I sent the rough rough draft of Burning Darkness to a trusted friend tonight. It’s kind of a checkpoint for how is the overall story before I put too much work into (potentially) the wrong things. You see, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m going through a period of self doubt with my writing. Deep down, I know this is a great story. I love the story. But when your life is turned upside down and so much changes, whatever those changes may be, doubt can set in. That, and I know this friend will have valuable input on this novel in particular. I’m sure I’ll be consulting her throughout the entire process. So while this step isn’t even on my timeline (this is even before alpha readers!) I am making progress. I finished the read through tonight, have changed some plot points that were just…bad, and have lots of ideas and notes on other things I need to change, add, and flesh out. I can’t wait to get her feedback, but I’ll be working from my own notes until then.
I hope everyone had a fun and safe new year. I brought in 2014 surrounded by new friends, and it’s so far been off to a wonderful start. I cleaned my house today and started working on Burning Darkness. I’m aiming to release it May 22, so it’s time to get my nose back to the grindstone. I wrote the rough draft for NaNoWriMo 2012, so I started reading it today and making minor tweaks, then I’ll really get down to business with editing. This one is a standalone, but don’t worry – Elena will be back late this year (tentative release date November 20.)
I have a crazy busy 2014 ahead of me. I still have my full time day job, and I’m also working to become a Mary Kay Sales Director by June 30, along with releasing 2 books this year and attending several conventions. Not to mention exercising and eating healthier, and attempting to have a social life (aka fun) in between all that! Phew!
Right now, the most important thing for you to know is that I’m a dark fantasy writing guest of honor at Kawa Kon 2014! The convention takes place February 7-9 at the St. Louis Airport Marriott. I’ll be selling my books all weekend and will be doing 3 panels. So stop on by, learn some stuff, buy some books and have some fun!
Friday Feb. 7, 6-7 pm – Creating Believable and Engaging Characters
Saturday Feb. 8, 1-2 pm – Life Happens: Finding Time to Write
Sunday Feb. 9, 12-1 pm – NaNoWriMo Basics
I sent Ravaged off to my editor, Shawn Mihalik, tonight. We have a consultation scheduled for tomorrow night. I’m interested to see what that entails since I’ve never worked with a professional editor before. The book is getting closer and closer to being ready for publication, and September 26 is creeping up! I can’t wait to get this in your hands!
Speaking of September 26, don’t forget about the reading and signing at Subterranean Books that night at 6:00PM. All the details are on my Events page.
I’ve finished my edits for Ravaged, and just sent it off to Chase Night for story consultation. I really look forward to getting his comments back – that will be when I really have a lot of editing work to do.
I also sent everything over to my cover designer, Denise Wy. She did such an amazing job with the last one, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with this time.
So now I’m in a holding pattern and don’t quite know what to do with myself! Well, that’s not entirely true. I think I’m going to start brainstorming for the next book in the series, and work on some ideas for how to improve the book I plan to publish after Ravaged. Not to mention a brand new, non-writing project I’m working on with some friends! Yes, I still have plenty to keep me busy while I regain strength in my shoulder.
Well, it’s about two days until my surgery. I’ve reached the point of mild anxiety. I’ve never had surgery before, and while plenty of people have told me what to expect, I have no idea what to expect. Someone else’s experience doesn’t really prepare me for what my experience will be, or how I’ll feel after, what my pain level will be, or how the anesthesia will affect me. So I just want it to be Thursday already so I can get this done and over with.
In the meantime, I haven’t started editing Ravaged yet. I had a last minute house guest last week, a friend I hadn’t seen in a year, so spending time with her took precedence. Plus I’ve been cramming in any other things I need to do before surgery, such as organizing, laundry, and cleaning so I’ll have peace of mine from a tranquil home environment. But maybe the distance from the manuscript will prove useful and give a fresher eye for edits.
I hope to get a bit of editing done while I’m recovering. Or maybe I’ll start something entirely new while I’m on pain meds to see what kind of silliness comes out. I’m mostly joking about the last…I’m sure I’ll be sleeping more than anything.
I’ll post an update as soon as I’m able after surgery, but don’t worry of you don’t hear from me for a few weeks. I do look forward to getting lots of sleep!
