Tag Archives: crack the sky

Works-In-Progress (or maybe: Projects I *should* be working on)

It’s been a long time since I really talked about writing. I mean, sure, I’ve moaned about my lack of time for it and how creatively dead my brain has been, but when is the last time I really talked about the books themselves? I think it’s been ages, to be honest. Like, possibly years even. Perhaps you don’t even really know anything at all about my completed novel Dreamsters, except that it’s in the horror/thriller category. And so, with the help of some awesome art I commissioned artist and friend, Heather R. Holden, to do, I’m going to talk about my writing – what it’s about, what I’ve got, what I need, and where I’m going with it – and maybe it will not only intrigue you, but help me get back into, you know, actually working on them again. :)

 

 *Click the images to see them larger!*

 

Dreamsters (not an actual title – that is still undecided)

 

About: This story is about a creepy old lady, a girl with a nightmare curse, and a foolishly kind boy who feels compelled to get involved with them both. I consider this story a nod to one of my favorite horror films A Nightmare on Elm Street, though more thriller than horror, maybe. 😉

 

What I’ve Got: A completed manuscript at around 70K words.

 

What it Needs: A completed 2nd draft. I’d started on this a couple months after I finished the 1st draft last year, but there are still major portions of the book, particularly at the end, that need heavy rewriting to finalize a 2nd draft.

 

Where it’s Going: Publication? I hope. It was my intention to have this 2nd draft sharp enough to start looking for an agent this year, but so far this unfortunately hasn’t been the case.

 

2015_Commission_Dreamsters

 

Picture background: This comes from the end of Chapter 2. Milo’s stayed up late to get ahead on some homework and just before going to bed, glances out his window at Mrs. Womack’s house across the street. This is the scene he sees and the lines from the book look like this:

 

Illuminated by the street lamp is a girl in a red plaid, pleated skirt, with black tights and clunky boots, and a black leather jacket being destroyed by the rain. And a boy significantly shorter than her, holding her hand, in a hoodie and cargo pants that look too big for his small frame. Each of them carry just one bag, hardly large enough to hold any decent amount of personal possessions, and they stare at Mrs. Womack’s front door from her gate.

 

I don’t need to see their faces to know who they are.

 

 

Crack the Sky

 

About: I’ll let the main character tell you what Crack the Sky is about. 😉

 

My name is Tilian King and I found a girl in the woods one night. I sound like a fool for saying it, but I swear the lightning led the way.  She was covered in blood; I’m *practically* a saint for saving her. 

 

She claims she’s my guardian angel and that demons took her wings so she can’t protect me. From what, she won’t say.

 

She also claims my girlfriend and father are demons and that my dead mother is an angel like her. I asked her what that makes me, but again, she won’t say.

 

I think she’s f@$%ing insane. Escaped from the looney bin or some shit. It’s somehow both annoying and hilarious to me.

 

Still, and I’d never admit it out loud, it is sort of nice having someone to share the lonely mansion I call home with now, since my dad’s never around. Plus, who doesn’t love poking fun at naiveté? Leilani’s chock-full of it and I’m as rotten as they come.

 

If you’d like to see a few examples of scenes from Crack the Sky, I’d actually posted some when I started this book in 2011 for NanoWrimo. Click HERE! (Note: these scenes were roughly written and have since been polished so they aren’t the final product by any means.)

 

What I’ve Got: About 18K words, or just shy of 1/3 of the story.

 

2015_Comm_Torn_Small

What it Needs: The rest? About 50K more words? No, in all seriousness, it needs the meat of the story. Crack the Sky is an intense sort of story, with a great deal of tough decisions and bloodshed. This first 18K has been the introductory phase, the buildup of backstory, and the planted seeds of character growth. Next, things get crazy. 😉

 

Where it’s Going: Oops, I think I sort of answered that above? I guess I could add that it’s not going to have a happy ending. Okay, so it won’t be super awful, but not the happily ever after type of ending that’s all too common these days because life doesn’t always work that way so why should make believe? 😉

 

Picture background: I’d told Heather that if this picture were titled I’d call it, “Torn,” because that’s the feeling I wanted to come across for Tilian. So that it’s not too spoilery, I won’t tell you much about what’s going on in it outside of TORN, but I will tell you who you’re looking at! (L) Mackenzie, Tilian’s Girlfriend (M) Tilian King, POV of the book (R) Leilani, Tilian’s Guardian Angel.

