Potter fanfiction for a year already, all of it terrible and most of it gone from the Internet now.  My music taste hadn’t yet evolved.  I was still listening to the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears, but then, purely by accident, I was watching MTV, and this music video came on.  It was Good Charlotte, and it was probably Predictable.  I watched it because I was curious, and it wasn’t horrible.  In fact, it was pretty good.  After one listen, I wanted more.  I convinced my mom to take me to Best Buy, and buy their second album, Young and the Hopeless.  Oh man, that album.  I still listen to it today.  And if you don’t believe me, I can remember the last time I listened to it in full–last Sunday, on the way home from hiking.  That album was the beginning of everything.

Over the next few months, I started going to Best Buy every Tuesday for new music.  On the jacket of one of Good Charlotte’s albums, there was a thank you to a band called Mest.  I looked them up on YouTube (fun fact: I used to spend every single morning watching music videos before school), and found that Benji was featured in one of their songs.  I was immediately hooked.  I watched the video over and over and over again, turning up the volume when Benji was singing.  The following Tuesday, I went to buy their self-titled album, the one with Jaded on it, and found out it was an explicit content album.  This was not something I’d listened to before.  I begged and pleaded, and my mom finally agreed.  In the car, she asked for the CD jacket, and made me promise I would never listen to the first song since that’s where all the swears were.  Confession: I listened to it on the ride home because I thought I was a punk ass kid.  Sorry, mom.  Shortly after, I bought my second explicit content album, Getting Away with Murder by Papa Roach, though this was at Newbury Comics when it was still on 114, and I snuck it in with a bunch of other CDs so she wouldn’t notice.  Read: punk ass kid.

With this new influx of music, my wardrobe started to change, too.  I wanted to wear band t-shirts, and I remember, very distinctly, that I thought Sonny Moore was so cool when he was still in From First to Last in their video for Ride the Wings of Pestilence, so I wanted a plain black t-shirt.  That was definitely not happening, so I started turning my shirts inside out.  If this sounds completely crazy to you, it’s because it was, and also, Alex’s boyfriend does the same exact thing.  I also remember that a lot of those idiots back then (Sonny, Syn Gates, Ronnie Radke to name a few) were always wearing two belts?  Who the hell knows why, but they did it, so I used to wear a plain one as an actual belt, and then cross the other one, a pyramid stud one, diagonally on top of it while I rode my bike around the neighborhood in my black jeans and inside out shirt.

oh my god

(I’m laughing so hard right now.  Why was I so weird, what the actual heck?  Right now, I’m wearing Lauren Conrad flats, salmon colored capris, and a white lace top.  Like?  What?  Where did that person go?  Spoiler: she’s still there.  I’m listening to Escape the Fate’s 2014 album, Hate Me, right now.)

I swear, all of this has a point, but you have to understand who I was at the time to understand Alex because he is me.  I don’t often put myself so wholly into my characters.  There will be pieces of them.  Mason is a fire elemental, I’m an Aries.  Oliver is in love with magic, and I just want magic to be real.  Ronan is fierce and formidable, and I’d like to think some of his strength is mine.  But Alex–well, aside from the drugs, Alex is me.  100%.  There is no way I can deny it, particularly when so many of his stories–Ronnie Radke walks by him at Warped, and he freaks out so bad that he falls and skins his knee.  It wasn’t Ronnie when it happened to me, but Jordan Witzigreuter from The Ready Set–actually happened in my life.

So, imagine 13-year-old Mary in the seventh grade, spewing Good Charlotte facts to literally anyone that will listen, desperately trying to convince my parents to let me wear Tripp pants, and finally realizing that there was a massive online community for other freaks like me.  I found GCFanfics and Good Charlotte Online (holy goodness, GCO was both the best and actual worst thing that ever happened to me) at the same time, and immediately created accounts for both.  I even remember my username for GCFF, though I’m never telling anyone because it’s still active, and you can still find those stories.  I shudder just at the thought of that.

