Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking back--stumbling forward

 Yes, it’s that time of year when we all look back at what we’ve done (or haven’t done ;)) and look forward to what we will do.

I was thinking about this past year for me as a writer-- it started out with heart break as an agent I really admired “loved my book” but had to pass since she didn’t think humorous fantasy would sell.  I disagree on that front, but I know agents have to do what they need to do to survive.  Then, an editor LOVED my space opera, said how awesome it was, etc…and that he was passing on it because he had too many equally awesome books signed up.

Those two actions really changed things for me.

One- it was nice, REALLY nice, that two professionals thought highly of my work.  Two- it really made me seriously think about self-publishing. My work was there, but NY wasn't.  I realized that money and pride were really the two biggest things holding me back- aka- self-pubbing right, takes money and my little child-writer voice wanted to be validated by having the full traditional package.

But I had been validated, and have been previously.  I am a writer.  Some may love my work, some not so much- but I AM a writer.  I started to believe it on the heels of two painful rejections.

At that time I picked March 1, 2015 as the start of my self-publishing empire.  I wanted to have excellent covers, find some awesome editors, and get the first three books in my humorous fantasy series out a few months apart from each other. (Which meant having them done well before publishing started ;)- hence the year "wait").

I’ll admit I’ve had some issues, really started doubting myself a few times. I kept marching forward, but there were plenty of stumbles along the way. But NaNoWriMo kinda kicked me back in gear and I am within a few weeks of completing the rough of book 2, have found an artist I really like and who will hopefully be able to make cover magic for me, and have been finding editors to help along the way.

Will I make it by March 1?  Who knows.  But I have faith I WILL make it.  And I will just keep writing and publishing on my own terms.

Happy New Year's!  Make sure 2015 is your best year ever- ON YOUR TERMS!  :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cutting a plot

As many of you know, I did another NaNoWriMo this year.  I was working on The Obsidian Chimera, the second book in The Lost Guardians series that starts with The Glass Gargoyle- aka the one with the drunken faeries ;).

I've been reading what I have so far, NaNo is so fast I don't really read what I write, and I have to say--it ain't bad.  In fact, it's feeling like a nice solid book baby!  

But there was one sub-plot that kept haunting me, and not in a good way.  It's an emotional thread and just felt out of place.  I still like it, I think, but after a few days thinking about it I've realized it doesn't feel right in this book.  This is a trilogy (or possibly a pair of trilogies) and the third book already has a darker feel (things go from bad to worse to worser (yes, it's a word- I say so ;)) so this thread might feel more natural there. 

I liked it when I added it in, and in theory liked it when I thought about it.  But when I read it, it just felt shoved in.  Plot-wise, it fits, there's nothing jarring about it.  It was just more at a gut level that I felt like I was already trying to find ways to work around it.

So, I'll be yanking the sucker out and setting it aside for possible inclusion in book 3.  I did already write the ending of The Obsidian Chimera, and the string does play a part there, so I'll have some fixing to do, but I already feel better that I'm removing it.

What about you?  Ever have to rip out a sub-plot or character because they just weren't doing it for you?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Today's post is more about writers and even non-writers, than writing.  It's about deciding who and what we want to be, then making plans to get there.

AKA- goaling.

Not making a goal, that sounds too stagnate and stationary, but goaling (yes, I made it up, it's one of the perks of being a writer- we make up words ;)).  Goaling refers to building a goal system that grows and changes as the goals change and as we change.

And yes, I'm looking at goals when everyone is in a holiday madness.  I hear you yelling, "I do that on January 1st!  Not now!"  But that's the great thing about goaling, it never ends and starts whenever you start.

The idea of making resolutions, hard and fast lists that most will lose after a few days, doesn't work for many folks- if they work for you- awesome!  Keep doing them.  But if they don't, I propose goaling as an option.  Now, you could start your goaling now- planning the up coming year, and just be in "training" mode for Jan 1.  That way you're kind of doing both and you'll possibly have a better success rate than the just starting/planning/ everything on Jan 1 folks.

