When Your Novel Is A Mess…

Yesterday, I was feeling pretty good about my editing. I’ve been editing this novel for a while and while it’s been slow going, it is coming along. And that’s a good thing!

Then, tonight I looked at the first part as a whole and I think it’s just to dang long. I need to have the first plot point come sooner—a lot sooner. Conventionally, it should be at around the twenty-five percent mark and mine comes a lot later.

I don’t know if this means moving scenes from the first act into the second act, or cutting them altogether. I’ll probably need a combination of both.

Why does editing have to be so incredibly hard?! Also, why couldn’t I have learned anything useful about editing in school? Seriously, despite all the writing I learned over the years, I don’t think I learned a single useful thing about editing my own writing. But that’s a story for another time.

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Summer 2018 Writing Report

Apparently, I have been so remiss in posting my writing reports that the last one was in April of this year! That’s crazy! I knew I’d missed posting June and July and obviously August just ended, so that one isn’t up, either, but I thought I’d done May.

Therefore, I decided to do a massive writing report for the four months of May, June, July, and August. September will (hopefully) be by itself, assuming I remember to post it!

May

May was… not the best month for writing—in my defense, I did take a vacation! Vacation is an excellent excuse not to write. I was editing that month, too, which brings down the total words produced. Vomiting words onto the page for a first draft and editing those words are two completely different stages of writing. It’s way easier to get high word counts with the former than the latter. Anyway, I wrote a total of only 1,683 words that month. That’s an average of 54 per day. I only wrote on ten days during the month, though, so it makes sense my word count would be lower.

June

June wasn’t much better, at least according to the writing log. I wrote a total of 3,877 words that month, which is an average of 129 per day. However, I was outlining a future novel with pen and paper, so those words did not get counted in the log. Counting words by hand is very tedious! Including those days I was outlining, I wrote on sixteen days during the month, which isn’t too bad.

July

July was a bit better. I wrote 6,243 words total, which makes for an average of 201 words per day. I also did some outlining that didn’t make it into the log. I went back to editing that month (in June, when I realized the structure of my novel wasn’t working, I took a temporary break from editing because I was so overwhelmed—I really, really, really wish they took the time to teach proper editing in school, as that would be a useful skill to have been taught). Including the days I outlined, I wrote on sixteen days, just like in June.

August

August was a very good month. In fact, it was the best I’ve had in a while, writing-wise. I wrote a total of 18,337 words, which is an average of 591 per day. Not too bad, if I don’t say so myself! And how did I accomplish this? I started writing every day. Since August 12, I have written every day. I wrote for twenty-seven days in August.

I was so tired of not writing and not having the motivation to write, so I vowed I would start doing it again every day. My only two rules are: 1) I have to work on something every day and produce at least 500 new words, and 2) I have to finish what I start. I was having trouble editing my novel, so I wrote some short stories instead, which was fun. Now I’m back to editing the novel. I may take another break, if necessary—but I’ll be working on short stories if I decide to pause my editing again.

And I just realized that I’ve only written about 300 words today, so I need to go write 200 more so I don’t break my streak!

A Very Knitty Day

I had an excellent day today, dear readers. I spent nearly the whole day knitting. When I wasn’t knitting, I was cleaning (no fun!), walking outside (definitely fun), and trying a new recipe (it tastes great, so that was fun too). All in all, it was a supremely satisfying day. I’m actually considering just not going online that much anymore and redirecting that time towards knitting. Doing crafts is a lot more fun than seeing tweets pop up in my Twitter timeline about the latest inane controversy, or seeing people post photos on Instagram of how amazing their lives are, even when I know that behind the Instagram facade, they’re miserable.

What is not so excellent is my neglect of this blog… I meant to write some posts but didn’t. At least I’m on a big fiction writing streak right now. I have written at least five hundred words every day since August 12. It may not seem like much, but all that consistency adds up. I’ve written two short stories since then! They’re both science fiction and set in the same universe. One of them leaves off on a huge cliffhanger, so I need to write the sequel soon. I have no idea what’s going to happen, so I’m in suspense, too. Sometimes my characters really surprise me.

