Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Oh, how I love beginnings! As I let draft 2 of Novel 1 sit (I need to do the third draft with a relatively "fresh" set of eyes--I am worn out and sick of it all right now!), I decided to start putting some new stuff down on paper. I've been planning to work on Novel 2 next, a grand ol' space opera with a, hopefully, intriguing protagonist, but all of the sudden I wanted to work on what shall hence be called Novel 4. Novel 4 is an idea I've had banging around in my head for ages. I tried to use it for NaNoWriMo a couple years ago, but it never took off. It just seems right to work on that now. In the past hour I've already sketched out a rough outline and am working on some basic charactering (um, yes, it's a verb!). I may even begin work on draft 1 this week!

The excitement of starting something totally NEW is amazing. It banishes all my fears and trepidations about "oh, well do I really want to be a writer," and somehow makes it much harder to be all doom and gloom about the future of hard-copy publishing and the role of sheer dumb luck in the whole process. I know that as I go on and the writing gets tough and isn't as perfect as I want, all the doubts will return and I will get to wrestle them again. But for now, I am going to enjoy the sweet feeling of creation!

(Also, starting work on a query for Novel 1. I know that the third draft needs to be done and polished before I can start submitting, but it can't hurt to have a letter ready to go, right?)

(Also also, I still don't have a title for Novel 1! I know that it's the least important bit and can be changed once I blow someone away with my amazing writing, but I mean, I'd like to have one, you know? I can't query it as "novel 1," as awesome as that would be. Fuck. I hate titles. Hopefully my beta can come up with one...)

(Oh, and one more thing, I did a manuscript word count for Novel 1, and it clocked in at 84k! Perfect!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010


What a lovely word! Done! And that's what I am--DONE with my second draft of Novel 1! It's a great feeling. Like I've scaled a mountain for the second time! Of course there is more drafting to come, but this now feels like a Real Manuscript. I can now start to doodle query letters and novel titles and imagine my book in print--in addition to working hard to get it ready for that, of course.

I clocked in a little shy of my word goal, but as I've been going off "word count" as the easiest route, I don't know what my queryable word count will be. Once I get the manuscript all together (I have chapters strewn across 3 computers), I will format and find manuscript word count. I'm hoping that comes out a little closer to 80k.

Determined not to let my pessimism/realism from getting my spirits down right now. Right now, I know I CAN and WILL be a published author someday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Future...

Sometimes I get so scared about writing. I know how many people out there want to be authors. Who doesn't know someone who is "working on a book/novel"? I know that there are plenty of talented writers who never find the right agent or the right publisher, and their work slides into obscurity. I know that it takes more than talent to get published--and what if the cards are never dealt in my favor? What if I work my ass off, and I never get anywhere? This is just a hobby? I suppose I should say that it wouldn't matter, and that I write for the joy of writing. And to a certain extent, of course, I do, or I wouldn't write. But a lot of the times I write because I want to be a writer. I want to share my work, I want to have readers and yes, I want to work from home. And I know how incredibly unlikely that is. Most of the time I delude myself into thinking that I am somehow special, that of course someday I'll get my break. But I have to deal with the fact that it may not ever happen. And what then? Will I still be willing to write novels for the sheer joy of it? Seeing as I have finished 3 complete manuscript drafts (not polished or ready to submit, of course), you would think the answer is yes. But more and more I realize the answer is no. It just takes so much time and effort, and at the end of the day, I can't keep doing this for nothing.

But how long will it take me to realize it's not going to happen? I'm still young; I still have that optimism of youth. Will I waste the prime years of my life spending hours hunched over a laptop, pondering the strength of my word choice and how long it takes to cook a meal on the road in a medieval fantasy world? Will I grow depressed as I receive rejection after rejection until I feel like a failure? There are so many books out there already, sometimes I have to wonder why I even try adding to it. Do I really have anything new or important to say?

These are, I think, normal fears for a writer. But that doesn't make them any less real to me. I still have a few years yet before I abandon this dream, but lord how I hope I don't have to!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Wrap-Up

November has come and gone, and left me feeling pretty damn good! It's lovely to feel that for a change. Lovely to be able to use my sometimes-onerous work life as an advantage for my writing. Lovely to really feel like I accomplished something! Now, after all that hype, the real numbers...

November total: 31,825.

Keeping in mind that my goal was 9,000, I think I definitely earned a little self-congratulatory pat on the back! Of course, I must point out that few of these words were original. As I get farther along in my draft, large chunks of the writing just need to be transcribed from tablet to computer. Still, I am COUNTING IT! Over 30k words in a month, and according to my beta, not too shabby words!

