Ginger Witch, ITSW, querying, WIP, writing

WIP Updates

I finished the edits on GW last night and duly celebrated with a glass of wine. God, I love wine. GW was the story that was out to betas over the summer, and I received their feedback in August. It’s a(n urban?) fantasy with faeries and gingerbread and a bus driving MC who is the epitome of a reluctant heroine. It’s a story I’ve been trying to write right since college.

I completely rehauled the plot in the spring after some really good advice from a friend, but I was too close to the story still when I sent it out to betas to really gauge whether I’d succeeded. So I spent a lot of time while waiting for feedback figuratively biting my nails. I also busied myself with another WIP. Always a good idea, by the way.

The first feedback I got wasn’t so good. But it was true. And it took me some time to figure out how to make it work. Then I got more feedback and I realized this was going to work. And it wouldn’t require a major overhaul! Which is fantastic, because that wasn’t going to happen. If it’d needed major reworking, I would have simply shoved GW into a dark corner and forgotten about it.

I spent the majority of September working on those edits inspired by my betas’ feedback, both big and small. And I finished the last edit yesterday with some small satisfaction. This story works. It’s not perfect – it will never be perfect – and fuck if I know whether or not it’s marketable, but it works.

Writing is such a long, arduous, lonely process. There aren’t many clean breaks between processes, and certainly little to no clear stopping points. So I’ll take what I can get. This story is Done, with a capital D.

Now, the hard part. Writing a synopsis. Writing a query. Researching agents. Plugging away with queries day after day. I hate this part because it takes away from the time I could be writing, from the time I could be creating, but it’s a necessary evil. Nothing you love is ever going to be sparkles and unicorns 100% of the time. Besides, only a successful query and agentation will allow me to have more time for writing in the future.

October will be my official Querying Month. Then when that’s done and over, I can finally start rewriting the epic lesbian desert story from this summer. That should get me through the end of this year.

TL;DR: Edits done! October = querying. November/December = rewrite new WIP. January = ???, February = Profit!

helpful tips

27 Things I Learned While 27

(Pictured: Making Tiramisu, one of my birthday traditions.)

This past weekend I leveled up in life. All the experience I’ve gathered by wading towards the future over the past year, one second at a time, has entitled me to cast away my age of 27 and emerge victorious at 28. Although I’m not yet certain what 28 will unlock versus 27, I’m sure there will be some epic new gear to equip as well as some new attacks.

So much happened while I was 27! So much expected. So much unexpected. My brother got married. I got married (again). We acquired chickens (technically I was 26, but shh). I queried, finished a rewrite, and finished a draft zero. I made cakes and I avoided making cakes. I (finally!) saw the Grand Canyon. I cried. I laughed. I lived.

And I learned a lot. Which should be expected. If there is ever a year that I look back and don’t think “wow, I sure learned,” then I need to start school all over again. Stat.

This is what I learned:

1) Coffee, contradictorily, makes me more tired. Maybe not right away, but I always get an afternoon slump when I’ve started my day with coffee versus tea.

2) The Grand Canyon needs to be experienced in person to fully appreciate just how freaking grand it is.

3) Hiking across the relatively flat land of England is not equivalent to hiking straight down, then straight back up and out of the Grand Canyon. One is noticeably more difficult than the other.

4) Left to my own devices, I will not run regularly on my own.

5) But! I will actually stick to a weightlifting regime on my own.

6) I can trust myself. If everybody and everything says one thing, but I know in my heart that the opposite is true, I can trust myself to be right. This, of course, only applies to my body and personal life and not, say, science.

7) Dr. Google is an ignorant asshole.

8) There is nothing a long hike cannot solve.

9) If I really, really want something, I have to make the time and effort to achieve it.

10) That said, the required time and effort will, more often than not, be four times as much as I originally planned for. But that doesn’t mean I’m not making progress.

11) Best friends are for high school. Real friends, life friends, will fit into my life in their own ways, and I mustn’t force one friend to fit like another.

12) Getting pregnant is hard. TTC is emotionally draining. Finding a group of people in the same/similar circumstances is necessary to maintain perspective and levity.

13) Diet can only do so much, but what it can do is extraordinary. Also puzzling. Looking at you, chocolate.

