Laser Focus

I’m hard at work on my edit.  I thought that I wrote relatively clean and strong prose.  I quickly learned otherwise.  While I haven’t removed any entire scenes, I’ve chopped out about 3,000 words and will be cutting more.  I’ve focused in on fixing those problems.

So focused, I forgot that I needed to post last week.  Oops.

I’ve looked at my schedule for the rest of the month and made the decision I won’t be posting again until the 9th.  I’ll be doing my usual Things That Go Bump In The Night series.  After that, I may have something to announce.

So see you all in October.

Developmental Editing

Two weeks ago, I dove head first into my developmental edit for Chaos Wolf.  It has been enlightening, to say the least.

I won’t subject your eyes to the sea of red I’m wading through. There are many comments that I’m in the process of absorbing. I’ve come to the conclusion that when I’m on, I am on.  But when I am off, I am definitely off.  I’m about equal parts on and off at the moment.  I’m at about the half-way point.  Right now I’m fixing the small things.  There are comments that I have skipped over because I’m going to have to put a lot of thought into how to fix it, and I don’t want to vapor lock when I could be making progress.

In a case of synchronicity, I listened to a podcast earlier this week about developmental editors, and are they really necessary.  In his opinion, they are not.  A good “first reader” should be able to provide the same input and not cost you a thing.

I arched an eyebrow.  Then I deleted that podcast from my phone.  I have given my story to beta readers and first readers.  While they have given me invaluable advice, they have not given me the in-depth information that my developmental editor has.  And I can’t ask them to.  They have helped point out problem areas.  I do not expect them to go over the document with a fine-toothed comb, strengthening language the way this edit has done.

Perhaps with his writing process, he can do this. With my writing process, I cannot. I would not hesitate in recommending a developmental editor, such as Michelle Dunbar.

Word Output

I’m proud of my word output, minuscule though it may be.

I’ve written over 8,400 words in the last two weeks.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot for most professional writers.  In fact, I know it’s not a lot.  I listen to podcasts where people talk about a daily output of 1,000 to 2,000 words a day.  In fact, I heard one where the person (humble)bragged about being able to write 5,000 words per day.  Makes my average of 560 per day seem rather anemic.

That is when I stop, take a step back, and remind myself of a few things.  The people who I’ve heard talking about writing massive quantities of words and put out multiple books a year are people who write as a full-time job.  They have a supportive spouse and family that they can depend on.

Me, I’m juggling my day job, caring for my mother, and behind-the-scenes work of self-publishing all on my own.  And did I mention that Sherbert likes to help me write?

Sherbert “helping” me write.

So, yeah.  I’m not going to be one of those people who put out a book every three months.  At this point, I’ll be lucky to put out a book a year.  My day job isn’t going away anytime soon.  My mother, knock on wood, won’t be either.  So I’m learning to not compare my output to people who can sit in front of their computer for eight hours and do their job.  Those people put out multiple books a year.  Does that make me a failure to only be able to do one book a year?

No, it does not.

Now once I start publishing, things may change.  I’m fumbling around right now, learning everything as I go.  And I know there are a few tricks I could use to up my output. But here’s the important thing.  I get to decide what success is.  If it’s writing 840 words a day, good.  If it’s writing 8,400 words a day, good.  If it’s writing one word a day, good.  It’s all up to me.

What I’m Working On – July 2017 Edition

Well, June and most of July was a loss because of illness and the website issues.  So here’s where things stand.

  • Chaos Wolf, Jordan Abbey Novel #1 – Urban fantasy novel. Currently being read by the developmental editor.  Working on the non-story elements it will need (cover, blurb, etc.)
  • Chaos Hunt, Jordan Abbey Novel #2 –  Urban fantasy novel.  Still on hold until Chaos Wolf is complete.
  • Fan Fiction Rewrite – Paranormal romance novel. This is a “new” project.  Taking another pass at stripping out the TV series elements to fit it into a shared novel universe.  Rereading and leaving notes about elements that need to change.
  • Hummingbird –  Short story.  I think I’ve figured out how to fix it.  I haven’t had a chance to actually rewrite it.
  • Lucy Harker, Vampire Hunter –  Urban fantasy novel.  No forward movement on this yet.  Debating on starting over from the beginning to fix several tonal disconnects.
  • Project Fang – Paranormal romance novel.  Co-written with a friend.  Still paused and will be for the foreseeable future due to real life issues.
  • Radiant Shadows – Urban fantasy novel. Co-written with a friend.  Also paused while we figure out a schedule for working and complete an outline.
  • Thin Red Line – Urban fantasy novel. Co-written with a friend. Still plugging away at it.  Once we have the rough draft done, we will begin a rewrite to eliminate the head hopping.

2017 Goals Check In

I meant to do this last week, but because of various health issues (both mine and my cats), I ended up pushing it off for a week.  So here we go.

