Tag Archives: Editing

Insights With Editing

I don’t think there is any “correct” way to edit your novel. You just gotta find what works best for you in that given moment or that given manuscript and continue to strive to create the best story you can.

That said, I’ve discovered some interesting differences editing ARTEMIS for the second time than my previous editing go-arounds.

The first comes thanks to the input from other writers, i.e., I sought help from beta readers. Last November, I sent my manuscript out with a questionnaire, looking for any sort of guidance and outside input to help enlighten this blind creator to the flaws and areas of improvement within her creation. I’d sought out opinions from others before, but never was I so organized or specific. Not only did I give a little more guidance as to what I was looking for, feedback wise, instead of the simple, “Do you like it?” generalization, but I also got opinions from five people instead of just one other person. And not from family members, either. Five fellow writers, all in different stages of their careers.

Their feedback has been invaluable.

Not only was I able to create a six page document of ideas and suggestions based off their advice, but I also made a copy of my manuscript, went through it and inserted all of their line edits. Every time I finish editing a chapter, I compare it to the chapter that I marked up based on their feedback. And almost every single time, the typos that I missed when I first sent out this manuscript, I missed again editing it myself, e.g., using lead when I meant led happened almost every time I use the word.

It never fails to blow my mind how often I’ll have these little mistakes and how I continually miss them, which is just one example of how important a second pair of eyes is.

The feedback from my betas, not only with the line edits, but the larger scale issues they pointed out, as well, has proven invaluable, as aforementioned. I don’t think I’ll go through editing a book again without seeking out betas to get a second (or sixth) opinion, but probably after I’ve had a chance to edit the book at least once myself.

The other major difference I’ve noticed doing these revisions is how I really do have to obey my moods in order to do this properly. Considering I’ve been in such a writing rut recently, I’ve been really focused on trying to write/edit every day to get back into the groove of things. Or finish so many chapters a week.

Sometimes, that desire to write consistently has taken away from the quality of the work I produced. Instead of actually editing and looking at the areas I needed to improve on in each scene (some things as minor as typos, others as grand as deleting and reworking entire sections), I was just trying to fly through the pages. I got through a couple of chapters before I realized that I needed to slow down and actually be willing to do the work.

Even if that meant on the days that I wasn’t willing, I didn’t force it for the sake of consistency.

I do think there is a difference between just being lazy and actually recognizing when you’re not in a mood to put in the work writing. But there have been times in the past month where I’m reading through a chapter and I’ve made all these notes of the elements I need to change, yet I haven’t made any of those changes, yet I made a move to cross off editing that chapter on my To-Do list. Or every single word I read, I immediately think is shit. It took me a couple times, reading through chapters without actually editing them, before I finally forced myself to take a step back, go do something else and then return to that chapter when I’m in a better frame of mind.

And every single time, I’ve found my work to be better than what I thought it was when I was in a foul mood. And every single time, I’ve made the changes I knew I needed to be making, but was just too lazy to make the previous time I sat time to work on it.

So, yeah. I’m not writing every day. Sometimes, I only work for 15 minutes. Sometimes, it’s three hours. Sometimes, it takes me a week to get through a chapter. Other times, I can fly through three in one session. But I’ve found that by listening to my own emotions and actually taking the time to think about what I’m actually feeling and the source behind those emotions, actually really helps my writing. I’ve come to be able to recognize when I’m looking for an excuse to waste time on Pinterest–and instead sit my butt down in that chair and force myself to get the work done–or when outside influences are risking the quality of my work. I’ve also become more keen to recognizing when I’m really in the mood to write and giving myself permission to listen to that desire, even if that means I have to send an apologetic email for failing behind on X, Y or Z.

I only have about 35 pages left to edit before I’ve finished another draft of ARTEMIS. It could take me a day or it could take me a month to finish. But I’m choosing to stop caring how long it takes and instead, do everything I can to make sure I’m creating my best work and always putting in 100% when I sit down to write.

Not gonna lie: I’m pretty jazzed about the progress I’ve made and have a lot of hope for this story. And that’s a feeling I most certainly missed.

Cheers.


