Just a Random Blog Post on Everything That’s Been Going On

There is just so much happening right now that I’m not even sure how to consolidate this information into one post. So please forgive the scatter-brained mess this will be haha

1. ARIZONA

Arizona is great and we love it. Even with the summer heat, (I think the highest it’s gotten so far was 113 degrees Fahrenheit?) But tbh, I live the hermit lifestyle anyways and the AC in my apartment is great!

What I would say to someone looking to move down here would be… you like strip malls? Because at least where I live in East Mesa, there are alternating strip malls and gated communities in between a lot of palm trees and cacti. The great thing about it though is you are always in a close radius to any store you could dream of. There’s a department store or grocery store every two blocks and anywhere you’re at you are by a freeway enterance. The design is really smart and this state has everything dialed in. Like OH MY GOSH all the roads are huge!

‘Kay, I don’t know if it’s just the area I’m in, but the people here are either big hit or completely frigid when it comes to friendliness. And (kiiiind of an agist perspective) I’ve noticed that it is totally dependent on age. Like, the younger people in my building complex. Lol… I will straight up make eye contact with them and loudly say, “Hi!!” And they will 100% snub me as they pass. On the other hand, I’ve had several old people stop and talk to me *just because I was smiling to myself*. It’s a funny dynamic. I’m sure my loud, young-person greetings pins me as an outsider even more than my translucent skin color and long pants.

Overall, this place is a big hit for Dan and I. Jack has adjusted very well to our new apartment and has been EATING UP all of the time he gets with Daddy.

THE PREGNANCY

Yeah! The pregnancy is going well. I don’t know how I always manage to be pregnant when we move somewhere and end up being the useless lump. Ugh. Carrying Jack is getting harder and I get a lot more tired than normal. But I think that has to do with all the running around we’ve been doing as well. This baby is SUPER SUPER active. I feel twists and turns all day and Daniel can even feel little kicks now. Trying to find a doc is a bit stressful, but everything is going great. Stay tuned for a gender reveal soon!

WRITING

So if you haven’t seen my last update, my computer blew up. WRITERS. WORST. NIGHTMARE. I ordered a new computer and now I’m waiting for it to arrive. (Typing this on my phone still).

Fortunately, my novel is backed up and safe. If June hadn’t been so hellishly ridiculous I might have my fourth draft finished by now. Buuuuuut nonetheless I am incredibly close. I can see the finish line. Just another round of edits (Oh, just that?? That’s nothing. **SARCASM**) and then TA FREAKING DA, I’ll start beggining door to door for representation.

Here’s something cute: I was in the bathroom getting ready and could hear Dan on the phone with an insurance agent. (He didn’t know I was listening) When they asked what I did for a living, he very confidently responded, “She’s an author.” THIS DOLL I MARRIED WHAT THE HECK! He believes in me so hard! I hope he’s right. And I hope I can kick it back into gear when my new laptop comes.

Oh and PS the cute black laptop that died was named ‘Othello’. I’m considering naming this next one ‘Horatio’, since, ya know, he’s basically the only character that survives in Hamlet. And I’m really looking for a computer who can live to “tell my story”. Haha!

That’s about it. Blech. Sorry. At some point I’ll get back to normal with this blog and put out more embarrassing stories.

 

Pitching my Weird Pregnancy Dreams as Book Ideas

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Okay, so I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes when I dream it’s not about myself… That is to say, that sometimes I dream in a “movie format” with it’s own characters and plot twists and everything. This especially happens when I’m sick. And if I’m sick and pregnant, the story-dreams are even crazier.

So I started writing them down as if I were pitching them to agents as book ideas. Here they are for your enjoyment! (Forgive the conspiracy thrillers. It’s been a rough first trimester.)

 

Retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, but the giant is made out of pulled taffy.

A family of four tries to escape a mall as an active shooter works his way towards them.

A cheerleader is forced to spend time with some of the grossest and geekiest outcasts of the school (stylized as a 1980s John Hughes comedy).

A down-on-his-luck father is hired to work for the United States’ most extensive underground mob.

Four amateur and bumbling criminals decide to rob a bank accidentally at the same time as four violent and capable criminals.

A woman takes down a group of terrorists on a cruise ship by using an animal-shapeshifting superpower.

Queen Elizabeth is let in on a secret plan to assassinate one of her own government officials right before her daughter announces that she’s fallen in love with him.

A group of young boys find themselves trapped in a house with strange and mysterious properties, competing for the only exit.

A lonely high school kid is granted the ability to become invisible for a day. He uses his new skill to learn that his fellow students have their own demons.

