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Fun with Contronyms

I've recently become obsessed with contronyms, so much so that I've picked it to be my theme for the Blogging from A to Z challenge. Before the challenge starts, I thought I'd share some of what I've learned about them.

The simple definition for contronym is a word with multiple meanings that are the opposite of each other. The intended meaning is usually made clear by the context of the sentence.
 
To throw some fancier words around, a contronym is a word that has a homograph that is also its antonym. Homographs are words with the same spelling but different meanings, and antonyms are words with opposite meanings; so with a controym, you get two semantic occurrences for the price of one.
 
Jack Herring coined the phrase contronym in 1962, although two years before, Joseph T. Shipley named the same phenomenon auto-antonym (sometimes spelled autantonym), which means the word is a self-antonym.  
 
Janus and contronymsAnother common term for these quirky words is Janus words. Janus was the Roman god of beginnings and endings and is usually shown having two faces - one looking to the future and one to the past. Since Janus is always looking in opposite directions at the same time, his name really fits these words that have opposite meanings.
 
Other terms for these types of words are antagonym, enantiodrome, antilogy, and sometimes contranym is used as an alternate spelling for contronym.  Since contronym is the first term I learned for these fun words, that's the one I'm going to use.
 
At first I thought English was the only language weird enough to do something so ridiculous as have the same word mean two completely opposite things (and then come up with several different terms to describe the illogical phenomenon!), but wikipedia indicates several other languages participate in this confusing practice. You can read more details here.
 
A common example of a contronym is bolt which can mean to secure (bolt the shelf to the wall) or to run away (the horse bolted from the barn). And anyone who read Amelia Bedelia as kid knows how confusing a contronym can be from the infamous dusting scene, since dust can mean to remove fine particles (dust the furniture) or add fine particles (dust sugar on the cake). 
 
Throughout the month of April, I'll present alphabetical examples of contronyms for the A to Z challenge, so I hope you'll stop by to see how weird and wonderful our language can be.
 
Have you heard of contronyms before? How about any of the other terms used for the phenomenon? Are you ready for the start of the A to Z challenge?

Crossing All My Digits

I tell you, it’s kind of hard to type with all my fingers crossed, but I’ll give it a shot because I need all the luck I can get. My toes, arms, and legs are crossed, too. I’m even thinking about braiding my hair so the strands are crossed. Why do I need all this luck? Because I’ve gone contest crazy!

The big one is that I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) again in January. I’ve had a rocky road with this contest, and if you want to know the details you can read this post and this post. But the short version goes like this:
 
1st time – booted in the first round (based on just the pitch).
2nd time – made it to the quarterfinals (based on excerpt) and got a great Publisher’s Weekly review (based on entire novel).
3rd time - booted in the first round (based on just the pitch).
4th time – made it to the quarterfinals (based on excerpt) and got a devastating Publisher’s Weekly review (based on entire novel).
 
ABNAAfter trying so many times with the same novel, I wasn’t going to enter again; but in December, I decided the January deadline was just what I needed as motivation to finish the rewrite. I was finally able to focus and do some major revising that I’m really happy with. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish rewriting the entire thing by the deadline, but I did transform the first third, which all my beta readers have agreed was the weak part in the original. 
 
In mid-February, I was excited to find out I’d made it past the pitch stage. Even though I used the exact same pitch that got me through last year, I was nervous because I never seemed to get picked during odd years. I was now one of 2,000 picked from 10,000 pitches anxiously waiting while our excerpts (the first two chapters) were read. I’d made major changes to these two chapters since the previous times I’d make it through, and this was the first time the new version was being read by strangers, so my stomach was in knots. They announced this past Tuesday – 2,000 were whittled down to 500 (100 of those YA ) – and I made it!! I’m a quarterfinalist again, and it seems like the rewrite didn't make the first two chapters worse. Whew!
 
Customer reviews don’t have any bearing on the contest at this point, but if you’re interested in reading the new first two chapters of THE DRAMA QUEEN WHO CRIED WOLF, you can get it here for free from Amazon. You don’t have to have a Kindle, since they offer lots of other ways to read it. And if you do have feedback for me (either positive or negative), you can either leave a review or send me an email. I’m trying to make these opening chapters the absolute best they can be.
 
