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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: Hello, Strangers

Hello, and yes I do still live here. It’s been so long since I blogged and I miss you all dearly, like Katniss* missed her impoverished district while inside the arena. Only you’re a lot nicer and funnier than that dystopian landscape and also your hair looks very pretty today.

Okay, so I’m back and jumping into What’s Up Wednesday again. If you’re unfamiliar with the idea, here’s the deal: What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk for like-minded writers to meet and encourage one another. Everything you ever wanted to know about it (now, 50 percent off the retail price!) is right here.

Yesterday was a glorious day for books. I pretty much want to call in sick for the rest of the week and do nothing but read and read and read. Also, eat. But I’m a 21st-century woman. I can do both if I want to. I haven’t started all of these, but here’s what’s on my radar:


But I hate leaving you without a good book recommendation, so here it goes. The reason I’m psyched to read Ashes to Ashes is because I gobbled up the first two books in Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian’s series, Burn for Burn and Fire With Fire. I held off reading these for a long time, but the first book is available for free on Pulse It (for the time being), and I’m so glad I gave it a try.

The books are compulsively readable and hard not to speed through. There’s a hint of the paranormal that threw me a bit in this otherwise contemporary setting, but it kind of works. What I read for, though, is the revenge. The three main characters—they take turns narrating—are determined and sometimes unlikable, but I have to admire how they stand up for themselves. I can’t wait to see where the third book takes the story, especially since the girl I only mildly disliked in books one and two is now someone I can’t stand.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer drafting her first chapter must be in want of a knife. With which to end her misery.

Okay, I’m being dramatic, but for me writing chapter one is a lot like taking a sharp knife to my inessential organs (are there inessential organs? This I do not know) and reveling in the pain without ever passing out. It’s like yanking hairs from my head, one by one by one.

Basically, writing chapter one is torture for me, and I can’t make it stop. I can’t start anyone but chapter one—oh how I’ve tried to fool myself!—and I can’t get going until that first chapter is both written and pristine. I can more or less turn off my inner editor while writing the rest of my first draft, but not for that horrible, no-good, terrible chapter one. So I write and delete and repeat that process about seventy gazillion times.

That was me, the past two weeks. I have nine chapter ones saved in Scrivener. All suck but one. That one—on man, that one—I want to, I don’t know, buy it a beer or something. Because that chapter is the one. Will I change it during revisions? Yes. But it’s good enough that I can move on.

Here’s a quick, unedited excerpt that’s still not entirely right but at the moment right enough:
She spoke it aloud now, in the solitude of the cove. Her boots dug into the mossy ground and her head tilted to the sky and her teeth trapped the word at its end so she hissed like a snake. An unrestrained, unladylike laugh burst from deep in Asta’s belly. “Notorious,” she said again and again and it sounded a lot like “freedom.”

“Requiem for a Tower” from London Music Works puts me right into my fantasy story. It’s beautiful and epic and tense.

And while I can’t write to music with words, Phildel’s “The Wolf” has helped me get in the right mood before writing. 

I bought a house. Yes, that happened. It doesn’t seem real, but it’s true. I am officially an adult. It’s actually the same condo we’ve been renting for the past two years, but now the bills come to us.

I truly love this place, though. It has soaring ceilings and old wood beams. It has windows twice as tall as me and exposed brick that I absolutely love. During the Industrial Revolution it housed giant looms and dozens of girls working in the textile factory. There’s a museum two floors below, which The Man still hasn’t visited and which I haven’t been to since my fifth grade field trip to the mills.

It’s all very strange, knowing I own this place. But I love it and, if I’m being completely honest, I love that the process of buying a house is over. Also, not having to move all of our junk into a new place seriously rocks.

What have you been up to?

* Speaking of Katniss, did you all see the trailer for part one of the Mockingjay movie? It is as fantastic as I expected.

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