Weekly Writing Update: January Week 3

After pushing myself to get back to working on “Outcast” (book #2 in my series) last week, I did not have any difficulty keeping that up throughout this last week. Most days I worked at least an hour on the revision of draft 2. I wish it could be more, but alas, I still have a day job to attend to, not to mention homeschooling to do.

I actually finished draft 2, then spent some time figuring out the order for the scenes. Now I’m going through and reading (sometimes scanning) to make sure that the order is good, transitions are there, and things generally make sense. Then I’ll cross my fingers that the small group of people who know Pithea (book #1 in the series that was released just over a week ago) well enough to help me figure out where to go next with this book have time to read it.

I’m about 1/4 of the way through this read-through, and hope to be able to finish it by Tuesday. Then I’ll turn my focus to making sense of the mess I left book #3 in while I wait to hear back from whoever is able to read it.

Weekly Writing Update: January Week 2

This is my first update in a little over a month, mostly due to holidays and family being in town for a few weeks past that. I did work on a few things here or there throughout that time, mostly minor changes to Pithea before publishing day.

With that done and out now, I need to focus on book #2 all the more. So 2 days ago I delved back into the 2nd draft. I’d left off in a spot that I was struggling with, which is never a good idea. Fortunately, I was able to tackle it and have some ideas for how to end the scene I’m on, add depth to a character that I’m only just starting to use more fully, and avoid having the MC seem like he’s the only one with any convictions.

I’m really looking forward to finishing this draft and getting some opinions on it. I know that this will be miles ahead of where Pithea was by this point, which is good, because I would like to be able to release it a lot faster than I did Pithea (which went through many drafts). I also need to work on book #3, because I’m considering releasing it very shortly after book #2 (I won’t explain why right now though, it’s just an idea so far).

Weekly Writing Update: December Week 3

This will be a super short post, because I literally did nothing new this past week. Between Christmas shopping and other holiday events, and my sister and her family coming in for a month-long visit from the Dominican Republic, plus the fact that I hadn’t yet taken a break after NaNoWriMo, which I know from experience can lead to burn-out, I just didn’t push to work on revision of “Outcast.” Even though I know I am on a (self-imposed) deadline to get this 2nd book in the series finished, the rest of December will probably be pretty sporadic in having time to work on it too; it’s always like that for me in this month. I’ll definitely be making it a priority at the start of 2020 though.

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.

NaNoWriMo Day 17

Day 17 writing badge

The Words: 2027 words in 2 sprints with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter. My updates are getting pretty repetitive, because my NaNo writing lately has been very similar day by day. I am hoping to be done with the final revision of “Pithea” in the next couple of days (though will have to push hard to do that), after which I’ll send for one last (hopefully) proof copy, and start pushing to get through more of this draft in a day while I wait.

The Story: Like the last few times I wrote for storyline 1, today was a lot of discussion between the government leaders of two neighboring nations. I realized today that most of what they’re discussing is mostly just me figuring out how to proceed, since I’m veering off of my outline a bit. Or maybe just fleshing out what’s there. There’s also some very simple, somewhat immature flirting, which is always fun.

Total word count: 58,025

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 17, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 16

Day 16 writing badge

The Words: 1954 words. I sat down to write near the end of a sprint on @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter, so I wrote a little to get warmed up while I waited for a sprint to start. Then they started a #1k30 (write for 30 minutes, try to write 1000 words), and I really hit a stride with the story, ending the half hour with 1637 words. It only took me a few minutes more writing to get to the number I ended with.

The Story: I was back to storyline 2 today, and got to write about a reunion between two old friends that goes back to my NaNoNovel from 2014. While things are drastically different for both of these friends, it was really fun to get to see them together again.

I am not progressing through my outline very quickly any more (it didn’t help that yesterday, I ended up pantsing an entire scene out of nowhere), so these shorter word count days are making me worried that I won’t finish the draft by the end of the month. But cutting it short has been helping me get through the final revision of my soon-to-be-published book, so…priorities.

Total word count: 55,998

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 16, 2019

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”).