plateau point

A writing plateau, I mean. A month ago, my fingers were flying over the keys. The flow of my sequel was non-stop. I couldn’t spend enough time writing. Then, I took a break to do some editing, and the flow stopped. I was very smart–because I know myself–and got the sequel to a good plot point before I stopped to edit. I did it mainly because I knew this would happen. I still have a goal of finishing before my birthday, but I am much farther behind than I’d planned to be.

I’ve got about 10 new pages now, but it’s not the flow I had before. I started scheduling writing marathons and such, wanting to meet up with people and write. I’m going to start kidnapping myself after work again and going to cafes to write. I swear my apartment is like a black hole that sucks up all energy when I arrive. I open my laptop and end up surfing the web. On a high note,  I did finish a fan fiction chapter for a story that’s been dead in the water for 6 months :D. Happy about that? Yes, I am. But is it what I’m supposed to be doing? No, lol.

I think my problem with the sequel is, as I’ve said before, that I’ve never gotten this far in the story I’m telling. I’ve always had the plan for The Fourth Piece in mind. There are so many drafts of it. But making it to Book II and knowing all the ground I have to cover? Maybe I’m intimidated. I don’t know. I really like what I have. I think it’s exciting, and I think it has the potential to be better than The Fourth Piece, but I have to deliver. It does make me nervous. I slurp in all the feedback I can get as I write The Third Gambit (Book II). I want to know how it’s doing, if it’s losing people, if I’m drowning the audience in backstory or leaving them too thirsty for knowledge.

I miss having deadlines. When I was in grad school, once a month, I had to have 25 pages of something to submit. I’m a member of multiple writers groups, but I’m cheating. I have so much of The Third Gambit already written that I have materials for two months worth of meetings. So, there’s no pressure there. But you know what, I should respect my personal deadlines the same way I’d respect an assignment’s deadline. I’m really going to shape up and do this. I will write something on my book everyday, even if it’s only a few words. Who knows, those few words might be what turns the flow back on. I still have another round of editing to do on The Fourth Piece, but this time I won’t stop writing new stuff while I’m going through edits.

New news (hah!) for The Fourth Piece. I got to do some sketching. I haven’t sketched in years, but I’m not terrible at it. My main characters, the Ladreth brothers, have strange markings on their spines that end up being very important to the story. I describe the marks, and then was asked to draw them because they might look cool on the cover. I sent over a rough sketch, which will be redesigned, and I might get to see a version of it on the new cover mock-ups. What else? Networking is awesome. I know some fabulous people and authors who are imparting me with their knowledge…and connections for promotion. It’s all so exciting!

New news (haha!) for me? I just got Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Somebody did spoil a little of it for me, but I’m still looking forward to reading it. I’m not quite ready to leave the world of the Shadow Hunters just yet. Do I hope to read some cameos of Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood? Yes! Do I want to see Jem and Tessa wander into the plot and never leave? YES. But I’m also happy for a new story too. So, I’m sure I’ll love it. Other news? I’m moving to a new place! Totally renovated, which is what I like. Maybe a new space will spark some creativity (here’s for hoping!)

So, back to writing… and reading!… and editing. Until next time! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

toot my horn

I turned in all my edits on Sunday, and on Monday and today (Tuesday), I updated all of my social media accounts, submitted a head-shot and an author bio, established my pen name and sent in a summary to go on the back of the book. Here’s what I have to say about all of that: EEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Profound, I know. Soon, I’ll be up on the publisher’s website, and hey, I can post the link so all of you can see it too! I can’t wait to start discussing marketing and… COVER ART! Who doesn’t get excited about cover art? Do I get cover models, do I get a symbol, I don’t know. I think I do have some say in it all, though. And here’s my say on all of this right now: AAAAAAAAAA!!!

So, yeah, I’m tooting my horn. But you know, people put such a negative spin on tooting your own horn. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that you’re doing cool things. Sometimes, if you don’t, no one will ever know what you’re doing and how strongly you feel about it. Feel good about yourself people. If no one else pats you on the back and tells you “good job”, you should. Only you truly know what you went through to accomplish certain tasks.

Okay, so I really didn’t have all that much to say in this post aside from sending off all those materials. It just makes it all feel more real. In the words of Jessie Spano from Saved By the Bell (there I go dating myself again!) “I’m so excited…I’m so excited… I’m so excited.”

Now, I need to get back to sequel-writing. I’m SO very glad of my decision to bring the second story to a good stopping place before going on with the edits for Book I. It has been more than two weeks since I touched the sequel and now I’m starting cold. I’ll get back into the swing of it, but I’m going to need to reread and do a little editing.

That said, I’m going to sign off, so I can do some rereading. Take care and thanks for keeping up with me!

 

 

 

 

We_Can_Edit

The publishing house’s edits came last Tuesday. Yes, last Tuesday. I read the e-mail from the publisher which gave general directions on how to proceed in the editing process and then gave praise. The editor said: “Wow… this author is freakin’ fabulous!” Made my morning. I went to work in the best mood.

