Writing

Writing Wednesday: #AuthorLifeMonth 2016

Welcome to Writing Wednesday! Even though it’s now March, this second installment will focus on #AuthorLifeMonth. I didn’t find about the hashtag until midway through February, which was why I didn’t really participate on Instagram. I was so jealous, though, of the authors who did that I decided to just do it all as a somewhat late blog post.

Since I’m neither published nor agented, I had to improvise for a lot of these. I think this works out pretty well, actually, for my blog. You’ll get a glimpse of my writing inspiration, but also a little bit of my life. Hope you enjoy!

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DAY 1: YOUR BOOKS

I’ve written drafts of 4 books. The first is a bloated mess that I suppose could be considered a Suburban Gothic drama–the history behind it alone will probably get a future blog post. The second is a rock ‘n’ roll fantasy inspired by 1950s Americana. The third is the first in a middle-grade action-adventure series inspired by my Chinese heritage and love of Asian action movies. For the fourth, see Day 4!

DAY 2: YOUR AUTHOR PHOTO

I caught up with my high school triumvirate on New Year’s Eve and we went to Sephora. So here I am, looking all posh:

new year's selfie

DAY 3: YOUR LAST 5-STAR READ

esperanza_rising_cover

I know it’s shameful that I only just read this for Children’s Lit but seriously, wow. No wonder it’s a classic. Also, it’s middle grade, which is the genre I’m writing in.

DAY 4: YOUR WIP

My WIP is THE MILLENNIALS TRILOGY #1: IDENTITY CRISIS, a 70,000-word upper-middle-grade book about superheroes in the Internet age. Read more about it here!

DAY 5: COMP COVERS

My brother got me this edition of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and gah, I love it. I love the book, I love the story around superhero comics, and I LOVE the cover. Seriously, it’s gorgeous. I would be ecstatic to have one like it, though I’m also partial to a comic book style cover. On the other hand, modernity is really important to my WIP. Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart’s Batgirl does youthful Millennialism really well, on top of just being a beautifully illustrated comic–I would very much be down for something like that.

DAY 6: FANART/EDIT

I think I might weep if I ever truly have fanart of my books. I can’t edit, but here’s a cryptic mood collage of my protagonists and other story elements:

DAY 7: WRITING MUSIC

I’ll hopefully go into more detail in a later post, but highlights from my playlist include The Last Shadow Puppets, The Fratellis, St. Vincent, and Marina and the Diamonds.

DAY 8: AWESOME MOMENT

Being accepted into my school’s Creative Writing Honors Program was pretty awesome!

DAY 9: CHALLENGE OVERCOME

The brutal truth is, I haven’t overcome many real challenges. I know that. I’ve had a very fortunate life, and I’m grateful. But despite all my good fortune, the truth was I battled–I don’t want to say depression, because to this day I don’t know if I was actually clinically troubled. But I struggled with unhappiness for a long time and I’m so, so much happier now, and well, I’m grateful. And proud. I didn’t rise alone, but I rose myself.

DAY 10: NON-AUTHOR PHOTO

Since I’m in a spring mood, here’s a throwback to my first Picnic Day, in which I attempt to channel Lana Del Rey vibes (check out my bookish tote!)

non author photo

DAY 11: A FAVE REVIEW

Only a handful of people have read even part of my work (not including workshop pieces), but my all-time favorite response is from my brother. His extremely positive reaction to my first Nano chapters were what made me realize, you know, maybe this one is something special. When I get discouraged with revisions, I think back to the look on his face when I told him the synopsis until three in the morning. Although, “this will make fetch happen” (not writing-related, but a response to my makeup) is a worthy second.

DAY 12: KILLED DARLINGS

I recently cut a lot of exposition, and was a little sad to see this line go:

It’s common knowledge that the NYPD has known [The Queenpin’s] identity since her husband’s death left her in charge of the Valencia crime family, but those donuts aren’t going to buy themselves, you know.

DAY 13: FAVORITE BOOK IN GENRE

book_harrypotterandtheorderofthephoenix

I know some people don’t like this book that much, and I understand why–it certainly could stand to be trimmed. I would posit, though, that what’s good about Order of the Phoenix is some of the best (or in the case of the villain, worst) stuff in the entire series. The DA vs. Ministry subplot? Weasley twins blowing up the Great Hall? Umbridge??

DAY 14: FAVE OF YOUR COVERS

Obviously I don’t have any yet, so here are some recent middle grade covers I dug. I’m a sucker for illustrated covers. Hoodoo is very cool, by the way–I haven’t read Wells and Wong or The Last Immortal , but they annoy me because they would’ve been right up middle school me’s alley. Not sure about the Shadow of the Yangtze summary on Goodreads, but it’s a gorgeous cover.

