In The Flow

Ok. You want to know how bad it was? I’ll tell you anyways.

I went to my blog to write a quick post… and my site asked me if I wanted to sign up to follow Those Who Wander by email. That’s right, apparently 3.5 months of inactivity is about when you get signed out your own website, on your own laptop. Oops. That would be an all time record of radio silence…. ah well!

The long and short of it is: I have been writing. And rewriting. And rewriting some more. Imagine writing a cover letter for a potential employer….reading it, and discovering it’s not actually the story of your life…scrapping it, writing it again, and repeating. Now imagine your cover letter is 300+ pages long. :-O

Yeah. You get the idea.

The good news? I finally made a breakthrough last week, thanks to revisiting one of my favorite writing posts, Summarizing the Book You Wrote by one of my favorite authors/humans ever, the incomparable Susan Dennard (part of her The Basics of My Revising Process series).

The breakthrough went something like this: 

At 2:17AM on a Wednesday night, a grimy, chocolatepeanutbuttercup-fueled cave-creature writer was sprawled on the ground beneath her desk. Yes, beneath. She clung to the brightly colored mechanical pencil in her fist for dear life, and made her contacts blur before slightly crazed eyes, staring at the blank worksheet on the floor, meant to summarize her giant mess of a thrice rewritten story.

She grudgingly scratched out the opening image of her story’s world. It took an embarrassing amount of time to come up with those two sentences, but they felt right.

She repeated the process for her protagonist’s introduction. Once again, it took longer than she would’ve imagine to come up with the simple summary for the character she’d been writing about for the past two years, and dreaming about for years before then. But once she had those sentences, she knew they were the right ones. They just felt true.

Next came the inciting incident. The sparking moment for the young, story-obsessed bladesmith in the craft-rich world she’d imagined up for him. And that, dear friends, is when our half sleep-deprived writer nearing the end of her wits, had an AHHA moment:

The scene that had to come next. The only thing that felt natural. The protagonist’s pivot point, the excruciatingly tempting offer he has to consider, the moment where everything changes. The whirl of music, inseparably textured into a vivid world that surrounds it all.

The writer closed her eyes, and she finally smiled. She knew exactly what she had to do.

She had to get the heck out from under that desk, climb into bed, sleep a full night, and let that image simmer. She knew it would be waiting for her when she was ready, that the words would flow easily once she’d let the seeds of ideas float about in her mind and take root. And guess what? They did.

She woke that morning to an ease she hadn’t known in writing for weeks, maybe months. She found that inexplicable, irreplaceable feeling of rightness, when you know that you’ve found your story’s heart at last.

Somewhere in there, the writer apparently also developed a penchant for talking in the third person, but that’s besides the point.

Point is… I am writing again. On the right track, clear-focus writing, and it feels so good. I can’t even begin to describe the thrill that feeling is.

Imagine your favorite hobby in the world, whether it’s a sport, your job, a musical inclination, or just a beloved book. Picture how easy it is to lose hours of your life to the flow you enter when you’re in that zone, where the entire rest of the world drops away. That, to me, is being in my drafting cave at it’s finest.

So while I hate to dine and dash, and I’d love to babble on a bit more about my writing process/life and how it’s been over the past few months (let’s be honest, mostly lot’s of cave time/writing with a bit of lovely travel thrown into the mix)….Well, I have to get back to my book. Because, for the first time in a while, the words are flowing, and I am utterly determined to get them down on a page.

I will be traveling in a few weeks, to RT2016 (!!!) so I will hopefully post again from the road/plane/hotel. Until then, be well all! And please excuse me my upcoming social media/social anything/above-the-surface-life hiatus, again. I’ll see you all on the other side of this writing cave.

❤ Madeleine

 

 

The Dog Ate My Internet

…Or something along those lines.

Soooooo… I thought the two month mark of my dropping off the face of the blogging world would be a great time to pop in and say hi (errr… definitely nothing to do with the struggles I’m having on this current chapter or anything). This is actually just a quick hi though, not a full length post (oooops) but I figured a short stop in/explanation for my radio silence might be nice!

