Magical Writing Day #amwriting #nanowrimo

During NaNoWriMo 2015, there’ve been moments after writing a scene when I pump my fist and go, “Damn, girl, that was goooood.” (Yes, I say things like that to myself sometimes.) But for the most part I’ve felt a sort of resistance to working on this novel. I don’t know why, and I’ve decided to stop trying to figure it out because it doesn’t matter.

All the writing I do takes me where I need to be. Even if I’m working on a story that doesn’t feel like it’s going to the exciting places I thought it would, I am still writing. I’m improving my ability to craft words, to tap into my imagination, to make realizations about myself as a writer—weaknesses, strengths–and it’s all okay. I recently learned, for example, that a one-week slump won’t end me. I keep writing because I love it and because there is nothing else I’d rather do.

During the month of November 2015, I will write at least 50,000 words on this novel, making me a “winner” according to NaNoWriMo. Novels are like people; they surprise you. This book I thought was going to be a fabulous new friend is turning out to be a bit aloof. If this novel in progress decides to take off and become a project I’m passionate about working on and eventually completing, great. If not, fine.

In the meantime…

Today was a magical writing day.

“Idea bank” is a Google docs file in which I jot down random story ideas. Snippets–like lines from a character’s unusual point of view, a scene, a title, a concept–might sit dumbly in my idea bank for years or, as happened today, suddenly thrum to life and demand to be brainstormed and written about until they become big, fat novels.

It’s hard to say exactly what morphs an idea into a story. I think it has something to do with the combination of ideas. The idea that popped into my head this morning started pretty much with just a word, how the word “snap” can mean when a person snaps from sanity into insanity, and also how a hypnotist snaps his fingers as a signal to induce suggestions planted in a hypnotee’s (?) subconscious. Combine that with a title I jotted down a while back, plus a recent interest in writing an alternate reality story, and the witch’s brew was complete.

Now I’m super excited to work on this new story and see where it leads. It’s the kind of novel I’d love to read.


YA Books – Recent, Current, and Upcoming Reads

Today I’m feeling especially aware of the BIG CRUSH I have on novels, and November is turning out to be a particularly good month–every read is like striking gold. For this, I am grateful to book bloggers and their excellent recommendations.

RECENTLY READ: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
This book. The first few chapters of Vanishing Girls did not at all prepare me for what was to come. Oh, me of little faith. This is Lauren Oliver, remember, Eve? Your possibly-new-favorite author.

 CURRENTLY READING: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
When researching literary agents and the kinds of YA manuscripts they’re looking for (in preparation for the day when one of my novels is FINALLY ready to query), I often read that agents are looking for “voice-y” novels. “Voice-y,” I get it, but then along comes Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and now I really get it. Simon has SUCH a voice. He is REAL. With his wry wit and honesty about himself, Simon is so relatable.

I’m only 55 pages in, but so far this story has a compelling premise. Simon is gay and has yet to come out of the closet, but he shares his secrets in email communications with a boy who goes by the alias Blue. Blue attends Simon’s same high school, but they’ve never revealed their true identities to one another, so with every male high school student that’s introduced, you (and Simon) wonder if he might be Blue. I also can’t help but wonder if maybe Blue isn’t really who he claims to be, and I love Simon so much already that I’m afraid he’s going to be disappointed.

ABOUT TO READ: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
At last, my first Patrick Ness novel!

Writing and Waiting and Plane Flights, Oh My #amwriting

Can it be? For the first time in recent memory, I’m between writing projects, mainly because NaNoWriMo doesn’t start for another week. So today I got to have fun with a writing prompt (not that I’m supposed to be getting ready to board a plane in a couple of hours or anything). I’ve been writing prose non-stop, so it was fun to play with language in poetry form today.

Nina’s writing prompt photo that sparked my imagination:

The writing prompt details:

#‎MY WritersWritingPrompt‬ – Week 43/2015

Write a piece of micro-fiction/non-fiction/poetry in English or Malay inspired by this image – word count: between 50 to 200 words

What I wrote:

Heart invisible, all face and hands, an imprint on the fabric of the ethos.

Degrees of gray. A brow but no eyes, existing beyond dimension.

On which side of the cloth do I stand?

Arms folded, timid, watching

Or a soul pressed, and expressing, against impossible vastness.

Step closer, lean in to hear.