How do you start goaling?  I'm glad you asked. :)

1)  Look at your entire life and see what's working and what you think could be better.  Write those down.

2)  Where do you want to be a year from now on all aspects of your life?  Write those down.

3) How can you make things better for others in the coming year?  Write that down. (yes, goaling is sneaky, because making things better or helping others actually makes YOU feel better this will help keep you moving towards your own goals.)

4)  Write down anything else you think might be helpful, cute, funny, or challenging in the next year.

Now look at those things, all your nice lists- make sure they include everything you want to move towards this year (you can do further if you want).  Start at the end goal- 12 months from now (or your start point if you are delaying it ;)).  I put it at the top of a big sheet of paper with twelve lines I use one of those oversized paper pads.  Then below it, write what would be where you would be the month before it, and so on.  At the bottom is your start point.  I do one sheet per goal.  Now you do have a list, but at anytime you are allowed to change that list.  Make a new one.  In fact, you should be reviewing the goals and steps each month at least.  List not working?  Revamp and move on.

The idea of reminding yourself that adjusting goals, or the path is allowed, removes the whole "oops- broke my resolution, might as well give up."  You CANNOT fail your goals as long as you keep moving and keep adjusting them. As long as you are moving forward you can't fail ever- you're just adjusting things.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG: Stop! NaNo recovery in process

Welcome to another installation of the Insecure Writer's Support Group!  This is a wonderful blog collection of writers for all over the world and in all stages of their careers who get together to share their writing hopes and fears- join us!

Today I'm talking about stopping.  Just stopping.  Not stopping, wandering away, and not coming back-- but take a step back in a project, surveying the work done so far, and then moving back on with it.

Yup- another NaNoWriMo has come, gone, and been won.  Now thousands of writers are left with these huge piles of words, friends and families who haven't seen them for a month, and possibly a serious caffeine addiction.

And no clue as to what come next.

I'm not going to go into the "don't send anything out for a long time" spiel-pretty sure all of you know that (if you don't-- just don't send NaNo work out until you've worked on it- A LOT).

No, I'm dealing with the weird feeling of having pulled that hand-break on the madness that is writing 50,000 words in 30 days and trying to get my brain to slow down.

For those who haven't NaNoed, it's sort of like you've been running everyday for 30 days.  No time to look at the scenery, or where you've been. You build coping mechanisms to get just one more mile out of tired legs and an exhausted spirit. You. Just. Keep. Moving.

Until you stop.

That stopping is sort of a shock.  You knew it would end, in fact often times you were praying for it to end.  But when the end comes it's a bit of a shock.  You can keep trying to move forward at that same breakneck pace (and kudos for you if you can- I hit 50,000 two days early and did NOT keep going ;)), or run away screaming swearing to never write again, or stop and take a look at what you've wrought.

So this week I'm stopping.  I'm taking a breather, trying to put my head around what I did, and make plans for moving forward.  I was a NaNo rebel this year, I have a timeline for three books to come out next year and was already about 24,000 words into the second book in the series when Nov 1 rolled around.  So my 50,000 for NaNo was on top of the 24,000 already created.  For those of you who don't think in word counts- that means right now I'm at 243 pages total (what I had plus NaNo) out of a probably 330-350 page book.

I'm now starting at the beginning and doing a "what do we have here" edit. Not a heavy edit, but just trying to catch mistakes, make notes on characters and sub-plots, and give my brain time to process what it created during 30 days of madness.

I have to say so far, I'm pleasantly surprised :).  I'm enjoying going over the chapters this way and will get back to writing at a more normal pace once my review is done.

But there is still a little part of my brain yelling, "What's the word count now?!  Must write faster! No reading!  No editing!  MOVE IT!"  I know from past years, as November moves further away that voice will die down.  But right now I just smile at it, thank it for the awesome words it created, and continue to stop and smell the story :).

Happy IWSG day!  And if you NaNo'd whether you won or not- congrats!