Writing YA: Redrafting and Revisions (21/11/16)

Since my last update, I’ve gotten some amazing news – I got a distinction on my MA Creative Writing dissertation, which means I’m finishing my degree with a distinction overall! I graduate in December (again, yuck), and I can’t believe university’s over. I’ve also started a new full-time job as a website content writer, and am moving out of my parents’ house in three weeks! Everything is happening at once, it’s crazy.

But OK, so in my last personal post, I may have been a teeny-tiny bit optimistic with my goal of finishing these edits by the end of October (in my defence, I wasn’t thinking that I’d get a full-time job so quickly). I’m currently rewriting chapter 21 of a total of 28, so I’m only 3/4 of the way through, but despite my slowing progress, I feel strangely happy with myself.

Why?

This is the third time I’m writing this novel. My first version was written back in 2008-9, when I was 14. My second draft – after years of sitting on the first version and letting it ‘simmer’ – was written in 2015, when I was 21. I’m now not far off 23 and I’m almost done with this version. I found my first draft a few weeks ago, handwritten in smudgy pencil, and oh my God, it is awful.

But that’s why I’m happy. My second draft was miles better than the first, and even though the third draft isn’t quite there yet, it’s still even better than the second. I’ve managed to achieve a lot more of what I wanted with the story; I’ve fixed problems, developed characters and taken on the advice of my friends and beta readers. I’ve even managed to largely flesh out the sequel, which was worrying me before.

And the one thing I do know? I know that this will be the final time I rewrite the entire book. Once this version’s done, I’m going to finish writing a related short story for Shift Zine and then go back to edits. Every time I write the word ‘stare’, or ‘glare’, or ‘eyebrows’, I cringe. My characters seem to talk with their eyes a lot. I’m also aiming to trim quite a lot of the book, as even though I don’t have a definite word count at the moment (keeping all the chapters in separate files doesn’t help), I’d estimate it’ll end up around 120,000 words and I really want it to stay under 100,000. I already know where to start – I think the first half of the book is a bit too stretched out, so I’ll need to cut for pacing anyway. But I’m trying not to worry too much about the word count – even though agents seem to prefer YA novels that are under 100,000 words, I swear I’m seeing more and more massive tomes in the YA section every time I go into Waterstones – and not just in the fantasy genre! Chris Russell’s Songs About a Girl was released in the UK this year and it’s a contemporary/romance YA debut novel that clocks in at a whopping 496 pages! I think YA is getting longer all the time, but of course that’s not an excuse to have a novel that drags its feet. I just want to make sure that nothing vital gets cut!

So that’s where I am at the moment. Maybe I’ll be done by March (my 23rd birthday)? Who even knows. I’m just taking one day at a time.

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Writing Updates (25/9/16)

Hi everyone!

Sorry again about being so inactive – I’ve had a crazy summer trying to finish my MA dissertation, co-edit an anthology, work part-time and complete an internship with a book packaging company! I’ve also been job hunting, which has been so far unproductive (I’m terrible at interviews!!).

BUT!

My MA dissertation is now FINISHED! That means I can return to editing my novel…and I have set myself a goal. By the end of October, it shall be complete. Or, complete-ish. At least, I want it to be good enough that I can send it off to agents (and get back to the ones who requested it at a festival back in June! Argh!). I’m not far off, so I think I should be able to get it done…as long as I stick to my self-imposed social media hiatus which I’m going to be on until the end of October – so no Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr for this girl! I may make the odd update post here or on Instagram, but that’ll be it.

Because I’m focusing on my novel, this blog is going to take a slight turn – I’m going to talk more about writing fiction (particularly YA) on this blog! I hope to make some more posts about the YA genre, writing and editing processes, and the hunt for an agent. But I’m never going to abandon poetry, so I’ll try and make an effort to write some more for this blog too.

As the MA Anthology is also complete, I’m going to post the short story I wrote here, called Chance, in my next post. I enjoyed writing it – it’s a dark fairytale with a steampunk edge, and I originally wrote it for the MA, and I got a distinction for it so I’m pretty happy with it.

Hope everyone had a great summer! Now, back to work 🙂 xx

Anthology

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the long silence – it’s been a bit crazy with my dissertation, part-time job, new-job-hunting and working on my novel! But I’ve been working on the University of Southampton Creative Writing Society’s anthology as the sole editor and I finally finished it this week! You can view it here.

It contains my short story Darren, as well as the poems Lucy Couldn’t Say No and Dear Sylvia Plath, which have all appeared on this blog. There will also be a University of Southampton MA Creative Writing Anthology out soon (which I’ve done a bit of proof-reading/copy-editing for) which will contain my short story Chance, which hasn’t been posted online yet!

Hope to have some more posts soon!

 

Book Release Day!

It’s the 20th of April, so that means…my poetry book is out!!

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*small fanfare*

I’ll Still Love You in the Morning is a collection of love poems for a friendship, for a crush, for a relationship, for a breakup. The poems were written over the course of two years, and my intention was to capture very raw and real emotions. This is juvenile poetry, but it’s honest, and I think that’s what matters most when it comes to love poems.

cover1 - Copy

If you’re in the USA you can get a paperback copy from Amazon! (It is only available through third party sellers on Amazon UK at the moment.) Or, you can buy a copy directly from me here (psst, it’s cheaper to get it from me, and I’ll sign it if you want ^^).

If eBooks are more your thing you can get a PDF via direct download on Sellfy here! It’s also available through Blurb.

But, oh my God, it is here, it is done.

Taylor-Fist-Pump

 

Collection Update #4 – Digital and Print

Some good news 🙂 The book is all done and I’m waiting on a test copy from the printers. This does mean that the book most likely won’t be available in print on the release date, but it WILL be available as an eBook (which is cheaper). I want to make sure the book looks good before I order more copies or set it up as print-on-demand. If all goes well, I should *hopefully* have print copies available in May, but the 20th April remains the release date for the digital version!

Collection Update #3 – Title, Cover + Release Date

So…I’ve been finishing up with the collection (only formatting stuff left to do) and I am happy to announce the title, cover and release date!

So, drum roll, please…

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I might make minor changes, but this is largely it! And my (hopeful) release date is 20th April 2016, which, appropriately, is the one-year anniversary of the beginning of a lot of the crap I have written about.

Even if printed copies don’t make it by 20th April, I will make sure the eBook version is available. Details about that will hopefully be in my next post! I’m going to bulk-order some printed copies, which will make it cheaper than getting them printed individually on demand.

Let me know your thoughts 🙂

Collection Update #2

Hi everyone.

Sorry for not updating more regularly. I’m kind of swamped with classwork and trying to edit my novel at the moment, so I haven’t had much time to write for this blog. The poetry collection is still underway, I want it to be out by May/June at the very latest as afterwards I will be concentrating on my dissertation and my novel. But I haven’t forgotten this blog, I promise! I will hopefully have some more sample pieces up soon, but I’m so keen for the collection to showcase brand new and unseen material that I’ve been keeping everything for that instead. Hopefully with my next post, I’ll be announcing the title and the cover, as well as a release date! It’s so exciting.

Thanks for sticking around and being so patient. It means the world 🙂