Pitch Wars 2017 #PimpMyBio

This is my first year participating in Pitch Wars or even knowing much of anything about it. This time last year I was completely out of the writing loop, as I had given myself the summer off of my MA in English and Creative Writing program and decided to skip out on Camp NaNoWriMo because my work life in the summer is wild. So I was ignoring all things writing while I focused on Summer Reading Club and keeping my library afloat while we were short a manager and two other staff.

This year things are (somewhat) more balanced so I am taking a whack at Pitch Wars!

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Now, on with it.

C’est Moi

Hi! I’m Haley Kral!

I’m a children’s librarian at a public library, which means I spend my day reading picture books, doing storytime, helping people use the computers, and any number of random things that come up. People think being a librarian means sitting somewhere very quiet and maybe reading but that is not the case! My job is often noisy and stressful but I love what I do. In a given week I help people apply for jobs, teach STEAM programs to children, give reading suggestions, and clean up messes.

For fun I read, watch TV, go to live shows when I can, eat with friends, do pub trivia, spin yarn, and my boyfriend and I are building a witchy dollhouse.

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Some random facts in no particular order:

  1. I love Alice in Wonderland (in the above photo I have on an Alice dress, bow, and necklace and was going to see a ballet version of the story).
  2. I collect tea pots.
  3. I now own 6 spinning wheels.
  4. My house is also occupied by two black cats, a large dog, and two hamsters that look like mice.
  5. I grew up on a small farm and I’ve lived in Texas my entire life.
  6. I’m an occasional book reviewer at AllAboutRomance.com.
  7. I met my boyfriend on the internet.
  8. I speak French well but not fluently.
  9. If you’re around me in real life, I swear. A lot.
  10. I love all things witchy.

The Book

Or Rumpelstiltskin meets fae meets romance meets trouble.

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This is a YA Fantasy retelling of Rumpelstiltskin set in the fictional country of Wilhelm. I wrote the manuscript as the thesis for my MA Creative Writing program, and it tells the story of Alary Mueller who, while trying to save her father from the king’s dungeon, gets embroiled in a fae plot to bring down the king.

In a mentor, I am looking for someone who can help me tighten my writing and fix issues like overall pacing and plotting. I have taken this story through peer and professor workshops so I am used to taking and using critiques. I’m not afraid to hear what needs to be fixed and work on it.

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New Publication – Pyg the Tinker

My short story “Pyg the Tinker” was published by the online literary journal Quantum Fairy Tales. This is my steampunk take on the Greek myth of Pygmalion (not the George Bernard Shaw Pygmalion).

Pyg the Tinker passed his days in his workshop, and his nights in the Spartan bedroom behind it. He chose a life of solitude with only scattered gears and gadgets as companions. He only saw other folks if they came to him when their pocket watch lost a spring or if some other fiddly mechanism needed repair, and he liked it that way.

Late one night, Pyg received a surprise visit from a gentleman sporting a leather top hat and an overcoat with tails. The man did not knock on the gnarled wood of Pyg’s door, but swept in with a loud tap of his walking stick upon the hearth. He commissioned Pyg to build an automaton in the form of a woman.

Read the rest here…

On The Brink

I officially have 2,105 words left until I win National Novel Writing Month!

As I am poised on the brink of 50,000 words, I wanted to take a moment to reflect. I thought I would post more updates, but I got carried away in the writing (imagine that) and didn’t come here to post. However, I wanted to take a second and speculate what it will be like to pass 50k.

Firstly, I am bad at committing to tasks. Putting a due date on things is the easiest way to make me not want to do them. For example, I love to knit, but I just abandoned a knit-a-long because something about knitting under a deadline makes it less enjoyable. So I am amazed at myself for sticking to this task for nearly a month. I actually expected to lose interest about a week ago. Granted, I may have tried to finish as quickly as possible to try and finish before that happened…

I am feeling good about approaching the finish line but, what is scary, is that the story is no where near finished. I don’t just mean that it needs mounds of revision (though it does). I mean that there is close to another half that remains to be written. NaNoWriMo encouraged me to churn out 50k words, but I have some concern over what will encourage me to finish the rest of the writing. As I have written, the story is coming to me easier and easier. Yet, there have been plenty of days where I would have avoided writing if not for my NaNo commitment.

