Posted in Writing

WIP Marathon 23: End of Year

I already did an end-of-the-year and goals-for-next-year writing update here, if you’re interested.

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

YA SUSPENSE:  53,965 words,  16 1/2 chapters

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: Not even thought of yet

NA CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE: Thought of, but not outlined at all yet

Current report WC + CC/ SC:

YA SUSPENSE:  58,546 words,  17 1/2 chapters  — SHELVED

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: Outlined completely; 10,704 words,  4 chapters

NA CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE: Outlined completely

WIP Issues This Month: Coming off NaNoWriMo “failing” (even with 25,000 words) and just not feeling the love at all for my YA SUSPENSE, I struggled in early December. I wrote every day (until I FINALLY took one day off), but it was often just 100 words. I’d been off-outline for a while with this book, but I just wasn’t loving it at all. But at the same time, it was already my second take at this (having thrown out the vast majority of the 50,000-word draft from 2012!), and I was worried I’d never finish it if I didn’t keep moving forward. (Also, I didn’t finish a single manuscript this year.) Plus, I’d worked on it EVERY DAY since early September, forcing myself to write even on insanely busy, tiring and stressful days.

But I just got.tired.of.it. I knew it might mean I’ll never finish it, or maybe I will come back to it someday. (It’s near the end and I have a vague idea of where it’s going, but it probably needs another 10-20k I’m not up for.) I wondered if I should give it up and work on my next project, which I pictured as the first of four books in a NA contemporary romance series I intended to straight-to-self-pub, but at the same time, I did want some finished YA manuscript to try to get an agent with again. (Coming up on two years without one soon!) Then I got a shiny new idea–finally a fairy tale retelling like I’ve always wanted to do that I think hasn’t been done before. (The fairy tale has been, but not this aspect of it–it’s more of a prequel with some of the same elements. Also, it’s not even one of the more popular fairy tales among YA retellings.)

So I got my love for writing back by telling myself it was okay to give up on the YA suspense. I outlined the new idea for a week while I tried to keep going with the YA suspense and finally decided to turn my attention to the new idea instead. And I’ve written a lot more per day so far, so I’m hopeful… I just hate being back at square one with a manuscript practically. ;-; Oh, but I also outlined the entire first book in the NA contemporary romance series in my downtime when on this writer’s high, so I feel like this had been a good decision for me.

Four things I learned this month in writing: 1. Shelving a manuscript might sometimes be the best thing. (I’m just hoping I don’t get to 58k with this new one and think the same thing…)

2. It’s hard to tell the difference between the “this really should be shelved” and the “this is just you struggling and you really should finish it” feelings.

3. Writing is just… always hard!

4. Ideas hit you during the strangest most unexpected moments.

What distracted me this month while writing: I haven’t gone on any day trips this month, but I’ve been busy with work. (And Christmas! Yay!) Oh, and of course I saw Star Wars and felt like a kid again, and I’ve seen a few other movies.

Oh, fellow WIP Marathoner Suzanne van Rooyen and I have our books I HEART Robot and NOBODY’S GODDESS up for a Month9Books Readers Choice Award until December 31st! Throw either of us some love and vote or comment?

Goal for next month: I’m hoping I’ll finally get the edits for the second round (perhaps final instead of expected three rounds?) of NOBODY’S LADY revisions for real in January. There was a hiccup and I expected them back in October and each month since, but… I think now they’re for sure on their way. I’d love to get a lot more done in the YA fairy tale retelling. I don’t think I’ll want or need to start the NA until I finish the YA. I could start outlining the other books in that series, but I’ll probably wait until I’m focusing on that manuscript.

 

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Posted in News

My Next Book: FALL FAR FROM THE TREE

While I know a number of you are anxiously awaiting the second book in the NEVER VEIL series (tentatively July 2016), I’m proud to announce I’m publishing another fantasy book soon with Patchwork Press!

Read my introduction here!

FALL FAR FROM THE TREE is a dark YA fantasy I like to think of as Marvel Comics’ Runaways meets Game of Thrones. It has four first-person POVs (crazy, I know) and weaves the story of four very different young adults, each raised by terrible people.