And now it’s waiting time again as Publisher’s Weekly reads the entire novel. Gulp! Although I’d love to make the semifinals, only FIVE of the 100 quarterfinal YA novels are moving on, and as much as I love my silly little novel, I know it’s not the type of book that wins these awards. So I’m basically just hoping for a PW review that is helpful (and doesn’t reduce me to tears). 
 
writeoncomI’m also playing the waiting game with WriteOnCon’s Pitch Fest. They randomly selected 350 pitches to be assigned to agents for feedback and to be voted on by readers for prizes, and my pitch was lucky enough to be selected. My usual pitch is 300 words, so I had to whittle it down to 200 words for this contest. It’s another contest where reviews don’t help or hurt, but if you want to take a look at mine, you can read my pitch here and let me know if you have any feedback to help me make it stronger. Also, they have smartly set up voting so it’s not a popularity contest, so no one is able to go vote for a particular pitch, but if you’re interested in being one of the official voters, you can sign up here.
 
To keep from worrying myself into an anxious puddle of goo with all this waiting, I’m working on submissions for two more contests. I’m putting together my packet for the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant, and I’m also turning one of my short stories into a short script for the PAGE International Screenplay Awards. Both deadlines are at the end of March, so they should keep me busy enough not to check online every five seconds for new tidbits about ABNA and Pitch Fest. At least in theory . . . *hurries off to check twitter one more time* 
 
What’s keeping you busy these days? Did you enter ABNA? Do you have a pitch in Pitch Fest? Are you applying for one of the SCBWI grants? Have you ever tried your hand at screenwriting? 
 

Pitch Slapped – Part 2

Official Pitchfest BloggerHave you heard about the WriteOnCon 2013 Pitch Fest? It’s a great way to get feedback on your pitch, and you might get lucky enough to have agents and editors read it. Click here for all the details.

To help people prepare, I’m sharing lessons about writing a perfect pitch that I learned from watching the movie Pitch Perfect. Go here to read part one about how to get Pitch Slapped.

Shalom. ~Deaf Jewish Student
That’s not a real word but keep trying. You. Will. Get. There. ~Fat Amy
With so few words available in a pitch, the key is making every word count. Choose words that create vivid pictures in the reader’s mind. Use strong action verbs. Cut fluffy words that don’t make a precise point about plot or characters. Adjectives should be few and far between, but if they are pressed into service, they should be vibrant instead of generic like ‘beautiful’ or ‘mysterious.’
 
Keep in mind it is sometimes worth using additional words of the precious word count to make an impact. Instead of saying your protagonist is smart, mention she hacked her principal’s Facebook account to change his profile picture to Grumpy Cat. It uses more words but creates a memorable image and shows she has computer skills, a sense of humor, and a need to thumb her nose at authority.
 
Hey. You must be Kimmy Jin. I’m Beca. [Silence] No English? [Silence] Yes English? [Silence] Just tell me where you’re at with English. ~Beca
I admit I’m a terrible speller. Just awful. I don’t make anything public without running it through spell-check first, including tweets. I also have a strange addition to commas. If I type more than five words without a comma, I start itching to add one… just because. So I have several comma experts read my super important writing with their comma goggles firmly in place. Know your weaknesses and pay special attention to them in your pitch.
 
Taking names, taking numbers, join our righteous frat! If you ain’t pledging Sigma Beta, you ain’t worth no crap! ~Sigma Beta Frat Guys
That’s a double negative! ~Benji
That’s a lot of negatives. ~Jesse
This is basically the same as the one above, but it’s so important it bears repeating. A pitch is a sales tool, so it is absolutely vital that the grammar and spelling be correct. It’s such a small snippet that any mistake sticks out like a sore thumb and leaves a negative impression. An agent or editor might think if such an important writing sample has errors, then the manuscript is likely riddled with errors, too. Even if you are an expert at all things grammar, make sure to have several others read your pitch, since our brains often see what we think is there and not what is actually there. 
 
