So, I Wrote a Book…

I’m not really sure how to feel about it. At first, euphoria. Holy shit, I did it! I told any and everyone about my accomplishment. I glowed with the joy of having finished a major project. But now it’s been a couple weeks and the novelty of the finished thing has worn off. It still feels awesome when I stop and think about it, but I’m not thinking about it as often.

Which is a good thing, actually. I need to give the book some space to breathe and let my mind get some distance from the characters and places that lived inside my head for over six months.

Let’s talk stats:

Total Word Count: 87,903
Total Time: 27 weeks (just over 6 months)
Average Weekly Word Count: 3,255
# of False Starts: NONE! This book knew where it was going even when I didn’t. It wrote straight through, with only a couple of awkward scenes. Otherwise, it was smooth sailing.

Those numbers look and feel good, but they don’t capture how it felt. Keep in mind that, until April, I was working two jobs, averaging anywhere from 45-52 hours each week. I was tired. Like, mind-numbingly tired. I wrote in the evenings, after my shifts, usually before and after dinner. There wasn’t time for much else, though I didn’t notice it at the time.

Only once I finished the book did I realize just how much it absorbed me. These last few weeks without it have been very… free. There’s time to do just about anything. Clean the entire house? Sure! I’ve got time. The house is much tidier now that there’s time to tend to it. Read all the things? Absolutely! What else would I do with my evening? Play video games? Oh, man! I missed those! (Don’t worry, I’ve made up for lost time with Assassin’s Creed.)

It also made me realize how wonderful my spouse is, because once I stopped working on the book, I understood how little he actually saw me. It was so nice to spend evenings with him again, not just inhaling dinner and vanishing to my office. We can watch movies and television together, or play games together. Or, and this is wild and crazy, maybe even go out for dinner.

What I’m getting at here is that writing this book was a huge time-suck and sacrifice for my marriage and household. There are costs to writing a book, and I didn’t even realize I was paying them until it was done.

That being said, I wouldn’t change any of it. This went by relatively quickly, the book wrote itself and I mean that. When I started I only had a character and a vague concept of the premise of this book. Everything else appeared as needed. Side characters, villains, subplots, all of them born out of necessity, not planning.

The book provided, so long as I was willing and able to write it all down.

So, what now?

Honestly, I don’t really know. I don’t feel very concrete about much of anything at the moment. I think I’m still recuperating from the marathon of writing the novel, because nothing feels particularly exciting or compelling. Nothing is calling to me, begging me to spend time on it. I know I need to take a break from Tavi, ideally the whole summer. I was only going to revise it sooner than that if I received a scholarship for a workshop in July. Since I didn’t, I’ve got time to let the manuscript dribble out of my brain. I’m tentatively planning to begin revisions in September. In a perfect world I’d have the manuscript ready to query by the New Year.

I don’t know about you, but my world is far from perfect. So, I’ll be happy if the book is “finished” by May 2020.

That means I have three months to work on other stuff. The question is, what other stuff?

  • In Great Need of Ghosts (working title)
    • This is the new short story I’m working on. I’d originally hoped to work on a couple stories before moving on to the next big project, but this one is coming together pretty slowly right now. If that changes, great! If not, no big deal. I’m more than willing to take the time it takes.
  • Exodus: Descent revision
    • It’s been about nine months since I finished rewriting my very first novel into a totally brand new novella. While I did revise it after completing the rewrite, I knew it wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. There was something needling at me that I knew was wrong, and halfway through Tavi I figured it out. And since a couple of the potential markets I wanted to send it to are open for submission through the summer, July will be the perfect month to dedicate to fixing the glaring issue and perfecting the rest.
  • The Bahn Hexe (working title)
    • Another short story idea that’s been eating at me since we came home from Munich. I don’t think it’s quite ready to be written yet, but it’s close.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got on my radar right now. And for now, it feels like enough. I’ll have more to say about upcoming projects and goals this weekend when I share my Monthly Recap post for May.

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #19

It’s Monday, Blogland. And I really feel it today. The weekend was less restorative than it was just… catatonic. And now the sunshine is gone, replaced with cooler temps and clouds. All I want to do is sleep and play Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Is that so wrong?

