Mercury In Retrograde?

I’ll admit I’d never even heard of that until recently, on some episode of a TV show that I can’t remember (horrible memory). I want to say it was The Big Bang Theory, but I could totally be wrong about that. While I’ll admit I find that sort of stuff interesting and used to check horoscopes often when I was younger, I’ve never really legitimately put stock in it. It was more, “Oh, wow. That describes me almost perfectly.” (If you look up the description of a Taurus? Yep, that’s me.) Or, “I had a day like that today. That’s kind of cool.”

Obviously I’ve been taking my break for a few weeks now, since the day after Mercury went into retrograde, apparently. And it’s a bit funny thinking about it now that I read an article an hour or so ago that said it is no longer IN retrograde. Or something. I could’ve read it wrong. I wasn’t paying too much attention.

I’d been feeling extremely overwhelmed in the week or so before that break began, partially due to making such little leeway with my workload and partially due to a personal issue that came up out of nowhere and seemed to push me over some cliff of partial insanity. So that day or so before I started the break, I really did feel insane and honestly just horrible. (If you couldn’t tell the ‘horrible’ by the tone of the last entry . . .)

Why the Mercury thing is so funny is because of the way the break went/has gone/whatever. I got a lot accomplished during that time, I suppose. I finished up this run-through of Book 4 in the Reave series, inputting changes included. That meant I FINALLY could start working on something else until Book 2 is closer to release.

I can’t tell you how unbelievably STOKED I was to be able to write, especially while on a break where everyone knew I wouldn’t be posting things, etc. That would give me DAYS of work-time where I didn’t have to do ANYTHING ELSE. I was stoked.

I did have a bit of a struggle with myself over what I SHOULD do. What I SHOULD do is another run-through of the trilogy I wrote last year, which I hope to release relatively soon. But I’ve essentially been editingeditingediting for months. It’s all I’ve been doing work-wise since before I released Reave. I wanted to WRITE.

So I sat down that first free day, messed around a bit with that standalone I started. I was unhappy with it for any number of reasons. Maybe because I already know what happens (and it has to happen precisely how it does, which makes getting it out difficult for me). Maybe because it’s about my favorite character in the series (apart from Aster) and I almost feel like that’s . . . hollowed ground (I mean no offense by that) and should not be stepped upon, even by me who MADE THE GROUND. I dunno, but either way, I soon turned meh about it.

The next day, I started writing what happens AFTER the series. That was all for my own amusement and I have zero intention of releasing it ever. (It would take a LOT of bribery. And for future reference, yes, I take any form of cake for bribing purposes). My mom said I might change my mind about that, but I doubt it. The series ends EXACTLY how it’s supposed to end, and again with the hollowed ground thing. Just felt wrong stepping past. Obviously I know what happens after, and that’s part of the problem. It’s been driving me insane for over a year and I just want it out of my head. Still, I doubt my own ability to do justice to it and where it sits now is perfect for a spin-off I plan on writing at some point.

I worked on that for about two days or so (which was a LOT of writing), then unexpectedly turned meh about that as well. Messing around with the Reave series just felt so wrong. And also . . . I’d like to write more books that I might intend to RELEASE. Makes sense, right?

SO.

I started a new series. This one has been playing around in my head since last year. I didn’t think I wanted to attempt tackling it yet because I’ve only wrote one series out of the ‘YA’ genre (that trilogy I mentioned) and I still find myself a bit uncomfortable with the things I’m comfortable with (or not). The cursing seems more natural, but I think there’s just something that’s telling me, “People are going to have problems with you dropping the F-bomb twice in the same speaking paragraph.” Oops. I don’t have control over them. They say/do what they want. That’s why it all seems more natural to me, because I’m not censoring them as much. I’ve also realized that no matter how much I enjoy reading in the YA genre, I enjoy writing OUT of it (apart from the stray sex scene that happens when out, which thinking about still makes me squeamish due to not wanting to pull the ‘cut-off’ card [GAH-THE WORDS!]).

Anyway, I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to tackle this series, but it was the one that wanted out of my head, so I started it.

