Adventures in re-writing, part 4

Writer’s Block struck this month. Between family medical dramas and too much writing at work, the idea of squeezing in time to write before or after work was a joke. Not only have I been dealing with too many life issues, professional writing tends to put me in a frame of mind that creeps into my creative writing and leads to some terribly dry prose. It was not a good place. But I’ve managed to break past it! Today, I had a major breakthrough in my writing (well, major for me) and finally got through one of the most important transitions in Cassiel–getting Cassiel out of London and on her adventure!

So how did I do it? I tried to find inspiration in other places. I turned to research. I became obsessed with train schedules and sweated the small stuff. I also made time to get away from the house and took my writing outside–to Starbucks, to the boy’s house, and to work. Sometimes, a change of scenery (both mental and physical) is all it takes. Sometimes, you need a bigger push. I’m hoping to steer clear of those times that require a greater push.

I’m still making good time and will try to continue to do so in order to meet my goal of 50K by June 20. With today’s sessions, I have just over 35K words. It was a good day 🙂

Cassiel, rewrite draft 1

About Cassiel

With her family and fortune gone, sixteen-year-old Cassiel Loriett is placed under the guardianship of the exacting Mrs. Maywoods, but there is more to her family’s fate than Cassiel knows and the only way to learn the truth is to solve the mystery herself. Willing to do whatever it takes to find out what really led to the loss of her father’s fortune and her mother’s unexpected death, Cassiel runs away with little more than her father’s journal a couple of clues, but first she has to stay away from Mrs. Maywoods and her brother, Mr. Stellworthy, who seems to take a strange interest in Cassiel’s position as the Maywoods’s erstwhile ward.

Finding herself on a quest, Cassiel ends up the unlikely resident of Walstone House–a derelict manor house run by Stephen Frye, and his cousins Christabella and Nathan Walstone, and owned by their reclusive grandfather, Pierce Walstone. Finding a friend and ally in Stephen, Cassiel sets on a journey that might mean losing it all, or finding herslf along the way.

A YA historical mystery set in late Victorian England.

A re-write in progress…

Follow my Cassiel writing updates here: http://things-she-said.org/tag/cassiel/

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Adventures in re-writing, part 3

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this writer is sooo tired

I’ve been a very bad noveler. I’ve not checked in as often as I told myself I would … but the words are coming along and that’s what counts, right? Right now, I just plodded through a morning writing session and managed a little over a thousand words. The story itself is moving at a faster pace than it did in the previous draft, but my writing itself has slowed down to  a snail’s pace. Them fingers are tired! Actually, I’m tired all over. Since the move, Didymus the Cat has become very demanding and has recently discovered the joys of waking me up between 3 and 4 am. And making me get up right when my alarm rings. I feel that I’m barely able to keep myself going on most days… and there’s work and workouts and life in general to contend with. I need a break sometimes and it seems I’ve been taking them more often than not. However, I am more than halfway to 50k, though I’m sure this will be a 60-70k novel. I’m trying to keep it within a reasonable word count for a historical YA, but a story is a story and sometimes it takes more to spin it than a measly 50,000 words.

Going historical was definitely the right thing to do. It’s allowed me to create a much more believable narrative (or so I tell myself), and the research gives me something to do when I’m too tired to right while still keeping me in a writing frame of mind. I do miss working on AnĂșna, however. These are two entirely different novels, so the one remains in the back of my mind even as I make progress with Cassiel. I told myself I would edit AnĂșna on the weekends, but that really hasn’t happened and I’m starting to think it will be best to continue writing and go back to editing while I let Cassiel sit (and marinade! go, terrible cooking metaphors!)

So that’s what’s happening in writing land. I need a nap. And I need to get to work. TTYL!

 

Cassiel, rewrite draft 1 (total word goal)

About Cassiel (an impromptu synopsis)

Her family dead and her life in shambles, sixteen-year-old Cassiel Loriett is placed in the care of Mrs. Maywoods, who loves to parade her around as the ideal charity case. But there’s more behind what happened to her family than Cassiel knows and the only way to find out is to solve the mystery herself. With the help of a few loyal sidekicks, of course.

A YA historical mystery set in late Victorian England.

