Adventures in Writing and Getting Published

My journey to write a series of books and get them published.

Category: Book Updates

Book Update!

I met my chapter goal for the month today. It was exhausting and took me 8+ hours, but I did it. I’m up to the mid-point in my book where I just don’t even want to look at the thing anymore, so I’m going to scrap my 5 character goal. I think I’ll leave the character chart for my break between the first draft and the second. I’m still trying to decide how long that break should be, though, to be honest. What do you guys suggest for the downtime between drafts?

Taking a break for a few days.

I’ll be taking a break from my book for a few days. I finished Chapter 5 yesterday and I have 11 days to get Chapter 6 done, which shouldn’t be too difficult. I think I can afford a few days off.

Made an update! And some reader interaction, please!

I mostly played Sims today. I thought I was ready to start my book, but I really wasn’t. I did sit my butt down though earlier and I was determined to get SOMETHING written up. I felt my story was moving too slowly, so I made the decision to add an excerpt that I had written out previously to my Chapter 5 file. I’m still not sure if it’s a good idea to add it right now, but since it’s only draft 1, I don’t see it as too big of a deal. But chapter 5 is finally finished with 5,505 words in the file. Which means I only need to write one more chapter to meet my goal fro February. I can probably safely take things slower from now on, but I’m not sure on that. I’m only 4,025 words away from meeting my goal of 30,000 words for the month and chances are I’ll be doing more than just that, especially if I finish chapter 6 in time to write the bonus chapter for the month.

Now I am, however, having a big problem with the book. I have to age my main character up over the course of 4 years in this book and obviously I’m not going to be able to write day-by-day events unless they’re important to the story overall. The problem is, so much can happen over the course of one year, not to mention 4. But I can’t even think of one major thing to write about. I’ve already done a move, a family death, making friends, I’ve had a few school scenes, but my dreamscapes won’t be coming in for 2 years from where I’m at now. How do I fill n two years? If you have any ideas, I would greatly appreciate them! My main character starts out as 5 in the book, and is 9 by the end. My dreamscapes don’t come up until she’s 7, and I kind of know where I’m going from there, but it’s the filling in of those two years that I’m kind of stuck on. :/

A late update.

I really had to think hard about whether or not I was going to post an update today because there was really nothing for me to say unless I wanted to go into personal details and I really didn’t. But in a nutshell, my horrible day from yesterday carried over into today. I have never had such a horrible Valentine’s Day in my entire life and it affected me more than I thought. To the point where not even writing would help me escape how I was feeling. So once again I didn’t get anything done with my book. I’m feeling a little bit better now though so hopefully I can get something done tomorrow.

Long story short.

I didn’t get anything done in regard to my story at all today. I spent the day reinstalling sims to my computer and moping around because my boyfriend was gone all day. :p

Afternoon Update

I finished chapter 4 last night at 5,077 words. This morning when I woke up, I started chapter 5 and I’m 620 words into it, but I had to take a break to do some things. I’m glad things are finally moving forward. My goal for the end of February is 6 chapters and I’m pushing forward!

I haven’t posted anything? *gasp*

No, really though. My day started out pretty rotten and just kind of got worse as it went on. It wasn’t until a few hours ago that I finally got enough peace to sit down and stare at my word document for chapter 4 and try not to bash my head against my laptop. But once I started typing, it just kind of flowed. So that was a relief because I haven’t made any progress in Chapter 4 since I started it a couple of days ago. Now I’m just 339 words away from finishing my goal of 5,000 words per chapter. There might be hop for me to finish 6 chapters this month after all. As for my Character Chart…that’s still on the fence, unfortunately. I would love to be able to work out my character chart before finishing my first draft, but frankly, I just don’t think it’s going to work out like that if I want to finish this thing in a timely manner. I started it in may last year; it should already be done by now. But you know how it goes: life gets in the way and such. It’s actually very upsetting to me. Especially since I have such high hopes for this book. So off I go, attempting to catch up on 9 months of work. Here goes everything, I guess.

Reopening an old project.

A few years back a friend of mine and I started working on a story together. Unfortunately, she has the majority of the notes on it packed away and since real life got in the way, the project was just kind of forgotten. But fortunately, I have some old notes hanging around my e-mail on it. It’s very basic, and there’s only a character description for one of the characters, but it’s a start. It’s unfortunate, though. We had character descriptions for a lot of characters including a villain written out. But again, she has the majority of the notes packed away and I’m living hundreds of miles away now. I suppose we can attempt to rebuild the world from memory, but it’s probably going to be a lot different than before unless she can find those notes. And since she’s usually being harassed by her family when she’s not at work, coming across those notes will be more difficult than we think. I really would love to give this project another shot though, it was very promising.

