Posts Tagged ‘writing’

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?

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WriYe and Life

Another month, and I’m still keeping up with WriYe, which may be a miracle. April was really good from a productivity standpoint, and I’m almost done with revising the nonfiction books (and writing the parts I didn’t blog) and creating the workbooks. Hopefully we’ll have more or the same here in May.

That said, on to the prompts for the month.

Life is busy, sometimes often insane. How do you find the time to write within your life?

I laughed since, you know, this is literally one of the nonfiction books I’ve been working on (the second to last one I revised, in fact).

But basically, it comes down to the fact that you have to make time for writing. You can normally fit some in, no matter what else is going on, whether you’re using diction while you’re breastfeeding or getting up early or dedicating one night a week as writing time. You’ll have to sacrifice something, but that might just be television time or a little bit of sleep.

That being said, there are times when you just don’t have the mental capacity to write on top of everything else, and it is okay to accept that and try writing again later when your circumstances have changed.

Me personally, I write while the small, mobile ones are at school, and I can normally make one or two writing group meetings a month, where writing can also occur. And one day each weekend I normally get up an hour early and get something done.

Bonus:
How do you deal with procrastination? What are your favorite tips/tricks to stay on track?

Ahahahahahaha I am the worst procrastinator. The current issue is games on my phone (and the dreaded podcasts, but mostly the games). I deal with this by using an app called Forest that locks out your phone for a specific amount of time (that you set), and if you successfully leave your phone alone, you get a bush or tree for your forest (more time gets more impressive plants). I also purposefully leave my phone in a different room where it’s out of sight, out of mind.

And if I do need a mental break, I’ll try to remember to set a timer before I get the phone or dive into the Internet, so the break doesn’t get out of control.

Hope April was good for you too, squiders! I’m in the middle of 50 million books and need to start finishing some (and stop starting new ones).

Project Overload

I’ve reached that point in the project where you starting wanting to write other things than what you’re writing. Which is ridiculous, for a couple of reasons.

  1. I’m not that far into any of the projects I am working on.
  2. I’m already working on a ridiculous amount of projects.

(Also, I have two library books which have just…disappeared into the ether. I seriously have no idea where they’ve gone, and the library wants them back.)

(Also we have a ton of books out right now because our branch reopened two weeks ago after being closed for four months, and we went a bit wild. I myself have four novels and six nonfiction books out, and that doesn’t count the two novels I have since read and returned.)

Two ideas are vying for time on top of the nonfiction books/workbooks, writing class, picture book, and writing class/fae novel projects.

The first I talked about briefly before, a YA fantasy novel I worked on and queried way back in the 2008-2011 time frame, and the second is a paranormal mystery series I have been slowly planning over the last year.

(Planning in this case includes pinning things to a Pinterest board and occasionally writing ideas down in the notebook I put aside for it. And reading old–1990s time frame–books about writing mysteries which are probably out of date, but which I got for free from my mother.)

I just finished a historical mystery this morning, and I tend to read a lot of mysteries, and whenever I do so it reminds me of my own series that I am not writing because there are not enough hours in the day.

Actually, I’ve got a lot of stories in planning for not actually planning to work on any of them in the near future. Aside from the Landsquid books, I’ve got three other potential children’s series in various stages of planning. There’s the mystery, and also the steampunk mystery, series. The prequel to the fantasy trilogy. A scifi horror novella on a space station.

It’s times like these that I wish that I worked faster. And stopped getting distracted by horror mystery podcasts.

But don’t worry, squiders! I’m being good. The current projects (and, quite honestly, probably a couple of them) will be finished before I chase the next shiny thing.

I think, anyway.



Vaguely Fae

As a part of the writing/career class I’m taking, the teacher advocated against doing a ton of research/worldbuilding, instead focusing on what’s interesting and what’s important.

On one hand, yes, this can be a horrible, slippery slope, where one disappears into their work and never gets to the actual writing.

