Tagged: alpha

Manuscript Mondays- 3A.

Start here.

***

ANOMALY

Okay, so protagonist Marie isn’t changing much from where she started. She’s still a bitchy, fashion magazine editing socialite who cares too much about her popularity and too little about anything else.

The book opens in one of those very fashionable night clubs where the bartender knows her name and where she thinks it’s okay to waltz in and lord over her domain. She rejects someone at the bar who she thinks is hitting on her, gets her drink, and disappears into the V.I.P. section with her two idiotic friends. The bartender and the rejected young man have a conversation about how big of a bitch she is. End scene.

Shortly thereafter, however, everything changes. She still has a conversation about how useless she is with her patronizing and unsympathetic father. She still has a fight with her secretary, Claire, whom she promptly fires.

Then shit gets real.

From this point forward, the rest of my manuscript for this book is out the window.

Marie gets into an elevator at work and is transported to another dimension. The rules or parameters or guidelines of this dimension are as follows:

-The 3A Dimension was created by a billionaire named Xionsyes Zelo. The purpose of 3A is to serve as a testing ground for a possible Utopia.

-Because of the way the 3A Dimension was created, time is very thin, and several different realities are overlapping on 3A at any given time. This means that it is possible to run into someone else’s timeline more than once. During her stay on 3A, Marie crosses her own timeline at least twice, and Dakota’s at least 4 three times.

-Marie learns that Earth is the 5th reiteration of the same planet. There are 10 in the series, in alphabetical order from Aarth to Jarth. Each successive reiteration is about 1000 years behind the previous. 3A is an exact dimensional replica of Carth, where Xionsyes is from.

-Aarth is missing. No one knows what happened to it.

-Claire, Marie’s former secretary, works for Xionsyes. The dimensional shift was meant for her.

That’s all I’m giving you for today. I know it’s new and shiny and different and very weird, but I’m excited about it.

Tata for meow.

 

 

Manuscript Monday – Anomaly.

I’ve had a manuscript related epiphany, internet, and if you’ve been following this blog even a little bit or know me in person, I think you will follow my train of thought at least somewhat.

So I’ve been working on this book for a very, very, VERY long time. The working title is called Alpha and the main character is called Marie and it’s a parody of those god-awful rich-teenagers-getting-whatever-they-want books like The Cliche and Gossip Girl that are inexplicably popular. I started it as as Ayn Rand fanatic when I was 18 and moody and nobody understood me, and quite frankly, it’s not very good, but for a number of reasons, I kept working on it unchanged from the original plot line.

The things I do like about the original idea, was the concept of an anti-hero who starts off as kind of a jerk and ends up as slightly less of a jerk. I like childish, self-centered, never-gets-the-point Marie. I like the snarky attitude.

However, this plot-line is dark, dramatic, and takes itself very seriously, and I realized the other day that I WOULD NOT READ THIS BOOK. If I picked this book off the shelf and read the description, I’d put it down, which is probably why writing it has been awful.

So I’m doing something drastic. I’m taking Marie out of her comfort zone and throwing her (quite literally) into another dimension in the updated version of Alpha, Anomaly.

That’s right. I’m turning my teen drama parody into a book about time and space travel. I am going straight up Doctor Who on this plot. I’m about to Vonnegut this up. Insert other dorky reference, yadda ya.

Tighten your trousers, internet. The new Anomaly details are coming at you next Monday.

Manuscript Mondays -Bookstore.

A large handwritten sign caught her eye as she was walking to brunch with Alex and Kate at Cervantes. It said BOOKSALE – AS LOW AS A DOLLAR in painstakingly written black letters. The sign was hanging outside of a small shop she had never noticed before, wedged between two of her favorite clothing stores. That’s odd, she mused. I figured I would notice this before. In the window there was a display of classic love stories lovingly stacked in a tower, their covers old but still eye-catching. Marie looked inside. A few people were milling about, looking at covers and rustling through bins of books. She took a deep breath. She was feeling inexplicably nervous for some reason. To hide her nerves, she opened the door quickly and stepped inside, raking her hair back with one hand and tilting down her sunglasses with the other.

