This is Me Doing Things

You know how sometimes you read your stuff and you’re like, God, this is so stupid?

*Smacks head against keyboard*

*gets drink from kitchen*

*puts drink back because hangovers are evil*

*stares at the computer*

*questions life choices*

*eats Oreos*

*watches HGTV*

I’m at this part of the cycle when I can either go forward or stop. Stopping doesn’t seem to do anyone any good so I might as well keep going even though I’m pretty sure the whole thing is crap. I know it isn’t, but parts of it are and I’m focused on them.  Also: this is my first contemporary YA romance which means the structure is extremely different than the sci-fi/fantasy I’ve written. Those have tons of action while this piece moves at a slower pace and now I’m questioning it’s boring-level. There are no monsters, evil dictators, spies, or wild centuries-long secrets that come to fruition. It’s just (mostly) two people in a strange situation that find love.

Which is like, every YA story minus the love-triangle and the exciting dystopian/paranormal background. I’m not even sure why I wrote it. I didn’t intend to. I was actually starting to write this really awesome fantasy thing (and will probably still) but I kept switching documents to write this other thing and somehow I’ve got it fully fleshed. I don’t think I was even planning to show it to anybody. But it’s two years later and now I am and I’m at that shit-yourself-stage because it’s so unlike what I’ve written and I’m terrified that it’s stupid/boring/lame/just like everything else out there.

But I’m going to do it, guys. I’m going to look for some BETAs  soon and just do it. I could totally not, leave it on the computer and be done with the thing, but where’s the fun in that? As terrifying as this part is in the process, I’ll feel like a real tool if I did all the work up until this point to just stop now.  Carpe Diem, right? Life is made for us to do things.

So I’m doing things.

All About That WIP

This is a writing post! 😊

Sorry—not doing Nano but I applaud and commend and totally admire you number-fetish freaks out there taking on this crazy and intense challenge! Bravo! I am sticking to my usual 7:30-9:00 writing slot. I wish I had more time, but alas, my never-ending-energy-dog demands constant attention and with him, my boyfriend who wants to know what I’m doing in here. (He knows. He’s just lonely, which makes me sad and so I stick to my strict stop-writing-at-9:00 rule so that everyone in the family has adequate attention. *Cough *Appa* Cough *Batman*)

But back to writing! Yes. I’ve been doing a lot of it lately and I figured I should share some updates with those of you interested in how the process works. How my process works, at least.

Okay, so I’m on official edit/revision 5. That means that this is the FIFTH draft I’m comfortable with saying I’ve re-worked. There were two or three previous drafts—the ‘inceptions’ I call them. That’s when the story was first forming and there were different conflicts and names… almost like it was a whole different book. BUT it isn’t! That’s what I want to scream at baby Pansters to understand. Even if something drastic changes, it super doesn’t matter. Things will always change and typically for the better. So, I’m really on my like, seventh or eighth draft and I’m finally getting there. To a place where I wouldn’t mind someone else reading it. This is the part when plot and conflict and every other piece is present and accounted for, so I’m paying attention to sentence structure. How am I going to make it sound?

I’m at the sound part, guys. The SOUND PART. Big deal. That means all the big stuff is taken care of and all I’m focused on is the sentence structure. So… after this draft, the WIP will be in the ready-for-someone-to-read stage. AKA: the shit-yourself stage.

*my least favorite*

Life of a writer, am I right?

P.S. Posting once a week isn’t terrible, although Wednesday seems to come around really quickly. I don’t get how people do this multiple times a week. And have a job. And have a significant other/dog/both AND have an actual WIP to get done AND have a social life. I’m tired just thinking about you.

Halloween & IWSG

Happy Halloween!

I only say that because it’s currently Halloween and I’m still in the ghoulish spirit. I know you’re reading this tomorrow, November 1st, but you should hop in your DeLorean and come back a day because I have to mention Halloween for a second:

Clearly, I’m shit faced—but Yes! We were Sharon & Randy Marsh! You know, from South Park 😊. We didn’t go the extra mile and make the cartoon faces but I blame that on the fact that I was putting together an ENTIRE PIRATE HALLOWEEN PARTY and had to throw creative amazingness all over, so it’s okay that I skimmed on our costumes a little. But look at those awesome testicles! Still super proud of my handy-work, and I should be, because every lady went in for a feel at least once 😉 (if you’ve never seen the episode, Randy gives himself testicular cancer to get medicinal marijuana. The joke is that they were so large he was able to bounce them down the road.)