Add FALL FAR FROM THE TREE to your Goodreads to-read list!

Terror. Callousness. Denial. Rebellion. How the four teenage children of leaders in the duchy and the neighboring empire of Hanaobi choose to adapt to their nefarious parents’ whims is a matter of survival.

Rohesia, daughter of the duke, spends her days hunting “outsiders,” fugitives who’ve snuck onto her father’s island duchy. That she lives when even children who resemble her are subject to death hardens her heart to tackle the task.

Fastello is the son of the “king” of the raiders who steal from the rich and share with the poor. When aristocrats die in the raids, Fastello questions what his peoples’ increasingly wicked methods of survival have cost them.

An orphan raised by a convent of mothers, Cateline can think of no higher aim in life than to serve her religion, even if it means turning a blind eye to the suffering of other orphans under the mothers’ care.

Kojiro, new heir to the Hanaobi empire, must avenge his people against the “barbarians” who live in the duchy, terrified the empress, his own mother, might rather see him die than succeed.

When the paths of these four young adults cross, they must rely on one another for survival—but the love of even a malevolent guardian is hard to leave behind.

Posted in Writing

WIP Marathon 20

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

Nothing on a new YA suspense manuscript (Well… You can count the 20 chapters and 53,910 words I wrote during my first go at this manuscript back in 2012, but I’m doing a page one rewrite with different characters and a supernatural element removed so 70-80% of that will be scrapped.)

Current report WC + CC/ SC:

YA SUSPENSE: 15,706 words, 6 chapters

WIP Issues This Month: Setting myself up with unrealistic expectations. I’m probably in the minority of writers in that the first draft is my least favorite aspect of writing. I just get weighed down by the tens of thousands of words still ahead of me and wish I could finish a draft in 10 days every time. (I did it once! Of course, I wound up adding 30k in edits over the next few years, but still.) 5000 words a day for 10 days seems doable on paper… Ha, but it’s only rarely doable for me.

Four things I learned this month in writing: 1. Drafting doesn’t always come easily for me. (Not really a new lesson!)

2. I’m strangely very interested in marketing my books after they’re out when I have a draft I should be working on–probably because I don’t want to draft.

3. I feel like I’m not a “real writer” if I don’t say that writing is my favorite part of being a writer (does that make sense?), but it’s not. I have moments where it’s amazing, but it usually feels like a chore until I get to editing and the excitement of hoping the manuscript has a future.

4. Publishing is slow.

What distracted me this month while writing: Not too much. I tried to work on the manuscript every day, even if just a few hundred words. I spent a day in Chicago earlier in the month and attended a local cartoonist’s fair, both of which were fun.

Goal for next month: I might be getting my 2nd round of edits for NOBODY’S LADY in October, so that’ll have to take priority, but naturally, I want to continue working on writing the YA SUSPENSE and I actually have to start a new idea soon, too. I’m going to NYC again for a week, so that’ll put a dent in my progress, as I’m usually too exhausted and busy to get much done while on vacation. I hope I don’t lose my (slow-going) momentum on the project if I take a break, though.

Oh, I’m participating in YASH again in early October with NOBODY’S GODDESS! Stop by to win prizes and play along. 😀

Posted in Writing

WIPMarathon 17

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

1. Short story: 9988 words (first draft done and turned in to editor)

2. NOBODY’S LADY (NEVER VEIL 2) was returned to me this month and is ready for round one edits, but…

Current report WC + CC/ SC:

1. Short story: 9996 words (first round of revisions done and turned back in to publisher–I know, it seems like it barely changed, ha)–btw, I still haven’t been able to spill the beans on what this project is, but I hope I will be able to by this time next month!

2. …I haven’t even touched them yet.

WIP Issues This Month: Managing to work on my fiction writing or editing AT ALL.

Four things I learned this month in writing: 1. I love celebrating a finished project! It was fun to have my book on display at BookCon and feel a little like a “real author.”

