Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another Bittersweet Victory...

It's official:

At 1:50 p.m. ADT, I typed in "THE END" at the end of Book 2's first draft.

It hasn't sunk in yet that I have typed those two words into two manuscripts in just over a year. One year and eleven days between the two, to be exact. 

I finished it before the first year anniversary of me getting the idea for it... That was on November 6, 2012.

Right now, I'm stunned that it's done. I look at Draft 2's folder on the desktop instead of Draft 1's and it looks rather weird. Then I think back to last year this time and realize I felt the exact same way when "No Regrets" went from Draft 1 to Draft 2. (That manuscript has gone through SEVERAL draft modes in the year since then!) Opening the folder makes it feel even weirder. Instead of a zillion files in it, from ideas to my research on various topics, etc, all I see is one VERY large file, over 2MB, which is Draft 2 of it.

So this week was great writing wise. I've had three days so far, and I made the most of them. In my previous blog entry from Saturday, I noted I was at the start of Chapter 46. Well, not only did I finish that chapter on Monday, I zoomed into Chapter 47, wrapped a lot of things up very tightly and the grand finale happens at the end of Chapter 47. I also started Epilogue One (which may turn into Chapter 48 if a publisher or I think it's necessary to change it) yesterday and plugged along at that until bus time. More things are wrapped up there, and they've been tied so tightly that not even *I* can untie them!

Monday was a 6700 word day and yesterday was a 6500 word day.

Today saw me wrap up Epilogue One and do the entirety of Epilogue Two. I'm not going to say HOW the story ends, but I will say it's full of sweet, fun, happy and some sad moments tossed altogether and it ends on a very happy note. The reader will be left with a feeling of "happily ever after" in this one and no more questions will be left unanswered. I made sure I did that so I can NOT write any more stories about this dynamic, fun and wonderful group of characters!

Today was another 6500 word day and after the last three days of going full tilt on the writing, I am mentally wiped out. I went from zero to Warp Ten since school started a few weeks ago and I am shocked at my progress. It's an echo of how things went last year with "No Regrets" and I'm still wondering if it's true, that I DID finish two books just over a year apart...

Then I look at "No Regrets" and it hits me that YES, I did do it, once.

It hasn't sunk in about Book 2 yet, but it's coming. I'm expecting it to hit me on Friday, which would have been my normal writing day if Book 2 wasn't finished yet, and I don't have anything new to add to it. That's when the squirrel on speed feeling will really hit me, and I will lose it a little... 

Book 2 is now in Draft 2 mode and I will do another reread/edit on the last few chapters and the epilogues before it goes into its first perk cycle. 

Readers, this is WHY I haven't sent "No Regrets" out yet. Remember how loopy I was feeling after that one was finished? Oh, I was so bad! Well, I do not want to feel like that again this time around so I deliberately put off sending it out until Book 2 was finished and I had crashed back into reality. "No Regrets" is going to be my saving grace this time around, and it's going to be a lot easier on the hands to get it ready for publishers instead of making a few million dreamcatchers! My hands are killing me now, thanks to the carpal tunnel syndrome, but that's normal after a few days of writing like mad.

I'll live. I hope!

I still can't believe it. Wow.

Thank you to my mentor, Sandra (Durham), my Peapod, my husband, son, mother, and everyone else who has supported me, read the excerpts I've shared, laughed with me when I was loopy from writing all day and in transition mode, and gave me a slap upside of the head of YES, I CAN WRITE when I needed it the most. Y'all rock and so much love to all of you!

Have a wonderful and safe Halloween and to all who celebrate it, a blessed Samhain!

"Book 2: STATS" October 30, 2013, First draft:

Date conceived: November 6, 2012
Finished: October 30, 2013
Amount of chapters: 47, plus one prologue and 2 epilogues
Word count: 255,300
Pages: 410 (one inch margins, size 12 Times New Roman, single spaced)
Time writing it (Part time): Approximately six months, from February 2013 to October 2013, with a two month break for summer vacation.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Buzzing Along...

Another week has gone by, but without a lot of writing time. Hubby only worked two day shifts out of four days and although Son was home one and a half of those two days (parent-teacher meetings on Thursday and inservice on Friday), I still managed to get a little work done on Book 2.

Since I had maybe 2 hours between the time Hubby left for work on Thursday morning and the time the bus got here, I dove into the writing and when it was time to go get Son, I had a couple of shorter scenes finished in Chapter 45. I was thinking I couldn't continue, but Son wasn't feeling the best and he wanted to just sit quietly in the living room and watch TV (his meds had kicked in by that time), I thought about where to go next in the chapter and continued on. By the time Hubby called me from work a little after 3, I had most of the chapter finished and decided to keep going after I got off the phone with him. 

