Thursday, June 28, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 82

Wow, has it really been 6 days since my last post? I have been writing every night, but the quality has hardly been worth mentioning. I've been tired and distracted, so my mind skips around from this project to that. So, I've managed to take some notes, but that's about it for my fiction this past week. For this reason I've focused on beta reading, which is what I did tonight. I find that helping other writers with their fiction helps me improve my writing, both directly and indirectly.

Lastly, my review of POD by Stephen Wallenfels came out this week. Woohoo! Next, I need to write a review for Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. I finished the book days ago! We have to take a break on the house remodel because of the heat, so perhaps tomorrow... In the mean time, Stephen Wallenfels was kind enough to do an interview with me, so that should be coming out soon.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 76

Sometimes I like to trick that rebellious, pout monster inside of me. The part that whines "but I don't waaaaaaaaaant to!"

I've still been writing every night, with about 30 minutes each night. I only took a short break from blogging about it so that I could feel like I was "getting away" with something, while still meeting my goals. I've continued working on reviews, formatting interviews, and that sort of thing. Even better, tonight I submitted two stories out into the world. One came back from my wonderful beta reader with only a few fixes needed, and that went to the magazine that recently rejected a different piece with a note indicating that they liked my work but couldn't find a place for that story. The other story I sent off has been rejected by several different publications. It's a difficult one to find a match for because the format is a bit experimental. Tonight I suddenly realized that there was another genre label or two that I could search under at .

Now I can reward myself with a bit of beta reading for my beta reader. :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 73

Today's writing time: 29 minutes.

I've received a few rejections from magazines lately, and one had a nice little PS. indicating that the story was almost right for them. This makes me feel as if my writing may be a good match for that particular magazine if I chose another piece with more action in it. So, I've edited a few flash pieces that were already on their 3+ draft, and sent them off to a beta reader.

If I went to bed now, I'd be getting to bed early. Haha!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 72

Today's writing time: 15 minutes, formatting and scheduling reviews.

Father's Day was such a blast and I am so ready for bed. While I was driving home, I was reminding myself of my resolution to write every night, and I realized... Wow, it's going to be harder when we're busting our behinds moving house! I considered, briefly, putting my resolution on hold, but when it comes down to it, it's only fifteen minutes. That was the point of not choosing a higher goal. Never give up, never surrender! I might have to grab some of my writing time during the day, is all.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 71

Today's writing time: 30ish minutes.

The good news is that I did exactly what I had planned to do, which is polish off that review and send it to the publicist. That might have been after 30 minutes of creating a homeschool plan for my soon-to-be-3 year old. He could use more structured activities, and I love to have a plan. But most of all, I saw this adorable 6-pocket hanging organizer at a yard sale, and I knew the minute I saw it exactly how I would use it for homeschooling. It will be like a treasure trove of activities for the little guys to do throughout the week!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 70

Today's writing time: 50 minutes. 500 words.

I outlined some ideas for my POD (Wallenfels) review during the day and finished the draft tonight for my writing time, but it took a while for me to get my head in the game. Something about Pinterest. Something about a secret writing/blogging project in conjunction with a crafty friend of mine. I am going to do my best NOT to work on the secret project tomorrow, as there's no deadline for that yet, and this review needs a polishing so that I can give the publicist plenty of time to look it over and respond. Pri-or-ri-ties. Oh, look! A butterfly!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

YA Report: Interview with Author Krystal Wade

Today's writing time: 41 minutes.

Tonight was a night for editing and writing YA reviews for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat. So, on that note, here's an interview with author Krystal WadeKrystal Wade is a mother of three who works fifty miles from home and writes in her “spare time”. Her debut novel, Wilde’s Fire, is available now with Curiosity Quills Press.

Tomorrow I'll either be editing People of the Sea more, or finishing my review for POD by Stephen Wallenfels. Or maybe both!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 68

Today's writing time: 16 minutes.

