Writing Update: September 2021.

Well, it’s been exactly four weeks since PitMad, and I can honestly say I’ve never been so disappointed in all my life.  Not that I wasn’t surprised, but I thought I’d get more out of it than I did. A hell of a lot more. Honestly, I thought I had an interesting story, but apart from the other authors it didn’t seem to strike a chord with any of the agents who were looking over the pitches.

While this is a setback, to be honest, it wasn’t all that surprising. Especially when you see PitMad in real time. So many posts go flying past, it’s hard to read them, and as the final tally was over 50,000 during the event, that’s a lot of scrolling.

On to round two – querying agents. I swear I’m an old hat at this. I’ve queried two other books and it felt nice getting back into the swing of researching agents. Of course, because I was using a different and sub-standard writing program, I didn’t realize that there were a few grammar mistakes in the samples I sent. I caught it after the first ten were sent.

I gave PitMad a week for replies, but with querying it must be longer, so I’ll give it until the new year. January 3rd. That would be four months exactly. In the meantime, I’ll be working on book two, because this was always going to be a four-book series. I’m also looking into publishers, and the self-publishing sites I’m on.

Oh, and I went in with my mother and purchased a subscription to Word. At least it’s cheaper this way.

Maybe next month I’ll have happier news.

Query Stats September 30/2021

33 queried

7 rejects

0 request

Writing Update: Thursday, August 28th, 2021.

There’s only one project to update on, and I am proud to say that Eva and Sky’s Magical Hair Solution is DONE.

This is the first YA story I’ve ever written and I was surprised how easily the plot evolved considering the last YA I wrote was when I was a YA myself. Maybe it was the setting? It’s based in the early 80s, and even though I do remember some things of what it was like back then, there was still a lot of research I had to do. For instance, the book opens in 1982 and I had a few of the characters dressed like Madonna, but she didn’t come on the music scene until almost a year later. I remember the whole Madonna craze, I just couldn’t remember what came before her.

When I mean done, I mean revised, edited, revised again and final edits. I have a couple pitches for PitMad this September 2nd, and a 1000-word synopsis. I’ve worked on this for a solid year, and it feels so good to finally have it complete.

There was a lot I cut from this story, including a major sub-plot that really didn’t push the story forward, but if I end up doing a second book, I can put it in there because at that point, it will be part of the plot.

While I wait for Pitmad to start, I have some time to look at where I want the story to go. I do have an overall plot for four books, but I as the characters are in high school, I need to connect the plot to that setting. I have a fews ideas, and I think it’ll be fun but I need to worked hard to keep it from feeling like Harry Potter, and I’m pretty sure I can accomplish that.

Hopefully, I’ll have some good news for next month’s update.

Writing Update: Friday July 30, 2021.

It’s been four months since I wrote an update. Work started back, and between that and a few non-writing projects, I forgot about my blog. I think there will be random blog posts going forward. There’s just not enough time during the day to do everything I want and need to do.

But enough whining . . .

Eva & Skye’s Magical Hair Solution.

Revisions are done. It was a hard revision too. I cut about 4k from the story and focused more on two primary areas; Eva and her love interest, and the ending. The ending is important, not just because it’s the ending, but here is where the final lesson is learned and I really need to show that.

Even after all this time, I still love this story. I love reseraching and remembering what it was like beeing a teen in the 80’s. Back then, it seems like a great time, but I was too young to understand what was really going on in the world. I don’t think I’d want to return to that time, not when we’ve come so far socially.

For the next month I need to work on the synopsis and minor edits. The synopsis is going to kill me. I have NO IDEA how to write one, so if you’ve got any tricks, let me know.

W.I.P #2 (formally known as Gutterchilde)

I’ve been poking at this one again. I don’t care for the plot anymore so the whole thing has to be re-written. The only thing I do like is the map I created. I found a rough outline for a Victorian paranormal series I wanted to explore, and I think I’ll combine the two. I’ve got such a rich, detailed map drawn up, now I just need a story that will do the map justice.

This is so frustrating! I have an idea of what I want the story to be, but it’s changed so much in the years since I first thought of the idea, I don’t know what I want for it now. I’ll poke at it some more over the next few months. Maybe something will stick.

