Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNo Day 8

13,500 words. I'm on schedule to complete. Now I just have to worry about the plot.


Did I mention that Mr. Hammer and leah's mother are going to have a romance. Well, they've met, and Leah is less than pleased, although her Cousin Carl thinks its a big joke that she and Marcus might end up being brother and sister. Thank God big brother Jerome doesn't know what's going on between that ex-con and his mother, but he will find out soon. He didn't even want Leah and Marcus ever seeing each other, at all.

Leah has already discovered that Marcus has a thing about fires, he gave her a much too detailed description of what happens when a human being is burned at the stake when they tried to study history together (and no, that was not the subject they were supposed to be going over)  Now she needs to find out that he likes to set fires, and he has the burn scars on his body to prove it.

I know, it churns my stomach too, but he's still dealing with the death of big sister Madison in a fire, and it was all dad's fault.

P. S. Breaking News

I will be part of a panel discussing unconventional romances in YA at the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents workshop as part of the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) on November 21, 2011. I’m excited to be part of a panel with authors Stephanie Perkins, Sara Zarr, and my personal idol, Simone Elkeles.

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNo Day 7

By hook and crook I'm at 11,000 words, almost up to where I should be by this time.

BUT, things get better. My intent for NaNo had been to concentrate on the new book, LEAH, and then, after I finished my daily word count (God willing) find the strength to continue editting my WIP - BEING GOD. But on Saturday, Day 5 of NaNo, a miracle happened. I realized exactly what I had to do to finalize the novel that could not come to a successful conclusion. No more knocking my head on the wall, or snatching hairs from my head - I knew exactly what to do. So I put my nose to that grindstone and did it, including ripping out two subplots that were more trouble than they could ever be worth and rearranging the ending, as well as changing the way the protagonist's brother dies - you have to be there to understand why that was crucial. And now it's done. In 260 pages, 68,000 words, Malik's problems have been examined and resolved - at least as much as problems can be resolved when you're eighteen.

Now I'm full time on Leah.

I've arranged for Mr. Hammer to meet leah's mother, and romantic sparks are flying. Trust me, neither Leah nor Jerome are thrilled. And Leah has discovered that her protege, Madison's little brother Marcus, is a fire starter. He not only lights fires, he burns himself. Explains why he couldn't find a foster situation to keep him for long, most people aren't keen on coming home to find their house in flames of the police at their door accusing them of abusing the little boy they agreed to take in. He's trying to recreate the fire that Madison died in seven years ago. I'm not sure if this counts as mental illness or not, but Leah's mother is definitly dealing with depression and Mr. Hammer looks a little OCD to me. 

More will be revealed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNo Day 2

The good news, I have over 5000 words. The bad news, already I feel the flame going dim. Which is odd, considering that fire has a major role in the story of LEAH.

And oh does it hurt not to start editting.

Anyway, Leah and Marcus have met, they now share a classroom. She's been asked to help tutor him, a task she doesn't dare tell her brother about, he's too worried about them even being in the same school.  His father is out of prison, but so is the major villain, Big Snake.

I still have to mix in Leah's cousin, the only relative other than Jerome that she ever trusted with her secret. Turns out her cousin is Carl, one of the players from my published novel, PULL. He needs more face time, and since he has his own problem, it felt good to put the two of them together as the only people they dare share their secrets with. 

I also have to introduce Mr. Hammer, who went to prison for his role int he death of his daughter.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A NaNoing we will go

This is my sixth time doing NaNoWriMo. I'm going to keep a diary of progress.
Nov 1 - I began a new YA/MG novel, title LEAH after the main character.
I don't yet have a formal outline, but I know what I want to do with her - and does she have a backstory to die for, almost literally. 

CAST of Characters
  • Leah, age twelve, a precocious seventh grader (or is she?)
  • Jerome, Leah's 26 year old brother, a former gangmember, now youth counselor
  • Mother, 39, still emotionally crippled over the death of her husband and younger son in a car accident she caused
  • Marcus Hammer, a self-styled tough guy, age twelve, someone from Leah's past
  • Darnell Hammer, Marcus father, recently released from prison following his sentence for the fire that caused the death of his then seven year old daughter Madison
  • "Big Snake" Johnson, also recently released from prison, also involved in the death of Madison
NaNo diary, Day 1 - 1752 words
Leah and Jerome refuse to accept accolades for turning in a schoolmate dealing drugs. Leah admits that she remembers "everything," including how her brother returned home late the night of the fire that killed Madison Hammer, and that his clothes smelled of smoke.