Through a plot dimly

mist

This is my plot. Fuzzy, uncertain, shrouded in mist.

I’m working on that.

Right now, I’m brainstorming as my antagonist. Setting her up for success, so that my protagonist has something to truly fight against.

But her motives are unclear. Her actions hazy.

It is a challenge. But that’s okay. I’m up for a challenge. Not to mention, my leading lady is kinda kick-butt, in a nerdy, matter-of-fact kind of way. She can handle it.

 

Image credit: Alice Popkorn, via Flickr

Just Checking In

Well, I am a week into my “downtime” and while I wish I could say the entire house is now spotless and I am spending hours at a time serenely playing with my kiddo, I can’t exactly say that. I can say both bathrooms have been scrubbed recently (trust me, this is, indeed, an accomplishment) and I restocked the baby food supply before I ran out. Barely.

Also, I threw out a bathroom trashcan’s worth of expired health and beauty products I had been storing in my linen closet. I can now, you know, store linens in the linen closet again. This is a good feeling.

I have a feeling this whole get-the-house-in-order-so-I-can-focus-on-my-writing thing is going to take longer than expected at the current rate of one surface or cupboard being tackled per nap.

BUT! I wrote the rough draft of a picture book idea this week. That was unexpected. See what crazy things your brain might do when you give it orders to rest? Yeah. Weird how that works.

Downtime (And a Projected Project Timeline)

I’m giving myself permission to rest. Well, not really REST rest, but rest from writing for a little bit. Don’t worry. Just a little bit. I’ve been feeling guilty about the two drafts I have that are 50% and 90% written and yet are still 50% and 10% UNWRITTEN. I need to stop with the guilt. I’m at a point with both projects where I need to stew for a week, or two, or three. And when a plot point comes into focus, I can make a note and then, when I am ready again, pursue it.

My family and I will be taking a vacation in the coming months, and when that happens, I’m going to really set aside everything and just enjoy the moments I have with my husband and son and just unplug, unwind, and relax. But, until then, I need a bit of time to reboot other areas of my life.

For instance, finally organizing those last couple cupboards in my kitchen that are lingering bastions of clutter. The ones I have been studiously ignoring in favor of napping.

Or, you know, I could also just keep napping. The sleep war continues in this household and the struggle is real, y’all. Nobody can fight sleep like a teething eight-month-old boy.

So, I’m going to focus on me, and my little family, for a couple of weeks. If writing or plotting happens, that will be wonderful, but I am not planning on it. Then, when the time is up and I can’t hold back the urge to write again (it never takes long!), I’ll dive right back in. I have a crazy goal to have both manuscripts ready for submission by this time next year. And, who knows, probably be at work on my next one once they are nearing completion.

Here’s how that projected timeline looks:

September: Tackle the pesky household and personal matters I’ve been ignoring since our son was born. Kind of like a back-to-school (but for grown-ups) thing, baby-proofing for our almost-crawler, and spring cleaning, all rolled into one. Or, maybe this is that infamous “nesting” instinct finally kicking in that I was supposed to get back when I was pregnant?

After that:

  • Autumn months - Plot and write.
  • Winter months - Finish drafts.
  • Spring months - Get feedback (beta reads, critiques, etc.) and revise.
  • Summer months - Final feedback and revisions, copy and line edits.

and then …. submit!

Am I crazy? Maybe. Could others do it more quickly? Definitely. But, for me, that’s an aggressive timeline. It’s worth trying, though!

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 12 Update}

 Good day! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers AlisonErinJaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Polish things up for WriteOnCon.

Be a good mom and give the little man the extra love and comfort he needs right now.

Take care of me whenever I can so I can keep on keeping on. 

I think I did these things. I hope I did. Lots of extra bouncing and tickling and holding for my little man. Down time for me when I got a chance.

And Dr. Who.

This morning I am working on polishing up the query and first five pages of my current WIP (The Echelon Project) for WriteOnCon. I’m terrified, to tell the truth. I’m scared it is rubbish and I’m a fraud and that I’ll be discouraged by feedback and quit on my literary baby. But doesn’t every writer feel that way, at some point?  I wish it was a completed project I could pitch and truly query right now. That was my goal last year, to have a finished manuscript ready to go this August. I’m bummed I didn’t meet that goal, but I am going to cut myself some slack for growing and birthing a human being during this past year, instead. ;)

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

Participate in WriteOnCon and be active on its forums as much as possible.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Bird of Paradise. Cryptic, much? Hah!

Really, I just revised the first 250 words for posting in the WriteOnCon forum, and my main character is caring for one of the plants in the greenhouse.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

More sleep issues! Such is my life right now.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

I might be biased, but I think it is a fresh premise and I am enjoying exploring it.

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 11 Update}

 Hey, y’all! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers AlisonErinJaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Work on my plot, my pitch, and my first pages.

Unfortunately, the only work I did on my book was to think about the work I needed to do on my book.

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

To rest. I still need to polish things up for WriteOnCon, and I will. I will! I can do it! (I need a little self-affirmation, here, after this week!)

But that isn’t my goal.

