Revision

I’m back in Khazad-dûm. And it’s really not so bad. I outlined the Defiant Canary in my notebook and it’s really quite pleasing. It’s nice to have a path and know where I’m going and what I’m going to do.

The strangest thing about this book, I’ve made each POV switch its own chapter. I have a tendency to head-hop, but with three POV characters, it’s hard to keep it all straight. So, each is labeled with its respective owner.

Having the outline has made a world of difference. I cut out all the weird little half page POV snippets before I ran across them with a blue papermate. I can’t even tell you how demoralizing it is to be on a good clip with the revision and then finding there was all this weird work to do to get it into shape.

I think I have to have a set system for revision. I can’t just hack at it pell-mell as I usually do. I think the first step is to write down the outline and weed out all these weird half-page POV barfs. Do all the major structural stuff. Then use Suzanne Johnson’s excellent monster revision workshop. Like oh my god, take her workshop. It’s incredible. Her plotting workshop is rad af too. I think if I outlined, I wouldn’t have to take this first step of doing this structural step. But outlining is so meh in my brain. I’ve used her plotting ideas and melded them with my pantser ways to keep things organized better. Everything I’ve written since taking that workshopping class is in such better order and will be easier to revise. Anyway.

I’m feeling real good about this. I’ve been sending chapters as I revise them to my beta readers. It’s a fun story and there’s cultists and Cthulhu-esque whales and all manner of nonsense.

I think I have a real good chance of releasing this by June. That’s my plan. And then I think I’ll release Mort the month after. And then… I’m not sure. Probably The Washed Up Astronaut. Anyway. I have a ton of work all lined up. I’m looking forward to it. And I’m getting excited to see where this will take me. The more I write, the better I feel about what I’ve been writing. Anyway. I’m feeling super hopeful and excited and rad.

Writers and Other Solitary Critters

My favorite part of this past NaNoWriMo was the group I fell into. My local region runs an IRC chatroom and we kept showing up into December.

I’ve been home with the Entropy Machine since she was born. I’ve missed having co-workers. I mean, I know I’m doing important work and blah blah blah, but damn, I miss having grownups to talk to. (I could write another article on women’s work here, too. I probably should)

Anyway. We’ve formed a little group, encouraging each other, using a group spreadsheet to track our word counts (compliments of yours truly and my mad spreadsheet skills) and goals for the year.

It’s weird to have a group like this when it comes to writing. I’ve been flying solo for so long with my words that having a group like this is a huge privilege. They’re keeping me on track and one more reminder in the morning to get up. I set the coffee maker to go off at 5 and I know someone else is going to be in our chatroom too. Helps me to stay motivated and the word wars are just great.

That said, it’s hard to find a community of writers. It’s hard to find your place and who you need. I joined the local chapter of the Romance Writers of America and I love them. But, I need to have something a little more. The daily group has been the answer I’ve been looking for.

I wish I had some advice for finding a writing group. I suppose finding groupings of writers and spending time with them is the first step. 😂

That said, what advice do you have to find your tribe?

Revisions

My goodness. I was working through this revision of a Defiant Canary chapter and I just realized I’d flipped PoV midway through. I don’t even know how it happened, but I think it’s the sign that it’s time to take a break.

So, with that, it’s time to put the revision away for right now. Well, after I finish fixing this. 😂 Cuz let’s face it, if you realize it’s time to take a break, and you don’t, terrible decisions like Maria Reynolds show up and then it’s all a terrible pamphlet publishing war and your career is ruined.

A New Year and New Goals

The best part of this year’s NaNoWriMo is the friends I’ve made. I stumbled into a great group of people and we’re still supporting each other like it’s November. It’s nice to have a like-minded group of people to bounce ideas off of.

With that in mind, I think I’m going to have an easier time of hitting goals this year. We’ve set up a critique group and what kind of support we’ll need over the coming year.

My goals for 2017:

  • 500k words. I haven’t hit 500k in two years. I’m close this year, but it’s not feasible. I got sick on Christmas and I’m having a hell of a time shaking it off and as such, writing nearly 30k words by the new year sounds completely unreachable.
  • Write 6 manuscripts. I wrote 4 this year, but only if you count the two half-novels as one.
  • Release 6 novels. I’m planning to release them three-four weeks apart. In August. I’ve got a ton of shit to do for that.

God, that looks like a lot. The books I’ll be releasing are Le Morte de GrendelLuLo2, LuLo3, LuLo4, The Defiant Canary and … well, I haven’t decided on the sixth title. I know I have lots of stuff listed in my writing projects page (while I’m at it, I should update that, too) but my goodness, it’s hard to decide.

