26 June 2017

The Ghost of the First Draft

Do you ever find yourself making notes on a draft for editing, and find something so stupid that you have to yell at yourself in the margin? Well, I have. Probably more than once. How else can you get through to yourself, really, to stop making dumb mistakes? Mistakes that you should have stopped making a million drafts ago? 

It was Chapter 9, the chapter after my characters have had their first kiss, and so there was a paragraph that talked about kissing, which was fine (except I had used the word kissing like ten times, but that's another issue). But then I came across a really stupid sentence:

I knew I had always been more attracted to guys, I just didn’t realize that meant every single thing was going to be better.

I had to double take. And then yell at myself (and Jordan, too). No, not more attracted. ONLY. Only only only. Wasn't that the entire freaking point??? Helllooooooo? So I took my scary red pen and wrote this in the margin, just to make sure I got my own point across:


Ok, so short story Jordan was hooking up with a girl at the end (that was really stupid and well over 6 years ago, don't judge me). First draft Jordan? Eh, well, I dunno, it was foggier. First drafts suck. There were a lot of stupid lines like this floating around. But now? Now????? Noooooooooo. How am I still making these mistakes? How are these tiny details slipping by?

I'm haunted by my first draft.

You think your first draft is gone by the time you're writing the third one? Think again! It creeps around, hiding in lines where you wouldn't think to look. In the dusty corners of undeveloped subplots. You think everything is going so well and your story makes so much sense. Then the ghost reaches out its ghoulish hand and grabs your ankle, tripping you up. Making everything feel off and confusing.

How many lines make it through repeated drafts completely intact? For me, not a lot. If there are any, they're probably dialogue. Even if what happens in a scene stays exactly the same, the words are always changing. Improving, I hope. But just when I think a chapter is safe and perfect I feel like I have to hire some paranormal investigators to exorcise these haunted lines.

So sometimes editing requires hi-tech ghost hunting equipment, scanning over every paragraph for a trace of first draft activity. Sometimes you need to have your holy water ready to flick on a stupid, stupid line. And hopefully with enough work, the first draft can stay buried.

Have you ever been haunted by your first draft? 

12 June 2017

Miles of Smiles Challenge!

I'm a little late to the party. It's a long story. Ok, not really. I initially was going to not blog at all today, then I changed my mind at about 5 this morning but didn't have time to write a post before work. Anyway, I love bloghops so I decided to join in on this one, the Miles of Smiles Challenge, hosted by Clare Dugmore and Kyra Lennon!

The aim of the challenge is on June 12 (today) those taking part post their lists of things that make them smile/ make them happy/ cheer them up when things are crappy. The obvious things like family, friends etc. are excluded. What we're looking for is the little, almost trivial things, that brighten your day.

I thought I'd make this fun by adding some pictures (most of which I just took)! It's interesting that the things I picked can all be found in my apartment, but I'm a bit of a hermit, so it makes sense I suppose!

1. This little floofernugget.

2. My new math leggings (aka editing pants...we'll see if they work)

3. Things that keep me organized like my k-cup holder and makeup organizer (I love the top two drawers because they fit my contacts perfectly and I have different prescriptions for each eye so I know which is which! 

4. My ridiculous amount of dresses (remember the hermit thing? I don't go anywhere! But they're so purdy....)

5. The fact that it's King George month on my Hamilton calendar (aka Groffsauce aka my gay celebrity boyfriend...what, you don't have one of those?) 

6. Fun mugs! Especially when they're filled with coffee (I actually got the kissy face one for my husband because we're always texting each other that emoji) 

Ok, I'm done, I swear! Hope everyone is able to spread some happiness today!

07 June 2017

Seduced by Another Book

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I've been feeling kinda down lately. Things have been kind of at a standstill when it comes to the editing front. I was doing so well during my staycation but I just couldn't seem to keep that motivation going. I'm stuck on Chapter 11. It's a really tough one. I think I either need to break it into two chapters or combine two scenes. Mostly because I don't think one chapter needs TWO make out scenes (but what do I know?). But I'm also trying to sneak in some subplot stuff and I always have a hard time with that. I feel like I'm forcing it and no one's going to care. Basically I know this chapter is difficult and I've been avoiding it. 

