NaNoWriMo 2016

National Novel Writing Month is nigh!

This will be my seventh NaNoWriMo and I was introduced to it in college. I never go into it without plans to “win”, and by “win” I mean reach the 50,000 word goal of this yearly event. My intention is to finish as much of whatever stories and writings I’ve got that has an ending.

My primary project this month is Oracle, which I started writing back in June. I took October for hiatus on the novel to rest my brain since it’s been at the forefront of my thoughts since I started it. The story is over 50,000 words and I’ve been trying to decide whether to write one long novel or split it into two or three book. Splitting it into books doesn’t change the fact that it continues where some readers would like to stop reading and/or start a new book. I can’t guesstimate how long Oracle is going to be and I don’t really want to. I just want to be true to my story, let it do what it do, and hope people enjoy it.

Though I have never committed to it before and have mixed feelings on the topic, I’m also writing a fanfiction based on a manga/anime that I recently discovered and really like. My fanfic is an estimated novella to light novel length (40,000 to 50,000 words apprx). It seems I’m incapable of writing anything too short, I’m too detail-oriented I guess.

That’s what I’m up to. I hope I can finish Oracle, my fanfiction, and a couple of short stories this coming month. I shouldn’t even be writing this post since I’m supposed to be resting up for NaNo ’16 for ! -__-

Still alive

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Hey, hey, hey there.

I didn’t “win” 1888’s 2016 Summer Writing Project, not at all unexpected, but I am still working to finish my novel, Oracle, serialized on Jukepop. Usually, I’d really be down about this kind of thing after putting myself out there but I’m managing the mantle of disappointment and suspicions of inferiority pretty well.

I appreciate the recognition of 1888, everyone who voted for me on Jukepop, and the grace of entering the Top 25 in the writing project. And believe me, I thirsted for the rewards and further recognition of winning this competition. I’m not sure how I should or should have used the opportunity so it’s now time to move on, I guess. Time to get back to the heart of this story…ME. Though I really wanted my novel to win, I started writing Oracle as a gift to myself for my birthday, to write a story I (in the precarious state of both reader and writer) want to read–not for a competition or for votes or to participate in the virtual Hunger Games that is literary/publishing world.

Oracle is going on its 37th and likely 38th chapter this week. I look forward to seeing its journey though.

There are so many stories yet trying to get out of my head. Because I feel it’s unwise to divide my energy and attention, I don’t usually work on more than one book or short story at a time. I’ll be an old lady before most of them get squeezed out. -__-

 

Why I’m Not All That Interested in Rowling’s ‘Cursed Child’

Got this jacket from Hot Topic and I wore it religiously in high school.

Harry Potter’s at it again, this time with three kids of his own in tow in this…stage production, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, now being called Book 8 in the series. Now, here’s the thing:

  1. At first they were saying Cursed Child wasn’t a continuation of the series, its a play written by somebody else. Now they’re saying it is a continuation of the series in the form of a script for the stage.
  2. I didn’t like the way Harry Potter ended in the first place. I deeply felt that Rowling excused Slytherin House’s legacy of hatred, elitism, racism, warmongering, and violence through Harry’s words to his son at the end of Book 7. And the fact that he names his son after Albus Dumbledore (don’t get me started) and Severus Snape, who is the architect of his own misfortunes with Lily Evans and, though he is a complicated character, he is certainly not someone I would name my child after.
  3. I don’t want to read about Harry’s angsty son and his heavy destiny. I’d rather be writing heartfelt, bad ass magical girl characters of my own than reading another story about another boy living in daddy’s shadow, or whatever the case is.

Every time a Harry Potter book came out, I was there. I pre-ordered my book and I was at the book release of the closest Borders Bookstore (before they shut down). I put on my Gryffindor tie and I would go to the midnight book release. After standing in line for hours,  I would promptly leave the store instead of participating in party activities so I could start reading in the car by book light on the way home. I wouldn’t stop reading until I was finished, only pausing to eat, use the bathroom, and sleep until I was awake again, then I’d rub the crust out of my eyes, crack the book open, and keep reading.  My room was virtually plastered in Potter paraphernalia. No one better dare say I wasn’t a fan.

At this point, I still can’t even accept the Book 7 ending and that’s why I won’t read or fangirl any further. I loved the structure of Rowling’s world, the fantastical and the norm all rubbing elbows and whatnot. But maybe I’ve outgrown the entire thing.

Thinking about wearing it today…but its probably hot…

Myth: “It’s just fiction”

No, its not just fiction. The art is NOT separate from the artist. Every writer, everywhere, is responsible for what they put out into the world. As a reader, you should imagine what the author who wrote this book is like and why they wrote it.

I decided to take a chance and be a good community member on JukePop and read from my fellow authors. One of the JukePop 30 authors, B.B. Edmunds, has a serial there called Deathless. Within the first 500 words of this story, the main character is pilfering corpses and standing over a dead, raped woman while essentially saying, “I would’ve raped her, too, but been nicer about it”. The first chapter is over 8000 words long. Why would I want to read this? To add to this already mountainous-in-quality bullshit, Edmunds responds to my comment by saying he defends this character. I was really shaken and admittedly annoyed by Edmunds’ defensiveness and his desire to have the last word until I stated my point and opted not to respond to him anymore. Then he gets his feelings hurts and continues to argue with me about my position on Deathless. B.B. Edmunds didn’t get the takeaway, which is

  1. You are responsible for what you justify and what you write
  2. Readers will drop your book because your main character sucks
  3. Everything you write says something about you
  4. Yes, your book will be judged by the first 500 words, that’s all it takes sometimes.
  5. In getting criticized, don’t keep arguing with your reader.

