Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's Finished!

The first draft of the novella is finished as of tonight. Now the rewrites begin. OY!

The final word count is 47,824 according to Scrivener. Word has it at 47,785 and 237 pages. If I'm wanting this to stay at around 50,000, that does give me some words to play with, which is good because if I  know me, I need to add some descriptives in here. 

I'm just so excited to have it done. One step closer to getting it out into daylight. I'm also excited that the climax went exactly as I envisioned it and that rarely happens for me. Usually, some character or circumstance will just pop right in there without warning and then I'm stuck trying to figure out how to write around it. Not this time. Just went straight through with only a few steps back for dialogue issues. Even my inner editor kept her mouth shut for once. Now that I'm about to start draft #2, she can get to work.

How do I feel? Tired. Very tired. It's very tempting to sit back and just enjoy the accomplishment for a while but I don't dare. I know me. If I do that, I'll never get the 2nd draft done and then all this effort will be for nothing. 

Nope. Not gonna do it. Gonna get a good night's sleep and begin plowing through the edits tomorrow so that the 2nd draft is done by the end of August and into the hands of my draft readers on September 1. 

And I now know what I'll be writing in November. Kind of alluded to it at the end of this one. I'm going to go about the second novella a bit differently, though. I'll be using the full ability of Scrivener to plot out the story before I start writing it. This will be a new way of writing for me but I look forward to a more structured writing experience. Not that I'll refuse an unexpected event like a new character showing up. Those are sometimes happy interferences that actually improve the story. 

Gotta be flexible, right?

Another exciting thing happened tonight. My little writing group met a very nice lady who just had her first book published traditionally. She'd already self publish one then landed a contract with a small publisher. I got it on my Kindle and started reading it tonight. 

She had overheard our conversation and came over and introduced herself then talked to us about her experience. Her advice? Be patient and keep on writing. She really encouraged us and I'm thankful she felt moved to come talk to us. I think it inspired all three of us. I know we didn't spend a lot of time chit-chatting and got right to work. We may even spend some time writing together tomorrow night as well. I'll be editing, of course. 

Exciting day but I'm exhausted now. I feel as if I've run a long marathon and maybe I have. I've done more consistent writing over the last few weeks. Much more than I think I've ever done and I have to say it feels pretty good. 

I think I can say with full confidence that I am finally taking this writing thing seriously.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Belated Update


Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I had an awful migraine all day and didn't even feel well enough to get any writing done. I also haven't been keeping up with my 2000 word a day goal. It seems getting in that extra hour in the mornings works better for me than writing in the evenings. So, next week it's back to getting to the office an hour early for a writing session.

As a result of the failed evening experiment, I've only written 7,125 words since last Wednesday. On the other hand, I had to do some backtracking again because a scene I've been working on for the last two days was going to a place I couldn't allow it to go. I also forgot about a character that should have been in this scene but wasn't there. Once again, backing up a bit and restarting worked out better than the original writing.

I'm back on course with my outline and about two or three scenes away from the finish line. I believe I'm still on track for completing this novella by next Thursday. I also have an idea for what I'll be writing in November. Once I've finished the second draft of my current work, I will do the preliminaries for it so that all I have to do in November is sit and write.

As well as writing, I've spent some time reading. I find that reading as I'm working on my own project really helps my writing. I also like to pick up debut books from new authors and I am excited to share the one I just finished, The Undays of Aralias Lyons by K. L. Horvath.

This book was kind of a departure from what I normally read but I'm glad I took a chance on it. I found it to be an engaging story, so much so that I had trouble putting it down. Her imaginative prose and fast paced, witty dialogue kept me reading, even late into the night.

Aralia Lyons is a proper English gentleman who can also travel backward through time thanks to his unusual physical characteristics. His son, Jack, can also travel through time but he also has the ability to, as Ms. Horvath puts it, "unravel time from the future."  Little does Aralias know that an old enemy is intent upon stealing young Jack away in order to use this special ability and not for good. When Aralias and Jack discover an ancient pocket watch bequeathed to a woman named Clara Heartwell, they decide to deliver the watch to her. What happens next leads up to a climax that made me lose sleep because I could not stop reading until I got to the end.

