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2010 in Review: Writing

This year a lot of things changed for me writing wise. Last Christmas I found myself dreading reading my own manuscript because it was extremely long (134,000+ words) and it wasn’t even truly finished. Plus, I knew there was something wrong with it – I just didn’t know what. Still, I forced myself to give it a read and then it sat dormant while plot bunnies ravaged my mind for almost two months straight.

At the end of February I started this journal (in which I’ve made 184 posts on as of this post) with a new direction for my current WIP and it required completely rewriting the story, which I fought for a long time but finally succumbed to a little over a month later. The rewrites have been slow, but definitely worth it in comparison to the product I had in my hands last winter. My writing has improved drastically in the last year and the story has taken such a better turn that I often wonder now why I fought the change so hard (well… I know it’s because I hate change of any sort). I’m not completely finished with it yet, but I intend to be within the next six months and I feel confident that this time when I have the full manuscript in my hands I won’t be scared of it. I will want to read it.

Even though I would have rather finished my book within the first year of beginning it, I’m more proud of the shape it’s taken with time than I would have been if I’d just accepted it as it was last year. Ditching the original version was the best move I could have made. Thank God I didn’t let my stubbornness over change get the best of me.

In 2010 I wrote 66,390 words towards my current WIP. In reality I wrote a lot more than that, but this number reflects what I’m pretty positive will stay in the book. In addition to working on my current WIP I also started a companion novel to the series and wrote several short stories to practice getting the point across in fewer words. Of those short stories I was actually brave enough to post three of them online. For those of you who missed them they can be found here:


Squirrel Territory

The Girl on the Swings

The Christmas Princess

But of all of the writing success I had this year, the biggest one to me was making friends and forming a critique group with Heather aka edgyauthor and Patricia aka poseiwriting. Both of these girls added me on LJ (Heather actually being my first LJ friend aside from my mom) and I am forever grateful for their desire to “know” me. I would have never been brave enough to add them, even if with their appealing nature. Becoming friends with them (and several other aspiring writers as well) has helped me stay guided in a way I couldn’t have imagined. Originally I figured I’d face the writing journey virtually alone, but now I have two people completely dedicated to walking it with me and several others who are hoping to do the same. Being part of a group has somehow empowered me and made the whole writing experience feel more real. I just know that it will only keep me more devoted to truly achieving my goals in 2011 (that and I know they won’t let me just give up because they really want to see the story as whole).

Overall 2010 was a good year for me writing wise, but I’m pretty darn positive that 2011 will be on a whole new level of awesome when it comes to writing. I’m more determined than ever and I don’t accept failure well when I set out to do something.

Writer friends, how was your year in writing?

Peace – Sarah

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2010 in Review: Music

Anyone that knows me knows that music is almost always playing in the background of my life. This year I stumbled across a variety of new music that was played on a loop so much it’s sometimes hard to dictate what I’ve listened to the most. According to iTunes though, the following tracks are the 12 most played songs of 2010 and attached with them are the reasons why. (You may wonder why I picked 12 instead of 10 and the reason is that these songs in particular were played so many more times than all of the others that they all deserved recognition)

12. Kings of Leon – My Party (song actually ends at 4:08, but the video continues. You can stop though, there’s nothing after that)

This song was played a lot of repeat because it’s used in my current WIP’s soundtrack and might just be my favorite Kings of Leon song. In both drafts of my book it’s used during a Halloween Masquerade Ball/Bash. The original scene VS the new scene are extremely different, but the music was able to remain the same!

11. Arctic Monkeys – Old Yellow Bricks

This year I fell in-love with Arctic Monkeys in a big way and was even able to see them live in concert for my birthday. While it’s difficult to pick a favorite because they’re one of those rare bands where I actually like every song they’ve ever done, Old Yellow Bricks stands out over all of them like a shinning star. Plus, it’s just one of many Arctic Monkey songs featured on my books soundtrack so of course it was played many times on repeat for the books sake alone.

10. Nine Inch Nails – The Line Begins to Blur

While I definitely love NIN, the real reason this song was played so many times this year is because it’s played during a scene in my current WIP (that’s been re-written at least 6 times, but the song always remains the same) where Bryce and Teagan kiss for the first time, but it shouldn’t be happening. It’s one of the most painful & rewarding scenes for Bryce, but still, totally one of my favorites.

9. Paramore – All I Wanted

For those of you that don’t know, Teagan (in my current WIP) is a musician and the sound I most readily compare to her is Paramore so it’s a given that almost anything Paramore will be used while I’m writing, but this song in particular really rings true to the story because Teagan starts writing songs and showing them to Bryce before the band learns them. The thing is she doesn’t realize that the songs are about him until she’s playing them for him alone and this is one of those songs that I imagine her playing something like when she realizes it.

8. Rihanna – Rude Boy

This song is totally dirty, but I love it. Last winter I was completely swallowed whole by plot bunnies, one of which was a love story that involved a celebrity and a fan and this song was a central piece to their final night together. I also really loved dancing to this song last winter while drinking on Fridays with my fiancé, but that’s a whole different story (one of which I don’t really care to share – lol).

7. Yael Naim – Toxic (Yes, a Britney Spears cover)

I actually do like the Britney Spears version of this song, but Yael Naim’s version is so smooth and seductive which made it perfect for Teagan in my current WIP as she begins to realize her true feelings for Bryce and act on them.

6. Muse – Sunburn

This song made this list because A: I love Muse and B: It’s the intro to my books soundtrack. Oh, and I’m sort of in-love with the piano.

5. Kid Cudi – Heart of a Lion

During my encounter with the excess of plot bunnies last January this song was used for several of the stories that sprung themselves on me, particularly the celebrity/fan story though. In addition to that, I just liked the song. I’m not actually a fan of Cudi’s rapping, but his beats are really deep and cool and I like the way they make me want to move.

4. Kenna – Out of Control

I first found this song via a commercial (though I don’t remember what commercial now), but later found it on repeat along with song #10 (NIN) for the exact same scene. It just seemed like Bryce’s theme song for that chapter. The level of temptation that Teagan pushes him to is just too great and this song was perfect for it!

3. Local Natives – Wide Eyes

The number one song that aided me in successfully editing my WIP, this song lived on repeat alone for weeks on end. There are many other Local Native songs that make the cut for my current WIP’s soundtrack, but this one will forever be the grandest.

2. Statik Selektah – The Thrill is Gone (Instrumental)

-AND-

1. Busta Rhymes – Decision (Instrumental)

I don’t even know what the real songs are, but Heath gave me a ton of beats he was interested in using for a mix tape last New Year and these had me writing a scene that is sadly no longer part of my WIP, but was epic in it’s day. It was something special and traumatic all at the same time between Bryce and Teagan and I worked on it for a solid week straight none stop. It’s a shame it didn’t make the cut to the final WIP, but it will always live in my memory.

Most of my LJ friends listen to music just as habitually as me, so what were your most played songs in 2010?

Peace – Sarah

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