Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Onto May

You know what was interesting, squiders–after the note last week about how Nano 2011 went, I went back through the archives to see what I’d actually done, and, well, I hardly talked about it at all.

Seriously, like two sentences in the last blog post of the month to note that I’d had a 100K goal and that I’d not made it.

The rest of the posts were Nano tips and general cheerleading, which reminds me that I used to spend a lot more time on “professional” posts back when I started and very little time on what I was working on or personal posts.

I asked from time to time, if people prefer a certain type of post over another, but I’ve found that people don’t tend to respond, so you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit, as they say in the preschools these days.


I did not get to writing last weekend, as expected, but I have made some progress thus far this week. I finished the paper edit on Chapter 2 (I’d gotten less far than I’d remembered) and started the rewrite, which is going quite well and is feeling very good, so huzzah.

Which leads me onto the general goal for the month, which is making decent progress on the rewrite/revision of Book 1. Ideally I’d like to do at least 1000 a day, which is much easier on a rewrite when we’re just changing bits and hopefully not writing a ton of completely new material, but the month is conspiring against me.

It’s what, the third? And I’ve sick children, work drama, parental obligations, and volunteer obligations already, plus a whole bunch of extra errands that keep popping up. So fingers crossed that all that goes off somewhere else.

(Not terribly optimistic–May is traditionally an awful month, working wise, because school gets out and someone has a birthday, and there’s a ton of school and scout stuff as everyone tries to stuff everything in before summer hits.)

Aside from the ongoing revision, I’ll no doubt have some edits on the novella that need to be done before the parts start going live, and I should probably read over it (I ended up sending it in without re-reading it or self-editing, so, uh, whoops? I guess it’s fine though, the reader really liked it) and decide where I’m going to do breaks, and how many sections it’ll end up being. Four or five, probably?

But anyway.

It’s gotten warm in the last week, and today it was already too warm, so summer is definitely on the way. Alas.

See you guys later this week!


April, Week 4

Good uh…afternoon, squiders! Happy second-to-last day of April! (Except not really because it means May is right around the corner, which means birthdays and school ending, and having to figure out summer break, and…)

So, how have things gone since I finished my novella on Tuesday?

Well, they haven’t.

I should know this by now. If I am single-flowing a project (whether purposefully or due to time constraints) I almost always take a few days break at the end. Sometimes longer, depending on the length of the project that’s just been finished.

Hell, for Nano 2011 (probably talked about here on the blog at the time) I had grand plans of doing 100K. I had 50K left on one project (which was probably Book 1, now that I think about it) and then I had a second project lined up and ready to go. The first half of the month went great! I think I hit The End on Day 11 or something.

But then instead of moving into the second project for the rest of the month, I just…gave up.

Not my finest hour.

I’ve found that if I’m actively working on multiple projects (like I was SUPPOSED to be) then this doesn’t happen. It counteracts the “I’m done with a project, now what do I do with myself” feeling that tends to hit (as well as the “I’ve finished something and now may rest on my laurels” feeling) since you can just adjust your focus to the other stuff.

All this to say that I haven’t really done much since finishing my novella.

I did email some friends to see if someone would beta, and yesterday I re-read Chapter 1 (eesh) and went back over my notes. A lot of yesterday was also spent going back over stuff I’ve been putting off–emails that needed responding to, webinars that have been sitting open, smaller tasks that I’ve been putting off. I still have a few of those to do, which I might get to here after this.

But I do have to accept at this point that even if I work on Chapter 2 today (unlikely, it’s hard to get things done on the weekends unless I get up early because everyone has stuff to do–today was children’s dinner theater rehearsal and a fencing tournament, plus there’s yardwork and we’re going to go see a play tonight, and now all of a sudden we have dinner plans with the cousins–and I’m unlikely to get up early because I like my sleep) and tomorrow (also unlikely, see above but with different things) there’s no way I’m getting the 9.7K I need to hit 25K.

And, you know, that’s okay. I did write an entire novella this month! That’s not too shabby. AND I got a 5-star review on Hidden Worlds from Reader’s Favorite, which is a pretty big deal. I’ve got to put that up on its various pages. Something more for the To Do list.

Every little bit helps, after all, and it’s no good beating yourself up over things you didn’t get done. Undue stress and all that jazz.

Anyway, see you in May, squider!

April, Week 3

Hey ho, squiders! Sorry for the radio silence last week. I don’t really have a good excuse except that I was (as always) trying to do too much at the same time.

