Sample Writing

As I have said, I am working on a Young Adult novel. It’s going so well right now — even though I’m sleep deprived (more on that later)— that I felt compelled to share a little bit with you. It’s not a deeply revelatory passage, but I love it, have edited repeatedly, and love it still.

Lately, my son has not really been sleeping much without my input. This is not something I have ever really responded well too, and I think it’s because I refuse to nap. Even when Samuel was a newborn, napping for me was nearly impossible. I could have been falling asleep at the kitchen counter whipping eggs, but still, no nap. I blame my brain. My brain says, “Night is for sleep, not day.” So, even now, I find myself sitting on my couch in front of the computer writing to you all, and not sleeping an extra wink. That’s OK, that’s what coffee is for.

Now, without any more rambling, here is my little sample. Have fun reading and, as always with a blog, feedback is greatly appreciated:

I look down the long, narrow room and out the window. Earlier this summer,  I helped my cousin cut and haul wood from the surrounding acreage to feed the stove in the basement that heats the entire house. There’s no other heat source since electricity was banned, which makes my room maybe the coldest of all. I hate this job more than milking the goats because it means being alone with him, and being alone with him is generally something I try to avoid.

 My first time into the woods with him was only a few weeks after arriving on the farm. He walked in front of me, taking long strides that I couldn’t keep up with, an axe hung precariously over his shoulder. I kept stumbling over the unfamiliar ground, and I swear I saw him chuckle once or twice. Finally, we stopped and he dropped the axe to the ground. It hit the rocky earth with a thud, sending a tremor of protest through it.

“You ever cut wood before?” he asked, still not meeting my eyes. I shook my head. He lifted the axe, bringing it to the tree with such force I stammered away.

“Eventually you’ll be doing this on your own.” His voice was solemn. I nodded again as a reflex, knowing I would never do it alone. Knowing I would always wish I could.

A few days ago we ventured a little deeper into the woods— as close to the sign post as we could get without touching it. My cousin was lost in thought as we walked, his body not swaying with its normal swagger, his pace easy for me to keep up with. Then he suddenly stopped, slumping his shoulders and turning his eyes to the sky. I watched his face, the scowl he always wore was absent, and I wasn’t sure if I should remind him that we had a job to do. Then he pulled his eyes away from the sky and trained them on my face, searching it slowly.  I saw the hint of a smile light the irises as they met mine. It was so faint that I spent the next days wondering if I had actually seen it at all. 


So, even though I look like this—

Yawn.

I hope you enjoy this post.

 

RTW Questions for YA Highway

So, this is the first time ever posting for a YA Highway prompt. The question is: What images inspire/ represent you WIP (work-in-progress) or favorite book?

My novel takes place somewhere nothing at all like the image I am about to post.

California Poppies by water

My main character, we’ll call her OP, pines for a place not unlike this one here, but it no longer exists. Since I have been writing in first-person, I find myself longing to be here too. This image represents so much to her. She places herself there in her dreams, longs for her mother who is no longer alive, but lived there. When I want to remember how she feels, I look at pictures of the coast in California, and then her aching becomes even more real to me.

Another image that comes into play a lot is this one:

This is a women’s changing room in Birkenau Concentration Camp in Poland. OP spent time in a place not unlike this for a period before the novel begins. This place is a huge part of her back story, and the story of the world she lives in. It’s amazing to try and imagine how someone would feel somewhere like this for weeks of their life, not really knowing if their life would continue.

Enjoy and come back soon!

The Value of a Job Well Done

Something I think about a lot as a writer (mom, twenty-something, wife, Sci-Fi fan, etc.) is how much pressure we put on ourselves to produce something valuable, and just what we allow to quantify value in our lives. When I was younger, I was mostly content with just thinking my writing was good, but not great, and assuming that no one would ever want to put their money behind my words. When I was younger, I had felt that time was a lot more infinite and that achieving ones goals was better left to truly ambitious women—like Nobel Laureates, or Oprah.

When I was in my early twenties I began working on my first ever full-length project. I say “full-length”, because it wasn’t a short story, novella, or poem. It was a screenplay, one I was fairly certain no one would ever put to film, but it was nonetheless a project I deemed worthy of countless hours of my life. My screenplay was the first time I just wrote a story because I loved it. I loved the heroine. I loved her battle and her drive. I loved the secondary characters and the sleepy, eerie gloom of the imaginary town where they all lived.

She was my first ever voice in my head that I couldn’t silence, and it was riveting. As time passed though, from the initial first draft to the fourth or fifth rewrite, I began to wonder what it was all for. Why had I put pieces of me into this work, pined for it, dreamed about it, only to just have a screenplay on my computer that no one would ever see made into a film? Part of the problem was I didn’t quite know what to do with it once it was finished, and part of the problem was I never really felt finished. There was always a better way to word a scene, a more compelling image. There was always edits.

I continued to work on my screenplay after our move to New York, until finally — one night while sitting in my old nursing chair that was serving as the best seat in the house while we waited for our couch — I looked up at my husband and friend with a smile.

“It’s done.” I said, hitting save again for good measureAnd it really was. Those characters existed somewhere in a fully-formed state. They were going on with the lives that I created for them. They were happy. This was a wonderful feeling, but also a deeply confusing time. I had been with them for so long that being away felt like a break-up, and even more, that screenplay’s unfinished state had protected me from having to create something new.

In the end, I still look at my time with that project as deeply valuable, even if no one ever takes it from my hands into the next stage. The value of it isn’t monetary, it’s so much more because it’s a finished work, even if there are still flaws. Every piece of writing is that way, even great works. The value in something you create is more about what it does for you as it’s author. Sure making money would be nice (*amazing*), and having your work read or seen is even more rewarding (*terrifying*) but that is not what makes being a writer (or any title for that matter) worthwhile.

I spend many hours in my day wandering Brooklyn with my son and dog, and even more hours trying to convince him to put shoes on, clean up cars, eat his broccoli, whatever. I spend this time not because I am being paid to, but because his life and his world are valuable to me. The reward is in the process of doing and in the fact that you can do it well if you remember that.

Valued.

This blog is about Writing (Or whatever I want, cause it’s mine.)

You may think my name is a pretty lame title, but consider that this blog will hopefully carry over into my splash as a published author, and then it may make more sense. Most of what you will read here will be about the process, which can be daunting, of getting a novel published. Though, there is no guarantee that I will not write about my son, Sam.

Or my dog, Samson.

But mostly I believe it will be about writing. Writing bleeds into everything I do, filling my world with ideas and voices I sometimes wish I could silence. One of these voices became the heroine of my first novel, and others sometimes find there way into the cracks and crannies of the narrative I’m trying to construct. Sometimes I have chats with them, which prompts my son to ask me who I’m talking to, and sometimes I just let them stew inside. I marinate them.

So, if you are a writer, or a reader, or a person who thinks children, yorkies, and Brooklyn, NY are interesting, then you may find this blog a welcome distraction. It may also be a useful tool to draw from, or a source of amusement. (If you think someone rambling on about YA romances or the crazy shit her son says is humorous.)Whatever it becomes, I hope we can learn from it together, or laugh at it together, or triumph in it together.

Alright, that said, I really must get back to work, and you probably should too since I’m posting this in the afternoon on a Monday. Enjoy your day, wherever you are, and remember to look around you. Inspiration is literally everywhere.