A high school girl begins to accurately dream the future the day before her premonitions become true. At first it’s all fun and games, until her dream predicts that she will somehow become hopelessly lost in the dark woods.

“Morty’s Fun House of Outrageous Revoked Licences: The Strangest Reasons People Have Had Their Driver’s Licenses Taken Away” (I flipped through this book in a dream haha)

A doctor is hired by a corrupt pharma company to pretend that he has a specific degenerate disease in order to falsify research.

BONUS: I dreamt that my husband and I were contestants on The Bachelor/Bachelorette but living in the same house. We made a vow to give up our roses for each other

 

Which one would you read as a book or go see as a movie? Do any of you creative people have out of control dreams like this?

Novel Update: Back from the Editor!

So in case I haven’t spammed you well enough and you somehow don’t know… I’ve been working on a YA novel for the past six months. It’s about an LDS girl who tries to fit in with a group of burnouts, and it’s lightly based on some experiences that I had in high school.

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Completely finished three drafts (woot!) and hired a freelance editor to take a look at the project. I do plan to try for traditional publishing which would probably require another editor anyway… but my thinking is that it was more of an investment into my skills as a whole. Trying to improve my craft overall.

The timing was impeccable honestly. My morning sickness had me out all of March and my book came back right when I was feeling better. (Um, amazing!) Now I could actually process the daunting six page editor’s letter.

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(ALSO) If you are a writer and are considering hiring an editor. I wholeheartedly recommend doing it. It was expensive (my only Christmas gift). But in my experience, it was worth every penny. She addressed all the concerns that I had for the piece, but could actually tell me what to do about it. It is worth it my friends!

Mostly her recommendations were things to add in, opposed to changing. Which YAY! Because writing more book is WAY more fun than re-structuring everything. She also mentioned that my writing was some of the cleanest that she had come across… which had me like “Wha? Really??” For a first time novel that I wrote in twenty days. Um yeah, that’s a compliment.

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So anyways, didn’t mean to blab on so much about it, but in short – It’s going well. Haha

Now, with the brainstorming help of my editor I am starting draft numero 4. And I am hoping that this is the one I can present to potential gatekeepers and book Gods. So cross your fingers for me! I would love to finish it before I move to AZ, but realistically… who even knows.

Novel Update Also New Blog Schedule

Hey there, hi there, ho there.

So I’ve been writing a book, which you may have already heard about. If you were wondering how that is going… Ummmmmm… THIS GIRL IS ON FI-ARE!!!

Like I’m not even sure what is going on. I wrote the entire first draft in twenty freaking days. And I guess that wasn’t over-achiever enough for me because I revised and rewrote the entire second draft the following month. So that means, that from the 1st of November to the 28th of December, I wrote, redrafted and rewrote a 200 page novel.

While also designing covers. While also being a mom of a toddler. While also holidays and stuff. Whaaaaaat even happened? Like maybe I’m actually a cyborg or something? Because I don’t even know how that could have actually been a thing.

But yeah! That happened. Will that happen again in my life? I doubt it. But right now my little book is pushing right along. Only three people have read it so far, but the numbers are adding up quickly. Right now, I have two critique partners scrutinizing their way through it, as well as an editor lined up. Even though this process is going quick for me (NOT NORMAL) I’m still trying to be thorough and am planning on a few more drafts (Started draft three today WHAT EVEN). Depending on what the editor says I’ll likely be sending it off to agents in the summer. (AAAAAAAAAAAAH!)

So that’s crazy.

 

Also a while back I posted a survey asking what I should do with the blog in 2018. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF YOU requested that I please keep the embarrassing stories segment… which I have tons of material for so that’s not a problem. I was glad to see that the “story time format” was so well loved, because I have soooo many stories outside of the embarrassing realm. Which brings me to this…

I am adding a second monthly story time called “The Craziest Things That Have Ever Happened to Me”

You can expect the first installment of that next Thursday, where I tell you something that happened to me just last week. Very exciting. Subscribe so that you don’t miss a single ridiculous story.

Here’s a visual representation of the 2018 schedule:

Week 1: Mommy Post / Family Things

Week 2: Embarrassing Stories

Week 3: Writing Updates / Samples / Various Essays

Week 4: The Craziest Things That Have Ever Happened

Occasional Week 5: Lazy Recipes

Writing Update

Can’t talk now. NaNoWriMo.

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“The Other Five Percent”:

Total word goal: 55,000 – 70,000

Word goal for November: 50,000

 

Words written so far: 37,723!!

 

Guys! I am killing it! At this rate I will definitely be finishing the first draft before December. This has been even way more fun than I thought!

 

See my stats here: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/val-manwill/novels/the-other-five-percent/stats 

See what my book is about here: The Other Five Percent