2010 Gone — December 31, 2010

2010 Gone

Wow.  Another year gone.  This one’s definitely had its ups and downs.  2011 will be much the same.

In January of this year (2010), I posted a list of my writerly goals for the year.  The post can be found here.

Of those, I only hit 2 of them.  Big ones, mind you, but only 2.  (Finished Oracles Promise and Lodestar with minor revisions to the latter and shelving the former.)

This year, my goals are thus:

1- Revise Lodestar
2- Query Lodestar (At some point in the year.  I’m no fool so I’m not going to set a concrete deadline for that one.)
3- Write 1 or 2 books more.  After all, I want to be an author.  Someday I hope to have deadlines.  I need to for sure get my act together for speeding up my writing process.  I can’t write only 1 1/3 books in a year.
4- Finish 1 poetry collection, of whichever length, and try to get it published, too.

Happy New Year everyone!

More on outlining — September 28, 2010

More on outlining

When I last blogged about my outlining process, I seem to remember that someone, somewhere, commented with the suggestion to share photos of what my outline looks like after I’ve finished tearing it to pieces.  (This after spending a couple of weeks slaving away at creating the outline.)

I thought today I’d share some photos of the process.

This is the outside cover.  I like to put a cardstock cover on top of everything, usually in a fun color, so that it seems somewhat official.  The font here doesn’t really fit the book, but it was the best I could do in my word processor.  (Photoshop had a better font.)

My other best friends for outlining are present here as well: highlighters and a pen.

Here’s my handy-dandy little key that I created for my highlighter colors.  With the Oracles Promise outline I wasn’t this smart.  The cover was green cardstock.  I didn’t tape in the white piece of paper to put the key on so the colors of the highlighters looked really funky.

6 colors, 6 categories:

History to move elsewhere (blue)
Mythology to move elsewhere (yellow)
Scene/chapter to reconsider (orange)
Hinted at/foreshadowed to be developed further (pink)
Event to move elsewhere (purple)
Character development to move elsewhere (green)

Then I go through the outline, page by page and scene by scene.  I read back through the characters, events, and locations looking for what can be condensed, eliminated, or expanded.  Elimination warrants a big old pen slash through the entire thing.  If there’s an event or some other little thing from the scene that I need to salvage, it gets a reprieve from the pen of doom and dons the appropriately colored highlighter mark.

It doesn’t show too well in this photo but almost every scene has been cut from this section.  (And this is only pages 2 and 3 of the outline.)  You can just make out, too, the little orange highlighter mark where I’ve labeled one scene out of the chapter for reconsideration.  Eventually, the entire outline will be a colorful mix of my six highlighters and pen slashes.

I hope that this helped with any lingering questions y’all may have had after the last post.  If you have any other questions go ahead and ask.  I’ll try to address them in the comments but I’ll be more than happy to do a follow-up post if it’s warranted.

Outlining — August 24, 2010


If you follow me on Twitter (and it’s okay if you don’t) you’ve read my incessant tweets about outlining.

Many of you were impressed with the length of my outline when I finished the one I did for Oracles Promise.

I thought I’d go over my process a little today.

See, I am a pantser by nature.  When I start out on a book, I have a general idea of what will happen.  My outline tends to look something like this:

I. [Insert clever chapter title]
…..A. Character A goes here and the poop hits the fan
II. [Insert clever chapter title]

You get the idea.  It’s very fluid and 99% of the time, I end up going way off outline.  (Such as it is.)

In my attempt to save Oracles Promise I set about outlining it in great detail.  This outlining thing went a lot smoother having the completed story in front of me.

I broke it down thusly:

I. Chapter title
….A. Scene 1
………1. Setting
………….(a) Place name
………2. Characters
………….(a) Character name
………….(b) Character name
………3. Events
………….(a) Event #1
………….(b) Event #2

And continue ad nauseum until you hit the end of the manuscript.

Sometimes if the chapter was really long, I’d hit AA. and so on for the scene numbering layer.

This is a very tedious process, yes.  But in the end it’s well worth it.  I quite often (probably 50% of the time) found myself writing “Transitional fluff” for events.

When I completed the outline, I uploaded it to a printing service and had it printed and bound all spiffy for me.

Then I proceeded to tear the outline to shreds.