 

 

So, those are my current, big works-in-progress. I have another novel idea that springs up every summer, but never produces much words and another that I hope to eventually return to one day, as it was the first story I ever wanted to make into a novel, but both require a lot of world building and I’m just not sure I’m a good enough writer for that just yet.

 

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If you’ve enjoyed the art accompanying these descriptions and think you’d like some of your own, head on over to Heather’s site for commission guidelines and prices! Or if you’re just a fan of the art and don’t need any for yourself, give her web comic Echo Effect a shot. She’s an excellent storyteller, too!

 

2014 In Review: Writing

Oh, writing. :/

 

Work, both my real job and my side jobs, kept me so incredibly busy in 2014. So busy it hurt my brain. So busy that when I did have free time, work had sucked all my creative juices dry. That means this years word count is a sad number and there were no short stories this year, even though I had two I wanted to work on. I literally went months without writing a single word. MONTHS. In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve written something new, I’m not even sure how to throw myself back into it. Like Victoria Schwab says, “I’ve forgotten how to book.” But I will figure it out again and soon, I promise you that.

 

And it’s not all sad news to report this year. Even though I’m disappointed in only writing 29,415 words this year, I can proudly say that I actually finished my first novel in 2014. And I don’t hate it. In fact, I like it so much I hope that 2015 is the year I shop it around and publishing becomes a real, achievable dream. Another thing worth noting is the writing workshop I attended this year. Even if I couldn’t be producing new words, I still made sure to finally start learning what it takes to be published. Prior to my novels completion, I’d sort of avoided it like the plague. You know, no sense in learning about a future that can’t even be a possibility without a finished manuscript. I’ll be facing 2015 with some valuable information now!

 

Last year, I only promised myself I’d write and that’s all well and good, but this year I really do hope to achieve more and so as a guideline or reminder when I’m starting to drift from it again, in 2015 I’d like to:

 

  • Start looking for an agent with a finalized version of Dreamsters
  • Write at least 1 short story
  • Move Crack the Sky towards completion 

 

If I try extra hard and track my progress with the sticker method, these could be feasible goals. Just so long as work doesn’t steal my life again. *Fingers Crossed*

 

When Music and Writing Collide

It probably isn’t a surprise that music plays a big part in the creation of my novels since I talk about the two constantly, but I’ve never really elaborated on exactly how music helps my books come alive.

Typically when I’m putting together a playlist for a book, I looks for songs that fit the mood of a scene or that come from a band my characters would likely listen to if they were real people. For example in Dreamsters, Harper’s favorite band is Mindless Self Indulgence, while Milo’s an all-out post-hardcore fan – there are a lot of both on the playlist as a result.

And while it is more common for my book playlists to have an eclectic mix of musical styling’s (much like my own taste in music), there are some books that have one particular sound throughout. Take Summer Novel for instance, it is strictly mellow, easy going, indie music.

More times than not, the songs on the playlist really have nothing to do with the actual story itself. So you might understand why it makes me crazy happy and excited to write ALL the words when I come across songs with lyrics so perfect, it’s like my characters whispered them to the band. For Dreamsters in particular (since it’s my current WIP), lyrics like:

I'm not scared, but this is happening.
I'm not afraid, but this is real (this is real).
It all comes at once; from every single direction.
This time I'm not (I’m not) sleeping at all.
How could this be real?
                    (A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine by Underoath)

How can I sleep, if I don’t have dreams, I just have nightmares?
                                        (Staying Up by The Neighbourhood)

When I wake up, I’m afraid somebody else might take my place.
When I wake up, I’m afraid somebody else might end up being me.
                                                (Afraid by The Neighbourhood)

I can’t help it.
I won’t let you bury yourself.
Bury yourself.
                                (Dancing on a Tightrope by I The Mighty)

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a song fits on entirely different books playlists, like there are quite a few of the same Underoath tracks on both Dreamsters and Crack the Sky, but they impact the story differently because of the way the character hears the tracks.

