it gives a lovely light

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

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Hello everyone!

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It’s been a little while since my last update, and a lot has happened. Life is full of surprises! I’m starting a new job in two weeks. It’s a temporary assignment, but I’m excited to get experience in another department. Also, I’m officially going back to school in September to get my Bachelor of Education in Adult Education. So, yay!

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But, as with most things in life, things are going to change. So, while I’m excited, I’m also nervous.

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I’m still trying to figure out what it all means and how to slot writing into learning a new job and going back to school. It’s definitely going to be an adjustment. Eep!

But you’re here for writing news, right?

I attended SCBWI Canada East’s conference in Montréal last weekend. It was great. My favourite part was hanging with my awesome writing buddy, but also the workshops were pretty enjoyable. I think I got a lot out of it, but mostly I got a break from the tire-fire of my life, and I’m still feeling much better for it afterwards.

Thing is, Awesome Writing Buddy brainstormed IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT with me, and we may have solved the problem? But I’m also working on THE SCARS WE BEAR. Can I get two drafts of a book completed before September? I GUESS WE’LL SEE!

eye of the tiger(This gif is for two of my writing buddies, but for different reasons.)

I’m also still querying THE NEW ROMANTICS. I’m behind on sending queries out but I’ve had some pretty good response with several requests for partials or fulls. No “yeses” yet. I’m getting a lot of, “Like it, don’t love it” responses. Kind of a bummer, but I’m hoping someone will love it! If not, I have some irons in the fire and I’ll be back in the trenches again with a new project next year. I hope.

So, that’s it! I’m going to spend the summer neck deep in writing projects (hopefully) to prepare for school starting in the fall. Then, who knows? Life is full of surprises.

Thanks for reading. ❤

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Overdue Update

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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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Goodbye, 2016

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I haven’t written a post in a while. So, here I am, first day of 2017, thinking about the last year in reading and writing while watching When Harry Met Sally.

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Side note: I miss Carrie Fisher already.

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2016 was an up and down year, but was a mostly good year in reading and writing. I set a challenge to read thirty books in 2016, and I ended up reading 32. I wanted to read less YA this year, but failed miserably at that. I think I read more than 32 books with my rereads, but just didn’t track them. (I reread books a lot. A lot.)

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My favourite reads of 2016 were: Emmy & Oliver, Graffiti Moon, Station Eleven and Fans of the Impossible Life.

My least favourite reads were: Love Letters to the Dead, A Little Folly, I’m Glad About You and The Love that Split the World.

I reread a few, like Anna and the French Kiss and Landline.

So, that’s reading. On to writing.

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I finished the zero draft of THE NEW ROMANTICS at the end of 2015. So, I spent most of this year revising and editing that book. I’m on Draft Seven now. I’ve tentatively started querying it, and I’ve received one request, but mostly rejections. I think the first pages still need work, so I’m concentrating on that. Still, I’d like to seriously query TNR early in 2017.

I spent a lot of time bouncing between writing projects this year, so I was drafting on several projects at the same time. That didn’t work for me and I got very little done on any one project. Then, November came along and I decided to do NaNoWriMo. And I won!

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I did NaNo using a book I was already about 13K words into, so, all-in-all, I came out of #NaNoWriMo2016 with a 63K zero draft of ALL OF THIS EVERYTHING. (You can look on My Projects page to see what it’s about.) I’ve barely looked at the draft since I wrote it. I’m pretty convinced it’s terrible and not at all what I actually wanted to write, but I think that about all my zero drafts.

What’s next? I’ve read over IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT a lot these last few months and made a lot of notes. I might be ready to give that one another go. Today I’ve been drafting A SOFT PLACE TO LAND, code name The Rugby Story, and am enjoying that one a lot.

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For 2017, I’m making goals for things I can control, as much as I’d like it to be the year I get an agent or a book deal. So, here goes.

Reading-wise, I joined the 2017 Reading Challenge to read 35 books.

Writing-wise, I have two:

  1. I’d like to get another book written. A zero draft of either a new IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT or A SOFT PLACE TO LAND. Right now, I’m liking the latter better, but the former is still pulling at my mind strings.
  2. Once THE NEW ROMANTICS is ready, I’d like to send out ten queries a month. I may modify this one, as I’m not sure how well that’ll work, but I’m going to try it.

So, that’s it! That’s 2016. I wish everyone a 2017 where they receive all the amazing things they deserve. Happy New Year! ❤

2017

Juggling Projects and My “Big Book”

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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

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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

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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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It Gives a Lovely Light, Draft Three: Day Five

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Day five is over. What can I say about day five?

ugly cry dawson

sad

kill me 2It did not go well is what I’m saying.

I started my read through. I tried reading word by word. I tried reading out loud. I tried reading it like a reader. None of it worked well.

I am officially so sick of this book.

gahhWhat am I supposed to do with that? I’m still determined to finish the read through tonight. I’m only about four chapters from the end, so I should be able to do it. But at this moment I feel like this book is terrible and I’m a failure because of it. My writing buddy assures me this is not the case and I’m just going to have to get by on her faith in my project for now.

everything will be okayTo calm myself, I’ve decided I’m just going to send my manuscript off to her for beta reading first before I subject anyone else to it. I’ve convinced myself there will be many changes for draft four as there are a tonne of new things in draft three. I have lost confidence. But, hopefully, having someone read it and the distance it will give me while I wait will restore it, or the little I had to begin with.

Okay, I’m off to finish reading. This will be my last blog on this draft. Thanks to the folks that have read the whole week, or even just one day. The blogging has helped in my accountability. Overall, I had a really good week. I wish I could do this forever, but alas. I return to the life of an aviation analyst on Monday.

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