Posts Tagged ‘WriYe’

WriYe and Social Media

Catching up, catching up, lalalalala, where is the month going?

Do you use social media for your writing life?

No.

I mean, I do vaguely. When I blog, it copies the link to my Twitter and my Tumblr. But that’s literally about it. I don’t Facebook, I don’t Instagram, I don’t actually interact with anyone. Social media is one of those things that the marketing books say you should be doing, but I find it really unnatural.

I did try to do it more, back in the day–schedule posts, keep up with mentions, etc. Used HootSuite, which is a nice program. But there’s only so many hours in the day, and I don’t have enough or enough brain power to care most of the time.

Are you happy with the way you’re using social media in regards to your writing?

Hm. Part of me wants to say no–that I know I’m not utilizing social media like I’m supposed to, that perhaps all that’s standing in the way of me and breakout success is the number of times I post on Twitter.

But I really don’t care. Did using social media more (and correctly, as per the marketing gurus) help? I mean, yeah, a bit, in terms of followers and networking. But did it ever really connect to book sales? I wouldn’t say so.

A lot of the networking opportunities I have gotten have come through the blog, actually–people seeing my writing here and reaching out for one thing or another. Maybe they saw my post initially on social media, but maybe not. I don’t know.

So, while I guess I’m not “happy” about the way I’m using social media, I’m also not upset about it.

Why or why not?

Oh. Reading the whole post is important, people.

Here’s the deal. For two or three years, I did social media as I was supposed to. I reposted things I thought would be of interest to my ideal reader. I posted several times a day, and I responded quickly when someone mentioned me or responded to something I had posted. I discussed news items in the SFF world, talked about movies and books I liked, reached out to similar authors and collaborated where I could.

Did I get some success from it? Sure. Some. Not a lot. Not enough to justify the amount of time I was spending on it.

Cuz, at the end of the day, while your social media presence can help (or hurt, if you’re a jerk), if you don’t have the books to back up what you’re doing, you’re not going to get anywhere. I don’t put out multiple books a year, and thus far I have no series. It’s hard for me to attract and keep readers. And the way to fix that is to focus more on writing, and worry more about marketing when I have things to market.

Anyway, squiders, hopefully that doesn’t come off as too bitter! Bottom line is that the social media stuff didn’t work for me because I didn’t have anything to link it to–but it might work better in the future when I have other things out.

Any thoughts on social media, squiders?

WriYe and Planning

The last month has been so off-kilter that I didn’t even do the WriYe blog prompt in September. So, uh, here it is. Actually, it kind of goes along with the outlining workshop I’ve been working on for SkillShare.

Convenient.

Explain your planning process. Do you write a detailed outline or are you more of a bare bones only writer?

I’ve talked about my outlining process before, but I’m somewhere in the middle. What I find works best for me is outlining my major plot points at the beginning (basically inciting incident, first plot point, midpoint, second plot point, climax, and what comes in between/before/after those). Pacing is something I have issues with when left to my own devices, so keeping track of my turning points and when in the story those should be happening has been hugely beneficial for me.

I also do quite a bit of brainstorming at the beginning for worldbuilding/characters/plot ideas, and I tend to phase outline in between plot points. But I don’t need a lot of detail in my plan before I start writing.

Are you happy with the way you plan currently?

Yes, actually. I first outlined this way for City of Hope and Ruin–it was the way Siri outlined–and it worked so well that I have used it for almost every longer story since. I’m talking 10K and up; for short stories I tend to just phase outline, though sometimes I’ll also do tentpoles depending on complexity.

For Nano, uh, 2019, I tried a different outlining technique that Nano recommended to me, and it did not work at all. So we’re continuing with this current method.

Are there things you would like to try that are different or new to you?

I’m always willing to try something new, but for now, this is working really well. The fact that it emphasizes when things should happen kind of makes it hard to beat, at least for me. And I have been writing long enough that I kind of knows what works and what doesn’t at this point.

If I do less planning, then I run into the pacing issues again, and more planning makes me want to tear my hair out. A lot of writing, especially at the first draft level, is so instinctive, and writing to this kind of plan fixes most of my major issues so that revision is way easier. But that’s me! I imagine if you have naturally good pacing but other issues that other outlining techniques might work better.

Hoping to get my outlining workshop out on SkillShare by the end of the month! I’m worried the editing is going to take even longer than normal since the videos are longer.

