Day 0: Back To Writing

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Writing 2019

On Monday, May 13, I officially completed the course work for my graduate degree, which means for the first time since I started writing again 2014, I’m not studying for anything. I started writing again while in London, studying for my masters. Then I was studying math for my Praxis, and then I was studying for my teaching certification and second master’s degree. I’m free.

I also don’t have a job lined up for next year so far, so it looks like I’ll be substituting. For the next three and a half months, I have nothing pulling on my time. I still work as a substitute now but I’m not trying to study during the day and rushing to a second job at night. I’m just…completely free.

So I’m going back to writing full-time basically which makes me incredibly happy. I have so many projects I want to work on, and a few I know my readers are looking forward to.  I’m going to blog about it the way I did NaNoWriMo last November because I felt like that really helped to keep me focused.

I haven’t quite decided what project I want to start first. I have a few that I’m looking at — Counting Stars, For the Broken Girl, and of course the next installment of Mad World. I was looking back at Counting Stars and while there’s material in there I really like, I think I’m going to end up sticking with my conclusion then: I like the plot but it needs to be more than a simple Liason story. I need to open up the world to make the character motivations work. It’s still on my list of things I want to tackle, but there’s just a lot that needs to happen first.

I finished the breakdown for Mad World Book 2, so that’s probably going to happen first, but I’m concerned with the fact that the two projects I’ve picked to focus on first are extremely emotionally draining and I wonder if maybe I want to have a back up project to play with in my spare time that’s less than demanding. That’s kind of how I got through The Best Thing — I worked on All We Are in the background, which took less emotional labor if that makes sense.

So I think I want to pick two projects — one longer novel and then one shorter, more fun story. I’m looking at my development list. Kismet or These Small Hours are probably good candidates, but neither of them are outlined or developed enough. I don’t know. I’m still playing with this idea and maybe the second story is something I haven’t really thought through yet. I’m excited to get back into writing though.


Day 1: Short Delay

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Writing 2019

So a lot of things kept me from writing every day last week.  I got sick and then my computer decided it would literally not open any programs. I could click on the shortcut as much as I wanted to and nada. I spent three days backing up and resetting my entire computer. Oy. Now I have to reinstall everything. It’s a giant pain.

But today, I’m mostly feeling better and my computer is back on its way to decent health. It’s almost six years old, and I really need it to last at least another year before I can invest in a new one. I’ve been working on a few things. I’m working on the basic outline for Kismet, the chapter breakdown of Mad World, Book 2, and the timeline for For The Broken Girl.

There’s a few minor details I’m still working out for Book 2, mostly because I’m taking on a couple of more stories. I know some readers were probably a little worried when I said Book 2 would be more of an ensemble but there’s actually nothing that’s happening in Book 2 that I didn’t already introduce in Book 1. The PCPD, the Quartermaines, and the teens were all in there. I even introduced the serial rapist storyline in that book.

What makes Book 2 more of an ensemble than Book 1 is the central narrative. In Book 1, it’s Carly’s kidnapping. I showed how that effected the people in Port Charles: the police, her family, and those on the periphery. Because Jason and Elizabeth were so crucial to the search and resolution, and it was Elizabeth’s story, she and Jason seemed like the central narrative.  Book 2 still has a lot to do with them. They’re in every chapter. They’re just not going to drive the story the way they did in Book 1. It’s going to be fine, I promise 😛

I’ve written Chapters 20-27 already and my goal this week is to get through Chapter 30, which will get me 30% of the way through the planned chapters. If everything goes the way I want it to, I’m hoping to be finished Book 2 by the end of June.  I feel like giving myself six weeks to write 20 chapters is a realistic deadline. If I get into a groove, writing a chapter a day, I could be done in three weeks but I think it’s better if I give myself more time.

I’ll check back in tomorrow, hopefully with some good news 🙂



First Week of Writing

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Writing 2019

I’m not going to number this by days any more because I’m not entirely sure I need to check in daily.  So, starting Monday, I really applied myself to making room in my schedule every day for some kind of writing. This week I wrote about 6000 words for Mad World, finishing Chapter 28 and getting halfway through Chapter 29 as well as working on the outlines and discovery drafts of For the Broken Girl, the next project.

One of the reasons I decided to work on Broken Girl is just a matter of convenience. Last week, I started going back to work as a substitute an extra day or two week. Throughout the semester, I only did maybe one or two days a week and since the beginning of May, I’ve been going 2-3 days. Last week, I decided to make sure it’s at least three days if possible.

But working more over the next few weeks before the school year lets out means I have to manage my expectations. Book 2 is really demanding on my energy and it’s just not something I can write a lot of during my work day, even on breaks and or lunch. So I decided to do some peripheral writing — working on plot breakdowns, cleaning up my files and sorting through all the mess my documents fell into during graduate school, and then working on Book 2 either at night or on my days off.

