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My Novel Updates

July Update: It’s summer!

How’s your summer going? I’ve been really busy–honestly this whole year has been one massive upheaval after another–and it’s starting to take a toll. Let’s talk about how things are going!

I’ve been a little hands-off with the blog this summer

The last part of June was wild thanks to a busy personal schedule and a chronic illness flare up that took me off my feet for a bit. My doctor is stumped. He’s trying to refer me to someone else, but they’re not returning calls. It’s a big mess. With all of that going on, I just didn’t have the time or energy for blogging. However, I try to stay a month ahead, so June’s posts went up without any effort on my part. I’m still really happy about the Golden Bloggerz Award, which was a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t up to writing anything new for July, so I’m winging it this month. That’s kind of the story of my life, though, so it should be okay. I hope. I do have some doctor visits scheduled, and I’m waiting on a different referral for a general surgeon, so we’ll see how it all comes together.

Let’s talk about short stories, shall we?

I wasn’t expecting results from Writer’s of the Future until July, so it was a nice surprise to see an email from them on June 25. I got a silver honorable mention. I’m not complaining, but I have mixed feelings about it this time.

Rather than write something new for Q2, I revised and resubmitted my very first contest entry piece. It got a SHM the first time, too. On the one hand, I’m glad it didn’t drop in the rankings, but I am a little disappointed the revision didn’t push it higher up. I made some big changes to the end of the story.

Still. Dwelling on problems doesn’t solve them. Writing is highly subjective, and I suspect this story wasn’t quite right for WotF’s target audience anyway. I’m going to toss it up on Critique Circle soon, because I don’t think I did that before I submitted it, and then send it to Diabolical Plots when they open for submissions in August. Publishing can be a bit of a numbers game. Even if a story wasn’t quite right for one editor, someone else might love it. You never know.

Quarter 3 is in, but…

Due to my health flare-up, I didn’t have it in me to put a lot of effort into critiques and revision. I won’t be surprised if it gets a flat-out rejection later this summer or early in the fall. I’ll probably revise and resubmit later, but I don’t know if I’ll do it for Quarter 4 or if I’ll wait for next year. I don’t plan on writing anything new for the contest for a while, because I want to focus on my novel, but I am going to give this last story my best effort. Even if it takes some time to get it to that point.

Finally, how about that novel?

I’m taking my time with the second draft. I want to try and get it structurally sound, so to speak, before I move on to line edits and all the small details that, in my opinion, really make a story.

I floundered around for a while before I decided to make an outline of the whole thing to help me target a few major issues I’ve been having with the plot. I’m still in the middle of that. I don’t like outlining, and it’s hard to get motivated to do it for a piece this long, so progress is slow but somewhat steady.

And that’s it for June. Enjoy your summer!

My biggest focus right now is my health–both physical and mental–but I’m trying to keep up with things around here, too. I really want to get this draft of the novel finished so I can move on to the next phase of this whole process.

Please feel free to talk about any of your fun summer activities in the comments. My favorite thing has been watching my cat yell at fireflies. My least favorite has been this whole flare up deal. I’m doing what I can to fix that, though.

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My Novel Updates

June Check-in

How is 2021 almost halfway over? I feel like I’ve barely done anything, and time is just blowing past me. I’m glad I do a monthly check-in, if only because it helps me keep track of what I’ve accomplished.

How ’bout that blog?

May was a good month for My Novel Year. Traffic is higher than it’s ever been, and I think a lot of that is due to Twitter. I’m trying to promote myself more through Pinterest, but that’s a slow burn. I don’t expect results overnight.

I’m also looking into guest blogging. My first guest blog on Critique Circle went up yesterday. I’m thinking about branching out to Medium, too.

The economy of language posts seem like they’re really resonating with people, but I have lighter things planned for the website this month. There are some other projects I need to tackle, like maintenance on my house now that the weather’s getting nicer, and I just don’t have the time or energy to write big posts alongside all of that. July…may or may not be better. We’ll see.