A re-write in progress…

Follow my Cassiel writing updates here: http://things-she-said.org/tag/cassiel/

Adventures in editing, pt. 4

I just finished editing Chapter 5. I call it round 1.5 because I’ve found that I usually edit my edits, and make more edits, as I’m translating my changes from the manuscript to the digital copy. It’s a long process, but mostly fulfilling, especially when I come across lines I barely remember writing but which fill me with writerly hope.

It’s taken a lot longer than I anticipated when I started editing. I can’t even really say it’s because it’s been a slow editing process, it’s mostly just been a non-editing process. Things have happened. Other than the move, I mean. There have been several life events that have thrown me way off course, and brought on a lot more pain than I imagined. It’s been a rough year so far (and here I thought 2012 was bad). I’m trying not to let it stop me from working, but it’s hard when all I want to do is curl up with a book and forget that anything is happening in the real world.

I usually turn to Bridget Jones when I’m having a bad time, but both my novel and my movie are at my mom’s place, and I’ve been making due with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries instead. However, there is one piece of Bridget-inspired knowledge that I always remember…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.
― Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary

Right now, this is definitely true. I’ll just get back to editing.

AnĂșna: 1st Draft

About the project

AnĂșna is an adult, urban fantasy novel about rival Faerie Queens, fierce warriors, magic, mayhem, and the occasional lattĂ©. It is still in the writing stage.

Adventures in editing, pt. 3

I’m averaging 5 pages worth of edits (print to digital) an hour, but only managing to get in about an hour or two of edits on weekdays. It feels like trudging along at a snail’s pace, but I know I’m making the story better with every change. Gotta keep myself going. I’m still trying to work out the whole living on my own/fending for myself and writing bit. It’s very time-consuming to manage on one’s own.

I’ve also noticed that I haven’t said much about the plot, I guess because I was still trying to work some of that out by re-writing, but I think I’ve got it pretty much squared away now. The blurb I’ve been using sums up the idea of the novel as a story about two rival Faerie Queens, but it’s about more than that… AnĂșna and Siobhan are twins, a rare thing in my version of the Other realm. Unwilling to choose one daughter over the other, the King names them both Queen of the family Clan… but when one sister doesn’t like to share troubles are sure to arise. There are secret plots and deadly assassins and sexytimes galore (okay, not galore, it’s not that kind of book), and even a touch of the ol’ self-actualization.

And right now, I’m dying to finish editing it so I can finally get some reader feedback! Ugh, editing is the worst. *says the girl who wanted to be a professional editor*

I’ll try to vlog again soon. I’m still relying on a borrowed connection while I wait for my internets to be activated.

 

AnĂșna: 1st Draft

 

About the project

AnĂșna is an adult, urban fantasy novel about rival Faerie Queens, fierce warriors, magic, mayhem, and the occasional lattĂ©. It is still in the writing stage.

Adventures in editing, part 1

I’m a bit behind on my self-assigned editing schedule, but I just finished editing the first 5 chapters and will start making those changes on my digital draft tomorrow. I normally edit my “professional” writing straight on Word with track changes, but there’s something about editing fiction that is easier in print. I like being able to write in the margins and flip around as I take notes.

I’ve made some cuts and removed a few elements that didn’t add much to the story as a whole, but I know I will need a reader at some point to get some action/plot feedback. That’s kind of nerve-wracking. I have no idea where to begin with finding someone I trust as a reader. I respond well to critique, it’s something I learned to deal with in grad school, but who can I find who will be willing to spare the time to read AnĂșna? I don’t know where to start with that request.

Ugh! Too much to think about.

AnĂșna: 1st Draft post-NaNo update #5

A final toast t0 2012, and here’s looking to weeks of editing! AnĂșna draft 1 is complete! Yes! I didn’t meet my Christmas deadline, but I’ve been writing like mad for the last three days to meet my revised, year end deadline, and it paid off 🙂 . I clocked in at an estimated 85, 282 words. That’s 286 double-spaced pages. It’s a first draft and right now I am perfectly pleased with it. That will change, but it in this moment nothing can tear me down.

I also found a song that finally made me go, “Yes! That’s the one!” In lieu of a writing playlist, this is the song that drove me to finish this thing before midnight.

 

AnĂșna: 1st Draft – Status: Complete

About the project

AnĂșna is an adult, urban fantasy novel about rival Faerie Queens, fierce warriors, magic, mayhem, and the occasional lattĂ©. It is still in the writing stage.

You can read my updates by following the Anuna tag.