2. Editing other authors’ manuscripts is so rewarding and I wish I could do it more often. (I mean, I could OFFER to do it, but I can only afford to take on my beta readers’ for free. The rest I have to take on as clients, and I wish I could find more.)

3. You can go a LONG time without drafting a new project somehow. 😦

4. I can never manage to figure out how to cram in a lot of business writing work and fiction writing work in the same day. Even taking breaks, I’m just spent by the end of each day.

What distracted me this month while writing: So much! First off, you can read about my first author signing and my NY/BookCon trip here. After I got back from that, I had non-stop work writing to do, for better and for worse. (Seriously, I’m so tired out each day from work writing, I don’t have the brain power to work on fun writing.) I got to share some good news for my NEVER VEIL SERIES (read here). You’ll also notice the fabulous art I commissioned in my new banner. (Read more about that here.) I’ve also been to the cinema a lot this month, and it was my mom’s birthday and some things were really stressing me out. Just… Yeah, next to no fiction work done. (I did finish editing another author’s manuscript, but that was a paying job, so I was able to make time for it. At least that was fun, though!)

Oh, my comic spec script I worked on last month got rejected. I’d keep trying to submit it places, but finding a comic book publisher that takes spec scripts from authors without an artist is nigh-impossible.

Goal for next month: I do not see myself drafting at all this month because my time is limited and I have NOBODY’S LADY (NEVER VEIL 2) round one revisions due at the end of the month. So whenever I actually have the time and brain power to work on my own projects, that will get my full attention. I also want to edit my friend’s manuscript whenever I can, so I’ll at least be working on that, too. I might get my second round of edits for my short story this month, too, although I don’t anticipate those being major changes. Still, alas, this summer may not be the time when I finally write another manuscript after all.

Posted in Writing

WIPMarathon 16

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

1. 88,544 words and 36 chapters in NEVER VEIL 3 (I’d just started making changes based on beta’s suggestions, but I had to set it aside to work on short story)

2. Short story: 4399 words

3. Comic spec script done (one issue written a couple of years ago with nowhere to submit it to), but no outline for entire series

Current report WC + CC/ SC: 88,805 words and 36 chapters in NEVER VEIL 3 (edits based on beta’s suggestion complete and turned in to publisher)

2. Short story: 9988 words (first draft done and turned in to editor)

3. Comic spec script, pitch and outline complete (2251 words for outline/pitch), turned in to Oni Press for their open submissions period (it’s rare to find a comic publisher that will accept pitches from writers without artists).

WIP Issues This Month: Juggling fiction writing, work writing and travel nervousness.

Four things I learned this month in writing: 1. I can somehow juggle multiple projects at once.

2. I can go a long time (over a year!) without an agent and prospects for my future writing but apparently still feel okay about it. (A successful new release helps with that!)

3. Writing for the comic medium is interesting; your descriptions are only going to be seen by an artist and editor, so you have to rely on visual cues and dialogue alone to tell the story.

4. People can have vastly differing views on your writing. (It seems obvious, but they really, really can!)

What distracted me this month while writing: I’m posting this ahead of time because I’m due at Book Con in NYC Saturday to sign NOBODY’S GODDESS! 0-0 (Hopefully I’ll make it in time to add my name to the blog list.) It’s going to be amazingly fun as both a reader and a writer. I’m also just touring NY (as I tend to do yearly to visit my bf’s family) for a week! I didn’t have as much work this month, but I was still busy–I got a fellow author client (my favorite kind!) and have been working on editing a manuscript for her. I also attended a small local authors fair back home before I left for NY. Plus, Amazon selected NOBODY’S GODDESS as a feature in one of their newsletters and sales have really picked up this month. I’m excited to have all these new readers!

Goal for next month: I have my first round edits for the short story due in a couple of weeks (and may be able to announce what that’s all about next month). If I get first round edits for NEVER VEIL 2, I can start working on that, but I’m not sure when those are coming. It might be time to get back into manuscript drafting and tackle that YA suspense I wanted to start over from scratch… I don’t know… I have some editing to do for other authors as well.

