Hey, writer friends, ever had this sweet, sweet moment…

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Backstory: Sent Hooligans to my agent a week ago. Yesterday officially switched back to a manuscript I’m working on collaboratively with a friend (tentatively called Rafa & Rose), which has been set to the side for five months.

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My brain woke me up at about 4:30 am this morning with ideas for something I’ve been playing around with since I was twelve. And by “playing around with,” I mean it’s one of the generally plotless 200,000+ word monstrosities that were my first attempts at writing a novel.

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No, I did not write that much at twelve, I swear. That came much later. Anyway, years and many, many, many writing lessons later… I got ideas for some new takes on the characters and actual plot last winter, then played around with writing a few scenes to see what happened. Last night I rented just a terrible horror movie that I had to stop watching because it was just…so…bad. Watched several episodes of Intervention to research the effects of meth addiction for Rafa & Rose. Then got a bit bored, so I opened up the scenes I’d written in like January.

4:30 a.m. Brainsplosion of ideas for plot. Like really good ideas, even a potential title. And now I’m torn. What do I work on? What I’ll probably do is work on both simultaneously. When it comes to writing, I tend to follow my brain, mostly because I don’t want to lose that passion. Unless I absolutely have to finish editing something to meet a deadline, of course.

Writer friends, what do you do when inspiration for a new WIP lightning-bolts you? Do you force yourself to finish the current WIP or follow your brain?

Non-writers just don’t understand: Missing imaginary people

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So I just spent the past five months majorly re-writing my manuscript, per the amazingly comprehensive feedback from my awesome agent. I re-wrote the entire first 2/3s of it. After it’s been re-written so many times already. I’ve lost count of how many different chapter ones I’ve had.

It was grueling, but I cannot find the appropriate words to express how proud I am of the outcome…which is kind of bad, seeing as I’m a writer. I think (hope!) it’s finally there. Anyway, I sent my agent the shiny, vastly-improved new manuscript four days ago!

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And now I’ll be waiting awhile for feedback. I feel like there’s this gaping hole in my life. Like, what do I do with myself now that I’m not brainstorming, writing, enhancing setting, re-reading, and editing Hooligans? Oh, and slashing word count. And…I miss my characters. Already. I love them all for different reasons.

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I’ve spent so, so much time with these characters over the past two years. To really capture them, I’ve had to live inside their heads. Experience their past, present, and futures through their eyes. Imagine their reactions to things as massive as losing a parent to as mundane as hearing certain songs. Not going to lie, it’s made worse by the fact that one of the MCs is my most favorite character I’ve ever written of all time. And for this particular story, I don’t think a sequel’s appropriate.

Missing imaginary people…sounds a bit strange. Not normal. But really it’s because our writerly brains operate on a different plane of existence, right?

*sigh* Guess I’ll get to work on all the critiquing I’ve fallen behind on. Oh, and that other MS I’ve got going.

Writer friends, do you find yourself missing your characters when you set a manuscript aside?

So let’s get back to that social media platform :P

Hi. So it’s been awhile….

Like five months, according to my stats. Last log on February 22nd. Oops.

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I have excuses, really, I swear. I went through a few major life changes…

I signed with an agent! Claire Anderson-Wheeler at Regal Literary Management. Here’s the story. Also, even though it’s been like 6 months, I still feel the need to share a celebratory GIF because she’s been just so awesome. So bear with me.

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I relocated from Singapore to Wisconsin and started full-time work in the schools in February. All the major life changes with that. Here’s that story.

So what have I been doing in the mean time? (other than NOT blogging) So I got a ton of agent feedback, which launched a MAJOR re-write of Hooligans. Like the entire first 2/3s. We’re talking about a second full-time job.

On my summer break, I went back to Singapore THEN had the opportunity to return to Belfast. Which…was…amazing. Like I can’t even….

Oh, and we’re expecting our first. Our baby’s due in October.

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What can I say? I like to cram all my major life changes into six months.

I’m going to get back to blogging now, really, I swear!

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I plan to focus on the *joys* of the writer’s life, tips on writing/querying, and photography. I’m no longer living the expat life or engaging in ridiculously awesome travel now that I’m back to normal life, but I suppose I’m about to start a whole new kind of adventure.

Sitting on my hands while two manuscripts are off limits

jAYnA6y…is hard for me. I’m kind of a writing addict. LOL. My agent is re-reading and preparing feedback on Hooligans. For Rafa and Rose, my collaborator and I are re-plotting the entire thing, based on suggestions from my fabulous agent. We picked a new inciting incident for both characters, which changed the external problem for each MC and the whole story line. We also cut a subplot which is leading to major chapter restructuring and cutting. So I’ve lost track of how many hours we’ve spent skyping and brainstorming to work through this. Probably at least twenty, but likely way more–time well spent though! We’re still not done, but we’re getting close. I can’t start re-working anything until we get through the whole novel, but I know it will be 100X better for it. Plus we’re working on setting up interviews with police officers and possibly lawyers to ensure we get the legal stuff created by the inciting incident right. So I can’t work on that.

What to do, what to do? I’m playing around with another WIP, so maybe I’ll go back to that. What can I say? I’m kind of a writing addict.

iron-man-waitingI’ll also continue reading Elements of Fiction: Beginnings, Middles, and Endings, by Nancy Kress. My agent recommended it and another plotting book. Follow me on twitter if you want to see my sporadic tweets of interesting quotes from it. I’ve got a lot of YA books waiting to be read on my Kindle. Though I could also enjoy the perks of American cable and Redbox.

Anyway, time to sit on my hands :P

How do you occupy yourself when you can’t work on your WIP? Any YA books to recommend?

My most recent “Proud to be American” moment

For the past year and a half, I’ve lived in Singapore, writing up a storm, exploring Southeast Asia, making friends from all over (but mostly England, as random as that is). I haven’t been around many Americans. I moved home to Wisconsin last week.

Living abroad has given me a new appreciation of what it means to be American. it’s helped me recognize our unique culture and subcultures. It’s given me the chance to see my country–the ugly, crazy, and beautiful parts–through the eyes of non-Americans, who are fascinated by us. While I was in Singapore, the United States went through the government shutdown (which was SO hard to explain), major gun rights and Affordable Care Act debates, Ferguson, President Obama’s executive order on immigration, ISIS, Ukraine/Russia conflict, and the spread of marijuana legalization and gay marriage recognition (to name a few things). I’m not here to pontificate, but that’s a lot of intense stuff. I also missed a gubernatorial election and I couldn’t absentee vote; that was upsetting. I have to say, prior to living abroad, I didn’t feel particularly proud to be American. NOT living in the U.S. changed that some.

Something really moved when I returned home in October (after eight months away) and again last week when I moved back. My plane landed in Minneapolis (Detroit in October). As I waited in the U.S. Citizen immigration line, looking around at my fellow Americans, it hit me both times. The people in line with me came from many different racial/ethnic backgrounds: African American, white, Latino, a variety of Asian ethnic groups. You can’t identify an American based on their skin color, facial features, or even the language they are speaking.We look different, but we are ALL American. We are the same People.

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“E Plurbus Unum”…one from many. There are very, very few countries that would have citizen immigration lines that are as diverse as ours.

It made me proud to be American.

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