Back from the Dead?

This month’s topic:  ZOMBIES are a July tradition  for WriYe. Do you have a writing tradition of your own? How did it come about?
Well, this is awkward. As one of the founding members of this annual tradition… I’m actually not participating in Zombie July this year. I always love plotting and planning to write a zombie novel, but then when it comes down to actually writing them? I get maybe 10k in and then things die out and I get super frustrated that I spent all the time to plot / plan the book and wasted July… So, that’s a thing.
But, the real reason I’m not working on Zombies this month is because they don’t really fit into my genre. That is the downside of writing primarily realistic fiction — to do so many of the challenges that I’ve seen around, you either have to be writing speculative fiction or completely abandon what you’ve been working on the rest of the year. Which, normally isn’t an issue for me and I welcome July as a break from the “normal grind.” But, since I’m writing on borrowed time and July is one of two months I have to really dedicate myself to my craft? It’s very difficult to want to give up even a second of my time to something that isn’t one of my more “serious” projects.
I do, however, have some of my own writing traditions, however. For one, I do love hosting a kick-off party for large WriMo months (January, July, November) by grabbing myself some Wavy Lays plain potato chips, cheese dip, Cheez-Its, and Cherry Coke, then at midnight, do a 15 or 20 minute word sprint and just basically try and get as high a word count as possible before falling asleep while writing (usually around 3 or 4am). This started back when I was writing a lot more and would never miss a monthly WriMo kickoff. I would do that for every single month… And now it’s just stuck as something I “have” to do in order to really get into the writing groove, especially that late at night.
Other than that, I don’t really have any writing traditions. I mean, I try to outline before I write a novel. I usually watch Twitch or YouTube while I’m writing. I always edit in pink, purple, or green ink… But, those are more habits than traditions, I think.
What about you? Any writing traditions?

State of the Author: Week Ending 07/07/19

It has been quite a productive week for me in terms of writing-related things. Which is great! If every week would mimic this one, I would be beyond happy with my progress. Of course, that’s not possible, and if it were, it would only be a matter of time before I’d accept it as normal and start pushing myself to do more… So, for now, I’ll just focus on the successes.

Writing: As mentioned, I’m working on drafting the initial draft of Rainstorms in Bluebell Fields, which is a sequel and my #50in5 project. So far, I’ve only worked on it one day, and am sitting at 10.3k words on it after that day. It wasn’t a good day for my Real Life, so I wasn’t sure I was going to make my 10k that day, but I pushed through and eventually succeeded. Sure, I’m disappointed that it took me nearly the entire day to accomplish my daily count, but considering there was a large portion of time that I honestly thought I was just going to quit / give up and pick another day to hit my 10k? Yeah, I’m pretty pleased. The words themselves are pretty rough because, well, it was not the best / easiest writing day, but also because I hadn’t done nearly enough prep / research for the first half of the novel. That said, they’re still words, and I’m still proud of them, so here’s an excerpt (please be kind and remember this is a very rough first draft):

RBF Chapter 1 Excerpt.PNG

Editing: Still trucking along here as well. I got hung up a smidge the one day because I realized a major scene was missing from the printed draft I am working through and had to go track it down. Once I accomplished that, I realized that I seemed to have combined two different drafts when printing and had old versions of chapters, some with beta comments from ages ago, and multiple repeated scenes, so I had to spend almost an hour sorting through things and notating where things belonged and all of that. It was by far the most stressful thing I’ve had to do so far while editing.

I’m still participating in AW’s Beta Project and have already submitted my 3 required crits. There are at least 6 more that I’m interested in completing and deciding if I want to ask for a full beta of. One of the 3 assigned to me was one I was initially interested in, based on reading hooks alone, so I went ahead and requested a full beta of that one. They’re only looking for someone to read and comment on their structure, so it will be a quick beta job. I feel like I could take on two more of a similar commitment or one more that’s more intensive, so we’ll see how I feel over the course of the next week while I’m working my way through the other 6 crits I’d like to submit.

#50in5 Words Written: 10,314
Chapters Edited: 13
Hours Spent Editing: 7.5
Scenes Rewritten Completely: 0 (yet — 3 are slated / marked for a rewrite)
Scenes Cut Out: 7
Beta Requests Sent: 1
Beta Requests Received: 2 (omggggggg <3)

Publishing: I’m not quite on this step myself yet, but I am working through Sarra Cannon’s Publish and Thrive course to help build my arsenal of personal knowledge and resources. I’m still putting the final touches on my pre-course workbook, but for the most part found the reflection on what I want to get from my career and the places I consider things to be most important very helpful… As well as significantly harder than I expected any of the questions to be! Definitely looking forward to continuing through the rest of the modules over the next several weeks. (Registration closes very soon on this course, so if you’re interested / considering signing up, make sure to do it ASAP!)

