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Let The Editing Commence! (Also, A Guessing Game…)

So…this is happening:

That’s right. I have officially plunged into the abyss that is the first draft of Full Circle.

I haven’t looked at it in a few months (I set aside every first draft for at least three months), and I’m wading into this first round of revisions with some trepidation. A lot of trepidation, really. The book feels too short to me. Which is weird, I know, given that it’s clocking in at 236,000 words. But still, it feels short. I also remember being unhappy with the ending, and I just know I’m going to be unhappy with a hell of a lot more than that as I make my way through these 755 pages.

Which is, of course, to be expected when reading through one’s first draft. As much as I may hate it, first drafts are meant to be imperfect messes. As Terry Pratchett once said, “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” I think it was Neil Gaiman who said, “In your second draft, make it look like you knew what you were doing all along.”

So this is what I am aiming to do. Figure out if this damn thing is somehow too short. Identify weak and/or lazy writing (not that there will be any of that…) that needs to be improved. Locate and kill any and all darlings (RIP, goat conversation). Fix any plot and/or character arcs that aren’t quite arcing the way I want them to. Laugh my ass off at all the unintentionally hilarious typos. See if the ending is really as bad as I remember it being (or if it is, in fact, worse).

And so on and so forth.

This generally takes me a while. A long while. But, as mentioned in my previous post, my goal for the year is to get through this round of revisions and send the manuscript off to my beta readers. (Hear that, betas? I’m coming for you. You know, eventually. I mean, it’s really gonna be a while. You know how slow I am.)

But anyway, all this brings me to the guessing game portion of this post…

How many red pens and blue highlighters will be required to get through this first draft?

Post your guess in the comments below. Whomever is closest without going over (we play by The Price Is Right rules in this house…) will win a copy of Full Circle when it’s finally released upon the world. (Please note: That won’t be until 2023 at the earliest. Remember that I am slower than slow.) If multiple people guess the winning combination, they will be entered into a drawing to determine the winner.

Some stats to help you determine your guess:

Second Nature:

—4 pens

—3 highlighters

—324,000 words

Terrible Romance Novel Love & Other Lies:

—2 pens

—2 highlighters

—95,000 words

Best of luck to everyone who enters!

Thanks for stopping by today. It’s always appreciated.

Stay safe and well, all!

The One With All The Goals (2022 Edition)

Well, it’s a new year which means I’m kicking things off with a monster post with (as the title would suggest) a shit-ton of goals for 2022.

As per usual, these goals are broken up into three categories: writing, health & fitness, and other. Listed here will be the big, bold goals with a due date of December 31, 2022. Not listed here will be how these big, bold goals will be broken down into monthly, weekly, and even daily goals. So, I guess, just know I’m doing it?

I like setting goals for myself. Even if it seems like I never make much progress on them, I think it helps to have set them in the first place. I shudder to think what my day-to-day life would look like if I didn’t have them. Darkness, chaos and probably some dragons… (Name! That! Reference!)

The Writing Goals

—Edit/Revise Full Circle and send to the beta readers

So, last year I finished the first draft of this project. It’s been sitting in the metaphorical drawer since about September, which means it’s about time to print out this monster project (though at 236k words, it’s not my longest manuscript ever) and rip it to shreds.

January goal: Print this puppy out, find some red pens, and let the shredding commence.

—Complete the first draft of the Terrible Romance Sequel

Yeah…this is a carryover from last year. Though I did make some progress on it during November’s NaNoWriMo event, I didn’t finish it. So I’m going to try to do it this year.

January goal: Nothing. I need to think about some things, so this project’s on the back burner for now.

—Participate in all three NaNoWriMo sessions (April, July, and November)

I’m still doing the ML thing, so…yeah. It’s on the list. Please note how this goal states ‘participate in’ but not ‘win’…

January goal: Nothing. I won’t have much to do for NaNoWriMo until we get closer to April.