How is your writing coming along? This might seem a bit premature, but is anyone gearing up for NaNo yet?

Hopefully it won’t be another four months before I post another update.

Writing Update: March, 2021.

My laptop died. I’ve had a battery problem for the last year and a half, and it went critical during the summer. That was fine, I just made sure that my charger was close by and when the power drained (usually after an hour of use), I’d charge it up. Then, right after I’d finished the second last chapter, it no longer recognized the charger! Not only that, the plug was loose so if I moved, it would slip slightly and disconnect. I was writing with one eye on the charger and the other on my file. Thank the Gods I save everything to a flash drive.

With that, and the fact we’re in a third lockdown that has been extended until the middle of May. I’m truly surprised that I got as much writing done as I did. The stress of the last few months has seen me do other things than write, which adds to my stress levels, and I’m surprised I’m not an alcoholic at this point.

So let’s begin:

Eva and Skye’s Magical Hair Solution

I have finished the first draft. It was completed on the seventeenth of April. The final few chapters were hard to write, not because I was coming to the end, but because of the content. I had to break my characters hearts and while they’re not long scenes, I did tear up.

My work place stayed open do to online orders and curb-side, so I had A LOT of time off and manage to get work done. It wasn’t my 2000 words per day that I did during the 2nd lockdown, but I’m happy with what I did. I found two sub-plots as I wrote this last few months; one will deal with a volatile relationship between one of the characters and a love interest. I’ve raged against ‘bad boy’ characters becoming a love interest for years, now I’m going to show you why (read my original rant HERE). The second has to do with two secondary characters. Their storyline will continue into the rest of the books I have planned. I also did a bit of foreshadowing dealing with the other main character and the overall plot to the series, but it won’t really come into being until the second book. 

The most challenging aspect of these magical realism stories is creating a world that doesn’t resemble Harry Potter, especially when it comes to the education of young magical people, and while I don’t want to build an entire education system from scratch, that might be what happens. I also found an interesting sub-plot dealing with Eva’s father’s family, and I want to incorporate this into future books.

Word count – 89,678 of 89,000.

I had planned on just working on a new project for a few weeks and leave this one alone, but the night I finished it, things started coming to me; little things, revision things, and I got up and I’ve started editing and revising. If I do a scene a day, it should take me about nine weeks. If I can do more than one scene per day, great, but I have to take into account that I will be going back to work and one scene may be all I can do before my eyes get too tired. So I finished on the 18 of April. I should be done with revisions by June 20th.

That is the goal.

So tell me, how is your writing going, or not going? I’d love to hear how your projects are coming along.

Writing Update: March 2021

2020 took a toll on my writing, and it seems 2021 is going to be a little easier on me. Our second lockdown ended half way through February and it felt great to get back to work, but my writing suffered for the first few weeks. I really didn’t work on anything until the beginning of March, and then it wasn’t the 2k that I’d been doing during 2nd Lockdown. At least I was writing, and two other stories started poking at me again.

So let’s begin:

Eva and Skye’s Magical Hair Solution

As I’m back at work, I’ve dropped my writing goal to 1,000 again. With blogging and other things, I don’t have the extra time to add more than that to the project. I’ve also been adding plot ideas for a second book. I want to have four books for this series, and I do have a rough idea of where they’re going to go. This first one will be light, but it’ll get darker as the story goes forward.

Word count – 63,000 of 89,000.

Pangea

This is a semi-new project and that’s the working title. I’ve mentioned before that I grew bored with my Gutterchild story (and then someone used that name for their published book), and working on the story with Scrivener did renew some interest, and I’ve been looking at this one again. I like the overall plot, but there are some details that need to be changed. I had originally wanted several books for this series, but right now I just want to get the first draft out. This won’t be the same plot as Gutterchild, and I’m still debating if I should move forward with it or mesh in a new one. I like the new idea too. I’m just not sure if I can sustain it for more than one book.