Now, at the time, I hadn’t yet discovered slash fanfiction.  For those of you who just went, uh what?, slash fanfiction is male/male.  And for those of you who just got squicked, and want to run away, go right ahead, but this is your official warning that almost every single one of my novels has a gay protagonist, and it started a long time ago.  Back in 2005, I was writing mostly self-inserts, and they were just–I don’t even want to talk about them.  They were so bad.  Oh god, I had this one, High School Sucks (yes, that was the real title), and it literally followed GC through high school and the formation of their band before continuing on for several years after high school.  I really didn’t know how to end a story yet.

But first, backtrack to seventh grade.  I spent the first half of it writing self-inserts and little oneshots, and then, finally, I accidentally stumbled upon something different.  Probably one of the twins paired with Billy, though I’m honestly not sure.  And it occurred to me that well, this could be fun.  It was really little at first when I tried it, and it was pretty awful.  However, I do remember every single detail of it because it was the first time I met Alex.  I didn’t want to pair Billy with any of the other GC guys for whatever reason, so I made up an OC (original character) for him.  They were in a fairly unhealthy relationship, and it ended after about 6 or 7 chapters, but something stuck with me.

Back then, his name was spelled Alaxzander (again, punk ass kid), but not a whole lot else changed.  His last name is still Hart, he’s still short, and he still sings.  His band is still named Convoluted, and their story is still titled Walk Among Us.  Sound familiar?  It’s a Misfits song.  Alex and Billy’s song is You Belong to Me, originally done by Jo Stafford and made famous by Patsy Cline, but redone by the Misfits.  That’s their band.

It’s 2005.  Alex Hart has just been created.  For the next year or so, I would go on to work on other things.  I would leave Good Charlotte fanfiction behind to spend several years in the Avenged Sevenfold community, where I would play briefly with other Orange County bands.  I would keep writing Harry Potter fanfiction, though not as diligently.  I would slowly start to discover Livejournal, and then the world started to open up.  I started making lifelong friends (hi, Nicole and Dan) that, while I wouldn’t talk to as frequently as I had in the eighth grade and high school, I would always have a connection to.  I had found my people.

In the eighth grade, right before Ronan became a thing, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at writing Alex’s story for real.  Over the course of two years, I wrote 44 chapters that spanned about 20 years of his life, and never finished it.  I brought it to a workshop once, and ignored pretty much all of the edits I was given.  My attention was waning.  Ronan was being born, and I had dragons on the brain.  And so, for the next eleven years, I left Alex behind.

There is a vital piece missing to this story.  It doesn’t look like it on the outside, but for nearly thirteen years, I had a partner in crime.  We once co-wrote a Good Charlotte fanfiction together.  We laid on each other’s floors listening to music and not talking.  We learned how to play the guitar and bass, respectively, and then learned the entirety of Green Day’s American Idiot so we could jam together.  We started working on our separate novels, always exchanging them for edits.  We went to Warped Tour together, we saw Breathe Carolina seven times together, we nearly died in the Atreyu crowd at Taste of Chaos.  We went to high school together, did daring things with piercings and hair dye together, listened to the same music, obsessed over Harry Potter together, and promised nothing would change when we went to college.  It didn’t, either.  We Skyped during college, we sent each other book recommendations, and we hung out on breaks.  After college, when we were living on separate coasts, in different timezones, we started a book club, and then later, a writing club.  We talked about the new albums we were listening to, we talked about what was going on in our lives, and we made plans for what we would do together when we were both back on the same coast.

