writing

An Overdue Apology

It has been approximately three weeks since I last made a post, which is not a good move for a brand new blog. BUT, I swear I have a good excuse. Because my laptop is really old and really mean to me, it won’t let me access the internet while I’m in the dorms at my camp, even though it says I have internet (What the heck laptop??). And I’m not allowed to take my laptop out of my room. And I’m so busy I don’t have time to go to the library and take forty minutes to write up a good blog post every two to three days.

Do you see my issue here?

So here’s the plan. I leave camp on Saturday, and once I get home, I will have two whole weeks to catch you guys up on what went on at CCY. This will include posts every one to three days ranging from what I did on various days, me sharing my new knowledge with you, my Arts Advocacy Project (Which I’ll tell you about later!) And various pieces of fiction that I wrote!

Hopefully two weeks of regular updating will get me back in the swing of things. After that, I’ve got another camp for a week, where I should be able to post, but I’m not sure how much time I’ll have, then a week in Saint Lucia, where I probably won’t have wifi. Then another free week, and then school!! So this massive chunk of silence will not be happening again for a while, I promise.

Hopefully I still have some followers who haven’t given up on me (although I wouldn’t blame you if you did), and if so, I’ll see you in a week!!

Mental Health · writing

CCY Update: Day One

Today was move in day for my super cool writing program, called the Center for Creative Youth, or, CCY!! So far, I’ve met a few awesome individuals, learned that fancy art camps on college campuses come with a few interesting quirks like centipedes and birth control if needed (sex is allowed?!? So is smoking apparently!), and already drained my social battery! Fun stuff! Tomorrow I start classes and I am genuinely excited for that, so WHOO!!

Going to this camp is a really big deal for me. Two years ago, I was bouncing in and out of the mental hospital. Staying away from home was impossible with my sensory and emotional needs being too great. Now here I am, ready to leave the safe haven of my familiar home and head into the world. It’s a big deal.

Its exciting, but also nerve wracking. What if I can’t handle it emotionally? What if my bug phobia gets too severe in this centipede infested, crazy buggy camp? What if my sensory problems or energy problems or even writers block makes this camp impossible for me to remain at, and I need to take a break at home, or worse, come home permanently? I think I’d hate myself for the rest of time if I had to do that.

But I think the important thing for me, and for any other person leaving home for the first time, is to remember the good things about the new place, rather than focus on my fears. Yes, there might be no air conditioning and yes, there might be serious drains on my social battery. But there is also writing and excitement and independence! And I’ve got the support of my family and therapists behind me, who all think that I can do this.

Leaving home may be scary. Trying new things and new places may seem impossible and terrifying, and maybe you can’t do it right now. But someday you will be able to. Someday, the good things about the place will outweigh your fears. It’s not impossible. Nothing is impossible. I can do this.

Just, maybe after a good nights sleep first.

writing

Works In Progress: 6/20/17

Currently, I am working on two stories: Nightmares, and A Star Has Fallen.

Nightmares

Summary: Owl is a Nightmare who is just trying to make Dream Catchers and stop hurting people, but when a Dream Angel and his fellow Nightmares try and pull him onto their side of a never ending war, Owl must struggle to follow his beliefs, and his heart.

Progress: Just beginning Draft One

 

A Star Has Fallen

Summary: When a star falls from the heaven’s, the Warlock Road and his friends have to work together to teach them how to live on Earth. Featuring a fun cast of characters like a bee loving lesbian, an agender autistic star, an emo ghost, and a sorceress who really doesn’t like zoos, this story is a heartwarming mix of friendship and learning.

Progress: First rounds of editing.

 

writing

Will I Be Publishing A Star Has Fallen?

Good question! The long and short of it is yes, in some way, shape, or form. I know for a fact that I want to share A Star Has Fallen with the world. It is definitely not staying on my hard drive, I can tell you that. But whether I get it physically published or simply published on WattPad is a different story.

For me, publishing traditionally or even self publishing is not the same as putting my work out there. And honestly, I don’t think one is better than the other. Would it be freaking amazing to see me physical book on a bookshelf at Barnes and Noble and be able to hand it out to my family some day? Heck yea!! I would love that, and it would be the absolute best day of my life to have that happen.

Do I think it’s necessary for me? No. I don’t necessarily care if I get my book physically published or not. I just want to share it, and I can do that equally well through WattPad. If I got a few comments or a couple of likes, I would be ecstatic. If the story blew up and became immensely popular on WattPad, I would be screaming with joy. If it got physically published, I would explode with happiness. But either way, people will be reading it. It will be out in the world. That’s enough for me.

Because I am honestly terrified of physically publishing my novel. Yes, its a life goal and a dream of mine, but I don’t know if I’m ready yet. I don’t know if I’m ready for figuring out a contract and marketing and  facing the monetary aspect. It’s a heck of a lot to do, and it scares me. I’m willing to settle for online publishing, as long as it gets put out there. Because I’m so scared and so young, maybe WattPad is a good first step anyways! As I keep saying, I’m good with that! Someone will read it. That’s all I need.

Now keep in mind that this is all where I’m at with this particular novel, which just so happens to be the first thing I’m actually proud of writing and that I want to share with the world, which if we are being frank, is the real reason I’m so scared. I’ve never been proud of something I’ve written, not to the extent of sharing it. The prospect that I want to now? TERRIFYING!!!!

Maybe this mindset will change with Nightmares, when I’ve had experience with editing and sharing my novel. Maybe it won’t, and I’ll be content just writing for myself and a handful of followers on WattPad. I really can’t tell. All I can say is that for now, I’m happy with doing as little for A Star Has Fallen as simply sharing with a few betas and putting it on WattPad.

