Weekly Writing Update: 10/18

My progress toward publishing “Outcast” has not been as swift as I would like, but it is progress. I’m hoping one more session with my sister will get us to the end of her notes. After that, I will start on a final line edit, but take my time to give my other sister time to possibly send more notes. I hope to have as little work on for publication in December as possible during November, since NaNoWriMo will most likely take up most of my free time.

And speaking of NaNoWriMo, though I already feel ready for it, I didn’t want to pay no attention at all to the story I’m planning to write during this prepping month. So yesterday I started a character interview with one of the main characters in the book I plan to draft next month. Unfortunately, I haven’t done my writing by hand for at least 9 months, and apparently it’s going to take some time to get used to again. I didn’t get nearly as far in one session as I have been able to in the past, because my hand hurt too much. I look forward to continuing it today though.

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts, Pithea is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback (it’s also on Kindle Unlimited).

Weekly Writing Update: 10/11

After a few months off for a variety of reasons that culminated in just not caring enough to work on my book, I have dived back in with enthusiasm. I’ve actually been working on the near-final revision of “Outcast” for a few weeks now. The majority of the work I’ve been doing involves using the notes made by one of the other members of the TCSTB (I love being able to use that acronym again). The exciting thing is that, once I had her notes in my hands, I realized that, though there was plenty to work on, it’s a very small fraction compared to what needed revised in Pithea when we spent over a year working on it together. I do have another sister (the one that wasn’t able to be part of the TCSTB) who is planning to make some suggestions for revision as well, but I daresay, based on what she’s sent me so far, it still won’t be an overwhelming amount. Now I just have to be patient while I wait for time to discuss notes with one sister and for the other sister to have time to send me her notes.

In the meantime, NaNoWriMo looms ahead. My plan for this year is to write the first draft to what will almost definitely be book #4 in the series. The outline has been done for over a year, but I’ve spent some time already reading through it and refreshing my thoughts about it. And during that time, I already had a new “Aha!” moment.

Though I’ve already shared my thoughts about how the joy of discovery is my absolute favorite thing about writing, this is a different kind of discovery from what I talked about there. It involved the realization that a chunk of the end of the current draft of book #3 might actually belong in book #4. I’ve been considering this ever since–not letting myself be completely sold, while being pretty sure it will solve a lot of structure problems I have with book #3. I’ve decided to wait and see how long the draft for book #4 comes out to be, because it will only work if it can handle another 15k+ words without being too long.

Sadly, this means that I can’t really work on revision of book #3 until the end of November, even though that’s what I’d like to be doing while waiting to move on in my revision of “Outcast” until others have time to continue helping me. So…I can’t really say what I’ll continue working on this week–hopefully another session with one sister, and outside of that, maybe some writing practice just to keep myself immersed in the series.

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts, Pithea is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback (it’s also on Kindle Unlimited).

Weekly Writing Update: March 1

I wrote more new scenes for “Outcast,” (book #2) this week, a total of 3945 words. I took a couple of nights completely off, due to early mornings for work, but overall, I’m really glad with the progress I made.

I’ve been trying out a way to stay focused for the writing, using tricks I’ve learned from NaNoWriMo. I’ll write for 10 minutes without stopping and without over-thinking my words, and then take a break, which usually means reading a book for 10 minutes. If I don’t write in sprints, the words I can get written in 10 minutes would take at least 30, most likely more, because I’d be stopping too often to edit as I go, or to look something up that I’m just certain needs to be looked up RIGHT NOW. The progress is much smoother this way.

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts, Pithea is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback (it’s also on Kindle Unlimited).

Weekly Writing Update: February Week 4

This week I got to do some writing for “Outcast,” (book #2), rather than revising, which is always more fun for me. I didn’t have as many nights to work on it as I’d like, which I’m really hoping will be better this week, but it was still nice to do some actual writing. So far, I’ve only written 2 scenes, and didn’t even finish either of them. In total, I wrote about 1500 words last week. Not exactly NaNoWriMo pace. I need apply the methods of NaNoWriMo and write in concentrated sprints, I think. I’ll try that this week.

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts, Pithea is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback (it’s also on Kindle Unlimited).

Weekly Writing Update: February Week 3

My primary goal this week was to brainstorm new scenes to add to “Outcast,” book #2 in my series, based on early feedback. There are 2 main areas of the story that I’m going to add more to in some way, and one of those areas is one I’ve focused on in freewriting a lot over the last few years. So I have several scenes in mind that would work well in this story, with some revision.

While searching for some of these scenes, past-me reached out and slapped present-me in the face. I do my best to keep my writing practice all in one place. I may write it in various different notebooks at first, but I try to make sure I type everything into the computer and keep it all in sub-folders of one main folder. But apparently I still fail at this sometimes. So I went looking through some of my notebooks for one scene I remembered writing (it wasn’t easy, because I have so many currently active ones, any one of which I may decide at the time is the best place for writing practice). When I found it, I also found something else…something revolutionary.