But on the other, it feels a bit weird, and, to some extent, a bit disingenuous.

This teacher is a self-acknowledged over-worldbuilder, so I understand why she’s teaching this way, but especially with stories involving mythology, I like to delve into the mythology itself, so I can see what aspects best fit the story, and use it to shape the story itself.

I’m just saying, Shards would be a completely different story if I just said “I’m going to write a book about angels” and went off without doing any more research than what I knew off the top of my head.

But in the interest of trying new things, I’m holding off. So far. I’m strongly considering doing more research (and yes, worldbuilding) because I feel weirdly adrift at the moment and it’s making writing harder than it needs to be.

The story I’m working on for the class involves changelings, and so, by extension, the fae. I’d like to stick to your old world trickster sort of faerie, and a lot of the book will take place in the Otherworld.

Working from memory, I’ve got:

  • allergic to iron or whatever (iron burns)
  • DO NOT ACCEPT GIFTS OR FOOD
  • Time works all weird in the Otherworld
  • Fae are good at illusions
  • DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR NAME
  • Never offer to pay a faerie for anything
  • There’s two courts: seelie (summer)/unseelie (winter)
  • Veil between worlds that’s only passable at certain times/places

(I even have the perfect book to use for research. It’s Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages by Claude Lecouteux. I got it out from the library while I was doing my Shards research and liked it so much that I got myself a copy.)

Now, it’s entirely possible that I’ve misunderstood, and that it’s really worldbuilding to be avoiding (beyond identifying what’s interesting and causes conflict) and research is fine. (I mean, what if you were doing historical fiction?) I should probably double check that. Ask in the forums, maybe?

Any good fae mythology to share, squiders? (Especially related to the Otherworld itself.) Or good sources for research, if I give in to my itch?

Writing a Synopsis When You Don’t Even Have a Book

Afternoon, squiders. The big, mobile one has ANOTHER virtual school day today. I am considering strangling whomever decided that making a parent stay home and teach their child instead of doing a delayed start like EVERY OTHER SCHOOL IN THE DISTRICT was a good idea.

But anyway.

You guys know I’m working through a writing class right now. Well, it’s billed as a “career class,” to also talk about building a writing career and marketing and so forth. And on I go, through the lessons, because I do think it’s beneficial to try everything at least once, because you never know how it’s going to go and what’s going to work for you.

My current lesson is about writing submission material–queries, synopses, etc.–before you have a book. Her (the teacher’s) point is that sometimes you’ve got to sell a book you haven’t written, so knowing how to write these before the book is done (or even started, in some cases) can be beneficial, especially if you’ve already sold a book or two and have editors/publishers who trust you and your work..

It’s an interesting process. A few lessons back we were supposed to outline our stories, but I had a really hard time with the method she wanted us to use (and ended up using a different one after I tried and tried to get the other one to work), and the lesson after we were supposed to start the story. So right now we’re sitting with an opening and a vague (or more detailed, depending on the type of outline we made, since it was open to how many plot points you wanted to do) outline and working on these submission documents.

(My synopsis has issues. But then, they do when the book is written too, so, whatever, I guess.)

I’ve heard authors recommend doing this before writing the book before, but not as a submission/selling too–as a writing tool. The idea is, by having to figure out the core conflict/theme of your story and the main plotline necessary for queries/synopses, that you do yourself a favor by knowing that information before you ever write a word on the page. That it helps you focus on what’s important and makes your story more coherent.

And maybe it will. It will be interesting to see. A side benefit of the experiment, if you will.

In other news, the nonfiction books are going well (though I realized I forgot a section in the common writing mistakes one and had to go back and write it). I’m working on the consistency one now, and also considering putting together a workbook for it. This book is the shortest of all of them, for whatever reason, but it looks like I left more sections post-blog to write than I did with the others, so that may be why.

Happy Thursday, squiders! I’m reading Once & Future right now, which came out last month, and am enjoying it greatly. It’s not a great work of literature, but it is fun, and sometimes it feels like everything takes itself so seriously these days. Are reading anything fun?

