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Shane: Hey, doll, are you writing that review for ID? <standing in the corner, leaning on the wall, hands in pockets… making brooding look like an art form>

Me: Uh… What are you doing here? I don’t write you. <shaking my head>

Shane: I know.

Me: Okay… but I don’t write you. You can’t be in my head talking to me.

Shane: Sure I can. <smiles> (what? huh? smiling?? This doesn’t seem right…)

Me: Isn’t that like… I don’t know.. against the rules? <ignoring the way his stare burns me like he’s questioning me from the inside out>

Shane: Probably, but I doubt she’ll mind.

Me: She might.

Shane: She won’t. Please, doll, we’re helping her out. She’ll thank us.

Me: I suppose. So…?

Shane:  Thanks for the support, doll. I hope I don’t disappoint you. <winks>

Me: ……

Grim: What was he doing here? <appearing from out of no where and scaring the crap out of me>

Me: Is he on the list?

Grim: I can’t tell you that.

Me: Why not?

Grim: It would ruin the story.  Bex keeps me busy, I don’t want to ruin the world she’s created by telling you her secrets.

Me: But you’re my character… you do what I want.

Grim: Yeah, but I’m also Death. I go where there’s death. It’s my job. <chuckling at himself>

Me: But–

Grim: I don’t like Shane hanging around here.

Me: Why? Is he, you know, the killer? I don’t want him to be the killer. I think I’m the only one who likes him.

Grim: Yeah. I’ve been meaning to ask you about that. Why do you like him?

Me: I just do.

Grim: Well… he better not make this visiting thing a habit.

Me: Silly boy.

I sort of live in my own little bubble of the world and hadn’t heard of web-fiction until I met Bex Spencer. She’s writing a murder mystery serial called, Independence Day. You can catch up on the first eighteen chapters at her website.

From the website:

Nothing much ever happened in Haven Park, Wyoming. Closely knit, deeply religious and with a population of just over 500, it appeared to be a small town just like any other. Then, on the night of July 4, 1966, everything changed forever. Gripped with the horrifying realization there was a killer in their midst, Haven Park reels from one murder after another, at the diabolical hands of one of their own.

I admit I’m a bit of a crazy pants fan of this story. I pester Bex to make sure chapters get published on time. Independence Day is an incredible story. What amazes me is that she writes, revises, edits all on her own. Bex takes her time with each chapter to make sure every word she writes moves the story along. Every piece of detail is important. There aren’t any filler moments in this story.

What I love about Independence Day is that every character has a motive to be the serial killer. Every. Single. Character. And every character can wind up a victim. Every. Single. Character. I know as a reader I attach myself to characters especially when you have a lot of characters I absolutely don’t want the characters I like to get killed or be the killer, but that’s what’s great about this– they can be! I think it’s daring for an author to do this.

Besides great characters, this is an amazing story line. At this point I don’t know whodunit or who else may fall victim, but I love guessing and I’m sure I’ll change my mind a hundred times before the big reveal.

I recommend checking out Independence Day if for no other reason than to meet Shane Marcette. I’m certain you’ll be hooked straight away.

😉


Last night I couldn’t sleep so I did what any reasonable person would. I drank coffee. I was itching to write. My characters were yapping in my ear, telling me I got some things wrong. Well. I had to fix it. I ended my hour writing session with 1700 words. I’m extremely proud of that seeing it was my first day.  As I was in a coffee induced bit of crazy, I wrote more words until my word program kept quitting on me. I had written 2577 more words for the day! 4,277 words! Wow! I felt like a rocks star. I did a little dance and I was greedy for more.

Yet, I couldn’t write any more words.

I realized that the characters have something else in mind for the story, that this story doesn’t need to be as complicated as I was making it. A character who has barely made an appearance is leaving. His choice. He’s somewhat needy and wants his own story.

Me: What to do here?

Cole: I’d like to be removed from this story, please.

Me: Why?

Cole: I don’t belong. You can’t have this great idea for me and then toss me in here. These guys have a story without me. I’m just messing things up.

Me: But I don’t want to write another story at the moment. I’m writing this one.

Cole: I’ll wait. I’ve got a lot of time.

Cole will get his own story. It’ll be a short story. I look forward to writing it when I’m done with UYAN. As for now, I’m focusing on writing forward. When I change directions, I usually go back and rewrite what’s there. Add things. Delete things. What happens is I write and rewrite the same 50 pages never making any progress. Not this time. I’m keeping notes of my changes. I want to write my first draft moving forward. It doesn’t matter if it’s not the correct word count or in the right order or that it doesn’t make sense. That’s revision.

Here’s hoping for another successful day of writing!

Day One!

1,700 words written on the Unnamed YA Novel! What an excellent start to this journey!

Ready, Set, Write!

I begin writing on the Unnamed YA novel tomorrow. My goal is one hour of daily writing. No word count goals. No pressure. Just write. My ultimate goal for the first draft is 50k. That’s not to say if I feel it’s done at 40k that I’ll push out 10k useless words to make 50k nor will I stop at 50k if I think this draft needs to be longer. I’m winging it.