—Attempt to make some attempt at marketing at least once a month

This goal went pretty poorly last year—although there were only two months where I did absolutely nothing (like a CHAMP!), so it definitely could have gone worse. To be honest, I don’t have particularly high hopes for this year magically being better, but if it’s not on the list at all, I definitely won’t try. So here’s to trying!

January goal: Come up with an idea to try and, you know, try it.

Health & Fitness

—Stop drinking so much damn soda and drink more damn water

I tried to do this last year and ended up going in the complete opposite direction (like a CHAMP!). Now I shall attempt to correct that.

—Walk, run, or bike an average of three miles per day

This goal is slightly tweaked from years past. Some days aren’t conducive to walking three miles for whatever reason. Instead, I’m aiming for the average. Three miles a day for an entire year comes out to 1095 miles. So basically that’s the goal. 1095 miles by December 31st.

All The Rest

—Declutter

I think this goal makes the list pretty much every year, and every year I pretty much do the opposite. But this year, the significant other and I have started to bandy around another ‘D’ word…Downsize. If we go through with it, I will definitely need to declutter. But even if we don’t go through with it, I should still probably declutter. I’m not a hoarder or anything (unless you’re talking about books or notebooks or pens or post-it notes or Funko Pop! figurines or…maybe I should be quiet now.) but I’m guessing there’s still a lot with which I can and should part.

January goal: Take that bag of books that’s been sitting in my office for two months to the Free Little Libraries in the area and donate them already.

—Read a damn book at least once a month

I have NOT done well with my reading goals lately. One book a week has been too much to ask, so this year, I am scaling back and going with one book a month. You may be saying “that’s not a challenge” but you should know that I only managed to read eleven books last year. Total.

I hate how long this slump has lasted. It’s just getting sad now.

January goal: Finish reading that Janet Evanovich book I started reading at the end of last year. There’s only, like, fifty pages left to go, so I think even I can finish them by the end of the month.

So, on that note, I’m outta here. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you had a great New Years, and that 2022 is kind to you all.

Did you set any goals in 2022?

The Five-Year Engagement

Five years ago, I wrote one of those “where I want to be in five years” posts for my blog. Today, I thought I’d take a look at where I wanted to be versus where I ended up.

WHAT I WANTED TO HAVE DONE IN FIVE YEARS

—Publish Second Nature
—Publish Full Circle
—Publish Retail Rhapsody
—Figure out how to use Scrivener

WHAT I ACTUALLY DID IN FIVE YEARS

Well, if we only look at the above list, then I only accomplished the first item on it. Second Nature was published in 2018. I think. It was somewhere around then anyway. Within the last five years, at least, which is the point.

I only just recently finished Full Circle‘s first draft (like in the last couple of months), and Retail Rhapsody remains a work in progress. I don’t know how or why Scrivener made the list at all, but yeah…it mostly remains a mystery to me and I’m okay with that (Kudos to you, if you’re one of those writers who love it. I will never be one of you).

But I did do one thing that wasn’t on this list—something that wasn’t even on my radar at all back in December 2016. And that was publish Love & Other Lies, probably better known as the Terrible Romance Novel. I didn’t decide to do anything with that project until January 2017 and didn’t set it loose upon the world until 2020.

WHAT I HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS

—Publish Full Circle
—Publish Terrible Romance Sequel
—Finish the first draft of Adventures In Babysitting
—Finish the first draft of Threnody

WHAT’S MY PLAN TO GET IT ALL DONE

Yeah. Like I have a plan. Except for this, maybe…

And hey—there are certainly worst plans in the world. Maybe this one could work for me?

All right, that’s going to do it for me today. And knowing me the way I do, this will likely end up being my last post of the year. Thanks for stopping by, not just today but all year long.

Stay safe and well…and whatever you may celebrate this time of year, I hope you have a very happy holiday.

See you next year, y’all…

The Good, The Okay, and the Final Word (A NaNoWriMo Recap)

When last we met, I was in the midst of a two-pronged NaNoWriMo experiment.

Prong One: The Pot Luck Technique, where I worked on five different projects, following my brain/muse to whatever WIP it was inspired to work on in any given moment.

