After a week of writing . . .

As I said a few posts ago, I took this past week for writing. Not surprisingly, I’m feeling much better (in comparison). I spent (most of) that entire time writing on New Series (8, if you’re going by my What’s in the works? page). I’ve said before on here that I’ve had some major issues with getting this series out of my head. I really think a lot of that is to do with timing and not being able to write as consistently as I used to, with releases/blogging/Twitter/anything that isn’t writing pulling me away from writing.

Book 1 . . . it took forever (for me) to get out. I started it in February, hit a brick wall very early in, then took about a month off of writing. I got back to it, figured out a way around that (particular) wall, then hit another (smaller) one. It’s gone on and on that way from the get-go. I’m six months into this series, and it’s been the longest I’ve been actively(ish) writing on one without having the first (garbage) drafts finished. (Excluding the first series I ever wrote, which I typically exclude from everything.) That’s pretty strange for me. I don’t like it. But such is life!

At the start of the writing week, I had a few chapters of the third book written. At the end of it, I’m happy to report that I’m over halfway finished with the third book (if the word count continues to hold in the way it has been). I’m also happy to report that (for the most part) planned events in this one have gone (pretty much) the way I’d thought they would. What a surprise!

I’m wondering if part of the issue with this is the sort of . . . evolution of it. If I look at my three separate fantasy series – Reave Series (2), Completed Trilogy (4), and New Series (8) – they are all very different. I always focus the most on characters, and the Reave Series is a prime example of that. The story IS the characters, more so than the ‘world’ they’re living in. (That’s not saying the world isn’t important or has no impact.) Completed Trilogy has the world taking a bigger part in it, impacting the characters in more atypical ways than that of the Reave Series. The world was/is bigger (or maybe I should say different), and that was pretty difficult for me to get down. (Thus the start of more detailed mapping, more detailed character/information sheets, more detailed lists.) It was harder to keep it all in my head.

New Series is . . . MASSIVE. It’s the first time I’ve undertaken having multiple viewpoints in one book (though in Completed Trilogy the books aren’t all from the initial main character’s perspective). So, not only is it having to tackle that (voices and all), but it’s dealing with multiple arcs, multiple backstories that need to be told (in the right way at the right time) and dealt with in the head of whichever character is telling that part of the story, multiple races with their own rules/ways of being/focuses, etc. That’s not mentioning how much detail is going into the actual locales, and from getting one place to another. And as I said, I’m a completely character-driven writer, so there being so much of a focus on everything else has been . . . an experience, that’s for sure. Completed Trilogy definitely helped with that. I wouldn’t have had a chance in hell at writing this one if not for that one. (That seems to be the way it goes . . .)

But something happened during this week of writing. I actually wrote. Even adding the POV of a different character . . . it went pretty seamlessly. This was the first bit of substantial writing I’ve gotten done in that sort of time span in what feels like freaking forever. And it feels good. I’m not sure if that’s having a (much) better feel for everything, or if I had the time needed to really get into it, or both. (Probably both.)

This is the first time in a while that I feel like I need to write, not for my mental wellbeing, but because the characters and story have finally clicked hard enough in my head that they must get out. (And I’m not talking about little bits of getting out here and there, I’m talking OUT.) The characters are no longer content enough (yet grumpy) about me potentially pinning them to trees so that I can carry on with things and get back to them when I’m able. If I were to have a conversation with this group of characters, telling them I need to do just that, it would go as follows . . .

1: *stares at me for far too long* I’m not letting you pin me to a tree again. Are you that ignorant?

Me: I’m sorry. I have a lot of things I need to do.

2: So do we.

3: But if she has things she needs to do, shouldn’t she do them? I mean, she’s helping us, isn’t she? Shouldn’t we be quiet for a little while if that would help her get us out of her head so we can live?

4: I’m sure we could keep ourselves occupied while she’s away.

1: Shut up, 4.

4: *grins*

Me: I really am sorry. I don’t want it to be this way.

5: Why don’t you try time-splitting again? Obviously it would be difficult. We all *looks around at the others* know you want to tell our story. So tell it.

Me: It would be pretty much impossible with writing rather than editing. I’m worried pinning you to the trees will end up being necessary.

6: This is bulls***.

Me: I know.

7: Is anyone going to tell me what I’m doing here?

Me: I am. Just give me some time.

1: I am not letting you pin me to a tree again.

