Week in Review – 2013/07/22 – 2013/07/28

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WRITING:

Camp NaNoWriMo and JulNoWriMoTweeting updates with @JulNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo. Every Friday until September 21st, I’ll be writing update posts for WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER.

Fractured Tales Series Word Running Total for July: 73,138 words

Totals from April, June, and July: 236,997 words

My revised outline is much stronger. It’s important not to get too attached to a story idea. There are new twists to twists I’d previously made but I like the new developments. Things are shaping up nicely for my August redraft. No pressure to get all these words and set them aside while I try to get all the best bits and weave them together. Lowballing 12,500 words makes it an attainable goal. I can already see myself doubling that number. Of course, I’ll just keep at it and hope for the best.

I also have my Fast Draft WIP in the works. That’s off to a good start but I’m not quite in the fast lane, just yet. I think I’ll split up the 20 pages into manageable writing chunks throughout the day–if The Keysmashing Tots cooperate. They’re growing up way too fast and are making it trickier to slip away. Their acrobatics and their burgeoning sibling rivalry requires a constant referee/observer. Only the younger one takes naps–short naps– in the afternoon, and they’re sleeping late.

Who needs official writing challenges when these two challenge my writing time every day?! 😉

READING:

Currently reading:

FLIPPED 331920     THE SPARK 15798364

Next up:

WIRED FOR STORY 13126099     THE SUPERNATURALIST 45432 

(Although, I have read a few pages of each to get a taste of what’s to come.)

  

Total books read since June 23rd:

Fiction: 9

Non-Fiction: 3

I didn’t read as much this week, so I’m still in the middle of my books. I don’t feel bad, however, because my writing’s flourished. Nice trade off.

SOCIAL MEDIA-ING ;) (formerly known as BLOGGING):

A final July check-in on Angelina C. Hansen’s blog for #wipmadness. I wonder who’s hosting for August? I’ve joined up in a handful of communities already that have overlapping check-ins that I have constant accountability for my writing goals. It’s a great motivator. Four Sunday #ROW80 check-ins and four Mid-Week Check-Ins, so far.

OTHERS:

There is no reason you can’t find time to write. Case in point, the waiting room at a dentist’s office. I used to be able to lug my laptop or iPad around, but my back injury is acting up so I didn’t to take anything heavy on the commute. Enter the trusty notebook and pen. I managed to squeeze over four pages (after I transcribed them) while waiting. It was highly satisfying. When I got home, I tried the same thing and the elder Tot grabbed the pen and now I have some artistic additions to my notes.

So, Keysmashing or Notebook-taking, at least the kiddies are into creativity, as well. It’s good to get them started early. 🙂

The weather makes for lazy days but I’ll sit and sweat more bullets as I continue to write.

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FRIDAY FORAGE – 2013/07/26

WEEK FIVE: WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER

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I’m thrilled at the breakthrough in my outline revision. Took some MAJOR brainstorming but I’ve breathed new life into my Fractured Tales Series. It’s a departure from my original concept, but that’s all part of the process and I’m stoked! I played around with half a dozen scenarios and put new twists to a story that already had twists built in. Fun times.

Hopping around the interwebs, I’m happy for fellow writers who’ve completed their drafts, revisions, and even got book deals. There’s a buzz of excitement in the writing community and it fuels every writing session I have.

Yesterday, I registered for Candace Havens’ The Book in a Month Club workshop that includes a Fast Draft process where I dismiss my internal editor and churn out twenty pages or 5,000 words a day. Hopefully, I can use the weekend to my advantage. I’ll use this method not only for my current WIP but for potential anthology submissions. Smaller word counts mean an even speedier way to a completed draft. I will need to outline, of course, to ensure I have the proper foundation before I let loose.

Now that I’ve got my compass sorted out with this WIP, I can’t wait to immerse myself in some major writing sessions. Tomorrow, I’ll be writing in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. Anywhere and everywhere, the words are gonna fly.

It’s interesting how much can happen in a fortnight to change the direction of a project, as well as my renewed energy to tackle this head on. No one said it would be easy, but highs and lows, the ride’s been fun because I learn new things everyday about the craft of writing, my WIP, and myself as a writer.

I’m in the Pit no longer.

Things are definitely looking up.

