Wednesday, July 30, 2014

WIPMarathon Report #6

Guys, this had to be my ROUGHEST month. As you know, I finished my book [almost] in time for last month's check in. So I should be on Cloud Nine, right? But let me tell you, the my-book-is-finished afterglow has worn off pretty fast--replaced with the being-pulled-into-a-bazillion-different-directions anti-glow. It turns out that writing the book is the fun part. Everything else is the stuff you're forced to swallow as a writer if you want to be published.

But I'm being overly-grim, I think, because honestly, there were some awesome milestones this month that I'm elated about. The biggest one is, I have my cover! I told my cover artist, Naj, that I wanted my cover to be "mysterious, dream-like, with a sense of tension and movement," and wow did she deliver. I gave her other parameters too, but I don't want to spoil it, so for now I'll just leave it at "I really love it."

Also, after months of agonizing over one, I finally have a title. For personal reasons I decided not to go with a series title, so the title for Book One will eventually be the series marker as well. Having my cover and the title for my book--and my series--feels huge. It's making this whole book-thing feel more real.

On to my report:

Last report word count + chapter count/scene count: 108,878 words - 36 chapters, plus epilogue, completed
Current report WC + CC/ SC: 109,049 words - 37 chapters, plus epilogue, completed. This is NOT GOOD. I'm trying to bring my word count DOWN through the revision process, not up. And how the hell did I grow a chapter? 
WIP Issues This Month: Oh heavens where ever do I start? My biggest issue this month was the fact that I spent the last several weeks trying so hard to make my story (in particular, my last chapter) fit the ideals of others, which would be fine if it weren't for the fact that those "ideals" completely contradicted each other. It would be like wearing a blue dress to an important event, and some people tell you "I really like your red one better." So you change into the red one, but then other people say, "I liked the blue one. Switch back to that." Except for in this scenario, everyone is VERY adamant that their preferences are the RIGHT ones, and everyone is sort of important to you, and you start to feel damn ugly no matter which way you go. So bringing this back to writing--this whole "never able to please everyone" phenomenon was actually making me feel like a bad writer. And for the most part, this "pressuring" was lighthearted. But when you're getting it from every direction at once, you start to feel helpless. In the end, I told myself that even though it can be stressful having so many opinions thrown at me, I'm really lucky to have people in my life who are taking valuable time from their lives to care about my little ole' book. So...I need to stop biting the hands that feed me so to speak, and grow some thicker skin, and...I'm starting to combine too many idioms here, I think.  
Four I learned this month in writing: 
  1. Use an eReader to Edit: Ifeoma suggested this technique a while back on her blog, and I finally decided to give it a go. I downloaded my entire manuscript onto my Kindle, and then proceeded to read the book from my Kindle while making edits on my laptop. This worked BEAUTIFULLY. I was able to read my book in two 5-6 hour sittings, doing initial edits along the way, and it didn't even feel like a chore. The Kindle gave me fresh eyes and made me feel like I was reading someone else's book rather than my own. 
  2. You Can Create Your Paperbacks on Amazon's Okay, this one is probably a "No duh, really?" But I swear I never knew. I wasn't sure HOW I was going to format my paperback for Amazon. So far, the program is very cool. It lets you download your cover, choose what kind of finish you want (glossy vs. matte), choose the color of your pages (white or cream--I chose cream), format your pre-pages, obtain a barcode, etc. 
  3. Look for Review Opportunities: My sister in-law shared this with me--self-published authors can submit their books for consideration for a review by Publishers Weekly (see for more information). Not every entry is accepted, but how cool would it be if yours was accepted, and now you get to add a sentence or two from their review onto the front or back of your cover? This makes me want to search out more review opportunities for indie authors. You never know when you might strike gold.
  4. Make Time for Family: There were times this month when I was so buried in brainstorming my cover, brainstorming titles, revisions, etc., that this became my world, from morning 'til bedtime. I noticed that on those days, I would go to bed feeling anxious/depressed. Yet every time I took a break for half a day to have some silly fun with my kids/family/in-laws, I would go to bed feeling content and rejuvenated. It made me realize how important it is to keep fostering your personal relationships. Yes, as writers we disappear into our fantasy worlds, and that's okay--necessary, even. But a fantasy world should never take the place of your real world. 
What distracted me this month while writing: Ohhh, I guess I'd say weekend events (such as Comic-Con) were distracting. This week I'm working in my classroom to prepare for the upcoming school year, so that, too, is stealing away precious revision-time. Also, I wasted hours and HOURS trying to come up with a title for my book, discussing the different possibilities with family/friends, etc. I also spent a lot of time brainstorming my cover with Naj. Basically, I got caught up in the pretty shiny elements of my book, instead of focusing on the part that matters the most (the story itself).

Goal for next month: To finish re-writing chapter 37 (the last chapter), and to have most revisions completed. I'm officially back to work next week, and I'm feeling almost frantic about that. I just know that writing will be shoved on the side burner while I'm going through the insanity that is our first month of school. 
Last 200 words: N/A.

Best wishes everyone for the month of August!


  1. Yes! Cover! I can't wait to see it! ^_^

    Definitely do what you feel is best for the story. At the end of the day, you need to be happy with what you've done.

    I edited like that, too! Only it took me a lot longer than that. :( But I was reading and making changes and then going back and reading again on the computer against a blue background. It was interesting. :) Ooh, I didn't know that about PW!