Alright, explanation time: Remember that time, exactly two months ago, as in the last time I posted (hides face in shame) when I mentioned I was rewriting my book? Well… yeah… see the good news about that is – I have been doing that, with a good amount of success! As in, I have drafted nearly half of this new version of book 1, as in, from scratch, drafted it, and now have a sprawling new manuscript in the works to contend with. YAYYYY THINGS ARE HAPPENING AGAIN! I love drafting!! Woohoo!!

Now, the ah, less good news, which is probably fairly obvious: I’ve had to essentially hit pause on most other things in my life (including but not limited to this blog, social media, leaving my house, seeing people other than my cat/parents, responding to texts within the same month I get them, working out -lolz we can just pretend I did that before – wearing real people clothes, being a human… you get the picture).

But, for all those whom it may concern who have missed my being partially human/out in the world (really, I’m not sure who that is, but I guess my cat wouldn’t mind if I left the house more/left her in peace once in a while – which should give you an idea of my true level of cave creatureness at the moment…) well, the second piece of slightly good/extremely terrifying news: I have a deadline to finish drafting this rewrite! And that deadline is – drumroll please – December 31.

December 31, 2015. As in 3.5 weeks from now. As in I should not even be writing this blog right now. As in sorry not sorry in advance for typos because calculating the weeks I have left just freaked me out enough that I’m definitely not going back to reread/edit this post. Oops.

SO. In sum: Sorry for dropping off, but not entirely because I did get half a book written!!! Annnnnd since that half apparently took me two months and I only have 3.5 weeks to write this second half…. BYE ALL I’LL SEE YOU IN JANUARY!!!

🙂 Happy Holidays y’all. Hope they bring lots of joy, love, and meaningful time with family and friends for everyone. See you on the otherside (of this bottomless cup of coffee and never ending writer cave).

❤ Madeleine

More BTAF Updates and Blank Book Slate

Life: Hello all! Sorry for being a day late on this posting. It’s been a good week for me writing wise, so consequently…. I got distracted from most life things, like blogging. Ooops. But basically – had an awesome time in Boston, as mentioned last week. Since then I have pretty much just been working on my book… so here are a few more Boston/Vermont photos for you!

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Exploring Shmarvard Yard with JanellaAkshaya,  and the wonderful Sara Raasch

And since wonderful my critique partners Akshaya and Janella have put all the dignified pics up already… guess it falls on me to put up the ridiculous ones. You’re welcome ;).

Being silly at BTAF with the lovely Adam Silvera
Being silly at BTAF with the kind and hilarious Adam Silvera

Reading: On the Boston Teen Author Festival note… I now have piles and piles of books, but I haven’t actually finished any of them this week with the mayhem of Boston and travel and rewriting…. but included on my list of up next are:

Sara’s Ice Like Fire

Adam’s More Happy than Not

Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows

Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn

Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Kim Liggett’s Blood and Salt

Mackenzi Lee’s This Monstrous Thing

Lori Goldstein’s Becoming Jinn 

…and many others! Can’t wait to give updates about these awesome new books in YA over the next few weeks :-).

Writing: Ok. So. Here we go – biggest update writing wise also may be the scariest thing I’ve done all week month year. Ready for this? Here is a quick view of my giant cork-board, and the change I put it through on Monday, before and after.

Before:

Before - plotted out scene by scene
See all those notecards? Those are all of my scenes, beautifully mapped out. Or at least, they were…

After:

GHASDKJHASHDIUHWAKS IT'S SO BLANK BUT SO EXCITING!!!
GHASDKJHASHDIUHWAKS IT’S SO BLANK BUT SO EXCITING!!!

So, as you can see, figuratively and kinda literally…. I have a blank slate! As mentioned before in my updates, I’m about to dive into another rewrite of my book and as such, I am repotting it out, from the ground up. So, rather than try to patch up what I already have, I am starting from scratch now and will add in any old scenes/plot as I go on. At least I have a friend who has camped out amid my mess to keep me company as I rewrite!

Look at me! I'm helping!
Look at me! I’m helping!

