90 Days Wins

For those following my journey through 90 days to your Novel, results are in. In this battle of me versus the book, the book wins.

At this point I should be starting week 7. I am not. I am still struggling through week 6.

To be fair, I did not anticipate getting week 6 done in a week.  Week 6 was to write the first 1/3 of the book. Week 7 is writing the second 1/3. I think I’m going to still pat myself on the back if I can get through the first 1/3 of the novel in a week in a half or even two weeks.

90 days week 6

Is it cheating to be starting week 6? I’m not sure, but I am doing it anyway.

I am working through the book 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet. For 5 weeks, she has been dangling the prospect of writing the novel in front of me, forcing me to write scenes out of order and out of context. Yet my rule abiding nature will not let me skip assignments. Even when Easter and writer’s group and critique responsibilities get in the way, I do not skip.

Finally, week 6 starts with drafting the first chapter, first scene, first sentence.

Spoiler alert: For the first draft, I think I will start with: Fate hated Joe with the drama of a teen whose best friend stole her boyfriend and whose retribution started with a pocket knife to the offender’s prom gown.

We’ll see where it goes after a nap and a hot shower.

90 Days Week 5

By week 5 of this book, I expected to be writing. 90 days is approximately 3 months. There are four weeks in each month. Thus by the end of week five, over a third of the novel writing time is gone.  I’m nervous.

Captured from recruitmentbuzz.co.uk. Click the image for link back to the original website.

It seems like there is a running clock, and I’m not actively trying to meet the deadline.

To be fair, Ms. Domet is not asking me to sit around doing nothing. She has me writing every day for a few hours. I am writing scenes. The scenes are out of order, and I can’t check them for continuity or consistency, but there are scenes being written.

To be determined later: will the actual writing be less than 30 days and thus a guide to winning Nano? Only time will tell.

As a random tidbit, this morning I was working on the second assignment of week 2 and wrote: His ability to lie had the refinement of forty grit sandpaper, and when he did lie, it felt like he used that sandpaper instead on a washcloth to bathe.

I may have been feeling slightly dramatic at the time. 🙂

Fantasy or Real Life

Here is my dilemma. Should I be writing young adult fantasy?

Before answering yes or no, this is not just a question about what works best for a story, my vision, or altering my writing to fill a niche.

I was raised on fantasy books. I think many children in my generation read the classic fantasy books. If not The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, they possibly read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I had to read both as school assignments.

So now that I am writing, fantasy has a homey feel. It’s the windows open, the ceiling fan humming, baked potatoes in the oven, and the dog sunbathing. Fantasy is my comfort food.

As a comfort food, I pick fantasy books up first. When in Barnes and Noble, I drift to the fantasy section first. Fantasy book covers catch my attention and leave me wondering. Magical realms let me escape.

I’ve recently joined a few query contests. In these contests, aspiring writers like myself pitch our manuscripts. I have diligently read each query posted by the other contestants, and I have come to a few conclusions.

One, I need to learn how to tighten my query. I’ll learn. Just give me time and guidance. Two, lots of people write young adult and/or fantasy books.  Three, agents seem to be looking for middle grade or adult books.

Taken from Elsa Mora’s blog. Click the image to link to the blog.

Now, I have two works in progress.  My critique circles are working through the story of Nik the alchemist/drug dealer/prostitute on the run from a bounty set by his brother. For the book 90 Days to your Novel, I am drafting a story about Joe who finds a bag jewels in a wreck from a flying car.

Here is my dilemma: Neither book is a true fantasy. By that I mean, the magic system does not play a crucial role in the plot.

Joe could easily find the jewels in a car abandoned on the road side and be obsessed with NASCAR instead of Sky Races. Nik’s brother could hate him for being his father’s favorite and good at chemistry instead of a genius at alchemy.

While I call my stories fantasy, generally they are closer to magical realism in that the magic is germaine to the community and not a plot issue. Because the changes are minor and I am still in the drafting phase, should I give up the fantasy element because it is me choosing meatloaf instead of trying the sushi, or do I stick with what I know?

The Writer’s Voice

The Writer’s Voice is a query competition hosted in part by Monica B.W. The premise is much like The Voice where four coaches (Brenda Drake, Elizabeth Briggs, Kimberly P. Chase, and Monica B.W.) pick teams from a list of 150 queries.

I have entered my story Hidden Hills. Here it is:

 

Query:

Tiny is a troll – the dumb and ugly kind. Except if someone called her dumb and ugly, she would roll up her socks and hit them.

Four years after running away from the troll community, her brother’s girlfriend is missing. He searches out Tiny and gives an ultimatum, either help or be physically forced back into the troll world with no hope of returning to her human friends. Problem is family and friends don’t know about the disappearance and Tiny’s ex-boyfriend wants to assist in order to rekindle their relationship.

As she falls further into troll culture, troubles appear in her human life. She loses her job, misses critical tests, and might lose her scholarships. Tiny must balance her troll life with her human life.

HIDDEN HILLS is a 52,000 word young adult fantasy.

First 250 words:

“Damn and don’t I look sexy.” Jay turned in a circle with his arms out showing off his new tan.

“Yes. As pretty as a peach,” I agreed. I kicked out the chair across from me. He flipped it around and straddled the back. The Union noise ebbed around us with students buying food, doing homework or wasting time.

“Hey, Tiny. Do you want to hear about the peaches?” He held his hand over his mouth and gave me wide, cartoon eyes. “I mean, beaches.”

A guy one table over stole a glance. With all the grace of a star, Jay ignored the look while grinning at the attention. He crossed his arms and leaned on the table.

“So which will you tell me about.” I slouched back in my chair. “Let me think, the bikinis were tiny, and the waves were righteous.”

Jay rolled his eyes at me. “Righteous? Really? No. Besides what fun is righteous anything.” He blew on his nails and buffed them against his shirt.

I grinned. He’d never been to a troll mating ceremony. He’d love being one of the men on display for a first time match.

“And I don’t surf,” he added. “It was family vacation. You know, mom nagging that we never get along. Dad ignoring everything. My brother bragging about his newest string of girlfriends and the car he’s going to buy next year.”

I smiled at him. I had no idea what family vacations were like.