Showing posts with label iwsg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iwsg. Show all posts

04 December 2019

Better Late than Never

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! 


HEY! SO! I wouldn't necessarily say I forgot to write my post for today. It's more like, I forgot that it was the first Wednesday of the month. In my defense, I have been very busy lately. Between NaNo and Thanksgiving and thinking about Christmas, and working full time, and my sister-in-law is getting married this Saturday, and I had to go to the dentist...I've been a little preoccupied. I didn't even blog at all last month besides my IWSG post because I was too busy with NaNo. 

But when I was browsing Facebook on my lunch break at work and I saw the IWSG's post for today, well...I may have lost it for a second. But I'm writing it now! 

I guess that's the thing I'm most insecure about right now. Because I am in no way insecure about my NaNo project! Because...that's right...


I WON!!! I actually wrote 50,000 words in the month of November. Sexy Fluff #1 is going well, although it's definitely not done yet. But 50k!!! I still can't believe I actually did it. It was actually a really nice break to not only work on something different, but something that was a lot lighter than my usual stuff AND had that first draft freedom. If the words sucked, I didn't care! I just kept going. 

So I guess the big question is...now what? I still have to finish SF#1, but I really should bring my focus back to UL. I've only got two chapter rewrites to go and it'll be done! Of course, one of those chapters will be particularly difficult, but I'm hoping working on SF will in some way help? By just shaking things up and by also writing a few perfectly normal sex scenes will at least help get the jitters out for the one I have to write for UL. We'll see when I actually try. I've been too busy to write the past few days! But I loved writing every day during NaNo. I'd really like to stick with that. 

I think my main focus should be on finishing UL, and maybe one day a week working on Sexy Fluff. But what will probably end up happening is that I'll just go wherever the inspiration takes me. 

06 November 2019

The Thing I Said I Wouldn't Do...

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!


Before I get to my nonsense, I think I'll start with this month's optional question, which is: 

What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story?

I feel like I've researched a lot of questionable things for different stories. I think I've mentioned before how I know way too much about age of consent laws, so that's definitely up there. Recently, I started some research for a story that included googling "can you break someone's hand by squeezing it" and "is strangling someone considered attempted murder?" (Turns out it's not, BTW, and the way I picture it happening in the story will only be a misdemeanor, which surprised me).  I've also got a new story idea that I know will require lots of things that will probably get me on some watch list, including bombs/explosions, computer hacking, bullet wounds, and methods of torture. Should be a fun time! 

So if you follow any of my Twitter or Instagram posts, this won't be a surprise, but remember my last blog post, where I said I came up with a new story idea? A sexy fluff idea? And I gave a very vague statement about not even considering doing NaNoWriMo for it? 

Well, PLOT TWIST! I changed my mind at the last minute, decided to write the damn thing for NaNo, and I'm already over 10,000 words in. I...don't know how this happened. Oh, right! Because I'm crazy. But! I am not insecure!

There is so much about writing this story that is so refreshing. First of all, it's a MUCH lighter story than what I'm used to writing (sexy fluff, after all). Plus, it's a first draft, so the usual pressure I put on myself to make everything perfect isn't there. If it sucks...who cares?? Just keep writing! Plus long rambling sentences and endless dialogue are welcome for NaNo since you want to get to those 50,000 words! 

And so far, I've been beating the daily word goal EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's so weird but I love it. Ok, I know I need to get back to UL and tackle Chapter 28 (the second to last chapter!) but I'm taking a break from it while I do NaNo. I thought of it this way: usually it takes me months to do a chapter rewrite. And I spend a lot of that time not doing any writing at all. So I figured, what will it hurt to take one month off, and also potentially write an entire novel in that time? 

I also got ANOTHER story idea, most likely for my potential pen name, from a dream of all places. Right now I'm calling it Sexy Fluff #2, although it involves a lot more action, whereas SF #1 is a pretty straightforward romance. I so don't need it right now because I have to finish UL of course, and then I'll have Sexy Fluff #1 to edit/rewrite once NaNo is over. It's a long line of ideas. I guess I'll just take them one at a time. 

02 October 2019

Let Crappy First Drafts Lie

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!


Well, another month has passed and where am I on my third draft progress? Err...about the same place I was last month. Ok, ok, not exactly the same place! For my last IWSG post, I said I had written 3 pages for Chapter 27. So, good news...I currently just went onto page 11! So, obviously, words are happening. Just very slowly. And we will ignore my concerns that this chapter is turning out way too long and I'll probably have to split it but that will leave me with 30 chapters and I need them to be UNEVEN, hello??? *deep breath* Yes, ignoring that for now. 

I know one of the big reasons this chapter is taking forever is the fact that I don't often make myself just sit there and write it. Especially on a work day, I just kinda want to sit there watching TV and go to bed early. But another problem is that when I actually do sit down to write, I find it very difficult to actually get the words out. I know it's because I want those words to be perfect, and sometimes it's just hard to make it that way. Probably the worst thing I do is that I won't even write a sentence down until it's perfect in my head. So when perfection isn't happening, words aren't happening, either. 

But I think something kinda clicked. At one point while working on 27, I said to myself, "UGH. This feels so first drafty." Then I realized...well, it basically IS a first draft. While I'm working on the third draft of the novel as a whole, almost everything I've written past Chapter 19 has been brand spankin' new. Not rewritten, like everything before it, but completely new stuff that never even happened in the first two drafts. So the words I'm writing right now are essentially a first draft. And can you make a first draft perfect? HELL NO!

