Friday Funny with an Honorable Mention and a First Draft

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m feeling rather wonderful today. It’s been a great week, especially on the writing front.

friday-checklistFirst off, I received the final results for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. Okay, so I didn’t win, but I did receive an Honorable Mention for “Into Paradise.” That means I placed in the top 15 of the 1,000 writers who originally entered! Which boils down to placing in the top 1.5%. Wooot!

More than achieving this seemingly impossible feat, I’m proud of the three stories I wrote for this competition (“Chasing Monsters,” “Over the Edge,” “Into Paradise”). Not only did I work extra hard to make each one entertaining, unique, and meaningful, but I forced myself to step outside my comfort zone and take on topics that were scary, disturbing, and/or heartbreaking. I truly learned so much about myself as a writer. More importantly, I learned that if a story demands to be told, then I need to check my insecurities and fears at the door and tell them. I shouldn’t hold back. I need to take the plunge and just go for it!

Yeeee-ha!

Another great piece of news this week: I finished the first draft of my YA manuscript!

KIDDING!!!

Okay, let me clarify: I basically finished my first draft. I didn’t fully write out the last five-ish chapters. It just didn’t make sense. You see, I took a path in earlier chapters that eventually backed me into a corner, and the only way to fix it would be to start over and find where things went wrong. So, that’s what I decided to do. I jotted down some in-depth notes about how I saw the book ending, saved my document, and closed it. Then I opened a new one for draft two.

6a00d83451607369e2017d42f8b7f5970cI began working on draft 2 yesterday and…ugh. Guys, there’s A LOT of things to fix. A lot, a lot. But, it’s okay. I’m eager to roll up my sleeves and get to work. And now that life has finally calmed down, and the NYC Midnight Challenge hoopla is over, I can dedicate all of my energy to my revisions.

So, in honor of my honed focus, as well as the many, many, many writing days I have in front of me, here is today’s Friday Funny:

10374510_850320518311743_1136249276918190834_nHow was your week? I’d love to hear!

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

Music Monday – Know Your Enemy – American Idiot

On Writing Secondary Characters

Music Monday – For the Glory & With These Hands – Civil War Musical

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-and-musicSince I skipped last week’s Music Monday, I thought I’d share with you a couple of songs that inspired “Into Paradise,” my final entry for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge.

The first is “For the Glory. I have always LOVED this song, and I’ve often found inspiration in it. For Into Paradise, however, the part that moved me the most was the middle section, around the four minute mark, when Linda Eder begins to sing. I tried to infuse her haunting tone and peaceful lyrics into my story:

Sleep in my arms now
All your pain is passed.
Sleep, for you have travelled far
Now you are home, at last.
Go as you came here
Time to say goodbye.
Light, soft as a melody
Safe in a lullaby

The fields are green
The rivers are unclean
And all so far from here …

Rest for a while, now
All you work is done.
Rest here in my waiting arms
Now that your race is run …

Here is the entire song: 
(If you’d only like to hear the part from above, fast forward to the 4 minute mark)

The other song that helped me write Into Paradise was “With These Hands. During my story, I have a moment where my protagonist looks down at her hands and thinks about all they’ve done in her life–how they represent her life. That moment came from hearing this song: 

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.