Another Day, Another Update

Howdy, all!

So, I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front– been trying to really focus on working with my critique partners. Determined to get through all of our MSes by the summertime! One special CP of mine is blazing through my chapters, so that gives me hope that I’ll be able to query my revised MS this summer. Super exciting– I could talk about my feelings about that for hours.

But speaking of querying, I thought I’d go back to Like a Virgin 2014! The contest officially ended May 2nd. I mentioned previously that I’d made it to the finals, surprisingly enough (And I won 3rd Place! This deserves its own blog entry…). But then, once I posted my revised entry, I got a request! This was of course amazing, and I’m incredibly thankful, but it was also terrifying. My MS was (and still is not) in any way ready for submission! Haha

So, I spent all of last week through yesterday blazing through my MS and making changes. Revising is such an odd thing– sometimes, I just go into the word document and do a line by line directly. This time, though, I printed it out and handmarked my comments. It was more time-consuming but I think I looked at the MS differently and it definitely needed that. Finished processing all of my changes today. 

Reading the printed copy also showed me a few of my weaknesses. For one, I think I took cutting to be the solution to all of my problems: my issues with previous drafts were because I wasn’t being concise enough and was taking too long to say things. As a friend reminded me, yes, you cut– but then you still have to add interesting stuff back in! In my latest exchange, a universal complaint has been a lack of worldbuilding, setting, etc. And I completely get it. I’ve gone back to revise for that issue but I think it crops back up in later chapters, even after my last round of revisions. So I’ll have to address that more fully at some point.

Worldbuilding is such an interesting thing. I’d been so obsessed with stripping all unnecessary exposition and making the read as quick as possible that I think I uprooted important parts of the text. ARGH! Would love any and all thoughts, etc.

Anyway, thankfully I saw a response from the organizers on twitter that we can take our time to respond to requests. So, WHEW! I plan on taking my time– I probably won’t respond to them until the summer, when I start re-querying. I think my batteries need a recharge: I have no juice to write my other WIP, either. (Currently at 12.5K) I think I’m just going to focus on critiquing and reading now that I’m not in a rush to revise my MS– that’ll be a nice change of pace. 

I also have a gym pledge and going to the gym always gets me back in shape (pun intended), as hard as it is to stick with.

As far as what I’m reading: I’m rereading Divergent (which inspired my last major rewrite and conversion back to First Person POV) and still going through Darkest Minds. Both have been super-helpful so far– I think I just need to take some time to think about what they’re doing and how I can apply that to my own writing. I’m also looking for other good MG/YA to read, if anyone has any recs. One pledge I had was that for every book with a mainstream (read: white) MC, I’d read another with a diverse MC. I’m on amazon now to find some for purchase– thankfully, diversityinya has been super-awesome for finding things.

Alright, I’m hungry. Over and out!

On Frustration.

This entry will be a little more personal, I guess.

Last night, I reached a breaking point with my first MS. I wanted to forget about it, delete it, rip my hair out, etc. Some might even call it…a temper tantrum, haha.

There were a number of triggers. One, I’ve gotten (great) critiques to it and a big part of me wants to be done with it. I’m impatient and, in my opinion, I’ve been at this long enough to be done with it (whether or not that’s true isn’t exactly the point). I’m disappointed that it’s taking me this long to get to a good place with the MS.

I think I’m also seeing folks doing things I want to do– they’re making good films, writing good stories, being good dancers. And I’m just like, “Why isn’t this me!?” And so, my insecurities set in, and I’m just unsure of what I’m doing and if I’m happy with where I’m going.

But, Lord, is it tough. Last night, I decided I was driving myself nuts, and so I went to sleep. Of course, I had nightmares about every insecurity under the sun (from my body, to my projects, to my career– it was like a tour of all of my weaknesses over eight hours). 

Needless to say, I didn’t wake up in good shape, but my nightmares were a wake-up call that I was in a bad funk about all of this, and I needed to get to a better place. And so, I had a good, long talk with myself and I’m taking a small break from revising. Not critiquing and being critiqued, but revising. And I’m trying to renegotiate my expectations for myself.

And now, I’m feeling a lot more energized. Just thought I’d share this since I tend to take so much of what I do seriously- especially writing, but everything else in my life, too. Not sure how common the feeling is, but…here we are.

Anyway, feeling good about the way things are going. Mental health, man– it’s real. 

Cheers, 😉

Strange feels and juggling projects.

Firstly, Happy Easter!

I decided to marathon X/1999 (an anime from CLAMP; it’s from over a decade ago) instead of being social. It was a pretty good decision.

In between glancing up at X/1999 and typing in MS Word, though, I reached my goal for my new manuscript. I outlined it…10 days ago? I wanted to hit 10K words before this weekend was over; I hit 10,451 words about twenty minutes ago.

I have a lot of things to say. One, I’m loving the authors on twitter. It’s actually really cool– writing has always been really solitary for me. Of course, you can interact with readers, but the process of writing has really just been me on my own. So, if I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated to write, then that was the end of the game for the day.

I just discovered all of these fun hashtags like #1k1hr, which is for people trying to write one thousand words in an hour. Really awesome to have people to struggle with, haha.

But, as I write my second MS, I’m actually trying to deal with how I feel about it in relation to my first. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m tired of revising my first, but my second feels so much stronger. I feel like it suffers from none of the problems my first has/had– pacing and tension, primarily. And maybe that’s natural: I’ve gone through a lot of critiques from folks and I’ve learned a lot over the past few months. I feel myself increasingly wanting to shelve the first in favor of my second. 

I remembered reading on the QueryTracker forums that someone had recommended only pitching one MS at a time. And I can see why they’d say that– Lord forbid you get multiple R&Rs on the MSes! It’s sad, because the first MS is quite special to me, but I don’t feel as confident about it as I once did. To be fair, I’m still going through critiques with writing partners and, after I did another round of edits on the first MS this morning, I remembered what I love about it.

This is a long way to say I’m still trying to figure out how to love both MSes. I think I need to remember that they’re really different– different pacing, different characters. That doesn’t mean the second is better per se (though it might be). They’re just…different.

Anyway, realizing I have a lot of respect for folks working on multiple projects. I have some short stories I’m planning to finish (eventually…), so I thought it’d be easy to juggle MSes. Definitely not.

Would love any thoughts! And please bear with me as I try to get this blog together.

Salut.

Blog Topics.

Here is some introductory info about me and what I will write about.

I’m a mid-20s Black gay lawyer.

I care about pop culture– novels(from fads to classics), TV (trashy and otherwise), and movies (to some extent).

I care about LGBTQ issues, especially those unrelated to marriage equality (ie. how American evangelists have contributed to offshore homophobia).

I care about being  Black/part of the African-diaspora and all that that means.

And I care about law/policy.

I’m also a big nerd. I’m addicted to the internet– this is my fourth blog? I started blogging in high school and am finally coming back around.  I have been into anime/manga for over ten years. I speak Japanese and Chinese (both to different degrees of proficiency), so there may be some of that here. (Yossha!)

I’m based in Boston. I find Boston to be a strange place, especially to be a Black gay man. I’ve seen a lot over the past six+ years I’ve been in Boston. Some of it has been unfortunate. There’s a lack of organization here and a strange…something about being here in comparison to other American cities. (NYC, DC, Chicago, etc) So, some of what I post may be Boston-specific.

I’m also writing larger projects and that is bringing a lot of joy (and pain) to my life. I have one manuscript and am 5K words into another. This will likely form a substantial part of what I blog about.

Those are the hot-button issues. Anything else is extra.

Cheers. 🙂