Writing Wednesday: IWSG Apr 2020

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Today’s question for Insecure Writer’s Support Group was crafted for the circumstances we find ourselves in right now: …in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world? What follows is my response, mostly unfiltered (and eventually related to writing). Hopefully it makes sense.

Up until a few days ago, my life hadn’t been affected much by social distancing standards. I have been primarily working from home since October, I already home school my daughter, and my husband and son both work at a restaurant that hasn’t shut down yet. The uncertainty was there, and I spent a lot more time paying attention to current affairs and planning for the future than normal. Watching the dominoes fall so quickly as large events were cancelled or postponed (my husband and I had tickets for 2 different concerts this spring, and when the first one was postponed a few weeks back, that’s when this started to get a lot more real to me), then schools closed down, then smaller events were cancelled was all very distracting. But my daily routine, at least, was largely unaffected. (Though my son’s 18th birthday was yesterday, so it was sad knowing we couldn’t do that much for him right now. We have future plans, but not knowing when those future plans can actually happen doesn’t help a lot.)

Just two days ago, the person I work for told me to shut down the work I was doing for now. I’d been expecting it to happen eventually, but that didn’t make it any less jarring when it did happen. It was a nice job–fun and paid very well. And I was a sub-contractor, not an employee, so I’m not even sure if I can get unemployment. But that’s not the point. Not only do I now no longer have that income, I also have more time on my hands.

What this should mean is that I have more time for my writing. Fundamentally, I know that’s true. But I have already found it more difficult to spend time on it during the last few weeks, when I wasn’t even as directly affected, because of everything that’s been happening. And now? I haven’t touched it since Sunday. I just want to spend my evenings (the time I normally am able to devote to writing) reading and playing video games. Shutting down the creative part of my mind.

Today is a good day for this, though. The first session of Camp NaNoWriMo for the year starts today (the 2nd session is in July). It’s just what I need to get back on track. Unlike NaNoWriMo proper, where I stick to the traditional 50k words of writing a new piece, I allow myself to rebel during Camp (and usually do). I’ll just continue on with the revision I’m doing for the 2nd book in my new series, with a daily goal of 45 minutes per day spent working on it. Compared to the amount of time I’ve been working on it lately, it’s a very lofty goal, but if I can do it, it will bring me miles toward being ready to publish this 2nd book. And if anything can put me back into place, it’s NaNoWriMo.

Before I sign off for this post, I just want to add that if anything I said in this post sounds like I’m complaining, it’s not intended that way. I have nothing to complain about. My family still has some income right now, we have plenty of food (we tend to stock ahead anyway, so already had a lot) and even some toilet paper, and no one close to me has gotten sick from this virus. I have many books on my shelves that I haven’t read and access to digital books (and games) with the click of a button or two. And if the worst happens, I know where my home is. I won’t pretend that this isn’t a scary situation, but I have a lot more peace than what makes sense, because I know that whatever happens, God is in control.

For my fellow writers, and anyone else reading this blog–how are things in your world?

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Weekly Writing Update: March 5

I was a lot more productive this week than I had been the few weeks before. I finished the draft of “Outcast” (book #2) that I was working on and even managed to get the scenes all sorted into chapters and ordered how I think they will work the best. Except for one chapter that I don’t know for sure if it’ll stay where it’s at or get moved 2 chapters later.

All of this I got done by Thursday, though, and then proceeded to spend Friday & Saturday nights ignoring the next step. Now I need to start reading at the beginning of the book, fixing up scenes, adding description and emotion, and adding transitions between scenes, since some have been written as if in a bubble, and many of them have been moved around.

I will plan to start fresh with that today, but my husband is hoping to play a board game that I anticipate taking…all day. So who knows if I’ll get to start on it today. Tomorrow for sure though!

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts, Pithea is currently discounted on Amazon.

Writing Wednesday: #StayHomeWriMo

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This is kind of a different spin on my normal Writing Wednesday Prompt. Rather than find or create my own prompt, I’m going to share what NaNoWriMo is doing through the end of March.

Each (week)day, they are putting up a checklist to spark creativity and even address other areas of our lives that might need some attention. Here is day 1 from Monday, which includes a writing prompt:

StayHomeWriMo-checklist-Day1-1

For more, follow this link. Be sure to check back there tomorrow and Friday, and then Monday and Tuesday of next week, for more!

How are you staying sane and healthy during this time? Is your creativity suffering or thriving (or staying the same)?

Weekly Writing Update: March 4

If last week was a slump, this week was downright dreary. It’s not that I’ve been in the wrong frame of mind to work on writing (well, there has been some of that, but not entirely), but there is just so much distraction. I have done some further work on “Outcast” (book #2) though. I’ve only added about 1500 words to the draft, but as I mentioned last week, most of what I have left is revision, rather than addition, anyway. I’ve made it through most of the rest of the scenes that need fixed up, with only 4 more scenes to work on for this draft. I certainly hope to get them done this week, but with the state of things right now, won’t be too surprised if I don’t.

