The Coileáin Chronicles

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NaNoWriMoRama

It’s goal post day on the blog. I know it’s hard to contain your excitement over that, but we’re going to have to find a way to keep calm and carry on.

First up, let’s see how I did with October’s goals (spoiler alert: not great…)

OCTOBER GOALS

—Complete first draft of Full Circle

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Yeah. I didn’t do this. I’m pretty much in the exact same spot I was in at the beginning of October. Can’t quite find the right hook for the start of Act III. I keep writing the same scene from different POVs to see if that’s the problem, and it keeps not feeling like the solution, so I think the plot itself isn’t right. Which sucks because I don’t have a Plan B. Or whatever letter this draft happens to be on now. Zeta, probably.

—Read a book

I did this. Technically, I read five books. Sure, they were, like, thirty-page-long graphic novels, but it still counts.

—Walk at least three miles every day

While I didn’t hit three miles every day, I still managed to walk nearly 122 miles, which averages out to almost four miles each day. That’s what we call good enough, kids.

NOVEMBER GOALS

—Win NaNoWriMo 2020

I’m working on the Terrible Romance Sequel this month. As previously stated, I have a concept for this story and not much else, so I have no idea how this month will go. It’s Day Two, and I’m well ahead for the moment, but…yeah. I have a feeling I shall soon be running into a very large and high brick wall that will probably be surrounded by a moat filled with alligators and zombies and zombie alligators and things of that nature.

But I shall enjoy the creative flow while it lasts. I really hope I can make this story work because I’m really kind of loving it right now.

Which probably means I just jinxed things horribly. That, or me actually liking something I’m writing is the final sign of the apocalypse.

Also, for reasons unknown, I also decided to make things more interesting/frustrating by using Scrivener. I heard through the grapevine that I might decide I like it hate it less if I start a brand-new project with it rather than trying to transition in the middle of a current WIP.

We’ll see how it goes. Or for long that whole Scrivener thing lasts (it’s already made it to Day Two, which is about two days longer than I thought it would last…). But the ultimate goal here, of course, is to hit that 50k mark.

If you’re also participating in NaNoWriMo and are looking for some buddies, feel free to add me. My user name is M.J. Fifield (clever, right?).

—Walk at least three miles a day

It is always good to avoid becoming part of one’s couch. Or so I’m told. Fortunately, the fur babies make this goal pretty easy. They like to walk. A lot. So we walk. A lot.

And on that note, I’m outta here. I’ll try to do better the next time.

Stay safe and well, everyone.

Kill Your Darlings (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.

(If you’re new to the IWSG and looking for additional information and/or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link…)

This month’s awesome co-hosts are PJ Colando, J Lenni Dorner, Deniz Bevan, Kim Lajevardi, Natalie Aguirre, and Louise-Fundy Blue.

This month’s (optional) question asks, “If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?”

But I’m going to skip the question to instead ramble on about…well, killing our darlings. Or, you know, killing my darlings anyway. You can kill your own darlings.

This year is, strangely, the first year in…well, ever, that I’ve even come close to following the writing schedule I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Meaning, during which months I would work on what WIPs and when those WIPs would be finished and so on and so forth. It’s loosely sketched out in January and traditionally has fallen apart by March. It is then endlessly revised throughout the rest of the year to reflect my actual progress (or lack thereof…) on each project.

But this year I haven’t had to revise that much (and even managed to publish a book), which means that over the next two months, my main writing focus will be on finishing the first draft of Full Circle (aka, Book Three in my fantasy series).

What I have had to revise, however, is my confidence in my ability to actually do this. For a while, it seemed as though I was getting closer to the end, but now I’m kind of…stuck toward the end of the second act. And the more time I spend staring at my computer monitor and/or storyboard, the more I fear I may have to do the unthinkable…

Kill my darlings.

I do assume that anyone reading this post is familiar with this concept, but in the event that it’s new to you, killing your darlings is when writers cut things they love from their manuscripts. It could be a beloved character, a plot line, a snarky dialogue exchange, some quirk you bestowed upon a character that’s now causing more problems than it’s worth, whatever. It’s stuff that we, as writers, love and cling to and try everything we can think of to make it work in our WIPs because we don’t want to get rid of it.