The guys had their computer time, and I was still anxious to work, so I went back online and worked on fleshing out scenes that were not up to my insanely high standards for even a first draft. Sure enough, I wrapped up the chapter and had made a few adjustments here and there.

Yesterday morning, Son and I got up and I opened Book 2 despite the fact my eyes were on the verge of rebelling. I did a partial reread of different things, and really tweaked the last bit of Chapter 45 so it fit in better with everything else. 

I am now at the start of Chapter 46, where everything from the UH OH part, before it and after it will start to be wrapped up, and how everyone will start moving forward. I'm not sure if the grand finale will be at the end of it or not, it all depends on how quickly and neatly I can get everything finished. I'll just have to wing it and see how it goes I guess. *laughs* I do know it's coming soon, and so will the epilogues. I'm not sure exactly how or where the grand finale will happen, but I do know what I want said in it and have an idea of where the leading characters are when it happens. 

The epilogues will be coming after that, and I already know how the last one will end. I'm not saying how, that's a surprise, but I will say the reader will have a warm, happy feeling when they get to that part of the book. 

I have three or four writing days coming up this week, and with a little luck, I'll get to the grand finale during one of them, if not hit the first epilogue, or more. It all depends on how things go and if my mind wants to start letting go of these characters and their stories. I really don't want to say good bye to them yet, but it's time. Some of them have been in my head for about 2 years now, if not more, and I've enjoyed having them there, but it's time for me to finish their stories and move on. I hope after things settle down with me, I can start a new project, with new characters and new stories, after I take a break and do some photography, etc for a change while the writing batteries recharge. I don't want to be known as a two book/one series writer after all, I want to be able to write stories about other characters, who are a lot different and have nothing to do with the ones in the "No Regrets/FP" duology. 

I can hope I can do it, at least. *laughs*

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and if you're in my area, enjoy the sunshine, even if it is cold out there. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Reflections, an Anniversary and Disbelief....

On the one year anniversary of me finishing the first draft of my first book, "No Regrets", I look back on the past twelve months and still cannot believe that I have finished that part of my writing journey. My first book's first draft was finished, it's gone through several draft modes, my beloved mentor (Sandra Durham, author of the "Keyholder's Castle series) has read it (and will be reading the final draft of it), I've shared parts of the story with a small select group of trusted friends and fellow writers, and I've even started to work on getting it ready for publishers - packages with everything each publisher requires from an unknown author like myself.

Good grief, I was so out of it for a while after I finished draft one of "No Regrets" that I was driving myself (along with my husband) so insane that I was literally climbing the walls at one point, I made countless dreamcatchers and just behaved in a way that is NOT me whatsoever. I felt really bad for the guys, and my beloved mentor, who saw the worst of it, either directly at home, or indirectly via Sanctuary. What was going on is that I had NO idea what to do... I didn't have any new ideas at that point in time, I could still see the characters in my head, and I was so used to working on it that suddenly having to set it aside to let it perk for a while so it would fade from my mind was such a shock that I did lose it for a bit. The RH rewrite/overhaul wasn't working, and I really didn't feel like working on it at all and really couldn't get into the groove of it at all, even with the new ideas flowing for it. I just could not move on and I was at odds what to do writing wise. I didn't want to be known as a "one book wonder" like some in my genre wind up being. I wanted to write more than one book in my lifetime. 

After my brain settled down, and I started talking with various friends, my beloved mentor said I had two characters I "could" write about from "No Regrets" and of course I said "I'm not a series writer, I could never do that".

Guess who wound up eating her words... *sheepish grin*

November 6, 2012... The idea for a sequel to "No Regrets" came to me, and I started a file for it, as "Untitled #8". It wasn't fully gelling, but it was a start. I fiddled around with it, tried a few things and wound up doing more rewrites on the first two chapters than I had for the entirety of "No Regrets".

As all of you who read my blog, the status updates on my Twitter, the FB pages, my writing thread in Sanctuary and my personal FB profile know what a road it's been for me so far with both books.

Needless to say, on this first year anniversary of finishing draft one of "No Regrets", I see myself on the cusp of finishing my second double length book, and finishing the duology, and I'm in shock. I never thought I'd be at this point with Book 2 this soon, let alone ever, and here I am, almost finished the first draft of it.