WriYe and Getting Started

Oof, squiders, sorry I’m flaky this week. My basement has flooded TWICE in THREE DAYS. At least we’ve figured out the problem this time, as opposed to two days ago when we thought we’d figured the problem out and were obviously wrong.

(God, we’d better be right this time.)

Did you know if you have a wet/dry vacuum you can just vacuum up water? For some reason this is very strange to me.

ANYWAY.

Normally I like to leave the WriYe prompts til a little later in the month, but man, this has been a week, and I’m too tired to figure things out otherwise.

Describe your writing beginnings. How did you get started?

I started writing when I was about eight, and mostly because my mother was a writer. Emulating her and all that. This is back in the olden days, when we had CorelWrites and WordPerfect and you had to know the key shortcuts to do things. Or sometimes I wrote on an electric typewriter.

I started, like many people, using my favorite things as a base, changing a character here, a premise there. I had some picture and puzzle books I made my own versions of, plus I made up roleplaying situations for me and my cousins to do based on my favorite shows and video games, and I made a fashion book based on the Wizard of Oz, and other bizarre creative things only children ever think of.

I mainly focused on roleplaying throughout my teens, aside from writing a few short stories and starting a dozen novels that never went anywhere. In college Nanowrimo started, and that’s when I switched more to writing from roleplaying.

What was your “a-ha” moment that made you realize this was something you wanted to pursue?

So I started doing Nanowrimo in 2003, which was fun! I really enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the friends I met through the event. But I mostly only wrote during November. I would finish my drafts slowly throughout the rest of the year (my last year I snuck off to a tea shop called The Tea Spot at least once a week, where I wrote and ate scones and also fancy chocolates) but it was just a hobby.

In 2006 we moved to California, where I knew no one. I didn’t have a job for the first few months and I was super, super depressed and isolated. I think I’ve told you guys this story before.

Anyway, I recognized that things were going poorly and decided that I needed to do something to keep me occupied, and I decided that I wanted to write full-time and maybe try to do something more formal with everything, so I joined a bunch of writing groups (some of which I still belong to today, including WriYe, actually) which gave me some much needed social interaction and got me going on something until I got a job and started to find my place in my new home.

And here we still are, I guess. Nothing big. Just a decision, once upon a time.

Anyway, pray for my basement, squiders. If nothing else, then for my state of mind.

See you next week!

WriYe and Writing Tips

How’s it going, squiders? I did put my first chapter of my trilogy up for the summer marathon and hence have fallen behind on my other writing stuff, since part of the deal is critiquing other people’s stuff.

Of course, this is week 7 out of 8 of the marathon, so everyone else is several chapters into their stories and thus far I am mostly confused. Oh well.

I hope to finish a serial story bit for TDP either tonight or in the morning, and then it’s back to World’s Edge full speed ahead and whatnot.

Anyway, let’s do the July blog prompt over at WriYe.

Quick! Name your top 7 writing tips of all time.

Seven feels like a weird number to me, but, uh, okay.

  1. Make time for writing. If you don’t plan your writing in (and I find the earlier in the day the better) it’s hard to get to it.
  2. Don’t focus on perfection in a first draft. Worry about getting the story done before you worry about whether it’s any good.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to others. That way lies madness.
  4. Also, don’t make your goals dependent on other people. Madness lies that way too. Plus it just makes you frustrated. I guess that’s more of a life tip than writing specifically.
  5. All progress is good progress. Sure, 100 words a day doesn’t feel like much, but it’s still better than nothing, and even planning gets you closer to a finished story even if it feels like you’re not getting anywhere right now.
  6. Don’t get weird with speech tags. Make sure it’s something you can actually do with your mouth.
  7. When revising, do big picture fixes before easier polishes. Nothing sucks more than spending a bunch of time on a scene that gets cut out.

Why those 7?

Uh, cuz those are the ones I thought of? I’ve actually been avoiding this prompt, because it has felt very intimidating. Are these my best writing tips? Probably not. But these are kind of general tips that are useful in most situations.

And a lot of them are good outside writing too! So, yay me or something.

How are you guys doing? Thoughts on my tips? Tips of your own?

WriYe and Organization

Oof, why is May going so fast? Seriously. Ahhhhhhhh

Anyway. It’s time for the monthly prompt from WriYe, which is about writing organization, something I am alternately very good at and also sometimes terrible at.

