Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Looking Back at 7DN

Good morning, squiders! I hope you’re doing well! I’ve been sick, which has not been awesome, but I think I’m on the mend now.

I mentioned a few times that last week WriYe was doing a challenge called Seven Day Novel (or 7DN for short) where you’re got a week to write a novel or novella (WriYe has a 15K minimum) which I decided to take part in, both because I’ve had this scifi/horror novella I’ve been wanting to write, and as kind of a test to see if Nano would be doable this year.

And the results are…mixed.

You obviously have 7 days for 7DN, but I only ended up with 4. I knew Sunday/Saturday were unlikely to be usable and so had only planned for 5 days (with 3K a day), but Friday I woke up with really bad vertigo and hence lost it too.

An added issue was that I have a story for an anthology that I’m also working on, which takes precedence because Deadlines and so forth.

So, in the end, I ended up with 6.5K on the scifi/horror story, plus another 2.5K on the anthology story. So 9K for my four days, which is not bad at all. Obviously not quite at the goal, but not bad.

So I think I will do Nano this year. I haven’t tried since 2014 (and I did win that year) mostly due to the small, mobile ones, but it wasn’t too hard this past week to get 2K+ words a day, and school will be back in session in November (except for Thanksgiving break, but oh well).

Of course, making that decision now has come with some unintended consequences. Mostly ones of the “YAY I GET TO WRITE A NEW STORY WHICH ONE SHOULD I WRITE” variety.

Which…no, brain. We’re not there yet. We’ve got to focus on the current projects first. We can pick a story idea in October, or maybe late September if I’m feeling generous.

(Though…maybe this is the year to try my non-protagonist narrator story? I’ve technically written the first chapter already, but I’ve had it planned for close to a decade now and I should probably get on it.)

(No, bad Kit. Focus on your current stuff.)

Got too many things going on as it is.

I might try running the 7DN challenge again on my own. Maybe once a month or so? It’s a good way to get a word count boost, and I think it’s good for your soul to do some creating in with all the other administrative and logical things (revising, marketing, checking contracts and doing market research, etc.).

Anyway, quite pleased with the experiment overall, except for the getting sick part. And now on to other things for at least a little bit.

How was your weekend, squiders?

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WriYe and Experience

Happy Wednesday, squiders! My week’s off to a pretty good start–getting a ton written, which feels amazing. I’m really enjoying my 7DN novella, which is a scifi horror story about a falling apart space station. Also finishing up a story for an anthology. But I’ve written more this week than some months this year already.

Anyway, new month, new WriYe blog prompt.

We’ve all heard “Write What You Know”. What do you think? Truth or fallacy?

I wrote a blog post about this back in 2016 while I was working on the blog tour for the release of City of Hope and Ruin. That post is here. But basically, I think this idiom is one that’s not very well understood. People take it very literally, like, “I am a college student, so my characters must also be college students” or “I have never jumped out of a plane and so my character can’t either.”

Which is wrong, sorry.

“Write What You Know” means that you should pull from your own life where applicable to help make the situations and characters in your book feel more realistic. You may not have faced down a dragon, but you’ve been scared before. You may not have lost a child, but you’ve been sad before.

So, yes, I think it’s true. But I do think you need to understand what it’s really saying.

Bonus:
Do you write what you know?

I mean, I write 95% speculative fiction, so, kind of?

Going back to what I said above, I try to make the feelings and tone throughout my stories as realistic as I can by drawing on my own feelings and experiences, which is really the best you can do, I think.

Luckily, there are not really evil mechanical people or haunted space stations or immortal archnemeses to deal with in my life, for which I am eternally grateful.

Hooray for Flash Fiction

In the interests of full disclosure, this post was supposed to go up yesterday. However, we lost power for several hours and nothing was charged, so you get it today instead! (Sorry.)

Hi, guys! It’s the end of July (now the beginning of August), however the heck that happened. I have had a very good couple of weeks since we stumbled home from our road trip. I’m finally feeling a little more like myself, and I’ve gotten quite a bit done.

I finished the last nonfiction book, and am currently putting together betas for the books/workbooks.

I made three finalized drawings for the Landsquid picture book as examples for an illustration portfolio (so now I only need to type up the manuscript and put together a list of places/agents to submit to, and then…I think I’m good to go?).

And I wrote the middles and ends of five short stories for my flash fiction class. While the class wants you to aim for 500 words a story, the first two are around 1000. That’s on purpose, since I’m submitting one to an anthology and planning on using the other one as a freebie for my newsletter, so I wanted them to be a little more substantial.

I’m pretty pleased with all five stories, truth be told, though two of them are only borderline spec fic and so I’m not 100% sure what to do with them.