Posted in Writing

WIPMarathon #11

Happy (almost) 2015, fellow WIP Marathoners! 🙂 I love checking in with you each month. Even when I don’t get much done, it helps to remind me to get back on track. Congrats to all of you on your writing and editing this year, and good luck next year!

Things I’m Glad I Did In 2014:

  1. I finished 3 manuscripts, including both books 2 and 3 of NEVER VEIL. (Well, the drafts are finished, anyway!) 2/3 of the manuscripts I’d done some work on in previous years, but it was still nice to get to “The End.”
  2. I got to announce my book deal! (I kept it secret in late 2013 waiting for the go-ahead to announce.) It’s been fun getting to know readers who are looking forward to the book and willing to give a new author a chance.

In 2015, I’ll love to:

  1. Celebrate the release of NOBODY’S GODDESS! (Hopefully in April. And I’m hoping the cover reveal will be much sooner than that. I’ve seen the mockups and can’t wait to share!)
  2. Sign at BookCon (I hope it works out) and/or do signings locally or visit schools.
  3. Complete another manuscript and try for an agent again.
  4. Direct submit my agent-rejected manuscript to smaller publishers because I still believe in it. (I’m still waiting on a few responses, but I doubt I’ll get an agent with it after all.)

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:  1. 88,426 words and 36 chapters in NEVER VEIL 3–first draft done

2. 82,790 words and 26 chapters in NOBODY’S GODDESS (NEVER VEIL 1), in the process of revising

Current report WC + CC/ SC: 1. 88,514 words and 36 chapters in NEVER VEIL 3 (I spent very little time on it)

2. 85,589 words and 26 chapters in NOBODY’S GODDESS, latest round of revisions done and sent back to publisher

WIP Issues This Month: Oops. After that first week, when I was finishing up the latest NOBODY’S GODDESS edits for my deadline, I really barely did any writing or editing at all. So… Finding the time and motivation to get back into it.

Four things I learned this month in writing: 1. December is not a good time for me to write.

2. You can resurrect scenes you liked you long ago cut out when an editor suggests something and you think you have the perfect thing to address that in your reject folder. (Yay!)

3. You wind up reading a manuscript MANY times before publication. Many. Good thing I love my characters!

4. Juggling writing, work and so much else can be hard.

What distracted me this month while writing: The holidays! Not just the actual celebrations (I’ve had two so far :)), but preparing for them took up a lot of my free time, and I don’t even consider myself someone who goes overboard. Also, work picked up a little (yay) and multiple people in my life, including me, got sick, so that sucked. (I seemed to have it easiest with a head cold, though.) I saw The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, but it was my least favorite of all six LotR films. (Yet I want to see it again.) I also got distracted by Super Smash Bros. throughout the month.

I don’t usually mention my reads here, but My True Love Gave to Me was the PERFECT December read for me and gave me many warm fuzzies.

Goal for next month: My editor tells me I may get the final round of revisions to do and approve in January for NOBODY’S GODDESS–that’s right, the FINAL round. It’s off to the printers after that! So that will come first, of course. I do want to add a new scene to NEVER VEIL 3 and fix a few things and then start the whole beginning-to-end read-through before passing it along to my beta, but I have time before it’s due and may not get to it. (My goal last month was to start it and I barely did, so…) I hope to, though. I have no plans to draft anything new or work on any of the other projects on hiatus this month, though.

Posted in Writing

WIPMarathon #10

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count: 1. 23,897 words and 10 chapters in NEVER VEIL 3

2. 85,221 words and 26 chapters in NOBODY’S GODDESS (NEVER VEIL 1)–I hadn’t touched it in months and was waiting on the next round of revisions, which I got back in early November… When I got it back, my stellar editor helped me cut down some wordiness, so it was 82,854 words and 26 chapters before I began work on the next round (wow, a good editor can really help you streamline things!).

Current report WC + CC/ SC: 1. 88,426 words and 36 chapters in NEVER VEIL 3–first draft done! Woot! It took me 45 days (not bad at all) and I started the month of NaNoWriMo with 33,000-ish words–and managed to add 50,000 to “win” the month’s challenge by November 20th.

