My 2-3 Months “Break”

Written By: Jess - Jun• 13•16

Update on the New Shiny

Hopefully by the end of tonight I will have finished my werewolf story. All I have is the closing scene to write, so not much at all.  Once it’s done, I’m taking a couple months break to get some distance from it before taking a second look.

1. Short Story Edits

One of my critique groups has already gone through and critiqued one of my short stories, however, I haven’t had time to go through and make all the changes that are needed. So that’s next.

2. Read 8 novels on writing.

I have an insane amount. Too many actually, so I’m tying to make a dent in the pile.

3. First Draft Changes

I wouldn’t consider this a true edit. It’s more me going back and making sure things are consistent. For example, I later cut a character’s point of view that I’d introduced earlier on, so I need to go back and remove it and put information I reveal there in either a new scene or an existing one. That’s a major one, but there’s other smaller clean up tasks I need to go back and do.

4. Finish Edits on the Pandora Story  & Submitting

So I never really finished these. I have probably less than a week’s worth to do (yes, I know. Pathetic that it’s not done yet). Plus I need to make a list of agents, polish the query just a little more, and write a synopsis (I always goof up and think syphilis, though that might be because they’re both so awful). I’ll also start the submission process . . . maybe. I might take another look at it to see if I can trim it done further.

5. Write 2 Short Stories

I want to write at least two. They’re fun. I’ve discovered they’re great for me exploring a world without writing a whole novel about it, and helps me figure out if I really want to write in that world.

6. A New Novel

My new shiny that I just finished is no longer going to be a new shiny! So I need a new one. I’ll be plotting out a new one. I have two ideas, but I’m leaning more strongly towards one than the other (involving the same character). So that will be fun.

Getting Back My “Groove”

Written By: Jess - May• 21•16

I should be working on the new shiny right now, but it’s been a while since I’ve posted. So, new blog post it is. I do enjoy posting here, I just get busy/forget. Aw well. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Distractions

Let it be known that Korean dramas are the most addicting thing ever, and I should be forbidden from watching them when I’m in the middle of writing anything. Seriously. Long story short, I started watching a couple of k-dramas and could not stop for two weeks. It’s all I did. It took another 2-4 weeks to try to get back in to the groove of writing, it knocked me off kilter that bad. I still have a list a mile long of k-dramas I want to watch, but I’ve decided they’re something I’ll have to reward myself whenever I finish a project (like the first draft or a major round of edits). So maybe in a month or two I’ll jump in to one or two.

Good news is I was able to find my groove again! Which leads me also to . . .

Storymakers!

LDStorymakers is the best. Well, the best in Utah since I haven’t been to conventions/conferences outside of the state (one day, one day I will).  Even though I was getting back into writing before I went to the conference, it still helped kick my butt into a new gear. Since coming back, I’ve been doing pretty well at writing every night unless the Little really needs me or sleep.

But Storymakers was awesome. I loved seeing writing friends, talking shop, and in general just being around kindred spirits. My husband pulled an all-star move and watched the Little the whole day Saturday and part of Friday. She was pretty good for the classes I had her in, but him watching her allowed me to really be mentally present 100%. So, thank you Jack!

Couldn’t have done it without you.

I also had an amazing experience meeting with an agent there! I almost wasn’t nervous. She was easy to talk to and I got a much better idea about submitting and the industry. I’m hoping I can submit to her and other agents in the next coming year.

Can’t wait for Storymakers ’17!

The WIP

I’m so close, guys. SO CLOSE! I’m writing the last third of the book right now. If all goes according to plan, I should be done with it either by the end of this month or the very beginning of June. YEA! A little longer than what I planned, but that month of no writing killed my progress. So, lesson learned there. Still, with that being said, a little over 5 months to write a first draft is pretty good (the goal was 3-4), especially when my first novel took 3 years.

I also really love this book. Like, I love it a lot. I know I’ll probably feel that way about every book I’m writing as I’m writing it, but this one I just feel really passionate about. More so than how I ever felt about my other book. It might break my heart just a little bit if it doesn’t work out.

