Tag: Mountain Girls

The grass is always greener

For months I have been dying to be finished with my first draft. “Y’all are so lucky,” I said to my crit partners. “I would give anything to be editing right now.”

Oh, Kristan. Be careful what you wish for.

My original plan was to take a day off — yes, ONE DAY — and then dive right into edits. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Let’s just say that when you spend over a year drafting a book, you’ll probably need more than 24 hours to rest, let it sink in, figure out what and how to edit, and oh yeah, catch up on all the non-writing stuff you neglected in order to claw your way to “The End.”

So I ended up taking the entire month of February off. By “off” I mean that I did extra research, and some brainstorming and game planning, and a lot of thinking deeply about my characters and their story and the larger series I’d like it to be a part of. “Thinking deeply” probably sounds like hooey to most non-writers, but the truth is, it’s one of the most valuable and motivating parts of the process, at least for me. And now I’ve got a month’s worth of that inspiration and energy stored up inside me, ready to burst, ready to be channeled into the edits.

But there’s one more hurdle I wasn’t expecting.

The last step of preparation that I wanted to take was to read over my entire manuscript on my Kindle. No fixing typos, no deleting or rewriting. Just me experiencing the story as a reader, to see where it really stands and to wrap my mind around it as a whole.

But holy crap it’s weird!

So weird to read when I know what’s coming. And not just what happens, but the exact words that will be used to describe it. So weird that I can’t even get through the first chapter. Not because it’s bad (although it might be) but because it’s just so… weird. So very very very very weird.

For some reason rereading Twenty-Somewhere didn’t throw me the same way. Maybe because it was written for the web originally, and I approach online writing with a different mindset. Or maybe because it’s been two and a half years now since I wrote that “The End.”

Regardless, I’ll have to find some way to push through the weird, and through the edits, so I can finally move on to the next step: querying. Man, all you writers who are querying are so lucky. I would give anything to be querying right now.

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Swedish Fish, Finnish book

Finnish note 002

It is done.

Sort of.

At 5 AM on Wed morning, I finished the first draft of my manuscript. (The week before, Andy kept telling me to “Finnish” my book. So that’s the note I left for him at 5:01 AM.) But while finishing the first draft IS a big accomplishment, it’s also just the beginning of a new phase: editing. Such is the nature of writing, that each milestone only leads to the next, and your work is never really complete.

Because of that (and because of my extreme exhaustion) I had a hard time feeling celebratory. Don’t worry! As the day wore on, and the enormity of my 87,000 word achievement sunk in, I did find myself smiling, and my heart dancing, just a little bit. But it wasn’t this big carefree, elated high like I was expecting.

The best way I can think to describe it is this: I put up the walls and the roof. Does that make it a house? Technically. It contains all the necessary elements — kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms. But it’s not ready for anyone to come inside yet. I still need to put in the doors and windows. (Not to mention paint and furnish.) You wouldn’t hold an open house for a building with no doors and windows, would you?

What you might do, though, is drink a glass of wine with a good friend to honor the fact that, no matter what happens next, you built something. Not just a vision or a blueprint, not just a foundation or a frame. A real house with rooms and stairs. A place that people could someday live in and love. Yes, it’s got a ways to go, but damn, look at how far it’s come.

So, friends, will you raise a glass with me?

Cheers.

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Mockingjay thoughts (no spoilers)

While Amazon tortured me by withholding my (pre-ordered!) Mockingjay, Sarah sent me a little something to tide me over:

my own mockingjay

(Thanks, girl!)

Fortunately a coworker lent me her copy of the book (which she pre-ordered and then picked up from Barnes & Noble) and I read it yesterday. Folks, I was WRECKED after I finished that book.

If you want to know exactly how I felt about it, good and bad, check out JJ’s post (warning: MAJOR SPOILERS). She pretty much hit every nail on the head for me.

(There are some great discussions going on in the comments over there too.)

But if you’re not spoiler ready, or you just don’t care that much, let me talk about the book in broader terms. Truthfully, it was my least favorite of the series. I didn’t feel fully prepared by Hunger Games or Catching Fire for what Collins wrote in Mockingjay. The first 2 books were “adventure” stories; this last one was war. In Mockingjay, Collins took every good thing and broke it. She broke Katniss. And that was so, SO hard to read.

But the good kind of hard, you know?

Overall the writing in MJ was solid, and just as un-put-down-able as HG and CF. The pacing was a bit off, like she could have used 4 books instead of 3… But the twists, the characters, the way she brought things full circle from earlier books and scenes — that was all impeccable. Collins has a gift, and I hope I can reach that level of storytelling someday.

Maybe I would have done a few things differently, but as a whole, I think the trilogy is spectacular. Similar to Harry Potter, in some regards. (That’s another series I need to re-read…)

And if nothing else, Hunger Games has really opened my eyes to what a book can do. What a writer can do. What I could do. It has inspired me in so many ways for my next manuscript, Mountain Girls. (That’s a project name, not a real title.)

Now it’s just a matter of sitting down at the keyboard and making. it. happen!

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