Monday, July 11, 2016

July Update: It's done! (and other stuff)

When I created my project timeline, I made it pretty intensive. It's a no-nonsense, stop screwing around and get serious, write as many days as you can sort of timeline. I admit, I was a little skeptical about whether I'd be able to keep up with it. The biggest challenge to that was whether or not I'd be able to finish writing Towers of Kansas--a book I've been writing on and off since 2012. I was starting to have my doubts it'd ever get done.

Well, it's finished. On the last day of June, I wrote "the end." Towers of Kansas is finally written.

Of course, when I say "finished," I do just mean written. It will need a great deal of editing work before I can even solicit the help of beta readers. But. Thanks to Brandon Sanderson, I've come to accept that I am a discovery writer. Even though I do plan a bit, a lot of stuff, like theme and underlying message, don't come to me until the very end of the book as I'm writing. So when I outline, I know I have to hit point, A, B, and C, but not sure how or why. I figure those things out as I write. Which sometimes adds extra time to projects because I sit and stare at the words for hours or rewrite a scene three or four times because it's not quite right.

All this means that when I rewrite, I go back and add a lot of things earlier in the book (and take out anything that contradicts what I'm trying to do) so that things at the end have a more inevitable, expected feeling. Makes the payoff better. Makes readers feel like, yeah, ok, I see where she was going in the beginning, and it only could have ended this way.

Brandon Sanderson's lectures have helped me identify a lot of the things I already do as a writer (not to mention advice on a lot of things I need to be better about), which means I can do those things with more intention instead of relying on instinct and happenstance.

At any rate. This month I've switched over to a novella, and it's been a breeze writing only about a thousand words a day instead of three thousand. I'm debating on whether I should throw another short story in to this month or if I should try to work on an editing project. Clearly I do not need a full month for these shorts. Although it might be good to include a bit of down time. I was feeling pretty fatigued after writing almost 45,000 words in June.

The project timeline is definitely a work-in-progress. But it's been a great motivator so far to actually get projects done. It feels good to be marking things off my list.

I even took a break over the weekend and participated in the Writers Weekly 24-hour short story contest. I never do summer. I always do fall. But. I'm super happy with my story. It's cute and fun and if it doesn't win money, I will be disappointed. Either way, I'll make sure to post it somewhere. Probably try to work it into a Cafe story (as a leftover at the very least).

That's been my one regret the past few months. I haven't made time to write Cafe stories. I've had ideas for the prompts, but one of them was a story within the world of my novel, so I decided to save it. The other I wrote a few beginnings for but then ended up writing a few hundred words in response to another story just for giggles. Luckily, the Cafe is continuing on without me. I still coordinate all the things, but we have enough other participants now that I don't have to feel like I have to write every month. It's equal parts sad and freeing.

I imagine I will feel the same about National Novel Writing Month in November. I officially resigned as ML for the Lawrence region. I think more and more I will have to stop doing things with and for the writing group as I focus more on my writing and publishing. It's both sad and exciting. The LFK Writers will always be my friends. I never would be the writer I am without them. They are my roots. But I am slowly pulling away from manager duties. Delegating things, letting more people take over things. It will always be the group I helped start. It will always be home. But I don't have to be in charge forever.

This entry took a sad turn.

I'm happy, though. I'm excited and anxious and motivated and ready.

Next month is WorldCon. I'm going for fun, but the husband is going to be on six panels. A few with famous people. I don't even know what to do with that. I'll probably talk more about it in next month's update. I just wanted to put that out there as something fun I was looking forward to.

This month...I'm going to try to read more. I've been slacking on reading lately. Now that I'm not trying to finish a novel, I have time to read. Yay reading! Because otherwise, what's the point of all this?