Free Writing, Uncategorized

Time Flies While my Writing Stalls….

Has it really been 7 months since I’ve last updated this thing? Wow…time flies.

I am still unemployed, but I’m making the best of it by being a full time student again. I’m finally finishing up my college education. Going for my double major in Accounting and Business Management.

I haven’t even touched Soul Weaver.

Well, that’s not completely true. I have. I honestly don’t know why, but I can’t seem to write that last chapter.

That’s it! Just ONE MORE CHAPTER and this thing will be FINISHED! But for the last 7 months I’ve dreaded touching it. I open up my scrivener just to stare at all 72 chapters. Every time I think “This is it, I’m going to finish it!” I draw a blank, get major writer’s block, and stall. Then I start doubting the entire book. “It all sucks! Why bother finishing it!?”

Then I just close down the program and push it away for another month.

The most I’ve really done on Soul Weaver is tweak the cover – yet again. Even that was done back in February after I was laid off. This version was to just lighten it and make it more easily readable. Especially in a thumbnail version (what you’d see on Amazon), the black lettering was very hard to see.

Comparison:

SoulWeaverBookCoverLightenedMedSize SoulWeaverBookCover426x567

Will I finish Soul Weaver this year? I’d like to. But I’ve been saying that for 7 months now. Who knows, maybe when NaNoWriMo comes back around it will finally motivate me again. Right now I’m kind being a little laissez faire. In the meantime, at least I’m being productive.

But you know what makes me feel even worse about it all? I haven’t read a single book since I started writing Soul Weaver. Seriously. A year and a half and I haven’t read a SINGLE BOOK. Originally I had the mind set that if I read another book, it would influence my writing, but now I’m almost wondering if that’s why I feel so dry when it comes to my own book.

Things to ponder…..

Kudos to you for reading all the way through my own musings. Thank you. ❤

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Uncategorized

Dealing with one of Life’s Lemons

The old saying goes: “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

Well, life has handed me a lemon, but I prefer a more modern approach. “When life hands you lemons, stick them in your shirt and make your boobs look bigger.”

Unfortunately (or fortunately I suppose), I already have big(-ish) boobs, and I’m pretty sure lemons wouldn’t make them look any better. So what’s a gal to do when life hands her a lemon as big as the one I’ve been handed? I could stick it in my pants and pretend I’m a guy for a day, but I don’t think that’d solve the problem either.

I ramble on about lemons because life has thrown a big curve ball at me which has seriously deterred me from my writing. The company I work for has lost a major contract so, of course, that means downsizing. Me being one of the most recently hired, means I’m also the one most recently fired. Or let go. Whatever they call it.

So for the past week or so I’ve been job searching. In my downtime I’ve let off steam by playing video games. Just something to take my mind off of things, ya know? Writing requires a certain amount of concentration that I just can’t handle at the moment. So until I get back into the employment groove, I’m taking a break.

I’m starting to hate saying “I’m taking a break” because I’ve already been working on Soul Weaver for almost a year. Now it’s going to be even longer. Good thing I don’t do this for a living eh?

 

So for anyone who follows my blog, I’ll have more updates on Soul Weaver soon. I am incredibly close to finishing it and I still have a goal to be completely edited and heading towards publication before the end of the year. So that’s not changing. But for now, I have other things to focus on. Things like supporting my family with some sort of income. Life and its’ lemons….sheesh….I tell ya….

 

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Free Writing

NaNoWriMo 2014 – WINNER

I honestly didn’t think I would make it, but as you can see from the title, I managed to win NaNoWriMo 2014! I was behind for almost a week, got caught up, and then fell behind again during the holiday. On the last day, I bust out little over 3k words to hit 50,002 words (according to Scrivener – Validation gave me over 51k.) This time I didn’t count any notes, blog posts, or word sprints. Only words that went directly into the novel itself.

 

Sadly, I’m still not finished with Soul Weaver. My word count currently sits at 115,806. I’m estimating about another 15-20k words (give or take) before I can officially say that the first draft is complete.