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Tavi rough draft

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Tavi rough draft
    • YES. AFFIRMATIVE. INDEED. YARP. YAAAAAAS. YEP. BOY-HOWDY. I’VE BEEN SCREAMING (oops, still screaming) about it all weekend.

Weekly Word Count: 11,360

Inspired by the Write Here, Write Now event a couple weekends ago, on Friday I hosted a Write-a-thon in the Writer’s Discord I’m a member of. I wanted to finish the book on Friday, plus I’d set a goal — a deadline — and I was determined to keep it. With only a couple chapters to go, I figured that I might be able to eke it out.

I was correct. I wrote 5400+ words on Friday, which more or less melted my brain. I have no idea if what I wrote made sense, but it seemed to at the time. The last few chapters came very differently than the rest of the book, which will probably be a whole post of its own once I’ve sat on the realization that I finished my book’s rough draft a bit longer. There are thoughts swirling in my brain about the experience of writing this book over the last six months and I’ll want to write them all down somewhere. Might as well be here.

I also started another 500 word story for my patrons, but I’m not sold on it yet. It’s a rehashing of a very old scene I wrote for an exercise in a Creative Writing class. I can’t find the original scene, but I remember it pretty clearly. I want to readdress some of the themes and see if I can’t do it better now, eight years or so later.

I didn’t read much last week because I was writing so much. So that’s a bummer. But, I spent the weekend bingeing Assassin’s Creed, playing Overcooked with the husbando, and generally avoiding the world. Due to Mother’s Day festivities on Saturday, I did not go on my hike to Cape Falcon, which was disappointing. After Friday’s marathon I could have really used the peace and solitude of the coast.

What’s Next?

  • Enjoy a week off

I’m taking a mini-vacation y’all. No writing this week. No looking at the book, no deciding what to write next. I need to air out my brain and take a well deserved break. Tomorrow night is the Snow Patrol concert, Wednesday is the Willamette Writer’s meeting, Thursday night is Trivia, and then Friday-Sunday I’m out of town on a hiking trip!

I’ll be busy, but not with writing, which will make for a refreshing change of pace. Hopefully it’ll have me back in action for the week after when it’s time to write some short stories!

I’m still (slowly) making my way through the Wayward Children series, and have The Murderbot Diaries queued up for after that. I’m still reading short stories. I’m still doing all of these things, just letting my brain take a bit of a nap before we move on to the next project. And since I don’t have any reviews to share, and no writing news either, I probably won’t be back on the blog this week.

Next week you can expect lots of pictures from the hikes, and maybe even a few from the concert tomorrow.

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

I know, I know…

I said I wouldn’t be back. However, I have an announcement to make:

 

I FINISHED MY BOOK!!!!!

 

Here are a series of gifs that capture how today’s writing session (5,419 words) felt:

happy dance gif 2
Don’t stop, get it get it

 

so tired gif
My brain has melted!

happy dance gif
No, wait, SECOND WIND! I am unstoppable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

so tired gif 2
I’m going to sleep for a million years now.

 

So yeah. The rough draft is done. I’m excited and so so tired. There’s still a mountain of work to do, but that’s for a future Brittany. Right Now Brittany is going to root herself in front of the PS4 and play Overcooked until she passes out.

See you on Monday.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #1

Bloggos,

I hope you all had an awesome first week of the year! I know it felt incredibly long to me and especially exhausting. I spent yesterday doing some shopping and meeting friends at the local board game cafe to play some really interesting new table top games. I wanted my weekend to be focused on turning my brain off and recharging for the week ahead.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish listening to Spying on Whalesspying on whales
  • Write 1k on Tavi
  • Outline/Brainstorm for Santa Sarita

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep. Although that’s easy to do during the first week of the year. There’s a lot to talk about.
  • Finish listening to Spying on Whales
    • Yes!
  • Write 1k on Tavi
    • Yes! I wasn’t sure this would happen, but I ended up writing about 1300 words and finishing chapter 8!
  • Outline/Brainstorm for Santa Sarita
    • Yes… and no. So, it turns out, I had already done some brainstorming and outlining back in October. I have no memory of this, but that’s cool since I no longer agree with the route I had planned. I’ve made some new plans, but nothing concrete. But, I did do a tiny bit of writing on this so I’m counting it a win!