It's difficult to part with that idea of finishing this draft and basically having it ready to go, but I think if I keep clinging to it, I'll never even get to the end. I just have to put the words down and if they're kinda crappy, just let it be. I can always go back and fix it. I just have to look at everything before Chapter 19 to see how great things can turn out if you just keep working at it. But you can't fix what isn't there. And trying to make it perfect before it's written will just lead to a whole lot more waiting. 

So I'm plowing through this chapter. Even if I think some moments are illogical. If I think two characters should have gone deeper with a certain conversation but can't quite figure that out right now. If some moments were too drawn out, but others were rushed. I may not know how to fix certain things, but I'll at least know what needs to be fixed. And maybe some time and distance will make the figuring out much easier.

04 September 2019

I'll Figure It Out Eventually

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!


What am I insecure about this month? Well, probably the fact that I haven't been doing much writing. At all. For those of you keeping score at home, I'm still on Chapter 27. I don't know what is so difficult about it. It's not really difficult at all. I know exactly what needs to happen. I even made an outline for it! And I'm a die-hard pantser, so you can imagine how difficult that was for me. It's just, for some reason, actually sitting down and making myself write just isn't happening. 

I guess I can't be too hard on myself because I have *occasionally* gotten some words down. I've got 3 pages done on Chapter 27, which is something, at least, but I don't feel like I've gotten very far with it. I think it's going to be a very long chapter. I'll get through one chunk of it and then get stuck, and just stay stuck for days. 

I've been working on Shiny New Story a bit as well, which I swear will get a title someday, especially since it's not really new anymore, but is still very shiny. Sometimes I like to dive into that when I'm feeling blocked, to try and get the creative juices flowing a bit. It helps to work on something that's a first draft and I don't have to think so much about getting all the words perfect. I just wish it would lead me back to my main project. 

Something I'm not insecure about? The aha moments! One of my favorite things about writing is figuring things out. When you have a problem that you can't see your way out of and eventually it comes to you. I was working on Shiny's first chapter and I was trying to create this suspense between my two main characters, like you think they're just friends and there's a reveal where you realize they're actually a couple (which is probably silly because the blurb would totally give that away, but I digress...). My problem was that I was starting the chapter with the characters not seeing each other for a week. Wouldn't they immediately run into each other's arms and start smooching? That sort of killed my suspense. But since the scene took place on a farm, I had one character working on something, and figured out...his hands could be dirty! The character has to wash up first, which gives time for the two characters to talk before anything romantic happens. It was such a simple idea but I think it really made the scene work the way I wanted. 

I love those moments because it makes me think I'll always be able to figure things out eventually, no matter how impossible they may seem. I just would like that to be sooner rather than later when it comes to the rest of Uneven Lines. Please?? I'm talking to you, brain. 

Here's some really good news! I'm on vacation starting this Friday for a week and a half. Another vacation?? you're probably asking. Yeah, I took a lot of time off this year because I always have way too many hours accumulated by the end of the year. But anyway, that is lots and lots and lots of writing time! I'm hoping it'll be like my boot camp for Chapter 26 back in June, where I just spent all day every day (mostly) working on it. Maybe I could even...dare I say...finish the whole third draft? No way, right???

07 August 2019

Full of Surprises

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!


I'm on vacation from work so that means I can visit many many blogs today at a reasonable hour. It also means I'm going to actually try to get some writing done. I mean, yesterday was my lazy recovery day and today is blogging day, so...


I'm still working on Chapter 27. Actually, I haven't been working on it much at all. I don't know the exact reason. I just haven't felt like it. Maybe writing Chapter 26 took a lot out of me, but I think it's been way too long for that to still be an excuse. I guess I'm just having a motivation problem. I know everything that needs to happen in this chapter, so it's not like I have anything to figure out. I just have to actually make with the words.

Well, since I'm not at work this week, I can't use being tired as an excuse. Bring on the words!

Onto this month's optional question: Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

Uhh, literally everything? Seriously, go tell my teenage self about the story I'm writing. She'll think you're crazy, and she'll wonder where the vampires are.

Sometimes I'm surprised by random lines, like there's no way I could have come up with them on my own (because Jordan is writing the book, not me, duh). There's one in particular that always comes to mind, but it involves a bad word. Well, ok. I took "whatever floats your boat" but replaced "boat" with a male body part. One of the many lines that I didn't write. And yes, I know that makes it not rhyme anymore. It still works, trust me.

My biggest surprise is actually my entire idea for Book 3. It involves something that I swore would never happen. I'm so secretive about it, which I know is silly since I haven't even published Book 1, but I am keeping this concept locked up in my brain. I did tell my husband, but he probably forgot. When I first got the idea, I thought, wait, this wasn't supposed to happen. But the more I thought about it, the more I fell in love with the idea.

So if I ever finish this book, maybe someday I'll get to that surprise book idea.

03 July 2019

Country Music, Chest Hair, & Cupcakes

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!


Someone please tell me how it's July already! And how I'm still not done with this book! I am making progress, though. I finished Chapter 26! I had a staycation at the beginning of June and spent every single day (mostly) working on it all day long (mostly). Boy was it difficult! I had two super intense scenes in the same chapter because that's the kind of masochist I am. But it's done! And it's not terrible! I think? It has some killer lines. I think it has the most important line in the book. And I gave it to Jordan's mom of all people! She doesn't deserve it! She's terrible! Oh well...

So I'm winding down with this book. Too bad the ending is the hardest part to write. I'm trying not to force it, just let the ideas come to me in their own time. I know everything that has to happen in Chapter 27 so once I actually sit down and WORK ON IT it'll get done pretty quickly. I wish I could be on vacation all the time (you know, as long as I was getting paid). I think I will end up having 29 chapters. I wanted to push it to 30 to have a nice even number, but as my husband pointed out to me, the word UNEVEN is in the damn title of the book *facepalm*. Plus 29 feels like such an uncomfortable number to me. It's perfect! 

