Some Writing Updates

While we’re all anxiously awaiting the start of the WordWacker Photo Challenge, I’m going to take stock of where I am now and what I have planned regarding my writing.

  • My novel is out collecting beta reads. One has come in already, but I haven’t taken a look yet. Partly that’s because I want to wait until they’re all in. I think it makes sense to look at all of them together, to get a broader picture of how readers respond to the book. The other reason is …
  • I’ve started sketching out my next book. That’s what you are supposed to do while one book is out on submission, right? Well, this feels a bit like submission — people are looking at it and responding to it, and i can’t really make any changes until that’s done.

Yes – the next book! It will be another contemporary fantasy, with a character in our world who initially has no idea magic is a thing. I’m just getting started so I haven’t figured out yet whether the bulk of the action will take place here, in our world but with magical elements (that’s what the current novel is), or whether she’ll be transported Elsewhere, to where the magic is dominant. Although the current book has definite series potential, this new one is not a sequel. I don’t know yet whether I’ll be able to sell the first one, and if not then I obviously won’t be able to sell a sequel. If this new one sells, though, I’ll have the first one in the drawer and ready to offer.

There are three things I’ve noticed as I go about this process.

  • I’m really enjoying laying out a whole new story from scratch. It’s so different from the detailed focus of the editorial process. Everything is up for grabs.
  • Though I do all my actual writing on a computer, I find planning works much better on paper, in longhand. The image above shows just some of the notebooks I’ve used in planning out various stories. When I write on computer I can’t stop myself from going back to fix spelling, sentences, and paragraphs. With pen and paper, I just keep writing, pouring out what I’m thinking in a stream of consciousness. (Yes, I know the resolution is low on this image; I would be embarrassed for anyone to read these scribbled notes.)
  • I stumbled on a new blog that I’m finding really useful: Helping Writers Become Authors by K. M. Weiland. I found her series on story structure and on character arcs particularly useful. Everything in there is something I’ve heard before, but the way she lays it all out works well for me. Giver her blog a try; you may find something useful there as well.

I’ve given myself a challenge: I’m going to try to get the major plotting and planning done in another two weeks, and then write a first draft in Camp NaNoWriMo in July. That will be a tall order and I wouldn’t put a high percentage on it, but hey, it could happen! I’ll let you know how that’s going.

So that’s where I am with my writing. How are things with you? I’d love to hear from you.

Introducing: The WordWacker Photo Challenge!

As I mentioned before, the WordPress Photo Challenge is no more. I’ve looked around for a similar challenge for someone like me, who takes casual pictures with a cell-phone camera, but haven’t been able to find one. So, guess what: I decided to start my own. It’s a challenge I’m putting to myself, but I invite you to join in if you’d like. Here’s how it will work.

  • I noticed that there are (usually) 52 weeks in the year, which happens to be exactly twice the English alphabet, and that we’re coming up on the precise center of the year. So the plan is that I will run through the alphabet, starting at the first of the hear and starting over again in the middle, assigning one letter to each week. The day of the week I picked is Friday. The chart posted above (and on the right or the bottom of the page as well, where it will stay as long as the challenge is still running) shows the letter associated with each Friday. The alphabet begins with A on July 6 and ends with Z on December 28. If this year goes well, it will start over yet again on Friday January 4, 2019.
  • On Friday each week I’ll pick a theme and post it in the blog, based on that letter. For example (here’s a preview!), for the letter A on July 6, I’ve picked ACTION as the theme. I’ll post a picture of my own and some ideas for responding to the challenge.
  • If you’re interested in playing along, just post an image on your blog any time over the next week or so. You don’t even have to follow the theme if you don’t want to, but it’s more fun that way. If your blog includes a link to my post with the challenge, I’ll get a notice about it, and I’ll add a link to your contribution on my own page. That way everyone can check out each other’s pictures.

So, what do you think? I’m looking forward to having a photo challenge to work on each week, even if it’s just me. But the more the merrier, so I hope other people join in with me as well. I look forward to linking to your stuff, starting on July 6.