Weekly Word Count: 1,477

The first week of the year is always a busy one on the blog. Goals Summaries, Monthly Recaps, and the blog overhaul and Yearly Review. Lots of writing about writing, collating the stats and accomplishments of the year and analyzing my failures and successes so I can make the most of the year to come. Honestly? It’s one of my favorite times of year, when I can really dig deep into my process and figure out how to tweak for even more efficiency and output. It’s like giving my mind a tune-up!

When it came to listening to Spying on Whales, I didn’t know if I’d really be able to finish it. The book is great, and Pyenson’s passion really shines through the narrative and his narration, but I am not great at reading/listening to nonfiction. Even something as interesting to me as the past, present, and future of whales (I freaking LOVE whales) still had me zoning out for large chunks of text. I frequently had to rewind a segment and figure out where my brain had turned to white noise.

But, I still finished it last night, and really enjoyed it. I don’t think the problem was the book, but more my short attention span. If you like nonfiction, or want a broad overview of the history and lives of whales, I highly recommend it!

I jumped back into writing my urban fantasy novel this week after ignoring its existence during the whole month of December. As expected it, it was sort of slow going. It’d been long enough away from the text that I didn’t really remember where I’d left and felt pretty distant from my narrator’s voice. So, I spent a lot of my “writing” time reading the manuscript over from the beginning. writing gif

Now, that’s always dangerous with a rough draft because it makes me want to edit. I see the repetitious sentences and the clunky passages and I cringe. But, that’s not the point of this readthrough. I needed to get back in Tavi’s head, so I could tag along with her on the crazy journey of this utterly pantster novel. And it worked! In fact, it not only worked, but got me excited about this project again. With rough drafts I’m always terrified that I’m going to hate them when I read them again for the first time. I fear that I’ll read the first few pages and wonder what the hell I was thinking, writing this garbage? But Tavi really surprised me! I think it’s really good. In a few places I even managed to forget I wrote it, I was so enthralled with the dialogue and the narrator’s voice.

So, that’s good.

Santa Sarita is percolating. The characters are taking up space in brain again and I’m almost ready to sit down and really hash out some words on this fic. I think it’s going to be much different than I originally planned, and that’s probably for the best. There’s a reason my first attempt at this story flopped, after all. In the meantime I’m going to write some small tumblr prompts and get used to writing these two once again.

So, what’s next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 3k on Tavi
  • Work on something Santa Sarita related

This looks really thin to me, but jumping up from 1,000 words to 3,000 is going to take some serious effort. And even then, I’ll still be about four thousand words behind my monthly writing goal. Which is okay. The point is just to write consistently again after so much time off. The words will come.

knight's shadowI have a backlog of tumblr prompts to work on, the majority of them for Santa Sarita, so that should be an easy one to knock out this week. I also have a nebulous idea for a blog post, but we’ll see if I go with that or something else I’ve been sitting on for a while. Don’t expect a book review this week. Sadly I have zero interest in writing reviews for nonfiction, and my time with Knight’s Shadow has been really limited lately. Honestly, all of my time is limited lately, so if I’m going to make my writing goals expect my reading to slow down.

Thank goodness for audiobooks! I just downloaded Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and though it’s pretty far over my head, I figure I’ll still know more about astrophysics by the end than I do now.

In other news, I received my rejection letter from Oregon Literary Arts. I was not a recipient of a fellowship this year, but better luck next time! I also received a rejection on my horror short story Lifelike last night, and it’s already off and onto the next magazine. Getting two rejections in one week feels bad and it feels kinda good. It means I’m working hard and eventually one of these emails will be an acceptance!

Talk to you soon, Blogland!

 

BZ

The Printing Dilemma

So, a couple things that need mentioning.

1. September 27th was the 2 year anniversary of this blog. That’s crazy to think about! Two years of writing about writing. And really, I’m just now hitting my stride. Thanks to all of you who have been here from the beginning, I appreciate it more than you know. And thanks to those of you who are just discovering my little slice of WordPress. I hope you enjoy the journey with me.