If you’ve read any of Mason’s blogs, you’ll know that I’m no longer speaking to this person.  And while I don’t want to open up a still fairly recent wound, Alex’s story cannot be told without this person.  Because Alex’s story wouldn’t have happened a second time without them.  After I finished writing the first draft of Mason, which was terrifying in itself because it was the first time I had ever written something that wasn’t Ronan, and thus I had literally no concept of whether or not it was good, and after I received overwhelmingly positive things about it, I decided it was time.  Mason needed a lot of work still, and it was only a first draft, but it had let me know that I could do it.  I was capable of writing something that wasn’t Ronan.  And though I left Alex behind eleven years ago, he’s been a constant in my life.  He is always a breath away from taking over my thoughts, always someone I turn to when I’m not sure where I’m going in life.  He is me.  So, I thought, well, if Mason went so well, I’m going to hold off on edits for a second draft and instead start the story I’ve always wanted to write.

That was in December.  Four months later, in April of this year, my best friend told me that I was a terrible friend and a worse writer, and that they never wanted to speak to me again or be involved in my writing process again.  They told me that Mason was one of the worst things they’d ever read, and that they had grown to despise it so much that they were relieved when they were finally finished with it.

I was blindsided.

I had received nothing but encouragement and positive criticism.  (I keep trying to write constructive criticism, but when I look back now, the only negative notes I got where entire paragraphs crossed out with no notes, and that’s just not constructive or helpful.)  I had no idea it wasn’t good.  This was the first time I’d written something that wasn’t Ronan, a character who I’d been struggling with for over a decade.  It was the first time in twelve years that I had tried to write something new, that I had tried to create new characters, that I had tried my hand at a new plot and new adventures.

You can imagine how I felt, after weeks of being told it was wonderful, and it was headed in a great direction, and that it could really turn into something, that it was the worst thing someone had ever read.  I didn’t know how to respond at the time.  Now, looking back, I’m mad at myself for not asking, “Why did you never tell me?  Why am I so surprised by this?  Why did you tell me it was good if it wasn’t?  What did I do wrong?”

When I give out my novels for edits, I am trusting my readers, often times my friends, to be honest with me.  I am trusting them to tell me when things aren’t working, or when things just need to be scrapped and reworked entirely.  I am trusting them to help me create something beautiful.

I stopped writing.

It was the first time in my life that I actively put away my words, and refused to create.

There was no space in me for magic.

I was hollow.

Truthfully, I only spent a few weeks like this, but they were some of the worst weeks of my life.  I didn’t want to write, didn’t want to read.  I watched TV because I didn’t want to fall behind on my shows, but I didn’t enjoy it.  I sat on Tumblr, I played Solitaire, and I reread old fanfiction, trying to see how terrible it probably was.  I was ready to give up.  What was the point in writing if I was horrible at it, if I couldn’t even trust my own friends to be honest with me about it?  It didn’t matter that other friends were telling me this wasn’t true.  It didn’t matter that there are over 1300 bookmarks for my spideypool series.  It didn’t matter that my superhusbands college au had over 18,000 hits and 840 comments.  It didn’t matter that there was overwhelmingly support against one person’s opinion.  They had been reading my writing since I was thirteen.  They had to be right.

Well, Alex begged to differ.

The thing about Alex is that he sneaks his way into my soul when I’m least expecting him.  I’ll be driving home, listening to the radio, and something will tell me that I should be listening to Escape the Fate instead.  I’ll be in a line outside of a venue waiting for a show, and something will make me smile.  I’ll be lying in bed, nearly asleep, and something will make me wonder what he’s up to right now.  The thing about Alex is that, for me, he’s about 27 right now.  I’ve been growing up with him all this time.  He’s always been there, lurking in the shadows, stepping forward in moments of uncertainty or a lull in writing.  He’s always goading me to do something new, something more.  He cheered the first time I dyed my hair, danced the first time I pierced my nose, was sitting right next to me the first time I got a tattoo.  For me, his story never ended.  It’s been writing itself all this time, this shorter, darker, angrier version of me living his own life inside my head.  The thing about Alex is that I felt like I was done writing, that there was no point, but I’d already started his story a few weeks earlier, and he’s a stubborn asshole.