What I’m reading:

Book: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles)

Author: Marissa Meyer

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I’m finally reading the last installment of the Lunar Chronicles! And I am not disappointed. It makes total sense why she saved Winter’s story for last and why she had the queen’s book come out right before this. It is one long freaking book though. Holy crap. It’s an easy read, but man. It’s a lot. I’m entering the last quarter of it. Hopefully I’ll be done this weekend. I love it, but I also am looking forward to moving on to something else.

I’ve been buying sooo many kindle books lately. I need to put a hold on that. The number of e-books I own alone is ridiculous.

 

What I’m looking for:

With that being said, I’m looking for more urban fantasy to read, specifically dark uf. To narrow it down further, I’d like it if the some of the characters are actually likable. The world and circumstances can be f-ed up, but please let me at least like one character. Pretty please?

What I recommend:

I recently read the first two books of the Wraith Kings series by Grace Draven, and let me tell you, they are fantastic. The books are “Radiance” and “Eidolon”. They’re a fantasy romance and are more heavy on the romance aspect. The humor in these books is also a major plus. Part of what sold me was reading the chapter sample on Amazon.

Basically this book is a mixed marriage between different species. What makes it funny is the fact that the newly hitched couple finds each other totally disgusting and ugly. It’s great. And funny. And a well told love story. Totally recommend “Radiance” and its sequel (and can’t wait for the third one). I do have to mention there are some *ahem* scenes in them. So if you don’t want to read graphic sex scenes, either avoid this series or be prepared to skip a few pages.

My Book Boyfriend is Back (well, one of them is)

Written By: Jess - Mar• 17•16

Let’s start out with some fun stuff . . .

What I’m Reading:

25776210Fire Touched (#9 of the Mercy Thompson Series)

By: Patricia Briggs (I will read anything this woman writes. Her, and Ilona Andrews.)

I got sidetracked last week from reading this. Lesson learned, don’t try to read books on your Kindle only when you rock your baby to sleep. It doesn’t work that way. You get hooked and then get sidelined from reading the novel you pre-ordered months ago. All the same, at least the book I read last week was worth it. Soooo good. (It was “Radiance” by Grace Draven, for those who want to know.)

Now I’m gleefully tearing through “Fire Touched.” Only on chapter 2, but amazingly funny, like always, and totally hooked. Gotta love Mercy, Adam, and crew.  I’ll have it finished by Sunday night for sure. Kind of sad that it takes me that long now to finish a book (pre-baby it was more like 2 days when I ‘frenzied’).  Oh well. I guess that means I just get to adore it longer. And spend more time with one of my book-boyfriends. I missed you, Adam.

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What I’m Writing:

Edits on my short story are slow but steady. Love the changes that are happening, especially when my word count on it is slowly going down. I want that puppy below 10k. I’m so grateful for my group helping me with it.

The novel is chugging along nicely too. I’m either at 50% or a little over that. I’m hoping to see if I can keep the sucker below 100K. I have my doubts, but I’m going to try my hardest. If I manage to keep it at 90-95K (or honestly, anything under 100k, even if it’s 98K) will make me thrilled. I’ll celebrate. I swear I will if I manage to keep my goal and not go over.

Anyway, I’m enjoying writing the new shiny. If I keep my pace up, I should be done come end of April or beginning of May.

Other Randoms:

Working out is my new hobby, and I think I’m a little crazier for it. I’ve been running like a hamster on a wheel at the gym for over 13 weeks now, and I will soon begin either “T25″ or “Cize”.  Jack won’t let me buy another Beach Body dvd set. Their constant “buy ME” adds are annoying as all get out, but they’re effective, I’ll give their marketing department that.

I see your challenge that everyone can dance, Shaun T, and I accept. I really can’t dance, but this should be fun.

