writing: June & July update

writing

So all plans re: blogging/vlogging/social media were tossed out the window in July. But that’s ok—the writing is strong and the words are coming. Unexpected circumstances aside, this draft will be done by the end of the month…

Now, for the stats:

  • Words (re)written in June: 16,888
  • Words (re)written in July: 33,609

good job, self. keep at it.

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writing: Crown of Ice, Crown of Air, a summary

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Summaries are difficult. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Writing a summary on something I’ve been working on for nearly 4 years, that’s a whole other level.

I’ve written and rewritten this manuscript multiple times. I’ve edited and restructured. I’m looking at more edits to come. Though the details may change, the story remains. So, today, I’m being brave and putting my little draft of a blurb out into the world. No going back.

The day Siobhan tried to kill her, Anúna swore she’d never return. Never seek her power. Never seek her crown. Three years she’s locked her truth away, hiding in the mortal realm, letting the iron drain her magick and steal her power. But Siobhan will not rest and Anúna knows it. Now, the walls she’s built are starting to crumble and her wards are beginning to fray. It’s only a matter of time before Siobhan finds her. When Marek, Anúna’s friend and mentor, and erstwhile leader of the Queen’s guard comes to call, Anúna is forced to make a choice—-take back the crown she lost or leave the realm at her sister’s mercy.

Crown of Ice, Crown of Air is a story of magick and power, love and war… about finding yourself and something worth fighting for.

It needs work, but it’s a start. I also keep debating whether Air or Ice should be first… that’s a whole other set of concerns.

writing: in the middle of things

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I am in the middle of things. I have a solid plan for the next stage of reading/editing/drafting/that mess we call writing, but I’m also in a brain storm of ideas for the next part… When I started working on Anúna (which finally has a working title! to be revealed soon!), I imagined it as a standalone, but it’s grown beyond the borders of its little plot and become something more. I now see it as a set, complete in two parts but with possible side stories that can be developed in future. The main story has evolved into something grander than my original notion, starting with a major change in the ending between drafts 2 and 3, the roots of which took hold as I neared the end of draft 4.The idea is starting to evolve and I see it becoming my next major project (to be outlined and planned for NaNo 2016, because we all know I thrive on deadlines). At this stage, I am focusing on finding readers for draft 4 and gathering feedback for the next draft. I also plan on immersing myself in all their is to know about the query process and all the ins and outs of submission. I am nothing if not a researcher and it’s time I started looking at the business side of writing more thoroughly.

So that’s the latest. Letting things simmer while I explore new possibilities and learn all the things.

in which I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck

This post was going to be about something completely different but I feel like I’ve reached the Pits of Despair! All that energy I had last week? Well, it’s gone. I’m totally riding the “I need a nap” stage of the Whole 30. I was floating along and then BAM! Everything hurts and I just want to crawl back into bed. Not much else to report. Sticking to it, but really hoping this wave will wear off soon.

Writing wise, things are progressing and I’m making good time with my revisions. I have a conference to attend in June (and my birthday!), so my goal is to be done with this draft before then. I don’t want to even look at Scrivener during that time.

I’ve also been looking into tips and tricks for vlogging. I have a rather nice camera, but it does not have a flip screen, so I’m going to give the mirror trick a try. If anyone has any other suggestions, let me know in the comments :). I would like to improve and avoid the weird staring into space face that I make when I use my iPad.

chipping away: writing and small assignments

Met my first draft milestone! Only one week behind (but not bad, especially since I flaked out during the first week in February and did NOTHING). Just completed Ch. 8, which was my February goal for the first third of the draft rewrite. Chapters 9 through 11 are going to be a doozy, but here’s hoping that I meet my next small assignment goal by the end of March (rework 9 through 11 and get through 15, if all goes well). My large goal is to have a complete draft by the end of April, though I gave myself some room to revisit chapters and revise details. My self-imposed deadline is June 20th (my birthday, when I will take a well-deserved break from life in general).

i did the thing

I finished Draft 3 on Saturday… and though I know there are more edits to come (including some changes to the opening chapters), it’s such a huge relief to know that I managed to get this done despite all the complications, drama, life fiascoes, and sleepless nights. It’s done. For now. But it’s done.

I’m going to enjoy this short reprieve and look forward to getting to know some new characters in November.

picking up old [writing] habits

I’ve been easing my way back into a regular writing routine. Looking through my progress calendar, there are a lot of gaps starting in mid-April, most of May, and the beginning of June. I started the year strong, but struggled with some life drama and other issues along the way that made writing less of a priority. Not an excuse, just a fact. I post these updates as a way to stay accountable, even if no one else is holding me to task. There are days when I just want to stop, but there’s this need that keeps me from doing that… it’s a compulsion at this point; even when I’m not writing, I’m picturing scenes in my head. If only it weren’t so hard to take what I picture and put it into words.

