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I made a mistake

It has been brought to my attention that in yesterdays blog post I came off as unhappy with the editor who is working on my book. I’d just like to say that I’m very sorry for coming across that way, and that was not my intention.

Yesterdays post was about three things. My insecurities about my writing. My progress in dealing with those insecurities. And the idea that not everyone is going to mesh well together. I’m constantly working on the first two, and I’d like to say that just because two people don’t agree on everything it doesn’t mean one is right or wrong, it just means they didn’t mesh together well enough on that topic. It happens.

In this case…the issues were mine. The edits were incredibly professional and very well done. Less than 12 hours after posting that post I got back my second round of edits with a very nice email saying how much she liked the magic system I developed for the story, and that those scenes were her favorite parts. These kind words provided a much needed boost to my confidence.

It’s true that we are all in different places along our paths in life/career. Some of us are at the point where we can just separate ourselves emotionally from the things we create. Some are able to say, “That is the work and this is me and the critiques I get on that thing aren’t personal in any way.” Some of us aren’t able to make that separation. This experience has taught me that I am somewhere in between, and I freely admit it.

Am I unprofessional? Hell yeah. Am I insecure? Two for two! But I’m learning, and that was the entire point of yesterdays post…that I didn’t take the criticism well. I failed, and I wanted to run like a dog with their tail between their legs but I wasn’t going to let myself give up.

My current editor is fantastic, and is making my story better. I don’t know if she “gets me” yet, we haven’t talked enough for me to know that. All I know is that her work, her edits, are good and she did nothing wrong. All the fault was mine, and mine alone.

All of us who deal with editors know that there are good ones, bad ones, and a range of editors in between. Finding the right editor to work with means looking for one that does a great job, who understands your work and understands you. This takes time, and a lot of trial and error.

So, again, I’m sorry if I came across the wrong way. I really didn’t mean for it to seem I was attacking or upset with anyone in any way. I was just expressing the frustrations that a lot of new authors (new anythings really) have when they come face to face with their insecurities. I hope I keep moving forward, making strides to break my insecurities. What I do know is that I’m going to continue to write about that progress here. I think admitting I have issues is the only way to overcome them.

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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in Personal Notes

 

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I want to quit

(I added an addendum to this, so you might want to read that as well.)

I want to quit. I want to pull all my books off the Internet, go curl up in a ball, and cry myself to sleep.

How dare I even try to write an entire book. Who am I to think my words would be worth reading. They are stupid, grammatically incorrect, full of inconsistencies and pov issues, unworthy of anyone ever reading, let alone actually paying for.

I knew a lot of this before I wrote a novel. I knew, for example, that I almost always miss compound words because I just don’t know when a word is a compound or when it is two words. I often over use commas (according to some), and I sometimes forget to add dialog tags because I just don’t think about it.

I knew all of that, and more, but I dared to write a novel anyway.

Then I got the edits back, and I struggled through them for days. I learned about dialect issues, and phrasing. I learned that subtle points of description are sometimes pov issues. I learned that words and phrases I use every day aren’t considered “proper English.”

When done with the edits I was exhausted, sad, and feeling like I made a mistake. I expressed my frustrations and heard “the editor is only trying to help” and then I went in my room, and I cried.

Editing hurts.

This was my first “professional edit.” I’ve gotten edits before, but this was completely different, and it hurt. It cut deep and it left me thinking “what the hell was I thinking trying to write a novel? You’re not good enough, Crissy. You don’t even speak proper English, how can you write it? You never should have tried this.”

I’ll be honest. I haven’t written anything in three days. I’m trying. I look at the page and all I see are all the mistakes. I can’t get out of editing mode and get back to writing. And yes, some of it is definitly self pity, but a huge part of it is just me unsure if I am good enough to do this thing that I’ve always wanted to do. Is there a good enough?

Every editor I’ve had before has added some encouraging comments. They said they liked a line, or I used that punctuation right, or when returning the manuscript there is a note just saying how much they really enjoyed it.

This editor did none of those things.

Gregg reassures me that the editor is doing their job. They are paid to edit, not hold my hand and encourage me. And I get that, I really do. But it doesn’t sting any less.

I want to quit. I want to run away and forget I ever tried this.
But I’m not going to.

I still think my stories are good stories. I still think they deserve to be told. I want them to get out and be read.

Maybe it’s the “professional writer” part I’ll reevaluate, and just be happy being a pulp fiction writer. It’s not a bad thing. I love pulp fiction books. Millions of people read pulp fiction every day. Maybe it’s not exactly what I wanted, but it beats not writing at all.

Am I happy I did the editing? Not today. Today I’m raw and hurt and unsure of everything I’m doing. Give me some time and maybe I will be.

Did I learn anything from it? Lots of things. In that way this experience was good for me. Hopefully it will make my writing stronger. Only time will tell.

Will I do this again?

I’ll be honest with you…My confidence is a fragile thing. Every time I get shredded like this I hear the ex husband in my ear telling me over and over and over that I’m not good enough. No one will ever love me. No one will ever want me. “Who told you to think that way?” I hear it, and slip back into the victim I use to be. I start feeling useless and worthless like I will never, ever, be good enough for anything. And I retreat into the shell I carefully built around me to keep from being hurt. It makes me want to quit.

