Mini Update: Obsessions & Some Progress

Written By: Jess - Jun• 15•15

I actually had a blog post all written up and ready to go . . . and failed to post it. *sigh* Now it’s out of date and deleted. Oh well. Lesson learned. Write the dang thing and hit publish.

This will be quick today, simply because I want to publish something. It’s been long overdue.

What I’ve been obsessed with: Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews. It’s an online serial and right now it’s complete and up on their website probably for a couple more weeks.

What I’ve been struggling with: Getting words on the stupid page. Right when I think I’m doing pretty well, I get knocked off course again.

Plan to fix it: I’m going to try to go to the library a couple hours every day after work (and on Saturdays). Starting today. *grits teeth in determination* I figure it’ll get me back into the habit. Maybe I’ll try and move around the house with my laptop. I need to learn to write anywhere again and leave the stupid internet alone when I sit down to write. YouTube and Facebook are the enemy, people.

Writing and the internet go together about as well as this . . .

What I’ve been doing well at: Plotting. I feel like I’ve got my Pandora story under control now. There’s one or two things I’m playing with the idea of cutting, but I’m going to hold off a bit before making that change–if I do it at all. I’ve also accepted the fact that I don’t need to hurry this. It’s not a race. And even if I don’t get this book published, I know I need the practice of finishing something 100% (from 1st draft to polished MS).

Other realizations: My next WIP, a werewolf story, needs to be in third person. I did not like accepting this.  Since the beginning of planning it, I’ve thought it should be that way but stubbornly set my heels in about making it first person. Now I accept it. Better than that, I’m okay with it.

So that’s all for now. See? Nice and short blog post. I’ll try and update sooner.

Mini Update: Struggling

Written By: Jess - Apr• 25•15

So, I’m struggling getting writing done. Still. And reading. I haven’t read a full book in over a month. I think GoodReads tells me I’m over 7 books behind. Nope–I just checked. It’s 8 books. EIGHT.

Which means I’m going to have to cheat and read a ton of short stories and novellas in any hopes of catching up.

As for writing, my ADD is either seriously acting up, it’s the whole pregnancy thing, or I’m just in a funk. I’m writing sort of new stuff, or at least new scenes, so you’d think I’d be able to put out my daily 1,200 word count like I was when I wrote the first draft. Nope. Some days I do, if I can make myself focus long enough. I’m just getting really annoyed with it. The desire is there, and I know what I want to put on the page, it’s just actually doing it.

Any suggestions would be appreciated greatly.

In other news, I think I might rewatch ‘Penny Dreadful’ before the new season starts. Jack got me the DVDs for Christmas and I still need to have a marathon with them. Maybe I’ll do that this weekend if I make my writing goal.

Writing Prompt: Seven of Swords

Written By: Jess - Mar• 22•15

They’re back! I’M back! Yea!!!!!

So Jack and I are living in Tooele now (no it’s not actually ‘forever away’) and love it. There is a down side though. There’s not a whole lot of places for me to go and write. When we lived in Draper I had multiply options. There was the library, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, and several other awesome spots. But my favorite was the Harmon’s cafe seating upstairs. It remained out of the way, open way late, clean, comfy, and most importantly, perfect for my writing.  Tooele does not have a Harmons, let alone any places open past 9 pm to write other than McDonald’s.

So McDonald’s it is.

I’ve been out of the writing habit for a while now due to editing, and blending previous written work, but I’ve reached a point in my revisions that I need to completely tear out and write new stuff for my novel. (Cue crying.) It’s a pain, but I hate it less than the editing I’ve been doing lately.

 

But in other news, I’m going to try and start doing prompts again. I haven’t decided if there’s going to be a word limit on them. On some there might, but for now I’m just aiming for short.

After Christmas I bought The Archeon Tarot deck for some writing prompt inspiration (does anyone else like to use Tarot decks for this?). It’s by far one of the most beautiful decks I’ve seen. I scanned the cards and found one that I thought would be fun to base a story off of, and then looked up what it meant.

