Monday, December 6, 2010

Contests, Bookplates, and the Monday Muse

Look, it hasn't been a month between blog posts! Only a week! And I did blog over at Teen Fiction Cafe about my upcoming January writing retreat. I'm trying to get back into the habit, guys!

I think due to my absence my Women Who Rock Wednesday post suffered a little bit though and not very many of you entered to win WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE by Caridad Ferrer, which looks like an amazing book and I want you to have the opportunity to win it. So I'm giving you til this Wednesday to enter. All you have to do is check out the interview and leave a comment, though of course there are opportunities to get additional entries. So what are you waiting for, ENTER!

Speaking of contests, don't forget you still have until December 13th to win a signed copy of BALLADS and the last zine I put out after my senior year of high school (so it's basically like my ballad) at YA Outside The Lines, my new group blog. So check that out and enter here.

And there is another contest going on exclusively for my street team members. If you want a chance to enter that, sign up here to join my street team!

Now that the folks on my street team and my mailing list (who got a holiday newsletter last week, sign up here if you want that) got a chance at first dibs, I want to open this up to everyone. I'm offering free signed bookplates for both IWBYJR and BALLADS for the holidays. This is a cool little sticker that I've designed and will sign and personalize and you can stick it in your own copy of the book or a copy that you might be buying for a friend. Signed books do make great gifts! I have limited quantities of these, so they are available on a first come, first served basis. I can send send international, but only a limited number because it is expensive, so again that is first come, first served basis and international folks must contact me by Thursday for those because the last time I am going to the post office before the holidays is this Friday. You can request bookplates by emailing me at stephanie (at) stephaniekuehnert (dot) com. (replace the at and dot with the symbols, that is just to foil spammers).

Okay, so that's the fun stuff I had to announce. Now let's talk writing and inspiration.

I'm not gonna lie. The whole rewriting thing I was talking about last week, it hasn't been going so easily. I haven't written a word yet. But as the wise Melissa Walker once said to me (either in a blog comment or an email or something), a large component of writing is the daydreaming and ruminating stage (I think she just said daydreaming, I added ruminating because that seems to be more of what I am doing now). That is where I'm at. Most of last week I felt like I was pulling out my hair and crying during the rumination (and I did cry a couple times) because I'm so frustrated with this book and how it just feels too big and unfixable at times. But my brain has been working in overdrive. I've been losing sleep over this book, laying awake thinking about it and waking up to early unable to stop myself from thinking about it again. This has resulted in a few ideas and I think I'm finally ready to take a stab at the actual writing.

I really wanted to be able to tell myself (or maybe have my agent or CPs or husband or someone tell me) that the idea I have to fix it is perfect and will go smoothly and I will not waste any more time on this book. I wanted to plot until I knew for sure. But there is no knowing for sure. I just need to know enough to try and I think I do at this point. So I'm going to take the plunge and actually write this week. (I hope. That's the plan at least. If it gets too frustrating, I'm going back to the other books I started writing to get over my writer's block at the beginning of last month.) I'm trying to remind myself that this is going to be different than the past few months of it's-okay-if-it's-crap-just-write-as-fast-as-you-can. I'm not going to have satisfying sounding word counts every day. I'm not going to conquer a chapter or even a scene a day. I have to carefully extract what I need, cut out some things I love, and reshape other things. It might take a week instead of a day to fix my first chapter or two. But hopefully it'll be worth it.

During my rumination phase, I tend to listen to the music that inspires my story a lot. I put my playlist on while I'm cleaning the house and try let the music do the work for me. I thought I'd share some of the songs and artists that have inspired me the most on this project as it will give you a little taste of what the book is about.... well maybe. Songs can be so personal and so you may not see the hidden meanings I see. But here they are anyway.

One of my all-time favorite bands, Hole, has recently reincarnated and they have a new album called Nobody's Daughter, which has been a huge inspiration for the book, especially the title track and also this one, "Someone Else's Bed":

The band I've been listening to the most is The Gaslight Anthem. I don't know if I can explain why but that band is all over this book. This song, "Boomboxes and Dictionaries" hits me in particular:

And there there is the Loved Ones. I've mainly been alternating back and forth between The Gaslight Anthem and The Loved Ones. This song, "Pretty Good Year" could be the book's theme song:

Oh and there is also Against Me! whose new stuff I'm not as big into as their old stuff but the first two songs on their album White Crosses, "White Crosses" and "I Was A Teenage Anarchist" fit this story really well too:

There are some other big influences too including The Replacements (How could you write a bar book without the song "Here Comes A Regular), Bruce Springsteen (my brother finally got me into the Boss with his Nebraska album which really puts me in mind of writing this book), and The Cure (one of my main characters is goth and an alcoholic so "Open" is very much her song).

Eventually I'll make a whole playlist, but that won't be complete til the book is.

What about you? What is inspiring you this week? Or when you are stuck like I am, what do you do to jog the muse?


Katherine said...

Wow! "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" and some Gaslight Anthem are on my latest playlist as well. Will have to check out the Loved Ones.

Karen Mahoney said...

Daydreaming and ruminating is HUGE for me, too. I'm realising that at the moment. More so than I ever realised before, I think.

As you know (Bob), I am way behind on 'traditional' external markers of progress like wordcount on this book I'm working on, but I honetly HAVE spent so many hours ruminating. SO many. Like, all added up, it would probably be weeks and weeks of rumination, which means that now I'm putting down words again, they are coming out pretty well. The story is already there in my head, which is a new thing for me (I normally make-it-up-as-I-go-i-refuse-to-say-pantser *G*).

Anyway. Just thought I'd share that. :)

Good luck, Steph! Happy ruminations and happy rewriting.


Anonymous said...

OMG, love the Gaslight Anthem. Saw them play in the summer and they were great. Given from what I've read about the story,the Gaslight Anthem works pretty well - I can see the connection.
As for my writing, pretty much everything I do is through daydreaming - I don't outline.
Good luck on (re)writing!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Katherine, if you heart Gaslight, you will love The Loved Ones. I discovered them when they opened for Gaslight.

Kaz, thanks for sharing that. Now I am in the ruminating and slowly putting things together and ruminating more and taking them apart and putting them back together phase and it is slow going but hopefully will end well. good luck to you too!

Zoe, I'm glad someone who shares the name of the main character approves of my musical choice ;-) and yes they are amazing live! And yeah, I think I daydream, then take notes and sort of outline, but don't usually traditionally outline.