But, best of all, I wrote.

If you remember, after certain traumatic events back in May, I was having a really hard time with fiction. So having five completed short stories feels really nice.

And since we’re into August now, we can talk about plans for this month! Or at least for next week, because that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. WriYe is doing a challenge called 7DN (or Seven Day Novel), where you write a minimum of 15K of a novel in a week. It must be a new project, and it should have some semblance of a complete arc.

I’ve got a horror/scifi idea I’ve been poking which I think would be perfect for the challenge, so I need to outline that here in the next few days. And I think the challenge will be a good indicator of whether or not I can give Nano a try this year.

How did July go for you? How’s August looking?

First Class is Up!

Happy Tuesday, squiders! I hope you’re all having a lovely day! (I am because I just got a short story acceptance, hooray!)

We’ve been gone on a road trip (but thank you for all the lovely likes and comments on the foundational book posts I set up before I left–and I did want you to know that I found Alien Secrets yesterday. It was on a different bookcase than expected, but other than that it was pretty dang obvious. Whoops.) but I’m back now.

(We went on another National Park tour, this time hitting Mesa Verde, Petrified Forest, Sunset Crater National Monument, Sequoia, King’s Canyon, and Yosemite. Lovely trees, sequoias. I’ve had a fold-out of one from National Geographic on the wall next to my computer for years, and now I’ve seen that particular tree in person.)

Right before we left, though, I put my nose to the grindstone and got my SkillShare class done.

I know we were all skeptical, but it happened.

I have a membership to a chain gym called the Row House (I rowed in college and have occasionally rowed with the local adult team, but like many other things in life, having small, mobile ones makes things more difficult) and for some ungodly reason they got rid of the 6:30 am class (perfect timing! I go while the spouse is still home and then he can go to work immediately after I return) and so now my choices are 5:15 (butt early, though about the time you’d be on the water if you were actually rowing) or 7:00 (done too late for spouse to get to work). Or, in theory, later in the morning, but then I am responsible for the small, mobile ones and have to put them somewhere.

Alas, the 5:15 normally wins.

(I am hoping they bring back the 6:30 once school starts but am starting to give up hope.)

The good thing about working out at 5:15 is that I am home by 6:15, and the small, mobile ones don’t normally roll out of bed until about 7:30.

Perfect time for filming, it turns out, except that it’s still a little dark out so lighting is a little problematic.

Long story short (too late), I had a lot of early mornings to myself right before we left, so I got everything recorded and/or filmed, and got the class uploaded the morning we left.

So, I wanted to share it with you! I’ve got two links–the first will let you watch the class for free. I’d love it if you do–I won’t get paid for it, but more eyes on the class will help it become more visible in searches, which will be helpful overall.

The second link will offer you a free month of SkillShare Premium (very nice, I did it back in November, and you can do any class you’d like, as many at a time as you’d like, and not hard at all to cancel before they charge you) and get you to the class. I get paid for the class this way, you get free classes for a month, but I understand that commitment is difficult and not everyone is up for it.

The class is called Story Writing: Premise vs. Plot, and explores what premise and plot are, how they’re used, and what the differences are between them.

Free link

Paid link

I’m starting to work on the next class, which will be on tracking story ideas so you can find them later. I think the next couple will probably focus on story ideas, since that will be the first book released.

Almost done with the submission nonfiction book now, so a reminder that if you want to beta any of them (and/or their associated workbooks), just let me know!

Anyway, good to be back! Please look at my class! I’d love feedback so I can improve things for the next class.

(Although I need to buy a new or fix my microphone because it fell apart in the middle of recording and I had to duct tape it back together, which is working with varying levels of success.)

Halfway Through the Year

Madness!

(Thanks to everyone who offered encouragement about both PowerPoint and my class in general on Tuesday. You’ll be happy to know that I did finish the class and now just need to record the audio and get the thing posted.)

(Even thanks to Rick, who expounded on the value of using an overhead projector. :P)

Where is the year going? It’s half gone. It’s half gone and I am not being nearly as productive as I would like to be.

May was a wash, of course, due to certain unfortunate circumstances that we’re still dealing with, and June hasn’t been much better around the small, mobile ones being out of school (and some of us having been too eager when signing people up for summer camps). February was my surgery, and there was the car accident in March (insurance guy is not currently calling me back, go figure).

I think, maybe, around mid to late July things will start to calm back down.

But, I mean, is anyone ever exactly where they plan to be in terms of productivity for the year? Maybe. Maybe there are people out there who are better at estimating how long it takes to do something and how much time they’re likely to have to do said thing.

It’s not all bad, though. I’ve gotten things done.

