July, 2021

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Book Birthdays & Thank You Notes

One year ago, my Terrible Romance Novel (AKA, Love & Other Lies) made it out into the world.

Of course, me being me, this achievement was not announced for nearly another month when a fellow author outed me on Twitter. My response was literally, “HOW DID SHE FIND OUT?!?!?!?”

(I have issues. I know.)

But its official birthday is today.

I am so very grateful to everyone who helped this little experiment of mine get to this milestone. From the critique partner who very helpfully said of an early draft, “I don’t want these two characters to spend any more time together” (oops…) to my brother whose suggestions helped put this project on a much better path to my beloved goddaughter whose enthusiasm for this story ensured I would one day get it done, and to everyone in between. Me writing a book truly takes a village, and I love you all.

And I also want to give the loudest of shout-outs to the people who have taken the time to read this story. I don’t look at reviews (like, never ever), but I have heard through the grapevine that there are some, so whether you loved the story or hated it or fell somewhere in between, thank you for taking the time and making the effort. It is so very appreciated.

Because of my aforementioned issues, I don’t always (translation: pretty much never) do things in this industry the way people think I should. It’s a honest-to-goodness struggle for me to do things like not physically run away and hide should someone say to me, “hey, I read your book” or even “hey, I know you wrote a book.”

So if you ever do that, or anything like that, and I am weird and awkward in response, just know it’s not you. It’s me. It’s all me.

And, also, in case you missed it, last week was Effigy’s book birthday. It didn’t make it onto the blog because I was busy lamenting a certain struggle with a certain Camp NaNoWriMo project, so I thought I would mention it here and now.

This was my debut novel that came out seven years ago. I’m pretty sure I said after the fact that I would never publish another novel, but that just goes to show what I know.

Who knows what the next seven years may bring. Or even the next year. Certainly not me. (But I do hope it involves an ending for my current WIP…)

Anyway, thank you, everyone, for coming along on this all-too weird and awkward journey with me. I hope, at the very least, it has been entertaining.

Stay safe & well, all.

Postcards From Camp: You Can’t Get There From Here

I may have mentioned this a few (million) times, but I am from Maine. In addition to the lobsters, blueberries, moose, and tourists, we have an expression: You can’t get there from here. Said, of course, in a Maine accent.

(Yes, there is a Maine accent. Search for “Bert & I Which Way To Millinocket” on YouTube for a slightly exaggerated-for-comedic-effect example. There are other Bert & I stories, too, but the Millinocket one contains the ‘you can’t get there from here’ line.)

Anyway, ‘you can’t get there from here’ essentially means there’s no easy, direct path between two places. Sure, you can get to Millinocket, but it’ll involve some back roads, dirt roads, a whole lot of road construction, and probably some potholes big enough and deep enough for a great blue whale to swim in. Amongst other challenges.

And that, in a nutshell, is how I’m feeling about this damn WIP of mine these days.

I know where I am. I know where I want to go. But there does not seem to be any damn path to connect the two.

I keep trying things, throwing ideas against the wall—sometimes literally because I have an uncontrollable Post-It Note addiction—trying to figure out how to close the gap. I gain inches, only to lose feet.

One path was rejected because one of my characters said, “I thought you would make this more interesting. Are you even trying?”

Now, she wasn’t talking to me. She was talking to one of the main characters, but it felt very much like she was talking to me. So much so that I scrapped the storyline and went back to Square One.

In theory, each rejected path gets me closer to figuring out the actual right path, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I am seriously questioning my ability to…well, to do anything, frankly, but mostly my ability to write an ending for this book.

But here’s hoping that I’m wrong, and that my next post will be the sure-to-be thrilling tale of how I managed to get there from here.

Camp Stats

Word Count Goal: 20,000

Where my WC should be: 13,545

Where my WC actually is: 28,705

Average words per day: 1,435

Rejected storylines: Too many to count

Postcards From Camp: The Slog Remains The Same

I’m now two weeks into this month’s session of Camp NaNoWriMo.

