The Writing Life: Camp NaNoWriMo Week Four

NaNo Week 3Welcome to my weekly feature, wherein I discuss writing style of authors, elements of books that are particularly interesting to me, and at times my own writing escapades as I venture into the writing process of my fourth novel. And, as a researching and always-learning aspiring author, I want to hear your opinions on these bits and pieces that make up our beloved paperbacks.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week Four

For the next four weeks, I’ll be recapping my escapades as I attempt to write 10K words in the month of April. I know it’s a small goal, compared to the usual 50K, but it’s what I can do. And I’ve been keeping up the pace, so I’m quite proud of myself!

Right now my word count is: 12099. Yeah, that’s right – I WON! I’m all verified and everything! I can’t believe I actually stuck to the goal, and wrote more than I needed to! I sprinted through 3K yesterday, and I feel so great – I almost want to write more! (though I can’t, because life).

Here’s my favorite bit from this week: (this is when they scatter her ashes)

“Do you want to do it?” I murmur. Hunter shakes his head, and unscrews the cup. Keeping a steady grasp on my hand, he leads our fists over the edge.
We’re going to do this together.
Somehow that gives me the courage to step closer, to hold on to her as long as I can before we set her free.
One breath.
Two breaths.
Three.
Four.
Five breaths.
And then we tilt. It feels more that we stand in place and the world spins around us. But then the dust is falling from our hands and the wind is catching it and she is swirling away into the sky and stars and clouds and sailing over the Canyon and flying with the birds and traveling to a place I will never know.
It’s just a pinch of it, we have to save the rest. But it feels as though it was so much more than that. Three seconds feels like three hours, and my heart is pounding like I’ve run a marathon. Before my hand trembles and I drop the rest, I give Hunter the cap and he screws it on and tucks it back into my bag.
We stand there, waiting. Waiting for some sign that she’s still there, and she saw us, and she is so so proud of us and she’s waiting in the after with a smile on her face and open arms until we join her. Waiting to hear her voice in our ears whispering thank you.
Waiting.
Waiting.
Waiting.
But nothing happens. The earth doesn’t rumble. The stars don’t fall from the sky. The sun doesn’t implode into a black star. I am not a new person, and neither is Hunter. We are the same, just us. We are still broken and lost and hoping for something we can’t even put into words. A weight isn’t lifted from my shoulders; I feel heavier.
But this heaviness is different, in some way. It’s not the hollow weight of nothingness. I’m weighted down by a mass almost too large to fit in my chest. Layers upon layers of filth and dust wrapped around an inside I know nothing about. It’s a burning, unyielding weight, curling into every corner of my heart and thrumming with life, waiting to be pressurized or shattered or chipped away until it’s revealed fully.
Is this what they call hope? If it is, this isn’t the feathery thing poets always talk about. This is hard work.
Hunter wipes at his eyes, not even trying to hide it from me. We stay there for another few moments, until the very last particles of dust are gone from sight forever.

Why is it my favorite? Because originally I had planned on making it this big moment – the sudden change where the main character has a huge sense of relief and healing and can move on from her best friend’s death. But then I decided to challenge that idea, and be a bit more realistic. I think it turned out pretty well, what do you think?

And since this is my blog, and shameless self promotion is an advantage I’m willing to take, you can click THIS LINK (like the all caps? Shameless) to go to my wattpad account and read the prologue and first three chapters of my WIP, Take Me to the Sea!

What about you? How is your NaNo experience going so far? What’s your favorite line/scene that you’ve written? 

The Writing Life: Camp NaNoWriMo Week Three

NaNo Week 3Welcome to my weekly feature, wherein I discuss writing style of authors, elements of books that are particularly interesting to me, and at times my own writing escapades as I venture into the writing process of my fourth novel. And, as a researching and always-learning aspiring author, I want to hear your opinions on these bits and pieces that make up our beloved paperbacks.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week Two

For the next four weeks, I’ll be recapping my escapades as I attempt to write 10K words in the month of April. I know it’s a small goal, compared to the usual 50K, but it’s what I can do. And I’ve been keeping up the pace, so I’m quite proud of myself!

Right now my word count is: 8585. I wrote one chapter, but it was actually pretty big! And it was a pivotal one for me as a writer, since I was introducing a new character that’s the catalyst for the entire plot. She’s so dimensional in my head that I wanted to make sure I did her justice in my writing!