It’s also becoming common practice for me to use movie scores or other wordless tracks to write against, especially when I’m seeking a particular feeling that can’t be interrupted with lyrics. Since Dreamsters is a horror/thriller novel, I’ve used a lot of “spooky” tracks by Kevin MacLeod like Gloom Horizon to set the tone for the nightmares, but also to create just a general dreary or creepy demeanor in the day-to-day, tracks like Very Sick Girl from the movie Side Effects’ score or The Alchemist by Black Light Burns.

Funnily enough, there is even music that I can listen to no matter what I’m writing, but to date only one band has succeeded in this and I seriously have no idea what it is about them that makes them so universal. Wide Eyes, Sun Hands, Black Balloons, and Wooly Mammoth are all tracks by Local Natives that just make me want to write, write, write, no matter what it is.

So writerly people, do you listen to music while you write? Does it matter what you’re listening to? Does the music bring your story alive? I’d love to hear about it!

P.S. All track titles are clickable! :)

October: In Review

For the first time this year, I’m not actually surprised that October was over in a flash. In fact, I’ll be surprised if the next two months don’t pass by just as quickly, if not faster. It’s just the nature of holiday season. This sucks for me since the beginning of fall marks the beginning of my favorite time of the year, but I try to not waste time moping about its fast nature and just soak up as much of it as I can while it’s here.

Writing: Even if the weather wasn’t an indicator of the changing season, I’d be able to tell it’s definitely fall because the writing bug is alive and well within me. Thank you, Autumn!

The month started off with me completing my Halloween short story. If you missed it, click HERE to read Intrusion! I’m rather fond of it and mostly because it came from a dream and while I often draw inspiration from dreams, stories rarely ever present themselves from start to finish the way this one did.

Since I finished my short story earlier than expected, I got to working on Dreamsters. After outlining the better part of the book I decided that the first two chapters I had written just didn't work so I deleted over 4K words. I haven’t added them all back yet, but I’m working on it.

Towards the end of the month we were hit with Hurricane Sandy, which left us without power for 48 hours. I used some of this powerless time to finally read my printed Crack the Sky manuscript (27 chapters worth) and see where I needed to pick it back up. It’s been a while since I read/wrote anything for Crack the Sky (like since March O_O), so I definitely needed a full read through before I could move forward. I was surprised to find that there was little to nothing I wanted to change at all, in fact I found myself captivated by the story which I hope can only be a good thing. But as I reached chapter 25, I shook my head in disturbed amusement over the remaining chapters. It is obvious to me that I must have written them when I still drank because they were horrible. The idea is there, but the execution is laughable. Needless to say, I’ve decided to can the last three chapters (3K words) and try again, not intoxicated.

So, where does that leave me for overall word count for the month? 3,895 words for October. Maybe you’re not completely wowed by that number, but I’m pretty okay with it considering it’s more than the month before. Plus, I’m hopeful that November will be even better.

Reading: For the most part I read the books I’d hoped to read this month. I am still in the middle of one unfortunately because it’s not really that good. Luckily I was smart enough not to let it keep me from other books and was able to read 7 books this month as a result! The titles of each below the picture are links to my Goodreads reviews on each book, if you’re interested.  

October Reads (Smaller)

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
Gatekeepers (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 3) by Robert Liparulo
Timescape (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 4) by Robert Liparulo
Whirlwind (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 5) by Robert Liparulo
Frenzy (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 6) by Robert Liparulo
Vampire Knight, Vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino

Photography: I tried to take pictures of more than just Gideon this month. It’s fall, after all, which in my opinion is the prettiest time of the year. Because of this, I have lots to share this month! 

Gideon Pumpkin Patch
Gideon at the Pumpkin Patch

Milburn Orchard
Milburn Orchard

The Huff's
The Huff Family

Hurricane Sandy
Flooding in my walkway during Hurricane Sandy

If you’re wondering why there aren’t pictures of Gideon on Halloween, the reason is sad. As Hurricane Sandy struck Maryland, Gideon was rushed to the hospital with a 104 degree temperature and a potential meningitis scare. After several tests (including the all-painful spinal tap) they discovered an infectious sac in his neck obstructing his breathing and mobility. They decided to transfer him to the University of Maryland’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and attempt aggressive antibiotics before deciding if he needed surgery or not. Luckily, the antibiotics seem to be working, however he is still in PICU. This situation made the hurricane even worse than it already was. Halloween was nearly forgotten in the grand scheme of things, not that we could have celebrated it the way we’d intended to anyway. 