Anyhoo, moving on to this month's optional question: What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

Oh! This is a fun one! So I pretty much have nothing in common with Jordan. Maybe that's why I like writing him so much. We really are polar opposites. But in a book where pretty much everything has some sort of hidden or symbolic meaning, I've found that Jordan has a few random dislikes just because they're things I dislike, like country music and chest hair. I just don't like these things. I couldn't force Jordan to like them. I'm sure there are other things that I dislike that Jordan could like or dislike, but these were the only ones that came up in the story. 

My second most important character, Tom, bakes a lot, which is definitely something I like to do. This may be a chicken and egg situation, though. I did take a cake decorating course when I was 13 so I've always been interested in baking, but my signature nowadays is definitely cupcakes. But I only got obsessed with making cupcakes after writing about a cupcake that Tom brings Jordan in Chapter 3. So being obsessed with cupcakes is just because I'm obsessed with my own book...

One of the things I would love for someone to ask me if this book is ever published and anyone actually reads it, is "are you more like Jordan or Tom?" To which I would say, "lol I'm Eric." Eric is Jordan's best friend and is a shy nervous wreck. I don't think I'm exactly like him, but I'm definitely most like him. Another thing I think we have in common is being really passionate about something (for Eric, it's music) but being terrified to share it with the world or even people we know. 

Oddly enough, it's Jordan who gets Eric out of his shell and showing off his talent. Hopefully he'll do the same for me. You know...if we can FINISH THE BOOK! He's a good friend (when he wants to be) but he's a terrible muse. Don't tell him I said that...

05 June 2019

Feeling Out an Ending

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 month, I'm also a co-host (what what!). I haven't done it in so long and it's so much easier than it used to be! But I'm psychotic and since I don't have work today I want to visit as many blogs on the list as I can! Be sure to check out the other co-hosts: Diane BurtonKim LajevardiSylvia NeyJennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte

This months optional question is: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

Well, ever since Jordan sunk his claws in me (sorry not sorry), all of my other story ideas have also been LGBT. Although it hasn't been a lot of ideas, honestly (Shiny New Story and Shiny New Story: Fantasy Edition are pretty much it). Jordan hogs all of the attention. I've always gotten more attached to a character or a particular story idea than a genre. And it usually takes me a loooooooooooong time to finish! Don't ask about the fantasy novel I started when I was 14, rewrote twice, worked on several sequels & prequels, and then gave up on.

Jordan wants me to say that HE is my favorite genre ever. He's not wrong.

Anyhoo, moving on...

I am slowly, slowly chipping away at Chapter 26. It's ok that it's taking a while, really, because it's a very complicated chapter. I think even after I finish it, I'll have to give it some time and go back through it again. Maybe after the whole book is done. But since this is basically a brand new scene, I don't really expect to get it perfectly polished like I've done with the earlier chapters in the book. 

Well, once 26 is done, I know exactly what happens next in the story. Woohoo! I'm wrapping up my second subplot in Chapter 27. It may run into 28 as well. I'll see when I get there how long it is and if it needs to be broken up. So then all that's left to do is to end the main plot! 

Oh, if only that were easy. I've always known the ending to my book, and I feel like it's the right ending to the story, but I think I have a hard time explaining *why* it's the right ending. I mean, it's not exactly an ending that readers would want. I don't think that makes for a bad ending, though. As long as it feels right for the story, it should work, even if it's disappointing. Right? Maybe disappointing isn't the right word. I think it's a realistic ending. 

Basically, I can think of two ideal outcomes for my characters' relationship, being either they break if off before something extreme happens, or they stay together forever. I find the first idea boring, and the second one very unrealistic. The ending that actually happens isn't something I can see anyone rooting for, but I think it feels right for these characters. But I also worry if the ending I chose is predictable. There are a few mini twists here and there leading up to it, but I don't think anyone will be extremely surprised that it turns out this way. 

I don't know, maybe it all depends on how good of a job I do writing it. If it feels right, and I can pull it off in the right way, then ultimately it'll be the right ending. 

Oh, well, I guess I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I've still got a little ways to go. I think finishing this book will feel super weird, actually, since I've been working on it FOREVER. I won't know what to do with myself. 

How do you know when an ending is right? 

01 May 2019

Character Motivations

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!


Hey, did you know that writing a novel can be super complicated? Crazy, right?? 

For those of you keeping score at home, I did finish Chapter 25 (including the music playing scene I was struggling with! I think it came out pretty amusing). Now onto Chapter 26, which can only be described as a DOOZY. Basically, I'm wrapping up a subplot with a big fight scene (verbal, not physical), immediately followed by something HUGE in the main plot. And since it takes place back to back on the same night, I'll want to keep it in the same chapter (unless it feels like it's going to be 20 pages long or something).

But while it's pretty heavy on the surface, there is also A LOT going on underneath. Since I write in first person, it's easy to convey what my main character is thinking, as well as what he's actually saying. Which is good in this particular chapter, the first half of which is a big fight with his mother, because he can't actually say the real reason that he's angry with her, because it would give away a huge secret. He shows his real anger but basically has to create a cover story for having it.

Seems complicated enough, right? But that's not actually what I'm struggling with. The trickier part is figuring out what's going on with the other character, Jordan's mom. I think she's an interesting character because while most of the time she seems terrible, she does have her motherly moments. So the thing I need to figure out is her motivation in this scene. Basically, she did a thing that really really upsets Jordan. But the bigger question is why did she do it? It seems like she's trying to punish Jordan, but is that because it's the right thing to do as a mom, or because she's actually trying to hurt him (did I mention her terribleness?)?

