Monday, March 31, 2014

Looking Ahead...

Another spring is here and for the third year in a row, I'm getting into a story just as we see the end of the school year less than three months away. In the spring of 2012, the first installments of the Legacies series was well underway, 2013 saw me going nuts with getting as much of the final installment of the series out of the way before summer vacation, and this year, I'm starting to get deep into Eleven just as the third term of the school year is starting.

Just my luck, but that's the way things have been rolling for me writing wise since I've actually had the time to sit down, write and keep a story in my head.

Last week was phenomenal writing wise, despite not being able to get settled into it right away on the one writing day I had. As I mentioned in this past Wednesday's entry, Tuesday was a 1000 word day and I was pleased to add that much to Eleven's main file.

Friday, schools were finally open again - the local DOT did a fantastic job clearing the roads of snow and ice - and after a settling in period, I dove into getting more added to the main file.

It was a 3000 word day even with the initial problems of getting into it. Once I figured out how to get moving again, I was lost in my own little world and didn't emerge until about half an hour before afternoon bus time and then I continued for a few extra minutes. I had written a small scene a few weeks ago and finally reached the point in the main file where it would go, so I spliced it in.

With the splice, I'm now up to the middle of Chapter 5 and the main file has almost 17,000 words. That number is subject to change over time, as I flesh out, compress or remove some areas.

I've also started a possible dedication, acknowledgements and excerpts file just for this story, if it ever gets published somehow. Since I've had a lot of input and support from so many people for Eleven, notably one special local friend on a subject I wasn't overly familiar with, I thought it was a good idea to have a rough draft of that done as well, that way I won't be scrambling if a publisher wants it. I give credit where it is due, and I want to make sure I acknowledge and thank everyone who has helped me with this story, from the research end of it, to the people who critique excerpts, my supporters and of course, my Alpha and Beta Readers.

Once again, it's only one full writing day for me this week if the weather cooperates, so I have a lot planned in my writing world for that day. I'd like to wrap up Chapter 5 if I can do it and toss in one more "teaser" before the leading couple actually gets around to acknowledging a few things.

This coming Friday (April 4th) is Troubled Waters' next event at the MSAC in Bridgewater, NS, called "Spring Into Metal". The lineup is going to be a fantastic one again - Try Dying, Doom Machine, Flesh Cauldron and of course, my favorite local band, Whom Gods Destroy, will be there. There's a $5 cover charge for non members of the MSAC, but it's worth it. The bands playing are so talented, and there is always a great group of people there to watch the bands and enjoy the music. I've met a few wonderful people at these events, ones who are there to listen to our local talent, support our musicians and keep in touch with like minded people and friends. I always have a great time, even if there are a few rotten apples in the room.

The link to Troubled Waters' Facebook fan page is in my links area to the left of my blog entries if anyone wants to check their page for updates, upcoming events and other news related to the Nova Scotia music scene.

Have a great week everyone! Hopefully I'll have a photo or two from "Spring Into Metal" to share with all of you sometime this weekend.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Eleven, a Snow-icane and Metal

Morning everyone. We're getting a blizzard today, one that meteorologists are comparing to the Blizzard of 2004, aka "White Juan". We're been warned we could get upwards of 30 to 50 cm (12 to 20 inches) of snow, and winds comparable to a hurricane - hence the term "snow-icane. We're settled in for the duration, my husband has the day off and schools were canceled in our district due to the upcoming storm. The wind is picking up and I'm seeing a few flakes of the white crap falling already, so I know things are going to get nasty soon.

Yesterday I had some alone time so I dove into working on Eleven, in Chapter 4. I managed to just WRITE and got over 1000 words added to the main file, 250 over this week's goal. I know a lot of it will have to be compressed, removed or moved to another spot in the manuscript, but dang it, I WROTE and I'm pleased with getting that out of my system. No gnawing on the monitor for me for a day or two at least!

When I logged on this morning, one of my local pals shared something that made me smile, which I needed (snow storms always make me grumpy!). It's an article in our local paper about my favorite local band, Whom Gods Destroy. To see their smiling faces and to read the positive words about them made my day.

Congrats, Whom Gods Destroy. Didn't I say you'd be getting attention at some point? *nyah!*

If anyone would like to read the article, it's HERE.

