Posts Tagged ‘ROW80’

Nano Pondering (and a ROW80 Check-in)

My husband said I couldn’t have any more tea until I wrote my blog post. Can you imagine? Noooo I’m dying

Let’s do the ROW80 check-in first. For those who have missed previous ROW80 posts, ROW80 is a writing challenge that happens four times a year for 80 days at a time, and you get to pick your goals. And then, in theory, you check in periodically but I have done a terrible job of that thus far this round (which is round 3).

My primary goal for this round (which ends Sept 26, I believe) was to finish the edit on my YA paranormal novel. I initially estimated that there would be 34 scenes–that has since increased to 36. 17 of them are done, which is a little less than half, so you can see that I’m not really getting anywhere terribly fast. Still having focusing issues, not sure why. Current word count is just over 36K, so we’re looking at approximately 75K for the final length of the draft, which should work just great for the genre and so forth.

I also had a secondary goal of–I believe–5K on my scifi serial, which was wishful thinking from the beginning. I think I’ve got 1.7K there thus far, and I don’t tend to go over 1000 words per entry, so it’s unlikely that my September entry will be the 3.3K necessary to meet that goal. I occasionally think I’m going to get ahead on that, and I never do, so I don’t know why I try and bother.

As for Nano–admittedly it’s a little early in the year to be thinking about Nanowrimo, but we’ve talked about Nano Zen before and I will need to have a decent idea of what I’m going to do before October to go through with that. This will be the first year since 2008 that I’m writing a first draft, which is exciting–one can only edit so many books before one goes mad–and, unfortunately, I have a ton of novel ideas I’ve been keeping on the back burner, just waiting to be put into the oven. (I think my analogy is falling apart.)

I haven’t successfully completed Nano since 2011 (2012 I had a newborn, and last year I was too busy with Shards to even bother), but since I managed 35K handily in April, I’m hoping it’s going to work out.

But man, do I have a ton of ideas. This is what comes of not starting anything new in years. Fantasy. Scifi. Books with romance, books without romance. Space! Also steampunk and mystery and dystopia and mythology. Some that are sequels or prequels to other books. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to decide. I may–maybe tomorrow–sit down and write a short description of everything in the running. And maybe something will jump out at me.

Any advice, on any of the above, Squiders? Are you doing ROW80? How’s it going? Doing Nano? What are you planning?

The Mountain Won (and a ROW80 Check-in)

Time for more mountain analogies, Squiders. I think we’ve compared writing to climbing mountains before, but the fact of the matter is that you have a lot of time to think while you’re trudging uphill.

So, last Friday, my family and I decided to attempt Mount Evans, one of Colorado’s famed fourteeners (mountains higher than 14,000). My husband and I were supposed to go by ourselves, but babysitting fell through. By ourselves, my husband and I would have owned that mountain so hard.

But we weren’t by ourselves, and people didn’t like the altitude, or wanted to be carried, or climb rocks, or play in alpine lakes (very cold, fyi). And eventually we were forced to retreat (we did make it to 13,800 feet) and it hailed and snowed on us.

But climbing mountains, like writing novels, isn’t all about the end goal. Yes, summiting (and finishing a novel) is an awesome high. But part of climbing (and writing) is the journey.

We may not have made it to the top of the mountain, but we saw some awesome vistas. Mountain lakes with steam curling off of them, their surfaces as flat and still as glass. Alpine meadows with a myriad of wildflowers, yellow and white and purple. Rocks covered in moss and lichen, and the sharp, jagged peaks looming into the sky. And we literally hiked up into a cloud. (Or the cloud came down to meet us.)

There’s something very interesting about being inside a cloud, where the landscape on either side of you drops off into empty, white space.

Writers write. And sometimes stories don’t work. Sometimes stories get dropped in the middle, never to be picked up again. And that’s okay. Writing–any writing–is good, even if it never goes anywhere.

And next time, who knows? Maybe the mountain gets conquered. Maybe the story gets finished. But you don’t know if you don’t try.

On the ROW80 front, I’m participating in an August consistency challenge, doing 30 minutes a day on my editing. Thus far this has really helped, and the story is finally moving. I’m probably about 20% done at the moment. I’m also trying a short story a week challenge. I haven’t really started that yet, but it should be an interesting exercise.

The Video That My Inner Editor Loves (Plus a ROW80 Check-in)

Well, my edit’s hit more bumps. I’ve decided it’s best to add in a new character who’s got to be integrated into at least two of the subplots, so I’m going back through and making new conflict arcs for him, and then I’ve got to re-outline the entire story past when he shows up. (Which is chapter 6 or 7, I believe.)

