Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Are you English?

I was out for a walk today, taking a break from the mischief and mayhem I call writing, and my first time around the loop I smiled and said hello to an older couple walking toward me.  A woman, on the higher end of middle-aged, and a man, older than she; they said hello back.

Saw them again my second time around the loop, and shot a friendly smile their way.  The woman approached me.  "Excuse me," she called, "may I ask you a question?"  I nod and she approaches me.  "Are you English?", she asks in a clearly British accent.

"English?" I ask.  "I'm American, actually."

"Oh!  We thought you may have been English.  Americans never stop to say hello or hi."

I stared at her incredulously.  "Really?  I didn't know that."  Where I'm from, everyone says hi; I'm from a stereotypically "nice" state.

"Well, we were just wondering," she said, smiling.  "Thank you for the hello!"

I grinned.  "You're welcome--it was nice to say hi!  Enjoy your walk!"

I spent the rest of my walk smiling about it.  I'm delighted to have unintentionally fooled anyone into thinking I was British, and I'm also grateful for the Easter egg.  There I was, walking and contemplating my British character, and what do I happen upon but two accents in the middle of the park?  Love it.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Updates and rants.

A brief update: I'm hard at work editing the book.  I'm also 5,000+ words deep into my second book, which I'm having a ton of fun writing.  I'm plotting how to get them published (yes, plotting, just because it sounds mildly evil).  I'm proud of what I've done and can't wait to (eventually, hopefully) get these babies out into the world!

A not-so-brief rant: I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that this 50 Shades of Grey bullshit is making every woman I know giggle and blush so much.  I'm a little bit outraged by the fact that this book is at the top of the bestseller lists, yet it's a poorly-written piece of S&M lite that was originally Twilight fan fiction.  Stop to consider how poorly-written Twilight was...and now imagine this equation: poorly-written + sexsexsex - vampires and sparkles.  That's what this book is.  Is every freakin' woman you know getting all gooey-eyed and giggly about this book?  Because that's what I'm seeing on my Facebook wall, my Pinterest, etc.  And they're acting like they're all badass because they're reading this book.  *evil chuckles*  Wanna read my book, Little Miss Badass Wannabe?  You might have trouble getting to sleep afterward...

On the other hand: Maybe it's a good thing that legions of women are really into this trilogy.  Maybe it's just opening up their minds to the concept of submission so that when my book comes out, it won't be as shocking to them.  Mind you, it'll definitely seem at least somewhat out there to most people--but not as out there as it would be if it was your first-ever time reading about anything kinky.  Granted, what I've written is a lot edgier than what that trilogy's all about, and they may very well not like the ending of what I wrote.  But a reader is a reader is a reader, no matter whether they like the book or not, whether they have good taste in what they read or not, no matter how shockable they are or aren't.  And I want readers. 

Even if they're readers of "mommy porn."

Even if I'm too edgy for them.

Even if they hate my book.

I want readers.

And this silly trilogy might make it easier for me to get 'em.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On waiting.

So today I read this article--How do we identify good ideas?--and it's very relevant to what my life has been like lately. I liked this bit the best:

How can the rest of us get better at identifying our best ideas? One key lesson from this research is that distraction and dilettantism come with real benefits, as they give the unconscious a chance to assess its new ideas. This reminds me of a wise piece of advice from Zadie Smith, which she dished out to aspiring novelists:

“When you finish your novel, if money is not a desperate priority, if you do not need to sell it at once or be published that very second — put it in a drawer. For as long as you can manage. A year or more is ideal — but even three months will do…You need a certain head on your shoulders to edit a novel, and it’s not the head of a writer in the thick of it, nor the head of a professional editor who’s read it in twelve different versions.”

Smith, in other words, is telling writers to forget about their work, to give the mind some time to weigh the worth of all those words. And that’s because we have no idea which ideas are worthwhile, at least at first. So the next time you invent something new, don’t immediately file a patent, or hit the “publish” button, or race to share the draft with your editor. Instead, take a few days off: play a stupid video game, or go for a long walk, or sleep on it. Unless you take a brief break, you won’t be able to accurately assess what you’ve done.

Yep, that's what life's been like with me lately. I have been completely ignoring the book I finally freakin' finished. I've looked at it once. Edited one page, then put it down. (I did, however, change the working title: It's now Supernova, which is a kind of perfect that I'll explain to you at a later date.)

I'm still getting flashes of Sasha/Riley conversation as well as Sasha insight. Often in the middle of the night, like most good ideas. I end up texting them to my email account, filing them away for when I edit. I keep mentally nitpicking at the parts I know are weaker, brainstorming ways to fix them. When I come up with concrete ideas for fixes, I email myself those, too. I think I'm very much on my way to making Supernova exactly what I want it to be.

But not just yet.

