Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Yikes Moment!

I hate having "yikes!" moments.  I had one yesterday.  I was working on the first draft I had let sit for ages.  I had put each scene on a post it note, had made post it notes for the scenes I knew I still needed to write and then laid them all out.  After about thirty minutes, I had rearranged everything in the order I hope it needed to be in. 

Then I made a list(I like the feeling of checking something of that list).  I was going to start with writing the missing scenes.  I already had a shadow of an idea of what would happen in each scene so I wasn't intimidated. I even wrote the first scene I needed.  And then...

It happened!  My "yikes!" moment.  I had thought I was over 2/3's of the way through this novel.  Which means, with a goal of approximately 55,000 words, I should have had more than 37,000.  I didn't.  I had around 34,000.  Then came the realization that I was most definitely not going to reach 55,000 with the few measly scenes I had thought I had left.

Uggggg!  While I don't regret approaching this novel in a pantser way, I do regret not plotting it!  I know, I know, they are the opposite.  I loved the creative freedom I allowed myself.  I dislike having to come in now to clean up my pantser self's mess. :)   Oh the life of a writer.  When you work by yourself, there is only one person to blame, lol.

Keep on. Don't give up.  Be diverse.  Use what works and don't forget the other stuff, cause it may work next time.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Flash Fiction Time!

I opened my eyes but the water made everything blurry.  Sort of like my life.  Chest burning I knew I would have to come up for air soon.  It could never be that easy, to just relax and take a breath, make it all go away.

The banging was muffled by the water.  I heard it anyway.  My mom was checking on me.  The water melted away as I sat up in the bath tub.  IF I didn’t answer soon enough, she would bare in.  I couldn’t bring myself to blame her.  She just wanted to see me still alive, to see my wounds were healing.  She wanted to know on the outside I was getting better so she could pretend inside I was getting better too.

“I’m fine mom.”  My voice was still hoarse, but firm enough she didn’t insist on coming in.  I don’t think I have any modesty left, aft the time I spend in the hospital.  I think I’m just cruel enough not to let her pretend I’m “all better.”

I probably should have let her in.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Six Month Check Up

In January I wrote a blog reflecting back on 2015 and setting goals for 2016.  Since it's halfway through the year, I wanted to take a look back at my goals and see where I'm at.  I wanted to see if those goals were still relevant. Here's what I've found:

January                                                                   June

My goals for 2016 are to:
1. Finish my incomplete first draft     Eeek!  While this is something I still want to do, I keep             putting it off for something else. I still want/need to finish it, but something else has caught hold of my creativity.

 2. Finish the 2nd draft of my fastest first draft    I finished the 2nd draft, sent it to my beta reader, got it back, started on the 3rd draft and fizzled off.  A) I despise editing  B) Something else has got a hold of my creativity! C)I just don't know if there's much else I can do to this story. D) I'm using my something else as an excuse not to prepare a query and synopsis.

 3. Query a total of  100 agents for the novel I finished in 2015  So I'm like at 50-60 and I have had, literally, no bites what so ever.  I can't change the query anymore.  I'm considering self publishing the story.  I'm holding off because if I got an agent, it's important to have some other "stuff" in my back pocket.

 4. Tease out some sort of plot for my fantasy novel.  Yeah, so here is where my creativity lies, except it's not quite what I planned.  I'm kind of doing this as I go along, and the way I'm putting this story together has allowed me to have that freedom...

 5. I would love to write at least half of a first draft for my fantasy.  Yup, so I dived into the world of self publishing (I really need to write a blog about my experience so far.)  I have self published 2 short stories.  They are actually the back story to this fantasy, but it feels right.  I needed to get these stories out to get to the story I started with.   I chose to write short's cause they are relatively easy to churn out.  It is way easier to edit ten thousand words verses fifty to sixty thousand words.  This is where my creativity is driven towards.  And just when I finish one and think I need to walk away and work on something else, the next story begs to be written.  I've got draft 2 of my third almost finished(it's resting for a few days before I go through one more time and then send to my beta reader) and the outline of my fourth story is already weaving it's way through my mind.  These can be "stand alone" but my hope is if readers find one in the middle, they will go back to the beginning and get sucked in!

 I have to be realistic though. This year I will probably go back to work. I'm currently job hunting. These are lofty goals for a stay at home mom, let alone a working mom. I'm not going to sacrifice my family. And I'm not going to sacrifice this creative flexibility I've found.  This still holds true.  At this time I have a job that starts in August.  Writing is hard enough to do right now and it will get harder.  I'm going to have to be a little more focused and organized to accomplish all my goals.  Because right now, I've only accomplished 1 1/2.