His addition is going to give a lot more depth and strength to the two subplots in general, but it’s still a pain. Oh well.

So ROW80 has been pretty much a miss for me so far. I need to get my act together. Hopefully next week I’ll have good news.

I need to focus on that right now, so I’m sharing Weird Al’s new music video with you. As an editor, it makes me more happy than it probably should.


ROW80 Round 3 Goals

Howdy, squiders. How’s your Thursday? If American, excited for your extra Friday off? If not American, uh, you can mock us for losing to Belgium? Though that’s just mean, you should be ashamed.

Anyway, as hinted at on Tuesday, I’m working on an edit. It’s a young adult paranormal novel, and it’s been a really long time since I’ve touched it, and that shows. I’m having a hard time getting into the right mindset, and everything’s just moving really slow. Hopefully as I get a little further into things, it’ll start to flow better, but for now, everything’s painful.

A Round of Word in 80 Days (ROW80) is starting their third round of the year on Monday. For those of you who haven’t forgotten about this since earlier this year, ROW80 is a writing “challenge” that runs in 80 days bits. You can set your own goals and have to check-in on the main website periodically.

I did Round 1 back in January-March, and it worked pretty well at the time. Of course, at that point I was writing first drafts and I think writing challenges and word counts go along swimmingly, so we’ll see how it goes with editing. Now, ROW80 requires goals to be quantifiable, and it looks like I will have approximately 28 chapters when done with my edit, so I’m going to count by chapters. I have two done, and hopefully will finish one or two more before Monday.

So, goals:

-Edit 26(ish) chapters on Bleachers
-5K on scifi serial
-Outline new novels (3)

I’m hoping one of my writing communities starts a short story or prompt challenge for the summer, because that’s always fun, but it won’t make any sense to make goals based on that until then.

What have you been up to, squiders? Anything fun? Any goals for the summer?

The End of ROW80 and Moving Forward

Well, ROW80 round 1 ended yesterday. And I believe Round 2 starts April 7th and runs through the end of June.

As we’ve previously discussed, I set a goal of 50K on my current writing project, the third book of a high fantasy trilogy. And I managed my 50K at a rather reasonable time on Tuesday evening, so that was lovely. Didn’t have to panic about it or anything. That leaves me probably around 26K to go in the draft (the document’s sitting at just over 74K now).

Having now completed ROW80, I’ve got to say I enjoyed it quite a bit. It doesn’t have the frenetic energy that Nano has, but it worked well with the level of responsibility and work I currently have in my life. And I feel very accomplished. Plus, I enjoy the check-in system, and it was nice to occasionally get visits here at ye olde blogge from other people participating in the challenge.

That being said, I’m going to sit round 2 out. One of the things that I’ve learned from many, many years of writing challenges is that it’s not worth it to stuff one into your schedule just because of the principle of the thing. It stresses you out and makes you unhappy, and why do that to yourself?

I’ve only got 26K left in the book (or somewhere around there unless it blows up unexpectedly here). That’s not enough for 80 days, and I don’t like to do multiple projects during one challenge because 1) it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of your progress and tell if you’re on track, and 2) experience tells me that, if I finish something, I tend to take a break rather than move on to the next thing.

Plus, my husband and I are taking a trip in that timeframe (to Japan! 😀 ) and that just adds another kink.

So, I’ve signed up for Camp Nanowrimo instead. I’m not a huge fan of camp; I’m not wild about their cabin system, especially because this year they’ve made the cabins enormous. But it will probably help keep me on track for what I want to accomplish.

Once I finish this draft, it’s off to the betas and I probably won’t touch it for several months. I figure I’ll jump into editing a YA paranormal novel of mine, and can probably use that for Round 3, depending on my progress there. (Round 3 I assume goes sometime from early July through the end of September.)

Did you do ROW80, Squiders? How’d it go? Jumping in for round 2 or Camp? What are you working on, and how is it going?

Pi Day, What’s In a Name, and a ROW80 check-in

Happy Pi Day, squiders! As an ex-engineer, it is one of my favorite random math holidays. (I am also fond of Talk Like a Pirate day. Less math-related, though. But with more parrots.)

As you guys know, I’m working on the first draft of the third book of a high fantasy trilogy. I did most of my worldbuilding and planning a long time ago, and have the years have passed, it’s become apparent that some names will not work. Some character names are too similar to each other, and some worldbuilding elements will need to have their names changed as well.