Phew. Ok. I know I'm super vague about this, but the main point is that character motivations can be hella complicated. Especially when you aren't in that character's head. Sometimes you have to take a moment to actually jump into their head and figure out what's going on in there. I can't really guess at her motivation to make this scene work, even if Jordan is guessing the whole time. I have to know, even if that means also creating his mom's ENTIRE BACKSTORY (that I totally thought I didn't need to figure out until Book 2. Darn.). Because some of her motivations go back to when he was born.

I think it's even more complicated, because the more I think about it, the more I realize the answer to what her motivations are is that it's both things. On some level, she does hate Jordan, she wants to hurt him simply for existing. But there's also some motherly instinct in there, too. I think the biggest part of this scene is getting her to admit the worst part of her motivation. That is what's going to hurt the most and make Jordan run off and lead to the next HUGE SCENE which I will not be telling you about. *insert evil laugh*

I don't know if any of that made any sense at all since I'm the only person who knows what's going on in my book. But basically, character motivations can be tricky. But they can also be complex. Sometimes a character may not even understand why they're doing something, or they just don't want to admit it to themselves.

Do you like complex characters? Can a character have conflicting motivations?

03 April 2019

Can This Book Write Itself Already??

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!


Here we are again! I think I've gotten into the habit of checking in with these posts on where I am with my third draft of Uneven Lines. Last month I was on Chapter 24. Things went a little differently  than I expected because I was creating a GIANT subplot chapter, which I wasn't really comfortable with. I only have a few super long chapters in the book and they're really only that way because they take place over the course of one day. I decided to break up this chapter by scenes.

So, suddenly Chapter 24 was magically done! And I'm almost done with 25. I literally just have one snippet of a scene to finish. I think I'm struggling with it because it involves my characters playing music, which I always find very awkward . But, you know, my characters decided to be musicians, what can I do? Luckily there isn't a lot of it in this book and I don't really have to worry about it until the sequels. But for those I'll probably have to write some original song lyrics and holy crap I am not looking forward to that.

I think I have an idea of at least some dialogue to finish this scene. Basically, Jordan has a new friend Madison over (they're plotting a master scheme, as one does), and knowing his friend Eric has a crush on her, tells him to bring his guitar over and they play a few songs (possibly some horribly cliched ones). And then it goes something like this:

Madison: Can't you play something from this decade?
Eric: If you don't like The Beatles, you're not human.
Jordan: True, but I'm more of a Stones guy.
Eric: You know, I could tell that about you.
Madison: CAN'T I JUST LIKE TAYLOR SWIFT??
Jordan: .....
Eric: ......
Jordan: I also like Taylor Swift...

Or something like that? I dunno, I'll figure it out. I always do. Even if it takes me days. Or weeks. Or months. Or years. I'm not even kidding, sadly...

Anyhoo, the IWSG's optional question for this month is: If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

You mean besides the aforementioned scene? Can I pick the whole rest of the book? It's not a lot, actually. No, wait! I pick the sex scene. I've already written that like three different times and I'm still convinced I'll never get it right. But I think maybe I can't picture it properly because I'm making so many changes to the end that I'm just not there yet. I have to get there before I can see it.

If I could wish the rest of this book done, I definitely would. Especially the parts I don't have figured out AT ALL. I'm definitely not an outliner, but this is basically what I have left after I finish 25:

- Wrap up Subplot #1
- MAJOR MAIN PLOT EVENT
- something something
- Wrap up Subplot #2
- something something
- something
- SEX SCENE
- Last chapter/denouement type deal

Yeah, wishing for all those something somethings to write themselves. And the sex scene. And the last bit. Because I think the very very end of the book kind of has to point to what exactly I was trying to say through the whole novel. And I feel like I got it horribly wrong in all my previous drafts. I *think* I'm still keeping the last two lines intact, and those should help me figure it out because I've always felt like they say a lot.

I think all I can do at this point is take it one step at a time. So I should probably get back to that music playing scene...

06 March 2019

Random Editing

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!


I'm really quite terrible keeping up with blogging lately. I've only done IWSG posts for months. I don't know, I think partly it's a motivation thing, or it's an idea thing (or lack thereof, I should say). I don't want to stop blogging but I don't feel that drive to do it like I used to. It could just be that I want to focus on my book and can't give my attention back to blogging until it's done. That sounds like the best reason, right? I'll go with that.

This month's optional question is: Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

This is actually a tricky question for me! Not because it's hard to choose, but because I don't really give myself a choice. I always write in first person, so I'm always writing from the point of view of the protagonist. And it's been quite a long time since I've written a story with a typical villain, too. So I guess I choose the protagonist because that's the character whose head I want to be in, because it's his/her story to tell. I'm sure writing villains is fun, but I just haven't come up with a story where I needed to write from that perspective.

On the other hand, Jordan is a bit of an antihero, I suppose, so maybe I get the best of both worlds. Or maybe I just like really flawed characters...

Every month I feel like I make just a little bit more progress to update on. Last month I was on Chapter 23 and this month I'm on...Chapter 24! I'm actually more than halfway through it, so it may even be done by the time you read this post (fingers crossed!).