14) In that vein, I am sensitive to nightshades, chicken eggs, and chocolate. WTF. No, seriously, wtf?

15) My brother and I will likely never be “friends.” We simply look at the world in completely different, irreconcilable ways. And that’s okay! We can still work together if we need to. And I can try to forge a friendship with his wife instead.

16) Biking to work is very, very satisfying and way less stressful than driving.

17) I’m a summer child at heart. As much as I want to love winter and snow and crisp, biting winds, I’m most at ease baking under an oppressive sun. I love the early sunrises and the late sunsets, I love the pillowy clouds and the vibrant, violent storms, I love the buzz of cicadas and the croak of frogs, I love to splash in puddles and smell the approaching rain on the wind, I love the absence of jackets and the warm, comforting air, I love the clear night sky and the peppering of stars, I love the iced drinks and the flavorful berries. Autumn might make my heart sing, but summer is where I live.

18) Chickens do not go “cluck.” Chickens go “errrr er er er.”

19) Don’t believe those pretty photos of ladies in long skirts cycling majestically through the city! Skirts are actually very difficult to bike in, although this may have something to do with the high bar on my bike.

20) My life doesn’t look like my coworkers’, my friends’, my acquaintances, or even my family’s, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. Everybody is in a different place in their journey and the outer shell of their life does not accurately reflect how far they’ve come or how far they have to go. Stop comparing.

21) It is okay to want a child. It is okay to want stability. It is okay to want a fixed home and community. It is okay to want all these “adult” things you shunned only a few years ago. I grew up. I am still growing. I am a different person now, and that person wants different things.

22) Don’t go back and rewatch my favorite television shows and movies of my childhood. They have not withstood the test of time.

23) Except for Sailor Moon. If anything, that show is more nuanced and amazing than I remembered.

24) The things I like might be problematic in some way – sexist, homophobic, racist, or just downright ignorant – but that doesn’t mean they can’t still have some value.

25) My parents have likely lived through a similar rough patch. Share what I’m going through with them. Talk to them. Be open.

26) Always seize the opportunity to go to a concert / attend a live show of a group I love/enjoy. Even if it means staying up well past my bedtime.

27) I still have a lot left to learn.

<3!

draft zero, WIP, writing

WIP Update

I’m calling it.

I have 83k words on draft zero of my new WIP and it’s time to stop, regroup, and begin the rewrite. I didn’t finish the story – unless you count “rocks fall, everybody dies” – but so much needs to be changed – has changed – since I started it that the ending I’m currently trying to write won’t even survive to the next version. So instead of struggling through for the sake of hitting my word count goal, I’m cutting loose now and giving myself a little time off.

Oddly, I’m still feeling fairly confident about this story. Usually by now, especially after almost two straight months of writing, I’m bored and/or convinced of its crappiness. But with this one I feel like I’ve only just gotten started and there’s still so much to discover and flesh out. Perhaps because the story is still fresh? I don’t know, but I’ll go with it.

Which means I’m going to alter my original plans a wee bit. I was going to drop this story like a hot potato for a few months while working on shoring up and submitting the one I sent out to betas in early summer. But now I think I’m going to take a week (or two – but no more than that) off to think and percolate and do as much research as I can on the setting and cultures. Lady let me into the university library this weekend and they just have everything. Well, almost everything – the English translation of one particularly interesting book is, alas, in the British library and apparently interlibrary loan doesn’t extend that far. I’m tempted to get the original French version instead and see what I can make of it. But that brings up an important point:

How much research is too much research?

I can easily see myself studying my eyeballs out in lieu of actually writing, hence the one (or two) week cut-off. A month would be awesome, but I fear that if I go that long without actually writing, I’ll soon lose my groove again. I wish I had enough time to do both, but, well, if wishes were horses, we’d be up to our ears in horse shit.

I’ll figure out a middle path, I’m sure.

In the meantime, draft zero is done! It’s absolute shit and will never see the light of day, but I now have a serviceable plot, a cast of interesting characters, and a setting that I just want to go play in for days and days and days. Now comes the (much) hard(er) part of actually turning it into a story, a first draft.

But first: research. And second: maybe I should actually look at what my betas said about the last book. If they think it’s close enough to being done, I might just fix it now and go ahead and begin submitting while I start reworking this other one. Yes. That sounds like the best course of action.