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts, Pithea is currently discounted on Amazon.

Weekly Writing Update: March 3

I went through a bit of a slump this week while working on “Outcast,” (book #2). At first it was simply due to an early morning because of work, but then everything start hitting the fan at once over the last few days because of COVID-19, so it’s been difficult to focus.

I made up for the rest of the week with a lot of progress today. The word count is now up to 70k, which is awesome! It also means I only added 2500 words this last week…oh well. I did some revision in there too. I have 3 more scenes to fix up and 1 new one to write, so I won’t be adding much more at this point. But I wonder if my main beta reader right now will say there’s a lot more she’d like to see. Problem with that would be that I don’t think there’s anywhere to put more of the story arc I’ve been adding without taking away from the main arc. But I’ll worry about that if it happens.

I’m anxious to get through this stage of the revision, so I can look at all of these new scenes at a glance, amongst the existing scenes, and figure out how on earth to order them. Then the real revision can begin, and I’m really hoping it won’t be a long, exhausting process like it was with book #1 (Pithea).

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).

Writing Wednesday: Prompt

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Here’s today’s Writing Wednesday Prompt:

Set a timer for 5 minutes and write without stopping about the following topic:
The next great adventure (for you, your character, your pet, or anyone!)

If you write something from this prompt, by all means let me know! Feel free to share what you wrote, if you want!

**If you’re looking for more like this, you might want to check out the story seeds posts I wrote for NaNoPrep a few years ago. They are not specific to NaNoWriMo, and each contains a list of several different types of prompts or ways to generate story ideas. You can find them here: Story Seeds 1, Story Seeds 2, Story Seeds 3, Story Seeds 4**

Weekly Writing Update: March 2

I was pretty productive this week, adding a total of 5676 new words to “Outcast,” (book #2), as well as doing a little revision to make some freewriting from the past fit into the book.

When I started working on this step, I was hoping to add at least 10,000 more words to this book, if not 15,000. At current count, I’ve added 12,750!! I have a few more scenes to write or adapt, so I think I may just hit or pass 15k, which will bring the book up to a total word count of 70k. This is so much more acceptable to me as a follow-up to a book with 105k words. And early feedback says the scenes are generally good additions, too, not just filler. So far, I’ve been filling in a gap of time that the couple of people who’ve read the book have wished to see more of.

After I finish writing new scenes, I’ll go back and fix up the new stuff based on that early feedback, and then I’ll have to lay out the scenes and find a new flow for them. Then there will be further revision stages after that, but my biggest concern about this book was that I wouldn’t be able to adequately expand it to a higher word count. Now my biggest concern is how long it will take to get through the revision and be ready to publish it.

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).

Writing Wednesday: IWSG Mar 2020

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The first Wednesday of the month really snuck up on me this month. Time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post! Here is this month’s question:
Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

Holiday traditions are actually less likely to make it into my writing, since most of my writing is speculative fiction, and our holidays either don’t exist in that world, or are vastly different. Though I did do some writing practice once that adopted a Christmas Eve tradition I’m often part of, but it’s not likely to make it into any of my books.

The biggest thing that comes to mind is the main character’s dad in my first published novel Pithea, and his instruction book. My dad is a blacksmith, and the main character’s dad is a bladesmith, which is a pretty close comparison for my purposes. For many years, my dad has had a binder in which he keeps track of material needed and steps taken to produce every item he makes and sells. And so, the bladesmith in Pithea does the same thing. And in fact, that instruction book is going to be pivotal in a future book in the series, so having the real-life example makes it all the more special.

I know this next part doesn’t really count as customs or traditions, but this question also made me think of a character in a short story I wrote years ago who tells anecdotes from his childhood, usually involving a rivalry with his brother. One of the stories he tells is from my own childhood, and even more fun for me, one is a story that my dad once told me about my grandpa and his brothers.

For my fellow writers, what customs, traditions, or pieces of your own life have you put into your writing?

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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).

Writing Wednesday: Prompt

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Here’s today’s Writing Wednesday Prompt:

It was a poetical retribution for the crime.

(Today’s prompt is a paraphrase of a line from the book Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.)

If you write something from this prompt, by all means let me know! Feel free to share what you wrote, if you want!

**If you’re looking for more like this, you might want to check out the story seeds posts I wrote for NaNoPrep a few years ago. They are not specific to NaNoWriMo, and each contains a list of several different types of prompts or ways to generate story ideas. You can find them here: Story Seeds 1, Story Seeds 2, Story Seeds 3, Story Seeds 4**