Writing Woes

You guys, writing is not for the faint of heart. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I’ve spent the past week or so struggling with a book that just wasn’t working. It was an old idea I was trying to outline and brainstorm. It involved vampires and Moscow and was supposed to be awesome, in theory.

Unfortunately, in practice, it was not so great. Maybe it’s a bad idea, or just not the right idea for me right now, but it was totally not working. I saved my notes, but put them aside. Now I’m back to working on a second round of edits on the novel I was working on before. I think I’ll have to redo a lot of the first act of that book. Better to discover that now than later, I suppose. I am also the world’s slowest editor, so this is going to be very slow going. Maybe I’ll write some short stories in order to take short breaks during my editing…

Happy July!

Can you believe it’s July already? The year is half over now!

Anyway, I have some excellent news. Remember that graduate program I was talking about? Well, I got in! And I got a fellowship! Now I need to pay a deposit to reserve my place because I’ve decided I’m going to go for it. Next year at this time, I’ll probably be questioning my judgment since I’ll have to balance working and studying. 🙂 But I have my fingers crossed that some of the accounting concepts will be a bit easier this time around since I’ve done a lot of accounting at work in the last four years.

What else is new? Well, I’m scaling back on social media use this month so that I can get some work done on a fun novel I’ve outlined. It’s urban fantasy and it takes place in Moscow. And there are vampires. I’ve been looking forward to doing this idea for a while now, so it should hopefully be fun to write.

April 2018 Writing Report

As you may have seen, I vowed to write every day for the month of April—and I succeeded. That was both blog writing and fiction writing, which wasn’t easy. I think my studying for my next professional certification took a hit, unfortunately!

I was editing in April, so I didn’t get a ton of really high word counts. Editing is a strange beast since it involves so much reading over previously written material. I did write some new scenes for my manuscript, which was fun. I’ve begun to really like reading over old scenes and shuffling things around and making sure the scenes tie into the overall plot.

In April, I wrote a total of 8,571 words, which is an average of 285 per day. As I said, all of that was for editing. I tried to edit for an hour every day, but that wasn’t always possible. I did manage to edit every single day, though! That is an accomplishment.

So far, I haven’t written every day in May—just some days. Last week really was not my week, I’m afraid to say. A rather idiotic neighbor backed her car up into my car. I was honking my horn at her the entire time, but she claims to have not heard it, which makes no sense. How can you not hear a car horn right behind you??? Luckily, she was going so slowly that my car has no visible damage and looks fine. There were other annoyances last week, so let’s just say good riddance to the first week of May, and I’m going to go work on my editing now.

A Nice Self-Editing Checklist

I don’t always read Kristen Lamb’s blog, but when I do, I am rarely disappointed. Kristen, if you don’t know her, is an author and editor who dispenses sage advice on her blog.

Last Monday, she wrote a post that was so timely for me. It’s like she read my mind and knew that I needed this post: Self-Editing: 7 Tips to Tighten the Story & Cut Costs. I am currently editing a novel right now, so this post was right up my alley.

Granted, I’ve read most of her tips in some form or fashion in various sources before, but it was nice to see them all in one place.

I don’t know if I’m going to hire a freelance editor for my manuscript. Ideally, I’d like to. I’m sure I’d learn a ton. But first off, it’s crazy expensive, and second, if all goes according to my Master Plan, I won’t need to.

(The Master Plan, for those not in the know [and that’s probably all of you, because I don’t think I’ve posted this publicly on the blog before!], involves me getting a massive book deal for this trilogy of novels after a bidding war among the biggest publishing houses of the country. In this fantasy, fantastic editing services come with this book deal. Yes, I realize this is unlikely to happen, but a girl can hope, right?!)

