Overdue Update

Hello readers.

Welcome to my long overdue update!

Things have been crazy around here. Between my day job, running the OWC, health junk and my own writing and social life, I feel like I’ve barely had time to breathe.

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But big, big changes are happening in my personal life right now. I did something that was so, so hard but also a very long time coming, and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I finally feel like the future might actually be pretty bright.

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But that’s not what you guys are here for. You’re here for writing news! (Right?)

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I reread a few of my most recent blog posts and even I’m confused as to what I’m working on! You poor readers and my dancing from project to project. So, here’s an update on the projects I’ve mentioned.

THE NEW ROMANTICS
Querying! I’ve had a few requests so far for the book, which is very exciting! No offers of representation (yet) but I’ve received some very enlightening feedback. I said I’d send out ten queries a month and I did that for January and February. Then, I got some feedback from a full request that confirmed a deep, dark fear of mine. So, I spent March trying to fix it. Now, I’m back at it, having already sent out four queries in April.

THE SCARS WE BEAR a.k.a. The Intern Story
Drafting! Over the past month or two, this is the book I’ve settled into writing and I’ve just crossed the 25K word count mark, plus about 5K in my This Comes Later file. I’m really excited about this one, guys. I feel like this is the book I need to write right now with all the junk going on in my life.

IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT
I don’t know! I started rewriting this book at the same time as writing THE SCARS WE BEAR and I’m about 35K into it. But, I can’t figure it out. The character motivation, the stakes, the climax. Nothing is working. So, it’s not officially shelved, but waiting for that one missing piece to fall into place.

A SOFT PLACE TO LAND a.k.a. The Rugby Story
Shelved! This book was the other book I was debating writing and the one I thought I would finish this year. However, THE SCARS WE BEAR won. I will write this someday, but not today.

ALL OF THIS EVERYTHING a.k.a. #NaNoWriMo2016 a.k.a. UNTITLED in other blog posts
Shelved! Forever! This is a terrible book. It’s just so bad. I hate the whole thing. I thought it was the book I needed to get out of me, but it just came out in shambles. Maybe I’ll revisit it someday, but for now, I’m not even thinking about it.

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Got all that?

My next challenge, beyond finding six more agents to query in April, is to read more. I’m still on track with my Goodreads challenge of 35 books this year, but it’s been almost two months since I finished a novel. (Have you read SCYTHE? So good!)

What’s up with you guys? Life good? Good.

Thanks for reading. ❤

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Juggling Projects and My “Big Book”

So, my writing week is behind me and I’ve returned from my work trip to Newfoundland.

(Look! I saw icebergs! And really steep cliffs!)

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My writing performance was pretty dismal. I didn’t work on THE SCARS WE BEAR. Instead, I worked on editing THE NEW ROMANTICS to get it beta reader ready. Which I did, so it’s not all useless. I’ve sent it off the three people. So now we wait.

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Also, I attended an online webinar hosted by P.S. Literary Agent Carly Watters. (She has a great blog you should check out.) Carly talked about how, for a debut author in the 21st century, you need your debut to be your Big Book. The best thing you’ve ever written. Not just a good book, but a great one.

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So. What’s my Big Book? Is it really THE NEW ROMANTICS, a contemporary romance reminiscent of a beach read? Or, IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT, which needs a tonne of work? Is it THE SCARS WE BEAR, which hasn’t been written. Something else?

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I have a secret to tell you: I have two “third books”. The third book I’ve referred to in earlier posts is not THE SCARS WE BEAR. It’s another book, also one that I’ve always wanted to write, also one that I’m terrified of. It is nameless. Both deal with similar themes, but at different stages in one’s life. UNTITLED’s MC is fifteen, in high school and living with her parents. THE SCARS WE BEAR’s MC is nineteen, doing an internship, on her own for the first time.

I shelved UNTITLED because I couldn’t think of a way to end it happily. (I have ideas now.) It trends younger than I usually write. It’s going to deal with some really heavy stuff. It’s got mental illness, first love, body issues, family issues. It will be deeply personal, which is terrifying. But I’m also kind of in love with it.

THE SCARS WE BEAR would be a little lighter, though it deals with heavy topics, too. It’s more in the age range I like to write. I’m excited about writing about someone’s first time on their own, dealing with first loves while falling for a second, how to deal with mental illness while not necessarily being in the throes of it. I feel like I could write it well.

