The Recap – June 2018

Hey Bloggos,

It’s a little late in the evening for this, but I reckon late is better than missing the day entirely, right? So, let’s get to it. What the hell happened to June?

June Goals

  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Write chapters 4 and 5 of Sanctuary
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

How’d I Do?

  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
    • Not even close. I wrote a total of 2,247 words on this project this month.
  • Write chapters 4 and 5 of Sanctuary
    • Unexpectedly, yes! I wrote a total of 6,057 words on Sanctuary this month! I’m a little worried about where the story is going, and I think that’s why it was so hard to work on there for a while. But, I think I can write it through and see what happens.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep! Both Lifelike and The Cost of Rain are out now. I’ve received some personal rejections and feedback on each of them, made the changes I thought they needed, and now it’s out of my hands. Again.
  • Keep reading!
    • … Yes? I read a lot of fanfic this month, which you’ll see added on my “What I’m Reading” page. But, I did not make much progress on Kill the Farm Boy or Side Jobs this month.

Total June Word Count: 16,938

This was a really hard month for me, which you probably recognized from the tone of the few posts I made. I’m actually proud of myself for checking in each week despite the lack of productivity.

All right, that’s not the right word. I was productive, just not on the project I should have been. I mean, this was my second best word count month of the year so far. The output was there, just on fanfic and tumblr prompts. And honestly, I don’t feel as guilty about that as I thought I would.

What I do feel guilty about was the obsessive video game playing that happened this month. I finished playing Horizon Zero Dawn and am almost done with a new playthrough of the original Kingdom Hearts. I’m going to work harder to balance my gaming and writing time this month. I really want to play through all of the Kingdom Hearts games in time for the launch of Kingdom Hearts 3 in January, but I also really want to get this novel done, no matter what my June activities might suggest.

Short stories are submitted, just riding these waves of rising and dashed hopes. Eventually I’ll find the shore and get paid. Just keep swimming and all that.

My reading this month was appalling. Let’s be honest. I read 200k+ words of fanfic in days, but an actual paper book? That ARC I am so excited about? HA! I read about 50 pages of it this month. But, luckily Kill the Farm Boy doesn’t release until the 17th, so I have time to get it done and post the review. As for the Dresden audiobook… it’s still in my CD player, but the new Mike Shinoda album is out and it has consumed all my listening time.

Post Traumatic cover

I’m not even sorry about it, the album is that good.

I did score some bonus points for this month! I recorded the first “episode” of my fanfic series! I’ve never used GarageBand before, and let me tell you, that was a trip. But, I’ve got Chapter 1 of The Fall of Santa Sarita recorded and posted. See my tumblr for more details on that project for the time being.

So, what about July?

  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Write chapters 6 and 7 of Sanctuary
  • Complete tumblr prompts
  • Santa Sarita recordings
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

So, you’re probably thinking, “dang, B., that’s a lot!” Trust me, I know. This is me trying to kick my ass into gear and get back to work. I’ll confess, I don’t actually think I’ll get all this writing done, but I also know that I perform best when the odds are stacked against me. I’m competitive, especially against myself. So, this is me taunting myself. We’ll see how it pans out.

I’ve got three tumblr prompts chilling in my inbox right now, and I’m pretty excited about all of them. Hopefully I can knock those out quickly and get down the the gritty work of rewriting this novel. I’m feeling good about Sanctuary right now, mainly because I’ve finally got the two main characters back in scene together. The writing is always better when they’re together. I don’t know how long they’ll stay that way, but I’ll take what I can get.

My plan for the audiobook narrations of my monstrous fanfic series (seriously, monstrous. Over 200k words!) is to post a chapter each week. It took about an hour to record the very first chapter, and that went slow since I was learning how to use the recording software as I went. I figure it’ll go faster as I get used to the process.

Short stories are out and I’m twiddling my thumbs over here, trying not to get swept up in writing something new. I’ve got ideas swirling. I always have ideas swirling, but these ones are persistent. But, for now, The Steel Armada is my priority project. No new original content until it’s done.

