Weekly Writing Update: October Week 4

Even though I got through 2/3 of the revision of my proof copy of “Pithea” in less than a week, it took me the rest of this week to finish it. This was mostly due to the fact that my husband wanted to spend time with me a lot in the evenings this week (evenings are my main time to spend on writing). How dare he…

I’m done with the main revision though, with only minor aesthetic things to proof, so I’m going to go ahead and order another proof copy to check my hopefully clearer cover that I had to redo again when the revision I did cut the pages down by just enough to require a different cover size.

While I wait on that proof to come, I need to spend the rest of this month prepping for NaNoWriMo. Thankfully, the outline has been done for months, but I need to get my mind back into that story, catch up with the remade plans for the story that comes before, and maybe flesh out the outline I already have. But no matter how much or little I get done during the rest of Preptober, come November 1st, I will start writing!

Weekly Writing Update: October Week 3

My first proof copy of “Pithea” came last Monday. Not gonna lie, it brought tears to my eyes to see the story I’ve worked on for over 6 years as a tangible, full-length book for the first time. Then I couldn’t see well enough to examine the cover, so my husband looked at it, and sadly informed me that it didn’t look good.

Pithea proof 1

It’s really blurry, which was disappointing, but I’ve already identified a possible reason for this issue and remade the cover. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to know if it’s good enough until I get another proof copy. I’ll chalk this up to a learning experience, because if the next cover comes out good, I know how to make the cover from the get-go next time. If it’s still blurry…I’ll have to troubleshoot further.

I’ve been working furiously on the final full revision of “Pithea”, most of what I’m changing being awkward wording that I discover by reading the text out loud. I am 2/3 of the way through this revision, after which I’ll put changes into the computer, make sure the formatting is still good, and order another proof copy.

Pithea proof 3

Pithea proof 2

Blurry or not, it looks great on the shelf with other books!

I haven’t done much more prep for NaNoWriMo. I keep carrying around the notebook in which I wrote some character interviews in preparation of writing the outline for the book I plan to write, thinking reading back through those interviews will help get prepared for writing the story. But “Pithea” has taken all of my free time. If I keep the pace I’ve been on, I’ll be done with the final revision of “Pithea by Wednesday, and then I’ll be waiting for another proof copy. Hopefully that will give me the last week of Preptober to focus on my NaNoNovel (working title: “Ophaela”).

Weekly Writing Update: October Week 2

I got the interior of “Pithea” formatted for paperback with minor difficulties, and after some real frustrations with the cover, ordered my first proof copy. It’s set to arrive tomorrow!! Once I have it in my hands, I’ll start reading through it with an eye for final details that need changed while also making sure the formatting is good. Visually speaking, I’m more concerned about the cover coming out good, so I’m really anxious to see it for the first time.

After I ordered the proof copy on Tuesday, I tried to turn my attention to prepping for NaNoWriMo. But that was when I realized that I only had a week until my next writers group meeting at my local library. Last month, I volunteered to lead a talk on writer’s block this month, and I hadn’t done any prep for that. So I spent a couple of evenings making notes and preparing a handout. I think I’m basically set for that now.

I have done a little of the prepping I had planned for NaNo, but I need to make sure to focus on that more in the coming weeks. There are just over 2 weeks left of Preptober, and I still need to go over the outline I made 4 months ago for the story I’m writing this year and flesh it out. Also re-read the first draft and new plans for the story that comes before. And read a couple of character interviews I wrote as part of the planning stage for this story. I’ll have to find a way to balance my writing time between “Pithea” and my NaNoNovel (working title: “Ophaela”).

Weekly Writing Update: October Week 1

Last week, I finished making immediate changes to “Pithea” that I already knew needed made. My plan now is to format the updated draft for print, get a proof copy, and read through the book that way (probably reading it out loud), hopefully one last time, making notes for anything else that needs changed. I want to have the final draft as settled as possible before November.

This brings me to NaNoWriMo. October is what many of us call Preptober. I already have a preliminary outline for what I’m planning to write this year, which I wrote 4 months ago. But I need to re-familiarize myself not only with that outline, but also with the story that comes before it. I have a few areas of the outline to flesh out, too. I’ll have time to do this while waiting on my proof copy to arrive, I’m sure.

Weekly Writing Update: September pt. 5

I had another somewhat unproductive week, though I did work on “Outcast” a little. I also spent some time getting ready for the local author booth at a local festival. That was today. It was terrifying at first, and I kicked myself for not saying the right thing after several interactions, but I did generate some interest in my future release, get some hits on possible future author appearances, and tell one teenager about NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program.

Tomorrow, I will start working on making a few changes to “Pithea” that I already know need done, then format it for the print version, and get a proof copy, which I will use to do a final revision, to be ready to publish soon. I will also start making sure I’m ready for NaNoWriMo this coming week, as Preptober starts on Tuesday!

Weekly Writing Update: September pt. 4

I didn’t get much done in the way of actual revising of either “Pithea” or “Outcast” this week. I started to work on “Outcast,” but didn’t get far, due to some new things going on in my family this week, and trying to settle into a new schedule. I did make some decisions about the imminent release of “Pithea,” though, and hope to be able to make an official announcement next weekend! Stay tuned!

Weekly Writing Update: September pt. 3

For 5 1/2 years, I have tracked my writing work by time or by words, and reported it on this blog. I started this blog as a way to motivate myself to working on my writing regularly, and it worked most of the time. There were some small breaks here and there–weeks or even months long. And there was the 2 1/2 years where I did no type of writing outside of November (NaNoWriMo kept me coming back for at least that month), due to a difficult and time-consuming job.

