Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Little NYC Enlightenment

Dear Well-Meaning Writer,
I know. You really want to write about New York. I mean, it's the center of the world! The creative hub of...everything! (Or something like that.) You've been dreaming about living in New York ever since you were but a wee child. You've watched all the New York movies and TV shows, and if you could, you would be living in the 212-917-718 RIGHT NOW. (Or maybe the 516. It's not 917, but it's not bad.)
But since life is the way it is, you're not living in New York. So instead, you write stories that take place there.
It's totally understandable- I mean, there are a LOT of people who live in New York City (the five boroughs- not just Manhattan). Around 8.4 million people, actually. That's a lot of people, and a lot of stories to write.
But here's the problem: I'm not quite sure that you did your homework. See, there are a few reoccurring issues I find in fiction based in NYC, and as a resident of NYC myself, I find it incredibly frustrating, and frankly, a tad irresponsible. If you're going to write about something you don't know about, it would be a good idea to research said thing first. And contrary to popular belief, watching TV shows set in NYC is not enough research.
And since I really, truly mean well, I'm going to help your research by bursting a few little NYC bubbles- especially applicable to those who write NA.

(Note: from now on, when I say NYC, I'm referring to all five boroughs. FYI.)

Myth/Trope #1: MC lives in a nice apartment somewhere in NYC. Perhaps they share it with a roommate. It's a little small, but not too bad.

TRUTH: LOL, my friend. L. O. L. If there are nice apartments anywhere in NYC, they are very far out of your MC's price range. (Oh, and in real life? There is no way that you could ever afford any of the apartments in most TV shows. Those things either cost more than God, or don't exist.)
Some numbers, perhaps?
The average cost per month to rent a one bedroom apartment...
In DUMBO? Around $3,934
In Bay Ridge? Around $1,587
In Soho? Around $4,974
In Harlem? Around $2,655
In LIC? Around $2,500
In Bayside? Around $1,500

Not a bad kitchen. Pretty decent size, actually. 
Now, Bayside may sound like the best bet for you, oh poor MC, being that it would cost you ONLY $750 a month (probably not including utilities or the ridiculous amount of bug spray you're going to inevitably have to purchase), but unless you have the money to take the railroad to work (*cough* unpaid internship or job that pays around minimum wage *cough*) which you probably won't, it's going to take you around an hour and fifteen minutes to get to downtown Manhattan, where MC probably works. And that's without traffic.

Which leads us to....

Myth/Trope #2: MC hops in a cab.

TRUTH: Um, nope. Taxis are for people who have money to throw around, and chances are, your MC does not. Initial taxi fare is $2.50- the same price as one subway ride or bus ride. That doesn't mean that you can get a taxi ride for that amount of money- unless you're going down the street. And then, there's the NYS tax of fifty cents that you have to pay. I'm not going to go into the details of how easy it is for a cab ride to end up costing you significantly more than $2.50, but you can click HERE to see the price details. And when you're in Manhattan, chances are, your taxi will probably end up going less than 6 miles an hour, due to the whole traffic thing.

Ah, traffic.
(KK, why don't you know that much about cabs? You may ask. Because I don't take them, my friend. That's why.)

Myth/Trope #3: MC is somehow surviving in NYC while working part time as Fill-In-The-Blank-Of-A-Not-Very-Well-Paying-Job, or interning somewhere prestigious (just because it's fancy doesn't mean they pay you), or is waiting to make it big and is jobless.

TRUTH: BRB, dying of laughter.
Exactly how are you supposed to afford your subway fares after paying rent with the money you're not making, MC? Not to mention any other things you might be doing that cost money, say, eating or going shopping or watching a movie or having a drink with your friends? I'm just going to stop that now.

Myth/Trope #4: Shopping on 5th Avenue

TRUTH: Sorry, I thought I was finished. Y'all. I have lived in NYC my entire life (minus the two years I lived abroad). I grew up here. And I have never, ever, ever, ever gone shopping on 5th Avenue.
It's not like there aren't stores other places.
It's also not like I can afford to shop in most of the places on 5th Avenue. So, there's that, too.

Myth/Trope #5: Central Park is the only green in Manhattan

TRUTH: Nope. It's the largest concentrated amount of greenery in Manhattan, but there are actually trees and parks in places that are not Central Park. Most streets in NYC will have trees, and there are a LOT of parks. HERE is a list.

Flushing Meadows Park (and the Unisphere)

Myth/Trope #6: Sex and The C-

Nope. Not true. Not possible.
Really. No. Enough people have done the math that I don't have to. Just, no.

Does NYC food really cost more? Yup. Are there really rats in the subways? Indeed. You don't always see them, though. Are there really that many food carts? Absolutely. Does everyone sound like a 'New Yawka'? No, but I know people who do. Are we all hideously mean and rude? No. Are we all filthy rich? LOL, my friend. Everyone gets mugged in NYC. Um, no. All guys in NYC are hot. Sorry, not true. We all live like they do on Gossip Girl. HA. Coffee shops are always quiet and you can totally get stuff done! *glares at the annoying guy lecturing his friend on politics* Not always. NYC is the greatest city in the world. I haven't the slightest clue- I haven't been to all other cities to be able to make a sound decision. But it's kind of cool.

So, lovely writer, who still wants to write a book set in NYC. Please. Go ahead. Write a book that's set here in the grand city of New York. It's always fun to read books that take place in a city I know so well. There is something magical about New York, and the possibilities here are endless. There are a lot of secrets of NYC, but there are a lot of us who are more than happy to answer questions for you.

But before you write- please do your homework. It would make us all so incredibly happy. We'd even buy you a hot dog and a cronut.