How do you keep your writing organized and backed up?

I mostly use Google Drive. I keep all my outlines and other background information there–conlangs, worldbuilding, feedback, etc. I also try to keep the most recent version of each draft on there as well, though sometimes this leads to issues (such as a local version syncing incorrectly and the cloud version eating the most recent update), so sometimes I will also NOT back up the most recent version for my own sanity.

I realize this is risky, but when Drive makes me waste an hour finding the proper version or makes me create 15 copies of the same document because it can’t just save over the pre-existing version, sometimes it’s worth it.

(I do back up other ways as well. I lost 4K on a story once and it was not fun.)

I also keep things like word count trackers and agent/submission lists there, so I can access them from anywhere. And my random idea file, so things can be added at a moment notice.

That being said, I do also do planning in notebooks, because sometimes that just works better, and sometimes it is too much work to type all that into a document (especially if there’s artwork involved, and often there is, for maps or uniforms or what have you). I have a set shelf on my desk that’s for writing notebooks, which I’ve put into place after one rather important one wandered off (RIP).

Do you have any tips or tricks to share that have helped you?

More backing up is better. I have an external hard drive that I back everything up to periodically, and I keep a version of each completed draft on Google Drive and in my email (in case Drive does something weird). I also sometimes back things up onto a flash drive.

That way, if anything happens, it’s still somewhere.

Organization within storage areas is also good–I keep the novels separate from the short stories, and keep all information for each specific novel or series separate from the others.

(So, like, Novels>Series>Book 1, etc.)

This allows me to easily find the stuff related to a specific project as opposed to having to scroll through a long list of things (though search functions do exist, but if you’ve named a document something not obvious you’re screwed).

So, uh, that’s me, I guess. I do think there’s a thin line between organization and obsessive organizing that can take away from working time on other things, so I try not to stress about it too much.

How are you, squider? Thoughts on organization?

WriYe and Success

Eking this end at the end of the month, haha. Interesting topic this month, considering how the last year has gone. More and more recently I’ve felt like I no longer have any idea about the writing industry or how to be successful, and I think a lot of that has to do with my own productivity issues due to medical issues and the pandemic, combined with increasing knowledge about writing in general and a feeling of incompetence.

Actually, one of the writing blogs I follow had a post about that in the last week, how over the past year they’ve felt disconnected from writing, and I really identified with that.

But, anyway, on to the questions.

What has been your biggest writing success? How did you get there?

Hm, that’s a good question. I guess the first story I sold, maybe? It feels pretty great each time I sell a story, which has never been a terribly consistent thing. I hope, as I become more experienced, it’ll be more often.

As to how I got there, uh, practice, I guess? I try to write short stories, both for fun and purpose, fairly regularly, and I also read short story collections to see what other people are doing and how it’s working. Sometimes I’ll look at anthology calls to try my hand at writing a particular type of story. It’s really just experimentation at this point, which may be why it’s not more consistent.

What has been your biggest writing disappointment? How did you bounce back from it?

I have been trying, for years, to get a mentor through contests like #RevPit or #PitMad. I’ve tried different stories, different submission materials, you name it. I’ve tried contests specific to my genres and more general ones. I’m lucky if I get a response from one of the people I’ve submitted to at all, let alone one that gives any sort of feedback. And, of course, I’ve never been selected.

Now, you might say, Kit, you are published author, so why do you want a mentor?

I mean, I don’t know. I think it’s, as I try out more ambitious projects, or as I run into issues with ones that are dear to my heart, that I’d like someone to point me in the right direction. Hold my hand, as it were, and tell me what sorts of things might help me out.

It is frustrating, to never hear anything back from these contests, and it certainly doesn’t help my self-esteem or my confidence in my stories. But it helps to take a step back and realize that each of these people get a ton of submissions and can only select one per contest, and that it doesn’t necessarily mean anything about my writing or my story. And there’s new contests and/or mentors every few months.

This is an interesting question right now, because I have been feeling so out of sorts, and I’ve been feeling like my stories are uninspired and predictable, and like I haven’t been able to write anything truly good in a while. It probably wouldn’t hurt to sit down and do some soul searching, and see if I can get some of my mojo/confidence back.

Or it may be that I just need to take a break for a bit and let it come back naturally.

How are you doing, squider? How are you feeling?