Apparently back in September, during the early part of the current draft of “Outcast,” knowing that I needed more words, I used my Writer Emergency Pack to try to generate some new ideas. I wrote ideas using two different cards, but had forgotten all about them. When I recently found what I’d written 5 months ago, I got really excited. The truth is, most of what I wrote wouldn’t generate a lot more words, but I already have enough new scenes in mind for that. I think. But these were some ideas that would strengthen certain parts of the story, and the series as a whole!

So with some new ideas, I knew that what was coming next was not going to be easy. I had to figure out how to fit all this new stuff in to an existing draft.  I had a really rough time wrapping my brain around how best to do that, and kept getting to my evening writing time late. So I put it off. I did very little for my writing for most of the week. Not nothing, just very little, and not what needed to be done.

So today, when some plans fell through, I found myself with a few hours of free time this afternoon/evening. And I decided that the best way to proceed was to break the story down to its basic parts (scenes) and just dig into it. And though normally I am able to do something like that on Scrivener, it just didn’t seem helpful today. So I made a spreadsheet with scene headers and printed them out, cut them apart, color-coded them based on the story arc they were for, and wrote out new ideas on other pieces of paper. And I spread them out over the table and moved them around until they made some sense.

scene break-down

I also remembered how much easier it can be to sort out the scenes in this story when I group them more by story arc, so that’s how I did it. I can’t really decide on the new order of scenes until the new scenes are written anyway, so this is good for now. I now have a new outline. After updating my Scrivener file for this story to reflect what I did with the papers, it’s going to be time to start writing new scenes (yay!!).

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts, Pithea is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback (it’s also on Kindle Unlimited).

NaNoWriMo Day 28

Day 28 writing badge

The Words: 1893 words. Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate! My big family get-together is tomorrow, so today wasn’t as busy as it is for many. I did have some food to prepare, and my husband and kids and I had a small celebratory dinner for just us, but I had some free time this afternoon. Unfortunately, a collaboration of events kept me from getting any writing in until after my daughter went to bed anyway. But I still managed to get plenty of writing in at that time.

The Story:  Storyline 1, which I thought was going to be the secondary arc but has apparently become the main arc, came to an end today. However, after I pantsed a climax, I realized that what I had left in my outline just wasn’t a great way to end the main arc of the book. So I decided to write a scene that would follow the thread that came up during my writing this month (so wasn’t planned ahead at all) through to where that would lead into the next book. I’m still not 100% sure that that is where I want to leave it, but I will worry about that during the first revision, after the book has had time to rest. Then I’ll have time to re-outline using this draft, and figure out what the story might be missing, and the best way to end the book.

I now have 2 days left to finish storyline 2. I am definitely close, but will be gone pretty much all day tomorrow, and will probably be pretty busy on Saturday. I have confidence that I’ll end the month with a completed draft though. I did sort of leave storyline 2b hanging, but it’s not nearly as important, most of what was going to happen there is written in enough detail in my outline anyway, and to be honest, I didn’t know how much of it was going to stay in the finished story, and how much will be edited out anyway, so it doesn’t bother me if i don’t have time to go back and “finish” it.

Total word count: 81,702

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 28, 2019

NaNoWriMo Eve

NaNo handouts

NaNoWriMo starts in 12 hours where I am. This month, known by many as Preptober, was much less full of prep than I planned. This was mostly due to a combination of working on final edits for my first full-novel release that is due out on January 10th and feeling like I could push off the prep work, because I’d already made an outline for my NaNoNovel a few months ago.

I did finally spend some time Monday and Tuesday this week looking over the outline, as well as the outline for the book that precedes it (it’s drafted, but had to be re-outlined due to a lot of changes needed). I re-read character interviews and wrote a new one with some brand new characters.

I am not sure I am 100% ready, and actually hope to look over the outline again at some point today, before midnight. But I do know that, if necessary, I have enough to get started. I’ll be starting right at midnight (known as the midnight sprint). I do that every year, and whether I write 500 words or 3000 words, anything I get done before going to bed is a huge mental jump start on the month!

And fair warning: I will blog every day about my experience doing NaNoWriMo. I’ve done this nearly every year since starting this blog (the only exception was the year that I had just started full-time at a very demanding job, and what I was writing for NaNo that year was a difficult, personal subject, so frankly, I was doing good to even reach 50k that year).

There may be those who are curious about how others get through the month–I know I am, and most days I also spend some time reading blog posts by others about how their writing went that day. I have also found that I really enjoy being able to look back in later years and read about my progress through the month.

I will also share each day’s NaNoToons, which incidentally will be the last year for NaNoToons. (In fact, the first one for this year just went up! I’m so excited!!) And I’ll post episodes from the NaNoMusical throughout the month, because it’s one of the best things to come out of NaNoWriMo ever, and every Wrimo needs to know about it!

I wish my fellow Wrimos well, and hope to hear from some of you during the month! Please feel free to add me as a writing buddy!

Are you ready for NaNo to begin? Do you plan to do the midnight sprint tonight?

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”).