I Broke Up with My Agent

And God, it hurts. Like any relationship, ours started with fireworks, hope, expectation. It was almost exactly two years ago, on January 13, 2013, that everything began with a phone call. She’d read my entire manuscript over the weekend, and … Continue reading

That Halfway Point

Long Winding RoadJust like that, we’re halfway through November and, by extension, NaNoWriMo. With 66,395 words overall and 26,395 of those written in November, I’m just a hair behind the 1667 words-per-day pace, but I’m not too concerned. I’ll probably catch up this week and I don’t necessarily plan to finish NaNo this year. Unlike my NaNo project last year, which ended up around 120k, I don’t expect this novel to reach 90k like I’d originally planned. This one will be closer to the 80k of my second novel — short and sweet. I can see the finish line now, and that’s always an exciting phase of writing.

I’m also approaching the halfway point on a different goal. About six months ago, I committed myself to singlehood for a year. It was an arbitrary number. What I really wanted was to be single “for a while”, and a year seemed like a good long while. The first month of these past six felt like a year, but the rest has shot by in the blink of an eye. Now, as I stand on the foothill that is the halfway benchmark, I wonder to myself: am I happier? Healthier? Stronger? When I look back, I tend to see my struggles: flying to New York to mourn a relationship that had died a winter ago, hooking up with another ex, rekindling and unfriending my friend-with-benefits, falling for inappropriate guy #1, falling for inappropriate guy #2, finally breaking things off with ex-from-last-winter, sleeping with my best friend. When I look back, I see myself cycling through the same patterns of highs and lows. When I look back, I am blind to my progress.

But the reality is that I have made a lot of progress. Just like my current novel, which has been neglected at times due to work and friends, my journey of self-improvement and healing hasn’t always been steady. At times, my judgment has lapsed. At times, I’ve taken the detour because it was more enticing and I had to take the long route back to the main road. At times, I’ve felt like nothing has changed at all. The same way 1k became 2k and 2k became 20k, though, my mental state has strengthened. Most importantly, I have been true to myself and what I really want. I have lived, certainly, and I have taken plenty of risk, but I have done so within the range of my own boundaries. At the same time, I’ve pushed my boundaries in healthy ways. I joined a Meetup group that I thought would be full of old folks and ended up making the best friends I’ve had in a long time. Last week, we went running in freezing temperatures and I made it all the way around Gallop Park. As I hate running, that was quite a feat. Today, we went climbing at Planet Rock and, despite my self-doubts, I reached the top. Afterwards, we were sure to eat back all the calories we burned in tamales, tortas, and tacos. I’m still full.

Like NaNo, the finish line for my yearlong singlehood is flexible. I won’t hold myself to it, because it’s no longer necessary. Being single now is not a punishment, nor is it unbearable. Now, I have too much to lose, I am too content, and I know too much about pain to give this up for just anyone. The next relationship that I get into will have to knock my socks off, because I’m pretty damn good at knocking my own socks off.

Keep Calm You're Halfway Through

Keep calm, my fellow NaNo writers. You’re halfway through. As for everyone else, I don’t know what personal goals you’re working towards, but I wish you luck in getting there. This too shall pass.

À plus tard,

R

Fall Update

Rebecca Enjoying Fall

Enjoying the last of fall weather in the Arb.

I figured today was the last day it’d be appropriate to do a fall update (brr weather incoming), so here it goes. I’m feeling much better than when I wrote this post. Things are up and down as always, but I think that a lot of what I’m feeling are the typical symptoms of being a confused, single 20-something with zero job prospects on the horizon. Okay, that’s not quite true. I am gainfully employed part-time as a GRE instructor and I am getting incredible experience as a law clerk at a nonprofit. And as of Halloween, I am officially going to law school. That’s right — got my first acceptance! But it’s a long road still to being financially independent or to starting the kind of career I want. Writing-wise, publication feels so distant that I dare not dream of it. I feel like this is the opposite of the college life. Instead of having all the freedom in the world without the accompanying responsibilities, right now I have all the responsibilities and none of the freedom.

