Last month, I participated in the #LGBTWIP event on Twitter with my WIP contemporary YA novel Holding Up the Sky. Sharing titbits about my story and its main character, Carter, was WAY scarier and WAY more rewarding than I was expecting! I got some promising feedback, made some new friends, and had my eyes opened to the breadth and depth of the talent Out There.
Given the success of the event, and the fact that June 2018 is 🏳️🌈LGBT Pride Month, I thought I’d also share my #LGBTWIP responses here on my blog/website. So, without further ado, here are 31 things-to-know about Holding Up the Sky, its MC, and its creator (a.k.a. me). Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Hi, I’m Rebecca! I’m 23, an Aussie, and simply love reading and writing about diversity in all its forms. It helps me see the world from perspectives beyond the realm of my personal experience…which is admittedly limited. Learn more about me here.
Pitch your WIP
(Holding Up the Sky is a YA contemporary novel)
Carter seems to have it all, but he’s gotten good at pretending. No one sees through his façade, to the real him, hidden deep inside.
But then Carter meets him.
And that’s when it all starts to fall apart.
Your MC in five objects
Carter in 5 objects:
- Stars and moons and plants (the glow-in-the-dark kind)
- A battered violin
- Rain against a window
- Two empty chairs at a table
- Broken glass on a bathroom floor
A line capturing your WIP’s atmosphere
I felt like a collapsing star, sucking everything into itself as it died, even the light.
“The first light always hurts when you’ve spent so long in the dark.”
Does your WIP focus on the “queer experience”?
Yes and no. It’s kinda hard to know, since the “queer experience” means something different to everyone. Ultimately, I’d say it is a focus, not the focus. A contributing factor to Carter’s struggles, not the primary cause.
What inspired this WIP?
When I was 17, I nearly had a mental breakdown after doing “poorly” on an exam (I got a B+). After a year of counselling, and another year or so of practice, I looked back on the experience with a smile. The next day, I started planning Holding Up the Sky.
Is the protagonist based on you?
At first, Carter was a reflection of my experience with grappling unrealistic self-expectations. But over time, as I fleshed him out, our personalities, and our stories, diverged. So no, he’s not really based on me at all.
Why do you love this WIP?
I love Holding Up the Sky because:
- it’s like my child, so I kinda have to
- it’s consumed years of my life
- it’s made me laugh and cry and scream and smile
- it’s taught me so much about myself
- it’s given me the courage to share my writing with the world!
Do you consider this WIP to be #OwnVoices?
No, I don’t really consider my WIP to be #OwnVoices. While Carter and I have some similarities personality-wise (and we’re both Aussies), we don’t have the same gender identity or sexual orientation.
A line where a character talks about their identity
Carter is not really one to talk about his identity. Not to others. Not even to himself. Self-deception is a bit of a theme in the story, and when the self-deception comes to an end…well. That would be *spoilers* wouldn’t it?
What could tempt your protagonist to the dark side?
Carter could be tempted to the dark side by two things: the promise of his mother’s love, or his brother’s offered hand.
Talk about your antagonist!
Holding Up the Sky does not have an “antagonist” in any true sense of the word, though I will say this: Carter is his own worst enemy.
Who is your protagonist’s soul mate?
Despite the knee-jerk reaction to automatically select the love interest, I would have to say that Carter’s soul mate is actually his older brother, Miles. Miles is five years older, and Carter describes him as his “everything”.
What are you most excited to write?
The epilogue. I mean, I’ve already written the first and second drafts, but both times I was most excited to write the epilogue. There’s a symmetry in it that I just love ❤️
What’s your ideal cover?
Well, I don’t know about an ideal cover, but here’s my current mock-up version:
What scares you about this WIP?
Sometimes, it scares me that I’ve written about several serious issues I’ve had no personal experience with. I mean, I’ve done my research (I think!), but how do I know I’m getting it right?
Post the protagonist’s theme song!
Weirdest thing you’ve researched?
The weirdest thing I’ve researched? Where do I even start! However, I did feel quite awkward when I had to look up the VCE exam timetable. Thought I was done with all that stuff, but as it turns out, I was wrong…
A line that shocked you
The boy in the mirror stared at me with dull eyes. “What are you doing?” he asked me.
I hated the sight of him. I hated everything about him.
Are you jealous of your MC?
Um no. Definitely not. There is nothing enviable about Carter’s current predicament. In fact, he is jealous of everyone else…
Has working on this WIP changed you?
Without a doubt. From the research I’ve done, the comparable titles I’ve read, and the words that have spewed out of my own mouth (hands?), working on Holding Up the Sky has changed how I view and interact with the world.
How does your WIP’s setting handle queerphobia?
Holding Up the Sky is set in modern-day Melbourne, Australia. With the exception of two seemingly queerphobic individuals, the majority of the queerphobia in this story is internalised and/or perceived.
Post your character’s pride flags!!
Well, I don’t think it would be fair to make an announcement on Carter’s behalf. Not at this stage. It’s quite a touchy subject, you see, and he’s not yet ready to accept the truth about himself.
Post the scariest/darkest line
The sun disappeared. There were no stars tonight, no light, no hope. There was nothing but darkness here for me.
Who should play the MC in a movie?
Oh god I don’t know. I really don’t. I don’t watch a lot of TV/movies so know next to nothing about actors. I seriously couldn’t pick if you held a blowtorch to my feet…
Queerest moment in your WIP?
There are a few I could choose from, but they all involve massive *spoilers*, so I’m going to have to keep them to myself for now 😜
Advice for your protagonist
If I could sit Carter down and talk with him myself, I would tell him this: You are perfect just the way you are.
Post some sexy lines 😉
He was leaning over me with his hands on either side of my head. Pale gold hair framed his face like a halo. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said shakily as I pushed the last of the fabric off his shoulders.
Is this WIP breaking ground?
For me? Yes. For the literary world? Probably not. What I HAVE tried to show, that many YA books do not, is the treatment-and-recovery side of emotional trauma. It’s just as important as the downward spiral itself. I’ve written more on this issue here.
What’s your FAVOURITE line?
The very last one. And no, you can’t know what it is because *spoilers* 😜
What do you think about Holding Up the Sky? Tell me about your own #LGBTWIP! Did you participate in the event on Twitter?