It’s my party I can write if I want to, write if I want to! :-)

Happy birthday to meeeeeeee!! (And also Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lewis Carroll :-)) I’m enjoying a lovely cloudy rainy day—which isn’t the norm here, I promise!—and got in 1k on my novel at Scooters coffee house this morning. Yay!

Today is also, apparently, the release of the mysteriously fancy (fancily mysterious?) new Apple Tablet, which is reported to be the coolest thing since sliced bread. I’m sure it’s very cool (it’s made by Apple, after all), but I’m feeling rather protective about my books. I just can’t see myself ever being okay with reading a novel on anything other than printed, bound, tangible paper. This means, of course, that I need to hurry up and get published before they stop printing books anymore. Wahhhh! Somebody find me a time machine!!! (Extra points if it comes with a 900 year old alien in a long brown coat, of course. :-))

And speaking of my novel (well, a paragraph ago), it is now a week and a day old! Woot!!

Some stats:
Word Count: 11,082
Chapters Completed: 3 of 26
Conversations about Soup: 1
Emotional State of Characters: happy. (Little do they know what’s in store for them! bwa ha ha)

So it’s going pretty well! I’m still enjoying the story, and my characters are super fun to write about—they were supposed to instantly click and they completely did, and I love how they sort of bounce off of each other and are the best of friends. They’re so cute!! Erm. You know.

Have a great day everyone! 🙂

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Rainstorms and Novels and Tea, oh my!

Wow, so the greater Phoenix area is a awash (literally!!) in the most ginormous rainstorm ever! It’s been raining ALL DAY, roads are flooded, power lights are out—all that good stuff. And then I guess tonight we had a tornado watch, which is about the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Tornadoes? In ARIZONA?? Weird. Still raining pretty hard and fairly steadily. I think I might need to invest in a boat if I want to go out tomorrow!

But at any rate. As of this evening, my novel is 5,757 words, and there’s just one scene left to go until I’m ready for chapter three. I’m writing at a much slower pace than I usually do during NaNoWriMo, but I’m okay with that—I feel pretty good about what I have managed to get down on paper (well, Scrivener) so far.

What’s really interesting is that I’m telling the story partly from the first-person point of view of my blind MC, and I’m having to learn different ways of describing things, focusing on textures and sounds and smells instead of the usual visuals. It’s challenging to not even be able to say things like “He smiled,” and to give a sense of a room’s space without talking about green chairs or light flooding in from windows or whatever. I keep catching myself writing things that are absolutely impossible coming from my MC. I’m really enjoying his voice; he’s technical, inquisitive, and feels quite at home with math (unlike me!). I’m excited to get to write more from my other MC’s point of view in the next chapter.

Also, I think I drank about a hundred cups of tea today. I had one this morning, a small pot at White August Tea this afternoon (noveling during a rainstorm at an adorable tea shop = HEAVEN), and another cup this evening during lessons. I wonder if I’ll get any sleep tonight. 🙂

Rainily yours,

Joanna

ETA: Yep, definitely had too much caffeine. Tried to sleep, couldn’t, so got up again and noveled until 3 AM. I’m now up to 6,236 words (and kinda tired, but you’ll have that)!

Beginnings…

Well, ladies and gents, I started my novel today (well, technically yesterday; I really ought to be in bed)!

I have a grand total of 1,469 words, two scenes, and one (very short) chapter. The writing is going slow, but I really like what I have so far, which is exciting. 🙂 I’m expecting to be able to pick up the pace a bit once I get into the groove of the characters/world/voice.

Projected word count: 60,000-75,000 words. Er, hopefully. According to my outline, I’m going to have twenty-six chapters, none of which I expect to be any shorter than 3k, most of which I expect to be longer than that (with the exception of the first chapter). I did a little math, and concluded that 75k is a rather conservative figure. But you’ll have that.

At any rate, this has to be some kind of record for me, from initial idea to first draft stage—the outline took all of a week and a half! I’m hoping to have the rough draft completed by the end of February, a sort of off-season do-it-yourself NaNoWriMo (which, by the way, I still totally love even though I kinda failed at it last year). I shall keep you posted. 🙂

Here’s to crazy novel ideas and awesome characters who invade your brain!

Update!

Thought I’d give you all a brief update on the status/progress of my latest Shiny New Idea:

I’ve been busily outlining via the Snowflake Method all week, and as of yesterday afternoon (exactly a week following the initial Niagara Falls gushing of inspiration, for those keeping track), I’m a couple of chapters into step eight, the invaluable List o’ Scenes. Still going well, still totally in love with the idea, and already have almost a whole page of notes regarding the SEQUEL. 0_o I think my brain has gone into overdrive or something. Not that I’m complaining!