I was really planning on taking a ton of pictures during the ho-down but the extrovert in me was busy chatting it up so I didn’t. I snapped a few the next morning before I cleaned up:

I hope you had a good Halloween and that you got the good candy you like. I hope the kids don’t take all our candy and that Appa doesn’t lose his shit every time the doorbell rings (but that’s wishful thinking.)

Okay! Onto writing stuff 😊

October was another great month of writing the second part of my trilogy and I’m still jamming to the New-Found-Glory soundtrack that’s been inspiring me during this entire creative endeavor. At some point I know I have to Cowboy the Fuck up and get a few BETAs to read BTT. I’m REALLY excited about writing the rest of the story… but I guess I am very nervous about the first being read too, which is why I keep putting it off. Like, I know I’m going to go through it at least once more and make some changes (thanks to discovering things from book 2!) so it’s a good thing that I haven’t let anyone read it yet. But even when I feel *really* good about it, I still think I’ll be nervous. I know that’s normal… but I don’t want to let my fear keep the story—or me—from growing.

Enough of that and onto the optional November Question:

Win or not, do you usually finish your NANO project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I… have never done NANO. Like, ever. It doesn’t appeal to me one bit, and I think it’s because I associate it with stress and don’t need stress ANYWHERE near my writing. I get why people do it. The challenge and holding yourself accountable and all that but I do that anyway. Like, every day. I don’t know… it feels like I would be doing the same thing but being harder on myself about it.

After a few years of consistent writing, I have my own schedule that allows me to get immense amounts of work done while not feeling guilty if I’ve missed a day or two. I think everyone has a system that works for them and if some people thrive on the time-challenge—that’s great. I’m just not one of those people.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

 

Panster and Proud

I’ve been an advocate of pantsing (writing without an outline) for a while, but I’ve hit a roadblock—probably THE roadblock—for this method of writing: I don’t have an ending. Or, I did (and liked it!) but when I read through it on my fourth (fifth?) editing round, I discovered how TRULY anti-climatic it was and how everything settled nicely into place. Too nicely. Almost Stephanie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn easy. No big fight. No nibbling on nails to know how it’s going to end. Everything just kind of… worked out.

Who wants to read that?

NO ONE.

Now I’m faced with the sucky part of the pantsing lifestyle: finding the missing obstacle. The story itself hasn’t changed; the ending is still the ending. But I need to make it harder to get to which means interweaving a new obstacle or broadening the current one (I tried that, but my characters didn’t seem to go for it). So, new obstacle it is.

I went back and forth on whether I should leave the (okayish) ending or chance a rewrite and rework a good portion of the story I’ve been writing since the beginning of last year. Not a long time in the scheme of things, but it usually takes me about a year to produce a decent project and I’m already past my own deadline, so to rework stuff would push it out even farther out. Then I thought—psshh, who cares? I’m not letting anyone read it. (This is the same lie I tell myself with every book. Helps diminish anxiety so I can write for myself and not the audience.) I was okay with no one reading it until I realized I’d be letting the characters down. They depend on me to tell their story, after all. What kind of author would I be if I didn’t tell it right?

So, I’m reworking BTT.

But it’s going to be BETTER.

SO MUCH BETTER.

Pansters, I wanted to share this with you so if you ever reach a point where you have to double back and maybe cut out a lot of awesome stuff for even MORE AWESOME STUFF, don’t let it get you down. It happens. And don’t let a plotter swoop in and convince you that this is why you need to outline. You don’t. You just have to believe in your choices and trust yourself. Trust your characters and trust the process.

If you do that, you’re golden. 😉

New Things are Awesome Things, IWSG

Oh yeah.

Guess who figured out how to use the camera on this here computer. Wait for it.

So that’s me. Very strange. Obviously enchanting.

Anyway.

I’m dipping my toe into the video aspect of the internet. Not sure I’m going full vlog, but I plan on dying someday so I figure there’s no time like the lively present to do something I’ve been vaguely curious about. I’ll be dipping an even bigger toe in next Friday at 8 (like, next Friday – 3/10) when I will live stream on Christie’s Coffee Corner, a weekly interview session with authors.

