28 February 2014

WIP: The Movie

Ok, ok, I didn't really need that much convincing. Today I'm joining in on the WIP: The Movie bloghop, hosted by Kyra Lennon and Rachel Schieffelbein. The idea is to "cast" the characters in your WIP and post photos of the actors and actresses who would play them. You also get to share songs you would put on your movie's soundtrack. Sounds like fun, right? And since I never ever think about these sort of things (wink wink), I just HAD to participate!

Of course I'll be choosing characters from Uneven Lines. I think it's funny because I never intended to dream cast my characters, since it's something I've never done for any other book. But if you think about it that way, I never meant to write this book in the first place either. Sometimes the universe has other plans for you. The same thing goes for the soundtrack--I never thought I'd find a song that would fit my story. Now I can't help but find song after song that fits some aspect of it, but I have limited myself today to the main playlist. As for the characters, I'll be focusing on the main three from Uneven Lines.

Ok, I'll get the boring part out of the way, since I don't have a dream actor for Jordan, but how could I possibly go through a post without mentioning him? I usually describe Jordan as a 15-year-old mostly gay sociopath in training. Since most of his life is boring, he'll do anything just to feel a bit of a rush, whether it's failing math on purpose, or seducing a man nearly twice his age. He's good looking (and knows it), and when he finally figures out exactly what he wants, then he won't take no for an answer.

Since I don't go around Googling actors who might look like my characters, I just haven't come across anyone who I thought looked like Jordan and could also pull off playing him. But that's ok, because I actually don't want to. Let's say in a perfect universe my book does get published and does get turned into a movie. Well, I really don't want to have my heart set on someone for the most important character and then have someone else play him. Since Jordan is fifteen, I'd be picking a teenager who will probably be well into his twenties by the time my book is even published. Obviously actors play younger roles all the time, but for Jordan, it just wouldn't work. I don't think anyone playing him could be over 18. BUT, whoever does play him will have to be confident, charismatic, and have a "smile that can kill." And we can be best friends...that's not creepy, right?

Ok, enough ranting. Onto the psychotic fun part!

The next character is Tom, a shy 28-year-old professional math tutor who also has a flair for cooking (cupcakes!). His inner demons cause him to be closed off and reclusive, and although Jordan thinks he's just paranoid, it's his darkest secret that gives Jordan exactly what he needs to forge a sort of twisted relationship with Tom. They're complete opposites, but they understand each other completely, knowing exactly how to give each other what they want, but also where to cut the deepest.

My pick for Tom is (of course!) Jonathan Groff. I was obsessed with Spring Awakening long before I started this book, so it didn't take me long to realize that the way I pictured Tom in my head looked exactly like Jonathan. And the obsession grew...er, exploded...from there. What can I say? I'm a sucker for an adorable gay man. Seriously, I will watch anything he is in (Looking is getting a second season, woop woop!!). I've made two separate trips to New York to see him. There was already an entire paragraph devoted to a description of Tom's blue eyes in the book, but I rewrote it a bit after I met Jonathan--you know, after my heart restarted since I didn't know he had blue eyes until that moment.

Oh right, I promised you guys a picture. Ok, just don't look at me. I will never cut my hair that short again *strokes long hair*...Anyway, this was from October of 2011 after a play called The Submission. I don't know if you're familiar with the concept of stage door stalking, but basically you wait for the actors at the stage door of the theater to get autographs and/or pictures. I actually hate doing it because it gives me ridiculous anxiety and I don't know what to say. So this was the only time I've ever done it. But I am so glad I did because I would be kicking myself to this day if I had chickened out. He was a total sweetheart :)

Last but not least is Jordan's mother, Allison. She's a 30-year-old single mother who had her son when she was 15. She's not exactly proud of her life choices, so it's nearly impossible to form a relationship with her son. She spends most of her time at work (what she actually does is never mentioned in the book, but I imagine she's some sort of secretary/assistant at a law firm), but she's also her boss's mistress, and knows exactly how to reap the benefits. Nice clothing, fancy dinners, nights out, and money for an apartment where she can send her mail and hide her son away.