So no, I won’t be doing this exact process again. I need the little bits of hand holding, and encouragement. I need to know that the person editing my work genuinely likes it so that when the red ink starts flowing it doesn’t hurt quite as much.

Maybe in a few years my nerves will be a little less raw and I can try again. But not now…not after this one.

And the best part? I have two more rounds of editing to go. I’m going to do it. I’m going to pull up my big girl pants and I’m going to wade through the red ink. Then I’m going to go cry a little more and do it all over again.

Because sometimes making good art hurts like hell.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in On Writing

 

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Editing

I dmerm curse cover2on’t do line edits on my work anymore. I pay someone else to do them. It’s better that way. Mainly because I always miss lots of things. The two words that sound the same but are spelled differently. The occasional word that is spelled right, but isn’t the right word. The wrong hyphenations. All things I have issues with.

I do try to fix them, and even have a little cheat sheet of past corrections that I can go through and search for. I also search for over used words, like “very” and “flooded”. Too much flowery language kills. Not enough bores.

What I do for my text is go back through and reread everything a couple of times and try to pick out sentences that just don’t sound right. Maybe the meaning is fumbled, or the wrong word was chosen. Maybe a sentence was placed in the wrong order.

The longer the project the more work I have to do like this. It’s annoyingly time consuming. With short stories I barely have to do any because the story is all right there and I’ve been reading over it constantly to write it so everything kind of just works. With a novel I’m only ready short bits of it at a time to help me write more in the section I need to complete, so sometimes I end up with inconsistencies, and whole paragraphs and pages out of order.

The chapter I am currently working on for Mermaid’s Curse has been in the works for a while. I started writing it at the end of January, then I got sick in February and wrote nothing, so this week I am finishing it. I’ve almost completed it and now I am going back through it and rearranging, adjusting, taking out, and in general… fixing it.

Now, this one chapter is over 6000 words already. It switches back and forth between Marizza, the main character, and Artiro. There is a lot of fighting, spell casting, curses, and creatures to keep track of. Of course I got some things wrong. I am going through tonight, since I have only two small sections left to write, and finding those words that are just inconsistent with the rest of the chapter. Pulling them out. And throwing them away. Still… the chapter is over 6000 words even after pulling out a few hundred of them because they just didn’t work. And I still have those two sections to write.

This novel … it’s a novel. A full length honest novel with a society, magic system, fully developed characters, mystery and more. And I’m so proud of it. I’m also SO HAPPY that it’s almost done and I will never have to read it again! (At least not until I start putting those finishing touches on book 2 and I need a refresher.)

A note about the cover… That’s a working cover and it will not be the finished one. I like it, but it isn’t quite… enough. Ya know?

Anyway, here is to hoping that next month I will be adding a vlog here where I am holding an honest to spaghetti monster BOOK in my hands.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Updates

 

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Venturing out of the Hobbit Hole

2015-01-27 00.23.12The books are here! And so are my tickets. I’m going to RadCon!

Oh God! I’m going to RadCon!

Okay Crissy, breathe, it’s okay. We can do this thing!

In all seriousness, I am excited and worried, and nervous all at the same time. I keep telling myself that this nervousness I am feeling isn’t anxiety over crowds of people I don’t know, no it’s EXCITEMENT. Because excitement is just as gut twisting and hard to deal with, but not as scary.

So, I’ve got the books, and maybe I should pack an overnight bag.

Also, writing is going swimmingly. I am back to my 1000 words a day, and feeling great about finishing a few more chapters. I have added another 8,000 words to Mermaid’s Curse since the beta reader made some suggestions. Wow, that’s a lot more then I thought, and I still have another 5-10k to go. The final scene I’m writing is, of course, a big battle scene that I’m leaving to the end because I dread writing battle scenes.

So… If you are at RadCon tweet me. Come say HI!. I’d love to meet you.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Updates

 

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Write, rewrite, write some more

So… I finished a book.

Then someone read it, and she gave me some critiques on said book. And now I’m stuck writing another 10-30k words.

To be fair, I could have said “no. You’re ideas are terrible. I don’t believe you. I’m gunna throw a tantrum and go over here in my corner and put up the book I WROTE because I WROTE IT!” Ya know… like ya do.

But her ideas and her insights were spot on. I found myself nodding along with everything she said. “This chapter is a little hard to follow the POV.” Okay, I can adjust that. “The book would be stronger if you added in this persons back story.” Okay, I have that and can add it. “We could connect to this character better if you showed her learning magic, not just bang and she has it.” Point. After point. After point.

This is my first experience with a beta reader. I’ve always just done what I could with a story and then set it out on it’s merry way to do what it could. I’ve also mostly stayed with short stories because they were easier to trouble shoot then entire novels. I have the story in my head. I know who does what when and for how long. I know about the first time they kissed, and the first time they cast a spell. But my reader doesn’t and it’s far too easy for me to forget what my reader doesn’t know. But the beta reader, especially one that hasn’t seen my notes or talked with me about what’s going on, they can tell me where the story lags, and what confused them. They can give me great insights.