2. September 28th, a beautiful thing happened. I reached 100 followers. 100. I now have 103, or something like that, and it blows my mind to think about. 100 strangers have stumbled upon my blog, and found the words interesting enough to want notification of anything new. I don’t know how long it SHOULD have taken me to reach 100 followers, probably not 2 years, and I don’t care! Thank you to each and every one of you who clicked that little plus sign, I truly appreciate it.

Today has been productive. Woke up at 9am, talked to my mom while I researched plane ticket prices to go home in March, and paid the car and credit card payments.

Then I packed up and drove down to the Dragon’s Lair, aka the Office, and printed off 17 pages of ‘The Portrait of Sterling Madison’. Some things to note: When copy and pasting from Scrivener, MS Word likes to default to size 14 font. If you don’t catch this, and print anyway, it makes uncomfortable reading. Also, when your Office requests that you not print more than 5 pages per session, and you ignore them, make sure there’s enough paper in the printer.

Ended up 4 pages short, and couldn’t figure out how to reload the printer, so I had to cancel the job and book it out of there.

But, 17 pages is quite a bit of story to edit. Even if the font is way too big.photo-11

So, good initial work has been done. What was 4,356 words is now 4,058 words, and it flows a lot better so far. There’s still a lot of inconsistencies to be addressed, some scenes that either need added or cut, and some details that aren’t quite right, but it’s coming along. It feels good to cut up a story by hand. Editing on the computer just doesn’t cut it.

Something about holding the story helps me separate from it. I can read it over and over again on the screen, but I can’t seem to find any distance, or objectivity. As soon as it’s printed, I can look at it anew. It could be anyone’s story. And that’s how I treat it. I look at it, and edit in the margins like I would a colleague’s story in workshop.

Although, I must say that my handwriting is starting to look eerily like Patrick Michael Finn’s did on my story a couple years ago. That’s a trip.

So, initial edits, beyond what gets done from original handwriting to retype in the computer, have gone well. I’m allowing my mind to refer to this as the third draft now, and that’s exciting!

My mom is going to check her garage and see if my old printer is in there. If it is, she’s going to send it to me and then the printing dilemma will be no more!

Anyway, I’m going to go stick my nose in ‘Everything’s Eventual’ and get some lunch.

Thanks again, Blogland. I’ll see you tomorrow!

BZ

October means nearly NaNo!

Welcome to October!

A new fiscal year for the Bux, as well as our currently underperforming Government. But, regardless of my political feelings, this blog is not the place for a rant. At least not about politics. Or, at least not today. Ha!

Today has found me in an oddly good mood. It might have been the almost 12 hours of sleep, or the Salted Caramel Mocha I just inhaled. Add to it all the reading I’ve been doing and all the writing buzzing around my brain, and I am one happy camper.

With October comes a hint of November as leaves fall in blustery gusts and the rain staccatos against rooftops. And with November comes NaNoWriMo! So, I’ve decided to bump my writing schedule up a bit. Need to finish ‘The Portrait of Sterling Madison’, get started on ‘My Final Frontier’, and then, for NaNo, I’m going to bust out ‘Cards’.

Or, at least try.

I’ve participated in NaNo once, back in Arizona. And, I didn’t get very far. Instead of 50,000 words, I reached 16,000 and pretty much exhausted myself. That was the first novel I never finished.

So, I wrote about 2,500 words a week while writing ‘Vessels’. NaNo calls for 1,647 a DAY. That means, I need to have some wildly productive days if I’m going to meet the NaNo goal.

I don’t really expect myself to hit that target, especially not with Holiday at the Bux coming up and working 40 hours a week. But, I can use NaNo to really bust out a good portion of a new novel. Who knows, I might even finish the rough draft before it’s time to work on editing ‘Vessels’.

And that would be something! Finish two rough drafts in a year? Maybe that will be my goal!

I was going to write more, and go into details about Lecture 10, but I just realized that I’m sitting in my Starbucks across town, and forgot to pay rent. So, I have to pack up and drive home, write a check (my least favorite kind of writing), and drop it off before I come back.

If I have time, I will post another blog today. And, even though I don’t work tomorrow, I’m meeting someone about designing wedding invitations at 2pm, so I’ll be here any way. So keep an eye on the blog, folks, it’s gonna be a busy week!

 

BZ