Why I Work So Hard

My schedule is beyond full, between the day job, kids, writing, and keeping the house on a semi-decent cleaning schedule. Yet, today, I spent a good portion of my afternoon working with my five year old on her science project. I admit I probably helped more than I should have, but first, we were enjoying ourselves, and second, isn’t the best way to teach someone how to do something by sharing in the fun of it yourself?

I remember my dad helping me with projects, but my independent streak had me only asking for help where I truly needed it, and not always asking for help when I should have. It earned me a few B’s where my classmates got their parents’ help and their A’s. I can’t change the past, but I can teach my daughter.

What did I teach my daughter today? Science can be fun. Mommy can be fun. Getting help is good.

I’ll probably scale back on the next project and let her take the lead, but it made me think of something else, which prompted this post. Despite all I need to be doing, I took the extra time to be with her. To experience the fun of a science experiment. It wasn’t about the grades, and it wasn’t about simply completing a project. It was time together.

And that is why I work so hard.

I have the tools and skills to work this hard because I watched it my entire life. My moother a stay-at-home-mom with five kids; my dad frequently working two jobs to send the five of us to private school. Yet he always had time to play with us, watch TV with us (I always forgave him for falling asleep), and even if he didn’t always understand me, he spent time with me.

How you spend your time matters. It keeps you happy and healthy, it keeps the kids better grounded.

My daughter knows I work hard. She’s said it  herself and frequently offers to help me with simple housework. I take her up on it when it’s something we can do together. Not because I need her to do the task for me, but because it’s building our relationship stronger. I remember feeling bad my dad was so tired, but there wasn’t anything I can do. Perhaps I’m empowering my daughter by giving her something to do.

And on a lighter note… the daughter made a comment regarding my writing. She seemed to believe my day job was writing stories, and I had to explain to her that I work my day job helping a company, and that my writing is done while she’s sleeping or watching TV, that I do it because I love it. She took it in without comment. I’m not sure if she was disappointed or confused, or just digesting the information.

I hope she understands one day what it is to love something so much, love someone so much, that you participate in their lives and complete the activity to the point of exhaustion. To me, that’s evidence of love. I hope she never has to work as hard as I am, or if she does, that she does so willingly.

We each have our own path to walk. Mine might be working hard to achieve everything I want, but I’m enjoying my path and the hills and valleys it brings into my life. 

~ Dawn

 

February Results / March Goals

February Results

I skipped out early on February in general, to prepare for our first family vacation. We’ve gone away for weekends before, driving up to Wisoncsin or visiting relatives, but this was The First Family Vacation. I don’t begrudge myself the writing time lost. Time with my family is precious. It’s because of them that I’m happy and confident and driven.

So what did I to in February?

  • Winter Warrior – novel pre-work
  • Short Stories Revised – 1, but this was a big step as it was a resubmission to an anthology that offered to look at it again if I chose to rewrite it.
  • Rejections:  7
  • Submissions: 5 (all resubmissions)
  • Crits: 3
  • Read:  Nothing complete, but 2 in progress, and of course, various short stories

 

 

March Goals

March is strategy month, so the focus will not be on short stories as I’d like, but it’s a choice I had to make. I’m starting a new novel, I’m writing a short story workshop to teach on FMWriters, I’m preparing a workshop application that I’d like to get in ASAP, and I’m dealing with complications from vacation and work that result in deplenished writing time. Nevertheless, it will not stop me.

 

  • Winter Warrior – finish the outline and start the first three chapters
  • Class: Holly Lisle’s How To Write A Series
  • Short Story Drafts: 1 (partially written; just needs completion)
  • Short Story Revisions:  2 (for a 4/15 contest deadline)
  • Crits: 4
  • Read: 1 – 2 (2 already in progress; would like to finish them both)
  • Short Story Workshop – draft/revise

 

I’ve set myself up for a busy month and it’s already halfway through. If you’ve kept up with me before, you know I’m not afraid of a challenge. Good luck to you this March.

Happy Writing,

Dawn

My Favorite Writing Place

FMWriters is traveling the web via the Merry Go Round Blog Tour. Site members have grouped together to write monthly on themed topics and turn the blog tour concept on its head: we’re not the ones touring: you are, as you read one writer’s perspective after another. This is my contribution to the Merry Go Round Tour. Enjoy your ride. ~ Dawn

A location is a conduit to channeling my writing energies. While I can write nearly anywhere and anytime, there are places that are in synch with my creative energies, and if I’m in a writing jam of any kind, I hit these places to get things moving.

First and foremost is the library. There are two I visit, one in a neighboring town, and one in my residential city. The one in the neighboring town has more natural light, and is closer to the street so there’s a good amount of white noise. Books are displayed on round shelves along the outer window wall of this circular building. It could very well be the circle that helps the energy flow so well. I’m comfortable there, safe. The second library is closer to my home, but it tends to be busier, I can’t always get the table and/or lighting that I prefer. I still manage though, those are just my preferences.

What is this location in competition with? My home office (usually private, and with music), my dining room (while my kids are playing), my job’s cafeteria (though I have to be mindful of the time on this one – this is a very good thinking spot and my lunch breaks aren’t unending).

What works for me is that I need sound or activity of some level that can fade into the background. TV and radio are usually distractions unless I have serious headphones available – the gaming kind with sound blocking technology.

I’m the second of five children, so I can look at this sociologically and point to the constant activity and sound levels existing around me as I grew up. Psychologically, I could say I need that level of activity to feel comfortable slipping into play-mode.  Either way, I’ve already planned that my “full time writing life” morning routine. It starts with dropping the kids off at school, hitting the gym, and then the library for new words. Home for lunch and whatever revisions I’m working on, maybe a little housework.

Wherever life takes me, I’ll always find a place to write. It’s a good feeling. What about you? Do you have a special place for your passions/hobbies?

Happy Writing

Dawn

Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round Mach topic ‘My Favorite Writing Place’. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and read about their ideas, then check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.  

Goals Change

I’m revamping my goals for 2012. I’m dropping my picture book goals, it’s more my go-to when I’m playing with my daughter than it is a serious desire for publication. I think it’s just my playground right now.

I’d planned on writing one novel and revising another, and that’ll stay the same, but the schedule is changing, as is the project. I wanted to revise Shadow of Blood starting in February, but for workshop specific reasons, I’d like to apply to the workshop of my dreams with my absolute best writing, not something I wrote five years ago.

So I’ve jumped back into worldbuilding a project I started many years ago. The title came to me before the story did, “Winter Warrior” with the image of a short, spunky little warrior from the arctic zones with a snow leapoard for a pal. I wrote a short story around the par, which didn’t fare well as a short story because it was really my muase showing me how much fun this gal would be to write, wouldn’t I rather put her in a novel? So I am. I’d built the basics of the world, including a pretty serious map, and several nations, basic government structures, geographical climates and a preliminary magic system.

Because of this effort and my love for this world, I ended up writing two other short stories in this world with different characters. (Short story characters, but events that are linked to the horrible things in this world’s history, past and recent).

The plan is to worldbuild, plot, and research for the next two weeks. I’m taking a few days off with my family to visit some warmer climes, then driving into chapter one.

A symphony of characters is now calling to me, with complications to Armina’s mission, and hints of betrayal. In my heart, this is my best story yet. Can’t wait to get it written and see if I’m right.