So here I sat, and what happened? First page in I realized:  ‘. . . . . . . . This is not ANYTHING how I thought it would be.’

Then I went through a struggle of: ‘What am I going to do with this?’ ‘Where is this going?’ ‘Why am I acting like I have ANY say in where it goes?’ ‘WTF-Bomb am I even DOING?’

The next several days were spent with copious hours of me staring at Herald’s face (my laptop screen), trying to figure something out while knowing I only have so much say in what happens. The beginnings are always pretty difficult, before the characters are ‘fully-formed’. I have more of a say. The more control I lose, the easier it is to write. On day three (I think – again with the horrible memory), it started picking up a bit. Still not the usual pace, and I blamed that on my frustration over it CONSISTENTLY being not what I wanted it to. Granted, it might be better possibly than I thought (maybe in some ways), but that’s not the point.

The point is: Why do I let these stories drive me insane for a year (or YEARS), then sit down to write them only to have them turn out to be nothing like I expected? Yes, it’s surprising and that’s awesome (among other things). I repeat: YEARS. (What is up with all the colons in this?) I just wonder why I have to think about them for so long. It’s a bit frustrating . . .

I don’t know what happened, but the whole time I was away, I was battling with not being ‘in the mood’. Not in the mood for writing? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME? I didn’t know.

So I took a break from my break. I went out of my shed, inside, and got Netflix just so I could finally watch Sherlock. That consumed my life for the last couple days. I’m not even going to get INTO Sherlock past that. Past that and saying again that I WANT BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH TO NARRATE MY LIFE. (You are typing. You are typing. You are drinking coffee.) Gah, that would be spectacular. Is it really asking for so much?

I’m digressing.

The entire break, I was having blogging withdrawals, which I count as a good sign. I’ve even typed up three separate entries to post, then didn’t because I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to END the break JUST THEN. I didn’t get as much writing done as I should have, after all.

While I’ll say the break was fantastic for getting into a different headspace than what I was, I’ll add that the one I got into wasn’t EXACTLY the goal. I wanted to utilize the time in the most productive ways I could, and . . . I didn’t really. I just wanted to play Fable and watch TV. I did get stuff done though, with the editing and whatnot.

But in three weeks (I think exactly), I should’ve been able to get a LOT more done than what I did. I believe the not-working at times was also good for me. I could debate with myself about the benefits of staring at Herald’s face for hours on end and how there doesn’t seem to be any apart from the stray paragraph or two added. But that’s a paragraph or two more than what I had before, and the NEED-TO-WORK part of me would rather that than stare at a TV screen doing nothing. (Adding again that obviously exceptions were made with Benedict Cumberbatch speaking.)

I woke up today and was like, “Yeah, okay. Gotta get back to all this other stuff. I really have to.” (Then the argument of, “But . . . . . I didn’t get all this stuff done that I wanted to.” Then the counter-argument of, “I gotta,” which put an end to my mental whining.)

The entire point of this RIDICULOUSLY LONG (apologies) entry was to say: I woke up today feeling more like myself. And I think it’s a bit ironic that I was an absolute mess version of not-myself during the ENTIRETY of Mercury being in retrograde.

So now I’ll add, “Damn you, Mercury. I blame you and your retrograding for my lack of utilizing time.”

In short, which I could’ve said from the get-go . . . I am now returned from my break and will be catching up with everything I said I would do and didn’t actually during it. Hope everyone has been well and that Mercury didn’t get to you too. 🙂

If you actually read all of this, feel free to imagine me either clapping or giving you a hug, whichever you’d rather. 🙂

I’m giving in . . .

should be doing my Friday music post today, but I’m not going to. I actually have a song I want to put up, but I’d just post this immediately after and I don’t want that song to get lost in the sauce, soooo . . . I’ll wait for it. (If anyone watches Psych, feel free to hear Shawn pulling one of his ‘wait for it’ moments there, even though it’s not really applicable. Just fun.)

This blog entry is part apology, part update, part . . . something.