I've recently realized that while I'm working a lot on the book and trying to finish it, what I'm really doing is revising. I've been calling it editing this whole time but I'm a big fat liar because I'M GOING TO HAVE TO GO BACK AND EDIT THIS THING WHEN I'M DONE. Ok, ok, it's not a HUGE project like this whole third draft has been. But I still need to go through and edit my overused words and whatnot. And let's not forget SHOW DON'T TELL. I have mixed feelings about that rule. Ok, so, Jordan thinks A LOT and over-analyzes everything, so yeah, there's a lot of telling. But I do need to make sure the spots that NEED to be showing are actually doing so.

But what I have been doing to kind of keep the daunting task of editing from being too scary is keeping track of the little things I think of along the way to go back and change. The random or weird things. The things I think back on wondering why the hell I did that.

So, of course, I've started a list! Which is equal parts useful and ridiculous. Hopefully some of these will make sense out of context, or at least be good for a chuckle:

Random Things to Edit

  • Find another word for “gorgeous” to describe Tom in Chapter One. We all know that’s Jordan’s word. 
  • Are we really supposed to believe that Tom whisks egg whites by hand for the soufflĂ© but then busts out a hand mixer to make cookies??
  • I think the “tell me you'd rather have just my lips” line in Chapter 22 would be more powerful if Tom just came out with it instead of Jordan asking it - shows desperation
  • Make sure Eric calls Jordan by his first name at least once and never by his last name
  • The “I think it’s just two” line in Chapter 7 is probably a hitting-the-reader-over-the-head-with-a-cast-iron-skillet kind of moment 
  • Possibly add more math stuff and also more cannibalistic undertones
  • Be consistent with Jordan's present tense thoughts--italicized or no? I’d rather have them not italicized even if that’s an editor’s nightmare but either way, make sure it’s consistent 
  • Make sure Brian's name is never typed as Brain...especially because he doesn't have one...

And that's it *so far*. I'm sure other ideas will hit me in the head as I go back through the story. That's after I finish the third draft. Which I'm still working on. And should probably get back to...

06 February 2019

Cookies and Cupcakes and Cake! Oh My!

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!


Well, another month has gone by and....well, I actually haven't accomplished that much. Last month I was on Chapter 22 of my third draft and this month I'm on (drum roll please).....Chapter 23! Woooo...hoo? At least it's something, right? A few weeks ago I thought I'd finished 23 but decided it needed one more scene to break up all my subplot nonsense. Since this was a brand new scene that I had no idea what to do with when I started, I'm still working on figuring it out.

But since that's pretty much all I've got going on with writing insecurities, I thought I'd tackle the IWSG's option question this month, which is: Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

Writing has always been my thing since I was little, and while I have attempted other outlets throughout my life (there was that guitar I bought but never learned to play), the thing that pops into my mind is BAKING!

I've always liked baking. I took a cake decorating class when I was thirteen, so you'll never ever see me slapping frosting on a cupcake with a butter knife. I like to try new things and pretty much any time my family gets together my niece expects me to bring something (but she doesn't like cheesecake! I can't even...).

But I won't bore you with the details. Here's some pictures to get you drooling instead!

There are cookies...



Brownies...



Cake...


And my specialty...CUPCAKES!




There are a lot of baked goods in Uneven Lines, too, so I guess I merged my creative outlets! Those pink cupcakes where actually inspired by a scene. There's also a scene where one character makes chocolate souffle, which I've never tried (just watched several Youtube videos about making them). I'll let my characters be more adventurous. 

02 January 2019

To Pitch or Not to Pitch?

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It's a new year and I've decided for once to not make any concrete goals. It never goes well. I did, however, finally accomplish my goal of watching 100 movies I've never seen before (see the list here) in 2018. For books I made it to 68/100, which is the closest I've ever gotten. I won't be trying it again this year, but I definitely want to accomplish it someday.

But onto the new year! One of the first things I wanted to do was take part in the IWSG's Twitter Pitch on January 15. Like, I took the day off from work and everything (I'm about to max out on my PTO hours so it was a good excuse to take a day), and I've always wanted to do it. But I don't know if I'll actually be ready in time.

So I've come up with a few questions to ask myself in the next two weeks in order to decide if I should pitch or not, starting with:

Did I finish the book?

Kind of the most important one. As of writing this post, I'm working on Chapter 22 of the third draft. I think there will be 26 or 27 chapters when I finally finish. If I can really motivate myself and not slack off watching too much TV or something, I think it's possible to finish in time. But honestly, if I'm only one or two chapters away from finishing, I may pitch anyway (please tell me if this is a horrible idea). Only time will tell.

Can I pick an age group?

I know I've talked about this many times before, but I still haven't quite figured it out. Genre is easier because I'd go with contemporary. But age group? Errrrrrr still deciding. I've always leaned toward Adult, even though my main character is 15, because it's not exactly a book I would want younger readers reading. But it could also be New Adult? Maybe? In my two sequel ideas my MC is 20 and 22. Those ideas feel more like NA.

Remember when I said this book is unsellable??? *sigh*

Can I actually sum up my book in a tweet?

This is a tricky one because I have a serious problem summarizing my book, particularly in a way to make it sound appealing. Remind me to never ever write about a taboo relationship ever again please. I know a lot of people in Twitter pitch parties use comp titles as well, and I don't have any of those, at least not contemporary ones. I've always called it Lolita meets the Catcher in the Rye, but am I allowed to do that? Those books are old and very good. Kinda feels pretentious. I have no idea.

Can I write a query letter?

On the off chance that one of my tweets gets liked by an agent or publisher, hey guess what the next step is??? And I do not have a query letter ready. I've tried writing one before and it did not go well (let's not talk about that again...). And if I'm spending all this time trying just to finish the novel, I probably won't get a query letter done in time as well. I try to justify this to myself by saying I could spend the next day or two AFTER the Twitter pitch doing this, but that probably won't go well for me.