Finally Moving

Hooray for April, squiders. The consignment sale is over, the festival is this weekend (and will happen whether or not I do anything specific), and we can focus on being as productive as possible in these last few weeks before it’s summer break.

Some things that are happening:

  • I finally finished the story idea workbook of doom, and I edited the entirety of the outlining nonfiction book, including writing a few new sections.
  • I outlined a new Landsquid picture book and fleshed out more on a second children’s book series (though I’m unsure whether to do it as a picture book or an early reader).
  • I started writing a new novel. I have also realized that said opening scene is bad and have plotted out a new one that is MUCH better, but that’s pretty standard for beginnings.
  • I got through three lessons in my writing class.
  • I’ve outlined a potential class for Skillshare and now need to look at how I want to film/edit it.
  • (WordPress won’t let me get rid of this bullet, so please disregard this aside.)

All in all, not too shabby. But, of course, there’s always more to be done. WriYe is actually proving to be a bit of a distraction here, because I have the three main things I’m focusing on–nonfiction/workbooks/now Skillshare classes, Landsquid picture book(s), and writing class–and some of the monthly challenges are VERY tempting.

For April, for example, the genre stretch sounds awesome–a mix of a college setting with slipstream elements. I definitely want to write something for that. And there’s the addition of a challenge to brush off and improve a project that you’ve abandoned.

The last thing I need is to go into a major revision process. I’ve done so much revision lately that I’m a bit burnt out on the whole thing. But…I think this actually predates the blog…I had a younger YA story I adored. I polished it, I queried it, I entered it in contests–and it never went anywhere, and eventually I shelved it and moved on to other projects. But I still think about it sometimes, and maybe…maybe I could do it justice now? Maybe I could fix it and it could go out into the world?

God, it is tempting. But, goals! And previous commitments!

So I’ve made an agreement with myself. If I get the nonfiction books edited (and any additional workbooks/journals created), then I can read through this YA story. No pressure to revise it or anything. Just read it, see what state it’s in, and see how much work it would take to fix, if it’s fixable. Maybe look at the comments I got from various agents and contests to see what other people saw as problems.

So we’ll see. There’s still 5 more nonfiction books and at least 1 workbook, and April isn’t a very long month.

How is your April going, squider?

WriYe and Writing

New month, squiders, new blog circle questions over at WriYe.

Why did you start writing?

That is quite the question, if you think about it too hard. What do we count as “writing” in this case? Do we count the very first project I wrote back when I was eight? Do we count my fake atlases of made-up places, or the stories I made up for my cousins and I to role-play?

Or do we count with my grown-up writing, when I decided this was something I wanted to make a priority, that I wanted to improve my craft and perhaps put some stories out for people aside from close friends and family to see?

I wrote as a child because I wanted to copy my mother, because I had games and shows and movies that I loved and wanted more stories from, and since they didn’t exist I had to make them up myself. As an adult, I write because I love stories, and I like to see where they go. There is something very satisfying about coming up with a place and characters and getting them through to an ending.

But as to why I started writing–I can’t recall. Storytelling has always been something I did, though writing was just one avenue until I became an adult and it became harder to get people to play pretend with me. And now it’s so tied to my vision of myself I don’t know what I’d do if I stopped. Tell stories some other way, I guess, maybe through pictures or games.

Bonus:
How has your writing improved since you first started? What would you still like to improve?

I hope I’ve improved in ALL ways since I started (with the Seven Special Princesses when I was 8). I know I’m still not fantastic at tension, and I always have to remember to add in description (so it usually goes in in revision, ah well). But I think there’s always room for improvement, that you can always be a better writer, no matter where you are in your writing journey.

(That being said, I also think there’s some good, even if you’re just starting out. While many of my early projects are pretty cringeworthy, there are some good ideas in there.)

Happy April, squiders! It’s starting to really, truly feel like spring. Got big plans?