Progress? Or the Snail’s Pace That Is My Style Lately

I haven’t written up an update in a while, so I thought I would. I haven’t made much progress since my last one, unfortunately. I finished up my scene synopses for Scrivener (forgot to write the full synopsis though!) and read through the first chapter, taking notes for revision, but I haven’t read any more since. I really need to focus and make myself get into the habit. I’m hoping to read through a few chapters tonight, either before or after American Horror Story.

Also, NaNoWriMo is coming up! I had to drop out fairly quickly last year, but I really want to win this year. Of course, it’s less than a week away now and I have absolutely no idea what my story is about. . . I’m pretty sure I want to try my hand at a YA (or even Adult) Horror! So over the next few days, I’m planning on researching some scary prompts and sketching out a rough outline for a story. I think Horror as a genre works better when you don’t plan it out much, anyway. But I always work better with an outline, so I don’t know! I guess we’ll see . . .

My personal life is going . . .okay, I guess? I’m back on my medication, so that’s helped. I’m also going in for surgery in the next 2 months sometime for something that probably should have been taken care of years ago. It’s okay. It’s getting done now! And the recovery is really easy, from what I’ve been hearing, which is a relief. As someone who had 6 surgeries in high school/college, with complicated and painful recovery periods, a relatively simple surgery sounds amazing. And it’s going to change SO MUCH.

I’m pretty optimistic about the near future. I hope everything I’m wishing for and planning works out in one way or another. ❤

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What Comes Next?

I just can’t resist those Hamilton puns 😉 It’s been a little over a week since I finished drafting In the Shadow of the Necropolis now, and progress is a little slow. I have been working on it, so that’s a plus, but not as quickly as I had hoped. I transferred the entire document into Scrivener last week, and right now I’m working on typing up scene synopses for the scene cards in Scrivener, so I can see what’s going on and also hopefully write up a working full synopsis sometime soon. I’ve gotten 19 of the 33 chapters finished, so I’m hoping to finish that up today or tomorrow.

What I really need to do is sit down and make a working editing schedule for myself, to keep on track. Getting a polished draft to my CPs by the end of the year is a tall order, but that’s what I want to do. I think I can do it, if I focus. So, here’s a checklist of what needs to be done in the next 3 months:

  • Finish typing scene/chapter synopses
  • Write full synopsis for book
  • Read through manuscript, taking notes on changes to be made
  • Compile list of edits
  • Write draft 2 of book
  • Send draft to CPs for review

Now that I’m looking at it, it doesn’t seem so bad. If I finish the scene synopses tomorrow, I can write the full synopsis over the weekend. Then I could take next week to read through and take notes on the full manuscript/compile a list of edits. After that I still have almost the full 3 months to write the second draft! I can definitely do this. And, in the meantime, I can be thinking of ideas for my next book and either continuing to query Soulreader or shelving it for good. I don’t think it’s any fault of the book’s; it’s just that the market it burned out on assassins and I didn’t realize that before I wrote it. There’s no real way I can change Petra’s profession, either, without substantially changing the whole story. She has to be an assassin. Sigh; oh well.

The thought of pulling Soulreader might make me more upset, but I’m too excited about In the Shadow of the Necropolis to think much about it. I’m teetering on that edge of not wanting to be too excited, because what if this one doesn’t get an agent either? and not caring and being super excited anyway. To be perfectly honest, the last 8 months have been pretty rough on me, for no particular reason other than my anxiety and depression deciding to ramp up again like they did in high school. I think I’m going to choose to be excited, because I haven’t allowed myself happiness in a long time. There were 3 brief windows this summer, on my trips, but it’s been pretty dark besides that.

And I guess we’ll see what comes of this story . . .

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Victory at Last

I know this post is coming a little late, but better late than never I guess. Besides, I have amazing news.

I finished draft 1 of In the Shadow of the Necropolis at 10pm last night!! It feels so good to be finished after a long year of starts and stops (more stops than starts, to be honest). I couldn’t wait a second longer – as soon as I finished, I stayed up late to format it (it got a little screwy somehow along the line) and print it out. I love the visual of a completed manuscript that I can hold in my hands, and to use for marking up in edits. Just look at it!

Just skimming over it last night as I formatted it, I got very excited to continue working on this book. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I really believe this manuscript is The One. I need to work on world building (as always – I get lazy when I write the first draft and make it up as I go along instead of planning. I nail down the specifics of location in subsequent drafts. Backwards, I know), characterization issues, things like that. But the writing itself? There’s a few rough sections where I either wasn’t feeling it or hadn’t written in a long time and was struggling to get back into it, but overall . . . not to sound conceited, but it’s good. Better than my last novel, and that’s gotten some agent requests (though nothing has come of it).

I’m going to try not to get too excited as I work on polishing the draft up, but I’m cautiously optimistic. After all, I can only get better, and in my personal opinion, Soulreader got pretty good by the sixth draft, even though I’m probably going to end up shelving it. ITSOTN has the potential to be even better (and I think it kind of already is, in some ways).

