I didn’t want to let the month slip by without giving an update. I have several half-article drafts on my usual mix of writing revelations and life journey stuff, but nothing quite ready to post today.
Nameless is going quite well, better than it has in years. I’m adding and deleting a lot in an effort to figure out the nebulous middle, so the ms is only net positive around 3k words. Still, those words represent hours of brainstorming, list-making, and exploratory drafting. I consider them a success.
B-Day finally came and I got my top braces installed:
They were just as painful as everyone warned and my brain had conveniently forgotten. I couldn’t even bite through a cheese stick!
The past few months have been a whirlwind. My upper palate surgery recovery took way longer than I thought, so I apologize for the blog silence: catching up on work, school, writing, and the holidays pushed the blog into low priority.
But! It’s a new year, a new semester, and soon a new book! Here’s what’s been up, and what will be up:
A photo posted by savannahjfoley (@savannahjfoley) on
And here’s what it looked like two weeks later:
Fun with gap A photo posted by savannahjfoley (@savannahjfoley) on
Things have settled down but I won’t get top braces until March to start closing dat gap.
My next semester of school starts on Monday, so I have until Sunday night to finish up this edit of The Cobworld. After that it’s back to possibly drafting Nameless while I extensively plan for Shotgun Girl. With this book I want to challenge myself not only with third person, but in conforming to a more traditional plot arc with a five-act structure. Shotgun Girl is a trilogy (for now) and I want to rock both the plot structure and the writing.
Nameless is… Nameless. It burbles up in me and dies down again. Beyond that, nothing has really changed since my last update. You can always find the latest Nameless news on this page.
Working on edits for The Cobworld forced me to confront some of my bad writing habits, and led to this revelation:
I think the Lesson of this book is how to truly kill your darlings.
You guys, this is HUGE for me. For all my books, I would write these scenes and just dread re-reading them in the edits. Then I’d re-read them, and they’d be okay. You know that feeling? They’re okay to the point where they don’t really need to be changed, but you still cringe at the thought of them, and sometimes even skip over reading them entirely.
I’ve always read that one of the biggest causes of both procrastination and bad writing is fear. Fear that you’ll get it wrong, fear that you can’t handle it, fear that what you really need to do is beyond you. And I knew that, logically. But I didn’t really learn it until this book. I don’t have a ‘darlings’ problem. I have a problem with radically re-writing scenes where I’m not 100% sure what happens, or needs to happen. So I bluff through it, and the emotions are wrong but the writing’s correct, and it gets left in.
Man, October blew by, didn’t it? November’s going to be a fast one, too, particularly for me: I’m having upper palate surgery on 11/4 and will be recovering from home for up to 2 weeks, depending on swelling and bruising. Adult braces is intense stuff, you guys. Wear your retainer!
Here’s what tickled my fancy in October:
The new Lana del Rey album came out, and although I’m a huge Lana fan it took me a while to listen to it. I have this problem with new music by artists I love; I usually dislike the new stuff until I listen to it a few times, then I fall in love all over again. Chris recently got us a vinyl player, and I was playing the new album while cooking when I really heard this song for the first time, and I had to stop what I was doing and listen because it was so beautiful:
What an exciting month it’s been! I’m working on more edits for The Cobworld, and I wrote/published a new short story on Wattpad called The First Girl. In my personal life I launched a huge fantastic morale project at work, walked in the St. Jude’s 5k, and have been studying/doing homework like nobody’s business.
Very different from last month’s song (and also very NSFW so watch out!) A coworker pointed me towards this band and I fell in love immediately. More faves are Ugly Boys, and Baby’s On Fire. I definitely splurged and bought all three albums.
This quote comes from an interview GQ did with Stephen Colbert (I love GQ — I should really get a subscription since I buy it monthly…) where he discusses one of the great tragedies in his life–the death of his father and brother when he was only 10. The whole article is great, and the last part especially.
I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.
I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien’s mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”
He was 35, he said, before he could really feel the truth of that. He was walking down the street, and it “stopped me dead. I went, ‘Oh, I’m grateful. Oh, I feel terrible.’ I felt so guilty to be grateful. But I knew it was true.
“It’s not the same thing as wanting it to have happened,” he said. “But you can’t change everything about the world. You certainly can’t change things that have already happened.”
The whole article, especially the end, is fantastic. And it really hits home for me, this month especially as a friend came back into my life and helped me process some painful things that happened a few years ago. Although I couldn’t have understood or accepted it at the time, the painful things that happened so significantly changed my life for the better that now I’m grateful they happened. They challenged me to be a better person, and a better writer, and now I wouldn’t take it back.
Not only is this picture gorgeous, but it links to an amazing and in-depth review by an artist of their own artistic history and growth, which I found both humbling and inspiring.
This AMAZING graphic novel by Kelly Sue DeConnick gave me both goosebumps and tears. I’m not a huge graphic novel fan but this is one I can’t wait to own, and I’m DYING for the next volume! It’s a bloody, gritty western about Death, his dangerous daughter, and the band of renegades caught in the crossfire. It’s got everything I love: twisty history, dark secrets, lost love, and spine-tingling fight scenes. Cannot recommend highly enough.
Readers, I’ve been struggling with figuring out a way to share more of myself on here without making the same old boring updates: I’m still here, still writing, still working, still in school. Life is intense and exciting for me, but it’s probably really boring to you.
Therefore, I want to start a new thing called Fave Five — Five things I’m totally mesmerized by this month. Five things that light me on fire, that have seized my imagination, that have spoken to me personally.
Here’s the recap for August. I hope you enjoy!
This is exactly my type of song: ethereal, folksy, magical, and ominous. Just check out this chorus:
There are rules
I am coming for you
Darkness brings evil things
Oh, the reckoning begins
(PS: This is a song on my playlist for my secret project Shotgun Girl. You can see all my book playlists on SoundCloud here)
If you’re in the middle of a change, hang in there. The caterpillar must completely dissolve before the butterfly emerges.
I struggle with feeling like I have interesting things to say, and this tweet reminds me to just let it all hang out.
I’m not saying the male main character from Shotgun Girl wears this outfit, also with black gloves, but I’m also not not saying it. (PS: I’m here on Pinterest, but my Shotgun Girl board is still hidden for the time being)
Okay, I haven’t actually read it yet, but I am super, super, bouncing around in my seat excited for Maggie Stiefvater’s tarot deck and companion book to come out this month! <3, Savannah – (And a video of my cat asking to then eating my hair, for good measure)