Things to Remember Around the Competition

I started worrying last night. Today is the first day of my very long anticipated Fiction II class. The intro class really kicked my butt so I’m pretty nervous about how tough the higher level will be.

Of course, when you’re in a writing class, everyone is always whispering about who the “best writers” of the class are. Everyone is going to be looking over your work. One bad paragraph could ruin your reputation, so it’s easy to start stressing about everyone else. Here’s a few tips on how to stay cool when you’re around another group of writers.

1. Remember that no one else is perfect: 

It’s true though! Every writer has their flaws, and everyone will mess up at some point. Let’s be real, we go through TONS of ideas before we finally have a winner.

2. Don’t let titles or fancy awards get to you: 

I’ve had classes with award winning writers, people that are top editors for the school paper, and people with tons of publications. It can feel really intimidating at some points, or even all time. (Mostly all the time for me). Just remember that you’re all in the class to learn and improve your skills.

3. Everyone has different strengths: 

I get worried in fiction classes because I’m stronger in nonfiction. Everyone has areas of writing that they’re better at than others, and that’s totally okay!

4. Be yourself! 

While it may be intimidating to be around a bunch of competition, just remember to relax and be friendly. Having a good relationship with the class will make being there that much easier.

Four tips, because I just can’t think of a fifth one for some reason. Enjoy the rest of your week everyone.

Torn Between Two Paths

With the start of school, sorority recruitment, and all that senior jazz, I’m happy to say that I’ll be trying to post more often.  So, here’s the topic for today: what do you do when it comes to new books and old books that differ in potential and popularity?  What if you’re in my situation: currently writing a book that isn’t going anywhere, but want to being the publishing process of another, more popular book?

Ask yourself these 5 questions:

1. How much is left? 

This one is quite simple.  How much is left of the book you’re currently working on?  Is it just a few chapters?  Are you at the climax?  Or are you only a few chapters away from the end, but have writers block like I do?

2. Can you focus while having an unfinished book? 

I’m a stickler when it comes to finishing books.  I still lie awake at night thinking about finishing my novel “Runaways” that I started when I was 13. I know that I won’t be able to focus on Knowing You’re There with SF926 not being done.  I’ll keep going back to it.

3. Do I have the time? 

I’ve never been through the traditional publishing route.  Only self publishing, which as many of you know, was probably my biggest disaster ever.  Traditional publishing takes up a lot of time that working on a rough draft for fun doesn’t.

4. What will the benefits of finishing be? 

For me, finishing the horrible first draft of SF926 will mean just that to me: the piece of mind.  Knowing that I finished it, whether I go back to it and try to do anything with it at all.  If you don’t see any reason to finish that first draft right now, then don’t bother.

5. Am I really ready to start this process? 

I’ve been wanting to be traditionally published since I was 13, and even more so when I finished my first book at 16.  Self publishing was hard.  I didn’t have the support of family or friends, I didn’t know a lot about grammar or how to edit.  Now I have a sorority full of willing beta readers and feel like I can catch any grammar mistake.

Do you have support from people around you?  Are you willing to have your story ripped apart by critiques?  Are you willing to stay up late into the night rewriting and editing?  If so, then you’re most likely ready to publish.

Side note:

By reading the above, yes, this is my announcement that I will soon be beginning the process to traditionally publish my YA romance novel Knowing You’re There.  I have no idea what I’m doing and will be posting updates along the way.  I look forward to sharing this journey with you all.

Your Gender-Neutral Story

Yesterday I found yet another story on Wattpad where a strait girl and strait guy were living in the same dorm room, sleeping a few feet away from each other. Of course, they didn’t know each other and hated each other. 

I’m just going to go right into a numbered list about gender neutral housing. Here are some facts and debunking methods to ensure that your story is accurate and relatable:

1. Yes, two strait students can live in the same room or suite…

This one surprised me after doing some research yesterday. According to Cornell, two students of different genders can share a bedroom. BUT

2. They HAVE to fill out a special aplication 

Not only can students live with a person of the opposite sex, they MUST agree to it by filling out a special application. Only then will they be in gender-neutral housing. 

3. AND they have to know each other! 

The colleges I researched had special selection processes where after student fill out their special aplication, they have to select their roommates BEFORE they select their room. 

4. Open room change does exist, too

One issue I’ve noticed a lot is the line, “How will they survive living together for an entire year?” Well, they won’t, because open room change happens 3 times a year and they could switch out if it was that bad. 

5. And so do waitlists 

If open room change doesn’t work out, many colleges offer waitlists into other dorms. With people dropping/moving off campus/getting kicked out, there will always be SOMEWHERE else to go at some point. My suitemate was on a wait list and moved into my room at the end of November. 

My First Solution: The Off Campus, 2 Bedroom Apartment

This solution is not only more realistic, but can keep the two in one place where they literally can’t move out, mainly if they’re stuck in a year lease. In fact, they’ll spend even MORE time together, since they’ll be doing all of their cooking and studying there, instead of leaving said dorm room to go to the cafeteria or library. 

