post-January writing update :)

‘allo there dear readers and fellow writerly types! How was your January? Because mine was pretty productive… at least, that’s what my writing calendar says. I started keeping a writing calendar last year–just bought a cheap desk calendar from the Target $1 bins and started noting every time I wrote, even if it was just a 10 minute quickie. It’s a great motivator and makes me accountable to myself… kind of like logging work hours with visual appeal and stickers (!).

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February is coming along well. Reminding myself that I’m doing this for me and only me at this stage keeps the self-doubt to a healthy minimum, so I’m not turning into a puddle of anxiety on days when I don’t have the time or energy to write (again, calendar shows those instances aren’t as often as I fear). At this pace, I should be finishing up the draft sometime within the next 2-3 months. My revision has evolved into a major rewrite with plenty of new characters and plot elements. My world-building is all the better for these changes and I find myself learning more about existing characters’ motivations and personas. Of course, I worry that I’m going in too many directions, but outlining each chapter helps me stay on target even when surprises turn up.

On a side note, I’m also working on a chapter for a potential future academic publication on writing. It’s a collaboration and I was invited to write a piece on editing and revision… because I do an awful lot of that on a daily basis (and not just for my writing). It’s forced me to really consider how revision works, which has proven useful for my current project.

Here’s looking to mad writing and strong plots.

in which I flirt with total madness – a (re)writing update

It’s almost October, which means… dun dun dun… NaNoWriMo is right around the corner! Which REALLY means, I’ve been working on Anúna for a year (I also may have hit on a potential title, but that’s a story for another day).

A YEAR.

Just let that sink in.

Though, in all honesty, I shelved it for well over 6 months while working on Cassiel, but a year is a year. That’s a lot of time spent in front of a screen/in my head developing this project. And it’s still in a fairly rough, messy, first draft state. There are days when opening my printed copy just makes my chest hurt… there’s a little twinge every time I think about having to rewrite/rethink/redraft another chapter. Writing is hard, lonely work, but re-writing just feels ten times more soul-crushing. This is when I see what I’ve written and think Gah! What was I thinking? (Though there are some moments when I’m skipping along going Tra-la-la, I’m a literary genius. Admittedly, these are few and far between–there is a lot more anguish than happy skipping.)

I love writing. There are stories inside me that need telling. But there are some days when I really question my sanity. Days when I come home from work and the last thing I want to do is open my laptop and stare at a screen for another 2-3 hours before going to bed.

It’s hard.

It’s hard to write and even harder when I don’t.

I really am my own worst enemy in this. No one can make me feel as guilty as I can when I don’t write because, when all is said and done, I’m the only person who really cares whether or not I meet my goal. I’m the only one who can own this thing.

What I’m really having a hard time with is balancing writing and everything else. I can’t write for hours at a time. I physically can’t do it. There are only so many hours I can take in front of a screen, cramped up into whatever position I curl myself into, trying to make my fingers go as fast as my thoughts, before I feel mentally and physically exhausted. It just doesn’t work for me. There are too many demands on me–from work, family, Didymus (the cat rules all)–and no matter how well I manage my time, there just isn’t enough. I would love to be able to shell out more than a couple thousand words a day (and those are the good days), but I’m more of a write-in-bursts sort of person. I guess it works for me right now, but there I still have this uncomfortable feeling that I should be doing more… it’s a terribly cycle of trying too hard and tearing myself apart because I didn’t try as hard as I should.

So what I’m saying is… I have no answers… but I don’t think anyone really has it all figured out. It’s a messy business. I’ll just keep shuffling along.

For now, I’m off to do some more research on Celtic mythology. Research counts as writing, right?

Camp NaNoWrimo FTW!

I did it! I actually reached my 80k word goal! That’s the Good News…

The Bad News is that I’m still not finished.

Yep, I was right when I said predicted that this draft wouldn’t be complete when I reached my goal. Re-outlining the ending certainly helped me get it going at a better pace, but I still see another 3-4 chapters to finish, which might mean anywhere from 15-20,000 more words given my average chapter lengths for this draft. All in all, I feel much better about it than I did last week. See 🙂 staying positive after all.

*Goodness, I just compiled and saw that it’s really 337 pages long! Thank you, Scrivener, for keeping all that text in an orderly fashion.*

that is it. 80k reached.
that is it. 80k reached.

 

Cassiel, rewrite draft 1/part 2 (total word goal)

 

About Cassiel (or the best summary I could come up with for the moment)

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/

a look at June in pictures

June proved to be an eventful month, what with there being birthday cakes and presents and all. But there were also books! And trips! And chairs!!!
Here’s a look at some of the best things that happened in June (sans the birthday stuff, for that silliness see this post)

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OMG! I got a book signed by Neil Gaiman. The joy and joyness cannot be contained! Also, the book is beautiful.
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See! There he is in all his mad-haired, creative genius glory!
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I also had a rare beach outing. It was really a momentary excursion, but there were dolphins and seashells.
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And I got chairs and only had to spend $40 on the gas to pick them up. The kitteh is more than pleased. He purrs with pleasure every time he climbs on them.

July is proving to be a busy month… much busier than I anticipated. I’m doing what I call Camp NaNo part 2, in the hopes that giving myself a deadline means that I will finish Cassiel within the month. It’s starting to grow out of control again. I need to reign my creative juices in… I’m wordy to a fault. There must be a project that I can complete in less than 100k. This is not a good thing. Really, I need to focus on action and cut out the extraneous stuff. I’ve let myself go with setting and inner thoughts. I need action!!! ACTION!

So that is that. If it’s a bit quiet around here, it probably means I’m being a stern taskmaster and making myself stick to writing… turns out, I also got in a bit over my head and have to frantically rework some of my work-related writing for publication. My fingers may very well go on strike after all this.

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/

can it be… a vlog!

Still recording with my phone, but I promise I will get a proper camera one of these days… especially as I’m really getting into this whole vlogging thing 🙂

For now, here’s a quick update on Cassiel and my obsession with getting things right the first time around… even when getting things right means turning to twitter for help.

In which I learn things from GD Cowan on Vimeo.

Camp NaNoWriMo – Endings and Beginnings

I met my Camp NaNo word goal of 20k on Saturday night! Now, the real fun begins as I move forward with the rewrite and get back to editing Anúna. At the same time. This will prove maddening (but satisfying!). I miss my other story, but I’m also really excited about the direction Cassiel is taking. Ack! So many plots!

In the meantime, I’m going to try to enjoy my mini-break week in Orlando for the Florida Library Association conference, and make the best of my kitty cat and family-free time (I miss them already!). And I’m really going to try to stick to writing while away. Promise.

a vlog! oh my! a Camp NaNo update

Can it be? Yes, an update on my Camp NaNo progress! A quick vlog on my progress and all the writerly excitement this entails. Also, a special appearance by Tiny!Khaleesi.

Filmed on my phone so pardon the quality (sheer laziness, I tell you). Enjoy 🙂

On writing and researching… The Cassiel blogs part 1 from Gricel on Vimeo.