Amanda Kenney's Notebook This is where my creations and I hang out.
Browsing all posts in: Amanda Kenney

October 7 (Tuesday)

October 7

I know it’s been quite a long time since I posted anything; things here at college are crazy.  But just recently I started going to a Creative Writer’s Group here on campus, and now that I’ve experienced one, I can say that I highly recommend it.  If you can find one, join it.  If you can’t find one, make one.  It’s incredibly helpful to have other writers’ insights into your work.  They can find ways for you get over blocks in your writing, give advice, and help you to see your writing with a fresh perspective.  And even if you don’t bring anything in to read, you’ll be inspired and excited by what others bring in.  Altogether, it’s great to be supported by a community of people that are as passionate about writing as you are.

Happy Birthday

August 16

Happy birthday to me!  I’m officially eighteen.  And August is the anniversary of my current manuscript, Season of Betrayal.  Happy fourth birthday, book!

April 3 (Thursday)

April 3

Well, I realized that it was April and I hadn’t being keeping you guys up-to-date at all.  And April is special because I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo!!  You remember in November I wrote 50,000 words in 15 days?  This is like that, only different.  Instead of 50,000 words, you get to set your own word goal.  I decided on 25,000- nice and easy.  And it has been great so far; writing a thousand words a day is really easy.  So I’m writing yet another sequel that’s totally different from the other one I write back in November, although it’s supposed to be happening during the same time period.  Hopefully this version will more exciting than the other one.  There’s just one little problem.

I don’t like it.  Now, I know that NaNo is all about quantity and not quality, and that’s what the editing months are for, but, honestly, it’s painful.  Only two days into it and I am dissatisfied with the measly two chapters I’ve written.  The characters aren’t being themselves (a problem I encountered last time and eventually defeated) and I think perhaps my world isn’t developed enough (I only designed it two days in advance- not enough time).

Last night I fell into my little writer’s Pit of Despair and wondered if I’d ever be happy with any sequel- I’ve written about three different versions now and don’t really like any of them.  So now I’m wondering if I should just press forward and hope it gets better, or abandon it now and try an entirely new idea.  I’ve got until this afternoon to decide.  Either way, I’m writing a thousand words today.  It’s just a question of what.

March 14 (Friday)

March 14

I realized I hadn’t posted in awhile, and since I have all these thoughts swirling around in my head I’d like to share, I reckon now’s a good a time as any.

What?  No, of course I’m not just procrastinating!  Why would you think that?

Yeah…anyway… I did a totally fresh rewrite on chapters thirteen and fourteen, and now I’m working on chapter fifteen, which is even more totally fresh.  Dad was really pleased with chapter thirteen, and I hope the rest of this revision comes out as successfully.  Interestingly, it looks as though chapter fifteen is going to have to be split into two separate chapters (it’s already twenty pages long), which means I’ll have to join two other chapters together in order to maintain a total of seventy-seven chapters.  See, by decree of my evil twin, the final draft of the book has to have exactly seventy-seven chapters, not including prologue and epilogue.  (It’s a crazy writer thing; don’t try to understand it.  Or is it just a crazy Amanda thing?  Same difference, I guess.)

Fortunately, I think I’ll be in need of an extra chapter, because I’m anticipating some reduction in the climax.  Certain events need to be merged together, resulting in fewer chapters; some secondary plot lines are going to be dropped, resulting in some chapters becoming null and void altogether.  Of course, the ending is morphing all the time, so how can I really know one way or the other?

Speaking of which, I’ve tried to rewrite the last chapter a couple of times, but I couldn’t really finish it because I needed a special design for a medallion and I just couldn’t come up with one.  The design had to reflect the characters and somehow be meaningful for the whole story.  Then, just this last Tuesday, something about the warm weather inspired me and spawned a whole new plot device.  I invented a national holiday called Helm Hyelt, closely related to the main character, came up with a symbol for it, and- ta-dah!  Gap filled!  It may morph yet, but for now I’m satisfied.

And now, back to chapter fifteen.

February 9 (Sunday)

February 9

Hello there!  Sorry I’ve been gone so long.  But that’s what I’m here to talk about!  For some reason, right in the middle of a big rewrite for Season of Betrayal, I decided to also revise its sequel.  Well, what happened was I promised the NaNoWriMo people I’d spend January and February editing, since it’s a traditional part of the winners’ program.  Point is, I committed to editing the darn thing when I knew I was going to be rewriting my Magnum Opus.  Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

Thanks to my dad’s advice, exciting new horizons are appearing for Season of Betrayal.  There was a time not so long ago when I would have sworn that I was done with major changes, but -surprise surprise- I’ve already rewoven important plot points, and there is still so much more to be done.  Characters are changing and timelines morphing.  I hope I will be satisfied with the result.