Defeating the Brain

So, writing and your brain. Your brain is, arguably, the biggest asset to assist telling and crafting your stories. It also, not surprisingly, is your biggest enemy. One that I’ve been battling–and losing to–for the past six, seven months. There are three main areas, I think, where my brain has created mindsets and thoughts detrimental to my writing game, to the point where I easily went weeks without writing at all.

I’m writing this post to remind myself how to fight back.

Mindset One: Writing is Work

I mean, yes. I know there is a stigma that writing is easy or maybe even a waste of time, but both of those are absolute lies. Writing takes a lot of work. Sure, it could be defined as simple: put words together until they form coherent sentences that tell a story. But there is a lot of finessing involved. There are a lot of drafts, returning to and reworking what was previously written. And, personally, I think the fact that you have to constantly battle your own head–and that battle usually doesn’t stop even after you’re published and doing well–makes it one of the hardest jobs of all. So, yeah, writing is work. Writing takes work. But what I’ve been struggling with is treating writing like work.

Image result for writing is hard

Hold a moment, lemme explain.

I recently started editing ARTEMIS again. Last week, I opened up my latest draft, scrolled down to the chapter I last left off on with every intention of working on it again. But then I realized that chapter needed a lot of work. It was filled with repetition of ideas and information that needed to be resorted, cut and most likely reworded. There wasn’t enough detail to truly put the reader in-scene and I needed to figure out what the point of that chapter was, really. Knowing all of that needed to happen after reading just the opening line of the scene, I actually closed the draft and decided to work on it the next day. I just wasn’t in the mood to try and figure that shit out. In that moment, I was viewing writing as work.

Let’s look at that scenario from a different angle, for a moment.

Those issues still exist in that chapter. But instead of looking at it as, “Shit, I need to ground readers in-scene and add in all of this description,” how about: “Alright, let’s see how interesting I can describe this room layout. What do I see? What do readers need to see? How is it important? What does it tell? Let’s put all that into words as beautifully as I know how.” Okay, let’s try again. “Wow, this chapter just told me X three different ways in three different paragraphs over five pages. This chapter is everywhere, without any focus. I’m going to have to rewrite the entire thing.” Instead: “How about I make an outline of what this chapter needs to convey and then figure out how Artemis would logically tell it. Let’s make some beats and rework the info that way. Oh, and don’t forget to incorporate his humor. It’s one of your favorite aspects of his character.”

The work hasn’t vanished. The work still definitely needs to be done. But when I think of it as work, I’m definitely not as eager to complete it, sometimes to the point that I choose not to do it at all (a luxury I have considering my writing doesn’t pay the bills yet). Yet when I think of it as an opportunity, as a challenge, to improve my writing to another degree, to push myself that much further, to give this story everything it deserves and more; I’m not only more eager to work on it (most of the time), but I also enjoy it.

Last night, I finally returned to that chapter. At first, I reread that opening line and I just wanted to pull up another tab and start browsing through social media. I didn’t want to put in that work. But I just forced myself to keep reading, thinking in the back of my head, How can you make this better? And how can you have fun while doing it? I ended up not only “finishing” editing that entire chapter, but I also wrote for almost two hours–a lot longer than the planned 30 minutes I wanted to edit.

It’s a simple change in mindset, a simple change in how I view the work I’m doing. But it’s a trick that actually helps overcome this pesky brain of mine.

Mindset Two: Editing Doesn’t Count

This is stupid.

So I’ve had a writing drought recently. And though the past two weeks, I’ve slowly been getting back into the swing of things by editing ARTEMIS, my brain will sometimes whisper that I’m still fully stuck in my rut, because I’m not writing anything new. Editing something I’ve already written doesn’t count.

Again: stupid.

Of course editing counts. Hell, I often find myself working harder when I’m on draft two or three of something than when I was just spitting out nonsense the first time. I don’t have any tricks to crush this idea (it’s been rather persistent, of late), except to remind myself that it’s ridiculous. I’m putting words to paper. I’m strengthening the foundation I laid months ago. I’m rewriting, adding new scenes, cutting, re-envisioning…yeah, it bloody counts as writing.

Mindset Three: Fear and Doubt

This one is as infuriating as it is constant and confusing. I’ve always had fears when it comes to my writing: wondering if it’s good enough, if my stories are worthy to tell, if they are unique, if they’d ever sell. I fear getting publishing and reading reviews claiming my writing is shit, my characters are boring or my plot is trash. I fear offending/misrepresenting people/ideas unintentionally with what I write or what my characters do/believe. I fear never getting published.

