When you’re too close to something, it’s hard to see it for what it truly is. Whether it’s writing, a relationship, or a group of pictures you’re trying to hang on the wall and just can’t get to line up (they STILL aren’t perfect), taking a step back and looking at things from a new angle can give you a fresh perspective and help you discover a solution that may have eluded you.
I’m still querying Flicker, and while nothing’s stuck yet, I’m determined to sign with an agent and find my book a home. However, I realize that after several months I probably need to tweak (or overhaul) a few things. That’s all fine and good, but where do I even begin? Lucky for me WriteOnCon is going on right now, so I’ve begun there. I’ve posted both my query and the first 250 words, and I’ve already received helpful feedback.
The forums will be open through the 18th, and agents pop in throughout the day for live sessions. It’s free to sign up, so there’s really no excuse not to check it out. (Unless you’re not a writer, in which case… hi mom!)
In addition to Flicker, I’ve had a couple new ideas rattling around, but it’s still too soon to see if one will stick. Maybe I need to flip it upside down to know for sure.
(This was supposed to post in the morning. Sorry about the unplanned change in schedule.)
Earlier tonight I joined an already-in-progress Spanish class, where I met a group of very nice people and got to practice my Spanish! I’ve been worried that I’ll lose my fluency the longer I’m away from Spanish speakers, and while I’m not sure if this group is the best fit for me (they’re still beginning) it was wonderful to be part of a group with a common interest. For small town Michigan, it was a more diverse group than I expected, and they welcomed me with open dictionaries.
Kind of like writers.
I’ve said it before, but it really has to be said again: My writing friends rock. I’ve avoided talk of queries and agents here, but that doesn’t mean I’m not up to my armpits in anxiety, nerves, and the occasional frenzy. (Stacey, I blame you.) The support you all have given me — while unwavering for as long as I’ve known you — still catches me by surprise. Not to mention to critiques, advice, and gentle suggestions that, yanno, maybe you should reconsider that word choice…
On Monday I had intended for you to be able to read the page I screen-captured in the picture, but photobucket shrank my photo. I’m reposting here for your reading pleasure. It’s the middle of chapter one. Enjoy!
The song ends and the blinking lights slow to a lazy loop around the room. Crap. I also promised Robbie one slow dance, and from the look on his face as he weaves through the couples already pressed close together, I’m not getting out of this.
He smiles. “They’re playing our song.”
“We don’t have a song”
“I know, but I requested it so that makes it our song.” His lips graze my cheek and he places my hands behind his neck. Our bodies brush as we turn in a small circle. “Is this really so bad?” he whispers.
“No.” I rest my head against his shoulder. My eyes close but my thoughts are anything but relaxed. This is supposed to be what I want. A boy who wants to dance with me and spend time with me and seems to think I’m cute. So why do I feel so antsy when he’s around? I mean, I know why—he’s hardly the first boy I’ve dated and I always get this feeling after a couple months. But why can’t I just be happy?
Robbie trails his fingers up and down my back, then pushes my hair off my shoulder. His warm breath on my neck gives me the shivers, but it’s not the reaction he was going for.
I pull away. “I think I need to get some air.”
He looks at me tenderly, misinterpreting all my signals. “Okay.”
I turn away and push through our classmates, but he grabs my hand, stopping me. I face him.
His eyes are clearer, the smile gone. “You don’t have to run away from me. I’ll come with you.”
Whatever. I let him lead me into the hallway, but he turns around a corner into a darker corridor. “Robbie, wait.” I stop, his fingers still linked through mine. This isn’t what I want.
“Biz, you just said you wanted to get some air.” He does air quotes around the last part.
“It wasn’t code for making out. I really needed to get out of there. The lights…”
He rolls his eyes. “It’s practically pitch black in there.”
I’ve never explained my deal with light to Robbie, and I sure as hell am not going to clue him in now. “Forget it.”
His hand snakes around my neck and he tries to pull me close.
My hands flatten against his chest. “Robbie…” I warn.
A noise behind us makes me turn. Cam is standing at the end of the corridor, bathed in light from the main hallway. And he’s glaring at Robbie.
Today my a post Can I Tell You a Secret is up at the Army of Ermas blog. Please go check it out!
It’s that time — the midway NaNo update. I had planned to tell you about my progress a little more often, but here we are on the downslope of November (don’t get me started on that…) and I haven’t told you how it’s going.
I knew going into NaNo as a gainfully employed person that I may not reach my goals, and not reach them I did. Well, I reached my personal goal of 1000 words per day, then played massive catchup the first weekend. I even topped my all-time daily word count and hit 4000 words in one day (in three sittings), for a grand total of 7000 words in two days.
The second week went better and I reached the NaNo goal of 1667 words almost every day. On Saturday Erica and I got together again and I wrote my daily words in one sitting. This may not sound exciting, but one of the purposes of NaNo is to train yourself to get into the habit of writing every day.
In 2008 I learned that I am able to write that much in one day. This year I’ve learned that I can write 1000 words in 45 minutes, as long as I have the story plotted out. Monday night I wrote my 1667 words in an hour and a half and passed the halfway mark (25K words).
Will I keep all of it? I hope so. I’m sure some will get cut but I don’t let myself write fluff just to reach my goal. Yesterday I only wrote 500 words, and while I’m disappointed at falling beneath my goal, I know that forcing it doesn’t work for me. I’ll catch up this weekend.
Finally, a brief excerpt. I realize I still haven’t told you the premise so this is a little out of left field, but I haven’t written my hook yet. This is the first draft, so bear with me.
Light pulses across the imitation leather of the dashboard.
Light. Dark. Light. Dark.
My eyes stutter and my heart jumps around in my chest, but I blink it away. My tongue strokes the grainy piece of cement stuck between my back teeth. The orthodontist swore he got it all, but that was as true as his promise that it wouldn’t be uncomfortable.
A tingling sensation pricks the tips of my fingers. I press them together, watching the blood shift beneath my skin. The tingling turns to those sharp needles that remind me of anything but sleep.
I press harder and my toes start tingling too. What the hell?
The dancing on the dashboard gets faster. The trees here are taller, straighter, and the sunlight strobes through the branches. My breath catches and a sudden heaviness pushes me deep into the seat.
I glance at my mom but she’s concentrating on the road, humming along with golden oldies or whatever the hell it is she listens to, oblivious to the fact that something very weird is happening to her daughter.
I close my eyes. The heaviness lifts. Too much. Now I’m floating and—
“But mom, I’m fine.”
My mom crosses the kitchen and leans against the counter. “Luz, you’re going. The dentist said your face will get all out of whack if you don’t get braces. Your entire face could change…”
A sense of déjà vu slams me over the head. I’ve had this argument. Next mom is gonna grab the stack of mail that dad set there earlier and toss it in the basket.
The words stumble out of me. “Mom…” The déjà vu doesn’t lift. This isn’t a memory. I’m not in the car anymore.
I’ve gone back to yesterday.