Thursday, February 11, 2021

Finding Your True Voice

If ya'll remember, back in 2017, I eagerly drafted a Viking fantasy in 3 months. It had sisters, believing in oneself, a side order of romance... and then months later, I redrafted the entire book. Yeah. I did that. And suddenly, the theme and direction began to change. I felt the microscope of the writing community and what publishers were currently publishing coming down to a few subjects/themes. I became overwhelmed with this incessant need to write to that. If I didn't then my book wasn't good enough. And without actively wanting to, I let my book be for them. That's how freaking tight the grasp was.

Those are the lies we tell ourselves - that it's not a story if it doesn't fit the current xyz. Um, hello, those change frequently. New trends happen because we make them happen.

I'd several requests for the book, came close, never made it. 

However, it taught me more than I asked for, and for that? I'm grateful. I learned to not write for some idea going around. I learned that I needed to be behind it's every word 100% with my words, not ones stuffed down my throat. I made a mistake to myself. I moved on, vowing never again. I'm better for it. Although...there is one side character asking for a redo and to power up to main character.

That is finding your true voice - your writing. YOUR writing.

It's not a secret. It's not a formula. It's your words, in your order, with no influence of mass media or anyone else filling your head. It's your character in your way because that's how you see them, not how you think they'll sell by changing the true image that came to you. It's your message, or no message. Your theme, or no theme. It's how you see the story in your head if you never knew what was trending in the moment. It's what brings you back to telling the story because you are steering the wheel. It's your jargon. It's your twist on sentences and paragraphs and chapters and all their structures. 

It's you on the gosh dang page. Not them. Just write what you see, and tell it how you'd tell it. In your own gosh dang words.

Love your guts,

-Tammy -

P.S. What about you? What are you writing, listening to, watching on TV? What has 2021 looked like for you?? 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Surprise Subplot

I would be silly to not talk about what's happened since Covid-19 came around. A lot of my work in the healthcare field was affected. However, the changes allowed me to reflect and realize how I have full control of my workload. Full freaking control. Yet, guilt riddled me to do everything I could to appease others regardless of that fact. Which in turn, made me let that control seep from my fingers like sand in an open hand. And not once did I notice I had done that to myself until quarantine forced me to step back. Once that hit me, I closed my fist, vowing to never let that happen again. P.S. the guilt never really goes away right off the bat. That'll take a little more time...
     
In the meantime of all that, my full manuscript is still with people in the industry. A fresh full manuscript request (that excites the crap outta me) came into my email the other week. I'm still editing my Orphans of Dark, but HOLY CRAP, something majorly crazy happened. I was near the end, NEAR THE END, and I just needed to do a few more scenes and then the book would be over. BUT NO!! I couldn't fall asleep, was thinking about my book, and a "what if" came to mind, and then of course I stayed up to answer it. A secondary character, the one in the next scene the MC was going to talk to that would be the "saving grace", was the wrong gender.

     
WHAT??? YEAH... and by changing the gender, this whole world came to view. A whole romantic subplot that holy hell had to happen. I didn't sleep good that night, took a walk listening to moody music the next day, and it all continued to pour out in my head. All the freakin' emotions behind their story, their backstory, all of it!!
     
I went back to my laptop that day but couldn't write. I didn't have enough no matter how much I wrote about the person on paper. So, just 10k shy of being done, I began to edit my book and edit that subplot in. I'm going hella slow. Molasses has nothing on
me. Literally, I'm on chapter 2. Not kidding. My mind is so occupied with things, like reading two books at the same time, church things, home schooling things, being a bum things, I'm not jelling with writing time like I should.

BUT, this next week, I'm penciling in the commitments. Actually, I haven't but saying it here means I have to -- Jedi mind trick. And besides, I was getting on my youngest to just sit and put his fingers to the keyboard, and his essay would come faster than not doing it. After saying that, I was like dang, walking contradiction much??

How is everyone doing out there?? What are you reading, writing, watching, doing??

Love your guts,

-Tammy-

Monday, February 17, 2020

2020: A Year of Doing

I know it's been awhile since I've come on here, but various things have fallen between the couch cracks in the last few months. For me, life in 2019 was maybe one of the hardest (personally) that I've had to endure. I experienced more tears in that year than while giving birth to my four kids - combined. I kept my face brave, endured it with my family and support of friends who knew how things were going, and kept prayers going on a daily. 

This year, I thought as January was looking up, would be different. However, I'm not so sure. Everything just stings from 2019 still and I feel like I need a ton of daily affirmations just to get through the days. My husband's hugs are the best and he doesn't even know it.  

I will say, and I never thought I'd say this, I found a soft jazz instrumental music station on YouTube for one of my clients at work, and holy hell, it has been my own life changer. The comments have stated how the music helped several through depression or anxiety. I found my mood calmer when listening to it, too. I'm not a jazz listener. I've tried. I can do vocal jazz. But instrumental? My ears say no. This soft jazz though, like big time elevator music, has stabilized me every time it's on. When I'm cooking, working, studying, whatever I'm doing. My youth group even said they found it very relaxing and chill. 

Aside from all that, in my writing path to publishing, I'm awaiting some agents with partials/fulls with big crossed fingers. It's a shame this is taking so long, but requests for more came right before the holidays, so I imagine agents have a lot of catching up to do. And normally, I try to keep this all quiet and hush-hush. But honestly, I'd rather be transparent about it and find solidarity in others doing the same or having been there done that. In the end, it'll all be worth the wait. Right? Right???