Short stories

The Writers of the Future deadline for Quarter 3 is June 30, but my personal deadline is June 19 due to some other commitments. The story is finished, but I’m waiting on critiques so I can do some last minute revision. Quarter 2 results will probably turn up either sometime late this month or (more likely) in July. I’ll update you on that when I hear something. After this, I’m taking a break from short stories so I can focus on my novel.

Speaking of the novel…

I’m working my way through character arcs and trying to figure out if there’s anything I can trim. It feels like there’s too much going on, and I need to simplify things somehow. Developmental editing is a slow process for me. Sometimes I have to take a break from the work so I can look at things with fresh eyes, or try to see them from different angles.

I think that’s all for now

I have a lot of things going on in June, especially toward the end of the month, so you may not see me around on social media as much as usual. If you’re worried about missing a post, please subscribe to the mailing list. I send an email with a link to the newest post every Wednesday. I hope you enjoyed this month’s check-in! Thanks for supporting me.

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My Novel Updates

May short story and novel updates

How is it already May?! I’m sorry, that’s insane. April flew by, but I did manage to get some writing done. I also got results on my Writers of the Future short story.

The Blog

I kicked off my economy of language series, which is something I’ve been working toward for a while now. I worry it might be a little dry, but I hope the posts help people learn how to identify and fix weak spots in their writing. There are two economy of language posts scheduled this month, and I have some more stashed in my drafts. I’m going to try mixing it up, though, so this doesn’t become the economy of language blog.

My other big goals are optimizing SEO on all my old posts, which I’ve really been slacking on, and also making it easy for visitors to pin posts on Pinterest. Which…I’ve also been slacking on. I’m not good at making pins.

Short Story Updates

Results for Writers of the Future Quarter 1 arrived on April 23, just a few minutes before midnight, and you can read more about that here. I don’t expect to see results for Quarter 2 until July.

The story I’m working on for Quarter 3 is coming along. It needs critiques and some revision, but the deadline is June 30, so I have plenty of time.

Quarter 3 might be the last time I enter the contest for a while. My first entry was in Quarter 4 of 2020, so I’ll have a year of entries by the time Q4 2021 rolls around. Writing short stories has gone from being a fun occasional break to a mental drain that keeps me from working on my novel, and I can’t justify it anymore. If I happen to write something that I think will work for Writers of the Future, I’ll enter it. If I don’t, I’m not going to worry about it. I need to focus on other goals.

It hasn’t been a waste, though

I never would have found David Farland’s website without Writers of the Future. His courses, and the free WotF workshop, opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn’t learn in school. I feel like I’m writing on an entirely new level now, and it’s all because of this contest.

Finally, what’s up with that novel?

Now that my last WotF short story (for now) is down to just revisions, I’m planning on putting a lot of energy into my second draft. I still have a long way to go, but that’s okay. I’ll get there.

Other odds and ends

I’m juggling a lot in my personal life at the moment. Most of it will resolve with time, but waiting stresses me out. I’m definitely a member of the instant gratification generation.

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail here, because I prefer keeping that stuff separate from my writing, but I thought I should mention it in case there’s an interruption in service. If I disappear for a bit, I’m probably busy with doctor’s appointments.

That’s all for today, folks!

Please check back next week for a post about vagueness. It’s another entry in my economy of language series, and I know you don’t want to miss that. Feel free to subscribe to my mailing list if you’d like to receive updates about new blog posts.

As always, don’t be afraid to leave a comment below if you have any questions or anything you’d like to say. Thanks!

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My Novel Updates

April Writing Update

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, so here’s another writing update for you! I put more of my time into blogging and short stories than I did into my novel last month. I want to do better in April, but I’m crashing and burning at the moment. Real life stuff is taking a lot of my time, and some health issues are flaring up, so I might have to take a break.

Luckily I have plenty of blog posts on deck, so you may not even notice if I have to duck out for a week or two. Anyway. Let’s talk about the good things, shall we?

The Blog

I have some really detailed posts scheduled for April. A lot of them are related to style, especially economy of language. They’re more challenging than anything I’ve ever posted before. I’m a little worried that people will get bored or just not understand what I’m trying to say, but I think it’s good information. I hope you’ll be back for those.