This has been on my mind a lot — the Millennial experience. I’m not sure if it’s simply a youth thing, like teenage angst, that every generation goes through, or if there is something unique about growing up as a Millennial. Other people have given Millennials a bad rap, simultaneously claiming that we are special and somehow we have it harder than those who came before us. If Lena Dunham and Molly Sprayregen are the voices of our generation, then we are nothing more than a passive, whiny, jealous bunch who will point the finger at anyone else but ourselves.

I don’t think that’s true.

While I do think that there are certain struggles we face that our parents didn’t, I don’t think Dunham and “The Brain on 23” identify them correctly. I don’t think Millennials are irresponsible partiers who still suckle at the parental teat well into their 20s. I think the Millennial story is about the skyrocketing cost of education in a world where a college diploma is the obligatory ticket to financial stability, the weight of student loans on top of job-hunting in an increasingly competitive and difficult market, and the fear and desperate need for intimate relationships hindered by the fact that the majority of us come from fractured families. There is one thing that Dunham and Sprayregen got right, though — we all have no idea what the fuck we’re doing. Yet I’m not so sure if that ever changes, no matter your generation or your age.

Coincidentally, I’m writing my fourth novel about just that, us Millennials. I don’t claim to be the voice of my generation or even a voice of my generation. I just want to write about the difficulties that I see myself and many of my friends facing every day. Some of those are the same for people of all ages; some of them are unique to us. I don’t want to creative a narrative or a propaganda piece. I don’t want to beg for sympathy or preferential treatment. I just want to write something that’s true and real, though it may be fiction.

Three films I saw recently spring to mind. The first is Spike Jonze’s Her, the second is Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, and the last is David Fincher’s Gone Girl. I loved Her and Boyhood for the same reasons, though they took very different approaches — because they were modest works that didn’t purport to say something about the human experience, but in the process, ended up reflecting the human experience. If an alien landed on earth in his UFO and wanted to know what it was like to be a human on earth in the 2000s, I’d give him Her and Boyhood on a flash drive. What I wouldn’t show him is Gone Girl. Honestly, the only reason I’ve been complaining so much about Gone Girl is because of people’s unexpected response to it. Instead of labeling it as a badly executed psychological thriller, so many insist that it’s a statement on the modern marriage. Someone even said that Rosamund Pike’s character Amy was an accurate portrayal of mental illness. I’ve done my fair share of bitching about this film, so I’ll spare you the details and just say that I disagree.

I want to write a Her or a Boyhood. I’ve always been a character-driven writer, but thus far haven’t found the right characters. This time around, I might have found the sweet spot. Let’s hope so, because I’m already 50,000 words in. My agent and I are equally excited — her because I’ve finally written something with mass appeal and me because I’m writing the book I wish someone would have written for me.

How’s that post-grad life treating you?

À bientôt,

R

Lo que será, será

I haven’t blogged in a while. In the past, when I went on hiatus, it was always a bad sign. It meant that I’d lost my happy place and given in to the anxiety and overwhelming feelings of my life at the time. You could almost measure my mental health by the frequency of my posts. These days, things are different. I haven’t posted because I was busy, yes, but mostly because I haven’t needed to. I haven’t had moments of distress during which I felt the need to express myself to the world in hopes of finding my voice. I haven’t had moments of spontaneous genius during which I could spin beautiful words together. These days, I’m content. I’m more of a happy duck than a tortured artistic soul, and I’ve become thoroughly boring.

So here’s a thoroughly boring update on my old maidenly life.