And this is why I consider goals “guidelines” rather than absolutes i am required to strictly adhere to.

Also, now you know that when I say “happy writing”, I mean it.

~ Dawn

Procrastination

FMWriters is traveling the web via the Merry Go Round Blog Tour. Site members have grouped together to write monthly on themed topics and turn the blog tour concept on its head: we’re not the ones touring: you are, as you read one writer’s perspective after another. This is my contribution to the Merry Go Round Tour. Enjoy your ride. ~ Dawn

I didn’t write this post until just now, just to prove that procrastination is not worth the letters it takes up. I’ve been thinking about it all day, knowing I need to get to it, knowing it isn’t going to write itself, yet I took the experiment to the max. I’m irritated and annoyed that I need to take time out of my children’s evening time on a Saturday night to do something I should and could have done days ago.

It was a good reminder of why I don’t procrastinate deadline stuff.

Sure, there are other things I procrastinate. I push off laundry so I can write. I push off starting that new revision so I can balance the checkbook. You could make it work for you if that was your intent, and it does help get the floors mopped on a more frequent basis, but it’s not the life I want to lead.

The most fun I ever had procrastinating was playing World of Warcraft for three months instead of starting a novel revision. This was five or six years ago–I’d probably hang myself now if I even thought about doing that. (Besides, I cancelled WoW permanently at least two years ago, been four since I’ve been on a raid).

Why did I do such a horrible thing? Because I wasn’t ready to work on something and blocked myself up completely. There was no joy in the writing because it was all pressure. Why didn’t I just work on something else? I didn’t have the tools and processes in place at that point to really know that I could. All I knew is that something wasn’t working, so I turned my back on it.

So before I ask you what was the most fun you’ve ever had procrastinating, I’d also like to remind you (and myself) that if something isn’t working, if you’re not thrilled to be working on it, don’t just turn away. Work on something else if you have to, but don’t ignore what’s bugging you about what you’re ignoring. Most of the time, there’s a better way that you (and I) just can’t see yet.

Now, I’m off to go watch Star Wars with my kid for the first time – hopefully they didn’t start the movie without me.

Happy Writing

~ Dawn

PS there’s nothing wrong with world of warcraft if you can control how much time you spend on it. that was not my strength and completely interfered with my writing. i admit completely to having an addictive personality, and know that if i can’t control it, i have to avoid it. the exception to this of course, is my writing.

Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round August topic ‘Procrastination’. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and read about their ideas on Cross-Genre Fiction, then check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour

January Results / February Goals

January Results

The first month of the year starts with the most potential, but also happens to be the craziest due to weather, work, and everyone getting sick. This January was better than last January in regards to sickness, but still crazy. And I rocked it.

  • Short Stories Written – 1 (with another in progress)
  • Short Stories Revised – 3 (with another in progress)
  • Short Stories Submitted – 1 new + 17 resubmissions
  • Crits: 5
  • Read: 2 (it was a Tami Hoag month)

Did I mention I received 15 rejections this month? Whirlwind! In addition, I did some minor work on the novel to prep for the revision, and I started my VP letter for the workshop application. I couldn’t seem to switch tracks to get to the picture books though. I might drop my count to 6 instead of 12 for the year. It’s off topic of my focus, so I’m not really worried about it just yet.

 

February Goals

For February, I’m expecting some insanity. Hiring/interviewing at work, training another person, learning some new tasks myself, and preparing my family for a vacation. I think my goals might be a little more hopeful than practical, but better to aim high and miss it for legitimate reasons than laziness. 😉 I’ll be revising the novel using Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel class. I’d started it before, but the novel I used was so badly messed up (formatting issues, I couldn’t even read the thing) that it broke any motivation I’d had. This project is better for learning a new method. The catch however, is that I’d like to use the first 8k of this novel to apply for VP. Which means, I might just give the first 3 chapters a rewrite first then worry about the official revision.

  • Shadow of Blood: revision
  • Short Story Drafts: 1
  • Short Story Revisions: 2 + submit both (these two are close, so it shouldn’t be too hard)
  • Crits: 4
  • Read: 1 – 2

I honestly don’t know how long this revision is going to take. The first half of the novel needs rewriting due to the writing being five years old. The second half was rushed a bit, so I’m sure I need to add in a lot of background details and link information I missed in the first half. I’m planning for a 6 month revision. It used to take me a year to revise a novel when I went chapter to chapter and took my time. I’m motivated. This novel is getting revised and critiqued, and then I’m cleaning it up to submit it. Submission may not be in 2012, but it’s coming. I even have a sequel in mind.

Good luck to you and your projects for February, writing or otherwise. Dawn

Busy Writing

Hi All,

It’s been pretty quiet here. I’ve been busy writing and revising, working on some good stuff, I hope. I’ve had a lot of rejections this month, I think all the editors made New Year’s resolutions to return all January subs before the end of the month…

One of those rejections was pretty interesting. It was some serious feedback from the Triangulation anthology with a comment that if I rewrote it, they’d look at it again (no promises, of purchase, of course). Based on their feedback, I’m giving the story a serious workout.  The story is short, under 2k, but this is probably one of the toughest revisions I’ve worked on yet. Still, I’m hopeful. Even if the Triangulation editors choose not to buy it, I’ve moved the story along in a good direction.

I’m working on a new story, too, based in a world I’ve written another short story (a WOTF honorable mention), and am planning to write a novel in as well. It’s a troubled world with lots of potential for manipulation and seeds of dark magic. Strange creatures too, some magical, some not. I’m enjoying it.

I’ve been reading, too.  The blog that caught my eye tonight was Patty Jansen’s, which answered my question about when I should start self publishing. I’ve held back and am watching many of my peers put their work up for sale. My writing is stronger than it ever has been, but I’d like to see it a little stronger before I put myself that far out there.

I’ve also been skimming through sections of the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas and have been asaulted with ideas to revise my novel Shadow of Blood. I’ve got two anthologies going as well, one being Triangulation: Last Contact. Tonight I read David Barr Kirtley’s “Family Tree” from Way of the Wizard. Damn good story, and with an ending I couldn’t predict. I don’t know why I can’t read an anthology straight through. I have six anthologies on my nightstand right now. I suppose I like variety. And a little bit of chaos.

Time to get back to it. (The writing, not the chaos. Oh wait, that’s rather the same isn’t it?)

Happy Writing.

~ Dawn

 

Website Review Published in Vision

I have a new article up in Issue #66 of  Vision: A Resource For Writers.

Do You Duotrope?  If you’re submitting your fiction and you aren’t aware of Duotrope or using it, it could be worth your time to read.

Happy Writing — and Submitting.

~ Dawn

My Ideal Reader?

FMWriters is traveling the web via the Merry Go Round Blog Tour. Site members have grouped together to write monthly on themed topics and turn the blog tour concept on its head: we’re not the ones touring: you are, as you read one writer’s perspective after another. This is my contribution to the Merry Go Round Tour. Enjoy your ride. ~ Dawn

I’ve heard that some writers envision their reader and target their story for that person. I haven’t been able to do that, which has been my struggle with the picture books. I’ve tried writing for my daughter, but if the idea doesn’t work, it isn’t going to work. Maybe I just don’t write that way. Honestly, I have enough ideas flowing past me, I can snatch them out of the air, until I start trying to be picky. So, I just hug my muse and start writing.

