Writing is Hard + Bonus Haul

Some Betwixt the Books content for this week ABOUT writing, and how it is hard. Michaela and I are trying to support each other to keep writing, and we just recently bought some books to help aid us in that struggle. We also talk about our different creative processes, our struggles with editing and how to best tackle these issues together! We’re also in our pjs. We had a day off. Fight us.

I Wrote a Novel, Now What? Episode 3 – Confronting Privilege

This is perhaps one of the most important videos I will make about my revisions to my novel moving forward, in which I admit that I made some mistakes about plot lines left aside but how I plan to address this in the future! Even the best intentioned plot lines can be left undone if the writer does not constantly confront and interrogate their own writing as they go, and even what I’ve discovered so far is probably just the tip of the iceberg for me. As Mad Eye Moody would say, CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

I Wrote a Novel, Now What? Episode 2

I did it, guys! I did more work on my novel. Please bear with the camera lighting/technicalities for this one. My camera died this morning and I had to use Michaela’s, which was all sorts of interesting. However, if you bear with the weird sound in this video, there is a super cute surprise at the end. Like. Seriously. Super cute. Also, like, you know. I do novel stuff and talk about how I’m going to fix some of the weird tics in my first draft writing.

I Wrote a Novel, Now What? Episode 1

This is part of a new series I’m going to be doing intermittently as I work on my lately finished novel. Basically, I’ll film an episode when I actually do some work. This is as much to talk to you about it as it is to hold me accountable. 😛 I don’t know if anything that I’m trying out will actually WORK, but we’ll go on this journey together!

Beating the Post-Grad Burnout (AKA I Wrote a Novel!) (FTN)

I guess I’m just giving you guys some emotional videos lately. This is about the end of my four-year belief that I couldn’t write for fun anymore, and my awkward words of encouragement for anyone else who might be feeling this way!

Thesis Thursday: First Complete Draft is … Complete

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

13094374_10209689763425465_2413078371465464007_nYou heard that right, folks. Since the last time I made one of these posts … I did it. I wrote the first draft of my third chapter. It lives and breathes in the world, bringing my page total for the first draft up to 75 pages altogether.

The fight is far from over. In fact, I really should be editing right now. However, all of the initial hard work is … done. On top of that, my defense was just scheduled for next Wednesday, so time is really running out on this whole thing. I can see the finish line–for this, as well as school in general.

I think there are only going to be one more of these posts, considering that there will be a Thursday right after my defense. Wow. What am I going to do with my Thursdays now?

Well. Hang on. Back up. Let’s talk about this third chapter that just, as far as these posts are concerned, appeared out of nowhere. The working title is all over the place, because I don’t like it and it’s really long, but here’s the gist: big, traditional publishers exploit teen online engagement for their own marketing gains, but focus on what their research says will make the next bestseller and NOT the next good book. While authors can make use of these new media outlets these days, publishers ten to ignore them and instead create these debilitating feedback loops with their own marketing departments that keep us trapped within really bad trends.

Out of all three chapters, this is the first one that really made me … angry. Like, really tumblr_mkqimsivr61ruw1vso1_500angry. And all the stuff I researched and talked about, it’s nothing that I didn’t at least subconsciously know about YA publishing. But seeing it, reading it, understanding the depth of the madness–it’s just terrifying.

I write posts like In Defense of YA: We need a Rebellion of Our Own because I genuinely love YA, and I believe that the genre has a powerful role to play in literature if only we can rescue it from its dependence on tropeism and “what sells.” However, writing an essay like this and seeing how far the traditional publishers go to keep producing the next new megahit … it’s sad. I start to wonder if the whole idea of a rebellion isn’t just some cute idea. I start to wonder if YA is eventually going to implode on itself, and if I’ll have to watch the whole genre fall apart.

200_sNot to be a total Debbie Downer, I guess that’s why I do this kind of research: because I think I can say something that someone can here. And my research did turn up a bunch of publishers doing really important and innovative things because they believe as I do. So, the battle isn’t lost. But, still.

I’ll probably come out with a From the Notebook video on Monday talking about how this paper literally made me consider deleting my blog and throwing in the towel on my participation in these schemes. Obviously, I only considered that for about 0.1 seconds before I threw the idea out entirely, because I love you guys and this community and I get excited about books and what we do. I could never leave.

But this paper did make me think about it. And other things.

Really wish I had time to process those things, but it is not this day. I have chapters to edit 5dfa891ff25b2dcdd6fdbba908cf9130and other papers to write and graduation to get through. There will only be one more Thesis Thursday post, I think, and then I’ll try to figure out something new to do with the day. I’ll tell you guys all about my defense, and maybe wrap all this work up a but more thoroughly. For now, though, this post is the honest truth.

I hate YA. I love YA. I really, really want to fix it. Who’s with me?

Thesis Thursday: I DID IT!

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

12804668_10209117395316620_614087368349724463_nIf this were a movie, I think this is the point where I’d give some great speech about how I always knew I could do it. But, here’s the thing: considering that I had three panic attacks on Monday before it was even noon, I did not think that I could do this.BUT HERE WE ARE.

The chapter was due Wednesday. I finished it Tuesday. GO ME.

I finally, finally got all my reading done in time to spend all last Saturday writing the beginning of this paper. I spent (rounding) 5 straight hours, left for dinner with friends, and then 3 more straight hours just pounding away. That first night, I got up to 14 pages–which honestly wasn’t that great. I thought that I only had one more section to write and then my conclusion, and the paper at that point felt really lacking to me.

Enter Sunday. I just had to take that day to myself, meaning that I needed it to do all the12798887_10209122216317142_1628587853003279900_n homework I had for Monday and that left me no time for thesis writing. I let it go and pretended that that didn’t bother me. (It did.) However, in thinking about it all day, I realized that I needed to add a section, so I really needed to write TWO more sections and my conclusion and also rewrite my intro.

Which is why I had all those panic attacks on Monday. My Mondays have a really long schedule, and I wasn’t sure I’d even sleep that night. But I hunkered down and finished the paper and I even slept that night. VICTORY IS MINE.

In the end, it ended up being 24 pages. Between that and the 29 page first chapter, I’ve already hit the minimum page requirement for this thing. And there’s one more chapter to go. I must really hate myself.

12801277_10209140220927246_1575951528546352262_nI realized something, though, that is trending between my first two chapters. It’s not intentional. My first paper, “Taming of the Tropes: How the Female Assassin in YA Literature Showcases the Biggest Issues and Best Possible Subversions of YA’s Most Popular Tropes” (working title), is all about the content of YA books, and how they claim to include these strong female characters but the publishers are LYING. This second chapter, tentatively titled “Masking the Issues: The Commodification of Young Adult Book Covers” talks about how publishers are putting more and more effort into producing covers of quality but not texts of quality.

Basically, I’m calling out big conglomerate book publishers for being liars.

Whoops?

Alright, yeah, there’s a lot more to it, and I still love YA A LOT. Just consider it part of my continued effort to get all readers of young adult a genre that actually speaks to them like humans rather than formulaic tropes that are packaged in shiny covers.