Well, that’s my current state of progress and accomplishment for this week. Next week, I have a few more specific goals:

  • Fully flesh out my military / intelligence research notes for Rainstorms in Bluebell Fields.
  • Add another 10k to Rainstorms in Bluebell Fields on 07/12.
  • Edit 8 more chapters of Sky of Light.
  • Complete 6 additional Beta Project Crits.
  • Complete Module 1 of Publish and Thrive.
  • Add 5 (completed) pages to my LTA Series Bible

What about you guys? What have you done this week? What are your goals for this week? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

#editnfriends: Better Late than Never

We’re going to ignore the dates on that image and pretend that I am completely on time with this challenge that Elizabeth Szubert issued. Right? Right.

It’s been a while, but I did talk about my editing space back in March, and it’s very much the same most days as it was in that post. I’m still working by hand in my printed out manuscript with my pink pen and a furry little companion by my side. It’s going as well as one might imagine ripping apart your words might go. Things that I have learned now that I am officially 11 chapters in:

  • Pay attention to chapter numbers. If you have eight chapters labeled “9,” you’re going to get into a lot of very confusing ordering / sequence situations.
  • NUMBER YOUR PAGES BEFORE YOU PRINT OUT THE MANUSCRIPT. This alone would have saved me a million headaches.
  • If you end up having to add a scene or break up a chapter into two (or eight…), renumber things. Do not have 9a -9h. Just renumber the chapters after it.
  • Cutting scenes is actually kind of… Fun?
  • Do not print multiple drafts of the same chapter.

As you see, I’ve been having quite a specific struggle with my editing. And ended up spending an extra hour “working” yesterday than I planned because I found some chapters were in my print-version twice, one entire scene was missing completely, and things just weren’t in any sort of logical order. But, once I managed to figure out what went where and why… I feel like I was able to establish a much stronger sense of plot and really strengthen the dichotomy between the two potential love interests in doing so. I have notes and arrows and scribbles all over the pages for little links and transitions that I’ll need to write / add once I finish the paper-edits and move into putting them on the computer to finalize everything, but it actually feels like things are coming together nicely.

Which, is interesting to me because it makes the story feel like it is very full and robust, but, I ended up completely trashing (as in papers crumbled and thrown across the room towards a trashcan as if I were pretending to be some sort of athlete) 11 pages yesterday. Now, admittedly, 3 of them were because I for some reason printed two drafts of the same chapter. But the other 8? We just scenes that didn’t need to be there. I might bring one of the scenes back at some point — where Jimi shows off his “hobby room” and makes everyone hate him even more for bragging yet again about how nauseatingly rich he is — but where it was placed? It made the hate come on too hard, too fast. So, that’s been cut. Another scene got chopped because it seemed to be a bunch of fluff / filler that didn’t really add anything to the novel other than pages. And then a really random scene with a character that never reappears was removed. Because, really… If that’s their only purpose? They aren’t important.

Maybe I should be sad, grieving the lost of my words and hard work… But honestly? I’m glad to see them go. They served their purpose at one point of helping me to explore characters (and meet my NaNo word count for the day) and feel out the plot, but now? Now they were just bloating my novel for no reason. They’ll be much better off now that they’re gone.

#50in5 Words Written: 0
Chapters Edited: 11
Hours Spent Editing: 4.5
Scenes Rewritten Completely: 0 (yet — 2 are slated / marked for a rewrite)
Scenes Cut Out: 3
Beta Requests Sent: 0
Beta Requests Received: 0

Camp NaNoWriMo: July 2019 Project Intro

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I am being a crazy ambitious person this month. It’s the last month I have to throw myself into writing full time before going back to the day job in August, so I want to make sure to get as much done as possible. So, because of that, I kind of have three projects happening simultaneously.

The first is that Sunshowers in Bluebell Fields has officially been submitted to the Absolute Write Beta Project 2019, so soon it’s going to be getting three basic crits of the first 750 words and (hopefully) at least 2-3 beta requests to launch it into the editing process officially. I’m both nervous and excited about this whole process because that will be one more novel that’s officially almost “done” within my series.