Yes, I did mean to type “rough” twice. That’s how rough the draft is. But it’s finished! Now I can get to work on cleaning it up, fleshing things out, and getting it ready for story consultation and editing. I just sent this draft off to my alpha reader. Yes, even in this state, I’m letting someone read it.
I had two things holding me back on finishing this draft. One was that I had to figure out how to wrap things up. The other is a chapter I decided to leave out. It’s something that I decided wasn’t vital to the story. Plus, I was really struggling to write it. I’ve done everything possible to avoid it. Every time I clicked on that chapter in Scrivener, I’d look at the few lines of notes I had for a few minutes, then move on to something else. I decided if it was that hard for me to write, chances are it wouldn’t end up being interesting to the reader either. So out it went, and I think the story is cleaner for it.
Now I think I’ll reward myself with a hot fudge Sundae, then get back to work!
Last week I had a photoshoot to get a photo for the back cover of my book. I had a good photo of myself, but it was uber outdated. My hair is long and brown in it. Neither of which is true anymore. Casey from Chalk & Soot is absolutely amazing. I could not be happier with how the photos turned out. It was hard to choose just one for the cover!
Then today I got the final cover design from Denise Kim Wy. WOW! For having to work with someone who had absolutely no idea of how the cover should look, she did a fantastic job. I’m so thrilled, and I can’t wait to get a physical copy in my hand.
I still have some formatting quirks to figure out, and to finish the edits (grammatical and such, no more story edits.) I got super lucky with my editor as well. She did an amazing job. I’m so happy with how this is turning out and can’t wait to share it with all of you. I’m still aiming for early March, as long as the day job eases up enough for me to finish everything. I’m going to focus on Kindle, and let the paperback release be a bit later if necessary.
I know I still need to add a photo to this site. I hope to get that up in the next couple of days.
Thanks for hanging tight everyone, this is going to be worth the wait, I promise!
For the past couple of years I’ve had grand plans for my writing career. For the past couple of years, those plans haven’t quite panned out. However, 2012 was the year I finally got the kick in the pants to really start getting serious about my writing career, and make it an actual career, and do something with it other than talk about it. This was in large part because of the Asymmetrical Community. I’ve met a lot of great people and found loads of inspiration from the people in that community. Another MASSIVE inspiration for me this year was the Self Publishing Podcast. Holy whoa those guys pump out some words!!
2012 in Review
While I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to in 2012, I’m happy with what I did complete. Divided is edited and on the way to being published. I’m working on the technical aspects of it now, but the book itself is done. I’m going to publish it in March, and can not wait to get it out in the world finally! It’s been a long journey, but the end is in sight.
I also have a rough draft of another book that I’m going to work with and publish. I’m not sure yet if I’ll publish it in 2013 or early 2014, but it will happen. This is the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo (my 4th win!)
So while that’s not a massive list of accomplishments, for me they’re pretty major. It’s a list of solid accomplishments and steady progress and I’m pleased with it. I’ve also taken the first steps toward self-publishing, which means the next book will be a little easier to get out there.
Looking Ahead to 2013
I’m not really a fan of New Year Resolutions. Every time I’ve tried them it doesn’t last. But this is a list of things I’ve been working towards for a little while anyway, so I don’t see it as a resolution list. In 2013 I have both writing and non-writing goals.
- Publish Divided in early March
- Write/rewrite/finish writing Ravaged, the sequel to Divided (it’s half complete but it’s been almost 2 years since I’ve looked at it, so I’m not sure what needs to be done with it.)
- Publish Ravaged probably near the end of 2013
- Edit Burning Darkness , and possibly publish at some point in 2013. If not, in early 2014
Those are all the solid goals I have, but I also plan to write some short stories. I don’t know what they’ll be about yet, but they’ll be around sometime.
- Become a Mary Kay Sales Director
- Visit NYC at least once
- Attend Mary Kay Seminar in Dallas
- Become healthier (this entails a lot, and I won’t bore you with the details unless you really want to know…leave a comment if you do.)
What are your plans for the new year? Do you make New Year resolutions? Why or why not?