As for reading, I have so many titles queued up in my mind! I want to finish Kill the Farm Boy this week (about 100 pages to go), wrap up Side Jobs sometime next week, and then dive into something new! Midnight Riot and Death Comes to Pemberley are my top contenders, since they’re sitting on my entry table right now. But I’ve also got the Brief Cases audiobook on hold as well as the audiobook of the first Walt Longmire book, The Cold Dish.

So you see, lots of things just waiting for me to give them my attention. Now we’ll see just how much I can juggle.

Not literally. I can’t juggle for shit. My hand-eye coordination is atrocious.

I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about the week in detail and lay out the plans for the new one.

Until then Blogland,

 

BZ

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Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 25

Bloggos,

Full disclosure, I started this post on Monday and then got a bit sidetracked. Sorry about it! Let’s talk about goals!

 

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day of The Steel Armada
  • Write 2 tumblr prompts
  • Finish listening to Side Jobs
  • Write 500 words of Sanctuary
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. Again. My screen time has been pretty limited to video games lately, not my computer.
  • Write 500 words/day of The Steel Armada
    • Nope. I did write a couple hundred words though, so better than the week before!
  • Write 2 tumblr prompts
    • Yes! These prompts are going well and a ton of fun. They’re pretty much all I’ve been writing, so I’m thankful for them.
  • Finish listening to Side Jobs
    • Haha, nope. Not even a little bit. Not even at all.
  • Write 500 words of Sanctuary
    • Yes! I actually wrote closer to 800 words, which is a nice boost from weeks in the past.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Yes! Of course I did! C’mon!

Weekly Word Count: 3,531

There was actually a bit of work done, just not in the areas I think it should be in. My brain is still a bit of a weird place right now. I’ve got a lot of fanfic ideas and urges, not original content. I finally heard back about Lifelike and I think that is a big part of it. After 61 days I received a personal rejection with an offer to provide feedback. That’s a good thing, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now. The feedback was both good and bad, with some nice comments and some harsh/disappointed comments. I’ve learned that reading harsh comments is only difficult if I know they’re true. These comments definitely ring true.

So, I’m taking a breather on them, before I decide to make the changes and edits I can to address the issues they mentioned. I’ve got a couple ideas already, and I’m realizing that it isn’t going to be as difficult or Earth-shattering as I’d initially imagined. When those are done I’ll send it off again. I’m trying to remind myself that this story made it to the final round of a professional magazine on its first time out. That’s a big deal. I’m on the right track.

So just eat some ice cream, play some video games, and suck it up already.

Meanwhile, The Cost of Rain is still out, currently on day 16 of an average of 18 day response time. I could hear back about it at any time. Which means I’m a giant ball of nerves and stress. You’d think, after months of submissions, I’d be used to this by now.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day of The Steel Armada
  • Finish reading Kill the Farm BoyKill the Farm Boy
  • Write two tumblr prompts
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
  • Review Madhu’s pages

Well, I’m not doing so great on the posting front. I don’t expect there to be another post this week, but who knows? As for The Steel Armada, it’s still there. It’s in my head. I just don’t have the will to write for it right now. Not a great place to be, but that’s the truth of it.

I’m not really reading at all right now. Another bummer. I’ve read a few pages here and there, and I still enjoy it, but I don’t have any drive to finish Kill the Farm Boy or Side Jobs. I’ve got a few other books slated for reading and though they sound interesting, I’m still just not motivated.

As of this writing I’ve already finished one of my two tumblr prompts and have made headway on the second one. So I’m pretty confident I’ll make that goal. I’ve also already made progress on Sanctuary this week, so that’s another one I’m feeling good about.

And of course, Madhu’s pages. I’ve got them queued up and my day off is tomorrow, so I’ll get them done for sure. As always.