This is the first draft. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be written. I’m going to work on not getting bogged down on specific details. I want to write it almost like it’s a 50k word synopsis. I want to add things to it when I revise. I believe this will be the best approach for me considering some of my writing weaknesses I want to spend time working on.

I’m excited to begin this tale. I like Leigh and Connor. I’m interested in getting to know Cole. I’m excited to learn things about myself while I go. I’m nervous because I don’t want to let old writing demons/habits creep back in. I know some days will rock. The words will flow from my fingers like water. Other days will suck. I’ll have days where I spend more time staring at the wall than writing, but that comes with the territory.

I’ll do it because I’m ready.

I’m set.

Unnamed YA Novel

Out of Grim came three different stories. One of those stories was meant to be a contemporary YA story. I like writing both supernatural/paranormal and contemporary stories, but lately seem to find myself happier in the world of ghosts, reapers and creepy crawlers. When I was writing Grim, I struggled with this one character and her purpose in the story. I deleted her. I added her back in. I killed her off. I didn’t kill her off. She was a love interest. She made out with the wrong guy. You get the picture. I tried so hard to shake her, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t let her go. I thought it was Grim’s fault. I thought he wanted her in his story. I kept trying until I broke down.

I took a road trip and never thought about Grim or writing or this character that wouldn’t go away. When I slowly emerged back into my need for writing, I realized there were in fact three stories in this one story I was trying to write. So I split them. Bonus was that I now had three stories. It made sense for them to be apart.

I’m currently working on the Unnamed YA Novel. I suck at titles, but can usually come up with some working title. Not this time. So it’s going to be called Unnamed YA Novel or UYAN for short.  It’s about a girl named Leigh. I tend to get name obsessions. Once upon a time all my stories featured main characters named Abby. Now it seems to be Leigh. That’s all I’m going to share at the moment.

I have 14,000 words of previously written stuff that may or may not be used in this story, but I like having it. I know it’s there. It gives me a starting place. I love Leigh’s voice. She’s flawed. I don’t think I’ve ever written a flawed character that was human. It’s nice. I like that she’s making mistakes. She’s human, after all.

I’m working on a specific play list. I usually have a list of 300 songs. This time I’m experimenting with having specific songs for specific characters and scenes. I wrote a partial synopsis and outline over the last couple of days. I didn’t want to write a full synopsis because at the moment I don’t know how the story ends. I’m thinking of it in pieces. I’m approaching this story with no expectations but to tell the story I want to tell. I’m not worried if my choices make sense to an unknown reader. I’m writing it for me.

My approach is to write basically a bare bones first draft and add to it in revisions. I’ll see if that works for me as I go.

Finding Myself

I had a website that I loved, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I wanted people to read it so I spent time writing things I thought might interest someone. I found I lost myself and the reason for wanting a blog in the first place. I wanted to write about my experiences as a pre-published writer. I wanted to share what it’s like to learn about yourself as you continue to grow. What I found was that I spent more time writing about things that didn’t relate to me, wasting time on social networking sites and comparing myself with other pre-published writers.

I lost focus with my WIP, Grim. I thought about publishing, readers, etc. I didn’t think about writing the story I wanted to write. I didn’t think about how this character makes me feel. I got lost.

So, I did what I felt was necessary. I deleted my blog. I deleted a few of my social networks. I stopped reading all but three pre-published writers’ sites. I stopped comparing my process and progress with other people’s. I considered walking away from writing, but I learned that writing wasn’t the issue. It was all the outside distractions.

This journey is about me. No one else, but me. It’s for me, too. I’m a short story writer. I love my short stories. I’m proud of them. I’m proud to call myself a short story author. I know my process for writing a short story. Yes, there are aspects I want to get better at, but that comes with practice. What I’m not is a novel writer. Well, at this stage that’s true because I’ve yet to write a novel. I plan to change that. I’ve never written one, but that doesn’t mean I can’t. Just like with my short stories, I have to figure out my process, what works for me and practice. Practice. Practice.

Practice novels. These are novels you write that most likely will never see the inside of a bookstore. These are stories that help you learn your craft and how to revise. They help you seek representation. They help you seek publication. They’re practice novels and it’s a good thing to have them.

I don’t want Grim to be a practice novel. There’s so much potential in that story, that I’m willing to put it aside until I’ve practice writing a bit more.  I’m actively writing a practice novel. I have no publishing expectations for it. I want to learn about myself through writing it. I want to know that I can write a novel. I want to know if I’m a pantser or an outliner or somewhere in-between. I want to work on plot, setting and characters. I want to take my time. I want a first draft so I can go back to it and revise it. I want to rewrite. I want to share it with a few friends. I want the experience.

I got lost in thinking about publishing. It seems to be a writer you must want to be published. Sure, one day, I’d love to walk into a bookstore and see my name on a book. But, I can’t make that my only goal. I write because I love to do it. I write because I have characters in my head that want out. I write for me. If publishing is out there in my future, that’s a bonus. I’ll welcome it. But for right now, all I care about is writing. Writing the stories I want to tell.

This is my journey.