Tonight I had a headache that had been building up all day and was to the point of light and noise sensitivity. So, I worked on my notecard outline, clarifying and redefining scenes. I've got about 15 scenes starting from the beginning that I feel solid about. From there I may need to start throwing away cards and writing new ones. Further world building and scene clarification should help.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 67

Today's writing time: 19 minutes.

I made a list of things I need to name for the story I'm outlining, and even named a few. But, ugh. This is always one of my least favorite parts of a longer story. I know just enough about language to feel like I should make up, if not a language or two, at least a grouping of sounds common to each culture in the story, so that there's some vague pattern. Unfortunately, I always feel like I'm doing it wrong. I can name them all Jane Doe, right?

This all comes on the end of finishing a heart-stopping book, POD by Stephen Wallenfels. I read the first couple of chapters yesterday and slammed through the rest today. The characters have very limited knowledge about the aliens, even by the end of the book, and this reminded me of classic scifi. The focus was very much on the human element of it all - how people survive, and what human nature looks and smells like up close. It wasn't too dark or gruesome, though. But most importantly, gimme the sequel. Grr. :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 66

Today's writing time: 47 minutes.

Tonight was a submissions night. I checked on the status of submissions, updated my submission tracker, and sent out another story after a bit of final editing. I originally intended to send out a piece that was rejected recently, but as I was searching for a likely home for it, I matched up a flash piece with another market. I hope. We'll see if the market agrees. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 65

Today's writing time: 40 minutes.

Rewrote the beginning scene of People of the Sea at about 600 words. Next I'm going to have to cut out chunks of the previous draft to figure out how to slip in the other scene I wrote, and, of course, write new bits here and there. I feel like the new beginning has the characters down to a T, so as I get close to wrapping up this draft, I'll need to do a once over for character consistency. Ah, well. That's part of the problem with taking on a story that I started writing so long ago.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 64

Today's writing time: 30 minutes.

Today I actually wrote for my writing time, instead of outlining or editing. Amazing, right? What is even more amazing is that I wrote in People of the Sea. I had taken a shower without the kids (a luxury) last night after my "writing time" was over, and brainstormed some new scenes and major changes. The entire project is still daunting in the amount of work that needs to be done, but at least now I feel like I have some viable solutions to work with.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 63

Today's writing time: 28 minutes

I had the pleasure of taking the kids to a fun outside activity. DRUMS! It was a clear-your-head kind of evening, topping off a morning at the park and eating at an ice cream shop, which is an unusual treat for us. The kind of day that makes me feel like the best mom ever.

So, finding myself centered, I finally tackled People of the Sea tonight. I swept over the entire thing for the minor edits, kind of wincing and throwing my arms over my head as I thought of what needs to be rewritten. Haha! Here's hoping for another brave night tomorrow. I probably need to let the other story rest, so that when I come back to it, I'll have a new feel for which ideas are going to work together as a cohesive whole, and which need to be scrapped.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 62

Yesterday's writing time: 35 minutes
Today: 50 minutes

I have been doing some hard core outlining and world building, and I'm up to 40 or so scene cards. The outline now sports a grab-you opening, a cliff-hanger ending, and an ominous card that says "BOOK TWO" with a few scene cards behind it. Book one isn't done, mind you, but a few of the ideas I have don't logistically fit in book one. Holding that thick stack of scene cards is a sure way to remind me that I've got enough character threads for book one already. Now I'm getting to the point where I want the cards to say more than "Cedric is kidnapped," and as I clarify each scene and work out more world building details, I'm sure they'll be more scene shuffling to do. Some of the scenes already link nicely from one to the next. I keep thinking that I should stop and work on a project that is nearer to completion (ahem, People of the Sea!) but I haven't been this excited about this story in over a year.

