Missing in action

It’s been a few days since I’ve blogged here, but I haven’t been slacking. On the contrary, I’ve been busy with that crazy thing called life.

After Rory was found safe, life hit full-force. Work, home, organizational stuff, gaming, laundry, work, meeting with a mortgage loan company, work…

Oh yeah, the mortgage thing. Yep, my husband and I have been pre-approved and will begin construction on our first house hopefully in October. We meet with the builder again this evening after I get off work. It’s both exciting and terrifying; on the one hand, we’ll be free of apartment life (forever, if we have anything to say about it), but on the other hand it’s a buttload of responsibility. Mortgage payments, repairs, upkeep, taxes, garbage pickup, etc. … plenty to keep us occupied–and harried.

It’s all new and different and a little more than overwhelming. There was a time in my life where I thought I’d never own a home of my own, let alone freshly build one from the ground up. Now it’s more than just a dream; it’s a swiftly-approaching reality. It will even be complete before our fifth anniversary. Some anniversary present, isn’t it?

Once the house is built, I suspect our social life will evolve in several different ways. We likely will have to adjust to the new, higher cost of living before our ability to participate in activities stabilizes, and we’ll probably host more get-togethers at “our place” as we get things settled. We’re already planning two or three major housewarming parties (family, work, friends) as well as having several out-of-town friends and family members come visit. We’ll need more furniture for sure–can’t have visitors sleeping on the floor, and guests would likely want places to sit–which will mean more spending. It’s cool to think of our house being done, but weird to think of it as being empty. There’s enough furniture to fill our two-bedroom apartment, but with three bedrooms (one of which will be a craft room), a great room, dining area, garage, kitchen, etc., it will be a while before the spaces are filled comfortably.

I almost wish I could speed up the process of finishing my latest novel. I know, I know, the likelihood of getting published any time soon (even if I finish tomorrow lol) is slim to nil, but the thought of being a traditionally published author and a homeowner is thrilling. Like, maybe some day there will be a photo of me standing on my land with the mountains in the background on the back cover of a trade paperback. That would be cool. (Better than the selfie I took outside of my old apartment, anyway. Granted, the selfie looks pretty decent for a selfie, but it’s not the same.)

The going has been slow on the writing, editing, and revising, mostly due to that little thing I mentioned earlier called life. I’m going to try to kick it up a few notches, though, and finish the character sheets I started while I wait for the most recent edits of book 1 to be done. I’ve debated starting on book 3, but I think I should slow my roll until I know what changes I’ll have to make after the edits and critique come back. I don’t want to get too far in and then have to make sweeping changes. That would suck. It feels good to have the next two or so books brewing in the ol’ noggin, though. I’d like the series to continue further, but a quadrilogy would be okay. Maybe a quintilogy. (Spell check says that’s not a word, but Google says it is, and who am I to argue with Google?) Not a trilogy though; there are too many ideas for just three books.

I hope that some of you blog readers will be interested in reading these books. Is dystopian sci-fi your thing? A little bit of politics, some action, some sexyfuntimes? (I know that’s not a word, but I don’t care lol) Keep an eye here for updates on how they’re going. My goal is to have something ready to submit to agents/publishers by the end of the year, with my goal for next year being to have book 2 ready for pubbing. I know it’s not likely that I’ll be anywhere close to having book 1 even published by then, but if I have more installments at the ready I’m hoping it will let publishers know that I’m serious, and that there’s more to come.

Will I be a household name? Probably only in my own house, but that’s okay. I can deal with that.

My own house. Damn, that sounds good.

Time flies

Where does the time go?

So Facebook has this somewhat-entertaining feature called “On This Day” where it shows you the posts you’ve made on that particular date for the past however-many-years-you’ve-been-on-Facebook. Sometimes it reminds you of stuff that sucks, but for the most part (if you’re not a Negative Nelly) it shows you the highlights of the past. It can even be a little cool to see what type of person you used to be–though I shudder at the horrendous spelling and grammar errors I made when I first started Facebook; I guess I thought textspeak was OK at the time.

Though I’ve seen the shared tweets and articles, it only just hit me today that I’ve been with Talk Nerdy With Us for over two years! It might not sound like much, but it feels good that I can say I’ve worked as a “freelance entertainment journalist” for that long. When I started writing for Talk Nerdy With Us I had never imagined having that kind of work, paid or no, and despite the free nature of the freelance work–and the fact that I don’t have much time to write anymore–I still enjoy it. I’ve stayed on as an editor even though that writing time is scarce, so I can still contribute to the site’s work. Come to think of it, I really need to dream up more article ideas…. I’ve also written an article for another entertainment website, Starry Constellation Magazine … though again, I haven’t had the time or energy (or creativity) to think up more article ideas.