But, I have a goal for this week that isn’t on the official list because it’s weird. Like, not at all important, but it sounds too fun not to do. I’ve decided, after some careful consideration and quick poll of my fanfic readers, to narrate my giant series, Santa Sarita.  I haven’t officially announced it yet, but I’ll be recording and posting one chapter a week, until I’m all caught up.

I imagine I’ll have all kinds of fun anecdotes and thoughts on the process, because I have never done anything like this before. I’m really excited and a little nervous, but the response on tumblr so far has been very positive. Plus, rereading my old stories has really reignited my interest in writing Sanctuary. I miss my characters!

So that’s what’s up this week. A little writing, some gaming, some voice acting (if you can call it that) and just trying to keep my mental health at an even keel. I’ll be back next week to let you know how that goes.

Until then,

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 23

Hey Bloggos,

This week sort of ran away from me, and I can firmly place the blame on E3 and Horizon Zero Dawn. Which of course means I’m really the one to blame. But, before I go pointing fingers, let’s talk about what happened.

Last Week

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish listening to Side Jobs
  • Submit Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship application
  • Review Madhu’s pages

… And?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
    • Nope. I did well each day I sat down, but it was only four days this week instead of seven.
  • Finish listening to Side Jobs
    • Not even close. I don’t think I listened to it at all. Yikes.
  • Submit Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship application
    • Yes! That is done and now out of my brain until someone contacts me about it. Hurray!
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Yep. You know, it’s the one thing I can count on getting done, no matter what.

Weekly Word Count: 3,199

All right. That wasn’t as bad as I thought. Yeah, I should have spent more time writing, especially since I got through the harder part of the chapter I’m working on. The next bit is actually really exciting to me, a big action sequence, so I’m surprised that I didn’t get to it faster.

I may not have finished Side Jobs, but I did get halfway through Kill the Farm Boy, so that’s exciting! I’m making progress, again, slowly but surely. Summertime is always a bit trying on my reading simply because I spend more time outdoors and in social settings. And as much as I’d like to bring a book to that backyard barbecue, I’m told that’s in poor taste.

I’ve signed up for my library’s Summer Reading Club (“Libraries Rock”), so you might see some adventurous reading  over the next couple of months. A Jeff Buckley memoir, random books about music, etc. I’ve also volunteered to help host the Hamiltunes: An American Sing-a-Long, which will basically be me performing Hamilton karaoke in front of library patrons. If there’s video/photographic evidence, I’ll be sure to share it.

The Fellowship application was only stressful in its redundancy. I had to fill out the same form three times! That and figuring out the best shipping method for documents. I’ve never sent documents through the mail before. Like, what a strange concept. Sheafs of paper. In the mail. When I could have just emailed it.

b99 what.gif

But, that was the requirement, so all right, I guess. Whatever floats your boat Oregon Literary Arts.

Madhu’s pages are getting better and better. She’s really good at implementing feedback from earlier pages into the ones she’s currently working on. I rarely have to point out an issue more than once.

Honorable Mentions

I completed my passport application! Hurray! That was a big scary hurdle between me and Germany, so I’m glad to have that simmering stress finally addressed. Now I can continue to be low-key panicked about these short story submissions in peace!

I wrote a tumblr prompt fill this week, which was not part of the plan, at all. But it was fun, and relatively well received, so that’s nice. I also got a teeny-eensie bit done on Sanctuary so… woo?

What else?

I reached out to my library mentor of sorts to ask a question for a blog post I’m drafting. So that’s good. I also finished writing my Library Pick column for the local newspaper. So, though neither of those things are really “goals”, they are work that I finished this week. So there.

My goal was to publish 52 blog posts this year. With the upload of The Master Magician book review, I have officially crossed that threshold! That is absolutely amazing to me, and wildly unexpected. I am tempted to erase the goal from the whiteboard and increase it, but I also want the reminder that I way underestimated myself. This way, when it’s time to assess the year’s achievements I can be impressed/plan better for 2019. So, I guess I’ll leave it for now.

