I haven’t been doing too well on keeping up with this thing lately, have I? I did a really good job updating practically daily when it was Camp NaNo. I tried to keep that up, but that hasn’t worked. Next month is July and it is Camp NaNo again, so I will most likely get back to updating daily, but then I’ll be going away for a week with no wi-fi. So…there’s that.
June is a busy month within it’s self. I have my aunt’s birthday, my cousin’s birthday, my nanny’s birthday just passed, and Father’s Day on top of that. I was happy that I didn’t have any graduations this year (even though I graduated myself). However, the spots where all the graduation parties would be quickly filled up because my sister is moving out with her boyfriend and my two cousins are moving in with my grandparents. So I have to help them all move from this place to that place and it’s going to be a lot. Not to mention that my house is going to go from seven people to four. Wow.
I have two weeks of work left, which isn’t bad. But I have to find time to prepare for the second session of Camp as well as continue editing my novels. I sent one children’s book to a publisher and I won’t hear back for three months. It’s an exclusive submission, so I can’t do anything with that story for the next three months. I’m in the process of finding more agents and publishers for my other children’s book in hopes to send that one out to multiple places while I wait for the other one.
My sister Lisa, the one who is moving out, she and I are the directors of our Sunday school at church so we need to get planning for next year’s curriculum. Not to mention that we have a dinner going on at my church in the middle of July and we have one to plan for August. It’s a lot of work.
My other sister, Kris, have to start websites for our church to get more people to come in. We’re the only ones who can do it because we’re the only ones who are computer savvy. We also need to start a website for my work. The preschool I work at is connected to my church and the church owns the preschool. Me being a teacher’s assistant at the preschool and the director of the Sunday school, I have many connections. Therefore, people ask me a lot of questions.
Kris and I go to Barnes and Noble once a week to write together. We can’t this week because her day off of work is Saturday and that’s because we need to help Lisa move. Obviously, that’s no issue, but I have no idea when I’m going to get some quality writing time in. This is one reason as to why I can’t wait for work to be done for the summer. I’ll be babysitting a lot, but I’ll still have a lot more free time on my hands than I do now.
Oh, did I mention that I’m trying to get into college for my Bachelor’s next semester? Yeah, I have to do that, too…I applied, at least. I just have to make the trip to my previous college to have them send them my transcripts.
I think my head is going to explode. I’m going to go write now…
Hey everyone! I was invited to do some interview-like questions. So I’m going to post that first and then give you a quick update on my progress!
The other day, Tiffany Metzger commented on my blog and told me about Blog Hopping and Booky Questions and tagged me in it. I am more than happy to participate in it. Thanks, Tiffany!
So here are some questions of my work-in-progress novel:
What is the (working) title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
As weird as this is going to sound, I thought of the idea when I was at work. I work at a preschool and the other teacher took the kids outside while I stayed behind to clean up the classroom a little bit. While I was setting up the art table, the idea just randomly popped into my head. I started saying to myself, “Remember when you were little and everyone was always wondering why the kids never took over the school? Because it’s obvious that the students out numbered the teachers.” Everyone has though about that sometime or another while they were in grade school, right? I thought it would be funny to turn it into the novel, but I wasn’t serious about it. Then I was in the shower a few days later and I thought of the idea again. I started coming up with characters and scenes and all that fun stuff. I got really excited and really into the idea, so I decided to write a book about what would happen if a group of students really did take over the school. I have no idea what made me think about it, but I’m glad I did.
What genre does your book fall under?
Young adult drama. High school stuff, just like any other young adult drama. The only difference is that none of my characters sleep around with any of their teachers, no one smokes or does drugs, and none of the girls fight over one guy.
Which actors and/or actresses would you choose to play your characters in the movie rendition?
Well, there are six main characters. I honestly have no idea who would play who. Most of the actors and actresses I really know are adults and my characters are 17- and 18-years-old. So I guess I’ll just use Disney Channel stars as an example even though I would never want them playing any of my characters. David Henrie, he’s hot, so he can play Simon. Selena Gomez, I love her, she can be Roxana. Although they would be weird because they used to play brother and sister, but whatever. Dylan and Cole Sprouse could definitely play Jay and Darren, who are twins. That leaves Bella, the airhead…Bridget Mendler. Not that I’m saying anything against Bridgit, but I can just picture her being good at play a space cadet.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
To make history and be the most epic senior class of their high school, a group of five seniors with the help of their junior friend decide to take over the school without realizing the consequences and thinking about how out of hand everything can get. <—Synopsis’ suck. That’s all I have to say.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Not self-published, but I don’t really plan on getting an agent.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
So far, it’s been about a month and a half. I haven’t finished the novel, yet, but I am super close!