And then there are the doubts.

I doubt the quality of my work. I doubt my ability to tell stories. I doubt that any of my ideas are original. I doubt my ability, my craft, my execution, my effort, my drive, my heart, my characters, my plots, my worlds, my voice…myself.

Image result for suffer so much fear and doubt GIF

Pair fear and doubt together and that equates to a lot of time doing anything but writing. Ironically, it’s easy for me to bury my biggest fear underneath all aforementioned: giving up and never writing again.

Honestly, I think I need to focus on that fear a bit more. Because it is real and it is fierce, even if I hide it underneath all of these other fears and doubts that plague me more often they should. Yet how can I ignore that fear and risk it coming true just because I doubt myself sometimes? Just because I am afraid I won’t live up to my own standards of storytelling, my own expectations of myself; afraid of a negative review (which will always happen, no matter how fantastic a story I write), afraid of rejection or hell, afraid I won’t ever be published at all?

Here’s the thing about writing and being a writer. I’ll always have stories to tell. If I run out, I’ll always find things to draw inspiration from. If I mess up one book, I will always have another chance to do better. If I perfect a book, I’ll still have a chance–and an expectation–to improve. Failure and hiccups are inevitable. Yet how many characters have I read, let alone written, who have been faced with impossible odds and make a dozen mistakes–sometimes even failed drastically–only to come out victorious in the end? No matter how many times their brains told them it was impossible, they pushed forward.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Push forward and write stories, no matter how many times or how many ways my brain tries to convince me to do to otherwise.

Cheers.


Harsh Personal Truths

Months have passed since I began questioning my identity–and my claim–as a writer. Since November, I’ve struggled to write anything, which has hit me harder than it ever has before. Back when I really started writing more consistently (and tentatively say seriously), I’d still always go months without writing anything, before picking a project back up or starting something new.  And it never really bothered me. I never questioned whether I was a writer or not. I got busy. Life got in the way. I was in school, which got harder and busier with every passing year. Not writing for months just made sense.

Then, last year, I wrote four books.

I’ve never been so productive writing in my life. And it felt amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more whole, when writing was my norm, something that I structured everything else around; the main aspect in my life that took precedence. I think that’s why these past few months struggling to write, hating what I’ve written when I do, or–the worse of it–choosing not to write at all out of fear, have been so difficult to me; so difficult, in fact, that I’ve begun to feel false when I claim to be a writer.

How can I be a writer if I’m not writing?

Sure, I’ve written books. Half a dozen of them. Sure, I have ideas for more and plans to write them. Sure, I’m part of a short story blog and have been writing those, but short stories have never been my medium. Novels are. So can I still call myself a writer if I allow months to go by and not work on what I’m most passionate about? If I give into fear? If I choose to do other things instead of write?

I’m not sure.

I know everyone will have their own opinion on this. And if you’ve been in a writing rut like me, I don’t want you to think my judgments I’m placing on myself should also be placed onto you. Each of us has our own definition and parameters as to what qualifies us to be labeled writers. And I’m discovering, lately, that for me personally, when I’m not writing, I feel like a fraud based on my own definition. A writer writes. Period. Maybe not every day–I will never deny the power that life has and its uncanny ability to get in the way. But they try. Oh, do they try. Certainly much more than I have these past few months.

I’ve also discovered I hate feeling like a fraud–especially when it’s associated with the aspect of my identity that I feel is most truly me.

Luckily, I also know how to fix that: by writing.

Currently, I’m about to undergo the first round of edits over ARTEMIS SMITH AND THE VIRTUOUS MARRIAGE QUEST. And I certainly count editing as writing. I’m excited about these edits. But ever since I started planning out these edits–almost a month ago–that fear, that sense of falsehood, that disconnect between my identity and my actions, has still lingered. Even now, as I finish this post, with every intention to go and work on revamping my first chapter after I finish this, m heart is filled with fear. Fear of what? I’m not truly sure. But I do know that I loathe that feeling. And I miss the elation of writing. I miss the dedication I had. I miss creating worlds that I fall in love with and characters that become true friends. I miss stumbling upon narratives that I never planned in my outline, yet excite me more than anything I could have ever plotted. I miss storytelling. I miss the details, the environments. I miss challenging myself. I miss how dark my stories become, threaded with gore and littered with tombstones–just as much as I miss how they are always glistening with stubborn hope and positivity, despite the darkness.