I had planned to write 2500 words a day Thurs-Sun so I could finish NaNoWriMo at the weekly write-in. Well, that didn’t quite happen. The desire to relax and read won out, so I ended up writing 1800 words Friday, 4000 words yesterday, and thinking I wouldn’t be able to finish at the write-in. However, I dragged my butt out of bed early this morning and have pounded out about 2500 words. I only have 1538 to go now and will definitely finish at the write-in. I’ve never hit 50K surrounded by other Wrimos, so I’m excited about this!
The story is also almost complete as well. I think once I edit it will end up as a less-than-50,000 word novella…I admit I struggled at points during the month and wrote some unnecessarily long and uninteresting scenes. So I’ll finish the story today and probably let it sit till the end of the month, then begin editing.
I’m going to try a bit more formalized editing process this time, rather than round after round after round of willy-nilly edits until my eyes bleed as I’ve done in the past. Here’s what I’m going to try:
- Read through the entire novel without changing anything other than grammar/spelling, making notes on gaping plot holes or things that need to be added/changed.
- Go through and add the psychological elements that got left out of the rough draft and change anything else I made notes on in the initial read through. (QUESTION: Should I make this 2 steps?)
- Read the entire novel aloud and change wording as necessary.
At that point I’m not sure if I’ll do another round of edits, or send it to beta readers. At some point I’m also going to have to go through and add a lot of action tags to all the dialogue. Right now the novel has a major case of Talking Heads Syndrome. I will likely do that in its own round of edits, either before or after reading aloud.
- After sending to beta readers, incorporate any changes and read it through once more.
- Go through all the non-editorly steps to format and publish. (Yes, “editorly” is a word. I just made it up.)
QUESTION: For any writers reading this, would you recommend adding action tags before or after I read the novel aloud? Also, do you see any steps I might have missed that would be helpful in editing?
As I move more towards publishing and taking this writing career seriously, I want to make sure I have a solid, logical editing process, so I appreciate any input anyone has for me.
OK, not really. But seriously, what do you do when you are completely, utterly convinced the novel you’re halfway through writing is utter crap and you should just quit and delete the whole thing from your hard drive with no backup?
This is the quandary I found myself in this week. For the past 5 days, actually. On Sunday, I got to a very boring part of my novel. A part that will be seriously edited and whittled down and made not boring. I knew I just had to keep writing until I found the interesting part of the plot again. On Wednesday, I thought I was there. But I wasn’t. That’s when my characters decided to fall in love and I ended up writing a boring romance scene that’s going to be drastically shortened.
Then I sat down to write last night. I didn’t want to. I did everything I possibly could to procrastinate. I checked email. I checked forums. I watched Netflix. (Did you know that the series “Commander in Chief” in which Geena Davis plays a female President is actually pretty decent?) I checked twitter. I checked email again. Finally I pounded out about 500 words. Then repeated all of the above, minus Netflix. I was at my computer and darn it I wasn’t going to leave it until I had 1667 words. Even if I repeated this cycle until midnight.
That 500 word point was when my husband asked how it was going. I told him I thought the novel was crap and I should quit. He told me to keep writing through it. Then he went back to watching Commander in Chief. I went back to writing my crappy novel. (This is a wonderful way to market it, isn’t it? Don’t you all want to read my crappy novel?)
My point is, no matter how convinced I was that it’s awful, it really isn’t. I kept writing. I wrote 1668 words last night then stopped. Today I wrote 1744. And you know what? My novel isn’t crap. Not by a longshot. Yes, it needs some serious editing. (Any novel written for NaNoWriMo does.) But I’ve finally gotten past the part where I think it’s a complete waste of my time.
I don’t have any magical solution for when you think your novel is crap. For that I’m sorry. I wish I had something better. But when you get to the point I was this week, all you can do it keep writing. Think back to when you started planning your novel. Remember how you felt about it in the beginning. You loved the idea then. Don’t forget that. Just keep writing. Maybe you’ll write a lot that needs to be cut out. But if you keep writing, eventually you will knock yourself out of the crappy-novel funk, and you’ll realize again that it really isn’t that bad, that it isn’t a waste of your time, and that you’re glad you kept writing through the funk to get back to the joy you had when you started. Always keep writing. The rest will come.