Keeping on Track #IWSG

Yeah, I’ve been really bad about keeping on top of certain things lately. Writing blog posts being one of them. Trying to stay on track with getting Conjured Defense ready and it feels like a thousand or so other things.

While itching to get back to book 5 (saved my next attempt at it for Camp NaNoWriMo), I’ve been working on editing older stuff. Granted, family has kept me quite busy along with my volunteer work.

Though I finished a particular project there recently and it felt really good to see it go on to the next stage. Not that there aren’t a ton more projects waiting for me.

2019-03-07 19.20.24As for family, my daughter picked up a couple new things since the beginning of the year. Her soccer club with her school I was expecting again because she enjoyed it so much last year. Then she added Cub Scouts and she’s bound and determined to earn all of the Tiger adventures, which, of course, we’re helping her to achieve (she still has to put in the work though).

She’s a little over halfway there with more in progress. Of course my husband and I got dragged in to help.

Doesn’t exactly lend me much time to devote to writing lately. I had hoped to have finished a particular editing project by now, but alas, that hasn’t happened.

Going to Massachusetts and Connecticut for over a week last month didn’t help either, but it was great to visit. Got some work done in-flight since I couldn’t sleep.

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I know I’m always insecure at this time in the process of getting a book out. I doubt it will ever really change. Got an idea for another series also, but outside of some notes at the moment, it’s not going anywhere. It’s really in the concept stage so I’m definitely not ready to share anything.

And that’s pretty much it right now.

IWSG Question of the Day: If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

The first chapter. I struggle so much with beginning a book it’s not even funny. Once I get going, I’m good for the most part.

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It’s #NaNoWriMo season and an #IWSG day

NaNoWriMo is going on and you know what that means…

My head is buried in whatever new novel so I’m going to be pretty quiet this month. I’m really nervous with this one because I spent through the end of October getting Conjured Defense to beta status and didn’t get to spend much time thinking about book 5.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a concept, but typically I’ll have a decent sized playlist and a few key scenes I’ve been working on in my head. Usually battle sequences.

I entered November with a pretty sad excuse for a playlist and my concept. We’ll see how this goes. I’m a notorious pantser anyway. Should be fine, right? Right?

 

IWSG Question of the Day: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

Um… I’ve been writing for so long I’m not entirely certain.

One of the things I will drive people nuts with is coming up with a variety of scenarios when the news reports something, but gives little or vague information. I don’t do this all the time and only with select people. It’s a fun exercise to come up with both logical and closing in on far-fetched scenarios. And of course everything in between.

Other than that, I tend to draw ideas from around me all the time without actively thinking about it. I never intentionally trained this, but it’s what I do. Most ideas or concepts that I keep end up in the “someday” pile. Some sneak their way in while I’m writing. It never has to be something large. Often times it’s a small moment in a larger story.

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It’s that time of year again… #IWSG

Oh, hey, I remembered to do an #IWSG post this time. The last couple of months have been a bit crazy and today starts off another level of insanity with NaNoWriMo kicking off. And the fact that this is my 11th year participating doesn’t make me sound any more sane.

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IWSG Question of the Day: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

Initially I didn’t finish my projects if I didn’t win (usually gave up somewhere along the line because life) and I still have them kicking around somewhere. And honestly, even in their incomplete state, they have served a purpose – I’ve taken ideas from them for other projects.

My wins I’ve completed within the month. It’s a hot mess, but I have the story from beginning to end. Actually, I want to say Shattered Illusions wasn’t finished, but it technically was – I ended up scrapping the ending and extending the book out more.

The last few wins have gone on to be published. Currently only Twisted Magics and Shattered Illusions are available, but Twice Cursed will be out next summer.

However, that leads into my insecurity for the month. I’m writing book 4 in the series for NaNoWriMo and I haven’t been this blank on a book since I meandered my way through the first version of Twisted Magics.

I’m not a planner by any means. Tried it once and ended up ignoring my outline, but I usually have a better idea in my head of key moments I want to hit. What if this one doesn’t work out? What if I have to delay my schedule? Is it possible to keep up this momentum?

Granted, if you saw me wrestling with Shattered Illusions, then you know I’ve been through this before. Doesn’t make it any less stressful. There may be hair pulling and copious amounts of chocolate.

And if anyone is interested, I finally started a newsletter. It also pushes to my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I’ll have some fun stuff coming out later this month.

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How do you #NaNoWriMo ?

Everyone finds a different way to get through NaNoWriMo and it may take a few years to find that particular method.

As I close in on 50K words quickly, people think my method is crazy, but it works. I have a NaNoWriMo calendar (there’s a few different options to choose from online) that I keep track of my words everyday. This year, I ramped up my minimum daily goal to 2.5K (because I have this driving need to fill in ALL THE BOXES). A lot harder than last year’s 2K. That gave me a base and then suddenly a couple of my writing buddies started getting huge jumps and I’ve been pushing myself to stay ahead of them.