NaNo14WinnerGraphTo be honest, I’m worried that I’m pushing the limits on my word count. If I were to self publish I wouldn’t be too concerned, but I have plans to try to submit to a few publishers first and I know that they may refuse my manuscript on excessive word count alone. That being said, I know that a lot of it will be cut during the first round of editing. I’m banking on that.

With that in mind I’m fighting the urge to start learning how to edit. While I’d like to think that most of my first draft doesn’t have too many grammar and spelling mistakes, what I’d like to learn is how to make sure I have proper flow and continuity. That my characters are fleshed out and consistent. That there’s a great hook at the end of each chapter to keep readers reading. Everything that a professional editor would look at. That’s what I want to learn. My goal is to have my novel impeccable before submitting it to any publishers. The less work their editor needs to do, the better.

NaNo14WinnerCertificate2I’m also starting to do some research about beta readers. I won’t start taking names until I’m through the first round of editing. I’ve already got my two teenage boys who are chomping at the bit for me to finish so they can read through it and help me out, but I’ll need more. Preferably readers who have beta’d before and can offer some awesome feedback.

 

But all that can be saved for the future. Right now, I still have a few more chapters to write. If all goes well I’d like to be done with the first draft by the end of December. I’ve already got a few ideas in mind for what I’m going to write in April.

Speaking of April. I’ve managed to motivate both of my boys to join me for Camp NaNoWriMo! I even got them a copy of Scrivener to use. My younger son has already started using it to transcribe the book he’s been writing for the past few months. All he had before was a notebook full of scribbling so he’s excited to see it all typed out and divided by chapter. I’ve directed him towards the Young Writers Program that NaNo offers as well. So lots of awesomeness to look forward to.

 

For those who won WriMo – CONGRATULATIONS! To those who didn’t – as long as you wrote, you’re still a winner. Even if you only wrote a couple words, it’s better than nothing. Just keep at it! And keep in mind, there’s always CampWriMo in April and July too.

 

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Free Writing

NaNoWriMo Day 18: Record Breaking Change of Plan

See that picture right there? Yeah, that one to the left, and there’s a larger one at the bottom. See them? That’s what getting caught up with NaNo after being almost two weeks behind looks like. That’s what forcing myself to pound out nearly 6,000 words looks like. That’s what writing my butt off looks like. (And I mean that quite literally. My butt was numb for quite a while yesterday.)

I know to some of you that may not seem like much, but to me it’s the most I’ve ever written in one day. My previous record was a little over 5,000 words during Camp NaNoWriMo.

 

I know the more I force myself to write every day, the easier writing will come, but I noticed something in common with both of those record breaking days:

I planned.

That’s right, this so-called ‘pantser’ actually sat down and took the time to plan out where the story was going. It was only after planning, that I was able to pound out 5 and 6k words. Almost like they were nothing.

 

I think it’s also getting easier because because I’m nearing the end of the book. Soul Weaver currently sits at 94,515 words with a total goal of around 115k. But that’s only for NaNoWriMo purposes. I won’t be disappointed if I only write another 5k before typing “THE END”, but I have a feeling that’s not going to happen. There’s so much I have yet to write. The climax is coming. The MC needs to grow. The bad guy needs to be defeated. People need to die. (In the book! In the book!) I know I have another good 10-15k to write.

 

The problem with being a pantser is that you never really know what to write until you write it. There are times you get stuck because you’re not sure where it’s going. Like introducing a new character. Or ten. That was the case a few days ago when my MC met a group of people that I knew would be instrumental in the end, but I had no idea how to write them. I had to take the time to sit down and name them; give them a back story; find out what their personalities were; and what their role would be, before I could continue.

Had I planned all of it out from the beginning I would have been able to write through that chapter without an issue. So after I wrote them into the story, I took the time to plan out where the rest of the book was going.

Chapter by chapter I wrote what needed to happen next. I gave myself some flex room in case a character decided to do something odd without asking first. (We’ve all had those moments right? We think our characters are going to do something, only to find out that they do something totally different.) In the end, I planned from the next chapter until the end of the book.