Music: It seems strange to say I don’t really have a lot to report in this area this month, but it’s sort of true. It doesn’t mean that music didn’t make me happy and that it wasn’t played non-stop like usual, it’s just that I spent more time listening to things I’ve already posted before than anything new, and mostly because Dreamsters playlist lived on repeat A LOT! But the one band I did listen to TONS was Relief in Sleep. And you’ll never believe what characters they woke up from a year long nap: The Cleaphytes. 😀

Relief in Sleep – “Collide”

Misc. Other: For anyone following my weight loss journey, I’m now officially in a smaller size of pants and at a total weight loss of 18 lbs. It’s a slow journey, I realize, but I didn’t gain the weight overnight and I won’t lose it that way either – at least not if I plan to keep it off (which I do). I’m impressed mostly in this past month to have still maintained a successful loss despite my seasonal favorite – pumpkin – being in everything. I even baked every weekend this month, but felt no obligation to keep the baked goods and found more reward in sharing them with others. I’m feeling rather proud of myself for this.

So, what kind of accomplishments did you have in October? What do you hope to achieve in November? Sound off in the comments!

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September: In Review

It really shouldn’t surprise me how fast September seemed to pass, but here I am marveling at the fact that it’s October already. I’m not all that disappointed as we’ve officially entered my favorite time of the year, but still, time really ought to slow down just a little. Anyway, what was I up to in September? Well, let’s see…

Writing

I don’t have some magnificent number to report. I’m hoping October and November are the months I wow you with a hefty word count since I’m statically more apt to write a lot in the fall, but I do have a number and one I’m not ashamed of. In fact, I’m quite excited about it because it’s for a short story I hope to share with you by the week of Halloween (for it’s “scary” nature). I wrote 2,188 words in September, which is about 2/3 of the way through the short. Can’t wait to wrap it up and then start working on my novels again this month!

Reading

Surprisingly I read quite a bit this month considering I also spent my free time writing. It feels nice to have a healthier balance, where usually one side of these two things suffers when the other is flourishing. Anyway, at the beginning of the month I made a list of at least 10 books I wanted to read before the years end and if those 10 books were the only books I read then I’d be okay with that, since I am more apt to write in the fall and holiday season always translates to less free time to do these things. But, I’ve already read 4 of those 10 books this month so I’m feeling even more confident I can beat my own personal goal and maybe even sneak in a few other books just for fun like I did this month. In September, I read 6 books as shown below (clicking the titles will take you to my reviews on each book):

September Reads

Time Untime (Dark-Hunter, Book 17) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Guardian (Dream-Hunter, Book 5) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 1) by Robert Liparulo
Foxfire (Other, Book 3) by Karen Kincy
Hidden (Firelight, Book 3) by Sophie Jordan
Watcher in the Woods (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 2) by Robert Liparulo

Photography

     All of my planned photo shoots this month fell through. My sister got a new job and her schedule was so busy there just wasn’t time for them. But Gideon got his first haircut this month and sadly no longer looks like a baby, but a little boy instead. It had to happen, his hair was getting so long, but it’s a little sad to say goodbye to baby Gideon and hello to little kid Gideon. 
     

gideon 1

gideon 2

Music

As usual, music was mighty good to me in September.

Envy on the Coast – “Head First in the River”

The drummer of Artifex Pereo turned me onto this band this month and I totally fell in-love. To the point that picking a favorite is impossible, but there were a few that got more plays than others, this being one of them. 

Good Charlotte – “In this World (Murder)”

I’m no stranger to Good Charlotte. They grew up near me and I was very active in watching them climb to fame, but I lost track of them for a lot of years between then and now. Heather got me interested in them again and I’m so glad I’ve caught up because I missed so much great music. I’m sure this particular song will continue to get a lot of plays it will be perfect to write Crack the Sky to! 