2: *nudges 1*

1: *shakes head at 2* I’m not.

4: Is everyone going to ignore the fact that I’m her favorite here?

6: You’re being an ass. She likes all of us.

4: But we all know I’m the favorite.

7: *looks at me* Can we talk later about why? Because I really don’t understand that.

Me: I’m really not allowed to talk to you about that sort of thing. It would mess with the dynamic.

2: You know you shouldn’t be talking to us at all, right?

Me: I know. I’m just trying to explain.

4: Am I the only one who’s getting this? *looks around* No? No one? Seriously? I can fix all of this. *grins at me* You know you want to spend time with me.

Me: I know, 4. I know. Time for the tree.

4: *gapes* You’re not serious.

Me: Completely.

7: I guess being the favorite doesn’t always help.

Me: Seriously, everyone. Trees. It would be better if you could pin yourselves there. I don’t know if I can make myself do it right now.

1: Are you forgetting that we’re not currently someplace that makes pinning ourselves to trees feasible?

2: She’s not forgetting.

6: I’m not going back in that forest until I absolutely have to. You’re out of luck with the trees.

Me: Can’t you just go shut yourselves in rooms then? At least for a little while?

5: I’m fine with that.

3: You’re coming back for us, right?

Me: Of course. Hopefully in a few hours.

Everyone grumbles a bit and starts walking away.

1: This is what happens when we have a human writing our story. We already have to deal with her taking too much time to eat, and gods, she sleeps for an eternity. Doesn’t she realize how much we have to do?

Me: I can still hear you, 1.

1: *shrugs just before turning a corner*

There are a few waves and a few glares before everyone else disappears.

 

Yeah, I need to get this story out. If it gets to the ‘I’m having conversations with my characters on my blog’ point? Yeah.

Anyway, the point of all that is this: I AM going to try time-splitting with this. I’ll be cutting down on my posts on here, as I mentioned. (At least for the time being). The plan is to do two ‘update’ type posts monthly, around the first and third Monday of the next few months. I am wanting to bring back my Friday Music posts (to pop in and say hello, and to share some of the ridiculous amount of music that I like). I’ll probably do two of those a month, maybe on the second and fourth Friday’s. I’m also planning to do a few stray ‘fun posts’ here and there, which could be about anything and come at any time.

I’ll be spending this week legitimately trying to get caught up on things while time-splitting. The plan is that doing this will KEEP me caught up, but I’m not sure. I’ll really just have to see how it goes. If this doesn’t work? I’m pretty much out of options.

In other news, some interesting things were going on while I was away. For one thing, Charles Yallowitz released the newest book in the Legends of Windemere series.

Also, they’ve opened up the crowdsourcing to potentially make the Frostbite movie, the second book in the Vampire Academy Series. I know I’ve said on here before that I love (LOVE) that series, and a lot of that has to do with the friendship(s) involved in it. (I wrote on that in Female Friendships, if you want to check that post out.) If you’ve read the books, you know they only get (SOOOO) much better after the first. I really, REALLY hope the second movie gets made. (They really seem to be LISTENING now, which I think they could’ve greatly benefited from doing with the first.) It seems that word hasn’t gotten out about that as well as it should be, so I wanted to make sure I said something about it on here, in case any of my followers are fans and don’t know about it. You can check out the campaign here: Frostbite on Indiegogo.

One more thing. I’d been deleting the ‘news’ bits on my What’s in the works? page when I would update. I think I’m just going to leave them there and update below them from now on. That way if anyone is THAT interested, they can see how progress actually goes.

Guardians of the Galaxy was pretty fantastic, by the way . . .

That’s all!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sorry this was so long . . .

 

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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.)

🙂

Will someone do me a favor…

. . . and listen to this song for me? Before or after I explain why makes no difference to me, so long as SOMEBODY listens to the song. It’s like two-something minutes long. LISTEN TO IT.

Okay, now I’m going to explain.

I’d imagine that most of you have no idea who that guy in the video is. Being an avid IMDB-er, and a big fan of perusing copious amounts of people and things on there (I know they don’t always have information first, that’s entirely beside the point), I will fill you in on who he is.

There is a movie coming out next year for the first book in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. If you just so happened to read the excessive rambling that was The Liebster Blog Award, then you’ll know how I feel about those books. If you didn’t, I will say again that I loved them – basically – because Rose is one of my favorite female characters in any YA series I’ve ever read. She kicks ass and doesn’t even bother taking names.

