April 19, 2011

Accessibility part ii

So, fresh off the heels of a Boston Bruins victory, I thought I'd do a follow up post to my last one.  You know, because I'm in such a great mood and all due to the win (I really am!)

Since this is a blog about me, I thought I'd also mention that today I went out to watch the game at a campus bar with friends.  Had my little fake ID to get in and everything.  I was one of two girls in a group of fourteen, but I had my bruins jersey on and it was a great time.  We even put on some black and yellow face paint!  I'll get some pictures up later and post them on this blog.

But what I wanted to say on the topic of accessibility is that I want to be the most accessible writer out there.  When (if?) I get published (I really think "when" is the right term, because I intend to work hard for it, as I have been already...), I want to be able to be the easiest author to get in touch with, and the easiest one to interact with.  I want to hear from all my fans, and see why they liked my books, but more importantly, I want to know about them.  And I want to be able to give guidance to all the other young aspiring writers out there, to help nudge them in the right direction.  All as a way of saying "thanks" for enjoying my books, or giving back to the authors who want to get published. If I can do all that, I'll be very, very happy.

April 16, 2011

Accessibility and NEW BOOK TITLE!

The Bruins just lost, and are down 0-2 in their series.  Yes, I follow hockey, and yes, that sucks.  I was sad when it happened.

But that's not the point of this blog post.  What I wanted to say was that yesterday I spent a lot of the day looking up some of my favorite authors online.

Some have blogs, others have official looking webpages.  Most have done interviews somewhere in some form.

And what I realized was that all these authors got there doing the same things I'm doing.  They wrote their books, found agents, got publishers interested, found a readership, got fans, and eventually their books took off.  But what was inspiring about seeing them there was this thought: they got there doing exactly what I'm doing.

I also realized that they all did it using the same tools I'm using.  A keyboard and a computer screen.  Although maybe some wrote out their first manuscript by hand, even, but that's not the point.  The point is that they had a story to tell, believed in it, and wrote it.  That's the first step, and it's key.  You can't become an author without a written story, can you?

Speaking of story, I'm becoming really confident in this book I'm writing.  Like, really confident.  I'm up to 86,000 words now, which is already 344 printed pages.  So I'm getting close to the end.  I'm going to have to do some edits, of course, and will probably cut whole sections out to trim it... but, I went back today to reread some of the early chapters that I wrote a few months ago.  I had to prepare myself mentally before doing it, because I was expecting it to be cringe-worthy.  Reading your first draft always is.

But instead, I was surprised to find that it all just... flowed.  And it flowed really well.  The writing was good. Like, I was astonished at how it turned out.  So, my confidence is at an all-time high for getting this baby published.

And I thought of the title today.  I'm going to call it Shattered.

April 14, 2011


Time is a funny thing.

When you're young (like, really young), it can't pass quickly enough.  You're looking forward to summer, or to the day you get your driver's licence, or your first kiss, or a million other things.  And as you wait, time just drags on and on.

But when you get older, you realize how quickly it passes.  Right now, I'm at that phase.  This isn't a post lamenting the passage of time, though.  It's actually more like a call to action for me, after a realization of how quickly days can go by.

Every passing day gives me an urgency to write quicker.  Maybe "quicker" isn't the right word, though.  An urgency to write more prolifically.  To have more time to write. I always want to take time when I write, to make sure every sentence in my book is smooth and flowing and beautiful.  But I have to balance that against the need to actually finalize what I'm writing.  To further the plot in my book, to get that much closer to the end.

Right now, I don't have the luxury to spend days crafting the perfect paragraph.  If I want to get published, to become a writer, I need to finish my book.  That's obvious.  And I'm working towards that goal every spare minute I get, but sometimes it still doesn't seem like enough.  Every day I spend inching towards the end but not reaching it is another day where I'm not sending out copies of the manuscript to agents and publishers.  It's another day where I'm not connecting with my readers, getting their comments and suggestions, and learning what they liked about my work.

So I spend every free minute I can thinking about my book and writing it.  I'm up around 80,000 words already, but haven't even come close to finishing the book.  There's a sense of loss, because I know I'm going to have to delete a lot of those words in the end, to shorten the book.  And I spent time on all those words -- every single one of them meant something to me.  

I also want to reach out and talk to other aspiring writers.  But I don't know where they go.  Is there a forum online somewhere, hidden away from reach, where all the girls who want to become authors go?  Or a membership site deep in the trenches of the internet?  I don't know.  But moreover, every time I start thinking about searching for something like that, I realize that the time can also be spent writing.  Which is what I need to be doing, at least until I finish this manuscript.

So, back to time.  Time is on my side right now, I think.  I'm young, and have already written a lot in my life.  So I have some experience.  But none of it was ever published; none of it was ever written to be published.  So this whole endeavor is something new.  And if it takes years for me to get published, well, so be it.  But at the same time, I feel pressed by urgency.  

Yet writing isn't something I can rush.  I wish I had the time to spend days crafting the perfect paragraph.   That may come someday, in the future, once I've been published... but it's not that day now.  I just have to do my best with what's given to me, and hope it all works out in the end.  But I need to get some finality soon, some kind of response from readers telling me that they love (or hate!) my book, or a yes/no from an agent who's willing to sell my book.  The not knowing is killing me.