And you know what happened? I was able to punch out 3k, 4k, and almost 6k words in one day. Not only that, but I felt much more comfortable with my writing. By this time I know my MCs well enough that was easier to write their story in the direction I now know it’s going.

 

To say that I think I may have learned a lesson here would be an understatement. I have a sequel in mind after finishing Soul Weaver and it might be safe to say that it will involve a lot more planning beforehand. Maybe I’ll be able to be one of those people who finish NaNoWriMo in one day!

Wait a minute. Who am I kidding? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Maybe I can just shoot for 75k in 30 days instead. Yeah, that sounds a little more reasonable.

 

So I leave you with this: If you’re still lagging behind, struggling to catch up, and maybe thinking you won’t be able to finish – try doing something different. Something you don’t usually do. If you’re a planner, try pantsing. If you’re a panster, try planning. If you’re a little bit of both, take a break and challenge yourself by writing a short back story for a side character.

Another thing you can do is to find someone to challenge you. A little bit of writing truth or dare if you will. My friend Aaron Steinmetz and I did that during Camp WriMo this year and I’ll be darned if one of his challenges didn’t wind up becoming an important part of my novel.

If you’ve never played, it goes like this:

You: I dare you to write about a three legged dog.

Friend: Okay, I dare you to have one of your characters use the word ‘fart’.

It’s as simple as that. You both write the other person’s challenge and before you know it, you’ve just added another couple (or hundred…or thousand) words to your novel. Rinse and repeat. Keep in mind: if you don’t like it, you can always edit it out later.

 

If you’re still struggling, don’t fret. NaNoWriMo is meant to get writers into the habit of writing every day. Even if it’s just a few words. So if you don’t wind up with 50k words by November 30th, but you continue to hammer away at your writing every day then you, my friend, have already won.

 

CaughtupNaNo2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Free Writing

NaNoWriMo Day 9: There’s Still Hope

It’s day 9 of NaNoWriMo and I’ve only written 7,807 words. Yes, I’ve fallen behind. I fell behind after day 4, but I wasn’t worried because I thought I had time to catch up. But the day I had set aside, wound up being an incredibly dramatic day for my family.

Without going into detail, I will say that my eldest son has had some very rough times lately. Two days ago he decided it was too much to handle and attempted something terrifyingly drastic. It wasn’t something I would have ever thought he would do and thankfully, he failed. Let me tell you, as a parent, I would not wish this on anyone. Not even my worst enemy.

The feelings of helplessness, guilt, fear, and not knowing what to do next was overwhelming as I drove to meet him and his father. No parent should ever have to feel this way. And no child should ever feel that the things that happen in their life are that bad.

When I met up with my son, he immediately ran over to me and hugged me tight. I held him for what seemed like forever as we both cried on each other’s shoulders. He apologized and swore he would never do anything like that again. While he seemed to understand the consequences of his actions and is more than willing to attend the counseling he will now need, he and I also know that things won’t be the same for a long time. If ever.

I’m grateful that I was able to take him home with me that night. Along with his little brother and sister, we all had a fantastic weekend together. Afterwards, he told me that he was glad he spent this time with me. He said it was relaxing. That he was able to forget about the stress of everything for a while. That made me smile and warmed my heart.

I’ll admit that even though I was on my guard in case he slipped, I had a great time as well. One of the coolest things we did was stay up into the wee hours of the morning talking about a book that he wants to write. He’s well aware of my endeavor to finish Soul Weaver and would frequently ask me how it’s coming along. He’s even read the first few chapters, but told me that he won’t read the rest until I’m finished and that I have to finish it. But this is the first time I’ve ever heard him talk about being interested in writing, let alone any sort of novel.

We spoke for a long time about what it would be, and the more we talked, the more the plot was painted in our minds. He wants to write a historical fiction. A steam-punk Civil War along the same lines as the Leviathan Series by Scott Westerfield. We got online and did some research. We plotted out time lines. We looked up the technology that was used. We came up with names for the main characters and a little bit of their back story. We even came up with a name for it. Ideas were pouring forth as we wrote down everything we could think of.