So who would enjoy my writing? That’s tough to say.

My blog and nonfiction writing are definitely aimed at writers, especially those beside me in the trenches.

My science fiction is less techie and more sociaological. I love creating a planet (or planets) and figuring out what causes conflicts, and what makes them worse.  I love challenging my character to grow, to find what’s inside them to overcome their obstacles.

My fantasy writing tends toward the same, though I revel in creating magic systems. Figuring out and putting together a network of magic that needs to run smoothly, that can make or break someone’s lives, that’s just too much fun.

But the characters in both genres are people that have someone to lose, or in some cases, nothing left to lose and it’s their very soul they’re trying to save from bitter meltdown. We’ve all been in dark places, haven’t we? (If you haven’t, I want to borrow your life for a little while, just til I get bored). My stories take those dark places and gives it meaning, assigns it value as a tool for growing and moving beyond.

My “ideal” reader in all honesty, is me. I write for me. I write to remind myself the dark is in the past, and that whatever darkness may come, I’ll face it down. I think that’s why I can’t write humor. I think that’s why the picture books are so challenging for me, despite the fun my daughter and I have creating stories together. It doesn’t mean I’m giving up on them. Maybe it means my focus just isn’t there right now. And by dark, I don’t necessarily mean horror, though I’d dabbled a bit with it. I mean dark literally as the opposite of light, happy, and airy.

As much as I enjoyed My Little Pony as a child, I’m probably not going to write anything that fluffy.  I’ll try though, as my daughter enjoys such things, but probably for her eyes only.

But for me, and for the rest of my readers, whomever you may be, here comes the dark. Here come battles of the heart and soul. You’ve been warned.

Happy Writing

Dawn

PS share with us in comments the kinds of books you enjoy reading. Is there anything that makes you squee in delight and buy the book without even reading the first page?

Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round January  topic ‘My Ideal Reader’. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and read about their ideas, then check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.   The next Merry Go Round writer is Bonnie. She’ll be posting her take on this same topic on the 5th for your reading pleasure.

Never Give Up

 I really want to talk about my novel, because it’s an experience quite unusual to me. I promised myself when I first started writing that I would finish everything I wrote. Mostly because when I started writing seriously, I was in a difficult place in my life (including a long distance relationship that was both inspiring and heartbreaking, a horrible financial situation, and a job that wasn’t what I wanted but I was locked in). The one thing that was mine, that I could control was my writing. I couldn’t deal with that becoming a failure as well.

It took me a year to write my first and second novels, living alone, and less than half that time for my third though I was married by that time, working a better job, living a better life.  Strangely, I have little memory of the experience of writing my third novel. I’m not sure why, but I wrote it in three months. When I wrote these, they were pretty much my only focus.

So when I started my fourth novel to participate in Zette’s novel class (I signed up for the revision side, as I was terrified of revision at that point), everything fell apart. I was already a mom and twenty thousand words into the novel, I became pregnant again. I dropped the novel and all the plotting and world building that went with it.  Sometime later, I picked it up again, but between trying to balance it with other projects and a minor injury that complicated my very busy life, I had to drop it again. (This was after I’d reread the entire thing, studied the notes, etc). Then Fall 2011 came and I was determined to Finish The Damned Novel because it was weighing me down. I didn’t want to write a new novel without finishing this one. It would mean breaking my promise to myself. I reread everything, including all the world building, felt like I had some new perspective on my characters, and then broke my hand.

Yes, my hand. A writer’s nightmare. You see, I typed about 90 words a minute. With an outline, I could type out story to the content of a chapter a day. Suddenly I couldn’t type. And the speech recognition software wasn’t up to par yet. I knew if I put the novel down one more time, it would break something inside me. Sounds dramatic, but it was. I felt the novel was cursed, that I was going to fail before my writing career ever reached anything Wiki-worthy.

I bought a notebook and a pen that flowed smoothly across the pages and I wrote by hand over lunch breaks, writing until my hand couldn’t hold the damn pen anymore. For weeks I did this, meanwhile, using the speech program in the evening to train it up for the transcription. It worked a little bit, but with all my fantasy names, it had a hard time getting it. I really should have been training it more than that, but I had other parts of my life (family, pets, job, house, etc) and I couldn’t spend all my time on the damned computer.

As soon as my doctor told me I could type again, (my pinky is still taped to my left finger at this point), I painstakingly transcribed by hand. It took nearly two full days (I took a day off of work, plus an additional two evenings) but I did it. It was all on the computer, with an outline worth of 15k to go. I was so close.

Typing tired my hands, so I did it in small spurts at first. I learned not to try and shift/control/tab/capslock with my left hand. The less twisting I did, the better. It occurred to me at this point to relearn Dvorak, but that would have complicated my day job typing (data entry in a docketing system – don’t want to screw up those codes or the attorneys would kill me).

I gave myself a deadline of New Year’s Eve. If I let the story linger with all these issues, I’d never finish it. So day after day, *every* single day in December, I worked on the novel. Finally, my typing is as good as it’s going to get with the injury, I put everything into it. I schedule two days off from work and spend the entire day both days typing the last bit of the story.

I finished it. The End. What a horribly frustrating ride.

The story changed from when I started it five years ago. My writing changed. So much needs to be fixed. But I’ll do it.

The point is: I kept my promise to myself. That I kept to my principles and finished despite all the issues has given me satisfaction. It’s given me a better understanding of what I can do despite everything going on around me (and inside my hand).

Never give up.

No matter how hard it gets, don’t stop.

Funny thing is, I think this is my strongest story yet. Yes, it needs a massive overhaul, but the last quarter of the book has some really good story telling in it. The heart of the story survived, improved even.

This is the story I’m going to revise using Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel. This is the story I’m going to apply with to my dream workshop.

I’m taking January to read and assess the damage, review character profiles, and draw some sketches based on scenes I need to visualize better. February will begin the revision. I’ll be doing this while also working on short stories. I have some deadlines first quarter so I can’t abandon those, but I think I’ll figure out the balance.

If I can finish this problematic of a novel, I can do anything. It may not be easy, but I’ll get there eventually.

Happy Writing to you!

~Dawn

2011 Results / 2012 Goals

2011 Results

  • Main Goal: Intensity
  • Novel Project: first draft (Shadow of Blood) done 12/30/11
  • Short Story Writing: 16
  • Picture Book Writing: 2
  • Short Story Edits:  18
  • Picture Book Revisions: 1
  • New Submissions: 7
  • Short Story Submissions: 69
  • Crits: 20
  • Book Reading: 25
  • FM SAD Writing Challenge (May) – 3
  • Rejections: 62
  • In Submission: 12

 I’m delighted with my 2011 accomplishments. I balanced my very busy job, family life, and writing, including dealing with injury time when typing was not available to me with both hands. I achieved the intensity I desired. Even on days I didn’t write new words, I did something writing specific and productive.

The biggest thing is that I finished the novel, Shadow of Blood. It needs work, a reasonable assessment since I started it in 2005, dropped it for a pregnancy, dropped it for an injury, and then very nearly dropped it due to another injury. But I went to paper and pen for that segment and got it done. I did not want to stop and start it again. No way.

The next bit I’m happy about is the number of stories I pushed into submissions. I revised  better, so I needed fewer edit passes, and didn’t linger on stories. I even managed an honorable mention from the Writers of the Future contest, and have been shortlisted twice this year for publication. I’m seeing the results of my hard work.