I'll post an update when I can, between real life, power outages and if I get anything done writing wise over the next few days. I'm not expecting a full writing day this week due to today's blizzard. If it turns out to be as nasty as predicted, it's going to take a few days for the DOT to get everything cleaned out enough for vehicles other than the emergency ones.

To all who are being affected by this mess, STAY SAFE and STAY OFF THE ROADS unless it's an emergency or you're told to evacuate!

Me, I'm hoping the power stays on.....

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Eleven, Revamps and "Head Desk!"...

Eleven is progressing - sometimes slower than a glacier, others faster than the speed of light. Friday was my most recent writing day, and although I wasn't sure how to proceed, I "pantsed" my way through it and came up with another lighter scene. It's one that fits the overall story itself.

And after talking with two of my betas - my local friend and Sandra - I figured out how things are going to go in Chapter 4.

It was a 3800 word day, almost 8 times my goal for the week. I'm happy with it... I just sat here and WROTE, I didn't try to edit anything at all, and it turned out pretty darn good for a rough draft. I was more concerned about getting the story moving than getting it perfect the first time, so that was a huge help.

As for what used to be "No Regrets", I see a lot of changes coming for that particular story. I guess there were more passive scenes near the end of Vol. 2 than I had imagined.... By the time I'm done taking it all out, I may be able to squash the entire story back together into one volume. Yes, there IS that much "passive" stuff in it, so much that the one beta felt like she hit a brick wall after seeing the rest of it flow a lot easier. What she recommends removing is over 13,000 words worth of stuff.

*HEAD DESK!*

That said, I guess I can spin a good tale, and it'll be a lot better once I do the full revamp.

I will be taking a lot of the "stuff" out after "Crash and Burn", but not sure if all of it's going to go or not. There's one part I really have to think about, and talk to the last two members of my beta team before I remove it. (Sandra voted to keep it, but compress it a lot) So I'm unsure on how much of the "aftermath" will be kept at this point in time.

It's going back to the "shelved" area for now, until the other two betas finally read it in its entirety. After they're done, I'll probably dig it out and start the revisions - over the summer months if the last two are finished. If not, it'll stay there and I will just focus on getting Eleven up to snuff for their viewing pleasure, or if its first draft isn't finished, keep plugging away at it in summer writing time, and do other things. I want some new banners made for myself and my author page, and I'd love to get some new banners made for other people and sites. If Sandra needs me to make updated covers for all three of her currently published books, I'm game to do them, and anything else she would like me to do for her.

Yes, I see a lot of photography in my future. I'm not as good as one of my betas at it, but I do love it and hope to improve with practice. I wish I could afford a better camera.... Maybe in the future.

Before I close, there's been a change of date for Troubled Waters' next event - Spring Into Metal. It was supposed to take place on Saturday, April 5th, but the date has been changed to Friday, April 4th due to a scheduling conflict. It's still going to be held at the MSAC in Bridgewater, NS, and there is a $5 cover charge for anyone who isn't a MSAC member. I plan on being there, to watch Whom Gods Destroy, Flesh Cauldron, Try Dying and Doom Machine rock the place!

For more information, please check Troubled Waters' Facebook Page.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Bye, Bye Brain!

It's now official:

What used to be "Book 1: No Regrets" has been divided into TWO books, dubbed "Volume 1" and "Volume 2" of the Legacies Series. "Volume 3" is still called "Family Portraits" at this time, but that is subject to change, depending on if I decide to use a theme for the titles for the whole series.

Yes, it's now a trilogy instead of a two book series. This is at the suggestion of two of my betas, my best friend/Peapod and one of my local best friends. It's to make the series more appealing to my future audience and to make it easier for publishing, either through a publishing house or self publishing if I go that way in the future with it.

Today saw the removal of a lot of passive areas from what used to be "No Regrets" (the name of it has changed to something else to keep the full names down). Volume 1 saw ten pages of stuff removed and Volume 2 has lost eleven pages so far, and I'm not done yet. I have a lot more editing on the way for that part of the series, like compressing the wordier areas, taking out repetitive stuff, removing any other parts my betas suggest, and even rewrites - like taking one area out and putting a shorter, more plausible scene in its place, like my local beta reader suggested in a couple of spots in Volume 1.

I've skimmed over Vol. 3 (Family Portraits), highlighted what was glaringly obvious for passive areas and wordy spots, and I'll be going over that one again sometime soon - in between getting the first two parts of the series cleaned up and working on Eleven's first draft.

