NaNo 2018, Day 1

NaNo 2018 for the win! I think I can, I think I can, I know I can!

I wasn’t going to do NaNo this year because I have so many projects on my plate, and I’ve been frozen into a state of near-perpetual writer’s/editor’s block for months. In the last year and a half at work my project load has at least doubled, and I find myself spending more time chasing notes and trying to figure out where I am in the process than spending time actually editing (I work full-time as a copyeditor). Instead of shutting down my computer at the end of the day and feeling like I’ve accomplished anything, I just feel like I’m more covered in virtual piles of paper. It’s not good for the soul. I want to finish something!

And so on that note, with so much to do already, I had a bit of arm-twisting from my fellow authors at Corrugated Sky. I tried to resist, but it’s too hard to swim against the tide, and the “I would like to, but…” excuse was replaced with “Well, maybe…” until there was just no avoiding it. So here I am. NaNo 2018, Day 1. I have a 181-word description of what I’m going to write, and that’s pretty much it so far.

It occurred to me that if I do NaNo, I will finish it — because every time I’ve done NaNo I finish it. I’m hoping that freight-train of writing momentum that NaNo ushers in just might unstick me from the other freelance projects I have going. Kind of like riding a bike, you know? The faster you go, the easier it is to find balance. Whether moving forward on my personal projects helps me at work is another issue, but a positive attitude never hurts work morale! And so, on that note of I’m-going-to-get-things-done, I’m off to start my NaNo project.

Good luck to everyone who’s accepted the challenge this year!

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Seacombe Island Is Here!

cover of Seacombe Island

It’s here! My novel Seacombe Island has been published and is for sale on Amazon!

I began the novel as a 2011 NaNoWriMo manuscript. Since then, I’ve rewritten and edited most of the chapters several times and added a few characters that the zero draft didn’t include. Somewhere along the way I had put it aside while I finished graduate school, but the amount of work wasn’t ever really the issue. The big problem was that I had trouble developing the main character, Thomas Ashton. I had supporting characters who knew who they were right from the start, but not my protagonist. He was playing his cards close to his chest and refused to confide in me.

And so I put the manuscript aside and let the problem stew for awhile. Eventually I began sorting out some of the themes and gaining a better sense of what the driving forces were behind my characters. As I went through and edited some of the bits that were really irritating me the protagonist’s personality became clearer, and the more I delved into his backstory, the better I understood him.

What really helped me sort out some of the backstory was writing a short story based on the Seacombe Island world, “Hekatite,” which was published in the Smoke and Steam anthology this spring. Even though Tom isn’t in the short story, Edward Grey and Tom’s friend, Samuel Grey, are. Writing about them and figuring out what they were up to, and how it would affect Tom in the future, gave me a guideline and was a lot of fun.

I hope you enjoy Seacombe Island!

February Chatter

One month into the new year and my fitness plans have been mostly sidelined because of a shoulder injury. But I have signed up for a virtual 10K race, the Run to the Deep, which is really pushing myself because I haven’t been running or walking for some time. And I have only about five weeks until the race. Well, I’m focusing on walking and getting myself back into the habit of doing something, and I got my race shirt this weekend so it’s pretty official! And the shirt has a kraken, so how can I not like this?

And speaking of kraken and ocean life, I’m finishing the final edits to Seacombe. I’m revamping parts of the last chapter, which is really all that’s left, but I have some sorting out to do to wrap up the plot points. And I need to check for a few inconsistencies, but I should have the rewrites and copy editing done by midweek, unless my mighty insomnia superpower deserts me.

Seacombe will be published by Corrugated Sky, and we’re hoping for a March 1 release date, so stay tuned!

January 2018

I had no inspiration for the title of this post! But here we are, almost through January already. The holidays were packed with work, work, and more work, and despite using several vacation days at the end of the year it feels remarkably like I didn’t have any time off.

This year I’m taking a slightly different approach to tracking my writing progress: instead of setting word-count goals, I’m listing the projects that I want to work on and focus on getting them done, no matter how many words it takes. I’m still going to use an Excel file to keep tabs of how much I write (and editing counts as 1,000 words an hour), but the raw number isn’t the goal.

On the nonfiction front, I’ve just completed working on updating some athlete bios for an encyclopedia, and I’m involved with the production of an open access textbook. I also have a local history that I’m pitching to a publisher and I need to get an outline/scope of work done for that. If that’s not enough, I still want to develop my thesis into a book, but somehow that project keeps sinking to the bottom of my list. Enough of the excuses! Time to get to work on it, too.

Fiction is coming along, too: I’m finishing up edits to my novel, Seacombe Island, and I hope to have it ready for publication in March. And we Corrugated Sky writers are brainstorming our third anthology. I have a few other project ideas, and some short stories that I need to finish. This year is going to be about completing projects!