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BiWeek Bibliomania

Posted by Rachel on September 20, 2016 in characters, current event, reading, romance |

This un-bi-lievable list is brought to you by my endless search for bi stories. So haters can say bi, bi, bi, and all the cool kids can hoard these bi-utiful stories till their hearts content *bi-five* Sorry not sorry but my sexuality has the best puns πŸ˜‰

Before proceeding, let’s clear up what bisexuality means to me:

That’s the bestest way for me to describe it. Got it? Swell, let’s move on.

I’ve read a crap-ton of these stories and you know what I’ve found? While the characters and myself identify as bi (or under said umbrella), we are all very different people and I don’t connect with every single one of them. Some feel like I’m reading in front of a mirror. Some I see pieces of my life, my actions, my personality but not the whole. Others are unrelatable to me because I don’t feel what they feel at all. YAY! Why yay, you ask? Because this proves there is no one single bi story out there or one single way to be bi. Within pieces of the queer spectrum there is an even deeper spectrum. Think of it like the rainbow, there are main colors but within those colors are additional hues and tones. I think that’s awesome.

For this wonderful week celebrating this wonderful piece of the rainbow, here are some incredible stories you should bi (buy) and read:

 

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Coda by Emma Trevayne

Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Just Girls by Rachel Gold

Love in a Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

Over You by Amy Reed

Pantomime by Laura Lam

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

 

Bi the way, there are many others I would categorize as having bi characters, but since those do not explicitly state they are bi, I’ve kept them off the list. This is by no means a comprehensive collection, either. Please check out goodreads or ask around for others because there are a lot I’m still digging to get through on my TBR. And thankfully, in the months/year to come there are a bunch of new bi books to explore! Be sure to keep an eye out x) Happy #BiVisibilityWeek, everyone!

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Mastering PitchWars

Posted by Rachel on September 1, 2016 in current event, editing, outline, plot, query, structure, voice, writing, writing tips |

Yay! You’ve won PitchWars! You were chosen by a mentor and everything is awesome, right?

WRONG.

No, just kidding, it is pretty awesome! But the work has only just begun. There’s two-ish months between now and the showcase and there’s a lot left to do. When I was a mentee in PW14, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I’m willing to bet a lot of you are feeling the same way. I know it would’ve been super helpful to know what I’d actually gotten myself into, so here are some tips:

Make a plan: Whether this is something you sort out with your mentor(s), with writing buddies, or by yourself, make sure to create a plan around how you’ll attack edits. Know when you’re available to write and stick to it!

Listen to your mentor(s): They are doing their best to help get your book into better shape so it’ll not only be ready for the showcase but whatever should come after. Listen to their suggestions, take their points into consideration, be open to investing a lot of time to make your book the best it can be.

Talk things over: Whether you’re pumped about edits or really confused, make sure to get in touch with your CPs or friends from the PW group to see if those changes resonate them with as well. They’re the perfect sounding board to help you decide what’s best so use them πŸ™‚

Don’t worry about others: Surely you’ve connected with other PitchWars peeps by now, and perhaps you know what their mentor(s) suggested for fixes, but don’t worry about it. Don’t compare yourself to them. If they have much less to do or much more to do, the situation varies by book and by team so don’t over think it.

Do the scary thing: If you’re hesitant to cut a character or add new scenes, do the scary thing. If you’re not sure about changing the dialogue or removing that sentence you love, do the scary thing. Do it!

Listen to your gut: Remember, though, trust your gut. If something feels off, you’ll know it. If something feels right, you’ll know that too, even if it scares you. Make sure to remember this in all steps of this process.

Take breaks: Time is precious in PW, but so is your health and sanity. Don’t push yourself to the breaking point. Don’t overdo it because you think otherwise you’ll fail. Give yourself time to write and time away from the project as well.

Perfect your query: While your manuscript is obviously the most important piece of writing you want to polish, don’t neglect your query. As you improve your novel, write new versions of your query to match. This will keep you prepared and ready for whatever should come.

The showcase isn’t the end all be all: Take a deep breath when the showcase comes around. Those two months go fast. If you get ten requests, one request, or none, just consider it another step in the process. Don’t build it up to be the end all, be all of your career. Live it, learn from it.

Keep working: After the showcase closes, a new chapter is beginning in your writing journey. The varied paths in front of you all have different demands, but whatever they are, keep working. Keep writing. Make the most of what you learned from this adventure!

Even though these tips were written for those who have been chosen for PitchWars, they are easily applicable to people who were not chosen and have to organize the next step of their journey as well. Hopefully everyone found these helpful (maybe?) and is now even more excited for the next steps! If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask!

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Happened So Fast

Posted by Rachel on August 15, 2016 in current event, writer's sketch, writing |

Side by side we stroll cobbled streets, fumbling together conversation.

We trace over old topics, staying safe in the familiar, keeping cautious with what’s already on the table.

Silence isn’t something to overcome, it’s a breath in discussion, an excuse to observe each others smile.

Whatever this is doesn’t have a name. Not yet.

In the heat of the day, in the shimmering mirage of life, you’re the one paradise I know is real.

I muse, in secret and in hope, if I’m the sanctuary you’ve been looking for as well.