It’s crazy how life turns out sometimes. Even though I’ve been writing for Talk Nerdy With Us for this long and have had tons of Twitter followers that likely followed me for that specific reason, it’s still almost surreal. I mean, wow. Just wow. I don’t think words can relay to my “bosses” how much I appreciate the opportunity they’ve given me over the past two years. It still blows me away some days.

I hope I can continue to do this work and dream up more articles and do more reviews (and the occasional interview–when I’m not working). This experience really allows me to tap into both my creative and my supremely nerdy sides.

Hello grogginess, my old friend

Good Goddess, I can’t wake up for anything this morning!

I suppose it’s my own fault. I was up “late” (for me, anyway) last night and then woke myself up early–ostensibly to start on cosplay sewing. With how sluggish and groggy I am, though, I’m not quite sure I should be operating a sewing machine.

Coffee is not helping. I wanted to start on the skirt for my Dark Phoenix cosplay this morning and plug through that; it shouldn’t take too long–maybe a couple of early mornings– especially given that the bustle wasn’t a bad project and that was more involved (I’ve never hated elastic as much as I did then lol) but I just can’t. Not this morning. Not even with Phoenix Comicon looming less than a month away.

The writing is on hold temporarily while an editor friend looks it over. I have been ordered not to make any changes until she has had a chance to read through it and offer critique and suggestions. It is very, very hard to not tweak it when I think of something that could be better.

Since I don’t know what changes she’ll suggest (or rather what changes she’ll suggest that I agree with), I can’t work on book 2 either. If the change or changes are sweeping enough to affect the plot/flow of book 2, I need to be ready to make the changes to that book as well. This is difficult as well, because I already don’t like the grand, epic scenes that I wrote most recently. I have decided that one of the primary scenes driving those grand scenes is fatally flawed and must be murdered for the sake of the story. However, if enough changes are make to book 1, it may be a moot point. I suppose I could still delete the offending scenes, but if I did that I don’t think I could restrain myself from rewriting everything.

Rapier fighting is going well. I can “feel the burn” after practices and I have been told by multiple people that I’m doing really well for a beginner. Also, apparently though I’m mainly a passive type of personality in my regular life, once I get a sword in my hand I become “really aggressive” and go on the offensive more than I do in modern-day situations. Put me in a position where I have to make choices or something, I tend to either go on the defensive or take a don’t-rock-the-boat stance on whatever’s going on. With rapier, not so much.

That reminds me: I also have to fix the hood I made for my husband’s fencing mask. I made one that I *thought* was good, but it turns out it’s either not long enough or not heavy enough to prevent the wind from blowing it up over the top of his head and leaving the back of his head exposed. I know how I want to try to fix it, but again, groggy + sewing machine = almost certain disaster. Even now my eyes are crossing and trying to close on me…not ideal conditions for using a machine that pumps a needle with enough force to penetrate skin. I really don’t want to deal with that literal mess this morning.

I guess for now it’s more coffee (or possibly an energy drink) for me. At the minimum I need to get this grogginess out of my system before I have to go to work lol

Hijacked

Dear Gods, I wish I could sleep in some days. I’m not talking about just sleeping past the alarm going off–I just want to give the alarm an opportunity to go off.

On the plus side, these early mornings seem to be my most productive times of day. I get a lot of writing and cosplay work done during these times. If it hadn’t been for the early wakings, I wouldn’t have gotten book 1 finished, let alone halfway through book 2. Well, kind of halfway. There are a lot of revisions to do before I keep going, because if I stay the course it’s going to be really hard to fix after I’m done with the draft.

I don’t know how some authors can plow through a draft without making changes as they go. If I notice one thing that needs changing that will affect the rest of the story, I have to fix it before I can continue. I mean, if I don’t, that means more work for myself down the road. For instance, even though I’m technically halfway through book 2, I have to revise part of the story that just doesn’t make sense as is. If I don’t, the rest of the book won’t make sense. I’ll have half a manuscript that needs to be revised, as opposed to a few chapters.

I guess every author has their own style. Some people are planners; I plan to a degree, but for the most part I pants it. What’s going to happen next? I don’t know, and I won’t until I get to writing it. But hey, I get to see the story unfold as it’s written, so it’s almost as exciting as if I were reading it for the first time. I’ve had characters surprise me multiple times. I’ll just be writing along, minding my own business, when suddenly a character emerges that I’d almost forgotten about (or even a new character comes to light that I hadn’t planned on). That character does some crazy shit, and it gets to the point where I’m just trying to keep up.