Seven of Swords (According to Tarot for Writers)

Upright it represents: Betrayal, deception, getting away with something, stealth

Reversed: Mental challenges, breaking free

Writing Prompt: Seven of Swords

seven of swords

The crow rustled his ink black wings, spraying stale raindrops in arches that caught the familiar silver moonlight. He blinked and cocked his head as he stared hard through the indigo night at the glittering sphere. Thin, golden links attached themselves to the side of it as it lay at the bottom of the ravine.

Flap. Snatch. Pretty thing.

Not a shadow lingered in a single cranny as the sphere glowed and glistened in the nook of a fallen branch.

His wings twitched, and he snapped his beak in frustration as he contemplated his favorite hiding place. The moon whispered ‘don’t do it,’ but the crow had already expanded its wings, sailing down on a gentle night current, and toward the glowing orb.

With a simple pluck and pull the sphere went up into the night, hanging by its links in the crow’s beak. He kept flying, going higher still until the link snapped in half. Startled, he cawed and circled back, but found the sphere stuck. And with it stuck, the light from the sphere overpowered the moon and chased the night away. 

Writing Prompts for This & Last Week

Written By: Jess - Sep• 30•14

Two for one this week.

Last Week’s Writing Prompt:

He hadn’t meant to scare the child

My 100 Words:

He slide the blade methodically through transparent skin. The ritual required serenity, peace, and careful planning. Now he’d have to deal with the yammering spirit while he proceeded with the spell.

In all honesty he hadn’t meant to scare the child. The goal had been a quick kill, one that the boy shouldn’t have even noticed. But now that was botched, he’d have to deal with the consequences.

He whipped the blade on a clean cloth while the blood ran fresh from the body. The spirit was already forming in front of him.

“Why’d you do it?” a whisper echoed.

Photo Credit: Toa55

Photo Credit: Toa55

Eh. And this weeks:

He didn’t understand what he’d done to her, but he would by the time she was finished . . .

My 100 Words:

Snip, snip, snip.

The blades cut through the paper with supple ease as she cut around the lines of the two of them. Kloe traced the back of it with the glue stick and pressed the edges gently to the paper.

At the top of the page in big, bold letters were the words “First Date!!!!” and surrounding that was glitter. Lots and lots of glitter.

She didn’t do this. She wasn’t especially “girly” and never had been. But he didn’t understand what he’d done to her, but he would by the time she was finished.

Snip, glitter, glue, hearts.

Photo Credit: Feelart

Photo Credit: Feelart

See What the Others Did!

Wendy Knight, Author: www.wendyknightauthor.blogspot.com

Kelly Martin, Author: www.kellymartinbooks.blogspot.com

Alison Woods (Peering Into. . .): http://alisonmillerwoods.wordpress.com/

R.K. Grow: http://www.rkgtheauthor.com/

Stephanie Worlton’s Kreating Krazy blog: http://stephanieworlton.blogspot.com/

Leah Sanders, inklings: http://inklings-leahsanders.blogspot.com/

Laura D. Bastian: http://www.lauradbastian.com/

Jaclyn Weist: http://jaclynweist.blogspot.com

Amryn Scott: www.wildscottkids.wordpress.com

K.R. Wilburn:  http://www.krwilburn.com/my-blog.html

Lindzee Armstrong/Lydia Winters: http://lindzeearmstrong.blogspot.com

Kat!e Larson: http://katesnovelidea.blogspot.com

Miranda Nelson: http://www.mirandadnelson.blogspot.com/

Angela Schroeder http://angelaschroederauthor.blogspot.com/

Ginny Romney http://romneyrants.blogspot.com/

Canda Mortensen:  http://candamortensen.blogspot.com 

Jenna Eatough http://blog.mistglenmoon.net/

 

Writing Prompt #I-Don’t-Even-Know: Most vivid amongst the memories of his home town …

Written By: Jess - Sep• 17•14

I really liked this one a lot more than I thought I would.

townToday’s Writing Prompt:

Most vivid amongst the memories of his home town . . .