So you see my dilemma.

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Anyway, my point is, I’m not sure where to go from here. Obviously, wait until my beta readers get through THE NEW ROMANTICS, but in the meantime? I guess I have to see which project gets me the most excited. I don’t know which one that is yet, or if it won’t change week-to-week. Still, I want to write three hundred words a day. It just might not be on one project. (Ugh.)

Well, thanks for reading! If you have any advice, I’d be happy to hear it in the comments.

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On Fear

Hey dudes,

It’s been a super long time and I feel like I owe you a blog entry.

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So, those of you that know me know I have an anxiety disorder. It’s gotten loads better over the years through a lot of hard work and the occasional medication. I haven’t had a panic attack since I lived in my Ottawa apartment about five years ago. I can go out and, like, be with people. Honestly, it’s nothing short of a miracle.

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That doesn’t mean I’m not afraid. My body may not enter flight or fight mode over not being able to find a hair brush anymore (long story), but I still get very, very nervous over silly things.

Like my third book.

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After two previous books of varying quality, I’m finally sitting down to write the book I’ve always wanted to write. And that’s a lot of pressure. I need to get it right, you know? So I’m terrified. What if I’m not a good enough writer to pull this off yet? What if no one wants to read what I have to say? WHAT IF IT’S TERRIBLE?!

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I know, I know. Just write it. Get it down. You can’t edit a blank page and all that jazz. All my advice to other writers just spins through my head. I’m doing the best I can. I tried outlining and plotting, but I can’t. Looks like I’m a pantser and I’m just going to have to get this first draft written. I have a goal to write 300 words a day, just like I did for IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT, and this will get me a 70K first draft by the end of the year.

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I use this great calendar by Karen Kavett and you should go check it out. I have the week of the May 24 weekend off to do writerly things. I have my second book, THE NEW ROMANTICS, out to my alpha reader so I can’t touch that until she gets around to it. So I’ll be heads down, writing THE SCARS WE BEAR.

Did I mention I’m terrified?

Me, two weeks from now:
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Thanks for reading, folks. I won’t be doing a live blog of my week off this time, but I’ll post some updates, if y’all at interested. Follow me on the Twitter!

Talk soon ❤

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Book Updates

Hello all,

Long time, no see. Sorry I haven’t updated in a while. I’ve been working away but there hasn’t been much news.

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I’ve received responses from all the agents I queried, save one. All rejections and I’m taking the last one’s silence as the same.

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In all honesty, though, it’s fine. IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT isn’t up to snuff yet. I’m actually a little ticked at myself that I queried at all since I can’t requery those agents I’ve done already. Sigh.

I’ve been putting IGALL through critique circles. It’s already gone through one and it was almost done in my general fiction circle. Well, my big climax chapter got absolutely torn apart in that general fiction circle. Like, it was painful.

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So, it turns out, I have to completely chop off the last five-ish chapters and go at them again. Fun times. I’ve decided to shelve it for a few months and get my passion back for the project. I’ll come back to it. I hope.

On the front of my second novel, code named THE NEW ROMANTICS, I’m making excellent progress. I’ve completed the first draft at about 63K words. Then, I plotted it out, found some holes, and I’m working on fixing those. The second draft I’m expecting to come in between 75K and 80K for word count. By far the longest thing I’ve ever done.

happiness2And I have novel number three percolating away in the back of my mind. My bestie/writing partner says it’s because I want to avoid editing. During the editing stage, I always get an idea for a new novel. Hence the birth of TNR.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening with my writing. The group is going fantastic and I appreciate all my writing buddies in whatever form you take. I’ve been posting lines from my works in progress on my Twitter! Go check that out and give me a follow if you like it!

Thanks for reading. ❤

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Jack of All Trades, Master of None

So, as you folks may have heard, I’m running a Writer’s Collective. It’s been in existence since September, and so far it’s going really well.

But I hadn’t written two lines together in that time.

Between working full time and getting this (way more popular than I was expecting) group off the ground, and applying for my Masters, I’ve been swamped. I run a critique circle within this group, and I’ve mostly been using existing work to submit. Then I ran out of things I felt comfortable sharing and I went to a meeting empty-handed. Oops.

Then this weekend came and I don’t know what happened. I’ve written more this weekend than I have in the last three months combined. Fantastic, right? Except I wrote on about five different things, and researched places for submission, and quickly realised I have nothing to submit because it’s all too long and/or requires too much revision, and just wrote more. I’ve turned what was a short story into the beginnings of a novel. I brought it to my critique group and I just go so inspired by the whole thing.

