Friday, December 17, 2010

Revelations

So, a few days ago I had a revelation about my main character. Here's the thing: when I wrote The Hamsa's Song, I knew Satya (the MC) backwards and forwards. I knew her favorite foods. I knew how she walked, how she spoke, how she responded to fear and confusion and happiness. Satya was clear in my mind from the beginning, as were the rest of the characters in the story.

I guess I was just lucky. The Hamsa's Song was my first novel to receive any public attention, and part of me assumed it would be easy the second time around. Not so. With Untitled Novel (my WIP), the characters started out blurry, and remained so because I didn't want to take the time to develop them. I thought they would simply appear fully formed, as they did in The Hamsa's Song.

It didn't work out, and I found myself with a plot that I loved accompanied by mediocre characters. I pulled my hair out for weeks, trying to convince myself nobody would notice, even though I knew I would have to fix them at some point or another. Trouble was, I had no idea how.

Then BAM! Revelation.

I was half-asleep in Statistics when Mal popped into my head, waving her arms like a lunatic, just begging to be translated into my computer. She retained some aspects of the original character, but, as with Satya, I suddenly understood her thought process and the motivations behind her actions. For days I had agonized over how to develop Mal's personality, only to have it hit me like a big yellow school bus (think Mean Girls).

The changes didn't take all that long. I've been working furiously for the past couple days, and I'm almost finished. Thing is, once I had a better comprehension of Mal's character, I began to realize things about the other characters that hadn't occurred to me before. I feel like I've added a whole new layer to the story; it's amazing how much a simple change can affect the entire feel of the novel. I am so grateful. My book is a million times better than it was, and I'm starting to gain more confidence that the story will eventually find a home.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I begin to doubt....

Now, I'm generally a pretty optimistic person. Glass half full, if you will. I try to keep a smile on my face and when things go wrong I look forward to better times.

That being said, I have constant doubts about myself as a writer. Tonight I read through part of my manuscript. It was all right. Not great, not even good, but just okay. Now, perhaps if I read that section again tomorrow it will seem a lot better. Perhaps it's all a matter of perspective. But when I finished reading this evening, I sincerely began to doubt whether or not I'm cut out to be an author.

It's hard to write books. Really, really hard. It's hard to revise and kill your babies and listen to critique and stay up late on school nights because you have to finish another page. Everything about writing a book is hard. And the thing is, it never stops. Agents reject you. Editors want a seemingly endless number of revisions. You pull the book apart piece by piece, in the hopes that when you splice it back together things will still make sense. And if you're lucky, the story will be better for it. Once the book is published the critics will tear into it and point out all the logistic flaws you missed while writing. Some readers will hate it. And then you go at it again, sitting down in front of a blank page on a computer screen, ready to subject yourself a second time around to the same emotional torture.

Okay, so I'm being dramatic, but you get what I'm saying. Writing is hard. I've always wanted to be an author, and I never questioned the legitimacy of this sentiment until recently. Because when it comes down to it I'm not sure if I can pull this off.

Discouragement. It's part of the process. I guess the real question is, how far are you willing to go before the discouragement becomes too much to handle?

Monday, December 6, 2010

PUSH Novel Contest

Again, I'm a horrible blogger. My posts are becoming more and more erratic by the month. I don't have time for a real post today, what with college apps and homework, but I just thought I'd share a short article about the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Novel Contest:

Article

As you might've noticed, me and my book are mentioned at the end of the article. Hope you enjoy, and if you know any young novelists out there tell them to google Alliance for Young Artists and Writers.