I didn’t do much with my children’s stories. I need to read more chapter books before I really feel comfortable with those, but I’ll get there. I’m getting ideas and jotting them down.

I did a good job critiquing this year, but I’d like it to become more day to day in 2012. It’s helped me a lot, especially trying to analyze stories that felt stronger than mine.

Time to check out the new goals for 2012.

  •  Main Goal: Quality
  • Novel Draft: TBD
  • Novel Revision: Shadow of Blood
  • Short Story Drafts 15
  • Novella Drafts/Conversions 3
  • Short Story/Novella Edits: 26
  • Novella Revision 6
  • New Submissions: 12
  • Short Story Submissions: 75
  • Children’s Stories written: 12
  • Children’s Stories revised: 12
  • Crits: 52
  • Book Reading: 24
  • FM Writing Challenges
  • VP 16 application due June
  • W1S1 Monthly

The goal for this year is quality. I’m not rushing for quantity – I’m trying to get it right early on, using the skills I’ve been developing.

To that end, I’m going to write a new novel and revise the one I’ve just written.

Short stories are continuing with a goal of 15 short stories, 12 picture books, and 3 novellas. The novellas are already in short story form and need expansion/development into their full forms.  Revisions follow that, naturally.

I’ll be attending Chicon7, my first major speculative fiction convention. I’ll be applying to my dream workshop again, this time with the novel instead of short stories in the hopes of actually being accepted.

2012 is going to be huge for me. I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish.

Good luck to you in 2012, whatever your goals and dreams may be.

 

Ooooooooh!

I’ve got about 10% or so left of my novel. I had one bad guy veer off my outline and complicate his story in a way that makes him despise one of the good guys that’ll really screw up the good guys’ plan for escape. It didn’t affect my outline too much, so I kept going with the plan.

Then another character went and did something I hadn’t planned on. Instead of being weak and needing saving by the MC, she went and did something that’ll save the MC’s butt when he really needs it. She stood up for  herself, adding the finality to her story arc. It’s mostly in character for her considering what she’s been through, but it made me realize that despite this novel being too long in the writing (I stated it 5 years ago), it’s got hope. I’m not just writing because i need to cross the “The End” finish line. I’m writing it and I still love the story. It needs massive revi—no, it needs a rewrite. The outline needs a rewrite, mostly because the scenes I’m writing now are more in line with who the characters are. I need to change who they were to better fit into that, and I need to update the writing.

I may not be done before New Year’s Eve like I intended, but that’s okay. The story has life. That’s all that matters.

Happy Writing!

~ Dawn

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday. 🙂

T’is a good season for me. I sold an article, and am progressing on my novel. There are 10 chapters left, which may or may not be done by 12/31. I like challenging goals, so why not? Let’s go for it.

What are your plans for the holiday season?

Whatever they are, do it happy and safe. Good thoughts heading your way.

Short Stories for 2012 – Plan of Attack

 I signed up for Write 1 Sub 1 for the full year of 2011, intending to do the monthly version on a double. If it had gone according to plan, I’d have written and submitted 24 stories. Which compared with my 2010 count, was way out of my league. Still, I had to try.

 Prior to Write 1 Sub 1

2010 – drafted 8, revised 24, submitted 6 new, 36 resubs

Prior years averaged 3 – 10 new stories, though the revisions and submissions were lacking.

 1st attempt at Write 1 Sub 1

2011 – drafted 18, revised 18 (with 2 in process currently), submitted 7 new, 65 resubs [Consider, my last two months of 2011 were derailed by a broken hand. The writing was ok – I wrote three new stories (and novel chapters) by hand, but avoied the revisions because it’s really hard to hunt+peck the keyboard while ensuring your prose is correct. Plus it’s dizzying.]

 Interestingly, the 24 revisions in 2010 were for 10 different stories) whereas the 2011 count of 18 was for 12 different stories.  I’m also spending more time on each revision, and getting stories out earlier (versions 3 or 4 instead of 7 or 8). My revisions are definitely stronger.

As I like to compete with myself, I need to kick this up a notch for 2012. How shall I do this?

Write 1 Sub 1 again, first of all. I’m going to do the monthly version. I can write more than the single story a month, but need to work harder on getting new stories into submissions. I’m scheduling myself to write the new story right away in a new month (nothing like a challenge to write the story within 24 -48 hours). After that, the first story revision happens, and it goes up on OWW while I work on the 2nd story revision, which goes up on OWW as well. By the end of the 3rd week, I’ll have two short stories with feedback ready for a final revision. I can choose between them.

I’m hoping some months I can have more than one ready to go, but I’ll also be working on a novel while all this is going on, so I will have to choose carefully.  I also need to allow time for the stories that sneak up on me and write them quickly.

The good news is that I should be back to my normal typing speed by the second week in January.  I’ve also taken to writing stories by hand, then dictating them to text-to-speech software for faster transcription. It’s an interesting process which takes about the same time as typing up a first draft and a first revision. The quality is about the same, since as I dictate, I’m correcting story and grammar issues.

Write 1 Sub 1 has influenced how I handle my revisions and submissions, two of the most important aspects of getting published. I’m going to stick with it, and hopefully at the end of 2012 will be able to report some new writing/submission/publication records.

Happy Writing!

~ Dawn

 Absolute Write / Write 1 Sub 1 Blog Chain

Next Up: Opinionated Ant

Worldbuilding Holidays

Coming off of Erin’s post, I have to smile at how even like-minded people can interpret themes differently. Upon reading this month’s theme, I associated holidays with writing through world-building.

Holidays are a critical check in your world-building if you’re looking to ensure your world is round and diverse.  I first look at real holidays and consider their sources, whether religious, cultural, or governmental. I also consider that each of these holidays has someone, whether culture or political group, has a reason to oppose it. It enriches the world-building beyond simply celebrating a holiday. There’s more to life than food and parties, though it’s a dreary existence without anything to celebrate.

If you want to know more about world building holidays for your fiction writing, check out these links:

Creating Fictional Holidays – by Robert A. Sloan

Holidays in Hell and Other Delights: A Workshop – by Holly Lisle

Lifeday – Writing Excuses

 

Happy Holidays, whichever ones you celebrate.

~ Dawn

Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round August topic ‘Holidays’. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and read about their ideas on Cross-Genre Fiction, then check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.   The next Merry Go Round writer is Bonnie. She’ll be posting her take on this same topic on the 5th for your reading pleasure.

Meet My Muse

This month’s FM Merry Go Round topic is Self Interview. In an offshoot of that, I’d like to interview my Muse. The Muse might sound like an aspect of multiple personality disorder, but really, she’s a representation of how I compartmentalize aspects of my life. Plus, I never had an imaginary friend as a child. My Muse showed up about fifteen years ago when I moved out on my own. Or maybe it was that I could finally hear her.

DMB: So why is it you chose me instead of some other person to torture? Because you do know it is torture some days, right? Having you throw all those ideas my way and not having enough time to do anything decent with them?

 Muse: (glowy ball of light hovers above DM’s arm chair) Torture? I could stop, you know.

 DMB: (panics) You know I love you, sweetie.

 Muse: Okay, whatever.  Look at it my from perspective: you’re open to story ideas and concepts that are just plain weird and you’re not afraid to try writing them. What muse wouldn’t want a human pet to really play with her gifts?