So, please excuse me as I go search for that elation once more. Because I’m a writer, dammit. And writers write, despite.

Cheers.


Differing Opinions: Part Two

This post is a tad bit late thanks to my body going on protest against functioning in the world, resulting in me laying in bed for three days straight, running on nothing chicken noodle soup and lemon-lime Gatorade. It was meant to go up the day after I wrote Part One, where I talked about how I didn’t like a short story I wrote yet others did and the difference in opinion intrigued me. For Part Two, I want to muse over beta reader feedback and why I think it is not only terribly important to seek out beta readers, but also to always have multiple. The main reason?

Because everyone has a different opinion.

Obvious, I know. But when you are viewing that obviousness in terms of your own work, it is actually quite fascinating. Over the past week, I’ve poured through feedback from five different beta readers over my novel, ARTEMIS SMITH AND THE VIRTUOUS MARRIAGE QUEST. It was fantastic because it showed me a lot of places where my novel could improve: from starting in the wrong place (which happens to me with every novel I write, frankly) to being way too repetitive in delivering information in the first half of the book to fine-tuning details to raising questions about how logical something is,; I have so much material to help raise this book another notch. And I’m actually quite excited about it, despite the workload ahead of me being a bit daunting. I was also very lucky in that there were some elements that were praised, as well: the unique voice, the creatures that are incorporated and, one sweet soul even claimed, I have a “knack for storytelling.”

*blushes*

Aside from all of this awesome feedback, the copious amount of notes I took, the editing game plan I finished up this evening and am really stoked to put into motion starting tomorrow, and the crazy amount of line edits I’ve already made (good lord, I didn’t realize how many misspellings I had!); aside from all of this, one of my favorite aspects was the patterns that emerged looking at all of the feedback. Sometimes, in the notes within the actual manuscript, the same typo would be caught by everyone while the next would only be caught by one person. Or everyone could comment on a specific paragraph, even if they were all saying something different. Or how a majority of the comments came in the first 50 pages, cluing me into where the majority of my focus for revision should be. These patterns are so telling.

Reading the questionnaire I asked them to fill out, this is where I realized the importance of multiple beta readers. All of them had varying opinions, but four of the five were generally on the same page, with minor differences and ranging suggestions. Then, my fifth reader was completely opposite. Every single time. And while, in the end, I decided that reader simply didn’t connect with the book the way I was hoping, so some of their suggestions I’m not going to follow–which is totally okay and totally happens, by the way–their feedback was also ridiculously helpful, because it showed me exactly how readers would respond if they didn’t connect with my book; some of the issues that would be raised; some of the elements that would turn them off. Sure, I may not be following their suggestions to fix this disconnect, but their feedback was still damn helpful and is still going to shape my book to be better than it was a draft ago.

Quite honestly, it did make me laugh, sitting in Panera and, question by question, never failing to reach that fifth questionnaire and get the exact opposite feel and opinion that was just expressed in the previous four. And I mean laugh in a good way. I was honestly fascinated by this response and, in a weird way, proud of myself. A few years ago, if I had read that questionnaire, I would have been devastated. I would have wondered how everything I tried to do missed the mark; wondered why someone I respect so much didn’t enjoy something I wrote and loved. Now, I am thankful for another viewpoint, for honest feedback and recognize my ability to discern between feedback that needs to be heeded and feedback that is simply a difference of opinion that is respected, even if not followed.

Which, friends who are currently trying to edit the beasts they’ve created, is exactly why you need feedback from multiple sources. Just because someone suggests a change or, hell, even praising something you did well, doesn’t mean you should heed them and believe those opinions to be fact automatically. Because at the end of the day, they are just opinions to be weighed and considered. Just like your opinions change on a dime–one day, you love every word you’ve written, the next, you wonder where the nearest dumpster is and how your manuscript wasn’t born in it. So obviously, you need to marinate on feedback and listen to your gut before you decide to pursue it.