I picture Allison being played by Anne Hathaway (I had to find a picture of her before she cut her hair, and this one just screamed Jordan's mom). It was her performance in The Dark Knight Rises that did it for me. Allison is jaded and cynical, and basically an older, female version of Jordan. This is why they can never be in the same room for very long--way too much tension.

And now for the soundtrack! It took me a long time to craft it perfectly, but it feels just right. I know I've posted it here before, but I made a couple changes since then. I used to have Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts" towards the end, but with the way I wrote the end of book, it didn't seem to fit anymore. So I scrapped it and swapped in "Demons" by Imagine Dragons, which seemed to perfectly fit the way Tom views his relationship with Jordan. As for a big "theme" song, I'd go with "The No Seatbelt Song" by Brand New. Tom is ok with being used by Jordan, and if he could choose to be with anyone it would be Jordan, but he knows it's impossible. And definitely "Handcuffs" for the sex scene. I could write a whole essay as to why that song is perfect for the scene. And since we're talking movies, I can really picture the opening credits set to Duncan Sheik's "Stripped," with Jordan walking around Central Park on a cold morning before school. One of his favorite things to do is escape from the city to the most nature-like place he can find, and the song also reflects his need to figure Tom out, or strip him down to the bone.

I know, I know...tl;dr. But there were pictures! And music! Hope you enjoyed my madness. Now I'm going to check out everyone else's posts for the day!

26 February 2014

Where the F*** Do I Fit In?

I'm having an identity crisis.

If you've been watching the #mswl page on Twitter today, you know it features agents tweeting about what kinds of manuscripts they're looking for (or I think that's the gist of it...I only discovered it today :/). And as I'm working through the second draft of my novel, I've started to give some serious thought to querying. But I'm kind of at a loss.

I fully understand that first I will have to research literary agents to figure out who and where my book will fit in with. I'm sure I'll find several that I'll feel comfortable sending query letters to. The problem is when I actually sit down to write that query letter. Writing a blurb or synopsis doesn't faze me, really. I've got a draft already, and yes, it needs work, but it's a start. What I worry about are labels.

Every book is supposed to fit into a specific genre, right? Sometimes more than one. Like, you can have a YA paranormal romance. That's several elements rolled into one. But still, it's very clearly defined. What if I don't know exactly how to define my book?

Ok, so the whole straight-girl-writing-gay-fiction thing is a crisis for another day. Obviously I wouldn't send my book to any agency that wouldn't accept gay fiction, so I plan on identifying my book as such. My real problem is the age bracket. I don't really know where my book falls. My protagonist is fifteen, but I don't really see the book as being YA. There's a lot of swearing and some sexual situations (that are in no way held back like you would usually see in YA). But can I pass off a book that's written from the point of view of a fifteen-year-old to adults? I've read descriptions for NA, as well, and that doesn't feel quite right, either.

I also worry about falling into a niche as far as genre goes. Yes, right now I identify as writing gay fiction, and I do have other ideas in that genre. But I also have ideas that don't fit. I know I don't have to limit myself, but if I develop a fanbase from my first book, will they be disappointed if I write something different?

Blah, ok, I'm sure I'll figure it out. I'll find my agent soul mate, just like I found my real one, and my fictional character one, and my cat one...I'm a firm believer in having more than one soul mate...

Another issue I'm having is whether or not to participate in an awesome blog hop this Friday! It's the WIP: The Movie Bloghop, hosted by Kyra Lennon and Rachel Schieffelbein. If you haven't heard of it, you get to "cast" your WIP, sharing pictures of the actors and actresses you would want to play your characters, as well as sharing music that would be on your movie soundtrack. I'm on the fence about actually doing it, partially because I pretty much shared all of this info in my 100th post, and because I'm just really awkward about sharing these sorts of details in the first place. But it sounds so awesome! I could definitely go into more detail about my choices if I participate, and I do have songs picked out for specific moments, so that would be fun to share. Plus I could possibly maybe share a photo I have of myself with one of my dream actors from a couple years ago. I really hate pictures of myself but I mean, how many people have actually stalked MET their dream actors???

