Camp NaNoWriMo

 

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Nuisance will likely keep me from working too much this April.

April 1st signals the start of another Camp NaNoWriMo, which is one of those events I look forward to. If you’ve never heard of it, you can visit their page here. In short, they’re kind of an offshoot of National Novel Writing Month, they just take certain months throughout the year to have another little get-together for writers.

 

You can work on a brand new novel or you can do what I’m going to be doing this year … Editing/rewriting¬†a novel. I hope to have all of the original work edited by April 30th so that all of May can be spent on new chapters.

Currently, I am wrapping up the last 3 chapters of Usurper and will have that manuscript completed on March 28th.

Why March 28th?

Well, because I’m going on vacation that day. I could get some work done on the plane if I

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Pest will likely crawl in my lap and force me to work. 

wanted, and likely will, but I’d rather have the bulk finished before the first boarding call. That way I can enjoy said vacation and return home relaxed and ready to tackle Camp NaNoWriMo.

 

If you’ve never tried any of the writing months and you’ve been toying around with the idea, I highly recommend one of the camps. They are a bit more relaxed than the big event in November and, at least for me, I tend to celebrate any work that gets on paper that month.

 

 

About Dead Magic

That’s right … I have TWO books coming out next month. I’m not even sure what order they’ll be in. I do know I wrote Deviation first, which probably means Dead Magic will come out first … just cause that’s how things go most of the time.

Dead Magic is the sequel to Witch-Born. That’s my steampunky fantasy thing about … you guessed it … witches.

Well, not the sorts of witches you and I might be accustomed to. When I set out to write the book I was tired of the stereotypes witches tend to be sequestered to. You know; old, warty, pointed hats, eating children. I was even tired of the beautiful and misunderstood witch constantly having to hide who they were to avoid burning at the stake.

So! I made my witches nobility. Not only were they revered as the upper echelon of society, their magic had a purpose — sustaining the wards that kept the people safe.

Witch-Born was a joy to write. I wrote it for the 2008 National Novel Writing Contest and, funnily enough, it was the first year I won. (Brief shout-out, if you don’t know about NaNoWriMo then please, please click through. Go see what they’re about. Because they’re awesome.)

I had no intentions of making a sequel to Witch-Born, really I didn’t. Until one day I was fiddling with an old pocket watch and it broken in my hands. I know that seems like an odd reason to start a sequel but … hey, I’m a writer. I can’t explain why inspiration hits when it does. All I know is that I was staring at the little cog-work bits in my hands and Lord Winslow Agoston’s plight against the Wild began telling itself in my head.

As far as sequels go, Dead Magic was supremely difficult to write. I knew that I wanted it to conclude the story I began in Witch-Born, I didn’t want it to be a massive series like Sedition and Tapped are turning out to be. I wanted a pair of books that fit neatly together, but I also wanted to tell a fresh story.

So, while Dorian and Elsie have a major part to play in Dead Magic, this is mostly Winslow and Valeda’s story. Fans of Witch-Born will recognize Winslow’s name, but Valeda is a new creature entirely. She’s a newspaper woman hunting down the story of Magic’s disappearance. I fell in love with her from the first scene I wrote and I hope readers will feel the same way. She’s spunky and strong without being one of those overt-fighter-women that … ahem … I tend to write a lot of.

I learned a lot of things while writing Dead Magic but perhaps the most important aspect was the issue of time. Magnellum (the world in which Dead Magic and Witch-Born takes place) has changed in years between each book. There are new buildings and new people and new conflicts brewing throughout. Focusing on how Magnellum had changed helped me immensely as I was writing, but focusing on how those changes affected each character helped the world come to life.

A Look At 2014

Woot! It’s time to make my list of things for next year!

Really, I love this post. It gets me all excited for what I’m about to work on. I did spend a lot of time playing with this new computer and its handy little calendar, so I have a lot of big ideas to put up here.

So, without further ado, here is my list for 2014.

#1) Graduate. (That’s right, people. In May 2014 I will officially graduate from Northwest Nazarene University with my Bachelor of Arts.)

#2) Submit Persona to the ABNA contest in January. (That’s the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. It’s worth a shot, you know?)

#3) Implement edits from developmental editor (Yay, Gabriel Fitzpatrick!) on Tapped. (Yes, that book I finished last year that went out to Alpha/Beta readers and a supremely wonderful editor will be edited during the first 5 months of 2014. It wouldn’t normally take that long to do edits but … you know … I’ll still be in school around that time.)

#4) Finish Residual Haunting. (Yep, that’s the novel I started for NaNoWriMo this year.)

#5) Revamp the synopsis and query letters for the revised Tapped novel. And then Send. Out. Those. Queries. (Non-negotiable there.)

#6) (Starting in September) Revise Persona and start formatting it for publication.