 DMB: Pets?

 Muse: Just put it in a story, love.

 DMB: (writes it down)

 Muse: Write faster, I have another idea. A writer loses her muse and has to go out searching for her. In the dark. On Halloween. After a train derailment.

 DMB: Ooh, I wonder if the lost Muse caused the derailment. Looking for company, she zips toward the driver and he freaks out, resulting in the wreck.  (grins) I have another 6 months until it’s marketable. (consults notes) So you seem to prefer fantasy for novels, but swing between science fiction and fantasy for short stories. Any thoughts on why?

 Muse: That’s your fault. I just spark the idea, you develop it. See, fairy tales are told from a very young age, it’s the first and easiest place your mind slips to when I offer tidbits. You didn’t start on science fiction until high school. The love is there, but it’s different. Like how it must be to have two children and love them both equally but love them in different ways.

 DMB: You watch me parent? I thought you hid while the kids are around?

 Muse: Just because you don’t notice me doesn’t mean I’m not there. Here’s another thing. You’ve read more fantasy than science fiction. If you want to continue working together, I’ll need you to rectify that.

 DMB: I know, I still have so much reading to do. But I don’t like choosing between reading and spending time with you.

 Muse: And yet here you are. Here’s another idea. (whispers). Don’t share this one with your friends, it’ll win Writers of the Future next quarter.

 DMB: Next quarter? I need more time than that.

 Muse: Then what are you doing talking to me?

 DMB: How about one more question first. And that wasn’t the question. See, no question mark. (consults notes) Why can’t we verbalize like this all the time? It’s always images or dreams or even flashes of words in my mind that develops into the idea.

 Muse: Because then they’ll lock you up and what good are you in a strait jacket? You can’t type.

 DMB: So it’s all about you.

 Muse: You bet it is. Now finish this post, say goodbye to your friends and get back to work.

 DMB: Yes ma’am.

 There you have it. And, now you know who the boss of me is. (Sorry, hubs…)

 ~ Dawn

 

Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round August topic ‘Self Interviews’. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and read about their ideas on Cross-Genre Fiction, then check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.   The next Merry Go Round writer is Bonnie. She’ll be posting her take on this same topic on the 5th for your reading pleasure.

 

October Results + November Goals

Really, what month isn’t insane for me anymore? I’ve been exhausted and fighting for every minute of writing time.  I wanted to accomplish more than I did (always do), but I’m happy with what I’ve done. I really don’t see how I could have squeezed any more in without dipping beneath six hours of sleep. Some places, I will not go.

 October Results

  • Short Story Writing: 1 in progress
  • Short Story Revisions:  2
  • Critiques: 6
  • Reading: 4 (two WOTF anthologies, and two books on running)
  • Rejections: 4
  • New Submissions: 1 / Resubmissions: 4

 

November Goals

  • Novel Writing: 1 scene daily
  • Short Story Writing: 2
  • Short Story Revisions:  2
  • Crits: 8
  • Read: 2

 

I’m getting back into the novel. There is about 40 – 50k left to write. I figure it’ll take me about 8 weeks, which is good, since my goal is to get it done before the end of the year. I’m serious about balancing novel work and short story work, so I’m really going to try this again. The short story revisions are later drafts, so they shouldn’t take up too much time, and I think I’m going to work on some flash fiction for my short stories. I haven’t written a decent one recently, and I need to sharpen those skills. The reading should be fairly easy – I’m going to start getting the CDs from the library again. I moved away from that during the nice weather since audio books are difficult to listen to with the windows rolled down. With winter coming, it’ll be easier to commit. 

 

Crazy nonwritng stuff: my first 5k is this Saturday. I’m closing up a major project at work in the next two weeks and organizing my group’s move to another building. In fact, one needs to be done so the other makes sense. My brother’s coming to town for a few weeks, so I need to be able to get my writing done in less time so I can hang out with him. Thanksgiving is my son’s 3rd birthday. We’re also working on his potty training and tweaking a fix to one of his health issues. I promised my husband homemade apple pie. I’m having virus and other issues on my computer. Is that enough?

 Let’s go November! Whoohoo!

 Happy Reading and Writing!

~ Dawn

Busy Busy Bee

I’ve been quiet across all my writing communities and blog following. I’ve been fighting for writing time and so am limiting other things here and there. I’m also trying very hard to NOT get sick this week as I’m scheduled for my FLU shot tomorrow.  The good news, is that I’ve been winning the time battle.

I’m revising my SF that’s scheduled to eventually go to WOTF. I had my good friend critique it for me, brainstormed with someone else, and now I’ve got a plan in place to fix it. I’m adding science, changing scenes, but keeping its heart. I’m just growing the world a bit.

I’ve also been brainstorming on my entries for the Parsec Short Story Contest. I have two stories that’ll suit it, both being the right length, but both are out to other contests at the moment. If they don’t win, they’ll go in for Parsec. I wrote two stories to the theme, but neither worked out well for the theme, though the stories came out quite satisfactory. I’m trying to write one more, and I’ve been working on the concept for a few weeks, as I’d really like the theme to work. I plotted it out this morning, even came up with some science to make it more realistic. It’s been fun! I’ll start writing it tomorrow.

The other black hole in my time is short story reading and critiquing. I’ve been devouring the WOTF anthologies, and I’ve been critting 2 – 3 stories a week on OWW. I’m about 16 crits away from receiving my first Bee. (It’s a little icon that indicates I’ve given 50 crits in the workshop; 2nd Bee is 150, 3rd Bee is 350). It’d be neat to reach the third.While it’s fun to work toward that, it isn’t the source of my motivation. I feel like my muse is hungry.

Hungry.  Like she’s trying to absorb something new, or puzzle out something we haven’t developed fully. It’s been a long time since I’ve had any serious revelations. I’m not exactly expecting a revelation after this passes, it’s more like, something inside me is growing. (Which coming from a SF writer, shouldn’t be taken too literally). Still, it’s a good feeling. I haven’t had any publication success lately, though I’m cheering on all my friends who are, so it’s nice to feel like I am accomplishing something.

Here’s to growth!

Happy Writing,
Dawn

 

 

I’m Not Really Doing NaNoWriMo…

As many of you are preparing new projects for Nano, I’m preparing to wind down a neglected project for Nano. Sadly, my novel in progress has suffered by the love I’ve been throwing into my short stories. I don’t balance the two well – I’m balancing enough in my life in general that I really don’t need complications in my writing life.  I firmly believed in NOT doing Nano ever in the past, but will participate for the first time.

It isn’t that Nano isn’t a great idea. It’s just like any idea: it works for some people, it doesn’t work for others. I can blast out words like any other writer, just not so many days in a row. I’d burn out. I’ve written 3 other novels before this one in varying lengths of time, the shortest being 3 months. The most I wrote in a week was 20k. But that was the finale of the book and it was pure adrenaline (and lack of chldren in my life at the time) that got me through it. Sure it was fun. Yes, I got my novel done. But I’ve always been one to do things on my own schedule.

My poor neglected novel in progress is 50k into an 80k story. I can do 30k in a month, but not if I’m working on the short stories. My goal is to get to the novel first. 2k a day is reasonable for a week or two. I’ll finish it, then move on to my short stories.