Why the competition? It helps me push through parts I’m struggling with. It also serves to remind me to stop trying to edit for now and just make a mess – I can clean it up later.

And I get some interesting twists this way. I’m not a planner and I’ve been griping at a side character I had thought about killing later on as she’s made herself likable and downright useful. Another side character I thought would stay mostly out of sight likes to keep popping up and freaking out one of my main characters.

So what am I going to do once I hit 50K? Keep going. I’ll finish the story and then I have a few side projects I wouldn’t mind getting a jump on.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year, wherever you are in your word count, keep going. Keep creating.

It has begun…again #IWSG

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participantIt’s NaNoWriMo season once again and I’m off on drafting out book 3 in my series. The last few years I’ve approached this challenge with a strange mix of excitement and trepidation. I blew the challenge for 5 years in a row and even with 3 “wins” under my belt since, I still grow concerned that I’ll return to that trend.

And with how much I dragged my feet with side projects in September and October, I can only hope I gain enough momentum early on to power through like I have the past couple of years.

Why is this challenge so important to me? I’m not sure. I like connecting with other writers, but honestly, the little achievement awards make me happy (plus I’m a gamer – achievements just make me happy XD). I have something I can measure my successes and failures against easily. And I need to get a story down and out and I might as well do it during a time that lots of other people are so we can cheer each other along.

Now onto the #IWSG question of the month: What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

Watching a story take shape. Some aspects can drive me mad, but from getting the first draft down to seeing what the final version looks like – it’s like watching magic and most of the time I forget that it came from me. I just get so caught up in watching a story evolve.

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Happy Halloween

This is one of my favorite holidays even if I haven’t dressed up for it in years. It’s also a reminder that NaNoWriMo starts as All Hallow’s Eve comes to a close.

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Because DPS have reasonably long queues and I can write while waiting.

It’s also the time of year in which I see certain things happen in regards to NaNo. First of all is the variety of ways people prepare for the challenge. This year I overhauled my office (closet). I got rid of one of the desks that made the room even smaller and shrunk down to just the one and the file cabinet off the other one has remained until I find a suitable replacement (not in the picture). Still need to figure out what to do with some of the things that have now been displaced, but I can breathe.

And yes, I have a glow jar I found for a dollar at the grocery store.

I will be hunting for snacks once they go on sale after Halloween. My playlist for this project is in progress and I created my Scrivener file for it. I have some notes of things I want to try and include and an idea of where to start so I’m ready.

The other thing I see pop up at this time of year is the anti-NaNoWriMo posts. Those bother me in the sense of they usually don’t quite seem to get the point of the challenge. Everyone is different and certainly entitled to their opinions, but that’s also the point – everyone writes differently. I love this and the community that comes together to push each other along. It’s not for everyone though and a few people I’ve spoken with won’t be participating in the challenge itself but they are planning on joining some write-ins and cheering everyone on.

And on a side note. Heh, side… That side story I thought about sidelining got finished and sent off. Yay! Taking my daughter trick-or-treating and then getting ready to start getting words down on the first draft of book 3.

Recent Events

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Indie Author Day: sharing a table with the amazing Loni Townsend

Here you’ve heard me talk quite a bit about Indie Author Day and those who follow me on Facebook have gotten to hear me go on about Boise Book Fest. With the two events running back-to-back weekends, it was hard not to be super excited about both.

I didn’t get the chance to escape my table for Indie Author Day so I missed out on the panels, but had a great time talking to everyone who stopped by. This was the first year this event ran and I can’t wait to see what they decide to do next year. I shared a table with Loni Townsend as you can see in the picture and just had fun.

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Boise Book Fest 2016

Now onto Boise Book Fest. This was simply so much fun and I can’t wait for next year (September 16th, 2017 – mark your calendars). I went as an attendee and managed to drop in on a number of panels. Got some great ideas from people, picked up a few books, and most importantly, made new friends.

Where Indie Author Day was, as expected, all indie and hybrid authors, Boise Book Fest had a mix and it was just so incredibly interesting to listen to the different points of view. Both events also pointed out at how bad I am in talking about my book. I  go into ultra-shy mode unless I’m trying to help sell someone else’s books. I guess I’m just weird like that.

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I came home from Boise Book Fest with even more, but not as many books as I would have liked.

A few people have inquired when I plan to release Shattered Illusions. I’m aiming for next summer just to give myself some breathing room. I’m drafting out book 3 next month during NaNoWriMo and I recently dug an old short story out of my archives to rewrite while Shattered Illusions is out to my beta readers. I have no planned release yet for the short story as it’s going to be part of a set. Yay, something new!