The bell on the door chimed noisily, but no one even looked up or glanced her way. Marie suddenly felt stupid. Of course none of these nerds would know her and expect a showy entrance. She stepped inside lamely, feeling anticlimactic, and looked around.

The shop was bigger than it looked from the outside and extended farther back then she thought it would. It smelled like old paper, an oddly familiar scent. She suddenly recalled the library where she used to spend hours as a kid and smiled fondly. At the front by her feet were bins full of books that seemed like the source of the musty smell, with a sign that said 1 DOLLAR in the same bold print as the sign outside hovering above the bins. Marie crouched down in front of them, her feet in her three-inch heels protesting, and grabbed the book off the top. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, in paperback. The cover had been ripped off and taped back on badly. She fingered the creases in the tape with one hand. Wasn’t this a movie with Colin Firth in it? She hadn’t realized they had written a book about it. She put in on the floor next to her. She was a big Colin Firth fan.

Twenty minutes later, Marie stood stiffly, wincing and kicking her feet, but triumphant. Her legs were sore and asleep, but she had five books bundled in her arms – Pride and Prejudice, Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, My Life in France, by Julia Childs, a prettily bound hardcover of the Ramayana, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She was proud of herself. Marie hadn’t read any of the back covers, but the assortment would look good on her coffee table.

She looked around for the cashier and was surprised to find the store was deserted, save herself and an older looking man reading quietly behind the cash register in the back. Walking up to him, Marie was overly aware of how every click of her heels on the floor disrupted the silence of the store.

The man at the cash register looked up as she approached and smiled, leathery skin crinkling along long worn laugh lines.

“Hello,” he said, still smiling. “I see you found what you were looking for. You were digging in those bins for quite a long time.”

She put her books on the desk and dug in her purse for her wallet. Finding it, she took out a twenty and dropped it unceremoniously on top of the pile but stopped as a cover caught her eye.

On the wall behind the cash, on a ledge built into the wall, there was a set up of old children’s books. Side by side sat The Neverending Story and The Phantom Tollbooth. She stared for a second and stopped him as he was about to hand her change back.

“Wait,” Marie said slowly. “I’ll take The Neverending Story as well.”

The cashier pulled it down from the shelf and put it in a bag with the other books, then put the money back in the register and handed her change and the bag of books. She took them without thanks and walked hurriedly to the exit, pulling her cell phone from her purse as she did so. The old man watched her go curiously, then shook his head and reopened his book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manuscript Mondays – Café.

Marie hurried through the double doors and nearly walked straight into Dakota, who quickly grabbed her shoulders to prevent a straight-on collision. They stared at each other briefly in surprise before Dakota broke into a wide smile.

“Couldn’t get enough of me?” he asked jokingly. “I’ve never had a stalker, but it’s pretty flattering of you.”

Marie was thrown off guard, and blinked.

“No, this is my office building,” she explained, jerking her thumb back towards the Everline skyscraper. He looked up at it instinctively, following her motion.

“And of course I’d be stalking you, who else would I stalk?” she added coyly, a beat too late.

He shot her a sideways glance.

“Out for lunch?” he asked innocently.

She nodded.

“Care to join me?” he added.

“That was the plan,” she shot back. He chuckled and started walking again, Marie tagging along.

“Where do you work?” she asked, to fill the silence.

“You know the old library down on King Street?” he asked. Marie didn’t, but nodded anyway. “I work the special editions section, you know, all the really old or rare stuff. Cataloguing mostly, but some research stuff. It’s pretty fun.”

“So what are you doing in this part of town? King Street’s nowhere close to here.”

“I started a small publishing company a little while ago, and the office is just down the street from you.”

“That’s ambitious of you.”

Dakota shrugged.

“I suppose. I just wish I had more publicity. Business is slow.”

He stopped in front out of a small restaurant with Vera Jon’s painted above the door in a pink that stood out from the garrish green door frame.

“How’s this?” he asked, looking down at her for a reaction.

“Here?” she blurted out incredulously.

“Why not?”

She shrugged, swallowing the words Because no one else will be in here and smiling.