But most importantly, I’m proud of myself for not giving up. This past year has been one of the most stressful, poor mental health years of my life, but I wrote anyway. And now I’m going to edit anyway. And I’m going to get a polished draft to my critique partners before the end of the year. If I’m lucky, I’ll be querying shortly after the New Year. Those are my goals. And I think, if I stay focused and shut out the negative voices in my head, and with your help, I can make it.

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[Hamilton voice] Let’s go

On the writing front, things could still be better, but I’m actually trying. I wrote 400 words 2 nights ago, and over 1,000 last night. It seems like every time I sit down to write, I invent a new scene that I hadn’t planned on that drags the ending out a bit farther. That’s okay. I’m still almost finished! I think, unless more scenes come to me between now and then, that I have 2 1/2 chapters left to write, so maybe about 5,000 words? That will put this first draft at around 64000, which isn’t bad at all! I think that’s about the length SOULREADER’s first draft was (now 83000).

I think the main issue I’ve been having with sitting down to write is my frame of mind. I may have mentioned this in previous posts, but I haven’t been doing well mentally at all this year. I’ve gone to some pretty extremely dark places, but I’m trying to get out of that. It actually kind of works for the dark fantasy I’m writing, but when I’m at my lowest, I can’t even bring myself to open the laptop, much less my manuscript document. I look at the words I’ve written already and get overwhelmed with 1 of 2 emotions:

  1. this is really good. no way am I going to write anything this good to close out the book, so why bother?
  2. this is terrible. whatever I write today will be just as terrible, if not worse, so why bother?

Like I said, it’s getting better, but most of this summer was spent running away from writing because of those things. I’m finally coming back to a place where I’m excited about my writing, and I can almost feel things beginning to turn around. I think I’m ready to finally become a published author, something I’ve been seriously working on for years now. How long has it been since I first sat down to write SOULREADER. . . 3 years, I think. I wrote the majority of it in the back of the library at school, between classes. I loved that experience. It’s more difficult to carve out the time to write now, with all of my other responsibilities, but I realize now that I don’t want to give up.

That being said, I did not get chosen for PitchWars, which is unfortunate, but still okay. I didn’t receive feedback, either, which made me a little sad since I was asked for a full by one mentor, but I understand. They devote so much time to this as it is, and they have to prep their mentee for their edits. I don’t want to give up on SOULREADER, because I spent 2 years of my life on it, and it’s become a much better book than it started out as, but . . . I may have to shelve it soon. I’m going to get to at least 75 queries, possibly 100, before I do, but it may be what’s best for the manuscript (and my sanity). Besides, it’s not as though I’ve been very regular about sending queries lately, with all of my (limited) focus on drafting IN THE SHADOW OF THE NECROPOLIS.

I’m just excited about what the future has in store, and that hasn’t happened for me in a while. Not to sound morbid, but it’s true. I want to be a published author. I want to hold my printed book in my hands. That’s all I want. And I’m not going to stop until I get there.

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Currently Slamming My Head Into the Wall

I wish I had better news in this update. I’m still avoiding my writing. I should have been done with this draft by now, but every time I sit down to write, I do other things instead, because I’m too afraid to write anything down. But the more time I spend away from it, the harder it is to pick up where I left off. It’s a vicious cycle.

PitchWars picks are announced tomorrow night, so hopefully no matter what the outcome of that is, it will motivate me to finish this draft. I want to be finished. I want to import everything into Scrivener, print out my draft, and edit! That’s when I really start enjoying what I do. But I’ll never get to that point if I don’t finish the first draft.

So, yeah. I’ve done nothing since last week’s update. To be fair, I’ve been visiting my parents every weekend, and I could use my weekends for writing. I don’t get anything done when I’m up there because I’m trying to spend time with them. But this weekend I’m staying home, so maybe I’ll focus on sitting down for a few hours and hammering out the last 5000 or so words.

I just really need someone to keep me accountable, I think. I can’t make myself write on my own. I’m going to really try today, though. I’m so close…

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Are We There Yet?

Good morning! Looks like I’m sticking to my promise of weekly updates.. for now, anyway.

I don’t have much to update, really. Since I last posted, I wrote 1,298 words, all in one sitting. I finished Ch. 29, which was a doozy. So I’ve only written one day in the last week. There were spots of 3-4 months where I didn’t write anything, so I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, but I REALLY want to finish this first draft. I think I only have 2, MAYBE 3 chapters left! If I write a chapter a day, I will be finished by the end of the week. That’s only 2 hours of writing a day, more or less. I can do that. I just need to commit myself to it and actually do it, with no fear. Which is much easier said than done with me.

I’m still waiting to hear back from PitchWars. I’m not expecting to be chosen, but I could be! I’ll know by next Wednesday, which is perfect since that’s when I’ll be posting another update. Hopefully by then I’ll be finished drafting In the Shadow of the Necropolis, too!