I know motivation isn't my only problem. If I could just get my brain to focus on Chapter 11 during my free thinking moments, I could start to figure it out. Times like before I fall asleep, in the shower, at work. I do my best brainstorming there. But I just can't focus. I'm distracted. By another book.

Yeah, you guessed it. Book 3. It has seduced me into some sort of mind-numbing oblivion. Now, I'm pretty much the last person on earth who would have a real life affair, but I think this is what it feels like. It's new and exciting and kinda dangerous. I think about it all the time. I know I shouldn't be thinking about it, shouldn't be working on it, but I can't help it. It's just where my passion is dragging me. But then I feel guilty about it because I'm not working on the book I should be working on.

Plus--hello! I can't actually get through Book 3 without finishing Books 1 & 2! But I can't be reasoned with! I know the basic structure of 1 and 2 so I know what happens and what leads to 3, which has me telling myself it's ok to work on it. 

I just like Book 3. There's something about it. I don't even think it's anywhere near perfect but I guess that's part of its appeal. I want to figure it all out way before I actually write the whole thing out. There's just more emotion in that book, or as I like to say, it gives me all the feels. I already have an entire playlist for it. I listen to it more than the playlist for Book 1. Book 3 just kinda drives me crazy, but in a good way, whereas Book 1 just frustrates me. 

Maybe sometimes it's good to have a distraction, when you're not getting any writing done, when the passion just isn't there. But I can't seem to shift my focus back to where it should be. I can't get back with the book I'm supposed to be with. 

Have you ever been seduced by another book idea? What did you do? 

05 June 2017

Jordan Takes Over: I'm a Terrible Boyfriend

**The first Monday of every month, I let my muse take over the blog. I apologize in advance.**

Once again, I have discovered something in my own novels/life that I can turn into a great lesson for all you writer type folks out there. You're welcome!

So we haven't been doing much on the editing front for the past couple of weeks. That's maybe probably my fault or something. However! That doesn't mean things are at a complete stop. Well, ok, there hasn't been much actual writing, exactly, but a whole lot of brainstorming for Book 3 (come up with a title, you say? Please.). And, well, here's the thing.

I KEEP GETTING YELLED AT. Even though we haven't even written the damn thing yet so it can be changed. Even though this book wasn't even my idea. Nope. Not at all. Some people who shall remain nameless (ADAM. But he had an accomplice) gained up on me and Sarah and now we just have more work to do.

Anyway. The reason I keep getting yelled at--I'm a terrible person, apparently. More specifically, I'm a terrible boyfriend.

How exactly does this information help you with your writing? Let me share with you the ways in which I am being yelled at. It's basically a whole lot of Can you share a shred of human emotion for even one second? Why does Adam have to spend every waking second having to win you over?? Even when you actually agree to a relationship you're still an emotionless brick wall! You can't even tell the reader that you like him even a little bit! Don't even get me started on all the crap you pull later on in the book! (SPOILERS!) How the hell is anyone supposed to root for you? Any reader is going to spend every page begging Adam to dump your ass! And so on. Have you ever heard someone argue with their own characters so much? I mean, really.

Hey! I'm supposed to be aloof and emotionless. It's just who I am (and who made me that way, I ask you). Adam knew damn well what he was getting into (shhhhhhhhh). I mean, part of the point of the relationship is for him to crack open my cold, dead heart (what? It's true). I'm not supposed to make it easy! Plus if this is Book 3 the reader will be used to me anyway. How the hell is a character supposed to grow if they're already perfect??