My 100 Words:

Most vivid amongst the memories of Don’s home town was the creek’s bank on the west side. He used to go after school and pick pebbles to splunk into the lazy stream as it ran around the aspen trees.

Sometimes people would see him when they passed by as they peered at the tree line. Sometimes he’d stare back.

He never understood why they did this, it usually just frightened him.

Why can’t they just leave me alone?

It was like that today when another couple came by. He raised his hand to block the flash as they whispered “ghost.”

Photo Credit: Gualberto107

Photo Credit: Gualberto107

See What the Others Did!

Wendy Knight, Author: www.wendyknightauthor.blogspot.com

Kelly Martin, Author: www.kellymartinbooks.blogspot.com

Alison Woods (Peering Into. . .): http://alisonmillerwoods.wordpress.com/

R.K. Grow: http://www.rkgtheauthor.com/

Stephanie Worlton’s Kreating Krazy blog: http://stephanieworlton.blogspot.com/

Leah Sanders, inklings: http://inklings-leahsanders.blogspot.com/

Laura D. Bastian: http://www.lauradbastian.com/

Jaclyn Weist: http://jaclynweist.blogspot.com

Amryn Scott: www.wildscottkids.wordpress.com

K.R. Wilburn:  http://www.krwilburn.com/my-blog.html

Lindzee Armstrong/Lydia Winters: http://lindzeearmstrong.blogspot.com

Kat!e Larson: http://katesnovelidea.blogspot.com

Miranda Nelson: http://www.mirandadnelson.blogspot.com/

Angela Schroeder http://angelaschroederauthor.blogspot.com/

Ginny Romney http://romneyrants.blogspot.com/

Canda Mortensen:  http://candamortensen.blogspot.com 

Jenna Eatough http://blog.mistglenmoon.net/

Second Draft is DONE! Thank you writing retreat!

Written By: Jess - Sep• 15•14

So iWriteNetWork had their second writing retreat this past weekend and I got to reconnect with some of my talented writer friends while there.

I did get a lot done while there, but it wasn’t as productive as last time for me. The problem? I didn’t mentally prepare like last time. I’ve learned that you really need to prep before you go to those type of things. Mostly I didn’t have time to, but I’ll make sure to do so for the one in the spring.

While at the retreat I did finish the second draft of the short story I wrote at bootcamp in July. (It is done, it is done, it is done, done, done! aHA!)

Mostly it was adding more details, expanding on things, and writing new scenes. It went from 8k to 16k. It’s a monster of a short story, people. I’m a little worried that I’ll have trouble selling it because of it’s length.  I do plan on sending it to Writers of the Future (their current limit is 17k), but I need to get it to my critique groups, some savvy reader friends, and find an editor. Right now I have some pages with one editor, so hopefully I’ll like the feedback and we’ll click. Fingers crossed.

Oh, one other thing. I’m starting the first draft of my new book baby tonight. Yep! What I’ve nicknamed TAP is finally getting started! I’m pretty excited.

I’m also starting the edits on my Pandora novel. So that’ll be fun. Not. I found out at the retreat that I really, really hate edits. I’d much rather write a whole new first draft. It takes me a while to get into the groove with editing. But at least I know I’m going to need lots of chocolate to get me through the misery of fixing it.

Writers, what are you working on? What stage of working on a book do you love/hate the most?

Non writers: What’s going on with you?

Writing Prompt #?? : The fire was getting closer + Mini Update

Written By: Jess - Sep• 02•14

Mini Update: This summer was an experiment when it came to what I could do with my writing. I pushed myself with critique groups, edits, plotting, learning more about grammar (that I’m quickly forgetting. I’ll need to skim read them as a refresher) and in general pushing what I thought I could do.

It was a frustrating summer, but a good one. Often times I felt like I had stretched myself too thin, but had promised myself that I’d keep doing my experiment until September. The good news is I did learn something from it. The bad news is I’m going to have to make some adjustments I don’t want to make if I want to be productive and be happy with my writing again.