Dakota led her into the small restaurant, which had a bunch of small wooden tables packed between it’s crumbly brick walls. The chairs and tableware were mismatched and brightly colored, and several surrealist charcoal drawings hung on the otherwise unadorned brick walls. It had the air of a coffee shop, complete with several college students poring over piles of books and a shy couple out on their first or second date.

The perky hostess, who wore a brightly colored scarf wrapped around her hair and had different colored fingernails, led them to a back table between a student reading Shakespeare and a group of middle aged women clearly on lunch break. She handed them each an organic looking menu with Vera Jon written brazenly across the front, told them her name was Shay, and left them to her own devices.

They flicked open the menus and read in silence for a while. The restaurant was advertised as a ‘Sand – Which’ shop, and the menu featured 3 or 4 pages of creative options. All could be eaten on gluten-free bread or as a wrap, and all could be halved and eaten with either a soup or a salad. The most expensive was 16 dollars and had lamb, avocado, basil, balsamic vinegar, walnuts, and pear slices between its two slices of challah.

“Ham and turkey on multigrain with cranberries, sliced apples, mayo, and cheddar cheese,” Dakota mused.

“Bacon and marmalade on pumpernickel?”

“Grilled cheese on country white with pesto, pine nuts, sundried tomatos, bacon, and garlic paste.”

Marie giggled.

“That sounds simultaneously terrible and amazing,” she said, looking at Dakota over the top of her menu.

“Most of these sound simultaneously terrible and amazing,” he replied. Marie nodded.

“But in a good way.”

“In a good way.”

 

Manuscript Mondays – Rowing.

Here’s a really random scene about Dakota rowing? I don’t know. Go with it.

***

Dakota opened the door of his car and got out. The early morning air was thick with dew and fog, so thick he could taste the heaviness in it. He ignored it, breathing deeply. The rain that was predicted for later would clear out the air.

The misty light made everything look somewhat hazy, but the color of the grass and the leaves on the trees was a spectacular lush green, even though the tree trunks had receded into grey masses that had barely any weight or substance. It was as if the greenery had sucked up all the surrounding density so that while everything else was a hazy nothingness, the greenery was almost overwhelmingly thick.

The boathouse itself was transformed into an almost ethereal form, looming mistily from behind several large and bushy maple trees. The faded, peeling white paint and the aging wood behind it blended into a soft grey. The gutter, which by day was a useless rusted thing hanging to the building’s columns by a single screw, had become an interesting object, alive with dripping dew in the persistent wet. It sparkled somewhat dimly as Dakota walked by it, catching rays of light that had somehow made it past the thick cloud cover.

As he unlocked the boathouse and pushed back the heavy wooden door – the slide it was attached to was rusty and complained noisily about the intrusion – he couldn’t help the sudden rush of excitement he always felt about going out on the water. He was especially fond of rowing alone. Dakota had loved the bustle of his boathouse back home when he was on the team in high school. That boathouse had been far newer and more state of the art than this one, which was really a decrepit old house that had had its garage emptied out for boats. Coming here felt more like a sacred and private ritual than an experience to be shared with teammates. Sure, he knew other rowers here, and had gone out a few times in a double with a guy friend from work, but he preferred having the place to himself.

Dakota signed out a single and picked out oars, carefully laying them down on the dock within reach, but out of the way. He went back to the boathouse and took a deep breathe before hoisting the boat he had picked up and over his head and walking it carefully down to the dock. He flipped it and put it gently into the water with one practiced motion and secured his oars, before quickly running back to the house and locking the door back up. That was the most nerve-wracking part of rowing alone; there was no one to hold the boat for him while he locked up.

It only took him a few strokes to bring himself up to a good pace, body moving fluidly, oars slipping seamlessly in and out of the water, flicking horizontally at the end of a stroke and hovering just over the surface as he moved forward to take another stroke. The single moved forward without jerking, the clean wake a sign of good rhythm. Every few strokes he cast a glance over his shoulder, watching his point.