So anywhooo… that is my life in brief for the week! Sorry for another short post – seriously, next time I will discuss some of my world-building methods. But for now I am still figuring them out, as I’m doing a bit more world-building (and plot planning) this week. But next week I’ll be back to drafting, so I’ll hopefully have some retrospective insights about world-building for any interested writer buddies! Until then, be well all.

❤ Maddy

And finally, a shot of Chicago, as seen from the Lincoln Park Zoo!
And finally, a shot of Chicago, as seen from the Lincoln Park Zoo!

New England Colors and Boston Teen Author Festival

Hello from the beautiful woods of New England in the fall!
Hello from the beautiful woods of New England in the fall!

Life: This will be a quick update, as I am writing this blog in the midst of my last evening in Boston. The night promises to be full of Pirates (At World’s End), a last supper of cheese and guac with my wonderful critique partners, Akshaya and Janella, and (mostly) trying to make my huge suitcase of books be under 50 lbs :D. Oops. A longer update will come next week, but for now, a few pictures and quick highlights!!

Cheese and Disney princess cups, because what else would we be having?
Cheese and Disney princess glasses, because what else would we have?

Reading: Finished one AMAZING book last week – Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch. Such an intensely captivating, original YA fantasy, centered on a girl and the group of fellow refugees she lives with, as they try to work towards reclaiming Winter, one of the four “season” kingdoms of the world.

SO GOOD
SO GOOD

Also read it just in time, because at Boston Teen Author Festival this weekend (which was SO MUCH FUN!!) I acquired an early copy of Ice Like Fire (book 2 in the trilogy) and I cannot wait to dive into it tomorrow on the plan (if I’m not crashing, in which case, as soon as I’m home). Either way, i will report on it soon here :-).

The critique partners and I, tromping around Boston on our way back from authory events and things!
Janella, Akshaya and I, tromping around Boston on our way back from authory events

Writing: So while my writing week was a bit speckled with travel and events and critique partner time, we actually all managed to carve out a fair amount of writing time – particularly on our mini-retreat these past two days int the woodsy areas of New England!

Writing in idyllic New England <3
Writing in pure bliss

Did a good deal of overall plot work, world-building and brainstorming for the new version of my WIP. This rewrite is completely daunting and still needs so much work, but it was great to get a solid start on it. Sorry to delay my thoughts on world-building, but I guarantee I will still be doing it for at least the next few days, so I will share some of my strategies next week.

Hard at work in the woods
Hard at work in the woods(ish)

Be well everyone, and enjoy these first few weeks of fall!!! Any fall plans, apple picking, haunted houses, etc, for anyone??

❤ Maddy

And one last shot of this glorious place!!
One last shot of this glorious place!!! Happy almost October!

Back to the Windy City (Briefly)

Hello all! Hope everyone is enjoying this lovely, last official day of summer. Tomorrow is the equinox and officially the last day of fall… which is a bittersweet thought for me. On one hand, summer is my favorite season of all… on the other, fall is a darn close second.

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But really, what can beat being able to eat peach and berry cobbler for breakfast, with your book, out in middle of this sunny greenery??

So while a tiny part of me can’t wait for soups and boots and sweaters and leaves and apple picking, the rest of me will soak up the last few rays of the summer sun with a shameless grin. And in keeping with that/in commemoration of my favorite season I am going to sprinkle this post with picture highlights of this summer. Enjoy!

Lake Michigan, the weekend of the air show!
Lake Michigan, the weekend of the air show!

Life: As alluded to last week (okay fine, as I was shouting over social media to anyone listening or not) I had an absolutely fabulous time at my “cabin in the woods.”

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Woods!

Being out west, in the middle of mountains, with clear air, plenty of hikes/outdoors available, and no life demands pressing down on my calendar was nothing short of amazing. I cleared my head, I read, I breathed that beautiful fresh air deeply, and… I wrote. A lot.

With Bambi to keep me company :-)
With Bambi to keep me company 🙂

Being out there was so needed, so inspiring, and so good for my soul. Also, thanks Amanda for hanging out with me/saving me from complete hermitdom!

