Word Genocide

Published March 30, 2016 by Maggie Williams

I just had one of the weirdest editing sessions of my life. I started the third draft of my novel tonight, and word genocide was the name of the game. I was changing and deleting things from my first two chapters left and right. I was angrily reading over the remnants of the story that I began three years ago, thinking about how stupid and untalented I was back then. There was a lot of groaning and going helplessly limp as I thought about how much I hate everything I wrote before this past year, including the novel which I have spent a fair amount of my life working on.

What can you do when you’ve put that many years into something? You have to keep on keeping on, no matter the cost. So, after spending two hours trying to edit the first thirty pages of my manuscript, I decided to scrap them all. That’s right- tonight, a 304-page novel turned into a 274-page novel in the blink of an eye. It was actually one of the easiest decisions I have ever made as a writer.

Deleting those pages (from my current document- they are backed up safely elsewhere just in case) didn’t feel like falling backwards. It felt like a huge step in eliminating the awful book that my freshman-year self set out to write. I’m a different person now- a more intelligent human and a better writer. I don’t want these past three years to feel like a waste. I want to finish this, and I want it to be at least kind of good.

So tomorrow, I start on round three of editing with a new perspective and a new jumping-off point for my first novel. Let’s hope this is the year that I actually get it finished.

I Am a Slug- Read My Novella

Published March 29, 2016 by Maggie Williams

Sharing a story for the first time is always terrifying, no matter how many times you do it. You can finish editing something and be 100% positive that it’s a masterpiece, and the minute you let someone else read it, you suddenly realize that it might be the worst thing anyone has ever written. The things we write are like our children- they’re a part of us and we usually love them. We want people to give us feedback, but we mostly prefer the positive kind for the sake of our precious, fragile egos (or at least that’s what my precious, fragile ego prefers. But I have the backbone of a slug, so).

But what more can you do when you’ve taken your work as far as you can on your own? There comes a point where you have to let people see what you’ve been working on so that you can garner some idea of whether or not you have been running in circles the past few weeks, finishing a novella that is absolute shit. And since I don’t have any writing friends in the real world (or at all), I do what everyone does in this day and age. I share it on the internet.

Tonight, I reverted to my freshman-year self and posted a novella on Wattpad. Honestly, it’s mostly so that I can force my friends to read it and give me feedback, but I thought that I would also mention it on here in case anyone else is interested. Do you like dark, depressing stories with horror influences? Does the idea of a circus where human performers are treated like animals sound like a good read to you? Maybe take a peek at this novella and tell me what you think. Okay? Okay.

https://www.wattpad.com/story/67368131-circus

Please Stand by for a High School Senior Moment

Published March 17, 2016 by Maggie Williams

OH MY GOD, LIFE IS WONDERFUL, I AM MADE OF JOY. I got accepted to my first-choice university with a whopping financial aid package. This is the school of my dreams- I’m fairly certain that I’ve mentioned it before on this blog. I could not be more excited and terrified right now. I might throw up. I won’t throw up. Probably.

Well, I guess I lied. I could be more excited if one of my best friends had also been accepted instead of waitlisted. There’s still a chance he could get in, and I really hope he does because I am weak and I really want a friend with me like the huge baby I am. I’m 99.9% sure that I’m going there regardless, but it would still be nice to have a friendship safety net for being on my own for the first time at a college thousands of miles from home where I will know no one.

This is one of the things that is going to feel like the first day of the rest of my life. Again, I express my utter joy, fear of change, and feeling of maybe puking from both of the above. Who needed to sleep tonight? Definitely not me.

*Also, something that isn’t as noteworthy: I was accepted to a local university honors program, waitlisted at one of the other places I applied, and rejected from a reach school. I’m waiting to hear back from the Ivy that I applied to, but I doubt anything will come of it. It really doesn’t matter though, since I got accepted to my first choice. I just want to hear back because of general curiosity, and because I want to know the full scope of my options. Gah, I’m so excited! College life is so soon!*

A Surprise Novella

Published February 29, 2016 by Maggie Williams

I love moments of sudden inspiration with all of my being. I had a really strange and dark dream a couple nights ago, and it launched an obsession with the story that my unconscious brain created. I have spent the past three days obsessively hunched over my computer, telling a story of abuse and a circus where humans are treated like animals.

Maybe it’s just my obsessed brain talking, but I think that this unsolicited story is the best thing that I’ve written in a long time. Maybe ever. I feel so passionately about it right now, and I don’t think I’ve ever written this much in such a short span of time. I’ve done about 20,000 words in only three days, and it’s sort of started to make me reconsider my writing process.

Up until this point, I thought that plotting was the way to go. I wrote my first novel by creating a plot outline first. It seemed like the writer-y thing to do. But now that I look back on it, plotting may have been my downfall. Maybe it took me so long (and made me run out of steam because I was tired of it taking so long) because I felt like the story was already finished. Writing down every aspect of each chapter had a tendency to make me feel like I had already finished it, so I never felt motivated to actually sit down and write. The only plan I really had for this novella was my hazy dream and a single-sentence story idea that I combined with said dream, and it’s been pouring out of me like magic. I definitely have a lot to consider when it comes to whether or not to plot my next novel, but for now, I’m going to go finish a novella.

What’s your stance on plotting? Have you ever been randomly struck with a good story that you just couldn’t get away from? Tell me all about it.