But I had a point to make, didn't I? It's kinda hard to have a protagonist when they're just terrible. When they have no redeeming qualities and just keep doing terrible things. No one is going to want to listen to their BS for a whole book. It's ok to be terrible some of the time, but not all of the time. No one is going to care about a character if he's always being a jerk.

I'm not saying I'm that terrible, because we are still in the planning stages here! We can change stuff. We just have to sneak in some moments where I'm nicer. If we lose all of my less likable qualities, then it screws up the whole plot. I'm supposed to learn from my mistakes, right? But I guess it's better to figure out that I'm heading in such a god-awful direction before we even really start writing.

So I guess I could learn to be a better boyfriend. Any tips? I got nothin'. If you say flowers and chocolate, a) he's a guy, b) I'll eat the chocolate, & c) he may or may not be allergic to bees. Better to stay away from the flowers.


24 May 2017

BEES! (Or, Stupid or Symbolic?)

I hate hate hate all my characters they're terrible they're always doing things that make no sense.

*heavy sigh*

I'm sure I'm not the only writer who's gotten a weird idea during the early stages of a novel. One of the things you should figure out before you start writing are character traits. You'll probably decide on what the character looks like, their hobbies, family members, job, etc. But what details actually should go in the story? And why?

This is what I'm dealing with. The good thing about working on Book 3 while still not even being done with Book 1 is that I have a lot of time to iron out all the kinks. I may get an idea for 3 and I can spend a lot of time figuring out if it'll work or not. But sometimes I get hit with an idea, and I don't know if it's any good. I don't know if it serves a purpose.

So a lot of my brainstorming comes from running endless conversations in my head. I just have my characters talk and talk and talk and if they actually say something good, I write it down. I was picturing two characters on a date and trying to get into some deep conversation (one was very reluctant--GUESS WHO). But then the other character had an interesting response to a question about fears:

          “What are you afraid of?”
          “You mean besides this conversation? Commitment, probably.”
          “That’s not exactly a secret.”
          “Why, what are you afraid of?”



At first I was like, huh? Then I just thought it was kinda funny and cute. One character talks about being afraid of commitment, then the other says bees. It was good for a chuckle. But then I started thinking about it. Why bees???

I sort of went with the thought process, and thought, well, maybe he's afraid of bees because he's allergic to them. That's a good reason, right? Ok, but why exactly is this important to the story? Is it just something to make him seem vulnerable? Will bees ever show up in the story? Does it somehow parallel the fact that another character puts honey in his tea?

I have no freaking clue. I'm at that weird limbo phase where I'm trying to decide if I should run with it and figure it out, or just cut the idea completely. I can't remember ever reading about a character with an allergy, so I'm not sure what exactly it should be doing for the story. But I think that everything in a story should have a purpose, right? If I mention a bee allergy, don't I have to sting him by the end of the novel? (CHEKHOV'S BEES???) Or can it be something more symbolic?

I guess I'll just put the bees on my to-figure-out list.

Ever had an idea and weren't sure if it would work? Know any characters with an allergy?

22 May 2017


So it's Monday which means I'm back to work (say it isn't so!) and the staycation is over. I thought I'd check in with what I accomplished (or didn't accomplish...). My initial goal was to get 11 chapter edits done for Uneven Lines and get to the last 3rd of the book where I'll start completely rewriting.

Did that happen? Of course not. Who do you think you're dealing with here? I don't always make goals, but when I do, they're ridiculous and unobtainable. That doesn't mean I got nothing done, either. I got....some stuff done. Which I'll take as a win because I don't usually get any writing done on days I work.

Editing is not easy, either. You have to figure out what's wrong with the words in front of you and find ways to make it better. Sometimes a scene or a chapter took a lot longer than I thought it would to get through. But the awesome thing is that when I do figure something out, I instantly know when it's the right choice for the book. I think I've just been with this story for so long, I know exactly what it needs. Eventually, of course.

One great thing about working on editing so much is that I got so many blog post ideas! Which I will be utilizing in the coming weeks.