Alex represents hope to me.  His story is not a light one.  He’s addicted to heroin when we first meet him, he refuses to accept help from anyone, he’s in an abusive home, and he’s falling apart at the seams.  His mom is crazy, his dad is in jail for murder, his boyfriend’s parents hate him, and he’s just one smart comment away from getting the snot beat out of him from a bully.  He works three jobs, and doesn’t sleep well even when he’s not working, he does plenty more than heroin, and he keeps toeing the line of surviving and dying.  He is an absolute mess.  And yet, he’s still alive.  Throughout the course of the story, he gets clean, his father is released from prison, he leaves his abusive home, he makes things right with Billy’s parents, his band finds success, and he steps over the line and into living.  Despite all the odds stacked up against him, Alex finds a way out of the darkness.

And so, it should come as no surprise that when I was done, when I was ready to give up, he barreled right in and said, “Are you sure?”  It was like a little flare of defiance.  Something dark opened up inside of me, and swallowed the anger, the fear, the uncertainty.  Oh, so I’m a terrible writer?  We’ll see about that.

Four months later, I’ve written the entirety of Pen boys, and I’m finally back to Alex.  His story is currently at 95k, and I’ve only got two chapters left to write.  There are six other chapters that I need to add in to make the story complete, but I’m finally finishing his story.  This time, it’s 50 chapters, and it only covers one year of his life, but it’s almost done, and it happened how it was always supposed to, how it always has–just me and him against the world.

Here’s to you, 13-year-old Mary.  You did it.  You defied all the odds, and you came out on top.  And here’s to every single terrified, anxious, uncertain, angry, sad, rage against the machine teenager just trying to figure out why the world sucks so much.  This story is for you.  You got this.

So you finished Writing a Book. Now what?

On Saturday, I posted a very brief thing saying that I’d finished writing the Pen boys.  There wasn’t much else beyond that, and so I thought it might be fun to delve into what comes next.  At the moment, I’m still in the lull of post-finishing, and so I’m not doing any of these things yet, but give me a few days to a week, and I’ll plunge headlong into the following.  And, as always, my writing process may look very, very different from yours, so this is not a golden rule to follow.

Firstly, what is a post-finishing lull?  It means that I’ve spent the last four months writing 188k words, and I’m tired.  I know, it’s just writing.  (God, I hate that phrase, just writing.)  It shouldn’t be tiring.  But think about it like a workout.  You are constantly exercising your brain, coming up with a brand new world, an entire cast of characters, a plot, and conflict, all while trying to connect those things and keep them coherent and consistent.  It takes a lot out of you mentally.  And sometimes emotionally, too.  (Honestly, sometimes physically.  I have dance parties and pace a lot.)  Even when I’m not physically writing, I’m mentally writing.  Having conversations with myself in the car, asking “what would X do?” in different situations, and trying to work out problems that have arisen.  The actual writing, too, is wild, and particularly ends of books.  You’ve all read a book before, and you know what the end feels like.  There is usually a heck of a lot going on.  Everyone is doing something, and probably stressed out about it, and there’s just a lot of chaos happening.  Imagine writing that.  It feels like you’re in chaos.  It feels like you can’t breathe, or you have to accomplish this dangerous task, or you might be about to die.  And then, when all of that is done, and you, as the reader, start to relax, we, as the writer, have to keep going.  Falling action is the literal worst.  After the climax, I’m so beat from building everything up and tearing it all apart that writing a conclusion is at the bottom of my list.  I just want to sit on the sofa and watch some TV for a while.  Usually, this is why I procrastinate finishing novels.  (For Pen boys, I procrastinated because I love them dearly, and I didn’t want to let them go yet, but that’s a whole other problem to tackle.)  When, finally, I did finish Pen boys, I’d been working on the last three chapters for an entire day, it was 9:30PM at night, and I had to be up at 6AM the next morning, so I closed my laptop and went to bed.  Right now, two days later, I’m not even going to look at their folder, never mind open those last few chapters.  I just want to read things for a little while.  Bask in the fact that I just finished writing a novel.