I’ve fallen behind on everything. Email responses, messages, comments on here, Twitter. I’m just behind. I don’t know how it happened, really, but it totally did. So, I’m sorry for that.

I finished inputting the changes from this run-through of B3 (hitting the halfway point where adding became nearly impossible REALLY helped speed things up) just a few minutes ago. This means:

I am getting ready to start inputting the changes from the LAST edit of B4, so I can do another run(inch)-through of that one. (I’ll add here that I absolutely freaking DESPISE inputting changes). This means:

I will PROBABLY not be on here often.

A) Having to do two IC sessions in a row makes me EXTREMELY miserable (which is why I occasionally put them off until they need to be done). It will be DAYS of doing this (already a couple in), and that puts me in an EXTREMELY bad mood.

B) No matter how many times I go through B4 . . . I always get caught up in it. I can’t help it. It’s my favorite.

C) I started writing here and there the other day, just for an hour or two at a time. But what I was/am writing is a side-story to the Reave series, and it involves my favorite character (Aster does not count). Meaning . . . I want to write it. Granted, it’s sucking puh-retty bad at the moment, but still.

I don’t know what it is about the past week, but I just feel like I’ve been struggling to get a leg up on anything I need to do, and it’s been making me miserable. Yes, I’d been pretty good about keeping to the schedule, and that is a BIG accomplishment for me. But I think I just need to take a bit of time to myself right now and chill out. That does NOT mean I won’t be working. It means I WILL be working.

That also doesn’t mean that I won’t make posts on here, but I think I’m just stressing myself out with all the NEED-TO-DO’s. So while I’m doing all that book-related stuff, I’m going to be whittling away at the emails I need to respond to, the comments I need to respond to, etc. etc. I’m going to try to catch up rather than get myself farther behind, which is all I seem to be doing at the moment.

And I’m going to enjoy myself by going through B4 again after another miserable day or two spent on IC. I really, really hate doing that. I’m going to get started on that tonight, and hopefully will finish it up tomorrow if I power through.

But yeah, I might make a few posts here and there, and I’m going to get back to the schedule. I just don’t know if that’s going to be on this coming Wednesday or a month from now. I don’t know. I’ll be on here (and Twitter, etc.) when I can. I might not be gone long at all. I’m not sure yet. That will depend on how long it takes me to catch up on everything. (Yes, everyone can add here that it wouldn’t take me so long to respond to things if I didn’t write mini-novels almost every time.)

I really know I should be focusing on promotion and all that, but I suck at it anyway. So, if you’ve read Reave and like it . . . tell your friends and neighbors (and random people passing), please. I just need to take a bit of a break from feeling like I suck at life, and I’ve been living in a nearly-constant state of that for a while now (minus a few tiny spots of time here and there).

I might feel better about that at some point.

I’ve been trying to tell myself this entire time that ‘disappearing’ is bad, and that it wouldn’t help anything, but . . . I think it will. I need to get in a better headspace because there is absolutely no point in being miserable, and I’m making myself miserable with all the stressing.

Please be patient with me while I try to get caught up on all this, and . . .

Please don’t forget about me. :/

Female Friendships

I was hoping to do a post today entitled: ALL THE COLORS Pt. 2.

Obviously I’m not doing that, which is because I haven’t yet attempted what I planned to attempt in ALL THE COLORS. I’m still planning it, but I haven’t got all my supplies out of the boxes they’re in yet. I’ll try it out at some point, hopefully soon.

So instead, I’m going to be writing a post about the importance of female friendships in novels, and in life. This is inspired by Vampire Academy coming out in two days, which I am EXTREMELY excited about.

Most of the reading I do is in the YA genre. I don’t always WRITE in that genre (it’s a bit difficult for me to keep the cursing to a minimum [depending on how badly a character wants to do it] and wondering about the line where *cough* other things are concerned), but I prefer to read in it. My reasons for doing as much aren’t related to this post, so I’m not going to get into that because I’m trying to stay on subject with the new schedule. (Is mentioning something getting into it?)