Here’s my favorite bit from this week:

“What about you?” I ask in return. “What’s your resolution?”
Elva hauls herself to a sitting position with a heavy sigh. That’s never a good sign — Elva doesn’t sigh unless something’s really bothering her. Usually it’s me or Hunter. This time, I think it’s directed at herself. And that scares me. Elva is the secure one. The pillar when I am crumbling down and can’t find the shards of my identity.
“Elva?” I ask again, sitting up to join her and staring at her profile. It’s drawn and pinched and so un-Elva that I reach out a hand and place it on her shoulder. She sighs again, deeply, like she’s trying to fill the bottom of her lungs with air so she can breathe again.
“Someday…” Her voice is withdrawn; she’s pulling at the strings in her vocal chords and forcing them to say the words her tongue is trying to deny. “I hope to be brave enough to be myself.”
“What does that mean?” Elva is the most individualistic person I know. She says what she thinks, wears what she wants to wear, and doesn’t live by anyone’s rules.
“Every day, I put on a costume, because it’s what people expect. Crazy Elva, ESP. I’ve been fulfilling their need for a pariah, the weird girl in the spotlight they all wish they had the balls to be.”
“But…isn’t that what you wanted to be?” I’ve never seen Elva this vulnerable, this angry at herself.
“At first, maybe,” she laughs humorlessly. “But then it wasn’t my choice — it was an expectation. I love dressing up, I really do! But when it takes two freaking hours to put together an outfit and my makeup every morning, it gets old. I wish I had the guts to just put on a shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes and just walk out of the house for once.
“So…yeah. I want to be brave enough to not hide behind a costume.”
“Then start today,” I say firmly, surprising myself with my conviction. “Take out the piercings, the feathers, and the heels. Buy a pair of flats, wear a shirt without sequins, and skip the blue eyeliner. Simple as that.”
“But people are going to stare. Or, worse, they won’t notice me at all,” her voice takes on that desperate tone of a child afraid their parent will leave them for hours.
“Then that would be like enjoying an actress for the role they play, and not the overall work they do.” I’m staring at the sky when I say this, but I tilt my head back down and glance over at her. She’s looking back with an expression I can’t even begin to capture with words, but it’s the same look she gave Hunter when he bought a dozen sunflowers for her high school graduation party when every other girl was getting roses.

Why is it my favorite? Well, Elva is the character that is supposed to be the one that has it all together, wears weird clothes, and stands out. But I really wanted to make her human, and not a MPDG, so I gave her some depth in this scene.  Thoughts? Comments? I love feedback!

And since this is my blog, and shameless self promotion is an advantage I’m willing to take, you can click THIS LINK (like the all caps? Shameless) to go to my wattpad account and read the prologue and first three chapters of my WIP, Take Me to the Sea!

What about you? How is your NaNo experience going so far? What’s your favorite line/scene that you’ve written? 

The Writing Life: Camp NaNoWriMo Week Two

The Writing Life NaNo1
Welcome to my weekly feature, wherein I discuss writing style of authors, elements of books that are particularly interesting to me, and at times my own writing escapades as I venture into the writing process of my fourth novel. And, as a researching and always-learning aspiring author, I want to hear your opinions on these bits and pieces that make up our beloved paperbacks.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week One

For the next four weeks, I’ll be recapping my escapades as I attempt to write 10K words in the month of April. I know it’s a small goal, compared to the usual 50K, but it’s what I can do. And I’ve been keeping up the pace, so I’m quite proud of myself!

Right now my word count is: 5648. I wrote TWO chapters this week! The wonders spring break can do 😀 That puts me more than halfway to my word goal – maybe I’ll be able to make it to 20K?? Who knows!

There’s actually two parts I want to share this week: one is a tiny paragraph, and another is a scene.

Here’s the paragraph (I just loved how it turned out!):

This time its a quiet hollow, not something that’s been gutted out, but an opening waiting to be filled with something. The something that’s supposed to be more than I can touch or feel, that intangible it that you can only skim with fingertips when you’re staring at the stars on a clear night around a campfire.

And here’s the scene (I’m emotionally exhausted after chapter 8 O_O):

