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.

Weekly Writing Update: September pt. 1

Sunday: none
Monday: 1 hour, 30 minutes–part spent on near-final revision of “Pithea,” the rest spent on research related to marketing
Tuesday: 1 hour working on near-final revision of “Pithea”
Wednesday: 56 minutes working on near-final revision of “Pithea”
Thursday: 1 hour, 41 minutes–part spent on near-final revision of “Pithea,” part working on formatting it
Friday: 1 hour, 55 minutes working on formatting & other publishing things for “Pithea”
Saturday: 2 hours working on formatting for “Pithea”

I’m sure it’s not wise to abandon revising “Outcast”, especially so close to the end of the draft. The coming week, I’ll try to balance working on getting “Pithea” closer to publication and finishing the current draft of “Outcast.” But there’s so much that needs done for “Pithea,” and time is of the essence.

I just sent “Pithea” to 2 advance readers, who aren’t family, haven’t read any version of it before, and in general are completely fresh eyes. I am hoping that they will both enjoy it, and give me valuable feedback about if it’s ready to publish or not.

Public Appearance

I’m very excited to announce that I will be one of several Huntington County authors appearing at the Pioneer Festival in Huntington, IN at the end of September. I will have paperback copies of my book (The Triangle) to sell (and sign, if so desired), as well as information on future books. It will be my first public author appearance, so hopefully it will go well!

Most of the people who read this blog live nowhere near me, of course, but I still wanted to announce it here! Now, in traditional me-fashion, it’s story time:

My local library has a monthly writing group called The Wordsmiths. It started about 3 years ago during NaNoWriMo, as a write-in location. Those of us who attended throughout the month decided to turn it into a regular thing. Not long after that, I got a job, which quickly blossomed into a crazy, life-sucking entity. I didn’t go back to the writing group until, I think, 2 years later, again during NaNoWriMo. Then, all this year, every month, there was one reason or another that I didn’t go—being sick, working, taking my daughter to the doctor, and the last couple of months…I’d just forget by the time it was time to leave the house.

Even this week, I had fully planned to go, and didn’t forget it for once…but started talking myself out of it, because it had been so long since I’d been there,  I felt weird suddenly showing up again. And because I could tell more people had started to come in my absence, and I don’t like meeting new people. And because…blah blah blah.

But I didn’t want to wait until November to go again, and let it be seen that I only care about this group during NaNoWriMo, plus other reasons compelled me to strap on my big-girl pants and just go. And it turned out to be a very good thing, because the woman who organizes The Wordsmiths and keeps it going is also one of the organizers of this event at the Pioneer Festival, which is being jointly presented by the festival and the library. She said she’d thought about asking me sooner, but for various, completely legitimate reasons, wasn’t sure if I’d want to. But she was glad I’d come this month, so she could ask me about it. A day before the deadline to turn in participants’ bios and pics.

Now…of course I would prefer to go to this thing with more than one thin novelette to my name. I’d love to be able to give a publishing date for “Pithea” while sitting at that table. At this point, I don’t think that will happen (it is possible though). However, I still truly think that the way this all worked out shows God’s hand in action. I can talk to people in person about my book (both present and future), can (try to) answer any possible questions they may have about writing and publishing, and maybe even spread the NaNoWriMo love. And what might be the biggest benefit of all, it will be experience talking to people in real-life about my writing, possibly signing some books, and just push me out of my comfort zone in general, while still being in my own hometown, plus a lot of my family will be nearby in the re-enactment section of the Festival (as participants).

Whatever exposure I may or may not get from this, it will be an invaluable experience; I’m quite certain of that.