Another thing that I had a lot of in the first two installments were quotes from various songs by a certain local band. Those have been removed, and I've inserted half of a song at the start of Volume 1, and the rest of it at the start of Volume 2. I was told that the quotes were too distracting and that putting some or all of the lyrics from one or two of their songs at the start of each installment was much better. I do have permission to use the lyrics from the band members (I've known all three of them for over 20 years!), and I'm trying to decide which song to use at the start of Volume 3. I have an idea on which one will be used - well, part of it at least - and will be inserting that quote into the start of that story after it hits "Revamp Stage 2 mode", when I start removing all of the extras from that manuscript.

I'm looking at both and wondering if I've lost my cotton picking mind....

On another note, I was alone for a couple of hours this past Saturday and once again, I managed to get another 1400 words added to Eleven's main file. I'm at the start of Chapter 3 and it went a little better than previous writing days. I had a very long talk with myself and just WROTE... And it seemed to work! Things are starting to come together a little better now that I know where I'm going and staying out of editing mode while I'm writing. I hope this continues...

I have a full writing day coming up later this week and I hope to get more added to Eleven, along with getting more out of the way in the Legacies series cleanup.

Have a great Monday everyone.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Revisiting and Losing What Little Mind I Have Left...

It's March break here, but there's been a lot happening in my writing world.

First of all, I wasn't expecting to get a lot of writing done, but thanks to my wonderful husband, I had a couple of hours alone on Tuesday and today. Between those two short alone times, I managed to get over 2600 words added to Eleven, in various parts. I managed to get over the latest speed bump in the main file and continue on with it a little, as well as added to the part I've dubbed "BUSTED!". 

I have been talking to Sandra on and off, and her writing hasn't been going the best either... We've come to the conclusion that we're sort of in "editing mode" while we're trying to write, so we're not as wordy in our newer projects.

Um, that's not good. It slows us down a lot and well, it's pretty darn annoying to be sitting here trying to move forward in the story if we're constantly going back and editing the last three paragraphs. I was doing it today and was pushing myself *not* to go there. It's rough, because thanks to me setting a word limit on myself I'm always checking to see how far along I am, and to make sure I don't go nuts again, like I did in the Legacies series. *headdesk!*

I'm now trying to just "pants" along and remind myself I'll do the revisions LATER, like after I'm done writing for the day but that doesn't always work. (I know my fellow writers can get that!) No matter what I do, I'm going back and editing while trying to write. Ugh!!!

Anyway....

The full overhaul of the Legacies series has begun in earnest. Stage One saw me skimming over the manuscript and highlighting a lot of the problem areas, like where it's too wordy, stuff that was passive and other things. Stage Two was started yesterday, with me converting the file into a PDF and sending it out to one of my local best pals, who has now been officially made a member of my beta reading team. She's seeing a lot of the stuff I've missed and agreeing with what I've deemed "problem areas" - areas where I'm too wordy or I've deemed passive and can be removed without hurting the story at all.

I've also decided that the story can be made into TWO books and will probably be doing that at some point, after adding a "happy for now" bit at the end of Part One. It'll be easy to do. No Regrets covers a long time span, with a multi year gap between the end of part one and the start of Part Two. I already have a title for Part Two and am thinking about what to call Part One. It'll come to me when the time is right. No Regrets is far from being ready to send out again, so I have plenty of time.

I'm still kicking myself for being stupid and sending it out when I did... Yet, if I hadn't, I wouldn't have realized it wasn't ready by a long shot and wouldn't have learned a valuable lesson... Do NOT be overconfident in your editing skills for stuff you've written. Get a couple of trusted people to help you so you don't make the same mistake I did for crying out loud!

You write you learn, as Sandra says... She is so right!

Hopefully as the overhaul progresses, I'll get deeper into writing Eleven and won't be in editing mode so much as I'm actually writing. I'm pretty darn fed up with myself and I want to be able to WRITE without any hang ups or my brain going in circles! ARGH!

Have a great weekend everyone, and I hope all of my fellow writers are more productive than I've been lately. *laughs*

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Trial By Fire, Eleven Style...

This last week was bizarre to say the least. 

