In a way, I really enjoyed not posting on the weekends, but I don’t know how else I’m going to share my struggles, accomplishments, and great content like the CanCon 2015 panels I’ll start transcribing next week, unless I resume weekend (and mostly Saturday—today is an aberration) posts.
As I often tell y’all, it’s all writerly goodness 🙂
I’m happy when someone lets me know that I’ve shared something that’s been helpful to them. What’s a writerly girl to do?
October in a nutshell
My goals for October were to:
- revise and submit a short story to a contest,
- resume/catch up on querying,
- finish Gerod and the Lions,
- finish my outline for Reality Bomb in preparation for NaNo, and
- attend CanCon 2015, October 29-November 1.
My short story made it all the way to the short list in Pulp Literature’s Raven Short Story Contest. This was my third ‘near-miss’ this year, having made the short list for the 2014 Friends of the Merrill Contest with one story, and having another short story set aside for special consideration in an anthology call, but ultimately rejected.
I don’t know whether this means I’m improving, or stuck in a rut O.o
I sent out not one, but two batches of queries in October. I’ve also already heard back from a number of agents with ‘thanks, but no thanks’ emails. I’ve decided to give the querying a break for now until the new year. The poor agents will be flooded with hopeful writers and their newly revised NaNo novels. I don’t want to get lost in the inundation. Besides, I have other reasons, which I’ll let you know about shortly.
I didn’t get GatL finished. I did write almost 9k words on the draft and I’m up to the climax, but then I was on the road for CanCon and I figured I’d save myself for the convention and for NaNoWriMo. I’ll resume work on GatL once I’ve finished Reality Bomb. Yes, more news on that coming, too.
I finished my outline for Reality Bomb with days to spare. It was a hand-written free-write in my journal, a ‘draft zero,’ if you will, which I was quite happy with, even though I made one major change that had some interesting cascading effects.
I attended CanCon, with Phil in tow, and, aside from attending a great workshop and two days of great panels, I also booked three blue-pencil sessions and two publisher pitch sessions. Right now, various portions of Initiate of Stone are on under consideration by three (one publisher was unable to attend and gave everyone a chance to pitch electronically after the fact) amazing small Canadian publishers.
That’s another reason why I’m holding off on further querying.
Come the New Year, though, watch out!
My October numbers:
- GatL – 8,913 words
- Short fiction – 45 words
- Blog – 8,444 words
- Total: 17,402 words.
October was a good month 😀
The idea for Reality Bomb was a dream that I’d had back in January.
Short pitch: Physics PhD candidate, Brenda O’Connell, fails to stop a misguided colleague from conducting his experiment to prove that time travel into the past is possible, destroying their reality and hurling Brenda into an alternate reality, nearly a year in the past. Nothing about her life in this new reality is what Brenda knows or remembers, but her former colleague is still heading toward a repeat of his catastrophic mistake. Can Brenda stop him before he destroys another reality?
I’ve decided that I like the free-writing, draft zero kind of outline. I’ve tried both more formal and less formal outlines in the past and I think this method really allows me to flesh out the characters and the ideas in a better way. Also, outlining by hand makes me feel as though the outline is more flexible, less permanent, and it facilitates my process better.
November first, I was still in Ottawa. It was also the first day of the time change, so I basically had an hour to write in the morning before I went to my first session. I cranked 1,559 words out and then spent the rest of the day in panels, blue-pencils, and pitches, drove the six hours home to Sudbury in torrential rain (and in the dark), and kind of crashed.
Fortunately, I’d taken the following week as vacation and set myself the goal of writing 30k words before my return to work the next Monday.
I’m glad to say that I accomplished that goal, writing between three and five thousand words each day.
The reason I wanted to get all those words written was that I knew I was going to be working, and travelling to deliver training, for the rest of the month. The week I was on the road was, as I expected, a low-production week. But I wrote, something I hadn’t been able to do the last couple of times I travelled to delivery training. So that in itself was a win.
And when I got back home I was able to comfortably write between 1,000 and 1,500 words each evening, finishing the month, and winning NaNo, with 55,006 words. The validator missed out on some of the words because I forgot to remove all of Word’s formatting (doh!). Still—writing stuff is awesome!
Including the blog, I wrote 56,994 words in November. Awesome. Indeed.
Last year, I only managed 28,355 words while I was working.
What did I do to turn this around?
As I mentioned at the top of this post, I stopped blog posts on the weekends, but still kept up with my Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday curation posts (I couldn’t abandon you completely!).
Front loading my words in that first week off was critical to my success. I figured if I could get the 30k written, that I could ‘coast,’ relatively speaking, for the rest of the month. I would even have room for a day off if I needed it, but I wrote something every day, even if it was only a few hundred words. Also, the momentum I developed over the course of that first week carried me quite far into the month. I never felt stressed or worried that I couldn’t do it this time around.
I didn’t do any much housework. There’s always some of that to do, but I cut back substantially.
I told people. I’ve told people about NaNo in the past, but, with the exception of Phil, no one really got on board. This year, if people forgot, I just told them again. Kindly. Happily. Enthusiastically, even. It kept me accountable.
I wrote as soon as I got home from work and made it my priority before I did anything else. Get your words done first. The rest of life will wait.
Unfortunately, I can’t get up early enough anymore to write before I go to work. So first thing after work is the best I can do.
What did I learn from NaNoWriMo 2015?
I can write 50k (and more) in a month, even while I’m working.
Why is this important? Well, if I get a publishing deal, I’d hope it would be for more than one book, and, generally speaking, publishers want the books to come out fairly quickly (relatively speaking). So I’ve just proven to myself that I can produce when I need to. It’s comforting.
Also, it wasn’t that long ago that I was bemoaning my inability to produce. I was kind of stuck writing very little each day and letting myself get away with the not so occasional day of not writing at all.
I think I’ve been depressed, to be honest. It’s been a very mild recurrence, though. So mild I didn’t even realize what I had on my hands. Having to euthanize Nu back in July probably got to me more that I’d like to think. I thought I was grieving. I was actually shutting down.
Now, thanks to writing, I’m coming back.
What am I working on now?
I’m finishing up Reality Bomb first. I’m up to 58,376 words as of today. I’ve gone back to writing around 500 words a day, but I know I can do more if I need to. About to start chapter 33 of 36, so I should be done soon-ish.
Then I’ll finish up GatL. Finally. Remember when I was saying that about Marushka (last year’s NaNo)? I do finish my shit. Sometimes it just takes a while.
I have another contest to get a short story ready for, and if that doesn’t take me through to the end of the year, I’ll probably get back to work on Apprentice of Wind.
So . . . let’s just take a brief accounting.
- Initiate of Stone – Adult epic fantasy of about 130k words. In the submission process.
- Apprentice of Wind – Adult epic fantasy. Drafted at 115k words. Substantial rewrite required to bring it into line with the changes made in IoS.
- Figments – YA urban fantasy. Drafted at 53k words. Reviewed, mapped, and reverse engineered. Ready for revision.
- Gerod and the Lions – MG secondary world fantasy. Aiming for a 40k draft.
- Marushka – YA urban/fairy tale retelling. Drafted at 67k. Awaiting review.
- Reality Bomb – New Adult science fiction. Aiming for 65k in the completed draft.
That’ll be six novels by the end of this year. In various stages of completion 😉
And I have ideas for another fifteen (or so) more. Oh, this writing life is a good one. And I love it.
See you next Saturday with the first of the CanCon reports.