I submitted The Cost of Rain to another magazine today. That makes for number six. When I see it in writing it looks way less disappointing than it feels. Five rejections is nothing.  There’s still hope for this story. I just need to convince my heart of that. Lifelike is still out. This is day 51. I am dying and the stress has ate away at my fingernails and the lining of my stomach, I’m sure. I can’t query the magazine for another week at least, but I really hope it won’t come to that.

If I query them, and then get a swift rejection I will need more than a pint of ice cream to soothe my bruised ego. Maybe a beer or two, and a big pretzel. Then ice cream. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

What’s Next?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish reading something
  • Write two tumblr prompts
  • Review Madhu’s pages

Blog post content may actually be thin this week. I don’t have a book review queued up, but I am poised to cross the 20k word mark on The Steel Armada. I should be able to share my next Editing Check-In later this week.

My reading has really slowed down, which I want to fix. So I’ll be focusing on making headway on Kill the Farm Boy and Side Jobs. I’ve really enjoyed them both so far, I just need to make a more concerted effort in my reading and listening. I want to get the review for Kill the Farm Boy out before July, since it’s my first time reading an ARC (advanced reader copy) and I should post my review before the book releases.Kill the Farm Boy

I opened my tumblr inbox for writing prompts, specifically for my Mass Effect series. I thought it’d be a good way to boost my work on Sanctuary. Instead I got several prompts for my Dragon Age characters. So, not what I intended, and yet I’m not unhappy. I love writing for both Mass Effect and Dragon Age, so spending more time with my Warden and Zevran is hardly a bad thing.

Madhu was ahead of the game this week. Normally we share our pages on Tuesdays, but she already emailed me her next batch for consideration. I’ll probably read them tomorrow night or Wednesday morning.

Somehow, this post grew pretty long. Sorry about that. Anyhoo, that’s how I’m doing and what the plan looks like for this week. I’ll be back later to talk about the last 10k words of The Steel Armada rewrite.

Until then,

 

BZ

 

 

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 22

Ahoy Blogland!

It is a quintessential spring day here in the Pacific Northwest. Sunshine, wind, a smattering of clouds, and a comfortable 70ish degrees. It makes sitting still difficult,  but I’ll see what I can manage.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish reading The Master Magician
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
    • Yes! I didn’t think I was going to cross the finish line this week, but the writing came very easily last night, giving my word count the boost it so desperately needed.
  • Finish reading The Master Magicianmaster magician
    • Yep! I managed to sit my butt down and give this book a chance. Turns out, the last 70 pages are by far the best. But, I’ll talk about that in more detail later this week.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Of course! This is the one thing I always do. Need I say more?

Weekly Word Count: 3,866

This week was a really good one. I committed to my goals and made sure I did what was necessary to see them through. I can’t say I do that every week, but I’m doing better. I’m trying, and sometimes I even manage to succeed!

Aside from the writing going so well, my biggest win of this week was finishing The Master Magician. I was horribly opposed to that book by the middle of the week, but I finished the last 70 pages in one sitting, and I even liked them! So, that shows that sometimes, you really should forge ahead through that book that’s giving you grief. It might just be worth your while.

Progress continues on The Steel Armada. I wrote quite a bit on it this week and it continues to surprise me. I’m excited for the scenes I’ll be exploring in the days to come. And I think I might have come up with a new title! But, I’m not sharing until I’m certain, sorry.

My husband and I also did a TON of work on our front yard this weekend and found time to hang out with family and friends. It really felt like I was Superwoman this week, capable of anything and everything!

That was until the rejections for The Cost of Rain came in. One last week and one this morning. Now, I’m not too bummed, I know this is par for the course in writerland. But, it still stings a little, yeah? It still sucks for a second, before you decide to buck up and submit it to the next place on your list. I tell myself this is the harder story to place, that it falls between genre lines and between desired word counts and yadda yadda yadda. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what I tell myself, I’ve already decided to submit it until it sells. So there, self.

