Terrible Romance Series

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Decisions, Decisions

I don’t think this could possibly be a secret, but I love to participate in NaNoWriMo. I just really like the challenge of setting myself a big, bold goal and seeing if I can achieve it.

There are three sessions each year (April, July, and November). Normally, I only do one, maybe two, as life allows. Back in January, however, I set a goal to participate in all three sessions and even developed a game plan for each.

April’s session was supposed to be devoted to finishing the first draft of Full Circle. July was supposed to be dedicated to finishing the first draft of the Terrible Romance Sequel. November was supposed to be an opportunity to experiment with a shiny new idea.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you may already know how April’s session turned out. I set my goal for 25,000 words because I thought that would be enough to get me to the end of Full Circle.

It was not.

In fact, I wrote 27,000 words, and it still wasn’t enough.

Which has thrown a wrench into my careful planning.

(Something for which I really should have planned, but whatever. It’s all good. I’m not irritated at all. Really. And if you believe that, I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you…)

Now the July session of NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and I am trying to decide (see…the title did have a point!) what I should do. As I see it, I have three options:

  1. Make yet ANOTHER attempt to finish Full Circle

2. Stick to the original plan and attempt to finish Terrible Romance Sequel

3. Run away to join the circus

What’s a writer to do? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each, shall we?

—Make yet ANOTHER attempt to finish Full Circle

Again, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you may already know that I’ve been trying and failing to do this for…well, for a while now. At least a year. Probably more. I thought 2021 might be the year I break through because I thought I was tantalizingly close to reaching the end.

Which I may be. I don’t know. I could be sitting right on top of the damn ending and be just too obtuse or whatever to see it. I don’t know. I can’t stress enough how much I don’t know.

But I desperately want to finish this story. There are three people in my life who want to read this book, and I feel worse and worse every day I can’t make that happen. So, though normally, I would stick this WIP in a drawer and leave it there for a while to give my brain a break, I just can’t bring myself to do that this time.

I want to type THE END on that first draft, if for no other reason than when the manuscript ends up being ignored in a metaphorical drawer, there’s a reason for it besides my failure (If you didn’t know, I let manuscripts rest for at least a month in between drafts).

So once again making Full Circle my project of choice is tempting. It is an undeniable truth that my desire to win NaNoWriMo often helps me power through a story and reach that word count goal. Maybe this session will be the session that allows me to drag myself across the finish line.

But…it is also an undeniable truth that I still don’t seem to know how this damn book is supposed to end. Or how I get the characters from where they are now to whatever that ending ends up being. How would I even decide on my word count goal? This book could need 15,000 more words. or 25,000. Or 50,000. Or more. I don’t know. What if the book is, in fact, unfinishable? (At least in my hands…) What do I do then?

Bottom line: If I make Full Circle my project, am I dooming myself to spend 31 days just staring at a blinking cursor?

—Stick to the original plan and attempt to finish Terrible Romance Sequel

I started this story last November (during NaNoWriMo, of course) and finished with 51,309 words. It didn’t have a beginning or an ending and contained only the smallest amount of plot that could possibly be considered plot.

(You may now be asking yourself, “If there’s no beginning or ending or any real plot, how the hell did you end up with 51,309 words?” And I’ll tell you…I don’t know.)

It’s been sitting in a drawer ever since December 1st. I haven’t looked at it—mostly because of the aforementioned push to finish Full Circle—but also because it doesn’t have a beginning or an ending and only the smallest amount of plot that could possibly be considered plot.

But for all the things I don’t know about this book, the Terrible Romance Sequel does have one thing going for it: It’s not Full Circle. I haven’t been trying and failing to finish it for…well, for a long time now. Maybe a fresh(er) project will produce better results because it will seem far shinier and newer to my dumb brain than its ancient counterpart.

But…the truth remains that I don’t know how to finish this story, either. I honestly don’t know if I can. My dumb brain came up with this concept—which I really do like (or did like, when I looked at it last)—but I am quite fearful that it’s not only unfinishable but also unwritable. (At least in my hands…)

Bottom line: If I make Terrible Romance Sequel my project, am I dooming myself to spend 31 days just staring at a blinking cursor?

—Run away to join the circus

Pro: Doesn’t involve me coming up with endings for any story or possibly ever writing anything ever again.

Con: I don’t actually have any skills that might be useful in a circus setting. Also—and I can’t stress this enough—clowns are f&*k!ng terrifying.

So that’s where I am. I have a decision to make with a deadline of 11:59:59pm on June 30th. I really hope to have it made before then, but as a wise man once said, “What you plan and what takes place ain’t ever exactly been similar.”

We’ll see what happens this time around.

Which option do you think should I take? What do you do when you can’t decide? What do you do when you can’t seem to figure out a story’s ending? Or beginning. Or middle? And, most importantly, what do you think of clowns?

Here We Go Again

Hello, everyone! Welcome to 2021!

