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So, the biggest challenge for me in SHATTERED revisions was actually something that seemed simple: date the chapters.

See, there are no chapter numbers in the whole book. Just labels of how long Ann has been with Connor-- and the time gets shorter, of course, not longer, becuase it's told in reverse chronological order. So the first chapter says "One Year" and the nedt "Eleven months, fifteen days" and after that "Eleven Months, two days", etc.

My editor suggested I keep it like that, but also add tags like "August 26".

Sounds oh-so-simple, right? The process went something like this.

"This shouldn't be hard."

"Oh wait, this might kind of suck."

"No wait! I figured it out. Yay!"

"Oh, wait. Um, she can't graduate on July 24th. School is supposed to be over in June. I'll just change that date."

"Whew, much better."

"Oh, wait, now I screwed up the rest of the timeline."

"Ahh, that's better."

"Oh, crap. Her birthday falls on christmas."

"Oh, hey, look, her best friend's birthday is the day after mine!"

"Hm. Track & Field would not be in January. Must fix that."


So, yeah, it probably took me three hours to figure out how to make it all come together, but YAY! I am DONE! All I have left is a quick read thru. *Whew*.

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Mini Shattered Teaser


It's Teaser Tuesday! Here's a short teaser from SHATTERED, my Flux book that will be written under Amanda Grace. I believe its a 2011 book. It's about a 17 year old girl's year spent with an abusive boyfriend, told in reverse chronological order.


 

Even with all the things he’d told me about his father, I’d never actually seen the monster. He existed in stories conjured up by Connor. He was a mythical thing, the villain in a twisted fairy tale.

I know right now, as I watch the flames dance and lick at that pretty white lattice, that I never fully understood it. I never really believed it.

I do now. It is real. And all of Connor’s stories have come to life. My doubt is gone.

His father has lost his mind. His mom is sobbing, curled in a ball in the middle of their front lawn. I am glad they live in the country, where people can’t see this from the street. Otherwise I think we might all be arrested.

“I paid for this and I can tear it down!” He rips another piece of lattice off the porch. It cracks and splinters and pieces of it shower down on the flower beds. Nancy’s pot of roses falls too, shattering on the cement walkway. It is just another thing he will take from her and never apologize for.

The splintered lattice goes on the roaring pile with the rest of it. The flames grow, ever skyward, gobbling everything he gives it.

Connor and I are at the edge of the yard, hidden in the shadows of the big oak tree. Jack knows we are there but he’s so lost in his own fury I think he may have forgotten. I want to grab Nancy and pull her into the shadows with us, but she is so close to him. She is begging him to stop. I don’t know how she can do that; I am afraid of him. 

He seems bigger today: taller, thicker and stronger. There’s something almost inhuman about him.

He has to be drunk, though he’s not stumbling. A sober person wouldn’t burn down their own front porch. A porch he just built a month ago. Nancy spent a whole weekend painting it, and they sat on it in lawn chairs and admired their work.

And now it is in shambles.

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Teaser Tueday (SHATTERED)


This is from the first chapter of SHATTERED, the novel that may or may not be book 2 with Razorbill:


Nothing can protect me now. No one can protect me now. I pushed them all away. I lost everything. I gave it to him, and he gave me this.

I think my wrist might be broken. Every time I move it, pain tears up my arm and steals my breath away. I try to shift my weight, leaning more on my leg that doesn’t feel bruised and sore, but the glass scattered around me crunches under my weight, and I stop.

It’s shattered. The whole beautiful sculpture. It’s in a thousand pieces around me, littering the floor, each tiny piece symbolizing another hour I spent searching out the sea glass, painstakingly assembling it with all of its mates.

And now it is nothing. Just like me.

I reach up towards the bed and pull the ratty patchwork quilt off the mattress and cover myself completely, until I can’t see the lightning striking outside the window anymore. The room is still buzzing with the sounds of the pouring rain, but I welcome it. It fills the room and drives away the silence.

Lightning strikes, and the flash glints off a piece of tumbled glass poking into my cocoon, and I kick it swiftly away. I can’t ignore the pierce of pain as I watch it disappear. He knew how much that sculpture meant. He knew the nights I stayed up late putting it together.

And he threw it in an explosion of rage.

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Teaser Tuesday-- SHATTERED

From SHATTERED, which may or may not be my book 2:

“Hey, stranger.”

Blake. My heart jumps into my throat at the sight of him, but I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t seen him in so long or if it’s because I know Connor is just feet away, his back to us.

He looks good, his dark hair under a baseball cap that brings out his expressive brown eyes. I think of that day we jogged in the forest, I think of that moment, and I play it over and over again as I stare at him and try to keep the panic at bay.

“Hi. Um, it’s not a good time, okay?”

I whisper it. I sound ridiculous. Even I know that.