So I am almost afraid to finish those last words. Will that drive to write disappear? I have ignored this story idea for most of my life before finally brining it to life this month, so I know I am good at not writing. This month also showed me I can be good at writing. Which of these will stick with me in the months to come?

I think I should use the final week of NaNoWriMo to challenge myself to see how far past 50k I can go, but I already feel the temptation to relax instead.

I suppose there is always Camp NaNo in the spring and summer if I need to recommit. But I hate to think of abandoning my fledgling tale for so long.

Ok, now I am off to finish my writing. I will let you know who I am on the other side of the brink.

NaNoWriMo Numbers Update 1

We are currently on day 4 of National Novel Writing Month. This is my first time honestly trying NaNoWriMo so I was pretty nervous about whether I would be able to make my words for each day, since I need to do about 1,667 to finish on time if I write every day. Here’s the thing, I know I won’t write every day. It just won’t happen. November is normally the only month of the year that I got out of town for a weekend. Add to that the fact that I’ll have three Thanksgiving celebrations and my sisters birthday at the end of the month and I know, for a fact, I am going to miss some days.

So my plan was to get ahead early so I’m not stressed when I have days without writing. So far so good. It is 1:30 pm where I’m at one day 4 and my word count currently sits at 8,592 and I’m not done for the day. Par for today would be 6667. I feel good about my numbers so far and I plan to try and crank out another 1,000 or so words. I think I really need to plan on this initial rush of enthusiasm to get me to goal. My attention span is often short so I know that it will be a challenge for me to stick to this for

I will say, I have a huge advantage in working on NaNoWriMo this year. I do practically nothing at my current job. Today I had about 30 minutes of work and that’s it. It’s why I don’t like working here, but it is good for NaNo. Another advantage is that I’ll be leaving this job at the end of next week and taking two weeks off. I won’t start my new position until after November. So I shouldn’t have any excuses about not finding time to write.

Anyway, time to go start a new scene…

I Think I’m Not a Planner

I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about planning my NaNoWriMo book. Please note that thinking is the key word there. I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to take 12-ish years worth of ideas and slap them on paper as an outline that is actually of any benefit. So far, I have a list with about 40 vague bullet points that include gems such as “Childhood” and “Human sacrifice?” Yes, there’s a question mark there, don’t ask.

I thought maybe I needed some assitance. Maybe I just don’t know how to plan. I started looking up outlining tools and apps. Which, in retrospect, was silly because I own Scrivener and you can make nifty little digital bulletin boards to outline. Scrivener is great, by the way. Not that I’m taking full advantage of all the features. Mostly I look at the little e-index cards on my screen and think “Why am I filling these out? If I know what needs to go on the card, then what good does the card do?” Which I think sums up my general issue with planning. I can’t seem to convince myself of why I need to write out an outline when the outline exists in my brain. It’s not like the act of outlining itself unlocks some hidden knowledge my brain didn’t previously have access to. Or maybe it does and I don’t know because I never actually outline.

Did you ever had an English teacher who forced you to outline your writing? Well I was the student that would write the whole thing and then outline what I had already done. That is how much I despise it. For essays, I always liked to just do my research, maybe collect some quotes and facts to reference, and then start going. I think I’m pretty good at organizing things mentally so I never planned ahead. That should have been an indication to me that, in this situation, I was not going to successfully outline.

So what am I to do with this nervous energy pre-NaNo? I’ve been researching more, although I think I’m reaching the end of what new facts I can learn about the Ancient Celts that will actually be applicable to my writing. Now, if I was an outliner, I would match up my outline with a timeline of the events of Britain and Wales during the time period between roughly 40 and 60 A.D. so I would know what types of things might be influencing my characters. However, since NaNoWriMo is kind of fast and furious I’ve given myself permission to wait until my initial draft is written to go back and revise for historical context. (See? I’m doing that write first, plan later thing again)

If anyone has any tips on planning for the reluctant, I’d love to hear them. I really need something to satisfy my anticipation for the next 11 days.