Then, I had to decide when to look at the edits. I have been on such a roll writing the sequel that I didn’t want to switch gears right away. I decided to get book 2 to a good stopping point. I didn’t want to stop in the middle of an action sequence or while I was building tension. I didn’t want to come back and have to reread to try to find that inspiration again. So, I gave myself a deadline. I said that I would write either 25 pages more or complete the current chapter because the story would totally change pace after the occurring events.

But let me tell you how tempting it was to break open those edits. I kept gazing at the e-mail all week, like hmm… just a little peek. But I resisted, because I know me. I would open the attachments and be a No Limit Editing Soldier on book 1 for the next week or so and lose my stride on book 2.

So today, I got to my perfect stopping place in book 2 and cracked open my edits. The first attachment was just a generalized one-pager with overall notes about being careful of word repetitions and overuse of ellipses, em-dashes and dialect. However, there was a special emphasis on the dialect suggestion to let me know that it was only an opinion. So, then I had to think about just how much dialect to change if it isn’t crucial.

So, after I let all that sink in, I opened the actual story with the track changes in it. The notes in the suggestion column are easy to follow, and there are even some compliments tossed in there. The editor offers suggestions for word repetitions and does a good job eliminating unnecessary words.

I look over and see that while my document’s 94,000 words there are only like 1700 revisions throughout the whole piece. So, I’m like okay, that’s really cool.  I’ve heard stories where people say an editor ripped their work to shreds, but here it’s not so. I like the usage of overall suggestions and I love the grammatical advice. Sometimes you just don’t notice lazy habits until someone points them out.

I want to give a shout out to everyone who has ever critiqued or just read through The Fourth Piece. It was a clean manuscript before submission and it’s all because of my unpaid friends and editors. That being said, no matter how clean you think your work is, there’s always stuff that can be better… and always a typo.

Going through the edits and accepting or revising changes and justifying leaving something the same is fun. The only pain now is Microsoft Word. The more comments that are left in a document, the slower the program moves. Grrr…

But it’s okay. I’m making pretty good progress. I think I can have this done in a week, and then I’ll wait and see what happens next!

Oh, and as for the sequel, I reached 115 pages in a month. Hopefully I can get this draft done before my birthday in April. How awesome would that be? Then I’d start… book 3. That’s kind of scary to think about. Book 3 is the end of the main story–a story I’ve wanted to tell since 6th grade.

Sniff, sniff, my baby is growing up.

Thanks for reading my rambles. Until next time!

 

 

 

 

So, I’m trying to write a sequel.  It started off great, and now I’m stuck.  I’ve been going to a weekly writers group and a few of them say I give too much back story away too soon, but then I have other people say I don’t give enough back story away soon enough… and I’ve had people say: Hey, I think you’ve found the perfect balance.

I am trying to stop myself from revising every time I read back through the work to figure out where I am.  Too much revision keeps you from finishing anything, or makes a 6-month project turn into a six-year project.  It took me four years to write the first one, I do NOT want to take that long for the sequel.  I gave myself a 3 month goal.  I think I can do it, if I could just get over this sticky patch.

I’m actually outlining to see if that can help me out.  We’ll see.

Okay, now it’s rant time.  The security alarm in my apartment still doesn’t work and guess what it decided to do ALL day and ALL night last night?  Chirp! Chirp-chirp-chripity-chirp chirp!  Chirp! Chirp! CHIRP! Chirp! Chirp.

Did I sleep?  No.

Did I have to get to work early this morning?  Yes.

I called the complex and they gave me a code that is supposed to make it stop.

If it doesn’t work ye all shall see me on the news.

 

Author’s Note:  So you all have found my blog.  Take a poke around and let me know if you find something you like.  All updates for “Empty Spaces” will come here first.  Please follow my blog to get alerts about new chapters :).  Okay, so without further adieu, here is the prologue to “Empty Spaces”.

Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket or any of its characters.  (Though I wish I did!)

Click to read: “I’ll Be Standing There By You.”

“Empty Spaces”, A Fruits Basket Fan Fiction

Genre: Hurt/Comfort/Friendship/Tragedy

Characters: Kyo Sohma, Yuki Sohma

Summary: After Tohru Sohma lost her battle with terminal cancer, Kyo must learn to live without her.  Determined to complete a list of things “To Do” that Tohru left behind, Kyo and Yuki travel to the United States to meet Kyo’s maternal family for the first time.  Kyo learns more about his mother’s past, exposes more Sohma secrets, and latches on to his “new” family with a need that worries Yuki more than the Kyo’s decision not to return to Japan.  Alone in a foreign country, Yuki doesn’t know what to do or who to call to help Kyo and bring him home.

Prologue

“I tend to dream you when I’m not sleeping”—PM Dawn.

“Are you crying, Baby?”  Tiny hands touched either side of his face and soft lips kissed the tears from his cheeks.  “Didn’t I do enough of that earlier today?”

            Kyo sniffled and pressed his forehead against hers.  “Yeah, you did.  You’re gonna look like a tomato in all of our pictures.” He chuckled as she tickled him.  Her fresh scent of wildflowers and honey teased his nose, and he buried his face in her long, soft hair.  The ruffles of her wedding dress chaffed at the bare skin of his arms.