Some of my best plot twists have come from this, so I guess I shouldn’t complain, but sometimes it requires quick thinking to stay on top of things. Okay, then, Minor Character #37, if you think you require more “screen time,” so to speak, then I’ll oblige. Just tell me what to do, and I’ll give it my all. What can I say? Sometimes the characters know better than I as far as where the story needs to go.

This latest background-character-turned-major-storyline-influence took my “plan” in a completely different direction. A surprise appearance by someone who I’d thought of as incidental ended up affecting things all the way down to bloodlines. Yeah, a major character’s genetics were changed by this one chick who decided it was her time in the limelight. All right. I’ll roll with it. It actually makes the next book(s) more interesting (and takes care of a minor-major issue of a power vacuum that I’d created for myself–once again, by a character surprising me).

I almost can’t wait to see what happens next!

Alterations

Damnit. Damnit, damnit, damnit.

So here’s a little backstory: I like doing these themed writing events on Twitter where you tweet a line or two from your WIP (or a freestyled line) to match a theme, then hashtag the event you’re doing. It’s fun, and it’s a good way to pare down wordy sentences. When you have only 140 characters–minus the hashtag–it helps you pin down those overly long sentences or phrases that might bore a reader.

Instead of paring down a sentence today, I added a bit to it. Just a few words, but those few words added such flavor to the sentence–and potentially the chapter it leads–that now I have to rewrite most of the chapter to continue with that flavor.

This is on top of the already arduous task of fixing a major plot hole I wrote into both book 1 and book 2. Yeah, when I screw up I like to keep it consistent. I knew there was something fishy about what I had written, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first. Then it hit me: plot hole. Big ol’ stinkin’ sinkhole in the middle of the road.

Guess I’m taking the laptop with me to my parents’ house while I do laundry, so I can get to fixing my mistakes…and improving that chapter.

An arduous task

*Sigh* Why did I have to figure out a patch for a nasty plot hole that requires tons and tons of rewrites?

It’s hard to force myself to get to work on it. First I have to find the offending passages, then fix them … and right now it seems to require reading closely through every word following the initial mention of the mistake. Every. Single. Word. Not that I mind reading my own writing (if I didn’t like to read it, I shouldn’t be writing it), but I hadn’t planned for this much repair work.

Then I’m drawn back to real life, and I remember I have some studying to do for training at work. A new position that terrifies me, one that promises to be quite stressful. Will I be able to do it? Actually, it’s not the doing that concerns me; it’s the emotional aspect of the position. How does a technical position have an emotional risk, you might ask. Well, the surgeon is–how do I put it–“particular” about the way things are done. And he is not known for his patience with people who are learning. Oh, and it’s been two months since I last had a training session. Then there’s das boot. Will it get in the way? I don’t know, but it concerns me. I’m either going to be at risk for falling off the damn stool when I go to sit down or my clunky-ass boot’s going to be in the way, bumping into stuff because I can’t tell when I’m getting too close to things.

I keep trying to convince myself that I’m getting paranoid for nothing, that the surgeon has been more understanding lately than in previous years. I also try to tell myself that I can do this, that it’s a repetitive, OCD-esque job that fits well with my personality. I just have that tendency to get overly sensitive when faced with criticism.

We’ll see. I guess if I manage to make it through training it will help steel me for the inevitable rejections from agents and publishers once I finish the seemingly endless edits/rewrites and finally start submitting. (See how I tied that together? Thought I was just rambling didn’t you?)

*Sigh* Can I go back to being a peon that isn’t expected to be reliable and flexible to learning new things?

Cold blooded and calculating

Damn! I didn’t know how truly evil my new antagonist was until she started revealing more of her story to me this morning.

This plan of hers has apparently been in the works for over a year (in novel time). She is smooth and conniving, to the point where she even had me fooled. For you non-writers, you may think I’m batshit crazy, but I assure you that this is a real thing for many authors. Characters can surprise you even though they’re creations of your own mind. New details come to the surface that you hadn’t previously considered, and when they do it all fits together quite nicely.

The same thing happened with my first novel. A minor character decided to show up and save the day at the last minute, despite me having no plans for such a thing to happen. Fictional characters, it seems, will not be silenced.

Bonus: I have an antagonist that will last me through several books, not just this one and the next.

Yes, I’m planning at least one more book (heretofore referred to as “book 3”) and most likely two or three more. This story is going to span generations, which I am excited for. I get to explore growth and development in a way that, as a non-parent, I haven’t experienced. Fuck the whole “write what you know” b.s., right? 😉

Guess I’ll get back to my antag and see what she’s been up to.