What this means is there will be more updates on the blog (yay! I’ve missed you, blog!). I’m also going to be slowing things down a bit and cutting back on the portions on my overcrowded plate. So. bare with me. Changes are coming but they’re all good ones. I’m not getting rid of anything, just altering how I do them.

Now time for the writing prompt.

The fire was getting closer . . .Today’s Writing Prompt:

The fire was getting closer . . .

My 100 Words (I deviated a little bit with the wording) :

Ruin quirked an eyebrow as she watched the struggling village down below. Some of the villagers surprised her with their unwillingness to accept their fate.

“Really, sister. Must you torment them?” her older brother’s husky voice said from the doorway of the Observatory.

She sighed and leaned back in the gold plated chair. “I’m bored again, Snare. What do you expect a girl to do?”

He walked over and looked down into vision portal at Ruin’s feet. His sister blew into the portal, whipping the flames closer to the panicked village.

Snare scoffed and rolled his eyes. “Fire? How original.”

Photo Credit: Evgeni Dinev

Photo Credit: Evgeni Dinev

See What the Others Did!

Wendy Knight, Author: www.wendyknightauthor.blogspot.com

Kelly Martin, Author: www.kellymartinbooks.blogspot.com

Alison Woods (Peering Into. . .): http://alisonmillerwoods.wordpress.com/

R.K. Grow: http://www.rkgtheauthor.com/

Stephanie Worlton’s Kreating Krazy blog: http://stephanieworlton.blogspot.com/

Leah Sanders, inklings: http://inklings-leahsanders.blogspot.com/

Laura D. Bastian: http://www.lauradbastian.com/

Jaclyn Weist: http://jaclynweist.blogspot.com

Amryn Scott: www.wildscottkids.wordpress.com

K.R. Wilburn:  http://www.krwilburn.com/my-blog.html

Lindzee Armstrong/Lydia Winters: http://lindzeearmstrong.blogspot.com

Kat!e Larson: http://katesnovelidea.blogspot.com

Miranda Nelson: http://www.mirandadnelson.blogspot.com/

Angela Schroeder http://angelaschroederauthor.blogspot.com/

Ginny Romney http://romneyrants.blogspot.com/

Canda Mortensen:  http://candamortensen.blogspot.com 

Jenna Eatough http://blog.mistglenmoon.net/

They’re Back! Writing Prompt #??: Spare some change please?

Written By: Jess - Aug• 13•14

Yeaaaaah. It’s been a while. Sorry about that. I’ll make excuses later (I have a lot to choose from). In the mean time, here’s the writing prompt for today!

*sigh* I’ve missed doing these!

Today’s Writing Prompt:

Spare some change please?

My 100 Words:

Harriet tugged at her blouse, willing it with all her might to fit properly.

She glared at her reflection. “Whatever, I don’t have time for this.”

Squinting, Harriet locked in on her torso and expelled energy to shrink her bone structure. She half turned, smirked, and then hurried out the door.

As soon as it clicked behind her she saw the usual beggars.

“Spare some Change, please?” one of them said.

“Oh, fine,” she said. Harriet snatched his hand and squeezed it, passing on energy.

She didn’t bother to watch the man use the small amount to strengthen his spine.

Photo Credit: Mantas Ruzveltas

Photo Credit: Mantas Ruzveltas

See What the Others Did!

