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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Heart Apocalyptica

Normally, I'm pretty self-centered on this blog, talking about my writing and occasionally about other things like life in Japan or my son. But I found a new band today, so I'll make an exception.

Instead of writing my NaNo novel, I started making a playlist on Youtube for another project I want to work on (Standard Issue). Feeling guilty about that, I decided to add to my playlist for No Leaf Clover. Most of the songs for No Leaf Clover are from Metallica and Linkin Park. Linking Park because it's one of my favorite bands, and Metallica because one of the love interests is based off a guy I knew and Metallica was his favorite band. Plus, the title comes from a Metallica song.

So, I came across this band. And they are amazing. Okay, partly it's because I like Metallica, but mostly it's because the violin is my favorite instrument in the entire world. (Yeah, yeah. I know they're not actually playing violins, but still.)

I've loved violin music ever since I was a little girl when a violinist came to my church to play. I even attempted to play the violin when I was in fifth grade, but gave up shortly after seventh grade because I just didn't have the heart for it. So the violin is kind of a symbol of "What if" for me, of a life different than the one I have now, but it's also very nostalgic. Also when I was a girl, I imagined forming a quartet with my friends. Another friend and I both played the violin, and we had a friend who played the viola and one who played the cello.

There are some Evanescence songs that I enjoy because they have stringed instruments in them. The most notable song is Whisper. I also like that song (Whisper) because it reminds me of Rose (from my Hunter series) who's one of the very first characters I created in the Realm of Shadows.

So here's my favorite Metallica song (Nothing Else Matters) done by Apocalyptica, all with stringed instruments. And yeah, I realize it shows them playing cellos in the video, but still. One, it's such a beautiful song anyway. And two, I like pretty much anything with stringed instruments, but especially violins.

Here's another one, called One.

And yeah, I'll admit. I like just about any song that has violins in it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The New Adult Genre

St. Martin's Press is holding a contest for "New Adult" novels. And once again, I entered. Just like the other contests I entered, I don't expect to win, but it doesn't hurt to try.

As to what "New Adult" is, well, I'm quite excited to talk about that. It's a genre that's supposed to bridge the gap between young adult and adult novels.

In young adult novels, the main characters are usually between the ages of 14 and 18, they are most often are in high school or of high school age, and it's usually a coming of age story where the main character(s) deals with his or her place in the world.

And adult novels are typically about adults, or deal with adult themes. But the lines get a bit murky when you have adult books about teens or even younger protagonists just because of subject matter. I'd be a lot clearer on this, but I can't think of any examples at the moment.

There there are also "crossover" novels, where the novel was written for the young adult (ages 12+ or 14+, if it's "edgy") or middle grade (around ages 9 to 12) audience, but appeals to adults as well. Two popular crossover series are Harry Potter (which I'm pretty sure started as MG and later became YA) and the Twilight Saga (which is considered YA).

And then there are the novels for those characters who aren't in high school anymore, are looking to college, or maybe just graduated from college and are looking to start a career or whatever. These twenty-something characters are often too old for the young adult genre, but too young for the adult section. Or so I've read on various blogs and message boards.

But then there is some truth to this, since this is roughly the age range that I'm in. When I go to the bookstore or even to my local library, the books seem to be about characters in their thirties or in their teens. (Note that I don't read fiction younger than YA. I never really have, even when I was in that age range. But then, when I was younger, I didn't read all that much since I couldn't find stories about kids my age.) One notable exception being the Heather Wells mystery series by Meg Cabot.

I also remember not finding any college age books during my first summer after college. (Because, let's face it. I had just "escaped" high school, why would I want to read about a character who's still there? Though, my tastes and opinions have changed since then.) And, really, that was what prompted me to start writing semi-seriously in the first place. And I'm pretty sure that's what led me to take my first creative writing class in college, which led to my eventual minor in creative writing.

A few years back, Dorchester Publishing tried to do SHOMI, a line of "action romances" for the 18 - 25-year-old (or the possible "new adult" audience. I really enjoyed the two books I read from the line, and have a third sitting on my shelf patiently waiting for me to read it. Unfortunately, the line folded.

So I'm really interested to see if St. Martin's new adult genre catches on with readers and other publishers. I hope it does, not only because that's primarily what I write and would like to get published, but also because I think there's a lot of potential for characters and stories to be told that aren't seen in either the YA or adult genre (or at least not that I've seen).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Comments That Make You Go, WTF?!?

Here's another comment cross-posted from the Den of Shadows message board.

From day 15

My main character is sort of an athlete because she's in martial arts, but that's not really the same thing.

Though I think I finally reached a point in her story where all the characters are acting randomly and without my control.

It probably doesn't help that I tried to read through my notes for some ideas.

I came across this one: What do faeries want with an ancient Korean sword anyway?

Yeah, so I have no idea where that came from. And as far as I know, there aren't any faeries in this story. They exist in the world as a whole, but I didn't think any of them made any appearances in this story.

Also, I have my main character fighting these magical constructs and I came across this other note that they're reanimated demon skeletons.


So I have no idea where it's all going, I just hope that it still makes sense to me once November is over.