As is my tradition, today’s post will be all about my goals for the coming year. Keep in mind that these are big, year-long goals that will be (in theory, anyway) broken down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

The Writing Goals

  1. Finish the first draft of Full Circle

Full Circle is the third book in my fantasy series. This goal is a carryover from last year’s goals. I’d like to say that I came close to completing it, but I don’t think I really can. Too much time writing pointless conversations about goats and not enough time writing actual, useful plot that, you know, moves the story forward.

I hope to correct that this year.

For anyone keeping score at home, this WIP is currently sitting at 232,924 words.

2. Finish the first draft of the Terrible Romance Sequel

This is, of course, the sequel to the Terrible Romance Novel (aka Love & Other Lies) that I started during NaNoWriMo last November. I haven’t looked at it since November 30th, and it’s not my top priority this year, but I hope that I’ll get a chance to finish it at some point.

Its word count is currently sitting at 51,309. There’s even a chance that some of it may be useable. Fingers crossed!

3. Participate in all three NaNoWriMo sessions this year (April, July, and November)

This goal makes the list because I am the ML (municipal liaison) for my region. Participating in events comes with the territory. At this point, I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be working on those three months, and I won’t know until I see where the aforementioned WIPs are when the events get closer. The Camp sessions in April and July offer participants more goal flexibility, so it won’t necessarily be a 50k word goal each time out.

4. Attempt to make some attempt at marketing once a month

This goal is deliberately vague to give me as much wiggle room on this as freaking possible because I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS GOAL. Like, at all. You should have seen how long it took me to add the damn goal to the list. I can’t stress enough how stressed out I am even thinking about this stupid goal.

The Other Goals

  1. Read 52 books

Haven’t managed this one the last few years, but maybe 2021 will be different?

2. Improve fitness

In theory, this will be a multi-step kind of thing. I’ll be keeping my three-miles-a-day goal but attempting to add in yoga and strength training and some aerobics and things of that nature.

I actually did some yoga, strength training, and aerobics yesterday. And today, I feel great. Really.

3. Drink more water/Reduce caffeine intake

I was doing a terrible job of hydrating toward the end of the year and was drinking entirely too much soda, so here’s when I attempt to, you know, stop doing that. Please note the part where it says “REDUCE caffeine intake.” Not eliminate entirely. Gotta keep these things realistic.

4. De-clutter

It just really needs to be done. I am such a scary pack rat. It’s sad, really. And yeah, I know this was also on the 2020 goal list and I got as far as looking at the closet in my office and saying, “Ugh, I can’t even” but maybe it’ll be different this year.

And on that note, I’m outta here.

Hope you have a very happy and healthy 2021.

Stay safe and well!

The One With The Goals

I know it’s technically still November, but it’s close enough to December that today is goal post day on My Pet Blog, y’all!

First up, a look back at November’s goals…

NOVEMBER GOALS

Win NaNoWriMo 2020

I did this. I actually won on November 23rd, which is, to date, my quickest win yet.

Sure, the Terrible Romance Sequel isn’t finished yet, and I still have no idea how I’m supposed to make it work (or even if I CAN make it work) but I think I’m intrigued enough by these two characters that I will be putting in the effort to make it work.

And also, the way this story (or, you know, what exists of it thus far) did play out led me to a possible third and fourth installment of the Terrible Romance Series.

Which is totally what I was hoping would happen.

Walk at least three miles a day

Though I did not walk three miles a day, my daily average (as of the writing of this post) is around 3.6 miles per day. Which means I could totally take the rest of the month off from walking and still make my goal.

I won’t do that, though. But I could.

DECEMBER GOALS

December is typically the month where I scramble to meet the goals I set for myself back in January. This month is no different. But it is a little bit. Like, I’m still getting goals to try to cross off as many 2020 goals as possible, but I don’t have very high hopes for my ability to do it and I’m okay with that. I’m just going to do what I can and go from there.

Complete first draft of Full Circle

This is the third book in my fantasy series. I was hoping to finish the first draft in October. That didn’t work out. I pretty much spent all of October spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere. So this month is my last-ditch effort to figure it out.

Read seven books

I am seven books away from meeting my Goodreads challenge. Time to break out the graphic novels, kids!

Walk at least three miles every day

It is always good to avoid becoming part of one’s couch whenever one can. Or so I’m told. Besides, the dogs like to walk.

Organize family photos & comic book collection

This is the last-ditch effort to meet that ‘declutter and downsize’ goal I set back in January. That’s definitely NOT happening this year, so this month I’m going to set two smaller goals that will be small steps toward working on this project next year. Or ignoring it completely, as the case may be.

And on that note, I’m outta here.

As always, thanks for stopping by. I’ll try to do better the next time!

Happy Birthday, Bro! (Plus a NaNoWriMo Update)

Today has the distinction of being my brother’s birthday, so I’d like to start off my post by wishing him a very happy birthday.

