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Writing Check In- October

8 Oct

One of my goals for this year was to write more. My husband had the suggestion of making a monthly feature to talk about my writing and how it’s going. It helps keep me honest(ish) and lets you all know when my masterpiece will be released to the world!

I delayed writing this post a while so I could have something to report. I didn’t get a lot of writing done in September. It’s a very busy fall for me, more so than I can remember before, even without school. My goal of making time to write was washed away with a new job and figuring out a new schedule. I’m adjusting well enough, I think. It will take a bit more time.

I haven’t done any writing but I made some small adjustments to the new ending of my novel and I’m satisfied with it. I’m going to start submitting! I picked an agent I want to submit to and I’m working on the submission requirements she has. It will take me a little time but I’ll have less to prepare next time (hopefully). I want an agent to take me seriously so I’m being sure to meet all the requirements each has. After I finish with this one, I’ll submit to two more and then wait for feedback before I move forward.

I’m also seriously considering doing NaNo this year. I need to get moving with my next book, whatever that is, and NaNo is a great time to do that. 2015 was the last time I did NaNo and it feels like a good time to get back into it. I need to do some research about the period I hope to write in and start developing some characters. I have a few ideas, but nothing that could be a fully formed story yet.

So there are my minor steps forward. I’m always optimistic about making more progress than I do, but at least it pushes me forward.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Writing Check In- September

10 Sep

One of my goals for this year was to write more. My husband had the suggestion of making a monthly feature to talk about my writing and how it’s going. It helps keep me honest(ish) and lets you all know when my masterpiece will be released to the world! I’m running a little late this month because of the Labor Day holiday but I’m still here!

I had a much better month! I was lucky to have two weeks scheduled off as I changed jobs and I used it to get a lot of things done around my house, including writing. I finished the next draft! I’m feeling really good about the book now and I think I’m going to try submitting it to an agent and see what happens. So my next steps are getting my query letter, samples, summaries, etc. ready to go. I wish there was a little more consistency in what agents asked for, but it also makes us work for publication, so I understand.

It would be great if I could get going on another project. Being in the editing and submission phase is fun, but I like the process of creating. I have a workbook that is supposed to help you craft a novel and that might be a place to start. I’ve had a few ideas bouncing around for a while, but nothing fully formed and ready to be a novel. Maybe I need to finish a short story first. Or work on getting one I’ve finished published. There are a lot of different ways I could go right now, though having something in process sounds the most fun.

If anyone has any suggestion on how to work on a new piece while keeping up with an old one, I’m all ears. I want to keep writing as a part of my routine but I’m nervous about getting overwhelmed as I head into a new job and a change of my routine.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Writing Check In- August

6 Aug

One of my goals for this year was to write more. My husband had the suggestion of making a monthly feature to talk about my writing and how it’s going. It helps keep me honest(ish) and lets you all know when my masterpiece will be released to the world!

This was not a good month for writing and I had an idea it would play out that way. I had my Half IronMan at the end of July and the ramp-up to that was intense. But it’s over. I want to really focus again on writing. I got a little bit done on Friday, fixing the tone of a few scenes. My female lead was getting in a lot of screaming matches that made her a bit unlikeable. I think we’re on better fitting now.

I stopped before a major change I’m putting in. I realized my POV didn’t bounce back and forth very much through one section and that needed to change. It should be easy enough to implement, but I need to re-write a few scenes and switch the order of a few others. It will take some work and a chunk of dedicated time is the best way to go about it. I’m saving it for my next dedicated time.

When I was training, I put each of my workouts on my calendar. It let me move things around if needed and see where I had free time or busy days. I want to start doing that with writing now. I know what workouts I need to plan so I can plan my writing, too. I think it will be mostly after-work writing time and I’m OK with that. My husband has found plenty of ways to keep himself busy while I’m having ‘me’ time. We’ll just keep that moving forward.

I hope to have more progress to report next month and be closer to moving toward submission. I’m so excited to share this book with all of you and the rest of the world! It’s coming, I promise.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Writing Check In- July

2 Jul

One of my goals for this year was to write more. My husband had the suggestion of making a monthly feature to talk about my writing and how it’s going. It helps keep me honest(ish) and lets you all know when my masterpiece will be released to the world!

