Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Big Weekend

First of all, I just wrote this post, and then lost it before I could publish. It started as a post full of excitement and optimism. Now I'm grouchy. I'll try to regain the happy fun talk...

So, it was a big weekend! Maddie came over for the first ever Writer's Weekend. It was really awesome to spend the time with Maddie. Plus, I got A LOT done!

First, and most importantly, I completed my first draft. I am so excited! I have never finished a novel length piece before, so I'm awfully proud. Ive been doing a fair amount of revising as I wrote, so I'm hoping the editing/revising process goes fairly quickly.

Speaking of which, I contacted a proofreader. He did a sample for me and I think its going to work out really well, so that's exciting!

Lastly, I contacted a cover artist and spent a lot of time looking through stock photos for the cover. I have at least four very different ideas for what I want, which makes it tough. I wish I had at least some ability to use Gimp or Fotoflexer so I could play around a little. Sigh.

But for the most part, things are going well. I am sitting here on the couch with a binder filled with my draft next to me. I just keep looking at it- I wrote that! I'm so proud of it!

Pathetic, isn't it? Can you imagine how bad it will be when I actually have a paperback proof in my hands?

Monday, April 25, 2011

cut or keep

Well, I've got a rough first draft of Awaking completed. Well, "completed" is perhaps the wrong word to us. I'm missing probably a dozen or so pages--I just skipped over them in favor of writing something over staring blankly at my computer screen.

I printed out all the pages I have so far, I've read through most of them, made some notes, corrected some errors, highlighted some hads...But now I'm to the point where I started skipping stuff to begin with. And I'm faced with the same question that plagued me before: Do I keep a character or do I cut her? In the original plan for this series, she had a definite role to play, but so many things have changed since then. I'm not sure whether she fits anymore. So I can't fill in the spaces now until I decide whether this character stays or goes.

I want her to stay, but I'm not sure if she'll just be taking up space if she does.

So, I guess I need to get into detail about the next two books to see if she has a definite purpose. I always tend to plan my stories out in broad strokes, allowing the characters to fill in the little things. But I don't think that'll work here. Since it's a trilogy, things need to be a bit more planned out.

Sigh. So not my style. But if it'll serve my purposes/help me writing these books faster/make everything better/cause bunnies to leap for joy, I'll do it.

So, I'm going to take an aspirin (woke up with a headache I've been hoping would go away but hasn't yet), perhaps get a scoop of ice cream, snuggle Fat Baby, and tackle this character conundrum.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

starting and stalling

Today is day three of the first annual Writers' Conference at Rachel's house. While it's been fun, I'm a little discouraged about my progress. I didn't write nearly as much as I'd hoped. But I did get the climactic scene written, which is saying something. (Now I just have to go back and make the scene fit.)

I also had some fun with cover design ideas. I went to http://www.dreamstime.com/ to check out some of their royalty free stock photography and I found three distinct possibilities for covers in the Naturals trilogy. I even came up with tentative titles for books two and three. I played around on http://www.fotoflexer.com/ and have three cover art ideas (one of which is now my computer's background image). So, that makes me feel good. Makes it feel a bit more real.

But before I can do anything with the covers, I have to actually finish the book. And I haven't yet.

(I know, I know...Poor me, right?)

I head home today, and, while it's sad for the conference to come to an end, I'm ready for it, too. I haven't seen the Fat Baby in days--I didn't even get to say goodbye to him before I left because he was hiding somewhere. I missed last night's episode of Fringe. And, if I'm lucky, I might catch the husband before he leaves for work today.

In other news, when I was stalled out on Thursday night, I spent some time reading over the 6,000 or so words I have in a WIP called No, My Sister is Not a Muslim, and Answers to Other Frequently Asked Questions About  my Dysfunctional Family. I laughed out loud at a number of places, which made me very excited for the day when that work is back on my front burner.

I love, love, love when things I've written make me laugh.

So, that's where I am. I still have about half my break left, which is exciting. And when I get back to work, it's almost the end of April. That just leaves May and a week or so of June before I can write all the time for a couple months. To say I'm excited would be an understatement.

Okay, back to working on Awaking. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Title, title, where is my title?

I'm getting a lot written this week. This is wonderful. I am feeling proud, and excited, and other good things.

But I am getting a bit frustrated that my novel does not yet have a title. I am sick of referring to it, always, as "my novel." It needs a name, and the name needs to be good. It needs to scream, "Hey, I am an entertaining, humorous, romantic, chick-lit novel. Buy me. Read me."