It was nice to keep things straightforward this last week. It made buckling down and getting the work done that much easier. Unfortunately, there’s a bit more on my plate this time around.

This Week

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish listening to Side Jobs
  • Submit Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship application
  • Review Madhu’s pages

Thoughts

I really should add a bullet point for Sanctuary, because I need to make sure I actually work on it this month. But there’s a lot of bullet points on this week as it is, and that doesn’t include my non-writing goals for this week! I have to get my passport application turned in, work on the yard some more, and do some of the general house chores that are starting to fall behind. Yikes!

The good news is that I’ve got the review for The Master Magician for this week, so there’s one goal that’s good to go. I’ve also got a big ol’ blog post planned that’s a bit of a self-indulgence. I think you’ll like it though, don’t worry! I’m not sure when it will be posted, but I promise it’s coming.

Since setting my writing goal of 500 words/day, I’ve only fallen short once or twice. I’m really plugging away on this book, and so far there’s no end in sight. That feels good. Like, really, really good.

side jobsI maybe, kinda, sorta forgot I had the audiobook for Side Jobs. I’m so used to digital audiobooks on my phone that I completely forgot about the CDs in my car! I started listening to it Saturday, and am making some decent progress. They’re fun, though a little repetitive. Hopefully I’ll get through them quickly, since Brief Cases comes out tomorrow!

Yes, you read that next bullet point correctly. I am applying for the Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship. My dance teacher, Mrs. Buren, always said that you should always try for the things you want, because the worst they can tell you is ‘no’. That’s damn good advice for any kind of endeavor, but particularly artistic ones. And well, this was another unexpected writing thing that came across my radar thanks to Madhu. And since I wouldn’t have thought to apply otherwise, getting declined won’t sting half so much as some of these short story rejections.

And who knows? There’s always a chance they’ll say yes! “You can only catch fish that are in the lake.” More sage advice from dear Mrs. Buren. If I don’t apply, then I have no chance at all. So, I’m applying, and other than next week’s Goals Summary, I won’t be talking about it again until I get the results.

Anyway, that’s the plan. That’s what’s up. That’s the skinny, the downlow, the scoop. You know, all those cool catchphrases only dads and cutesy moms still use. You know the ones, the ones that say “cool beans” unironically. Those ones.

Until later, Bloggos!

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 20

Bloggos,

This last week just flew by! Reading, writing, and helping a friend tackle some major yard projects while the weather was nice helped my time go real quick. We also finished a campaign of Arcadia Quest, which was a lot of fun.

But enough talk about fun, there was work to be done!

Last Week:

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish Sanctuary chapter 3
  • Finish reading The Master Magician
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
    • YES! This has been going very well so far. I’m not technically writing every day, but I’m crossing the 3500 word mark each week, so I’d say that counts.
  • Finish Sanctuary chapter 3
    • Yes! Finally! This took longer than I liked, but it’s done and I’m ready to move on to the next one.
  • Finish reading The Master Magician
    • No. But, I did finish listening to Skin Game, so I feel like that’s a win.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Of course! She’s making a lot of quality changes and working hard on her novel. It’s good to have someone to work in tandem with; it’s inspirational!

Weekly Word Count: 4,803

I don’t have a whole lot to reflect on today. Rewriting The Steel Armada is going well, and I have some very nebulous thoughts and ideas about where the story is going and what format will let me tell the story best. It’s beginning to look like I might be taking a very roundabout route to getting to the real story, which is somewhat disappointing. But this is also a huge learning experience for me. This is my first novel, so there’s is a lot to learn.

But, I’m not going to commit to any further changes until I get more words down. I just crossed the 12k mark, which is good, but not quite enough to start making big decisions.

Sanctuary is coming along slowly. It’s the project I work on when I’ve reached my goals everywhere else and I still have some creative juice left. That’s not often the case, so sadly Sara and Reyes are taking a back burner.