I had a pen and 6 highlighters, all different colors.  Each color represented a different category.  History that could be included elsewhere, character development to move elsewhere, event to move somewhere else, scene to think harder about, mythology to incorporate somewhere else, and something hinted at/foreshadowed that could be developed more.

The pen was for slashing out the scenes that could be cut.  And let me tell you that was a lot.  Basically anywhere I wrote “transitional,” “filler,” or “fluff” in lieu of listing events.

And sometimes not.  If there was a scene that served no other purpose than to drop one little hint about something, something that could just as easily be moved to another scene, the scene got cut and the moving element got highlighted.

In the end I think I lost about half the scenes I’d outlined.  That was one colorful and bruised outline.

And now I’m doing the same thing for Lodestar.  It’s a process, let me tell you.  But it’s going a lot faster for some reason.  I think it’s because I have more chapters and fewer words than I did in Oracles Promise.

I’d post a picture, but I mailed all of my materials for OP home to my mom for storage.  It was just too heavy on my heart to keep all that around.

Footloose and Fancy-free Friday Moving on — August 20, 2010

Footloose and Fancy-free Friday Moving on

It’s time for me to move on.  (No, not from the blog.)

For the past several weeks, I’ve blogged, Facebooked, and Tweeted about my so-called “secret project.”

I called it that for a reason.  I knew if I talked too much about this project, and it ultimately failed to become viable, I’d feel even more heartache than if I’d stayed quiet.  It was too much to hope for, that I’d get this off the ground.

In point of fact, my secret project was a mission to save Oracles Promise.  (For those newer followers, this was my second book.  The one I wrote just previous to the one I’m currently revising.)

My journey with this book has been long, rocky, and paved with break-ups and reunions.  I outlined the completed draft in painstaking detail.  (There’s a reason it came out at a whopping 95 pages long.)  I did this in an attempt to see where I could expand, where plots and characters could be added in.  This would be (to quote the Scott Pilgrim poster) “an epic of epic epicness” when completed.  Something akin to Tokien’s masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings.  (I can delude myself well.)

The world at large will never know these characters, or their story.  But they’ve been my companions on the rockiest stretch of my writing journey thus far.  In a way, they were there to comfort me and shelter me in the wake of losing my father and growing up.  (Something which I’ll contend I’ve yet to fully do.)

Thanks everyone for your support through all of this.

WiP Wednesday: Breaking Up is Hard to Do — March 17, 2010

WiP Wednesday: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

For a girl who’s never had a boyfriend (not that I’m complaining), I’ve sure had my share of breakups.  Of course, they’re all with fictional characters.

But this is the worst I’ve gone through.

Friday night I officially decided to permanently shelve Oracles Promise.  Every scrap to do with the novel now sits in a banker’s box in our storage room.  It’s got a pretty label.  Something like “Sunstone Saga box #1.”  And it will sit there for a long time, calling to me.

When I told my mom, in very supportive fashion she asked “Are you okay?”  It was very nice.  Because I’m not entirely okay.  But the decision had to be made.  I’d rather make it before embarking on a  lot of wasted hours in revisions than go through ten rounds of edits and realize it still needed to be shelved.

My reasons?  The book is beyond salvaging.  And my heart is not in the book as it needed to be.  (In both senses.  I didn’t like the direction the book needed to go to be publishable and thus my heart just was not in the edits.)

So I’m going to move on to Lodestar and my bright shiny new idea.  I’ll be working on re-plotting the former and researching for the latter.  Hopefully in April I’ll be ready to begin anew on Lodestar.  So, those writerly goals for the year?  I’m throwing out the one that said to have a project ready to query come September.  Because that won’t happen if I’m just starting on draft 1 redux of Lodestar.

But the good news is that I’ve learned some valuable lessons which I will be sharing in the coming weeks.  (How’s that for cryptic?)

How are you WiPs going?

WiP Wednesday Revisions and Ideas — March 10, 2010

WiP Wednesday Revisions and Ideas

Revisions aren’t going so well.  I did finally manage to rename the one character that absolutely needed to be renamed.  Which was progress.  I’m trying to get back into the revising groove ever since I’ve been sick.

