Checking In on #rockstarnovel, #1



I made my first (self-enforced) deadline!

As of yesterday, I have 12K worth of notes taken on #rockstarnovel, broken down into general stuff and chapter-specific, plus a transitional first-to-second draft outline, showing how many chapters are switching POVs (ten,) how many are getting cut (seven,) and how many I have to write new (five, so far.)

I also have a 55-day, 44-show tour schedule in a text file, cobbled together from five different actual tours across the continental United States from five artists across several decades. No, I’m not worrying about the actual venues (some of which might not even exist anymore) but I did want to use real-world resources for dates and cities and thus, actual travel times. I strung together logical pieces based on location, but didn’t mind the weird spots too much because this band’s tour was put together close to the last minute and so can be a little scattershot, based on what venues were even available on those nights. (Also, in researching the existing tours, a lot of their dates and jumps between cities don’t make “sense” for efficiency, so it’s not like I don’t have a realistic basis for the occasional weirdness in the schedule. One band took a two day break to travel from Louisville, KY to freaking Toronto, in Canada, then had another two-day break to get to Newark, NJ. That happened, it’s real, but like, you didn’t stop over in Detroit or Cleveland or something on the way up, or anywhere in New York State on your way over to New Jersey? Probably because there were no venues available.)

So the prep work for the second draft is done, on time. As for how long I expect the rewrite to take…hard to say for sure? A lot of the notes I have for individual chapters amount to “this is basically fine story-wise but needs a few details changed for consistency.” So there are chunks that hardly need work at all. But I’ve got those ten chapters that are getting rewritten from a different POV character, and at least five new ones to write, and honestly speaking I’ve never taken less than two months to finish a draft of any full novel at any stage except line-editing.

I’ll be generous with myself and say I need to have this draft finished by the end of March. That’s two and a half months, starting today. But I’ll check in at the end of February to reassess my progress. See you then!

Camp NaNoWriMo April ’18 Progress Report #4



I wrote 7,269 words today. Not the most I’ve ever written in a single day–I think that still goes to an 11K+ plus day during the What We Need to Decide NaNo–but definitely the most I’ve ever done on the last day to catch up, because I’ve never let myself fall this far behind before.

In graph form, those 12 zero-count days I had just mock me.

I could blame a busy schedule. I could blame exercise–this month I told myself I wouldn’t prioritize writing over my health, so if I only had half an hour free and hadn’t worked out that day, guess what, get out the yoga mat or the running shoes.

(Since I was off the day job, I both ran and did my usual afternoon yoga. I didn’t, however, get the groceries. I’m not sure yet what’s for dinner.)

But really, I can only blame myself for almost not making it, because I didn’t budget my time better. Yes, I had a lot on my plate, but so what? Time to write isn’t just going to make itself.

The full end-of-the-month report will be up on Wednesday, because hell if I was putting one up today instead of WINNING CAMP NANO.

My major goal for May will be finishing this draft, I can tell you that much. It’s a romance, and my pair haven’t even kissed yet!

Camp NaNoWriMo April ’18 Progress Report #3


Look at me working hard and not quite managing to catch up! Still 5K behind as of yesterday, but I WILL MAKE MY GOAL.

Honestly, it’s not lack of motivation or ideas that’s holding me back right now, it’s quite literally time. I don’t have as much time to put in as I’d like, and that’s even with me barely reading at all (I might only have one book review to post Friday? What?)

But I’m loving my characters and I’m digging my worldbuilding; I just love working with and almost real world, and changing things here and there to suit my needs.

This draft is going to be a hot mess to edit, and at 35K I still feel like I’ve just barely started, but I’m having a blast now that I’m finally rolling.

Keep writing, my lovelies, whether or not you’re doing Camp NaNo. Get those words in your head down on the page!

Camp NaNo April ’18 Progress Report #2


So, hey, campers, I’m still about 5K behind! I made great progress over the weekend, only to get stuck again (relatively speaking) yesterday and today. This blog post is, in fact, late because I didn’t want to report two days of nothing, so I wrote all afternoon.

I can still catch up. There is still time.

My two lady-loves are currently eating Japanese food and trading some serious are-they-flirting-or-not banter; even though I just hit 25K, I’m still early in the story, undoubtedly because I’ve frontloaded it with detail that will get cut/moved somewhere down the line.

But a first draft is the author telling herself the story, right? I’ll iron out the kinks in the second draft!

2018 Writing Goals: Wait, I’m An Author?

What We Need Covers

Faithful readers may have noticed I neglected to do an End of the Year wrap-up post.

That’s because, for all intents and purposes, 2017 sucked and I don’t want to revisit it.

But a few good things did happen, the most major of which (for my career) is that I completed my third book and first series. Which is a huge accomplishment, and I’m wrenching my shoulder patting myself on the back, still.

But between that, and the bad things that 2017 brought me, I’ve definitely slid into a writing slump. Yes, I did NaNo and “won,” but even telling myself to keep working on the draft in December until it was done, I didn’t complete it. I wrote a measly (for me) 12K the whole month.

I cannot find the motivation to continue that project right now. It’s not just a matter of self-doubt, though I don’t have a lot of confidence in the idea any more. I feel as if the uncertainty and depression of this year has infected that project.

I’m going to shelve the unfinished draft to (maybe, someday) come back to. After all, I did a fair bit of work on the worldbuilding for it, and even if I don’t finish that story, I may want to try a different one in the same world. Or I may get new inspiration that helps me bend that story into something worth continuing.