And when I’m done doing that?  I’m still not going to work on the second draft.  I’ll probably briefly edit the last three chapters, just for grammar and little additions/deletions here or there, but I’m done with Pen boys for a few months at least.  Both of my CPs are still reading it, and I’d like to wait for their completed edits before I dive into the second draft.

Second drafts, too, are a tricky thing.  They mean something different every time.  For Pen boys, I’m going to be editing the first draft to create a second one.  I will not be starting over, and I will be keeping most of what is there.  It’s currently at 188k, which is just absurd for a YA novel, so I have a lot of cutting to do.  My goal is to not cut any scenes, but instead to get rid of extraneous language that doesn’t add anything to the overall story.  My goal is to get it to at least 100k, though really, 90k is more realistic for publishing, but we’ll see what happens.  This, for me, is usually not the case.

For Mason’s second draft, I won’t be taking anything from the first one.  I’ll probably reread it just to get the gist of things again, but Mason will be an entirely new thing.  This is for two reasons.  One, because the second draft is going to actually be an entirely new novel.  It starts at a different time, and ends long before the current one starts.  Two, even if I was still starting at the same place, I would write it again and not keep anything.  Mason’s first draft was a place I needed to be, but not a place he needs to end up.  There are a lot of things wrong with that novel, and I didn’t write it the way I should have, so I’m going to give him the space he deserves in a brand new draft.

For Ronan, it’s never the same.  The first time I rewrote it, I started over completely from scratch.  And I mean I changed the world, the characters, and the plot.  Irizedd was still a thing, as were dragons, but Ronan got a complete overhaul, and the conflict shifted.  The second time, I worked off of the previous draft, but still wrote a new one.  I kept most of it intact, but changed a few plot points around, adjusted the language to where I was then in my writing, and fixed a few errors.  The third time, I really only edited basic things.  The fourth time, I started over again, and didn’t even refer back to any of the previous drafts.  The next time (the fifth time, good grief), I’ll be doing this again, but like before, it will be a complete overhaul.  The plot is way different, and the whole story itself is going to be reshaped.  I’m very excited.

And then there’s Alex.  His is one of my favorite kinds of second drafts.  Almost everything will stay the same, but I’ll be adding a lot to it.  There were several issues that I needed to address, things that weren’t fleshed out enough, and characters that needed more support.  I’ll be taking the first draft and expanding on it, making it bigger and better and way badder (shut up).

The weirdest part is, Alex’s second draft will happen before Pen boys’s does.  Whenever I finish a novel, and after very, very minor edits have been done (by minor, I mean really just reading it a second time and checking for grammatical errors), I usually don’t want to play in it again for a while.  Thus, I usually turn to something else.

So I finished Writing a Book.  What now?  Now, I’ll read a few YA novels and take my time with them.  I’ll probably reread Alex and start working on his second draft little by little.  I’ll hang out on Tumblr, watch a few movies and TV shows that I’ve been putting off, probably abandon Pinterest until the writing mood strikes me again, practica yoga more, and really just live a normal person’s life for a little bit.  At some point, I’ll actually write a post-Pen boys blog to talk about how I’m feeling about the novel as a whole.  This week, I’m hoping to write about using tarot cards while writing.  But for right now, I’m just going to relax.  I did it.  I finished it, and that’s good enough for me.

it’s done

it’s actually done

the end

wow

I kind of feel like I’m in shock right now.

188k

I just keep exhaling like wow, it’s actually done.  I did it.  I finished the Pen boys.

here are the first and last lines, just because:

“Four months ago, Liana Hollands died.” / “She was going to burn this place to the ground someday.”

WOW

I’m going to actually blog about this in earnest at some point, but right now, I need to get up and dance.