The Kissing Stuff + An Ugly Truth

Written By: Jess - Jan• 30•16
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Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve come to accept a hard fact. I don’t know Romance, and I need to learn how to write it. I say this because in my new shiny I have a subplot that’s a romance, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to do it properly. Turns out I need to do some serious research (i.e. read articles and buy more how-to books).

I have one book on the way, another book “Intimate Behaviour: A Zoologist’s Classic Study of Human Intimacy” just arrived on my doorstep, and I’m flipping through some of my favorite fiction with decent b-plot love stories. Hopefully I won’t write something awful.

1st Book News (The Ugly Truth bit):

So remember that novel I was editing? I still am. But I realized something this week that makes me want to scream. I have a chapter in the novel I hate. I haven’t been able to pinpoint why until recently, but I despise this one chapter in particular. What I realized was I need to tear it out and write something new. I was able to think of an alternative to what I’d done. Yep. I got all the way to the last stage and FINALLY thought of a way to fix my book so I can like it infinitely better. *sigh* At least it’s only one chapter. Still, I really don’t want to do it. I just want to be finished with that book already.

 

What I’m reading:

Still reading the monster book. Hoping to finish it this weekend.

“Libriomancer” by Jim C. Hines

“Honor’s Knight” by Rachel Bach

Up next:

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I’m going to read “The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery” by Marjorie Spiegel. It’s about 115 pages and should be a very quick (if difficult) read. But I’m expecting it to be extremely helpful with my werewolf book.

My friends recommended I read “Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Theif” by Dorthy Gilman. That might be the next fun read. It’s tempting me considerably.

 

Word Count on the WIP: 18,930

Sanderson’s Class

Written By: Jess - Jan• 17•16

So I got into Sanderson’s class/workshop this year. YAY! The fifteen of us have been divided in to three separate critique groups. I’ve been to two classes so far and it’s been great. Although, I got a nice reminder to check my ego at the door.

I think I’m pretty good about not being too defensive with my normal writing groups/friends (please correct me if I’m wrong. I don’t want to be that person). But something about being around other writers for the first time sets my nerves off and I can get a little defensive. I’ve tried to figure out what went awry and why I got that way last week. Part of it was my own fault. I failed to remember to keep my mouth shut and listen. Another part of it though, and I might be mistaken, was we as a group hadn’t set up clear rules when it came to critiquing (unsaid or hard and fast ones). I could go on and on about why I thought it wasn’t as stellar of an experience as I wanted, but I’m making myself focus on keeping the blame on myself and not other people. The best I can do is to give feedback without attacking the other person and accept feedback without defending what I’ve done.

Basically, I need to stick to one thing. Keep my mouth shut and listen. In the end, I can apply what I agree with and ignore the rest. It’s that simple, but also surprisingly hard.

We’ll see how next week goes.

Current Word Count for my WIP: 9,026

A New Writing Book for the Fave Shelf: Writing Monsters by Philip Athans.

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If your a writer and your looking for a good how-to monster book, this is it. I’m half-way through it and already consider it one of the better writing books I’ve come across.

 

 

Audio Books & Kindle Reads

Written By: Jess - Dec• 31•15

Audio books are the best. I’m currently listening to “Never Less than a Lady.” It’s a straight up romance novel, the kind I almost expect Fabio to be on the cover of. It’s predictable (for the most part) and totally unrealistic in a lot of ways (sometimes insultingly so). In other words, it’s pure fantasy. I probably read these types of books once a year–it’s about all I can handle. All the same, I’m enjoying the complete cheesiness of it.

I’m also in the middle of a Kindle read. It’s called “The Builders” by Daniel Polansky. Picture talking cowboy/pirate critters dressed like people. I’m at the point where I think about about to find out what these no-good varmints are up to.  Should be good.

 

Stick around. I might have some fun news next week.

 

Pressure Week

Written By: Jess - Dec• 29•15

There’s four more days until the new year, and I need to get my short story finished in that time. Work did not happen during Christmas (unfortunately).

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Getting any writing done in a different house during the holidays with a Little was nearly impossible. I just gave up. I got a little work done on it last night, but I still have a lot more to go. The stupid short needs to be done come January 1st so I can start my new shiny.