So where does that leave me now, at the start of a new year? I’d still like to put out a book this year, and I do have a completed first draft (from NaNo ’16) that I’ve been sitting on. I wasn’t sure I was up to tackling the rewrite last year, and I know the story has deep issues that need addressing–but don’t they all? Who turns out a perfect first draft?

The core of the reason that the NaNo ’17 story failed was that I was forcing myself to write something I wasn’t passionate about. And while that’s a good way to build discipline for less experienced writers, in my case, it was a recipe for burnout.

I am passionate about my beloved-but-flawed RockStar novel–but I was almost scared to try to keep going with it, it’s so big and unwieldy and different from What We Need. I hadn’t planned on writing post-apoc forever (oh, god, no) but I’ve always been more of a fantasy/sci-fi person, and jumping genres to contemporary? What if I’m terrible at it? What if the “real” world I create feels wrong?

But I still hear new songs and think about whether or not they’re something my characters would have written for their band, or if they’d cover it, or if it describes some aspect of their relationships.

I think it’s clear what I need to be working on, this year.

I’ve started the draft reread and am taking copious notes on what needs fixing. If all goes well, I’ll have a contemporary, rock-band romance novel out by next year.

Wish me luck, my lovelies. I think I’ll need it.

Let Me Tell You a Story #27: Too Many Plot Bunnies


With a completed series behind me and a NaNoWriMo novel draft I’m not ready to tackle rewriting, I’m stuck firmly in Plot Bunny Land. I have seven WIPs at the moment with drabs of story notes, partial scenes, and the vaguest of character sketches and outlines–they range from a mere 581 words to a fat-bunny size of 5,941.

I’m still writing nearly every day, but over the past few weeks I’ve added a few hundred words at a time to four of those seven bunnies.

I have no idea what to write next.

Each one is appealing to me, in one way or another, or I wouldn’t be writing them in the first place. I’ve got ghosts in a library, reunited old friends (two takes on this one), geeks in love, lesbian witches, a werewolf shifter pack with a family structure instead of the debunked Alpha/Omega nonsense, and a man belly dancing on a bar. They’re all fun.

But I don’t know where any of them are going. The downside of being, in all major ways, a pantser.

So today I’m brainstorming ways I can choose between these fluffy little rabbits and focus on just one story to write.

  1. Continue as I am, adding to each story as the ideas come, until one takes over naturally. PRO: doesn’t force me to choose. CON: getting one project finished will be extremely slow.
  2. Pick one at random and force myself to write it while ignoring the others. PRO: might help me get my work ethic (and word count) going again. CON: higher risk of burning out on a story midway through.
  3. Spend some time developing a rough outline for each one, then choose which one to work on based on whatever feels more complete/inspiring. PRO: will probably lead to the most informed choice and best first draft. CON: does not at all play to my strengths and will involve a great deal of work up front before making a decision. PRO #2: at the end of whichever project I pick, I’ll have still outlines and notes assembled for the rest of them.

Given that it’s the middle of September and I’m about to go on a week’s vacation (yay!) I’m leaning towards #3, despite it not being my usual style. If I take the next six available weeks before NaNo starts, I can probably work up a reasonable plan for which story to choose and be ready to write a draft of it in November.

Wish me luck, my lovelies. I think I’ll start this afternoon.

The 7/7/7 Challenge

I’ve been tagged again!  We interrupt this Christmas blogging extravaganza so I can step up to the 7/7/7 Challenge, which the wonderful Melanie hit me with.

The rules:

  • Go to page 7 of your WIP
  • Go to the seventh line
  • Share seven sentences
  • And tag 7 more writer-bloggers to continue the challenge.

I have four current WIPs right now, but only one of them is more than seven pages long!  I got an idea for a New Year’s holiday story far too late to do anything about it this year, so I started that; I’m going to try to continue the Christmas flash fiction I wrote the other day, so that’s another one; I quite literally started What We Need #3 yesterday, but it’s only about 900 words long so far; and I’m sitting on the completed first draft of What We Need #2 while I write #3, before I head back to work on the first rewrite.

So, from What We Need to Decide:

Once they’d eaten, they broke camp. Nina stowed their packs in the cab while Paul piled all their bedding in the back, then they disassembled the tent together. Though they’d only done this a few mornings, they hardly had to speak to get everything done. They pulled the tarp over everything they had in the bed of the truck to protect it from the weather, then Paul kicked some dirt over the ashes of their fire and scattered the stones he’d arranged the night before as a fire-break. It wasn’t absolutely necessary, since he wasn’t trying to hide that they’d been here, but leaving a string of campsites behind him made him feel a little desolate. Erasing them as much as he could before he left erased them from his mind as well–they were part of nature again, and not places he’d slept.

Sometimes he thought it was foolish, but he did it anyway. If Nina thought it was foolish, she never said.

I did not plan it that way, but it actually turned out to be a pretty self-contained excerpt.

And I shall tag:

  1. Gaia B. Amman @ Page Turners with an Italian Soul
  2. Tina @ All of These Prompts
  3. Jess @ In Desperate Need of Words…and Caffeine
  4. Bronwyn @ Can You Vague That Up For Me?
  5. Aimee @ To the Barricade!
  6. Athena @ One Word at a Time
  7. And I was totally going to tag Eve, but Melanie already did.  You’re double-tagged, now, lovely lady.  We want to know what you’re up to.