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Category: Writing Goals

Reading Aloud and Preparing for a Book Launch

Over the next few days, I have one goal: finish the proofreading for Identity Revealed. I go through multiple stages of proofing after stories have gone through editing (and I was blessed with a fantastic editor for this, the amazing Mary Iamandi).

Currently, I have two more set proofs to go through. I am waiting for the, hopefully, last set of physical proofs. Given the delays, I’m not sure that those will be done in time for January 11. We’ll see. Regardless, the eversion will go live on January 11, and then the print copies will go live as soon as possible. I might be able to risk it going out, but there were some problems with the margins again as well as some orphans and widows. Not to mention a little more tweaking with the visuals. So I want at least one more pass.

For the actual text, I am going through and reading the entire manuscript aloud again. At this point, I have read it out loud in its entirety at least six times for this draft alone. Each time I am amazed at what I find.

Once I finish that final proof, I will go over the formatting once more. And, knowing me, I’ll probably do at least more pen tap. I’m at a point where I am hardly finding any errors at all, but I always find at least one or two.

A reader asked me if I ever regretted how much time I spent proofing. Now, admittedly, I might spend too much time on the polishing and perfecting stage. But I haven’t regretted it. Not yet anyway. Sometimes I get frustrated by how slow it goes. When I find simple mistakes or slips though, I always feel better that I took that extra pass.

The story does have to be released though. And when that happens, I will probably be done. I don’t generally read my stories once they are completed and published because I will find unnecessary things to change most likely. Plus my focus needs to be kept elsewhere. There are other stories to finish.

Emotionally, I have not yet gotten to the point where I am sick of the manuscript. That has happened with other stories, particularly when I have so many other things to do. With Identity Revealed, and actually with all of the other associated manuscripts, I haven’t felt it. There’s something dear and familiar about it, and, so long as I make the deadlines with a quality product, I’m happy.

In all seriousness, I do need to wrap this up. There are many other tasks that must be completed. Cursed, for instance, is now on its tenth rewrite. One of these times I will get the sound and flow right. It is fun seeing the way that it improves and transforms.

So with that said, I should return to my reading aloud. What are you up to today? Hope that whatever it is, that it is good and you are doing well. Talk soon.

Jeff Goins’s Challenge for 500 Words a Day in Public

Every month brings with it new challenges, some intentional, some not. In November, I intended to participate in Jeff Goins’s Practice in Public for a month challenge. It’s a fantastic idea, and it is certainly one that I need to improve on.

But, some serious problems developed within the course of the month that led to my being able to compete the writing with ease but not all the posting.

So when Jeff Goins posted a new challenge, which is the 500 Words a Day Writing Challenge. The goal is simple. Write at least 500 words a day, and do it publicly.

Now technically, I have been writing every day for years. Ever since I was a little girl actually. When I was a kid, my grandfather, father, and mother all told me that the only way to get better was to do it every day. And, for whatever reason, that but not flossing connected. In fact, if I don’t write, I start to get nervous. Hitting 10,000 words a day is not nearly the challenge it used to be. It’s something of an addiction.

What I do struggle with is doing my art in public and talking more freely about my projects.

I tend to write and write and write, do some editing, and then put off the marketing and audience building because it is the part I am least comfortable with. Over the years, I have become more comfortable with the various aspects of this. Releasing multiple books and allowing for a slow marketing build has worked to my advantage. I’ve made enough to pay some bills, read a lot, and tried out some techniques. But I haven’t sunk a great deal into it because, well, financial challenges and because most of the stories I am releasing are directly connected (the other series with a couple exceptions are indirectly related and will come together). I have told myself that I will significantly increase all marketing activities once I have more stories published. On January 11, I reach the critical point for the marketing push, and actually things have shifted already. All of the remaining head baggage and excuses have to be jettisoned.

So my primary reason for accepting the 500 Word a Day Challenge is for the public practicing. And also because I love discovering new writers, and where better to find them than when they are just starting off and could especially use that little bit of extra encouragement and love?

It’s going to be a great event. I really do want to see what would happen if I became significantly more regular in posting online. I used to post daily on Wattpad, but, after Wattpad’s handling of certain situations relating to author protection as well as miscommunication and arguable lies from the HQ, I chose to step down and away. Whether I will return, I don’t know.

However, I am going to make sure that I practice in public and do it in a more targeted fashion. I’ll share more about my plan for that tomorrow.

Now if you’re also a writer and you’re interested in this challenge, definitely stop on by. You can find more information here: https://goinswriter.com/my500words-ty/?inf_contact_key=2c819b6f31e6aa896f8bad86b3eef06f4682ec067d2b28e10a3202d6dc070e39

Until the next time, have a great day and much love!