Wendy Knight, Author: www.wendyknightauthor.blogspot.com

Kelly Martin, Author: www.kellymartinbooks.blogspot.com

Alison Woods (Peering Into. . .): http://alisonmillerwoods.wordpress.com/

R.K. Grow: http://www.rkgtheauthor.com/

Stephanie Worlton’s Kreating Krazy blog: http://stephanieworlton.blogspot.com/

Leah Sanders, inklings: http://inklings-leahsanders.blogspot.com/

Laura D. Bastian: http://www.lauradbastian.com/

Jaclyn Weist: http://jaclynweist.blogspot.com

Amryn Scott: www.wildscottkids.wordpress.com

K.R. Wilburn:  http://www.krwilburn.com/my-blog.html

Lindzee Armstrong/Lydia Winters: http://lindzeearmstrong.blogspot.com

Kat!e Larson: http://katesnovelidea.blogspot.com

Miranda Nelson: http://www.mirandadnelson.blogspot.com/

Angela Schroeder http://angelaschroederauthor.blogspot.com/

Ginny Romney http://romneyrants.blogspot.com/

Canda Mortensen:  http://candamortensen.blogspot.com 

Jenna Eatough http://blog.mistglenmoon.net/

The Waaaay Overdue Boot Camp Post

Written By: Jess - Jul• 29•14

I’ll try and keep this simple, mostly because it’s hard to convey everything I learned and walked away with from Boot Camp. I’m also in the middle of moving, editing, and trying to get to my new shiny, so I really don’t have much time to dive into this as much as I’d like. In all honesty I could easily split this into two posts, so I apologize in advance for how long and dry this thing is. (To the GIF haters: Sorry. Sort of. But there’re 4 in this post.)  Anyways. Reeeady … and … go!

The First 2 Days

The first two days was the writing class portion of Boot Camp. Anyone can attend the writing class if they pay the $175 (or whatever it cost). It’s great, though if you’ve read Orson Scott Card’s “Character & Viewpoint” book (I highly recommend it) you’ll notice a lot of the same information. He does cover stuff that isn’t in it though, so you can still get a lot out of it.

I attended the writing class last year as well and love how he presents the information.

On one of the days he had us write about an hour from the past week. We had to write it in third person past tense and we couldn’t use our own names. Here was mine:

Coraline gripped her armrest as the plane shuddered for the third time.

The girl next to her giggled like a demented Furby and Coraline debated if ‘accidentally’ hitting her would be worth it.

“Just a little turbulence folks, we’ll be on the ground in no time,” the captain’s disembodied voice said above them.

With a strained face, Coraline turned toward the man across the aisle from her, his words finally registering.

“Our friend is in the back — it’s his first time flying. Boy, are we going to have fun teasing him! He’s petrified!”

“I don’t blame him,” Coraline said. I am too.

The man continued to prattle on and she nodded politely, but when the plane bounced again she squeezed her eyes shut and prayed that the pilot would just land the thing sooner rather than later.

“I really, really don’t want to die,” Coraline whispered to the small TV screen in front of her.

Next to her the girl giggled again as the the stewardess walked along and asked everyone to put their trays up.

At the end of day 1 we were partnered up and expected to go and fill at least three index cards with new, complete stories. Really they were like detailed outlines. Each one had to be from one of the following:

  1. Research done at a library/bookstore
  2. Another from interviewing a stranger
  3. Observing those around us

On day 2 we went over our cards and discussed them and how to make these story ideas better. I won’t explain this too much. Long story short for me was I hated all of my ideas. I really had zero desire to explore them. Which is a pity because last year when I did the writing class I actually liked some of what I came up with. Not so much this year. I don’t know what happened.

The Boot Camp Portion

The best parts about Boot Camp for me were:

  1. Learning I could write a short story in a day
  2. Setting a new personal record for my daily word count
  3. Making new writing friends!
  4. The amazing feedback I got back from every person there

On Tuesday (day 2 of the Writing Class) OSC gathered all the boot campers together to let us know we needed to write a brand new story that we hadn’t started prior to boot camp. He said a lot of us would end up using one of the index card stories. I asked if it had to be a story from our index cards or if it could be something that we’d brainstormed while there. Luckily for me he said it did not have to be an index story. Just something new. Yea!

He also said the story had to be written by Thursday.

But he said those of us who were slow writers could skip the rest of the writing class after dinner. I opted for skipping.

I’d stayed with my sister prior to boot camp and while there I’d gone to the pool with her and her husband. I hate the water. Always have and always will. I wasn’t going in. But I did like watching all the hyper little kids jump in, splash all the adults, and in general run a complete muck.

While I sat there (trying to read my book) and watching all the mayhem, an idea sparked.  It wasn’t until the writing class started that anything really started to form around the idea, but that’s what I ended up using.