We bury her on a bright winter day. The ceremony is short. Full of tears. Old classmates wishing for second chances when they hadn’t even given her a first.
They wanted me to speak, but I can’t. I couldn’t even dress myself that morning; my dad had to force me into tights and a dress and a coat as if I were five years old again and not nineteen.
But I see her, in the box. It’s mahogany – she would have laughed at that. Everything related to a book in some way for her.
She looks the same – almost. There’s a dent in her right temple, and I nearly double over and vomit up the half piece of toast I had shoved down my throat this morning.
Then the cemetery. We gather around the casket, say a few final words. Some prayers. A pitiful plea to a god who isn’t listening anyway.
And then they disappear. The crowd has spent their allotted time in mourning: they can return home to their whole families. Maybe kiss their daughter an extra time before bed, drive their son to school instead of forcing him on the bus, all as penance for the simple sin of being alive when someone else wasn’t. But that’ll pass soon enough. Not many will linger in grief when it isn’t their burden to carry.
But we stay there. Me, my dad, and the Plaths. We watch them lower her into the carved out ground, a hollow mouth waiting to swallow her whole. Cover her up with dirt and new grass. It doesn’t blend in with the rest. Then again, she never blended in. Unique even in death.
And then it’s done. It’ll take weeks, if not months, to get a headstone, but I’ve prepared something else. I hand it to the man handling her grave, and he kneels at her head and places it solidly into the earth. A wooden cross, her name crudely carved into the arms.
I walk up to her – I guess a plot of soil is ‘her’ now – and bend down to place a sunflower at her head. A crown of summer made for a girl dead in winter.
“I’ll be seeing you,” I sing softly. “In all the old familiar places.” My lip starts to tremble, but I bite it and continue. “In every lovely summer’s day.” A cry escapes my chest, and I bow my head, too tired to fight it. Though my tears, I finish:
“I’ll always remember you that way.”

Why is it my favorite? Well, the paragraph is just pretty. I’m very proud of it! And the excerpt is a pivotal point for my main character, and I think it turned out fairly well. Thoughts? Comments? I love feedback!

And since this is my blog, and shameless self promotion is an advantage I’m willing to take, you can click THIS LINK (like the all caps? Shameless) to go to my wattpad account and read the prologue and first two chapters of my WIP, Take Me to the Sea!

What about you? How is your NaNo experience going so far? What’s your favorite line/scene that you’ve written? 

The Writing Life: Camp NaNoWriMo Week One

The Writing Life NaNo1
Welcome to my weekly feature, wherein I discuss writing style of authors, elements of books that are particularly interesting to me, and at times my own writing escapades as I venture into the writing process of my fourth novel. And, as a researching and always-learning aspiring author, I want to hear your opinions on these bits and pieces that make up our beloved paperbacks.

Most of the time I find that in reviews we talk about the feels or the romance or the plot, but here I want to get to the nitty gritty of syntax and devices and whatnot. Mafi’s similes and metaphors? Sanderson’s world building? McGarry’s ability to write three books with the same romantic trope and yet all three books are freaking fantastic? All of that, and more!

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week One

For the next four weeks, I’ll be recapping my escapades as I attempt to write 10K words in the month of April. I know it’s a small goal, compared to the usual 50K, but it’s what I can do. And I’ve been keeping up the pace, so I’m quite proud of myself!

Right now my word count is: 1356. Not even a chapter, but it’ll do.

This is my favorite bit I’ve written this week:

“I’ll handle the tent,” I decide, this time meaning it for Hunter’s ears. When he doesn’t respond, I walk around the front of the car to find him standing, without a hand resting on the door for balance, with his eyes closed and the most peaceful expression I’ve seen in a long time on his face. And then I realize that he’s in the perfect location to feel the breeze gently blowing through the campsites. It smells like pine and dust: pure and clean.

I wonder if I can find a Febreze scent to match this. Or a car freshener.

“Hunter,” I murmur, trying not to disturb him but at the same time feeling the need to micromanage. He blinks a few times, like Rip Van Winkle waking up and wondering where he is. And then he glances at me, eyebrows raised in a voiceless question, and – holy shit – is that a smile I see at the corner of his mouth?

He turns to face me and I drop my thoughts into a pile of knotted cords, all ends lost and fraying in the shock. He is smiling. Just a tiny one, barely a curve, but the right side is definitely higher than the other. When I notice that his scar is more stretched than usual, I know for sure.

Part of me wants to cry from joy and scream my news from the nearest cliff, but the more controlled side takes over and instead I find myself smiling back at him. No teeth – I don’t think either of us are there yet – but it’s a step.

Why is it my favorite? This is from chapter seven, and the previous six chapters have all been pretty depressing. Just ask my beta readers – Chiara, Miranda, and Lillian. They’ve given me a few choice pieces of feedback – all of which I’ve laughed at maniacally because it means I’m doing something right!

And since this is my blog, and shameless self promotion is an advantage I’m willing to take, you can click THIS LINK (like the all caps? Shameless) to go to my wattpad account and read the prologue and first two chapters of my WIP, Take Me to the Sea!

What about you? How is your NaNo experience going so far? Do you like your cabin mates? What’s you’re favorite line that you wrote?