Pitch PerfectClosing it strong. Like always, absolutely tight. It’s going to be hard to beat that tonight. ~John
Make sure to leave readers wanting more. Several kind critiquers on the forums helped me identify a weak closing in my pitch. In my desperation to quickly sum things up, my last few sentences were generic clichés, losing all the momentum I’d built in the previous paragraphs. So don’t rush the end – keep it as tight and interesting as the rest of the pitch and readers will have no choice but to beg to read more.  
 
Best of luck with your pitch! 
 
Let’s just smash this! ~Fat Amy
 
Have you seen Pitch Perfect? Are the songs permanently stuck in your head? Do you have any tips to share about writing a pitch? Are you planning to participate in the Pitch Fest?
 

Pitch Slapped

Pitch PerfectYou guys are gonna get pitch-slapped so hard, your man boobs are gonna concave. ~Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect

Isn’t that how we want people to feel after reading our pitches? Like they’ve encountered something so awesome it actually changes them and now they MUST read our novels.
 
While we’re unlikely to make someone’s boobs go concave with our words, we can take lessons from the movie Pitch Perfect to help us craft a perfect pitch.
 
Yeah, this number is like an elephant dart to the public’s face. ~John 
Don’t be boring! A pitch is a sales tool, not a summary of the novel. A solid block of text with the gist of, “This happened, then this happened, and then this happened,” no matter how well written, will have readers asking, Is it just me, or did we take a left turn into snooze-ville? ~Gail
 
While it’s important to include elements of our plot, we need to focus on the plot points that will grab people’s attention. We should tempt and tantalize them until they are so intrigued they want to gobble up our novels right then to find out what happens.
 
Even though some of you are pretty thin, you all have fat hearts, and that’s what matters. ~Fat Amy
It’s vital that we connect emotionally with our readers - get them invested in our characters so they want to follow them over the course of an entire novel. Even if our characters are unlikeable, we want readers to root for them.
 
While space is at a premium in a pitch, we must find a way to quickly form a bond between our characters and the reader. It might be a quick bit of interesting back story or a habit or a fear – something that helps the reader see into the fat heart of the character and want to spend more time with them.
 
We should be taking risks. It’s not enough to be good, we need to put ourselves out there, be different. ~Beca
Most of us have heard the writing adage that there are only seven basic plots. Making it even tougher to stand out, a pitch has so little real estate it’s easy to fall into generalities and clichés to describe our novels in order to save space. With agents and editors reading so many pitches, we have to highlight what makes our novels special. What makes our vampire romance/teen discovers powers on 16th birthday/surviving in a post-apocalyptic world novel different from all the others out there?
 
Is it something special about the voice of your character? Then make sure it shines through in the pitch. Is it a quirk that makes your character intriguing? Then draw attention to it in the pitch with a memorable example. Is it a unique setting? Then make the readers feel they are standing there while reading the pitch.
 
It’s important to identify what makes our novel unique and emphasize that in the pitch, but as with all our writing, we need to make sure we show and don’t tell. Don’t say, “Emma is different from any teen you’ve ever read about before.” Instead try a specific and memorable detail like, “Emma always starts the morning announcements with off-key singing from Madama Butterfly.”
 
Your weirdness is actually affecting my vocal cords, so I’m gonna need you to scoot! Skedaddle! ~Bumper
Keep in mind there’s a fine line between being different and being off-putting. We want readers to remember our pitches, but not because it makes them wonder if they should call the loony bin. And while we are all obviously insane since we decided to be writers, we should keep a lid on the cray-cray to make sure we stand out in a good way, not a ‘grab the butterfly net’ way.
 
Pitch Fest Blogger
Since this is turning out longer than I thought, I’m going to stop here for now. Check out Pitch Slapped - Part 2 for more ways Pitch Perfect can teach us about writing perfect pitches.
 
In the meantime, find out all the details about the WriteOnCon 2013 Pitch Fest, and then go out there and crush it!
 
Have you seen Pitch Perfect? Are the songs permanently stuck in your head? Do you have any tips to share about writing a pitch? Are you planning to participate in the Pitch Fest?