Within five minutes the inlet widened into the lake and Dakota set a course along the west shoreline, keeping in within sight so he didn’t get lost in the fog. It hovered over the lake in dense clouds, and as he rowed through them, it became harder to see long distances. On the horizon, the water blended with the sky seamlessly, the shoreline impossible to see through the haze. Dakota felt like he was rowing amongst the clouds.

Manuscript Mondays – Fight.

Back from Boston. Too tired to explain this random scene.

***

Claire slammed her fist on the desk. Marie flinched, surprised.

“The people in this office aren’t intimidated by you!” Claire screamed at her, bracing her hands on the desk and leaning forward, “They think you’re a laughingstock! Honestly, can you get over yourself for a minute? You waltz in here like you’re the Queen of England and throw orders around that half the time don’t make any sense – half the time you’re late or hung-over or god knows what – you haven’t been here for a week – everyone knows you got this job because your father gave it to you, which is a shame because, god, M, you could be good at this!”

Claire paused, breathing heavily. Marie hadn’t moved a centimeter since she started.

“Listen, some of the things you come up with on a whim are brilliant,” Claire continued, softening somewhat. “If you tried, if you applied yourself to this job, you could excel at it, really. Why don’t you have any ambition?”

Claire stopped, apparently waiting for an answer. Marie shifted and looked up.

“Get out.”

Claire stiffened.

“You ugly, pathetic bitch! How dare you question my right to be here?” Marie screamed, standing up. “Get the hell out!”

Claire whirled on her heel and stomped to the door, yanking it open and pausing. She turned her head back to Marie.

“No one gives a shit that you’re pretty and popular. One of these days, you’re going to have to face the music, and what will you do then?”

She walked out, slamming the door behind her. Through the clear glass Marie watched her grab her purse from her desk, storm towards the elevators, and slam the button with one hand. As Claire disappeared behind the closing elevators, Marie felt the attention in the office turn towards her. She heard a low murmur of voices and grins concealed hastily behind hands, eyes reluctant to meet hers, but wanting to see her reaction.

Marie swiveled in her chair to face the giant picture window with its idyllic view. In a movie, she thought dryly, this is where the clouds would roll in so it could start raining to symbolize my internal turmoil. Unsurprisingly, it’s a beautiful day. She watched the sunlight glitter on the water until her urge to smash something had largely faded.

I’m turning twenty-five in three days, Marie mused. I’m still single. Most guys would sell their souls to sleep with me. I’m still attractive. I’m getting older. I’m still extremely popular. I have a high-paying job. My dad got it for me. My employees think I’m an idiot. Am I an idiot? Claire thinks I’m an alcoholic. I’m definitely not an alcoholic. Oh God, am I an alcoholic?

Marie rubbed her eyes hard with her fists, then looked down at the bruises on her wrist.

“I’m definitely an idiot,” she moaned quietly to herself.

Manuscript Mondays – The father.

This is a brief encounter between Marie and her dad (possibly the first). Her dad owns the fashion company she works for.

***

“Marie, your father called,” Claire assaulted her as she stepped over the threshold into her office. Typical Claire. Never even gives her time to take her coat off before starting into some new crisis.

“Of course he did,” Marie sighed, “What does he want this time?”

“A word with you as soon as possible. He’s in his office from noon to two today.”

Marie nodded and turned on her heel to leave. As an after-thought, she stripped off her jacket and threw it behind her as she left, trusting Claire to pick it up for her.

Her father’s office was a floor up from hers and directly overhead. She could sometimes hear him pacing back and forth on the phone with someone, circling his desk and walking from the window back to the door. It was a familiar habit. Marie used to watch him do the same thing at home when she was young, treading a path in the carpet around the dinner table in a perfect rectangle.

Their office floor plans were exactly the same, but unlike Marie’s pristine, militantly organized space, William Everard’s office was an explosion of papers, charts, and photographs. Where Marie had a single calendar hanging on her wall, her father had a huge bulletin board full of mockups, sticky notes, drawings, and samples. A rack of clothing was standing in the corner hung with pieces from the fall collection. Stacks of magazines, books and file folders burst from overloaded racks shoved against any unused wall space.