I’m very lucky that my beta readers were so thoughtful, insightful and in-depth with their thoughts and opinions, so I had plenty to muse over and chew through. And now, thanks to their feedback–and their differing viewpoints–I have a course which to sail towards, with much more guidance in terms of which direction I should travel than if I were attempting this alone, like I usually do on the editing journey. I can’t express how thankful I am for them and what a joy it was to work with them all. Hopefully, I’ll get to do it again, one day.

Cheers.


Differing Opinions: Part One

I really struggled writing my most recent story for our Muses short story blog, which ended up being titled The Triggering Scent of Rabbit Stew. The prompt was super interesting and had absolutely so much promise, but an idea didn’t immediately strike me. And in our email discussions, the Muses talked about trying to write some lighthearted stories for the month and that was why that prompt was selected, as it had so much promise to create some much-needed hilarity.

hero-prompt

Before I realized it, almost three weeks had passed and my story was due in less than a dozen days and I didn’t even have an idea yet. A small amount of panic had set it, but I was at work and couldn’t truly do much about it. Listening to the Welcome to Nightvale podcast and catching up on some scanning requests, I grew slightly frustrated that my fingers kept slipping into the frame in order to hold down the peskier pages. And, without missing a beat, I thought, “Well, at least it isn’t a claw.”

And the story idea hit me.

A shapeshifter who can’t control her ability to shift due to the changing environment surrounding her in the office. Yes, that could totally work. The original idea was to have the story be the scene where she was called into her bosses office, because he had half a dozen scans that revealed body parts of different animals instead of your average, intrusive human phalanges. The boss would be aware of her talents and would ask her to tell him what triggered each of these transformations throughout the day. The humor would come from which ordinary things would cause such a drastic, unrealized transformation. I had no idea how I was going to end it.

When I sat down to write it the next day, the story itself obviously had a different idea.

If you’ve read the story, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, it’s linked up above (but no pressure). Instead of changing into multiple animals, she only slipped into one form accidentally, a wolf. Instead of awareness, her boss was ignorant. And instead of a lighthearted, humor-fueled piece, by the time you reach the end, the entire story is dark and the ending ambiguous.

After writing it, I wasn’t happy with it. Even though there was no requirement to write something lighthearted, I felt I had failed the Muses, in a fashion. It made me wonder if I’m naturally more of a dark writer, considering all of my stories have had darker elements within them and the next story is going to follow that vein. I decided to let the story sit for the weekend and then edit it to have a lighter feel, perhaps more akin to the original plot idea. Hopefully, after doing so, I’d like it more.

Yet when I went to edit it, I didn’t revert it back. I kept the darkness. And I still didn’t really like how the story turned out. I didn’t feel it was my strongest work and I felt like the piece could have done more.

Stranger still, the response from those who read it was quite positive.

Obviously, an artist and their audience are bound to have different opinions (so bound, in fact, that I’m writing another blog post this week over the very same topic, only in a different setting). But I really didn’t expect anyone to enjoy this story because didn’t enjoy it. Yet people did. It was a needed reminder for me, as someone who has been having a bit of an identity crisis recently in the writing department (which is another blog post to be happening this week).

Just because you doubt yourself doesn’t mean you’re right.

Cheers.


My Quirks Using Beta Reader Feedback

In November, I wrote a blog post sending out a call for beta readers for two of my novels: THE RESISTANCE, an adult science fiction that’s light on the sci and heavy on the gravestones; and ARTEMIS SMITH AND THE VIRTUOUS MARRIAGE QUEST, my favorite story that I’ve ever written about a staring artist who overusing tropes in his writing and has to conquer them by becoming characters in stories and living through the tropes that plague him. Ever since I wrote that blog post and ten brave, sweet, fantastic souls signed up to help me, I have been anxiously awaiting their feedback. According to my emails, five people have sent me responses so far.

And I haven’t look at a single comment.

Don’t get me wrong: I really want to look at this feedback, see what is working in my stories and see how I can improve. I really want to edit based off of this feedback and start really working on getting these stories to the query ready stage. Yet I also want to wait for all of the feedback to come in (respectively, for each book) before I do any of this.