Ok, here's the deal, dear readers. You have two tasks. One is to check out the link for the blog hop and sign up, because it's a really awesome idea. And don't try to pretend you don't think about these things. Two is to convince me to sign up as well. I think I will make my decision by tomorrow night and hopefully join the linky list, then post sometime on Friday.

Well, go on, convince me! <3

24 February 2014

Blog Anxiety!

I don't even want to write this post! No, seriously, I'm freaking out. I'm going through one of those phases where even going to my blogger page makes me cringe. And I know I should write more blog posts and definitely visit other blogs but all I really want to do is work on my second draft. Or sleep. Yeah, I pretty much just want to sleep.

All right, so I'll take this one step at a time. The Valentine's Day cupcakes were a big hit at my work. Of course all two dozen were gone in about five seconds because I work with vultures, so I had to stash a few for some of my favorite people. No one made any snide comments about them being the same cupcakes from my book, so I guess no one has made it to chapter three...boo hiss. Not a single cupcake erection...

As for the New York trip, it was fun but did not really live up to my expectations. It was just too cold to really go out and do anything that actually happens in my book...like wandering around Central Park. I did manage to sneak in a few food moments, of course. I guess I'll have to go back during a warmer month if I really want that picnic. Plus I was just waaaaaaaaaaay too tired from work the day before to go wandering around. We did, of course, see Jonathan Groff's show at Lincoln Center, which was so awesome I have no words. And I did not take a single picture of anything...not even food...sorry. *apologetic shrug* I did, however, only wear gray and blue all weekend (my novel colors) and looked damn good doing it, if I do say so myself. But for the most part we were hermits in the hotel room. It was nice to just get away, though, and you know, not be at work.

I'm almost done with the seventh chapter of my second draft. Which is great, but I do wish at least one person would acknowledge the fact that they're reading it. The responses have dwindled down to nothing. I have had a few people tell me that they're waiting to read the whole thing to comment, which is fine, but I'm kind of an attention whore and need at least a little acknowledgement, especially when I think it's a really exciting moment in the book. Oh well, we'll see how it goes. In Chapter Eight, my characters have their first "date" so maybe that will create some interest.

And for some strange reason (always blame the muse!) I'm developing an idea for a new novel. I know, I know--what the hell is wrong with me? I think it's a cute story idea but needs a lot more thought before I'm putting pen to paper. But at least it will give me something to work on once I've finished the second draft and sent out my queries. Ah! Queries! More anxiety!

I still have no idea what my theme should be for the A to Z challenge, but luckily my staycation from work is the last week in March right before it begins, so there's plenty of time to figure it out!

Ok, I think I'm done. I do have a tendency to ramble, don't I? Oh! Just a quick mention, Shay De Flory over at Blue Bic Blog just had her 100th post and gave my blog a shout out, so I thought I'd return the favor! Check it out!

14 February 2014

Let the Muse-iversary Adventure Begin!

Happy Valentine's Day! Or as Jordan calls it, "one giant pink nightmare." Ok, honestly, I don't really care about Valentine's Day. I used to hate it, but that hate has grown into indifference over the years. Luckily, my fiance doesn't care about it either. And of course, I have to work, and it'll be one of the busiest days of the year.

Part of the reason I don't care about V-Day is that February 15th is WAY more important to me. Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of when I started my book, way back when it was just the first few lines of a short story. It's one of those things that feels like it was so long ago and sometimes like it just happened yesterday. It's crazy to think that I'll probably start sending out queries by the end of March. Yikes!

So since February 15 is the day that Jordan was created, I look at it as our anniversary, so I came up with the word muse-iversary. You can imagine how thrilled he is about this. But hey, he's the second love of my life whether he wants to admit it or not, and we're kind of stuck with each other at this point.