YALLFest Returns

YALLFestY’all, the second annual YALLFest was a blast! I could probably just cut and paste my post about last year’s YALLFest here because it was the same type of awesomeness: funny and inspiring YA authors on stage and bonding with old and new writing friends. But instead of being lazy, I’ll try to come up with new superlatives to describe this year’s event.  

First of all, you have to check out the incredible lineup – it’s kind of mind blowing! There were 47 YA authors there and 25 of them are New York Times bestsellers – that’s a lot of writing talent in one location. I was excited to see all of them, but as a long-time fan of the show Bones, I was especially jazzed to see Kathy Reichs.  
 
The one drawback of having so many talented people in one place was that there were three panels happening at each time period, so without Hermione’s time turner, it was impossible to see everyone. So on Friday night, I printed out the YALLFest schedule and utilized several colors of highlighters to map out my plan of attack to get the most bang for my buck (Except not really, because the absolute best part about YALLFest? All that awesomeness was FREE!!). By Saturday morning, I was prepped and ready for my mission: absorb as much inspiration as possible from these YA writing luminaries. 
 
Fortunately I also had a number of partners in crime to share the day with: Kathleen Fox, Lisa Downey, Jillian Gregory Utley, Rebecca Petruck, Rebecca Enzor, Leah Rhyne, Kami Kinard, and new writing friend Laura Moss. It was so much fun to meet up throughout the day to chat about the panels we had just attended and compare notes. The keynote session was with Cassandra Clare and Holly Black discussing literary friendships, and I have to admit listening to them talk about the love and support of writer friends as I sat in the audience with my fantastic writer friends made me a tad teary.
 
Late in the afternoon there was finally a break, so some of us headed to Rue de Jean for a drink, where we started a new tradition of “serious” writerly discussions over wine and French fries. Thanks to Kathleen for the picture of Lisa, Laura, Rebecca E, me, and Rebecca P. Just like Kami (who made the leap from audience member last year to panelist this year – so cool!), I know others in this group will be on the YALLFest stage in future years – I just hope one of them is me!
YALLFest Gals
YALLFest really is a fantabulous event – both for readers and writers. The authors were very generous in sharing information about their ups and downs before they were published, their writing processes, and other fun stories. Plus Charleston is a fabulous place to visit in the fall. Thank you so much to Jonathan Sanchez of Blue Bicycle Books and Margaret Stohl for organizing such a fantastic event! They have already decided on November 9th for next year’s festival, so mark your calendars – I hope to see y'all there!
 
Were you able to attend this year’s YALLFest? What was the best piece of advice/inspiration you heard? Are you planning to attend next year?

Engaging Events

Normally I’m pretty much the homebody type, but during the month of November, the Charleston area is hoppin’ with happenings that are forcing me to break my hermit-like habits. Since these events might be of interest to fellow local storytellers (both writers and filmmakers), I wanted to share them here.

YALLFest
The one I’m most excited about is the second annual YALLFest. Last year was a fantastic event, so I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us this year. It will be Saturday, November 10th from 10am to 6pm in venues around King Street, and the lineup of YA authors is enough to make my head explode with excitement. I can’t believe I’ll be able to see writers like Kathy Reichs, Holly Black, Carrie Ryan, and so many others with just a short thirty-minute trip to downtown Charleston.  
YALLFest
 
But the absolutely coolest thing about the event is that Kami Kinard will be one of the presenting authors. I met Kami at a conference a few years ago, and we've stayed friends. We actually sat together at YALLFest last year, and now this year she will be on stage with all the other YA authors!! She’s such an inspiration, and I’m so thrilled for her! 
 
If you like writing and/or reading YA novels, make sure to come out and see some of your favorite authors in action. Most of the events are FREE and you can find the schedule here.
 
Charleston Jewish Book Fest
Charleston Jewish Book FestThroughout the month of November, the Charleston Jewish Community Center is hosting a number of authors, and you can find the schedule and ticket information here. I was especially looking forward to Delia Ephron (who worked with her sister Nora to create charming romantic comedies like You’ve Got Mail) and Stephen Tobolowsky. Although Stephen is also a writer, he’s probably best known for playing a number of memorable characters, including Sandy Ryerson on Glee. I also had the chance to see a hilarious short film he was in called Say It Ain’t Solo when I was at the DC Shorts Film Fest last month. Unfortunately, with so many exciting things happening in November, some of them were bound to overlap, and I won’t be able to see either Delia or Stephen. But hopefully you’ll be able to make it to one of the many events.
 
