Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Entrance into Revisionland

You know, the other moment I had a little bit of a realization; novel-writing was a lot like that one scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are going through the layers of protections such as lethal plants, a deadly life-sized chess game, the winged-key room, and finally, the potions room in order to reach the Sorcerer's stone. 
(It is actually a very popular theme in fantasy, the thing about going through many obstacles before going reaching a goal.)
But nevertheless, I feel like writing a novel is a lot like that. Nanowrimo was the first gate, with the enormous suck dragons to conquer, where I created something out of nothing, even though it was horrible and out of the 52,000 words I wrote, I kept about 5,000 of them. I called it Draft 0. Then I went through two sets of rewrites, lovingly named Draft 0.5 and Draft 1, and by the end of the second rewrite, I had a solid "first draft" to edit. That was the second gate, with flaming carnivorous reptiles or something. I made it through that.
And now, I pause in front of the third gate, called Revisionland. According to authors, it can either be a desolate wasteland of purgatory or beautiful world of whimsical discovery.
I prefer the latter. 
I researched "revision checklist" on Google. I came up with nearly a dozen lists. I chose one and dropped the rest. To be honest, I don't even think I am going strictly by that one checklist.
I am wandering with my manuscript, my pen, and a very basic notebook. 
I keep shying away from direction. I don't know why. For some reason, though it's revision, I cannot go towards an index plotting card for my life. 
I don't know why, but I'm just following my instincts. For this first actual *revision* round (I'm excited!) I will be focusing on plot, character, and worldbuilding, but I am going by my own intuitive agenda.
The day after tomorrow, I am flying to BEA, and after the conference, I am going to go to Baltimore and Philadelphia. I will be traveling the month of June, which means that either I will be busy, or that the traveling will set my creative juices free. Or both.
But the gates are opening now.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Draft 3, Done

Actually, I would like to call it Draft 1, because the manuscript I just finished was the first draft I wished I had. The two previous drafts can be called Draft 0 and Draft 0.5.
But the ending word count is 78,148.
I just compiled it from Scrivener to  MS document, and it weighs out to a whopping 295 pages.
All I gotta say is, I deserve my celebratory chocolate. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

End of May, The End in sight!

Wrote 10,000 words yesterday.
It was hard.
basically, that was all I could say about it. The first four thousand were relatively easy. By 7k I was losing steam. And by 9,600 words, I wanted to kill myself.
The last 400--four hundred!--words was like a death march.
But I made it through.
My novel stands at 75,062 words. I am past the climax, towards the resolution.
I think I have about five thousand words left.
So instead of being at 85k as predicted, my novel will end at 80k words.
Which is perfectly fine by me.
I'm writing the last five thousand words tomorrow. And finishing the pinata for my Spanish class. It looks like a train wreck.
But I have recently discovered a band called Of Monsters and Men. And I know, I might be a bit late to the party, but they are freaking amazing. 
Check out their song King and Lionheart:
Not to mention that they have some of the best music videos I've seen.
It's that band, Imagine Dragons, Two Steps from Hell, and various other music that is going to get me through the last stretch tomorrow.
I am so close.....

Saturday, May 18, 2013


You know how I had a post back last November about how I should stay all Spartan and type my stories on word?
Yeah, a month ago, I bought Scrivener.
I'm not going to go all googly-eyed and droll on about how amazing it is (though it absolutely is), but after buying the software, I do like it. Very much.
See, I don't use the corkboard thing or even the inspector indes-card thing. 
See, I never knew that I was a write-out-of-order kind of girl. I thought I progressed linearly. But sometimes, while writing, I would hit a roadblock and either a) plug away at it with teeth-gnashing desperation or b) try to ignore it, and then I would remind myself that I had to get  this whole draft done in 10 more days and I'm behind already in which I revert to option a.
But Scrivener?
I love how I can just piece together scenes. I love how I could say, "Well, this next scene doesn't sound interesting...I'll go work on something else and fill the holes later."
And it works.
I love it.

Friday, May 17, 2013

10 day...not.

I didn't reach 10k.
But I reached 7k!
So far, my word count on my novel is 61,090 words.
I don't think the novel is going to be 85k. It will probably land somewhere in the 75k-80k range, which sort of elicits a sigh of relief from me. Sort of.
See, the thing is, if the thing ends up at 80k, I already know that there's 10k worth of material I'm taking out from the beginning, which makes it 70k...
Which makes more room to expand? Maybe?
I'm taking a crack at this thing again tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will try for at least 4,000 words.
Easy enough, right?

