Tuesday, July 1, 2014

#WIPMarathon Check-In #5 (The Real One)

I'm here for my slightly late check-in! But let me preface my report first with THIS.


That was me last night. My goal for last month was to finish my book. And by golly I finished it.

By golly I just said "by golly."

I typed out the very last line of my manuscript yesterday, June 30th, at 11:49 p.m. By 11:50, I had already blogged my big news. By 11:54, I was announcing it on twitter. Yeah, I might have been a little giddy. But I am a SLOW writer you guys. I'm not like some of these writers who put out entire manuscripts in a matter of months. It has taken me THREE YEARS to write this book.

Just to be sure, I dug through my blog until I found this excerpt.
I started a novel.  I know, big whoop--everyone does.  But this one's different...(insert long-winded explanation here). I can't explain it.  It just feels different.  This is the one.  The one that's going to get published, or the one I'll die trying on.  Either way, it feels good to feel this passionate about something.

This was from a post called Self-Imposed Challenges written on June 6, 2011. Three summers ago. Reading this made me feel a wee bit emotional. I guess I'm just happy that silly ole' past-me, for once in her life, dared to follow a dream through a period of three ridiculous years.

Okay, I guess this was sort of a long intro. Onto the stats.


Last report word count + chapter count/scene count: 90,536 - 27 chapters completed
Current report WC + CC/ SC: 108,878 words - 36 chapters, plus epilogue, completed
WIP Issues This Month: My biggest issue this month was the fact that I left my manuscript notebook at work. I know--why don't I just drive to work and get it? But us teachers turn in our keys for summer, so my book is sitting in a locked classroom in a locked school. Plus I switched classrooms the last week of school, so it's buried somewhere in a box. The problem is my notebook contains a lot of stuff I really needed this month--and still do--including a calendar of major events (crucial when your story features a time loop), the class schedules of my characters, a log of the dates of each loop, a list of time quotes, etc. Now I am left with several "placeholders" and holes in my manuscript. For example, in one scene, when my MC loops back into school during 6th period, I was forced to place her in a history class with a teacher named Mrs. Shepard. Once I get my notebook back, I'll be able to see what class/teacher she is actually supposed to be with.

Another issue this month was the last-minute scramble to finish my manuscript. I take deadlines seriously, even self-inflicted ones, but that time crunch was like nothing I've ever experienced. Last night was the craziest. With only one hour and forty-five minutes left to meet my deadline and an entire chapter left to write, I decided to escape outside with my laptop to minimize any possible distractions. I sat there in the dark and typed faster than I have ever typed before. It was heart-pounding and...exhilarating. 
What I learned this month in writing: Rapid-fire writing WORKS. I was typing chapter 35 so fast last night that I didn't even have time to second-guess anything, or even see what exactly I was writing for that matter. I swear I thought it was all garbage. But this evening I went over that chapter, and yes, it was a little rough around the edges, but not nearly as bad as I thought. Letting that frantic, creative surge take over last night produced some decent ideas, and after about 45 minutes of smoothing things out and tweaking a few lines, I have one very workable chapter. 

I also learned that having a network of people in your world supporting your writing is EVERYTHING. A few pivotal people cheering me on this week gave me that final push to sprint to the finish line. You know who you are, so thank you!
What distracted me this month while writing: I didn't realize back when I set my June 30th deadline that Clint would be on vacation this week. I guess that sounds ideal for writing, but it wasn't. When Clint's off from work, we like to spend almost all our time together. I felt crummy having to ignore him for hours at a time to work on my MS. To his credit, he was awesome and supportive all week, and never complained. 

Another distraction was THE POOL. It's been triple digits all week, so of course having blue shiny water beckoning from your background is irresistible. Not just to us, but our extended family as well. Although in some ways, I think the pool helped. Being able to break the monotony of an all-day writing fest with the occasional dip in the pool was pretty awesome. 

Goal for next month: Wow. I know I'm pursuing self-publishing now, but I haven't actually looked at all the steps. I guess by next month, I hope to have tighter editing underway? Or have my beta reading in progress? Crap, I'm not sure. I'll have to research this and get back to you. I do know that my next step is to go through my last five chapters or so. I wrote those ones the quickest, so I know they are going to need the most revisions. And at some point I'm going to have to make some cuts, because my word count, as I suspected, ended up TOO HIGH.

Last 200 words (from Epilogue):
He could hear the topaz orb crack within his tight grip. He let the dusty remains of the necklace trickle through his fingers and fall to the ground.
Leaning back toward the bench, he stooped to pick up his cane. The four gems on the handle flashed in the moonlight, reminding him there were four sisters. Four. He had failed with one, but he had three more chances. He turned to walk away. Twelve melancholy chimes followed his heavy footsteps as the man slipped into the night. 
If he had stayed a second longer, he would have seen the one fragment of dust flicker with light. One tiny, insignificant spark, like a firefly clinging to life, flashing once, then twice, a small, stubborn ember refusing to give its twinkle away. A breeze stirred the dusty remains of the necklace, and the mostly-useless sand scuttled beneath the base of Maui. But this one uncertain spark glowed a fiery orange, its radiance trapped within the depths of the massive clock. 
Maui rumbled with a single off-key chime, and for a breath of a second her face glowed with the intensity of a fire opal before being reclaimed by shadows.

Yet the one unspent grain would never, ever stop glowing.