Zombie Plague

Another story that’s been poking at me again. After Nightfire rejected it *sadface* I didn’t send it out again. Life got complicated again (holiday season) and between being exhausted from work and the talk of a second lockdown (which happened), this story was the last thing on my mind. One good thing about being in a pandemic, I now know how the government-all three levels, along with the population at large, would handle a world-wide outbreak. Now that I have real-world experience, I want to include that into the novel, which means a minor revision. There are also a few things I want to take out and put into the second book, which already has a first draft. Looks like I’ll have a lot to do once I finish the first draft of EVA AND SKYE.

Take care and stay safe.

2020 Writing Update

It’s New Year’s Eve. The end of a stressful and heartbreaking year. Everyone’s lives have changed so much in the last 12 months, that it’s hard not to look back and genuinely hope that 2021 will be better.

I write this at the beginning of yet another shutdown. No doom-scrolling this time. I’m quite over that, and lack of money aside, I’m enjoying this one. It’s given me a chance to work on my NaNo2020 project – EVA AND SKYE’S MAGICAL HAIR SOLUTION. I didn’t finish it by the end of November, which was a given considering I work retail and the holiday shopping season ramps up during that month, so I’m taking this time now to work on it daily. I’ve set a personal goal of writing two-thousand words per day, and so far I’ve kept to that goal with only one day off. This story has come together better than I had expected. I’m at forty-thousand words of the fifty-thousand word goal, that will be extended to seventy-five. Mind you, this is still the first draft so there may be some deep edits coming.

My zombie-plague novel SURVIVAL RULES was rejected from Nightfire. It happens. I’ve set it aside for now. Not really sure what I want to do with it, but at least it’s done. I may have to change the name too. There is a writer at another indie publishing house who has a zombie series with almost the same title (she has the word RULES in her title), and she’s done the same thing that I wanted to do as well; have RULES in the title of each of her books. Maybe something new will come to me.

I haven’t touched either of my ghost stories DOWN FINNEGAN’S HOLLOW or THE POSSESSION OF MERCY MOREAU. Right now I’m focused on Eva and Skye and it’s completion.

Well that’s it for the end of this year. I am truly hoping 2021 will be so much better.

For those of you who subscribe to my newsletter, keep an eye out for a little something from me in the New Year; a post with a small excerpt from Eva and Skye. For those of you who don’t, if you’re so inclined, click HERE and it’ll take you to my web page and you can sign up from there.

Have a safe and happy New Year.

Writing Update: Friday, July 31, 2020

It’s been a while since I’ve done a writing update. I think the last was back in spring or so when I was posting video updates. With the pandemic, my writing suffered. I had almost two months off and I did next to no writing on anything. I didn’t think I was under stress, but after learning that others were in the same place, yeah, maybe I was. Stress can mess with you in ways you’d never think. I thought I was handling all this fine, turns out I wasn’t. Jump forward several months and I’m back writing again. Going back to work was stressful too. They gave us long hours and my days off were spent trying to recover from those shifts, so I didn’t get any writing done again, and then we had to put Miss Molly down. This has not been an easy time.

A big shock to me was learning that Microsoft won’t be supporting Word 10 after October. I know there’s a rare chance that it’ll stop working, but with my luck that’s just what will happen and I’ll lose all my progress. So I broke down and downloaded Scrivener trial for the third time. This time, I did the tutorial. Took me the better part of the morning, but I can see where this program is preferred so much over Word. It’s about $30-$40 cheaper and has organizational elements that are incredible.  My mind went into overdrive with this feature and now I have so much information about a WIP that I’m excited to write on it again.

I FINALLY heard back from SF Canada, and am now member.

Even with all this, there was progress made, so let’s get started.

Survival Rules: Finished editing this and had a beta look over it. I wrote a query and started subbing in April to a select few agents I thought would be a good fit. The list wasn’t that big; thirteen to fifteen altogether. After querying agents and basically going nowhere, I made out a list of indie publishers who took this genre. I didn’t sub to them all at once, but rather I am doing this one at a time. It’ll take longer no doubt, but it’ll give me the chance to work on the other novels in the series.

Scrivener will be really good for me and my serial projects. I’ve already transferred the second half of this novel (it was originally 120k) to the program and am sorting things out.