I want the title to touch on the plot/themes of the story (young girl finds herself unemployed, single and pregnant. Must navigate a job search, ultra-sounds, co-habitating with her two best friends, and possibly falling for Mr. Right.). I also want it to evoke that certain chick-lit feeling- the feeling that this book will fun, slightly fluffy,romantic, and funny.

I also want the title to possibly make room for sequels- I am thinking this book will be the first in a 3 book series. It would be great if I could find a title that would nicely tie to titles for the other 2. But so far I've got nothing. Nada. Zilch.

I would be happy-nay, thrilled!- to entertain suggestions...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

back at the office (or rather, in)

Since I've been back to work, I've not really gotten much written. Last weekend, I hit 35,000 words. As of this moment, I'm only at 37,759. That's less than 3000 words over the course of, like, seven days. And 1000 of those words were written in one day.

It's sad, friends.

But I've put the laptop back in the office, which is a start. (That damned TV is just too enticing for me.) I've got a pint of Atwater Block Brewery's Vanilla Java Porter, which is part two in my writing plan for tonight. This week is Rachel's week off and her goal is to be done with her draft by next weekend (our two woman writers' conference). I would also love to have that be the case, but...

Well, let's face it: I'm bad a time management. It's always been my downfall. I barely remember what happened to my time this week. It seemed like the perfect week to writewritewrite because I didn't have many assignments to grade. Alas, other life-related things were happening and, well, less than 3000 words.

But Rachel is at 40,000 words at the moment (the most she's ever written. She is AMAZING). So, I hope to hit that tonight. A little competition's good for the soul, right?

My mind's already on edits I'll make once this draft is done. One friend who's been looking over Awaking thus far has given me some EXCELLENT suggestions (not specific, like, "do this here," but general stuff) that I will definitely incorporate to make this book even more rocking. It may or may not cut down on word count, but really, I'm not concerned about that. My aim is between 50,000-70,000 words when the book is all said and done.


As sad that I am at my abysmal progress for the week, I am happy at where the story is. So happy, in fact, that I'm about to get back to it. It's almost party time. (Really.)

Until next time, peace out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm so excited!

Spring break officially started for me at 3:05 this afternoon! I cannot tell you how happy I am about this. I am envisioning a week full of non-stop writing and I just cant wait. I plan to pretend that I am a full time writer this week- live the dream, baby!

I really (really, really) want to have my first draft done by Thursday afternoon. Why Thursday? Because on Thursday night Maddie is coming over to participate in the first ever "Maddie-Rems Writer's Conference" (more on that later), and I am determined that by the time she arrives I will have a complete draft ready. I want to spend the time we have dedicated for writer's conference on editing, revising, coming to terms with gimp software (for my cover), and possibly even starting book 2 of my trilogy.

So in order to accomplish this, I need to write approximately 24000 words in the next 7 days. That's a tall order, I know. But I also know that they dont need to be perfect words, or the final words. I just need a template, a base from which to get the story cleaned up.

So, on that note, I am off to get a few thousand words in before bed. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, April 8, 2011

the ending of an era

I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that it's Friday.

I know, I know. For most people, Friday is cause for celebration. But for me, this week, Friday only means that Monday will bring the "real world" and its responsibilities. I won't be able to just sit and write and write and write. I'll be lesson planning. And grading.

(In fact, as much as I had intended to not let this happen, I've got things to grade right now. I've avoided them all week in favor of writing. But now it's time to pay the piper.)

The bright side is there, however: Monday starts the fourth quarter of the year, which means the end is in sight. If I can make it to June 6th, then I have until late August to write all I want.

This break has been really good for me and for Awaking. It's been quite some time since I've actually finished a draft that I've started (perhaps even since the first draft of this particular book -- which was a long time ago). That I'm 35,000 words into this draft right now is a triumph.

I only wish I could write faster. Maybe that'll be my goal for book two of the trilogy. Or, let's face it, the rest of book one.

I think I'm going to focus all my energy on finishing this trilogy before I work on anything else. Maybe this seems like the obvious choice, but I've really been struggling with this. I've got the promising beginnings of a sports-related story (another rewrite) and I'm really excited to finish that one off. But I'm thinking that trilogy first is going to be the wisest choice. But what to work on after that is the question that begs to be answered now. I was talking with my husband about this last night: I don't know if I'm genre-specific--and I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. I've got a few supernatural-type stories kicking around, but I've got just as many (more?) realistic fiction ideas. I'm not sure whether this will work for me or against me in the long run.