I also opened up my NaNoWriMo project from last year and proofread it this week. It’s a crossover fic of Mass Effect: Andromeda and Mistborn: Second Era, just over 52k words. A tumblr friend is doing illustrations for each chapter, and then we’ll post it as a weekly serial, starting in November. Since we’ve got the time, I’m going to start doing some simple edits and fleshing out certain scenes.

wayne and wax triptych
Mistborn Era 2 triptych by Marc Simonetti

… You know, in my downtime.

I did receive my form rejection from the magazine I sent The Cost of Rain to, so there’s that. However, I console myself that the story “reached the highest level of consideration” before being declined. It’s a professional level magazine that accepts about 2% of the submissions it receives. I’d say this rejection isn’t all that bad.

I still haven’t heard back about Lifelike. It’s been 30 days. I’m trying very, very hard not to get my hopes up. Very, very hard.

That was my week. Lots of writing, reading/listening, and nail-biting as I awaited submission news.

So, what’s next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Start Sanctuary chapter 4
  • Finish reading The Master Magician
  • Review Madhu’s pages

Thoughts

I’ve got a couple different posts lined up for this week. The Skin Game review and Editing Check In #2. If I get any news on the submission front I’ll share that too. And you know, I might just have some personal rant or observation that might eke its way onto the blog.

The Steel Armada continues! Just writing away, trying to figure out where this story is headed and how I can help it be the best version of itself. I’ll have more on this subject later this week.

Oh, Sanctuary. I want to spend more time with you. I do. Maybe I’ll finally make some headway in this department. I’ve got a pretty good outline of events, I know what scenes come next, but the plot has (yet again) grown out of my control. The whole point of this fic was to wrap up the Santa Sarita series completely, not keep it alive forever.

The Master Magician is going kinda slow. If it doesn’t pick up and end on a high note, I might not bother with The Plastic Magician. It’s all feeling a bit underwhelming, so far. But, it’s quick and easy reading at least.

I haven’t received Madhu’s pages yet, but I’ve been promised some new scenes with one of my favorite characters, so I’m looking forward to that.

It’s Memorial Day weekend and my best friend will be in town! We’re going wine tasting on Saturday and I cannot wait! Other, non-writing things I need to do include figuring out where the heck my birth certificate is, applying for my passport, and enjoying the weekend with friends and family.

I’ll be back this week to talk about The Steel Armada rewrites, and to share my review of Skin Game.

Until then, Blogland,

 

BZ

 

 

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 19

Bloggos!

I apologize for the silent weekend. I’ll get into the details of what happened, but for now let’s talk about gooooooooaaaaaaalllllllllsssssssss!

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish Sanctuary chapter 3, start chapter 4
  • Write joufancyhuh tumblr prompt
  • Finish reading Blackfish City
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yes! The Cold Days book review is up now! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the Blackfish City review thanks to a god-awful migraine.cold days cover
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
    • YES! I absolutely killed it this week writing-wise.
  • Finish Sanctuary chapter 3, start chapter 4
    • Nope. Not even at all.
  • Write joufancyhuh tumblr prompt
    • Yep! It was a ton of fun to write, and it got a decent amount of praise after it was posted. Always good.
  • Finish reading Blackfish City
    • Yes! Look for the review this week!
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Yeppers. Madhu’s making good progress on her rewrites and i’m excited to see where this process takes her.

Weekly Word Count: 5,103

Tuesday and Wednesday were both very productive days, and Thursday I got a wonderful surprise in the mail that I will tell you all about, probably tomorrow. Sadly, Thursday evening led to a migraine that completely derailed my weekend. Friday I had to call out of work, and I spent the day sprawled in bed, half-asleep listening to Skin Game. Then we celebrated Mother’s Day on Saturday, which was fun, but I didn’t get any quality writing time until Sunday evening.

That didn’t stop me from writing over 2,500 words Sunday night! The rewrites on The Steel Armada are going well. It’s a totally different animal than the first draft and I’m still having a great time. There are some new characters, more backstory, and SO MUCH MORE worldbuilding. I think I’m in love.