And for taking me around to everything from hikes to bookstores to amazing ice cream!
And for taking me around to everything from hikes to bookstores to amazing ice cream!

Reading: So I may or may not have stayed up wayyyyy too late one of my last nights in the “cabin” reading Queen of Shadows… Like, definitely not until the sky looked like this:

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….but what a gorgeous dawn!

Oops. Sorry, but not really at all sorry because that book was amazing and had me on a wild and deathgrip-on-book-level-of-suspense-like roller coaster until the very. last. page.

I won’t risk spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read the series (if you like fantasy at all, DO!/where have you been the last few years if you haven’t??) but I’ll just say that once again, Sarah Maas doesn’t disappoint. QoS had me hooked, heart racing, until the end. And mourning the fact that I have to wait another year for the fifth book. Seriously, trying not to think about that part!!

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On another note, a beautiful Chicago day – and a bench fit for reading.
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And a skyline view from the lake!

Writing: Ahhh so much to say, coming off this fabulous week of writing nonstop, but I’ll focus on one main thought for now, namely: getting deeper with main characters. This is something I spent a lot of time doing the past two weeks.

***Non-writers: feel free to skip this part, as it might be boring! Though of course you’re welcome to give it a look :-).

So, as promised last week, here’s a glimpse into how I go to deeper levels with my characters (not new characters – old, familiar ones who I’ve already been working with for a while). Last week in particular I was focusing on my main character, Partho.

Even though I’ve been writing books (three) in large part from his perspective for the last year and a half (and planning his story for longer than that), I realized that in some ways, I know his backstory much less than I do the backstories of other characters who play far smaller roles. I had always assumed I knew his so well, it wasn’t necessary, but I finally decided that this assumption and lack of fleshing out his formative years up until the main story starts was unfair to him, and that my story could only get stronger from my knowing him even better.

So, with this decided, I set out to dive deeper into Partho and his past than I ever have before. How, you may ask, did I go deeper? I’m a big fan of trying lots of methods when in doubt, so I tried a few, namely:

  • I talked to myself! More than usual…. But actually! I literally talked to myself, as I tried out voice memos this past week.
    • Why I tried it: I’m an auditory learner in many ways, but I also think I need a combination of different methods – so talking out loud (for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour an half) while also scribbling ideas in my notebook sounded like it might help me sort out the knots I’d had trouble working out solely in my head/on paper.
    • Example: One convo with self went something like this – “Okay, so today I want to talk about Partho and the most pivotal moments of his childhood. Different ideas I’m toying with – A) The time his brother comes to work at the forge for a day, and it’s a disaster B) The times that Maignee comes home late and he’s still up listening to stories C) Confrontation with a magistrate at mandated kingdom lessons apprenticeship…” And then I talked out all those options, letting them take me wherever they did (sometimes far off original topic, but I went with it!).
    • Verdict: I loved this method! Definitely going to use it again. And ended up using it for general plot planning as well.
  • Another method I’ve used before and tried again: writing memories/backstory in first person.
    • Why I tried it: like I mentioned, I’ve tried this approach before and it’s worked well for me. Something about heaving to tell a character’s story through their own eyes, even if it’s in a child’s voice, helps me really get into their head.
    • Example: In Partho’s case, I ended up writing a story he is telling to his mother, still as a child, about an encounter he had with one of the magistrates teaching lessons about their kingdom.
    • Verdict: I’m still having trouble getting into first person with Partho for some reason, but that struggling through was helpful. I definitely need to try it again some more.
  • Last thing I tried was poetry!
    • Why I tried it: I love playing around with new mediums! Even if they don’t lead to anything that will see the light of day, new styles can sometimes help bring back my “play” mentality and spark some magic.
    • Example: Seriously, I just composed an impromptu, terrible set of sonnets spoken about Partho.
    • Verdict: I always love this method, and it definitely helped this time too!

Okay, that’s all for now! Hope this was helpful/at all interesting. Writers – how do you get deeper/more in touch with your characters? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Up next week: diving into world building with a vengeance! Be well all,

❤ Maddy

Last one I swear! Buckingham Fountain with the city behind it.
Last one I swear! Buckingham Fountain with the city behind it. Life is excellent. That’s all.