I learned so much just by listening and observing at both of these events. I’m so glad I attended both and look forward to seeing what the future holds for both these and other upcoming events.

Now what?

I know, not a Muse Monday post. On Thursday I started sending out my beta file to people. While I wouldn’t mind a few more beta readers the ones who have it now already have me wringing my hands in worry.

I’m running my beta period until January 1st so I can work on other projects, but after sending it out I went into a “now what?” phase. Do I work on this or that? Take a break for a bit? What?

I dabbled a little with my notes for book 3 that I plan on writing during NaNoWriMo in November, but I’ve still got a little less than a month and a half left to wait. Of the three project titles I had come up with, I managed to pick one so yay! I’ll be good to go on setting up my novel as soon as they let me.

Once I get some other things accomplished, I’m sure I’ll go back to heavily working on the shorts I have so eventually I can start posting them. Maybe touch another larger project I’ve been meaning to get back to.

I’ll also need to get other stuff done to prepare for Shattered Illusions to be released. Plenty to do, but still didn’t stop me from standing there lost for a bit once I let the beta out to my small test audience. Honestly, I’ve struggled with this project from beginning to end. Unsure if I should keep it at all. Wondering if I went over the top with certain things (I’m not nice to my characters as much as I want to keep them safe).

Time will tell. I’m giving my beta readers until January 1st so they have plenty of time between those who will be participating in NaNoWriMo and the holidays coming up.

Muse Monday: Shattering

Today’s post might go in a few different directions, but I’m announcing book 2’s title. Just no date – way too much work ahead of me, but the title I’ve had on it a while has stuck.

I had this song on in my vehicle and ended up hitting repeat (much to my husband’s dismay when he realized I had left it there for a while). Eventually it gave birth to the finalized title for book 2: Shattered Illusions.

No, don’t take this as a general plot. I also won’t say more on this as I don’t want to spoil anything.

I suppose the next question I should answer is if Lindsey Stirling was the reason I gave Ketayl the instrument I did. The answer to that would be no. I won’t argue that I find inspiration from her now (and others), but initially it was because of my grandfather. Granted, when he played, it sounded like someone was killing a cat slowly. He was good when he was playing the guitar and 3 harmonicas at the same time though. Just not the violin.

I’ve used this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo to do some heavy editing. Not that it would really change things in terms of getting Shattered Illusions edited, but watching my little arrow get closer and closer to center amuses me.

Shattered Illusions has undergone significant changes – all for the better as far as my too eager beta reader is concerned (we’ll see). Still have more in mind to make, but I’m hitting the point of not wanting to look at it anymore right now.

And of course just as the challenge kicked off for the month, I came up with an idea for book 3. That one is really untitled – even I’ve got nothing right now. At least it looks like I’ve got my project for NaNoWriMo in November (even though I kinda want to work on it now).

I suppose that’s enough wandering for one post.

Pick up the pace #IWSG

I ran into some serious issues early on with book 2. Got them sorted out a few months ago and now it’s down to editing (and maybe add an epilogue). I’m just not sure how fast I can turn around this book given how long Twisted Magics took to come to completion.

Yeah, I know, no book is ever completed, but you get the idea.

It took close to three years to get the first one to where it is. The first draft was horrid. I scrapped the whole thing a year later and rewrote it. Learned a ton from my critique group in the process, but I still make a mess on first drafts.

Holy crap do I make a mess. There were sentences that I must have been flying trying to get down in November during NaNoWriMo because I was missing a number of words for it to make sense. Others I obviously changed my mind while writing and didn’t back up enough so trying to make heads or tails of that was fun as well. I have sections that are purely dialogue that I need to go back and fill-in. I could keep going.

There is a strong preference from a few that I try to get it out about a year from when Twisted Magics launched (if not sooner). I’m not sure if I can and I’m afraid of letting people down with the next book. Especially given how small it is right now.

For this month at least, I’ll be tackling book 2 in revisions during Camp NaNoWriMo. With any luck I’ll get to the point of being able to have it printed before leaving town for a few days so I can start attacking it with a red pen.

Anyone else get worried over non-existent deadlines?

And now for the new IWSG Day question: What’s the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

Um…[insert long pause here] Did we have to start with a hard question?

Most recent is “where’s the next book?” But the one that has stuck with me for a while is about my characterizations. Since I let my characters drive the plot (I probably shouldn’t as some of them don’t even have a license), it meant a lot that I gave them each unique voices and have them be full creations rather than flat.

Even so, I still had to fight with one to get her stubborn streak to override her natural shyness and insecurity. I still have a lot to learn, but it did help in those early days of the first drafts to know I had nailed something.

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