By my count, it takes me about a week to edit and rewrite each chapter (except, not really… at least, not if I tally up the number of days when I engaged in some form of active rewriting, but it’s a good estimate based on the average time spent on each chapter). My goal was to be done (DONE) by May. Then it was June. Things happened. Things didn’t happen. Here we are. I’ve decided to stop working towards an arbitrary date and take this “bird by bird,” as Anne Lammott says. I have four chapters left and another round of reading through the early chapters (my editing style changed midway through this draft and I find that later chapters received better treatment). At this point, I just want to get it all down.

I read somewhere that writers should read in-genre for every 2000(?) words, 20000(?) words written. Something like that. Whatever the number is, I should be reading in genre. So I’ve started making a concerted effort to read more fantasy, particularly more magical, elemental magic type fantasy. Uprooted really sparked my desire to write, as well as Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy (why were these waiting on my shelf for so many years?!). The only trouble arises when all I want to do is kick back and read, but that’s what happens when you’re a total book nerd.

what happened (and didn’t happen) in March…

March wasn’t a particularly good month for writing. My initial goal was to get through chapter 15, but I soon realized this wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I rewrote chapters 8-14, turning five chapters into three, rewriting some major plot points and leaving me with a much better storyline (IMHO). I’m two chapters behind, but I’m not complaining. I’m still on track to meet my self-imposed deadline, and the rest of the it should be a straight rewrite, rather than a major scrap session.

In the meantime, I’m taking a break until Sunday. I haven’t felt well for a few weeks; in part because of the amount of noise and dust I’ve had to deal with at work, and partly because I haven’t been as mindful in taking care of myself. I can’t write well if I don’t feel well and it’s starting to show. To remedy this, I’ve started cleaning up my diet and switching up my habits to get back to a healthier, happier state. I know my triggers, and I really do need to be more vigilant if I want to be my best self.

In other news, proofs for the academic manuscript are in, and I saw one of my professional reviews in the wild. Totally made up for a weird acceptance/rejection for an article I co-authored with two of my library pals. It came down to a “rewrite it and we’ll review it” decision, but there was a note about the need to have the paper edited by a native speaker that really rubbed me the wrong way. My name was listed as main author because my co-authors said I motivated them to write, but my actual contribution to the manuscript was the least significant in terms of content… the assumption that it was written by a non-native speaker could only be in reference to my last name, which really galls me. It’s the first time I’ve had something like this happen within an academic context, though I’m sure it’s a common occurrence.

in which a decision is made

I’ve decided against participating in NaNoWriMo next month (next week, really). It kind of feels like quitting before giving myself a chance, but I know it’ll be a while before I’m done with the changes to draft 2 and even the energy of the WriMo community can’t change that… so I’m going to suck it up and push on without the instant-gratification of word counters and group encouragement. If all goes well, I’ll be able to join Camp NaNo with a new project.

In the meantime, I’m working and mulling things over (there is a lot to be mulled). Major changes are happening–plot-wise that is–and new directions are being discovered. At this rate, I think it’ll be at least another month before the paper draft is edited, and then another 2-3 before all the changes are applied to the digital draft. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to use some vacation time in the spring and give myself a writer’s staycation.

I’m trying to catch a second wind with this project. There are some days when it feels like I’ve been working this draft to death and I don’t want to spend another minute in Anuna’s head, but then I find myself doing research on magic, or plants, or myths, and I just want to rush back in as an element that was nagging at me suddenly falls into place. It’s a love-hate situation.

catching up

I’ve had one too many family crises this year. It comes of being surrounded by elders, but I just don’t think I can handle another one this year. Let’s just say the last week had me rushing across Miami at frantic speeds. I had a checkup today and decided to take the rest of the day off for a rest rather than try to force myself to get back to work and put in an extra three hours. Been there, done that; I’ll take the sick hours. Not that I’ve been lazing around. I took advantage of the afternoon to catch up on the chapter I was editing last week and realized that I’m half-way through the draft. I’ve been outlining major events and noticed that the scene I just read marks a natural transition between the two halves of the novel. Outlining definitely helps.

Urgh… my neighbors are standing outside my window talking. Hate it when they do that. Sometimes wonder if they have jobs because they have the weirdest schedules. Sigh. Can’t think through the murmur of voices.