27 March 2017

Edits, Edits, Edits

I don't know if you knew this, but editing is hard. Even when it's easy, it's hard. Basically, editing can at times be easier but never actually easy. Editing never goes at the fast pace that writing can often go at. You know, when words are just flying onto the page. Rewriting and cutting goes at a much slower pace. And it's never as much fun.

Ok, for all this moping, I'm actually very glad to be in my editing cave right now. It means that I'm getting something done. I've temporarily abandoned Shiny New Story and while I occasionally drift into Sequel Land to write a quick little snippet (dammit, Adam! Stop letting Jordan take naps!), my main focus is on editing Uneven Lines. Woo hoo!

Chapter 6 was particularly tricky. It's a very complicated chapter. Getting it right was no easy task. I've actually always had this thought that I should cut the concept this chapter introduces because it was just too much. But I knew if I did that, basically the whole premise of the novel falls apart. I think I was just afraid of writing something controversial. But I guess the only thing worse would be to have a story be controversial and not commit to it. To try to water it down. If this is the story I'm telling, then I just need to go for it, and punch the reader in the face with it. Figuratively, of course.

So I just had to commit to it. For this particular chapter, that meant adding a lot. I ended up adding two whole pages when it was all done. It seems that most of the notes I write myself when taking the red pen to each chapter say something like, "MORE." Sometimes what's there just isn't enough. In this chapter I wrote a lot of "React!" notes because I didn't feel like Jordan was reacting enough to things that were being told to him. And this was some pretty heavy stuff that any normal person would have a rather large reaction to. Even if he wasn't openly reacting so the other character could see, there still needed to be a lot of thought process for the reader to see. I got a bit frustrated with it and wrote "REACT, DAMMIT!" when I had to make the same note several times.

So it was a lot of work. Cutting old stuff and adding new stuff and elaborating and rearranging. But eventually I got it done. At least I think I did. It seems done. I don't think I'll know for sure until I edit the next chapter. Then I thought I'd read through Chapters 5, 6, & 7 and make sure they all flow together nicely. These three chapters have a certain connection in regards to what is going on in the story, so in order for everything to make sense, they have to work together.

The good news is that I've already taken the red pen to Chapter 7. The bad news is that it's a much hotter mess than I thought it was. Observe the numerous markings:

A lot more "more"s to deal with. Oh well. All in a day's work, I suppose. Or several days. 

20 March 2017

Reading Your Own Story

I've kind of always had this idea that if you're not your own story's biggest fan, then you're doing something wrong. When you write something, you're not just telling any story. It's the story that you want to tell. It's something you're passionate about. You love (or hate...or both...) your characters; you want every moment to be absolutely perfect. You wouldn't write something that you wouldn't also want to read.

Unfortunately for me, sometimes reading my work can be distracting, but it has its benefits as well. I usually get into a "my writing is terrible no one will ever want to read it waaaaaaaaaah" mood and then I don't even look at my book for weeks or months. But when I actually go back and start reading, I think, "oh wait, I really like this." So reading serves as a bit of a confidence boost.

That's not to say that everything's perfect. I'm still editing, of course. But I do think the first two thirds of the book are pretty much all set, just need some minor edits along the way. So when I read through those chapters, I actually get sucked into my own story. Sounds silly, right? I mean, I wrote it. I already know what happens. But sometimes I can't help it. Despite all my self doubt and procrastination and lack of motivation, I really do love this story.

So occasionally I get sucked into my own story. Last week I finished my Chapter 5 edit and then I printed the next chapter so I could put the red pen to it. But it was pretty close to bedtime so I didn't really have the brain capacity for editing. I did still have some for reading, though. I read the whole chapter--no editing, just reading. I thought of a few ways to fix it, of course (mostly the fact that it's way too short and rushed) but I didn't write anything down.

The next time I booted up my laptop, I kept reading. I went onto the next chapter. And then the next. I had started reading at Chapter 6 and now I'm on 11. If I hadn't worked all weekend I'd probably be further. I know I should be editing, of course, but it's nice just to enjoy the story, too. It's fun to read lines I forgot about, find parts that make me laugh. I know which parts need a lot of work, and which parts just need some minor edits. And I know once I get past Chapter 17 I'm definitely not going to enjoy it as much. (Because the last third sucks!) But at least I'm enjoying it now.

So should I be trying to edit more? Probably. But at least I know, for now, that I do like my story.

13 March 2017

Playing Catch Up

Hello blogging world! Is everyone still out there? Ok, ok, I did post something last Monday (or someone did, at least), but I've been a bit out of it since then. After working all day then running a million errands, I started to feel very sick. I had a fever off and on from Monday night until about midday on Wednesday. Luckily I had Tuesday off work but I ended up having to call in sick on Wednesday, which is my first time for this job (been there almost a year and a half). Anyway, I didn't do anything for days besides sleep and watch TV and cough my lungs out. I didn't even look at my computer until Saturday.

So I've been playing a bit of catch up. I had to finish up the final anthology story edits because I was procrastinating on that forever before I even got sick (even though I literally had 6 things to fix). I still haven't gotten anywhere with other anthology stuff (writing interview questions, writing posts for the joint blog). I'm trying to form some kind of schedule for myself where I work a little bit on it (and other writing stuff) every day.

Speaking of other writing stuff, I've written about 13,000 words of Shiny New Story so far. Named all the characters but no title so far (no surprise there). I didn't do any writing while I was sick so I lost a bit of the drive I had, but I have gotten a little done over the weekend so I'm hoping it will come back.

Before I got sick, my writing drive did shift gears a little and I was suddenly working on Book 3 for some reason (listening to too much Adele). Don't ask. I spent a day or two on that and wrote about 5 pages. Some of the stuff I really like but I can't tell anybody about it because it's extra spoilerific.