Another important blog tidbit, although maybe more on my end than yours, is that I really need to find a new host. My current contract expires in June, and I probably won’t move until closer to that time, but I thought I should say something in case there’s a small interruption in service.

Finally–I saved the best for last–I have a mailing list now!

You can subscribe and get notified about new posts. I won’t send you spam or sell your email or any of that. At the moment, I’ll send weekly emails when I publish new blog posts. I’m playing with ideas like discounts for subscribers on books when I publish something, or maybe special articles or even short stories that will only be available via subscription, but I’m not quite there yet. Desktop users can sign up with the form at the bottom of the sidebar on the right side of the screen. If you’re viewing this on mobile, it’s at the very bottom of the page, just above the footer.

Unfortunately, the confirmation email will go straight to your spam folder. Check there if you don’t see anything in your inbox. I’m trying to figure out why that keeps happening, but I haven’t found a way to stop it yet. I may have to make some changes.

Short Stories

Ughhhh….I spent so much time working on short stories in March. It makes me nervous when a Writers of the Future deadline approaches and I don’t have anything ready. I landed on a solid idea halfway through March, after bouncing ideas around since Quarter 2 started in January, and I just didn’t have time to get it finished. The rough draft hits all of the right spots–there’s action, tension, aliens, conflict, you name it. I don’t want to submit it before I’m sure it’s ready, though. There are still some developmental issues I need to address.

I submitted something from my archives to the contest. It felt a little bit like cheating, since I didn’t write a new story, but I guess it’s better than nothing. I’ll submit the alien story for Quarter 3. They haven’t announced results for Quarter 1 yet, but I’ll be surprised if I don’t hear anything by the first of May.

The Novel

I’m a few chapters into my second draft, and just trying to put all the pieces where they need to go. Things aren’t going as fast as I’d like because I’ve been letting the short stories and blog distract me. I need to focus more.

Other Projects

I finished Writers of the Future’s free writing workshop, which is phenomenal. They offer great advice, even if you’re not writing fantasy or sci-fi.

I’m still working my way through the Super Writers’ Bundle, and I really hope I finish it before my license expires. I’ve learned so much, and I really think this course is why my alien story is coming out so well.

I’m also trying to learn more about self-publishing. I know quite a bit about the traditional world because it’s what I was taught in school. Back then, there weren’t as many legitimate self-publishing options as there are today, so I feel like I have a big knowledge gap. I have projects that would fare better in the self-pub world, for various reasons, and I want to go into that with my eyes wide open.

That’s all for this writing update, y’all!

I hope enjoyed my little writing update and I really hope you’ll be back later this month for some of the more advanced posts I have scheduled. It’s a lot of material, and some of it might be a little challenging, but I hope it’ll help you improve your writing.

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My Novel Updates

How I’m organizing my second draft

A few weeks ago, I talked a little bit about my drafting process and my goals for each draft. Today, I want to get more into the actual mechanics of my second draft.

I’m not a planner, but…

Once I get out of the first draft, some organization is inevitable. I’ve touched on macro edits before, and that’s basically what a second draft is–a massive macro edit. I like to go into these with a strategy, although the specific strategy is different for every book because it’s tailored to what the book needs.

As far as this novel is concerned, I’m content with most of my setting details. What’s left can wait for another draft. Right now I’m concentrating on working a new character into the existing plot. I also need to trim my word count down, so I’m looking for things I can cut.

Most novels contain more than one story, or at least more than one conflict your characters have to navigate to satisfying conclusions. Coming up with my second draft strategy involves tracing those storylines and making sure they have all the parts they need to work effectively.

I’m making some major changes

One of those changes was switching to a new writing software. I tried QuollWriter for a while and, although it had its good points, it wasn’t quite right for me. I was a little salty about trying Scrivener, but I decided to give it a go anyway, and now I’m hooked.