In the end we wound up with nearly three pages of notes and something that we could bond over (outside of video games). I can only hope that after this weekend this project can be this is something that he can look forward to. Something that he can escape reality for and pour his creativity into. And though it will be his own project, I hope that this can be something that he and I can share and work on together. Maybe, just maybe, it will give him something to focus on when he thinks things are getting too much to handle again. As long as it’s only a side project and doesn’t add to his stress, I will support him one million percent in his endeavor.

Now I have the perfect motivation to keep pushing forward with Soul Weaver. Now when he asks how it’s coming along, I can tell him that I’m still dutifully slugging away. Now, I can ask him how his is coming along as well. Now we can motivate each other.

 

It’s day 9 of NaNoWriMo and I’m behind. But I will get caught up. Because I want to show my son that it can be done. And son, if you’re reading this, maybe this time next year you’ll be a part of this event with me. Slugging away at our novels and helping each other to the finish line. A mother can only hope, right?

 

Hope

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Free Writing

NaNoWriMo 2014 – Day One: Are We There Yet?

Day 1 of NaNoWriMo is here. I started at midnight, and at 3:30am I made 2116 words. I’m happy with that. 🙂

I suppose I should be called a “rebel” for this WriMo because I’m actually continuing Soul Weaver from this April’s Camp WriMo. I made it over 65k words before November started, but I know it still has a lot more to go. So between finishing the novel and editing what I’ve already written I still have a goal of 50k words. I took a long break after April and I plan to take December off as well, but come January, I’ll be doing some heavy editing and possibly even sending it out to some beta readers. (So if anyone who reads my blog is interested, shoot me a line and I’ll put you down as a beta.)

Today’s only the first day but I’m already thinking, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

To which I think of Pixar’s The Incredibles: “We’ll get there when we get there!!”

(This whole scene is pretty much NaNoWriMo in a nutshell!)

Good luck to my fellow NaNoers! Feel free to buddy up with me on the NaNo site!

 

NaNoWriMo14

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Free Writing

Help! Photoshop Has Sucked Me In!

Since winning Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve taken a week long break from writing. I must admit, on one hand it feels good not having the pressure of needing to write every day to make sure I keep up with my word count. On the other hand, I miss it. My story still hasn’t left my mind. So starting on Monday I’ll get back to writing every day.

You can tell that I’ve still been distracted with my book this week. I’ve spent countless hours in Photoshop putting together my book cover as well as a map of the land of Teralinda. I’ll be including the map in the first few pages of the book. I’ve also debated putting in a few drawings of the items mentioned in the book. Namely my main character’s necklace as well as her dagger. Both are pretty essential to the book, so it’s nice to have a visual reference for them.

Here is what I have for my book cover so far. I used the template provided by LuLu.com. They have a wonderful reward for those who win NaNoWriMo: A FREE first edition printed hard cover of the novel you wrote for WriMo. I hope to at least have the entire first draft finished before the deadline of August 31st so I can take advantage of this offer. Although it won’t be fully edited, just seeing it in print will be truly overwhelming. Heck, just printing everything I have so far from my own printer is overwhelming.

SoulWeaverBookCover

Soul Weaver book cover version 1.0

 

Major thanks to calthyechild from Deviant Art for creating a great way to make your own maps. Including permission to use commercially or non-commercially. I had been searching for weeks for software to create a map like this. I nearly shelled out $100 until I found this little gem. I cannot thank this person enough for offering such a simple way to create a customizable map like this. I may tweak it a bit more, but I really like what I have so far. I’ll be using it again for the sequel (title to be determined) as well.

Soul Weaver map of Teralinda version 1.0

Soul Weaver map of Teralinda version 1.0

 

So even though I haven’t been writing this week, I have been working on the novel itself. I’m actually looking forward to Monday when I start writing again. I think I easily have another 10-20k more words to write. Knowing me, it will be even longer than that. I’ll likely double what I have so far, which is quite a bit. That’s one huge stack of paper waiting to be edited!

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Soul Weaver after Camp NaNoWriMo

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