February was a whirlwind of events. The first weekend, I went and took what was (hopefully) the last standardized test of my life: the dreaded LSAT. Law School Admission Test. When I showed up at Angell Hall at eight in the morning, I was just ready to get it over with. My fellow test-takers all knew each other and they were chatting away about their concerns and the fact that they hadn’t been able to sleep the night before. I, too, hadn’t slept well. As I looked around the hall, though, I felt much older than them. I was probably a year or two older than most, since pre-law students generally take the LSAT their junior year. But what made me feel old was the fact that I didn’t give a damn. Of course, I knew how important the LSAT was for my future law career. Yet I didn’t see any point in stressing about it. I’d studied for it, I’d shown up with my passport photo taped to my ticket, I was going to get my score back in a month. As I bubbled in my name, the thought running through my head was: lo que será, será. 

Last week, when I got the email that told me I’d scored in the 98th percentile, my thoughts were: this is what será, motherfuckers!

Alas, as always with life, the bad comes with the good. A few days after receiving the good news, I got an unexpected email from my agent. She’d just finished my second draft and she’d decided she wasn’t feeling the manuscript. After spending the better part of the last year on this novel, “winning” NaNoWriMo for the first time with it, revising more than I’d ever done before, now I was facing a crossroads. I could either take it apart piece by piece and build something entirely new out of it or I could give up. Because I’d promised myself a break from novel-writing after this book, if I gave up on it, I wouldn’t be writing for a long time. The thought scared me. Could I call myself a writer if I no longer wrote? What was I if I couldn’t call myself a writer? Would I ever have the courage to return to the art once I left?

This weekend, as I escaped to Chicago with Hans, I had the last of a series of revelations. I wasn’t ready to give up on this project that contained my heart, sweat, and tears. As much as the thought of rewriting 390 pages terrified me, I knew that this would push me further than I’d ever been pushed before. As a writer, as an artist, as a human.

Now, I’m back and life continues. I have to tutor GRE this afternoon. I have a new class starting tomorrow, a midterm on Tuesday, a paper due Thursday. I’m hoping to finish the first draft of my thesis by Wednesday. On Saturday, I’ll get the call and find out if I’m spending the next year in Asia. Graduation and adulthood are looming, but all I’m feeling these days is: lo que será, será. 

Bob Marley, I feel you.

What’s going on in your life? Is it a stressful season?

À plus tard,

R

Happy No-Resolution New Year!

My thoughts on your New Year’s Resolutions.

Last year, I dutifully wrote New Year’s Resolutions. I ended up accomplishing many of them, but in the end I would have done so anyway, even if I hadn’t written them. What’s more, I thought about my resolutions approximately 0 times over the last 12 months. So what is the point of making a list if you’re not even going to think of them?! For 2014, I’m not making any silly resolutions. I can only hope for the best and give it my all, knowing that the stakes will be higher than ever. Next year, I graduate college, embark (hopefully) on either the Fulbright or Princeton in Asia, take the LSAT, submit my novel for publication, and apply to law school. Of course, it’s nothing compared to what some of my friends are going through. One is graduating from an MBA program and will have to leave the country — and be separated from his wife — if he doesn’t find a job. I wish him all the very best.

Alright, enough talk of the new year. Let’s reflect on 2013: the good, the bad, and the mundane.