            “Kyo-chan, you’re terrible!” She wailed; then giggled.  Her arms wrapped around his back and she squeezed; then gasped as Kyo’s arms went around her, searching for the zipper of her dress and sliding it down.

            “We’ve had a busy day Mrs. Sohma; I think it’s time for a bath and then bed,” Kyo purred in her ear and she moaned, crushing herself against his chest.

            “Y—yes, I think that sounds wonderful.” 

            Her little fingers unbuttoned his silk shirt, and Kyo felt the soft fabric sliding down his shoulders.  He gazed into her wide brown eyes, drinking in her blissful expression and rosy cheeks and glossy brown hair.  He ran a hand through her hair, loosening the white silk ribbon that held half of it bound.  Chocolate waves cascaded over her shoulders.  She was an angel.

            He hefted her into his arms and got to his feet, laughing as she gave a small shriek of surprise.  She kissed his neck and pressed her soft cheek to his chin.  He kissed her temple.

            “I love you Rice Ball.”

(~*~)

Kyo snapped awake, sitting up and whipping his head around.  “Tohru?”

A hand closed over his bicep.  Kyo blinked several times, eyes focusing.  He was sitting in a cushioned chair, on an airplane.  Cold air blew from a small fan overhead and a dim light shone a beam onto his neighbor—the person who held his arm.

“Are you all right?” Yuki asked.  He laid the paperback novel he had been reading across his thighs.

Kyo cleared his throat and reached up to turn off the fan.  “Fine.”

Yuki looked dubious.  “Were you dreaming about Tohru?”

“It was our wedding day,” Kyo said.  “It was… It felt so real.  I guess I thought I should be waking up in bed in that hotel… with her.”

Yuki rubbed his shoulder.  “You want some water?”

Kyo shook his head and rubbed his temples.  He pulled the shade on the portal window beside him and gazed out into the dark night.  He’d lost track of how much time had passed.  He’d known the flight “across the pond” was going to be long, but sitting in one place for 12 hours was torture.  The plane was supposed to touch ground at Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas at 10:30 PM.  It was hard to wrap his around the fact that it would be lunch time in Japan, when it was bedtime in America.

“How much longer, Yuki?” Kyo asked.

“Two hours,” Yuki said, picking his book back up.  “You had a good nap.”

“I can’t believe you been awake this whole time,” Kyo said, shifting in his seat and grunting at the stiffness of his neck and shoulder muscles.

Yuki turned a page in his novel.  “I can’t sleep surrounded by so many people.  It makes me nervous.”

Kyo smirked.  “You should have sat by the window.  Then you’d only be surrounded by me.”  He knew why crowds made Yuki nervous, because it was the same reason they made him nervous as times.  Though it had been years since the Sohma curse was broken, it was still reflex to shy away from mixed sex crowds to avoid collisions with females.  Nothing said “Hello, how are you?” like turning into a fuzzy, talking animal in front of a stunned audience.

“I wanted you to sleep,” Yuki said.  He set his book down again.  “You haven’t been sleeping well.”

Kyo sighed and looked away from Yuki, staring out the window again.  “I know what you said and what Tohru would say, but what if they don’t like me anyway—ow!”

Yuki pinched him, hard.  “Damn Rat, what the hell!”

“Every time you say something negative, I’m going to pinch you as hard as I can,” Yuki said.  “So, unless you want to be black and blue when you meet your grandmother and aunts and cousins, you’ll smile and be positive.”

Kyo blinked at Yuki then grunted, “It’s always the quiet ones.”

Yuki laughed.  “If you ask Machi, she’d tell you I’m not quiet.”

“Too much information,” Kyo said.  He cracked his knuckles and relaxed in his chair. Two more hours until he saw what the rest of his family looked like and find out why he’d never heard from them, not even after his mother had died.  They hadn’t attempted to come to her funeral, didn’t send flowers.  He hadn’t wanted to talk about it on the phone to his grandmother, didn’t know if he wanted to talk about it ever, but it was something he needed to know.

“I’m so glad your family speaks Japanese,” Yuki said.  “My English is rusty and yours just plain stinks.”

Kyo opened his mouth to retort and snapped it shut.

“What were you going to say?” Yuki asked.

“Nothing, or those vice-like pinchers of yours will come after me again,” Kyo said.

“It was negative?” Yuki asked.

“Only toward you.” Kyo grinned and yelped as Yuki pinched him again.

“Stupid Cat!”

“You love me.” Kyo continued to grin.

“I love you too, Kyo-chan.”

Kyo closed his eyes, feeling her eyelashes tickling his lips and smelling the honey and wildflowers of her hair.  His fingers gripped the armrest between he and Yuki and he swallowed.  Two more hours.

I wish you were here, Rice Ball.  I need you.

PM Dawn.  “I’d Die Without You.” The Bliss Album…? (Vibrations of Love and Anger and the Ponderance of Life and Existence).  V2 North America, 1993.  CD.