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The Walk of Shame

February has been the WORST month for writing since… well since I first got this new job. Even on the months that I had bronchitis and whooping cough I managed to write more than this month.

Total word count for Feb 2017: 4006

There are four days left. Four days to try and redeem myself, to try and push through this lethargy and get writing again. And I think I know what it is, what’s “blocking” me. It’s this novel. I’m getting toward the end where I have to re-read everything and make sure the plot stays consistent, and the grammar isn’t HORRIBLE. I have 17 of 22 chapters finished, and the last few chapters I’m just filling in the spaces that I didn’t write on the first run through. So I’m almost there.

The endings are always the worst. I have had to push myself to complete the ending of every single book that I’ve ever finished. Even the short stories have issues. Something about the completion of a book, the final words being put on the screen, that scares me. I mean all those little pieces I didn’t write on the first pass, I didn’t write them for a reason. They didn’t come as easy for me as the rest. They interrupted the flow of words. And now I have to face those spots and tackle them. And when I’m done I have to let go, send it to an editor, and maybe…maybe…PUBLISH IT!

But first I have to finish it. I want book one, at least the first run, done in the next two weeks. I only have five chapters, there is no reason I should’t be able to do a chapter every other day. TWO WEEKS CRISSY! That’s all you have! Get writing!

Then book two, which currently has 9 of 28 chapters finished. that one is going to take some reworking to get into the right order, and make sure everything makes sense, and timelines are good. After finishing the first nine chapters I realized I had a bunch of time that wasn’t accounted for, and that the main character, Sybel, isn’t shown learning about her powers, or growing. It was more just assumed. Which doesn’t work. Show don’t tell. So I added some chapters, plot points, and character development for not only Sybel but all the people around her. Fleshed out the world a bit.

I love this new series. I want to put it out there and start sharing it with everyone. I just need to get my butt in the chair and finish it.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in On Writing, Personal Notes

 

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Progress

Writing isn’t happening tonight so I thought instead I’d give some updates and let others know what’s going on in my neck of the woods.

First, I have a full house. My daughter came home from school for the holidays so there is always someone in my living room. If it isn’t her it’s my son, who is also off school, or my boyfriend who changed his hours at work. That means recording my videos for youtube, and booktube especially, has become difficult. I’m going to have to set aside a day to do that.

January 4th will be the first episode of the “Bradbury Challenge”. More on that next month.

As for the progress on the third, and final novel of the “Witch’s Trilogy”… It’s so close to being done. I hate this part the most. When you’re close to finishing a project (i’m talking 95% finished here) and all you have to do is put in those last few chapters. It feels like you should be able to just do it, and check off each chapter. But then you sit down to write it and you realize that each of these chapters has something wrong with them, or something difficult to write.

For me it’s the fight scenes. It’s always been the fight scenes. I have to puzzle out all the moves in my head and write them out in a list, then rewrite everything as a story. It’s probably not the most efficient way of writing them but it works, and the results get me lots of compliments. But I’ve noticed that when I read I tend to gloss over the fight scenes and just pick up the highlights. I don’t care for the fight scenes in book form. I don’t even know if I care for them that much in a movie or TV show unless they really stand out for some reason (like the epic battle in Dare Devil.) Most of the time you already know who is going to win, and it’s just a matter of how. So the struggle becomes “how do I make this interesting.” And I’m not good at that…yet. I recognize that fault and so I struggle with them. I try not to write stories that contain fight scenes, but I’m dealing with epic magic and sword battles here, they are unavoidable.

I suppose I need to find some well written fight scenes to read for encouragement. Till then I need to finish this damn book.

Gregg wanted me to finish it by the end of the year. That leaves two more days to finish it. I have six chapters that I need to complete, each of which is about half finished. That’s still another 5000 words or so to completion. Can I do it in two days? I don’t think so, but I’m going to try. I’d like to get at least half of them finished, and then the entire novel complete by the end of the first week in January.

What comes after “Witch’s Stand”? More writing, of course. I have a lot of things planned for 2016. For right now I think I’m going to try and get a few more words before I finally give into the pillow calling my name.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in Updates

 

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Writing a Novel

The last year finally paid off. A novel that had been stewing in the back of my mind for the last several years. The novel, Mermaid’s Curse, started out as a simple thing. The name, actually. A cursed mermaid, never allowed to fall in love least she die, and Brother Hawk, a man cursed to be a hawk, and suffer the will of the priesthood who visited inhumane tortures on him for centuries.

I finished the first book of the trilogy today. The last stubborn chapter that kept whispering that it needed to be there, but wouldn’t tell me why it needed to be there until just last week. It is the third novel that I’ve completed. It actually has a few threads in common with the first book I wrote (the one that died in the computer crash.) I subconsciously picked out the best parts of that novel and used it in this one.

With each novel I’ve learned something about myself, and my writing habits. With this particular completion I learned quite a bit more then ever before.