Speaking of decisions, I'm currently trying to decide something about the actual release of Awaking. I'm wondering if it wouldn't be prudent to wait until book two is also complete and release them back-to-back. I'm still considering the wisdom (or folly) behind this idea. Any insights?

Okay. It's after nine o'clock and I haven't written nearly as much as I should have today. And today, sadly, is probably the last day I'll have for a while to really sit and just write. Tomorrow I move my sister in to live with me, and Sunday I'm playing at church...and, let's face it, getting ready for the work week.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

spring break joys

Today is the second official day of Spring Break. I mean, I guess it technically started after school Friday night, but the weekend is different from the actual week off.

I'm feeling really good about writing and life right now. I wrote a bunch yesterday, and I'm writing a bunch again today. In fact, I just hit the 20,000 word mark in Awaking. (Considering draft one was only 53,000 words, it makes me feel pretty accomplished.) Now, I've never been one to really focus on word count of a book, but according to something I was reading, young adult novels should be between 50,000 and 70,000 words (with a "compelling" reason if over 70,000). I'm trying to bear that in mind as I write.

I'm having fun with this draft. Over the weekend, I reread the first draft. To say it was lame would be kind. The concept was there, but, if I'm honest, if I hadn't written it, I probably wouldn't have suffered through it. True, there were some funny parts, but the overall story was just kind of...a little out there. There was something missing. My second draft (into which I only got 8,000 words) solved some of the problems, but it was still missing something.

With draft three, I think I've made the tweaks and adjustments to the plot that are necessary to sustain it for a whole trilogy (which has always been the plan for this book).

The best thing, of course, is that the characters are coming alive. Writing this draft is reminding me of what it was like when I used to write back in high school. I'd go in with a general plan, but once I started writing, the characters did things I hadn't planned on. I love that. It's like...I point the characters in a direction, and then I just watch as they tell me what happens next.

I'm really enjoying getting to know the characters. Many of them have changed a lot since draft one. Ris, who, in draft one, was mostly a groupie now has a real friendship with the protagonist, Morgan. She's funny and she's got a personality of her own. I don't think she's annoying the way she was in draft one. Lucas is less of a puss. Corbin is more believable. And Morgan is more real.

I guess the point here is that I'm excited. My dream is still to have this draft finished by the end of the week so I can then solicit feedback from my peeps and do any editing necessary. The plan is to have this book published as an ebook (and perhaps print-on-demand, too) by June. And with my progress so far this week, I'm thinking that plan might actually reach fruition.

So, on that note, I'm going to stop blogging and get back to writing.

spring break

Note: This post was written on Saturday, 2 April.

Spring break has finally arrived, and the plan is to write and write and write.

In Awaking, I'm just hitting the inciting incident. Which means the writing should start getting a bit easier. I've introduced most of the main characters, the conflict has been introduced. Now the fun begins, really.

In truth, I'd love to be finished with the draft by the end of break. I don't know if that's realistic for me or not, but this is my year of dreaming big.

I think that getting our desktop computer fixed will really help. I've been working on my laptop, but the laptop is in the living room, along with the giant TV and Netflix streaming. And I find it rather difficult to sit in the living room without turning the TV on. So, being in the office on the desktop will probably help with my focus. I've got a playlist on my iPod all ready to go.

Brian's at home this morning, but he goes in to work at 2 o'clock. I plan to do some writing as soon as he's gone.

"i heard you were lookin' for me"

Note: This post was written on either Tuesday, 29 March or Wednesday, 20 March.

A few things:

First, guacamole is delicious. For real.

Second, I love Fringe. I'm rewatching season two right now, and I love it. I love Peter Bishop. And Gary Sinise. But that's another story.

Had my laptop at school today and was able to steal a few minutes to work on Awaking. I had been kind of stuck--just not sure exactly how to put into words what I wanted to say next. But I got through it a bit today, which was nice.

I think my problem right now is I'm thinking too big. I'm kind of scattered. Not only am I thinking about Awaking, but I'm thinking of the soccer story, and I'm thinking of Twice Over Water, and I'm thinking of future chick-lit. I need to focus.

I also need to eat more guacamole. And grade some papers. But that is neither here nor there.