Two Reviews and Writing Camp

Here’s a little update on my writing life.

Currently, I’m working on a YA novel, queer-forward. It explores the relationship between three diverse friends, with the setting playing a pretty significant role in the plot as well. The story is set in the late 1990s and is book-ended with a prologue/epilogue set in the present. I’ve written 14 chapters out of a planned 30, so the draft is about half-finished and sits somewhere around 160-pages right now. If I continue at the word count I’ve been averaging per chapter, the draft will end up to be around 400-pages when it’s finished; but then of course the editing and revision phases begin, and I’ll likely end up “killing my darlings.” I’m not looking forward to that, but even in first pass-through edits of my completed chapters, I find that I’m editing things down a bit. Probably for the best.

I should be able to complete the full draft before the end of the summer. Then I’ll go through a full revision or two before looking for beta readers (I have one good friend taking an early look as I write, but no writing group right now, unfortunately). After I get through those, if the work is still standing and the piece can be revised again successfully based on reader feedback, I’ll start querying agents. I have no idea what that process is like, so I’ve been trying not to think about it. It’s the most intimidating part of the process to me, even more so than the writing itself (crazy, I know!).

On the plus side, I’ve really been enjoying telling this story. Some chapters have come out like a breeze, often because I had ample plans for them ahead of time. Other chapters have been a real struggle to get through, or to get started. I’ve found, though, that if I can avoid being intimidated by that blank page at the start of each chapter, and just GET STARTED, I do end up somewhere. It just takes a good punch to the wall, sometimes. The most helpful thing for my progress and motivation is to think about how much I wish I had had this book as a teenager or college student. I believe it says a lot of what I’ve been dying to say, and what I would have killed to know/hear when I was younger.

I’ve been reading a lot of poetry this month, too, and that’s keeping the creative juices flowing while allowing me to be free within my own imagination. I’m specifically avoiding any books within the genre I’m writing right now, but I’ll get back to those when I’m in revisions. July is also Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve been updating my progress on the website. My original goal for the month was 30,000 words, but it looks like I’ll be able to hit the “general” goal of 50,000 instead! Is anyone else participating?

Current word count: 42,275.


The other item of note is that my first book, From A Whisper to A Riot, is still doing well and being well-received by readers. It’s academic non-fiction, specifically queer literary history and analysis, so the market for it is very tight, and I published it independently, which narrowed the reach even further. That said, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by its reception out there in the reader-sphere. Here are two truly excellent and thoughtful reviews I would like to share:

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