Literary Dogs
Hub City Press is a non-profit independent press in Spartanburg, SC, and they are publishing a book called Literary Dogs & Their South Carolina Writers (edited by John Lane and Betsy Wakefield Teter) in which 25 Palmetto State writers talk about their dogs. As someone who is absolutely ga-ga about her canine cuties, this sounds fan-freakin’-tastic to me. There are events happening all over SC to promote the book, but the one I’ll definitely be at is on Tuesday, November 27th from 5pm to 7pm at the Charleston Library Society (164 King Street).
Literary Dogs

 

Lowcountry authors like Mary Alice Monroe, Josephine Humphreys, Dorothea Benton Frank, Marjory Wentworth, Nicole Seitz, and Beth Webb Hart will be there with their dogs. I can only imagine how chaotic that is likely to be, but so much fun at the same time. Ticket information can be found here.
 
Carolina Film Alliance
Charleston Film AllianceThe Carolina Film Alliance (CFA) is an advocacy voice for film and television in SC, which has worked toward job creation for state residents and economic development though SC film rebates. If you are involved with filmmaking in SC or have a business that would benefit from potential revenue brought to our state via filmmaking, then you should attend the statewide rally on Sunday, November 4th from 3pm to 5:30pm at Pure Theatre (477 King Street).
 
Richard Futch is the CFA President, and he was also the amazing casting director for both of my films, so I’ve seen firsthand the passion he has for filmmaking. This will be a great chance to hear more about how we can help lure Hollywood dollars to SC to bolster our economy.
 
 
As you can see, the month of November has a lot of exciting things happening around the Lowcountry – I hope to see you at some of the events!
 
Are you planning to attend any of these?  Do you know of any other storytelling-related happenings in November that I missed?   

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

The WoodsThe sweet and talented Adriana Ryan tagged me in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, which is a fun way for writers to wax poetic about our books without seeming completely narcissistic. I’m not being a crowing parent, you see, I have to talk about my baby because I was tagged. So brace yourself as I get my brag on.

What is the working title of your book?

Ha, starting with an unexpectedly tough one. For the longest time, the title has been The Hunt because it works on many different levels, but I got feedback that it was too generic. So I’ve been floating The Drama Queen Who Cried Wolf for about a year with mixed results – some people love it, others say it has to go. Since most of the docs still have The Hunt, I guess I’m sticking with that until something brilliant hits me in the shower.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Three of my high school friends were also ‘Christmas babies’ like me, so for our 18th birthdays, we had a joint video scavenger hunt party where all of our friends divided into teams and filmed ourselves completing silly tasks my dad had concocted from his warped mind.  It was a blast and one of my most vivid high school memories, so I thought it would make a fun story – but with murder and mayhem thrown in to spice things up, of course.

What genre does your book fall under?

YA Thriller/Mystery

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The actors I originally pictured as my characters have aged out in the time I’ve been dawdling with the rewrite, so I hit up IMDB to see if I could find some new candidates.

Brea (the protagonist) would be played by Allie Grant (Lisa on Suburgatory).

Tegan (Brea’s nemesis) would be played by Kat Graham (Bonnie on The Vampire Diaries).

Kylie (Brea’s best friend) would be played by Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss from The Hunger Games).

Caleb (Brea's crush) would be played by Jeremy Sumpter (J.D. from Friday Night Lights).