Marie ignored the empty chair and stood in front of the desk when she came in. Her father was, as usual, on the phone, pacing a circle around his desk. He didn’t notice her presence until he came around to the front and saw that she was in his way. William Everard nodded to her, turned around, and walked in the opposite direction, knocking a stack of envelopes off of his chair and sitting down.

Marie stared out the window at the lake while her father finished his conversation and idly mused on what a difference of one floor could make to the view. From her office, she could see masses of people; from his, she could look down from above and distinguish the smaller groups within the whole.

Everard finished his phone call and put the phone down on a binder full of model contracts.

“You wanted me?” Marie asked, before he could start.

“I wanted to see if you were in the office,” Everard replied.

“You called me up here just to see if I was in the office.”

“You haven’t been for the past two days.”

“I’ve been busy.”

“With work?”

“Maybe,” Marie said defensively. She shifted her weight to the opposite foot.

“Maybe,” her father repeated. “You’ve blown off two full days in the office doing work ‘maybe’.”

“I don’t see how it’s any of your business,” Marie shot back.

“It’s my business, because it’s my company,” Everard said, his voice a low monotone.

Marie didn’t reply. She was far past the age where her dad was able to cow her just by dropping an octave.

“Look,” Everard continued, “I don’t know what’s going on with you, but in the past four months, you’ve been MIA for 10 days. I’ve had to cover your ass more than once now. This isn’t some minimum wage job where you can skip around and come in hung over.”

“I don’t come in hung over,” Marie objected.

“No, because when you’re hung over, you don’t come in at all,” her father shoot back.

“I don’t need to listen to this,” she replied, making a move for the door.

“Marie, for God’s sake, stop being so stubborn,” Everard continued. “If you weren’t my daughter I would have let you go by now. If you don’t start doing your job, I’m going to have to. That’s the final line. You’re 24. Act like it.”

Marie paused with her hand on the door.

“You’re 51,” she shot back. “Date someone your own age.”

She slammed the door.

Mr. Everard closed his eyes for a brief moment, then stood and resumed his walk around the desk.

 

 

 

Manuscript Mondays- Here goes nothing.

I’ve decided I’m not going to enter the March 15th contest after all. I’m not even remotely close to being ready to submit anything worth reading, and I just don’t have the time right now to catch up. I swear if I don’t hear back from grad schools this week, I will have a nervous breakdown. I can feel the anxiety sitting in my stomach like a nest of vipers going you’re not going to get in you pathetic loser and I can’t get away from it. I just want to curl up into a little ball and refresh my email until I get something. This hanging-in-the-balance thing is driving me insane.

However, despite all of this panic attacking I’ve been doing, work on my book, Alpha, continues slowly but steady, and despite my misgivings about quality, I’ve decided to suck it up and let y’all read the scene where we meet Marie, Kate, and Alex for the first time.

I’ll take any and all feedback on this, peeps. If you don’t want to comment, feel free to email me at hnwcassandra@gmail.com.

***

“Well, if it isn’t the Threesome,” a male voice said loudly as they crossed the threshold into the club. Heads turned, and even over the music Marie could make out the ever-present murmur of voices that always greeted her arrival. She inclined her head slightly and gave the guy a once over as they made their way to the bar.

He was tall and broad, definitely cute, but nothing special. Freckles flickered over his pointy nose, green eyes peeked out from a tidily cut sweep of red hair, but there was nothing worth remembering about him. He was leaning against the bar in a gesture of constructed ease, but his toes pointed together rather than outwards, a sure sign of timidity. His chin was tucked in a submissive way, and he kept staring, gawking really. She smiled. A Random – a reckless one, but an unaffiliated Random clearly out to boost his social status on a gamble. He had most likely been waiting for them to arrive. She caught eyes with Alex, her favorite Beta, and raised an eyebrow. Alex smirked.

It was not the first time Marie had been accosted as she entered the bar, nor would it be the last. Such was the price of popularity. Usually, she didn’t deign to speak to the nameless and the unranked, pariahs who roamed the outskirts of her social circles clinging to the undertow of what was “in”, but what the hell. She’d throw a dog a bone. She was in a good mood.