#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/07/24

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WRITING:

Camp NaNoWriMo and JulNoWriMoTweeting updates with @JulNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo. Every Friday until September 21st, I’ll be writing update posts for WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER.

Fractured Tales Series Word Running Total for July: 60,170 words

Totals from April, June, and July: 224,029 words

 

Headway on the outline revision and HOPEFULLY steering this ship in the right direction. Believe it or not, it’s okay to be excited and terrified at the same time. I am and I’m okay with that. 🙂

This next bit goes in my unofficial Edification Category, but it falls under the WRITING umbrella:

1) I’ve taken part in Savvy Authors Summer Hike hosted by the wonderful Cathy Yardley and it’s another great way to have ongoing support and accountability as I achieve my writing goals. Since I surpassed the 50K word count goal awhile ago, I decided to spend the rest of the month revising my outline. It’s going to be like playing Jenga or Tetris with words. [SIDEBAR: I looked up the proper links to associate with the games and found this. Amusing, considering my previous sentence. I had no idea it existed.]

August, rather than WriMo myself into a black hole of Writer’s Burnout, I’ll give myself a little extra time to make sure my outline is solid. It’s something I’ve never quite done in previous WriMos. I shall not pants my plots anymore. Not even Bermuda shorts. I need to be rigid to ensure a smoother writing experience. My goal is to write and polish the first fifty pages of the novel by September 1st. That’s 12,500 and far less pressure on myself than I’ve been dousing since the start of the year.

2) I went back to that scary wildebeast of an assignment. There’s still a ways to go yet but I’m making progress in the outline’s refinement. Progress is always a good thing.

 

There are other activities and challenges that I’ve taken up and I’ll post updates in the next couple of posts. Good things ahead because it’s all things writerly.

 

READING:

Currently reading:

FLIPPED 331920     THE SPARK 15798364

Next up:

WIRED FOR STORY 13126099     THE SUPERNATURALIST 45432 

(Although, I have read a few pages of each to get a taste of what’s to come.)

  

Total books read since June 23rd:

Fiction: 9

Non-Fiction: 3

 

Not freaking out that I haven’t finished a book yet this week. I have my own to work on. I’ll be a Beta Reader for fellow writers’ manuscripts and I think that’s an interesting endeavor. I’ve done it in the past and it helped me appreciate the skills I’ve learned and honed, as well as appreciating a story as a reader. I say this counts as as part of my reading challenge. I’ll be pulling double duty because there will be edits and critiques involved. Reminds me of a teacher who asked me if I wanted to be an editor. I certainly wouldn’t mind. These tasks, reading and editing, they’re just a couple of ways for me to improve my own writing.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA-ING ;) (formerly known as BLOGGING):

Check-ins on Angelina C. Hansen’s blog for #wipmadness continue every Monday In July. I’m a newbie compared to how long my fellow WIPsters have been at the grind. This week we celebrate book deals, query submissions, and just getting the words on the page. We should all be proud of our efforts. Three Sunday #ROW80 check-ins and four Mid-Week Check-Ins, so far.

I’ve been on the lookout for insightful articles and websites for my FRIDAY FORAGE series. I’m not sure if I’ll post them during my summer writing challenge but it couldn’t hurt. The interwebs are a cornucopia of knowledge. I’m enjoying the scavenger hunt, so far.

 

OTHERS:

Duolingo is something I’m going to take a peek at on the weekends.

Speaking of… staycations. Weekend getaways either geographically or just in your own backyard. I highly recommend them. Get this, after the zany non-stop action with The Keysmashing Tots, you’ll never guess… I. Had. Fun.

Unbelievable, I know. But fun was to be had, rest was taken, my eyes, my back, my carpal issues. Come Monday (technically. Sunday night when I got back to the tykes), I had renewed energy and out of the gate, the words flowed with more ease than in the last fortnight. As part of my writing goals for the summer, I decided that, come August, I’ll take the weekends off, or at the very least, keep Saturdays as a catch-up buffer day, but Sunday is a writing-free day.

Did I mention how highly I recommend this?

 

How’s your July 24th?

#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/07/17

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WRITING:

Camp NaNoWriMo and JulNoWriMoTweeting updates with @JulNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo. Every Friday until September 21st, I’ll be writing update posts for WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER.