Anyway, the Holidays were great. This year (surprisingly) I didn’t really ask for any writing things, with the exception of a few writing books. We (me + Jack) both asked for a lot of kitchen stuff. I’ll have to post pics once the kitchen has been completely revamped.

Words are Weird

Written By: Jess - Dec• 23•15

I’m in the middle of some of the tedious edits. As in, I comb through my document looking for ‘there’s to delete, and after looking at about the 150th ‘there’ it starts to look and sound weird in my head. It also happened with ‘since’ and about another half-dozen words. I don’t mind these types of edits; I just wish the words wouldn’t start to get wonky on me halfway through.

Oh, I also bought pretty highlighters to mark-up different characters’ dialogue and make sure they sound the way that they should.

That’s it. That’s all I got for today.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

Getting the Stupid Voice Right

Written By: Jess - Dec• 21•15

Writing third person is hard. I struggle with it every time. Normally, I find writing in first person a lot easier. But I need to get better at writing in other view points, so this story is kind of a warm up before I jump into my second novel (which is also 3rd person pov).

Finding Harley’s voice was easy. . . a whole year ago. Since then, he got mad at me and has refused to talk. No, I’m not crazy. He’s just one of the few characters who popped into my head and wouldn’t stop yammering until I wrote down his story. Seriously, he had a full blown personality and everything (and he Would. Not. Shut. Up.) The problem is, I started to write it and then stopped due to other projects, which really irritated Harley. I know because when I started to write him a week or two ago, I floundered. It took a long time for me to get even 300 words on the page in comparison to my usual 1,200. I also struggled because I changed the pov. He was going to be first person, too. *sigh* But I think I found his voice. Jack thinks I may have as well.

You know that scene in Jaws where they’re dishing out the chum to the shark? That’s what I imagine whenever I go to critique groups. I feel like I should ring a dinner bell or something. We’ll see what my writing friends think when I give it to them to shred to pieces (which only makes it better in the end. Feedback is an awesome, terrifying thing).

(I love this movie so much)

 

Progress Today: 424 words + lots of edits

Next Steps into the New Year

Written By: Jess - Dec• 19•15

Hello, internet. Long time, no see. I’m going to get back in the swing of things now that my Little is almost 3 months old. So, here are the plans for the new year:

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1.) New Book Baby: I’m starting my werewolf book in January. I’m actually very excited about it. I’ve been editing my other UF novel and writing short stories, but this is what I’ve been looking the most forward to. I’m hoping to write the first draft in 3-4 months. The goal is to have this book done and ready to submit within a year. I’m not a fan of taking nearly three years on one book, which leads me to . . .

2.) Submitting: I’m starting to hate my Pandora novel. I’m sick and tired of working on it. I just want it done. But I need to learn how to edit, and even if it never gets published, at least I’ll have taken away something from the experience. I’ve learned a lot from it already with it being my first book and all, but I still need to learn a little more, which is where the editing comes in. I’m still hoping to publish it though. The plan is to start sending it to agents/publishers sometime in January. I still need to brush up the query letter and write a synopsis, but I should be done (hopefully) with the edits by then.

3.) Harley’s Story: So, I have this short story I’m working on about a body snatcher. I started writing it this week, and so far I’m having a blast with the character. He’s a fun one. Questionable morals and ethics, but fun. If I can keep it below 10K words, I’ll be ecstatic. I write long and can be wordy. So short is the goal this time around. I might submit it to Writers of the Future again and to some magazines. Unlike my last short piece, this one ends on a high note.

4.) The Blog: Yeah, yeah. I’ve set goals for this thing before. This time I’m hell bent on keeping to it though. My husband will be my accountability partner. I haven’t told him this yet, but he will.  The goal? 3 times  a week. They might even be me posting YouTube videos when I feel particularly lazy, but I’m sure I can churn out a minimum of 100 words or more per post.

And that’s me and the New Year. Has anyone else been thinking about what they’re going to do?