I would post something tomorrow, but I'm going to be busy busy busy. I'll be on a bus all day to New York, then out having lots of fun for the night. I just heard it's supposed to snow tomorrow (where the hell did that come from), and I got a cold two days ago. I'm wondering if the universe is playing tricks on me. Really, it wasn't my idea to go on this trip. The universe demanded it. Ok, let me put it this way, if your dream actor for one of your characters had a concert on the anniversary of when you started your book, in the city where the book takes place--isn't the universe telling you to be there?! That's what I thought, anyway. Now it seems to be telling me something different. Oh well, I'm way too committed at this point! But I don't think there will be any picnicking in Central Park. I'll have to save that for another time, I suppose. Mostly I'll just be stuffing my face with whatever food I can find that is also in my book.

Ok, this was supposed to be a short post and I've been rambling like a psychopath. If I take pictures on my trip, I'll post them sometime next week. But there's a good chance I'll chicken out on whipping my phone out in every restaurant to take pictures of my food. And when people stare at me, I can just say, "What? I have a blog, ok?"

Part of the Valentine's Day/Muse-iversary extravaganza is making the cupcakes that are in the third chapter of Uneven Lines! This is the second time I've made them, and honestly, I'm not that great of a baker. So I have this problem where my cupcakes don't live up to the description I wrote in my book. I guess I just can't compete with my fictional characters...oh well, they certainly are pretty! And the raspberry buttercream is yummy!

07 February 2014

Do Your Characters Have Chemistry?

I'm about to send out Chapter Five of Uneven Lines to my readers, which is the point in my story where my characters finally admit they're attracted to one another. One of the issues I've been thinking about as I write the second draft is whether or not the readers will actually believe that this attraction exists. I worry that I might just have the characters say it without actually showing it before they get to this point. So all this worrying makes me think on a broader scale--do my characters have chemistry? Or do I just think they do?

Ok, so if you're writing any type of romantic story, you'll have the characters who are going to get together. Some way or another it's going to happen. I think the bigger issue here is will the readers want them to get together, and will they believe it when it happens? It's all about how you write it. If your characters seem flat and boring, and there are no sparks between them when they interact, then the reader isn't really going to care that they get together. Or even worse, they might stop and say, "These two people just don't click at all. They'd never get together in real life." You definitely don't want that.

I think there's a lot that goes into it. I'm writing in first person, so there are plenty of moments where I can sneak in little details that show the narrator's attraction. But it has to go both ways, too (shut up, Jordan, I know what I said...). Unless your whole story line involves one character being completely smitten with someone only to be completely rejected, the other person has to show some interest, too.

But let's talk about what chemistry is, exactly. It's really just the way two people interact. It can be good or bad. When we talk about chemistry between people, we usually think of it as having to do with attraction. Two people meet and something just clicks. You think of good actors having chemistry with their costars, as well. When it comes to fictional characters, I think it's a blend between these two concepts. You'll want to show that your characters are actually attracted to each other, and create a certain dynamic between them. But you also want to entertain your readers. You want your characters to act like real people, but on a different scale. You want to show only the moments and details that are interesting.

How do you do this? It really depends on the relationship you want to ultimately create. Chemistry between your characters is all about drawing them together and having them interact in a way that is believable and interesting to your readers. You want the reader to just be dying to get to the next scene when these characters get together again. But you also need progression. It can start with them making googly eyes at each other, then maybe some innocent physical interaction--a hand on the shoulder, slapping someone's knee if they say something funny. Have them flirt like crazy. Just don't overdo it--your reader wants to get to the juicy part.

There are different kinds of chemistry, too, when it comes to fictional characters. It isn't always between the two love interests. In my book, Jordan has chemistry with his mother and his best friend, Eric. It's about how characters interact. They'll have a certain dynamic with each person they're close to. You even want chemistry between your protagonist and your villain. It doesn't mean they have to like each other. But there's a certain something between them that draws the reader in and makes them want to see them interact. The sparks fly whenever these characters get together--it doesn't really matter if they're going to jump into bed or wring each other's necks. Or both.