Sleigh Bells – “Demons”

I’ve already posted a Sleigh Bells song before, so this isn’t new to me this month, but it got a ton of plays because it’s the song I’m writing my Halloween short story to. While the story doesn’t have anything to do with demons, the song definitely has the sound my characters would listen to. Imagine a bad ass walk sequence to this. :)

The Birthday Massacre – “Looking Glass”

I’m still a little baffled that my dad can take credit for me getting into this band this month. I would never imagine my dad giving this band a shot, but his new obsession with listening to Pandora on his iPhone has turned him onto all sorts of bands I’d never expect. Anyway, I like to describe this band as a merging of Evanescence and Depeche Mode, and really, that sounds pretty awesome already, don’t you think?

So, friends, how was your September? What great achievements did you have? What do you hope to achieve in October? Sound off in the comments! :)

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February: In Review

For as short as February is, I had a pretty successful month. I worked really hard at time management this month, and the effort paid off. It’s a very gratifying feeling. With that being said, I have lots to report. :) 

 

Reading

Since I tried to focus more on writing than reading this month, I was only able to squeeze in three books. But they were great reads, all of which you can see my opinion on by clicking the links below the picture! 

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade, Queen of the Dead (Ghost and the Goth, Book 2) by Stacey Kade, and Vanish (Firelight, Book 2) by Sophie Jordan

Writing

 At the start of the month, I found myself rather addicted to the site Polyvore. After pinning (on Pinterest) a variety of outfits people had created that I felt represented my style I started thinking that creating outfits for my characters might be an awesome way to keep them visually in my head. See, often times when I’m writing I can usually associate an actor or actress who might play that character should the book ever be a movie, but with the two books I’m currently writing, I have no celeb faces to attach to the people in my head. Creating outfits based on their style though has really kept them alive this month.

 

For those curious this is what the Dreamsters cast “looks like” – 

And this is what the Crack the Sky cast “looks like” – 

I truly dedicated my weekends to writing this month and as a result wrote a total of 15,518 words (13,448 of which belong to Crack to the Sky (which, btw, is now 20,519 words long!) and 2,070 of which belong to Dreamsters). Admittedly, I’m excited about this because I’m pretty sure the last time I wrote so much in one month was probably late 2010. If I can keep up this weekend pattern of 4K+ words, there should be no reason I can’t actually finish a book this year. I really hope this wasn't a fluke and March is equally as generous to me.

 

 

Music: On Repeat

It’s been another strange month when it comes to music for me. Some days I couldn't get enough (sometimes listening to just the same song over and over again relentlessly), and then other days I preferred silence. And despite listening to a lot of new* music, I found myself craving some of the older stuff I've loved for a long time, too. Because of this, the top three played songs are sort of a happy mixture of old and new.  

*new = new to me, not necessarily new to the world

Hurt – “Rapture” 

This is a band  actually introduced me to last year (you may remember “Overdose”?), but I’m just now getting to enjoy a whole album. This song will be featured on Crack the Sky’s playlist and because of that, it got played on a loop while writing this month.

Shearwater – “Breaking the Yearling” 

Currently the most played track of the year so far with 220 plays, credit can go to for this track. While I’m still not sure how I feel about the rest of Shearwater’s music, I know I love this track without question!

Underoath – “A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine” 

This one snuck in towards the end of February. I woke up one day craving a band I’ve loved for quite some time now and once satisfying my craving, realized so many of their songs were perfect for my books. This song, in particular, got over 150 plays already while working on Crack the Sky. No doubt the play count will continue to climb until this books complete. 

**Obviously, the latest Arctic Monkeys track, "R U Mine?" has already been played equally as many times as the tracks listed above, but since I just posted it two days ago here, I didn't see a need for re-posting it. 

Photography

No, I’m not a professional, but I have been spending a great deal of time researching and learning new techniques to take my nephew’s pictures every week. Like the effort I put into writing this month, I think the effort I’m putting into being a better photographer is paying off, too. Check out the ‘Best Of’ from February of Gideon!

And that’s all from me! I can only hope to have an equally, if not more successful month in March. *fingers crossed*

How did you fare in February, friends? Anything exciting to report? 