Prong Two: The Reverse NaNo Technique, where I started off the month with higher-than-average daily word count goals that got increasingly smaller as the month progressed.

Today, I shall talk about the results of this experiment.

First of all, this happened:

So yes, I earned a win. It was my fastest win ever (earned on November 19th), and I think that’s totally due to the aforementioned experiments (details to come). Because I am my region’s ML, I continued to write past the 50k mark (sticking around through the entire month is part of the deal) and ended up with a grand total of 63,596 words.

Which may sound impressive, but you should know that my wrimo buddies were absolutely crushing it this past month. One of them wrote over 235k words. In thirty days. Another had over 130k, and several ended up over the 80k mark. I bow down to their awesomeness.

Even if they made me feel like a slacker.

But seriously, they’re awesome.

Okay, so on with the post. Let’s talk about the techniques and what I thought of them.

POT LUCK TECHNIQUE

I liked this technique. It really allowed me the flexibility to follow my creativity wherever it went (even if it just went to bed). Usually in November, when I’m working on my one WIP, and have tunnel vision or whatever, I get stuck from time to time. I flounder, I stare at a blinking cursor, and basically I do all those things you never want to do when you’re trying to write 50k words in thirty days.

Having the ability to shift from one WIP to another cut down on those less-productive periods. Don’t get me wrong—they still happened, but they didn’t happen as often nor did they last as long. I had five WIPs from which to choose in three different genres, and that really appealed to my particular mindset this past month. I knew I was lacking in focus, so having options (and having so many options) definitely took some of the pressure off.

Here’s where the five WIPs ended up. The first number is the starting word count on November 1st. The second number is the word count as of midnight on November 30th.

Terrible Romance Sequel: 49,380/61,673

Adventures In Babysitting: 0/9,762

Threnody: 0/23,300

How Many Angels: 0/9,740

The Third One: 0/8,622

I think I will definitely make use of this technique again. Overall, the Pot Luck Technique gets two enthusiastic thumbs up.

THE REVERSE NANO TECHNIQUE

This technique was…fine. I was less thrilled with this and probably will not be using it again in the future.

But that is because about two weeks into this thing, I had about 80% of my word count total done because I was writing 3,000–4,000 words every day because I was trying to hit those Reverse NaNo daily goals (the first two weeks of this technique are brutal, word count wise). A fellow wrimo sent me a message pointing out how close I was to winning (a fact I had not actually noticed because I was so hyper focused on the daily word counts and not the cumulative total) and when I realized the truth of that statement, I decided to just keep the pedal to the metal and power through to the end.

Which led, as I’m sure you can imagine, to some exhaustion and maybe a wee bit of burnout. I woke up on November 6th and literally said, “Oh God. It’s only Day Six. How the hell am I going to make it through the rest of the month?!?”

So while it did lead to some not-too-shabby daily word counts, I don’t think this technique was worthwhile for me in the long run. I’m not sorry to have tried it, though. We never know what will work for us until we try it out. But yeah. This technique was a big Meh for me.

THE FINAL WORD

While I hit the 50k goal, I did not achieve my goal of completing the first draft of the Terrible Romance Sequel. (Honestly, between those two goals, I would have rather finished the draft, but that didn’t work out.) Some progress was made, however, and I may have worked through a major plot problem early on in the story—meaning I at least justified keeping it as is for now…So, not the progress I had been hoping for, but teeny tiny progress (or at least the temporary illusion of it) all the same.

I’m still not convinced that ANY of the five WIPs I worked on in November will ever amount to anything at all (I seriously don’t think I’m smart enough to pull off my concept for TRS), but it was an interesting thought experiment, if nothing else. And my brain offered up an intriguing-as-hell possibility for Threnody. I don’t know nearly enough about that project yet to know if that possibility is at all viable (and if it is, it would likely only be a part of a subplot), but it doesn’t matter right now.

The point of NaNoWriMo (for me, at least) is just to set a big, crazy goal for myself and jump down that rabbit hole of creativity and see where I end up. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Sure, I’m way happier when it works out, but there’s always something to be learned from the journey itself.