My Actual Writing Goals for November 2016

So I have already discussed that my goal during Nanowrimo is to post actual content rather than just writing it. And I won’t be counting my Wattpad chapters as contributing to this total. (It’s rather interesting that posting to Wattpad is not at all difficult for me. I get at least two chapters published there at a minimum each week.) 

But I am, of course, also working on various projects this month. And, as usual, I have one main one and several that I want to complete. (Some of these titles contain links to where the stories are posted.)

where-gryphons-mournWhere Gryphons Mourn — this is another dream story that I have been meaning to get out there for quite some time. So I am finally getting it done. In fact, my darling and wonderful friend, Stef, created a cover for me, so it looks like I will be writing it and posting it on Wattpad. Isn’t she massively talented? (Seriously, this woman is amazing! Check her out on her website, at Deviant Art, and Wattpad.)

Through the Paintings Dimly — this one is actually almost entirely done so I won’t be increasing my word count much through this, but there is probably about another 3 – 5k that needs to be added in addition to the overall editing. But it will be done and off by the end of the week.

The Insurgent Queen — another book in the Tue-Rah Chronicles, and so, of course, it will get a substantial portion of the word count. I write about 5 – 10k on the main series once a week. In a sense, this is my easiest and most difficult project, but it is the one I adore the most. My soul is always in this series no matter what else I am working on. I really hope that Amelia gets her voice back before the end of this month’s writing. It’s been a good long time, and the poor girl needs to start talking again. (Note: if you haven’t started this series and would like to, you should probably start with Identity Revealed.) 

In Darkness, Cower — now, once again, this story is mostly completed. In fact, it appeared in the Tenebris Somnia anthology on Wattpad. I plan to enter it into the TNT competition, but I want to expand it a little more to reach the 10k word limit. I had to trim it a bit to make it meet the anthology’s criteria. So that will be about 4k. It’s due by the end of the month.

thecelebrityThe Celebrity — this story is mostly completed, but I want to enter it into a competition on November 15 (can’t remember the name of the competition right now). It’s just about 8 k too short though and then it will be up to the required standards.

Untitled Story — I have been tossing around some titles for this story, but I haven’t settled on one. Cruel Frost, Frost Wolf, and Frost Strain are possibilities, but none of them really hit the horror genre nail on the head. The proper title will come eventually. This story is going to be approximately 8k. Another dream/nightmare story that I just want to have done. I may submit it to the TNT competition as well. It may also expand beyond the anticipated 8k.

Just a Kiss — a sweet romance for an anthology. It’s probably going to be about 5k, and it is due by the end of the month. I just have the ideas down for this one, and, in fairness, if another sweet romance story presents itself that fits in with the Christmas season, I will likely go with that. I’ll consider this goal satisfied so long as I have a sweet romance story down.

The Nameless One’s Plea —  This is another story for an anthology, and it’s great because this is part of the Ragnarok Undone novel or perhaps Ragnarok Untold, depending on where the end of the novel comes. It’ll be about 8 k. It’s going to contain some spoilers for the story but nothing too major, and hopefully it will help to draw additional readers to the Ragnarok series.

The Nightwalker Before Christmas —  a dark holiday/horror story that will hopefully stay short and sweet. (I’m really hoping that with this short story focus this month I will be able to do a much better job of keeping stories short and tight.) Hopefully about 3k. The title is a little off for me, but I’ll find a better one later.

Serpent’s Kiss — a fantasy adventure for another anthology that will be approximately 5k. It has to be done before the end of the month, but I have a fairly solid idea of where I want to take it. And if that idea doesn’t work, I’ve got another one that can work for the same title, which is good because I like having a good title.

Aquanos Feratu — a tight short story in the horror genre utilizing the breath vampire concept among other aquatic horrors. Probably about 10 k. If I have to prioritize and run out of time to finish projects, then this is going to be set aside until next month. (If I’m not careful with this one, it’s going to get a lot bigger a lot faster.)

Escaping Nowhere I started this novel last year for Nanowrimo, got to the required word count, and it was all quite great. But I didn’t finish it. I’d like to wrap it up, which will probably take about another 20 k. On the high end. It’s fairly easy to write though, and I have good notes to pull me the rest of the way along.

Parnimo’s Prize — oh yes, please, please, let me finally find the right ending for this novella. I have written the ending so many times, but it never quite seems right. I think I’m going to be done with this one within about five chapters at the most.

Now if I get to have my druthers this month, I would also add these. I’d love to also complete 5k SoulMates Pendanteach on The Red Dragon, Cursed, and Ragnarok Undone. 10k on Of Cruelty, Elves, and Sorcery would be fantastic along with completion of Of Course Not, Silas, I Know Best.

