Blog, Writing

I have a blurb for WIP!

It’s still a work in progress, obviously, but here’s the blurb I’m using for NaNo:

Seventeen-year-old Mia Salcedo has her entire future planned out: She’s going to leave Miami and the disaster of her parents’ divorce, attend NYU, and become the world’s greatest writer. But when she’s diagnosed with lupus, her entire world comes to a crashing halt. Determined to stay in denial, she confides in no one, not even her best friend and boyfriend. But it’s not enough. Even the everyday tasks are excruciating, and soon, she’s alienating everyone just when she needs them most. To escape the pain and exhaustion and mockery, she turns to her writing, which literally takes her to the worlds she creates, where she’s free from the constraints of the disease. As she retreats from the real world for longer periods of time, however, her words and worlds become darker, and she’s forced to make a choice: stay and watch everyone she loves fade away, or return to reality and face her reality. But will it be too late to mend the relationships she’s worked so hard at pushing away? And will her health fail her when she needs it most?

Blog, Writing

Plotting my way to NaNoWriMo

I’m breaking my hiatus. The last few weeks, I’ve been slowly swinging upward. Slowly, I’ve been finding that the pain is a little less severe, the exhaustion a little less debilitating, my energy a little more pronounced, and my breathing a little more at ease. I’m having way more “good” days than “bad” ones and can keep up with the pace of life. I’m cautiously optimistic that it’ll last. After going off the evil med, I didn’t start a new one and I’m holding out hope that maybe I don’t have to. That maybe I can control it with what I’m already on. And maybe–just maybe–I can stop those at some point.

But that’s not what this post is about. Nope. It’s all about NaNoWriMo!

I debated about participating in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year. After I finished THROUGH THE WALLED CITY, I’ve been in this lull. Sure, I’m querying, but creatively, I was in an abyss. Where to now? TTWC was done. The PB I was working on sent to a contest. And with the semester in full swing and being inundated with papers to grade, I didn’t know if I had the energy to purse another long project. Not only that, but I had (ahem, have) a list of awesome shiny new ideas but no clue which to pursue next. They were a black hole of ideas. A friend encouraged me to work on something short and fun, and I considered short stories. Then I thought to work on another picture book manuscript. I started it. Then I had an idea for a children’s poem, which I completed and which sucked words back into me. I worked and reworked it and submitted it to a magazine.

I was back to square one with the writing. What next? And NaNo around the corner made me take another long look at those shiny new ideas. I turned them over in my mind on my commute to and from work (I have a loong commute). I poked and prodded them while prepping for class or while my students wrote. And soon, the project took form in such a way, that I wanted to smack my forehead with a resounding DUH. It’s another YA magical realism (or maybe light fantasy?) but it’s different than what I’ve written in the past.

So I have my NaNoWriMo project. I wanted to prepare, but I was running out of time. And I had papers to grade (they’re truly never ending). This weekend, however, I finally had downtime and I started plotting. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m more of a pantser when I begin writing. About half-way, I’ll start plotting. I want to do things differently this time because I’m determined to “win” NaNo. I want to reach 50K by the end of November. Plotting will help me reach that goal.

Monday I put the final plotting touches and I’m excited to start. I’ve been drafting some character sketches, getting acquainted with my main character and her mom. But more than that, I’m excited and a tad bit nervous. Because this will probably be one of the more personal projects I’ve tackled.

In the coming days, I’m going to update my NaNo profile and this blog to include the blurb and tentative title for this project.

And I’m ready to “win.”




So I bit the bullet and joined NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Why? Because I have another novel to write. And because I want to complete the first draft by the end of this year. And because this seemed like an awesome opportunity and I’ve never done it.

I’m just a tad bit nervous. 😉

I’ll be working on THROUGH THE WALLED CITY, my new YA project set in Cartagena, Colombia. I am hoping to “win”–which apparently means to complete the 50,000 word challenge. So people, that’s my goal and I’m sticking to it. I hope! I will certainly try my best to meet it.

Are you participating in NaNo this year? Have you participated in the past? What was your experience? Would love to hear from you!


End of October?

I realize I’ve been quiet on the blog front and I apologize for that. Truth is, I have to be so strict with any moment of free time I have that it doesn’t leave me much for being on here. The semester is half-way complete, so midterm madness has ascended upon me and my students. Between grading, revising, and writing–and my UCLA classes–there’s little time for much else.

I’m so looking forward to winter break!

That said, I’m also looking forward to the start of next year. I’m starting off the year with the SCBWI Miami conference in January, and I’m hoping to add the LA conference in August to that. I’m also participating in NaNoWriMo this year, where I hope to complete THROUGH THE WALLED CITY. I have 4200 words written and I’m in love with this story just as much as I love SOUL MOUNTAIN. Maybe even more. The magic of the process has captured me again. I don’t think I can ever grow tired of it! My goal is to finish the first draft during NaNo and then start revising. I don’t know if it’s a realistic goal, but I have to try. How I wish NaNo was during the summer…

Happy writing everyone!