It’s time for another YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday. I’m going to try to participate in them as much as possible from now on, because it gives me a good reason to update this poor, neglected blog.
This week’s topic:
What are your writing and publishing superpowers (drafting? beta-reading? writing queries? plotting? character creation? etc.) — and what’s your kryptonite?
Road Trip Song of the Week: “The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts” – Sufjan Stevens
Quick confession before we get started… and if you know me in real life, you know this already: I’m not very self-confident. As a writer, as a person, as a girl, as anything, really. I’m just not programmed that way. But, I’m going to force myself to talk positively here, because I am good at some things.
- Dialogue I can write dialogue like a champ. For days. It’s a little ridiculous. I’m chalking it up to the fact that I was a theater major, and I’ve been involved in theater stuff for about half my life. Plays are all about dialogue. I mean, that’s almost all there is in a play script. The only writing class I took while in college was playwriting, and we focused a lot on dialogue. Often, when I’m working on a first draft (or zero draft, really), if I’m stuck, I’ll just write dialogue with minimal description. I’ll come back later and fill in.
- Grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. Hey, Vampire Weekend! You know who gives a f**k about an Oxford comma? This girl! I’m pretty confident about the rules when I write, and I’m an ace line editor. I can wield a semicolon with style and grace. And while I always have a copy of The Elements of Style nearby, I also know when it’s okay to break the rules. And I do break them. See what I just did there?
- Beta reading I will give you honest feedback with constructive criticism.
- Mushy scenes I’m a sucker for romance, and I think I can write the sugary stuff pretty well.
Now, what am I not so good at? Oh, there’s a litany of things:
- Adverbs, and the overuse thereof I didn’t even know this was a thing until it was pointed out in a Writer’s Garret class. I should be banned from using “really” or “pretty” or, well, almost every other adverb.
- Description Remember how I said I can write dialogue? Well, I’m not so hot at writing the rest of the damn words.
- Conflict Maybe it’s because I try to avoid it so much in real life. I dunno. I am just terrible at conflict. I can’t seem to make stakes high enough. I resolve it too quickly. I run toward a happily-ever-after like my life depends on it. Now, in my current NaNoWriMo project, I concentrated on making sure there is enough conflict in the plot. Unfortunately, that makes it feel icky to write sometimes, because conflict makes me uncomfortable. Can’t we just write novels where people fall in love and feel better about themselves??? Oh right, no one would read that.
- Re-writing, editing, draft #4248, etc. I find this very tedious, and I give up easily. I’m just not a finisher (I’m no Bald John Green, folks).
So, that’s that. One last thing about Road Trip Wednesday: I freaking love me some Sufjan Stevens. The title of this post is from one of his songs (“The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us!). He’s on my List (you know, the “it’s okay to cheat with these five celebrities” list). I may have made a super silly Pinterest board with my current List-dwellers.
So, speaking of my NaNoWriMo novel, I’m up to 10,546 words. That was great on Sunday, when I hit that word count and was a tiny bit ahead of the pace. But I haven’t written anything since then. I started a new job on Monday (again! Let’s hope this one sticks!), and I’ve been a little exhausted the past couple of nights. I’m going to get back in the saddle tonight and will write at least 2,000 words a day until I get back on pace. And I may have skipped some of the conflict-y scenes to write a mushy scene, because, well, see above.
I’m having trouble getting into my main character’s head. She’s different from me, and I’m not used to writing that. Specifically, she’s kind of given up on love, and I never did, even when I was single for years (LITERALLY YEARS, people, in my 20s. Oh, and in my teens). It’s been hard getting into that mindset. I’ll crack her, though. I have faith that I’ll be able to do it.
Some shout-outs to friends that are also writing NaNoWriMo novels:
- Diana, who doesn’t have a website but has been writing with me online and commiserating over the phone
- Kristen, who seriously needs to update her blog and come have a write-in at my house
- Tiffany, who has been writing with me online and cheerleading on Facebook and Twitter
- Brandy, also cheerleading on Facebook and Twitter, plus I think we’ve written together online this month… right?
- Melissa, who is going to start her novel any day now…
- And I’ll add in Jen, who is working on a different project but has been cheerleading and writing with me online.
It’s so good to know other writers. All of the NaNoWriMo participants that I know are struggling right along with me, and I’m glad to know I’m in good company. Keep going, ladies! We can do this!
(By the way, I may think outrageously, but I don’t write in cursive when I’m writing books. It’s laptop all the way for me. How do you write?)