Studying Story Structure (Part The Second)

Two years ago, I wrote about studying story structure. Back then, in February 2016, I was still participating in the Writing Challenge on Twitter (let us pause for a moment to mourn that group’s demise—yes, it’s still around, but it’s not the nice supportive group it was back then) and had been studying story structure for almost a year. I originally wanted to learn about it when a beta reader read a novel of mine that was rather… amorphous. The plot just didn’t have any structure and trust me, that was not a good thing.

I’m happy to say that I’m still reading about story structure and incorporating what I learn into my writing. In the past two days, I had two epiphanies about my current work-in-progress. Just adding one element into the story is going to make it a lot more powerful. Part of the epiphany involves introducing the antagonist a lot earlier and tying that to what my protagonist wants. I think I have a good antagonist for the story but he was too much in the background and only made an appearance at the end of the novel.

I am so excited to share this novel with all of you. Believe me, I’m going to query like crazy to hopefully get a book deal and if I don’t, I think I’ll publish it myself as an ebook. Since I can’t query or publish it until it’s edited, I’m going to cut this post short while I go edit, as it’s getting rather late!

Structural Editing In Progress

You guys, I’m really pleased with the editing I’ve done so far on this manuscript. This is the one I finished drafting back in February. I let it sit for two months, then dove in to a first round of edits last Friday. I spent the past week just reading the manuscript. I put it in iBooks so I wasn’t tempted to change anything along the way and I took notes as I read.

I finished the read-through today. I’m really pleased with what I have so far. I’m going to add a subplot, probably delete some stuff, and add other stuff. Right now, my main concern is making sure the story is structurally sound. I don’t want there to be any plot threads hanging or anything that sticks out as not making sense.

One thing I won’t be changing very much is the ending. There are a few scenes I plan on adding towards the end, but as for the actual ending scene itself, I won’t be changing much. I’m really pleased about how it wraps up the story. I think it sets the stage for book two (yes, this is a series!) as well.

You’re probably wondering if this book will be published or not. Right now, your guess is as good as mine. I certainly plan on submitting it to agents and seeing if I can get a deal. I have heard that a lot of publishing contracts are quite bad nowadays (some have non-compete agreements, I’ve heard, which is absurd), but some people get really good contracts, too. And while I know that going the indie route (as in, putting the book up for sale yourself on Amazon and other assorted e-retailers) gives you more freedom, there really is nothing like having a big publishing juggernaut behind you.

So yes, I do hope this book will be published at some point. I just don’t know when that point will be. If I am fortunate enough to get a contract, I will definitely announce it on here!

A Secret Life

I don’t think I said this publicly, but one of my goals is to write every day this month, both on this blog and my fiction. So far I’ve accomplished both, but it can be hard to come up with blog topics some days. Today is one of those days.

So I figured I’d blog about one of my favorite activities: writing fiction! Specifically, how writing fiction relates to my life as a whole.

I had a work event tonight—a happy hour with food (let’s face it, people, I only went for the free food because free food is awesome)—and when I got home, I was thinking how no one at work knows I write. It’s not that I’ve deliberately kept it a secret. I just kind of haven’t ever brought up my writing in conversation.

Honestly, I like keeping some aspects of my life private from my coworkers. I’ve recently realized that a lot of my coworkers follow each other on social media, especially Facebook. Personally, that would drive me nuts. Longtime readers will know I ditched Facebook and don’t regret it one bit, but even if I had it, I can’t imagine adding people from work. I just don’t want everyone I know knowing all my business all the time.

I suppose that means my writing will remain unspoken of at work unless I decide otherwise. That’s fine with me. It’s not like I don’t have other hobbies to talk about—I’ve worn knitted and crocheted things to demonstrate my crafting prowess (and to be fashionable because everything I make is fashionable, obviously)—and my coworkers know I read a lot. But for now, the fiction writing will remain a secret. I wouldn’t be opposed to finding a local writing group, though. That could definitely be fun…