Fractured Tales Series Word Running Total for July: 46,695 words

Totals from April, June, and July: 210,554 words

I’m getting my butt kicked in one of my workshops and I mean this in the nicest way possible. I’d rather suck it up now and work out all the kinks, plot holes, chasms–toMAYto, toMAHto–in my WIP rather than after a year of slogging away at a series that won’t quit and won’t stop branching out in subplots. I’m not saying subplots are a bad thing. They’re great. But imagine your favorite tree. You go and visit it at the park. One day, you see the branches are taking everything over, it’s stifling, there’s no other room to grow. Worse yet, the roots are coming up through the grass, snaking their way in all directions. The tree trunk? That used to be my plot line. My current WIP predicament? The attack of the killer tree. It’s a B-movie with a horrible ending. Don’t watch it. I won’t.

So, back to the butt-kicking. I’m still working on the Series, of course. But rather than intermittent ‘fixes’ akin to a cork in an active volcano, I’m going back to the basics. Remember how I said I used to be on the fence between plotting and pantsing? Well, this mess has compelled me to get off the fence and head back over to Plotville. I gave in to too much flexibility when it came to those “what if” questions and what began as a simple hero’s journey mutated into a foxtrot quickstep square dance limbo with two left feet. Ya feel me?

I’ll get it sorted. I have some challenges that extend through August to give me the rest of the summer to get back on track. And back on track I shall be or I’ll end up running out of horrid clichés to blog!

READING:

In other news…

Here’s what I read this week:

22232

Currently reading and on deck:

lovestargirl     FLIPPED 331920     THE SUPERNATURALIST 45432     WIRED FOR STORY 13126099

Okay, I know not all the books here are from my last post. Due to recent events of aforementioned flogging and restrategizing–if it’s not a real word, I’m making it one–my WIP, I found I couldn’t get through reading a fairytale inspired story anymore. Until I’m out of my plotting fog, I’m steering clear of fairytale inspired tales.

The only reason I jumped onto Spinelli’s sequel was because I was moved by the first story, had the second one already and wanted to dive in while the characters were fresh in my mind. It’s told from a different POV and in a different format, but I’m quite enjoying it. Also, I’m enjoying MG/YA fiction, probably because they’re among my favorite reads. No worries. My ever expanding TBR list has a wide variety, but I think I’d like to start here and work my way to the grittier stuff later.

At least I can continue my nourishment through reading while enjoying other genres, as well. The diverse writing styles and voices are inspiring and giving me just the right amount of motivation to stop beating myself up over minor setbacks. 🙂

Total books read since June 23rd:

Fiction: 8

Non-Fiction: 3

SOCIAL MEDIA-ING ;) (formerly known as BLOGGING):

Check-ins on Angelina C. Hansen’s blog for #wipmadness are every Monday In July. Some of my fellow WIPsters are going through rough patches, while others are hanging from rafters with glee. We’re all in it together and I love it. Two Sunday #ROW80 check-ins and three Mid-Week Check-Ins.

I was hoping that FRIDAY FORAGE would be shorter than last week, but my inner monologue demands to be heard. Fingers and toes crossed, it will be shining, shimmering, and splendid.

OTHERS:

Oh, dear, sweet, neglected Duolingo. Does it count that the senior member of The Keysmashing Tots knows the word ‘stars’ in both English and Spanish already? Again, thanks to Dora and Diego. To his credit, children are known to have a knack for languages at a young age. I’d love to be a linguistic sponge. I’ll keep at it. I don’t think it’s too late. Of course, now I’m picturing SpongeBob. Great. :-/

Oh, and that thing I mentioned about Stella, last time? Erm, is there a movie entitled ‘Stella May Have Gotten In Over Her Head’ or the sister movie ‘Stella Jumped the Gun’. Grrr, plot holes. I’ll fill you yet.

And how are you on this fine, sweltering hump day?