And that's about it. I feel like the odds are against me! But I guess I'll just keep chugging along trying to finish the book and figure everything else out.

Are you participating in #IWSGpit? Am I completely insane???

05 December 2018

Motivation and Writing Space Stuff

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Here we are! The last IWSG post of the year! HOLY CRAP WHERE DID THE TIME GO??? *ahem* So it's time to scramble to wrap up any goals before they get repackaged as New Year's resolutions. Again. I'm about 99% sure that I've given up on my reading goal, well, because I've pretty much stopped reading. That was a tough one since I've never made it so close (67/100), but it just doesn't seem possible to finish in less than a month. I thought if I spent all my time reading, then I definitely wouldn't finish the third draft of my novel, which may or may not happen before the year is over. 

I think my main problem with writing is MOTIVATION! Sometimes even when I want to write, even when I have ideas, even if the scene seems easy, I just can't make myself start working. Ok, part of the problem may be that I'm always tired, and sitting around watching TV just sounds a lot better, but even when I make plans to write (especially on a day off), I still don't get a lot done. It's like there's something holding me back. Is it the fear of finishing? I'm not sure. If it is, it's probably subconscious. It could just be laziness and procrastination. It could be a mixture of all these things! But I do want to finish this damn book, so I'd better make with the motivation pretty soon.

This month, I thought I'd answer the IWSG's optional question, which was: What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?

Ok, so I'm cheating a little on this one. I'm gonna reuse an Instagram post from earlier this year, and it's more than five objects, but they are things that are usually useful/necessary for writing. I have a very very very small apartment, so I don't actually have a writing space (like an office or even a desk). I just write on my bed. So here are the things that usually find their way onto the bed during writing time: 


1. Laptop (for the writing of the words), and headphones (inspiration music is entirely necessary and not at all distracting)
2. Notebook & pens for brainstorms/free writes/whatever, my red 3rd draft binder, research books (or writing reference books, or sometimes just a book I'm reading), and a chocolate offering to the muse (he has a sweet tooth)
3. Wearing gray! (Absolutely essential...I'm not weird or anything...) And comfy pillows
4. Sleeping cat not required but usually present 

Just like I may or may not finish my novel, I may or may not write another blog post this year, so I think I'll say Happy Holidays and Happy New Year now!

What's in your writing space? How do you stay motivated? 

07 November 2018

End of the Year Push

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How is it November already???? I think I say pretty much the same thing every month. Time just seems to fly by and I never feel like I get as much done as I'd like. So, with less than two months left in the year, I want to see how much I can push myself to get done before making brand new goals (probably just the same ones over again...) in the new year. 

So the goals that I still care about are:

1. Finish the third draft of Uneven Lines. 

How have I not finished this???? I really hope every book I plan on writing doesn't take me as long as this one has. In my defense, it's SUPER complicated and it's been difficult to write, but I still refuse to give up somehow. The good news! I think the end of the book is going to be a lot shorter than I anticipated. As I try to conceptualize the ending and how it needs to be different from the first two drafts, I'm realizing that things need to move a lot faster. I think the end of the book used to drag but now I feel like things will happen very fast and hopefully be exciting. So...it could happen before the year is over? Maybe?

2. Read 100 books

Oh, this one. I make it every year and never come close. My monthly themes idea hasn't been as easy as I'd planned, but I could probably spend an entire post talking about that. Honestly, this goal is probably the one that I'm least likely to accomplish. I'm currently at 67 books (see my Goodreads challenge), which is 17 behind schedule. I think the only way to salvage this is to read a lot of shorter books. I've still got a lot of blogger buddy books on my Kindle and a lot of them are short. But I'm also trying to stick to my monthly themes, and I'm on Anne Rice right now, which (you guessed it), is going slower than I'd thought. But this is the closest I've ever come to my 100 goal so I guess either way I've read more books this year than any other year, even if I don't make it there.

3. Watch 100 new movies

This is another one I make every year but never seem to get. You'd think since I have HBO and Netflix and Amazon Prime AND I live above a freakin' movie theater (I'm not kidding), it would be easy. I think it's just a time thing. I get way too restless to just sit there for two hours (especially in a theater). I like to multitask. But! I think this goal is doable. I'm currently at 78 movies (see my IMDb list!). 

Do I think I can get all three goals done? Uhhh...probably not. I think if I really tried to get the reading goal done, I wouldn't have time to finish the writing goal. But if I come up short on the reading goal because I was too busy finishing my third draft, well, I wouldn't exactly be disappointed. But I would be very disappointed if I didn't get either of them. So I'll just keep trying and see what happens. 

Do you have any end of the year goals? Would you rather get writing or reading done?

03 October 2018

Derailed (Also, Back Up Your Work!)

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I should probably start with some good news! At the time of last month's IWSG post, I'd just finished my Chapter 16 edit. Since then, I've also finished 17, 18, and 19! Weird, right? I really felt like I was on a roll, like I couldn't be stopped....

but then...

Last Wednesday night, I went to turn on my computer. And nothing happened. It wouldn't turn on. Now, my laptop was probably at least 6 years old and the internal battery was useless, but it still worked fine with an adapter. It hadn't shown any signs of anything being wrong with it so I had no idea why it wasn't even turning on. My husband took it to some guys he knows at a computer repair place (that was closing in about a half hour) and they said they'd look at it. 

And so I was derailed. Like, I was a train riding smoothly along the track and suddenly I'm crashing down a cliff. Thursday was my day off and my plans of writing all day went right out the window. And before you say "well, just write by hand" I'll just say I DON'T THINK SO. I always write on the computer AND a huge chunk of dialogue I'd already written for Chapter 20 was on my flash drive. I hadn't printed it yet so I had no way of looking at it. 