Time for a Mini-Celebration!

I’m up to 23 Followers on my blog now, and that’s really cool to me! So this is going to be my sort of afternoon update. There’s really not a lot to say about the book. I just started working on Chapter 4. My goal for February is to get 6 chapters put together so I’m more than halfway there and it’s only been a day since I made the goal. I guess in a way it’s kind of cheating because I did split Chapter 1 up. But I don’t care. If I’m feeling competent enough and I’ve gotten my 6 chapters for the month written out, I’ll add a 7th chapter to the goal. But we’ll see. I don’t know if I’ll be capable of it. At this point I still don’t know how many chapters I’ll have going by the end of Draft 1. But anyways. It’s really exciting to me that 23 people actually care about what I’m writing on here!

So thanks to all of you! ❤

Evening Update

I’ve been so busy writing today. I love when I get in the groove and just can’t stop. I had to tear myself away from my chapter because if I had kept going it would have been way too long. I ended up splitting Chapter 1 into two Chapters. So the Chapter that I was working on that I was calling 2, became 3, and Chapter 1 became Chapters 1 and 2. I decided that since this is the first draft and it’s all tell no show, it’s going to end up doubling in length once I start Draft 2 because I’ll be fleshing it out and embellishing my writing. In fact, I might have to separate my chapters once more once I get to Draft 2, so I need to be careful. Note to self: do NOT reach your word count goal in Draft 1. Hopefully my chapters don’t double as well as my word count, other wise I might be in trouble. I’m thinking, though, if I can keep my word count in draft 1 to 57,500 and finish the story, then I can safely double my word count and my chapter count without having to worry about going too far over 115,000 words (considered in the “excellent” range of Fantasy novels: 100,000-115,000). But the most I can stretch it to is 124,000 before an agent won’t bother too look at it. I know I won’t get it finished in my second draft, but I’m trying to stick to reasonable guidelines as much as possible.

Things I’ve been learning by writing my first novel:

1. The first draft of a novel is the “all tell, no show” portion where you get down the bare bones of what you want for your story. You finish the entire story in this “all tell, no show” range, and in the second draft, you change it by embellishing the story and adding to it. It’s also the planning stage. Most of your time is taken up by planning. The writing is the easy part.
2. The second stage becomes the “mostly show, some tell” stage where the words are crafted and edited to make the writing sound like an actual story rather than, “this happens, it’s a story, and it’s done.” No one likes stories like that. In this stage, the novel usually ends up doubling in length and becomes at least somewhat decent. Usually you’ll fix spelling and grammatical errors that you didn’t catch in your first draft. But you usually don’t show it to people at this stage.
3. Draft 3 is the beta stage. You send your novel out to beta readers that you trust (I happen to have 3 that I feel safe sending my novel to) and get your critiques from those beta readers. But while you’re waiting, you read through your novel yourself. You take out unnecessary sentences, words, and anything that seems repetitive or otherwise useless to the overall plot of your story. You fill in the plot holes and in some cases, you add stuff that you forgot to add in earlier drafts.4. Draft 4 is usually (in most cases) the final draft before the manuscript. This is where you take your critiques that you got from your trusted betas, and the changes that you made, and combine them all into the story. By now your novel should be within the acceptable range of a novel from your genre (Fantasy, in my case), and you’re just rewriting it. You send the finished novel back to your trusted betas, they read through it again, and tell you whether or not they think it should go through another draft, or if it’s primped and polished enough to go into the manuscript. Any other drafts are just rinse and repeat of steps 3 and 4.
5. Manuscript. This is the stage where you start researching your agents and begin writing your query letters. Places like Absolute Write (linked in a previous post) or other forums or websites where you as the writer frequent usually have a forum dedicated to writing out your query letter to make your manuscript shine. By now you should have your 4th draft retyped into a manuscript format (if you haven’t already written the story out in manuscript format, or even if you have, retyping it will help you check for anymore last minute spelling or grammatical errors). You should know exactly what your story is about. Its genre, its word count, its plot, its characters, EVERYTHING. You take all of your knowledge and put it into that ultra important query letter that will probably have 4 or more drafts by itself as well before you have the perfect query letter to send out to agents.

And…that’s all I know for now. :p