You see, yesterday, I got the UH OH part finished. Seriously. I wasn't sure how to proceed with what I had after I spliced it in, but after I bounced a few ideas around, I went with one and the next thing I knew, I was near the end of Chapter 44. Things were still with me after Son came home, so I quickly wrapped up that chapter and stopped at the start of Chapter 45.

All that's left to write in Book 2 is the aftermath, the grand finale and the epilogues. Seriously, that is it, everyone. I've been writing like a squirrel on speed since school started almost two months ago (I did the same thing with No Regrets last year!) and it's paid off, despite feeling scatterbrained, eating, breathing, sleeping this book and not being able to think about much else. Unless you've been consumed by a project of any kind (writing music, artwork, writing, etc), you may not get it. It's so hard to describe how easily something like this can almost take over your entire life unless you've gone through it at one point yourself. 

You do have to take breaks from it once in a while, or lose yourself in your world... Thanks to my husband, son and mentor, I am reminded to take a day off from things once in a while to relax, enjoy my friends and family and of course, bring myself back to the real world once in a while. Today was a prime example of it. There was a fall bazaar at my son's school and my son wanted to go to it. Normally I wouldn't have gone, but where his father was working and I had strict orders to take a break "or else", I went, and had a lot of fun, even though I spent just about all of our cash on Son. I saw a few of his teachers, saw some of my old classmates and I think I even saw one or two of my old teacher from my junior high days in passing. It was fun, and I'm now glad we went. I had to drive Hubby to work and we have to go get him so we had the car, but it's worth it. I have strict orders to relax tomorrow, and watch the Doctor Who marathon on Space, even if I'm online... 

I still can't believe I have written one double length book and am on the verge of finishing my second one already. It's like I've walked around the world twice and have no recollection of how I did it sometimes. It's so hard to describe the feeling one has when they're at this point like I am. I mean, I look back and think, "Wow, did I really do that?"

Then I think... "Yes, I did!"

For anyone who hasn't seen this yet, my blog from October 20, 2012, "A Bittersweet Victory", which screams to the world that I finished "No Regrets", draft one.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bridging the Gap, Book 2 Style...

It's been a great week writing wise so far, and it's not over yet...

Tuesday saw me dive into the writing as soon as my husband was out of the driveway. I had a lot of fits and starts when I first tried writing anything, but after a bit, an idea hit me and I settled into it with few problems. It was a short day, but I still managed to get over 5100 words added... Chapter 37 was wrapped up and I started Chapter 38.

Yesterday, my husband had to take his mother to the Annapolis Valley, so I dove back into it and started getting my ducks in a row...

I was about 3/4 of the way through the day when something occurred to me, and I really dove into things. I was close to something and I wanted it DONE. I almost rushed through the remainder of Chapter 38, and realized it was going to happen, even if I "had" to work on things after Son got home from school.

The UH OH part has been spliced in, at the start of Chapter 39! In a single copy/paste, my manuscript went from 316 pages to 354! It was almost bus time by the time I did the splice, so I worked on getting the ducks lined up and inserting chapter breaks, etc after Son was home. He was very good, he watched TV and played with his toys somewhat quietly while I plugged along and chatted with people in my various online hangouts.

I thought I had close to six chapters added, but that part had only 4 1/2. That's okay, it's still a LOT of material and more intense than I had remembered, despite tweaking it the last couple of weeks. I still had some editing to do, to line things up more with what I added the last couple of weeks to the main file, but not as much as I had when I first wrote it up.

Thanks to the splice, I am now a lot closer to finishing this book and I'm starting to see the light at the end of this proverbial writing tunnel get a little brighter. There is still a lot to write up, like how the main characters beat the bad guys in it, the grand finale and the epilogues, but I am much closer to finishing it than I was a month ago. As things stand now, I'm in the middle of Chapter 43. It's hard to believe that less than two months ago, I wasn't even at Chapter 31!

I still can't believe that I didn't even have the idea for this story a year ago. I got the original idea for it (solid, that is) on November 6, 2012, a couple of weeks after I finished its predecessor, "No Regrets", and I even took four months off from writing to get out of "squirrel on speed" mode and let my writing batteries recharge for a while, along with most of summer vacation. If you think about it, I've written the majority of this one in about six months, and it's longer than "No Regrets" at this point in time, and I'm sure by the time I'm finished it, it's still going to be a lot longer, even with some 86'ing, etc!