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January: In Review

It’s February already? How the heck did that happen? I guess 2012 will be no different than 2011 in the way that time slips by far too fast for my taste. Because of its quick nature, it doesn’t really feel like I did anything very notable in January, but according to my “lists” (I am forever making lists), I have a few things worth reporting.

Reading

I read six books in the first two weeks of January. Six! I don’t think I was really trying to; I just got lucky that the books I chose to read were so good it made them easy to blow through quickly. 

Starstruck by Cyn Balog, Winter Town by Stephen Emond, Dull Boy by Sarah Cross, The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay)

*The titles of the books above are links to my ratings & thoughts on each over at Goodreads.

Writing

I took a break from reading after the first two weeks of January and tried to channel my Crack the Sky cast to catch up on some much overdue writing. That, however, did not happen. What did happen was the attack of a new plot bunny (oh, joy, right?). 

While I was intrigued by the plot idea and cast (who, oddly enough, came toting names already which almost never happens for me), I was not interested in giving this book a shot at the moment because I do not write multiple books at the same time and I really want to finish Crack the Sky. New plot bunny didn’t care about what I wanted though and by the end of January I found myself listening to the first song(s) to make the playlist on repeat and writing a little over 2,000 words of what I’m currently calling, Dreamsters.

So I guess I am going to be working on two books side by side this year? Lord, help me.

Music: On Repeat

Music was on and off for me this month. Some days I couldn’t get enough of it, others I never even turned it on. The few songs that currently hold play counts wildly higher than the other songs that graced my ears this month include:

White Rabbits – “Heavy Metal”

Back in December I got a chance to see White Rabbits live and it was extra awesome because they played a bunch of new, unreleased tracks, all slated to be released this March on their next album, Milk Famous. This month they offered one of those new songs as a free download and not only was I quick to snatch it up, I loved it enough to let it live on repeat more than 100 times. Can’t wait for March!

*I find it sort of funny that my “on repeat” list for both this year and last starts with a White Rabbits track.

Closure in Moscow – “The Impeccable Beast”

Closure in Moscow is a band I just recently fell in-love with in the end of 2011. While I’m still enjoying their previous albums tons, I will be blessed with a new album this year too! In anticipation of the next album, they released a new single this month for free download and like the White Rabbits freebie, I just had to take advantage of this opportunity. And good thing, too, because I loved it so much I listened to nothing else but it for several days! So pumped for more!

Mindless Self Indulgence – “Tornado”

The only song of this bunch that’s definitely not new (to me or otherwise). This is the first song the Dreamsters cast claimed as their own and with claiming it, they became impossible to avoid. I have loved this song since I first heard it over 8 years ago now, but outside of my enjoyment it never had a purpose. Now it belongs to an intense and action packed scene that I can’t wait to write!

*In addition to this song, “Diabolical” from the same album was also played ad nauseam.

Photography

This isn’t usually something I boast about because Lord knows I’m no professional photographer, but I do have a fancy camera and I practice lots with it, especially on my nephew Gideon. Every week since his birth I’ve done little photo sessions with him and because of this regularity he is already very aware of the camera, almost as if he knows to pose for it. This month we had one of the best photo sessions in the seven months of his life. Not only is he such an adorable ham for the camera, the lighting and coloring were really good too making the pictures extra crisp. I’ve been researching shooting babies in particular and watching little tutorials. I think I’m getting better as a result! :)

*Click the image above to see more photos from this session

That’s pretty much it on the excitement factor for my month. I realize this is the first post of the 2012 here and I apologize for that. I’m still in that deciding phase, not sure where I should be blogging full time. I will say that I’ve been super active on Tumblr if you’re interested in more day-to-day updates from me until I figure out where I’ll blog like this more frequently. I’ll try to pop in here more often this month too.

What notable things do you have to report for January? 

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2011 In Review: Writing

My writing achievements this year were a joke. Such a joke that I’m embarrassed to even share a total word count. It’s laughable.

While I could argue that all the “life events” I was involved in this year had an effect on my ability to find the time to write, it’s not wholly the truth either. I just didn’t have it in me this year.

The beginning of the year was met with the unexpected loss of a critique partner (not loss like death, loss like abandonment). I guess I hadn’t realized what kind of impact that truly had on me until it was months later and I was still dwelling on the why’s rather than moving on.

