Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ang Talks About Writing A Novel & Has Fun With Gifs

Last night, I put the final (for now) touches on good ole Fluff, Nonsense, & Other Emo Crap. For the record, my wee story doth have an actual name. I've been calling it Fluff & Nonsense for a year and it feels like home. What's the actual title, you ask? Soon, my friends, soon I shall share.

For now, I've got to find ways to occupy the good ole brain-brain while five of my nearest and dearest weed through my madness. I could do the laundry or clean the bathrooms or dust something, but what's the fun in that?

I could do this, but alas, there be no oceans near me.
So here I sit thinking about the writing process and the road to publication. Most published authors have their story up on their blogs or hidden in their FAQ. I've read far too many of them not to be considered a stalker. Who hasn't?

Their stories always begin with I worked really hard and wrote a book and then either a. I knew a guy who knew a guy who knew this agent and BOOM or b. I've landed in every slush pile from here to Timbuktu and after years and years of rejection my amazing super agent took a chance on me and BOOM or c. I decided to take my fate in my own hands and self-published and BOOM.

Just.Like.This.
I like the boom part best. No matter which road an author chooses, every author wants the same thing, an explosion, be it financially or socially or career-ly or mentally or whatever-ly.

But it all starts with that first elusive sentence: I wrote a novel. One of the simplest sentences to write and yet one of the most daunting tasks a person can undertake. So how does it get done? I'm not sure what most people do but I can tell you what I did. And you can take it or leave it. Let’s be honest, you’ll probably leave it.
Peace out, fool.
It started with a book I read last summer. I will not name the book. I will say that while I did somewhat enjoy said undisclosed novel, I felt it was a wee bit lacking. Not in a major way. Just in a *shrug* this book could have been better sorta way. What's a person to do when they are dissatisfied with a story? Rant at their best friend, but of course, which in turn leads to ideas for amazing stories that must be written like yesterday. And what's a writer to do? Well.Write. Duh.

So that's what I did. I sat down around midnight-ish and wrote 3000 words just like that. *snaps fingers* Then I edited it and shipped it off to the best who read it lightening quick (cause she's amazeballz) and responded with I WANT MORE!
An accurate depiction of the best after reading my offerings.
And I thought, why not? So I cranked up my jams, ignored the laundry, the kids, and life in general and wrote. I wrote every day and within a month I had roughly 50,000 words. BUT there was one small speed bump. My final semester of classes started. With a heavy heart and fingers that itched to write, I put good ole Fluff & Nonsense aside and picked up my textbooks (math, Spanish, and astronomy respectively). However, there was one saving grace. I was also taking my final creative writing class. In which, I had to meet with two professors weekly and turn in pages for them to critique. At first, they only wanted thirty pages. Then, they wanted forty. Then, they wanted fifty. When they asked for sixty, I begged for mercy being that I had to edit fifty plus pages, not to mention, pretend to speak Spanish, study the orbit of the Moon, and remember how to add and subtract equations or some other absurdity. Oh, and lest we forget my day job of keeping four kids alive.
My.Worse.Nightmare.
The wonderful thing about my portfolio class was the in-depth conversations I had with my professors. For the first time, I was discussing my characters with someone as if my characters were real life people. Please understand, for me, they are real people. I love my characters. I want the world for them. But I never expected others to feel the same. Not only did they care, but my professors enjoyed the story. And let me just say, they are not my target audience.

When the semester was over and I'd regained my sanity after the whirlwind holiday season, I jumped right back into writing. I shut the door, as Mr. King recommends, and I wrote daily. Whether it was ten words or ten thousand, I made sure every day I put a little more of the story down. By the end of January, I had a completed first draft. BOOM.
It happened just like this & there were cupcakes.
Then I set it aside, let the brain-brain rest, and tried not to peek at it. It drove the best and I crazy, but I was insistent on doing things the right way… for about a week, then I emailed the whole kit and caboodle to her and she read it in a night. Meanwhile, the mister took one for the team and read Fluff & Nonsense too.

And then, we all discussed. We discussed characters and plots and motivation and scenery and dialogue. We discussed the good and the bad and the ugly and the flat out horrid. We giggled and high fived. We cried and got flustered. Words cannot express the joy I experienced in those moments. I'd have to say, I believe it was detrimental to my writing process.
Oh, we danced. Don't you dare doubt it!
That is not the end of my story. Far from it. As I’m learning, it’s only the beginning. But it’s the most important part. Without the book everything that followed and everything that could potentially come is null and void.

As I search for a point to this long-winded post, I guess it comes down to a somewhat simple thought. When writing, it is important to reach out to other. To have a support system, cheerleaders with pom-poms ready who don’t mind texts at one in the morning about how you’ve just realized your main character has three different last names and you can’t decide which sounds best and will they please, for the love of sprinkles, sparkles, and cookies, just pick one out before you lose your damn mind.

People who will call you out when you’ve been slacking. People who will laugh with you and sometimes even at you. People who will believe in you, especially when you just can’t believe in yourself. People who will talk about your characters as if they were their best friends. People who won't tell you it's too hard to write a novel, but instead they'll say YOU CAN TOTALLY DO IT!

*takes a bow*
If you don’t have people, find them. They are out there. Check Twitter. Check Facebook. Check blogs. [Hey, look at you, you're already on a blog! *high five*] Check your local library. Check your local community college. Don’t have money for classes? Do what I did, sign up for some financial aid and give it a go.

