Letters to Lia: Update V
It is 2:13am but the time of night/morning/whatever doesn’t matter because I am currently copying down into my novel planning journal all the wonderful ideas Sean (he made a new Tumblr so I can link to him again!) and I brainstormed tonight. I really had NO idea where I was going with LTL thus far, which is why I’ve been lagging on my word count, but hopefully I’ll be able to catch up quickly enough with all this newfound inspiration!
I just felt like I’d pop in and post an update while I’m still thinking about LTL and excited about writing it. I might not even sleep tonight, that’s how inspired I’m feeling.
I’m currently listening to Sia’s new album while trying to get myself to write! It’s a fantastic album. I can’t get over how fantastic it is.
Camp NaNoWriMo Questionnaire: Day 5Write the synopsis that will appear on the inside cover of your future published NaNoNovel.
I already have one written!
Elliot Augustine is no one important until he falls in love. He is simply an industrial worker in 1850s New York City, a refugee from the famine that is starving Ireland, striving to create himself into more than who he has been his whole life. He wants to become a man that the world will remember. In the end, he must become a man that the world must forget.
Yuliya Ivashovna has never truly been a part of the world outside before meeting a young man whose dreams are bigger than her father’s fortune. When he shows her his dreams, she begins to live outside of her own small world for the first time. When she contracts tuberculosis, his dreams turn into nothing else but an attempt to save her life.
Lia Valenta finds her reason to live in the form of a box of letters that are centuries old. She decides to pursue the mystery of the man who wrote the letters hundreds of years ago, and yet seems to still be alive. While in search of an explanation for the letters she then begins to receive herself, she finds a different truth.
This is a story about letters, mistaken identities, and immortality. But most importantly, this is a story about the chances love gives even after time has run out.
one day you will be in the future, not the past
july 4, 2014
one day you were starting your first morning of kindergarten
and the hours passed by so slowly until your mother came
and picked you up from school during her lunch break
only to drop you off at the daycare before hurrying back to work again
every day she drove away
after saying she loved you to the moon and back with a bright smile on her painted lips and a wave of her hand
and you wondered if she loved you so much
then why was she was in such a rush to leave you behind
but every day the thought grew shorter
until it was buried in insignificance at the back of your infantile mind
until the one afternoon when she didn’t go back to work
she went home instead
and you didn’t have to wonder why she was in such a rush to leave you anymore
(your mother had just been working as hard as she could to keep her job
in an economy slowing down and a world speeding up
and in the end she lost it anyway)
one day in fifth grade you had to sit in the fire lane during recess
that was where the bad kids sat when they got in trouble
you had just stabbed the weirdo, the one that everyone avoided, in the back with a pair of scissors.
no one liked him anyway and a few of your friends had cheered you on but then a teacher saw
and you landed here, on the red line, where the bad kids sit when they get in trouble
that was the first time
before you started kicking, screaming,
crying so loud that your shrill voice could be heard all the way over in the first-grade hall at the other side of the school
before you lost the rest of your second chances
and then suddenly
you were the weirdo
except you weren’t just avoided, you were feared
you were both
and it hurt you more than it hurt anyone else in the world
(you may have been the weirdo
but i promise you that you were never a bad kid
you just did bad things)
one day you were standing at the front steps
of your new school, sixth grade, holding a plastic rental case that held your half-size violin
and even though it was almost november you still hadn’t made any new friends.
you were waiting for your dad to pick you up from the orchestra concert rehersal
which your mom would normally have done but she had left for santa fe that morning
so you were waiting by yourself
and he was an hour late
and it was
all by your eleven-year-old self
contemplating whether you should just walk home
(your dad changed lanes too quickly while getting onto the highway
on the way home from work to pick you up from your rehearsal
he had been running late to begin with so he was in a rush
and a ford f150 hit his toyota camry
he was okay
thank the god you still believed in, he was okay
even though the p.t. cruiser he picked you up in was the ugliest rental car you had ever seen)
one day your grandma died
you cried so hard the night before because you thought she was going to die
and you didn’t want her to die
and then she died and when you found that out
you didn’t cry at all
(your grandma said she only wanted to go home
at first you thought she meant her old house in the suburb of seattle that your mom sold years before
and then you thought chicago, where she was born
where her family was
where her first husband died of a heart attack before their little girl was nine years old
where she raised that little girl all by herself while working two jobs and moving from one relative’s home to another
but that little girl was now a fifty-year-old-woman whose mother was dying right before her eyes and who told you
grandma just wants to go home to heaven, where there isn’t any dementia or hospital beds.
