Midweek ROW80 check-in

ROW80Logocopy45. That’s how many pages of notes I’ve taken so far on my WIP “Made of Shadows.” The good news is that the manuscript won’t be a total rewrite. The beginning is more than a little rocky, but toward the middle a lot of what I’ve written has already been revised several times and needs only minor edits. There are still some unanswered questions, a few plot holes to fill in, but most of the writing is solid. I’m currently about 85 percent of the way through the read-through, according to my Kindle. I hope to finish it tomorrow.

It’s interesting to read through a story I wrote several years ago and see how far my writing has come. There are mistakes I made then that I wouldn’t make now—overusing a character’s name when a pronoun would suffice, awkward wording that today I would’ve caught as soon as it was on the page, etc.

My goal for this story is to start submitting it to contests later this year, so at least the first part of my summer will be spent on revisions. I’m still aiming to have a couple of stories query-ready by the end of the year, even though I’m still debating whether I want to self-publish my shorter works. I’m leaning toward yes, but I haven’t decided yet. I’m toying with the idea of a hybrid path—try to get my longer works traditionally published and self-publish the shorter stuff. So I have that decision to make in the coming months.

We’ve completed the home inspection for the townhouse we’re buying, so this summer will be a full one, first getting the apartment ready for new tenants, and then making the townhouse livable. Next week I might pause in writing in order to do a massive cleaning/organizing of the apartment so we can start looking for someone to take over our lease. And then, at some point amid the chaos of moving, I’ll need to start prepping for the class I’ll be teaching in the fall.

What about you? What are your summer plans? Have you ever picked up an older WIP after setting it aside for a while?

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop!

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Reconnecting with an old story

In 2009, I started my first adult paranormal romance, a story that would come to be called “Made of Shadows.” Over the years, I’ve written, revised, and rewritten that story several times. The last time I worked on it was 2013. And now I’ve picked it up again.

In the last year, I’ve grown in so many ways as a writer. My writing is so much stronger than it was even a few years ago, and I feel ready to tackle this story again.

I started a reread, and I’m reminded how much I loved these characters, how many tiny details I knew about this story. All of that is somewhere inside of me, waiting to be reawakened. I remember how close I felt to the shero, Zoe’s, grief over the loss of her parents. I remember how connected I was to the hero, Blake’s, sense of isolation in the fae realm. All of those character details, all of the world-building…It’s all coming back to me as I do this read-through.

This story has so much potential, and that’s what revision is all about. Bringing that potential to the surface, making a story stronger, making it sing. I plan to start a character voice journal to help me get even closer to these old characters. I’d like to start submitting this story to contests later this year, so I have my work cut out for me.

What about you? Have you ever reconnected with an old story? How did you reconnect? Any tips?

So, a quick ROW80 update:

  • Continuing with my read-through of “Made of Shadows.” I’m not as far along as I would like to be, but I’m taking a ton of notes along the way.
  • Continued reading “Plot and Structure” by James Scott Bell.
  • Checked in daily on social media, whether Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.
  • Today’s blog post makes one of two for the week.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to see other participants’ updates.

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Sunday ROW80 check-in: Savoring spring

The warm weather is finally here, meaning I can drink my morning coffee out on the balcony. Yay! And my plants are doing well so far. The basil sprouts just poked their tiny heads out of the soil this week, and the peas are really taking off. The pepper plant appears to be thriving—my first attempt at growing bell peppers, though other types have done well in containers for me before. And then there’s the geranium in the photo, of course—those are notoriously hardy.

My balcony garden spring 2015

Decluttering madness continued this week, although not at the same pace as before. I have a ton of stuff to take to Goodwill, and I still have another closet to go through. But I’m more organized than I’ve been in a long time, and I feel a sense of relief at simply owning less. Now that most of the decluttering is done, I’m on to a serious spring cleaning of the apartment—getting the carpets professionally scrubbed, cleaning the windows and wiping down the windowsills, etc.—wiping away the cobwebs of winter and letting the fresh air in.

On the writing front, draft three of “Good Old-Fashioned Magic” is off to beta readers. That was this week’s big task—doing yet another read-through and cleaning up the draft so it was as error-free as possible before sending it out. I didn’t wait my usual six weeks before the read-through, since I was mostly checking for typos and inconsistencies. With beta readers, I want them to be focused on connecting with the characters, examining the plot, etc.—not getting bogged down in typos and weird word echoes. So that story is cleaned up, sent out, and out of my hands for the time being.

In the upcoming week, I plan to do a read-through of my novel “Made of Shadows” and begin revisions. I have a sneaking suspicion it might need a page-one rewrite, since it’s the first adult paranormal I ever wrote, but I’ll make that call after the read-through.

I haven’t been doing as well with my social media goals as I would like. I’ve started using Pinterest regularly, but I need to remember to check in on Facebook and Twitter every day. And I’ve only been blogging once a week; I’d like to get that back up to twice.

What about you? How are your goals, writing or otherwise, coming along? If you’ve planted a garden this year, how are your plants doing?

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

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Sunday ROW80 check-in: Decluttering Madness

As far as writing goes, April was a slow month. I did finish the third draft of “Good Old-Fashioned Magic,” though, so it wasn’t a total loss. I’d like to clean that one up and send it to beta readers so they can read it while I work on “Made of Shadows.”