Scrivener is where it’s at when you need help organizing a novel. It’s got everything. You can keep character profiles, setting notes, and other references right there. It makes it very easy to organize scenes and chapters. It’ll even help you create an outline for your story as you go. There are loads and loads of options, which you can access if you need or ignore if you don’t. Also, they don’t require a credit card or email address for their free trial. You just download, install, and go. It’s hard to get more convenient than that.

I imported my entire rough draft into Scrivener as a reference, and I have my writing screen split so both the rough draft and the second draft are visible at once. It makes it SO easy because I can refer to my rough draft without having to switch between applications.

I’m making changes to my draft, too, of course

In fact, I’m making so many changes that my second draft is practically another rough draft. A lot of this is due to the new character, but I also have some info dumps and some scenes that just drag.

There’s a lot to do, and I have a list of things I’m trying to keep up with. These are the things I’m looking for:

Inciting incidents

How did the character end up in this situation? Usually you want an inciting incident to be big enough that the reader recognizes it as an issue, but small enough that you can escalate it and build tension as you go.

Your novel will probably have one major inciting incident that introduces the main conflict or plot, but it will have minor ones for each minor conflict or subplot as well. Generally speaking, when I’m talking about the inciting incident, I mean the major one; but for organization purposes, I need to consider all of the minor ones as well.

Try/Fail Cycles

You’ll probably have three or four of these per conflict. Again, start small and escalate as the story goes. Your final try/fail cycle is your novel’s climax.

Basically, a character realizes there’s a problem. They try to solve the problem and fail. Then they do a little research, maybe bring other characters into the situation, and then try to solve the problem again. They fail again. Repeat and continue to raise the stakes until the character is giving this problem everything they’ve got, and they stand to lose everything if they fail the final time.

Some characters who enter the story at different points in time may not see the earlier parts of this cycle, so their inciting incident will be where they’re dragged into this conflict.

Climax

Yes, this is another try/fail, but it’s the big one. I want to keep track of this because it has a massive impact on the story.

Resolution

How does each conflict end? Some of them will wrap up in a nice little bow, happily ever after. Others won’t end the way the character wants them to end, but the character will realize it’s for the best. A few will end in tragedy. You might even leave a few conflicts with open or ambiguous endings, but make it clear to readers that the character saw the conflict through to this point. They shouldn’t just disappear.

It’s important to keep track of resolutions so you don’t leave readers hanging.

I hope the second draft goes faster than the first

I’m a few thousand words in, and I think it’s going well so far. I’ve made some big changes. How do you set up your second draft? Do you take time to map it out, or do you just jump right in? Do you even bother with a second draft?

I hope I’ve given you some information you can work with. If you’re confused about any of this, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to clarify things for you. Feel free to use those social media buttons to share this post if you thought it was helpful. Thanks!

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My Novel Updates

March Novel Update

I don’t want to overwhelm people with stuff about me when it seems like not a lot is happening, but a novel update (and information other projects) once a month isn’t too bad, right? Here we go!

The blog

I’ve been making a few slow changes around here! My big project is updating old posts so they’re more readable and SEO-friendly, but I have also put more time into promoting myself and it seems to be paying off.

The gains haven’t been huge, but they’re steady. I’m also seeing more comments, which is fantastic. I love talking to you all, so please keep it up. If you’re feeling shy, you can use the contact form here instead of posting a comment for everyone to see.

I have some great posts coming later this month and on into April. Some of them are more advanced topics than I’ve covered here so far, but I think I have the subjects broken down so they’re easy to understand. Please come back for those! I think you’ll learn a lot.

Short stories

I had a great idea for a short story, but I’m having trouble getting all the little details into place. Unfortunately, the next Writers of the Future deadline is at the end of the month and I know it won’t be finished then. Rather than stress over it, or try to force myself, I’m revising the short story I sent to Fantasy Magazine back in August. They rejected it, so it’s still eligible for WOTF.

I feel like this is a better choice. I do my best self-editing after taking a break from a story, and this piece has already taken on a lot of new life. I’m still going to finish the other story and I’ll save it for the next quarter. It’s a really fun idea; it’s just not ready yet.