I also find it difficult to do revision work when I am in a period of transition for all that real world nonsense. It's stupid, but even when the transitions are good ones, anticipating being interrupted is a killer to my drive. That goes back to the reason that a nightly writing time has worked so much better for me than trying to write during the kids' nap. I'm often interrupted by the baby at night, but unless they're ill (aw), any interruptions are followed by going back to sleep. That's like hitting the pause button. Speaking of which...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 60

Today's writing time: 30 minutes
Yesterday's writing time: 30 minutes

I'm up to about 30 scenes and gobs of world building notes, which is much better than that pathetic 11 scenes from the old outline. The best part? I've got me an overarching theme. Not to mention the presenting problem and two categories of baddies. So far I'm not having any of the problems I've had in the past with plotting this thing. Before, I was trying to work too linearly, forcing random characters into the beginning and hoping I came up with something useful for them to do later. Now, I'm working from the themes and problems back to the characters and their entrance into the story. With my focus in the right place, I feel much freer to ax characters and scenes for what best suits the story.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writing Marathon 58

Today's writing time: 30 minutes, outlining.

The moral of today's story is that a good outline is worth a hundred thousand words.

I dug up an old outline of a story that has stayed with me for over a decade, lurking on the peripheral of my attention, almost as if every story that I write is for the purpose of learning the skills necessary to write this story well.

One of the hurdles I must clear to even begin writing this monstrosity is to organize and detail a decent outline. I've written plenty of outlines in the last decade, and plenty of stories with and without an outline, but all of those stories have been shorter. Not counting an attempt to write this very story, the longest story I've ever written is about 60,000 words, and that was a rare bird indeed. My mode length is more like 500 words. Let me tell you, outlining a 3,000 word short story is an entirely different beast than a 90,000 word fantasy novel. When you are outlining for shorter works, you can get away with half phrases and other barely decipherable notes to yourself. For one thing, you are probably going to write the story immediately, and not a decade later. And if the linear plot or the revelation of details in your outline is a bit jumbled, that's ok because you can slot them into the correct place as you write, because it's only 3000 words that you are juggling at once.

So... The outline that I wrote a year and a half ago is almost completely useless. I feel like I had a lot more details worked out than what is actually in the outline. Not like it matters, since the organization of the plot also blows. When I wrote out what I could salvage on notecards, I only ended up with 11 scenes. This explains why, the last time I tried to write a rough draft, I quit because it felt boring. It's a bit too much meandering from point A to point B, if you ask me. I am so thankful that I have learned more about pacing, themes, and outlining even this past year (like, here).

I even peeked at some of the notes I took over a decade ago, so I could have a good laugh. If I thought I was ready to reconstruct the whole thing from the ground up a year ago, I am definitely ready now. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Writing Marathon 57

Today's writing time: 16 minutes, embellishing notes.

I've been coming up against an urge to relax on my writing resolution, but I know that it's the every day aspect that is the foundation of any success I have and will get from my efforts. Part of me says, "Oh, come on! Just one day slacking off can't do much harm." Yes, self. Yes, I know that Outlander is a very good and a very long book and we're not at the end yet. This is why I made the minimum requirement a paltry 15 minutes, so that no matter what was going on to pressure me to let a night or two go, I can always berate myself: "It's just fifteen minutes! Who doesn't have fifteen minutes?"

Well, I've done my fifteen, and since I'm talking to myself, I'd better head to bed. ;)

Friday, June 1, 2012

YA Report: Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade

In case you missed it other other day, my review of Wilde's Fire is now published at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat:

Wilde’s Fire by Krystal Wade is the first in a YA fantasy romance series with horror elements. In Wilde’s Fire, the gods have decided that it is time to bring Katriona back home to save her people from an invasive army of twisted creatures whose mysterious leader is known only as Darkness. Luckily, Katriona is not expected to save the world on her own. In Encardia she has magic, and she has Arland, who is sworn to protect her, and with Arland comes the rag tag army that he leads. The first book focuses on Katriona’s moral dilemma with her best friend, Brad, who has recently confessed his love for her, but who is abnormally possessive. Next to Arland, the young rebel leader that has graced Katriona’s dreams for years and who is tied to her by powerful magic, Brad doesn’t stand a chance. Now if only Katriona can find a way to tell Brad without breaking his heart and giving Darkness another soldier for his army.

Head on over to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat to read more!

P.S. In an upcoming interview, Krystal Wade referred to Wilde's Fire as dark fantasy, and I think that genre label fits very well. Enjoy!