April might have been slow for writing, but decluttering went extremely well. I’ve lost count, but I’ve gotten rid of well over 100 magazines and literally thousands of papers—in addition to a bunch of random items I just wasn’t using anymore. My office has never been so organized. I feel so much lighter now that I’m not bogged down by all of those pieces of paper and random items that were no longer useful. Trips to the recycling center and to Goodwill are definitely in order. I still have more to do, but I’m off to a strong start.

I’m glad I started on the decluttering process, because there’s a strong possibility that hubby and I will be moving to a new place this summer. Having less to pack and lug around will be wonderful. It also looks like I might be teaching in the fall, so I have that to plan for. A lot happened in April–thus my previous post on “distractions.”

Hopefully in May I can kick my writing in high gear and dig into these revisions on “Made of Shadows.” My goal is to have two or three query-ready drafts completed by the end of the year. I’m working toward that goal.

What about you? How are your goals, writing or otherwise, coming along? Have you started spring cleaning? Do you ever go on a decluttering spree? I’d love to hear from you!

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop!

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Distractions … and Harry Potter

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. A lot has happened, although not much writing has been done. I’ve been struggling to get back into a novel I wrote a couple years ago. I know it’s a solid story with sympathetic characters, but it’s been so long since I’ve worked on it that I just feel distant from it. So today I’m putting it on my Kindle and reading it from beginning to end. Hopefully that helps.

In other parts of life, my decluttering has been going well. If I keep up my current pace—way more than the 10 items per day I originally planned to get rid of—my massive decluttering should be done by midsummer.

I went to see Jane Goodall speak at my alma mater last week, and she was amazing. She really made you want to go out into the world and make a difference, and she talked about how important it is for parents to be supportive of their children and how her mother’s support helped her achieve her dreams. She encouraged the audience to help animals, help people, and help the planet, and her very life is proof that you can help both people and animals at the same time.

I’m also continuing my reread of the Harry Potter books. This week I’m on “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Every time I read those books, I’m transported. I’m at Hogwarts in Snape’s potions class, or I’m walking down Diagon Alley, or I’m crash-landing an enchanted car into the Whomping Willow. Everything about those books—the characters, the world, the details—enchants me as a reader. They inspire me not only as a reader, but also as a writer. I hope, someday, to write a book that affects readers the way those books affect me. I leave you with a quote from Alan Rickman, who plays Severus Snape:

“When I’m 80 years old and sitting in a rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, ‘After all this time?’ And I will say, ‘Always.’”

So, not much of an ROW80 check-in here. Hopefully I have more to report in my Sunday check-in. Click here to check in with other participants.

Happy writing and reading, everyone!

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Sunday ROW80 check-in

The past week was fairly productive. I revised 11 chapters in my novella “Good Old-Fashioned Magic,” so the third draft is officially finished. I need to do a read-through and fix any typos, and then it’s off to beta readers. I’m also making progress on the decluttering front, getting rid of a minimum of 10 items a day—more on some days. I also became addicted to Pinterest, but that’s another story. :)

I’ve decided to take a couple days off in between writing projects to focus on something else. So now that this third draft is done, I’m going to take some time off to do some organizing and decluttering and maybe some other apartment maintenance stuff. Then on Wednesday I’ll move on to revising my novel “Made of Shadows.”

Sunday ROW80 check-in:

Writing Goals

1.) Finish a third draft of “Good Old-Fashioned Magic.” Finished!

2.) Finish a fourth draft of “Made of Shadows.” On hold.

3.) Finish a draft of another story, to be determined. On hold.

4.) Read three books on the craft/business of writing. No progress to report.

5.) Do morning pages daily, Monday-Friday. Three of five.

Social Media Goals

1.) Check in on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest daily, Monday-Friday. Four of five.

2.) Blog twice a week. Goal met.

3.) Comment on three-five blogs daily, Monday-Thursday. Three of four.

A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

What about you? Are you in spring cleaning mode yet? How are your goals, writing or otherwise, coming along?

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On Pinterest—Finally

So, I’ve had a Pinterest account for a while now, but my use of it has been sporadic. Now I’ve made a commitment to use it regularly—I have a strong sense of beauty and enjoy artsy and cooking projects, so it’s right up my alley. I’ll be using it to collect ideas for my stories and series, but I’ve also got boards devoted to arts and crafts projects, fashion, recipes, quotes, and just plain fun. If you’re on Pinterest, let me know so I can follow you. Here’s the link to my Pinterest page if you’re interested.

Lastly, a midweek ROW80 check-in…

Writing Goals

1.) Finish a third draft of “Good Old-Fashioned Magic.” Revised five chapters.

2.) Finish a fourth draft of “Made of Shadows.” On hold.

3.) Finish a draft of another story, to be determined. On hold.

4.) Read three books on the craft/business of writing. No progress to report.

5.) Do morning pages daily, Monday-Friday. One of three.

Social Media Goals

1.) Check in on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest daily, Monday-Friday. Two of three.

2.) Blog twice a week. On track to meet this goal.

3.) Comment on three-five blogs daily, Monday-Thursday. One of three.

A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

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