Weekly Writing Update: December Week 2

Last Sunday, I listed 3 goals to be working on. In the week since then, I finished 2, plus another task that I decided needed doing, and have just started into the 3rd:

1. Remove NaNo fodder from 2019 NaNoNovel – This took a couple of days, but it’s finished, and now this draft can be filed away for a while.

2. Update Kindle version of “Pithea”, upload it to KDP, add Kindle version to Goodreads – This also took a couple of days, and now I have very little left to prepare for publishing my first novel! (Read the first chapter here!)

At this point, I decided that I needed to make a minor edit (which of course turned out to be some major work) to the paperback cover, which took about 45 minutes, but the cover should be set now.

3. Finish first revision of “Outcast” (book #2) – This particular goal is going to take a bit longer than the others. I’m already about 90% of the way through the revision, according to the math I did for a post back in August when I was last working on this revision. However, I hit on an idea some time in the last month for a way to cut out a character that I’ve realized isn’t very important to the story by giving the little bit that he does do that’s important to a bigger character, so I’m making that change before I go back to the rest of the revision. This is what I will be continuing with for the next week.

Weekly Writing Update: December Week 1 (NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up)

(Before I get into this long update, one last time for 2018, be sure to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2019 – December 1st It’s also the very last NaNoToon ever!)

NaNoWriMo is over, and boy what a month it was. I spent pretty much all of my free time in November either writing for NaNoWriMo or working on “Pithea” for its upcoming release. Still, I came out on the other side with 82,750 words and, more importantly, a finished draft! This book will most likely be book #8 in the Pithea Series. But since I’m just about to publish book #1, and all of the books between here and #8 still need a lot of work, who knows what could happen by the time I get there.

I had some highs and lows during NaNo, but was more happy than not with what I was writing. I had some “Aha!” moments, which I absolutely love, even though they were mostly minor. Still exciting! I already know a lot of places that need work, but it will be a long time before I get back to it for revision.

I had hoped to leave myself with little to work on for publishing “Pithea” during November, so I could focus on NaNo, but being that this is the first novel I’ve ever published, I can say now how silly it was for me to think that would be the case. I managed to find a balance, though, and now I have only small details left to work on.

I now have a finished cover, the paperback interior is completely ready, and the digital file just needs updated to minor changes I made when finalizing the paperback interior. I’ve added the book to Goodreads (just the paperback for now until I finish the digital file), added it to Reedsy (read the first chapter here!), and the ebook will be available for pre-order on Amazon soon!

So with NaNo over and my attention turning not only to final publishing details, but also to working on book #2 so that it can be released in a timely fashion after book #1, I have a new list of writing goals, related to all of these things:

1. Remove NaNo fodder from 2019 NaNoNovel – Sometimes I’ll spend the first few days after November ends doing a quick clean-up of what I wrote–mostly removing things I marked as NaNo fodder and at least doing a quick spell check. This is usually better to do while the story is still fresh, and then it’s good to let it sit for some time. It shouldn’t take long, and is better done now than later (I know that from experience).

2. Update Kindle version of “Pithea” – As part of this goal, after updating it, I’ll need to upload the final version to KDP, proof it, and decide on when the pre-order should be available. And add the Kindle version to Goodreads.

3. Finish first revision of “Outcast” (book #2) – Going by what is widely understood to be acceptable word count lengths for books of its type, “Outcast” is currently quite a bit too short. However, the amount I’d have to add would basically be entire new story arc. Rather than stress about how to lengthen it right now, I’m going to finish with the revision of what is already there, and then send it to 3 people who were most helpful with revision of “Pithea” and ask them to read it and tell me what they think–if they think there’s a lot that could be expanded on, plot threads they’d like to see followed, etc. And then I’ll go from there.

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.

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.

Weekly Writing Update: August pt. 4

Sunday: 52 minutes freewriting from prompts
Monday: none
Tuesday: 1 hour, 45 minutes at writing group
Wednesday: none
Thursday: none
Friday: 1 hour, 30 minutes working on cover & other publishing things for “Pithea”
Saturday: 35 minutes working on cover for “Pithea”

This week wasn’t the most productive for me, but it was an important week for several reasons. I went to the writing group at my local library for the first time all year, and from that came a very exciting, though also very scary, opportunity. I’ll post about that more later. I’ve made some official decisions on what I want to do with my completed novel “Pithea,” which will start with making a few small changes, which will be the last.

Wednesday and Thursday, our internet was down, which shouldn’t have prevented me from working on the novel I’m currently revising (“Outcast”), but it did. I’ll be diving back into that, while simultaneously working on those final changes to “Pithea,” this week. I’m excited to see the results in next week’s writing update.

Weekly Writing Update: August pt. 3

Sunday: 1 hour revising “Outcast
Monday: none
Tuesday: 45 minutes revising “Outcast”
Wednesday: 50 minutes revising “Outcast”
Thursday: 1 hour, 6 minutes revising “Outcast”
Friday: none
Saturday: none

Most of the time this week was spent either putting revisions into the computer or writing a couple of brand new scenes. Friday and Saturday I hit a low point, and just didn’t feel like there was much point in working on it. I think I’ve shaken that off, thanks to some time spent praying, talking to my husband, and eating tacos (not all at the same time), though I think today’s writing time is going to focus on some freewriting just to shake out what’s left of the depression.

I’ve also noticed a sudden desire to go back to the writing I was doing a few years ago about the two weeks my dad was in the hospital back in September of  2016. I started writing it during NaNoWriMo that year, but it was pretty rough–maybe a little too soon. After I finish this draft of “Outcast,” maybe it will be a good chance of pace for a while to work on this instead of more revision. Or maybe I’ll do both.

Weekly Writing Update: August pt. 2

Sunday: 58 minutes revising “Outcast
Monday: none
Tuesday: 1 hour, 30 minutes revising “Outcast”
Wednesday: 1 hour, 30 minutes revising “Outcast”
Thursday: 1 hour, 9 minutes revising “Outcast”
Friday: 1 hour, 12 minutes revising “Outcast”
Saturday: 1 hours, 3 minutes revising “Outcast”

I’m approximately 90% of the way through this draft, though up ahead is a good amount of rewriting and new scene writing, so that will take a while. When I get to end of the revision, I will evaluate the word count, which I expect to be a bit low. I was dreading possibly having to figure out how to add filler, but now I’m confident in my ability to brainstorm and come up with quality additions (rather than fluff).