We’ll think about Nightmares once we get there!

writing

Dream Catchers: A Nightmares Excerpt

 

The only furniture he kept in his apartment was a mattress in the corner that he picked up from the side of the road, a mostly broken mini fridge for alcohol, and a single chair in the middle of the floor that was used to hold more of the supplies that were scattered around his room. The materials he used to make his Dream Catchers, the Angel feathers in locked boxes and the jars of figurines he sculpted from the wax that caused the countless drips on the floors.

He’d harness the energy from the feathers, the good, pure energy, and merge it into the figurines. The figurines would burn with a light unlike any seen before, until Owl used his Widow energy to mold it into a Catcher, just like the other Widows would use the dark energy in the world to mold into Nightmares. Only Widows could bend and use energy like that. Only they.

Once the Catchers had taken the shape of whatever the figurine was, now large and alive, then he’d take them to a house so laden with Shades and Bees that it threatened to become a patch of Nothing all on its own. There he’d let the Catcher loose, and almost instantly, the house would begin to lighten, as the Shades and Bees were burned and destroyed, just like the Angels should have been doing all along.

~

Elliot Orion, Excerpt from Nightmares.

writing

Bring It On, Novel

With finals week and the prep before it, I have had minimal time to edit or work on my writing. Even this weekend, I was busy studying and working hard on a million and one things other than my novel. Add in dysphoria, mental health, and therapy, and I’ve barely had time to do anything I enjoy.

Well, not anymore. Today begins the day that I really crack down on my editing. That means I finish extending the parts that need to be extended. That means I print it out to catch what needs to be caught. That means I crank out the edits to Part One so I can move on to Part Two.

It means I take this more seriously. I know that I want A Star Has Fallen to be published. Preferably in physical book format that I can hand out, but given my age and my lack of experience, I’d settle for a few comments on WattPad. To do that, I need to work on the editing. I’m not going to have any more time this summer than I do right now, given how busy I will be at CCY, an intensive writing program I’m attending for four weeks this summer (Don’t worry, I’ll be blogging about it frequently!!). I’m not going to get any more time than I will have during the next two half days and one week off from school before CCY.

So I’ve got to get to work.

Bring It On

writing

“I Hate My First Draft.”

In other news, “Water is wet.” Because if we are being honest here, who doesn’t hate their first draft a little? It’s always so rough and undeveloped and it seems like every other word is spelled wrong. You read through once and realize that this scene needs to be removed, and that chapter needs rewriting, and this whole section just needs to burn in hell, it’s so bad. It can be overwhelming just how many things need to be changed. It gets even worse when they are large, god forbid, repeating parts of the story, like a theme or a joke or a name. You might think, “The only way to fix this is to scrap it and start again.”

But don’t let hating your first draft be the only deciding factor in a rewrite. Because when you hate your first draft, you won’t be able to see the positives it has, even if they outnumber the bad. So try this before you decide to throw in the towel and start again.

  1. To start with, stop saying you “hate” your novel. You don’t hate it. You hate parts of it. Maybe large parts, but it’s still just parts. Instead, reword it. Rewording your thoughts is like rewording a sentence: one small change makes the whole paragraph have a different meaning. I like to say I’m “disagreeing with my novel.” Even just changing it to “I dislike my novel right now” could be enough. Make sure to keep the right now bit, though.
  2. Take a break. Unless you’ve got a tight deadline, take a break from the novel. Take a break from writing all together. Instead, paint, read, go outside, or do some arts and crafts. Try and pick something that is either creative or that you know will stir up those creative feelings again. Maybe even talk to a friend about your novel, just to try and jump start the same passion you had for it when you began writing.
  3. Write down what you do like. Be specific. Whether you like the wording of this one sentence on page fifty, paragraph three, or whether you like how you wrote this character, write it down. Make as big a list as you can. Do this when you are feeling positive about your novel, because otherwise, you won’t be catching all the good stuff because you are too distracted by the bad.
  4. Then write down what you don’t like. Write down what is causing this argument between you and your novel. Do this when you really hate your novel, but be sure not to get overwhelmed or make any rash decisions. Today, you are just writing the bad. No throwing in the towel yet. Be as specific as physically possible. “This sentence here pisses me off, but I don’t know why.” “This word is wrong and I don’t know the right one.” See? It doesn’t matter if you can’t figure out why you don’t like it yet, or how to fix it. It’ll come to you. That’s why you write it down, so you don’t forget. Or, worst comes to worse, that’s what a beta is for.
  5. Do all this in the comments section of your doc. There you can attach the comments to the section of the story. This will keep you organized, and help you see the things that are wrong, and right, as you work. Seeing the wrong things will help you know what to fix, and seeing the right things will help give you a little boost when you see it. Even if you dislike the part now, you did like it, and that will help force you to see the distortion of your thinking. And the opposite is true with the bad comments. You once didn’t like it, but as you improve the story, you will see that it was just your stupid argument. Also, beta readers will be able to reply to your comments on the doc, saving you a lot of time and getting super specific answers to things you worry about.
  6. Finally, save the original, unedited version separately from the edited one. When you finish the editing, or maybe after it’s published, look back at the unedited version and see just how far the story has come. See all the good work you’ve done, and most importantly, see that even the crappiest novels can become a work of art, with enough work that is.

 

Hopefully these tips can get you all started on the process of loving your novel again. And just remember, even if it takes time, even if you hate it every step of the way, seeing how far you’ve come and what you can accomplish is a magnificent feeling, and trust me, it will be worth it.