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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About Jenna

I am 24 years old, with a bachelor's degree in English. I am currently querying a YA fantasy about assassins and magical powers, and I'm revising another YA fantasy based on Mayan civilization!
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