My goal is to be a good mom and give the little man the extra love and comfort he needs right now. And then to take care of me whenever I can so I can keep on keeping on. I’ll explain in a few …

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

I didn’t write anything that would go in my novel, but I did participate in one  of Kidlit Summer School’s thirty minute dares (#30mdare). I had to make my main character be mean to her best friend. That uncovered a bit of a dynamic that really made their friendship interesting to me, so I will use it to develop both of their characters more.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Sleep issues. Our son is going through some developmental changes that have affected his sleeping. One, two, even three hour chunks at a time he’s been awake in the middle of the night. Sometimes happy, but wide, wide awake. Other times screaming and unable to calm himself down. So we’ve been burning the midnight (or the 2am) oil to help him settle and learn to self-soothe a bit. As a result, during the day after, I don’t have much brain power.

I’m dissapointed I didn’t meet my goal for this week, especially with WriteOnCon coming up, but I don’t regret taking care of myself and trying to sleep when he took his naps instead of writing. It was the best choice for my sanity.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

There are some pretty awesome friendships  between the characters.

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 10 Update}

 Hiya! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers AlisonErinJaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Once again, set aside some time to write on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Even if it is just a paragraph or two.

Yup! :)

But this week I’ll also add: do some plot brainstorming again.

Nope. :( Well, not officially. The plot of my story is pretty much always in the back of my mind, but I didn’t write anything down, as I had intended.

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

I’m switching things up this week. This summer has been a fantastic time to work on writing and connect with other writers. From Ready. Set. WRITE! for companionship and accountability, to the Nerdy Chicks Write summer school for education in character development, and next up will be the return of WriteOnCon for a huge boost of inspiration and lots of peer feedback, which I am soooo excited about! Once September comes, I’m going to be in serious writer group withdrawal. (By the way, HOW GENEROUS is the writing community at large?! Wow.)

But, in order to be ready for WriteOnCon, I need to work on my plot, my pitch, and my first pages. So that is my focus this time around.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

I don’t know if I’ll end up keeping this exchange, or even this character, but I was playing around with a scene where my teenage main character is in a research lab and is getting hit on by an older lab assistant. Here is how that went down:

“You smell good,” Eyebrows said.

“I smell like formaldehyde,” she countered. “And lawsuits.”

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Mom life. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but this week just drained me. I need a nap.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

I really believe in it.

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 9 Update}

Hey, there! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers AlisonErinJaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Let’s do this again: Mon-Thurs … write, write, WRITE!

Done and DONE! I even broke 500 words one night, which, while not huge in and of itself, was huge for me. Also … BONUS … I wrote on Friday, too.

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

Why change a good thing? Once again, set aside some time to write on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Even if it is just a paragraph or two.

But this week I’ll also add: do some plot brainstorming again.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

First draft standard disclaimer, here. But I did like this exchange between my main character and the boy who keeps crashing her solitude.

For a moment—just a moment—his eyes held hers, and she caught a glimpse of warmth, a flash of vulnerability, or, perhaps, just a trick to pull her in.

She wasn’t sure which. But it worked.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

It’s been a busy week, so whenever I do get a chance to sit down, I have to be pretty intentional about putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. You know, as opposed mindlessly binge watching Face Off reruns. Which I also did.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

That annoying boy who keeps showing up every time my main character finally gets a little peace and quiet on her own? He’s a parkour enthusiast. So, you know, watching American Ninja Warrior with my husband actually counts as research. And so does this:

Expert(s) Needed

I am in the middle of my sci-fi WIP and am getting to a point where the story can’t move forward without the actual SCIENCE being mentioned. I’m not looking to be one-hundred percent realistic (this IS the future, after all. Things could change by then), but I’d at least like it to be believable. I know it is a long shot, but I will need to ask some questions soon about what details to add for added oomph, and I was hoping that someone out there is into (or knows someone who is into) microbiology, or genetics, or neuroscience, or botany, or virolgy. Or any combination of the above. I’d love to pick a brain or two. It won’t hurt. Promise.

So this is little ol’ me, asking amazing you if you would be my expert?

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 8 Update}

Come on in! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers Alison, Erin, Jaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Write Monday through Thursday night, without fail. Without excuse.

And that is all.

I did it! I think I finally hit on a goal that works for me and this stage of my life.

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

Let’s do this again: Mon-Thurs … write, write, WRITE!

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Character revelations, thanks to summer school! By the way, it’s not too late, if you want to join in with a late registration. Hop on over to Nerdy Chicks Write to read some fantastic blog posts by guest lecturers. Our coursework focuses on getting to know our characters better, and I have to say my homework has already made a huge impact on my WIP. I’m grateful to Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Kami Kinard for bringing summer school to life. (And equally glad I was on Twitter the day I read about it and hopped on over to participate!)

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

It was my first time being a solo parent for nearly a week. My husband had to go on a business trip, so I was on 24/7 duty, no exceptions, with the kiddo. While it wasn’t completely different from my norm, since I’m a stay-at-home-mom anyway, I realized just how much I relied on Daniel during the evenings. He’s a great dad!

The biggest challenge was also my biggest advantage, however, since I took those nights on my own and turned them into writing opportunities.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

I get pretend what it would be like to be really, really rich.