So I'm not going to let this enthusiasm lag. I can finish this month. I know it. I promise I will finish this month! Yes, that means about 20k more words, but I really believe I can do it. Especially considering my husband is going on a trip for a week, which will leave me PLENTY of time for writing! (And playing xbox, but hopefully I can avoid that temptation...)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Full Steam Ahead

After months of struggling, I think I have finally broken through that wall! November started out slow, 5 days with not a word written at all. I was wondering if even my modest 9k goal was too high. Then, as I got into a routine this underway, I started writing every day. I've written every day for the past 8 days, and I have already trounced my 9k goal! (Currently sitting at 11,572 for the month.) Plus, I finally got past the "old part" of my draft into the newer stuff that requires very little rewriting. For example, today I typed up a scene of 3167 words that needed only a few cosmetic tweakings, and it took less than an hour. I am on to Chapter 9 of 18, and I am really starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (and that light is a third draft...).

So hopefully this momentum can continue! I am underway for another 6 days, and I have no reason to think I won't be able to keep this up the whole time. I've even started to have new novel ideas pop into my head and realized that, in a few months, I might be able to start seriously working on them! Awesome. I have to remind myself to slow down a little, I still need at least another draft of this one, but I'm already drafting queries in my head and wondering which agent will be right for me.

I'm just going to enjoy the optimism for now! =)

Monday, November 1, 2010

October 2010 Wrap-Up

Another month, gone already? Say it isn't so! October was...disappointing, to say the least. Although this time I DO have an excuse for it. Work has been crazy. Absolutely crazy. (I'm going on 12 hours of being here today!) So I'm going to not judge myself too harshly for these numbers.

October total: 5,866.

It's low. Very low. I know that. I have very little hope for November. In fact, I'm refining my previously optimistic goals down to a more reasonable number--9,000. I hope it's small enough that is doesn't seem too daunting, but large enough to get another scoop of the draft done.

Maybe it's one disappointing month after another, but I am NOT giving up. I am NOT going to lose hope. I believe in this book, and if not this one, then another, because I believe in myself.

Friday, October 29, 2010


As October winds down, I find myself facing, yet again, the Big Question--to Nano or no? I've attempted NaNoWriMo before, but I've never been too successful at it. I find that it's no different than my usual self-motivation. The impetus to write copious words dies after a few days. Then I get disappointed in myself...and that's just a vicious cycle.

On the other hand, it might be a good chance to get a new novel kicked off. As I'm approaching the finish line for Novel 1 (okay, so I've only finished 5 chapters of the 18 chapters in the 2nd of at least 3 drafts--it's more done than not done!), I want to get working on something new. I'm thinking something scifi, as I've been in the fantasy mode for a while. I have a few ideas, but nothing that's really chomping at the bit to get going. So Nano could be a good chance to force a new draft into gear. But it could also fizzle and make me hate yet another of my ideas, as happened during my last two attempts.

Not to mention that most of my month of November will be spent doing a rather exhausting exercise for work. So I guess I won't be even fooling myself into thinking I'll Nano this year. Instead, I think I need to focus on finishing this draft before moving onto my next project. I've never been a good multitasker!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

September 2010 Wrap-Up

Okay, so I'm a little delayed in getting this post up, but my life has been not very writing-centric in the past few weeks. Not a defense, I know, but no one ever reads this anyway, so who cares? I'll merely judge myself!

Anyway, total words for September: 8561.

It's not a fantastic total, and I really don't have any excuse for it. I'd say that I'd do better in October, but it's already 10 days in and I've written a total of once. Granted, I banged out a good 1623 that day, but still, I'm falling very behind. Starting to wonder if I can even finish this draft before the end of the year. Still, I'm slowly but surely getting through the parts that needed the most re-working. In a few more chapters, I'll basically just be a typist!

October's goal is 24,800. I'm already 5,557 words behind that, but it's not too early to lose hope!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Breakthrough! And then...

It's so funny how much I've been realizing the truth of my own words! After hitting a long lull, I finally got a burst of inspiration (on a cross-country flight, oddly enough). That was all it took for me to gain momentum. After over a week of 0 word days, I was busting out almost 2k a day! I caught up to my September progress goals! I was going to do awesome this month!

And then technical difficulties. I was unable to access my Google docs where my work was saved. (I have other copies, but not on the computer I had available for working.) A whole week of being stymied by these issues, and so then when I did have the time and resources this weekend to momentum. Totally gone. Another string of 0's for days on end. Totally stalled.

