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.

NaNoWriMo Community

NaNo handouts

I remember the first time I met someone who already knew about NaNoWriMo. It was in May of 2013, and she recognized the shirt I was wearing as a NaNo shirt. I get a shirt every year that I participate, and wear them a lot, especially in September through December, so they tend to start conversations when people ask me about it, and also identify people who know what it is. It was years before I met more people who already knew about NaNoWriMo, and in more recent years, I’ve met several (even my doctor had heard of it).

I am happy that NaNoWriMo is becoming more well-known and more wide-spread. It wouldn’t be what it is without the amazing community that comes together every November. And this is coming from someone who is very introverted and socially awkward. I won’t pretend that I participate in the NaNo community nearly as much as I could, but it’s there and it’s inviting.

Socially awkward or not, NaNoWriMo is one thing I can talk about with relative ease. I am very passionate about it. I like to tell people what it is, how awesome it is, and if they show an interest, why they should give it a try. So when the opportunity came up for me to sit at a local authors’ table during a festival in my hometown, it didn’t take long to think past the book-related things I should bring and realize that this is the perfect opportunity to spread the news about NaNoWriMo to people in my community. We have write-ins at the library in my town during November, so maybe I can drum up some more participants!

I have some stickers and buttons (shown above), and I will hand them out to anyone who might be interested. I’m almost as excited about talking to people about NaNo as I am about selling my book or talking about my soon-to-be-releasing book. And really, talking about NaNo will be easier than trying to promote myself.

If you’re considering participating in NaNoWriMo, and you’re curious about what kind of local community might be near you, check it out for yourself! You’ll have to make an account, but it’s free, and no one will force you to participate once you’ve signed up. Maybe you’ll find just what you need to decide to give it a try!

For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Writing Wednesday: Prompt

WW Prompt

Here’s today’s Writing Wednesday Prompt:

Include all of the following words in a scene:
sigh
south
demon
night
telephone

bonus: spiky

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**

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.

NaNoWriMo’s Coming!

I used to love the old Coca-Cola Santa Packs commercials. They marked the beginning of the holiday season! Now, right about this time every year, I start to sing, “NaNoWriMo’s comin’!” to the same tune, and I’m just as excited (maybe more so).

First, a quick explanation for those who don’t know what I’m even talking about: NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It is an event that has been around since 1999, becoming more of what it is today in 2005. At its heart, it’s a personal challenge–write 50,000 words in 30 days during the month of November. Signing up and participating simply gives you somewhere to track your progress, goodies if you win, and a huge community of like-minded people, cheering each other on.

I am such a NaNo fangirl, seriously. October is widely referred to as “Preptober” by many Wrimos, as those of us who plan ahead for what we’re going to write like to spend the month before it starts prepping. But for me (and still plenty of others), the real season starts in September.

The last few years, I was too busy with work to enjoy the lead-up to NaNoWriMo. A few of those years, I barely managed to participate, then slunk back into my depressing no-time-for-writing life until the next November. Though those times were difficult (writing has long been a huge stress relief for me), I am so incredibly grateful to NaNoWriMo for at least giving me the push, and the vehicle, to do some writing for that one month.

In the coming months, I’ll post more about NaNoWriMo, but I will probably never again post as much as I did in 2015, where I posted an entire series about how to prepare for NaNo, as well as tips for planning a story, and tips for the actual writing in November. All of those posts, including some I’ve added since then, can be found here: Prep for NaNoWriMo

So who else is excited? Are you participating? Thinking about it? Never heard of it before but can’t help but be intrigued? I’d love to hear from you!

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.

Ebook Giveaway

Triangle Cover

My first published book, The Triangle, is free on Amazon, now through Sunday! Be sure to go and grab your digital copy before it’s too late! Please consider leaving an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, your own blog, or preferably, all of the above!

Synopsis:
Tyler Bradley has a good life. He’s been married for seventeen years, has two daughters, makes a comfortable living, goes to church on Sunday, and really has no complaints. But one small, innocuous change reveals a tiny crack in his happy life. The crack widens until one day Tyler looks around and can’t understand how he got where he is. And worse yet, that crack threatens to devour his entire family.

Hoping to repair the damage, Tyler begins to study the Bible he’s heard so much about, but never bothered delving into. During his searching, he meets someone who captures his attention, and then his heart. She manages to brighten his life, while also muddling his mind. While this new relationship deepens, his home life only gets worse. How will Tyler recapture the good life he once thought he had?

Free Book!

1

Starting tomorrow, and continuing through the weekend, The Triangle ebook will be available for free on Amazon. I would love for you all to read it and let me know what you think! Please consider leaving an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, your own blog, or preferably, all of the above!

Synopsis:
Tyler Bradley has a good life. He’s been married for seventeen years, has two daughters, makes a comfortable living, goes to church on Sunday, and really has no complaints. But one small, innocuous change reveals a tiny crack in his happy life. The crack widens until one day Tyler looks around and can’t understand how he got where he is. And worse yet, that crack threatens to devour his entire family.

Hoping to repair the damage, Tyler begins to study the Bible he’s heard so much about, but never bothered delving into. During his searching, he meets someone who captures his attention, and then his heart. She manages to brighten his life, while also muddling his mind. While this new relationship deepens, his home life only gets worse. How will Tyler recapture the good life he once thought he had?