Luckily, I also have 70k words drafted in my YA dark fantasy, and my goal is to finish it before the summer at close to 80-95k. Finished meaning off to betas after my own edits. I know it would've been done by now if work and personal stress hadn't gotten the best of me. So, if my Viking fantasy doesn't pan out like I hope, I'll have another to query this year. My comedic Kpop romance went to the side for now, but will be continued once the dark fantasy is off with betas. Gotta have something to do in the meantime, right?

One word to summarize 2019? (suckfest, that's mine)
A book and/or movie you loved in 2019? 
(A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd, Sadie by Courtney Summers; movie...not so much)
Any word for 2020 to motivate you? (convinced; various predicators say this is my year; why argue??)

Love your guts,

-Tammy-

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Querying and Writing and Writing Some More...

I noticed that I haven't blogged in about ten months. And generally have spaced out my posts by several months. Remember that time when you tried to do it several times a week or at minimum once a week and some days were better traffic days than others, and some times to publish them were better than others? Yeah, me too...

As of summer, I've been in query mode for my Viking fantasy. Will it ever take off? I don't know. I've had some promising requests, and am looking forward to finding out the end result, but like I've been told time and time again in the book writing/publishing world, time is not on your side, be patient.

Have you met me?? Patience is my nemesis. But, I will say, I'm getting better at it.

In the meantime, I'm drafting two books. The first is a YA dark fantasy that I conceptualized almost two years ago. I hit a wall with it about a quarter way in, something feeling off. I realized I needed to invest more into the secondary characters because they were the back bone of the story. Sometimes taking your concerns to another writer friend so they can offer advice is just what you need. I ended up spending the following days journaling all about each of the main/secondary characters and the dark clouds parted and the sunshine shined. Now, I can't wait to continue the story! This story has islands, anti-heroes, missions, love, and humor.

I'm also working on a YA contemporary. This one was more of a surprise. It's comedic (right up my alley), and came about when I watched my daughter at a choir concert. There's a lot more to it than that, but I literally was watching something unravel before my eyes and a story idea hit, and it hit hard. I've enjoyed working on it because it's quicker writing when you're not trying to worldbuild as much. This story has k-pop, first loves, mental illness, YouTube-ing, and lots of humor.

Oddly, both are male POV's. And oddly, I'm LOVING WRITING THEM.

OKAY, that is all! Hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather, getting cozy in their sweaters and pumpkin spice - apple spice aromas.

What are your plans for the remainder of the year? What've you been working on? 

Love your guts,

-Tammy-

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Why You Shouldn't Quit Your Day Job

Last year, I had a ton of moments where I'd be barfing to a friend about how sick and dog gone tired I was of working this job I work when all I want is to be able to write books. To have the time to even get the chance. To not drive away and do xyz, but stay home and xyz all over my manuscripts.

It came to a head a couple months ago. I was in tears and literally melting about this very thing to one of my writing besties. It was Marco Polo so she couldn't do anything but watch me cry. I've had these moments several times since. It drives me nuts. It gets me no where. It doesn't motivate me to work faster. Working faster means turning in crap, and I'm not doing that. Sometimes though, venting was helpful in and of itself. Just to get the words out I hold in constantly. Constantly!

It's hard to see friends and acquaintances boom boom boom book after book, getting to do the very thing I just pray to. I get infuriated when I can finally sneak in some writing, because I shouldn't have to. Or at least, I don't want to. I want time in the day when I'm not exhausted from work, family, cooking, chores, exercise, etc etc etc. (And please, don't remind me to not glorify publishing. I know, and have read, about many who've had crap deals. Susan Dennard goes into this with great length. I get it. I do. But, I still want it.)

So why do I say don't quit your day job? Well, several years ago, I won an interview with Greenhouse Literary agent, Sarah Davies. Her advice was that very thing. Her reason was she wanted to see that all the eggs weren't in a basket of "publishing dream." It showed financial logic.

The week I had my first real meltdown, I was at work the next day and saw an interview by Harry Connick Jr of the Shark Tank's, Daymond John. He said the exact same thing. In fact, he was working at a fast food restuarant when he'd had the idea of FUBU. BUT, he didn't give up what allowed him to financially live. He said he did FUBU at night and fast food by day. He worked harder and harder, allowing the percentages of time spent with one to slowly become more than the other. FUBU took off, and allowed him to financially thrive. THAT was the moment he stopped working fast food.

There are moments in my life when I pray all my hard work will pay off. That I can reach my goal. That I can slowly, and assuredly, begin to also make the switch between jobs and follow my heart deeper and deeper into my writing journey. Scratch that, my writing career.

Months ago, I did a very brave thing. I entered my 1st chapter (which I knew had problems but I needed enlightment) to a podcast. I was shocked and teary when I heard the highs and lows of the chapter, which is the point of the segment. Ultimately, I rehashed my first 2 chapters with the advice given in mind and BOOM. Everything made sense once again. I'm on chapter 8 now and hoping to be done and able to query by the end of summer. The podcast set me back several months worth, but it also set me forward in my writerly knowledge. And that I'm forever grateful for.

I hope my words today have been helpful. I thank all of you for being there with me and always encouraging me in my Viking story and never sending me any shade. I hope to one day put you in my acknowledgements. And yes, I probably just jinxed myself, now! :)~

Love your guts,

-Tammy-