Life, Pre-pub

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

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If you ask any writer (or artist [or human being]), they’ll say that 2017 was a rough year. Full of distractions and worry and dread. Yet despite all of that, we kept on keeping on. I’m not exception – while I wasted countless hours on what-ifs and not sleeping, the work still had to be done. And it got done.

But man, am I exhausted. Hopefully 2018 will be a little less emotionally draining.

But 2017 wasn’t all bad. Personally, it was pretty great. My highlights:

– Wrote the first draft of Book One
– Wrote the second draft of Book One
– Revised Book One
– Sent Book One out to betas
– Revised Book One based on beta feedback
– Sent Book One to my editor
– Revised Book One based on my editor’s feedback
– Turned in Book One (🎉🎉🎉)
– Hacked 20,000 words off of Book Two
– Going line by line, entirely rewrote Book Two
– 2/3rds way through first draft of Book Three

 

And that’s only the writing highlights. Outside of that, I also:

– Broke my personal 5k record
– Turned 31
– Took a baby to Germany and survived
– Attended my first conference (Sirens ’17 wot wot!)
– Dayjobbed the stuffing out of my dayjob
– Learned how to throw a proper punch
– Held back the tides of unwashed dishes and dirty laundry
– Kept a baby alive and helped her evolve into a toddler

 

Writing it out like that makes it seem as if I was riding the waves, but at the time it felt like I was drowning more often than not. 2018 should be better (and easier?) for a number of reasons, not the least of which we’ll have a toddler and not an infant who refuses to sleep more than 45min at a time (oh god never again).

2018 is actually shaping up to be pretty fun/exciting for me, personally. And maybe for you, at least come the end of the year. So what have I got going in 2018?

– Polish up Book Two
– See/reveal the cover for Book One (!!)
– Write, rewrite, revise, edit, & polish Book Three
– Hit up Tucson Festival of Books
– Sirens 2018 (!!)
– Bid farewell to my lovely desert assassins and start a new project
– Keep a small human alive

 

Yeah. Okay. No small task. But if I survived 2017 and all it entailed, I can certainly survive – even thrive in? – 2018.

May you let 2017 go and embrace the new year with hope and light. ❤

Draft Zero, OIBM

Pneumonia

DITL September 6th

I just spent the last two weeks completely useless and out of it. It started with a flu, only to quickly devolve into walking pneumonia. It’s hard to be productive with a fever, so I acquiesced to the sofa and too much Netflix.

A brief round of antibiotics was enough to clear it up. All hail antibiotics. Being able to just take a pill and actually feel better the next day really underscored how screwed we all are if/when every major bacterial disease becomes resistant. If I were a writer of futuristic dystopians…

But I’m not. At least, not right now. Right now I’m just trying to finish the draft zero of a little YA story about magical girls and the end of the world. Right now I’m trying to reconcile the fact that two weeks sick and not writing means I won’t meet my self-imposed deadline of finishing this by October 1st. Right now I’m trying to shuffle my expectations and accept the fact that those two weeks are gone, gone, gone, snatched away by illness, and that’s okay.

So. September. Not so much. But October? Yes. We can do this.

My little YA story is at 26,000 words. I expect draft zero will be done around 75,000 words. That’s just shy of 50,000 words in a month. Oh yes, I can do this.

Good bye pneumonia. Hello October.

Chronicles of Ghadid Trilogy, The Impossible Contract (Book 2), Writing

What’s to Come

Ever since committing whole-heartedly to being a writer, I’ve taken the time every six months or so to sit down and plan out what I’m going to do next. This keeps me committed, keeps me on schedule, helps me practice hitting deadlines, and reminds me that new projects should always be just around the corner.

As we head into June, I find myself at one of those junctures. It is time – again – to plan out the next few months and to shape where I would like to go. Now that The Impossible Contract is – mostly – done and I have to wait for my second round of queries to go through, I need something else to focus on.

Unfortunately, at least for June, I can’t stray too far. I still have to wait for beta feedback and be ready to make a few last minute edits. When it comes to writing, I’ve tried multitasking on multiple projects and it just doesn’t work.

My solution is actually pretty simple: I won’t stray far. Instead, I’ll play with this short story that has to do with some events that happen off screen in the middle of the book. It’ll be fun and it’ll keep me writing and it shouldn’t be longer than 15k – perfect for a month.

But after that…

Well, July brings Camp NaNoWriMo, which is ideal timing for the start of a new WIP. 30 days and 50k words should give me a pretty good idea of whether or not this next story is workable. Considering I don’t think this story will be longer than 80k – it’s YA, after all – a 50k word draft zero is ideal. I’ve learned that I frequently have to add a lot more to my first draft, which seems to be the opposite of most writers’ processes.

In August, I’ll cool down with some edits and/or research. For TIC, I did draft zero in one big, two month & 80k burst, then I took a month and shored up the research I’d begun while writing. I can see myself doing something similar, even though this new WIP (OIBM) shouldn’t need as much research.

Then September  onwards – rewrite rewrite rewrite. Depending on where I am in the rest of my life (my job might be changing, we might be moving, there might be some other big changes), I’ll set mini goals for those months. I’m not even going to try to set them now, though, since life is quite volatile at the moment.

Ideally, I’ll be done with the first major rewrite by December. If I follow remotely the same trajectory as TIC, then January-February will be the last of my edits before I round up some betas.

But that’s more than six months out, so I’ll reevaluate at that point. As much as I love TIC, I’m really looking forward to starting a new project.

Draft Zero, Work In Progress, 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.

Work In Progress, Writing

Achievement Unlocked: 50,000 words

achievement

Wouldn’t it be great if – like in a lot of video games these days – every time you reached a major goal in your life a little “achievement unlocked” button would pop up in your vision? Well, assuming they didn’t pop up while you were driving. Even better for writing goals. It would be that much more motivating.

Unfortunately, that’s not (yet) the case. So I’ll just have to make my own for hitting 50k on my draft zero for my current work in progress.

…granted, it’s only draft zero and I still have 40k to go and oh man, is it going to need a thorough rewrite and then a proper edit, plus some fermentation time, and maybe a shake and a dash of salt –

But I’m not going to think about that right now.

50k! Woo!