The setting resembles regency England with time travel fantasy elements combined with a dash of steam punk. There are also magical creatures, iron dragons, and lots of good action with a delightful romance between Aralias and Clara. Clara brings a certain amount of stability into the chaotic world that is Aralias' life.

I loved this book and will most likely read it again, just to see what I might have missed from the first read through. If you like quirky heroes and magical creatures in fantastical worlds, this is the book for you. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Writing Update

Hello and checking in. Not doing as well this week as I was last week. Aside from blog writing, I did no writing over the weekend.  I also haven't been able to go in early to write for an hour before work.  I am still writing for an hour at lunch but not getting in quite 2000 words. Since there are two weekdays left and I am meeting my writer's group for writing time tomorrow night, I'm pretty confident I can make up the slack and be back up to speed by Friday.

Since my last check in, I have written 9518 words and have about 20,000 words to go before the novella is finished. I might even finish it before I get to that mark. I'm close to the final quarter, ready for the big climax.

A few more characters showed up to the party, though. There are a couple of them that even I'm not sure whose side they're actually on but I suspect they are good guys in disguise. I can see them going that way and I think that's what will happen.

This is why I hesitate to do any outlining before I get started. It always seems to happen this way - I'm headed in a certain direction then a character shows up out of nowhere or my main characters do something completely unexpected and suddenly everything changes. Not quite that bad this time, however. I did manage to get them all back on track for the ending I had in mind. We'll see if that lasts.

I have noticed that since I am writing nearly everyday, I have very little trouble picking up where I left off the day before, even if it's in the middle of a conversation. I do finish sentences, however.  I've also not gotten stuck in a scene until today. I know we all have times when we feel as if all that's hitting the page or computer screen is garbage. That's kind of what happened to me today. I say kinda because once I finished the scene I had been working on, I wasn't sure where to go from there. Or more correctly, I knew where I wanted to go, I just couldn't see how to transition the completed scene into the next major scene. There is a lull in the action while they travel from the planet to a ship in orbit so there's really not much going on. I could just jump right into the next scene but there's a few things I need to get straight before I do and I suppose this transition scene is a way of helping me do that. It could probably be eliminated but if it doesn't go on too long, I may just leave it.

But that's an editing issue. Editing is forbidden while free writing. Well, I did do some backtracking on that one scene but I believe that was necessary to keep the rest of the story from going to a place I really didn't want it to go. I like the change much better and it's more fun to write, actually. My hero can shift into a wolf and some scenes require me to write from that point of view. It's a nice change.

That's all I have for this update. I think I will continue to keep Wednesdays as my update day. I think it's good to take stock in the middle of the week so I can plan what I need to do with the remaining days to meet my goals as well as stay on track for the main goal of finishing this first draft by the end of this month.
Then I can begin the second draft August 1.

After that, I get to brainstorm what I'm going write for NANOWRIMO. Oy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mid-Week Writing Update

Hello. Reporting in.

This week I am experimenting with an additional hour of writing time during the week. I can already write on my lunch hour but can't always write 2000 words in an hour. That means there needs to be another chunk of writing time at some point during the day.

A tutorial I took on Writer's Digest, suggested to experiment to see when was the best writing time for me. So on Monday, I got up an hour early and went into work so that I could write for an hour before my start time at 8:00am. Worked out pretty well. Between the morning session and the lunch session, I wrote 2902 words. Couldn't go in early on Tuesday and didn't write when I got home from work so only wrote 1285. Today, I also didn't go in early but in the 1 hour for lunch, I wrote 2150. This was a rewrite for a scene I written yesterday that just didn't come off well. Something happened that totally pulled me out of the scene and I figure if it pulled me out, it would my readers, too, so it had to change. Changing the scene meant the scene after it also changed so I just backed up to the point before the event occurred and started over. The result was a much better scene that makes more sense.

In total, I've written 6337 words since Monday morning - more than made up for not meeting the goal yesterday. Since I started this 2000 a day commitment, I've written  10,889 words. I keep this up, I'll have the novella I'm working on done by the end of this month.

So, that's my goal. Once the first draft is done, I'll do a 2nd draft, to be completed by the end of August, and then I'll turn it over to my writing cohorts so they can tear it apart for me.

Since I have been writing everyday, the ideas have been coming fast and furious. I think that's why it was so easy to back up and rewrite the one scene. I knew what needed to happen and even though I wasn't finished when I stopped at the end of lunch, I will be able to pick back up where I left off and, hopefully, with the same momentum.

