Jun 20, 2015

WIP Update: Summer 2015, Part 1

Hi there! Time for another WIP Update, also known as "Mark tells you everything there is to tell about what he's working on so you're able to interpret his tweets and not go WHAT EVEN IS HE TALKING ABOUT." WIP Update flows a bit better, I think. Anyway, this is Part 1 because I plan on doing a Part 2 updating you all about this same project by the start of fall. As usual, these are more for me than anyone else, but people sometimes like these things, so I post 'em online.

So this WIP (work-in-progress, or the manuscript of which I'm currently writing the first draft) is two weeks old—I got the idea and started writing June 6th—but I've already got 7,000 words down. Considering that I graduated high school this Thursday, the 18th, and was preparing for finals and writing papers and finishing online tests at 11:55 PM when they were due at midnight, I'm pretty proud of this 7k. :) With that out of the way, here's all about it:

Title: Break the World

Category: YA

Genre: Gay contemporary romance

Theme song (song that I play a lot when writing/that reminds me of it)"When You Sleep" by Mary Lambert (link opens to YouTube)

Comp titles (subject to change): WHY WE BROKE UP plus HOW TO LOVE minus heterosexuality. I know in my query I'm going to have to put only the books, not the "minus straight people" part, but LOOK HERE, BUSTER

Structure: Non-linear. The odd chapters tell the story of Jude and Emory's relationship from their first day as freshmen to their breakup the summer before junior year. The even chapters tell the story of Jude and Emory's trip around town over one sleepless night just before graduation.

Original premise, as told in Twitter DMs to @rachelwrites007: "My books always go in a different direction than I intend so right now it's very Jenny Han-y, BUT—15-yo boy writes letters to his 18yo self,
"finds them when he's 18, and tries to adjust his life to be more like the one he wanted. With a queer romance! But it's not a Romance."

Actual new premise (not a pitch because I hate pitching) now that I've written some of it: Fourteen-year-old Jude Oakley is falling fast for his new classmate, Emory, in spite of Jude's homophobic, practically omnipresent older brother Wesley. Eighteen-year-old Jude Oakley drives to Emory's house in the middle of the night, hoping to win him back two years later despite what Wesley did. And sixteen-year-old Jude Oakley knows what happened the night Wesley and Emory met—but he's not talking.

What it's about in these really abstract or otherwise indirect terms: Activism. Active listening. Sexual activity. Hyperbole. Slightly modified classic poetry. Gender. Mental illness. Spoons. Social politics. Political politics. Extroversion. Introversion. Planning marriages at first sight. Imaginary flash-forwards. Hatred—the kind that makes you want to break the world. Love—the kind that does break the world.


“I like your name. Jude.” He tests it on his tongue, smiling still, eyes bright, like someone who’s already decided on the car they want but has to drive it around the block first, just for appearance’s sake. I like Emory. Lots.

Which makes my response complicated. I like your face? Too direct. I like your name too? Too indirect. Will you marry me? “Yeah, I was named after the patron saint of lost causes. My parents are big into metaphors.”

“I know the patron saint of lost causes.”

Well. In my head I am now driving to the local gay-friendly church, wearing a new, carefully ironed tuxedo and a smile that threatens to split my face in two. It’s sunny but not too sunny, and the world is awake but not too awake, and we drive in separate limousines to keep us from making out the entire time. I get up and walk up the church steps, each footfall a resting heartbeat in sharp contrast to the thudding and thunking and screeching and screaming and singing my chest is doing now. I open the doors, and he’s there, and I run—I run past the pews, finely pressed suit be damned, past my broken family and his beautiful one, I reach him, I take his hands in mine, and I kiss him hard and slow, and maybe there’s several dozen doves, too.

“Oh, cool!” I say.

How I like my eggs: I don't like eggs.