That’s novel-in-progress number five for those at home keeping track.

What am I doing with my life?! Two are Young Adult, Three are Adult-Adult, and none are even vaguely finished. Is this normal? I’d only consider three to be actively in progress, with the other two shelved, at least temporarily. Unfortunately, those two are the ones I’m furthest along on but have the least interest in. I don’t doubt those two statements are more than casually related. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing. My life’s dream since I understood what a book actually was is to write them.

I’m really hoping that what I have going on right now is going to be what sustains me and becomes what I want to publish. I’ve been really into Young Adult fiction lately. I feel like I want to write the book that would have got me through my adolescence easier had I not thought myself too smart to read Young Adult fiction when I was a younger adult. I want to write characters that I never saw when I was young and hope that the kids reading it will finally have someone to relate to.

Anyway, this is just more of me thinking out loud. I’m enjoying my writing weekend and am thankful my power hasn’t gone out (yet). I’m just enjoying the excuse to not run errands and stay warm in my house, fire roaring, Christmas lights twinkling, laundry machine going, and the sound of my keys tap-tap-tapping out my life’s great ambition.

See you on the other side, my friends.

Writing Prompt #5

A storm destroys your uncle’s shed and kills his six-year old son. Describe the colour of the sky right before the storm hit.

The day he died, the sky was like any other sky, but bluer. The clouds were the white, fluffy kind where they shape shift into anything you can imagine. When the first drops of rain began to fall, the sky turned ominous. The sky became a blanket of grey, just like the wool of the blanket he slept in as a that time he had scarlet fever. The clouds flashed and banged. I used to tell him that thunder and lightning were just the angels bowling. We spent storms guessing the score: The big ones were strikes, and the smaller ones just knocked down pins. Two close together were spares. But that night, it was a strike that killed him.

What did you think? Would you be interested in hearing the end?

Writing Prompt #2

Happy Hallowe’en, everybody! I hope you night was sufficiently ghoulish.

I’m trying something new today. I bought a book the other day that is filled with writing prompts. So, on days when I don’t have anything to share, I will do a writing prompt from the book! To make things interesting, I might even do some prompts from the comments.

Prompt: Put your iPod on random shuffle, write down the lyric of the first song that comes on, and use it as an opening line. Here we go!

“Hush, just stop.” Amanda’s mother said. “There’s nothing you can do or say.”

“I loved him, Mom!” Amanda cried into her mother’s shoulder. “He told me he loved me, too.” Her mother smoothed her hair and dried her tears.

“I know, sweetheart,” she began, “but it doesn’t always work out.”

“And now he’s with Trisha! Trisha of all people.”

Amanda’s mother stifled a smile. She remembered teenage heartbreak. She remembered how intense and painful and how ultimately fleeting it was. She couldn’t say this to her daughter, though, of course. This was a lesson she would have to learn in her own time.

“Trisha was my friend,” Amanda continued. “We went to the Spring Fling on double dates. How could she do this to me?!” She began to cry again.

“I know you feel betrayed,” said her mother, “but Trisha liked Michael, too. You told me yourself when you first started dating… last month.” She tried to keep the sarcasm out of the added ‘last month’. It seemed like Amanda was getting her heart broken every other week.

“You would stick up for Trisha! You always liked her better than me!”

Amanda’s mother was startled by this escalation. “Well, that escalated quickly.” She was trying to make Amanda laugh but it did not work. “Of course I don’t like Trisha better than you. You’re my daughter. But you and Trisha have been friends for years; it’s not uncommon that you would like the same boy. Did you think of how Trisha felt when Micheal chose you?”

Amanda brushed the comment off, “she said she was cool with it.”

“And what did you say when Trisha told you she was dating Micheal?”

“That I was cool with it and I was over him.”

“Do you see my point?” Amanda’s mother asked.

With a deep sigh, Amanda answered, “yes.”

“Now come give me a hug and go finish your homework,” Amanda’s mother said with outstretched arms.

Amanda got up off her knees, gave her mother a hug, and went into her room. Loud music began to emanate from the room, indicating that Amanda was going to be just fine.

What do you think? Would you have gone another way with the same first line? Do you have a prompt you’d like me to do? Leave it in the comments! Thanks for reading!