In the Land of the Wild Things

Hello all! Quick update for you this week, as I have a book and a spot of scotch tea to get back to! And who said a cabin in the woods couldn’t be fun?

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Definitely not me in my wild free time at the cabin.

Life: Well, just in case you don’t follow me on other social media/haven’t read my last two posts… I’m in a cabin in the woods. Kinda. Mountains. Mountains with woods. Houselike cabin. Close enough! Suffice it to say – the mountain/forest/cabin air is clearing my head so much. And wow is that wonderful. I’ll write more on it next week, but I’ll leave you with a few pictures for now (sorry to anyone who’s already seen these). In summary – life is absolutely wonderful!

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Gorgeous hike today!
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…♫ then goes tromping around wearing boots like Gaston a ready hiker…

Books: Just the one, but it was so satisfying, I’m still digesting it with a purring smile. As I mentioned last week,  Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman came out September 1, so I brought it with me to the cabin…. and I was not disappointed.

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I didn’t think I liked westerns, but wow did Erin prove me wrong. The story hooked me so quickly, the world was so gritty, the characters so raw and real and captivating, I read it in a day. I put this on my goodreads review, but seriously –  books that make me fall in love with their setting so much I need to visit it tomorrow are some of my favorites. I finished Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and instantly wanted to visit Sweden, and I was hardly halfway through Vengeance Road before I developed this burning desire to go to Arizona and trek across the desert. Thanks for the awesome read, Erin – I highly recommend it!

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I was doubly excited to explore a mesa today with my writing buddy Amanda, because VR features a mesa and similar terrain 😀
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And then I might have gotten a little over excited by cacti…. def not having a desert craving right now or anything…

Writing: Oh man. Getting back in the grove is hard, but so worth it. I’ve rewritten this chapter one probably 20 times by now, but these two rewrites I’ve done in the past week… Guys, they feel SO CLOSE to where I want them to be! It is such an exciting feeling to finally feel a book you’ve put so much heart into coming together… and seriously, this book has my heart three times over. I’ll talk more about what has helped me get to this place of the book finally feeling right next week (hint – involves getting to know my main characters at an even deeper level than I ever have) but now the book, and my wonderful bladesmith and his complex, crazy family are calling me. Be well all!

❤ Maddy

And one last picture of this gorgeous mesa/state, because I'm still drooling. Can I do it again tomorrow??
And one last picture of this gorgeous mesa/state, because I’m still drooling. Can I do it again tomorrow??

Cabin In The Woods

Life: Hello all! I have A normal(ish) update for you at last. The past few weeks have been packed for me “life”-wise, with a family friend’s wedding, family in town, hosting a slew of dinners/labor day bbqs, and generally everything piling up at once, as sometimes happens. But, it was wonderful to see family, and now I have a very clear week ahead…. more to come on that note ;).

Very serious pursuits of puzzle, Sherlock, and Friends
Very serious pursuits of puzzle, Sherlock, and Friends.
Cousin time at the wedding! Love these ladies :).
Cousin time at the wedding!

Reading: Gahh I’ve been so good all year about tracking my reading, and now I’ve fallen behind a bit! From what I remember I’ve recently read Percy Jackson and the Olympians (awesome book – Rick Riordan nails middle grade/the world/his own amazing style of storytelling) and… started a lot of other books :/. Next few weeks task – finish those half started books. Note: this may be made more difficult by the fact that I just started Queen of Shadows – and it’s a brick of my book that may occupy a good deal of my reading energies for a while. Andddd I started Venegence Road by Erin Bowman (they both came out last week, and both are already proving to be awesome. Lalalala, book-cave here I come!!!

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Only three chapters in and already love this book! #VRRoundup 😀

Writing: So. Good news, bad news. Bad news(ish) – I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that, despite having already rewritten my WIP (work in progress) once… It still has major plot problems, and it may not even be starting in the right place. In short, it is not the book I set out to write.

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Please, tell me I’m almost there.
Nope. Nope, not even close.
Nope. Nope, not even close.