In my case, it’s most often dialogue (you know it’s not killing characters. I love to kill characters.). I love writing dialogue and will occasionally (translation: always) get carried away when writing it. Then it occasionally (translation: always) takes me a few rounds of revisions to accept the fact that maybe—just maybe—my characters don’t need to have a five-paged conversation about goats when goats serve absolutely no purpose in the story whatsoever.

(Side note: some of you know why I’m mentioning goats here, and to those of you I say…THAT STUPID CONVERSATION IS STILL IN THIS STUPID WIP.)

But until I reach/accept that realization, I will copy and paste that conversation (Other conversations. Not the goat conversation. That stupid conversation is apparently here to stay.) in every damn scene I can, trying to find the place where it fits. Even if it doesn’t fit anywhere.

Which is, sadly, what I think is happening here.

I don’t think I’m going to make it to the revision phase. This time, I think those darlings are going to have to go before the revision phase because I’m just not getting anywhere.

Despite all my plotting, this WIP has taken a few turns that has made some storylines obsolete. It happens, and I know it’s going to happen, but I guess I am just stubborn enough to think I can out-stubborn my characters (ha.) and that they will relent and just do what I want how I want and say what I want while doing it.

(Spoiler alert: they won’t.)

So that’s where I’m at right now. Torn between wanting to achieve a goal and wanting to cling to the last remnants of gone-but-not-forgotten storylines.

Which will win?

Thanks for stopping by today. I’ll try to do better the next time.

Stay safe out there.

Goalapalooza

It’s the beginning of a new month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of…Goal Post Monday.

First up, a recap at last month’s goals…

March Goals

Work out the timeline for Part Two of Full Circle

Welp. At the start of March, I thought I’d have to do another major word purge in my manuscript because despite all my careful plotting and planning, the characters were all, “Yeah…we’re not going to do that” and went and did their own thing because of course they did. I mean, the story will ultimately be better for it, but it has left me feeling a little like…

So, I only managed to work out about half the timeline. Not terrible, certainly, but also not the progress I had been hoping to make.

Work on another round of edits/revisions on the Terrible Romance Novel

I did this, actually. (I know. It surprised me, too). What’s more is there were parts of it I didn’t totally hate. (I know. It surprised me, too.) I finished the read-through part and made my notes and corrections (none of them too overly difficult to fix, I don’t think…she said, jinxing herself horribly). So yeah. Move this goal into the “completed” category!

Log at least 93 miles and try to throw in some yoga once a week

Okay, so once again, I did the miles part of the goal. I walked 137 miles last month. But I did no yoga whatsoever.

Read two books

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Yeah…I didn’t do this. Y’all, I just have no interest in reading. Like, anything. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

April Goals

Win Camp NaNoWriMo

As you may have seen on various forms of social media and, you know, the big-ass picture at the top of this post, I am participating in this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo session. My project is Full Circle, and my goal is set for 30,000 words. Thus far, I have managed to stay on or just above par. May that trend continue.

Apply revisions to the Terrible Romance Novel and maybe start researching potential proofreading-type people, if time allows

This goal will be the thing I work on when I get stuck on my Camp project. Which will NEVER happen, so…Yeah. This goal will probably be finished by the end of this post.

Prep for and run video conferencing thingamajig for local writers group

So, as has been mentioned a couple of times on this blog, I somehow ended up running four writers groups in the area. All meetings have been postponed indefinitely, but whiskey I came up with the brilliant idea of doing a video conferencing thingamajig. It’s scheduled for Saturday the 11th. I’ll be giving a presentation on some writing-related topic (as soon as I come up with one) and yeah…So there’s that. This has filled me with such dread. I can barely get through a presentation without the added pressure of having to remember how to use technology. Look for me to possibly become the latest internet sensation with whatever video conferencing gaff I make.

Log at least 100 miles

This will not be a problem. Since the whole quarantine thing started, I’ve been walking a lot more. Fortunately, my neighborhood is good for walking and spacious enough that even if the neighbors are also out walking, we’re well spaced apart.

Read a book

Seriously, M.J., I cannot make this goal any easier for you. It’s getting super pathetic now. I beg you…just read a damn book. Any book.

On that note, I’m outta here. Hope everyone is healthy and well. Take care!

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same (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!

(I’m assuming that anyone reading is post is already well-versed in the IWSG, but if you’re on the prowl for additional information and/or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.)

This month’s awesome co-hosts are: Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard.