I know we’re a little late for Week 3, but let’s talk about it anyway.

I finished up the novella that was half of my goals for Camp Nano today. It’s about 15.3K, so a little over, but more or less what I was going for. I’m going to give it a few days to sit, and then I’ll read back over it, make any necessary changes, and send it over to the TDP people.

Wednesday and Thursday last week were a little rough. I always get a little sloggy at the dark moment because sometimes it’s depressing to write about people at their lowest point, so I didn’t make my words for those days. But I persevered, and now the draft is done! And I think it’s pretty good, just from my initial feelings, so I’ll have to see if that holds up when I read back over it.

Now that that madness is done(-ish), it’s back to the revision. I had grand plans that I was going to work on both throughout the month, but I just haven’t had time. Mondays and Fridays I have off, so those are, in theory, the days where I would have time to do multiple projects, but I’ve been so busy on those days it hasn’t happened. Yesterday I didn’t get to write at all.

Dunno if we’re going to make much progress revision-wise–in theory, I’ve got to do 2K a day to make my camp goal, which is pushing it on a good day. I left off in the middle of the paper edit for Chapter 2, so I’ve got to finish that before I can start the writing portion. I might read back over Chapter 1 as well, which will let me check and see if it’s as awful as it felt, and let me remember what I was doing.

In theory, I’m up for the next critique with the new group I joined, so Chapter 1 needs to be ready (and maybe chapter two, got to figure out how long the pieces are supposed to be). But the initial time we agreed upon isn’t going to work, so I need to figure that out too.

Man, it just never stops, does it?

Anyway, I hope your April is going well. It’s been downpouring for the last ten hours or so, which is weird but nice, except I have to keep going out in it.

See you Thursday, fingers crossed!

April, Week 2

Good afternoon, squiders! It’s snowing here after being in the 80s all week. As it does.

We’re about halfway done with the month! I think, to be on track for my 25K goal, I should be at…oh, like 11.7K.

I’ve only written a few hundred words thus far today, so I’m at, like, 7.6K.

Not amazing. Not great. More than I’ve written in a hot minute, though, certainly.

Most of the words have been on the novella for TDP. I’ve got it outlined to be about 15K, so while I’m not quite as far as I had hoped, I am at least halfway-ish.

I ran into some issues the last few days with my outline.

It turns out I outlined this story in June of 2018. Good Lord! That’s almost five years ago. Anyway, I outlined it then and broke the outline back out last month to plan for this month. And I wasn’t wild about the outline. I think I told you guys this. Some of the later plot points were just…not good.

My choices were: 1) start writing and see if I could fix the story on the go, or 2) fix the outline before I started.

I chose 1, because I am eternally an optimist even though I know how I work.

So, lo and behold, to no one’s surprise, I had a rough time writing yesterday and realized I’d hit the point where the outline was no longer working.

But, also, that the outline method wasn’t quite working.

I have levels of outlining I do, based on estimated word count. Anything under 5K, I use a phase outlining method.

Past 5K, I switch to a 6-act outline.

For longer works, 30K+, I also use the 6-act outline, but I do arc work and tentpoles as well to help with pacing. Different stories and genres may require additional work past that.

So, based on several 7.5K-10K-ish stories I’ve written for, say, anthologies, I outlined this 15K story the same way.

This was apparently a mistake.

So I spent about an hour last night doing my arcs and tentpoles, and now I feel better about the whole thing. I didn’t actually touch the 6-act part even though I maybe should have because it’s still bad, but I’m hoping the tentpoles will let me ignore them.

Or, you know, in three days, we’re going to be back to outlining fixing.

Now, I don’t mind outline fixing. An outline, after all, is an active document whose sole purpose is to help you write your story, and it needs to change as necessary to help you succeed. I just probably should have done the work at the beginning.

Or maybe not! Maybe I needed to get into the story, expand the world and the characters, before I understood enough to make the outline work properly.

I’ve been invited to join a critique group that’s meeting this Sunday. I’d better figure out if I’m going or not, and look at the materials if so. It’s Sunday mornings, which is inconvenient, so I’m going to have to think long and hard about it.

See you guys next week, when I’ve hopefully caught up!

First Week of April Down!

Howdy, squiders! How’s April treating you? I’m actually feel pretty good about things!

As I talked about last week, I’m focusing on two projects this month with a goal of doing 25000 words between a novella that will be released serially and my ongoing Book 1 revision.