I feel like I'm swimming in an empty sea right now, with no sense of direction.  I can only hope I'm headed towards the shore. 

April 12, 2011

3,000 words

Today was a great day.  I spent a lot of it writing, and put together 3,000 nicely polished words for my soon-to-be-finished book.

These particular 3,000 words get a special mention on my blog because they mark the start of a long, secretive, and forbidden romance between two of my characters.  The entire book up to this point has been building up to it, so this part's really important.  For the progression of the story, and for the start of the relationship.  In fact, I think that these will turn out to be the most important 3,000 words in my book.  I hope people love them. 

I'm actually really excited by how it turned out.  I don't want to give anything away, so I can't say much at this point.  But I will say this: I listened to Take That's Rule the World over and over as I wrote the scene.  I think it's one of the most magical songs ever performed.  I want it to play at my wedding.  That's how powerful it is.

April 9, 2011

Second post: how I get into a writing zone

Here's the second post, coming not long after the first.  Maybe I'm just excited to have a pretty blog up that I can't stop thinking about it, right now.  I should probably be writing my book now, but writing something is better than nothing, right?

Anyway, for the past hour or so I've been in a really good writing zone, and I wanted to jot down my thoughts on how I got there.  The zone is actually somewhat elusive, I think, and while I wouldn't say I ever suffer from anything like "writer's block" (a made up phenomenon IMHO), I do suffer from "writer's procrastination" -- that is, coming onto my computer with the intention of writing, but getting sidetracked by the internet.

But it's more than just getting sidetracked.  Just like when you're reading a good book, and you really start to get into it, the hours can just fly by.  Your mind is swept away by images painted by your imagination of what you're reading, and you feel like you're actually there with the characters.  You feel like you're breathing, seeing, tasting, and experiencing everything with them side by side.  And it's moments like that when you don't want any interruptions.  In fact, if you're anything like me, you zone out of everything going on around you and your focus is entirely on the the book.

A writing zone is similar, in some ways.  I've noticed that my best and most productive writing comes when I enter a similar focused zone.  I picture the characters in my head, see them talking, see them interacting with one another, and see the world around them.  Except that it's different from when I'm reading, because there's so much going on in my head that I just can't get it all down quickly enough.  The writing zone comes in moments like that -- moments when my imagination is out-pacing my ability to get it all down.  But I'm focused only on the writing, and everything else becomes entirely peripheral.

The writing that occurs in this zone, though, is admittedly very rough.  I don't use punctuations, and sentences can drag on and on while I'm trying to just get everything on paper (or rather, on my computer screen).   Sometimes I write parts of dialogue over and over again just to pick out my favorite version later.  But as long as I'm focused, I just keep writing

Once it's done, and I have everything I wanted typed out, I can then go back and read it over.  Some parts make me cringe, while others pleasantly surprise me.  And during the re-read, I add in punctuation, fix spelling errors, etc -- basically, everything I can do when I'm not in a zone.

That's how my writing works.  Or rather, a part of my writing.  Sometimes I just sit down and force myself to write, but that's for another blog post.  The main thing to know, I think, is just how much I enjoy the process of writing fiction.  I love it more than anything, and wouldn't give it up for the world.

First post

My first post!  What a way to start: a rainy Sunday afternoon in Boston.  Auspicious much?

Hopefully, fortune turns as I get further along in this.  What do I mean by "in this," exactly?  Two things, really: this blog, and my writing.

Start with the first -- this blog.  What is it?  It's my outlet for my life; for sharing stories, for my writing, and anything and everything else that comes to mind.  A way to keep track of my goals and note my achievements. I've had some of my friends pick up blogging back in 2004, when we were only 13, and then have their blogs sputter out.  I really hope mine doesn't turn out that way.  I want this blog to be an extension of my personal diary -- no, a substitute for my diary.  Everyone's sharing everything anyway nowadays, so why not me? Maybe a bit selfish, sure.  But what's blogging otherwise?

Moving on to the second thing: my writing.  I've been writing stories for as long as I can remember.  Actually, that's a bit of a lie.  I've been writing since the third grade, when a wonderful teacher asked everyone in class to write a fairy tale, and ended up picking mine as his favorite.  He didn't tell the other kids, of course -- but confided it in my parents.  He said I have a natural knack for writing (his exact words! and I remember them to this day), and should never stop.  So, I've kept going..

I've mostly been keeping it to myself, though.  I've never really thought about becoming an "author," or a "writer" (quotations because those goals are still so far away!), so never had the need to share with anyone or publicize my stories.  But, I'm just finishing up my second year in college, and have really started to think about careers and life goals and such other mysterious things.  And while my friends were all busy trying to get internships for the summer this year, I just kept to myself with my writing hobby.  I don't have an interest in going out and working professionally in the "real world" -- I want to keep writing forever, and I want to have time to do it.  The only way I see myself having that time, though, is by becoming a published author.

So there you have it.  That's the abbreviated history of one Sophia Sharp.  I've been working on a young adult paranormal/fantasy novel for the past few months, and think that's the one I'm going to try to get out there.  Why young adult?  Because it's what I love to read.  And why paranormal/fantasy?  Because that genre gives the greatest opportunities for creating a magical, romantic, quixotic world that I can fall in love with.

PS: and no, it's not exactly a clone of TWILIGHT, I can promise you that.  Although fans will like it, I think...