The first sub was a new Tor imprint – Nightfire. It’s going to take a while to hear back from them, but I’ll let you know when I do either way.

Short Story – I subbed an old short of mine to Abyss & Apex. I like short stories, I don’t write enough of them. They are a paying market, and like Nightfire, I will let you know either way when I hear from them.

Gutterchilde – Do you remember this one? I’ve worked on it for years now. I got up to chapter fourteen and quit. It just wasn’t going anywhere. That’s changed. With the new writing program I came up with a story that really excites me. It started as a Steampunk, but now I don’t think I’ll continue it that way. I have another idea and I’m bringing back some supernatural elements to it as well. Hell, I even have a map! The Time After is a reference in the story to the beginning of this world’s calendar. There is no set calendar for this world, so each region has it’s own. Some are old, and some change with the government. My goal is to eventually have a global calendar, but I want to explore all the different ones first.

Down Finnegan’s Hollow – This is another story that benefited from the new writing program. I have one chapter left to revise and then I can go through and make sure everything flows properly. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it; it’s one of those projects I just want done.

Anyway, that’s it for now. With the summer being so hot, it’s nice to stay inside and write, but I’m hoping August will be a little more productive.

Writing Update: February 16, 2018.

writingupdateChapters: 13

Word count: 77,552

First Draft Deadline: March 31/2018

Well, so far so good. I’ve managed to keep to my schedule and have written at least 1k every day. Some days it’s less, other days it’s more. Days I have long work shifts I rarely write as I’m in no mood to by the time I get home. This isn’t a problem for me as my shifts are far between and I get more than enough time to make up for the days I work.

I’ve focused on one novel; SURVIVAL RULES. I want this done by spring so I can revise and get it ready for pitches come summer. I’m still having difficulty finding a beta reader. I think it’s the whole zombie thing that puts people off. I understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (so to speak), and I did find one person, but it’s still early and most times the understanding of swapping manuscripts ends by the second chapter. Apart from finding a paid beta (if you know of any who can handle this genre, let me know) I’m stuck. I’m told I’m a strong writer, but I need that second pair of eyes.

I’m about 2/3 through the story. Everyone understands what’s going on and their main goal is to survive. I’ve killed off one of the original characters; original as in the first group the MC was a part of. I plan on killing off another in this chapter and a third later on. As for secondary kills, just one so far and there have been about four secondary character kills. Overall, I don’t think that’s too bad. I changed who I would kill off for this chapter. I wanted this death to not only reveal a key element about the zombies (which I can carry over into the other novels), but it has to have an impact, and not done just for shock value. The first death brought up that no-one is safe. The other two secondary character deaths will drive the MC on her journey. This death will set her on a quest; a journey that won’t be resolved until the last book.

Looking at that word count-it’s scary. This could easily be a 100k novel. I’ll probably lose words during revisions, but not by much. Maybe 10k or so.  I *am* a strong writer. I don’t add paragraphs of info dump or backstory. I also don’t go on and on about their day or describe things to no end. Maybe the reason I’m so worked up about this number is because of the other zombie novels I’ve read. They’ve all been the first book of a series so if it was a long novel, naturally they break them up. It follows that whole more content=more money bullshit (there’s a blog post idea). Personally, I HATE it when I’m left hanging, especially when the main plot hasn’t come to a resolved or satisfactory ending, which happened in most of the novels I read. I’ll probably complain about this in future updates, but just bear with me.

Until next month . . .

Writing Update: January 19, 2018.

writingupdateWow, it’s been six months since my last update. I seriously didn’t think I’d let it go that long. Ouch.

Okay, so it’s been a little hectic since then. Sithboy started college again and it all went downhill from there. No excuse, right? Except that if I don’t feel like writing, I don’t and that’s what happened.

I tried to do NaNoWriMo last year and didn’t get as far as I thought I would. Meh, I haven’t been able to keep up with that for a few years now. No big sweat and I don’t ever see my not completing it as a failure either. I got words done-check. I got into a schedule of writing every day-check. Those two things alone made what little I wrote for NaNo an accomplishment.