Sanctuary was sadly neglected in the face of all this rewriting. I’m hopeful that I can get back to it this week. I did write a 1,300 word tumblr prompt this week, for the Dragon Age fandom that was entirely too much fun. I imagine it won’t be my last time writing those characters.blackfish city

Blackfish City is done and already returned to the library. I’ll have the review up this week. I pinky promise!

Exchanging pages with Madhu is still going well. We’ve become each other’s cheerleaders and have planned another Walk ‘n’ Talk for later this week. It’s nice to get out in the nice weather and discuss our ideas and concerns for our writing.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish Sanctuary chapter 3
  • Finish reading The Master Magician
  • Review Madhu’s pages

This week should be pretty straightforward. Read and write. That’s it. I can do that. Basically all I do with my life anyway. I’ve got the Blackfish City review to post and a personal announcement to share this week as well. If I’m disciplined I should get The Master Magician finished up this week, just in time to read the new book, The Plastic Magician.the plastic magician

Otherwise I’ll just be working on The Steel Armada and Sanctuary. And avoiding my email inbox as I eagerly await news of my short story submissions. It’s been a few weeks and I’m getting anxious. I should hear back soon, so please wish me luck!

Until later, Blogland!

 

BZ

 

Editing Check-In #1

Bloggos,

If you’ve hung around this site for any length of time, then you’ve probably noticed that I am in the middle of revising and rewriting my first novel. Now, I’ve never done this before. I’ve edited lots of short fiction, and other folks’ writing, but never something as time consuming and soul-shredding as my own novel.

I want to chronicle this adventure. I need to. This is a very reflective and solitary process, and I think best in writing. So, I need to write down my thoughts, ideas, and concerns. But, I also want to catalog my successes and my missteps.

The natural conclusion is to blog about it! I hope you don’t mind.

Some History

The original first draft of Vessels was completed in 2013. It was 47,000 words, too short even for the YA category, especially since it’s a fantasy novel. It was accidentally YA, but that didn’t bother me. I was willing to work with it. After letting it sit for months, I read it through and was pleasantly surprised.

It had issues; what first draft doesn’t? But, I liked it. I liked enough that I thought it had hope. That it was worth working on. I printed the manuscript out and promptly put it on a shelf to sit while I wrote my second novel.

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Such a momentous occasion, the printing of my first manuscript.

Years later I finally took Vessels down from the shelf, reread it, and began the chore of editing it the best way I knew how. Which is to say, incorrectly. I approached it as I had all my previous editing tasks: close reading, circling problem areas with weak writing, and tightening it up. Line editing. Not content.

I did my best, noted where content wasn’t working, but didn’t really know how to address it. I did my edits, gave it a new name (The Steel Armada) and sent off Draft 2 to willing Beta readers.

I really must thank them for their encouragement and patience as they waded through that mess of a manuscript.

They all had similar feedback, which was good. “Val’s motivations are unclear”, “the world isn’t real enough”, “I like the characters”, “dialogue is good”, etc. Fantastic feedback, detailed and concrete. My Betas were saints.

I accepted their criticism, acknowledged it as truth, and promptly put the project away again. This time to start school and slowly work on a third novel (still “in progress”, by the way).

And then last year I decided that I really wanted to work on my second novel’s revisions. But I refused to do that without finishing  The Steel Armada first. I thought it deserved at least that much, and that I could use the practice before turning my attention to a project I thought had more potential.

I also met Madhu last year, and we began our weekly exchange of pages for critique. Each week I diligently sent her my pages, read hers, and then filed away her feedback on mine for later consideration.  I avoided the project, pretty much for the whole year. It daunted me, intimidated me completely, and with the year I had I simply  didn’t have the energy to overcome that.