 

What not avoiding writing looks like

Yeah, I’ve definitely been avoiding the Pen boys for a little while.  I was having finishing anxiety again, and so I took a couple weeks off to read a crap ton of books, and to hang out on Pinterest a lot under the guise of “researching”.  I mean, to be fair, it is actually research.  Everything I’ve done in the last couple of weeks has helped me prepare for getting back to Alex and Mason soon.  The week with Erin was heavily Mason-centric, but this last week has revolved around Alex, and I’m definitely ready to dive back into that story and work on a second draft.

The Pen boys, however, will very likely be done today.  This blog is not a procrastination of that, it’s a I just finished a 4k chapter, broke 180k overall, and I need a brain break.  I might make some tea.

On Thursday, I texted Erin and Patrick to tell them that I was close to finishing the book, and then realized just what exactly that meant.  I’d already vaguely plotted out the end of the book, but then I sat down to actually plot out each chapter.  Six.  I had six chapters left to write.  Not a heck of a lot.  So, I got to it.  Wrote the big, final showdown with Quinn, introduced the villain for the next book (he has the best name ever: Arthur Arkwright), and hinted, one last time, to the big secret of this book before I get ready to reveal it.  Spoiler: I’m not telling you what it is, but I’m really, really hopeful that one of my readers, someday, will figure it out before the epilogue.  All that said and done, I only had three chapters left to write.  Three chapters.  Tidying ones, really.  An adventure Sunday at the beach with the boys, the last day of school and a small ritual in honor of Liana Hollands’s death anniversary, and the epilogue.  Spoiler: I’m not even saying what the epilogue is about.  I’m so excited.

So yeah, three chapters.  I just finished the adventure Sunday, so now, all I really have to do is write the last day of school and the ritual because the epilogue’s going to be short, and I’ve already got it all written in my head for the most part.  This is it.  This is what four months of straight writing looks like.

Which is a point I didn’t intend to make in this post, but hey, perfect segue way.  Fourth months of writing is going to look different every single time you do it.  Writing is different every single time.  Here are some examples:

  1. I’ve been writing Ronan for 12 years.  12 years.  The third version of the second book took me exactly one month to write.  The first six chapters of the fourth version of the first book took me two months to write.  The first version of the first book was written in a year.
  2. The first draft of Mason was written in 18 days.
  3. The first draft of Alex was written over the course of two years.  The second draft still isn’t finished, and I started it in April.
  4. Pen boys has taken me four months to write, and it’s only the first draft.

I’ve always been a fast writer, mostly because when I have a project in my head, I have to get it out, or I’m going to go crazy.  But writing is a weird, fickle thing.  It doesn’t obey rules, and it doesn’t do what you want it to do.  Just because I wrote a novel in four months doesn’t mean it’s good, and it’s definitely not ready.  It’s still going to be some time before it’s even close to ready, and probably a while before I start working on a second draft.

But it’s almost done, and damn if that isn’t the best feeling in the world.

Post-Vacation Vibes

Gosh, it’s been a while.  Life has been insane lately.  Between my regular day job and teaching yoga, I haven’t been home much.  I’ve been subbing here and there, and I had the Harry Potter yoga workshop, which went over phenomenally, and then it was off for vacation.  I think I’ve mentioned Erin a few times, but as a proper introduction on this blog, she is my muse.  Both in the mythical sense and in a very literal sense.  Whenever I need help with something, I call upon her.  Whenever I’m in a slump or procrastinating, she always seems to know that she needs to give me a nudge.  I’ve always worked better around people, which seems odd to me since I don’t particularly like being around people all that much.  As an introvert, I love my alone time.  I love to sit in my room on a Friday night with six candles lit, a mug of tea and a cat nearby, and read, either in silence or with instrumental music.

Wow, okay, so that just described exactly what I’m doing tonight.

The thing is, whenever something big is happening in a novel, or whenever I need to create something specifically, I gravitate toward people.  Recently, I needed to create an altar for the Pen boys, so I carried all of my white and blue crystals into Jen’s room, burned some palo santo, and drew cards while she read on her bed.  We didn’t talk–we didn’t have to.  I just needed that other creative soul to light a fire inside my ribs.