As for editing UL, uhhh.....not so much there. I did glance at Chapter 5 but knowing I have to rewrite the second half of it I just said to myself, "I don't want to. Someone else do it."

I'm hoping I get that crazy writing/editing drive back that I had a couple weeks ago. I was somehow able to work on everything old and new and got a lot done. I would love to be able to do that all the time.

But anyway, enough rambling. If you didn't see it before, the other IWSG anthology authors and I have set up a blog tour during the month of May to coincide with the release. If you'd like to sign up, fill out the form below and we'll get in contact with you soon (something else I still have to do...)!

06 March 2017

Jordan Takes Over: A Crash Course in Musing

**The first Monday of every month, I let my muse take over the blog. I apologize in advance.**

Ok, people, we're gonna do things a little differently today, so everybody be quiet and pay attention! Because my life apparently isn't crazy enough, I'm here to offer tips to the beginner or wannabe muse. Or for you writers out there, a more in depth look of what exactly is going on with your most favorite (just try and call us) imaginary friends. So! Where are my pupils??

*Adam waves frantically*

Just one??? Oh, by the way, I'm training Adam as my backup for when Sarah's being annoying and I want a nap. She's not going to like it, but, uh, tough something or other.

Adam: We've got a student/teacher thing going on here.

Been there, done that. Ok, one student. *sigh* Fine. First lesson! Let's talk about the ABNs of musing.

Adam: Don't you mean ABCs?

First of all, how about raising a hand when you have a question, Mr. uhhh...do you have a last name yet?

Adam: No.

Of course not. Mr. Perfect Hair. Anyway, no! The ABNs. Always Be Napping. This is crucial. A muse needs his beauty sleep. Or, you know, hers, because I guess most muses are girls but we're working for a psycho over here. Either way, beauty sleep! How can you be providing your best inspiration if you're tired and groggy? I'd say at least 22 hours a day. Are you writing this down?

Adam:....You never said to take notes....

Moving on! The next lesson is about spontaneity. If your writer is getting all their stuff together, finishing her coffee, booting up the laptop, getting the pencils and paper lined up, is that the perfect time to provide inspiration?

Adam: Well, I would think s--

WRONG! Of course not! You can't just give ideas when they're expecting them! Where's the fun in that? Where's the passion? We're not freaking robots over here! It's best to be completely random when providing inspiration. Whenever you feel like it, really, but never when they're expecting it. Now, when are the best times to provide inspiration?

Adam: Oh, wait, I know this! Uh...when she's falling asleep or when she's in the shower.

CORRECT. You've been paying attention!

Adam: ...Why are those the best times, exactly?

That's just the way it is. We don't ask questions about it. Lesson number three: withholding stuff. We can't just give it all away. That would make us sluts, now wouldn't it?

Adam: Uh..........

I mean with muse stuff! Get your mind out of the gutter. Save that for after class. Anyway, you always want to make your writer work for their inspiration and information. It shouldn't always be easy. Got a piece of information that she needs? Don't tell her! Make her think about it for months, maybe even years before you finally give it up. Like our band's name, for example.

Adam: Oh, you mean--

Shhhhhhhhh! Spoilers! We're not there yet!

Finally, lesson number four: something a bit unexpected. The complete and total onslaught of inspiration. This can be fun but also very exhausting. (Just remember lesson one!) When you're feeling up to providing a decent amount of inspiration, just go for the extreme. Hit them with everything you've got. Don't let them sleep or eat or do anything except write. Make it physically painful for them not to be writing. Every single thought and every single second should be about the story. Basically it's a giant torture session but with a really good payoff.

Thus concludes our first class. What have we learned?

Adam: Uh...I think being a muse is basically just being a jerk.

Yeah, pretty much. Until next class! If there is a next class. If I remember. If I'm awake.


01 March 2017

Secure but Overwhelmed

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This came up on me way too fast. February always seems to end so abruptly that I forget it's even happening. I almost forgot to pay a credit card bill, mail my rent, and yes, write this blog post. Usually you get a few extra days each month but February likes to trick me.

So what the heck do I write about? I'm actually not feeling all that insecure. Overwhelmed at times, maybe, but not insecure. Well, there's always the optional question! This month's is: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?



Ok, I guess I'll talk about the overwhelming stuff.

I have about a gazillion things to do for the anthology. I have to do my final edits. I haven't written anything for the joint blog yet, and I have interview questions for pretty much everyone to write. Plus we're trying to set up a blog tour and do more marketing stuff.

SPEAKING OF WHICH. We have a sign up form for the blog tour! I literally finished it while writing this post!!! Because I wanted to include it! Look at the exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, click HERE to sign up! The tour is going to run from May 2 through May 31. There are a few different options for posts. If you sign up for a review, we'll hook you up with the publisher to get a review ebook copy.

It can be really hard to balance real life and all of the stuff I need and want to do. I'm halfway through my edit of Chapter 5 for Uneven Lines. The end of the chapter needs a bit of work (which is a little frustrating since the first half was pretty much perfect). So I've kind of been avoiding it since I want a large chunk of time to sit down and figure it out. Usually I have too much to do or I'm just too tired after work.

So I've been working on Shiny New Story quite a bit. I guess I'll take any progress with writing as a win. I really really like it, even though it's super complicated (yeah, because UL is simple *pfft*). I love my characters and I want to hug them. But I swear to God, I cannot write a story without a secret romance to save my life. Can't do it! I've never had nor wanted a secret romance why do I keep doing this???

Well, that's about it. I set my alarm for 5 AM every morning but I always wake up at 4:37. EVERY DAY. I don't know what that is either.

Ever feel overwhelmed? What time do you wake up in the morning?