FRIDAY FORAGE – 2013/07/12

WEEK THREE: WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER

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Fractured Tales Series Word Running Total for July: 33,357 words

Totals from April, June, and July:  197,206 words

I have the following book titles for the Series and currently reworking Bk1 after separating a subplot to Bk2. The third book is just ideas, at the moment:

BOOK 1: AARALYN’S SONG (FORMERLY BOOK 1: HAMELIN)

BOOK 2: THE CURSE OF BRIAR ROSE

BOOK 3: AND THEN THERE WERE SEVEN

So, you know how too much of a good thing can also be a bad thing? Welllllll… okay. It’s like this. How can I not be enamoured with all the possibilities that a fairytale universe provides? I’ll have story ideas, plots, subplots, and character mash-ups to last me a year. HOWEVER, as the saying goes, I think I really need to divide and conquer on this one. Yes, so many twists and turns are great. The new takes on old favorites (good and evil) are a joy to write, but I need to maintain a streamlined flow of ideas and not get ahead of myself. <– this is my self pep talk.

Yo, Self! Are you listening? Write the story that wants to be told and stop listening to all the whispers. Each character will have their time to shine–if they’re worthy! haha That’s another thing. I need to put the brakes on the characters. Here are just a smattering of mashed-up and/or retweaked characters I have so far in Book 1 (and I’m not even including minor ones). If I add the rest I have for the series, I’ll run out of bandwidth!

Aaralyn – inspired by the Pied Piper

Jaron – her father, abdicated his position as Heir to the Throne of his Kingdom, currently living in Hamelin, a town far, far away

Caleb – her brother, taken by a group of thieves who attack Hamelin

Melantha – her mother (and rogue witch, but I’ve recently revamped her and am considering, ugh, more on that in a later blog post)

The Old Woman – lives in a gingerbread house and nurses Aaralyn back to health after an ambush that results in Caleb’s abduction

Jack – forced to kill giants because an unknown group holding his sister Jill hostage. Killing giants at their behest is to keep her alive.

Ali Baba – a boy who first appears to Aaralyn in a dream, then when the town is under attack; currently cursed as a magic carpet

Morgiana – a friend of Ali who was once a fairy, but was cursed as a genie in a lamp

Robin of Locksley/Sheriff of Nottingham – this mash-up is inspired by my love for Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark, he’s Aaralyn’s godfather and Jaron’s best friend

Queen Aerwyn – Jaron’s mother; formerly a mermaid, chooses mortality for the love of a human,

King Brage – Jaron’s father, who’s currently at war with Aerwyn’s father, the King of the Water realm for, you know, the whole forbidden love thang

Rapunzel – has a bad history with both Aaralyn’s family but more recently with Jack. She’s a magical water creature and her hair is actually tentacles. She can change her form for certain periods of time.

Merlin – a wizard who is an old friend of Robin (and taught him a few tricks)

Nimue – another water creature but she’s allies with Aaralyn’s family

Okay, new plan. I can do that, right? I’m halfway through Camp NaNoWriMo and JulNoWriMo and I’m pretty sure I’ll hit 50K by midweek, if not before. Since this is an ongoing journey, as is the entire WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER challenge, I say yes.

1) I’m enjoying this exploration of characters but I need to really hone in on the story I want to tell first.

2) As much as I enjoy discovering connections between events in Book 1 to an story arc in Book 3, I should focus on getting out all the words of Book 1 first. Well, duh. I know it’s an obvious statement and yet…

3) I must spend time analyzing the characters I have and make sure they have a solid purpose in Book 1 that helps move the story forward. I don’t want to have them there just because I think their new mashed-up version is cool. I’m thinking of writing side story novellas to complement Book 1. BUT THEN PLEASE REFER BACK TO #2. One beast at a time, no?

4) My flexible plotting needs to be less flexible. I’ve always loved structure with wiggle room, but I don’t want to wiggle onto a different tangent. I need to spend a day–sans The Keysmashing Tots, so that means tomorrow–and go over all the key points of the book and make an outline that flows towards a resolution rather than branches out into a world of possibilities. REMEMBER: A standalone novel with series potential. The story should be complete in and of itself, regardless of what I think may happen beyond the words THE END.

5) Don’t sweat over it too much. I tend to overthink things and end up getting the blahs when I’d rather be having the YEAHS! (That made sense, right? I’m sure you know what I mean.)

So that was me this week. A frenzy of words, both written and read (I’ve been reading up a storm for a different challenge) and a frenzy of activity with The Keysmashing Tots. So much for having Saturday to completely veg out. Have you seen the list I just wrote for myself above?

Ah, the writer’s life. I’m such a masochist. ;-P