"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Did It

Well, I finally did it. I entered the first scene of Butterfly Mask in the Scarlet Boa Contest.

I have no idea if Butterfly Mask would be considered paranormal or not. I'm pretty sure fantasy and sci fi/futuristic romances fall under the broad grouping of paranormal romance. Either way, it can't hurt to try.

My scene, along with all the others that were entered, will be posted on October 1, then people can read them and vote for their favorite. And the winner will be announced November 1.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

So Many Stories, So Little Time

Semi-cross-posted from the Den of Shadows message board.

There are so many stories I want to work on, I don't even know where to begin. There's the story that I'm trying to revise right now, and I'm slowly making progress on that. But then there are all the other stories that I could be working on. I keep telling myself that I should just finish Butterfly Mask, then I can work on any story I want.

But I keep getting distracted by thinking about which story I could work on next. Do I want to write the next book in my vampire trilogy, even though the first one needs so much work, it's not even funny? Should I turn the screenplay for Awaken back into a novel just because it was the first story I ever came up with in this world? Or should I just revise it as a screenplay and try to market it that way? Do I want to work on another adult novel after this, or do I want to work on my young adult novel, No Leaf Clover? Or do I really want to go back to my angel and demon story and try to submit that for an anthology? Do I want to pause in my revisions and work on a short story just so I can feel like I've accomplished something?

Plus, NaNo's just around the corner. So I know I want to work on something for NaNo, the only question is what. Should I go back to my vampire trilogy? Since book 1 was the only time I completed NaNo, and I'd really like to do that again. Or should I work on Awaken, since it is the first book in this world and I'd really like to get that one published.

Of course, I should just think of this logically.

1. The angel and demon story would need to be completed by November 1.
2. NaNo starts November 1.
3. I've been working on this version of Butterfly Mask (then called Kitsune) since August 2007. I think it's well past time to finish it and send it out the door.

If (when) I finish Butterfly Mask before November 1, I think it will depend on which I want to write about more: vampires or hunters. Or if I've had time to revise book 1 of the vampire trilogy before then (which seems unlikely). My hunter will probably win out just because I've been thinking about his character more than my vampire, and because I'd prefer to get his book published first.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Can You Read My Manuscript?

I generally read a lot of agent blogs, mainly because I find them to be interesting, entertaining, and educational. Eventually, I'd like to link to some of the blogs I read (not just the agent ones), but that would require a slightly different layout of this blog, since I think the sidebar is overcrowded as it is.


Today, I came across this article, "I Will Not Read Your F*ing Screenplay", about taking your screenplay (though it could apply to any other manuscript for that matter) to an industry professional (other writer, publisher, agent, etc.) and having them read your manuscript and commenting on it or just using them as an "in" to the business.

I guess for me, I never really thought about asking a professional to consider any of my manuscripts, for a number of reasons. 1. I'm a shy person. So first I'd have to actually work up the courage to talk to someone. 2. My first drafts are far from perfect. I get embarrassed just having my husband read my first draft. How embarrassed would I be if a professional were to look at something that is, for all intents and purposes, incomplete? 3. I think 1. and 2. covers it quite well. Plus, I think it's just rude.

One of my friend's uncles lives in New York and is involved with the plays there. I don't know exactly what he does, but he hates it when some random person who might have some connection to him (like one of mine and my friend's teachers from high school who never even met the guy) ask him (or try to get someone else, like my friend, to ask him) if he'll look at something they wrote.

Sure, this may sound like a good idea. I mean, a connection into the business is still a connection, right? There's that saying that goes, "It's not what you know, but who you know," that I think some people try taking just a little too literal. Plus, I think some people are so focused on getting "in" themselves, that they don't think about what it's like for the person who's already "in". Someone on the outside might think, "Oh, it's just one manuscript. How much time could it really take?" What that person doesn't think about are all the other people thinking the same exact thing and how that one person still has a job to do. And no, it's not reading some random person's manuscript.

Aside from the three points I mentioned above, I guess I'd like to add, that if I ever made it "in", I wouldn't want random people coming up to me, asking me to read something they wrote, just because they think I'll somehow magically be able to get them "in". If I have to work hard to get "in", then I think other people should have to work just as hard.

I guess, maybe I'm just weird since I actually rejected an opportunity similar to this. While still in college, I finished the rough draft of Butterfly Kiss (kind of the precursor to Butterfly Mask). I was so proud that I actually finished something that after typing it all up, I printed it off, and showed it to one of my creative writing teachers. I absolutely loved this teacher and he taught my favorite class (Screenwriting). He asked if I wanted him to read it for me. And I was so embarrassed that it was just a sloppy first draft that I actually told him no. But he could have read it, he could have commented on it, and I might have had an "in" into the writing industry, but I said no.