I was also in slight panic mode. Most of the time I save my writing directly to my flash drive. Trust me, anything related to Uneven Lines, including all of the nonsense I've written for my two sequel ideas, is safe. I'm not a COMPLETE idiot. I back up my flash drive regularly on my computer, I print out finished chapters. I probably should back it up to some type of cloud thing (I'm super with technology as you can see) since now I'm even more paranoid. My blood, sweat, and tears have literally gone into this and I'll be damned if anything was going to make me lose it all (literally? ok, maybe just the tears). 

It was the other ideas. The shiny stories. Shiny New Story, to be specific. But also a fantasy novel idea that I'd only recently started actually writing instead of just playing scene ideas in my head.  I'd put a lot of work into Scrivener files for those ideas. And I'd never backed them up. They were only on my laptop, which was now in laptop limbo. 

Was it the end of the world? No. I hadn't exactly written pages and pages in these stories. But I'd written some good stuff. I'd done a lot of outlining, too, which I never do. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to rewrite those scenes and have them be as good just from my memory. So I was really kicking myself.

Did it all turn out ok? Mostly! The bad news was that my laptop was officially dead. I was advised not to put any money into it. The good news was that they could save everything from my hard drive. They sold me a used computer that was similar and transferred all of the files onto a folder there. It took me some time to reclaim my Scrivener purchase (because I was definitely not paying $40 for something I already had) and redownload it onto my new computer, but once I did, there they were! My shinies!!! Alive! And not lost! 

So the moral of the story is, BACK UP YOUR DAMN WORK! But I guess my bigger problem now is, I still feel derailed. I lost that drive I had when I was busting through chapter edits. And maybe part of the problem is that my latest chapter isn't actually an edit. It's a brand spankin' new chapter that I've never written before. But I think if the laptop fiasco had never happened, I wouldn't have fallen into this rut so easily. 

But I digress. Back up your work, people!

05 September 2018

My Unsellable Book

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Here we are at another IWSG day! I feel like I've lost my writing mojo. It went from not having the time or energy to write, to just not wanting to write at all. I did finish my Chapter 16 edit earlier in the month, though! So that's good. I also have a long staycation after this week (starting Friday at exactly 2:30, thank you very much) and I really hope I can get lots of writing done. We'll see.

Don't even get me started on my reading goal! I still have two Harry Potter books to read and I'm only on my FOURTH blogger buddy book (and I started with the shortest ones!!!!). Now I'm into September which was supposed to be Banned Books. I haven't even picked what books to read. But hey, Banned Books Week isn't until the 23rd, so....plenty of time, right???

Anyhoo, I decided this month to utilize the IWSG's optional question, which is:

What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

This is a tricky question, but basically I'm considering any and all publishing paths, especially for Uneven Lines. In an ideal world, I'd like to be traditionally published, but I'm not so sure if it's in the cards for this particular book. Why? Well.......because it's probably unsellable. 

Man, I've really dug myself into a hole with this one. I mean, I knew before I started that it was a controversial topic. I wanted to write about a relationship between a teenager and an adult. I can only blame myself for this. But once all the details started filling themselves in, I fell in love with the thing. And it's been a struggle, but I've worked so hard on it, making it complicated, trying to make every line meaningful and mutli-layered and I really think if someone would give it half a chance they would actually enjoy it. 

A big part of the problem is finding a way to describe the book in a query letter or even a blurb that will get someone to actually be interested and not immediately turned off. I haven't quite figured that out yet. Well, mostly because I'm still working on the book. It's one of those I'll cross that bridge when I get to it kind of things. I did write a query letter for it once (for that pitching thing that must not be named) and I vaguely remember (because I've blocked it out of my memory) one of the mentors saying that the relationship came off as predatory. IN THE QUERY LETTER! I was like, huh? Clearly I did a terrible job on this letter if you have zero clue about the personalities of my characters and are jumping to conclusions. So in order to sell this book my query letter is probably going to have to be just as complicated as the book itself. 

But I digress...there's also that whole I don't know if its YA or NA or Adult thing. But...yeah. Basically, if I ever actually finish this book to the point where I think it's ready to be published, I'm going to try to get an agent and a publisher. But I am mentally preparing myself for it not to happen. I don't have too much of an idea of where to start for self-publishing, but that's just another bridge, I suppose. 

First I gotta finish the book, amiright?????

01 August 2018

Falling Behind

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Another IWSG day and I still feel like I'm in a rut. I feel like a broken record sometimes with these blog posts. I really want to start blogging more, too, but it's hard to come up with ideas. I do have a lot of vacation time coming up so maybe I can spend some of that planning some posts. And I may or may not force a certain someone to write a post for next Monday. 

Anyway! Some good news! I FINALLY finished my Chapter 15 edit! That I more or less have been working on since February. And by more or less I mean I spent most of that time avoiding it. But it's done! And it was the last really in depth make out scene in the book so I'm really glad because I seriously ran out of ways to describe kissing. 

Now I'm onto Chapter 16...which, as usual, is going slower than I'd hoped. But this time it's more of a time/energy/enough coffee deal than me avoiding it. There is a lot of potential symbolism in this chapter that I'm just NOW realizing I really didn't explore enough. On the third draft. I make so much sense. 

I'm also waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind on my reading goals. July was my Harry Potter reread month, and I'm still on Prisoner of Azkaban. Yeah. In my defense, I started very late...because I was behind on my June books...because I was behind on my May books. You get it. August is supposed to be my blogger buddies' books month! Because I have so many on my Kindle! That means if you're reading this and you have a book published, there's a good chance your book is on my list! But I don't know if I should finish Harry Potter first, put HP aside to start the blogger buddies, or try to read both simultaneously. 