I would love to finish this draft one by Saturday (October 19th), because that's the first anniversary of me finishing "No Regrets" draft one, but it's not going to happen. There's still a lot left to this story... I'll finish it when the time is right. I will wrap it up, it's just a matter of luck, getting the time, having the right ideas hit me, and a few hundred gallons of coffee.

I hope everyone has had a great week so far. I'll be back with another update when more progress has been made.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Closing In, Part One...

Another writing day has passed and this little aspiring author went berserk in her word processor...

I was having problems getting part of the "aftermath" of the big discovery written up. I wasn't sure how to lead off into it, and I wasn't sure exactly how to have two very special characters react to the news that had been years in the making. So, I thought about it for a while and just "winged" it, like I do sometimes when I'm writing, and before I knew it, I had it written and was on the next scene. 

Chapter 36 was wrapped up, Chapter 37 started, and the story is now in the "calm before the super-storm" area, and the build up to the big "UH OH" part is rolling along in the sidelines. The reader will know something is going to happen, but not what, and it won't be a huge surprise for them when they finally get to that part.

I did see I have to add something in, something that is more in line with a character's personality than what it is. I'll be adding that in during my editing time later this week, and tweaking the "UH OH" part (what's written in it so far) so it's just about ready to be spliced in. I've been working on getting that ready but between everything happening here, and with our crazy schedules, it's been tough finding time to get things done without using some of my actual writing time... Since I want to keep as much of that as possible, I've been trying to work on things while Son is quiet and Hubby is at work. Sometimes it works, other times, forget it. *SIGH* I have noticed a few spots in both the main manuscript file and the "super-storm" file that need to be tweaked, 86'ed or changed/rewritten, and will be doing that as things progress, or in Draft Two of this one. All areas are highlighted and noted in the scenes/notes files as a reminder.

I've also been cleaning up the grammar, etc in Book 1/"No Regrets" again, and lining things up more with Book 2's plot, facts, etc so it's not much of a shock to the reader about different things in relation to either story and some facts about all of the characters, how they know each other and so on. I've had to add a few things here and there into "No Regrets" but that's nothing compared to having to do the entire thing over, and I'm glad I'm catching things now before I send it out to publishers. I'm also glad I'm NOT on a deadline right now! I did see just this morning that I "should" add a teeny bit of info in the epilogue to line things up even more with Book 2, and I will probably do that tomorrow, when I do not have Doctor Who on the TV to distract me!

Friday was another 4500 word day, and the gap between where I am in the main file and the big splice is closing in fast. 

I will have two and a half writing days this coming week, and I'm hoping to get closer to doing that huge splice. At this moment, that part is about 39 pages long, but I have a few additions to make, to make things line up better with the main storyline and some other things that came up in the last couple of weeks when I was writing by the seat of my jeans!

For those in Canada, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and for those in the United States, have a wonderful Columbus Day weekend. 

I'll be back with another update when things progress more in the writing. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Writing Like A Squirrel On Speed Part 2

As mentioned in my previous entry, between Monday and Tuesday, I managed to add another 10,000 words to Book 2, and had another writing day this past Friday.

I was thinking on things as I was doing the initial reread/edit of the material I had added earlier this week, and realized I hadn't touched on something that was mentioned, and I was way ahead of my timeline for the story. So I added something in to wrap up Chapter 35 yesterday, to touch on that particular subject a bit, and to push things back with the build up to the UH OH part a little bit. So far, so good and things are now starting to line up a bit better. I've also decided that the big discovery made by the leading lady will be pushed forward about another week or so, to push the timeline back on track better as well. I was about six weeks ahead of what I had planned so this will make a big difference with getting everything back on track.

With the "insert" in Chapter 35, the discovery was pushed into Chapter 36 (the reader will know she found something but not what it is for a while), and I already know what's going to happen right after those scenes. The next big hurdle is how much to share with the reader about what was really going on while walking the fine line between too much and too little. I'm not that far from the big splice and with a little more build up to it, I'll be doing that sometime soon, hopefully before the new year.

All in all, it was a fifteen thousand word week, and I'm pleased with myself, even if I am paying up for it!

I can tell I got a lot done this week. Once again, I'm spaced out, I'm exhausted mentally and the hands are screaming in protest. It's all worth it though, because I'm doing what I love to do, and enjoying every second of the easier part of getting a book published. Yes, the writing is the easiest parts of it believe it or not! I find the editing, proofing, etc can be a lot harder especially where the mind will insert a missing word into a document and you do NOT notice it, etc. 

It's a tough job but someone has to do it, right? We wouldn't have any great books to enjoy if others didn't put their brains and necks on the line to produce stories that others enjoy and love after all.