December 27 (Friday)

December 27

Sometimes, being a writer can just really stink.  Whether you like it or not, all your emotional stability and happiness is invested in your writing.  So if you’re not happy with your writing, you’re just not happy.  About anything.  Even worse, if you try to run away and ignore it because it’s just too painful to even read, you end up only feeling more and more miserable.  Consider it an inverse ratio: the less you read it, the more miserable you are.  Suddenly, anything else you try to fill your time with only makes ignoring it more painful.  You try to talk to your characters while you lie awake at night, only to find that they’re giving you the cold shoulder, refusing to talk to you until you start writing about them again; and trying to forget them is like trying rip out your own heart.  And, horror of all these horrors, if you doubt your plot, doubt your characters, doubt your ability, doubt it’s ever going to be any good, doubt the whole shebang, really doubt… No, no doubt about it, being a writer is dangerous, not the least to your mental health.

Think about it: you can toil and slave away for years, drawing together this scattered story, and when you’re finally done that work, the dreadful shadow of edit & revise comes over you.  You sell your soul to this horrible being and weep as you watch it tear apart your beloved story bit by bit.  But lo! at the end of it all it hands you the perfect story, just what you wanted it to be.  That happiness is fleeting, however, for you must send your creation forth to battle the vulture publishers and perhaps face rejection.  And when it finally defeats one of them, it must undergo more edit & revise until it is a book in its own right.  Finally, when all that is said and done, you and your book must face the horrors of marketing, and rejection shows its ugly face once more.  And in that cracked sidewalk in your mind, a small idea is poking up its head between the dead cement, demanding to be nurtured and loved and grown into a book.  And being a writer, you can’t help but say yes.  So it all starts all over again.

And I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

December 13 (Friday)

December 13

The Hobbit came out today!!  Isn’t that exciting?  I can’t wait to see it!

But that’s not why I’m writing this.  Because I won NaNoWriMo, I got Scrivener half off.  So I bought it and I’ve spent the last three days figuring out how it works.  For most of yesterday and all of today I put my NaNo novel onto Scrivener layout, editing it at the same time.  I was surprised to find that it needed much less editing than I first thought.  Hopefully it’ll stay that way.  If there’s any substantial editing to be done at all, it’ll probably be conceptual editing.

I was really dreading writing it, but it actually gave me a great inside look into my favorite character.  I’ve always peeked into his mind to see what he was thinking and feeling, but this time I got into his skin and saw things exclusively from his eyes.  It was an amazing experience, I gotta say.  Just gotta love him.

And the most important thing I learned about my character was this: he looks adorable in horizontal stripes.  But he doesn’t like wearing them cuz he’s too cute to be taken seriously.

December 1 (Sunday)

December 1

Well, Advent has begun!  I’m really excited for Christmas personally.  First of all, because it’s Christmas, but also because my Christmas break is going to be awesome!  Sleeping in, just goofing off, playing with Legos, reading a good old fiction book instead of all these school books; yeah, it’s good.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of rewriting on Part One of my book, making it loads better.  Mostly I’ve been revising this one character because he’s a bit outdated compared to how the rest of the story developed.  Now I can tolerate his existence.  The climax also needs a little work, and just recently I wrote a chunk of brand new stuff into the beginning, so I’ve got to make that work.  There’s always more work to be done, it seems, but once again I feel like it is nearing the end.

Anyways, I just came here to ramble a little.  See ya later!

NaNo Victory!

November 15

I’ve done it!  I’ve written 50,000 words!!  Victory!!!!

I am so happy.  This is just awesome.  And there are definitely some rough spots in the novel, and some things that make no sense, but overall I am quite pleased.  It came out much better than I ever anticipated.  There were some things I were worried about, but they all worked out in the end.  In any case, I may spend some time this weekend writing a little more in a chapter I sort of skimmed over, but after that it is back to my normal, “sane” life, and I will not be picking up this book again until next year (that is, after Christmas).  Interestingly enough, writing this book really gave me some new perspective on Season of Betrayal and just what I want to do with it.  I am super (I mean, like, extremely, insanely, obsessively) excited to start editing it again, especially the climax.  I guess fifteen days of no editing, just writing, really made me appreciate editing again.

Well, I hope your NaNoing is going well, and I will post again soon!

November 6 (Wednesday)

November 6

I reckon it’s time for an update!  As far as NaNo goes, I got up to 15K last night!  Which tells you how much I’ve been neglecting my schoolwork!  What I’ve learned so far is that my characters are still them (so relieved to find that out) and that my character does not look good in vertical stripes.  Thick horizontal stripes are okay, but vertical stripes are right out.

All in all it’s been going very well, except that now I’ve hit the hard stuff, so we’ll see how that goes.  There’s also a sneaking suspicion that the book won’t be 50,000 words, but even as I think it, I’m pretty sure it will be.  So how’s your NaNo novel going?