Progress Update

As you can see from my previous post, I finished Surviving the Road!  I also submitted four out of my eight possible queries, decided that I’d see how the responses on those look before I submit the other four, applied for the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat, and did some major world-building and magic-system-fleshing-out for the secondary world setting in which I intend to set a bunch of short stories.

On the plate for this coming week is seriously looking into Patreon for my short stories and doing more world-building for what I’m thinking of as the Tattoo Magic world.  I likely won’t start revising Flight, my second book, until February.  I’m giving myself a little time to cool off from the high-pressure stuff like drafting and revising in favor of something a little more light-hearted.

Progress Update

I haven’t really had much in terms of progress this week, besides decided to write Plague Novel the Second this NaNoWriMo.  I’ve also started up with my critique partner again.  We’re working through the Flight novel, which is what I’ll be revising after I finish the first draft of PNtS.

Progress Update

The querying process and book preparation process are both less numbers-intense than the editing process.  I can’t say that I got X pages done, which is Y % of where I want to be.  Instead, I have to treat you to a laundry-list of things that I did for you to get a feel for the kind of motion I’m seeing on my end.

Plague Novel–I received a second full manuscript request and another rejection.  This puts me at two full manuscript requests and two form rejections.  I chalk this up as an overall success.  I intend to do agent research and then tweak and sent out my query letter to my second set of possible agents on Monday.  I want to try to emphasize my writing-relevant skills a little more, but I also don’t want to come off as braggy.

I keep getting little tiny ideas on the possible sequels.  I’ll have to do an entire other blog post on why I decided to write other things when I have three books semi-outlined out for the Plague Novel.

Flight Novel–this one is burning a hole in my brain.  Every now and then, things pop out at me that I want to do on revision.  I just keep noting them down in the Scrivener file so that I don’t lose them.  At some point, the desire to revise it will reach a critical mass and my attachment to the story as it exists will wane, and then and only then will it be time to pull out the proverbial red pen.

Book 3–I’m trying to come up with a working title for this.  Right now, it has two different titles in my head: that generation ship story, and “Touchdown,” which is the name of the Scrivener file on my computer.  The second one makes it look kind if like a sports story, though, so I’m not sure if it’ll stick around.

I’m eyebrows-deep in research on exoplanets, space travel, and Russian culture.  The characters have started forming in my head.  I went back and read Characters and Viewpoint, but I still have no idea if the right voice for this book is third-person limited or first-person.  I do only have one main-character.  That tends to push me toward a first-person voice, but I’m not really sure if the trade-off in immediacy is going to be worth the more intimate emotional connection to the character.  Writer problems.

Other projects–I’ve received one short story rejection.  I need to make this a pair before I send them out again, since the short story submission process is so draining for me.  I’m thinking about opening up a Patreon and putting my short stories there instead.  It’s extremely difficult to break into the short fiction market because space is extremely limited and lots of established authors also write short fiction.  I haven’t made a decision on this yet.  It’s something I’ll need to give some serious thought to before I decide whether to make a move, and in the mean time, I’m going to keep going with submissions.

I’m also going to be a contributor for Queer Girl Cafe.  My internal editor is screaming at me not to fill this space up with empty words, but… I’m very, very, very, excited about this project.  There are some amazing queer writers lined up to contribute.  I have a tiny bit of impostor syndrome even thinking about having an article in the same space as some of these women.

Updates!

My work on writing-related things has been pretty scattered this week.  Last week I finished the last major revision of the plague novel.  This week, I’m about 33% of the way through my final “read out loud” revision, where I’m fixing typos and minor language issues.  For obvious reasons, this is going much faster than any of the major revisions.

I’ve also very roughly drafted a query letter for the plague novel and started researching agents.  I’m to start sending out my query letters after I pitch to an agent in person at a writing conference in late January, so I want to have all of my research and letter redrafting done by then.

Next, I pulled up my short stories spreadsheet and updated it.  One of the online magazines that I submitted to has abruptly closed down, so while I don’t have an official rejection from them, I need to resubmit that story.  Now that I have two stories that aren’t submitted anywhere, researching submissions is on my list of things to do for next week.

Finally, I’ve been playing around with some new story ideas.  I’m not sure whether I’ll launch right in to revising the flight novel when I get done with the plague novel revisions or whether I want to start a new project.  Writing new things is so much more exciting than revising old things, and it’s a lot easier for me to feel discouraged about being a writer when my creative juices aren’t flowing.  It might be a good idea to write a couple of short stories or start outlining a new project to keep the creative juices flowing.  On the other hand, the more revision I have done on the flight novel, the sooner I can start pitching that as well.  I’m kind of torn, here, and haven’t yet made a decision about which way I’ll jump.

Progress Update

Due to a death in the family, I’m going to be driving all day tomorrow and unavailable all weekend, so I decided to do my progress update today instead.

I cleaned up the first 25 pages of Flight and completed 2-page synopses for both Surviving the Plague and Flight, to prepare for a writing conference I’m going to in late January.  The first 25 pages of Flight are going to an editor for a critique, and I’m going to pitch Surviving the Plague to an agent.  If nothing else, it will be good pitching practice.