I am a person who works well when there is a clear organizational structure in place. (It’s probably why I did so well in college – I knew exactly when things were due and could plan accordingly) I just need to sit down, make a plan for my writing, and force myself to stick to it. I need to send out more queries for Soulreader, finish drafting ITSOTN, create a revision plan/import into Scrivener, possibly outline a new book, write/edit some short stories and submit them to magazines… So much I can do, but I’ve convinced myself I can’t for whatever reason.

Time to convince myself I can.

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1 Year On: A Writing Update

Good morning! I’m trying to get better about updating my blog. I want to get back to weekly updates, if I can. That way I can hold myself accountable not only for being consistent here, but also with my writing.

I’m not going to lie: this last year has been tough. I’ve had a lot of personal struggles, and moving out on my own in March both helped and made things tougher at the same time. It’s hard to explain. I thought it would be good, because I could finally focus on my writing with no distractions, but if anything, I got worse about it. I kept making excuses for not writing. At one point, I very strongly considered giving it up entirely, because I convinced myself I would never have the time to devote to it and I wasn’t much good, anyway.

Yeah. That’s why I’m still working on the first draft of my new book, IN THE SHADOW OF THE NECROPOLIS, a year after I started it.

But some good things have happened this summer, too. I took 3 mini-trips on my own. First, I flew out to Los Angeles for a day to see my favorite indie band, Louden Swain. That was such a great experience, and I loved what little I saw of L.A. I’m considering moving out that way soon if I can find a job there!

Three weeks later I flew to New York for the weekend to see Hamilton. I will never forget that day; it was so incredible. I’m very lucky that I saw it 2 weeks before many of the original cast members left. Leslie Odom, Jr. and Renee Elise Goldsberry were out that night (but Austin Smith and Alysha Deslorieux were INCREDIBLE in their places!), but I saw Lin, Pippa, Jasmine, Anthony, Chris, Oak, Daveed… so, so lucky. Thinking about it now, I still kind of can’t believe I was actually there, in the Richard Rodgers Theater. It all feels like a crazy dream. (Also, Act I went by SO FAST. We were at Non-Stop before I took a breath, it seemed)

Two weeks after that, I flew up to Pittsburgh to meet some good online friends and go to a Supernatural convention together. I met so many amazing people that I had previously only talked to on Twitter, and that was such a good experience. I love those girls very much and I miss them. I also got the opportunity to do a 45-minute meet and greet with my favorite band on the planet (yep, Louden Swain again!). I love those 4 guys very much, and I love seeing them whenever I’m able. I won’t be seeing them again until January, but I can wait. ❤

So, it’s been a fun, adventurous summer! Unfortunately, I can’t spend that kind of money again anytime soon, but at least I’ll have a lot of good 2016 memories. Next on my list is finding a better job and possibly some roommates so I can save more money to do things like that again. Maybe it won’t be for a couple of years, but that’s okay.

But back to writing. Over the last 6 months, I’ve only sporadically worked on ITSOTN, but I’ve been wanting to get back into it. So this month, I heard that PitchWars was coming around again, and I knew this was my chance. I needed to enter my old manuscript, SOULREADER again (third time), and I needed to finish my new one. No more excuses. So I did! I’m still waiting anxiously to hear back about PitchWars, but if I’m not picked, that’s okay. I wasn’t picked the first two times I entered, either. I’ll just go back to querying and, when I hit 100 queries or so, I will (reluctantly) shelve it. After 6 rounds of revision, I really thought SOULREADER was pretty good and might get me an agent, but I can’t hinge all my hopes on it. I just need to write more books and keep getting better! After all, not many people sign with an agent with the first book they query. Some do, but not most.

So let’s talk stats. I started drafting ITSOTN sometime last summer (I think the last week of July, so it’s been over a year now). The current word count is sitting at 56,855. I am on chapter 29, and I think I’ll have 2 more after this, so the final word count will probably be just above 60k. A bit short for a YA fantasy, but I usually gain some length in revisions, as I write out all my chapters/scenes and realize there are some scenes I left out that are needed to make the story flow better. The first draft of SOULREADER was 65k if I remember correctly, and now it’s 83k.

But more important than stats or how long it’s taking me to finish this draft is how I feel about this book. I loved just about every minute of working on SOULREADER (drafts 2-3 were kind of rough and I hated it a little . . .), but this is something different. I really, really love this book! The writing needs work, of course, especially in the middle, but the beginning and the ending are really strong, I think. I also need to work on setting and characters, but that’s what revisions are for.

I’m excited about this book. My critique partners are excited. From what I’ve seen, agents are interested in this sort of thing . . . I don’t want to get too excited yet, but I think this book has a real chance. I won’t know until I get a round of revisions finished and send it off to my CPs, but still. I feel good about my writing again, and that’s the most important thing. And if I get an agent with this book on top of that? Even better.

But I need to actually get it finished first! I think, if I can motivate myself and focus on writing every day, I will be finished by the end of this week.

Someone send me some coffee.

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