So do I think I did a good job of creating chemistry between my characters? Well, it's not really up to me to judge, at least not at this point. If my readers find the relationship intriguing, if they get to this chapter and scream "YES, FINALLY!!!" then I probably got something right. If they just yawn and say, "so what?" then I'll have to go back to the drawing board. We shall see.

05 February 2014

Blog Momentum

Ok, since I'm trying to get back into my blogging schedule, of course I have to participate in the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click the link to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog and learn more! 

First Wed of Every Month

Sure, I've got plenty of insecurities about having readers for my second draft (Jordan attempted to address some of them in Monday's post). What if no one likes it (ok, that one was pretty much stamped out right away)--or, what if a few people hate it? What if I can't keep up with the editing and people lose interest? These thoughts pop up from time to time, but I'm not all that worried about it. I think the second draft is going well and I really like hearing people's responses to it. 

So what's really getting to me, and this may sound a bit weird considering where I'm writing this, is the blog. I just really haven't been feeling it lately. Yes, part of it is that I can't come up with ideas. But honestly, most of the time I just don't feel like blogging. I don't feel like going on and on about the same crap over and over again. I don't want to bore you talking about my second draft in every post. I could try to come up with writing advice, but nothing comes to mind. I guess all my creative energy is focused on the second draft. Which certainly isn't a bad thing, but I worry the blog is suffering because of it. 

I don't visit as many other blogs as I usually do, and my post from Monday was the first post in a long time that didn't get any comments. I'll partially blame that on the fact that I wrote it late in the day, but still, I really don't want to lose momentum. 

Blogging used to be exciting. It just doesn't feel that way right now. When I was keeping to my schedule to get up to my 100th post, it was fun. Co-hosting IWSG last month was a blast, too. Without any specific goals in mind, it's a lot easier to say, "maybe I'll post something tomorrow." 

I am looking forward to the A-to-Z Challenge, although I still have no idea what I'm going to write about. I had thought about coming up with a different obsession or something important to me for each letter, but I'm thinking if I do enough planning maybe each post can relate to writing somehow. We'll see. There's still almost two months to plan. 

Well, that's enough insecurity for one day, don't you think??

03 February 2014

Jordan Takes Over: Better Late than Never!

Yeah, yeah, I know I didn't post last month and it's almost the end of the day, but you read the title, didn't you? I didn't even want to do this one. But Sarah kicked me and said all I do is sleep, fuck, and sing songs. I said, excuse me, that's not true. I also stuff my face. WITH FOOD. Christ. Perverts.

So lately miss writer lady and I have been wandering in second draft land. For this past week or so we've been deep in the trenches of Chapter Four. It's rough, man. There's like, a big giant math problem, AND symbolism, AND ridiculous amounts of flirting. So basically it's the hardest chapter to get right. So yeah, it's taking a while.

Ok, I feel as though I need to share some of the random insecurities she's having (uh, excuse me, shouldn't we save that for Wednesday? Stop treading on MY post). Anyway, having readers is equal parts exciting and terrifying. Not for me, of course. I don't really give a shit. I mean, I don't mind getting on people's nerves in real life, so why would I care if reading my story annoys people? But yeah, you're not really gonna have a successful book if people don't like the narrator. You could probably get away with it if there's a love to hate me sort of situation, but if they think I'm just whiny and annoying they're probably not going to get through the whole thing.

Oh for fuck's sake, would someone please tell her I'm not going to compare myself to Holden Caulfield AGAIN? And also to stop hovering over my shoulder while I write MY post? Which is mine???

I swear, one of these days we're just going to have one big cat fight. I'm so going to win.

I think I was making a point somewhere. Oh! Well, we've pretty much gotten two kinds of feedback: either people absolutely love it or they don't say anything at all. I'm sure some of them haven't even started reading yet, which is ok. But then she's wondering if there are people who have read it and aren't saying anything--do they not like it? Did they give up after the first chapter? Or are they just waiting to read more to make a comment? I mean, who the hell knows? Or cares, really?

Anyway, if you don't like me then I can tell you exactly where to stick the story. Too much?

See you next month!