#7) Participate in NaNoWriMo again. (Hopefully I’ll win, too. I won’t be in school anymore so I won’t have that excuse if I lose.)

#8) On December 2, 2014 Persona will be released as my first self-published novel. (This would be my big, scary, impossible goal for the year. I’ve never released something on my own and it’s going to be a challenge.)

#9) I would really, really, really like it if I could climb a mountain. (Let’s hope that I get a car that works and the state of Idaho doesn’t catch fire again.)

#10) If I can swing it, I would love to be a Secret Santa for someone next year. I’ve had one this year and it has been wonderful fun.

… And there you have it. My goals for 2014.

There are a lot more on there than last year, and most of them have to do with writing. Yes, that is deliberate. After graduating I intend to make a big professional push in that direction. That’ll mean marketing and all that jazz as well — which I admit I have no idea how to do.

But I figure I went to school so I could do what I love. And what I love is telling stories that examine who we are as people, that expose both the ugly parts of us and the beauty we are capable of. The degree that I’ll have is really just another tool to help me tell those stories.

So here I am rolling up my sleeves, getting ready for one awesome 2014. I hope everyone is as excited as I am for the future.

Good Lord, is 2013 almost over?

Looking at my blog schedule I realized that I have all of 3 weeks left in the year. 3 weeks and 2013 is over!

Well, three weeks and a few days if we want to be technical. But since the end of this year is actually going to be supremely crazy for me (5-year-old + Christmas = Mayhem) I thought I’d better write my year-in-review now. Because honestly, apart from making New Years goals this happens to be one of my absolute favorite posts to make. (Uber loves and thanks go out to Lisa Cohen for getting me hooked on this.)

So! What did I say I wanted to do in the year 2013?

1) Submit my edited copy of Dead Magic to DDP on my deadline of March 1st.

There’s a big check mark in that particular box. Dead Magic was sent in, edited twice over by the fine people at DDP, and will be released in 2014.

2) Finish Usurper.

To be totally honest, I’m still working on this one. But if I follow my schedule I will have it done on December 3oth. Which is cutting it a little close but … eh … at least it’ll have a completed draft.

3) World Build and (hopefully) complete Tapped.

Another big check mark. Tapped has a completed draft AND went through the hands of an editor. I’ll be editing Tapped using the editor’s notes starting January 2nd.

4) Climb 2 Mountains.

…….. Well, you see, my car broke. I couldn’t drive up to the mountains in a car that kept breaking, so I couldn’t climb any mountains. But I totally made up for this, I swear!

Those are the 4 goals I planned out for 2013. Here’s what I did in addition to all of that;

1) Re-wrote and serialized my first historical fiction — Hurray Persona!

2) Participated (and lost) NaNoWriMo, leaving me with 37 thousand words of a truly entertaining ghost/science fiction story.

3) Edited Deviation per DDP notes — subsequently Deviation will also be released in 2014.

4) Wrote a short story for a new DDP anthology — which I imagine will come out soon. (The Nano-Fisherman’s Wife)

5) Wrote another short story for a completely different anthology which will hopefully come out around Christmastime. (Countdown to Goodbye)

6) Started lifting weights. (This is not a joke. I totally have started lifted weights and my arms look incredible. If I weren’t allergic to the whole “selfie” picture thing I would totally post one just of my biceps.)

7) Started researching the Civil War era for a prospective historical novel.

And that’s all on top of the whole school work thing. Which, by the way, I will graduate in the Spring. But I’ll post next week about all the fun things I get to do in 2014. For now, I’m just happy to see what I managed to accomplish in 2013. It was truly a year of hard work, but it was work I enjoyed doing so that made it worth all the hours in front of an empty page.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful year and I’m looking forward to a fruitful 2014.

Congratulations to all NaNoWriMo Participants

I hope you all had as much fun as I did writing during the month of November. I do so love National Novel Writing Month and I was so happy to have the chance to participate this year … even though I lost.

I was short by about 14,000 words which if I hadn’t gone to visit family for the last week of November I would have managed to surpass. But in the end I really, really, really needed four days away from the computer screen. (Remember, I work in front of a computer, do homework in front a computer, and transcribe my novels onto a computer, I think I deserve a little down time every now and then.)

As much as I would love to continue working on Residual/Print (I can’t decide on a title yet) I have to set the book aside to finish up work on Usurper. I know Trenna fans will be happy to hear that her third novel will come out late next year. I promise she’s just as sassy as ever and has a riot in this third installment.

For Residual/Print/I’ll-figure-out-the-title-someday I have to admit that I had a blast writing it. This would be my first try at a semi-horror type novel. I did scare myself once while I was in the middle of writing it, and not because I had forgotten to save the manuscript to my USB device.