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Wave by Todd Strasser. I read that book my sophomore year of high school and I loved it! It’s about a group of students who don’t understand the Holocaust. They don’t get how people can just fall in line behind someone so bad. So the teacher, trying to help them understand how easy it is to be a follower. He starts “The Wave” where he is the leader and all the students are the followers. However, when it’s time to stop, the students keep going with it and things get out of control. I highly recommend it.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I have wanted to be an author since I was ten-years-old. I have been writing novels left and right since then and I never finished them. The novels I did finish, I had no motivation to edit. However, when I can up with this idea, I just got so excited. I love the characters, I love the plot, I love everything about the novel. I usually know the beginning and end and get stuck in the middle. That didn’t happen when I wrote this book. Idea after idea kept popping into my head and my fingers never rested once on the keyboard. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, the actual idea itself inspired me to write this particular book.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Honestly, I believe everyone has once asked themselves why no one has ever taken over the school before and this basically has the answer, even though it’s my version of what might happen. All the characters age in this book. Minds are changed and some grow up while others don’t. Roxana is against the idea, the twins and Brad love the idea, Bella and Simon don’t know which side they are on in the first place. And, of course, love is also in the mix.
Again, thanks to Tiffany for including me in this. Maybe I’ll post those questions for all of my books, who knows? Feel free to post this on your own blog, as well! I have no idea who started this, but it was a good idea and I thank that person.
Now, I don’t have big news to update. I wrote 557 words today. My boyfriend and I are going away this weekend. Remember I said I wasn’t going to change my word count in case I couldn’t hit 50k this weekend? Well, it’s a good thing I was right because this getaway is totally last minute. Anyway, I tried to write a lot this morning because I’m not going to be able to write tomorrow and possibly not Monday, either. However, I just didn’t have the muse to do so.
I do plan on taking my notebook with me so if I have time to get anything done I can write a few notebook pages of Far Away. However, that is not going to count towards my NaNo word count because I have 20 pages so far and I do not want to count all of that up. When I finish the notebook, I’ll type it up and then count all of the words. Then it will be added to my 365,000 word count goal.
In other news, this week is April vacation. I still have school, sadly, but I do not have work. So I plan on writing big time when I come home this weekend. I plan on getting to 50k right when I come back and then hopefully changing my word count goal to 75k. We shall see what happens!
Anyway, I won’t be posting again until either Monday or Tuesday. So everyone better get a lot of writing done! 😀
2013: 119,084/350,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read
Anybody can write. If you have a good enough plot that’s fresh and original, you know how to spell, great interactive and lively characters, and pretty decent grammar, anybody can do it. Writing is, for the most part, pretty easy.
My cousins (Jackie, 10 and Katherine, 7) like to write stories about my cat, Hunter. They also incorporate our neighbor’s cats, Socks and Mittens. Plus, they made up a new character and named him Hunter Jr., who apparently is Hunter’s son. Hunter is also apparently married; however, aside from “mom,” she is a nameless character who only appears in the story when she is nagging Hunter Jr. to clean up his room.
The two of them write their stories down on normal white-lined paper. They draw illustrations to go with each page and then staple the pages together to look like a book and include an illustrated cover. They actually come out pretty well. I’m creative, but if I was their age, I would have never thought to put it in “book format” like that. Actually, I’m 18 and I still wouldn’t have thought of something like that.
Their stories are all dialogue (yet no quotations), repetitive with “he said/she said,” each story is only about maybe five pages long (but with the illustrations, it’s technically less than that), and if you did not have the illustrations, you would have no idea what was going on in the story. I will give them some credit: for the most part, you can make out where the story is going by just reading the words (even if they are spelled incorrectly), the illustrations are pretty good for a ten- and seven-year-old (better than what I would do), they definitely each have a creativity bone in their body, and they’re trying.
Now, whether you write like Jackie and Katherine or you write like J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), you could get something published. This is simply because of self-publishing. I bet that if I took one of my cousins’ stories, edited it a little, and sent it to a self-publisher, people would buy it simply because little kids wrote it and it’s “cute.” You could do the same thing-whether your story is good or bad-you could self-publish. If it doesn’t sell, well maybe you haven’t promoted yourself that much…or maybe that novel just sucked. Try again.
I don’t know a lot about self-publishing or big publishing companies or even getting an agent. But I’m trying. How am I going to do it? I don’t know. Where am I going to start? I don’t know. Will I become as big as James Patterson (Maximum Ride series)? I don’t know. There are a lot of unknowns in this world and believe me, trying to become a published author is definitely one of them.
I can’t stress this enough: I don’t know much about agents, publishing companies, or self-publishing. One could probably say that I know little to nothing about it. Sure, I have written and completed a couple of novels, but I am not published. I have not gone on that journey to seek out an agent or gone through the process of self-publishing. But based on my research, this is what I know.
Let me tell you something: I finished a young adult novel. Good for me, right? Yes, well, there is an accomplishment is simply finishing a first draft…actually, it’s quite a big accomplishment. However, whether you are planning on self-publishing or looking for an agent or skipping over the agent to try to publish with the big publishing companies on your own, you need to edit. And edit. And edit and edit and edit some more because guess what? Nine times out of ten, that first draft is going to be crap.