Mermaid’s Curse: Book 1 is just over 50,000 words. It took almost a year to complete. Keep in mind that I started Mermaid’s Curse as a single book and it has since become a trilogy. Book 2 is now just over 50,000 words, as well, and should be about 52,000 words when finished. Book 3 is currently 5000 words of plot. It’s going to be at leas 50-60,000 words when finished. That’s a lot of writing. 50,000 of which was done just last November during NaNoWriMo.

What I learned: 

You can’t force the story sometimes. I had everything finished for Book 1 except for one small chapter. I agonized over that chapter for a while, added a few words, added some notes, deleted them, and wrote some more. But the chapter sucked no matter how I wrote it. Something was missing, and I didn’t know what.

So I skipped ahead, wrote some other chapters, finished whole scenes and gave up on that one chapter. I even tried cutting that chapter out because if it was that horrible and boring it probably didn’t need to be in the book, right? Wrong. Without that chapter linking the rest of the book together the story kind of had an abrupt shift that felt ungainly and… just wrong.

So that chapter sat in the back of my mind for months while I polished off other chapters, rewrote sections, and decided the novel was actually a trilogy. Then one day I was taking a shower and think about another problem chapter and it was like magic. All the pieces slid into themselves.

Oddly enough the pieces fell into place because I started plotting the third book. As I plotted the third book I saw more of the world, saw new characters, and realized what needed to happen at the end of Book 2 to make Book 3 carry on. It was always the end of the books that gave me the most trouble. Once I figured out the end of Book 3 the chapters for Book 2, and that one stubborn chapter from Book 1 just snapped into place. I wrote 2000 words that night just trying to get down all the plot points so I knew what to write the next day.

Really, the thing that did it in the end was just keeping the story in the back of my mind while I went about the rest of my day. Jotting down ideas helped a little, but when it finally snapped into place it had nothing to do with forcing it, and everything to do with just letting it happen naturally.

Scheduling

The next thing I learned was about time. You only have so much. Use it wisely.

I can’t tell you how many times I sat down to the PC and my daughter would suddenly need to use the computer, or my son would need help with homework, or my boyfriend would just need attention. Families take a lot of time and energy, and they are so worth it. But this means that taking those moments you get to write, pouncing on them and using them to your advantage means EVERYTHING. Even the few minutes you have on a car trip to think about the story and come up with a plan to jot down on a note is better then nothing at all.

Finishing

Finishing feels SOOOOOO GOOD. (Yes, read that however you want.)

When I finally completed that chapter that I had been stuck on for a year I was so excited. I almost wanted to dance for joy. I texted four people and told them I’M FINISHED! I was that happy.

Whatever you’re working on, finish it. Doesn’t matter if it’s terrible, if you have to throw it out and start over, or if you just want to burn it in a fire. Finish it. That sense of completion will give you more inspiration and perseverance then all the self help and uplifting posters with kitties hanging in there that you will ever see.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in On Writing

 

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Perspective

scarecrowPerspective is a tricky thing. In drawing you pick a point in the distance, and you draw everything angled toward that point. But in life?

I’ve been working on “Mermaid’s Curse” since last November. I had written a really basic 1000 word plot before then, but I really started working on it during NaNoWriMo. Now that NaNo is just a month away I am acutely aware of the fact that it’s been almost a year and my novel isn’t finished yet.

But let’s get some perspective. This is the third novel I’ve written. The first two took me five years each to complete, and the first was TERRIBLE. The second is still sitting on my hard drive awaiting a day when I might finally be able to fix it, because it’s a good story, I just wasn’t a good writer when I wrote it.

“Mermaid’s Curse” is now 93,000 words long. It’s the longest single work of fiction I’ve ever written. And I think it’s good. Okay, it needs editing, and maybe a little trimming here and there, but I wouldn’t be embarrassed to let people read it. More importantly: I’m almost done with it.

I’m seven chapters away from pushing the novel away and saying “YAY! It’s done! I can give it to the editor and not look at it again for a while!”

Self imposed deadlines tell me I’m slow, lethargic even, as I watch other writers churn out thousands of words a day while I barely manage 500. That critical voice tells me I should have had this done MONTHS ago as I still struggle over how to write the final battle scene.

But one year is so much better than five! I should be excited and happy, even a little proud of myself that I am writing as quickly and well as I am at the moment. Not only did I write thirty-seven chapters of high fantasy adventure, I did a full edit on thirty of those chapters, and polished them as well as I was able. Seven more chapters, and a final polish, and it will be FINISHED. In a year.

When I take a step back and get some real perspective it makes me excited for the next project. Each one goes a little faster, so maybe the next novel will be done in six months. The next one after that in three. One step at a time.

If something isn’t quite going the way you want it to just take a step back and look at it from a different angle. Maybe from a new perspective there is still something good about the situation. Lost your sock? SHOPPING!  Lost a job? Great time for a new one. Computer blew up? You needed an upgrade anyway. Computer crashed and you lost your almost complete novel? (Okay that one sucks, go back up your novel right now!)

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in On Writing

 

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