I am seriously doubting if I'll actually make it to 100 books this year. But I'm not giving up. I've still read a lot more books than I have in any previous year. 

And that's about it. Next week is my birthday (!) and I am a) not working after Monday, b) going to see Moulin Rouge (the musical!), and c) having lots of time to myself because hubby is going to Boston Comic Con for three days. So hopefully that will be lots of reading and writing time. I also get to cheat on my diet. 

Are you behind on any goals?

03 July 2018

Ramblin' Time

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It's one of those days where I don't know what to write about (every day??). I'm not sure if I have no ideas or too many ideas. So I apologize if this post ends up being filled with rambling. 

The IWSG Twitter Pitch is coming up aaaaaaaaaaaaaand...there's no way I'll be participating, even though I really wanted to. For multiple reasons, but the main one being, MY BOOK ISN'T DONE. Probably not a good idea to pitch a book that's not done, right? Just ask...oh, yeah, me when I tried PitchWars *shudders*. Never again. Oh, and I'm still stuck on Chapter 15 for those of you keeping score at home. I'm lucky if I can get one sentence written a day.

My other big reason for not doing the Twitter pitch is that I'm still not quite sure on what age range to pitch my book to. It's complicated. I've gone back and forth between thinking it was YA and then thinking it should be Adult, and then changing my mind again and again and again. So the book is front the point of view of a fifteen-year-old, and it does have some coming of age elements, but I'm not entirely sure this is a book should be marketed to minors. I'm also not so sure if adults would even want to read it, though. Basically, I've written an unsellable book. I don't think, "I swear it's good!" is a great selling point.

But maybe when I actually finish the thing I'll let some people read it and get their input. 

And now for something completely different...

This month's optional question is: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

I guess my goal has always been to publish a book, so that has never changed. But I think the goals change depending on the WIP. For UL, obviously the first step would be to publish it. Then comes the movie deal, of course. Ok, not really (but maybe). Then I would want to figure out if my sequel ideas are actually worth pursuing. Aaaaaaaaand that's pretty much it. Then there's other story ideas, of course (shiny!). 

All right, I'm done rambling. For now.

06 June 2018

Blog Post Scrambling & Title Struggling

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So, a funny thing happened to me at work today. There I was, walking around, minding my own business, when it suddenly hit me that a) it was already Wednesday, and b) I FORGOT TO WRITE MY BLOG POST!!!! I've come close to forgetting before, but I've never actually forgotten. So now that I am home from work I am scrambling to write it, and hopefully I'll still have some time and energy to get around to some other blogs. (If not, tomorrow's my day off so I'll be playing catch up!) 

Anyhoo, since I'm scrambling, this is a perfect opportunity to utilize the IWSG's optional question of month! Which is: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names? 

This is an easy one for me. BOOK TITLES. *cough* Definitely book titles. Book titles are a serious struggle for me. They can take years. Character names, on the other hand--piece of cake! Most of the time it's like I'm not even naming them at all. It's more like their names just pop into my head, like the characters are telling me the names they already have. 

Example time! When I first started writing Uneven Lines, once I figured out an idea of who the characters were, their names pretty much popped into my head instantaneously (clearly Jordan is the type of pushy character who would name himself). 

The title on the other hand, took a loooooooooooooooooong time. When it was originally a short story, it was called "Saying Yes," which did work considering some of the elements in that story. But when I started adapting, I changed a lot and that title just didn't work anymore. So it went to titleless. About two years later I came up another title, The Formula. It kinda sorta worked and I did like it but it just didn't feel good enough. It was boring. 

About eight months after that I finally settled on my current title, but not without some struggling. The words actually came to me individually. I'd always felt "Uneven" should be in the title, because that's representative of a lot of aspects of my characters' relationships. Then eventually I realized "Lines" was also a good fit, because there's actual math in the book, as well as a hell of a lot of figurative lines (like, lines being crossed in particular). And so I finally had it! And it's been over four years without a change. 

So, long story short, I struggle way more with book titles than character names. Shiny New Story is still called Shiny New Story. Pretty much all of my other book ideas are titleless, including the potential sequels for UL. But character names? Usually all I have to do is listen. 

02 May 2018

Try Something Shiny

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So here we are at another IWSG day...and I feel like I'm in the exact same place I've been in for the past two months. I just don't have much of a desire to work on my novel. I desperately want it to be done, but I don't want to work on it. Solid logic, right?

Anyway, I decided to change my strategy (you know, doing absolutely nothing), at least for a little while. Take the pressure off a little. So I let my mind drift to a different story. Shiny New Story, to be specific (which will get an actual title at some point). And then eventually my fingers drifted as well. As in actual writing. Real life words! Not just random ideas I punch into my phone at 3 AM. Like, paragraphs! Dialogue! Stuff happening!

I think there were a lot of factors that made it easier to work on SNS. Just because it was something different. Because it's a first draft and I can write really crappy sentences and not care. Or even care if everything is making complete sense, because I can fix it later. And the main parts I worked on were particularly suspenseful, which was a fun change. Not all of my story ideas always involve suspense, but I do really enjoy it, so it was fun to work on.

I'm not entirely certain this completely reinvigorated my desire to write. I was hoping after indulging for a while, I would eventually get back into editing UL. That still hasn't happened. But it was nice taking a little break and to actually get some writing done instead of just avoiding everything.

At least I know when I'm struggling to write/edit, I always have something shiny to distract me.