Whatever you do, get yourself some people. Because you might write alone, but let’s be honest, you are writing because you have something to say, something to share. So find some people to share it with and listen to them. I think you’ll find that you’ll stop writing for money or fame or any of that other unimportant stuff and you’ll start writing for you and your people. And in return, you'll find the motivation to earn the right to type that ever elusive sentence: I wrote a novel. BOOM!

13 comments:

  1. Oh Ang I so admire you - I've never written a novel, at least not a whole one - don't tell the rest of the writing gang will you?
    With all this flash fiction I keep writing I wonder if I will be able to write anything longer than a thousand words ever!
    However one day I will have a copy of fluff and nonsense in my hand, actual hard copy or kindle, I don't care which, and I am going to savour every word with a huge smile on my face thinking "this was written by one of my people!"
    *high five* with sprinkles and sparkles! xxx

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    1. Attempt número deuce:

      1. *blushes* I am speechless... and I thank you. Please know how much I admire you and I'm not just saying that. *hugs*

      b. There is NO shame in not having written a novel. You just point out anyone who gives you grief about it and I will *beep* them in the *beep* and then *BEEEEEEP* their *beep beep beep* in the *BEEEEP*!! We cool? We cool.

      Three. I have got to say the flash fiction community is one of the most welcoming, inspiring, gracious, and all around amazing communities of people I've had the pleasure of meeting. The writing tools, encouragement, and inspiration you are gaining is priceless. Keep at it. Write your wonderful flash everyday and NEVER be ashamed of it. Writing is like running a marathon. You've got to build up those muscles, get them ready for the long haul, and never ever give into self doubt, which just might be the hardest part of the whole darn experience. You can TOTALLY do it!! Be honest with yourself. Know you can only get better. And don't worry about everyone else. Just tell your story. *end rambles*

      4-ish. *waves at Sarah's friend*

      e. Thank you so much for your encouragement and belief in me!! I don't even know how to respond, it's just far too humbling. fin.

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  2. Well first off *high five* to you for finishing!!! My book has been languishing at chapter 4 for a good few weeks, I can't even remember how the chapter finished, this post was just what I need to remind me that I have a book that needs to be written. I have wonderful writers I have met on twitter that share my passion for the written word And I know that they (and you) can give me a boost, prompt (swift kick hehe) to help me get back on track. I have people, I just need a book!! So excited to read your book when it's out there for the general public, and so excited for you :)

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    1. First off, THANK YOU so much for your belief that Fluff & Nonsense will even make it into the general public's hands! Can you imagine?! *freaks out a little inside*

      Secondly, WRITE!! Write NOW! Get to it! *kicks you in the butt but oh so very gently as not to hurt you* <--it was more of a nudge (bordering on a pat) than a kick which sorta makes it awkward, but I'm okay with that. the end.

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  3. I agree with Sarah, I'm looking forward to the BOOM and holding a copy in my hand too!
    I'm stuck between editing and procrastinating...at the moment I'm so busy, procrastinating (when I do have time) is where I am!
    We'll cheerlead you anytime Ang! x

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    1. *hands you pom-poms* *picks up own pom-poms* *cants Go Lisa Go Lisa GO!!* *does all sorts of amazing acts of tumbling that defies gravity and awe the webernet masses*

      p.s. Procrastination is a bastard. He's that annoying friend you can never get rid of, for reasons that make absolutely no sense, but you know he must go and he won't, so you're stuck with him sleeping on your couch like a jerk-face.

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  4. this is your best post yet! words cannot express how proud of you I am, or how incredibly honored I feel for being a part of this process.

    ps...the gif of me KILLED ME DEAD. so funny. AND accurate.

    pps...knowing that FN&EC is sitting in my inbox waiting for me to devour it gives me great joy.

    *shakes pompoms*

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    1. best, I love you like so much it hurts. And I'm ever so grateful for you. I can never say it enough. Without you, I never could have finished Fluff & Nonsense and after the crazy events of this year, I might have given up on editing completely. But your excitement and belief in me where a lifeline I clung to. Thank you will never be enough, but it's the best I've got for now. *HUGS*
      b2b4L
      p.s. The gif is perfection I KNOW. I was all dUUUUUUde she is gonna bust a gut when she sees this.
      p.p.s. read like the wind best!! Well, after vacation but of course. Or now. Whatev. *winks*

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  5. You wrote a novel, Ang :') BOOM!
    And I'm so proud of you! SO so proud of you! I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is to write and keep other humans alive and go to classes etc. You are a super woman!
    And I love your gifs too, like really love them, especially the high-five one.
    Speaking of which *HIGH FIVE* because you're awesome and you're not told it enough <3

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    1. 1. I did. ANNND ya wanna know something even more exciting?! It's my second one! *stunned* The first one will never see the light of day. This one might see a wee bit of the dawn. I've got my fingers crossed the next one will at least make it even further! *slaps knee and declares hot damn!* <--idk

      2. *huggles* THANK YOU! I'm no super woman. I just happen to be insane.

      3. The gifs are bloody conkers aren't they! Oh, that's right. THAT just happened! *fist bumps*

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  6. Aw, congratulations Ang that's so awesome!
    And holy crap that ketchup GIF made me laugh till I cried. Lol

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    1. Oh ketchup. I don't think I've blogged enough about my distaste for it. The mister found that one just to mess with my head.

      And *HIGH FIVE*

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  7. This is just tremendous, Ang. Congratulations on finishing the book. And yeah, this post was mickle amusing. :)

    I totally agree that reaching out to other people is vital in this often very isolating profession of ours.

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