WriYe and Revision (Again)

Well, it’s March, and March continues to be connected to NaNoEdMo, even though it’s dead. (And every March, I’m not revising. Well, I might get there later in the month. Or not.)

I feel like we do some variation of this prompt every March, and since this is my third year of doing the WriYe blog prompts, well, I guess if you want more info, check previous Marchs.

Explain your revision process. Do you go through multiple stages of editing?

I’ve talked about it before, but basically I spend a bunch of time looking at the story as it is, then solidifying my arcs and plot lines, and making notes about what needs to be fixed. Then I RE-outline everything and essentially re-write the entire story, even re-typing scenes that are not changing.

I realize this is an inefficient way to work, but I find the story sits better in my head if I work through the whole thing from start to finish. Also, it allows me to take note of issues on a line level, such as repetitive wording or filtering, which gives me less work in the end.

After I finish my major edit, I tend to read the whole thing out loud, which helps me find any weird flow things, fix dialogue, find typoes that I’ve previously missed, etc.

I don’t typically edit again after that, aside from smaller fixes.

Or just one and then leave the rest to the professionals? Do you/will you use professional editors?

As a freelance editor, I recognize the value that having someone else–especially someone else who knows what they’re talking about–look at your work. That being said, I don’t tend to use professional editors myself, mostly because I can’t afford to and partially because I can self-edit fairly decently.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using beta readers and critique partners in place of professional editors. You will need to gauge if you’re getting value out out it, of course–not all feedback is created equal–but if you can’t afford an editor, it’s not the end of the world.

Of course, on the other hand, sometimes it’s easier to use a professional editor than beta readers/critique partners. Oftentimes, betas/CPs are part of an exchange thing–you look at mine, I’ll look at yours–which means you need to have the time to look at someone else’s work too, and betas/CPs aren’t always the most reliable people, so you may find yourself waiting a while, or forever, for feedback. A good professional editor will get feedback to you when they say they will.

So, really, using them or not is up to your personal circumstances. My advice is to edit yourself before you hire an editor. You don’t want to distract an editor with things you could have fixed yourself. And make sure you’ve done your research, and that the editor you’re working with understands what sort of feedback you’re looking for.

That turned into more of a lecture than personal experience, so, uh, sorry!

Anyway, see you guys on Friday!

WriYe and Inspiration

It’s that time of month! But before we get into the questions from WriYe, I wanted to let you guys know that I have the first past of a serial up over at Turtleduck Press. It’s called Deep and Blue and follows Kaeri, a scientist in an underwater city who finds herself having to deal with a mystery.

Now, onward!

What inspires you?

I mean, anything really. A picture, a song. A weird dream. A line of dialogue on a television show. I find that inspiration can be anywhere, if you’re looking for it, and even sometimes when you’re not.

I would say that finding inspiration isn’t necessarily the problem when it comes to writing.

How do you hold onto that inspiration through less-than-inspiring times?

This is getting ahead of the questions, I suspect, but, for me, inspiration is the spark that starts you thinking about a story. And I do think you can force inspiration, to some extent. That’s part of why I keep several Pinterest boards full of story, character, and setting ideas. Sometimes you’ve got to get a story going, because you’ve promised one to an anthology, or you’ve got a challenge you’re part of, or whatever, so it can be good to have a stash of things to get you started.

When writing is tough, because of emotional or mental states, I find working on shorter pieces is helpful. A novel can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not feeling it, and there’s nothing like getting 15,000 words into something and finding out you hate it. Something short keeps you in practice, can spark something bigger, and isn’t overwhelming.

Is inspiration different than motivation for you?

Yes. Absolutely. Inspiration is the spark of a story, as I mentioned above, and motivation is the drive to actually do something with that inspiration. I think a lot of us have had the experience of thinking up a story or a scene or what have you, and then not being able to actually get it out. How many times have you laid in bed, writing dialogue in your head?

Motivation can be harder to drum up, even if you have a story in place. I think maybe that’s what the above question was really asking. How do you write when it doesn’t feel like you can?

I find baby steps can help if things feel really awful. Okay, so maybe I don’t feel up to writing a whole chapter, but I could outline that chapter. I can write a paragraph, or a scene. Sure, I’m not getting things done as fast as I wanted to, but I am still getting something done.