2018 – The Year of “Focus”

All of that changed at the beginning of this year. You might have noticed that I’m really big on goals. I like setting them, I like talking about them, and I really like reaching them. So, I had some tough conversations with myself and made the call. 2018 would be the year I finish The Steel Armada.

So, I reread the manuscript again. I still liked it, though I found even more issues that would need my attention. I slogged through chapters, taking Madhu’s feedback into consideration, and had some knock down, drag out fights with the writer I was five years ago.

Turns out I really hate revising. Like, really hate it. I have to reward myself for each chapter completed, give myself some sort of incentive to sit down and torture myself with a manuscript I was so far away from that I didn’t really know how to begin fixing it.

I was resigned to working on it, determined to do endless battle with my former self via the time capsule of my manuscript.

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Hard not to be inspired by that view.

And then I went to the OWC Writers Conference and had fresh life breathed into Val’s story. I came back more excited about the project than I had been since I wrote the first draft. I sat down to the task with new insight, new ideas, and so much enthusiasm.

And as I hacked my way through paragraphs I realized that what really held the story back was how small scale my original setting was. It was too small. No one could flourish there, my ideas were good beginnings but hadn’t grown into what they really could be. And the best way to fix that was to completely re-imagine the world.

Which means completely rewriting the book.

I was in denial. For about a day. I told myself that was ridiculous, just do the revisions and get on with my life. But I knew, that damn quiet and persistent voice in my head knew, that if I put in the work and made The Steel Armada the best book it could be then it wouldn’t have to be relinquished to the role of “learning experience”.

If I sit my ass in the chair and sweat over the keyboard for the rest of the year, The Steel Armada will be a novel I’m proud of. A novel I can stand behind. A novel worth publishing.

So, here I am, eleven chapters into my revisions admitting to myself that a complete rewrite is honestly the best course of action. And maybe I’ll find the right title for it somewhere in there while I’m at it.

And that brings you up to date on how editing is going in 2018.

A Look at the Stats

Pre-Rewrite:

  • Added 8,590 words to Draft 3 since 1/1/18
  • Cut one character and expanded another
  • Extensive world building including expansion of religion and socioeconomic systems
  • Improved character development, fleshed out backstories and motivations

Since Rewrite:

  • Added 3,861 words since 5/1/18
  • Extensive world building, including economy, religion, technology; more to come
  • Added another character, impact remains to be seen
  • Main character voice is a bajillion times stronger, all characters feel stronger, more fleshed out and distinct than previous incarnations

Of course, the downfall of a complete rewrite is that I have no idea what will cross over from the previous draft and what will crop up in the new one. There are already some serious question marks plot-wise that will need some deep thinking to resolve, but that’s true of all new drafts for me.

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The Facebook image that started it all.

I’m a Pantster, that wild breed of writer that has no idea where they’re going until they get there. Okay, I do some minimal outlining, and by minimal I mean, “Val goes to X place and talks to X person. They argue.”

So, now I’m basically drafting with the vague skeleton of the book that came before.  It’s utterly foreign to me, but really nice so far. I have a general idea of how the book will play out, while frolicking in a whole new setting.

And I am having a great time, as evidenced by my word count since Tuesday. Almost 4k words? That’s pretty intense. And it feels great! Now to keep this momentum going.

What are the Goals?

Hmm. As of this sitting, the only hard and fast goal is a minimum of 500 words a day. I am ahead of that schedule right now, but I’m still sitting down to work on the new draft each day. I’m going to add a bit right after I post this and see where that takes me.

I wanted to edit ten chapters before I posted my first “Check-In”, which I did. But, I’m not sure I should wait that long before my next update. Maybe each 10k words? That way I’ll check in every few weeks. The posts would be considerably shorter too, since there shouldn’t be quite so much to talk about. Let’s go with that.

I’ll have another Editing Check-In when I cross the ten thousand word mark. I don’t think I’ll be back again this week, but I will post again on Monday as usual, and I have the Cold Days review still in the works. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgot!

Until then, Blogland,

 

BZ