2. 82,790 words and 26 chapters in NOBODY’S GODDESS (NEVER VEIL 1), in the process of revising

WIP Issues This Month: Not many again! Writing has gone well for me the past couple of months. I need to watch for repetitive phrases. (I tend to have people cross their arms and I write about people’s eyes a lot.)

Four things I learned this month in writing: 1. When I can write a draft relatively quickly, I feel much happier about the writing process. (It took me 5 months to write NEVER VEIL 2, even though it was 20k shorter and I started with 10k already written! 0_O)

2. Watch for “I saw X do this” or “I felt X happen” type of sentences in first person POV because they just add lots of extra words. My editor cut them all down (to like “X did this” and “X happened”)  and the sentences read smoother.

3. Taking time to write something you really want to write, even though you know it won’t help you reach your new writing goals (I can’t get a new agent with NEVER VEIL 3, but I wanted to write it more than I wanted to write something new), can help you get your writing mojo back. (So I won’t have a new agent this year… Perhaps not even next year. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean it’ll never happen again or even if it doesn’t… *shrugs* What can I do?)

4. Finishing a trilogy is very satisfying! (Although there are years of revisions ahead.)

What distracted me this month while writing: I didn’t do much this month besides fiction write (even my client work has decreased, boo), so that might explain why I did so well. (If only I could make that my full-time job and not feel guilty about not business writing as much. *sigh*) I saw Mockingjay Part 1 twice because I love the Hunger Games books and films with every fiber of my being. 🙂 (Reading the trilogy inspired me to get serious about fiction writing after almost a decade of floundering.) I saw a couple of other good movies, too. (Big Hero 6, Interstellar, Birdman and Nightcrawler.) I’m not big on Thanksgiving, but we had a couple of nice, small gatherings.

Goal for next month: Wrap up this round of revisions for NOBODY’S GODDESS (due December 7th). Start revisions for NEVER VEIL 3–maybe even finish the first round and get it ready for my beta reader, but with the holidays and plenty of time before my due date (June 1st! I’m hoping I can turn it in a few months early, though), I’m in no rush. I just want to work on it, you know? And I don’t feel up to diving into a new (or on-hiatus) WIP just yet.

Winner-2014-Square-Button

Posted in Writing

WIPMarathon Report #6

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count: 1. 67,909 words and 28 chapters (NOBODY’S GODDESS 2)–first draft sent to beta

2. (New WIP) 3287 words and 1 1/2 chapters

Current report WC + CC/ SC: 1. 69,577 words and 28 chapters (NOBODY’S GODDESS 2)–after making some changes due to beta editing, but I’m still working on one more read-through

2. (NEW WIP) 3287 words and 1 1/2 chapters (New WIP)–no progress made, but I’m maybe 40% into the outline

WIP Issues This Month: I didn’t feel like the month was a failure, but you can see I didn’t make a lot of progress. But I did a lot of editing–both for my friend and for myself. I guess I got a little stuck on the outline for my new WIP, but I just didn’t devote enough time to it this month.

Four things I learned this month in writing: 1. Shiny new ideas have an annoying habit of demanding to be written right away and then… Heading back to the bottom of your to-do list.

2. New perspectives can help you notice problems in your book.

3. Editing book 2 in a series can help you tweak book 1 even more.

4. It’s hard to choose which projects to prioritize!

What distracted me this month while writing: I’m not sure. I felt busy every day, but I didn’t do much to write home about. It was my 9th anniversary with my boyfriend this month, and that was a fun night off! 🙂 I also spent a day at the local Renaissance Faire, which is about the only summer fair I care about.

I’ve just about finished querying FALL FAR FROM THE TREE as I’ve met my minimum querying goals; I’m still waiting on a number of responses, but this might not be the project with which or the year I get a second agent. I don’t plan to give up on the manuscript finding some place to call home, though.