My strategy for novel writing, when it was my sole writing project, is to write on it for 5 days a week. I had a minimum word count per day, then a “power” day on which I would go nuts and push hard with the writing, aiming for a content goal (i.e. 3 chapters) then take my break over the next two days and read (something other than what I’ve written). I’ll try that again, I think.

For those of you considering NaNoWriMo, good luck and have fun. Don’t compare your progress to other people and do watch for signs of burnout. Remember it’s ok to take a breather. 🙂

Necessity of Critique in Revision: Giving & Receiving

FMWriters is traveling the web via the Merry Go Round Blog Tour. Site members have grouped together to write monthly on themed topics and turn the blog tour concept on its head: we’re not the ones touring: you are, as you read one writer’s perspective after another. This is my contribution to the
Merry Go Round Tour. Enjoy your ride. ~ Dawn

I’ve been writing for many years, revising for about half those. The critiques –and subsequent improvement in my own writing — didn’t happen soon enough.

I took part in several critique groups on my favorite website (www.fmwriters.com), and picked up bits and pieces from writers of various levels of ability. I put those tidbits to use and start revising smarter. In addition, I read some books and started reading about how to fix all those things my critiquers mentioned seemed off/excessive use of/not even use of. Yes, there’s a lot they said. I mentioned some of the same for other writers as well, but most of it was either really obvious to me, or a repeat of what I was doing wrong myself.

I also joined OWW (www.onlinewritingworkshop.com) where, since I was now paying for the service and privilege of critiquing, I took it much more seriously. I started critiquing stories that were way above my level. I also had my writing
critiqued by people beyond my own ability. I learned more that first year than
I thought possible. I learned revising a story once wasn’t enough, and revising
it ten times was too much. Each revision had to count: no fly-by revisions
anymore.

Between the two sites, I’ve received 76 critiques on my work and given 122 critiques (including 2 novels) for other writers. I’ve learned to analyze a story for critical elements and how to see the shining light in poorly written story. I’ve seen in stories what I don’t want to repeat in mine, grammar issues as well as plotting/character issues. It wasn’t until I involved myself in the exchange of critiques that I gained the confidence to make my manuscripts bleed. I’m vicious on my own writing. I tear my stories apart, line by line.

It wasn’t until I revised like a maniac that I started submitting. As a result,
I’ve had one short story published, placed three times in the Writers of the
Future contest (once as a semi-finalist), and am currently short listed for
publication in one lovely zine (I’m still crossing my fingers on that one). The
point is: you need feedback.

All writers need feedback. Some find their first readers and harshest audience in
their spouse or best friend. Some find it in critique groups. The best thing
you can do, is find someone who a) will be brutally honest with you and that
you can take it from them, and b) knows what they are talking about.

I have writers I go to for full critiques. I have friends I go to for basic
reader reaction (I’ve referred to them as my First Readers). It’s amazing what
you think you know about your character or world, that these people will point
out. Whether it’s an area they have expertise in, or something they simply
couldn’t believe, it’s important.

My current revision method involves giving the first draft a decent revision then
I send it out to the first readers. One or two people usually get back within a
week or so and let me know what stood out. If I agree, I fix it, give it a
major polish, and submit it to one of my critique groups. After their feedback,
I revise what I agree with. If by chance it was a difficult revision or several
elements were rewritten, I’d send it back to someone for more feedback.
Otherwise, it’s a major polish and I submit the story.

I am grateful to anyone who has offered feedback, and here I offer you my
heartfelt thanks. I know some of you have felt bad reporting the issues, but
you shouldn’t. You’ve helped me grow as a writer. Even Stephen King and Dean
Koontz had their support. I need it, too. And if you’re a writer, so do you.

It’s why so many writers apply to workshops like Viable Paradise and Clarion and Odyssey and attend conventions. It’s why places like Muse Online exist (free!) and sites like FMWriters and Absolute Write are sponsored by appreciative writers.

If you’re a writer and don’t have a critique group or your 1st Person,
I challenge you today to go find one. Learn, revise, and submit. And if you’re
not a writer but know one? Ask if they want feedback when they offer to share
their work with you. If they’re new to writing, a gentle hand may be in order,
but NEVER lie.

We need each other, for without the growth of writers, there wouldn’t be enough
stories to read.

Write happy, Read happy.

~ Dawn

Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round August topic ‘Revision’. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and read about their ideas on Cross-Genre Fiction, then check out the Merry-Go-Round
Blog Tour
.   The next Merry Go Round writer is Bonnie. She’ll be posting her take on this same topic on the 5th for your reading pleasure.

September Results + October Goals

September Results / October Goals

September has been a busy month between work and home
life, but I produced. I have several items I’m currently in the middle, but are
promising. I’m looking forward to October, finishing the current projects and
moving onto new ones.  I made my WOTF submission early, so there wasn’t any end-of-the-month do-or-die chaos. The current story revision is requiring additional scenes, to the point it may not be a short story when I’m done. I’m riding the wave, anxiously looking for the beach I’ll land on, but enjoying the ride in the meantime. The story draft in progress is in the planning phase. It’s going to be a space opera with some rather interesting creatures in a heart wrenching situation. I’d started it for a themed contest, and though the theme appears in a clever manner, I need to cement it down better. These two projects are my main goals for October. I’m aiming for more than these, of course, but I’d really like to see these to completion. Here we go. 🙂

Results:

  • Novel: on the back burner until November
  • Short Story Drafts: 1 (+ 1 in progress)
  • Short Story Revisions:4  (+ 1 in progress)
  • Crits: 3 (+ 1 in progress)
  • Reading: 1 (+ 2 in progress)
  • Submissions: 1 for the 9/30 WOTF deadline (success!)
  • Rejections: 8
  • Submissions: 2 new +  8 resubs

Goals:

  • Short Stories – write 2, revise 5 (1 submission)
  • Crits – 8
  • Read – 2
  • Blogging

Physical Fitness & Writing

I used to use my lunch breaks for writing, even on days I planned on working out. The early afternoon is best for creative productivity and I didn’t want to lose it. I’m trying to manage my health better, and part of that requires me to actually work out. No more “healthy metabolism” for me. No more managing weight loss strictly through nutrition (though really, that last time I did that was high school?).

I just didn’t want to lose my writing time.

In order to give my workouts a serious consideration, I signed up for a 5k with a friend. Then I TOLD everyone I signed up. Now I have to run it. And now I have to train for it or I’m to look pretty flaky.

This past week, I worked out 6 of 7 days, lost 2 pounds and can fit back into the last pair of jeans I’d had to hide in my closet because I didn’t want to be caught dead in them.

Three days included running + weights. Other days included some variation of yoga, jumping rope, running stairs with laundry baskets (go ahead TRY to tell me that isn’t a workout).

I’m sleeping better, which means I’m not fighting my alarm in the morning. My mind is clearer and I’m writing better. I completed two short story projects this week. And that was with LESS writing time.

Losing writing time isn’t the issue. Using the time better is a direct result of taking better care of myself.

So how do you fit in your fitness time? Or don’t you? I’d like to hear.

~ Happy Writing

Dawn

Using Your Passion To Unlock Success In All Areas Of Your Life

My passion is my writing, and in that, I am seriously results-oriented. Tracking results creates an environment conducive to competition – and what a compelling motivation that is.  I’m just as competitive with myself as I am with other people, maybe not. Maybe it’s more. That’s why I record my goals every year and push the next year’s goals just a little further out than what I accomplished in the previous year. I strive to improve myself, and it’s a system that works for me in writing.

