Category Archives: books

Revision Breakthrough

Another breakthrough. Or at least one that’s making sense and gets me excited to actually do it.

I grew out my eyebrows so I could start with a clean slate. I’m HispanicLite, so I have some amazing eyebrow powers.

It was torture growing them out. They get so big and bushy and the most terrible discovery, I have grey eyebrow hairs!!

I finally got them waxed yesterday. I’m feeling pretty bitchin’ today:

An "uh oh what does she know that we don't?" selfie #selfie #smirk #fresheyebrows #feelingpretty #plumtree

A post shared by Mona Trimble (@tremblingtrimble) on

As I was putting on my facepaint this morning, I realized waxing my eyebrows is like revising my novel. Yeah, it hurts and I cringe and my face gets a bit red and puffy, but I feel better and I look better. And we could have this whole talk about the patriarchy and beauty standards or whatever, but, it’s nice to feel nice.

And as far as the novel revision goes, yeah, it’s hard and it hurts sometimes. But you rip off that strip of wax and all these stray words come off. It’s clean and sleek.

This revision of Canary is coming along. I am ripping out so many stray hairs. I’m still using the big strips of wax. The tweezers will be coming out soon. But for now, I’m looking at it in a new way. And, while it hurts, I can see an end product. I’m feeling it today.

And, like eyebrows (mine at least), if I rip too much out,  just give it a little time and it will grow right back (or maybe just check my Trash folder in Scrivener. It’s all the same 😉 )

And my enormous eyes are terrifying and hysterical at the same time, so I’m going to leave them 😂🤣😂🤣

PitMad!

PitMad is next Thursday. I’m trying to get Canary in shape for it. But it’s such a slog. And I’ve been in a funk and blah blah blah.

It’s fun and it’s hard and it’s scary trying to get it ready by then. I don’t get many external deadlines in my little writing world. There’s no one saying, “Do this now!” I was the worst procrastinator in high school and college. The fact I even managed to graduate from either is kind of shocking sometimes. Like, how’d I squeak through?

So I’m working and the inevitable this is hard. Do something else. You still have a week to finish is clambering all over my head and face.

But. I know I can do this. I know I want to do this. And if I want my dreams to stop being dreams and starting being goals, well, dammit. It’s time.

(and I don’t know how many times I have to say, “It’s time to stop being scared” but it looks like I need to say it another time or two)

Any other PitMad preparations going on?

Doing the Hard Part

I have a feeling I’m going to go indie. The market for romance has such a big indie component that it would make sense just to stay there.

So. I’ve started working toward it. My RWA chapter had a presentation on setting up newsletters. I’ve got a PO Box. I’ve got my url here. I’ve been doing all this backend stuff. BUT now I need to implement it. I need to use all these cool tools I’ve been collecting and actually do it.

I just sent up my Patreon. So many people have been telling me to do it for so long. And now, there it is. I can’t decide if I’m more terrified no one supports me or if people actually think I’m worth backing. Either way, it’s a scary proposition.

And if I want to do this, I actually have to do it. I can’t just write. I can’t just do this backend stuff. I need to do all of it. Even the hard parts. The “putting my work out there and having other people read it” parts.

But…

I’m finally doing it. I’m going to tackle the hard part. Rafiki is right. It is time.

Deep Work and Flow and Motherhood

My husband bought Deep Work a while back. I was flipping through our Kindle library and saw it. I started to read it.

Interesting book. I’d agree that it’s hard to focus on deep work, that undistracted focus on something. It’s akin to Flow, getting so into what you’re doing you just lose track of everything and slide into that blissful work.

So, I’ve been reading this book today and at one point, the author, Cal Newport, was humblebragging that he didn’t have a smartphone.

I didn’t own my first smartphone until 2012 (when my pregnant wife gave me an ultimatum—”you have to have a phone that works before our son is born.”

Like, holy shit. Not being reachable to his pregnant wife wasn’t enough of a motivator to have a phone that worked? She had to tell him to get a phone.

So, as I pondered this, I ran into this HuffPo article on the Mental Load. (Heh, yeah, I haven’t been doing much deep work today 😂)  You Should’ve Asked is another good one.

And, as I’ve been pondering on this, I’ve been thinking about the privilege to just be the dad. To not worry about the kids so much. To not be carrying the load of the kid’s schedule, their next doctor visit, and oh yeah, the dog needs his rabies shot. And of course, not all moms are the primary caregiver, etc etc. However, I think the vast majority of stay at home mothers would fall under the primary caregiver category.

Honestly, I can’t even imagine what that would be like. My little yellow to-to book is full of house stuff and my writing stuff and our calendars and menu planning and a million little things to keep track of. I would be lost without my little planner. But to not even need it? Seriously, that blows my mind.

In college, I had a serious, passionate fling with physics. Then Calculus 2 happened. And happened again. And I tapped out. BUT during that very steamy year or two, I was in a lecture with … I don’t even remember her name. I wonder if I could even find it now. Anyway. It was about being a woman in the field. Another woman stood and said someone else (a man, of course) had said the best time to have a kid was in grad school. The speaker said she was super duper lucky because her employer was so amazing to her when she had her kids. The whole topic of children seemed like a minefield at the time.

And, it still is.

I wondered if writing this down would help me to tease any of it out, but I don’t think it did. It all comes down to being a woman in our society. Where we are so pro-life! HOORAY!! but then snarl about food stamps. Where there are so many hungry kids. When women who have chosen to be childless get badgered about when they’re having kids. There is no right answer. And I know I’ve fallen into so many of these same traps. I need to be beautiful. I need to be skinny. All this bullshit and privilege.

Anyway. Them’s my thoughts. I still have no idea how to work through it. I never got around to reading Lean In, but:

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 2.07.23 PM

And yes, I named my old Kindle “magic book holder.” I’m curious to see if this is enlightening. AND I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Revision

I was scribbling in my journal the other day, trying to work through why I hate revision so much. And I think I’ve made some headway.

I’ve rambled a bit about my ~process~ before. I’m a pantser and don’t take kindly to outlines. I fly by landmarks. How I get there? I have no idea. I just know I do. I’m a discovery writer. I like finding out how things work and how they fit together. Continue reading Revision

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.

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. 🙂