that’s when you lost your belief in god)
one day you fell in love with a boy who made you feel brand new
but two and a half years went by before you realized
that you didn’t feel new anymore
you felt empty
(you actually felt like damaged goods
but you are never ever quite as broken as you think you are)
one day you graduated high school
but you got your diploma delivered to you in the mail instead of handed to you on a stage
you almost got expelled from your last chance
that’s what happens when your mistakes are more than just bumps in the road
that’s what you get when you fuck up and create potholes two lanes wide
(your mistakes aren’t always so much bigger than others’
but when you don’t know how to fix things as well as others do
your mistakes reach a point where they can’t be repaired)
one day you are preparing for a future that you think will never come
and then the very next, it does
and you are caught completely off guard
(you’re left wondering why time starts to speed up when you most need it to stop
because when you’re in kindergarten and your mom is too busy to kiss you goodbye,
a single morning feels like a year
now your last summer of freedom has half-passed in a blink of an eye)
(you’re left sitting on the red line when you only need a second chance
because when you’re in fifth grade and you start being told
that something is terribly wrong with you and that you can’t be forgiven,
you end up believing that you can’t even forgive yourself for the bad things you’ve done)
(you’re left standing alone waiting for something
and even though you’re so close to giving up on it, that hope is all you need
because when you’re eleven years old, losing hope isn’t quite as terrifying as almost losing your daddy
but when you’re twelve days away from turning eighteen
losing hope can cost you a life)
(you’re left with emotions so strong you don’t even know what to feel anymore
because when you lost your first loved one, you turned numb
but now you’ve lost so much
that you’ve forgotten what it’s like to have a place to call home)
(you’re left feeling more broken than you ever have before
because when you’re a teenage girl in love with a beautiful boy
you don’t expect to end up battered and bruised
you don’t expect to end in the first place)
(you’re left with mistakes that you don’t know how to fix
because when you’re so close to adulthood that you can taste the fear
it leaves you paralyzed)
but one day
the future will arrive
and if you’re still stuck in the past
there will be
you can do
to stop it from carrying on without you.
(do something about that.)
Camp NaNoWriMo Questionnaire: Day 4What genre is your novel? Why did you pick that genre?
My novel is in a genre that I kind of sort of made up. At least, I thought I made it up, until I googled the genre and found out that it actually existed. The genre is Historical Fantasy.
I didn’t pick the genre for any particular reason. It was basically just what LTL fit into. In the past I’ve written in the Young Adult (YA), Fantasy, and Dystopian genres, and oftentimes my writing actually ends up overlapping genres (YA plus another genre is the most frequent combination). I don’t purposefully write my stories within a specific genre; the genres of the stories I write just come as additional, possibly even unnecessary, labels (kind of like extra titles. I only need one title for each novel, thank you very much).
It’s actually not really that I picked the genre Historical Fantasy so much as I decided I didn’t want to continue to write in the same genre that I’d been writing in for years: Young Adult.
I made a conscious effort for LTL to not be defined first and foremost as a YA novel. For starters, I didn’t want to write characters that were younger than me. I’ve never liked writing characters younger than me; they always end up at least two years older than the age I was when I began writing the story. Seeing as most YA novel characters are usually in their mid to late teens, and I’m actually nearing the end of my teenage years (I’ll be 18 in eleven days, which is really scary), I couldn’t write LTL’s characters as being older than me and still have them identify as your typical cookie-cutter YA characters.
Another thing that influenced my decision to not write a YA novel this time around was the fact that lately, I’ve been less interested in reading YA and more interested in reading adult fiction. Reading books written by adults and for adults made me want to try out writing for more than just teenagers. I’ve also matured as a writer and have begun the transition stage between teenage girl and young woman, so I want to write more mature subjects.
That’s not to say that I don’t want teenagers to read LTL, because I am, of course, technically still a teenager myself (although just barely) and it wouldn’t make sense for a teenager to write a book and then not let other teenagers read it. What I do want is to have a wider target audience that can appreciate it and to create something that is more mature in its themes and subject matter than all of my previous works. Above all, though, I think my main objective is to write a novel that years from now, when I’m no longer technically still a teenager, I will still be able to pick up and read over and tell myself that I did a pretty damn good job capturing the themes of life and love—at least for being a seventeen/eighteen-year-old girl at the time.