The most apparent example of the latter are a type of tree I made up for the story, which I named Tinyurl trees. This was way before tiny URLs became a thing, but of course, now I run into trouble. I’m pretty sure every beta I’ve ever had has pointed it out at least once.

The thing is, I know these things are are issues. I’ve known for a long time. But I also know that if I stop now and change things, when I’m still technically in the middle of the story, that I will only confuse myself. I’ll either forget what I changed things to and change them multiple times, or I’ll change them and then forget and go back to the original, or an assortment of other combinations of issues.

So instead I’ve started a list. And on said list is every character whose name is too close to another’s, and every worldbuilding element whose name is confusing, and also every character that is missing a last name at the moment. (I have a couple characters that I didn’t originally think would be important enough to warrant last names, but alas, I was wrong.)

And when I finish this draft, I’ll go through and make changes in a nice, organized manner.

As for ROW80, I’m mostly caught up, finally. I have run into a bit of an issue where I need to do some major outlining before I go on–and probably outline until the end of the story. Hopefully that won’t take too long.

I’m a little lost about whether or not I should sign up for the next round of ROW80 or not. I’ll only have about 25K left in my story, which won’t take the whole time, and I’m worried that if I try to do multiple projects I won’t be able to keep track of what I’m doing on each in a manner that will allow me to judge my progress.

Nano has camp going in April, which might work better, though I don’t know if I can manage 25K in a month. In the old days, before I had children, sure, wouldn’t be a problem. But now? Who knows? Maybe I should do it anyway, just to see how it goes.

What are you up to, Squiders? Can you change names in the middle of a draft and not confuse yourself? (Do you remember to go back and fix things before you let people read it?) Any writing plans for April and beyond?

Smashwords’ Read an eBook Week and Free eBooks (and a ROW80 check-in)

So, last week, Smashwords sent out an email to all its minions to let them know that this week was going to be Read an eBook week, and that we could discount our books and join in if we wanted to.

(As an aside, we at Turtleduck Press make great use of Smashwords. They distribute to almost every ebook retailer, which a lot easier on logistics if you are an independent author or small press. If you’re self- or indie-pubbed and not on Smashwords, you should get on it.)

And there never seems to be any reason not to play in specials, so I signed both Shards and Hidden Worlds up. You can discount the books by 25, 50, 0r 75%, or go hog wild and go all the way to free.

Which is what I did.

I figured what the hell, it’s only for a week, and I have heard interesting things about offering your books for free, though admittedly usually related to Amazon.

It’s been interesting thus far. The promotion started on Sunday, but didn’t sign up until Monday night because I cannot get my crap together this week. (Also I forgot about it until I was cleaning out my inbox.) Shards is “selling” pretty well, a copy every hour or so (and someone “bought” one and seven gift copies, which is somewhat fascinating to me). Hidden Worlds is “selling” pretty well too (although on a 1 to 5 basis with Shards), which I find a interesting, as it’s older and in a niche subgenre.

But it will be interesting to see what happens in the long run. My husband rightly points out that people are probably going through and binge-buying any free book that looks interesting. In the end, it make take forever for these people to get around to reading my books, if they ever do. (I am the poster child for downloading free books and then forgetting to read them.) From a marketing standpoint, anything you can do to get your book in front of more readers is a good thing, but if those readers never get to it, does it still count?

Also, my husband and I have a bit of an argument going, and I’d like your input. Do you think people judge free books harsher because they didn’t have to pony anything up to get their hands on said book? Or do you think people judge free books more leniently (…because they didn’t have to pony anything up to get it)?

As for ROW80, I have fallen into a pit and am about a week behind on word count. This is related to the fact that I’m drowning in freelance work. I’ve found that my writing stuff has fallen by the wayside, unfortunately, because everything else has to be done and the writing technically does not. It is a sad state of affairs, but I hold out hope that I shall climb back out before the challenge is over later this month.

The Downside of Plotting (and a ROW80 check-in)

Well, Squiders, I’ve been working on the third book of a high fantasy trilogy recently (passed 50K this past week, hooray!). I’ve been working on this trilogy on and off for a lot longer than I like to own up to, and it’s very exciting to finally be working on the conclusion, and to finally get to write some scenes that I planned out forever years ago.

One thing that’s been planned forever is a certain character’s death. There’s plenty of reasons to kill this character off, in terms of characterization, plot, punching the readers right in the feels, etc.

And I’ve reached that point, that bullet point in the outline.

And it is not working.

I can’t quite figure out the scene in such a way to make it the poor guy eat it.

So I’m stuck in a bit of a dilemma. I could just let him live, but then I need to find another catalyst for a rather major plot point. I could kill him anyway, but I know that’ll feel forced, and since I hate “because the author says so” plot points, that’s not really a winning idea.