So finally today I am ready to go. Really feeling good, have a few ideas to implement...and I realize I don't have my rough draft to work from! It's enough to make me beat my head against the wall. Still, I didn't let my inspiration go to waste, and I knocked out the rest of my structural work. Now I have an entirely completed outline to work to! Looking at 18 chapters, 69 scenes total. (Currently on Chapter 4, Scene 3...) Once I hit about Chapter 9, I expect the pace to pick up a lot more, because the second half was written this year (as opposed to the first half, written in high school!), and needs much less re-writing. And no added scenes past Chapter 8! (In contrast, of the 14 scenes completed in this draft, 4 of them are new.)

Anyway, hopefully I can get some words down tonight when notepads and files are re-united!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


On my rather extensive "Blog" tab of my iGoogle homepage, I follow the blog from Scribophile. I find that having a reminder to write while I'm wasting time reading blogs is probably a good idea! It certainly has motivated me to shut down and pull up Word on more than one occasion. So I was probably one of the first to see their blog touting a new service--Scribblefolio. The point was made, and I absolutely agree, that it is hard for amateur writers (and even more seasoned ones) to showcase their writing. I would never link to this blog, for example, as a writing sample. (Would I really want potential clients to read about my struggles with deadlines and writer's block??) And while I am somewhat tech savvy enough to make my own website, I would be better off spending that time tackling some of those deadlines. So I was happy to sign up!

I was pretty happy with what I got. First, it was free. Yay! Of course, like most free services, you can upgrade for a price. But the basic package definitely works. My one complaint about the plain version is that you can't include any formatting in your writing samples. Poor people can't use italics now? Thanks. On the plus side, the upgrade is pretty cheap, so it would be worth it if you were really going to use this as your writer's website.

Second, it was extremely easy to use. The buttons were simple and big, the fields were clearly delineated. My only complaint here was that it was almost too easy, like my intelligence was being somewhat insulted. But like I said, I am somewhat internet savvy, so I can imagine this would be really helpful for people who have no experience. (Although one has to wonder how they even find out about the website, in that case.)

That's really all there is to Scribblefolio. But that's not a bad thing! It's a site designed to give you a simple, clean showcase for you and your writing. Not overloaded with bells and whistles (imagine a potential employer stumbling across a MySpace like barrage of color and sound--no thanks!), and very quick and easy to set up. Basic package is serviceable, with extra themes, writing sample space, and formatting for "Fancy Pants" users. I would highly recommend any writer without a professional webpage to take advantage of this service.


My Scribblefolio:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

August 2010 Wrap-Up

Another month gone! Hard to know where the time goes, as it certainly isn't going into writing. Sigh. Yes, still going through my rough patch. Realized with a shock today that I hadn't written in a week. And, worst of all, that didn't galvanize me to the word processor. Frustrating!

Words written: 9,812

That's not an awful amount, all things considered (going through some personal stuff that shouldn't impact my writing, but unfortunately, it does).

September's goal is 24,000! Should put me at about 1/3 done with my second draft. Of course, I'm already a day behind, but never say never!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Writer's Block

It's such a cliche, but damn, I sure am suffering from it. I know there are people out there who don't "believe" in writer's block, but I don't have another word that works as well for how I feel. Because, to me, that's what writer's block is. A feeling of almost aversion to writing at all. It's not that I don't have ideas, it's just that they all feel trapped in my head, and they repel going onto a page like the same poles of two magnets.

It's amazingly frustrating. It makes me feel like such a failure, and makes me doubt that I can, or even want, to be a "real" writer. But I know it's not permanent, so for now I will just have to deal with it until I can break through. I fear my writing progress will be stalled until I hit one of those rare bursts of inspiration, but then hopefully my momentum will kick in!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Writing is such a funny thing. I would bet that almost any writer would say that have times of inspiration. These are not just the moments that a great plot idea occurs to you, but also those times when words just seem to flow forth in perfect rhythm. This is when I feel like I can churn out 3 books a year, that I can be a published author, that I can write multi-volume epics. And it's a fantastic feeling. Yet I would bet that almost any writer would say that you can't rely on these. You can't only write during these periods of inspiration. I know that if I waited for them to get any writing done, I'd be probably getting about one night of writing in a month. Not a recipe for success!

So if it's not pure inspiration that gets the writing done, is it nose-to-the-grindstone daily forcing? Isn't that a true adage--that to get any writing done, you have to WRITE, so ass in chair, get moving. Whether or not you're inspired, whether you can think of where the story is going, just write something. This is undeniably a useful tool, especially for projects that aren't for "fun." For reports, or articles, or letters, or whatever we need to write but don't really want to. But I would say that this is not a great route for writing your next great novel. Sure, you'll probably produce some words. But will you be happy with them? Or maybe you won't even produce--I know some of my worst cases of writer's block are when I am sitting at the computer telling myself that OMGIMUSTWRITESOMETHINGRIGHTNOW.