One of my largest problems (it’s not the only one) with the genre is the lack of female friendships that the heroines have in their lives. More often than not, it seems to be piling a bunch of males in with the one female to develop (sometimes) meaningful relationships and friendships with. If there are females, they seem to be put on the back-burner and are more for keeping up appearances rather than adding any sort of legitimate substance. They’re underutilized, in my opinion. (Kind of like something else, which I will probably get to in another post.)

I’ll completely admit that writing female friendships is a tricky thing. When you’re female, you KNOW how tricky female friendships can get, especially around the age when YA main characters are. I’ll also admit that the male/female friendship ratio I tend to work with is usually pretty indicative that I personally find friendships with males easier. BUT, there’s a quality over quantity aspect. And I will say that in any series I’ve finished, the main female character has AT LEAST ONE extremely meaningful friendship with another female. Doesn’t necessarily happen in the first book of a series, doesn’t necessarily not happen in the first book of a series, but it happens at some point (thus far). It happens because . . . that happens in life. I also believe it’s important.

I think for younger females, it’s good for them to see that friendships with other girls can be healthy. It doesn’t have to be backstabbing and all the other nonsense that comes along with being 16-18 years old (and younger, and older). I think it’s good for them to see that. It’s true that you don’t always get back what you put into a friendship, but sometimes you do.

While I’ve always made friends easier with males (for the most part), some of the most meaningful connections I have in my life are with females. Females communicate together in a way that you just . . . don’t get with males. And no, it’s not all make up and clothes (but yes, that’s fun).

I have no problem saying that Aster eventually develops several meaningful relationships with females in the Reave series (apart from Agatha). Some of them come later into the game than others, but they help her grow as a ‘person’. These females (I’m not giving them away) help her in ways no one else ever could.

I say writing female friendships isn’t any trickier than writing love entanglements. No, they’re not as ‘appealing’, but by god . . . they’re real.

And that’s one thing I loved about the Vampire Academy series (apart from Rose being badass, which she was). Rose and Lissa, whatever connection aside, have one of the deepest friendships I’ve ever read. No matter what boys get thrown into the mix, or what crap, they are always there for each other. I think that’s beautiful, and I think it’s important.

When you have girlfriends and you throw boys into the mix, things can get a bit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . difficult. When you’re young, a lot of times you think the boy is the one that matters, and don’t get me wrong, they matter in their ways. It’s usually not ways you realize at the time.

You might cry on a male friend’s shoulder when you’re falling to pieces over a boy. I know I did my fair share of that when I was younger (A BIG SORRY here to any of you who had to deal with that), but it’s different when you’re sprawled out on your best female friend’s bed, a complete wreck. There’s no, “I knew this was going to happen.”

That comes later, if ever. Usually not.

Girlfriends know you don’t want to hear that garbage, especially when you’re in pieces (you probably did know and don’t need reminding). All you want to do is cry about some jerkface who probably didn’t deserve your time or the tears you’re crying over him anyhow.

I’m not devaluing one sort of friendship and talking up the other. Some of my best friends in the world are male, and I would not give up those friendships for anything, but neither would I with my female friendships. What I’m saying is that it’s all important.

There’s really not much that compares to the bonds females can form with one another, especially in the fueled flames of adolescence. I can easily say that, being well past that time, I’m glad to see it over. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it for what it was, or the people involved. But it’s easy to look back and realize that you take things for granted when you’re young.

So hug your girlfriends and always remember . . . they can’t be replaced. And those connections? They deserve to be written about. They deserve so much more than what they’re given.

Thank you Richelle Mead for doing a fantastic job of that when it seems to be so rare in the genre.

(Also, on a completely unrelated note: I’m trying to get an actual SCHEDULE made up for reading people’s blogs on here. It’s taking me longer than I want it to with all the work I’m doing, but I AM working on it. Please be patient with me until that time, and then I’ll actually have a daily schedule for it to hold myself to.)

🙂

Why I love editing . . .

For my Monday Update post, I’ll be talking about what I’m currently doing (past saying I’m doing it) and why I love it so much.

Editing.

