A big question for any writer is when is my story done? How do you know that your story is done? How many drafts do you do before you consider your work ready to head out in the world? Do you use beta readers and if so, when in the process? Does having a deadline make it easier to send your word babies off to your editor or publisher? Do you get stuck revising so that you are never really finished?
I am going to attempt to answer these questions for myself here. Personally I consider my story done when I don't feel like I can make it any better at the moment. If as an author with my current skills and with three rounds of edits with my editor I feel that this is my current best work then yes, I am finished. As far as drafts, since I use word and track changes when working with my editor, I feel that my one draft is constantly evolving into the next draft. I make changes almost every time I get on the computer to work on a piece. I do use beta readers often, usually before I send it to an editor or publisher, kind of after I have self edited as much as I can. Having a deadline really does help me finish a project. Even when I self publish I give my editor a date by which I will get my manuscript to her and then tell her to smack me metaphorically speaking if I miss that deadline. It really helps and my editor is more than happy to get on my case to finish a story. This stops me from revising forever.
Personally I don't think that any story of mine is ever completely done, just as done as it can be at this moment. Sometimes you just have to stop revising and stressing and know that you have put out the best work that you possibly can as the author you are now.
This week I am focusing on lessons learned at Bubonicon and today I am going to talk a little about writing and organization. I attended a panel about work flow and this was one of the main topics covered. Stuff like the classic are you a plotter or a pantser, do you outline your work, etc. The panel was split on these subjects, but one thing that everyone stressed was that if you plot or not, if you like to outline or loath them, you still need some sort of organization to become a successful author.
Now I personally am a pantser who rarely outlines anything. I usually have a general idea of where the story is heading and know the ultimate end, but everything else is all a surprise to me when writing. It keeps writing fun for me, but that is not to say that I am completely unorganized. I might not outline, but I usually have some notes about scenes that need to take place. When it comes to writing series, I keep pretty detailed notes about what happens in each book so that I can keep expanding the world. I guess you could say I sometimes reverse outline books so that I can write a good sequel when the time comes. Reverse outlining is also a good way to see if something just doesn't fit in the flow of the story. That is one of the reasons I am considering doing this for all of my books, even stand alone ones.
To my fellow authors out there, how do you organize your writing? Do you plot? Do you outline? What do you think about reverse outlining? Let me know in the comments.
As I am planning out my writing for the rest of the year and my tentative releases for next year, I must say that I have entered a very fantasy and sci-fi heavy part of my writing career. Will there still be some romance? Of course, I have the two sequels to Quest for Redemption that I hope to have out next year and while those are fantasy novels they are pretty heavy on the romance. I hope to have about 6 more Gods Behaving badly books out between this year and next. But I also have some hard fantasy novels involving dragons and dragon bornes, and wizards that I want to work on. And I have an epic time travel novel that I have been wanting to write for a couple years now. Well I think that the time is now! I hope that my fans will follow me into these new genres, that they will enjoy the wild ride that I am about to take them and myself on!
As an author I of course understand the importance of reading, though even I sometimes struggle to fit reading into my busy schedule. I have been making a real effort though to read more this past month and I must say that I am happier for it. Not only has making time for reading giving me some time to relax and rest, something that I truly need right now. I am very bad at making time for myself and this has helped my mental and physical health. Reading more has also helped me with my writing. As I have talked about before, this year has not been my best on the writing front, but I feel that I am finally getting back to a good schedule and am finally getting some decent words down. Not only do I plan on finishing two novellas, but also at least one novel before the end of the year. But despite all of that, I am going to keep reading as much as I can and of course posting reviews here on my blog.
How are we already over halfway through the month? Time seems to be flying by. I have had a major health setback, so I am not quite as far as I would like to be this month but I have still been having a decent writing month. First round edits for The Discovery of a Lifetime are back to my editor and I should have the second round next week sometime. I am hoping to have a mid-September release date soon! I had a flash fiction story accepted for an anthology and will have more on that release when a date is set. And as for actually writing, I am about a third of the way done with my Christmas novella that I hope to get to my editor by the end of the month. Hopefully I have a couple good days of writing and will catch up. I even have found a cover for the Christmas novella that I need to purchase this month as well. So all in all a fairly productive writing month thus far despite some setbacks, I really can't ask for more I suppose.
We are already are half way through July and really summer if we are thinking about it. Where is the time going? While I am not the biggest fan of summer, I can't believe that it is flying by so quickly. Well, fast time aside, I thought that I would start giving little writing updates at the middle of each month. I am still struggling to get back into a writing groove and I think putting this out there will help keep me accountable.
So July is slowly getting me on track. I am doing much better writing wise than the past few months that is for sure. First off, I have been able to keep blogging three times each week so far. That is a good thing to get me back in the habit of writing on a regular basis.
I have been brainstorming several ideas and I think there are some real gems in my idea notebook right now. I am even sharing my ideas with my husband and getting feedback, trying to just get the creative ideas flowing and have things to write about. One of those ideas already turned into a completed 750 word flash fiction short story that has been submitted and will hopefully be accepted for publication soon. Fingers crossed. I am also working on a horror story at the moment to be submitted before the end of the month and another story to be turned in mid next month. When all is said and done I should have written over 10,000 words this month. That may not seem like a lot, but after the year I have had it seems like a triumph to me.
I am also working on some outlines for a couple of series that I have come up with and am going to work on ideas for my Gods Behaving Badly series and my Quest series. I am starting to really feel excited about writing again and this is a great thing.