Then in my attempts to move on, my characters decided to pull a disappearing act on me too, frolicking around in a part of my mind I just couldn’t access. For a long time I begged and pleaded for them to return, even going as far as ignoring other characters from shiny new story ideas, all to try and complete the book I said I’d finish this year. But as more months passed, I finally just gave up. And giving up felt like an overall thing, not that I’d just say bye to that particular book, that I’d say bye to the possibility of being a writer altogether.

Thank God Heather never lets that happen. 

By the time fall was approaching and I had all these pathetic attempts at accumulating a word count all year, I got the writing bug again. Creative juices working overtime in my brain, filling me with a sense of excitement I had forgotten writing had given me before. And I had a startling revelation, one that shouldn’t have been so surprising because people had suggested it to me before, but since I apparently like to live in denial, it was.

I am a seasonal writer.

With fall and winter being my favorite times of the year, my overall demeanor is happier – more at peace and therefore easier to tap into my creative ways. It’s a bit strange, I suppose, since fall and winter are more commonly known to bring on seasonal depression, yet the opposite seems true for me. I might write something of value in my “off” seasons, but it is likely to be in small quantities, hardly worth noting. Fall and winter are where the magic happens for me. Finally accepting this newly discovered trait about myself forced me to make the most of fall this year and finally “move on” to something new.

Cue Crack the Sky

I still love my first story and truly hope to finish it one day, but maybe it was foolish of me to think I was capable of writing an epic fantasy series as my first book. Maybe once I successfully complete a couple standalone novels, revisiting my first series will be easier (and fun again).

I truly hope Crack the Sky stays shiny and bright for me well into the New Year. It’s been a long time since I’ve loved my own work so much. It’d feel really empowering if this time next year I’ve not only finished that book, but started another one!

Writer friends, how did you fare this year writing wise?

November: On Repeat (Special Edition)

Since November was NanoWrimo month I didn’t really allow my ears to hear much outside of the playlist for my NanoNovel, Crack the Sky. Because of this I’ve decided to simply post said playlist (or at least the 10 songs with the highest play counts at the end of my NanoWrimo mania).
 
Also, if you’re interested in seeing some snippets from Crack the Sky click HERE!

Emarosa – “Breather”

He Is Legend – “Mean Shadows”

Artifex Pereo – “The Lantern & the Firefly”

Three Days Grace – “Overrated”

Thrice – “Moving Mountains”

Red – “Watch You Crawl”

Tides of Man – “Chemical Fires”

Prom Kings – “Angels”

Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”

Florence + the Machine – “Seven Devils”

Since I will most likely listen to nothing but Christmas music in December and plan to do the 25 Days of Christmas Music posts like I did last year, this will be the last On Repeat post of the year. At the end of December though, keep an eye out for my 2011 in Review posts, of which there will be more than one music themed one this year!
 
Peace – Sarah
 
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Sneak Peek: Crack the Sky

When NanoWrimo began I told myself that at the end of it I’d share a snippet or two from whatever I wrote during the month. Being brave enough to do this is very difficult for me, but I rarely go back on my word (even if it’s only to myself). With that being said, I have two snippets for you from my current work-in-progress, Crack the Sky.
 
So you’re not completely confused you should know that Crack the Sky is about a guardian angel being stolen from heaven by demons so she can’t protect her angel-demon subject. The story is told from a 17 year old boy’s point of view. The first snippet is the beginning of Chapter 1 and the second snippet is all of Chapter 8.
 
Questions and comments are welcome. I hope you enjoy!
 
 

Chapter 1

 
I shoot upright in the bed, heaving for air. Thunder so violent it rattles through the house, through my bones, has awakened me. I jerk the sheets away from my legs and hurry out of the room. As I exit the front door lightning cracks the sky like heaven is being ripped open (if heaven even exists) and I sprint.
 
Sweat drips from my brow as I plunge through the woods. Crimson leaves crunch under my footfall, black stalking trees just a blur in the corner of my eye as I blow past them. I don’t know where I’m even going, but I can’t stop my feet from moving, from pushing me forward.
 
Thunder and lightning crack the sky again, more aggressive than a moment ago and I shudder, but I do not stop running. I feel something pulling me, the center of my being driving me towards an unknown purpose. And then, deep into the forest, I skid to a stop, my feet sliding against the damp, slick leaves.
 