Create this situation by having one person already in the apartment, their roommate bailing, leaving them desperate for a roommate in order to pay rent; having the other move in since they applied late and don’t have a room on campus. 

Second Solution: the Live-in Boyfriend/Girlfriend

College students do this ALL the time. Two of my friends have a roommate and suitemate with a boyfriend who never leaves, and I lived next door to someone in the same situation last year. 

PLENTY of drama can happen between a roommate and a significant other that is always there. And wait–plot twist! She’s falling for her roommate’s boyfriend, but can’t date him because it’ll ruin their friendship! *gasp* 

Heck, I might even use one of these ideas myself. 

No, Editors Don’t Work for Free

Time and time again, I’ve gotten asked to edit stories for others on Wattpad. People always need help. Now, this is something I love doing–so much that I want to go into copyediting as a career. I’ve been editing on Wattpad for about two years now, and lately I’ve noticed a trend. 

People don’t want to complete the payments for their stories to get edited by me. This never happened at first. People always left the desired amount of comments on my stories, etc. (I don’t charge real money since all of my clients are teens). 

Many of them have started leaving comments that are only a few words, and most of them, when I ask for two comments because their story needs an extensive amount of work, will leave them on the same chapter. 

This is just upsetting. Even clients I’ve worked with for years have started pulling this on me. 

I just don’t understand. I work for over an hour on each chapter, and yet they won’t take another ten minutes to read a second chapter of my book. Am I being too soft? Am I working too hard? 

I want to put in the same amount of time that they give me–but if I only did ten minutes of work, I’d only have half of their first page done! 

Anyway, word of advice: if your editor has been working hard and giving you great reaults, don’t get stingy, especially when I should be charging actual money for the amount of work I do. 

My Hate/Hate Throat Relationship

My throat has always seemed to hate me. I’ve come to terms with that, because I hate it right back. After all these years, it’s still giving me trouble.

When I was a kid I had frequent sore throats. As in, every month frequent. Not strep, which went away with antibiotics, but the viral kind, which resulted with many, many awful wasted swabs to the back of my throat and the usual, “Well, it’s viral. Take Tylenol.”

At first, for some reason my mom thought it was allergies. I went to the allergist at 11, had to face many needed and prongs, only to have it all be negative.

Finally in 6th grade I went to an ENT. My adenoids were getting removed, and everything was good until my tonsils got severely infected a year later.

I thought surely, no tonsils and no adenoids=no problems. Guess again. Food started getting stuck in the holes left by my tonsils. It also started coming out my nose.

X-rays, blood tests, barium swallows, nose scopes–no answers. At 16, I went to a world renown doctor at USF (who I will be ever grateful for) who solved the issue by teaching me exercises to strengthen my soft palate.

This past year, at 19, I’ve now been facing a new strand of issues that I can’t understand. I have symptoms for 2 weeks. Mild ones. I think I’m getting sick, but the symptoms don’t get worse. Then, when I do get worse, I’m in severe pain for 4+ days, compared to 1 or 2 like when I was younger.

This has happened 3 times. Each time it’s viral, my school health center refusing to give me anything until I go to a different clinic and get an antibiotic, which makes it finally go away. The first time was a bacterial infection. I don’t know about the other 2.

At this point I’m angry. I’m annoyed. What could be causing this? What could possibly make symptoms happen for 2 weeks? I don’t get it. I don’t understand. I just want my throat to work the way it should. I feel like it never will. Tomorrow I will be making a call to a different ENT. If u get an appointment I’ll keep you all posted.

When a Gameboy Kills

Picture this: you’re a college student who has just finished finals. You’re tired from packing and spent 4 hours in the airport.

Finally, you’re on the plane, ready to go home to see family. And just when it’s almost full, you think back to the sign before security that says “no lithium batteries.”

You look down at your bag, which contains a new, “vintage” Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP. Google says it has a lithium ion battery.

This was me last night: having a panic attack minutes before takeoff because I thought my Gameboy was going to explode mid-flight.

All I could picture was crusing at 40k feet in the darkness, then all of a sudden seeing battery acid leaking out of my laptop case, or a spontaneous fire forming at my feet.

I was so tempted to tell a flight attendant, “Hey, um…so I have a Gameboy with a lithium battery. Are we going to die?”

The plane was backing up from the gate. I was rapidly texting my boyfriend even though my phone should’ve been in airplane mode. He told me to breathe and calm down. I told him that me and my stupid Gameboy were about to murder 130 people unless I did something.

Moments later, a thought. “Wait. What kind if battery does my iPhone, (that I fly all the time with) have?” A quick Google search: Lithium ion.

So that was my flight yesterday. In this instance, I am granting you all permission to laugh not with me, but at me as well. Fly safe everyone.