Erin is a strange, wild creature.  She has many titles–witch sister, anam cara, Fencehopper, little queen–and something magical always happens when we’re together.  It happens when we’re apart, too, but much more noticeably when we’re physically sitting next to one another.  The words won’t stop.  I’ve talked about how the Pen boys came to be–on a drive to and from New York after wandering the seaside.  A lot of my fanfictions happened because she said one thing while sitting on my bed in college.  This week, we discussed two things, though one of them excites me far more than the other.  The first, a Marauders fic, is something we’ve both wanted me to write for a long time.  I’d really love to write it, too, but the second thing was about Mason, and gosh, for the first time in a while, I am so eager to get back to him.

It’s not that I haven’t been writing him because I have been thinking about him, but I’ve also been avoiding him.  There is a lot of anger and hurt wrapped up in those words, and the Pen boys were a way for me to escape that.  Now, though, I’m starting to see what he could be, where the potential in his story lies.

Back when this blog was private, there were a couple weeks where I was helplessly confused about the scope of his story.  Was it four, three, two, or one?  Three originally, a trilogy of his story.  Four next, one for each elemental.  Two, then, because three was too much.  And finally, one.

I’m pretty sure I was wrong all along.  Mason might be endless.  Mason might be my DragonLance.  (For reference: there are 17 novels by the original authors.)  No one is surprised when I say that all this started in Salem.  Of course it did.  Jolie Tea was where Madhouse was born.  We started the day at Jolie, wandered through witch shops (goodness, I love Coven’s Cottage so much, thank you for existing), had lunch in Life Alive (also inspiration for Madhouse), and ended our day in Pyramid Books (which is what Olive’s shop is based off of).  I couldn’t stop thinking about him, couldn’t stop talking about him.  I kept telling Erin that I missed Madhouse, that I wanted to go back, and I never wanted to leave.  Madhouse calls to me.  Sometimes, it’s not even Mason or Lukas or Dhaval or Olive.  Sometimes, it’s just the teashop.  There’s so much there to explore.  And then, it just came out, “Is there any way I can stay there for more than one book?”  Immediately, Erin said, “Absolutely.  All the adventures.”

The Madhouse Adventures

Or something of that ilk.  A series of separate adventures based around the same characters, exploring the life of the teashop and its inhabitants.  Oh, yes.  This means so much more than it sounds like.  This means I can start the story earlier, show the very first time Mason looked at that abandoned building and thought, yes, this is perfect, show Dhaval’s bewildered expression as he asked, uh, are you sure?  I can show the fire that nearly burned down the shop Olive took over, that Mason may or may not have started.  I can show before, during, and after the addiction.  I can show more of Lukas, Miriam, and Leila; more, even, of Dhaval, Rajani, Nila, and Amar.  I can show Mason hiring all of the pixies, goblins, gnomes, and dryads that work at Madhouse, show how he first met Vayu, the couple that owned the bookstore, his early relationship with the twins and Akash, and just–all of it.  There’s so much there to play with, and I think, finally, that I can.

I know already that I won’t be rewriting the Pen boys entirely.  I’ll edit what I have already.  The bones are really, really good, and there’s a lot that I can keep.  This is true about Mason, too, but there’s something to be said for the darkness lingering in it.  Mason, true to his character, needs to burn up and be rewritten again.  And he will.

First: finish the Pen boys.
Second: finish Alex the Destroyer.
Third: Mason.

Why do writers procrastinate?

There are so many topics that I want to talk about on here now that this is public, so many things that I want to share about my writing process (someday soon, I promise, I’m going to blog about how I use tarot cards at the beginning, middle, and end of my process), but this one–procrastination–is something near and dear to my heart.