I don't have a lot of writing time ahead of me next week, but that could be classed as a good thing after all I managed to get done this past week. I do need to slow down, relax and take a break once in a while, else I'll burn myself out again and that is NEVER a good thing for an author.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Writing Along Like A Squirrel on Speed...

The week isn't done yet and things are really moving fast in my writing world...

Monday and Tuesday were writing days. My husband had to work both day shifts, and since last Friday was an inservice for students in our district - which meant no writing for me - I wanted to get back into working on Book 2 of my duology.

After a quick reread/edit to refresh the memory on Monday, I dove into it and before I knew it, it was time to go to the bus stop. When I did a word count on that day's work, it was almost five thousand words! Yes, things were flowing freely that day, and I think my creative energy was the highest it's been since I was working on No Regrets/Book 1 last year this time.

Tuesday was just like Monday, but even more creative. I got over 5,000 words added that day! 

However, after having two days in a row that were ultra productive, it was taking me a long time to get out of the writing fog on Tuesday and I couldn't concentrate well enough to do a full edit on both days' work. I wasn't in any shape to be online or around others either, so I wound up having to go offline early that day and just relax.

It was still there yesterday and I was offline before 1 p.m. my time. I caught up on some sleep, and despite feeling a little better, that writing fog was still there. I took the day off from even looking at any parts of Book 2 or any manuscripts at all. It was either do that or burn out again, and I really paid up for those two days by being a space cadet yesterday.

Today, I finally got around to doing the full reread/detailed edit on what I wrote up so far this week, and so far so good. It's solid, and Draft One Worthy as it stands now. Things may be changed here and there in Draft 2 and subsequent drafts but it's working for now. 

Since I'm also getting closer and closer to splicing in that UH OH idea my beloved mentor gave me, I decided a reread/major tweaking in that was needed. I now know how to lead into it, so that's been tossed in. Some things that have already been confirmed or said earlier on in the main file were deleted/condensed, some stuff was added and others changed to line up with everything else. So far, what's written up for that part so far is looking good and hopefully I won't have to do much more to it before and after it's spliced in. It's not completed yet, although I do know how things work out, but that's okay, it'll give me something to do once it's spliced in. I also have to do the aftermath and the grand finale, and then get things so tightly tied up in the epilogue that I can NOT write any more books in this series. 

As much as I love the characters and really don't want to say good bye to any of them, I don't want to write only stuff about that particular family and would like to have other books on my resume other than ones about that particular group. I want to do at least one book that has NOTHING to do with these two, if not more than that. I don't have any new ideas at the moment, but then again, I am very focused on getting Book 2 finished and getting No Regrets/Book 1 ready for publishers right now. New ideas will come in time, or maybe I'll get lucky and be able to get moving in RH's overhaul/rewrite again. That story is very complicated, almost as bad as Book 2 by times, and I wouldn't mind getting it finished and out there sometime, even if I wind up going the vanity press route with it in the future. It's quite a bit rougher in nature than my duology, and Book 2 is pretty rough on its own. The subject matter of RH can be considered controversial, and may be upsetting to some viewers, but in other ways, it's not as bad as other books out there when it comes to being "rough" or "too hard hitting" so to speak. 

Ugh, I'll just have to see how things go when Book 2 is done. I have a few things planned in the creative realm so I don't go so nuts this time like I did when I wrapped up Draft 1 of "No Regrets"/Book 1 last year... I was driving myself crazy, and I pitied anyone who saw me losing it full force - notably my mentor, some of the gang in Sanctuary, and a few other ultra close friends. "Hummingbird on speed" isn't even close to describing how I was feeling after Book 1's first draft was done and during its initial perk cycle! I am NOT going to be making another ten dreamcatchers... I refuse to go that route again, my poor hands cannot take it! I wouldn't mind doing some photography while I'm recharging the writing batteries, like maybe designing a cover photo for Book 4 of the Keyholder's Castle series for when Sandra has that ready for publication... HINT HINT! (She knows she has my services free of charge at any time, and knows how much I love photography and designing things like that!) Heck I may even look at doing original photos for my own work, whether I get on with a publishing house or not. I have an idea for Book 1's cover now, and would like to use it somehow... Heh.

Anyway, tomorrow is another writing day for me, and if I can get another 2,000 words added, I'll be a happy girl. Tired too, but that's okay. I am an author, or at least an aspiring one!, and if doing what I love makes me tired, who cares! I'm doing what I love, that's the main thing! 

Have a great Thursday everyone!