Sorry I’m being so vague about these, but I could be disqualified if I share too many details here. I think I’ll probably hear results from the last quarter sometime this month.

The Novel Update

Progress on the second draft has been slow, but satisfying. I’m incorporating some new techniques and I’m using new software, so there’s been a bit of a learning curve. I have a post about that scheduled for next week, so I hope you’ll come back and read about it.

Eventually, as I get closer to publishing the novel, I’ll start gradually releasing more information about the characters and the plot. I don’t know when that will be, though.

Other Things

One of my big goals this year is to finish the writing course I signed up for back in November. I’ve worked my way through three sections of it. There are eleven more sections left, which are made up of multiple videos, and four books to read. It takes quite a bit of time, but I’m learning tons. My license expires in November, so I need to buckle down if I want to get through everything by then.

Another goal is to learn as much as I can about marketing and promotion. Whether I self-publish or go with a traditional publisher, most of the promotion will fall to me. I want to go into that with a solid action plan and clear goals.

As far as my writing goes, I just need to buckle down and finish some things. I want to convert a short story into a novella, and use it as a promotional tie-in for my novel. I also have an old draft that I want to revive, break into a trilogy, and self-publish. There are short stories in my archive related to that draft, which will probably also become promotional material.

I think I’ve said it before: I’ve got enough ideas to keep me busy for years. It’s just a matter of putting in the time and focus and getting things finished. That’s the biggest goal of them all.

That’s all, folks!

I hope you’ll come back and check out what I have to offer in March. I’ve put a lot of time into this month’s posts. One of them might be a little controversial, but I hope it’s not going to upset anyone. I’ll have another novel update for you in April.

If you have any questions or anything you’d like to add, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks!

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My Novel Updates

February Update

Wow! We’re already a month into 2021, and what a year it’s been so far. Here’s a little update on how some of my projects are going.

The Novel Update

I’m really still in a brainstorming phase here. Part of that is because I still haven’t found a writing software I really love. I might keep using Word and Excel for now, just so I can get a move on.

The bright side is that I’ve had a lot of time to identify problems, develop my characters, and think about my micro-worlds. I want to do well on this second draft so I’ll have less work to do down the road.

There is an upcoming post about drafting for pantsers where I talk about my process in more detail. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

The Blog

I’m gradually polishing up older posts, and of course I’m still writing new ones, but I’m not making any major changes to the website at this time.

My biggest goal for the website right now is promotion. I have a few things in mind, but I’m still working on a concrete plan.

Other Projects

Short stories

One of my big goals this year is entering Writers of the Future every quarter. The next deadline is March 31, and my short story well seems to be dry. I have some ideas, of course, but nothing that feels appropriate for the contest.

Continuing education

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably already know I signed up for David Farland’s Super Writers Bundle back in November. I’m trying to watch a few of those videos every week so I can complete the course before my license runs out in November. There’s a lot of material, and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface.

I’m not affiliated with David Farland, and I’m not getting any sort of compensation for recommending his course. I just think it’s very informative.

A new series?

I confessed my old fanfiction habit to you a few months ago. I actually wrote a fanfic that got to be pretty popular for its fandom, and I’ve always kind of dreamed about rewriting it as an original series. Next year will be the ten-year anniversary of that story, and I’m thinking about going for it.

Assuming I complete this project, I’d self-publish. Ideally on the anniversary date itself. I don’t think traditional publishers would accept this story. It’s already been published in some format (even though it’s going to get some major changes), which is a problem. It also doesn’t fit into typical traditional categories. The narration alternates among a teenager and her parents. It doesn’t work as a traditional YA piece, but it doesn’t quite fit into the adult category either.

This is really just a thought. It’s at about the same level of development as the novel I’m currently working on, maybe a tiny bit farther, and I’m not sure taking on two huge projects at once is a wise decision. I’ll definitely mention this in another update if I decide to go for it, though.

That’s the update!

What do you think? Does it sound like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew? It definitely feels that way sometimes.

How is your writing going? Please feel free to share your links in the comments. Thanks!