AnĂșna: 1st Draft post-NaNo update #3

I wrote! Yes! I missed seven whole days worth of writing between the flu, family disasters, and the dizziness that just wouldn’t go away (until it went away, of course). After working so hard to get in the habit of writing every day, it felt like a major let down to not write. I’m starting slow. Wrote a little over a thousand words, which is about an hour worth of writing. Finished up the scene that I had abrubtly abandoned and started the next chapter with a transition. My idea for the chapter is sort of fleshed out. Plotting has been easy with this one, which is more than I can say for my other project (which drove me mad with plotting and figuring out time and sequences of events). I’m going on a weekend trip to Disney and am telling myself that I will take my laptop, but… I’m realizing that’s really wishful thinking. The chances of my wanting to write while on vacation are slim. I’ll take my iPad from work and a notepad and it anything truly brilliant happens, I’ll write it down, but I’m not going to punish myself for this break. I will just promise to catch up on writing during my Christmas break.

And to keep myself accountable, I’m going to continue to post updates and take part in my own Great Noveling Adventure. Really, do check the Noveling Adventure. What they’re doing is fantastic and really inspiring.

AnĂșna: 1st Draft

About the project

AnĂșna is an adult, urban fantasy novel about rival Faerie Queens, fierce warriors, magic, mayhem, and the occasional lattĂ©. It is still in the writing stage.

You can read my updates by following the Anuna tag.

AnĂșna: 1st Draft post-NaNo update #2

The flu did me in so that I was barely able to move, let alone get any writing done during the last four days. I had one really great burst of writing the morning before my symptoms started up, and then I had some pretty interesting hallucinations involving writing while I was under the influence of just about every cold remedy in my medicine cabinet, but no actual progress was made after that. A complete first draft by Dec 25 is looking less likely. My energy is still nonexistent and I’m taking a trip to Disney this weekend with the boy (unless something terrible happens… please, don’t), so I’m thinking my progress is going to remain pretty stagnant. But the will remains!

Nevertheless, during my semi-OCDish review of my twitter feed while languishing in bed, I saw a challenge posted by the NaNo moderators, urging Wrimos to write a dust cover blurb for their novel. Somehow, I grabbed pen and paper and wrote this down.

Two Queens, One Throne. A Tale of Magic and Treachery.

Twins born to the King and Queen of Clan Siggel, AnĂșna and Siobhan were destined to rule the Clan as one. When Siobhan’s desire for power leads her to view AnĂșna as an enemy and a usurper, it is up to AnĂșna to fly or fight. Magic, romance, danger, and murder abound as AnĂșna struggles to restore balance to the Other realm and regain what was hers.

Whoever said sisters are supposed to be the best of friends?

It doesn’t say much… but I’m still working on how to tell people about it. And that’s one of the major challenges of being a writer, right? Just learning how to talk about what you’re writing. It’s an urban fantasy. It’s mostly set between New York and what I alternately call the Other realm, Faerie, or the Ethereal Lands (the final term will probably be the Other realm. It’s one of the things that I knew I would be changing while I was writing). And it’s about power (and those who seek it *insert mad cackle*), and AnĂșna finding her way and challenging her sister. It’s also very much what I hope is a modern fantasy with strong female characters. I want no wilting flowers here. And it’s still a ways away from being finished, though I do know where it’s going… I kind of can’t wait to get there. I’ve found that I’m a bit of a sadist when it comes to doing bad things to my characters. What fun!

And, yes, they’re Queens, not princesses.

TTFN!

Where it stands: 1st Draft

Post-NaNoWriMo update #1

I’m writing, but it’s not pretty. I’ve got germy people all ’round and a massive bruise on my shin (tripped while getting into the shower). I’m in a losing battle with my body. And let us not speak of other things that are bringing me down, they are of an unspeakable nature. I’ve also found that I can’t keep my NaNo writing binge going at full speed. For one, my lunchtime has been lost to finals week reference madness! Last month, I was managing about 40 minutes of writing a day during my break, but I’m back to sneaking a quick bite between projects and reference sessions :(. I’m mostly writing in the evenings now, which always affects my productivity. It’s like working two jobs  and finding that I’m my own worst boss. I’ve also been trying to sneak in reading time for pending reviews, and workout sessions to make up for bad behavior (i.e. holiday party treats). I need a holiday. A real one this time.

*grumble grumble*

I’m crampy and moody and AnĂșna is making my head hurt.