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Back On the Goal Train

It’s the start of a new month, which means it’s time for another exciting installment of…my monthly goals!

As it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts (June, to be exact. I just checked), I’m going to forego the previous month’s recap and jump right in to my goals for the month of September. Which maybe kind of sort of possibly just slightly bear a complete and total resemblance to the ones I set in June, but I’m sure that’s just some kind of weird coincidence and definitely not a sign of how little I’ve actually done this year.

Anyway. On to the goals!

—Complete the first draft of Full Circle

Yeah. I’m still working on it. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I just can’t shake the (perhaps wishful thinking) feeling that I’m thisclose to the end. I chipped away at it here and there last month and ended up adding just over 6000 words to the FrankenWIP edition of the manuscript…and still didn’t get to the end.

Maybe this month will be different?

Here’s why I think it may be different (or possibly different): If my current plan turns out to be remotely accurate (Hey—it could happen), I am a paltry two incomplete scenes and one yet-to-be-started scene away from finishing the FrankenWIP. And the one yet-to-be-started scene is only yet-to-be-started because I can’t decide if it should be the end of this book or the start of the next book (you know…the one I really don’t want to write). Which kind of makes it feel like a Free Space. If I write it now, great. I can cut it in the second draft if I ultimately decide it shouldn’t be there. If I don’t write it now, it can be added to the second draft if I ultimately decide it needs to be there. So all I really need to do to be done with this manuscript is finish those two incomplete scenes.

Which makes this goal seems completely doable, but again…I am still me.

Which is why it may not be different at all.

—Figure out September’s marketing attempt and, you know, attempt it

I don’t know what it’s going to be yet (besides, you know, silly and unsuccessful…) but Second Nature does have a book birthday coming up later this month, so I should probably—I don’t know—acknowledge it somehow.

I am just so good at this.

(Narrator: She was, in fact, not good at this.)

I feel as though I should attempt something else as well, but the truth is that just acknowledging a book birthday will be a huge challenge for me, so maybe I should just leave it at that.

—Walk at least three miles every day

I’ve been slacking on this goal of late. Scrappy Doo hurt his leg last month in some complete freak accident. It wasn’t anything major (he jumped out of a chair and landed the absolute wrong way on his leg), but he’s still recovering so we’ve been limiting how far he gets to walk each day, and apparently I am now too lazy to walk without him.

It’s cool, though. We were getting too chummy with our neighbors anyway. (Seriously. Because of these dogs, I now know many of my neighbors’ names and things about them. Ugh.)

And on that super friendly note, I’m outta here. Because apparently that damn WIP really won’t write itself.

Ugh.

What are your goals this month?

As always, thanks for stopping by. Stay safe and well, all.

One Last Postcard From Camp: Wishful Thinking

This month finds me at a bit of a loose end.

My Camp NaNoWriMo experiment was not entirely successful, nor entirely unsuccessful, so I’ve been left wondering where do I go from here?

Let’s break it down.

I didn’t finish Full Circle. That was the main goal of the month—to finally type THE END on this first draft—and that didn’t happen. It feels like I may have come close, but…I don’t know if that’s just wishful thinking on my part, or if it could possibly be true.

I do feel as though it may be worth my while to finish the FrankenWIP experiment, to follow this thread through to the end. It feels like, though this ending may need more finessing, it is, perhaps, heading in the right direction. Though I may need to circle the block a few times to find an open parking space or whatever, I am at least in the right neighborhood.

Of course, that could just be wishful thinking, too.

Back in June, I made a deal with myself. I had the thirty-one days of July to play around with FrankenWIP and do whatever I wanted—whatever I could think of—to try and finish the story.

Then—win, lose, or draw—the WIP would go into the metaphorical drawer for a while. If finished, it would stay there until January 2022. If not, it would depend upon any progress made on other writing projects (Don’t you love how I say that as though making progress on things is actually something I do?)

One way or another, this WIP was meant for the metaphorical drawer. Either because it was finished and didn’t need me to look at it anymore, or because I’d be so pissed off at my failure to finish it that I would need it to be in a safe space while I threw a world-class temper tantrum. ‘Cuz I’m mature like that.

But here’s the twist…I don’t actually feel the need to throw a tantrum at all. (I know. I’m shocked, too.) Don’t get me wrong—I’m not happy that I failed yet again to finish this stupid story, but I’m not nearly as upset by that fact as I thought I would be. I know it can’t be because I’m being some kind of reasonable adult about it (because that would never happen), so I wonder if that may be a sign that I have, at last, found the right road to the end and just need a little more time to get there.

Or again…that could just be wishful thinking. I could just need one more month. But I could just as easily need six more months. Or six more years. My ability to judge these things is really quite terrible, so I honestly have no way of knowing.

But all of this leads me to my current quandary: Do I stick with the original plan of sticking this WIP into a drawer for however long that lasts while I work on a different WIP? Or do I keep on keepin’ on, working under the assumption that the ending is just around the corner?

I’m leaning toward the latter right now because my preference would be to put a completed manuscript into the metaphorical drawer, but I don’t know that I trust my ability to make a smart decision in this circumstance. I mean, I also seem to think that Dr Pepper is a good breakfast beverage, so, you know…smart decisions aren’t exactly my strong suit.

So now I turn to you, oh wise readers. What choice do you think I should make? (Note: about the story, I mean. Not my very healthy soda addiction.)

Thanks for stopping by.

Stay safe & well, all.

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