If it's not flashes of inspiration or pure daily grinding, how do we ever get any meaningful amount of writing done? I posit that it is through momentum. (I feel that I must clarify that I am speaking entirely in the vernacular sense of the words, as this has nothing to do with mass or velocity!) We must take those moments of inspiration and ride them for as long as possible. If I wrote every day for the past four days, including a good multi-thousand word day, then I feel okay about sitting down and writing a bit today. My personal daily goal is 800, and that's not a terrible lot. It's easy to do when I'm riding that momentum of getting ahead. It gets hard when I fall behind.

I'm not really talking about forming a habit, because last I heard that takes something like two weeks. Maybe that's possible for other people, but it'd be a cold month in hell when I got time to write every day around the same time for 2 weeks! So it's not really a habit. It's just knowing that if I did something already, I can do it again. So when I have 2 days in a row that I don't write, it's a momentum-killer. Even if it's for perfectly legitimate reasons--for example, flying across the country, like I did on Sunday--it just murders my writing. The next time I sit down after an extended absence, even one as short as 2 days, I feel overwhelmed. I think about all the writing I didn't do and wonder how I will ever catch up. I feel so obligated to produce more than usual that my writing often comes out forced and stilted (similar to "grindstone" writing).

I'm battling a bit of a momentum loss right now, and it's very frustrating. Here's to hoping that I get a new burst of inspiration soon that will propel me for a few more days!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Positive Affirmation!

I know that it all must be taken with a grain of salt (lots of big, BIG grains, as a matter of fact), but of the two people who've read my first chapter, both really liked it! I posted it to Scribophile and got my first crit there, and he started out with "I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter. It is the best thing that I have read on this site, so far. You captured my interest, immediately." Trying not to pat myself on the back too much ensues. And what he said pretty much lined up exactly with what Beta 1 (hubby :)) said. One point made in the Scrib crit hit so close to home: "Your writing is very clear and clean (and that is much appreciated - thank you), and your descriptions are wonderful. On the flip side of that, though, is a suggestion is to examine and kill some of your adjectives." It's so true! I love adjectives and adverbs, and no matter how much I know that I shouldn't overuse them, I can't stand to get rid of them! That will be a project for my line editing for sure.

Unfortunately there seems to be an issue with the in-line critique I got, where only the first word of each comment is displayed, so I didn't get to see what specific recommendations/issues the critiquer pointed out. I'm hoping it's just due to my terrible work computer and IE6, so I'll check it again at home tomorrow. Possibly an error in posting though.

With a couple good praises under my belt, I feel a lot better going forward. I'm on duty today, so I should have plenty of time to knock out some good chunks!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Drafting is Fun!

The past few weeks of finishing my rough draft have bee difficult. From time to time I wondered why I was even doing this. I wasn't having fun, I was constantly beating myself up, and it was painful to get 200 words a day. Yet I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and I am so glad I pushed through! Now that I have started on my re-write, inspiration has flourished anew. I'm easily cruising past my daily word goal of 800, having half-hour bouts of writing that are kicking out 1K words. True, a large part of these words are merely adapted from what I had already written. But what I find myself doing mostly is reading over a page or two of my handwritten draft, and then typing at will for my new draft. Sometimes I surprise myself by using the exact same turn of phrase for an upcoming part that I haven't re-read recently, and sometimes I start going one way and wonder how I ever wrote it so differently to start with.

Besides just the writing of the new draft, there is the plotting and restructuring. I have a whole list of the scenes from my first draft, and that snapshot makes it easy to see how much I really needed to do some structural work! Over the six years of the first draft, I seemed to have gone through several phases regarding chapters. I have one chapter that is 13 scenes long and is nearly half the draft, followed by six single-scene chapters! And jumping from city to city because trying to describe travel bored me, which leads to weeks and miles being condensed sloppily into 2 key scenes and 5 pages. I've been having a lot of fun moving things around, adding new scenes here and there, combining others. It's kind of like starting a whole new novel, except a lot easier because most of the hardest work is done!

So writing is on the upswing for me right now. I'm almost telling myself I could be ready to start writing query letters by the end of the year! Then I realize I'm getting way ahead of myself. Oops.

(Right now, going off MWord word count. Once the draft is finished, I'll revise to "manuscript word count," with the 12 point Courier font and 250 "words" per page.)