Meanwhile, I have been researching and letting things percolate.  Lots of ideas have been popping into my head.  I’ve been jotting them down.  Eventually they’ll cohere and I’ll be all sorts of happy.

That’s really it for an update for the week.

So, I had this brilliant idea — March 9, 2010

So, I had this brilliant idea

I had a great idea for a blog post.

It’s somewhere in my morning pages but I’m too lazy to go look it up.  Besides, I seem to remember that it would take a long time to actually write, and write well.  That’s time I don’t really have today.  So, I’m not sure where I’m going with this blog post.

Oh, I remember the topic idea.  Yeah, you’ll get it next week so I actually have time to write it out.  It’s sort of related to my bright shiny new idea that I got last week.

About ideas.  See, for me, they’re really just these little seeds that can sometimes take on a life of their own.  This new shiny idea I have was a dream I had the other night.  Really only the concept of the dream can be used since the entire thing took place in my garage.  Not exactly the most interesting setting for a full novel.

But I’m excited about this idea.  I think I have project ADD and shiny-object syndrome.  I love the development process of an idea.  There’s this stage for me with an idea where nothing has been solidified and so anything could go.  My brain works a thousand miles a second and there are always little nuances and things that pop into my head.  For each project I have a binder filled with blank notepaper.  I write down all the little inspirations and eventually make sense of them.  They’ll cohere into a solid backstory and mythology for the book.  It’s just going to take a while.

My plans while I research for bright, shiny new idea?  Well, I’m going to keep reading for a while.  And revising Oracles Promise.  But I hope to have OP ready for betas in about two to three weeks.  At which point I’ll go take a look at Lodestar again and start drafting it.  And researching more for the new idea.

Did I say my new idea is going to take a lot of research?  Because it is.  But that’s okay because I have access to lots of resources for that research.  Like an entire university library.  But that’s beside the point.

WiP Wednesday 2/24 — February 24, 2010

WiP Wednesday 2/24

Revisions are going slowly.  But I’ve launched into them wholeheartedly and am feeling a bit overwhelmed.

There are 3 chapters that I have to add in to the book.  I’m partway through one of them.  There may end up being need for a prologue just to help set up some of the subplots that got lost when I took a hacksaw to the manuscript.

And my two main male characters need to be renamed.  Yeah, not an easy task.  My top picks are Halston, Kyler, Loran, Lian, Gage, Declan, Dashiell, and Macrae.

None of them are meshing well with my characters.  But they can’t continue with their current first initials.  They just can’t.

And that’s all I’m saying about the manuscript for now.  Sorry I missed Tantalus Tuesday this month.  I’ll hopefully be back next month with an even more exciting teaser than the ones I’ve posted before.

Stay tuned this afternoon when I reveal which of my statements was the truth and which were bald-faced lies.  (Or half-truths.)

Goals — February 23, 2010


Back on January 1 I posted my writerly goals for the year.

The original post can be found here.

I thought it would be a good time to check in on my goals, now that a couple of months have passed.  I may do this every couple of months.  Or not.

Well, looking at this list, I’ve accomplished one goal.

I finished Oracles Promise.  Which was my primary goal for the year.  Now I’m working on the second goal of revising this manuscript.  At some point I’ll have to move on to writing Lodestar which is another goal on my list.  But for now I’m content to read and work on revising my completed manuscript.

How are you doing with your goals this year?

Footloose and Fancy-free Friday Editing — February 19, 2010

Footloose and Fancy-free Friday Editing

How do you people do it?  I’m sorry if I sound like I’m whining or anything, but seriously.

This is my first real foray into the realm of revising/editing.  Sure, I gave chapters to my 12th grade English teacher to read and comment on.  Edited those chapters to death based on feedback from him.  But since I never got past those chapters before I’m not really counting that.  (What I did was more akin to vying for the procrastination queen crown.)

I am struggling to figure out where to start.  (Aside from the massive wordage cuts.)

It’s so daunting, so intimidating, so scary.

And so necessary.  This book sucks, you guys.  I’m not sure that any amount of revision will save this.  At some point I’m probably going to have to cross the “abandon this work forever” bridge in regards to Oracles Promise.  And it makes me sad to think that.

But oh well.  For now I’ll continue to press onward through the revision trenches and hope to come out on the peaks of shininess.