Monday, July 27, 2009

Woah! What a Week

So I didn't really keep up with my accountability posts last week, but I got a lot done. That is until I realized how much some other people got done as well. Maybe I should count the other words I write (the way I currently make money), but I won't. I want my progress that I record hear to be about my novel.

Beth Revis is doing a critique session of the query and first 250 words. I was the first one up. You can go over and comment if you so desire. Plus you should just check out Beth's blog. I love it. Lots of good insight, and some very funny moments. It's worth checking out.

So I'm really trying to focus on finishing up the novel this week. Does that mean I've written today, no. But my dearest husband is working late all week, and if the kids will go to bed, then I will have writing time nearly distraction free. I'm thinking about unplugging the Internet, which would also unplug the phone. I'm so close that I can taste it. Well almost. Honestly I think I'd rather taste chocolate then the end of the novel. But I'm really nearly to the end. I'm up into the exciting stuff.

With all of my focus on writing this week, I think I'm going to let some of my blog reading slide this week, and see how it affects me. I'll have a few that I go and visit. For example, I feel like I should go and critique the other writers who post on the critique session, it's good karma to return the favor, but other than that I think I'll wait until the weekend to read everything. Here's hoping that it will make a big difference in my productivity level.

I registered for the SCBWI Carolinas conference this last week, and I'm super excited to go. It is in September, and close enough that I don't have to get a hotel room. If you are going to be there, say hi. I'm super shy in the blog world, and even more in the real world. I don't bite, and I try to say hi to people, but generally I just feel stupid. The big LA SCBWI is next week, and I so wish I could go to that, but that will come someday. Here's to hoping that I can publish my first novel soon--granted I have to finish this revision, then proofread it and then start querying.

Have a great writing week! I'll be silent for the rest of the week!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


So I went silent on my accountability posts.

Here's an update: Thursday was pretty much a zero, except I went to writer's group. Yeah, that was fun. I was going to write after it was over, but I got home after midnight. My husband hates it when I'm that late. So I went to bed.

Friday: Did a total rehaul on my first chapter. I tried switching it to third, which I'm pretty sure didn't work for me. I'm just not feeling this book in third person. My next novel is in third and it works for me, but this one is not. So I rehauled it that way.

And then I rehauled it again, in first (I've saved all three versions of course) in which I do a slight plot twist that might work with fixing some issues I was having with the first chapter.

But now I'm stuck because I like the ennd of my first chapter--and now it's not the same. I'm trying to figure it out. Trying, trying trying. I could split the chapter earlier or make it like five pages longer. For the most part my chapters are about ten pages.

The things is I still what the kidnapping scene, and I want it to end a chapter. I'm about 700 words into the next chapter, and it's time for the kidnapping. Do I delay it and fill in more back story, do I trash some of the revised first chapter, and squeeze this stuff in there, or do I have a longer first chapter.

Today: I wrote a bit more at the end of where I was before the chapter one issue. Then I relooked at chapter one and two again. And then I stared at the screen, and I thought about it. And what I want to set as the tone of the novel, and I thought about it some more, and then I thought about it again.

Then I tried to write more at the end, but I think that I've thought too much today, because I couldn't even spell anything.

So good night.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Today's Word Count

Approximately 2500 words.

I'm tired and I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Progress Report

Revision Word Count, I did about fifteen hundred words revision today. My program doesn't give me page numbers, just words. Still I'm pretty pleased. i think that it's coming along.

This new way of revising--I'm retyping my whole story and changing as needed is actually a lot more effective. It helps me catch when I'm repetitive or am in love with a certain word.

Hopefully I'll get double the work done tomorrow.

How did your day go?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Work Today Zero

I said I was going to post accountability reports this week. Today I got nothing done. I'm about to go read everything I've revised, but it is close enough to my bed time that I won't be writing.

I didn't write today because I got an ARC of Catching Fire in the mail today. Hunger Games was my favorite book from last year. What would you have done? Honestly.

I will say that Catching Fire didn't disappoint. I can't wait for the third book to come out. I told my husband I couldn't stand to wait a year, and he said, well you'll have to wait longer than a year. Moan!

The book was freakin' awesome. Just saying. I won't give anything away, but I so need to talk about it. I'm signing off so I don't post any spoilers. I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone.

Tomorrow my numbers will be better, but Thursday's my writers group so this week is really not as good as I hoped.

How did you do today?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Finding the Right Voice

The biggest problem I've been having lately with my Isis story is finding the perfect voice. I'm nearly there. And occasionally I'm right on. Then I might spend the next day rewriting and realize that I completely wasted all of that time. The voice isn't strong enough in my writing. So that has been my struggle lately. It takes me a few minutes to get into that voice, sometimes it takes more than just a few minutes.

At the writing conference I went to in June, there was a writer, Kristi Stevens, in my group who's work had an awesome voice. It was totally snarky and fun, but best of all it was carried throughout the work. I asked her what her tips were to maintain such a strong voice. She told me that she would sit down and write about something not related to her book, until she was writing in her main character's voice. I

Well I'm going to try to do that this week. I want every minute I spend tweaking the voice, and rewriting to count. I'm also going to post progress reports each night. These posts won't include a lot of information, I just need the added accountability. Really need it, since I want to be done very soon.