Less than a week of work!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Wow, what an amazing feeling! It's been so long since I've finished something that I almost forgot what it's like. To actually be able to write "THE END." And underline it, and star it. Because this is a Big Moment. Sure, I still have a very extensive re-write to do. Sure, after that I'll need to draft a query letter. Sure, after that I'll have exhausting, demoralizing, and depressing rejections to get through. Sure, after THAT I'll probably re-write again, and again...but this is the first big step in the way of getting one of my novels published. Ooh. What writer doesn't get a chill down their spine at that thought?

I started this novel when I was 16, which is ridiculous. Six and a half years ago! Yes, I took a big break (about 4 years) in the middle, so it's not like it's taken me that long of steady work to produce a rough draft (I'd never be a professional novelist at that rate!). That's still a long time. I'm so glad I didn't give up on this one. Despite all the flaws that I know it has (and that I'm just itching to go and find and FIX), this is much better than my first two manuscripts. So, with a happy heart, I'm on the next task. It seems a lot more doable now.

Rough estimate (based on counting a couple pages and averaging them, which is probably wildly off due to changing handwriting, pens, etc), the draft clocks in at 53k. I know it's not a lot, but I also plan to enrich it during my re-write. I don't go into too much detail at first, and I've not given the subplots as much space as they deserve. So I'm expecting my finished draft to be over 60k, and hopefully more like 70k. I know it's short, but I also know that short can actually help in publishability, so I'm not worried (yet).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pushing Through

I have been stalled at The Ending for a few days now. Partly this is due to craziness at work--due to a last minute schedule change, we ended up traveling up to Seattle! Still, as much as I might make excuses for myself, I know that I had the time to get writing done if I'd so chosen. But I didn't, because I was daunted by the task at hand. I'm almost finished with the main conflict, and I'm faced with tying up the loose ends. I don't want the novel to drag on, but I don't want to write a handy little epilogue either. I want to SHOW these characters getting their resolution. But I can't seem to manage that without it being slapped together hastily. So instead, I'm not writing anything.

It's frustrating, being this close to finishing this draft and not being able to close the deal. Of course I have a work function tonight, so another excuse rears its head. I'm already far behind on my August goals, and it's only the 4th! Part of the problem is that I'm so excited to start on my re-write, I don't actually want to finish the draft first. Tomorrow is going to be another hectic work day, coordinating a big function, but Friday is going to be IT. I am going to finish this draft then, I swear it! Okay, maybe not, but I'm going to get a good chunk of work done. Must finish one milestone before I can look forward to the next!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

July 2010 Wrap-Up

July has come and gone, and it was not an altogether unproductive month for me. I had hoped to write 31 pages, which is not a very lofty goal, but given my work schedule and sometimes much-lacking motivation, it was difficult enough. I am pleased.

Pages written: 43.62 (by hand)
Words written: 8000 (approximate)

August will see the completion of Novel 1!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hello, Internet...

Not that I think anyone is interested, but more for my own benefit, I am starting a dedicated WRITING BLOG. Whee! Just another distraction from actually getting any writing done? Probably. But hopefully also an incentive to keep those creative juices flowing, to remind myself what I have accomplished and what more I will accomplish in the future. There are hundreds of people who are doing this, and I believe that I can too. I just need to dedicate myself to actually getting words down on the page. I can't even contemplate agent searching yet or anything.

I guess a current breakdown of my WIP is in order as a starting point.

Novel 1, fantasy, almost completed first draft. Currently clocking in at around 50K, not quite done yet. Needs a lot of work, as I took nearly a four year hiatus from writing this. Am very excited to get started on the second draft.

Novel 2, sci fi, barely started first draft. Toying with the ideas and where I want to go with them. Thinking a multi-book series on this one, but given my difficulties making even ONE book (all my drafts tend to be a bit on the short side), we'll see.

Novel 3, fantasy, barely started first draft. Like this one, but have run into a brick wall as far as the plot. As in, it has a plot, but there is no REASON for said plot. So stuck.

Short Story 1, halfway done first draft (869 words). I'm not usually a big short story writer, but this idea struck me one day and I've been enjoying writing it so far. Also the only thing I'm working on that isn't SF/F.

So that's it so far. My big push is finishing the first draft of Novel 1 and then working a strong re-write. My hope is to do a chapter a week once I get to the re-write, which would be awesome. My husband is going to be a beta (and swears he'll be honest, but isn't much of a reader, so will be a first-stage, rough idea beta), as well as working some Scribophile/writing board excerpts to make sure I'm headed in a good direction.

Everything seems so possible right now, even when I'm struggling to get 200 words a day, and I hope I can hold on to that feeling!