Thursday, May 16, 2013


This is insane.
I have school off tomorrow, so...
I am going to try for a 10k day tomorrow.
And I'll fail.
But 10k is just an arbitrary number. My record is 6,000 words a day, and after two consecutive days of that, I had writer's burnout for two weeks. Last Wednesday, I wrote 4k (in a school day! Can you believe it?) and I was burned out the days after.
I don't want to stress myself, since I have tests and projects and whatnot.
Tomorrow, I will write like hell.
Cue epic music, pep talks, and bribes.
I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rewriting...change of scenery

Slogging through the second rewrite, third drag. Actually, not slogging, but I actually quite like it. It's more complicated than the second draft, and tons better than the first...
My novel involves elements of imperial China. I'm trying to capture and dramatize the court scandal and plotting, the assassinations...they are incredibly fascinating. 
Guys, I am actually excited for my novel. 
But now it deviates away from the court scandal, into a totally different aspect of the novel--I'll be leaving the palace for the streets of Anchen, my resemblance of Beijing. It will be a totally different world...
But right now, I am making inspiration boards. You know Pinterest? There is a really cool alternative that is like a cross between Evernote and Pinterest, and is amazing. It's called Padlet. Go check it out!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What I'm reading now

Hi! Today was a Saturday, and although I didn't do the 10k words as promised, I did about 3.5k.
Here's what I'm reading this month:
River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh

This is a book I got in China (but it's a British book) and it chronicles the opium drug trade, and many lives that intertwined in the busy ports of Canton---and what happened when a man named Commissioner Lin stepped up to abolish the opium from China forever. It is related to the topic of my novel, and I do love the descriptions, but it is incredibly dense and it takes me a lot of work to get through it. But the cover! I think that is the most beautiful cover I have ever seen.

The Night Circus by Erin. Morgenstern

Funny story--about 9 months ago, my family was preparing to go to South Korea (on a connecting flight to Bali, our actual destination.)  In the O'Hare airport, I saw a copy of The Night Circus--and I wanted to buy it, because, well, the story sounded intriguing and the characters and oh!-- the cover was beautiful.
But it was an airport bookstore. And airport books are really expensive.
Now, a year later, I am reading it now, and I wish I had bought it nine months ago. No matter the price, it wouldn't have paid enough for the beautiful, illustrious descriptions, the mystery, the intrigue of the circus.
(Okay, you get this blog post's theme now--descriptions and book covers)
Plus, Erin Morgenstrn has done NaNoWriMo (The Night Circus was her Nano novel) and I love her pep talk.
And on her blog, in the archives, I stumbled upon a quote she had read;
"Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly."

Awesome Video

So I came onto this fantastic video today. Now, I'm usually not a fan of writing videos, because they tend to sort of talk about a great point, then ramble for a bit on it, but this video is truly a gem. Every word is like receiving wisdom from a wise sage. (Well, Neil Gaiman is a bit if a sage sometimes...)
Neil Gaiman on Writing: From The Nerdist Podcast  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Update...and BEA countdown!

Just a quick update.
Yesterday, I pounded out 4,000 words (How? I am in shock.) But today, I am paying for it because my batteries have been effectively sucked up.
I'm a third of the way through the novel, maybe more. But right now, I feel....lethargic. Yes, that's the right word.
I'm in the drama, the fun and games part of my novel. But the scenes don't feel connected, really. Maybe this is just because  I'm writing in Scrivener, so I tend to skip around and write all the interesting scenes...and the scenes that I feel like writing at the moment.But I hope it turns around.
But I can't help but get excited when I realize that BookExpo America (BEA) is less than a month away! *squeals*
This will be my first ever book conference/convention of any kind, and I am super pumped. Oh, the authors! The aura of tons of paper, bound together into volatile, beautiful works of art!
But right now, I have a headache (too much staring at the computer) so I will go get some sleep and hope that by morning, I will not be a zombie anymore.
One last thing--Today, author Veronica Roth finally posted her cover reveal for her Divergent Book 3, Allegiant! Go check it out--and have an excited aneurysm like I did.