According to my handy-dandy calculator, I am 11% done with the scenes I need to add to my novel, Her Testament to Life, to make it the 65,000 words I have been told Young Adult novels should be.

I'm having fun making these new scenes - so far I've written 3 new scenes and one extended, rewritten scene.

New Scenes:
- "The SOS Scene"
Amy and Claudia argue about school - Nate picks Claudia up after an SOS text, promising her a night to let everything fade away. Movies, breakfast food, bowling and lots of dialogue to ensue. (This one isn't completely finished.)

- "The New Death Scene"
Claudia with Nate just before she dies - making him promise to continue working at the clinic in her place.

- "The Confrontation Scene"
Former best friend, turned slight back-stabber, Anna, comes to visit Claudia to apologize. Mostly Claudia argues while Anna feels guilty.

Extended Scenes

- "The Telling the Friends Scene"
Claudia tells her two best friends, Anna and Cira, that she has leukemia - at a football game. Retaliation by Anna happens shortly after.

At first I was unsure of what I needed to add to my novel, but now I'm realizing just how much backstory and *real* story I need to add. I'm not sure how long it's going to take me to finish all the scenes and then put them in their places (right now they're in a file titled "Additions") but I think I like taking it slow. I think it'll turn out a better end product.


In my college Humanities class we decided to get away from non-fiction and spend a week on poetry. In came the poetry bug.

However, I didn't want to kill the bug with just any old free-verse poetry (what I used to write as a sixth grader with very little knowledge of poetry.) So, I visited Shadow Poetry to see what types of poems were out there. I wanted to stay away from types I knew - so cinquain, free-verse, monorhyme and a few others were out. Haiku was briefly considered before given up.

I chose five different types since that seemed like a good number at the time. I chose, Ethereee, Naani, Ghazal, Laturne, and Quinzaine. Most were syllabic (lines based on the number of syllables in the words) but one - my favorite, I've decided - Ghazal, uses a specific reptition pattern.

So to make this a little less complex...

Ethereee: A poem consisting of ten lines where the lines go 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 syllables. There are inverses of these which go 10,9,8 etc, but I stuck with the original. My version was on friendship.

Nanni: A quartet (four line stanza) generally consisting of 20-25 lines total. This one I wrote on courage.

Ghazal: A poem with the rhyming scheme: AA bA cA dA eA

(Ex: La de da de do
He he ha ha do

Le loo mee ma me
to le te do)

I wrote this one on writing - using the repeating word shh!

Lanturne: A five-line verse with the syllables like this:

This one was on lying.

Quinzaine: A poem where the first line is 7 syllables and makes a statement, the second line is 5 syllables, the third line is 3 syllables and both the second and third line ask questions about the first.
This one was on a gorgeous morning.

I might post them later - we'll see how it goes.

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Getting a Platform

On a writing site I am on, Stringing Words, a friend recommended creating something I'm going to call a platform. It is using social networking and blogging sites to get information out there about your writing, your newest project. Because when you're active in the blogging/Tweeting/Facebook-ing world, then people notice you. And when people start to notice you, then, at least in my opinion, there will be good things to come from that.

So, having very little experience in publishing but quite a bit of experience in Social Networking (I am a teenager after all!), I decided to start my own platform. Nothing spectacular, just something that might attract someone who wants to be a beta reader, or crossing my fingers I ever get published, a buying reader.

So my Twitter account Ann_Abney, now has been devoted to writing and reading related posts. And I'm making a commitment to post on it at least once a day (provided I have internet access). My blog will become more writing centered as I go on and again, I'm making a commitment to post on it once a week.

Now, am I putting the cart before the horse? Probably. But I think that getting people interested in your writing should come before publishing. Because if you have people interested in that next chapter, you're more likely to write it, and write it well. And sometimes, as I've found, the beauty of writing and its complements comes not from an offer from a publisher, but from the normal person who says, "Keep up the good work. I like how you wrote this."

Sub-plot dancing

I have been occasionally re-examining my 2008 NaNoWriMo novel, Her Testament to Life, in hopes of getting it to the standard young adult novel length. Of course, that means I need to double it since it stands at a measly 32,000 words and I should be somewhere around 65,000. I've been at a loss for how to add depth and breadth to it...

Until now.

Sitting and working on my sociology project, I thought of a curious question, "What if Anna [my female main character's best friend] was furious at Claudia [my main character]? What would happen? And what if Claudia didn't tell her friends at a quiet coffee shop and instead told them at a football game where the entire school could find out. What happens if Anna can't deal with the cancer and so she spreads the truth about Claudia's condition? What would happen?

And enter in, my first ever sub-plot.

The sub-plot gives Anna, a previously very background character some depth and some nastiness to her. It allows her to take her own place in a cast that focuses almost exclusively on two people.

Knowing that I couldn't make a sub-plot last for 33,000 words, I got thinking about other characters. What about Mom? Katie, Cira (the other best friend), what about what Cira thinks of Anna's behavior? What about Claudia's sister, Amy? What about....

And so, knowing that I want more people to play a part in the novel, I feel I'll have a better chance of making the additions stronger and more meaningful than 33,000 words of descriptions, which, I believe, even Jane Austen couldn't do.

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