The bartender handed Alex a glass of white wine and Kate, the third member of their trio, a cosmopolitan, without being prompted. Her girls could be tirelessly predictable. The bartender waited for her order patiently. Marie slid past the Random to get closer to the bar and leaned her head in conspiratorially.

“What’s the drink of the night, Larry?” she asked jovially.

Larry grinned. “Most of the girls are drinking mojitos tonight, and the group of boys in the corner just ordered a round of 9.”

“Number 9 it is, Larry. Thank you.”

She turned her attention to the boy still leaning on the bar top.

“To whom do I owe the pleasure of the greeting?” she asked lightly, watching as his fingers started to tighten around the neck of his own Magic Hat. He hesitated just a moment too long before answering. Careful, Nobody, your awkwardness is showing, Marie though to herself.

“It’s Evan,” he said, leaning closer to her, trying to compensate for the noise of the club. His upper body rotated to face her and his feet started to shift subtly into a more commanding position.

Better, Marie thought. Not quite there, but better. She shifted so the neckline of her top drifted downwards to a more revealing angle as she accepted a smoking bottle from Larry. Evan’s feet immediately turned back inwards. She smirked.

“I see,” Marie replied. “I’m Marie, and this is Alex and Kate. But you knew that, of course.”

Evan’s eyes shifted from her to Alex and Kate somewhat blankly.

“Pleased to meet you,” he said, refocusing on Marie. “Glad to finally meet the girl behind M. You’re certainly popular on the circuit.”

Kate shifted her weight to one foot and put her hand on her hip.

“Bored,” she said icily.

Marie smiled at her.

“Now Kate, don’t be rude to our fan club. Or more accurately, mine.”

She fished a pen from her bag and dragged a cocktail napkin on the bar top towards her with one finger. Signing it, she handed it to Evan with the tips of the fingers.

“There’s an autograph to take home and frame, sweetheart. Always love to meet a fan.”

Without another word, Marie turned and walked deeper into the club, leaving a shell-shocked Evan behind. Kate followed briskly. Alex gave him her signature onceover, snorted, and left him in the dust.

Evan was left with the delicate paper dangling from his fingertips, ripped by the force of Marie’s signature. The bartender, Larry, leant over towards him. He gestured towards the three girls, who were walking through the club almost in slow motion, so everyone could get a good look at them. The blonde one, Kate, casually flicked her hair behind her shoulder as she passed by a table of girls clutching tumblers of bright green mojitos.

“They’re pretty to look at, but God, they’re all stuck-up bitches,” Larry said consolingly to Evan.

“I suppose so,” Evan replied, crumpling the napkin in his hand and directing his gaze to the table the Threesome had passed by. Two of the girls sitting there had their hands pressed to their mouths to stop the sound of their laughter from escaping as their friend imitated Kate’s pretentious hair flicking maneuver. Evan put an extra dollar on the bar for Larry and walked over to the table with the mojitos, leaving the napkin with Marie’s signature on it for the bartender to throw away.

 

 

Manuscript Mondays- Marie.

Okay internet. So if you read my last Manuscript Mondays post, you know that this whole writing a book thing isn’t really going so well. 50 pages by March 15th is starting to look less and less like a realistic goal. However, I’m not exactly one for realism.

I had a coffee break with my writing mentor A last Wednesday and he assured me that my work was not as bad as I think that it is. He is essentially the Supreme Ruler of Making Me Calm Down About My Writing Related Insecurities. We workshopped for about an hour about plot, and he told me I have something decent to work from, which made me feel much better about everything. Side note- last week was apparently my mental crisis breakdown week. Sorry, readers (not sorry).

So let’s get into the nitty gritty of it, then, and we’ll se where we end up.

Our main character, Marie Everard, is a bit of a (I wanted to use a more PG term but I can’t think of one so I’m just gonna go with it) bitch. The plot revolves around her rise to fame and her ultimate downfall. Marie is, at heart, someone who has never gotten past the concept of popularity that was so important to her in high school and throughout college, and she seeks to be the center of attention at every turn, no matter the cost. During the course of the book, she commits three awful acts (no spoilers!) to try to solidify her status in society, and these acts, in turn, backfire on her and almost cost her her friends, her job, and her life.

