Wow. An Apology Plus Book Update

Okay. Dang. Things have been rough.

 

But I am getting back on track now. No more month-long absences. For reals this time.

Remember when I had this clean set schedule at the beginning of the year? Um. Forget about that. Throw that out the window. It’s dead. Unbuckle that dream and step into this dumpy carnival ride of broken hopes

I don’t know where the heck to start anew, so I’m just going to talk about writing first because that’s my baby. . . well, other than my actual literal babies…

So almost every day I get asked if my book is published yet. FOR THE RECORD, I have now created an entire page solely dedicated to my published works. Books that you can buy and read TODAY. But, as far as this one novel. Man. It’s been a hard three years.

headache

 

Um, writing a book is no joke. It’s definitely a long term relationship with your story. The other day, I went back and counted how many actual times I have written this novel and I basically cried into an open carton of ice cream for the next few hours.

 

“Identity Crisis Season One through Six.docx”

“The Other Five Percent First Draft.docx”

“The Other Five Percent Second Draft.docx”

“The Other Five Percent – Third Draft.docx”

“The Other Five Percent Merged Draft.docx”

“Identity Crisis MS Full.docx”

“Identity Crisis New Draft One.docx”

“Identity Crisis Second Draft.docx”

 

Yup. This is the eighth time I’ve re-written this story. The EIGHTH time.

But it’s not just drafts. It’s a lot of other stuff too. My writing folder looks pretty ridiculous.

just ridicky

It’s so much work. And like, do I want to make a whole blog post complaining about it? Not really. But I’m just so anxious to move forward with other ideas. I’ve been working here and there on other books and then coming back, so I have all of these other projects that are just taunting me from the sidelines.

Here. I made a helpful graphic, so you could see how much I actually have done… but not done.

helpful graphic

Also dozens of short stories and poems that haven’t been picked up or developed yet. It’s a lot. A. LOT. So much that I just feel frustrated creatively. But I’m just so freaking tenacious like I NEED to finish this book and have it be a product that I’m okay with. Even if no one sees it and it was all just for me.

Basically, what I’m saying is, at this point unless an industry professional tells me to re-write… this is the last draft. If it doesn’t cultivate any interest this time around, I’m actually fine with that. I have learned so much writing this book, and I feel that I’ve really developed my craft in a way that would have been impossible without it.

I am only a couple of months away from finishing the editing (probably). Then I’ll go back to querying because I solidly promised that I would do that for myself. And yeah, it would be super easy to publish on Amazon or something, but ultimately getting a literary agent is a goal/hope of mine. And I don’t want an agent just for a gatekeeper like I want someone who can help me sort through the sea of ideas I’m drowning in (see above) … (sea above MUAWAHAHBLABLA).

Eh. Anyway. I’ll let you know.

But look. I updated my book’s artwork since apparently, that’s a thing I do now. And re-wrote my ‘blurb’ since this is basically THE EIGHTH COMPLETELY NEW VERSION OF THIS THING.

IDENTITY

What happens when the principal won’t let you quit your school’s honor club? How about teaming up with the school drug dealer to spread the rumor that you’re a hopeless troubled burnout…

Ever since she caught the Student Mentor’s President cheating on her at Homecoming, Elle McKernan is looking for any excuse to get out of her commitments as secretary. When the principal adamantly refuses to let her off the team, she turns to local school psycho Ronnie Gonzales to ruin her reputation and get her kicked off for good! Collaborating with a troublemaker, however, proves to be impossible without making any actual trouble. And to further complicate matters, she finds herself rebounding for Ronnie instead. Will she be able to abandon her mild-mannered ways and step into the new persona she invented? Or will she stay true to herself at the risk of losing the only friend she has left?

How Unrealistic is this Romance-Genre Male Character? A Fun Rubric!

It’s no secret that women are often not written very realistically. And it’s easy to tell when the girl main character was created as nothing more than a fantasy trophy.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? Women characters are not exclusive to this. More prevalent and obvious, YES. But exclusive, no. Haven’t you ever noticed how every dude in a romance story has AN OUTRAGEOUS combination of “desirable” traits? It’s like the same formula over and over again.

bcefeaea3b063de47a7b452b9b4ccd05
“Hey. I’m Liam. Captain of the football team. Want to hang out on my family’s yacht?”