  • Write more consistently every day – I am going to aim for 500 words a day with fewer non-writing days.
    • Not even close. According to my Word Count Spread Sheet O’ Doom, I averaged 102 words a day.  Because of illness, I’ve missed more writing days to date this year than last.
  • Read more books – I’m setting a goal of 40 for 2017.
    • As of the end of June, I’ve read 21 books so far.
  • Submit the final draft of Chaos Wolf
    • Changed my mind and started the self-publish process.  Chaos Wolf is out for a developmental edit and I’m filling out the paperwork for a cover.  More on that in a future post.
  • Write more short stories
    • I rewrote one short story, and I think it’s going to be rewritten completely again based on feedback I’ve received.  I’ve got ideas for more short stories, and I’ll wedge them in between the novels I’m working on
  • Rewrite the first draft of the second Jordan Abbey novel Chaos Hunt.
    • Haven’t started it yet.  Once the developmental edit for Chaos Wolf is done, I’ll get back to work on this one.
  • Transform the fanfic story into an original story
    • This is going to need an extensive rewrite to fit it into a something I’m interested in participating in.  More details in another post.
  • Finish the draft of Lucy Harker, Vampire Hunter
    • Not quite there yet.  I had to stop and do research, but I’m diving back in.
  • Tweet and Facebook more
    • Working on it, but with the day job, I feel like the conversation is long over by the time I see it.  I did hook up my Twitter to post to my Facebook at least.
  • Find a writing group either online or in realspace to join.
    • Done a little research.  The problem is that the ones I’m interested in are during times I can’t attend, and I don’t have an interest in founding one myself.

In summary, I’m on target for some things, and others I still need to work on. We’ll see where I am at the end of the year.

The Week That Was

My writing has been somewhat sidetracked for the last month, but this has been a worse week.  During the cold itself I wasn’t able to write much. Instead of words, I was creating random keyboard strikes while coughing.

One of the stories I’m co-writing I’ve had problems dredging up enthusiasm for.  I was banging my head against a window.  I could see where I wanted to go, but no matter how hard I pushed, I couldn’t break through the glass.  I thought it had to do with the monster cold, but even as I felt better, I was still blocked. Julie and I had a talk about the plot and character motivations, and we seem to be back on track.

With that problem solved, my next goals were to get ready for Chaos Wolf’s developmental edit, outline the finish Lucy Harker, and begin setting research for a story.  Thursday, I took Sherbert in for a possible tooth extraction and an ultrasound of a suspicious lump.  Prior vets had told us it was just a fat pad, but that diagnosis never seemed to sit well.

Turns out we were right to be leery of that diagnosis.  While she didn’t need her tooth extracted, the “fat pad” turned out to be an umbilical hernia.  She had surgery the same day to fix it, which she came through with flying colors.  The post surgery was less stellar.

We kept her separate per doctor’s instructions.  Then she slipped out of Mom’s bedroom at 3:00 AM Friday.  I spent the morning trying to figure out where Sherbert had slunk off to and keeping the other cats from harassing her too much.  It turns out there’s a spot under the couch that I can’t reach that is just the perfect size for Sherbert to curl up in.  I managed to get some sleep between the growling but had a hard time stringing words together.

Four AM Saturday Mom woke me up.  We hadn’t seen Sherbert use the litter box, and Mom thought her belly felt big.  So I threw on clothes and put her in the carrier and took her to the emergency vet clinic.  The vet (a woman who was way too nice for it being 5:00 AM) said that since Sherbert’s bladder was small, she was probably using the litter box when we weren’t looking.  So I paid for Sherbert’s visit and put her back in the car.  Sherbert then proved that she could use the bathroom.

The stress and lack of sleep knocked me out for most of Saturday.  I wrote with Julie Saturday night, but I’m not sure that it made any sense.  I’ll go back and reread it.   I’ve been staring at Chaos Wolf, trying to decide if I make a structural change to the chapters before I submit it for the edit.  I haven’t even touched the other two stories that I wanted to start on.

It looks like July will be the month I spend getting things back on track.  Fortunately, I don’t have any close, hard deadlines.  The few deadlines I do have are cushioned by a healthy buffer. So after getting back to normal, it will be time to dive in again.

Clawing My Way Back To Health

I’m still recovering from con crud.  It hit so bad that I haven’t been able to go back to the day job.  I finally turned a corner on Wednesday night when I was able to get six hours uninterrupted sleep.  Still, this has been the cold from hell.  With any luck, I’m returning to the day job today. At least it didn’t become bronchitis.

It has severely sapped my energy, to say the least.  I’ve been picking at things that I intended to get done after the con, and managed to accomplish a few.  They all involve writing, but none of them involve actual putting words on paper.  So my word counts are still at the levels they were before BayCon.  I hope I can get things scheduled out to something closer to normal this week.