If you’re interested in more up-to-date news from me, you can check out my Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Image Credit: Sincerely Media

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My Novel Updates

Trying New Writing Software

Ever since I finished my rough draft, I’ve been working on organizing my thoughts and figuring out exactly what I want this book to say. Unfortunately, my writing software–an ancient version of Microsoft Word–isn’t cooperating very well.

There’s a lot going on in my story, at least to me. I have a huge world, and I’m not even sure how many micro-worlds exist within that world. Then there are the characters. I have two POV characters. Two major villains. Many minor characters. Many plot threads.

It’s hard keeping track of all those details. I have a Word document of notes, and I’ve tried using spreadsheets, but I hate going back and forth between different apps. I’ve also tried Google Docs and, while it’s great for critiques, I don’t like writing in it.

It’s time to try new writing software

Even though I’m okay with pantsing my way through a rough draft, and I don’t need anything sophisticated for that, I think this is a good time to look into different options that will help me keep track of details in my later drafts.

I’m looking for writing software that might help me organize my thoughts while I work.

Scrivener is a popular option. But it seems like all of their best features are only available for Macs at the moment, and I don’t have a Mac. Apparently they’re very slow to roll out PC updates (Scrivener 3 has been out for macOS since 2017, and it’s still not available for Windows), and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

However, thanks to AlternativeTo, I found several similar writing programs. I’m checking out a few options right now, and I’ll post again soon with an update. I’m using Quoll Writer for the moment, but I might try some others before I settle.

What do you use?

Do you have a favorite writing program? Are you the type who prefers to write by hand, or even typewriter? Please leave a comment and let me know! I’m definitely open to new software recommendations.

Image credit: Aaron Burden, Unsplash

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My Novel Updates

Looking Back on 2020

I started this website on January 1, 2020, with the intention of having a fully polished, ready-to-publish novel by the end of the year. The last few years of my life had been pretty eventful (mostly in bad ways), and I wanted to challenge myself with something that would have positive results if I stuck with it. This year has not gone as planned. I know I’m not alone in that, so I’m going to try not to dwell on it in today’s recap.

Younger me would have given in to the stress and stopped writing entirely. I did take a break from the novel for a little while, but I didn’t quit. Today, I want to take a look at some of the things I’ve accomplished during my year.

The novel

I didn’t finish the novel, but I was able to complete the rough draft. Given the amount of craziness everyone has endured this year, I feel like that’s an accomplishment. At one point, I shifted my goal to try and have the novel finished in time for Author Mentor Match in 2021. That isn’t happening. I thought AMM would open up in the spring, but it’s actually starting in January, and I’m not going to be ready.

I’m not worried about it. If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that I can adapt and persevere no matter what’s happening around me. Also, as I have mentioned before, I bought access to a really great writing course back in November. The novel is going to be stronger than ever thanks to what I’m learning in this course. I’m fine with moving my goalpost again if the result is an even better book.

Short stories

I’m on a roll for short stories this year. I’ve written three, although one of them was a bust. Out of the other two, one went to Writers of the Future, and I submitted the other to a literary magazine. My Writers of the Future submission won a silver honorable mention, and I’m trying to figure out what to do with it next.

I’m working on another story to enter in Writers of the Future this quarter, but the deadline is 12/31 and I may not get it finished in time. I was on track to get it done, but then we had a household emergency and everything went out the window. I’ll spare you the (literally) gory details, but the last few days have been a real train wreck.

Eventually, I want to put an anthology together to self-publish, which is another thing I had never considered before this year. My old teachers saw self-publishing as vanity publishing, and that’s just what I grew up on. Things are different now. A short story anthology is a great candidate for self-publishing.

Once I finish the novel, I might challenge myself to try writing a short story a week for a while. For now, I only write short stories when I have an idea I can’t put aside.

The blog

When I started the blog, my plan was to just do a post a week and see how things went. I didn’t think I’d upgrade it to my own host and domain, let alone do a month long blogathon. It’s been a year of surprises, most of them good. I’m so grateful all of you readers are making this journey along with me.