21 Things I Did in 2013

  1. I found my agent. When I first got the email asking for a full manuscript, that was probably the third most exciting moment of my life. My search for representation was one of the fastest and most painless, and I feel incredibly grateful. 
  2. I was rejected too many times to count. There were the ignored agent queries, two rounds of polite dismissals from editors, one paper rejection letter that I absolutely did not keep for sentimental purposes.
  3. I wrote two books. I feel like I gestated two humans. Fortunately, unlike with babies, you can forget about books (albeit briefly) after you “birth” them.
  4. I taught 5 GRE classes and tutored 4 students. In retrospect, I don’t know how I had the time for this.
  5. I bought toilet paper for the first time. I also encountered my first toilet paper standoff, in which all of my roommates and I refused to buy a new roll.
  6. I decided I wanted to go to law school. At first, it was a half-joke to impress my prestige-hungry father. Then, I realized I wanted to pursue international/human rights law.
  7. I was a scholar. Over the summer, I got paid handsomely to do research for my honors thesis. It was cool, but it made me realize that a career in academia is not for me.
  8. I finished my first oil painting. And have little desire to start another. But I’m taking a painting class next semester, oops!
  9. I rekindled my love for horse riding. I overcame the humiliation of being the oldest beginning rider and now I know what I’m doing…sometimes.
  10. I broke up with my long-term boyfriend. The breakup wasn’t as traumatic as the fact that I had to learn to define myself all over again. After all, when I met him, I was a clueless 18-year-old in a religious cult.
  11. I went on my first “date”. As in, meeting a stranger at x time at y location. This process is bizarre, but it’s taught me a lot about myself and humanity, and I’ve met lots of interesting people.
  12. I taught myself Arabic. Well, I can read and pronounce the alphabet.
  13. I moved back home. Surprisingly, my mom and I have learned to cohabitate.
  14. I made awesome friends. Shout-out to my conversation circle that often got me through the week. I also made my first Internet friend, which I didn’t believe was possible until it happened to me. Lastly, a big thanks to my writer friends for the many creative talks.
  15. I met my first famous person. Well, I’d seen Olympic figure skaters in competition before, but I didn’t talk to them. That one time Simon Baker drove up in a fancy car in front of me at the Prix de Diane, but I so busy staring at the car that I didn’t realize he was a celebrity. This fall, though, I met Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and it was awesome. I’m saving the signed copy of Shiloh for my favorite child. 
  16. I drank legally in the US. On my 21st birthday, I had just got off the plane from China and was too jet-lagged to party. Later, I enjoyed many a mojito. Okay, let’s be honest — my friends finished most of them.
  17. I went to my first legitimate Black Friday. As in, we were at the mall Thursday night.
  18. I was wined and dined by the Chinese government. Literally.
  19. I reached 1,000 followers on WordPress. This blog has been more rewarding than I could ever have imagined. Thank you all for giving me this outlet for creative expression crazy.
  20. I “won” NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in 30 days, baby.
  21. I learned to love myself. Well, it’s definitely a work in progress, but I’ve come a long way since quitting my therapist because I accidentally cried in her office.

Well, now that I’ve written the list, I realize that they’re mostly positives. So I guess I had a fairly good 2013, after all. How about y’all? Share some highlights or lowlights with us.

Bonne année!

R

Navigating the Single Waters

These single waters are rough, man.

You guys already know about my human breakup. So let me pause for a brief moment and talk about my book breakup. We all know that I’ve been in a (mostly) monogamous relationship with The Book this month, spending two or more hours of quality time with him (her?) daily. It hasn’t been pretty at times, but you know I truly love you when I wake up at seven in the morning to entertain you before my classes. But guess what? We’re almost broken up! I thought it was going to end when NaNoWriMo ended (yesterday), because we had an agreement that after 100,000 words together, we would part. Yet The Book seems to want to spend a bit more time with me, say 10,000 words more, so we’ll stick it out a few more weeks before ending our relationship. We’ve had a good run together and I wish The Book all the luck in the hands of future partners, but holy effing hell am I glad to be breaking up. Who wants to party with me when we do? Hit me up. I am going to need a long time — and hopefully a paycheck — before getting into another book relationship.

Alright, enough about books. Wanna know how my human single life is going? Well, navigating the single waters is damned hard. I’ve been in a relationship consistently since I was 17 and I never really dated before that either. Though I’m enjoying my newfound freedom, being single is like taking a class. A senior-level seminar on you. Your likes and dislikes, your goals and dreams, your preferences and dealbreakers. Every date is like an exam of both the other person and yourself. It’s certainly not a black and white world in which you instantly know if someone is doing it for you. A guy who would be a great friend isn’t necessarily a great lover. A guy who would be boyfriend material wouldn’t necessarily be good in bed. You could meet a guy who is perfect on paper, and then you don’t have chemistry with him. Some people may be lucky never to have to settle, but I would guess the majority settles in some way. In the best partnerships, both people feel like they hit the jackpot.