When I finished that novel, believe me, I was beyond excited. I edited it once. That’s right. Just once. I was so excited that I just said to myself, “It’s done. It’s ready and it needs to be put on those bookshelves immediately.” Of course I was wrong. Due to my lack of knowledge on big publishing companies, I decided to look for an agent first. I didn’t even consider self-publishing because I wanted my book to be published by a big name publishing company that everybody knew. Like Harper Collins or Random House. I also wanted my book to be on bookshelves in stores and not just sold online.
So, I sent this novel to about…ten agents. I heard back from all of them. Can you guess what all the answers were? A big, fat no. Was I discouraged? Honestly, no. I’ve heard the saying, “be excited when you get rejected” and in a way I was because I knew that I had tried. I knew that the agent(s) have at least looked at it. However, if I told you that I got discouraged, you all would think I’m some sort of cocky jerk. Let me guess: you’re laughing at me right now. You must think that I’m a big idiot. In some ways, I am an idiot. After collecting all the rejections, I looked over my manuscript and I thought the same thing: “I must have made myself look like an idiot in front of all those agents. This novel is no where near ready! What was I thinking?” I was thinking that because I actually finished something, it was the best in the world, every agent would want to represent me, the first publishing company we asked would fall in love with the book, publish it right away, and then I would be on the Oprah Winfrey Show because I wrote such an “amazing” book. Or, to put it short and simple, I wasn’t thinking at all.
I have edited that novel a few more times and I’m still editing it. I’m on the seventh draft. Yes, you read correctly. However, I can’t edit all the time and stop all my writing simply because of that one novel. So, I wrote and completed two children’s novels and another young adult novel. Have I tried sending any of them in to any agents? No. I want to make sure that the manuscript, whichever one it will be, is ready. Really ready, not fake ready.
I have looked through books at Barnes & Noble listing agents. I wrote down all the ones that would represent the types of novels that I write. Then I remembered something…before I sent in that novel to all those agents, I researched how to write a good query letter. Every bit of information I found on query letters said, “list previous publications.” And I say that if I had any previous publications, I probably wouldn’t need an agent in the first place. So, all my query letters never listed my previous publications because they are non-existent. I researched some more…specifically that question. Apparently, most agents wouldn’t even think about representing you unless you have some sort of background in publishing. It shows them that you can meet a deadline, your writing must be somewhat decent if it was published somewhere else, and you must have some sort of knowledge on publishing if you really did publish something. Even if it was only in the local newspaper.
I looked up magazines. I figured that I could write a short story, send it to a magazine and if they like it, they can publish it. I might have written a couple of short stories to publish in different magazines. That way, I would have something published and a little publishing knowledge under my belt. Of course, magazines are a long process. One magazine said to wait six months to hear back. January 2012 ended the six months and I never heard back from them. Of course, I’ll keep trying. Write different stories, try different magazines…but then I had an epiphany.
Alright, so this “epiphany” is only from what my sister told me, but I sound smarter when I say I had an epiphany. Anyway, apparently self-publishing is a great way to get your foot in the door. I know a few people who have used a certain self-publishing company (I don’t know these people personally…they’re all from a writing website that I am apart of), but I at least know that this self-publishing company is legit. However, I still researched it and some people like it, some people don’t. Some people say it’s a scam, some people don’t. Some people say it’s cheap, other think it’s expensive.
I’ve also heard the saying, “if they want you to pay them, chances are it’s a scam.” However, self-publishing is a little different than publishing through a big company. I still have to do my research and possibly take a look at other self-publishing companies, but my point is that I’m going to try to get a novel self-published (and/or a short story published in a magazine or something) before I start searching for an agent. It will still take me a while to get an agent, but at least being published will increase my chances a little.
You’re probably thinking, “The title of this post says that anyone can do it, but all you’re doing is talking about failures of the publishing process.” No, I still stand by what I said: anyone can do it. It’s a hard, long process, especially if you don’t really know what you’re doing, like me. My point is, if you take it seriously enough and really try and believe in yourself…you could publish something all on your own. From there, you could get an agent and sell a lot more things through big publishing companies, or continue self-publishing depending on how well the first one turned out.
I told you everything I went through with the publishing process (everything I went through so far, I mean) because if you really want to get somewhere in life with your writing, you can’t get discouraged at every little thing. The road is long and you don’t know if you’re supposed to go left, right, or straight. A lot of detours will pop up unexpectedly and you’re most likely going to make a few wrong turns here and there in which case you’ll have to turn around and go back to retrace your steps in order to get back on track.
You can’t let that stop you. If you want it bad enough, believe you can do it, and keep at it, you’ll make it. Get excited when you receive a rejection. Take both good and bad critique to heart. Don’t get discouraged so easily. Certainly don’t give up. You may make thousands of dollars off your novel(s), have your novels turned into movies, and/or just be one of those laid-back authors who make just enough money to get by, but aren’t that big. Either way, you’ll make it because, well…anyone can do it.