June 2016 Revised Goals:
1. Self publish two more short stories, essentially completing Jael's stories.
2. Decide whether or not to self publish the story I have currently unsuccessfully queried so far this year.  If so, have a marketing plan and book cover sketched out.
3. Finish my incomplete first draft. (This is going to require some backing up.  I allowed myself to approach this in a pantser style and it served me well until I got to where I stopped.  Now I'm lost.  I'm going to have to outline this draft to figure out the end.
4. Fastest first draft: A. Finish the 3rd draft, B.  have a query and synopsis and C. begin querying.

 Keep on keeping on! Reflect, set goals and be flexible! This writing thing is a marathon, not a sprint.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Teaser: Whisper of Power

In case you wanted a little teaser from Whisper of Power to entice you to read the whole story, here it is!

               I gasped. At first it was because I remembered something but then I kept sucking in air before the scream ripped out of me. I was on Summit’s back and then I wasn’t. I flew through the air, a heavy weight on my body and something piercing my shoulder. The ground reached out to hit me, knocking the air and my scream away. I felt hot breath on my neck and my own hot blood trailing down my skin.
               Summit reared over me and behind him I saw the night sky. It was clear and dark and then it shook like an earthquake, but really it was just whatever was attacking me shaking my body. It was huge and powerful. There were voices in my head screaming. My stomach turned over and I choked back vomit. Help me! Who are you! Why are you here? Are you Hunting me? You cannot take me back! Release her!
               Summit’s voice I recognized. The other voice could only be whatever was attacking me. He screamed louder than any animal I had ever heard. He was asking me questions, but he wasn’t waiting for answers. I could feel his panic and fear and anger and a wildness like I had never felt from an animal before.
              There was a thud and a yelp as the weight of my attacker fell off of me. His mouth closed down at the last second, ripping my arm open even more before his teeth snapped together and he was well and truly off of me. Summit reared again and his front hooves crashed down, a sickening crack of bone ringing in my ears. The screaming voice stopped and he stood, looming above me on two legs, before he twisted around and ran away. You hurt him. Yes.

Hope you liked it!  If you would like to read the whole story, it is currently available through Amazon.  I will be adding it to several other online versions in the next week (such as on the Nook).  Thanks for your support!

Keep reading.  Keep writing.  Keep dreaming.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Whisper of Power(Chronicles of Chora)

I've published my second short story! Whisper of Power continues Jael's story but you don't have to read the first to enjoy the second! But it is a series for those readers like me who have trouble letting go :) Here's the back cover blurb!

 In the land of Chora magical beasts, whether human or not, are to be hunted, captured and killed if necessary. Jael has never considered herself a magical beast, but after revealing she is a whisperer with the ability to speak to animals, she finds herself escaping from one of the King’s Hunters. With the help of the unicorn she endangered, Jael flees deep into the woods. When a savage beast attacks, she learns the dangers of the woods weren’t just tales used to frighten children. To protect the lives of the animals in the forest, and her own, Jael will face decisions of death and catch a whisper of why her power should be feared.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ten words or less...

I used this as an exercise today. I picked four importations and tried to write three stories in ten words or less for each inspiration. Inspiration: death Her grave was covered in ashes. Love died. I mourned. Nothing changed. I cried alone atop her grave.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Authentic Characters

I've been thinking about this a lot for the last couple weeks. Because I believe in general there are two reasons a person keeps reading, the character(s) and the story. Even when the writing, prose, grammar, etc isn't great, if the story is good and the characters are compelling, a person will keep reading. Or at least that's how it is for me. One example for me is Delerium. After about four chapters I couldn't bring myself to care about the character or her story. And I loved Panic, which was by the same author. Another example is The Selection. Now I admit there are times I think America is a bit too self absorbed and I need Maxon to be more magnetic, I still like them both enough to keep reading, but only just ;) Third example, Katniss Everdeen. Yes she can be "unlike able", stubborn, says not nice things and her vote at the end of Mockingjay was in poor taste; it does not matter because she said "I volunteer!" Katniss is not always the most likable person but she loves deeply and fiercely and she will literally give her life for those she loves. Characters need to be complex, like humans because, duh, they are humans. At least in most stories. Although my Chronicles of Chora also has animals as characters :) Complexity is in the details. Take me for example. I love cherry coke from Sonic. However I think regular coke is gross and I usually don't drink canned/bottled cherry coke. Example two, also about me ;) is... I have always preferred pasture to forests. Forests are pretty but I'm a country girl and pasture is useful for both feeding the livestock I love and providing a big open space to ride in. We are having 4-5 acres of woods logged off our land to convert into pasture. When I saw the trees falling and when I walked through the piles, I was sad. I even told my husband I would have decided not to log it if I had known what I was feeling in that moment. When I write, I can't always give you every detail and explanation for why a character is the way they are or acts the way they do, but I need to know it. Because if I know my character inside and out, you will feel like you know them too even if you don't know they hate coke but love cherry coke from Sonic. Keep on writing! Ps I'm getting close to publishing my second short story about Jael from The Chronicles of Chora!