I spent eight hours on Tuesday world building, watching Dan Well’s 7 point story structure on YouTube (to be honest I had no clue on how to write a short story), and creating short character bios. The next day I woke up at noon, ordered Dominoes pizza, and spent the next thirteen hours (give or take) writing the blasted thing.

New record reached! It ended up being around 8,100 words long. (Heck, yeah!)

I thought I’d be able to go to bed after that, but I thought wrong.

I then had to stay up and read three of the short stories other boot campers had submitted already. I ended up getting about two hours of sleep before waking up and meeting with everyone to then go over them.

For those wondering, it turned out I wrote the longest one (the average was around 4-5 k. I have no idea how I ended up writing the most. I’m use to being on the low end. Huh).

And Here’s What Went Down

Really, this is what’s hard to explain to people about what I learned. For the rest of boot camp we spent about three hours each on each person’s story critiquing it (there were twelve boot campers all together).

unnamed

A lot of what I learned was from critiquing so many stories, having my own ripped apart, and listening to what OSC had to say. The real value came from those three things combined.

What amazed me was listening to someone who’s been writing for so long brainstorm, picking apart story flaws, and noticing things that the rest of us didn’t see. I’ve listened to other great writers do this one on one before, not just OSC, but the difference with this was doing it for about 3 days straight from 8 -10 hours a day.

I really learned a lot by going. The new writing friends I made are invaluable.

finaldinner

 

I honestly would recommend it to anyone considering it. The majority of the advice given was spot-on and amazing. Boot Camp was a great experience and I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have gone — it really was the right timing for me. But that’s a different post all together.

unnamed (1)

 

P.S. – You should check out one of my fellow boot camper’s posts on it too. She wrote a  great summary about what went on as well. :) She’s also the one who I stole these pics from. (THANK YOU ELISE!)

Keith, another great writer from Boot Camp, has his own post up about the time spent there.

Writing Prompt #17: It was time. She’d fought against it for so long . . .

Written By: Jess - Jul• 16•14

Ugh. I so I totally forgot to post over the weekend AND Monday. But it’s coming. Yell at me if you don’t see something by Saturday night, k? ;)

It was time. She'd fought against it for so long . . .Today’s Writing Prompt:

It was time. She’d fought against it for so long . . .

My 100 Words:

It was time. She’d fought against it for so long.

I wrapped my knuckles against the glass, making the poor girl jerk away. She’d been left alone for so long she’d fallen asleep. Heh.

“Come on, undo what you did. We don’t have all day,” I said, knowing my voice sounded muffled from inside the transport.

How had she locked herself in there anyways?

“I don’t want to! You can’t make me!” she screamed, her breath fogging up the window.

I sighed. Why were they all scaredy-cats? “Girlie, everyone finds out who their mortal enemy is at the Prophecy Reaping.”

Photo Credit: Audfriday13

Photo Credit: Audfriday13

See What the Others Did!

Wendy Knight, Author: www.wendyknightauthor.blogspot.com

Kelly Martin, Author: www.kellymartinbooks.blogspot.com

Alison Woods (Peering Into. . .): http://alisonmillerwoods.wordpress.com/

R.K. Grow: http://www.rkgtheauthor.com/

Stephanie Worlton’s Kreating Krazy blog: http://stephanieworlton.blogspot.com/

Leah Sanders, inklings: http://inklings-leahsanders.blogspot.com/

Laura D. Bastian: http://www.lauradbastian.com/

Jaclyn Weist: http://jaclynweist.blogspot.com

Amryn Scott: www.wildscottkids.wordpress.com

K.R. Wilburn:  http://www.krwilburn.com/my-blog.html

Lindzee Armstrong/Lydia Winters: http://lindzeearmstrong.blogspot.com

Kat!e Larson: http://katesnovelidea.blogspot.com

Miranda Nelson: http://www.mirandadnelson.blogspot.com/

Angela Schroeder http://angelaschroederauthor.blogspot.com/

Ginny Romney http://romneyrants.blogspot.com/

Canda Mortensen:  http://candamortensen.blogspot.com 

Jenna Eatough http://blog.mistglenmoon.net/