Let’s see, stuff I can tell you…

  • One of my MCs is blind
  • The government is evil (though I guess that’s redundant, isn’t it. ;-))
  • It’s a mixture of science fiction and fantasy, a genre BFF and I have dubbed “sci-fantasy,” though in future query letters I suppose I’ll just have to label it sci-fi *grumble*
  • I am already thinking about writing query letters. But not to worry, I adhere to the don’t-even-think-about-querying-before-your-manuscript-is-completely-written-revised-and-polished rule.
  • There are air-ships (well, at least one), glass and metal lifts (yes, “lifts.” Sounds so much cooler than elevators, and hey, I’m an Anglophile from way back. BFF: Can everybody in this world be British? Me: I’ll think about it.), and electricity that’s not electricity but something rather more nefarious (duh duh DUHhhhhh).
  • I feel like this is a weirdly convoluted (but awesome) cross between Hunger Games  and The Bartimaeus Trilogy

And I’ll leave you with this brilliant little exchange from yesterday:

Me: So I guess what I want is six or so of these kids to one governess person who’s teaching them, you know, basic, rudimentary stuff. Like shapes and numbers and language building and so on.

BFF: You mean like a preschool?

Me: Yes. That.

Favorite Reads of 2009

There’s been lots of “Favorite Books of 2009” lists floating out there in the blog-o-sphere lately, so here’s my humble offering, in no particular order:

  1. The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud
  2. Hunger Games and Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
  3. Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones
  4. Curse Dark as Gold, by Elizabeth C. Bunce
  5. The Claidi Journals, by Tanith Lee
  6. The Winter Prince, by Elizabeth E. Wein

What were your favorites?

Lightning Struck My Brain!

Several weeks ago (December 23rd, to be exact—I just looked up the date in my handy dandy Molskine idea notebook :-)), I had this random idea for a story concept I thought was pretty intriguing. I actually have no idea what triggered it. As you may have gathered from my previous post, I’ve been experiencing some pretty hefty creative BLOCK lately, and was beginning to despair of ever writing anything again. But this past week I was really wanting to WRITE something, and thought maybe I should dabble in some short stories.

So Thursday afternoon I took notebook and pen to White August Tea to brainstorm on three different ideas I’d had semi-recently, including the one from December 23rd. I jotted down the three ideas. I wrote a paragraph on one of them, turned the page, and proceeded to do the same with the December 23rd Idea. I wrote a paragraph, and then another paragraph, and pretty soon I’d written several pages and had three-quarters of a plot and the definite feeling that this was Absolutely Not a short story. It was a novel. I was hearing character voices in my head, seeing their surroundings, getting scene ideas, discovering back story, and so on and so on and so on. Basically ideas were gushing out of my brain, Niagara Falls-style. By Friday I’d pretty much figured out what happens in the end, and even decided that there might be sequels (which is a huge tip-off that I’m not planning on killing anyone important, haha).

Friday evening I started Snowflaking, after briefly considering plunging head-first into writing the novel sans outline. As of right now, late Sunday afternoon, I’m halfway through Step Five of the Snowflake, with only three and a half steps left to go. The story is still exciting me, and ideas are still pouring out of my brain, and I am totally going to plunge into writing the first draft as soon as I finish my outline. I am so, so, so, SO excited!

The novel has a title (which literally popped into my head thirty seconds after jotting down the original brainstorming paragraph) that I’m not going to share just yet, and I’m not telling you what the idea is, either (sorry; I will as I get further along in the writing process, promise :-)), so I’ll just leave it at: a sort-of sci-fi-fantasy-dystopian-possibly-steampunk-young-adult-romance novel. Don’t worry. I won’t put that in the query letter. 🙂 🙂

Excited to be excited again,

Joanna

So this is the New Year…

Hey everybody, just a quick post to let you all know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet.

Four things:

  1. I have writer’s block/no motivation with current projects/frustration with current projects/despairing of ever writing anything good again. It’s a vicious cycle.
  2. I read Tanith Lee’s The Claidi Journals over the Christmas holidays, and loved them immensely. Gorgeous prose, unusual and striking world-building, unique and stirring characters… everything you could ask for in a YA fantasy. The fourth book was a little bit of a let-down from the others, but still worth reading to soak in the strange beauties of Tanith Lee’s world, and find out how all the various storylines are finally resolved. The books are: Wolf Star, Wolf Tower, Wolf Queen, and Wolf Wing, respectively. Go hit up your local library or bookstore! That’s an order!
  3. The Doctor Who finale was breathtakingly awesome and heartbreakingly brilliant. David Tennant, John Simm, and Benard Cribbins all acted their proverbial socks off. A fantastic ending to a fantastic era of Who. The mighty D.T. will be thoroughly missed. 😦
  4. I’d like an agent for my birthday, please.