Although I’m not sure about a long-term relationship right now, I’m dating to figure out what exactly I do and don’t care for. I’m dating to see if I would be able to sustain a casual or short-term relationship, which requires great mental maturity despite what most college-aged people would think. It’s a precarious balance of respecting the person enough to “spend time” with them (ahem, cough, euphemism), not liking them enough to catch feelings (which is generally unrequited), and being attracted to them enough so that you don’t feel gross afterwards. Friends with benefits aren’t for everyone and I’m still trying to decide if it’s for me. I already know that I don’t do one-night stands ‘cuz I actually need to like a person as a human being to consider anything further.

Let’s do an analysis of my last three dates, shall we? The first one, Ben, was the only one who had intentions of a serious relationship. He seemed like an awesome guy, so I had dinner with him. A third-year law student, he hailed from Kentucky and he liked one of my favorite authors, Antoine de Saint-Exupery (he of The Little Prince fame). We got along great over text and he had a similar sense of humor. If I noticed anything off, it was the fact that he seemed to do this a lot — dating, I mean. That’s not really a problem for me, but if a guy is going on tons of dates and not finding anyone compatible for a relationship, isn’t that a bit strange? During our meal, though, I just didn’t feel a great connection. He reminded me a lot of one of my exes, and not in a good way. But because he said he had a great time and wanted to see me again, I had a miserable time turning him down.

The second dude, John, was too young for bars. Meaning he’s 20 years old, which isn’t a dealbreaker in of itself, but it’s weird to go out with someone who can’t drink legally, though I just recently gained that right. I actually had the most fun with John and I liked him enough as a person. He was fairly mature for a 20-year-old, but definitely didn’t have the level of maturity I would want in a long-term relationship. But this was casual, so I didn’t mind that much. While on our date, his roommates kept on texting him about the fact that they were all fighting over the weed brownies one of them had baked. He told me that they were annoying and this was normal. I just wanted to laugh so hard — in what universe is that normal?! Like the 420-friendly, liberal person that I am, I asked genuinely, “Well, whose pot is it?” I don’t think I’ll see John again, but it was fun for a night.

The third dude, Chris, was the worst. Of all the dudes that had asked me out, he was the most enthusiastic by far. He had to re-ask me out three times because I kept delaying the coffee date and I didn’t understand why he was so interested. In any case, the date happened and I had a sense from my first impression of him that I was not going to like it. As soon as I told him that I lived at home, he started making comments about how it wasn’t worth it and if my parents nagged me. Of course, my mother nags me. She’s a mother. But honestly? I like living at home now better than I liked living in an apartment on campus last year. To each their own. Chris gave me the impression that he would cringe if his mother called him and the dude is 30 years old. Please, if you’re 30 and you still act like a teenager who needs “freedom”, do not ask me out. When I told Chris about my novel, he kept suggesting that I self-publish and get my followers to buy it. He did not understand that I’m a writer not to make money, but to impact the world in a significant way and a traditional publishing contract is the best way to go about it. Not hating on self-publishing at all, but it’s my last resort. When he asked if we could see each other again, for something more “official” (what the hell does that mean?), I only felt a little bad when I said no.

Anyway, I’m done ranting for now. I don’t think I’m going on a date for awhile. I’ve decided that I hate the concept of dating anyway, and maybe the drunken hookups by way of bar are the way to go. Are you single and dating? Do you think it’s tiresome and not worth it, or do you think you’re learning about yourself and people in general along the way? Do casual relationships work for you? Tell me some of your stories!