Slash and burn

After pumping out about 7k words on book 2 yesterday, I came to a terrible realization …

… Nearly 1k of those words were completely unnecessary. Totally extraneous. Useless to the plot. Fuck.

Yeah, I had to cut it all, and now I’m scrambling to find words to fit in the blank that will advance the plot and be of some use to the story.

It happens to even the best of writers. I think. I guess. I mean, I can only hope. I wonder if Patricia Briggs or Darynda Jones have this kind of problem. If they did, it would sure make me feel better about my own writing.

As it is I’m feeling kind of meh about what I’ve written so far on book 2, even though I’m nearly 20 chapters in. I’m definitely going to need to go back in revisions and pump it up. Add some flavor, some depth. Which I guess is also normal. I hope. Anyway, novels take work. They don’t just magically appear when keys are pressed by the writer. Hard work, frustration, blood-sweat-tears kind of stuff. Not to mention the emotional rollercoaster. You get caught up in your own story, you feel for your characters (even as you torture them), and you kick yourself every time you screw the story up.

Like when you write 1k unnecessary words.

It’s moving along, though, and I’m hoping to be done with the first draft by the end of the year. Still waiting on a few critiques from some people on book 1 as well as my first edit, then it’s back to work on that one. Can I get book 1 polished and submitted to publishers by the end of the year? We’ll see. Once again, I have hope. I just don’t know if I’ll be able to do it in the timetable I want. The year before last, when I was writing Whispers of Death I had an awesome critique group that read a few chapters at a time for me, providing valuable feedback in exchange for my own feedback on their works. It worked out great, but the group has fizzled and been inactive for quite some time. Sad, but life happens.

Guess I should get back to filling in that 1k-word gap. Tally-ho! (Or something)

Pacing myself

Here it comes again: the pacing problem with my WIP.

Book 2 is moving too quickly. Or too slowly. It seems nothing I do is just right. Kind of like Goldilocks, I’m trying to find the right temperature porridge to make this book edible. Wait is that, like, the right metaphor? Simile? Damn, I should’ve paid more attention in English lit.

Anywho, the story’s all jumbled and a mess right now. Revisions are going to be a bitch once I get around to them. Gotta finish first, and even though I’m zipping along with the plot I’m still far from the end.

I’ve also written myself into a corner as far as my main MC goes. She’s getting too powerful for her own good, and it’s going to be terribly boring if she just plows through the obstacles I’m setting up for her. I mean, who wants to read about a character who can just do whatever? There’s no suspense there, no interest. I’ve got to tone her down a bit. Take her down a few pegs. Give her some kind of weakness that makes the obstacles more…obstacle-ey.

Things are coming to a head of sorts, but if I can’t fix my all-powerful MC problem it’s going to pop off too soon. Premature resolution of conflict. I swear this has never happened to me before.

The other MCs are moving along quickly as well, but I think I can fix that issue with a few minor adjustments. Tweak the timeline, add some dialogue, make things more difficult for them as well. Torture them. Make them work for their reward, damnit.

And my promise to myself not to write over the weekend? Yeah, that didn’t happen. Oh, sure, I didn’t write much, but I was definitely at it. Oops.

Ooh! That gives me an idea. Back to it!

No Wall

I’ve hit the damn wall again. Freakin’ writer’s block. Or, as I like to call it, the Wall.

Yep, I’ve been staring at the same sentence for two days, trying to figure out which sentence comes next. You probably know as much as I do about what it’s supposed to be. 😦

I guess it was bound to happen again eventually. Even the most prolific of writers eventually deal with the demon that is writer’s block. I just wish I had it a little less often. Definitely frustrating to have such a great streak of new material to suddenly BAM! run smack into the Wall.

Part of my problem is trying to decide the pacing. How fast do I want things to develop? Do I want to be ahead of where I am? I kind of don’t want to drag things out, but I don’t want to rush them either. Definitely a delicate balance.

Book 2 is becoming more of a hassle than book 1 for sure. I’m making things more complex, with at least three major threads running at the same time. Why do I do this to myself? Oh yeah: because I want the book to be great. Lol

Maybe I’ll change the working title. If I use the current working title for book 3, then I can make things move at a better pace that will be neither too rushed nor too sluggish.

Ah, the life of a pantser.

Okay, so I’m not totally pantsing. I have a general idea of where I’m going. Not an “outline” per se, but a vague … something. If I can climb over this Wall–or bust straight through it.

It’s time to go Kool-Aid Man on this writer’s block!