A light bulb or two flashed for me these past few days. If I approached everything in my life the way I approached my writing (and my parenting is the only thing that comes even close at the moment), then I could be more successful in the rest of my life.

For example, my work projects. The projects are getting done, but I’ve been accused of not keeping track of my work accomplishments. It’s true, I don’t. It’s done, and I move on. Why don’t I celebrate these accomplishments they way I do with my writing? I even have the proper format in our three times a year evaluation process. What the hell have I been thinking? I need to compete with myself at work! I’m making a chart of my accomplishments, keeping track of how long certain tasks and projects take, and looking for ways to cut my time on them, that is, do them faster without sacrificing the quality my work is known for.

Then there’s the fitness. I’ve been struggling to get in shape and lose some weight, and in my failure to do so, I’ve been gaining instead of losing. Depressed about it, I’ve been eating crap. It’s no wonder I’m sleeping worse than ever.  Yet my writing is in an amazing place. I need a results goal other than losing pounds. So my friend and I are signing up for a 5k in November. I don’t know that I can run the whole thing, but I’m sure as hell going to start my training program and give it my best shot. It’s 7 weeks away, and the training program I’m using is a 10 week program. Even if we (my running buddy and I) run half of it and walk the other half – it’s a start. And the next race, we can try running the entire thing. And the race after that, maybe we can try running it faster.

Will this work? It can’t be worse than what I’m doing now. I have to try it. (and in this, I feel very much like one of my characters, except that this had better work, and I’m heading for my happily ever after!)

I challenge you: look at your writing successes, or the success of whatever else your passion maybe be. Look at how you can apply it to the rest of your life. You don’t have to love the other things as much as your passion, but your passion can give you the tools to do those things better, and in doing them better, perhaps you’ll enjoy your time spent on these – or at least your successes.

For me, it’s competing with myself. I’m going to try and out-do myself this last quarter of the year in all aspects of my life. How about you?

Isn’t One Genre Per Story Enough?

FMWriters is traveling the web via the Merry Go Round Blog Tour. Site members have grouped together to write monthly on themed topics and turn the blog tour concept on its head: we’re not the ones touring: you are, as you read one writer’s perspective after another. This is my contribution to the Merry Go Round Tour. Enjoy your ride. ~ Dawn

So what’s the deal with cross-genre fiction? Isn’t enough that we have a dozen genres to write, read or watch on TV? Never. The moment we lose our desire to indulge in other people’s creations, or create our own, we lose what makes us human. So let’s indulge, shall we?

Have you ever read Robert Aspirin’s MythAdventures books? These books were one of the first fantasy books I ever read, and they were pretty damn funny then. Did I know they were cross-genre fictin? Nope, and didn’t care either.

My husband introduced me to Firefly, a science fiction western that only made it through the first season. Despite that, there seems to be a fairly large following for the show. And why not? The characters were fascinating, and the storyline engaging. My theory is that the timing was off on this one. At least the movie wrapped up the loose ends.

Wen Spencer’s Tinker and Wolf Who Rules has also been claimed as cross-genre (fantasy and romance), which is unquestionable. I can’t even describe the books without ruining it for you, save that anything can happen when a writer puts the worldbuilding and character creation together just right.

I’ve even written a few cross-genre pieces.  For I Have Sinned is a futuristic mystery that takes place on a space ship after Earth dies, and TLO  is a blend of fantasy and romance. Both are under revision and due to the tangled nature of genre will probably be rewritten into novellas.

What cross-genre comes down to is the combination of at two genres while following the expectations of those genres. Think about the fiction you’ve read or watched lately. Anything cross into other genres? Anything you wished crossed into other genres? If the answer to that last one is yes, then go write it your way. After all, that’s what fiction is all about.

Happy Writing

~ Dawn

Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round August topic ‘Genre-Bending’. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and read about their ideas on Cross-Genre Fiction, then check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.   The next Merry Go Round writer is Bonnie. She’ll be posting her take on this same topic on the 5th for your reading pleasure.

Writers of the Future – Honorable Mention for Father’s Honor

I received my notification by email last that night that I’d received an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest for my short story Father’s Honor. I’m pleased. It’s very nice to learn that something I created (and slaved over) didn’t just fall flat.

I’ve noticed, however, that judge KD Wentworth likes my traditional fantasy much better than my contemporary fantasy. That doesn’t affect my choices for this quarter’s upcoming deadline – I’m choosing between two science fiction stories. Actually, they’ll both be going in–one for the 9/30 deadline, and the other the day after for the 1st quarter’s 12/31 deadline. It’ll be nice to get it in early, and leave my December free to focus on other projects. Like the Parsec contest . . .

A lot of writers I know from various online communities have also earned Honorable Mentions. (Congrats to you guys!!) It leaves me wondering who made the next level. Good luck to those of you still awaiting notification.

Keep writing!

~Dawn

August Results / September Goals

Analysis

August went pretty well. I sacrificed the novel for short story work, but that’s fine since I’m taking a week in September and devoting it entirely to the novel.  We’re doing a challenge on FMwriters called Labor of Love. It’s designed to push your wordcount for one week and write toward a goal of 10, 20, or 30k words. I’m aiming for 20, which would require me to write 2500 words daily. My outline is strong and I’m hitting the high tension zone, so I’m anticipating the words will come. I want to finish this novel!

 Aside from failing the novel this past month, I’m happy with my numbers, especially considering we took a few days for a family vacation and dealt with various minor-but-time-consuming medical issues. I made some aggressive goals for September, but I think I can do it. If nothing else, I have to try. 

 The crits, by the way, have to get done. I’ve received some very helpful critiques for my work on OWW, and these kind people are awaiting the return favor. So I’m going to try and hit those early on.

 August Results

  • Novel:  1k written (some by hand)
  • Short Story Drafts: 3 (1 was handwritten while on vacation)
  • Short Story Revisions: 2 complete, 2 more in progress
  • Crits: 4
  • Reading: 1 (+ various short stories)
  • Rejections:  4
  • Submissions: 5 (resubs, including one that had been lost)

 September Goals

  • Novel: 30k to completion; signed up for www.fmwriters.com Labor of Love challenge to max my wordage daily from 9/2 to 9/9. Should get 20k.
  • Short Story Drafts: 2
  • Short Story Revisions: 6 (2 in progress + 4 others)
  • Crits: 8
  • Reading: 2
  • Submissions: 1 for the 9/30 WOTF deadline

 

Projects and Thoughts On Writing

Hello friends, it’s been a while. I hope your writing and other passions are going well. I’m busy as always, with increasing demands from the day job (which is a good thing at this point). My daughter started kindergarden this week, my son is progressing successfully with his speech therapy, and the hubby has dreamt up some fitness goals that I fully support and am helping to make realistic for him. It’s good. I’ve even been writing. Slowly, with all this going on, but writing a little at a time eventually adds up.  Would you like to hear about my current projects?

Shadow of Blood – the novel – is continuing very slowly, but it’s still alive. I ended up writing a scene by hand which is good and bad at the same time. (Good because I showed that wave of inspiration who was boss, bad because now I have to decipher my handwriting).

Surrender – SF short story in revision. I need to add two more scenes, then apply edits. Just a few more days (I hope).