    It's definitely important to keep socializing with people, even just a little bit. Our brain really needs those real world breaks. Good luck juggling school and writing! And hey! You got to retrieve the long lost notebook, yes! ^_^

    1. Awww Krystal, I'm touched that you remembered my lost notebook dilemma! Can you believe that two days of unpacking my classroom still hasn't produced the thing? Arghhhh.

      I am really curious as to what scenario would lead to you editing your work against a blue background. Hmmm. LOL

      Thank you for the well-wishes!

  2. You never told me if you had decided on "Chasing" or "Catching" LOL!

    I'm getting SO excited! I
    can't wait until I can hold the book in my hands. :)

    1. I just now texted you. :) Btw, that was the most HYSTERICAL debate EVER. Once I got home, I actually started dubbing you guys Team Chasing and Team Catching.

      What's cool is the one I DIDN'T use gets to go on one of the sequels. :)

      I can't wait to have the book in my hands either. Like, I'm going to sob all over that first copy.

  3. So exciting that you've got your cover and title all sorted.

    You will never please everyone. In the end, you've got to just go with your gut and write what's best for the story and what pleases you!

    Good luck with all your writerly endeavours in August! :)

    1. What if "pleasing others" is what pleases me? *rolls eyes at self* Yeah, I know you're right. I need to go with what makes my gut happy. The gut knows best. (The gut also wants a bagel right now, so I need to go oblige when I'm done with this comment).

      Thanks Suzanne! Good luck with your projects in August!

  4. Oh, my book-is-finished afterglow wore off quickly too. It was basically gone within five minutes of reading my finished draft. But hang in there! It's all part of the process! (says the writer who won't believe that herself)

    Congrats on your awesome cover! (I'll take your work for it but can't wait to see it!)

    I never knew about those review opportunities for indie authors--so cool.

    Best of luck with the start of the school year. Hope you fit in some writing time!

    --Amanda Shayne

    1. Haha Amanda! I, too, am blossoming with advice that I don't follow myself. But at least the notion is there. ;)

      Thanks for the congrats on the cover--I can't wait for you to see it too!

      Best of luck to your writing endeavors this month. =)

  5. Glad editing with Kindle worked for you! I'm looking forward to doing that again when my book gets finished, 2016. I didn't know about the Createspace too! Many thanks for sharing!

    I'm sorry I haven't read your last chapters, but I will once I settle in and have a routine...right now, I'm still trying to find one...

    I absolutely agree with doing what's best for your book. People won't like everything you do! That said, I can't wait to hear the title you went with...and your blog post about Comic Con! You're so lucky to have gone!

    Here's to August!

    1. I'm actually a little relieved that you haven't read my final chapters yet Ifeoma, because I am completely rewriting the last chapter. Like, not revising, but utterly re-doing it. Arghhh.

      E-mail me anytime and I'll let you know what title I went with. ;)

      Yikes, I still need to do a post about Comic-Con! Soon...soon....

      Here's to August! I hope everything settles down for you soon. <3

  6. Great to hear you've got your cover and title sorted! :) I know what you mean about it being impossible to please everyone - some of the contradictory beta notes on my last book had me tearing my hair out! In the end, you have to go with what YOU want - difficult, I know!

    Best of luck with the final revision! :)

    1. Glad to know that I'm not the only person who has suffered through the "contradictory feedback" psychosis, Emma. And I know you're right...ultimately I have to go with what I want. But what I want is a book that amounts to an awesome read for others.

      *enter listening to EVERYONE's advice and pulling hair out* ;)

      Hopefully things will be much better for book 2, once I've officially been seasoned with all of this beta-reading/receiving feedback stuff.

      Best of luck with your projects this month and thanks for swinging by!

  7. Trying this again! Cheyenne-isms commence ;)

    I'm so happy to hear about your cover and how pleased you are with it! It sounds lush, and I can't wait to see it myself :)

    As for the not-so-fun stuff -- contradictory advice -- I wish I could be confident that this gets easier after awhile but I'm not so sure. It's especially hard when it's from people you trust, and light-hearted or not, it can be so difficult to know what to listen to. I've had contradictory advice from industry people as well and that's almost easier somehow to pick through. Almost. But, as cliché as it is, I say just read through all of it in one go, then sit and think about what jumps out at you, what your gut says. After having read the contents of everyone else's guts, yours will undoubtedly have a few responses. :) There's no right answer. I think that's what I focus on. And I guess when it comes to reviews down the road, we will won't be pleasing everyone then either, so might as well start in on that now so we can get used to it ;)

    Best of luck with the final revision, and balancing writing with school. You can do it!!

    1. Wow Cheyenne, I expected Cheyenne-isms and you delivered! Seriously, this is awesome advice. And you're absolutely right--all of this is great on the job training for stomaching future reviews. I never even thought about THAT. If I think getting contrary feedback is hard, wait until that first time I get a crummy review on Amazon. Oh my gosh I don't know if I can handle that. I need to grow some thicker skin, like, yesterday.

      Thanks for your suggestions. I'm going to follow your advice and think about what feedback is jumping out at me, versus what feedback isn't settling. I'll just have to find a way to make my peace with the suggestions I decide not to implement.

      And thank you for your encouragement in getting through the beginning of the school year! I hope all is going well with your writing.

  8. Kindle is my best friend in my pass time. After reading kindle I feel like fresh. I love to read it..


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