I’m done through Chapter 24 of Surviving the Plague.  I have one more major change left, but it’s going to affect several chapters.  I’m still sure that I’ll have it done by the end of January because that is when it needs to be ready to pitch.  Ideally, I’d like to be able to read it out loud at least once before then and have it as 100% fully polished as I can get it without doing something like hiring an independent editor.  Wish me luck!

I also need to submit one of the stories I got a rejection for in November.  I keep putting that off, but just sitting on it isn’t doing me any good.  Hopefully the weekend after Christmas, I’ll have a solid chunk of time to do market research and send that out again.  I’m getting faster with market research, but it still takes me a good couple of hours to do a submission.

I’m taking my laptop with me out of state.  I’m still going to try to get my daily two hours’ writing time in.  If nothing else, it should help keep me sane.

Progress Update

Happy Friday!  I’m excited to announce that I finished my second manuscript this past week, so this week’s update is only partially NaNo word counts:

  • Day 21.  81,382 (including a three-hour write-in)
  • Day 22.  82,345
  • Day 23.  84,531

On November 23, I officially finished the first draft of the flight novel.  This means that I successfully wrote a 85,000 word YA manuscript in a month.  I am beyond excited.

This is probably more vanity than reality, but I feel like I got an honorable mention in Jim C. Hines’s blog as “the 25 year old kid with no life who can do 80,000 words in a month.”  He’s in my NaNoWriMo region and there is no one else at 80,000 words.  I’m 30, but… okay, I have no life.  Well, I don’t have children.  That helps a lot.

Of course, the “month” of writing didn’t account for the two months of preparation time I put into fleshing out my characters, settings, plots, and outlining.  I wish I had done the same preparation for the plague novel before I started writing it.  I have discovered that I make a much better outliner than discovery writer.  But you write, you learn.

The rest of my week has been post-beta reading revision.  On Tuesday, I located and compiled all of my beta-reader feedback into lists of things I need to look at and consider.  This was a very discouraging process, but it resulted in a fabulous to-do list that I’ll detail in another post.  On Wednesday, I imported the plague novel into Scrivener and worked on moving all of my notes over into the new format.  I worked a little on the first chapter, with a specific focus on the first few paragraphs.  On Thursday, I ate myself into a coma and listened to Writing Excuses in the car with my husband.

And today, I started the major overhaul of the first 20 chapters.  I’m consolidating and doing retroactive outline and plot-cycle-related things to improve the pacing.  I just combined chapters 2 and 3 into a single chapter under Sam’s perspective, and I think it works a lot better than the previous chapters.  I might add a few things from chapter 4, and then consolidate chapters 4 and 5 under Robbie’s perspective.  The nice thing is, if this doesn’t work, then it doesn’t matter because I can just go back to the previous setup.

Anyway, I have my excitement back for the plague novel.  My goal is to work on it at least two hours a day until I have it ready to query.  And after doing that all November for NaNoWriMo, I know that this is a thing I can do as long as I prioritize my writing.  I will make it so.

NaNoWriMo Progress Update

The word counts mostly keep climbing!  At this rate I will finish the book by the end of next week.  This is a huge change from last year, where I was lucky to accomplish a chapter in a week.

What they say about writing is true: the more you do it, and the more disciplined you are about writing every day, the easier it gets.

  • Day 14.  64642 (No increase from the 13th, I had a family birthday party.)
  • Day 15.  66638
  • Day 16.  69017
  • Day 17.  70662
  • Day 18.  72839
  • Day 19.  75179
  • Day 20.  77262

Now I’m going to spend some well-deserved time vacuuming my cats, or whatever other recharging-the-battery activities I choose to do tonight before my write-in tomorrow.

NaNoWriMo Progress Update

The word counts for this week make me feel really accomplished. They include my amazing Saturday at Go Green, Go Write:

  • Day 7. 49,528 (after a 22k word day, the product of 12 hours with no distractions)
  • Day 8. 53,662 (including a virtual write in)
  • Day 9. 53,662 (spent the day fixing my outline, time line, and cast of characters)
  • Day 10. 55,162
  • Day 11. 57,210
  • Day 12. 62,503 (included a 3 hour write in)
  • Day 13. 64,642

So I’m feeling pretty accomplished!

NaNoWriMo Progress Update

I’m totally killing NaNoWriMo. Remember the days when it took me 1 to 2 weeks to write a chapter? At this point I’m writing 1 to 2 chapters a day.  Word counts follow:

  1. 8,183 (included a 12 am to 2 am write-in on the 1st)
  2. 12,285
  3. 14,685
  4. 18,246
  5. 24,633 (included an evening write-in)
  6. 26,994

At this point, I’m 16/42 chapters completed of my planned outline. There is no question in my mind that I’ll hit 50k words and “win” NaNoWriMo.

So I’m making a stretch goal for myself. I’m going to see if I can write the first draft of this entire novel in a month. It seems ambitious, but I think I can do it.

As for tonight, I’m taking the rest of the night off. I’m going to a 12 hour NaNoWriMo write-in and conference tomorrow, so I’m going to try to recharge the well a little before that.