There, at the base of tree, lies a girl wrapped in dirtied white cloth. Her back is to me, her shoulder blades bare. The ground soaks up blood as it seeps from her back. She’s so pale, stark white against the red leaking from her and the decaying forest around us. Her body looks slack, like a dead girl.
 
Slowly, I tiptoe towards her, nervous as if she might suddenly rise from her dead state. Thick blonde hair drapes across her face. I crouch down and lightly brush it aside to check for a pulse. Despite her dead-like demeanor, she’s beautiful—pure and innocent, looking misplaced in this dark and scary forest. Barely a thud thumps beneath my fingers at her throat and I feel more relieved that she’s alive than I thought I’d feel. I didn’t want this stranger to be dead?
 
 
 
 

Chapter 8

 
At the mall Leilani’s eyes sparkle with wonder even more than they did at my house. Everything is new to her. Everything. It’s an awesome thing to witness. The way she touches textures, the way she examines the dumbest things. It’s all so entertaining to me.
 
Despite the secret pleasure I find in being present for this, I still poke fun at this supposed naïveté from her. She’s fondling a crucifix necklace, looking completely perplexed when I ask, “What? You don’t recognize your own savior?”
 
Her eyes shoot daggers at me and I can’t help but laugh at her once again. She answers my arrogance with, “Well Jesus did die on the cross in this way, but he looks nothing like the man on this cross.”
 
“Oh, is that so?” I chuckle. “Tell that to the overzealous Christians. I’m sure they’d love to argue that one with you.”
 
She releases the cross and watches it swing to a stop. Her obvious disappointment with my flippant attitude is starting to make me feel guilty and I never feel guilty for anything. I change my tactics. I brought her here for the reward of spoiling her. Spoiling doesn’t involve rude rhetoric. Or at least it shouldn’t (though my father would know nothing of that).
 
I pull her towards a coat rack full of puffy snow coats that make people look like colored marshmallows. She brushes her hand against one, but doesn’t seem to be satisfied with its sleek exterior. She disregards the rest of the coats on the rack entirely and drifts to one offering a variety of peacoats. I assume she’s appalled by anything in darker shades because her fingers always reach for ones in white or ivory automatically.
 
Her eyes hold a fondness for the one she’s examining now. It’s a hooded wool peacoat in white, with a fur inlay and silver buckles. She touches it slowly, gently, as if it’s something special and deserves respect. It’s just a darn coat. I wonder if maybe she needs to understand that, that it’s just an object to be worn when it’s cold outside. I start to explain it to her when suddenly she yanks off my borrowed coat, letting it fall to the floor, and frees the white peacoat from its hanger.
 
She slips into the coat in one swift movement, immediately raising its hood to cover her head. Her eyes close and she holds the coat closed around her with a peaceful expression on her face. The one she’s chosen fits her perfectly, hugging her curves the way it’s designed to do.
 
 “Is that the one you want?” I ask, completely enthralled by the appreciation she holds for such a simple thing.
 
Without opening her eyes she reaches for my hand and presses my palm inside the coat to feel the fur. Our faces are close and she whispers now, a smile still scrawled across her lips. “This is what my wings feel like.”
 
For just a moment I close my eyes too and let myself imagine them, imagine her story about being an angel holding truth. I see wings, so large they could fold around her and hide her entire tiny form. I feel feathers soft as velvet, warm and full of this fresh air scent. It intoxicates me, the beauty of it all.
 
I’m smiling, lost in this vision, when I’m abruptly pulled free by the sound of Mackenzie’s voice. “Tilian?” she sneers.
 
My hand falls from Leilani’s coat and the happy clarity I just felt dissipates as my eyes come open. I turn towards a clearly pissed off Mackenzie, sucking on a red lollipop in a wholly seductive and inappropriate manner.
 
She just stares at me for a minute trying to process what she’s witnessing, what this looks like: Me at the mall, after skipping school, with another girl buying her nice things. Mackenzie’s eyes flare like fire, but before she can completely make a scene I try to soften her blow flirtatiously. “Oh, hey, Kenz.”
 
It doesn’t work.

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