Ryker (Brea's main suspect) would be played by Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy form The Vampire Diaries).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After the body she discovers in the woods disappears, sixteen-year-old Breanna must prove it was not the product of her overactive imagination, but rather the handiwork of a killer who plans to silence her.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I hope to be represented by an agency, but I'll self-publish if that doesn't work out.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It was my 2007 NaNoWriMo novel, so it took me a month.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I have to admit I've been slack for a while about reading in my genre, so I don't really have any current titles for comparison. But the dark twists and turns are influenced by all the Christopher Pike novels I read growing up.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

This was my second NaNoWriMo, and I found it much tougher the second time, so my local NaNo group kept me going when I really wanted to quit.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Even though searching for a killer is a dark subject, I approach it with a light tone and lots of humor. Plus, there's romance. There's always gotta be romance. :-)

Thank you for making it this far in reading about my WIP. Now I need to go get crackin' on finishing the rewrite so there is an actual book for people to read!

And I never tag other people in these things, so if you haven't had a chance to brag about your baby yet and want to, then consider yourself tagged!

ETA: By special request I'm tagging Yve at Lazidaisical - I can't wait to find out what she's working on!

Did you (or are you going to) participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop? If so, leave me the link to the post so I can find out more about your book.

Dark Forest photo credit to topfer.

Monday Movie Madness and #writemotivation

Since the months continue to whip by at a most alarming rate, it means it’s already time for another #writemotivation goal check month. I’m starting to feel a little bit like this:

… except it's more like: Gee, Jocelyn, what are your goals for this goal check month? The same thing I do every month, Muse, try to finish rewriting my WIP! At this point I’m starting to fear I’m much closer to Pinkie’s insanity that Brain’s genius, but like Brain, I won’t let that stop me from trying again and again and again.
 
This time I’ve added a few other goals to the list, so I’ll have the satisfaction of crossing something off the to-do list:
1. Revise at least three pages a day in my WIP.
2. Post two blog posts a week.
3. Spruce up at least one of my short stories and submit it for publication.
4. Finish reviewing critique partner’s novel.
 
I already know I’m going to fall way behind this week revising three pages a day because I’m leaving on Wednesday to go to Washington, D.C. And why am I taking this trip to the nation’s capitol? Because my second short film High Heels & Hoodoo is having its World Premiere this weekend at the DC Shorts Film Festival – whoo hoo! It’s a really great fest, and my brother and I are super excited to be part of it. My sister is even joining us to make it sibling road trip. Parties and workshops and movies, oh my! If any of you live in the DC area, come out and see the film – I’d love to meet you in person! Click here for details about the screening.
 
In other movie news, it’s now been two weeks since we made our first short film Saying Goodbye available for public viewing. The response has been so amazing! We’ve received emails from people, many of them strangers, sharing stories about how the film reminded them of their last moments with loved ones – I even had to break out the Kleenex while reading some of them. Here is a sample of some of the kind words:
 
“A story simply and beautifully told about a subject that's hard to face, but is so important to face.”
 
“I watched as the tears ran down my cheek in memory of those I have loved and who have earned their wings.”
 
“This film made me cry, sad and happy all at the same time.”
 
“…it’s a reminder of why we love film so much. Sometimes movies tap into our emotions in an important way.”
 
I share these not (just) to toot my own horn (although it’s fun to have a reason to!), but because this whole movie-making adventure has been a path on my writing journey that I never expected. I write horror and thriller stories for young adults. That’s what I love to do, and I never planned to write anything else. But this story came to me out of the blue, and even more unexpectedly came the opportunity to turn it into a movie (if you want the longer story about those events, click here). To now hear about the ways the story is touching people is truly rewarding. The entire experience has taught me to stretch my writing in ways I never dreamed, and I hope it encourages you to try new forms, styles, and genres of writing, too.
 
If you’re interested in watching Saying Goodbye, it’s only sixteen minutes long and available for free at: http://www.sayinggoodbyemovie.com/content/watch-saying-goodbye  If you enjoy it, please share the link with family and friends – thank you!!
 
Are you participating in #writemotivation this time? Are you expecting obstacles in meeting your goals? Have you experimented with writing beyond your usual style and genre? Have you watched Saying Goodbye yet, and if not, why the heck not?!?

July's #writemotivation

#writemotivationUh, could someone please tell me where the heck June went?  I couldn’t believe it when I saw it was time for another one of K.T. Hanna’s #writemotivation goal check-in months – since they only happen every other month that means it’s now JULY.  Seriously?!?  I never even got around to posting my wrap up for May’s goals!  Although I guess that’s probably because I was a little embarrassed. 