Not all authors enjoy it. I’ve gathered that much from reading blogs, but that’s to be expected. Everybody loves different parts of this process for different reasons, and that’s all fine and good. It’s one of the things that makes it so interesting to communicate with and read blog entries by other authors – comparing similarities and differences.

I’ll be totally honest and admit that SOMETIMES, IN SOME WAYS, I enjoy editing more than the actual writing. That being said, it does NOT mean that I would rather do it (that I would rather be an editor than an author, or that I think I’d even be capable of that, which I don’t). I enjoy editing my own work. One of the largest reasons is this:

I’m a pantser. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I write stories. I can THINK I do, then turn around only to have the characters laugh in my face and say, “You thought you were in control here? That’s adorable.”

Other than a few major plot points that I will include come hell or high water, I let the characters do what they do and – thus far – it’s worked out. Don’t ask me how, but it just does. (It’s completely off-topic, but I’ll add that I think anyone can have an interesting story, so . . . it’s just telling a person’s (character’s) story however they want it told.)

That first edit is the first time I get to sit down and somewhat ENJOY the story as a whole. I’m not stressing about what the characters are doing/will do because . . . they’ve already done it. So that’s the first time seeing it as a whole (but not yet complete) story, and I love that.

A related reason to that is because I enjoy watching it go from something whole to something that gets just a bit more complete with every run-through (or inch-through, which is what they’ve been lately). I’d imagine it’s a lot like painting in that regard, but I wouldn’t know.

I’m not saying that getting it down and out of my head isn’t spectacular. It’s pretty miraculous to me, actually (I have NO IDEA how they come together). But I really enjoy not stressing so much about it and just enjoying it. (Or not being angry at characters for doing something you didn’t want them to, like . . . exist, in some cases.)

It also helps that I’m meticulous and don’t mind doing tasks a lot of people would consider monotonous. (Repeating the same sentence ten times in a row to make sure the commas are in the right place for speaking opposed to technicality, then going back and changing them, then changing them again, or ensuring tiny details line up? That’s right up my alley.) I enjoy it and don’t find it monotonous at all. It’s fun.

One of the major things is brain-speed opposed to hand-speed.

I type VERY fast. It’s helpful in a lot of ways (getting stories written). It’s unhelpful in a LOT of ways. That’s how I end up typing ‘you’ rather than ‘to’ or ‘be’ rather than ‘me’ (or more than rather than other than and to rather than do like I caught myself doing in this entry after running through it).

When I’m typing, my hands work faster than my brain (which ensures MANY edits are in order). When it comes to quality? It’s a bit . . . lacking. That’s why you’ll never see me let anyone touch a first or second draft of my work. I won’t even let people near them to touch. I have a hard enough time posting blog entries for that reason.

When I’m actually writing, my brain works faster. That pushes the quality up, and it takes those MANY edits to bring the work as a whole up to speed. This is part of the reason I edit on paper, along with being able to catch more (and finding that my brain usually works better when I’m not staring at a screen . . . I’ve said brain a lot in this entry, sorry).

That’s all just the way that I function with it. I’m definitely not claiming it’s the right way, but it’s the right way for me and I absolutely love it. (Another fantastic thing about this is that there is no right way. If anyone says differently, I say they’re full of . . . . something not-nice.)

But as much as I love editing, as I said, it doesn’t take the place of writing. I’m still having withdrawals, but I know that I’ll eventually get done with these inch-throughs and can get back to writing another story. Eventually. At some point. Sometime. One day.

I DO think I’m going to have another go at the trilogy I wrote over the summer before I start writing again as well. I want to get them ready and hopefully release the first of those after the second in the Reave series (possibly after the third, but we shall see). There is a major flub in the last of that trilogy and I’ve been trying to figure out how to fix it for several months. I finally have an idea, but it’s not exactly ideal. Anyway, that’s the plan!

For anyone out there who’s struggling through some less-than-ideal part of the process, just remember that everything passes and one bad thing doesn’t take away from the whole. And I do think there’s good to be found, even in the bad stuff. That can really apply to anything. (I keep telling myself that . . .)

So that’s what I’ve been doing, and it’s what I’ll be doing for I don’t even know how long.

🙂