In the mean time, my friend ElizaBeth Gilligan has released the third book in her Silken Magic series, Sovereign Silk.  You can find it at Amazon,  Barnes and Noble, iBooks Store, or your preferred bookseller.

Book Cover Sovereign Silk By ElizaBeth Gilligan

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What I’m Working On – May 2017 Edition

The answer to the question “What are you writing?” is not that much.

Like I said in my last post, I’m catching up on my costume.  I’m closer, but I have at least a week’s worth of work to finish, as well as a script and music to take care of.  I should be done in time for BayCon, but it’s going to be close.

So most my writing is currently On Hold –

  • Chaos Hunt –  Urban fantasy novel.  Scratched notes for some tweaks to its current outline.  Once Chaos Wolf is completely locked down I will start working on this one in earnest.
  • Chaos Wolf – Urban Fantasy Novel. It’s being read by a beta-reader. Looking around to hire a developmental editor
  • Hummingbird –  Short story.  Haven’t looked at it yet.  I may ice this one for a while until the short story bug bites again.
  • Lucy Harker, Vampire Hunter –  Urban fantasy novel. After BayCon, I will finish the first draft.
  • Project Fang – Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance novel.  Co-written with a friend.  Paused until I can finish up the costume.  Probably will resume after BayCon.
  • Radiant Shadows – Urban fantasy novel. Co-written with a friend.  Waiting for feedback from the first part of outline and trying to figure out the rest of the plot.

In Progress –

  • Root Inspirations – I’ve been rehired.  I’m working away at another set of ten descriptions for coloring pages.
  • Thin Red Line – Urban fantasy novel. Co-written with a friend. Plugging away with it at about a rate of 300 words a day.  Those are my words, not hers.  At the moment, it’s the only thing keeping me sane.  Julie would be highly amused by that statement.

Basically, I’ve got a lot of work that I’m pushing off until after BayCon.  Then instead of having calluses on the sides of my fingers from knitting, they’ll be on the tips from typing.

Before I forget, Denise Tanaka has released her new book Truth In Cinders.  Go buy it!  It’s awesome.

Deadlines

I’m very good at making things like deadlines.  Making sure I hit them is another matter entirely.

Case in point.  Right now I am frantically knitting away at the costume for the masquerade at BayCon.  This is a deadline I’ve known about since this time last year when I first had the idea for the costume.   I’ve been doing a lot of planning in my head, but haven’t really kicked into high gear since the beginning of April, partially due to setbacks in my real life. There were several weeks in a row that I told myself “I can start that next week.”

Now that time is gone and I am trying to make it up.  My fingers have calluses that can attest to that.  I’m looking at the list of things I need to get done for the costume that I can knock out quickly or purchase instead.

Writing has taken a similar path.  I’ve been able to put out these blog posts consistently.  I have one hard deadline at the end of July, which I will keep since it is a paying job.  The rest keep sliding into the future, like Lucy Harker, Vampire Hunter, and Chaos Hunt, the sequel to Chaos Wolf. I need to get those back on track.

The problem is I only have so many free hours per day to devote to knitting or to writing. So for the moment, heavy writing is put on hold.  I’ll keep up blogging cause the Friday Links take me all of five minutes to throw together and next week will be my announcement about where to find me during BayCon.  After BayCon I am putting the focus back on writing and getting Chaos Wolf ready for publication. Hopefully this time, the deadlines won’t slip.

Decision Made

I’ve been doing some thinking about my novel, Chaos Wolf.  After several rejections, I’ve had several people look over the query and the manuscript.  And while they all agree that I have written a good book, I may not have written a marketable-by-the-Big-5-publishers book.  That leaves me with a several options.

  1. I can keep querying agents.
  2. Keep sending into slush piles focusing on medium to small press.
  3. I trunk the novel and wait for a change in the market.
  4. Self-publish

I’ve been turning the options over in my head, talked to several people and came to the conclusions that I should self-publish it.  Why did I choose that option?

For 1, if it’s not sellable in this market, there’s no point in querying it.

For 2, for the most part, I haven’t seen any benefits to small press publishing that I won’t get from self-publishing.

For 3, Chaos Wolf is first of a series that I have planned out, so trunking it would cut out a substantial chunk of the stories I want to tell.

For 4, it’s a lot of work that I will have to do.  But if I want it out soon*, it’s my best option, plus I will not be in the situation where books 1 and 2 are picked up, while book 3, 4, and 5 are not.

Now that I have a direction to head in, a weight has lifted off my shoulders.  I’m making a list of everything I have to do – hire an editor, hire cover an artist, figure out what I need to have set up ahead of time before I hit the publish button.  Right now I’m figuring out my new timeline.  So watch this space for future announcements.

*For values of soon that include about a one year period.

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