I’m not off to an amazing start–at 3K as of yesterday, and I’ve not written today (and it’s not looking like I’ll get there) so I am a bit behind for the month, but definitely catch-up-able, and seeing how I’ve only written three days total, I’m averaging about 1K a day, which is, well, more than I’ve done in a while.

It’s nice to just be writing again.

Thus far I’m focusing on the novella. Getting it done means I can get it edited, which means it can start to go live sooner. Plus it’s the smaller project, which means it’ll get done faster anyway.

I’m having a super good time with it, actually. It’s got horror elements, because that’s what I like these days, but it also has fantasy and romance elements which are just fun.

Do I feel a little bad about pushing Book 1 to the backburners for the beginning of the month? Well, yes, but it probably will be helpful to work on something else for a minute, to remind myself that I don’t suck and writing is not all frustration, and so I can come back to the edit more refreshed.

As for Taig, I haven’t really been using him, because I’m having so much fun with the story. I mean, I’m still putting him out, but I would be fine without him. Sometimes I just put him next to me where I can’t really see him.

I’m trying setting his different sides to projects. So the novella is on his angry side, and, in theory, when I work on Book 1 (hoping to do the novella in the morning, and the revision in the afternoon, starting tomorrow) I’ll flip him to happy.

Anyway, progress is happening and thus far it is good! Happy April, everyone!

Chapter One Complete (and Plans for Camp)

Well, squiders, I thought it couldn’t be done. Well, no, I didn’t, but it was starting to feel that way.

I finally got done with the re-write on Chapter 1. It’s a little over 3000 words (which is about average for me for chapter length, but is, I suspect, considerably shorter than it was before) and probably terrible.

At least, it felt terrible. It may not be. I’m going to go through and see if I can tweak it emotionally, because I feel (again, haven’t re-read it yet, so who knows) like maybe I’ve gone too far and made Lana unlikeable again. Blagh. It’s enough to make me feel like I’m an idiot who doesn’t know how to write.

(That being said, I was showing Hallowed Hill to someone yesterday, and I scrolled down to see the reviews, and there was a new 5-star one from someone I don’t know at all that was super complimentary, so everything is subjective and creative endeavors do stupid things to your head.)

(Also I may leave it for now and come back to it after a few more chapters, with the hopes that I will establish Lana’s new character better over time and will be able to do more justice in a bit.)

Anyway. I started doing the paper edit of Chapter 2 on Wednesday, and then yesterday I had no free time and today I got an injection into my back to hopefully get rid of the last of my back pain, so I haven’t gotten back to it. (Maybe after this.)

I have been working on training with Taig, which is going okay thus far but is getting a little confused because the smaller, mobile one thinks he’s adorable and keeps getting him out when I’m NOT writing. Also, someone got chocolate on him. I’m not saying it was her but I have my suspicions.

But here we’ve come to the end of March, and April is upon us. April should be smooth sailing, as far as regular writing time goes, so I went ahead and put a rather ambitious goal of 25,000 words for April as my Camp Nanowrimo goal.

This is for a combo of two things:

  • The continuing revision of Book 1
  • A serial novella that I owe Turtleduck Press

I am aware that I should stop taking on novellas, but here we are.

Serial novellas for TDP get posted in increments up on the website, and then, in theory, get consolidated into a single story and released as ebooks. At least, that’s the new plan. This novella is the trial run of the idea, so, you know, no pressure or anything.

Generally I write serials as I go, but I’m thinking it may be easiest and best to just sit down and write the whole thing all at once this time through. This will allow me to make sure the whole story makes sense before I start to post segments of it (something I always worry about) and if necessary I can go back and make edits as well.

The story is outlined (has been for a while) and will be about 15K when complete. I’m hoping it can be done (first draft wise) in two weeks or less, based on how long it typically takes me to write a 10K story. I re-read the outline while I was on the cruise a few weeks back, though, and there’s a couple of later plot points that I don’t like, so I do need to either poke those before I get going or hope I will figure out something better as I actually write the thing.

Now, Kit, you might be saying, how is 25,000 words ambitious when you can and have routinely done a full Nano at 50,000 words?

Well, couple of reasons. 1) It is easier to do 50K during Nano because of several reasons, such as the fact that almost always (but not always) I’m working on a new project, and so there is New Project Momentum, and because there is creative momentum from a ton of other people working toward the same goal. 2) Uh….no, I guess mostly one. NO WAIT. I have done Camp Nano for years and years and years (and, before that, April Fools, which functioned the same way, where you set your own word count goal. One year, several people set 300K words as their goal AND MANAGED TO HIT IT, which to this day is madness) and the most I have ever done in April is 35K. I usually manage somewhere more in the 10 to 15K range.