But that’s not entirely bad news, because while it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to rewrite (and then revise) again, I know it will be worth it to have a better finished product – one I’m really, truly, wholeheartedly proud of.

I will climb this revisions mountain... with all the strength of a raging fire and the force of a great typhoon!!
I will climb this revisions mountain… with all the strength of a raging fire and the force of a great typhoon!!

Now, onto the really fun news. Some of you (*cough* anyone who has talked to me in the past year or five *cough*) may know that I have a burning ambition… to find a cabin in the woods and live there in peace/hermit-dom as I write away my days. Well, I’m not quite there yet… but I did have a wonderful family friend offer me up their family’s vacation home to visit so I can have a little quiet time and finish this book! And said house is kinda in the woods/mountains so…. basically I’ve died and gone to heaven.

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Small taste of cabin in the woods(ish) life!

😛 That’s all. Talk to you next week. I have woods to enjoy now!!! And I will hopefully have an sizzling update for you then! In the meantime, be well everyone, and enjoy those final days of summer (which is not technically over until September 22 and no one will tell me otherwise lalalalala!).

🌞🌞🌞

On Blocks and Bumps

Life/books: Hello all! Happy Tuesday. My life update will be partially a book update this week, thanks to some wonderful book events happening in Chicago. On Sunday, I went to the fabulous Erica O’Rourke’s book launch party for Resonance, which recently released. It’s the second in a duology about a girl who can walk between worlds – all the parallel worlds that result from what might have happened if you’d gone right instead of left down that road, if you hadn’t spilled coffee and left a few minutes late that morning, missing the traffic accident you’ll never know you avoided, etc.

Erica's event - and a good crowd! Photo stolen from The Bookstall's twitter.
Erica’s event – and a good crowd! Photo stolen from The Bookstall’s twitter.

So I’m now in the middle of Dissonance, the first book, and am really enjoying it. I love that concept of many worlds to reflect our tiny choices and what they might have led to. It reminds me of this scene from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, about all the tiny coincidences that led to a character’s accident (spoiler alert):

It that was awesome Erica at The Bookstall, which is my wonderful, local independent bookstore in Winnetka. She introduced me to some awesome ladies of the RWA, Chicago North chapter (RWA is a great organization that runs online writing courses and connects writer through events, conferences and local groups) and I may even join them for a meeting soon – YAY more writer friends close by!

And as I write this, I am in Naperville awaiting another fabulous event/signing of an author I love (Susan Dennard) at another awesome independent bookstore (Anderson’s is amazing, and if you’re every in Naperville or Downer’s Grove or now La Grange, go check them out!). So… good week for writing events all around. And on a completely un-writing related note, I also got to go to an awesome beer tasting with my dear friend Kelsey (fellow Chicago suburb inhibitor and writer of this awesome new food blog Kelsey’s Kuisine) which was a lot of fun. Sometimes leaving the cave is necessary… which leads to the next part of this post!

Bells Brewery beer tasting with Kelsey!
Bells Brewery beer tasting with Kelsey!

Writing: UGHHHHH. Ohhh how I wish I’d actually looked at my papers again in high school/college after I threw them together at 6AM the day they were due learned to revise sooner. I mean… But really. Okay, here’s a quick, unabashedly melodramatic look into the brain of a writer who has loved drafting her whole life, never revising, now trying to revise:

Okay. Revising. Cool. I got this.

*Shakes shoulders and does dance to Nicki Minaj/Monster a few pushups to get ready.*

Woo, okay, ready to go! Revisions, you got nothing on me. I will tear you to the ground and swallow you whole and –

Okay, let’s get going with this. Alright. Okay. Okay, got this. Nothing scary, just opening the document… Ok, ok, title page, no worries, I got this. Chapter titles, ok, we’re cool. Na, no big deal, nothing to it.

*Reads first line. Eyebrows draw closer together.*

No, it’s fine. I’ll worry about that later. Sure it’s not ideal, but that’s what next round is for, right?

