Thursday, March 1, 2018

Continuing to Hope

I'm obviously not that great at remembering to post anything, but I have great news! I spoke with a dear friend who took that accountability thing to a new level. She is AMAZING! I started getting up with her (though she lives very far from me) at 5:30 in the morning. We spend time reading the Bible and working on writing stuff. I was convinced it would be a terrible idea. I've never worked well in the morning, but I've gotten a ton of editing done so far! When I posted at the new year, I was probably a third of the way through the edits and stuck. I am now just several chapters away from having this edit finished!!!! (I'm stuck a bit again, but I feel confident now rather than defeated.)

I'm hoping that I will have this book out to Beta Readers sometime this month! Which means I need to start the daunting task of looking for Agents to submit it to. I have a few ideas, but I have to do research or something. It's a bit daunting.

Once I have this book to Beta Readers, I'm going to start the first edit of the scifi chapter book and get that ready for my Crit Group. I'm still planning to work on the edits to my YA novel after that, but I might take a break from editing for a little while first. I've started writing the YA scifi, but haven't made a ton of progress (about a chapter). I'm still feeling around for her voice, I think.

So, overall a pretty good two months since last time. I'm excited about being able to post that I've finally finished (for the fourth time) this MG story! Until next time, Alissa :)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

New Year, New...Something

It's honestly been so long since I've posted here that I almost don't remember how. I last posted a little over a year ago, but in reality it's been almost two whole years since I've posted regularly. I have an innate desire to apologize, but I'm not sorry. Taking that time off was important. Unfortunately, my time off didn't give me an over-abundance of time to work on my writing. Or, more accurately, I didn't use my time off as well as I'd hoped in that area.

That's not entirely accurate. I'm being too hard on myself. I don't remember where I was when I signed off, but I have finished my upper Middle Grade novel and I'm on my third edit of it. (Edits are HARD!) Once I'm finished with this edit, I'll send it to a plethora of beta readers then research agents! So, yay! That's a thing I've done.

I've also written the first draft of a younger Middle Grade novel--more chapter book size--and have plans to edit that as soon as the other one is finished. That will go through a first round of my critique group, and we'll see what it needs from there. So, yay! I did that too!

I have started three other novels, all Young Adult, and have them in various stages of partial first draft. Very partial. One is a SciFi, one a Fantasy, and one...something else (fiction? contemporary? It defies classification--which is not good for marketing...). I have written on each of the projects since I last posted, so yay! Another thing I've done!

So, here's the thing. I'm not a planner. At all. Goals kind of stress me out. But, I need some accountability. So I'm going to state the things I'd like to get done, and post updates here about what I accomplish. That's kind of a boring blog, so I won't go spreading it around anywhere, but just writing here will hopefully give me the accountability I need.

I want to finish the edits to three of my novels this year--the three that are complete.

I want to finish writing the first draft to three novels this year--the previously mentioned partials.

I want to find an agent. (I acknowledge that this step is not entirely in my control, but I will pursue this course steadfastly once I have a novel ready.)

I want to read a bunch of books off of my TBR list. My Goodreads goal is 52 books, but my actual goal is to clear at least the top shelf of my TBR bookshelf. I'll always pick up the exciting new book and I'll always read the well loved old books again, but I need to make progress on these books that have been sitting here for way too long. They include writing advice books, non-fiction books, inspirational books, and fiction books for all ages. I want to read a variety.

I think that's it. Well, I want to clean off my desk. That should be a thing that happens. Really, there are a whole ton of things I want to do that are non-writing-related like exercise more and clean/organize the house and such. I'll leave those goals for now, but they might show up on here with me chatting about them--amorphous as they are.

That's enough for now. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for keeping me accountable to working toward these things. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Reflections: NaNoWriMo 2016



As I reflect on another NaNo gone by, it’s hard to reconcile my joy of writing over twenty-two thousand words, and my regret at losing yet another NaNo—six now. I’ve lost six NaNos.

I’ve never even come close.

Most of the time, I don’t mind. I know I’m not a fast writer. I know that I’m more of a tortoise than a hare. I know that my careful attention to word choice and phrasing make for an easier time during the editing process. I know that I’ve completed two novels of way more than fifty thousand words (and one of those is almost finished being edited!), and that my writing life is more than November. But I feel like a loser tonight.

I don’t know why this year is different. I’ve always been super excited at whatever word count I could manage each of the five previous attempts. My first NaNo, I reached eighteen or nineteen thousand words and I felt like a whole new world had been opened to me. Each year I’ve managed to write a little more than the last. Except this one. I beat my average, but only just.