So, what do I have to update? Well . . .

 

WIP Novel #6: Down Finnegan’s Hollow (thriller)

This is a bust. I trunked this novel because I couldn’t get into the revisions. Whether it was removing excess characters (I took out several) or trying to mesh a new line of events, every time I thought I had it worked out, something would mess up. I finally threw up my hands and said fuck it. I’ve messed with this story for a good three years and each time I pick it up, I screw it up even more. All writers have those kinds of novels, and this is one of them for me. The other is The Possession of Mercy Moreau. Such a clusterfuck. I don’t even want to talk about it.

I have worked more on my plague zombie novel, SURVIVAL RULES. I keep coming back to this one. Maybe because it’s more of a dark story than the others. I am about 2/3 the way through at sitting at just over 50k. I know there are two other stories that go with this, but I’ll be happy if I can get just the first one done.

I’ve also poked at my Steampunk Detective novel, ARLINGTON CREED AND THE CASE OF THE MARINATED MARINER. Again, another one that keeps poking at me. I did come up with four other novels with these characters. Each a stand-alone, but together making up a larger story. Again me=procrastination Queen.

One thing that is exciting, I came up with a new four book series that is, get this-YA. I’m not even kidding. The MC is fourteen and starting high school during the 80’s and each book will be one year of school. Kinda like Harry Potter. The exciting thing about this is that I can connect this group of stories to my magical realism story I worked on earlier this year. Also, I can connect to another group of stories I started last year. Ugh, this never ends.

Anyway, I’m going to (try) and focus on the zombie plague and Steampunk for now.

What are your writing plans for 2018?

Of Writers and Prose: Looking Back at 2017 & Goals for 2018.

Quill-And-Ink-Line-Art-300pxIt’s that time of year, folks! Time to look back and see what we wished we’d accomplished, and how it ranked up against what we actually did.

2017:

First off, I didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution in January because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to keep it. I was right. Between work and real life, I couldn’t guarantee that I would get any writing done, and when I set a goal and then don’t accomplish it, I feel like crap. Plus, I have other interests outside of writing that I want to explore and there’s only so many hours in a day. Anyway, those are my reasons for not getting as much done, writing wise. One thing I did do good on was blogging. Hell, right up until September I was on FIRE! Blogging takes a lot out of me, especially when the topic is writing. What the hell can I say that hasn’t been said a thousand times over? Not a lot, but I did explore some of my other hobbies a bit more and I want to keep doing that.

I wanted to get two WIP’s finished and maybe an episode or two of my tv series, and while I did get a few of the scripts done, I ended up trunking the two WIP’s. I was on the fence about them from the very beginning, and I was having a difficult time ‘finding’ their story. These problems cause me to distance myself from them, and once that happens, it’s all over. Maybe in a few years I might come back to them, but for now they’re better off left alone.

That doesn’t mean I stopped writing. I don’t think I could ever do that.

 

2018:

I resurrected two WIP’s that I’ve played with on and off for the last couple years. The first is my plague/zombie novel SURVIVAL RULES (which is the first book of a trilogy), and it sparked my interest again when I came up with a new t.v. show. The show (Malice) is set in the future world of the zombie novel with a new twist on some old monsters. There are all these shows about the end of the world, but very few on what happens afterward. I originally wrote MALICE as a novel, but found it worked better in script form.

The second novel I’m working on is my Steampunk detective novel. Again, it’s the first book of a series. The think I like the most about these books have to be the names (yes, I have the names down already). I have a general idea of what each book is about, and have linked them all together.

The third WIP, and the newest, is a YA witchy book that is set in the 80’s. The main reason I don’t write YA is because I’ve never been able to identify with the characters. I can’t. I’m not that age anymore, but when I think back to what it was like to be a teenager in the 80’s, this idea came to me.

For 2018 I want to focus more on the first two. Dare I might say that I want to make a resolution to complete them by 2019? I also want to do some vlogs. If I have to set a goal it would be to do at least one vlog a month.

I don’t know. It feels too much like tempting the Fates, and that’s the last thing I want to do.

What about you? How did you fair this year?

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