I guess the difference is that I didn't go to him with the intention of having him read my manuscript and possibly take advantage of his contacts. I just wanted to show him that I completed something outside of my creative writing classes. I wanted to share that joy of actually completing something with him because I felt that he had a pretty big impact on me as a writer, and I guess it was kind of like saying thank you. Because of him, I was able to complete something.

But now that he's no longer one of my teachers, and even though he may have "industry connections" (he did publish a couple young adult books), I wouldn't go up to him with the same manuscript, or any other manuscript, and say, "Hey, can you read this for me?"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Writing ... Is Slow

I'm still working on revising chapter 4. Just as I think I'm done, I think of something different/new/better to do, causing me to rewrite the whole chapter. I'm on my fourth try, and between that (all the tries) and taking care of the baby and now housesitting for my in-laws (making it so I also have to watch their dogs and cook all my meals), it's taken over to months. Kind of pathetic, actually. But at least I see the end (finally finishing chapter 4) in sight. Though when I went to type up the new scene 1 of chapter 4 yesterday, I realized that I still have some changes to make.

On the plus side, this whole writing and rewriting of chapter 4 has forced me to learn/discover/figure out more of the nit-picky details of my world. The downside is that those details don't always show up at the best time, causing me to rewrite the chapter yet again to include them in their proper spot.

Oh well, I just have to keep telling myself that the end product will be worth it. And that even if ultimately those details don't make it into the final draft, I still know them so it makes the world that much more alive for me and hopefully, eventually, that much more alive for the reader.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Love My Baby

Sure, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I love my baby, but it's not as simple as you might think.

When I first saw my baby (and I'm not talking about the alien-in-the-ultrasound baby), I had no idea what to think of him. Sure, I had spent the months prior to his birth wondering what it would be like to be a mom, what it would be like to finally hold him and have him in my arms. And I didn't believe the teachers at the baby care classes I went to about the whole bonding thing and that the first moments after birth were important to both mom and baby. I thought, what would be so hard about liking him?

Well, was I in for a shock.

The first time I held my baby was after three and a half hours of labor and delivery, and nearly twenty-four hours practically strapped to a bed (sure, I wasn't strapped down, but they wouldn't let me get up). So I looked at my baby and after thinking, you know, he really does look like the little alien from his ultrasound photos, he was just that to me: an alien.

And truthfully, I wanted nothing to do with him.

I had no idea what to do. Luckily, the nurses knew what I had to do, and soon it was time to feed him. Then everybody left, and it was just the three of us (me, baby, and daddy). The last thing I thought before falling asleep was the first thing I thought when I woke up: I have a baby (with a sense of dread) and I am way too young for this.

Now, almost five months later, I can look at my baby, look at the way he's sleeping so peacefully, and still think I have a baby. But instead of that same sense of dread as I first had, I have more of this calming, relaxing, sense of peace.

Sure, there are time when I still think I am way too young for this (being a mom), but I'm starting to get used to it. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it, but there's no going back. There's no changing what has happened. It's simultaneously the scariest and more awe inspiring thing that has ever happened to me. I worry about the future, and what kind of boy, and eventually what kind of man he'll be and know that that will be a direct result of how I raise him (and sure my husband will be helping too, but I'm the one staying home with him day after day). But then I think of all the work I had to go through to get to this point, all the nights of hardly any sleep, all the difficulties feeding him, all the thoughts of having absolutely no idea what to do with him, and yet, I think, if I can make it through all that, what can't I make it through? Some days, that thought is barely enough to keep me going. Especially when I think that there couldn't possibly be any end to whatever's happening.

But then, the baby falls asleep. And it's like the world is so peaceful, time slows down, and it seems like this should never end.

And those are the moments that make it all worth it.

When you can look at his sleeping face and know that after all the fussing and all the crying and all the not knowing how to help him and all the feeling helpless and not knowing what to do that you know that there will eventually be a moment where it's all over, where he's sleeping, and there's just this sense of rightness with the world.

It's those moments that allow me to realize that everything I do for him, all the stress I put myself through, is just because I love him.

It's those moments that I look forward to. When I look at my baby, think I made that, and smile. Where sometimes I want nothing more than to just let his sleep peacefully on my lap because there's nothing else I have to do with him.