I am so very lucky to have him as my brother. And not just because he’s, like, super good at pinpointing problems with my WIPs. But he is. Like, just, crazy good at it. Which I’m sure delights him to no end. So I just hope he knows how much I appreciate it. And him.

Happy Birthday to the very best brother for which a girl could ask!!

I hope it’s a good one.

All right, so we’re now into the second week of NaNoWriMo. I admit, I was more than a little distracted last week, and my productivity may have suffered because of it, but I am at least keeping par every day. Somedays, I am just barely getting over that 1,667-word mark with, like thirty seconds to spare in the day, but I am getting there.

The overall word count, however, continues to be…well, shocking, frankly. As of the moment I wrote this sentence, my word count is sitting at…

Which puts me days ahead.

Yeah. I don’t get it, either. I mean…there’s no reason why it should be that high. I can’t stress that enough. There is NO reason. At all.

Once again, I have written a romance novel with no actual romance in it and, really, no real hope for a romance.

I’m not sure what the plan is, but I guess as long as I keep thinking of words, I’ll keep writing them down? And when I do eventually run into that wall (and it’s coming. I mean, it just has to be), I’ll worry about it then?

And on that note, I’m outta here.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, I hope the words are flowing for you.

Stay safe and well, everyone!

What Happens Next (An IWSG Post)

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, y’all!

If you’re reading this, I do assume that you’re already familiar with the IWSG, but if you’re new and/or interested in more information and/or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.

This month’s awesome co-hosts are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G. Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

This month’s (optional) question is…

Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

I’m going to attempt to answer this question, but me being me, I’m probably going to attempt it in some weird, roundabout way that may or may not actually answer the question. And me being me four days into November, and those four days being in November 2020, this weird, roundabout way may end up being even weirder and more roundabout than usual (And may or may not involve more vodka…) If you choose to keep reading, I hope that (wherever this ramble ends up), you enjoy the ride.

So, it’s been mentioned a few million times on various social media sites, I know, but in case you maybe missed it, I am participating in NaNoWriMo this month. It’s the ninth time I’ve participated in the November event. Thus far, I have six wins and two losses under my belt, but win or lose, I love the challenge. Which is why I pretty much sign up for every session I possibly can.

My first NaNoWriMo experience was back in 2009, when I wrote the first draft of what would eventually come to be known as the Terrible Romance Novel. When November 1st came around, I didn’t have a plan in place. I didn’t have character charts or a storyboard or a scene list or anything. I just thought, “Hey, I wonder if I can write a romance novel” and set out to see what would happen. (And with a name like ‘Terrible Romance Novel’ you can probably guess what happened…)

On November 2nd of that year, I sat in front of my computer, looking at the monitor and thinking, “WHAT THE HELL DID I GET MYSELF INTO?” because I was working without a safety net, or a parachute, or any sort of metaphorical rock-climbing gear designed to keep me from plunging into the rocky gorge of failure or whatever (Seriously, y’all. Day Four + Insomnia + 2020 + Vodka + Well, you know = rocky gorge of failure or whatever).

I got through those thirty days by just constantly asking myself, “What happens next?” And when I had no what what (what what? Thanks, brain.) happened next, I asked myself, “Okay, what could happen next?” Because I didn’t know and there was only one way I would find out.

By writing it. (I knew I made a mistake not being clairvoyant or whatever. My brain is so good at the words-putting-into-sentence-doing thingy thing.)

This November, I am working on the Terrible Romance Sequel (I’m sooooo good at naming books, I know). I am currently crushing the word count (as of the moment I wrote this sentence, I am sitting at a whopping 14,006 words) and—even stranger still—I am enjoying the hell out of discovering this story.

Sure, the plot is…extremely problematic (to put it mildly) and I seem to have made it pretty damn impossible for my main characters to have any sort of romance (the Terrible Romance series is aptly named), and my daily word counts are dwindling drastically because of the aforementioned problematic plot and romanceless romance, and I will very likely not write another word the entire damn month AND have to throw out the whole damn thing on December 1st and start all over again.

And I’ll do it. Maybe not right away, but I’ll do it. Because I want to know what will happen.

I don’t know if anyone else wants to know what will happen (and I don’t see why they would) but that’s cool. I want to know, and that’s enough.

So yeah…I don’t have lofty aspirations when I write. I write what I write because I have an idea and I honestly just want see how it’ll turn out.

If it’ll turn out.

It may not.

But, you know, I won’t know until I try. (Once again, I say SUCK IT, YODA.)

So, for now…You know what? I honestly have no idea if I answered the question or not, or got even close to an answer. But my brain is completely fried at this particular moment in time, and I am done in every way possible. So instead of me trying to make this post work, please enjoy this adorable photo of my adorable little Snoop Dogg practicing his favorite yoga pose—downward sleeping dog.

On that note, I’m outta here. Thanks for stopping by, all. I’ll try to do better the next time…

Stay safe and well.