Saturday, March 29, 2014

#WIPMarathon Report #2

Thank goodness I'm a subscribed member to @AmandaShayne's Sort of Blog or I would have missed the fact that WIP Marathon Report #2 is officially due today. So with no further ado (and me being completely unprepared, not to mention I just used the word "ado" which is no part of my natural vocabulary), here is this month's check-in:

Last report word count + chapter count/scene count: 83,448 - 25 chapters completed
Current report WC + CC/ SC: 85, 746 - 26 chapters completed
WIP Issues This Month: I gave my novel to good friend of mine who is NOT my target audience. He read my entire novel in about a week and gave me a lot of positive feedback. BUT--the things he critiqued (two of them in particular) would require a huge undertaking to change them. The thing is, their legitimate critiques. Now I'm torn between two extremes: 1. The thought that perhaps these two issues are actually non-issues for my true target audience (YA females), and I should just ignore them. Or 2. Now I MUST change them (which I'm leaning toward the latter). But the mere idea of making those changes, and what they would mean for my book overall, has left me feeling a bit deflated.   
Four things I learned this month in writing: 
  1. Read! Taking a peek at other novels that fit my genre reminds me of what "good" writing looks like, plus gets me excited to get back to my own book.
  2. That being said, the above strategy can be overused. Too much reading can serve as a great procrastination tool (see the "What distracted me this month" section below).
  3. When you're not happy with your first chapter, you have to find a way to STOP dwelling on it and plug on with the rest of the book (I haven't figured that one out yet).
  4. I think for all intents and purposes it's better for critique partners and beta readers to be as close to your target audience as possible. For example, it might be a little awkward to have a dude reading certain scenes in a book that's geared toward YA/teenage girls. That being said, as long as your critique partners are writers who share a love for your genre and understand the nuances of it, then it's all good. Even though the friend I mentioned above was a male, he is still an avid reader of YA books geared toward all audiences (i.e. Hunger Games, Divergent), and because of that fact, he was able to give me good feedback.
What distracted me this month while writing: Two things - Reading and spring fever. I was sure that once I hit spring break, I would dive into my manuscript, and maybe even finish it. But the very first day of break, the sun came out, and it was so freakin' sunny (as is the nature of the sun), and I had to swing on my hammock, and plant things, and make the pond look pretty, and lay on the grass, and listen to music, and drink hard cider...and I had to do all this for three or four days straight before getting it out of my system (plus the weather got crappy after that). Afterwards, I got sucked into books. I read three days. Yeah. It is SO easy to avoid writing when you're lost in someone else's awesome story-world. Now I'm back to work on Monday and there is NO WAY I will be able to work on my book. It's the last term of the school year and I will be lucky if I can just keep my head screwed on tight enough to get through my day job. 
Goal for next month: I'm going to aim low here and say I'd like to rough out a few pages of chapter 27.
Last 200 words: I pasted them here and realized my last 200 words gives up a secret that one of my MCs has been harboring for the entire novel. So I'm going to go up a few paragraphs to dodge that big fat spoiler:

      I laughed and sobbed into his shoulder, my tears falling onto his neck. He held me tight against his chest, then pulled back to wipe my tears off with his thumb. His face was a mess, his nose buried in bloody mush, yet somehow it was the most beautiful sight I could imagine seeing. I touched his cheek, getting ready to tell him that he needed to go to the hospital, but then he was holding my face in his hands, and the words stuck. He caressed my cheek, his fingers grazing over where the pistol had whipped me just moments before, his eyes probing mine. He leaned closer. My eyes fluttered. I leaned in, knowing what was about to happen. Every nerve in my body hummed. My muscles turned to water. 
     Yes, my mind whispered. I wanted this. Needed this. I needed to feel his warm lips pressed against mine. I needed to feel his hands thread through my hair, our bodies melding. I needed it more than I needed anything else in the world. More than I needed 7:18. 
     But then his fingers fell from my face, and he pulled back. I gasped and blinked, confused. The space around me suddenly felt so cold.