Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What am I doing?

Deep down, every author wants to write that epic book or series, the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings that moves a generation, becomes a major motion picture, and makes you so successful that you never need to work a day job again. It may not be an all-consuming thought, and that certainly doesn't mean you're not going to write and even publish other things, but I firmly believe somewhere in the back of every writer's mind is that desire to write an epic story.

For me, Defenders is that story. It's a five-book series, and by the end of book five, I truly expect it to change lives. It's got romance, action, philosophy and politics all rolled into one, like The Giver meets The Hunger Games but with werewolves (and a host of other supernatural creatures). I have big dreams for this series.

So why am I writing Angels instead?

Unless you follow me on Twitter, I know I haven't talked much about Angels. It sort of came out of nowhere. I wrote half the first chapter during NaNoWriMo last year, then stuffed it in a metaphorical drawer in lieu of finishing Rosetta, starting Defenders and writing some short stories. It was really just a silly little writing exercise when I had writer's block one day.

Which is what happened again a few weeks ago. I had writer's block on Defenders, so I looked through some old projects to get my mind off it for a little while. Angels popped up, and I wrote a little more. Then a little more the next day. And again, and again, until I'm now 3,000 words into it, and it's starting to develop a plot.

Perhaps the scariest thing about it is that it's middle grade fiction. I've written MG fiction before, mostly when I was in the middle grades. The only MG thing I've written since graduating middle school, however, is The-Novel-We-Speak-Not-Of.

For those of you who haven't been following my blog since last November (so... everyone), I consider my third novel (and 2009 NaNo submission) to be the lowest point of my writing career so far, made all the worse by the fact that I had been sitting on the plot for several years before getting up the nerve to write it. Badly.

(Kim says it isn't as bad as I think it is. I agree. It can't possibly be. The Hindenburg wasn't as bad as I think this novel is.)

Needless to say, I have some concerns. I don't speak like a normal person to begin with. I like vocabulary, and I like using words to their fullest extent. I like grammar, and I like using it properly. 13-year-old girls do not do this, or at least not often. Not the ones in my story. And the 13-year-old girls I used to talk to are now in high school (I have a lot of younger neighbors). So what makes me think I can write this character and her friends convincingly?

I'm also afraid that the minute I put any pressure on this (i.e. call it an actual WIP), it'll crack. It feels so very fragile right now. I guess all books do when I first start out, but I think my insecurities are making this one worse.

The flip side of this is that 1) the words seem to be really flowing with this one, and 2) I'm having a ton of fun writing it. Which is a really nice change, considering how difficult Defenders is being. I guess I'm just confused because I've seen myself as an adult author, and I've seen myself as a YA author, but I'd never even considered the possibility I might also be a MG author.

Of course, I'm only 3,000 words in. Maybe I'm just getting ahead of myself.

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? Every gotten really into writing a book you never expected? Or ever written something you didn't think you knew how to write? Or should I just shut up and be glad the words are coming?


  1. Be glad the words are coming, definitely! As long as you are working on something, you're not wasting time. Working on something that inspires you is better than letting it lurk in a drawer, unfinished while you stress over doing nothing. I say, stick with it, you never know where it will take you! :D

  2. Then no pressure. Just let it take you.
    I never expected to come back to the first crappy story I ever wrote and rewrite it. Glad I did though.

  3. I think it's definitely best to write whatever is ready to be put on the page, ^_^. I mean, at some point, when you're already in the middle of a project, I guess you might want to switch gears and become more focused, but if you don't have to then why pressure yourself? I've been running into a wall with Wandering Shadow and it was making me so frustrated that it was such a relief to sit down and just say, 'I'm just going to write'. And I did. Totally freed my mind. Then I sat down and wrote a chunk of chapter 5 for WS and it felt great.

    So keep at it, no matter what you're writing. Haha, man this comment is so rambly.

  4. A writer is their own worst critic! Is there a more viscous cycle in any profession?
    Savor any moments of pride, word-flow and milestones if you can. It's the only way to survive!

  5. I say write what you love and see where it goes. Don't worry about critiques before you've even finished it. Pump out that first draft without slowing down and then decide where to go from there. That's what revisions are for!

  6. You know, the things I have the most fun writing are the things that typically get the best reviews. The things I force, the things I feel like I put alot of effort into, people seem to think feel forced. I would just write it. Let it be and see where it goes.

    p.s. I gave you an award.

    1. I'm not going to lie. I may have made an inappropriate squeaking sound when I saw that. Thank you!!!

  7. Your questions at the end have me laughing out loud! You're awesome. I can totally relate. It's so fun to find yourself lost in a story you weren't sure would happen. To see it develop and find out how awesome it is!

  8. Definitely be glad the words are coming...

    A while back, I was writing a scene for one of my WIPs and I thought I knew, down to the last period, how the scene was going to go. All I had to do was type it. And then I made an impromptu change to a line of dialogue. That led to another change and then another until I finally got to that last period, typed it, and then sat back in mu chair, looked at the monitor and said, "Damn. I never saw that coming."

    But it's turned out to be the best experience ever.

  9. I love that feeling when words just flow :)