I really don’t have anything intense planned for the blog in 2021, but I didn’t have anything planned for 2020 either, and look how that went. I’m probably going to tweak some of the older posts so they’re SEO optimized and all that good stuff. I know what started out as My Novel Year is turning into My Novel Years, but I don’t see a reason to change the name.

I’m still not doing exercises right now, but I might bring them back someday. At any rate, the blog isn’t going away. I’m trying to think of things I can do to improve it, or a broader spectrum of services I might offer visitors, though.

Other daydreams

I don’t have anything set in stone, but I have been playing with ideas. An exercise guide, or maybe a short story course or a self-editing course for beginners could be fun. I also thought of starting a paid editing service, but I’m really just spitballing at this point. As much as I’d like to do some or all of these things, I’m not sure how to fit them into my schedule.

I’m looking forward to 2021

Even though I had my share of setbacks in 2020, I was able to mostly stick with my writing. I feel like that’s an accomplishment, even if I didn’t reach my original goal. Here’s hoping 2021 is even better.

Please have a safe and happy New Year. Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any thoughts. Thanks!

Image credit: Mark Kamalov, Unsplash.

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My Novel Updates

December Update

I’m kind of in blogathon burn-out mode, so I thought a simple recap would be nice (for me) rather than my usual Wednesday rant. So…Let’s talk about my project list, shall we?

Completed Projects

The novel

The novel rough draft is finished. I think I’ve already mentioned that, but I don’t care. It was quite the accomplishment, and I’m glad it’s over. Unfortunately, I have a ton of revision to do.

Short stories

I finished a rough draft of a short story that I’ve been working on since September. This is going to be my Q1 Writers of the Future entry, so that’s all I can say about it right now.

My to-do list

The novel

Revision, revision, revision. I took a break from the novel after I finished the rough draft so I could come back to it with fresh eyes. It helps more than you’d think.

I also bought access to a really intense writing course, and I’m planning to use that to help me edit. David Farland, who created the course and is also a bestselling author, is very well known for the work he’s done to help other writers build their careers. Stephenie Meyer and Brandon Sanderson owe at least some of their success to his advice, and I’m really looking forward to learning as much as I can from this course.

This probably means I’m not going to get the novel finished in time for Author Mentor Match, which kicks off in January, but I guess it is what it is. Above all, I want to write a good book. Even if I don’t reach my original goal, I’m not that worried about how long it takes to finish the book as long as I’m making steady progress.

Short Stories

I need to edit and submit my Q1 short story for Writers of the Future. This is actually the top of my to-do list because the deadline is December 31 and I need time to get critiques and revise again.

I have a horror-ish story that I started around Halloween and still haven’t finished. Horror is not my usual genre, for reading or writing, so I’m kind of excited to see how it turns out.

I’m still trying to scrape enough stories together for an anthology, but I also want to submit to lit mags. The anthology isn’t a big priority right now because I want to devote time to my novel. I tend to write short stories sporadically and only when I’m in the mood. The idea really has to grab me, and then I usually have to fight myself to not turn it into another novel or novella.

The blog

I think I mentioned this the other day, but I feel like it bears repeating. I’m taking a break from exercises unless somebody requests them. They don’t get much attention, and it’s time I could put into my other writing projects. I might do them sporadically, or maybe create an exercise booklet or something, but I don’t know yet.

Beyond that, I’m just going to keep on keeping on. I’m playing with some ideas for next year, but I don’t have anything concrete yet.

What are your plans for December?

I’m guessing a lot of people are gearing up for the holidays, but we don’t do much of that. We’re pretty laid back about it all. Please feel free to share your holiday traditions below if you want. I used to do family stuff, but that isn’t possible anymore and I just can’t find the…energy/willpower/desire/whatever you want to call it to bake thousands of cookies or wrap presents or put up decorations just for myself. It doesn’t make sense.

My biggest goal for this month is getting that short story finished in time. I also need to start the second draft of my novel. I will be back next week with a new (real) post for you, and I hope you’ll be back for that, too.