Or something possibly smart-ish sounding like that. I’m really tired.

Anyway, because I’m obsessed with the show, here’s a nice inspirational Ted Lasso gif with which to end this post:

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo last month? If so, how’d you do?

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe and well, all.

The Reverse NaNo

First up, my brother’s birthday was yesterday, and as he is the coolest brother—who is and will forever be way smarter and funnier than I am—I wanted to take a moment to say…

Happy Birthday!!

Onto the rest of the post!

So, as you may remember from my last post, I am participating in NaNoWriMo this month, as I often do in November.

This year, right before the start of the month, one of the wrimos (someone who participates in NaNoWriMo, in case you are unfamiliar with the term) in my region said she was going to do a reverse NaNo this year. Never having heard of it, I asked if that meant she would attempt to delete 50,000 words in November (which, frankly, sounds like something I could definitely do).

But, no. It turns out that is not what the Reverse NaNo technique is.

The Reverse NaNo—also known in some circles as The Reward System or The Downhill Method, or the Incredible Shrinking Daily Goal—was devised by a participant in 2010 as a way to take advantage of the fact that many wrimos start off the month strong. We’re fresh, we’re full of ideas, and we’re raring to go. Words flow more easily and everything is happy and shiny and bright.

And then comes the rest of November. We get tired. Ideas aren’t flowing as easily as they were before. Our brains stop with the words-putting-into-sentence doing. There are holidays and day jobs and kids and pets and neighbors who insist on putting up giant inflatable snowmen on their lawns even though it’s only November 8th and you live in Florida where there’s no damn snow so it doesn’t make any damn sense that your stupid inflatable snowman is holding a sign saying he’s freezing his ass off because (1) he doesn’t have an ass to freeze off and (2) again, it’s Florida, so if anything, his ass should be melting off, and there are also dogs somewhere (certainly NOT inside my house…) who insist on barking incessantly at the giant inflatable snowman not freezing his ass off on the neighbor’s lawn.

That incredibly generic example aside, the point is, the challenge often gets harder as we go along. For whatever reason.

So the Reverse NaNo looks to take advantage of the strong, fresh start by having higher daily word count goals that grow smaller as the month progresses. Traditionally, the daily word count goal in NaNoWriMo is 1,667 words per day. With the Reverse NaNo, your Day 1 goal is a whopping 3,346 words. But your Day 30 goal is a very manageable 1 word.

As I have lately been one of those wrimos who starts off strong and fades fast, I thought I would give the Reverse NaNo technique a try. It’s going…all right thus far. I admit I am looking forward to those smaller and smaller word count goals because I know I definitely can’t keep up this pace. These first two weeks are…a lot.

And I am just…running low on…all the things. All five WIPs have been started. I had really hoped I wouldn’t need to do that so soon into the month, but we do what we must. It’s some robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul thing or whatever.

I did, however, have an idea pop up yesterday, just out of the blue, for one of those five WIPs that made me go…

Now I’m hoping this shiny, new idea will be good for a decent amount of words, if I can figure out how to get it down on paper (or, you know, in a Word document. Whatever.). I have no idea if it’s a viable idea that will survive outside of November, but that’s December’s problem.

Still, if anyone has any spare plot lying around that they’re not using, feel free to box it on up and send it my way…

NaNo Stats

Word count goal: 50,000

Where the regular WC should be: 16,670

Where the Reverse NaNo WC should be: 28,157

Where my WC actually is: 29,327

WIP(s) getting the most love: How Many Angels and The Third One

Yeah. I don’t get it, either. Especially The Third One. I mean, the second damn book in this series isn’t even finished, but whatever. When has my brain ever done anything that could even remotely count as making sense?

All right, so on that note, I’m going back down into the word mines or at least I’m gonna crawl under my desk and take a nap.

Tune in next Wednesday for another action-packed update on my multi-faceted NaNoWriMo experiment.

Be safe and well, all.