Childhood Masterpieces

Published February 25, 2016 by Maggie Williams

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? I remember very vividly at least some of my first stories. The earliest was a fully-illustrated story about a corporeal diamond, and it had a plot that was suspiciously similar to the plot of Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams. The next that I remember was about a family that survived a full-blown second Ice Age by ice fishing. Then when the ice melted a few months later, they had fish for supper at least once a week to remind them of their time in the apocalypse.

There was also the journalism kick that I went through as a eight-year-old who wanted to be just like Rory Gilmore. So I made up this robot family and wrote incredibly boring things about their lives. “Samantha is thirteen. She has a boyfriend. She likes singing and playing with her dog.” You would think that the lives of robots would be more interesting.

The next thing that I clearly remember writing was part of a screenplay that was pretty much Charmed with ten-year-old characters. I specifically wrote in a romance between two of my friends because one of them was in love with the other in real life. I was nothing if not a wonderful wingwoman.

By this point, I had decided to take my writing seriously. I was just a little eleven-year-old chubby kid trying to live the dream. The next thing that I wrote was the beginning of a novel called Silver Minds, which was a combination of Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And then, of course, there was the wonderful beginning of a Twilight self-insert fanfiction from when fanfiction wasn’t even a thing in my twelve-year-old mind. I’m sure it would have been glorious if I had finished it.

After that point, the things that I wrote got incrementally better. However, I guarantee that the most cringe-worthy of all of my work happened during my middle school emo years when I was trying to be “edgy” and “different”. Like, at least the other stuff is cute. But who I was in middle school was just disgusting.

Well, this was a nice little reflection. It’s really interesting and humorous to look back on where you came from. Once upon a time, I was just a small child writing a story about a living diamond, and now I’m a slightly bigger child writing about lots and lots of stylized murder. Ah, to be young again.

What are some of the earliest things you can remember writing? Do you still have any masterpiece manuscripts from your childhood?

Ugh

Published January 12, 2016 by Maggie Williams

I just finished my first novel for the second time and all I have to say is “ugh”. I’m almost dreading what my alpha reader is going to have to say about it, especially the last four chapters. Any bad thing she could say is going to be 100% true. I have completely run out of steam while writing this book for the past three years. At least I’ve learned what not to do. And now I have the first big stinker out of the way, and I can move on to bigger and better things. Ugh. Just ugh.

Bookish Unpopular Opinions

Published January 3, 2016 by Maggie Williams

So, since I have no life, I spend the majority of my time writing or watching YouTube videos. I’ve been super into BookTube these past few months, and I noticed this tag floating around. Normally I hate when people do tag or challenge videos because it means that they don’t have ideas of their own, but I decided I’d make an exception for this tag. I like that it’s controversial. So, without further ado- the Unpopular Opinions Book Tag.

1) A popular book or series that you didn’t like.

I’m going to start with controversy right off the bat. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell was a huge disappointment for me. People always say that it’s the best of her books, and I did really like the beginning of it. But then I was just mad and vaguely uninterested throughout the remaining 2/3 of the book. I much prefer Fangirl and Carry On.

2) A popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate, but you love.

The classic- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. People hate it now, and understandably so. I would probably hate it if I picked it up for the first time right now. But the nostalgia just won’t leave me. I can’t help myself.

3) A love triangle where the main character ended up with the person you didn’t want them to end up with.

This one is kind of hard for me because I avoid books with love triangles like the plague. And when I didn’t, I was twelve and easily swayed to like anyone the main character liked. I’m just going to go with Katniss and Peeta from The Hunger Games. And not even because I liked Gale. I didn’t. I didn’t want Katniss to end up with anyone because she seemed utterly miserable and like she didn’t really love Peeta at the end of the series. I feel like she would have prefered to be alone.

4) A popular book genre that you hardly reach for.

Classics. Classics so much. I hate a majority of them.

5) A popular or beloved character that you do not like.

Another one that could get me murdered- Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices. Otherwise known as old-fashioned Jace Wayland. They are literally the same character in the first books of their respective series. I probably would have loved these books if I had read them when I was twelve, but now I know better. He’s the typical YA love interest and I hate it.

6) A popular author that you can’t seem to get into.

I feel like this is going to be a really off-the-wall answer, but in the interest of not repeating answers (Cassandra Clare is one I can’t get into), I’m going to say R.L. Stine. I remember trying to read Goosebumps books when I was younger and thinking that they were really dumb. And I recently tried to read one of the new books from the Fear Street series, but I couldn’t get into it. His books felt too young for me even when I was in the demographic.

7) A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing.

Love triangles, first and foremost. The rude, brooding love interest who no one can have an actual healthy relationship with. The incapable female protagonist. The never-ending series. The cover with a girl in a dress on it. I’m sure I could go on forever.

8) A popular book or series that you have no interest in reading.

The Fault in Our Stars. I’m so sorry, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I read Paper Towns and I liked it, and I have more John Green books in my TBR, but for some reason, I have zero interest in The Fault in Our Stars. (The runner up for this answer is the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Maybe I just have an aversion to Shailene Woodley.)

9) The saying goes, “The book is always better than the movie”, but what movie or TV show adaptation do you like better than the book?

My answer for this one isn’t fair, since I haven’t actually read any of the books. I tried to read the first one, but it was too similar to the TV show, which I had already seen, so I got bored. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I tried to read the book for a solid year before I gave up. The TV show is just too good. (The runner up for this one is Breaking Dawn Part Two. I liked what they did with the battle in the movie.)

I sat for a solid 15 minutes trying to think of another question to add to this tag so that this numbered list would be at an even 10. I think I’m just going to have to post it as is though. Ugh, it’s going to drive me crazy. Anyway, what are your unpopular book opinions?

 

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