Don’t believe me? Watch yourself a romance or pick up a sappy book and use this rubric as you go. Each trait earns ten points, the more points you get the more ridiculously written that character is.

 

+10 He is good looking. Obviously, this is a good place to start. Granted there is going to be some kind of attraction between characters when there’s a romance. But I’m specifically talking about a character who would be considered classically and universally good looking. Great hair. Nice smile. Chiseled chin. Tall. Modelesque rippling abs and pectorals. I mean, if the body type is even being mentioned, he might as well have “heaving bosoms”.

+10 He is smart. This character always offers witty dialogue and banter. He’s funny. He does well in school or inexplicably gets accepted to ivy league colleges. Maybe this character has a job that would need to require some serious intelligence. When he talks to the love interest he probably “surprises her” by mentioning authors/books that he likes or other smart and high cultured things.

+10 He is rich OR is in a high position of power somehow. Okay, this character either has a lot of money himself or comes from a rich family. This character could also be a boss or some kind of leader. Royalty is always popular for some reason.

+10 He is charming. This character is well liked. Popular. Has a lot of friends. Or fans. Usually, there are multiple girl characters who are obsessed with him. He is most likely confident in himself. Anyone who happens to not like him is probably jealous of him.    

+10 He is athletic. Lol. For some reason mentioning the muscles isn’t enough. This character shows ‘em off somehow. His adventuring and swordplay are effortless. He plays on the school sports team. He is probably mentioned to be “the best” at some type of physical skill.

+10 He is musically or artistically talented somehow. This is a character that sits down and plays the guitar or sings for the leading lady. Maybe he draws or paints her a picture. Maybe he immaculately decorates this outdoor area for her without any help. He might have a career as an artist or maybe his incredible talent is mentioned in passing and then never contributes anything else to the plot.

+10 He is passionate. This is an easy ten points. This is a character who is borderline berserk-o bats he is so in love. This character easily professes his love. He’s more than a little stalkerish, he follows her around everywhere even if she says no. His moods are all over the freaking place. He is sometimes yelling and punching antagonists. He oozes with jealousy, over-protection, kissing her roughly, having like zero control over his feelings. This character is SO unbridled that if she weren’t into him, she would take out a restraining order pretty quick.

+10 He is self-sacrificing. Similar to the passion trait but definitely deserves ten points on its own. This is a character who is willing to throw away anything and everything in his life for the love interest. He might give up his job, his family, his opportunities, his dreams. Maybe he gives up who he is- like he’s dangerous in some way, but gives it up for her. Sometimes he just straight up dies for her. The sacrificing thing is one huge wet dream for a woman.

+10 He’s a hero. I don’t care what context it is. If this guy rescues her from getting physically hurt in any way, shape or form. That is an automatic ten points for me.

+10 Despite having all of these characteristics he goes for an awkward underdog MC for no real reason. Yes, I’m a cynic. But COME ON. Real talk here. Why is this have-it-all-dude going to go for this rinky-dink no-one-has-ever-wanted-me-like-this chick? Right off the bat, he is in deep with her, but we never really get why. I guess because she’s attractive or something? You tell me.

 

And yes, before you call me out, I tried this rubric out with the romantic interest in my own novel and YES, I am in no way clean of this either. He scored fifty points… which is more than murkily cliché but still better than Noah from The Kissing Booth who scores an eye-rolling NINETY POINTS.

So what is the takeaway? The take away is this: As a writer, don’t be afraid to make your main characters less than perfect. We will still like them. IN FACT, we will like them MORE if we relate to their weaknesses. Is it sexy to envision a man sprawled across a worn couch, binging Netflix with Dorito dust all over his shirt? Not really. Do I want him to find love? HECK YES SO MUCH SO INVESTED. But why though? BECAUSE THAT’S MEEEEEEE! We’re the sticky gross humans looking for happiness in all the wrong places! YOUR AUDIENCE. Reach out! Connect! Don’t just give us one real person to cheer on. Give us two! Make me believe that both of them are better off together, not that one person is already swimming in the sweet life and his/her life can’t be upgraded by anyone.

Just an opinion of a half-cynic. Wink wink.