Perhaps this is the first year I actually thought that maybe I could do it, maybe I could actually write that fifty thousand. I’ve never believed that before. And I was on-pace (over-pace) that first week. It was an amazing feeling! Then the election happened, and I had difficulty summoning any extra energy to write. My creative brain was exhausted and listless. I wrote a few thousand words over the next week or two. Then when I finally felt a little better, we had company come in for Thanksgiving (wonderful people who I don’t see nearly enough!) and life was focused elsewhere. By the time they left, I had two days to make up the thirty two thousand word deficit.

Not happening.

I know there are people who can write that in a couple days; I am not one of them. I sat down and cried at what could have been. Then I went to a write-in and pounded out a couple thousand words. The next day I managed a couple thousand more. The end. NaNo is over. I want so badly to post that stupid winners badge. I want so badly to cheer, but all I can think is, “I should’ve done better. I could’ve done better.” But I couldn’t’ve. I did the best I could.

And that is good enough.

I’m super proud of the scenes I wrote and really excited about the stories and where they’re going. (I was a rebel this year and wrote scenes in three different stories this year…well, four, but I don’t know where that one came from—well, I guess I do, but I don’t know if it’s going to go anywhere.) Today I came home from work, took care of the kids, made dinner, then got out my ipad and wrote more words. It’s not November anymore, but the writing doesn’t stop.

The stories don’t stop.

At some point my feeling will catch up to my knowing. Until then, I’ll keep writing.

And afterward also.

(And I’m sure I’ll sign up for NaNo again next year…)


Monday, February 8, 2016

FINISH THAT THOUGHT





I regret to inform you that Finish That Thought will be on hiatus. I haven't decided if it will be permanent or not, but there just hasn't been enough participation to make it worthwhile. I know many of you come to check the page and the prompt, but we haven't had an entry in a couple weeks and it's been slim for several months before that. 

I started this contest to encourage writers and provide a place to hone skills and challenge each other. It seems as though the time of FTT has passed. It may be a difficult day of the week for some. It may be a hard couple of months for others. Whatever the reason I have missed you all, but I know we each have our families and responsibilities. 

Know that you have enriched my life. Thanks for sharing your stories for the last few years. Now run with wild abandon toward the next great thing. I wish you all the best, Alissa :)



Monday, February 1, 2016

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #3-30




Welcome back! It's been a tough month here. Perhaps February will be better. Thanks for joining us this week! I hope you're inspired by the prompt and write something amazing. Have at it.



If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Start with the given first sentence. (Allowable alterations listed below)
2. Up to 500 words (exclusive of title)
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST
8. Only one entry judged per round. If you write/post more than one story, you need to indicate which you would like judged. If you fail to indicate, it will be the first one posted.
9. Winner judges next round.



Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...



Our Judge today is Patrick Stahl. Read his winning tale from last week herePatrick Stahl is a freshman Creative Writing major (French minor) at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.  He dabbles in speculative fiction and Protestant ministry.  Patrick aspires to become an editor or publisher of SF/F/H.  He spends his free time playing the mandolin, reading, writing, and watching television (to bolster his writing skills, of course).  His blog can be found at intotheravenousmaw.blogspot.com, and his Twitter handle is @patrickjstahl.



 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #3-30 is:



There were only three rules in the camp, and I broke all three in one night.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:



Make clear what the rules were without actually stating them in the story (then write what they were after the story).


 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!






Monday, January 25, 2016

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #3-29




Welcome back! So sorry again about last week, but we're here this week and raring to go! We hope you are too! Go read the prompt and write something amazing! :)



If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Start with the given first sentence. (Allowable alterations listed below)
2. Up to 500 words (exclusive of title)
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST
8. Only one entry judged per round. If you write/post more than one story, you need to indicate which you would like judged. If you fail to indicate, it will be the first one posted.
9. Winner judges next round.



Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...



Our Judge today is Patrick Stahl. Read his winning tale from last week here! Patrick Stahl is a freshman Creative Writing major (French minor) at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.  He dabbles in speculative fiction and Protestant ministry.  Patrick aspires to become an editor or publisher of SF/F/H.  He spends his free time playing the mandolin, reading, writing, and watching television (to bolster his writing skills, of course).  His blog can be found at intotheravenousmaw.blogspot.com, and his Twitter handle is @patrickjstahl.



 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #3-29 is:



If [he] knew how much [he] meant to [me], [he] would probably think [I] was really weird.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:



Show both points of view, either by making the story consist of multiple scenes or by hopping heads in-scene.



 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!







Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Apologies...

I'm so sorry I didn't get Finish That Thought posted this week. I've been so busy I only just realized it now. I've messaged the judge and I decided to postpone to next week. I considered just posting it tonight and having it run through tomorrow, but that would probably be confusing. Again, I apologize. We will be back next week.