I’m also planning to send off my application for the SFWA, query letters for Lunar Realms, and send off a couple other short stories to some other professional markets.

These aren’t all my goals for the month, and I doubt that I’ll make them all. I make my goals difficult to reach and usually almost impossible, so don’t worry. We’ll just see how far I get on this.

In terms of my actual Nanowrimo writing, I’m doing all right. It has been a bit slow because I’ve had to do more editing and legal work than usual, so as of yesterday, I only wrote about 14k. I’m getting ready to settle in for a batch of fiction writing here after dinner. Hopefully that goes way.

Nanowrimo 2015 Day 01

Today is the first day of Nanowrimo as well as the first of a new month. New beginnings always excite me. They hold so much potential. November 1 is a particular favorite because of Nanowrimo.

I’ve been doing Nanowrimo since I was 11 though my parents didn’t give me permission to sign up on the official site till I was a fair bit older. It was a great experience with lots of fun along the way, and it stretched me. That first book was less than ideal, of course. It had so many holes and tons of problems. (I think one character’s name even changed halfway through, and many other details spontaneously changed or became contradictory, lol.) But I was glad that I did it.

I’d encourage all writers to give it a shot. While it is a great challenge to complete 50,000 words during one of the busiest months of the year, that isn’t the only reason to do it. There’s a spirit of camaraderie throughout this month as thousands of writers support one another in this endeavor. It’s about shutting off that inner critic, dig into the stories that you have inside you, and start exploring them. You can’t fail in this. You won’t do it perfectly. In fact, you’re going to miss some days. You’re going to fall behind. But that’s okay. The point is to get as far as you can and get as much of the story down as you can. Every year I have found material that I can use.

Now some of my tutees, students, and friends have asked me to consider doing an additional challenge this year: write my Nanowrimo novel live. I’ve received a lot of questions about my process as well as what it looks like when I write. And since I’m not comfortable with people sitting next to me and watching what I write, recording it through a screen capture along with commentary on what I’m doing and how I’m doing it seems like a better choice.

I finished conducting some tests, and it looks like I can do this. I’m a little concerned about the upload speeds because the Internet is often slow. It can take an hour to upload 15 minutes. So there may be some delays. My other concern is how long a video with an actual writing session is going to run. After all, writing a novel takes a lot of time. (Not really sure how long, but I guess we’ll find out.)

What I’ll do to offset this is doing a brief recap that details what I did, how it’s going, and what tools I used. That way if you don’t want to slog through the whole video, you can get the highlights.

To help facilitate this, I’ve come up with some rules for myself.

  • All the writing will take place in front of the camera. This is going to be the hardest thing for me. But when I’m not writing on the screen capture, I won’t be working on the story.
  • I’m starting entirely from scratch, and I will document the whole process.
  • If I use a notebook while on camera, I’ll be sure to show you what I’m writing if I can.
  • I will be doing minimal editing before uploading to Wattpad. I’ll include that as well.

Since I’m trying to document the whole process, I’m starting with a fresh story. I’ve had this title and cover rattling around for awhile, potentially going to one or four stories. But I’m not going to use a story that I have already started. The story will be based in part off a dream I had, but that’s more for the general premise. I don’t even have character names yet or the Scrivener files prepped.

Frankly, I’m rather nervous, but I’m also excited. This is going to be a great month. I hope that I don’t fall flat on my face. I imagine there will be a fair bit of dead space and staring at the screen because that camera is going to add loads of pressure, lol.

So what about you? Are you doing Nanowrimo this year? Feel free to let me know what your project is and leave a link if you like either here or on the Youtube video. Have a wonderful night!

 

2014 Reflection

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s hard to believe that it is now 2015.

Every year, I always put together a list of resolutions and goals. Then, throughout the year, I check myself to see how well I am doing in reaching those goals. Some attempts result in failure, but, in my opinion, the most important thing is to try and see what comes. But here’s my evaluation of last year’s public goals.

Overall Reflection

The biggest lesson from this year has been to “not despise the small things.” So often I tend to be an all or nothing kind of woman. I want it to be perfect, and I do not want to accept the small steps that may be the only ones accomplished within a day.

Write Daily

Yes, I managed to hit this one again. I’ve been writing at least 500 words a day now for years, but I still make this a yearly goal to hold myself to it. It’s hard to imagine not writing. It’s more important than eating. Fortunately, it appears that writing is good for one’s health!