I was talking to someone in my writer's group this week about whether or not she really wanted to publish, or if she was just writing to write. It's an interesting question. First it is quite an accomplishment to have written a novel. There are a lot of people who want to write a novel. A small percentage of them actually do finish. And then a smaller percentage who go on to get published. At the writer's conference and among the blogosphere it is common to hear about the throw away novels. (Actually the ones you have in a file on your desktop or hidden under your bed.) You know the ones that will never see the light of day.

For me, personally, I'm not just writing for me. Ultimately yes, I'm writing because I want to, that part is for me. But I do want my book to be read by other people. That's the ultimate point in the entire exercise. If I was writing just for me, I'd have been done at that first draft. I like telling stories. I like reading and getting wrapped in stories as well.

My husband and I were also talking about being a career novelist versus being a superstar or a one hit wonder. Now it would be nice to get that huge advance and all that wonderful PR backing from your publisher. I'm not going to lie about it. With those big advances come big expectations. A lot of pressure is on you for your next book, and so on. What if your first book doesn't sell out the advance, it's a lot harder to get a good deal. If you are writing a series, what do you do when you are done with the series? Is your career over or not? Many people look at J.K. Rowlings or Stephenie Meyer and wonder if they will come out with more books. (I'm hoping it's a yes.)

Then there are the people that started out with smaller advances, and then grow steadily bigger. At the writer's conference my instructors, Tracy and Laura Hickman, talked about how what looks like overnight success really isn't. Usually the writer has been around publishing for about ten years and then suddenly breaks through in a big way. Once they have the big hit then people go to their backlists and read books. For these people you already know that they will likely keep writing and be able to sustain it because they have that track record. Meg Cabot with Princess Diaries comes to mind with this one. Suzanne Collins also had another series before Hunger Games.

So while I'd like the huge advance, the pressure can be overwhelming. At this point I think I'm just going to be happy when I sell my first book. The size of the advance won't be as important as the fact that I'll be a published author. I'd also like to be able to keep writing for the rest of my life. Silly I know, but I really want this to be my career. I've just got to break through first.

So how do you feel on the career novelist versus superstar front? Would you rather have the big advance and all that pressure, or a good advance with a nice amount of backing but not so much pressure?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

So I Keep Putting Off Posting

Honestly, when I don't post on a regular basis, it is because I'm not writing. I'm procrastinating, and I don't want the rest of the world to know it. That's why I started the blog, really. It's all about accountability. This week I've got the achey coughy kind of flu thing. My two oldest are at grandma's, and so you'd think I'd be getting my writing done. But no. I've managed to completely waste the last two days. Seriously though I am sick. I took the garbage out, not normally a big deal, and I sat down and didn't get up for over an hour. I was dizzy and tired. Tired!

But that doesn't mean I'm sleeping well at night. Enough about my sickness (excuse for not writing).

I've given myself a new absolutely infallible deadline. My dh Rob thinks I should go to the local SCBWI conference and pay the extra money to have my novel evaluated. The only way I'll do that is if I get this revision done in time to submit. It has to be there by August 5th. Talk about the motivation I need. I do work best under pressure--especially external pressure.

Plus I think it is nearly time to submit to agents (meaning once I've gotten this draft right). I've gotten lots of very helpful and wonderful feedback that's really changed what I've written. I'm very grateful to Heather!

I've thought a lot about what I've written, and why I finally started writing. And the fact that yes I finished my novel. Yes, I finished it more than six months ago, and yes I've sat around "editing it" for six months. A lot of that time has seriously been just staring at it or wasting time. But no more! If I can write the damn thing, then I can edit it too.

Now that's out of my system I'm going to bed, so I can actually do something tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Works in Progress

I am in the middle of what I hope are the last of my revisions for my current project. I'm really working to capture Isis's voice. It is tougher than I thought it would be. But the rewrite is a major one. I'm redoing the whole thing, and then I'll have to redo the grammar and all of that again, but then I will start subbing to agents. My honest hope is that I'll be able to do this by the end of July. We shall hope and see and hope some more.

On another note I really want to get going on the other novel. I think I'm going to come up with a set schedule of writing my new novel either in the morning or the evening and then doing my rewrite on the opposite end of it. Maybe I'll just double up on revision time so I can really just get that novel written. If I do 3,000 words a day I could have it written in a month. I think I could write that much a day, maybe.

I'll start posting quick word count updates and revision updates. My revisions may be page numbers instead of word count though.

I have some new books to read thanks to my darling hubby. He seriously researches the books he buys me and takes time. He did so well in fact that I had already read some of the books he got me. In his defense, I do read several a week and I'd challenge anyone to keep up with me. Truly. I don't think most people could do it. He wants me to make a list of ALL of the books I've read. I just looked at him. I don't think I can do it. I don't remember them all. There are times when I'm super reading heavy and times when I'm not so much. If I read in the evenings then I'm not writing, so I have to be careful.

How is your writing journey going? Any exciting news? Do share!