I didn’t share my last post on any of my social medias, mostly because I was freaking out too much, so in case you missed it, here is a post almost in all caps and showing purely just my excitement during a single scene.  For 140k words, I’ve been creating a relationship between two of my main characters.  They meet for the first time at the beginning of the book, and they become fast friends.  There are very obvious feelings happening between them, but they’re both a little a lot too broken to focus much beyond their own pain, so it’s a very (very) slow burn.  140k words worth of slow burn.  Sure, there are other things that happen in that truly obnoxious amount of words (another post one day will also be about word counts, and how they actually do matter), but they probably interact, however small, in every chapter.

140k words.  Let that sink in.  One hundred and forty thousand words.  Prisoner of Azkaban is 107k words.  Goblet of Fire is 190k.  And do you know what I did when I got to the chapter when they finally kissed?

I went back and worked on a different chapter.

How does that make any sense?  I’ve been building this relationship for an entire novel, and when I finally, finally, got to the scene I’ve been over the moon excited about, I did something else.  It doesn’t make sense.  And yet, I do this all the time.  I’m fairly certain other writers do it, too.  It’s not even romantic scenes.  I’ve worked my way up to big battles for Ronan, and decided to go back and edit the whole first half of the novel.  I got right up to the last five or so chapters for Alex, and decided I was going to start writing a new novel instead.  I do it while I’m reading, too.  If the next chapter sounds like it’s going to be really promising based on the one I just finished, I’ll put it down to read later.  What?  This is insane.

Sometimes, the procrastinating isn’t that bad.  I made that post about James and Oliver kissing (FINALLY!) on Monday morning, and had written the scene by Monday night, but I let an entire day pass.  I fluffed out the chapters around it, I added a little more to a scene from an earlier chapter I’d been thinking about, I read my book a little, I hung out on Pinterest–I did everything I could that wasn’t writing this pivotal scene.  I’m still procrastinating, too.  I haven’t written the chapter that comes after the kiss, which is almost more intense than the initial scene.  I’ve spent the last two days taking out a conflict and finally writing a chapter I’d been avoiding because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it.

Why do we do this?  I’m not really here to answer this question because I’m not entirely sure, but I do have some theories.

  1. The right song.  If you listen to music when you write, then you know that the right song for a particular scene will make or break it.  Usually, I can just listen to whatever I want, and type away.  Sometimes, however, when it’s a big scene–James and Oliver kissing, the memory of Ella’s death (dun dun duh), Quinn invoking a demon (WHAT)–the atmosphere needs to be right.  For each of these scenes, I’ve procrastinated because I’m desperately searching, starting and restarting sentences as I keep changing songs until I finally land on the right one.  Saturn by Sleeping At Last, You and I by PVRIS, Once Upon a Dream by Lana Dey Rey.
  2. The right mood.  And I’m not talking about atmosphere here, but you, the writer.  If you’re not in the mood to write something romantic, something sad, something wild, then it’s not going to happen.  Sometimes, I sit on Pinterest for a half hour searching for things to put on the Pen boys’s board because I’m trying to put myself in the right headspace.
  3. The end.  I will forever and always procrastinate ending a novel, and I think we can all agree that’s not because we don’t want to leave the world, but because we’re afraid to leave.

Again, I’m not here to answer the question to why we procrastinate, but rather, to say stop procrastinating.  Your next great adventure is on the edge of your comfort zone.  Take the plunge, and write the scene you’ve been waiting for.  End the novel.  Edit later.  Stop blogging.  The time is now.

we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming

OH MY GOD

ALERT

THEY’RE ABOUT TO KISS

JAMES AND OLIVER

I’M FREAKING OUT

that is all, bye

 

 

 

 

I’ve been working toward this moment for the last one hundred and forty thousand words, and I’M SO EXCITED.  I have to stop so I can drive home, but holy moly, it’s here.  IT’S HERE.  I have to find the perfect song to listen to.  I’m gonna cry, I can feel it.  They deserve each other so much.  It’s going to be beautiful. Ugh.  I’M SO HAPPY FOR THEM.