*Reads first page. Eyebrows now a pencil’s width apart.*

Okay, okay I’ll just tweak a few words then move on. No big deal. See, that wasn’t so bad, right? It’s still not perfect, but I’ll just remember the rest of the changes for later. Not for now. Now I am moving on. I am moving –

*Reaches part to be revised. Eyebrows have now melded into one, overlapping entity. Possibly with its own consciousness and will to dominate.*

Oh nononono that’s not good. Okay, it’s fine, it’s fine, I’ll just play some music, and start writing where I need to and then I’ll move on to the next scene, and the next and –

NOOOOO THERE’S SO MUCH I WILL NEVER FINISH AND HOW CAN THIS ALL BE FIXED WHEN THERE’S SO MUCH WRONG IT’S TOOO MUCH!!! MAKE THE CRINGE WORTHY WORDS AND PLOT TURNS GO AWAY PLEASEEE!!!!!!!

No, it’s okay, mind, stay with me! Just stay in front of the screen, just keep writing…

BUT THE WORDS AREN’T COMING AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS.

It’s okay! It’s okay, mind, calm down! Everything’s going to be okay. Just stay calm, and calm calm calm, okay and uhhh, if you’ve had enough time to calm down yet, how about some idea on what to write next?

…Anything? Pretty please…

LALALA I’M TRYING TO BE CALM.

Yes, but the story and the new words and –

DID YOU SAY WORDS???

No! No, I didn’t! Come back, it’s okay, please!!!

We’re sorry, Maddy’s mind is not available right now, but if you leave a message after the 

NOOOO!!!!

*Cue defeated exit from cave, sleep, read, stress about mind’s treacherous desertion, trudge back into cave with game face and battle gear on, repeat.*

So that’s a sum of my life at the moment. I’ll let you know when I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Until then please feel free to share your revisions stories or other thoughts with me! I am so down to commiserate, or even to stare in wondrous awe if you are one of those incredible individuals who excels at revisions (TEACH ME YOUR SECRETS). How do you deal with writer’s block and bumps in creativity/your story?

That’s all for now. Small note: I’ll be blogging at least once more this week with my top ten most influential books, thanks to a tag from my wonderful critique partner and friend Janella, so look out Thursday for that! And I’ve also come up with a new name for my blog… so be on the lookout for the change and a bonus blog explaining the title soon! Be well all,

❤ Maddy

Intro Freeze-Ups and #HermitLife Aspirations

Life: Hi! SO….. sadly (from #HermitLife point of view), life was once again full of social fun things this past week. I know, I know, the weird writer life of craving hermitness is odd, but true! So on the upside – spent some time downtown, spent time with awesome friends, and had barbecue/fireworks/brunch madness. But on the downside… Not quite as much time as I would have liked writing.

But WHYYY do I have to leave the cave?!??
But WHYYY do I have to leave the cave?!?? #totallynotmelodramatic

But (and I know this is going to sound terrible that I’m viewing this as a good thing, but bear with me) my mom’s car broke down last week (sorry mom, I know you’re still mourning!), so she needs mine to get to work, soooo I’m stuck at home, and now I have that awesome excuse to not be pulled out of the cave!!!! <<< Yes, you can laugh, but no shame ;-). Love excuses to live the #HermitLife!

Reading: Finished Erica O’Rourke’s Torn Trilogy, which culminated in Bound – I loved this series. Such well fleshed out characters who I totally felt invested in, a super real love triangle, and it was overall a superbly planned out trilogy. Can’t wait to read her next series – Dissonance and Resonance (which was just released). She’s also a local Chicago author so I get to see her at her launch party at The Bookstall on Sunday!!!

Best combo - double triscuit(!) with bruschetta and Bound :D.
Best combo – double triscuit(!) with bruschetta and Bound :D.

Writing: Oh dear. But really. So to attempt to not be overly melodramatic (haha ,not my normal style if you haven’t noticed)… this round of revisions is going better than last round. I read through my printed (still smiling about that :)) manuscript last week, took notes, totally tore the book apart and put it back together again. I ended up cutting more than ten scenes and adding a few as well.