Actually, one year where I hit 25K, I made a weekly goal chart because I was working on multiple projects, and that worked really well. I’m going to hunt that down and re-do it for this year right after this too.

Anyway, I hope everything is going well for you, squiders, and wish me luck!


Hello hello, squiders! I hope you’re doing well! I’m doing a month’s worth of work on a project in a week, so that’s good times.

(I did, however, sign up for Camp Nano, and, fingers crossed, I shouldn’t have anything major happening in April that will keep me from regularly writing and making progress on my revision.)

So a few weeks ago, I introduced you to my new writing friend/trigger object, and asked for names.

(Here he is again, in case you forgot:

After looking over all my options, I’m pleased to introduce you to Taig the Turtle!

Now, Taig is the American English phonetic spelling of the Irish/Scots Gaelic name Tadhg, which means poet, philosopher, or storyteller. Seems like a good fit for a writing friend!

(“dh” makes an “i” or “ee” sound in Gaelic.)

(I did several months worth of Scots Gaelic on duolingo last year, leading up to and following our trip to Scotland. I have never been great with languages in general–I took SO MANY years of Spanish and am barely rudimentarily fluent–but Gaelic was especially hard for me. No combination of letters ever made the sound I expected it to.)

With Gaelic names I’m normally pretty good about equating what the name actually sounds like to the spelling (Saoirse to Sear-sha, Eilidh to Ay-lee, Siobhan to Sha-van, etc.) but since my little friend here is supposed to be helping and not causing extra stress, I’m going to change the spelling for my own sanity. I will remember that Tadhg is pronounced Taig, but I will have to think about it for a minute each time, and meh.

Taig should be getting his first run on Tuesday or so (my project ends on Monday afternoon) so I’m hoping I can spend next week training myself to use him as a writing trigger and then it should be smooth sailing from there.

How are you doing, squiders? Anything fun happening?

Help Me Name My New Writing Friend

Hi squiders! I have some sort of especially annoying respiratory sickness (not COVID, I tested) that is making it hard to sleep (and also apparently making me snore), so that’s been fun.


The revision is going–well, not great, but not terribly either. I’m getting 400 to 800 words a session, when I’m getting writing time, which is still much less than I’d like. (And not likely to change in the near future, but maybe by April.)

(Though it does somewhat feel like things are conspiring to keep me from it. Today the larger, mobile one somehow accidentally embedded a pencil in his hand during school and I had to take him to the hospital.)

And while I am working on it, I am still spending an exorbitant amount of time working up to writing, which often includes checking all my Discord servers to see if someone is saying something interesting, checking phone games in case something has happened since I last looked at them, and reading back over what I’ve already written, which takes longer each time.

So, since this is an Issue, I decided it was time to look for a solution.

Something that can be helpful when you find your brain will not settle down and focus on what you need to do is to designate a trigger object. The idea is that this object becomes associated with whatever it is you want to be doing, and over time your brain will move easier into the right frame of mind when it sees said object.

This is something I’ve used rather successfully for many years by putting on hand warmers and/or writing gloves when it was writing time. However, I’ve fallen out of the habit because I outgrew it, and I’m finding it’s not necessarily working as well as I would like at the moment.

So I bought a new trigger object.

He’s a reversible plush turtle, with one angry side and one happy side. The dual expressions appeal to me, because somehow–not sure yet–I feel like I can use them to enhance my writing sessions, whether that’s reflecting the mood of the story, my writing mood, or signaling whether I can or cannot be disturbed.

He’s smaller than expected, but that’s probably actually a good thing, because he’s more portable this way.

So the plan is to start to use him in my writing sessions here and hopefully we can get everything moving a little easier than it is at the moment.

However, he needs a name. So many options, but I thought I’d see if you guys had any thoughts. So give me your best writing turtle names, and we’ll see which one sticks.

See you Thursday!

A Matter of Perspective

Hey-a, squiders, how’s it hanging? This week is a Disaster and so mostly I’m eating a lot of chocolate and quietly panicking.

But anyway, let’s talk about my edit and how it’s going! Or, rather, how it’s not going, because Life is doing that thing again.

Now, to be fair, I have made some progress. I wrote 400 words on the new first chapter.