My goal in May was to make serious progress on rewriting my WIP.  And I really did… as long as it counts as serious progress even if I didn’t rewrite a single word.  I spent May doing in-depth thinking about my five main characters, figuring out a new approach for the tone, and working out plot issues that were tripping me up.  I feel like I finally have a deep understanding of my characters and story, but by the time that last minute of May rolled around, I still had not cracked open my manuscript.

Fortunately, all that prep work went to good use in June, and I actually, finally, I know it's hard to believe, started rewriting.  Progress has been slow as I’ve settled into a new voice for my protagonist, and after I finished chapter one I had a crisis of confidence and had to be talked off a ledge by some truly awesome critique partners, but I’m now getting into a rhythm.  I was the speedy hare when I wrote the rough draft several years ago during NaNo, but for the rewrites I’ve turned into the slow tortoise, possibly the slowest tortoise on the planet.  However, progress of any kind puts me in a much better place than I’ve been in years.  

I have scenes that need to be added, other places that need to be completely rewritten, and some places that just need a bit of tweaking, so my pace will vary throughout the month, but I don’t want to settle for the vague goal of “progress” this time.  Therefore, I’m keeping my goal for July tangible yet realistic: edit, rewrite, or add three pages a day on my WIP.  I’ll push to do more, but I won’t feel bad if I don’t.

Best of luck to all of us this month as we work towards our goals!

Are you participating in #writemotivation this month?  Are your goals aggressive or comfortable?  Are they concrete or more general?
 
Photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

My So-Called Teenage Life Blog Hop

My So-Called Teenage Life Blog Hop.In my wanderings around the interwebs, I stumbled across a blog hop happening this marvelous first day of summer called the My So-Called Teenage Life Blog Hop.  It’s being hosted by Christa Desir and Amy Sonnichsen and we’re supposed to “Dust off those old sappy journals or high school notebooks filled with bad poetry” and pick something to share.

It sounded like so much fun I decided to participate.  Just one problem – I didn’t keep a journal in high school.  I know that probably puts me in the minority of writers in general, but especially YA writers.  I think I spent so much of my time reading books and living fictional adventures that it never occurred to me to think deep thoughts about my own super boring life.

I did write a few poems, although none of those angsty, yearning, romantic sonnets or deep, philosophical, navel-gazing poems from me.  Instead, my masterpiece was a spoof of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.  We had to memorize Jabberwocky one year, and it’s now the only poem I can still recite in full, which is strange considering all the bizarre words.  Anyway, at some point I rewrote Jabberwocky as Jabberflu-y.  I remember being mighty pleased with myself when I wrote it, and it still makes me smile when I think about it because it was so fun and silly.  I'm not sure it really fits the blog hop theme since it doesn't have Angela Chase-type teen angst, but it is a peak into how my weirdo adolescent mind worked.  
 
Unfortunately, I looked in all the likely hiding places, but I couldn’t find it.  I hope it’s in storage because the world should not be deprived of the awesomeness that was Jabberflu-y.  But in another instance of my brain retaining the most random stuff, I do remember parts of it.  So since I signed up to share my teen writing, I’ll post the parts I can recall.  And I’m certain the sections I’ve forgotten were the truly hysterical parts that practically sang with their mastery of language. 
 
Jabberflu-y
 
‘Twas feverish and the snotty nose
Did run and dribble down the face
Beware the Jabberflu, my son!
The body that aches, the eyes that itch!
A-choo! A-choo! Bless you, bless you!
The clogged up lungs went hacka-hack!
He felt dead with his stuffed head
And collapsed upon his back.
 
“And hast thou caught the Jabberflu?
Come to my arms, my poor sick boy!
Drink your OJ, you’ll get better I pray!”
 
And that’s all my creaky ol’ brain can muster up - although I’m kind of impressed since it’s more than twenty years later.  I actually wouldn’t be that upset if my brain decided to relinquish that particular hard drive space to, oh I don’t know, remembering where I put my keys.
 
Did you keep a journal or write poetry when you were a teen?  If so, what do you think when you read it now?  If not, do you wish you had kept one?