Son was home sick with a cold on Tuesday and Wednesday, and of course, my stupid immune system decided *I* "had" to catch it too. Both of us have been sneezing and coughing like there's no tomorrow, and my head feels like it's full of cement. I'm feeling a bit better today, but my ribs and back are so sore from sneezing and coughing, and I think I've taken more aspirin this last week than I had in the month previous. Yeah, I'm that sore! *wincing*

Anyway, despite being so sick, I still managed to surpass my writing goals this week... I had three: 1) Get 750 words of new material added to either Ten or Eleven - I added 1600 words to various parts of Eleven. 2) Get at least one scene idea jotted down for Eleven - I managed to get two, one "general" scene idea, and one "over 18" one. 3) Last but not least, I wanted to do a reread/edit on Eleven's main file and various parts - which I did on Tuesday, before I was feeling too rotten to think.

I also did a word count on what I have for Eleven so far... It's up close to 9000 words at this point, almost a tenth of my preset "maximum" for a new story. I am giving myself some leeway, 125 grand tops, just in case I am wordy by times and have a lot of compressions/rewrites, etc ahead of me. Playing it safe here!

I'm not even really "into" writing this new one yet by a long shot. What's it going to turn into when I finally get really rolling with it? Another 200,000+ word epic? I hope not, because I'd really like to learn to write shorter, less complicated stories instead of the ones with a zillion plot twists like the "Legacies" series. *SIGH*

I'm looking at it and wondering if I'm being too darn wordy again even with it being choppy in a few spots, and how parts of it need to be a little more fleshed out with a couple of power packed sentences. 

I don't know... I'm just going to have to wing it, do my best to find the right balance between getting the descriptions etc in and not being overly wordy in the meantime. Eleven's plot isn't as simple as Ten's, and it's a lot less complicated than the Legacies series, but could turn into something huge if I'm not careful. I'll have to see what one of my betas have to say when they finally get a copy of it and go from there.

March Break for our school district is March 10 to 14th, so I don't really have any "set" writing goals for this coming week, other than plugging away at the Legacies series revamp. That said, if I can even get 200 words added to Eleven somehow along the way, I'm darn well going to do it!

Don't forget that if you live in North America like I do, the clocks go ahead tonight. Daylight savings time. Blah. I don't know about my readers, but I'm always knocked off kilter for a couple of months after the time change, and don't really fully adjust to it until it's almost time to put the clocks back in the fall! *SIGH* We have only thirteen days left before the equinox... Can't wait to see warmer weather for a change, this past winter was nuts, one of the coldest my end of southeast Canada has seen in years!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Splicing and Extras, Eleven Style...

Last week was one of those weeks. Despite real life and "unrealities" flying at my head, I ducked all of it and got some work out of the way on Eleven.

I had two writing days this past week and I made the most of them. Wednesday, I finally got over that *censored* speed bump in Chapter 1, spliced in the part I had written up the Friday before, and continued on. Chapter 2 has been started.

However, something else for the story had been niggling at my mind the next day, and on Friday, I started a new file. It's a scene that will be spliced in later on in the story, it happens about halfway through or so. It's been in the mind for a while and I wanted to get it down before I forgot it, so I attacked it.

I managed to get all but one of my writing goals for the week accomplished... They included getting 500 words of new stuff added to one of the WIPs and a few other things. I got over 3000 words added in various spots in Eleven, so I more than surpassed that goal. 

Because I have been doing so well with this new one so far, I've upped this week's writing goal of new material to 750 words. Let's see if I can make it or even surpass it, shall we?

We also had a little "fun" here over the weekend. Son had a project that was due today for school and he and I spent most of the day working on it yesterday... I knew sponges could absorb glue, but not THAT much! *BLINK* The problem has been fixed and things seemed fine this morning before he left. I just hope it all goes well for him...

By the way, Troubled Waters' next event in Bridgewater happens next month... It's on Saturday, April 5th, and I hope to go. It all hinges on Hubby's schedule. If he works daytime that day, I'll be going and if he works the evening, I won't be able to attend. The members of Whom Gods Destroy understand and know if I'm not able to be "there", I will be with them in spirit! It's a great lineup... As of this date, it's Doom Machine, Inviting End, Try Dying, and of course, my brothers and Tim in Whom Gods Destroy (bands subject to change). 

Of course, a huge thank you to Troubled Waters for putting on the event, as always. 

I hope everyone has a fabulous week.. I'll be posting again if I get anything written up in either Ten or Eleven. Keep rocking everyone!