Her mouth is open with the promise of truth, of a scream, of emptiness.

Beauty in the exertion

And a thrilling threat of rupture.

— Eve Messenger

Basking in the Bounty of the Book Gods

The book gods have been good to me this week. I’m suddenly basking in books that are at the top of my TBR list.

Currently Reading
Julie Bertagna’s Exodus. If you ever read this book, rest assured it gets really good after the first couple of chapters. It’s so imaginative and, as for social commentary, whoah.

Library Holds
Two holds also came through from the happiest place on Earth, my local library:

  • At last, my first Rainbow Rowell book, Fangirl.
  • Leslye Walton’s debut novel, with its simple yet very beautiful cover, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. (I’d like to randomly add that I am mad at the word lavender because it refuses to be spelled — as I perpetually want to write it — like the word calendar.)


Contest Prize
And here’s where I saved the best for last. Along with a nice handwritten note, literary agent Janet “The Shark” Reid mailed me Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows ARC as a prize for winning her recent flash fiction contest. I’m not gonna lie, I worked HARD to win because I REALLY wanted to read Six of Crows, but I had no idea that….


Six of Crows book wings

Fellow book lovers, surely you understand how happy this makes me.

Happy reading!

— Eve Messenger

I Did It; I Called the Police.

Yes, and I’m nervous and excited about it all at the same time. After weeks of fear-fueled procrastination, I called my local police department–on their non-emergency line, of course. My intimidation only grew as I spoke to the first officer: a stern-voiced woman with a disconcerting ability to speak while barely opening her mouth. I explained in a very scattered way that I was calling as a local resident and writer (yep, that’s the word I used 🙂 ) with a question about police procedure in a missing persons case.

(Note: The book I’m working on is not a crime story, but it does contain an important incident involving the police, and I wanted it to be accurate.)

As she patched me through to the detective division, my palms really began to sweat. My thoughts at this point were: I’m not worthy; the detectives are busy solving crimes; I shouldn’t be troubling them with a petty writing question.

But then I told myself: it’s just one question, and I repeated this aloud to the next person I spoke with, Sharon, who surprised me by speaking in a lilting Scottish brogue. (I’ve never heard a character on a cop show speak this way, and since that’s pretty much my only exposure to police detectives, I was surprised.)

I’m not going to say getting an answer from Sharon was easy. If today’s call was any indication, law enforcement officers do not like giving definitive answers to questions like:

If there’s a missing person whose vehicle is taken into evidence and there’s no obvious sign of foul play, how long might it take for the vehicle to be returned to the family?

Sharon went off on several tangents (I took notes anyway), and I kept reeling her back in with comments like, “That makes a lot of sense. What do you estimate the range of time might be for a vehicle to be returned to the family?”

More tangents.  More variations of my question. Then, at last, an answer:

In a missing persons case, if a vehicle is taken for evidence, detectives and CSI officers try to process and release it back to the family as soon as possible. If there’s no blood stain or other evidence of homicide, the vehicle might be returned to the family in as soon as a day.

Eureka! What a relief to finally have an answer to my question; the uncertainty had really been bugging me and was putting a crimp in my plot timeline.  Now, as I dry off my sweaty palms, I want to share that I am also proud of myself for taking another step in my journey toward becoming a successful published author. For those of you who’ve read my blog, you know this is my mission and my dream.

— Eve Messenger

YA Reader, I Could Really Use Your Suggestions

wordle 2

I’m planning a YA book that I’m REALLY looking forward to writing, but I’m having a hard time classifying the genre. It’s about a modern girl fantasizing her way through major life changes and social awkwardness. There’s an integral paranormal aspect, but it’s subtle – no werewolves, witches, vampires — and a sprinkling of chapters set in an earlier period of history.  There’s a little romance, but I’d say it’s more about family and relationships.

What would you call that genre?

Josie’s Book Corner, I’m looking at you.

Just Say No to Cliffhangers

Angry about cliffhangers

I hate cliffhangers.  There, I said it.  I don’t mean cliffhangers in the middle of a story, of course — those are great.  I mean a cliffhanger ending to a novel — it’s a cheat, a crutch, a convenient device.  Inherent in every novel there’s a silent contract between writer and reader, included in which is a proper ending!  What should drive readers to want to read the next book is compelling characters and great writing, not — I repeat — a cliffhanger ending.