Been an incredibly busy week for me yet again in preparation for my Shine Night Walk for Cancer Research last night. Me and the Chica (the best friend) completed the 13 mile walk in 4 hours 25 minutes, a huge accomplishment which I couldn't be prouder of! I'm aching but that pain disappears when I set my sights on my medal.
So this blog post today is about Tempted (Book 2 of The JJ Tales).
As I'm writing and working through my partial revisions I listen to a mountain load of music to push me through to the next stage and to keep my focus. But I also find I encounter songs that completely and utterly relate to some of my characters that actually make me stop and think "Wow...this song was written for you [name]."
In this circumstance, I tend to listen to those songs that seem to be reading Ken or Viera's minds and I write a random scene where their emotions are running the highest. This works like magic, honestly.
It's insane how one song can fuel you.
Without giving much away, my character of focus at the moment is Charity Durantez.
Charity was mentioned in Book 1, Origin, as being an old flame of Ken's, but she was never introduced until Tempted. So you just know shit will happen in this upcoming book (women at war).
Charity was with Ken for a period of 3 years and does a good job to remind everyone of the fact, especially Viera. But she just can't get it in her head that Ken's desire for her company is long over. Women eh? Some just don't take the hint!
One song that preaches her woes the loudest for me is 'I Know You' by Skylar Grey. As well as the song being quite haunting, the lyrics seriously hit the nail on the head. It really does bring out my sympathy for this Spanish lady.
All I can say is...moving on can be a hard thing...incredibly hard especially if you're in a delusional state. We all have that one friend who is Charity...don't you just want to shake their head out of the clouds? Or in Viera's case, kill them? (Trust me, that's not even extreme when it comes to the female Jackson J).
So my question is...what would you do if one of your lover's old flames turned up out of the blue and invaded the home you share with them? No question of what I'd do *sinister grin*
Food for thought,
It has literally been one of the most stressful weeks I've had in months.
Hence why I've been so quiet on here. Sorry about that!
New role at work and it's quite challenging...mentally mainly. I've been feeling drained and distracted. I sometimes have to remind myself that work only takes up 8 hours of my day and after those 8 hours I'm free to relax...well...sort of...
I've been a wreck for a couple of days so when my editor came back to me with a revision on my partial manuscript for Tempted earlier this week I saw it as a saving grace. I can't give anything away regarding the deets but all I can say is I'm absolutely BUZZING!
Positive feedback, while can keep us smiling and gives us that extra oomph, can also steer us in a better direction in whatever we do. In this case, hearing what you can do better when you feel you've already done your best can be quite wounding.
It's understandable, you've worked hard at something, spent hours putting effort into it, then hear that it's not yet at the top...we've all been there.
But time heals all wounds and sometimes you need to have a piece of humble pie and strive to be better. There's ALWAYS room for improvement. I've always known that.
From experience you'll get people who want to see you fail, who try to put you down emotionally in whatever way they can--but it takes hard lessons to learn how to differentiate between the fakes and the genuiene. I remember a fellow student at my university who used to slaughter my work...god knows what her problem was, but it used to really affect me. In the end I grew to realise her opinion really didn't matter. I knew my writing style and my worth and so I took constructive criticism from my lecturer and pushed on.
Criticism comes in every shape and form in every action you do. The trick is to accept these criticisms but try to avoid internalising them otherwise they'll make you paranoid and low..the .best thing you can do is to work on yourself (not for their satisfaction, but for your own) so these criticisms become nothing but air on the future.
In all honesty I continue to face a lot of criticism. Specifically with my writing. But I accept only the constructive and then make plans to see if I can work on improving. Not for their sake, but for mine. This week my editor gave me a lot of CC and I embraced it with open arms because I know at the end of the day she's genuiene, and it's for my own benefit. Even if my week was going badly, it lifted me up in the best way possible.
Saving grace is what I call those moments. The positive vibe that comes exactly at the right time.
You know when you make biscuits and you plan to make a certain amount but there's leftover dough...not enough to make a reasonably sized biscuit yet you don't want to chuck it away?
Well sometimes writing can be a bit like that.
I end up having to take out a lot from my chapters, but can't let them disappear and be nothing in a press of the backspace button--so, I save them, name them 'leftover dough' and use them later on. Whether it's later on in the book or used in the rest of the series, every sentence or paragraph of information is relevant and useful. You make use of it one day.
Like an idiot I made a fatal mistake of accidentally deleting over three pages of juicy content written in the POV of one of my characters.