Grand total – I now have 50 scenes, and 20 of those need to be written from scratch or heavily rewritten. So I have my work cut out for me. And while I was totally psyched to be jumping back in… attempting to write a new intro had been a mess of a five day disaster. I now have like… seven? ten? different versions of a first chapter, and I’m not happy with any of them.

My life, trying to write an intro like whyyyy (cue return to normal, melodramatic self).
Me trying to write an intro like whyyyy (cue return to normal, melodramatic self).

So I think I’m going to jump to another chapter and deal with my beginning later! And hopefully it’s just the pressure of writing a fabulous intro to pull in all future agents/publishers/readers that is giving me writer’s block, and not a me problem – but we’ll see how jumping around works tomorrow! Writer friends – have you had intro rewriting freeze-up before?? What do you do about it? Would love to hear your thoughts! Until next time,

❤ Maddy

Back from VT/Boston and a Printed Manuscript!

Hi all! So, I have a very life/picture heavy post for you this week, because travel and friends and did I mention a printed manuscript? Namely, my printed manuscript?? But I’m not hysterically excited about this or anything… not dancing around holding the brick of a thing above my head and singing LALALA I WROTE THIS BRICK!!!! Definitely not. Ahem… anyways!

Life:

So I just got back from a trip to Vermont and Boston, which was amazing. Here area a few quick snaps from the trip:

We climbed a mountain! :-) With my lovely cousin, Anna.
We climbed a mountain! 🙂 With my lovely cousin, Anna.
Only in Vermont.
Only in Vermont. Yes, that does say powered by veggie oil.

My awesome cousin, Anna made the long drive out east with me! We had a wonderful time visiting with our cousins, aunts and uncles, hiking, swimming in ponds, tromping through the cute shops of Burlington and Montpelier and eating great food. And of course smuggling some such food back with us! Then it was on to Boston for two days to see a few friends there!

Namely, my amazing critique partner, Janella. We reunited. And played with puppies. And marathon trained, in a manner of speaking…

Reunited over sangria! #marathontraining
Reunited over sangria! #marathontraining

And we obviously had to stock up fully for said puppy sitting and training with wine and cheeses, because come on.

And of course stocking up on wines! #marathontraining
Wine and cheese time. #marathontraining

Then Janella took me hiking through the Borderlands, an awesome state park in MA. It was beautiful, and gave me even more of that dose of green/fresh air/oxygen!

Hiking in the woods with Janella!!

And of course, brunch wins always.

Brunch is better with blueberries and bellinis. #marathontraining
Brunch is better with blueberries and bellinis. #marathontraining

But, at last, I had to say goodbye to my awesome friend and drive back to Chicago…. don’t feel too bad for us though, because as we speak, we’re skyping with Akshaya and enjoying some (definitely not smuggled across the states) cider from VT and pretending we don’t all live across the country. 🙂

Reading:

Short list this week, but just finished and LOVED Erica O’Rourke’s Tangled, the second in her Torn trilogy. SO good!! It’s… what would I call it? Young adult urban/paranormal/fantasy romance, set in Chicago??? Amazing?? Great love triangle, cool setting (especially as someone living in Chicago) involving an all girls high school on the south side, a hidden society of magic, and one girl’s quest for revenge on behalf of her best friend. And while I enjoyed the first one, I love the series as a whole – well planned, and gets more complex and in depth as it goes. I am almost done with the last book in the trilogy, so more updates to come on that front next week!

Writing:

Really only one, enormous (like 347 pages) update this week – I printed my manuscript!!! So now I have it in hard copy – my back may break under the extra weight – and I have finished reading it through this past week. Now on to 1) rewriting conclusion 2) fixing major plot changes/rewriting a few scenes as needed and 3) making the rest of my noted revisions, in order.

In print at last!
In all it’s backpack breaking, weighty glory!

And that’s all for now! More books and writing updates next week – hopefully fewer life updates *hides face in hands at shamefully un-hermit like last two weeks*. No, really though, if I can go be a cave creature for the next week or two, I think it will be best all around – for manuscript and sanity’s sake. Be well everyone, and good luck in your writing/reading/life endeavors in the meantime!!!

❤ Maddy