And he knows why I’m acting like this, because he stands up straighter and looks in all directions, scanning the crowd for his rival.

Connor turns around, as if on cue, and meets his gaze, and I see the way his hands slip off the baseball cards he’d been flipping through and shove hard into his pockets, and he walks over to us, his quick long strides gobbling up the ground before I can think of a way out of this.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Connor says, his voice  loud. Too loud. I know the other fair goers hear him. I see their stares without meeting their gaze.

Judging me. Everyone wants to judge me.

“Nothing, man. Just talking to an old friend.”

“I told you to stay away from her,” Connor says.

Blake arches one eyebrow. He looks equal parts irritated and amused. As if Connor isn’t a threat to him. “Last I checked, you don’t control what I do.”

My face drains of all blood even though my heart is pounding so hard I can barely make out their words. I start to step closer to them, to come between them, but Connor blocks me as he moves in front of me.

“Fuck off, buddy,” Connor says. He has Blake by a few inches, but I know Blake is in the best shape of his life. I can see it on him, all the muscle, taut over his arms and legs as he steps around and clenches his fist, looking more defensive than aggressive.

“I don’t want trouble,” Blake says. I know it’s the truth. I know Blake has no interest in a fist-fight. “I just want to talk to her.”

“Talking time is over.”

Blake takes one step back, but that’s it. It’s a compromise Connor won’t accept. 
Connor doesn’t do compromise.
 

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SHATTERED--FINITO!

First up, the big news:
Zokutou word meter
44,200 / 44,200
(100.0%)


So,  yesterday I finished SHATTERED, my literary novel about a teenage girl's tumultuous year with her abusive boyfriend, told in reverse chronological order. I still can't believe the first draft is done, but the little bar says it is!

Yesterday I sent it to a few crit partners.

And then the doubts set in.

High-concept, i can do. Hooks. One liner pitches. Those are my comfort zone. My happy little bubble. I write the kind of thing you read on the beach, the kind of book that will never land on the Newbery honor list, the kind of cover which will never be adorned with a medal. It'll be smashed into cute little purses and backpacks and read in the shade on a summer day.

But literary? Dark, haunting literary? Serious insecurities have set in. Did I pull it off? Is the tone right?

I have to say, I've never felt so much doubt before! Even when i wrote my full-length novel and began querying in 2005, I wasn't this freaked out. But somewhere in the last few weeks, this novel has taken on meaning to me, and I've got butterflies at the idea of people actually reading it, and I actually got NERVOUS when I opened the critique from Cyn. And that's not me! I'm calm, cool, collected. 

But now I'm a quivering pool of insecurity as I await my helpful critquers responses. I was less nervous over the last proposal I sent to my agent-- and her opinion makes or breaks a novel!

Okay, back to my regularly scheduled lunch break.

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Shattered-Progress, Teaser Tuesday


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
41,715 / 45,000
(92.7%)


 SHATTERED is winding down, and I hope to have it out for critique towards the end of the week. Today is the three week mark of working on it. 

For teaser tuesday:

Connor puts his hands out to shove Blake but he moves away before he connects, and it makes Connor stumble. I know Connor is holding back. I know he realizes this is a public place and he can’t unleash the anger he’s bottling inside.

They’re so close to cutting loose. So close. They dance around like boxers, but neither of them touch each other.

“What made you do this to her? What do you say to yourself to make it okay?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Connor says, his voice growing darker, deeper, every time he speaks. Blake is pushing all the right buttons. I can’t believe Connor hasn’t lost it yet.

“You’re turning her into something else. If you love her, you won’t do this anymore. You’ll let her go and you’ll let her get on with her life.”

“Fuck off,” Connor says.

Blake just stares straight at him and shakes his head, a slow, sad shake that seems to last forever.  “You’ll lose her eventually and you’ll know I was right. You’ll know she’s above you.” He turns and looks at me. “You have a choice. You’re better than this.”

And then he turns and leaves me with Connor.

He leaves me with the mess he’s so carelessly made.


Oh, and one last thing! I'm working on my first ever Video Log-- look for it tommorrow! :-)

 

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I got a great gift for Mother's day. New tires for my quad. I was WAY excited.

Until I go and try them out and don't realize what a difference they make and I roll my freaking quad. Right over top of me, all 400 pounds, like three minutes into riding it. Today my ribs are sore. OOops. But here is a less sucky version of my weekend:

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In better news, I'm making progress on SHATTERED:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
35,000 / 45,000
(77.8%)
 

10K to go! Writing a book in reverse chronological order is interesting. I have written the full arc as I see it, but now I am reading and revising it by starting at the very end and reading through their relationship---reading the book backwards--to make sure her emotions fit how long they've been together...and I find myself adding/deleting/changing a lot more things than I had thought would be neccessary!