More on this later. Hopefully.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Random Comments

I have a few more random comments from NaNo that are cross-posted from the Den of Shadows message board.

From Day 11

I didn't get any writing done today, but I didn't think I would. What with trying to get a flu shot for my baby only to have them tell me that there weren't any left. And with going up to the Mall of America with my friend so she could get an autograph from some of the actors from New Moon and go to the Q & A session. It was a long and fun day, but didn't help me get any writing done. Oh, well. Hopefully, I'll have better luck tomorrow.

I was at least hoping to get some more planning done, so I had an idea where the next couple chapters are going, but I didn't even get that far. Though I realized that one of the other students in my main character's tae kwon do class has the same name as the main character of last year's NaNo. So I get to decide if they're both the same character, two guys who just happen to have the same name, or change one of their names. I might go with the first one, because it seems like more fun at the moment. But, we'll see.

From Day 12

Things have been going too easy for my main character. I've been focusing too much on the relationship aspect of her life, and now I need to get to more fighting. The next chapter's from my villain's point of view, which should mean more fighting and less romance.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Little Niche on NaNo

I probably should have posted this before, but I didn't really think about it.

For those curious, here is a link to my little spot on NaNoWriMo.

There, you can read Chapter 1 from No Leaf Clover.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Writing Commentary

These are cross-posted from the Den of Shadows message board.

I've decided to add these here for the curious, the bored, and most for my own amusement. But here's some of my commentary that I've written on the Den of Shadows message board. They are comments about my writing and life during NaNo.

From Day 3

It's been nearly ten years since I was in high school and I'm having a difficult time remembering exactly what it was like. It didn't seem so hard three years ago when I was first working on this story.

Also, my main character who I think of as non-violent (even though she's in martial arts) decided to pick a fight with her best friend. So we'll see what sort of repercussions that has for her.

I forgot to mention earlier, but yesterday my husband and I decided to set up a mini competition for us: to see who gets published first (which will also include finishing our novels, revising them, and sending out queries and all that fun stuff).

From Day 4

Well, what I plan to write today was originally going to be part of the chapter I wrote yesterday. Only, one of these magical constructs that the villain summoned is supposed to narrate the chapter. I'm not sure how a magical construct is supposed to think or feel or even narrate what's going on around it, which is probably why I haven't started the chapter yet. But I guess the only way to find out is to actually write it. And if it turns out that you really can't have a magical construct narrating, then I'll just have to change the chapter's point of view during revisions.

On to figuring out how constructs think.

And from Day 6

My plot's going remarkably well. Of course I haven't gotten to any of the stuff that wasn't really planned out prior to NaNo, so we'll have to wait and see what happens with the vague scene impressions I have for later on.

When I went to bed last night, I was just over 15,000 words in, and roughly one forth of the way into my plot (I'm aiming for 60,000). But, I have a few missing scenes (mostly fight scenes that I haven't felt like writing yet) and a missing chapter. Once I finish those, it'll put me well past the 15,000 word mark, but I don't mind. I'm sure I have a lot of empty filler words that will be removed during revision.

P.S. I never actually wrote the chapter from the magical construct's point of view. I think it would be a fun exercise in writing, but I think the prose and thought process of a magical construct would be a lot worse than that of a zombie. At least zombies can think/say, "Braaaiiinnnssss!!"

National Novel Writing Month

I signed up for my fourth NaNo.

I had plans to finish Kitsu's story by November 1, but those kind of fell through when I went a couple weeks without working on her story. Instead, I read. Then I started revising my vampire novel. And since I got through the first half of it in just over a week, I figured it would take just as long to revise the second half of it. Not so. So now I have two partially edited novels awaiting my return.

Originally, my idea for NaNo this year was going to be about the Mage's daughter from my and my husband's Standard Issue universe. I was really excited to work on it too. There was the mage's daughter who is just about as powerful as the mage himself is, and the only thing that stopped her from using magic to screw with people (just like dear old dad) was whether or not she felt like it. I mean, she was going to high school after all so she didn't have as much free time on her hands, what with homework and extracurricular activities and all.

And in response to some of the teen paranormal romances out there that included a vampire werewolf love triangle, my mage was going to get involved in one. Only she would end up with the werewolf instead.

Then on one of the message boards I frequent, people started talking about zombies and the zombie apocalypse. And I thought, Hey, wouldn't that be fun?

So here's the one sentence summary of the novel I'm not writing this month.

Moonlight, A Standard Issue Teen novel
The all powerful Mage's daughter gets tangled up in a vampire werewolf love triangle until she summons her dead boyfriend from his grave and has to stop the impending zombie apocalypse all while going to high school.

What am I working on instead?

No Leaf Clover
17-year-old Pai must defend the Ancient Korean shortsword, Byung, from a Korean mummy, her new swordfighting instructor, and her crush--all to prove she's the sword's true heir.

It's a young adult novel I started in 2006 during my last semester in college, and I've been wanting to work on it ever since. I didn't work on it in previous years for NaNo because silly me thought it wasn't suitable for NaNo. Apparently, the story is proving me wrong. At the end of day 5, I had just over 15,000 words. that even surpasses my 2000 words a day goal.