In my last post, I talked about how I was crushing my word count, mostly because I was writing out two separate timelines because my character has to make a choice (retreat & recover or keep going & kick ass), and I have no idea which choice is the right one for the story. So I’m writing them both, hoping that one timeline will eventually emerge as the clear and correct choice.

But…I’m still not entirely sure. I am leaning heavily toward one path over the other, but I feel like the final determination is coming down to one pivotal (at least to me) scene on which I am currently working.

If this one scene can accomplish all the things I would ideally want it to accomplish, then I can go with Door #2, and Door #1 can go live in the deleted scene file with all the other displaced and obsolete storylines.

But I don’t know if that one scene can accomplish all the things I want it to do. It feels like it’s a lot of emotional whatever for one scene, and at the same time, it feels like it doesn’t have enough emotion in it. It feels like I have all the right pieces to this puzzle, if I can just figure out how they all fit together. But it also feels like these pieces may belong to two entirely different puzzles.

I don’t know what it is about this WIP that just refuses to be finished. Maybe my characters are screwing with me, Home Alone style, in an attempt to keep me from writing the end of the book because they suspect it will only lead to more misery for them.

Which, to be fair, it probably will.

So, on the word count front, I am good. I am better than good because, as you’ll see in the Camp Stats section at the end of this post, I have both reached and exceeded the word count goal I set at the beginning of the month. But, as I have stated in previous posts, the word count doesn’t matter here.

My real goal this month is to finish the first draft of Full Circle. And that?

Well, that’s still a work in progress.

Camp Stats

Word Count Goal: 20,000

Where my WC should be: 9,030

My current WC: 22,504

Average words per day: 1,731

At this rate, I will reach my WC goal by: July 11th

Postcards From Camp: Choose Your Own Adventure

Well, gang, I’m about a week into this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo session, and I am way ahead of my word count goal (I’m already over halfway there). But there’s a simple, if odd-sounding explanation for that…

I don’t know what’s supposed to happen.

In my last post, I detailed my writing plan for this month, which was basically to fuse together parts from two rejected plans to create a new possible path to a possible ending of the WIP that refuses to be finished (AKA, Full Circle, AKA Book Three in my fantasy series, The Coileáin Chronicles).

The plan started off pretty well. I had lots and lots of pages of notes to guide me that detailed exactly what I wanted certain scenes to look like, so it was just a matter of writing them out.

But then I came to a place where the detailed planning ended and became more…theoretical, I guess I could say. More specifically, one of my POV characters was left with a choice: retreat & recover or keep going & kick ass.

(Note: There are a lot of details behind those two choices which I am choosing not to divulge, so even though one option may sound waaaaaaay more interesting than the other, they do each come along with their own sets of merits and possibilities. Hence the indecision.)

I have yet to make a decision on which one of these paths is the right choice, so I’ve been writing them both.

What would it look like if she chooses Door #1? What would it look like she chooses Door #2? Where do each of those doors leads? What subsequent choices will she have to make, and where will those choices lead?

All of this has left me feeling like I’m now writing one of those Choose Your Own Adventure stories that were popular when I was a kid (Note: various forms of this storytelling method do still exist today). You know, the kind that allow that reader to decide where the story goes. At the end of a page, there’s a choice. Do you want to do A or B? And you continue through the story, making choices, until you reach one of the book’s possible 1,000,000 (Note: may be a slight exaggeration…) endings.

I assume, at some point, one of these paths will start to feel right to me. That’s how I usually know I’m heading in the right direction with a story—I just feel it in my gut—but, so far, my gut is all…

Once I make a decision, I’ll delete the imposter timeline and focus on the other one. But until then…at least this multi-verse-esque thing I’ve got going on is doing fantastic things for my word count…right?

RIGHT?!?!?!?!?

Camp Stats

Word Count Goal: 20,000

Where my WC should be: 4,515

My current WC: 11,726

Average words per day: 1,954

At this rate, I will reach my goal by: July 10th

How do you decide which path to take? Have you ever written a Choose Your Own Adventure story? Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? If so, how’s it going?

Stay safe and well, all.