Thursday, February 23, 2017

Meanwhile, In Editing Land

As of ten days ago, the first draft of The Last God is finished. Which, as you've probably gathered from the title of this post, means I'm now shaping that messy lump of clay into a draft that's more organized, detailed, and coherent.

Having done this a few times now, I have to say that this is probably the cleanest and most complete from beginning to end first draft I've done so far. That only took...ten novels.

So far my major issues seem to be:

- Changing the spelling of several names between the beginning and the end. Thank goodness for find/replace. Except when you change a character name from Lex to Logan and end up with WTF words like compLoganion. Good thing this is only the second draft so I can catch these things before other eyes suffer from my bad habits.

- Sowing details about characters that never pop up again. I wrote the whole novel and then, going back to the beginning, realized I'd given one of the characters a first name that only gets used once.  Another has several abilities that never ended up being utilized, amongst other things.

- Dropping details of important events that never get resolved. After an enemy attacks and is defeated. Their space ship was never mentioned again. Were there people still on it? Did they leave? Are the good guys towing it around? Maybe it evaporated?

So yes, some cleaning going on and a good deal of better stitching events and motivations together as well. The bones are there though, and this is the least amount of rewriting I've ever had to far. I say this as I launch into chapter four. Though, the beginning is usually the roughest part-where I was finding the story and learning the characters. I'm feeling pretty good about the rest. And now I've just cursed myself. Crap. I'm going to stop talking now.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

To Be Published: Chetric The Grand

I've been remiss in my short story writing of late. Not to mention the editing and submitting of those I've already written. Since November, I seem to be in full novel mode. Not that this is a bad thing. In fact, it's been quite productive. The Last God has breeched 70K, and I know the least generally. Yay pantsers!

Back in November, I took a NaNoWriMo day to write a short story for a local small press's contest prompt. While I didn't win, that story is slated to be included in their upcoming anthology.

It was a challenge to work all of the prompt into the story, but fun, nevertheless. Chet wakes up to find himself inside a video game. All he has is backpack, as sword, and a note that says "Beat me and I'll send you home." More news on Chetric the Grand when I get a publication date.

Sadly, other than one other short out in submission land, my odds of additional publication notices are slim to none at the moment. Which means I should get back to this finishing this novel while I await edits on Trust so I can get back to short stories before April A to Z hits and drags me there whether I'm ready or not.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

IWSG February

January was full of writing. Then suddenly, here we are two months into the new year and another first Wednesday of the month...which means it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post.

This month's question is: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

Short answer: Reading isn't as much fun as it used to be.

Why? It's hard to turn the editor off and sink into a story. I'm much more critical than I used to be. Stories I might have given three chapters to grab me, I now give one. Stories I would have finished just because I started reading them, now get set aside unfinished. Maybe part of that is probably due to getting older and less tolerant and not having as much free time.

I get very frustrated when characters do something illogical, when plots revolve around the fact that two characters simply misunderstood or didn't talk to one another, when there's too damn much description, nothing significant happens for pages on end or there's a freaking thirty page glossary and appendix at the end of a romance novel. Just no. 

Things I would have shrugged off, overlooked, or let go before I started seriously writing, are now roadblocks to enjoyment. 

On the positive side of things, I do better appreciate a masterful plot, well-written description, and character interactions. Aspects of the story, that as a general reader I would have simply enjoyed and sped along, now stand out because I'm watching for them.

One last insight on this is that I don't read as much as I used to. Because I'm writing during that time. Ah, the perils of productive time usage, or attempts thereof.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Writing my way through January

Yes, I've been quiet. That's because I've been writing.

After all these years reading paranormal and sci-fi romance, I finally gave in to writing one. What started as my side project in November during NaNoWriMo has continued to grow and flow. Thankfully. I even know how it ends and I'm only two thirds of the way through. Which if you're in the extreme pantser category like I often am, you know how much of a miracle this is.

The Last God has been fun to write, so far. I say that because things have been moving along so well, that I'm just waiting for either my ambition or inspiration to suddenly go dry. But so far, so good.

Once I get a better handle on how to spell my MCs name, I might even share a little about it. Yes, you read that right. I've spelled her name soooo many different ways that's it become rather a game of key mashing the general shape of the thing every time I use it. I had to say it last night at my writer's group meeting when I was passing out the latest excerpt and let me tell you, having to pronounce the name I haven't decided how to spell was pretty much a vocalization of a keymash. It's *mumble* Ja...*mumble* I'm happy to report the first two excerpts have been well received despite the name issue.

Other than happy writing away and gathering a few extra winter pounds, we've been searching for an exchange student for the next school year. As of yesterday, we may have secured one from Denmark. We're quite excited because she has the same interests as my daughter and when you have a nerd artist, that's not such an easy niche to match. Nerd artists tend to be shy and not go out for exchange student programs, not like the sporty kids do anyway. We should know in a week or two if we've made a solid match between our school, her family, and the exchange program.

I have been reading and watching but doing so much of both lately that I haven't been good about keeping track. Oops. I should probably get better about that again. I did manage to read 38 books last year, which, while I'd set out to do the 52 book challenge, is technically a fail, is a lot more books than I made time for the year before. That's a my book. (Ouch, I know.)

Friday, January 6, 2017

One Word Resolutions

In 2012 I happened across the idea of a one word resolution to carry me through the year. It's worked fairly well because, well, its one word and that can be interpreted in so many ways. It's hard to fail. Not that I haven't, but it's harder than saying I'm going to lose weight or work out more or eat better. More of a theme for the year than a specific thing.

So let's see, 2012 was the year of Less. This helped me overcome my habit of over obligation.

Healing from that problem, 2013 was the year of Me. In which I focused a little more on myself instead of doing everything for everyone else.

2014 was the year when I said I would Write. Remember when I said I failed? Ahem, this was that year. Shit happened. Goal denied.

2015 was sort of a do over year. I tried to work toward solving my problem from the year before by choosing Time. Making time to do the thing I wanted to do: write. Because, well hell, no one else tells you to sit down, stop doing all the things, and write. You have to do that yourself.

After all the stress relief and making time, Relax was my word for 2016 and I'm happy to report that went pretty well. I bought myself a comfy chair in which to spend my mornings. I met up with friends for lunch now and then and connected with others, enjoyed local breweries and the winery, took some days off from work beyond weekends (something I rarely do). Lots of deep breaths, a few massages, and lots of dog snuggles.

And this year, yes, six days into it, I finally have made the decision on my one word. Life has been busy, but it's been a good sort of busy. My kids are growing up and don't require every waking hour of my attention. After fourteen years of volunteering, I'm down to one pseudo time sucking school-related obligation. I have my own space for me time. I've decreed mornings before 9am are my time to write, and woe to anyone who disrupts that sacred hour or two.

So this year, my word is Enjoy. I say this surrounded by incense, which I haven't used in a very long time, but love smelling. The candles are lit. My feet are up. There's a furry warm blanket on my lap and a sleeping dog on the floor beside me. I'm gazing at my own books on my desk while working on a new one. I'm thinking fondly of Tuesday nights when one of our favorite breweries has half off flight nights where we go meet our friends for a hour or two each week. My bills are paid. My lazy kid is in college and paying his own way (Yes, I know that doesn't make him sound lazy). My younger one is responsible to a fault, which is a vast relief after all the nagging I had to do with the other one. My husband's band is back out playing so he's got his own creative outlet to fill his time while I write. We spend the last our or two of the day on the couch together with our dogs, watching Netflix.

Right now, life is good. I'm going to enjoy it.