Salut,

R

The Writer and the Cowgirl

So it’s the last stretch of NaNoWriMo, with exactly a week left in November! I’m on track with 87,843 words currently, as I’m planning to write around 2000 each remaining day. Today, I almost flipped out when I realized I might have to completely rewrite the second half of my book. In case you don’t remember, my current novel is split into two parts: the first follows the protagonist at 18 years and the second takes place 10 years later. As an infamous “pantser” i.e. someone who does minimal planning before writing, I got myself into a potentially huge hole when I realized that I had gotten some legal processes wrong. I can’t go into too much more detail without giving away spoilers, but basically the trial was taking place in the wrong state. Kind of a problem, wouldn’t you say?! Thankfully, I found a legal loophole that allows the trial to be in the “wrong” state and voilà huge roadblock avoided. For those of you that write realistic fiction, have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? For those of you that read realistic fiction, does it bother you when you know certain events aren’t probable?

As for me, I try to conform to reality as much as possible because the point of my story is that it could happen to any of us. It definitely bothers me when things don’t make sense. Last week, my friends and I went to watch Captain Phillips (highly recommended!) and we couldn’t figure out for the life of us why there wasn’t one gun on the entire ship. Obviously, this is a bad example because the film is based on a true story, but we still wished that they had explained this conundrum.

You guys might remember as well that my agent voiced concerns about the marketability of the novel because of the younger/older voice issue. I finally heard back from her after she’d read the first few chapters of the second part and she loved them. That’s both good and bad news. Good because it’s always nice to hear that she likes my writing and bad because she likes the second part better than the first. Does that mean I should hack up the first part and intersperse it throughout the second as flashbacks? I have no idea at this point and I’m just going to finish up the second part before thinking about it. I’m still partial to my original idea of keeping it in two separate parts, but I’m open to other suggestions.

Well, I’ve talked too much about writing now. Life in general, let’s see…yesterday I went out to Red Hawk with my friends and we ran into my date from last week whom I’d “dumped” over the weekend. A very potentially awkward situation was avoided by the discreet staff who snuck us into the restaurant without being seen. I proceeded to finish maybe 1/5 of my mojito — I think I’m making progress on my alcohol tolerance! Besides that, I’m loving the snow and winter weather. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving break, but not the three papers and honors thesis stuff I have to finish. Yesterday, I wrote six pages of my autobiography in French. I think the hardest part was figuring out how to say “first grade”, “seventh grade”, and “cross-country running”. I ended up with “en cours préparatoire”, “la classe de cinquième”, and “le cross”. Fabrice, help!

And finally…what you’ve all been waiting for, my transformation from writer to cowgirl. Don’t ask me how it happened and I feel very strange looking at these photos. You can see for yourself. It suffices to say that I was the only Asian cowgirl in the entire show and probably in the history of America.

Okay, okay, you can stop laughing now.

As you can see, I’m much more comfortable in my English gear.

I ended up with two third place ribbons!

À la prochaine,

R

Snow

Winter 2010. I need to use my film camera again.

I really don’t know what I want to say tonight, but I’m sitting here with a lot of feelings, so I thought I’d just write. I hope you guys aren’t feeling neglected — I swear, in the past few days, followers have been dropping like flies! Dearest readers, what is it that I did?! I sincerely apologize. Maybe you are all sick of hearing about my novel and NaNoWriMo. So I’m going to talk about something else today. I must warn you that I’m exhausted at the moment, and this will probably come out as word vomit.

Tonight I want to talk about snow. Despite growing up in Ann Arbor and seeing snow for the better part of every year, the first snowfall never fails to get me. Snow is like the lover I’ve had since I was born, but I never fail to be surprised and ecstatic when he comes to visit. There’s something about a beautiful layer of white on pavement and grass and tree branches that is magical. It makes me feel like everything is possible, like one day blood will no longer be shed and people of all kinds, shapes, and sizes will sit around a fireplace and hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

I’ve been reading too much post-Surrealist Latin American angst. Jorge Luis Borges, the famed Argentinian writer of poetry and prose, has this exquisite short story called “La muerte y la brújula”, “Death and the Compass”. Using the triangular structure of detective, sidekick, and antagonist, he crafts a crime story in which the detective’s complete faith in his reason leads him to his death. In the end, before he dies at the hands of the antagonist, the detective asks him to kill him differently next time and the murderer agrees. The story is Borges’ critique of the Age of Reason and he does it ironically through logical and rational — almost geometrical — steps.