They were awful. Seriously, just the worst over-written, pace-killing words.

And to even write those 400 words, if you remember, I had to get my friends to guilt trip me into writing because of performance anxiety and all the importance my brain had heaped on the re-write of chapter one (and arguably, this revision as a whole).

Imagine, if you will, how frustrating it is to have your brain fight you on doing a basic, necessary task for several days, and when you finally trick it into doing said task, all your fears are justified.

You ARE a hack, you CAN’T write this book properly, you ARE NEVER going to get it finished and published, etc.

Anyway, it was not good.

Later in the day, I had some time to sit and consider why said 400 words were not working, and I ended up thinking, too, about Hallowed Hill. After all, HH has, arguably, one of the best openings I’ve ever written for any story, and I hadn’t hardly had to touch it in revision.

So, I said to myself, what did I do differently for the beginning of Hallowed Hill than I am now?

Well, that was easy. I wrote the beginning of HH in first person.

See, Gothic novels are often in first person, so I set out to do the same. And I made it, oh, maybe a thousand words, in first person before it became apparent that it was not working and I switched to third person. So when I went back to change the very beginning into third as well, I noticed a few things.

While you cannot be as voice-y in third person as in first, you can still maintain some of the voice in third, which makes the passages more engaging. AND it cuts directly to a character’s wants and needs.

Part of the problem with the first chapter of Book One is that there is SO much going on. There’s the war to introduce, and the fantasy world-building, and oh so many characters, and it’s easy for me to get bogged down in all that. And it bogs the writing down too.

So I got up early the next morning, and I wrote 600 words of opening in first person.

And lo and behold, it cut through all the fluff to what was important.

Then I took my 600 words of first person and my 400 words of third person and spliced them together into something actually useable, and now, dear squiders, we are off and running.

Well, off and ambling along because I’ve been having a hard time finding writing time. But it does seem to be flowing much better when I get around to it.

Fingers crossed that this will be the last time I have to rewrite this chapter.

I’ve a cool promo for you for Thursday, squiders, and then who knows what we’re doing next week. Something, I’m sure.


Executive dysfunction is no joke, my friends, and I swear it’s getting worse the older I get–or maybe it’s just manifesting in more annoying ways.

ANYWAY I finished my revision plan last week, like I was planning to. Monday I sat down with my red pen and the paper copy of the last draft of the story, and I scribbled all over, and ta-dah! I was ready to start writing.

A scribbled on printout of a story

Or re-writing, I guess, except I do need to do a new first scene, so who knows.

Anyway, the last couple of days have been busy (Tuesday I needed to run errands after work, and yesterday the roads were a mess, so I came home early and worked here, but that actually made it so I worked longer), so I thought I’d go to the coffee shop after work today, have a nice coffee, and write my opening scene.

Easy peasy, right?

Well, I gave myself about an hour and a half to write, and by the end I had this:

A poorly executed first chapter
Not impressive

What makes it worse is that I suspected I was going to do this. As I arrived at the coffee shop, I said to myself, “Now, Kit, don’t get distracted. I know it’s kind of overwhelming, to have to write a new first chapter, and I know there’s a lot riding on it, because we want this to be the last draft, but you’ve got to just do it, and the sooner the better, because maybe we can catch the end of the critique marathon, and then you can get feedback on whether or not the new beginning is working.”

And then I got a brownie, and I had to wait for my coffee, and I thought I’d play a phone game while I ate/waited, and then it was too late. All I did was make the document and generally panic.

This is stupid. I know this is stupid. I’m predictably stupid in this way too, so you’d think I’d just get over myself by now.

But alas.

Left to my own devices, I will eventually just sit down and write, but it can take a few days, depending on how easy it is to distract myself (spoiler alert: it’s super easy).

So I think tomorrow I will ask some friends to bother me until I actually write. I read an article today that said that, for people with ADHD, just sitting with other people, or having people expect something from you, can be the impetus to have you sit down and focus. Now, I don’t have ADHD, or, at least, I’m not diagnosed, but I don’t see any reason why it won’t work for me too.

(In fact, I know this can work, because if I’m goofing around at my desk and my husband comes and sits next to me to work, I tend to switch to doing things I’ve put off.)

Anyway, wish me luck! If all goes well, I’ll have a finished first chapter ready in time to post next Monday for the critique marathon (I think there’s only two weeks left on it), and I think once I’m past the first chapter and, indeed, just the initial hurdle of starting, the rest of the revision should go faster.

See you next week, squiders!