How I Motivate Myself

After the announcement of all my doings and goings on in the writing world, I’ve been hearing a lot of the same thing: I would love to do something like that, if I had that kind of motivation.

Motivation is an interesting thing. I think first and foremost the best motivation for something is having a sincere love for that thing. What is important to you? How do you prioritize your time?  I write because I feel absolutely uncontrollably COMPELLED to do it. If I don’t write for a long period of time, I get really irritable. No joke. It’s a part of me that I fully embraced a couple of years ago and haven’t been able to let go.

02-rapid-typing.gif

But I will let you in on another secret motivational tool that I use… like a practical non-metaphoric one. It’s what got me to write a novel in twenty days. It’s the reason I’m producing short stories almost daily. In fact, it’s what is motivating me to write this blog post right now. Do you want to know what it is?

Brownies.

I buy a package of really good-looking brownies from my local grocery store. I set in on the counter where I have to see it all the time. And then I DO NOT LET MYSELF have one until I have written 1,000 words.

kroger-brownies
These little suckers

I’ll put Jack down for a nap and be COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED… and yet, I cannot stop thinking about those freaking brownies. So I very quickly write a whole bunch of words until I’ve hit the goal. And then I can finally have one.

And then you know what happens? After I eat one… I want a FREAKING ‘NOTHER ONE.

So I end up writing another thousand words, because my pregnancy cravings are too strong for me to even handle.

And that’s how I do it. And that’s why I’m even writing this post right now. I write like a steam engine trying to get a DeLorean back to 1985… and then later I go back and edit that mess… for which I reward myself more chocolate.

source

It’s worked SOOOO well that I’ve actually started doing housework for small bottles of Coke. You should SEE my house right now.

Utilize your vices. Make your weaknesses work for you. Are you a fatty like me? Dude. Set goals for baked goods and you’ll be SHOCKED at the results.

In reality, dreams are really hard work. Even your passion can flicker out every once in while and that’s okay. Dangle a carrot in front of your face and KEEP AT IT!

 

ALSO PS. If you didn’t catch last week’s blog post. I have a short story being published in an anthology that comes out next month. I made some promotional artwork for it because it was really late at night and apparently I hate sleeping.

A quick visit.jpg

It’s a YA story about a girl who visits her all-time crush at work after he tells her that “HE NEEDS TO TALK TO HER”DUN DUN DUN! Ooh, gurrrl. You know she had a panic-induced cringe after getting that message on her phone. Anyways, the book is available for pre-order. You can check it out here:  https://www.zpublishinghouse.com/products/utahs-emerging-writers-an-anthology?variant=14625753694323

 

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.

The Other Five Percent MM.jpg

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.

giphy (1)

(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.

giphy-downsized-large

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.

Leaving my mark… in the worst way possible

I would say that 90 – 95% of my embarrassing stories have the same formula. I try to make everyone laugh by doing something socially inappropriate… no one laughs and then it’s just inappropriate.

awkworker

The summer between my junior and senior year I worked at an Arctic Circle. I wasn’t that great of an employee so this event didn’t really help my rep. One day things were slow, which is the perfect recipe for someone* to do something dumb.

*ME

I was standing by the drive-thru window and I was talking to my manager Drew and my best friend Kayla who also worked there. At some point in the conversation Drew casually throws in a cuss word. And Kayla was all like, “What’d you say??”

What a perfect opportunity to be a comedic genius.

PFFFFT

So I giggle and tell him to repeat the word because I’m an eternal sixth grader. He politely declines but I don’t let it go.

“Here, I’ll write it on the board.”

I grab the nearest marker and write a naughty word SO LARGE that it fills the entire white board. I turn to my manager and squeak out a “just kidding” as I erase the board…

Only NOTHING COMES OFF. I keep passing the eraser over the word again and again but it doesn’t even fade. 

“IT’S NOT COMING OFF!!”

horrified-batman

Then my boss calmly informed me that I had just used a permanent marker. And the white board was like built into the wall so we couldn’t even take it down or anything. Everyone that pulled up in the drive-thru got a BIG OL’ OFFENSIVE WORD with their charbroiled burger. Kayla at this point is incapacitated, lying on the ground and laughing so hard at me she’s bawling.

I didn’t work there very long.