I’m pretty pleased that things are getting better and better with my writing. I feel like my latest projects are much better, with better writing and crafted better. The characters feel better, the plots feel more interesting. The writing is just better to begin with. Easier to edit, less weird stuff to take out. I don’t know why I’d just leave typos galore in my earlier manuscripts. THe and SHe all over the place. Silly things that are so annoying to go through and fix now.

Anyway. This is going to be a big year for me. A big year, with big goals. I can’t wait for the new year to start and all the fun, amazing things it will bring. 🙂

Habits

That old chestnut that habits take 21 days to form? I think I believe it. I started getting up early again on the 28th of November and I have been up by 5:30 every day since then. I’ve been getting in my 2k words before 8 most days.

On top of this, I’ve also been cutting carbs, doing the 4-Hour-Body thing sort of kind of. I’m still eating some candy and flan and stuff, but I’m making better choices left and right.

My favorite new thing I’ve started doing is ten squats every time I refill my drink. I’ll schedule a half pot of decaf every night and drink that while I’m writing (with pastured half-and-half and Vietnamese cinnamon if you’re curious).

It seems to be working. My metrics for body composition (how close my ribs feel to the surface and having to tie my sweatpants to keep them up) are rocking. I can’t weigh myself and have it mean anything because by the time I get around to weighing myself, I am a half pot of coffee into the day and I’ve been drinking ice water. So ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I can’t really go on anything but these very relative measurements.

IMG_3516It’s working and I’m feeling pretty rad about it. I have a goal of six books released next year. This getting the writing done first thing in the morning is opening up the rest of the day for revision. And I’m loving it. Well, as much as I can love revision.

But it’s happening and I’m sending out each chapter as it’s completed to my friend to read. Which is also helpful because you don’t want to wait too long between each installment. And even if I don’t really feel like it, I’ll still do it because she’s doing me a solid by reading. And I’m (hopefully) doing her a solid by supplying her with free romance novels. 😄

NaNoWriMo Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I won the 50k part on the 14th. I won the 100k hopefully later today. I’m 1,913 words out from hitting it. Should be easy… supposing I figure out what project I want to work on next.

I finished My Pet Void. I’m sure I’ll realize all kinds of things need to be added in revision, but now? Now I’m all Aaack! I’m short for hitting 100k.

I have a few projects I still need to finish up. And I have so much revision work that it’s not even funny. But the strangest thing of all, there’s nothing really in the hopper for potential stories. Nothing there crying out to be written, nothing that just needs to come out.

Which was part of the hardest part of this 100k challenge. I have not been so kind to myself. I’ve gotten a little fluffy, more than I can attribute to thanksgiving and all that. I haven’t been walking my dogs nearly enough, the Entropy Machine has been watching so much television. Enough that I have opinions about Blue’s Clues and that Joe is creepier than Steve and that Steve would make the most annoying husband ever. “Hun, you see my keys?” “On the counter by the door.” “On the freeway to Lahore?” *looks genuinely confused*

Anyway. But, oddly enough, My Pet Void was a little heavier than I originally intended and I have not been so good about practicing self-care. So, now that I’m almost done with the month and this project, I’ve been getting up early again and I’ve been going back to my slow carb thing. This is my second morning up early and I’m a little tired, but I’m feeling okay. Maybe procrastinating a little at getting working at 100k, but I’ve been neglecting this too.

On the upside, the app Sleep Cycle is pretty rad. And it wakes you up when you’re the most awake, so it makes it too hard to fall back asleep in the middle of a snooze cycle. That and Forest have helped me stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to my phone in bed.

But, I’m done rambling. It’s time to get on with the day and on with my 100k. I’m looking forward to being finished. I can’t even tell you how fried I am. But it was an excellent test/stretch my capabilities adventure. This NaNo has been great for networking and meeting some new writer friends. Hard not to feel a little isolated when you’re living in your head so much. Anyway. Back to 100k.

On Triggers, part 2

Donald Trump speaks the same way my abuser did. Braggadocious, misogynistic, pathological lying. 

After the rough time I’ve had after seeing Carmen, I wasn’t ready for this. I wasn’t prepared to feel so scared again. I wasn’t prepared for someone like that to represent me. And my God, it’s happened. 

There’s so much everywhere about this. So, I won’t add much more. But, I don’t know how to make my world better. I don’t know how to make the world better for my little girl. I’m just… I’m just rocking my sadness hangover still. 

I’m hoping my flight or fight response is going to settle down soon and we can get back to real life. We can get back to living and growing, not going backwards. 

I’m totally drunk and don’t feel like writing blog posts while crying. The sun will come up again tomorrow and we’ll figure it out. I’m just hoping I stop feeling so scared soon. And I should probably stop drinking so much too. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Anyway. Life goes on. And I figure Rome survived Caligula, so we can survive Trump, right?

Because when's the last time you trembled from delight?