Curiosity and wonder reflect in your eyes. Bright, illuminating. Although people keep staring at our glow, you’re all I can see.

I’m not sure what will come of this, but for the first time in forever I am living for now not tomorrow.

What happens later can worry about itself.

Right now, laughter echoes across the water; yours, mine–they might as well be the same. Everything blends.

Your words come out like a song, sirening me closer even though I worry what allowing myself that extra inch might create.

But still, we press on.

Warmth is not only twirling in the breeze, but coloring your cheeks.

Together we explore alleyways and areas unknown, shifting from shop to shop, trading stories of years gone by.

Time disappears behind the horizon, drawing the day down with it and I’m not convinced there are enough hours in our eternity.

Every time you glance away, I steal a memory of you. A keepsake. A treasure.

Although the snacks we share are sticky on our fingers, crumbling in our laps, our connection is unbreakable.

I hold tight to my thoughts, locking in the desires I won’t tell you until later.

Here we find a union, a mutual nervous welling of potential that causes us to crown this spot a place we will call our own.

In you, I recognize something I’ve seen before, but never this way.

As the evening draws down, and the light fades, we begin to reveal what normally takes me months to admit.

Somehow it doesn’t ruin the night. Somehow it makes it better, like it’ll have been worth the investment this time.

Rain trickles over our shoulders, speckling our clothes as soft lightening illuminates the clouds.

The rumble rattles through us. The electricity erupts.

You reach for me and I try not to pull away. I always pull away. For you, I reach back.

Maybe this time, I think. Maybe you.

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Rachel Rewrites

Posted by Rachel on July 22, 2016 in discovery, editing, inspiration, outline, planning, plot, structure, writing, writing tips |

Writing is rewriting is rewriting

Drafting is great, sure, but editing has always been my favorite part of theΒ  writing process…until recently. With my current project, I encountered my first ever need to *gasp* rewrite. Not write more. Write the same things again, but better. All my editing prior to this was essentially adding meat to the bones of the story. They were much easier editing jobs and much more enjoyable. Kind of like adding glitter.

I know I certainly did not rewrite as extensively as some friends of mine have. I didn’t open a new blank document and start from scratch (*passes along drinks to anyone brave enough to do that*) but I did have to reorganize, restructure, remove, replace and rewrite almost everything. That challenge coupled with the fact this story is extra emotional for me meant a one way ticket on the struggle bus.

As unpleasant as the experience has been, it’s certainly taught me a thing or two. If you’re ever in the position where you need to rewrite, keep this all in mind:

  1. Do what’s best for your story even if it makes you want to quit. Yes, it will be hard, and yes, it will make you throw child-like tantrums, but you don’t want to finish your book and think “nice, this is mediocre” you want to finish and think “this is the most beautiful piece of art I’ve ever created!”
  2. Keep an old version of the story. This is two-fold. On the one hand, you want to have a reminder of where you came from, but you also need a starting point in case the rewrite needs to be redone. (It’s okay, don’t freak out, this is just a precaution)
  3. Use post it’s or note-cards to keep track of changes. My reorganization got so confusing I had to write stuff down and shuffle it about to understand how the plot would fit together in a new way. These visual aids were integral to not losing my mind over the details.
  4. Take the time you think it’ll take and triple it. To be clear, rewrites take a long time. Such a long time you might look up from your desk and realize seasons have passed you by. If you have a certain time-table in mind, it’s probably best to give yourself a big cushion in case the editing takes longer than expected (it will).
  5. Doubt will become you. Despite knowing these edits would make my book even better than people had felt it was to start, I doubted my ability to do it justice. It’s such a totally different approach to the book that I kind of still doubt that my rewrite worked. *senses my CPs glaring at me* Okay, okay, it’s probably awesome πŸ™‚
  6. Get new readers and old readers. Luckily, I have an excellent beta base and lovely writing friends who are always there to help. Definitely take the time to cultivate relationships so you can get readers new and old, too. The new readers come with a fresh perspective and the old reader can tell you how successful the changes were.
  7. Forget the old version. It’s best not to look back at what you did before. Keep the document, sure, but don’t fish around in it. If you clear your mind of what you wrote in the old version, your new version will likely be stronger.
  8. Kill your darlings. If characters don’t make sense anymore in your rewrite, get rid of them. The same goes for scenes, subplots, etc. Don’t overthink it like I do, just cut them out. Or if you want to be safe, create a cut document and stick all your removed junk in there.
  9. New angles and additions. On the flip-side of cutting out, be sure to stay open to creating new characters, subplots, or scenes. You are rewriting after all and those go hand in hand. Approach from different angles, maybe a new perspective, whatever works to give your story more sparkle.
  10. Never give up. Most important thing of all in any rewrite is to never, ever, ever give up. It might take a few months or even a year to get the new version to a place you’re comfortable with, but don’t give up on a story you’re passionate about. You never know, it might be the one.

So what’s the big take-away? Rewriting a story is exhausting. Even more so, it’s quite the overwhelming endeavor to undergo, but once you rework your idea into better shape, you’ll be glad you took the time and effort to put your best foot forward. For anyone thinking this might be them or realizing after reading this is them, *salutes* good luck!

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