Internal juggle

Another reason I may not stick with Writerly Wednesdays: They make it too obvious when I go awhile without blogging!

(In case y’all hadn’t noticed, I aim for a MWF schedule. So if I skipped today and didn’t blog until Mon — or even Tues, since Mon is a holiday! — then you’d all be like, Dude, what’s up with that? Kristan is such a slacker! And I am. But I don’t want you to know it!)

Thing is, I haven’t had that much to blog about. I do my best to portray what the life of an aspiring writer is like (or at least this aspiring writer), but a lot of it is, well, boring. Sleep, eat, work, write. Every day is a variation on those themes. Oh, there are highs and lows, but mostly there are plateaus. Long periods where nothing really happens.

At least, nothing external.

Inside, I’ve got a ton going on. After all, I’m working out the lives of 3 young women. I’m trying to understand their deepest desires — and more importantly, their greatest fears — and then figuring out how to make them face those things. How to help them achieve their dreams. How to make them suffer, and then how to help them recover.

Since there are 3 of them, this is a bit of a juggling act. Catch one, and that means another is in the air, while the third is about to be thrown. If you do it well, you can put on quite a show. If not, all 3 fall and you’re left shamefaced.

How’s it going so far? Well, let’s just say I don’t envy clowns.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a lovely Memorial Day Weekend. Got any special plans? Me, I’ll just be continuing my long, slow trek across this plateau…

Writerly Wednesday

By popular request, I will use the alliterative title, but I make no promises about the regularity of this feature!

  • Amazon announced the 6 finalists (3 general fiction, 3 Young Adult fiction) for their 2009-2010 Breakthrough Novel Awards. Go check out the excerpts (which you can download free in PDF format) and vote! Support writers! Enjoy stories!
  • In squee!-worthy news, HarperTeen posted an excerpt of Kiersten White’ss forthcoming debut (Sept 2010) Paranormalcy:“Just as he reached for my neck, I tased him. I was there to bag and tag, not to kill. Besides, if I had to carry separate weapons for every paranormal I took out, I’d be dragging around a full luggage set. Tasers are a one size-fits-all paranormal butt-kicking option. Mine’s pink with rhinestones. Tasey and I have had a lot of good times together.”

    Full excerpt here!

Transformation (without the evil sea witch, or the awesome singing voice)

Truth: I haven’t felt this frustrated with myself in quite a while.

As I mentioned last week, today marks 1 month since the Major Publisher told me they would be interested in my ideas for revising Twenty-Somewhere. They didn’t give me a deadline, but I thought I could hammer out my ideas in 1-3 weeks. And maybe I could have. But I didn’t.

Instead of making excuses, to you or to myself, I’ve been looking at what I can do to prevent something like this from happening again. “Something like this” meaning my failure to meet a self-imposed deadline. My failure to sail full-speed toward the lighthouse of opportunity.

(To clarify: No, I didn’t miss my chance. I can submit my proposal to the Major Publisher whenever I want. But I do think the longer I take, the more I may fade from their mind.)

At the end of the day, it comes down to time management. Did I write, or did I check Google Reader for the 100th time? Did I write, or did I let myself sleep in? Did I write, or did I sit with Andy and Riley on the couch to watch a sports game I don’t care about?

You can probably guess what the answers to those questions are.

So it’s time for some change. What change(s) exactly, I’m not sure. More caffeine? Less internet? I don’t know, something. Bottom line: this dawdling simply will not do.

To quote The Little Mermaid: “I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I know something’s starting right now. Watch and you’ll see, someday I’ll be…”

A bona fide author!

Me versus me

My dog is at work with me today, and yes, it pretty much is the best thing ever.


Right now Riley is pooped from running around our 3-story building and greeting everyone. And sniffing every square centimeter of carpet for crumbs. (He’s a very, very good Crumb Finder.) I’ll take him on another social loop in a little while. Right now I’m enjoying the peace and quiet of sitting at my desk, and not having to think, “Oh god don’t eat that! Oh god don’t poop there! Oh god just sit still and let them pet you!”

Riley at Coho 007

On the writing front, I am STILL working on those revision proposals (synopses are so hard!) which is just ridiculous. The Major Publisher told me to take my time (“well, not five years” they said with a grin) but Monday marks the 1-month mark since I got the request, and I’d like to submit everything to them by then. I also have a couple agents waiting for the materials, so there’s another reason to speed it up. My problem isn’t lack of passion or ideas; it’s that I’m trying to include sample pages of a potential rewrite. Part of me says, Drop it; they only asked for synopses. The rest of me says, If the point is to sell your idea, then you’ve got to write the pages, because they are your best tool.

I guess I’ll find out on Monday which side of me wins.

Writerly things

T.S. Bazelli is starting a new series of “Author Aerobics” on Mondays and has already produced one really compelling story as a result: “The Metal Girl.”

Lee Future/Mike Cook is not the first to compare writing to running, but I think his angle in “Running Through Writing’s Solar System” is a little different:

To many, authors are a magical species living on a distant planet full of money and free time and creative fulfillment. People want to go to this planet. When they hear that I am a writer, they often gush out stories of their own, about how they used to write, or how they write poetry, or how they have this great idea for a novel.

I do my best not to discourage people when they say these things. Writing always offers personal growth, and in that way, writing is like running. It’s a wonderful thing for anyone to do. It’s also important, though, to understand what kind of running one plans to do.

Most people who write, write like I run.

And chick lit author Gemma Burgess stole some words right out of my mouth:

Perhaps as a result of the actual writing being so enjoyable and instinctive for me, my weakest area is definitely plots. I’ve had to put an awful lot of extra work in to get them up to scratch. I also tend to want to write about normal girls doing normal things, and I don’t really like melodrama, which means I tread a fine line between ‘relatable’ and ‘inconsequential’.

(Ms. Burgess gives another awesome interview over here.)

I thought about making this a regular feature (Writerly Wednesdays) but let’s be honest, am I going to keep up with it? No way.