I'm hoping to continue with the hour of writing before work. At least a couple of times a week, anyway. It was freeing to know that I had my goal met for the day by the time I got home so I didn't have sit all evening thinking I needed to be doing something. I could if I wanted to, but it wasn't necessary. I'm sure there will come a time when I spend more time getting the writing done but for now, it's baby steps.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Well, I Had Good Intentions When I Started

So, when I started this blog, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. Didn't really have much of an interest in it, obviously. Then I joined the nail blog community and found that there's more I want to say besides talking about nails and polish and all the things that go with it. But those things don't really belong in a nail blog. They belong in a blog dedicated to saying those particular things so, here I am, beginning what I hope to be a regular thing - posting on a writing blog.

I've been a writer since I wrote my first story in 1995. As an avid Star Wars fan, I had been reading the books that came out in the extended Star Wars universe. The books were excellent and I still go back and read them from time to time but I was getting tired of waiting for someone to write the one where Luke finds Mrs. Luke. That's when I decided to write that one myself. Unfortunately, I kept trying to take the love scenes farther than I figured would be allowed in a Star Wars book. That's when I wrote my first romance story. Well, I wrote the love scenes and then put in a plot. Not a good way to write a novel.

I have no idea where that one ended up. I lent it to someone to read and never got it back. I could probably recreate it and improve it beyond the smut filled tome that it became but I've got other unfinished projects that have lately been calling my name. A lot of unfinished projects. You see, I tend to start things that never get finished because something else occurs to me and I have to get that down on paper before I forget it - at least, that's my excuse for abandoning something I think I get bored with to start something new.  It's the newness that attracts me.

To get over this problem, I have finally done something I've been thinking about doing for a long time. I finally purchased a month of tutorials from Writer's Digest, one of the top writing resources out there for writers. And guess which tutorial I watched/listened to first? One about getting consistent, productive writing time and why I might be procrastinating.

Yes. I am a procrastinator. There. I said it. I don't like it but then I am the only one who can change it, aren't I?

But how to you change a lifetime habit? One step at a time and this blog post is that first step. 

In this post, I will publicly commit to writing 2000 words a day and actually scheduling writing sessions each day in order to accomplish that task. I am also committing to doing the NANOWRIMO this year. For those that don't know, NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month. I attempted it a couple of years ago but didn't finish. Actually, I gave up about a week or so into it. That procrastination thing, again.

Anyway, I am going to participate this year and hopefully, get a first rough draft of a new novella to put up on Amazon. I'm already working on one that I want to complete before NANOWRIMO starts so I am also committing to have that done in time to edit, revise and post to Amazon during my vacation on Labor Day week. And if my two writing pals are reading this, I know they're going to be the first to prod me into meeting this particular goal. They already have works up on Amazon and have already informed me that I will be joining them. I always do as I'm told...(cough-liar-cough).

Another thing I want to do as I follow this path to being a published writer, is to blog along the way. That's where this blog comes in. I may not post on a daily basis but I will commit to post my progress on a weekly basis. Feel free to post your comments and give me nudges as you are inspired to do because I need all the nudging I can get right now because I must admit to a bit of fear in this endeavor. If I find success, my life will change. Part of me wants to embrace that change but there's this other part that is hiding under the bed, eyes squeezed shut, all the while muttering, "I don't to do this. It's too scary. What if I fail? What if they hate me? What if no one ever buys my books?" 

You know what? So what if all that negative stuff happens? I'm still a writer, I will still write. Why? Because I love it. Nothing better than getting so lost in your own work that you lose track of time and it's 5:00 in the morning before you know it. I love when my characters suddenly do something I wasn't expecting and take the story in a completely different direction than the one I had planned.

I write because I want to know how it ends. Simple as that. And there's no better time to start than right now....well, right after lunch, maybe.....and then I do have to go to the grocery store at some point and then there's polish swatching I have to get done this weekend and, oh, the helmers out on the back porch that need put together and all those little polish bottles waiting to be stored in the proper drawers and.....

See what I mean? I really need prodding to put the butt in the seat and the fingers on the keyboard and get the writing done. That is the only way I will accomplish my goal to be a full time writer.

I just need a little help remembering that.