On nights like these, I get the feeling that we’ve all got it wrong. What are we doing with ourselves, living these structured lives motivated by money, status, and entertainment? I think the Surrealists were on to something when they said that this was not life. In our modern world, life is lived on the edges of society, in the shadows, in the slums. When I was young, I lived a fuller life. I had emotions that I’ve long lost. I used to have this particular sensation — I can even remember where I was when I had it — and I would wonder why such a strong feeling had no name in the English vocabulary. I should have written it down, because now I’ve forgotten it. I used to have these out-of-body experiences where I could distinguish between my mind and my body. And then I’d look around me, at the people and materials, and I’d laugh at the absurdity of it all. What would happen if I marched naked down a street in broad daylight? It was only my body they saw — my soul was invisible to them.

Life is pointless if you think about it. The more progress you think you make, you’re only taking steps towards your death. So what can you do? Don’t fight it, celebrate it. In the wise words of Albert Camus, you must imagine yourself happy. Take delight in the struggle.

Tonight, I announce to the world: I am struggling. Shit is hitting my fan from every direction and I can only laugh at it. That is all. Goodnight and good luck.

Hasta pronto amigos,

R

NaNoWriMo Update

Yes, in case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I’m cheating because I already started working on my novel a few months ago and I already have 50,000 words. But I’m planning to add 50,000 words to it in November, so I’ll be writing just as much as everyone else. I would love to finish the novel by December, since I’m going to be busy prepping for the February LSAT. Wish me luck for that…though I’m rather experienced with standardized tests, I’m much more comfortable writing than performing logic puzzles. Those can be fun, I guess, but I haven’t done them since sixth grade. I’ve also set the bar high for myself, and I have no idea if I will meet those expectations. The coming months will be nerve-wracking for me because I’ll also hear back from Fulbright and Princeton in Asia to see if I made the preliminary cut.

So, today is day two and I’m on track at 4159 words written so far! In fact, yesterday I was short of my daily goal (2000) because I had a phone call from my agent, a group video project, a horseback riding lesson, and an awesome Halloween hot pot party that all kept me busy. Speaking of the talk with my agent, it was both good and bad. The good news was that my agent loved the writing, the characters, and the plot. The bad news was that she said it would be difficult to sell to an editor/publisher. Publishers love to pigeonhole novels into convenient categories, like YA, NA, or women’s fiction. The problem with my novel is that it follows a character from ages 18 to 28. In order to be authentic and intimate, I (unwittingly) used a voice that corresponds to her age. Therefore, the first half of the book sounds rather young and the second half of the book (which I just started) is much older. This could be a nightmare for marketing, in my agent’s opinion. I know she’s right, but I can’t help but think that my book could break the mold and still be successful. I am absolutely in love with my protagonist and her story and I think it rings true to have her voice mature throughout the book. What do you guys think, fellow readers and writers?

For now, I’m going to keep writing. My agent wants to see a chapter in her older voice to gauge the effectiveness and see whether it connects well with the first part. After working on that chapter today, I’m liking her new maturity. She’s still the same character but wiser and it’s so much fun to explore her personality after a decade of growth. Hopefully, my agent likes the new part as well and finds an editor who feels the same. Argh, it’s so hard to make sellable art!

Unlike my friend Julia, who’s taking on NaNo and committing to blogging daily, I don’t have the same courage. Since my upcoming horse shows are as much a priority as writing, I won’t have much time left to blog. So I apologize in advance if my posts are sparse and I will keep you updated of any significant developments. I leave you with a photo from the Halloween party last night. I was supposed to be Lady Gaga, and then I took off my uncomfortable hair accessories, and I tried on my friend’s witch hat. Voilà!

Halloween RebeccaAre you participating in NaNoWriMo? What are you working on?

Cheers,

R