Seems odd, I know, to wait for all of the feedback to be collected before diving in. Personally, I feel like it is a bit rude towards my beta readers, to ask them to critique my work and try to get it into me by a certain date, only to “ignore” them once they send stuff my way. And, there is the potential problem that, if I have any follow up questions, the time lapsed between a beta sending me their feedback and me actually reading that feedback becomes too long and they can’t remember enough of my story to answer my questions.

Yet despite all of that, this is how I need to use beta feedback.

You see, the quirk I discovered during a previous beta experience is that once I read that feedback, I push forward, guns blazing. I will have no self-control and go straight into editing mode. How could I not, when I have all these new ideas and decisions to make, based off new, outside feedback? This time around, I have multiple beta readers for each story. I did that purposefully, so I could get a wide range of opinions. I’m waiting to get all of them collectively so I can compare those opinions and be best prepared on how I want to edit. I don’t want to decide to make changes based on one opinion if the other four opinions actually suggest the opposite. Plus, with my inability to stop thinking about feedback once I get it and my insane desire to edit immediately after receiving it–even waiting just a few days to process like I need to is hard–it’s important for me, I realized, to wait until everything comes in before I actually look at it. But once all the feedback is in, I am so stoked to order a large bowl of potato soup at Panera, sit at a six person booth and cover the entire tabletop surface with printed critiques, notebook paper, sticky notes and my laptop, and spend hours there taking everything in and making a game plan for the stories so close to my heart.

The reason I wrote this post, mainly, is to apologize to my beta readers. I realize this is possibly a very rude way to receive your feedback and could be taken, by those of you who got me feedback so quickly, as that I’m ungrateful or not truly invested in the work you did for me. I want to be clear that isn’t the case. It’s exactly the opposite. Your time and dedication and thoughts on my work means more to me than I can ever express. And I owe all of you a beta read if you ever want my eyes on anything you’ve written. But, despite the risk of offending those who have been so kind to me, I have to do what is best for my stories. As quirky as it is, the best thing for me to do is to wait, even though I’m itching to dive in.

So thanks again, beta readers, for kicking ass and taking names, and helping this struggling writer out and getting her one step closer to achieving her dreams. I can’t wait for that Panera date and see how much work is ahead of me. 😉

Cheers.


I’m Not Serious About This, Am I?

Last year, I wrote a post in February where I talked about my writing goals for the upcoming year. If you fancy a trip down memory lane, hit up here. Before I write any more of this post, I’m going to go read that one and see how I stacked up.

*reads the post with a mixture of head nods and wincing*

Basically, I had three major goals and a couple of minor goals that I wanted to complete. Oddly enough, I accomplished (and surpassed) all of the major goals while not even attempting any of the minor ones. While I did edit the third book in Darryn’s trilogy, it didn’t make it to the querying stage, but instead, has a date with Major Revision and Madam Editing that I keep postponing because, quite frankly, the workload scares me a bit. I wanted to finish a draft of THE RESISTANCE, my science fiction novel adapted from a screenplay, which I did and it’s now in the hands of beta readers. The first book in Artemis’s saga was slotted to be halfway written by Christmas. I finished the first draft of that sucker three months ago. Not only that, but it’s also already in the hands of betas and I am itching for their feedback, so I can start editing away and getting this story query ready (because out of everything, Artemis’s story is the one I’m most excited about). Considering I met all my major goals three months earlier than my deadline, I then started working on a new story, which I’m about 60 pages into (and have hit roadblock after roadblock trying to continue).

Looking back at my goals and seeing how many of them I actually achieved, even amidst the ones I didn’t even touch (but still want to…eventually), is such a needed realization right now. Because I’m attempting to balance life again as I take on more commitments and writing has been shoved aside. Not to mention that I’ve felt horrible that sometimes, I don’t want to work on the story I have been writing, even though I am so excited about its premise. Or I get so stuck that I’m unsure whether or not I should be writing this story to begin with. You know, the typical doubting-my-stories-or-that-I’m-even-a-writer train.

Yet look what I accomplished. Despite being in a drought right now, look at what I’m able to do. Just because the words aren’t flowing and time isn’t agreeing with me now doesn’t mean that it is always going to be this way–exactly the lie my anxiety feeds me every day I don’t write. But that simply isn’t the case. This time of year, with the holidays, is always hectic and crazy. Adding on another job and being forced to work exhausting hours for the next month is obviously going to impact my writing output.