I'm still mourning the loss.
Unfortunately it's just one of those things that still happens. It didn't help that I had several documents open and I was flicking from one page to the next. That's where it helps to have some guidance so you don't get lost.
Another reason why 'leftovers' should be kept aside and not thrown away:
i) Even if you don't end up going back to it later on, it can be used to help rediscover lost inspiration or creativity! You may find that it can push you to continue making more dough until you can make a loaf of bread or a batch of cookies.
ii) It can hold information you completely forgot about.
iii) It could act as a age monitor for your writing. Sometimes you look back at your old work from school and notice just how much you've grown as a writer. You familiarise yourself with your old writing style and compare and maybe decide what you could do better.
The way I see it, hitting the backspace button and deleting a whole batch of information is like throwing away a book or an idea. You've pretty much thrown away something that could have turned out to be a sick creation! BUT it's not so bad when or if the content is gone...because (like me) new ideas keep popping out onto the page and you actually end up writing better than you did before.
There's always a positive to a negative, remember that!
I've just completed an emotional scene.
Yes, I've done them before, actually last year when I was in the initial throes of the writing process for Tempted I wrote a scene that had me in tears, sobbing like my cat had died (I don't have a cat--was the closest example I could come up with).
I do a lot of scenes with emotion in them, you know...anger, lust, pain, hatred, passion...it's easy to feel what characters feel, see what they see and almost be there with them in the moment. Like a ghostly bystander where you just want to shake some sense into the character or punch them in the face.
But really emotional scenes where the characters have to make a life-changing decision, or face death...now that's just different for me.
The first time I did that it truly devastated me.
You suffer real loss. Especially when you made the character. He, or she, or even it is a part of you, almost like your child. So naturally their death means a part of you is now dead with it. Empty and alone. It can be hard to accept a new character in its place. But that's life, right?
I hate emotional scenes, when the lives of my characters are in danger, or facing some heartache, or betrayal. But I'm grateful for them too. Scenes like that evoke emotion within the reader, it often presents them with something they can relate to or understand.
In order to gear myself up for an emotional scene/chapter I have to mentally repeat the event in my head and tell myself that this is what is going to happen and I can do nothing about it. Otherwise I'd be making life just a little bit too easy, and possibly boring, for my characters if I allowed life to be all rainbows, unicorns and sex, right?
I have to go through the acceptance stage first, convince myself that it'll work out, that my characters will become stronger. I need to have just as much faith in them as I would in a real human being.
Once the scene is done...well I take a timeout, make an earl grey tea, sigh sadly while holding Mr Julian Leopold (my leopard) next to me and stuff my face with cake. Life isn't easy for a writer...you have to make tough choices. Sacrifices.
But I'll talk more about the sacrifices in my next post.
Point is, when you read a book and you come across a scene that is heart wrenching and you start cursing the author, just know that they went through the pain long before you did and had to deal with it a lot faster!
With love guys,
When you're working 8 hours five days a week the last thing you'd think about doing when you get home is working again.
I spoke to my editor yesterday and she admitted that it can be very hard and exhausting and motivation can abandon you BUT there are ways to help locate motivation again, which is where the writing challenges come in.
My approach to keeping my motivation and that flow of writing is to take my laptop to work. I find that I'm more likely to get more writing done during my breaks at work than when I step through the house door at 5pm.
I was stuck briefly today though. I did my #1k1hr challenge on my lunch break but couldn't help prettying up my sentences and over-thinking. Did I reach my goal, no! I could have kicked myself. But I continued later on because as you're probably aware by now, I'm working to a deadline.
I adore deadlines. They keep you in place and on the right track, forcing you to plan and prioritise. Though in University I was never part of the group of students who would still be working on their projects on the actual D day. I like to complete and edit my work well in advance. The competitiveness comes out.
But in order to reach my personal deadlines I often sacrifice sleep.
Guys...let me tell you now. Sleep is crazy important. More often than not I have finished writing at 4am then wake at 6am to get ready for work. I get through the day in a daze. I'm so spaced out it's unreal.
I'm still slapping my hand, berating myself for putting my body through it. But it's just that I'm a stressy-betty. I forget that lack of sleep affects my quality of writing--so even if I reached 3K by using matchsticks to support my eyelids, the content will likely suck.
Something to keep in mind.
Don't over-exert yourself to reach deadlines.
Remember to eat, drink and sleep!