A couple of months ago, I realized that I didn’t want my blog to focus so much on this anymore. I had started to post other things–writing advice, snippets of my own writing, and was planning to start posting book reviews. A daily update of what writing work I’d done just didn’t fit very well anymore. So since the beginning of July, I’d done a weekly update instead. And in the last week, I realized even further that I didn’t think quantifying how much work I’d done made much sense anymore either. I am at a point where I’m seriously working publication for my first novel and pretty deep in revision for the second. As such, I don’t really need the self-motivation of posting such specific amounts of work done.

I will continue posting an update weekly, but it will be an overview of what I accomplished on my books or other writing in the last week, without the specific time worked. This is a huge milestone for me, since, as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I’ve recorded the time I spend working on my writing for a long time now. So anyway, without any more exposition, here’s my update for this past week:

I’m continuing to work with an advance reader to tighten the plot and world-building details of “Pithea.” I am really happy to know that, at least according to this reader, I can focus on details, because much of the book is otherwise sound. I have 2 other advance readers who are still reading, so I’m anxious to hear what they say as well.

I am very strongly hoping to have an idea of a release date by the end of this month, so that I have that information to share when I am at the local festival I am attending as one of several local authors. But at this point, I am mostly waiting (which is so difficult!).

I also spent some time this week working on “Outcast”. I did not go back to the draft I was revising, opting instead to use a couple of cards from my Writer Emergency Pack to try to brainstorm some more content for the book, since I now know for sure it will be too short. I’m not worried about making it as long as “Pithea” (a little over 100k words), but more than its current length of ~50k would make a lot more sense.

A Monday Moment: Dog

Monday Moment

“Where have you been?” Gary asked as soon as Sadie was close enough to hear him without shouting. “I have been so worried about you.”

“I know. I would have commed, but I lost my disc.”

He noticed then the bundle she was carrying. It looked like a pile of blankets. She was also limping slightly, and her clothes were dirty and torn. He closed the distance to her at a run.

“Your ankle is injured,” he said. He had already put his Power to work mending it.

“Not for long,” she said with an affectionate laugh.

“Okay, so whatever happened apparently wasn’t that scary, since you’re laughing. What’s this?” he gestured toward the bundle.

“This is the fella to whom you owe your gratitude.”

Gary furrowed his brow, looking between the bundle and her face. “What do you mean?”

“He saved your wife’s life.”

Gary’s heart began to race at her words. They were at the door by this point, but he still wasn’t sure what was in the bundle, or if it could come into the house. Sadie finally pulled back the top cloth, which Gary realized then was her cloak, and a furry face looked up at him.

“Is that…a dog?” he asked.

Sadie nodded. “A wild one. A dingo, maybe, but it is a baby. It is weak and in need of water, probably food too.”

He ushered her inside and to a chair in the sitting room. Then he quickly filled a shallow bowl with water and brought it in to set on the floor. Sadie lowered the dog to the floor and unwrapped it, coaxing it to the water bowl. While the dog drank, Gary sat down next to Sadie, desperate to know what had happened.

She told him a harrowing story of being out in the wilds, searching for kamphas herb. She fell into the ravine past Potter’s Grove. She woke up to the dog licking her face, but couldn’t move. Her cloak was ensnared in a thick nest of brambles, and she’d broken several bones. They were already starting to mend, slowly, but she couldn’t move well enough to free herself.

“I think I would have been stuck there all night if it hadn’t been for this little guy. When he saw me pulling on the cloak, he started doing the same, using his teeth to free it from the thorns.”

“What was he doing in the ravine? Did he fall when you did?”

She shook her head. “I think he’d been stuck down there for a while. Probably days. I don’t think he would have lasted the night either.”

Gary was silent. He knew that Sadie would not have died in that ravine. As a Cleric, her wounds most likely would not have killed her. And he was only minutes away from getting some others from the village to help him look for her when she showed up. But he had no problem whatsoever with Sadie attributing her survival to the small animal, or with her wanting to nurse it back to health. He was just grateful that the initial fall into the ravine hadn’t killed her.

“I don’t know what I would do without you,” he said as he pulled her closer. She rested her head on his chest. “So what should we call the dog?”


Prompt used: What if your character adopted a new pet?

Weekly Writing Update: September pt. 2

Sunday: 2 hours working on formatting for “Pithea”
Monday: 1 hour, 30 minutes working on formatting for “Pithea”
Tuesday: 40 minutes of freewriting with prompts
Wednesday: 1 hour, 17 minutes revising “Outcast”
Thursday: 1 hour, 40 minutes, most of which was spent revising “Outcast,” with a little work on formatting “Pithea”
Friday: 1 hour working on some extra revision of “Pithea,” thanks to feedback from an advance reader
Saturday: 1 hour, 3 minutes working on some extra revision of “Pithea,” thanks to feedback from an advance reader

This week was an interesting one. I made some important progress on the 2nd draft of “Outcast.” I had my first feedback from an advance reader of “Pithea,” which was a little scary at first, but turned out to not be so bad. I have more work ahead of me on that, but I am optimistic about the outcome. (For clarification purposes, I classify this as “advance reader,” rather than beta reader because, to me at least, beta readers are earlier in the process. I have 3 different people reading what I considered to be a final draft, in an attempt to just tighten up the final product.)

I snuck some freewriting in there too, some of which is actually going to turn out to be a scene in an already-drafted book.