Lose 30 Pounds

Yes and no. Throughout the course of the year, I worked out, ate healthy, hit some setbacks, persevered, and by late August reached my year’s target. I did a great job maintaining it too until I got sick again. And then I gained most of it back. Alas, I wish it had been through cheesecake, pizza, and burgers. Weight gain happens very easily for me. If I actually let myself go and just ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted with no regard to health, I’d probably balloon up like nobody’s business. I haven’t done so well about drinking enough water, and to combat the nausea, I have been drinking carbonated beverages again. I’ve cut those as much as I can. Tea, for whatever reason, does not really soothe the way soda does.

So my goal for this year is to knock off 60 pounds. If past experience is any indicator, the weight I gained back will go away fairly easily. (A fair amount of it may be swelling?) I see the best results following a slightly modified low carb diet. Lots of fresh vegetables. Plenty of water. Lean protein. Even if it doesn’t result in weight loss, I do feel better while avoiding processed foods and sugars. No matter how much I enjoy fast food. It’s best to keep that as a treat rather than a staple.

Complete Tue-Rah Identity Revealed

Yes. I realized this year that I had spent more than twenty years working on Tue-Rah Identity Revealed in particular. I have, of course, worked on the other books in the series, but Identity Revealed absorbed the majority of my time and focus. As such, I really, really wanted to finish the draft this year. It still needs some final proofing, but it is done. December 15.

Oddly it left me feeling depressed, but I suspect that has more to do with other emotions and conclusions as well.

Experiment with and Decide on Primary Social Media Accounts

Social media just keeps expanding. One of last year’s resolutions was to determine which ones I wanted to prioritize. I have settled on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I may use Google+ and LinkedIn some.

Build a Website on WordPress

Obviously this one was a success as you can see. It’s pretty basic. I tried Elegant Themes, but I couldn’t get those themes to work as well. So I switched to a basic layout. Nothing fancy. It could use some tweaking, but it has my blog as well. Most everything imported all right.

Finish Five Stories

This year was quite good in terms of overall productivity. I finished Tue-Rah Identity Revealed as well as Cyberbullying: What You Need to Know; 10,000 Words a Day: How to Survive and Thrive; Mermaid Bride; Ragnarok Unravels, and a handful of short stories.  Most of these are ready for publication, but I need to finish cover art and prep for the formatting and so on. Plus there’s always a few more tweaks I will want to make.

Get Law Firm Going

All the books and seminars in the world are nothing compared to actually doing it. James and I have gone from handling one or two cases a week to four to five cases a day with some random free days. Getting clients to pay, of course, is the bigger challenge. For the first full year of our law firm, it really went quite well. Ups and downs but overall good. And no malpractice suits. The home office works quite well.

Month of Fear

I actually didn’t have a name of this before. All it was labeled as was “overcome fears” and “try new things.” So I compiled this into a single month known as the Month of Fear. It was challenging but fun. I intend to do the Month of Fear again this year. Perhaps more than once. In fact, I’m tackling some fears today. I will post some updates on these. Most of the time they tend to be more personal, and there’s no need to share everything.

Create a Place for Knife Throwing in My House

I may not be good at it, but I do love throwing knives. It soothes me. And I did succeed in making a knife throwing board for my office. It works so well. The only thing I have to watch out for is Thor who loves to play fetch. And I don’t like him trying to snatch blades out of the air.

So those are some of the top goals/resolutions and their results from 2014. I may share my goals and resolutions for 2015. Even though the year has been off to a rough start, I’ve done fairly well so far. It was a trying but exciting and good year. I am looking forward to this one. Have an absolutely wonderful day!

 

Mermaid Bride Completed

Two days ago, I completed the rough draft for Mermaid Bride. What was intended to just be a short story of no more than 8,000 words turned into a novella. It’s over 30,000 now, and I suspect that by the time I am done editing and revising it, it will be closer to 40,000 or 50,000.

It’s funny the way that that happens. It seems that once I get into a story, the story starts to unfold. The characters want to come out and play. The Banshee Queen was supposed to only be a minor character. The conflict between Ishana and Vishtan was supposed to be quite brief. In fact, I really wanted that focal point to be on Ishana and Uaso. They do remain at the core, of course. But Ishana’s choice and the struggle that she faces becomes so much more important in this.

The story itself is not so simple as it once was. In fact, it wound up going full circle in some respects. Ishana started off as a rather bland character for me to become a kind of character that I had never worked with before.

It was fun working in the Ethiopian and Syrian cultural flavors. It does bother me that a number of my readers thought I was just being creative in the descriptions when in fact I’ve drawn inspiration from another culture. So I will try to make that clearer throughout the revision.

Regardless, Mermaid Bride turned out to be far more of a joy to write than I anticipated. Even though it kept getting longer and longer, it expanded in ways that added to the story rather than dragging it down. The next project I will likely start after this is A Single Glance as part of the Celtic Princess Tour. We shall see if it takes off, but I’m thrilled to dig into it again.

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