Goal for next month: My first task is actually for before the month ends–NOBODY’S GODDESS 2 is due August 1st, so I just need to finish this read-through and send it off. My next task is to finish the outline for the new WIP; I’d really like to have one in place before I dive back into writing it, and it’d be nice if I got a few thousand words done for that one in August. I still might start NOBODY’S GODDESS 3 (outline already completed) instead, but I might save it for NaNoWriMo (even though I burnt out on that last year!).

Posted in Writing

WIPMarathon Report #1

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count: 27,301 words and ten and a half chapters

Current report WC + CC/ SC: 40,127 words and 16 and a bit more chapters (ha, the last 2300 words were just last night, too, so… If I’d had more writing sessions like that one this month, I’d be further along!)

WIP Issues This Month: I never stalled entirely, but the scenes I’ve been working on this month have been less exciting to me than some of the stuff near the beginning or what’s to come. I’ve struggled to find both the time and the brain power to work. (When I’m too stressed or tired from work writing, it’s hard to get my brain into the fiction writing groove, even if I find the time!) I spent like a week on one scene writing 100 words at a time wondering what on earth was going on (characters were keeping secrets from my main character–and me!) until I finally cracked it.

Four things I learned this month in writing:  1. Even if it’s only small progress, progress is still progress. I may have wanted to get more words done this month, but somehow I at least managed to get this much done despite feeling overwhelmed.

2. Keep pushing through a scene and you’ll eventually crack it somehow.

3. Sometimes you have to write even if you don’t feel like you can because even 100 words a day is better than nothing. Even 100 words a week is better than nothing.

4. It’s not worth stressing myself out on days I can’t get many words done; it just makes me feel unaccomplished.

What distracted me this month while writing: Work, bitter cold temperatures (good for staying inside and writing a lot, though!), snow shoveling, reading, gaming, and everyday life. I’m also strangely into looking up True Detective theories.

Goal for next month: Keep going with this WIP! I want to finish as much more as possible. I need a first draft done within the next few months. I feel like I’m more than halfway there, though. Which potentially means there will be too few words this first draft, but we’ll see. I’m not worried about that yet–just getting through the plot.

Last 200 words: Can’t because it’s a sequel.

Posted in Writing

WIPMarathon Check-In # 8 (4)

I held off on updating because I hoped I could add some more words today, but it just doesn’t look like that will be the case. Work won’t let up this month, and my stress in general has been through the roof! Still, it’s fun to work on the WIP when I can. Which was only twice this week…

Last Check-in Wordcount + ChapterCount (+ scene count if you’re revising): 21,839 words and eight and a half chapters

Current WC + CC (or SC): 22,821 words and eight and a half chapters (still working on that same chapter, lol)

WIP Issues this week: I’m entering a little uncertain ground in the WIP. This is still that “writing a few chapters off of only two sentences in the synopsis” bit, and so far it has gone well, but it’s starting to maybe drift a bit. I think I’m still on the right track, though.

What I learned this week in writing: So my progress this month hasn’t been as much as I’d like it to have been. Considering how busy and stressed I’ve been, the fact that I’ve gotten as much done as I have is pretty awesome.

What distracted me this week while writing: Work, my boyfriend’s car troubles (he wound up having to get a new/used one!), coming down with a cold and…

My big news! I think most of you saw my post earlier this week, but I can now share the fact that I’m going to debut with a YA fantasy in 2015 with Month9Books. Please add it to your to-read shelf on Goodreads if you have an account.

And now that that’s posted, I can share a more detailed summary of the story:

In a village of masked men, magic compels each man to love only one woman and to follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.

Where the rest of her village celebrates this mystery that binds men and women together, seventeen year old Noll is just done with it. She’s lost all her childhood friends as they’ve paired off, but the worst blow was when her closest companion, Jurij, finds his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever loved her: she is in fact the goddess of the mysterious lord of the village, a Byronic man who refuses to let Noll have her right as a woman to spurn him and who has the power to fight the curse. Thus begins a dangerous game between the two: the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither Noll nor the veiled man is willing to lose.

Last 200 words: Can’t because it’s the sequel to my book releasing next year. ^^