In fact, it was late at night and I was in the middle of a particularly creepy scene when my cat leapt onto the back of my chair and scared the skittles out of me. It took a good minute for my heart to calm down and I decided I’d better finish that scene before I went to bed.

To everyone who participated this year — Congratulations!

Even if you didn’t win, you sat down and got words on paper and that is just plain amazing. We all know it’s a crappy first draft — everything starts as a crappy first draft — but now there’s something to work with.

Well done! And I hope you had as much fun as I did. (Without having your cat scare the skittles out of you.)

NaNoWriMo Week 2 Roundup

Woot! My NaNo project — tentatively titled Residual Haunting — is just shy of 25k, which means I’m halfway there. I think I might actually win this year.

I deserve more chocolate.

I’ll admit that I keep having to shove my internal editor away. There are lots of things I’m going to have to change when I go to edit the story. But I am having a blast.

The man I thought was my main character turned out to be a secondary character. The man I thought was the secondary character turned out to be the main. And there’s a woman named Rachel who reminds me of a modern Trenna.

(Trenna fans — Yes, I am still writing on Usurper. She’s currently breaking into a military outpost. You’ll see next year, I promise.)

I had a eureka moment yesterday for Residual Haunting’s plot, too.

I love eureka moments. It’s when I discover where the story is going. I don’t know how it all ends yet, but knowing where it is going and knowing what the characters want will help me with that.

Oh! And I found my monster.

I knew there was a monster coming to eat people but I didn’t know what it was going to be. I have a friend to thank for directing me to the witiko (thanks, Jared!) and I’m excited to see how I can get it to play out on the page.

And that’s my NaNo Week 2 Roundup. If I want to stay on task I need to run off and do some writing. Luckily it snowed last night so I’ve got the perfect excuse to stay inside all day.

To everyone else participating in NaNoWriMo this year … Good luck and keep going!

And don’t forget to have fun! If you’re not having fun then you’re not doing it right.

The End & Thoughts on Serializing Novels

Well, Persona is finished.

Or at least a draft of Persona is finished. Here in the next couple of weeks I’ll be searching for an appropriate editor to go through it, and then I’ll edit and edit and … edit some more.

Until then, I’m in celebratory mode. I’ve got Nantucket Dark Chocolate cookies (from Pepperidge Farm) and I intend to go see Thor 2 at some point over the weekend. I highly encourage everyone to do the same … If not go see the movie, then at least get some cookies.

It has been quite a journey since June. For those of you who remember or were following along, I started serializing Persona on Wattpad and its own story blog back in June and I posted one chapter per week until … well … until this week.

So for a little over five months I was committed to drafting a chapter, revising a chapter, and posting a chapter every week. This was, as you can imagine, quite a hectic schedule for someone who already works full time, goes to school full time, and is a single parent.

Still, it was fun.

I enjoyed the interaction with readers and I liked the challenge of the schedule (at least at first.) When school starting taking over the bulk of my time I found myself having to be far more lax with the revision portion of the week than I wanted.

The original plan was to have a blog post once a week with the research information I’d had to look up, but eventually I had to let that go in favor of just getting the next chapter written. I do intend to fix that.

In fact, after Persona has been properly edited and I can release it as a full book, I thought I’d go ahead and make a “Fact vs. Fiction” edition that will take the chapter by chapter research I’ve done and put it down as a sort of weird appendix thingy.

So! In reviewing the last five months I can say that I truly enjoyed this process. I’ll probably do it again in the future — after I graduate and preferably with an already completed novel. (Persona was a re-write, and I ended up only using 2 of the original chapters I had written.)

Also, as a reader myself I can admit that I prefer to have my books all at once. And I know I’m not the only one because there were many people who let me know they wanted to wait until the whole thing was up before they read it. There are even more who want to wait for the physical copy to be available.

Which, I think, just goes to show you that readers come in all shapes and sizes. Some like the chapter a week approach because it fits into their schedule better. Some like to race through a book over their weekend. Some like to use their Kindles, Nooks, and iPad’s, while others want the feel of paper in their hands.

I know there are lots of debates about the publishing industry and what books are going to look like in the future, but I think many of these marketers and such are forgetting something very important; there is no one-size-fits-all box for readers to fit in. We are as varied and unique in our reading habits as we are in our personalities.

For everyone who read Persona on a weekly basis — I uber loves you all! Thank you for sticking with the story for so long!

For everyone who is now reading it on their digital devices — I uber loves you all! I hope you enjoy Megan’s story and hope to hear from you. (Here is the link, just in case you need it — Persona.)

For everyone who is waiting for the physical copies — I uber loves you all! I promise I’ll work hard to polish the manuscript and get it to you soon.

Now, I’m going to run off and keep plugging away at my NaNoWriMo project. With any luck, I’ll actually win this year!