So another gaming post, but hey authors have to have hobbies and get outside of the house every once in awhile! This time I am talking a little about getting into Warhammer 40K. I am pretty new to miniature gaming, my first really being Warmachine and Hordes. Now I am in the middle of building my Necron army for 40K and will soon be buying my army for Age of Sigmar. I must say that so far I am really enjoying myself. Now I have a slight tremor in my hands, so putting the minis together can be a challenge at times, but my hubby helps out a lot there. I do love painting these miniatures though! I know there are several unpainted in the picture, but I am working on it and hey I really wanted to start playing. As for playing, well I played my first two games of 40K this week and had so much fun. I won my first match and lost my second, but both were great learning experiences. I need to work on developing strategies and probably read the rules some more, but I am learning. As an author I love the lore of the Necrons and the whole world that Games Workshop has created. Part of me really would love to write a Necron based novel for them some day, so see this hobby does have a connection to writing. It also helps me socialize a bit more, as I have a tendency to become a hermit at times. So what is this rambling post really about? I guess it is about heading out and trying new things, meeting new people, and incorporating that into your life for that is what I am doing with gaming and my writing.
I can't believe that it's already July! Where has this year gone? I must admit that the first half of 2018 has been a rough six months on the writing front for me, with the past two months being the worst. Not only have I been suffering from some physical health issues, but I have been suffering from depression as well. The depression has been pretty severe since May when I lost my sweet little dog and I have really be struggling to get anything done. I manage to make it to the day job. I cook dinner and keep the apartment in some sort of order. I get groceries and manage to do laundry. Basically I do enough to barely keep it all together, but nothing more. I struggle to write, to even blog. I haven't been promoting my work much. I haven't been working out, or socializing, or actually living a life. I've been existing.
But a lot can change in six months and I am hoping to start making some changes starting now. Last week I socialized more than I have in quite some time. I am working on blogs for the month and trying to get that back on schedule. Yesterday I finally put my Fitbit back on and am trying to get back to walking and doing yoga. The going is slow but it is going. My husband and I are talking about starting a healthy eating plan together. I am making some forward progress. So now what I really need to work on is writing.
I have been thinking about writing a lot even though I haven't been doing any actual writing. Even was I was writing earlier in the year I wasn't really happy or feeling what I was writing. I wrote a m/m romance that I feel I just went through the motions with. It's definitely not my best work and I am not sure that I even want to work on it for release. So what I have been thinking is that I need a change of pace when it comes to writing. I'm going to back off straight romance for awhile. I think that I am going to explore with different genres. I have an idea for a four part hard fantasy series. I also have an idea for a New Orleans voodoo series. I want to finish my romantic fantasy sequel to Quest for Redemption. When it comes to romance again I want to finish my Gods Behaving Badly series. I really think that I need to work on writing just for me again, not writing for what publishers and markets want. I need to find my passion for writing again, to make writing fun again, or I just need to give up and find a full time day job. I am going to work on making that decision over the next six months.
In sickness and in health, those are pretty common words that many people recite in their wedding vows. As someone who has health issues, you soon learn that these words can affect your entire life. Yes, my husband is great and he loves me in sickness and in health, heck he doesn't even blink an eye if I go all 'Exorcist' or am confined to bed for days. But relationships are not the only thing that you have to consider about sickness and health.
When you have ongoing and chronic serious illness, you have to do many things when sick. I still have to work, even when I feel like death I slap on enough makeup to look okay and fake smile through the day or night. When people ask how I'm doing I say okay or good. Lies, but necessary ones if one needs a job while sick. I've had managers tell me that I should go on disability because people didn't want to be around sick people. First, it is illegal for a manager to say that to an employee. Period. Second, disability is not something that is just handed out when you ask. Third, sometimes having a job and acting normal can be a great help for some people, so why not keep your prejudices to yourself?
Sickness also affects my other job, writing. Sometimes I have a really hard time focusing and getting words on the page. I hate to admit it, but I am in a bad writing slump at the moment. Ever since the horrific attack that took my small dog's life I am having a hard time getting the creative juices flowing. Add to that health issues and yeah, my writing life is not going anywhere near how I would like it to go. I am having a hard time even motivating myself to be here on my blog, or to share my books to get sales. That is sad as that is the life blood of an author, getting your book in front of readers. I need to work on this. Yes my health sucks at the moment and things always seem to get worse in summer for me, but I am an author, a writer, and that means I have to find a way to get back to writing.
Sorry about this rambling post, it's a way for me to get some of my thoughts out and to let you my dear readers know why I have been so sporadic with my writing and posting of late. I'm working on getting back into some sort of groove with my life and my writing.
As many of you may know from a few of my past posts, this has been a very difficult month for me with the sudden and violent death of my beloved dog. But no matter how shaken up and sad I still am, life has to go on. My husband and I and our dog Charlie are settled into our new place and the past week I have been working on getting back into a writing routine after not writing a word for over three weeks. I am happy to say that I have finished two short stories. One I have already signed a contract for to be part of a post-apocalyptic anthology due out later this summer. The other will hopefully be part of a paranormal collection of flash fiction from my publisher out towards the first of June! I am currently working hard on a third short story, this one a steamy vampire short that is due on the first of June, fingers crossed that I get it finished in time! I'm still emotionally scarred, but writing is helping me feel more normal. I also am working on some outlines for longer pieces and am about to finish a manuscript to get off to my editor hopefully by mid-June.
Author, artist, jewelry maker and all around creative person. I write in many genres and have a lot of fun doing so. Please take a look around and enjoy!