A third option would be to bring my big bad into the confrontation. That would definitely take care of the killing, but it would also make it so I have to re-plot the entire rest of the book.

The problem here is that I can’t tell what’s more important–killing this character? Keeping my big bad out of it for now? And I probably won’t be able to tell until I’m done with the book and can look at it objectively from an editing standpoint.

I keep telling myself that this is why God invented first drafts.

Doesn’t really help with the actual writing, though.

As for ROW80, we’re what, just about halfway? And I’m actually about a week ahead at the moment, which is brilliant, because I’m behind on some other things and because I have a booksigning on Saturday that I need to prepare for. (Anyone ever do a booksigning? I get a few minutes intro before hand and I have no idea what I should talk about.) Halfway on ROW80, halfway on the book–it’s all lovely.

(And, randomly, for those of you who are interested in my Doctor Who binge-watching, I finished Season 4 and the specials with Ten last weekend, and am now poised to dive into Eleven whenever I have free time/the inclination again.)

Too Many Books (and a ROW80 Check-in)

I have this problem, Squiders, where I start new books when I am in the middle of other books.

Normally it’s not that big of a deal. It’s usually only two books at a time–one on my nightstand for pre-bedtime reading, and one on my e-reader for when I am out and about.

Sometimes it’s three.

But I sat down yesterday and looked at the books I was reading, and it was five. Five at once!

(I finished one this morning, so I am down to four now. And hopefully I shall finish another within the next day and then we will be back down to a reasonable level.)

Looking back, I can see how I got here. I had my ebook and my bedtime book. And then, I had my bathtime book. This started a few months ago, because the bedtime book I was reading I had borrowed from a friend, and it was autographed and everything so I didn’t want it anywhere near potential water damage. And then I checked some books out from the library, and of course I needed to start the library books because I only have a short time to read them in.

The fifth one I found under the nightstand in the small, mobile one’s room, where I apparently last left it in August. But I remember where I was and what was happening, so it was added back in to the rotation.

The problem with being in the middle of so many books is that I don’t really want to read any of them, because it’s too much work to get back into the world because there’s too many worlds going at once. I think the only thing keeping me sane is that they’re all different genres. (I always ALWAYS try not to overlap genres. Trying to read two of the same genre at the same time is too confusing. I also tend not to read the genre I am currently writing in for the same reason. I am managing to read and write high fantasy at the moment, however, because the two worlds are so different that they have nothing in common.)

Speaking of writing, ROW80 continues to go well now that I have my handy spreadsheet. As of yesterday, I am 4 words ahead of where I should be, so that’s lovely. I’m also almost 40K into the draft itself, which means I’ve put in over 25K since I picked the story back up, and 15K since ROW80 started. It continues to be excellent to be writing a first draft again after the editing work I’ve been doing over the past few years.

How’s your Thursday, Squiders? We’re supposed to get about a foot of snow overnight, but I’m a bit skeptical. (Also, how many books can you successfully juggle at one time?)

The Foundation Trilogy Readalong, ROW80 Check-in, and Miscellany

Good afternoon, Squiders. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover here today, so we’d better get cracking.

But, first, a public service announcement: My friend’s daughter is missing and was last seen on Tuesday in Tuscon, AZ. Please keep an eye out for her and let the authorities know if you have any information.

It’s time to start our first readalong of the year, Squiders! And in making a drastic move away from the YA fantasy readalongs we’ve been doing, we’re going to do Isaac Asimov’s classic Foundation trilogy. I’m excited–I own most of the books but have never gotten a chance to read them. We’ll do one book a month, and change the schedule as necessary. We’ll start with the original trilogy, and then, if we’re having a good time, we might delve into the other four books which Asimov wrote later. So if you want to play, read Foundation by February 18, which is when the discussion post will go up.

In writing news, ROW80 is going well thus far (which is admittedly only a week and a half). Getting a spreadsheet helped immensely. I don’t seem to be able to manage to write every day, so I’ve been writing when I can and just pushing for longer and bigger word counts than my daily. I’ve got just over 6K for the challenge, which looks measly but is over 10% of my goal and more or less on track, so there is that. And I’m over 30K on the draft itself, which is also shiny, though I am not so sure about my pacing.

In random miscellany, apparently my husband’s coworker loved Shards to the point where she is now reading this blog (Hello, husband’s coworker!), which is rather a nice compliment. And I found a lovely video review of Shards as well (warning: bit plot spoiler-y in the middle).

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.