DAY 15: SWAG

Since my WIP is superhero-themed, I harbor a deep fantasy for action figures of my characters to become a thing. That would be a dream come true.

DAY 16: WHERE YOU WRITE

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Somewhat meta entry (pictured: my Mac screen, my fluffy anemone-like pencil bag, my journal for blog entries, and my Oscar Wilde coaster!) Other than that, not terribly interesting. I write on my laptop on my desk in my room. The lighting is funky because my roommate has a midterm tomorrow and is calling it a night early.

DAY 17: WHERE YOU RELAX

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In the pages of good books, of course! I don’t buy a lot of books while I’m in school, since so this is a very incomplete selection, but you can see some of my favorites. The *stunning* poetry books are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

DAY 18: RESEARCH

I am looking forward to doing so much more research in subsequent revision rounds. Inspiration is easy since superheroes are having a pop culture moment (I’m digging Marvel’s Jessica Jones, though I prefer Sony’s X-Men and Deadpool movies to the Marvel Cinematic Universe), but I’m hoping to focus more on comics and classic kids’ superhero cartoons. I read Watchmen (which is a masterpiece) and Ms. Marvel #1 over break; a lot of the newer imprints, like the Batgirl of Burnside and Silk, are also on my list. Definitely plan to revisit shows like Teen Titans, Batman Beyond, and the Paul Dini/Bruce Timm animated series, and I need to finally watch Young Justice! On a less fun note, I probably will have to research hacking/computers a lot more. Useful info outside writing, I guess.

DAY 19: CRITIQUE PARTNERS

Thanks to the good people at PubCrawl, I *just* got some really awesome critique partners! I’m still in the connection process, but I’m very excited to have at least 2 🙂

DAY 20: FAVE CHAPTER ENDING

love writing last lines, but I think this (originally the cliffhanger ending of my very first chapter, before I added a “prologue”–though chronologically an epilogue–and another chapter, making this the ending to Chapter 2) has a special place in my heart:

“Look at this, Mike,” he says. His nonchalance is so perfect, I know what he’s about to show me must be really something.

DAY 21: YOUR MUSE

Let’s not get sappy. I don’t know if I have a muse, but I do have what Stephen King calls a First Reader.

DAY 22: A DEDICATION PAGE

Don’t have a dedication page yet, but I know who my first book will be dedicated to. Especially if it’s my current WIP, which I really, really want it to be.

DAY 23: BUCKET LIST ITEM

Still need to complete NaNoWriMo. I finished Camp Nano in July with the same November goal, 50,000 words, but it was the summer after I graduated high school, so it doesn’t quite fit the “right in the middle of your busy life” festivities. I want to focus on my WIP at my own pace, though, so I think Nano will have to wait for The Millennials Trilogy #2.

DAY 24: BUCKET LIST ITEM DONE

I really love the Lyttle Lytton Contest. The basic idea is to write the most intentionally awful opening to a novel (like the Bulwer-Lytton, but entries are shorter and subtler and frankly, much, much funnier) I’ve actually learned a lot about writing from Lyttle Lytton winners, and they’re also just hilarious. I was stunned and delighted when my first original entry had an honorable mention! My clunker was:

“Night falls in East L.A. with the crimson blood of men, as the day rises with women’s tears.” 

I think this might be my greatest achievement. I’m seriously mad at myself for leaving this off my resume when applying to Pemberley Digital. Check out the other entries here!

DAY 25: PIMP A PUB-SIB

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Going to pimp a book by the agent I intern for at McIntosh & Otis. FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP comes out this September. It’s a YA historical fantasy involving witches on the Isle of Man and goblin sharks. How cool is that?!? Can’t wait!

DAY 26: FAVE BOOK OUTSIDE GENRE

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Is this an actual cover? Cuz if so, want.

I do like Hemingway and quote-unquote literary fiction, but I really, really don’t like books about boats. Dunno if that counts as a genre but gah, I hate it. I didn’t like Steinbeck’s The Pearl, and the nautical bits in Cloud Atlas was by far my least favorite part (though the second segment was very good). I love The Old Man and the Sea, though. Jaw-droppingly good writing, but also just an incredibly powerful, moving story.

DAY 27: YOUR SIGNATURE

Still a work in progress, but here’s what I just wrote up:

unnamed

DAY 28: FAVORITE OUTFIT/ACCESSORY

red leather jacket

For being the coolest thing I own and my favorite color, though I’m also very fond of my cheongsams.

Whew! So that’s my #AuthorLifeMonth. How was February for all your WIPs? Any cool comp covers or exciting dedication pages to share? Let me know in the comments!

Love, Caution,

Aimee

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