Anywho, that guy up there singing in the video is playing in the movie – Christian Ozera, if you’ve read the books. And being the peruser I am, I happened to find that video.

Let me just say that I’m one of those people who – once a song gets stuck – cannot get songs OUT of my head. Some people miraculously have them leave after listening to them once – like it’s just some mild appetite that needs a snack here or there to be sated. I don’t know how TF people manage it, but that’s neither here nor there. Last week (I think it was), I had Dancing In The Dark stuck in my head for over three days straight.

I’ve been working, which some of you know. Let me just explain what happens to me when a song gets stuck in my head while I’m editing (which is what I’m doing right now, but the same principle applies for writing as well). I’m fine. I’m totally fine while I’m thinking about WORDS. But the INSTANT that I stand up, or fidget, or get distracted for one reason or another . . . it plays. Incessantly. I can do nothing for it. Listening to it only sticks it farther. Not listening only makes me WANT to listen to it. I am simply stuck with it for however long it chooses to stick with me.

That is my life. I always have some sort of music playing during those tiny little breaks (or not so tiny, depending on) where my brain shuts down for a moment, due to excessive thinking about WORDS. (UGGGGH, WORDS . . . I’m a little worn-down, if you can’t tell.)

This song has been STUCK IN MY FREAKING HEAD nonstop for DAYS. And for once? I am not complaining at all.

Okay, so now I have to tell the funnies. If you’re male (or female, for that matter) and don’t find the potential shamelessness of females where it pertains to males humorous in any way whatsoever, you may as well stop reading now if you’ve bothered to make it thus far.

He’s a good looking guy, I’ll admit it. It’s much easier to admit it to the entire world (or the two people who exist in my world on here) than it is to my husband.

Anywho . . . If you just so happen to look at the official Vampire Academy Facebook page (I’m linking that so you can look after I say it if you so choose), there is a picture of him on there shirtless in a pool. No big deal.

Alright, I will also admit that something along the lines of, “Hey, that’s pretty nice,” crossed my mind briefly enough while I was looking at all the pictures on there. (Yes, I did look at other pictures, thank you.) But something caught my attention.

The comments beneath it.

I was sitting here at the computer, laughing hysterically and relaying bits and pieces of those comments to my husband. Women were talking about their ovaries exploding. I am not kidding. I am not exaggerating. I am not taking liberties with it. That is LITERALLY what they were saying. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a good long while. I was partially laughing because the thought of, “THE LACK OF SHAME WE CAN HAVE!” passed many times through my head. And partially because there was a smaller voice somewhere in there saying, “Man . . . I am SO glad I didn’t hear the term exploding ovaries when I was 18 or so. That would’ve been so worn out.”

Anyways, can you just imagine being that guy and seeing that you made women’s ovaries explode? (Not literally, of course. Come on now.)

I bet he’s going to be a happy guy indeed here shortly. He probably already is, but all of this is beside the point and was simply an errant thought or two.

The ENTIRE point of this is that I just need someone out there to tell me that him singing that song is as good as my head is telling me it is. I’ve heard Jason Mraz’s version, and I can RARELY say that a cover is better than an original, but it certainly is here in my opinion. And I like Jason Mraz pretty well to be honest.

It’s an extremely rare thing for me to say that I don’t care about a person’s acting ability when they’re going to be playing in a movie I’m looking forward to seeing, but I really don’t in this case. It has absolutely nothing to do with how he looks, and everything in the world to do with the fact that he needs to be making music (I’ll selfishly add, “for me to listen to.”) . . .

And am I the only one in the world who thinks there is something undeniably sexy about his voice on that song? Again – nothing to do with how he looks. I’ve listened to it without watching the video. I really have. And I’m being completely honest when I say that I don’t usually think voices are sexy.

I’m at least going to get my best friend to listen to this because I know, if there are two things in the world that woman appreciates . . . it’s good music and good looking men. I know she’ll think at least one of the two about it, but I’m not entirely sure which yet.

I feel like a horrible person, but the song was worth sharing, and explaining.

Kthxbai.

PS . . . He gets bonus points for being British. Juuuuust saying.

PSS . . . Major props from me to any woman who is woman enough to say something about a man being good looking enough to make her ovaries explode.