I'm already writing my next story, the first of what I hope to be seven books. No, it's not the next Harry Potter. I just feel like 7 books is right for these characters. I love the main character and feel like I know more about her each day. My desk is covered with notes about her, plot points, etc. In just two quick--like probably no longer than an hour, total--I already had 1,200+ words. This story, I suspect, can be more easily written than the one that's here in its binder next to me.

The one I'm editing in my head, but not on paper. Not just yet.

(The time will come, and I'll know when. I don't know now, but I will know then. Writer's instinct, or something like that. Just trust me.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's done!

Delayed reaction post. I actually finished draft 1 of the book (working title: [redacted due to working title change]) almost a week ago, December 15. It came in at over 72,000 words, and I know that during the editing/rewriting process, I'll be adding a little more. I'm guesstimating that the final draft will be around 75,000 words, which is what I was originally aiming for.

I'm really psyched to get started on the editing/rewriting. I already made a list of goals for the editing process. I don't think it'll take more than 3-4 months to edit/rewrite the parts I want to rewrite/add a couple new chapters. And then I get to start playing the "find an agent" game...

I sent the draft out to be printed (lord knows my crappy little printer couldn't handle that many pages without annoying the ever-loving shit out of me), and I just picked it up today. I admit I squealed when I got back into the car, printed draft in hand. I may have even let out an "Omigod, I wrote this!!!!!!" (oh yes, it was said in a manner that 6 exclamation points are necessary to convey my point).

I'm thrilled and proud that I've done this much. But there is so much left to do...

Friday, September 30, 2011


There have been psychopomps all around me the past few days.

Not in the forms of sparrows a la The Dark Half. Not like that. But in the forms of things that give me a jolt like the icy finger of the ghost of a long-lost loved one, tapping me on the shoulder when it doesn;t even belong in this world.

These things I've seen and heard, they're like the manifestations of ghosts. The image of a ship and murky teal water. A familiar beat over the stereo at a restaurant. The image of a park trail that brought back memories...but no, the trail in this picture was too wide, too open, with less congested trees. Not the same park, but for a moment...

They're ghosts of what might have been. They're ghosts of what never was. I see them, let them startle me for a moment, and then let them go. Where they go isn't for me to know. But I've done a lot of work regarding getting him out of my head, so these ghosts have no place in my world anymore.

The more I let go, the more I let in. More ideas, more characters. For the first time in years, I am solely focused on one person. For the first time in ever, I have given him all of me that I can possibly give. He even, dare I say it, gets my crazy writer side. He gets why I was haunted for so long.

I'll let these little things be psychopomps. Carry the soul of what had been briefly born between two people to somewhere else, some other world. Each experience jolts me for a second, but my shoulders feel a little bit lighter every time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Home stretch.

It's hard to believe that finally, after all this time, I'm in the home stretch. I have fewer than 20,000 words to write in order to reach my goal word count. I don't think that will be too difficult. I've had a couple writing sessions lately during which I've sat there and written a thousand words in an hour. If I keep up that pace, it's just 20 more hours, or 20 more writing sessions, until I can consider the first draft finished. It hardly seems real.

I want to finish this sucker, print it out, and get red all over it. I want red everywhere that needs tightening, modification, additional words and thoughts, a better word or thought than the one that's already written there, etc. I love to edit, and I've been resisting the temptation to do so the whole time I've been writing the book. I keep having to give myself this anti-editing pep talk: "Bellamy, you remember the last time you started editing a story. You ended up with nothing left of it because you were really hard on yourself. So don't look back, and don't hit the delete key; move forward and write, and save it all, and then when it's all done--yes, all--you can wield that red pen. But only when it's time."

Soon it will be time.

I can't say how long it'll take me to finish. It could be weeks, or it could be months. And it doesn't matter to me, as long as at the end of this story--when it's all written and edited--it feels right.

These days I've been waking up with the characters talking in my head again. Sasha and Riley have full conversations lately in between my ears, and in so doing, they nudge me to get up and write. And so I shall.

Monday, January 24, 2011

When I'm at my worst--I'm also at my best.

I'm a big fan of Californication. Although I don't screw up as much as Hank Moody does, I can relate to him. Like all writers, he's trying to write something while he's fully immersed in the chaos of life. And in last night's episode, when he's hit rock bottom again, something in him snapped. When he really felt like he had nothing left--Karen was mad at him Becca was angry with him, he's got lawsuits to deal with, he doesn't have a ton of money--he isolated himself from the world, and sat down to start bangin' that screenplay out of his trusty typewriter.

I've been there.

I'm there right now.

I don't know what's going to happen. My brain is equal parts swelled with love and logic. But I do know this: the more angry I am, the more in pain I am, the better I can write. It's the way I've always been.

I wrote another 1,000+ words last night. Three more chapters.

And they're damn good.

Exactly the way I wanted them to be.

Even if everything in my own life is not.