This month has been hit and miss. I’ve done a lot of thinking about my plot and I have a great idea of what needs to be added and how the whole thing flows. I added a bit more structure to it, took out some scenes that didn’t do anything, and added some that really pushed my characters. I also defined my female character so she’s not as weak and has a more compelling plotline and decisions. It’s all good stuff.

But, I haven’t had as much butt-in-chair writing time. I’m ramping up to my Half Ironman at the end of July and training time has been the priority. It will be for one more month. After 70.3 goal is publication goal so this will start to take the driver’s seat. I’ll probably try to write two or three times a week instead of one. It will replace the stupid-long mid-week rides that I hate. It’s all good, still.

I’m a little nervous about my willingness to ‘kill my darlings’ as it’s called. I’ve worked on this book for years and cutting scenes that I’ve spent that time perfecting just because they don’t move a character forward as well as another scene might be hard. I have to keep telling myself they’re saved in another draft and I can come back to them later. What’s important now is getting it ready to publish.

I’ve never felt so close to being ready to share the story outside my immediate friends and family. I’ve started saying that I write and I’m not afraid to tell people about it and try to get them interested. I hope I’m helping drum up some interest with you all. I’ve wanted to tell this story for a long time. The next problem is writing another story.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Writing Check In- June

11 Jun

One of my goals for this year was to write more. My husband had the suggestion of making a monthly feature to talk about my writing and how it’s going. They’re supposed to be the first Tuesday of the month, but life is screwy sometimes and I’m running a week late. My apologies to anyone who remembered better than I did.

I’ve been fairly successful at sticking to writing despite ramping up for my triathlon next month. I finished my round of editing which felt huge. I had to rush through the end to get it to an interested party the last time around so this time, I was going slowly through the end and tweaking it a bit.

I started reading Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy and I’m feeling less and less confident that it’s ready to share with an editor. There are some great suggestions for self-editing in this book and I think I may take another month or so to do a few of these things. One is making a scene list and seeing what the point of each scene is as well as who is speaking more, how long they are, and the pacing of them. The second is answering a series of questions about the motivation of a character. I think I need to do this for my female lead character, she doesn’t seem as strong as the male counterpart.

I hope I can finish the Dummies book before it’s due this weekend and I hope to pick up a few more tricks in the meantime. I don’t want to put off querying forever!

On that note, I got the Writers Digest guide on Literary Agents and small publishers and I’ve made a list of those who might represent my book. It’s a nice, long, intimidating GoogleDoc that’s ready for me to start populating when I begin querying. I know there are a few steps between editing and querying so I’ll have to write my summary and query letter soon as well. I’m strangely looking forward to this process.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Writing Check In- May

6 May

One of my goals for this year was to write more. My husband had the suggestion of making a monthly feature to talk about my writing and how it’s going. I’ve decided to make this the first Tuesday of the month so you can all look forward to these posts with bated breath and get a little update on where I am.

This was a really big month for me. I’ve been looking forward to this post for weeks. In April, I was able to get five minutes of face time with a published author and I mentioned that I was writing a YA Historical Fiction novel. She asked me for a synopsis and when I said ti was Italian and Irish immigrants in 1920s Chicago inspired in part by Romeo and Juliet, she said she wanted to read it and gave me her email, saying she’d share her agent’s information with me. I thought I was going to die.

I spent the rest of the week furiously finishing my editing of the book and making some minor changes throughout so I could send it to her before she forgot about me.

I got a response two days later that she couldn’t read it, but would be willing to share her agent’s name as well as that of another friend who is an agent. She also volunteered to follow-up with her agent after I sent it. Honestly, this is the best I could have ever asked for. This author also publishes YA and historical fiction so this would be a good agent for me to connect with.

I’ve been doing a closer edit of the book since I heard back. I want to go through the ending with a more fine-toothed comb than I did before sending it off to this author. I had one scene that needed a lot of work.

