Done and Done!

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220 pages and 64,334 words later and I can happily say that I am finally done with my first draft. It took me around 3 years to finish it, but I finally did it! Now I’m sitting here thinking about starting the editing process, and I know I have a huge task ahead of me. I think I am going to start out by printing off a paper copy of the draft to edit. I’ve always found that editing paper copies of your drafts for any paper is so much more beneficial than editing on a computer; it is easier to catch grammatical errors and hand writing notes always helps me process what I read better. After I get through editing the entire story and making all the changes I want, I think I am going to let a couple friends read the draft to see what they think and hopefully get some good feedback. I’ll add in their suggestions and (after some serious pep-talk) send off my final copy to literary agents. I have been researching different literary agents the past few months and I have two that I would really like to go through. They are Nelson Literary Agency and KT Literary, both based out of Colorado. If by some miracle a literary agent does want to take on my work, I thought it would be much easier for me if they were located in my home state of Colorado. If neither of these agencies want to take me on, I will have to continue my research to find other agencies that I am interested in.

The second consideration I have to make is when I want to start the sequel (trust me, I know I am getting way ahead of myself). I am not sure if I should wait until I am completely finished editing the first portion, or just write as I find inspiration and motivation. The dreamer side of me thinks that, again, if by some miracle, a literary agent takes me on and helps me get published then I’ll only have so much time to finish the sequel. It takes me forever to write and I am a busy college student, so that crazy and unlikely possibility is just a concern I have.

One last thing I started thinking about this weekend is the fact that I am going to have to be prepared to receive criticism on my work. This story is like my baby, and that is one of the reasons that, for a long time, I never told anyone I was writing. I have a while to prepare myself for it, but it is still a nerve-wracking thought.

Anyways, I hope everyone else’s projects are going well! Good luck and happy learning!


Almost there…

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I am in the home stretch of my novel. I can’t even begin to explain how happy that makes me. I know I talked about this last week, but I am even closer this week, and it makes me giddy with happiness. Of course, I know it’s only the first draft, but part of me still thought I would never reach this point. You kind of have to celebrate every little milestone you reach as a writer; it keeps the excitement of your story going and keeps you motivated to finish.

I had an epiphany this week; I realized how much you can get done when you sit down and really focus on doing something. I think I’ve gotten the best work done on my novel in the past six weeks or so we’ve been assigned to work on our Individual Learning Projects. I can’t wait until December to look back and see what I did.

I tend to think a lot when I write; writing lets me process through my thoughts and relaxes me, which in turn lets my mind wander. While I was working today, it hit me that I’m almost done with the first book, which means I’m going to have to start thinking about eventually starting the second one. I know that will be a few long months away from now. I also know that just because I write something doesn’t mean it’s good and that the likelihood of a literary agent taking a chance on a first-time author isn’t high. But I am closer than I ever have been to being able to do that, and even though there are many what-ifs and obstacles in the way before that ever happens, I can at least see it.

I’ve also noticed a pattern recently. On my twitter bio I included that I was an aspiring author, and a lot of my tweets have revolved around my individual learning project. Holy moly, writing and publishing twitter accounts find you. None of them are actually literary agents (although I followed the ones I’m looking into sending a submission to), but it is still interesting to see how the world of writers kind of binds together through social media. I am interested in doing a little more research on these accounts to find out if they are worth following.

Anyways, good luck to all as you continue to work on your Individual Learning Projects. We’re halfway there!

The Holocaust Still Matters

I am so pumped!

I hit the ¾ mark in my novel. I have been working towards this for a long time, and for a while I felt like I would never reach it. I am so close to finishing the first draft, and it makes me so excited. Then the editing process will begin, which is a whole other adventure in and of itself. But it’s one step closer to making a dream a reality.

However, this weekend I also saw some comments that set a nerve with me. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson made the claim that if the Jewish people in Europe had access to guns, the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened. I support the right to own guns, but Carson’s comments are poorly considered. I study Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in depth for many reasons. One, I try to find out why something so awful and so horrible for happened, I know I will never find answers for such evil acts like that, but I keep looking anyways. Second, I study it because I don’t anyone to ever forget the tragedies that happened. The 11 million people that died in those horrors deserve to be remembered and honored.

Thus, Carson’s comments are completely insensitive. For one, the moment Hitler came to power, everyone in that country lost every single right they had. Furthermore, oppression was enforced by groups like the Gestapo and SS, ensuring that anyone who wouldn’t go down without a fight would be eliminated. When Hitler gained power, an awful fate was sealed. Ben Carson is right; had people had access to guns maybe it could have been stopped. But that is not logical, nor possible, for the type of power Nazi Germany enforced. Everything was done systematically to carry out their goals. Nothing could stop the horrors, and making claims that something could have just to gain the popularity among supporters of guns is an absolute disgrace to the victims that lost their lives. Bringing up what-ifs or so-called solutions is not what the world needs regarding the Holocaust, what we do need to do is make sure that we never forget what happened, and mean it when we say ‘never again.’

That is why I write what I write, to preserve the memory of those lost. It’s not pretty; it reveals the true horror of human nature. But nothing about the Holocaust is ‘pretty’ 11 million people were systematically murdered for supposed “racial hygiene.” I refuse to let people forget that, or just say ‘okay’ when someone makes unjust claims of why it happened.

The victims deserve so much more than that.

Geography, Dirndls, and a Make-up Hating Dictator

This week for my individual project I was in the researching mood. I know they say that you should do all your research before you start the writing process, but my brain doesn’t always work that way. When I feel the need to write, I write. When I feel the need to research, I research. I never want to lose a good flow of ideas, so I roll with my gut to see what I can do.

Anyways, I spent a little over an hour researching Nazi Germany culture, as my own work is about a dystopian Nazi society. My fictional nation does not completely mirror Nazi Germany, however there are pivotal aspects of it that I include. One thing I specifically focused on for research this week was geography. Everything in Nazi Germany was systematic or planned to carry out oppression and other unspeakable acts, geography included. What I found while researching is that ghettos and extermination camps in the Third Reich were all kept in the east, one because that is where the targeted victims were, but two because they also wanted to keep it away from the German people. It worked as an “out of sight, out of mind” setup. It is something important to consider for my fictional world. It made me ask questions like how does physical, cultural, and political geography effect my fictional world? I think the answers are going to be pivotal in making the nation what it is.

I also spent some time researching another aspect of Nazi culture: fashion. Fashion was another piece of the puzzle the government tried to influence. According to Nazi ideals, German women needed to be some of the most fashionable in the world. They stressed how important it was that women wear dirndls, or skirts/dresses cinched at the waist and then loosened as they flowed out. Tyrolean, or wool, jackets, were also very popular. Hitler apparently despised makeup, so he encouraged women to wear minimal make-up, if any.

The past week I had also jotted down some notes and ideas to add in to my work once I finish my first draft. I try not to go back and edit much, I would like to finish my book completely before I start the editing process (though it’s still a habit I’m trying to break), so I always try to keep track of the ideas I have before I forget them. These notes of course include some of the information I dug up while researching.

It’s been a very informative and thought provoking week, and I can’t wait to get writing again.


An example of a dirndl, although it is from a later time period (1960s).

Photo CC-By: Bess Georgette

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