So far this week, that worked out pretty well and I feel good about this new approach. My goal is really to set good expectations for myself, and there are only about 2-3 weeks left in which I can get decent sub jobs.

Hoping to get to a flash fiction post tonight!


Figuring Out How To Recharge

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Writing 2019

Last summer, when I wrote 77,000 words of Mad World in three weeks, I was also working on the Summer Reading project — I read about 25 books at the same time. I think that’s probably not a coincidence.

My plan when I finished my coursework a few weeks ago was to get right into writing but then I got derailed — I caught a cold, then a sinus infection, and then this week, I had a stomach virus. It’s like all the illnesses that my immune system suppressed during the final weeks of the semester hit at once. Plus, I had to double my work hours to make enough money to get through the summer with. With all of that, I haven’t been able to finish cleaning out my room from the end of the semester and ugh–my computer is starting to fail.

Anyway. I have been writing — two chapters of Mad World and plot sketches for Signs of Life are coming along nicely. I’m having trouble nailing down an ending for Signs and how far I want to go with certain aspects, but I’m hoping to finalize at least a preliminary outline so I can put into development. I really want a more low-key story to write along with Mad World to give my psyche a break.

I’m also going to make reading more of a priority. I’ve really fallen apart on this so far this year. I don’t know if it’s the books I’m read or the stressful semester, but it’s just been really hard to lose myself in a good book. Still, I did manage 5 books and almost 8000 words in May, so that’s not nothing.

I’m still leaning towards June 30 as my deadline for Mad World to be finished. At the end of this week, I’ll know whether or not that’s realistic.


NaNoWriMo Day 8: Spinning the Wheels

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Writing 2019

Nothing like being a week into NaNoWriMo and feeling mostly like a failure. It’s not really productive to feel that way but I do. I’ve never been great at November NaNoWriMo — I think the last year I actually won it with a brand new project was five years ago. The only other time I managed it was working on Bittersweet, and even then I didn’t finish it.

For some reason, I’ve been better at writing in the summer. But that’s not a productive attitude either. This was a rough week personally. It was a short week at school which meant the students were particularly annoying. I learned I was being moved out of the long-term job a week early to move to a new long-term job — which is great news. Except now I’m stressing out about learning a new curriculum and meeting another 70-80 new students in the middle of a crazy month.

Add to all of that Broken Girl doesn’t seem to want to be written — or that I’m just not feeling up to it. And I don’t know why. I think it’s similar to the problems I had writing Mad World last year — I had a huge barrier getting past the chapters where Brooke was raped and then committed suicide. Book 2 was such a dark, twisty book for me to write that it took some time for me to get through it.

Fool Me Twice was supposed to be my break from that. A complicated book that didn’t delve into dark things like that. It’s a soap opera plot with memory mapping and identical twins. It was supposed to give me a break. But it wasn’t working. And I wanted to do a fresh project for November. Maybe I should have stuck with FMT.

But that’s also not a productive thought. I didn’t stick with it and I’ve switched Broken Girl in the schedule. And I need to write this story. I’ve had it in my head for five years. It needs to be written. Maybe I just don’t feel confident in my ability to write a story about domestic abuse. Maybe I don’t feel ready.

This is the story of Elizabeth’s deteriorating marriage — but it’s falling apart because of Lucky’s growing dependence on drugs and his anger towards her, his lack of love towards Cameron. He’s an emotional abuser that’s going to tip over into physical abuse. And I need to write scenes where Elizabeth takes the abuse and believes, in some ways, she deserves it. This is the story they flirted with in 2006, but they never pushed Lucky as far as I think he could have gone. He did become physically abusive and he stayed emotionally abusive for pretty much the rest of the time Lucky and Liz were a couple. It’s hard for me to write this version of Lucky sometimes because I used to love this character. Lucky and Liz were my first OTP and it took a long time to let go of them.

But I think I just need to acknowledge my issues and then work on getting over them. I put a lot of pressure of myself to make the first version of the scene the best version — it’s a hard habit to break that goes back to the days when I posted every chapter as I wrote it. I know I can go back and rewrite. I’ve done that for Mad World and Bittersweet. I know it works. I know I’m happier with this process. I just haven’t really learned to forgive myself and be kind to myself as I write the first draft.

But as my favorite author, Nora Roberts, always says: You can’t fix a blank page. She also talks about not getting writer’s block. Writing is her job, and plumbers don’t get plumber’s block right? I can’t quite match that attitude, but it’s a healthy one. It’s easy to say writer’s block is the problem. It makes it sound like an exterior problem. Not an interior one. But I’m not blocked. I know what I want to write. I’m just worried that I write will be crap. Nothing new there.

Time to stop whining and get back on track.