Which, actually, is why the second (and, in turn, the third) project exist as well. My second project for July is what I’m completing for CampNaNo — which is 45 hours of line and content edits on Sky of Light, which will officially be the LAST full edit I do on this novel (it will get one more read through from some friends / betas for proofreading) and then, it will be done-done. This is mostly a line edit, but there are a few chapters in the middle that I need to do one more pass for content on, so I’m just going to do these two steps simultaneously. I decided to work on this novel’s edits because well, it’s the most done of all my LTA books and it would be great to finally have a novel that I would consider 100% complete. So, that’s my real Camp NaNo goal that I’ll be checking in about every Monday throughout July: 45 Hours of Editing on Sky of Light.

And then, of course, there is my #50in5 project. Originally, I thought I was going to use those words to knock out the last two thirds / half of Static Lightning Skies (which I’ve been working on the rest of my summer) in order to finally get the first draft of that one finished. But, once I realized what other two books I would have in my brainspace this month, I thought it might be more beneficial to work on the sequel to my Beta Project and the true companion / same timeline novel as Sky of Light: Rainstorms in Bluebell Fields. So, that’s what I’m working on for my #50in5 words, as outlined in Friday’s post.

And now… It is officially Camp NaNo, which means it is time to start in on my editing hours! I plan on checking in here with a “State of the Author” type post every Monday throughout July, so you have that to look forward to! In the comments, let me know if you’re doing Camp NaNo this month and what your project is for the month, regardless of if you’re participating or not.

#50in5 Words Written: 0
Chapters Edited: 0
Hours Spent Editing: 0
Scenes Rewritten Completely: 0
Scene Cut Out: 0
Beta Requests Sent: 0
Beta Requests Received: 0

#50in5: An Introduction

If there is anything you should know about me as a writer, it’s that I don’t like how solitary an activity it is. Sure, I do my actual writing on my own, but I like to write much like I prefer to live: alongside other people inhabiting the same space / doing the exact same thing on their own, but close enough to suffer simultaneously with me and be close by when I need someone to bounce ideas off of or commiserate with. That’s why I love challenges so much and it is also the thing that brings me back to events like Camp NaNoWrImo / NaNoWriMo / WriYe, but even beyond that — it keeps me participating in crazy events with my Writing Chat Friends (TM).

July will be no different. Camp NaNoWriMo’s second session begins Monday, and several of us are doing two starkly different Camp projects — complete with two unique accounts to contain them. One project is more traditional to the idea of Camp (I’ll be talking about mine here on Monday), but the second is one that we’re writing slightly uniquely, as well as where the hashtag in my title comes from.

#50in5 asks you to take the classic NaNo challenge of writing 50,000 words and makes it even more difficult — by doing it in 5 days, and 5 days only. We’ve all realized that as we get older, time becomes more and more valuable, and often we only have one day a week that we can squeeze in for writing. So one day each week, we will write (at least) 10k and by the end of July, we’ll have (at least) 50k written in our novels. Great plan, right? We think so.

Personally, I prefer this kind of binge writing, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge a lot. I’m planning on joining my friends K. A. Wyles and Elizabeth Szubert to write 10k all four of the Fridays in July (while our friend Tatra holds down the weekend to complete her 10k days) and then my fifth 10k day will take place on 21 July during the 10k Writing Challenge hosted by Mandi Lynn. Because, as stated at the beginning: I don’t like doing these crazy things alone.

So, as fun as #50in5 will be with the handful of us who are already planning on completing it, it will be even more fun, if other people join in with us! There are goodies if you do! Of course, there will be a virtual goodie for you to post / use online, as there always is when we do a challenge like this. However, with this particular challenge, there will also be two different physical goodies for participating as well. The first will be a custom postcard designed and mailed by K. A. Wyles! The postcard is beautiful AND functional… But that’s all you’ll hear about it from me. Trust me when I say you will want one of these in your possession, however. The second goodie will be a set of custom #50in5 stickers designed by yours truly. These can be used to mark your progress in your planners / calendars and remind you of the days that you should be writing 10k. They will also have a little somethin’-somethin’ to coincide with your postcard, as if you weren’t already enticed enough to want to grab these things for your very own. If you are absolutely jumping out of your skin excited about these little gifts from us, all you have to do is comment on this post to tell us exactly how stoked you are, and then make sure you fill out this form to share your mailing address to get your fun goodies (your information will not be shared / sold and will only be used to send stickers / a postcard for #50in5).

So far, I’ve been having a pretty fruitful summer of writing and I think this is going to be a good finale to the season before heading back to having a day job for the 2019-2020 school year. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone successfully write #50in5 with us this July!