Come Back to Me – SF short story in trans-revision. I wrote the first draft by hand, and am currently transcribing it to the computer and revising as I go. I think it came out in great shape, but I have some items to fix and I’m not sure how. The story was inspired by David Cook’s Come Back To Me and the words are important to the story. I have to find a way to rephrase them and still fit the story. (But David sang them so perfectly…*sigh*)

Conduit – this one still wants to be written, I just haven’t given it the time of day (or night). I think I’m missing a critical element to the story, so I need to re-outline what exists and look for the missing puzzle piece.

Etherea In Her Veins – this is my WOTF semi finalist that I broke by revising too many times. I’ve had repeated feedback that this is a longer story that can fit into the confines of short-storyhood, and I’m trying to reoutline it into a novelette/novella.

Kishno’s Journey (working title) – my first published story “Treischan Strength” shows the will of an old treefolk to keep death at bay while he provides strength to his brothers and sisters. In the story, he sent his son Kishno on a mission to deliver their healthy people to a new  home. Instead, Kishno leads the people back to the tainted land, with help in tow. I never detailed what happened to him and the wandering treefolk, but I think it deserves some attention.

Writing Related Links:

Happy Writing,

~ Dawn

 

Ow! That Hurt! – An Assault From My Muse

I’m one of those writers who finds herself assaulted by ideas. Sometimes they’re good, like an interesting title or a phrase that just sparkles. Dreams offer visual ideas, as does television and playing with my children. I frequently use writing prompts because they are like a puzzle and it’s a joy to makes sense of elements that aren’t apparently connected. The key to ideas is absorbing what I can without putting any pressure on it, and being open enough to absorb those ideas. Let me tell you about my current projects and how they came into existence.

My novel-in-progress, Shadow of Blood, stemmed from a play on words. I’m a Stargate fan, and frequently in the show characters would refer to the Stargate as the “stone ring”. A play on words gave me “Circle of Stones”, which ignited an image of a young boy in a fantasy world standing on the outside of a circle of stones on the ground, and when he stepped into it, he travelled someplace. It was magic, I knew instantly, not technology, and the travel was forged with all four elements and blood. The story has morphed of course, the boy is now a two hundred year old slave in a desert city. The magic remains, and the circle of stones has evolved into a handful of marble sized stones that one tosses like dice to create the travel ring.

The short story I just finished, Ghost Story, started as a story telling session with my five year old daughter. Once a week, we have story time where instead of reading, we make up our own stories. This one I told her was about a girl who went to a haunted house and found a magic mirror who brought her things, but that weren’t quite right. The cake was stale. The ball wouldn’t bounce.  The flowers had green petals and blue leaves. (I suppose I could just write that story too?) I wanted to make the mirror scary, a device of horror. I ended up with a completely different story – a post apocalyptic ghost whisperer who with the help of a ghost has to confront a demon.  

Phrases catch my attention as well. I saw something at the museum one time, which sparked the title for my next novel, Blood of the Dragon Tree. Someone’s account name on my favorite writing community sparked the title for Rise of the Tiger Princess. That one took about six months to figure out. I wrote “Tiger Princess” on a post it note and left it on my monitor at the day job. Eventually, something triggered the story and I wrote it.

I have a pretty open imagination. I’ve never lacked for an idea to write, which is wonderful. If I don’t have time to start a new project based on an idea (I like to finish things, no matter how long they take), I’ll write it down, including a sketch if I have a visual on it, and put it in my “writing ideas” folder.

Happy Writing,

Dawn

  Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round August topic ‘Where I Got My Latest Idea’. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out where their ideas come from, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.   The next Merry Go Round writer is Bonnie. She’ll be posting her take on this same topic on the 5th for your reading pleasure.

July Results / August Goals

 July Results

July was a better month than I’ve had a in while. We were busy, but most of it was happy-busy as opposed to stressful-busy. I’ve got the novel moving again, not just a random scene either. I wish I could have done more with the short stories, but that’s not regret or me bashing myself: I made choices. I really do wish I had more time than I do, but I’m working the home-work-life-writing balance. One of those choices I made was not to partake in all the Clarion challenges. I had projects in progress that were moving along and I didn’t want to break my momentum.

 

Details:

  • Novel: up and running. Probably about 7k put in.
  • Short Story Drafts: 1
  • Short Story Revisions: 2
  • Short Story Submissions: 1 new, + 7 resubmissions
  • Rejections: 7
  • Crits: 1
  • Read: 5
  • Clarion Write A Thon: flopped

 

August Goals

  • Novel: continue with minimum goal of 400 words, 5x weekly
  • Short Story Writing: 1 new draft
  • Short Story Revising: 2 revisions (possibly 1 to submission ready)
  • Crits: 21+ (OWW Marathon)
  • Blogging: 4 (would like to start a cooking post once a month)
  • Reading: 4 (2 audio, 2 paperbacks)

 The novel is progressing nicely. I’m trying to write on it every day (with weekends being the exception for writing in general). I might be able to finish it this month, which I’d be seriously pleased about. As for the short story writing, I’ve got Conduit (working title) half written, and I’d like to bring it to completion if I can. For the revisions, I’ve got one in the works (leaving it untitled publicly, since ideally the submission would be for Writers of the Future, as the deadline is 9/30 for this next quarter), as well as The Lonely Orchard, which is the story I had a revelation on the other morning. I had received a critique on it last year from a writer/editor and simply didn’t know what to do with. I needed time to sort it out. Sorting done. 😀 Onto the revisions.

 

Current Projects

I haven’t done an update post in a while, have I?

My current novel in progress, Shadow of Blood, is going well. I’m writing daily on it now. Some days I just manage about 250 – 300 words, other days I break 1k. I wish I could say it was me, but really, I’m in the forward momentum phase of the book and all kinds of proverbial sh** is hitting the fan. It’s wonderfully fun to write. I even came to a part that really screws my MC over and I’m drooling over it, waiting for him to tell me how he’s going to get out of it. I haven’t written that part yet, so the writing hasn’t stopped.

I’ve got five short stories on the brain. The first is a ghost story I’m writing, just started it last week on inspiration, based on a story I made up with my daughter. I need to work out the part before the ending, to give the ending some oomph. I’m also still working on Conduit, a story I started in May. I’m trying to figure out the details of the story, which is why I haven’t pressed it harder. Some stories need more time to figure out.

My other three stories are revisions. One is a flash fiction I think is just about ready to go into submissions. I’m letting it sit for a few days before I reread and submit it. The other story is one I’d written back in December but just couldn’t get myself to revise for an anthology deadline. The ending rocks, the middle rocks. I just need to work out an appropirate beginning that ties in the ending without making the beginning seem like backstory… and the final revision is a quick check of a flash I’ve been submitting. Something about it bothering me, and I think I finally realized the ending has fallen flat.

Yes, I’m busy. And I’ve mostly given up my workouts for writing time. That I need to figure out too, but when the writing is coming easily, I don’t want to turn it off.

And a funny note. I’m a creature of habit, which I’m sure shocks you speechless. Well, there’s one particular table I prefer at my library. No, I don’t get bent out of shape if it isn’t available, I just like this spot. The air flow is nice, foot traffic isn’t distracting, and neither is the computer traffic. There’s a view of the grassy couryard which also lets in the sunshine. I dropped my pen today and as I was bending down to pick it up, I noticed the contents of the reference shelf behind me…..