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To Live Up to the Spirit That Is In Me

to live up to the spirit that is in meThis image has been the cover to my Pinterest board about life and writing ever since it was created. Some people have boards about life advice, and some people have boards for writing, but for me the two are so interconnected I didn’t want to separate them.

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot these days. I’ve been looking over my past posts, and particularly drafts of posts chronicling the long journey towards publication. I’ve had a lot of internal ups and downs, and when I’m finally able to make that exciting announcement about a book deal, I want to be able to share with you how I felt in those moments of hope or despair.

These days, however, mostly what I feel is calm. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, and today I’d like to talk a little bit about that journey.

When I stepped down from Pub Crawl two years ago, I felt lost. I knew I needed out–out from the cycle of talking about writing instead of actually writing, out from the hamster wheel of social media, out from the sense that I was failing, stagnant, unwanted. I didn’t know it then but I’d reached a plateau with my writing, and the only way I knew how to fix it was to go back to my roots. I needed to be alone, to break my habit of watching TV instead of reading, to focus on me and my writing journey instead of constantly comparing myself to others.

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THE COBWORLD Deconstructed

A lot has happened since we last spoke.

I’ve written another book. :O

Photo on 2014-03-05 at 15.34 #2

I know, it’s kind of a surprise to me, too. I’ve never written a novel so quickly, or using this method, and so I’m ecstatic to share the recap of the project:

(You may remember my other Deconstruction posts; I like to recap what inspired a project and what the process was like to complete it.)

So I haven’t really mentioned it much on here, but the book is called The Cobworld. Here’s the pitch:

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The Morality of Villain Writing

“Every villain is the hero in their own minds.”

I believe in writing villains that are shades of gray. I want the reader to empathize with the perspective of the villain, and choose the hero’s side anyway — to me that empathy adds depth to the story and makes the villain more realistic.

Moreover, I feel that in certain circumstances creating an entirely evil character is irresponsible. Here’s why:

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Songs to Get Your Mojo Back

Feeling less than confident? Use these songs to get pumped back up and remind yourself that you are CAPABLE and CONFIDENT, and on the right path towards success.

Heartlines, by Florence + The Machine

Song rating: G

Key lyrics:

Just keep following the heartlines on your hand
Keep it up, I know you can
Just keep following the heartlines on your hand

Superstar, by Lupe Fiasco

Song rating: PG (one mention of a ‘sexy lady’)

Key lyrics:

If you are what you say you are
A superstar
Then have no fear
The camera’s here, and the microphone
And they wanna know

Touch the Sky, by Kanye West

Song rating: PG-13 (a handful of swear words)

Key lyrics:

You gonna touch the sky, baby girl
Testify
Come up in the spot lookin’ extra fly
‘Fore the day you die
You gonna touch the sky 

212, by Azealia Banks

Song rating: X (seriously, the lyrics are pretty explicit, but the chorus is PG-13 and will blow your socks off. If you want to skip straight to it just forward the video to 1:46)

Key lyrics:

What you gon’ do when I appear?
Wh-wh-when I premier?
B**** the end of your lives is near
This sh** been mine, mine!

Bonus anti-laziness bridge:

Hey yo
I heard you ridin’ with the same tall, tall tale
Tellin’ ’em you made some
Sayin’ you grindin’ but you ain’t goin’ nowhere
Why you procrastinate, girl?
You got a lot but you just waste all yourself
They’ll forget your name soon
And won’t nobody be to blame but yourself

~

 What songs would you recommend adding to this list?

~

PS: The five days at home with my sister was wonderful… I added over 9k to The Cobworld story, bringing us up to almost 20k! Here’s some of the guest audience that attended these writing sessions:

<3, Savannah

 

 

 

 

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Books, Paintings, Horses, and Dogs – An update about my life right now

Horses

Both of my sisters competitively ride horses. One of them is competing in a national competition in NY this week, which my parents are attending. That leaves me with the duty of babysitting my youngest sister, the three family dogs, additional cat, and one cockatiel, all at my house and mixing with my own dog and cat.

My youngest sister is homeschooled after a bad experience with the county schools (yay rural Alabama), so she’ll be at my house all day, and I took off work so we can do fun sister-things when her homework’s done. Our plans include pedicures, scary movies, walks at the dog park, and abstract painting.

Painting

On that note, I’m excited to show off a painting I finally finished, that was started two years ago as a replica of these beautiful fake covers:

Mathilda’s watercolor is infinitely more beautiful than my acrylic copy, but this one is big enough to hang in my office, and gives me a happy glow every time I look at it. Thank you again, Mathilda, for the compliment of choosing my story for your school project <3

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On Growing Ideas From Inspirations to Novels

A long-time reader and friend (who wants to one day perhaps venture into novel-writing) asked me to write a post detailing how an initial inspiration becomes an entire novel. Therefore, in this post I talk about where ideas come from, how to get them, and how to turn some of them into full-fledged, novel-length stories.

“Where do you get your ideas?”

It’s the question writers are asked over and over, and the answer is inevitably the same: Everywhere! (Further delineated into: Dreams! Conversations! Books! It popped into my head!) But what does ‘idea’ really mean? What happens after the initial idea is found? Why do some ideas become novels and others… don’t? Here are my thoughts:

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Meeting Neil Gaiman

I met Neil Gaiman. And it was actually special and magical and amazing. I wish I had a picture of it but I was more focused on making an actual connection, which totally happened, by the way. Let me tell you the whole story:

Several weeks ago I turned in the last version of ACORAS (the sleeping beauty retelling) back to my agent. This recent revision was particularly hard for me. I completed initial revisions in 8 days (8 DAYS!) and then had a series of unfortunate events relating to critique partners, which delayed the Official Turning In by several weeks.

Then I had a new CP read the book, someone whose opinion I admire very much, and she pointed out a very serious flaw: the ending doesn’t… really… work.

To be fair, I wrote the original ending in a furious burst of 10k two years ago in an effort to finish the story and be done with it. And it was an okay ending. But it wasn’t really amazing, and it didn’t fully wrap up some of the themes in the book. So, okay, I need a new ending.

If those words don’t fill your heart with fear, consider them again. A brand new ending on a book I’d had for two years, when I hadn’t even given a single consideration to a different way of wrapping it up. All of the plot I’d worked on had been hurtling towards this set conclusion, right? And now I had to figure out a different way to maneuver these armies and villains and heroes…

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