Another thing I had to this past week was finish up the blog tour for the Hero Lost anthology. Before we started, I volunteered to organize the whole thing and do all the communication and setting up the posts. I think this was equal parts wanting to help and really, just being a control freak. I think if you've got too many people working on the same thing, it can get confusing and go very slowly. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know! It was definitely a lot of hard work reaching out to everyone and getting everything we needed. Some people were instantly cooperative and others just completely ignored me for some reason. Oh well! I could write more on it but I think that would be in bad taste. I'm just going to let go and thank the universe that it's over, because I'm exhausted. I'm swimming in interview questions and links and HTML code. The last post is on Wednesday and it's already sent out so YAY!

So, without any further psychotic rambling, drum roll please...


Chapters Edited: 3
So, not 11. But still probably way more than I would have gotten done if I was working. Got through Chapters 8, 9, and 10.
New Words Written for UL: 1,893
The three chapters I edited initially had 6,698 words altogether, and now have 8,478. So that means I'm adding a lot as I edit/rewrite, and considering all of my "more" notes, that's a good thing! I also just wrote a random 113 word snippet for waaaaaaaaay later in the book (hooray for ideas!).
Other New Words Written: 3,031
Literally all in Book 3. Most of it at the very very end of the book (I make so much sense!). Also some of an epilogue that I probably won't even use.
Days Spent Complaining About How Hot it Was: 2 
It was in the freaking 90s and we don't have an air conditioner (yet) so there.

Gizmo spent the hot days on the floor where it was cooler :(
New Blog Post Ideas: 6 
Emails Sent: 16 (Honestly, I thought it was more)
Blog Tours Finished: 1 (wooooooohoooooooooooo)

17 May 2017

I'm Writing the Wrong Book!

So I'm on day three of my staycation. Which means I still have four more after today. I feel like I'm not being as productive as I wanted to be, but I guess being lazy for a couple days is to be expected. Sometimes you just need to wind down when you get a break from work.

But that doesn't mean I'm not getting any writing done. Because I am. I finished the edit of Chapter 8 last night. I can't really call that too much of a victory because it's probably the easiest chapter in the whole book to edit. But progress is progress, right?

Well...some progress can be distracting. I have been getting some work done. A decent amount, actually. Not ridiculous, but not minuscule, either. The only problem is that it's not UL I'm working on. It's the still and probably forever unnamed Book 3.

I just can't help myself, really. I went to a friend's wedding on Saturday and I got this idea for a scene at a wedding and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I just had to get the idea down before it disappeared. On Monday night I wrote almost three pages of this scene. It's a bit heartbreaking and I absolutely love it.

So you'd think I'd stop after the scene was done, right? Haha, WRONG. I kept going. I've written a few tidbits for the last chapter of this book before, and I just kept going with it for a bit. But it's not my fault! Sometimes I get slammed with inspiration at the worst times--like when I'm trying to sleep. Like yesterday morning when this little gem popped into my brain:

Notice the 5:00 AM, please. Yes, on my vacation. When I should be sleeping. And do you think I come up with these psychotic lines on my own? Because I don't. They just pop randomly into my head out of nowhere. My muse is real, people. And he's a jerk.

I feel like I can't ignore the inspiration just because it's not the book I want or should be working on. So I should be working on the first book but I can't stop thoughts from the last chapter of the last book (when I haven't even written most of THAT book, either). It doesn't make any sense!

I should ignore it, right? Or maybe create some kind of reward system. Like, finish editing a chapter, let myself write nonsense for a half hour. Something like that. I really don't think the staycation goal of ELEVEN CHAPTER EDITS is going to happen at this point. And I know I should be glad to spend every day writing, which I am. But I really want to get this novel done--the first one. So badly. It's just going so slowly. Distractions don't help! I mean, at least I'm not getting distracted by a different series and different characters (I see you waiting patiently, Shiny New Story), but still.

I just can't help it. Sometimes I have to write what's in my head. Even if it's the wrong book.