(PS: On behalf of everyone who lives in New York State but not New York City: THEY EXIST, YOU GUYS. They do. Just because someone says they're from New York, it doesn't mean they're from NYC. And just because someone says they're from NYC, it doesn't mean they live in Manhattan.

Okay. I'm done now.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Writing Process: Blog Tour Thingy

Hola, darlings!
I'm popping in here to say hi, make some announcements, and to join the 'My Writing Process' blog tour.

First things first: The OTGDY blog tour wrapped up last week, after two weeks of some lovely, lovely reviews. So, big thank you to everyone who was part of the tour, and much thanks to my lovely friend, Nazarea Andrews, blog tour queen over at InkSlinger PR, for pulling it all together.

The giveaway ended a few days ago, and the winners have all been notified. Congrats to Chanpreet, Liza, Amie and Brandy- your prizes will be sent to you shortly. I'm super excited to get to send two 'OTGDY care packages', which include all the things necessary to read the book. Like tissues and chocolate because, yeah.

And speaking of OTGDY, remember this blog post? The one about Goodreads adds? Well, I know it's a week late, but TADA! Here's the official announcement:

By April 1, 2014, there were around 350 Goodreads adds for ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG. Which means that I will be donating three hundred and fifty dollars to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. So, to everyone who added OTGDY to your Goodreads TBR list, thank you for helping make this happen :) Hopefully, there will be a few more OTGDY-charity related posts coming soon, so stay tuned for those.

And now, the blog tour thingy!
I was tagged by my darling friend, Jennifer Ellision, YA writer extraordinaire. Her first book, THREATS OF SKY AND SEA, is coming out soon, and I am so, so, super excited about that.

Onward and upward! Let's do this :)


If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably seen me mentioning CrazyBook. Oh, CrazyBook, CrazyBook, CrazyBook. (My phone will now autocorrect if I spell CrazyBook wrong. That is how many times I've typed it.) So, I'm super duper closemouthed about the things I'm working on before any official announcements are made, mostly due to neurosis. But I can tell you that I have been working like a crazy person on CrazyBook, and if all things work out, I should be able to make an official announcement around mid-late May.
I can also tell you that it is, without a doubt, the craziest book I have ever set out to write. The characters are crazypants, the plot is crazy, and I am crazy. It's currently title-less, and I am seriously just considering calling it CrazyBook. But I don't really think that would work out too well.
(I'm also writing another NA book, an adult RomCom, and trying not to write three different YA contemps now. I have a slight problem. I know.)


CrazyBook is New Adult mostly contemporary, which isn't really a genre. It's different than most other New Adult books for a whole slew of reasons, some of which are mumblemumblespoiler. Other ones include the complete genre mash-up (it started out contemporary, I promise. But then things like my MC hijacking the story happened, so now I don't even know what genre I'd classify it as. It has some of everything. Except inspirational romance, which I am fairly certain is not ever going to be added to CrazyBook), the fact that it is a LGBTQ book (F/F), and that while it definitely has some key New Adult themes, it's not really a typical New Adult experience. At least, I don't think so. It would realllllly weird if it was.


Why am I writing CrazyBook? Because the idea popped in my head and would not leave, no matter how hard I tried. Because the main character is hilariously wonderful and not a nice person, and writing her is a joy. Because it takes every small idea I ever had and didn't know what to do with and found a place for them. Because there aren't enough girls kissing girls in New Adult literature. Because I can't not.
Why do I write New Adult? That's an entire blog post to itself, which I will one day write :)


BAHAHAHHAHAAAAA. Wait, sorry, what was the question?
*looks around to see if I can find said process anywhere*
I'm a pantser, not a plotter, so when I decide on what idea I'm going to write, the most I have written down is a few notes of the basic idea. Sometimes I have a rough blurb, but usually not. I have tried plotting before, but my characters always hijack the story and could not care less about any 'plot' that I have. I tried plotting out CrazyBook and it was the longest and most unproductive three weeks of my life. So, no plotting.
I have a day job, which cuts down writing time drastically. I can sometimes squeeze in some words during my break, depending on what's going on, and sometimes (ie, basically never) I actually manage to wake up early enough to write before I leave to work. Usually, though, I don't write until I get home from work. I use the Victoria Schwab sticker method to track how many words I've written every day, and I usually have a certain word count I want to hit daily.
I have self-imposed deadlines, and I try my hardest to A. actually make them realistic (this is not something that I do naturally. I'm all, 'PFFT! I can totally write a book in a week!' and I really believe it at the time. I'm a fast drafter, but not THAT fast. And I have other things I need to do also, like work and occasionally sleep and eat and stuff) and B. force myself into accomplishing them before doing anything else.
I use Write Or Die on the gentlest of gentle modes, because I am easily distracted and also scared of WoD. I'll also sprint with my 4evnos, on Twitter (usually using the #1k1hr hashtag, or if I can swing it, the #writeclub hashtag, which basically runs sprints all day Fridays), or with my CPs (who should all be writing me words right now. LOVE YOOOOOU).

And such.

So, that was the blog tour thingy! I think hypothetically I'm supposed to be tagging three people, but I have been hermiting away for a while, writing and being sick (I haven't been sick all winter. What the eff, spring? THIS WAS NOT NECESSARY), so basically, if you want to do this lovely little blog tour meme hop thing, please feel free to do so next week :) This is your official tag. *Tags you*

Now, back to writing CrazyBook. I'll be back later this week with some other blog posts, and will be floating back through social media, too. (Pinterest? I'm always on Pinterest. I cannot quit you, Pinterest.)

*Hugs everyone* *tries not to cough on y'all*