Sunday, May 17, 2009

Me. Off the record.

I am a lover of words. I read. I write. I watch a lot of TV/movies. I repeat cycle. Repeat cycle. Repeat cycle. I save quotes from movies or television shows or songs that I think are genius/moving/hilariously funny.

Without words, the world would be a scary, scary place. A place I'm not sure I'd find life was worth living in.

I've always wanted to be a writer. Well, at least since the fourth grade, when my teacher stopped at my desk and read my creative writing assignment about my favorite room in my house to the class. I thought, "Wow ... cool! And to think I just picked some random room and started writing like I cared about it! This is easy--I just need a bunch of adjectives!" Yeah. So, I was a little off about that.

One day, long before I was old enough to make such a decision, I watched an episode of Matlocck and decided, "Hey, it looks easy to be an attorney, and really cool. I'll do that!" And so my parents' dream for my future was born. After awhile I faltered, but then came A Time to Kill. What I didn't think about was that the part I loved most about the movie (and the television show, to be honest) wasn't really the lawyering so much as it was the writing. The beautifully written closing in A Time to Kill? THAT's what made me cry. But I was distracted by the beauty of Matthew M and decided that no, it was definitely the lawyer part that did it for me. So I went to college, majored in pre-law, took a few writing classes along the way. Begin to doubt I was focusing on what I should be ... Went to law school.

And that's where everything changed. It was on a random weekend when I was putting off reading the umpteenth case about contracts when it happened. I opened up a blank document on Microsoft Word and started typing. For the week or so prior to that, these characters had danced in my head. I knew the basic plot. I outlined a few of the steps. Basically, girl falls in love, boy dies, girl is saved from heartache by new best friend, girl kisses engaged best friend at a college party, screws everything up, girl and boy eventually work it out. I know, I know, not the most original. But I didn't care about that. I didn't even think about publishing or others reading it, or anything like that. I wanted an escape, something other than a Contract=offer, acceptance, consideration, bargained for exchange, blah blah blah shoot me now please ...

While I was writing, I thought "Wow, this is soooo easy! I'm the bomb!" And then I stopped and reread it, quickly realizing I wasn't. That manuscript never made it past the first 50 or so rough draft pages.

Attempt # 2 I completed, edited, and queried. About 20 or 30 "no thanks" and one partial request followed by a "no thanks" later, I reread it and thought, "Man ... this sucks! I hate this!" And I moved on.

This time, I wrote about something I cared about. And I joined a writing workshop. And another workshop. And another. Those workshops changed me and my writing. They opened me up. They broke me out of cliches. They brought my characters to life. I queried MS #2 a few times (2 partial requests, one of which I sent and the other of which there was some miscommunication and I never resent it) before realizing ... it's just not ready. It needs substantial rewrites. It needs ... a younger narrator. No, I need a younger narrator, but I'm not sure this story lends itself to that.

And so MS #3 was born. My first YA, and I'm loving it. I finally feel like I've found my voice, my genre, my market. I hope some day, others will love it, too. I think I'll post a separate blog with some details about this journey, as well as my reaction to Secret Agent's somewhat crushing May contest blow. (I didn't scream or cry or send nasty emails, fyi. I just got to thinking. A lot.)

I think that's enough about me for right now.

And now: I'm off to play with more wallpaper and spend lots of plastic money. (Hmm ... maybe Twitter's not such a bad idea, after all ...)

1 comment:

Omi said...

Twitter seems strange in the beginning. My first ever 'tweet' was the answer to 'what are you doing?' and I wrote "Peering at Twitter. O.O" because I had honestly no idea what the devil to do with it. I'd created an account in order to follow a friend of mine, and some friends of hers, while they were at a writing retreat in Ireland, and had something of a 'group-twitter' in order to keep up with what was going on.

A month later, I discovered that two favourite actors of mine (Dan Radcliffe and Tom Felton, of Harry Potter fame as Harry and Draco, respectively) are also on Twitter, and I immediately rushed off to find them and follow them, and from there followed some bands/singers that I was 'into' at the time, and it just exploded all over the place. I'm following a great deal of YA authors, my favourite historical romance author, and some agents/editors. And now I'm utterly addicted. Technically I've been on twitter for two months (I wrote 'two month twitterversary' on my desk calendar, on the tenth) but I've only been using it for one, and I've already got over three hundred updates, not to mention that it's a fantastic way to keep up with friends.

I don't know that I knew you were an author-hopeful yourself. I would dearly love to hear more about your YA book, and your journey towards discovering that part of yourself.

And you should be dubbed 'The Inspirator' because you've just inspired a new blog post of my own in me. I also didn't know you had taken part in the Secret Agent contest. Which number was yours? Another friend of mine (marynoel here on blogspot/blogger) tried to enter hers, but didn't make it past the lottery. She's written an absolutely FABULOUS sports-fiction trilogy, something I never thought I'd be interested in until I heard about hers. I spent most of last night helping her modify her query letter for it, and if I do say so myself, I helped a lot. I hereby offer you any services I may render of similar nature to you. I absolutely LOVE hearing about other people who write/are trying to get published. It gives me hope for my own self. (In the, I know this person, and they're doing it, so if they are, I can too, way, and not the way I thought of when I think of Twilight, which amounts to something like, "well if they'll buy THAT crap, they're almost guaranteed to like anything I can put out.")

I'm really hoping to hear more from you on the subject of your novel, and of course, I'm wishing you lots of luck with it. <3