I liked the scene originally. It showed character progression and it was fun, but my beta reader had recommended adding a more emotionally charged scene to advance the subplot with a minor character and this seemed like a good place. I re-wrote it to send out and made the scene very serious and sad. I had to change a lot to get my character to cry and for others to react but I made it work. Kind of.

I disliked it almost as soon as I began to write again. For a week before it came time to rewrite it, I was thinking of ways I could make it better. I talked to my husband about it a few nights in a row and fell asleep rewriting it in my head. I felt like I finally had an idea to fix it.

I finished it up last night and I’m very happy with it. There’s still a stronger emotion than the first rendition, but this time the primary emotion is anger. I also strengthened the minor character who I introduced to the scene and gave him a more final ending. I think I can finally call his arc complete and I’m very happy with that.

I expect to finish my editing next month. Then I’ll move on to querying the agents I’ve been recommended. And then the major querying will start. I think it’s about time for this book to see the light of day. Which also means it’s time to start writing again. And that’s a bit terrifying.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Writing Check In- April

2 Apr

One of my goals for this year was to write more. My husband had the suggestion of making a monthly feature to talk about my writing and how it’s going. I’ve decided to make this the first Tuesday of the month so you can all look forward to these posts with bated breath and get a little update on where I am.

I had a major breakthrough with a character a few weeks ago. Her motivation was weak and she is (on purpose) quite an annoying character so I needed to give her a great reason to act the way she does and I hadn’t been able to figure it out. It finally came to me in the middle of one of my weekly writing sessions and I immediately started adding it back into the novel. It was almost like starting over each scene she came up and it took a lot of work but I’m almost caught up again to where I was when I had this idea. It feels so good. I ran the idea past my husband and my beta reader and both loved it. I’m so glad!

Once that’s worked in, I’ll continue working through the feedback my friend and beta reader Kristine Kruppa gave me. This will probably take me a few more months since I’m going at it a bit slowly. Once that’s done, I had another beta reader give me some feedback that’s a bit more topical and stylistic than plot. I’ll go over that quickly I expect. I have a book to work through after that, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. I read the book that came with a workbook a few years ago and it seems like it’s time to go through the workbook. After that, I’ll send it to two beta readers again and then I think it might be time to query. It also seems too soon, but I know it has to happen at some point!

I have a few other stories started, but no more novel ideas at this point. My second completed manuscript isn’t something I love and I’m not sure I want to go through the extensive editing process with it if I’m not super passionate. Maybe I better start again fresh with another idea. However, that seems too far off to worry about just yet.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Writing Check In- March

5 Mar

One of my goals for this year was to write more. My husband had the suggestion of making a monthly feature to talk about my writing and how it’s going. I’ve decided to make this the first Tuesday of the month so you can all look forward to these posts with bated breath and get a little update on where I am.

I’m working through the fifth major re-write of my novel. It’s a YA novel set in the 1920s. I sent it out to some trusted friends to beta read about 18 months ago and I’m still working through their feedback. After this round of editing, I think it’s time to start sending queries. You only stop editing when you publish, right?

My friend Kristine Kruppa gave me feedback that I’m working on now. She had some major plot suggestions that I’m working in. I’ve decided to do this by going through the story, scene by scene, and asking myself at the end, Did this fit the new goals I have for my book? Often, the answer is no and I make some major edits. As I get farther and farther into the book, the edits are becoming more and more time-consuming. This has become a really fun process and I’m looking forward to my writing time each week. When the timer goes off after an hour, I’m usually disappointed and hoping to squeeze in a bit more.

My biggest focus now is my female protagonist. (I have a male and female protagonists. One guess what happens.) Kristine’s feedback was that my male character had strong motivation and dominated the story while the female character seemed to take a back seat and be more easily influenced. That was not my intent by any means and I was glad to get that feedback. I’m adding in some motivation for her and ways she can take a stronger stance when she is questioned. It’s been fun so far.

I’ve got a lot of work to do with a minor character in the next few scenes. Her motivation is a bit muddled so I’m trying to clarify that and make her a little less annoying but just as despicable. It’s going to be a challenge for sure!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!