I learned about JukePop through National Novel Writing Month. I’ve always found JukePop’s use of “reader analytics” and votes to be suspicious at best. Which is why I had hesitated to publish anything there since The Taker a few years ago. Its not my style, I just find parts of the platform to be helpful. But if this is what it means to be a JukePop 30 author, I can live without it.

I really feel that I need to be honest: What I’ve found in my quest for good serials on this website is that a lot of authors have great ideas but not enough skill, experience, or style to carry the great ideas. I’ve come across typos and perspective issues, for example; I’m not an editor or a proofreader and even I can see them.

Writers like Edmunds have skill and style but are writing stories I don’t want to read (because of their unnecessarily violent, trendy, or pretentiously gritty elements). I really hope this is not all there is to JukePop. More reading investigation is required.

It would be nice to surrounded by writers and readers who are aware of what they’re doing and supporting.

I’m in the Top 25 Authors of the Jukepop and 1888 Summer Writing Project!

I entered my serialized and ongoing novella Oracle in the 2016 Summer Writing Project on JukePop with only the intention of publishing something for my birthday. I’m surprised and proud to announce that I ended up getting selected as one of the Top 25 Authors. On August 1st, one author will be picked for publishing with professional cover art by Irvin Rodriguez.

This is my podcast interview with Dean Moses about Oracle and my month-long writing experience. I don’t care how much public speaking I’ve done, I still get rattled and nervous every single time I do things like this! But Dean, one of three winners of the last year’s Summer Writing Project, was really nice and I got through to the other side of the interview, probably because he was so kind and cool about it. I  was so nervous and yet I get so excited when I’m talking to other writers! Feel free to listen to the podcasts from the other Top 25 as well, I know I will be!

Speaking of winners from last year, there are three of them. This year, they’re only picking ONE. I won’t lie, I want to win. I feel the pressure. Three issues that I foresee:

  1. My novella isn’t a novella anymore. I wrote 22 out of 30 days last month. Each chapter is 800 to about 2000 words. My book way over 35,000-40,000 words now. The rules use the word novella constantly. Even I did get the right reader analytics according to JukePop,, that might count against me.
  2. Outreach, marketability–I don’t know how any of those things will turn out for me.
  3. Most importantly, I have made a commitment to staying true to the integrity, heart, and pacing of Oracle. I’ll hate myself if I betray that for a competition. My desire, underneath it is all, and the right thing to do is keep writing until the end.

When I started writing and talking about Oracle nearly two weeks before my birthday, I vaguely imagined how nice it would be to be picked as one of the Top 25 Authors but I didn’t expect any recognition. Even if I don’t come out as the author that receives this wonderful opportunity from 1888, I got so much more out of entering the Summer Writing Project than I imagined and I’m writing a story that I love.

Please follow and read Oracle on JukePop. Enjoy. Vote. Tell me what you think!

Writer’s Voice, Reader’s Mind

Every time I re-read a book, I see something I didn’t see before. My journey as  reader and writer is to see the soul of an author’s work.

Sometimes readers will make comments about my work that make me think, You didn’t actually read what I wrote, did you. I’d be the last person to turn down constructive criticism. But if I sense that they’re offering “advice” or “criticism” but didn’t take the time to read the words and understand them to formulate a useful opinion, I get irritated and jazzy in the mouth, just downright sassy towards them.

When I read, I don’t go in saying, “Let me see how well this author writes like my favorite author!”. (Also because I don’t have a favorite author.) And I don’t write stories for people who skim and speed read or want something fun, quick, and trashy to read at the airport. No, as a reader, I try to see how that writer is delivering information, details, so that my imagination paints on the canvas of my mind and shows me the story.

What next?

Coming down with it. I feel an overwhelming pressure to publish something this year.

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My plan is to run a short story/novella on JukePop. ^This is what I’m working on, ORACLE–fantasy fiction all the way!! I did these e-book covers on Canva.

Welcome to Oracle–a sprawling school of magic overlooked by a crystal mountain, surrounded by fields and forests beneath whipped clouds and endless blue skies. But you know what they say: If something is too good to be true…it usually is. Caprice Bilberry is a witch who suddenly arrives at Oracle’s extraordinary campus and is informed that as a student here, her greatest wish will be granted: She will be freed from generational enslavement and have the right to go to school and practice her magic. Why leave the only life she’s ever known, risking death and the murder of her family? Why say no and return to life as a slave in a colonial village where using magic is an offense punishable by mutilation and death? Caprice, Nezzle, and Bossa become friends, soon unraveling a terrifying secret: The school is more than what it seems, demanding a price more sinister than its lofty goals reveal or make up for. Its the ultimate fine print. For one does not simply enter and become a student at Oracle school….

And I just got an email that JukePop is doing the 2016 Summer Writing Project with 1888. Perfect, I’ll just do that.

Personally, I’m a little selfish and I don’t want to share my work for free but that’s my vanity talking. Most people advise against doing this though some argue that giving away some work for free helps build an audience. Writing is my calling and art should be freely shared, yet some part of me still wants to write for a living despite what that actually means in my society. Its a working class/poor people thing I guess, that dream of getting paid for doing what you love. I’ve had multiple people tell me I should be paid for my work and I decided to believe them.

I didn’t publish anything last year. Even if I do publish, I’d have to do book covers, editing, proofreading, and back matter/synopsis–all on my own. Not to mention promoting it. Or attempting to rather. I guess I’m already part of the way there: books covers done, synopsis okay, and first four chapters finished.  I wonder if its enough to go, “I wrote this thing” and shove it out there. Wanting a little bit more than that is a lot of work. (If I’m wondering then maybe its not….)