Oh yeah. This is happening. It’s us hanging out while you ask me questions and I answer them or you don’t ask me anything and I end up staring awkwardly at you. Either way. This shit is going down. Stalkers are welcome, but please limit your questions to the appropriate ones. Oh, and um, no math queries. Let’s keep it reasonable here, people.

Other than Christie’s Coffee Corner, I’m still working on BTT, and can’t wait to get some Betas on board. It needs at least one more round of edits before it’s presentable, but every day I feel a little bit closer to that finish line. I’m also working on this super awesome secret project that I cannot WAIT to reveal and when it gets closer to nearing completion—which it isn’t—I will. So, for now, let me dazzle you with how excited I am for Better Than This, my soon to be first YA Contemporary Romance. AND it features musicians. Come on, guys. MUSICIANS.

Now, onto the optional question for IWSG!

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I guess short answer… no?

I’ve definitely opened old documents and chuckled to myself, mostly at the poor writing. But I never dive into them. At least I haven’t, yet. I think I’m the kind of writer that needs to write in the moment because if I’m excited by something, that’s the time to write it. Of course, if I came across a project I’d forgotten I’d written, something that intrigued me… then sure, why not? Anything’s possible. 😉

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

 

Stay the Course, IWSG

Current to-do list:

  • Finish (ahem, *start*) the fifth and final book in my Arizal Wars Series. (I’m sorry, Joleene. You’ll read about Reid soon. Promise)
  • Finish (actually finish) BTT which is going through its fourth/fifth/sixth round of edits which I *hope* gets it publishable for later this year. (I will be needing BETAs so…yeah… anyone interested in contemporary romance with musicians? Bookmark this shit)
  • Start/develop this super amazing idea I had to get me out of my cubicle chains and into the CEO position I so clearly was born for. Hard part? Figuring out how to transition the idea into reality. Wish I could tell you more but I have a thing with jinxing myself, so I’ll leave it a big mystery for now. Just know it exists. And is coming. And is going to be AWESOME.

This is what I’ve got planned for this year and I’m really aiming to make all these happen, even if RTD (AW book 5) is only an outline. There’s so much I want to do and only a finite amount of days to do them in, so I figure, why wait? Just do them all at the same time. Overlap them bitches. And that’s what I’m doing 🙂  A hand in this project. A hand in another. You may see some posts about writing BTT and others about this cool idea thing I have that I can’t tell you about yet (jinxing, member? you member) so, stay tuned for that awesomeness.

Other than an AMAZING TRIP PLANNED TO SAN FRANCISCO in a few months, nothing’s new with me. With that said, onto this month’s optional question:

How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

At first I answered this question Yes. Absolutely. Then I reread it and saw that shitty little ‘how’ at the start and felt an essay coming on, so I’ll thesis-size it for you and just say this:

I’m conscious of what I read—everything I read—and everything I read is dissected into things I should and shouldn’t do. Things that work and don’t work. Once a reader becomes a writer, they see behind the scenes, and that’s something that can never be undone.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

P.S. – Anyone have suggestions for things that I absolutely HAVE TO DO while I’m in San Fran?

Seeing is Believing

I’ve stopped visualizing which is a big no-no when you’re a dreamer. The key is to visualize. Always, always visualize so you know what your goal looks like. So you recognize it when you get there. I’m not sure when I stopped visualizing all the things I wanted. Feels pretty recent, like the past couple of years, probably when social media blew up and my confidence took a backseat to fear. Or maybe I stopped visualizing when I had no (or very little) sales on my first book. And my second book. And my third. And my fourth.

It’s hard to keep the image of sitting on Ellen’s couch (yes, I imagined this. Shut up) discussing my widely popular novel and laughing over all the trials of getting there when literally no one is buying it. I had this whole idea how everything was going to happen and when it didn’t, something shifted. Me, I guess, and with my lack of readers it became harder and harder to picture myself there, on that couch.

Which is BAD.

I need to start up again. If I have any hope of actually making it, I  need to picture myself next to Ellen,  being my charming and witty and wonderful self (and not having panic attacks. Stupid anxiety). It’s the only thing that’s going to get me there, imagining the future I want.

And you need to keep it up too. Whatever your dreams are. Visualize it. See what it looks like so you know where you’re going. It’s VITAL and I haven’t been doing it as much so I’m going to start again.

What about you?

Do you visualize your dreams?