But that doesn’t mean that the future is going to hold the same truth.

So, next year, here is a list of writing goals I’d like to accomplish, on top of all of the other goals that I also plan to tackle.

(And yes, I am dead serious about these goals.)

Edit Like it’s my Mantra: 

  • I have a trilogy than needs revamping and potentially revisioning. I have two other books (one standalone with series potential and another the start to a massive nine book series) out with betas, whose feedback has been and will continue to trickle in with the new year. If I can ever finish a draft of BLOOD PRICE, that’ll also need some intense editing (I already have an entire Word doc with notes of what I  want to edit). That’s six books, friends, that need some special attention, love and care. Out of those, Artemis’s story will be the first one I’m working on. Then Grayson’s. Then Darryn’s. And then Natanni’s. I have a new method of editing, I think, too, that I’m going to try (look out for a blog post detailing that in the coming weeks).

I could spend the entire year next year and dedicate it to editing and have plenty to fill up the time I dedicate to my stories. And while I enjoy editing sometimes, there is still the blessed fact that even when I’m in horrible writing slumps, my brain refuses to stop creating stories it wants me to struggle to tell. So while editing past books, I hope a couple hopes to write new ones.

Listening to the Voices Inside my Head:

  • One is a standalone that is very, very rough at the moment, but it deals with ideas surrounding appearance, status, wealth, rank and forced routine in a steampunk, futuristic society. I have the vaguest inklings of what this story is about, but they are inklings that have stayed with me for a long time and I can’t wait to take an afternoon and map out exactly where this story goes. Because I can see flashes of that world inside my head. And I want to know more about it.
  • Obviously, I’m itching to continue Artemis’s journey with book two. I have no idea which genre we’ll be slipping into or where the story will go from there, but I’m really freaking excited about wherever we end up.
  • This other idea, which is actually the first of a trilogy, is coming from very left field, being a New Adult contemporary piece called THIS IS WHERE I LOSE YOU. I have this one pretty well mapped out in my head and while it is completely different from what I usually write (contemporary instead of fantasy, first person instead of third, NA instead of A, romance instead of adventure), this is the one that is speaking to me most at the moment. So I have to write it. I have to tell Savannah’s story.
  • I also have a series of standalones that I want to write under a pen name. While I’m not sure if I will start on it this year or not, it is something that is sitting in the back of my mind. And that’s all I say about that. *evil laughter*

Here’s a very rough, very vague timeline of when I’d ideally like to accomplish all of these things.

TIMELINE:

  • By March: Have ARTEMIS SMITH AND THE VIRTUOUS MARRIAGE QUEST edited and prepped to query.
  • By April: First draft of THIS IS WHERE I LOSE YOU written.
  • By June: Have THE RESISTANCE edited and prepped to query.
  • By July: QUERY!
  • By August: Have BLOOD PRICE edited and sent to betas.
  • By September: Have first draft of book two (Artemis) written.
  • By November: Have first draft of really rough idea (futuristic steampunk) written.
  • By December: Form a game plan surrounding Darryn’s edits and make it through at least one round with all three books. Find betas after new direction edits.
  • By December: Have first book by pen name written.

As you can see, there is no time to dedicate to simply editing. Look at all the stories vying for my attention (honestly, these voices are downright exhausting, at times)! And comparing these goals to the goals I had last year, I’m definitely upping the ante and setting high expectations for myself. But it is also giving me hope, even though I should be responding with complete and utter disbelief that any of this is possible; or perhaps groaning at how much work is ahead of me. Yet instead, I feel hope. A person who isn’t serious about their craft wouldn’t have goals like this. A person who couldn’t be a storyteller wouldn’t be bombarded with so many ideas and stories. A person who wasn’t a writer at heart wouldn’t get excited looking at all the worlds she’ll get to visit in the year ahead.

Yeah, I’m experiencing a drought right now. Yeah, I’m experiencing doubt. But that’s just temporary. There are stories to be told. And I’m the person to tell them. I see you, 2017. And I’m coming for you, pen wielded, fingers stained and fresh Word Docs begging to be filled.

Cheers.