Marie has two best friends, Alex and Kate, who have been there at her side since middle school. They are beginning to try to move on past Marie’s deluded conceptions of society, but are having trouble untangling themselves from their roles in Marie’s life.

Also central to the story are Ryder and Dakota, who are antitheses to each other and appear in the story in almost direct contrast to each other. Ryder is the famous person that Marie wants to be. He’s handsome, charming, and always within snapping distance of the paparazzi, but underneath that shiny visage is a twisted, dark and abusive person. He is always slipping between these two different personalities. Dakota, however, is a reclusive librarian and publisher, intellectual, self made, and always honest. Marie mistakes him for someone else and is initially turned off by his quiet nature, which is, in her eyes, bizarre.

So that’s my checkin for this week, I guess. I’m still not sure if March 15th is going to happen, but if it’s not, I’ll know by next Monday for sure.

Panic mode part 2- The Contest.

This is a follow-up to this post about my mid-life crisis.

***

Okay, internet. Blame the Dayquil. Blame the crazy. Blame the searing feeling of inadequacy tearing at my insides. Yesterday I went into panic mode about what would happen if I didn’t get into grad school. Serious sickness melt-down time. It was a mess. There were tissues everywhere. I drank four cups of tea. I willingly listened to Taylor Swift. I went off The Deep End.

And I Googled. I Googled like the wind. I Googled like a med school grad before a big exam she’s procrastinating. I bookmarked every relevant writing contest, fellowship, grant, scholarship, and meet that I could find for this year. Because dammit, this is my life and I WILL NOT GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP.

In my graduate cover letter, I included this story:

“I received a letter from my thirteen-year-old self one afternoon… It was part of a school project I had done in middle school and completely forgotten about. In the envelope was a page of writing from a story I had started, along with the letter, which urged me in bold letters to KEEP ON WRITING, no matter what else I was doing.

I can say with complete honesty that it was one of the most self-satisfying moments of my life thus far. How many other people can say that they are still pursuing the dreams they had when they were children? Instead of wanting to be a princess or an astronaut, I wanted to be an author. I wanted to be an author so badly that I once broke down crying in the bookstore because I didn’t want my books to be out of reach on the top shelf”.

I didn't make that story up.

I didn’t make that story up.

So here’s where things get real. I found a writing contest for unpublished authors that ends on March 15th. All you need to do is submit the first 50 pages of your manuscript, along with the outline of your book. If you’re selected as a finalist, you send the committee your next 50 pages.

I guess it’s time to dust off my old ideas.

Is this a little crazy? Perhaps. But I’m good at crazy. Are my odds of winning or even getting into the finals slim? Not as slim as getting into grad school for creative writing. I figure, hey, if I don’t win, I’ll at least have the first 100 pages of a book polished and at my disposal.

From now until March 15th, however, I’ll need a little motivation. So for the next 4 Mondays, I’ll be dedicating my blog to my book writing efforts. Even if nobody reads or responses to my Monday bogs, the commitment to write about it will be there. How do I know if I’ll actually do it in time? I don’t, but that’s half the fun.

The working title of my book is called Alpha. It started as a parody of those really awful A-List and The Clique and Gossip Girl novels that were popular when I was in high-school that all feature really pretty, popular rich kids getting what they want. My main character, Marie, is a delusional fashion magazine editor who gets involved with a sexy socialite named Ryder (yes, I know) who ends up being exactly as much of a douchebag as his name would suggest. As her friends abandon her, and her employees confess that she’s the laughing stock and downfall of her company, Marie must change her worldview entirely, or risk ruining her life and her business to stay in the limelight.

I started it back in 2009 one summer after rereading Atlas Shrugged for the umpteenth time. It’s infested with bad analogies and Randian philosophy soundbites, but the scenes I’ve written still hold up, and it contains some of the best dialogue I’ve ever come up with (I was a lot smarmier in my teens, apparently).

Let’s do this.