This month’s (optional) question asks, “In this time, when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, how are things in your world?”

So, yeah. It turns out that my lifestyle is best described as ‘social distancing self-quarantine’ because nothing’s really changed all that much. (I am very fortunate to be able to say that, I know, and I am grateful for it.) I’m still an anxiety-ridden introvert who has decided to take on too many projects in an attempt to keep from worrying about things over which she has absolutely no control.

For example, I’m working on putting together a video conferencing thingamajig (probably not the proper terminology) for one of the writers groups that I run. (Yes. I run four writers groups in my area. I don’t know how it happened, either.) I’m planning to do some trial runs before the actual meeting date so I can attempt to become slightly more comfortable with the technology. I remain optimistic, however, that no matter how much practice I do, I will completely forget how to do everything on the actual day. (I apologize in advance, group!)

I signed up for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo session because I figured if I was going to be staying home and avoiding people even more than I already do, I might as well attempt to use that time to finish up the first draft of Full Circle. The goal is set for 30,000 because I’m honestly not sure if there’s 50,000-words worth of story left to tell. I could be wrong, though. It’s hard to be sure. I think I’ve traumatized my characters to the breaking point. Seriously, one of them has just been sitting at a table, staring into the abyss, for, like, a month now, and I can’t get him to do anything else. I would tell him that things were going to get better, but he’s gone through two and a half books with me so far. He knows exactly how much of a lie that would be.

I’m working on a manuscript critique for a writer acquaintance (a post-apocalyptic novel, actually, which feels a little too timely these days…). He also asked me to review a short story he had written for a contest.

And last, but not least, I’m also working on a read-through of the Terrible Romance Novel in the hopes of getting it to a proofreader-type person in the possibly-not-so-distant future. I had pretty much decided to stick that story in a drawer, but my niece texted me over the weekend to ask how much longer it would be before that book was published because she really wants a copy, and in doing so managed to shame me into pulling the manuscript back out of the drawer because I love my nieces and nephews and would do anything for them. Even write a terrible romance novel.

So yeah. I now have entirely too much to do, but at least that’s a pressure/anxiety I kind of sort of know how to deal with a little bit. Maybe. In theory.

On a slightly more serious note, I hope everyone’s doing all right out there. Please, please, please take care of yourselves. Love to all.

March Madness

It’s Goal Post Monday, which means it’s time for a look back at last month’s goals and a brand new list of goals for the current month. Sure, those goals may end up looking completely identical to last month’s goals, but the important thing is that at least I’m…consistent?

February Goals

Write a first draft of a blurb for the Terrible Romance Novel

I actually did this. I don’t know if it’s any good, but fortunately, that wasn’t the goal.

Work out the timeline for Part Two of Full Circle

I did not make nearly as much progress on this goal as I had hoped I would. I only managed to write 7500 words last month and only worked out the first few chapters of Part Two. I have one character who’s being a stubborn pain in the ass (and that’s coming from me, the original stubborn pain in the ass…) and one characters who’s probably one scene away from just going completely catatonic and lying on the floor in the fetal position until I go away. (Joke’s on him because if he thinks things are bad now, just wait until I get to Part Three.)

Anyway, there’s been a bit of a hold-up. The plot just isn’t doing what I had thought it would, which will lead to one thing: a major word purge to start off the month.

Yipee.

But if it’s gotta go, then it’s gotta go.

Log at least 87 miles for the month and complete at least one 15-minute yoga session each week.

I did the walking part. I logged 93 miles last month. But the yoga part fell by the wayside. Again. I don’t recall doing any yoga in February. Oops.

Read four books

Yeah…about that. I didn’t do this. I read two books, though, which I suppose isn’t terrible. I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me these days. Reading never used to be a chore. It never used to be something I had to force myself to do.

March Goals

Work out the timeline for Part Two of Full Circle

I’m hoping the aforementioned word purge may help get those creative juices flowing.

—Work on another round of edits/revisions on the Terrible Romance Novel

I printed out a copy last month and never got any further with it. May March be the month I at least break out a highlighter and take another micro-step toward publishing this book.

Log at least 93 miles and try to throw in some yoga once a week

Read two books

That’s all from me today. Have you set any goals for March?

Tune in Wednesday for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group…unless I forget. If I do, then I’ll see y’all next month.

Until next time…