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Progress on SHATTERED

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter


32,048 / 45,000
(71.2%)



 Thought today I'd share my iTunes Playlist with y'all. I'm walking around like a sniffly sappy love gone wrong right now thanks to these haunting tunes:

1) Stupid Boy by Keith Urban (lyrics: She laid her heart and soul right in your hands and you stole her every dream and you crushed her plans, she never even knew she had a choice and thats what happens when the only voice she hears is telling her she can't, you stupid boy.)

2) Hate Me by Blue October (lyrics: hate me for all the things I didn't do for you... hate me so you can finally see what's good for you. . . . in my sick way i want to thank you for holding my head up late at night while I was busy waging wars on myself you were trying to stop the fight. You never doubted my warped opinions on things like suicidal hate, you made me compliment myself when it was way too hard to take.... do whatever it takes in your heart to leave me behind. ... I never was alive, 'til i saw your blue eeys cry and i held your face in my hand.... and you whispered how can you do this to me?

3) My Immortal by Evanescance (lyrics: These wounds won't seem to heal, this pain is just to real, there's just too much that time cannot erase. When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears, and when you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears.....but you still have all of me.)

4) Apologizeb by One Republic (lyrics: I'm hearin what you say but I just can't make a sound,You tell me that you need me, Then you go and cut me down, but wait, You tell me that you're sorry,  Didn't think I'd turn around, and say... It's too late to apologize,

5) Iris by GooGoo Dolls (lyrics: And I don't want the world to see me, becuase I don't think that they'd understand. Well everything's made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am).

6) Cry, Faith Hill (If your love could be caged I would hold the key and conceal it undernearth the pile of lies you handed me)

7) The storm, Garth Brooks (lyrics:  broken jewel box dancer, Lies in pieces down the hall, She's finding out the answers
Don't change nothing at all, It's time that She stopped searching For who's to blame or What went wrong The only thing For certain is he's gone She's got to move on

8) Better than me, Hinder (lyrics: I think you can do much better than me, After all the lies I made you believe, Guilt kicks in and I start to see
The edge of the bed Where your nightgown used to be, I told myself I wouldn't miss you, But I remembered What it feels like beside you,
I really miss your hair in my face, And the way your innocence tastes, And I think you should know this, You deserve much better than me)

Yeah, so um, you can probably tell the songs are a little, uh, angsty. :-\

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Twist on SHATTERED

 So, I've been writing like eight million posts in the last week or so because I can't tear myself away from the writing world long enough to think of something else. 

And so, I thought I'd share with you guys what got me started on this write-a-thon. 

I told cyn2writethat I wanted to write a novel about an abusive relationship, becuase I had just finished reading DREAMLAND by Sara Dessen. And while I get that abusive relationships come in many forms, i hated that she never attempted to make the reader understand the boyfriend's emotions or  motivations. There was no sympathy for him. His abuse came from a purely angry, controlling place. 

And while I'm sure there are a ton of those stories out there, there are also stories of abuse that come from a different place. A place where the abuser is as haunted by what he does as the abused. And i wanted to write that. But i know that a book about an abusive relationship might not be considered fresh. And I know that the average reader, when reading about a girl being with someone who hits her and verbally abuses her, the reader reaches a moment where they decided, thats it. That's the moment I would break up with him. It might come at a different moment for each reader, but most readers think they wouldn't put up with it. They choose that moment, and they dvide the book into before and after, and they lose their sympathy for the girl for the AFTER part, beucuase they've decided she's making the wrong choice. 

And then Cyn mentioned she'd read an article once, about a young teenage couple who were new parents, and they'd given pu on all their dreams becuase of their new responsibility, and it was heartbreaking. And the article went on to show their relationship, in reverse chronological order, so that you saw them come back to life and you saw their hopes and dreams re-enter the story. And it ends the moment they met, and you walk away, realizing that as they said hello for the first time, they had no idea the course their lives were about to take. 

And immediately, I was hooked. It was just an article, so I still have no idea if it will work, but SHATTERED is being written in reverse chronological order. It starts with the peak of the abuse, with her battered and broken both inside and out, and it carries you through their story, barreling back towards the beginning, towards the moment they met and her fate became twisted. 

it remains to be seen if it will work. Maybe my agent will read and say, "WTF? Why did you do this? Just tell it the regular way. This is weird."

But for now, I love this. I love that a reader can no longer decide, "this is the moment i would leave him," because things wil get progressively better, not worse. Its weird writing the moment they meet so long after writing everything else, but I really, really like it. Hopefully the rest of this goes well!

 

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Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
29,000 / 45,000
(64.4%)
 
1,000 more and I'll officially be entering the last 1/3 of my manuscript, woot woot! That should occur sometime tommorrow. :-)

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