  • I finished my serial story, which I’ve been working on since 2009.
  • I have edited almost all my nonfiction books (on the last one) and have made all associated workbooks/journals.
  • I finished the dummy of my first picture book and have done some editing on it.
  • I’ve written a few new short stories, one of which was published on June 1 (here).
  • I’ve been working on getting critiques on books that are in the revision stage (expecting one back sometime in the next few weeks, yay!).
  • I’ve been working through a writing class that I bought ages ago and have a decent start on a new novel.
  • I’ve been writing drabbles in established universes for fun and practice.

So not terrible. Not where I wanted to be–I did want the nonfiction stuff ready to do a few months back–but it’s not nothing. And we’ll keep on trucking, and everything will eventually get done.

(And then we’ll start new stuff and the process will be neverending.)

How’d the first half of 2019 go for you, squiders?

WriYe and Pen Names

Man, this week, squiders. The small, mobile ones have summer camps at the museum/zoo, which are conveniently next to each other, but are inconveniently an hour drive from our house. So I either have to stay here all day (and I have the smaller one for half the day, because she’s not old enough for full day), or I have to drive up, drop one, drive home, drive back, drop the other, get both, and then drive home again.

I am so, so sick of driving the same stretch of road.

And I’ve had to go back, because I have been sick. Apparently I have contracted tonsillitis from goodness knows where, and so I have had to go to the doctor’s, to make sure my tonsils don’t need to be removed. Yay.

(It’s excellent timing, as I’m supposed to be teaching songs to kids next week and can barely talk at the moment. Yay. I am so thrilled.)

But enough about that. Ugh, seriously.

Though I realize we’re most of the way through June, here’s the WriYe blog prompt for the month.

Real name vs pen name? Is one better than the other? Why or why not?

This is a question I struggle with all the time. Should I write under a pen name? Should I have multiple pen names for different genres? For adult stuff versus kid stuff?

It’s actually a subject I routinely bring up in discussions with other writers, who are probably all sick of me asking.

I’ve heard arguments both ways. Your real name is easily to maintain legally, if someone’s pirating you. Pen names help separate your real life from your public life. Using one name lets you show the breadth of your work, whereas using pen names lets you target specific reader groups so they know they’re going to get something they like.

I’ve given it a lot of thought, and to be honest, still have no clue. Right now I figure I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Bonus:
Which would you use? Real or pen name? Why?

Well, I do use my real name right now. It is nice and alliterative (I had another writer at a conference ask me if it were real once), and it’s also nicely gender neutral, which can be a plus when writing speculative fiction.

But I am still on the fence.

Next week I should have more time, squiders, so I’ll see you then!

Looking Forward to June

Oh, squiders, as you know, May has not been good in these here parts. And I can’t help feeling a little resentful about having my life upended, because I had such good momentum going.

Even now, weeks later, I’m still struggling to get any fiction written. I wanted to get a horror story into an anthology by today, but I’ve only managed 1000 words in the past week. I feel really bad about it–I hardly ever miss deadlines, but my spouse has pointed out that this particular publication seems to have similar calls fairly regularly, so if I don’t get the story done today (unlikely) I can probably just push it to the next call. (Or, honestly, I could change some names and try some other horror publications.)

I did manage a couple of things this month:

  • I got going here at the blog again
  • I finished the last nonfiction workbook
  • I’m most of the way through the last nonfiction book (admittedly the longest of the series)
  • I researched children’s book publications
  • I wrote 1000 words in the horror story
  • I read 6 books
  • I submitted short stories to their markets (admittedly much later in the month than usual)

I mean, not amazing. But at least I got up and got going again. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, so if nothing else I can be proud of that.

Now I’m facing the summer. Holly Lisle is running a summer-long challenge that sounds great, but I’m just not sure I’m in a good place to participate. I want to finish up the nonfiction stuff (and work on the Skillshare classes that are going to go along with them), but honestly that won’t take the whole summer, and I don’t know if I have a fiction project I want to dedicate myself to (especially since fiction hasn’t been going well).

But she does recommend setting writing times/days for consistency, so maybe I can take that aspect of it and apply that moving forward.

So here’s my general plan for June: I’m going to focus on nonfiction. I’m going to finish the last book, I’m going to find betas (let me know if you’d like to beta any of the books/workbooks! I’ll probably post when I’m ready so you’ll know whats available), I’m going to get my first Skillshare class done (and maybe a second one!).

On the fiction front, I’m going to ease back in. I’m going to work on finishing my horror story. I’m going to write some drabbles and shorts. And if things start flowing better, we’ll re-evaluate doing some longer pieces.

And here’s to June being smoother sailing than May.

Any plans for June, squiders? Thoughts about getting back into fiction writing after suffering trauma?