(This is also why I like stepping it up challenges, where you add a little bit more each day. You either reach a point where you know what you’re currently capable of, or you find out you’re capable of more than expected.)

On to revision talk!

My betas are already starting to send me feedback, which is so so helpful. I do think I’m going to stick to writing the alt. first chapters, so I have them on hand no matter what, but my betas do seem to kind of feel like the disconnect isn’t as bad as I’ve made it out to be. So I guess that’s good!

I also made a master document with all my beta comments from previous beta rounds, which is actually less than I thought. I think maybe I’ve lost some. This is why you should keep track of things, a lesson I may some day learn.

Have a good weekend, squiders! I’ll see you next week.

WriYe and 2021

This kind of goes over stuff we’ve already talked about, but here we are anyway!

What’s your WriYe Word Count goal for 2021? Why did you chose it?

I picked a goal of 120,000 words for this year. Last year I wrote 150K, and that’s on top of wasting a LOT of time, so I could conceivably write more if so inclined, but since most of my time this year is going to be spent on revision, I didn’t want to go that high again.

I’m still waffling about counting revision words. I do tend to retype everything during a revision, especially if it needs a lot of work, because it allows me to tweak word choice, and I haven’t decided if I should count that or not. Things to worry about later!

What are your writing/editing plans for the year?

I’m not going to do this in great detail, since we did talk about it last week, but essentially I intend to focus on revising several (six) longer projects with the hopes that they’ll be ready for publication of some sort. They need various amounts of work so I’m going to start with the easiest ones first.

Bonus:

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

Uh…hopefully being able to go places again? I know that’s not writing related, but I am so stir crazy I can’t stand it. I’d even love just to be able to go work at the coffee shop instead of my house.

(Speaking of which, I got a new laptop! It’s one of those 2-in-1s that turns into a tablet, though I haven’t thought of a need for tablet mode yet.)

Writing wise, I’d like to be able to focus better and get more done with my time. And actually finish some projects.

What are your goals for 2021, squiders?

WriYe and December

Oh, hey! Sorry this is late. I joined an Among Us discord channel that is only for grown-ups, and they’re a very fun group of people. Also, it’s hard to work over virtual school.

The WriYe blog prompts fell by the wayside this year, like many things, but we did get one for December, and maybe there’ll be more next year as hopefully we all recover from 2020.

2020 is almost over (yay!). In a very unpredictable and unstable year, sum up your year of writing.

I mean, it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. I did nine months of prompt responses, both universe-expanding drabbles (working on making it ten) and random prompts. I wrote 55K on the perhaps doomed Changeling story and another 50K and a complete draft of my mystery in November. (I have read back through it now, and it’s not terrible, though it could definitely use more meat in the second half.) Oh, and I got my scifi horror novella done and beta’d.

I’d better check my goals for the year to see if I’m forgetting anything.

Oh, yeah, I started my Drifting sequel for the luddite challenge, and I poked a few older stories to see if they were viable.

It’s not everything I wanted to do, but it’s not bad.

Did you meet your goals? Did you survive? Barely hung on?

I met…some of my goals, but I don’t think I’ve ever met all of them, so that’s not that weird. I haven’t touched World’s Edge since last Nano, and the sequel to City of Hope and Ruin continues to be stuck in the mire. I did have two stories published (here and here) which is down from previous years.

I upped my word count goal from the year from 100,000 to 150,000, which is good but, at the same time, I don’t really feel like I have a lot to show for my year.

And there was so much of this year when I could have been writing, and I didn’t. I understand that this year has been rough on a number of levels, between medical issues and the pandemic and virtual school and all that jazz. But I still wasted a lot of time where I could have been doing something else.

Give us your biggest triumph and what you are most proud of!

Hmmmm. Hmmmmmm. My scifi horror novella went over pretty well during the summer marathon. I’ve done a couple of previous marathons, and normally I get ripped to shreds, but everyone seemed to really like the story, so that felt pretty good. And it was nice to come out of Nano with a complete draft, especially now that I’ve read it and it’s not terrible.

I’ll do a more formal year-end review when we actually get to the end of the year. And, fingers crossed, next year I’ll be able to get more done.

But right now, I’m bogged down by the holidays. There’s so much to do aaaauuuugggghhhh why do I do this to myself every year? My sister texted me for Christmas present ideas back on Halloween.

How are you doing, squiders? Feeling okay? What are you most proud of this year?