So… Mermaid’s Curse book 1 isn’t as finished as I thought it was. I have to add a few chapters, a little foreshadowing, and rework a couple things. But over all I am happy with this, my first beta read. I think the book will be stronger, and people will love it all the more for this. Mainly… I think I will be proud of what I put out as a finished product. And I think I can do all of that in a month if I actually work on it.

KIDS ARE BACK IN SCHOOL! All of them as of tomorrow. YES! I can finally write full time (minus the day job) again! So awesome!

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2015 in On Writing

 

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The Story Writes Itself- NaNoWriMo Day 8

I’ve done a few interviews this month, and a common question is: “Are you a pantser or a plotter?”

It’s a good question. A lot of new writers struggle over this one, trying to figure out what works best for them. And in the end, that’s the real key; finding what works for you.

I am both. I write out some plots, and I know that the more detailed the plot the better writing the actual story is going to be. But while I am writing that plot out I am also writing some of the scenes, dialog especially, that will appear in the final version.

In fact a lot of my stories start with a conversation with two people concerning a person, place or thing.

But once you have your plot, and it’s marked out in detail, don’t be afraid to deviate from it. Let the story go where it wants to go. Sometimes it will just loop right back to the end. Sometimes you’ll find something was missing from the original plot. Every now and then you’ll discover an entire person missing from the plot.

This NaNoWriMo I started with a basic plot that outlined all the chapters. The first two chapters dealt with Marizza, a witch, and how she fell in love with a merman, and conceived Okira, the cursed mermaid. The novel was suppose to be about Okira, and her struggles.

As I wrote it I realized I was struggling because Marizza’s back story, and the world building, were just a little thin. So I set about exploring it one day thinking I would just add little bits to it later, but it would be just for my information.

The story didn’t want to go that way, Marizza was more important then I realized, and her story wanted to be told too. So “Mermaid’s Curse” is going to be in two parts, in one book.

At first I rebelled against this notion. It’s suppose to be a paranormal romance, and romances do not come in two parts, and they usually do not follow the lives of a mother, then a daughter. But I realized I had to let the story write itself. If I forced it to be something it wasn’t then it wouldn’t be as good a story.

The wonderful thing about being an indie author is I don’t have to conform to conventions. I don’t have an editor or publisher to answer to. I can just write the story and let it be what it wants to be.

So maybe the story is more epic fantasy then romance at times, and other times it’s more romance. The main plot of the first half is the romance developing between Marizza and a merman, and how the curse came about. The second half is about the romance between Okira and Brother Hawk, and how they defeat the kraken. In both cases there is a lot dealing with their love lives, so I’m still going with “paranormal romance” for now.

But if the story wants to be epic fantasy… well I guess that’s what it gets to be.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in NaNoWriMo, On Writing

 

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Writing Backwards

I had an unusual solution to an old problem today. I’m probably not the first person to come up with this, but I thought I’d share it anyway.

I was working on a chapter for “Forgotten Ones” in which the two fates, Maylin and Jadina, are walking down a tunnel in search of a particular creature that will hopefully lead them to the big bad guy. I knew how it began, and how I wanted it to end, but the middle… not so much.

So, I started writing it backwards. I read the last paragraph and thought “how do they get to this spot”, and add a paragraph describing that. Then write the paragraph, or mini scene right before that.

For example….

June is walking down a path, and knows that the monster under the bed is at the end of the path. She’s going to walk down the path, see some interesting things on the sidelines, and eventually end up at the monsters den. She goes in the den, there is a little fight, and June ends up sitting on top of the monster with the monsters feet tied up.

So, that is my beat. I write the first section with June walking through the woods, and entering the den, no problem. I am really good at that part. I write the ending with June sitting on the monster, and a little quip about the monster having too many hands and not enough brains. But in the center I just have “battle”.

Battle scenes are the hardest scenes for me to write, which is annoying since a lot of my books have them. But what are you going to do… unless I try and find myself a co-author I’m stuck for it.

So, with this particular story that I am just making up on the spur of the moment, if I try writing it backwards as I just did with “Forgotten Ones” I would think… How did she get on top of the monster? Well clearly she had to have all his hand already captured so the paragraph before would be her locking up the last hand, then swinging her leg over the beast and having a seat.

Then what happened just before that? Well, it has a lot of hands, so she is going to have to dodge them as she is tangling them up in a long ribbon. (This is where I just realize she has a ribbon to tie up the hands.)

Before that, there needs to be some tension. Maybe the monster grabs her ankle and drags her down, and she manages to get herself loose by tickling him.

And just keep going backwards until I have a full story. (On a side note, this sounds like a fun story to write as a children’s book with pictures. Maybe some day.)

In other news…..

I now have nine books available on Kobo. I have two more in queue to be on Kobo, but they are coming.

“Forgotten One” is now 25,000 words long, and I am a little half way through the final edits. Plus the two chapters with battle scenes that I have to finish… sigh.

“Potion Shop” is almost done, also. I really need to just get that out there. Perhaps this weekend.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in On Writing

 

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