Tag Archives: Writing resolutions

Beta-readers

So. My current progress report is that I am at 69157 of 69157 words. Yes, the manuscript grew. This is normal for me when I edit, because my biggest bane is writing too condense.

Doubtlessly, if a professional editor would go over the text, there would be text cut from the manuscript. I have seen the pages of professional authors where they show pages with large red x’s through them. That doesn’t change that when I read through my own texts, I tend to find stuff I tried to discuss in a sentence for which I really should have taken a page. So I work hard to put more air into my manuscripts, so it’s a fun experience to read, instead of a heavy information overload.

I mostly write because I love to write. I love the process of working on, crafting and polishing a story. Of seeing my text and knowing I wrote that. But I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t like for other people to read my stories and enjoy them. Even though, that is the dream, it’s also something I am absolutely terrified off. It’s really scary showing people something so precious, something so deeply personal, something I made and am proud of in a sort of fragile way. Which makes asking people to be my beta reader for a novel-length manuscript one of the hardest and scariest things to do.

However, I feel that if I am going to send my manuscript out to a publishing-house and/or an agent, I should at least have one other human looking at my texts beforehand. Because you know what you are trying to say and you know how your story-world and your characters work. But it also needs to make sense to other people.

Fortunately, I have a partner I love and trust, even or maybe especially with something like this, even though it’s scarier to let the people closest to me read the text than for instance a total stranger. He will read and comment on it, in a useful way.

Maybe I will also approach a couple of friends that like to read in this genre, since while my partner is amazing, urban fantasy isn’t entirely his thing. If I can find the courage :-/ Cause letting my friends read my words…. it remains scary as all hell.

An Editing State of Mind

I just spend well over an hour organizing my e-mail. My brain is looking for structure and organization, and by imposing order on the world, it is easier to impose order on itself. A mindset that doesn’t lend itself overly well to writing new things, but which works perfectly well for editing. And reading. Which I have both been doing.

On reading, I have greatly enjoyed Anne Bishop’s new book, Lake Silence, which was set in the world of the Others, but featured a new set of characters. The book really shows off her world-building, something I believe she is one of the very best at of all the authors I have ever had the pleasure to read. The new story is interesting as always, and I like that she has a main character that is both a little older and damaged by the world. A lot of successful books in Urban Fantasy have a young and supremely attractive main character, so I greatly enjoy it when someone breaks this pattern.

Next, I also read the new book by Patricia Briggs, Burn Bright, in the Alpha and Omega series. Every time I wonder how she manages to keep building on her world, expanding the story and the characters evermore, while still drawing from her existing character-set. This is extra impressive because she is a master at information management. She provides her readers with the information relevant for the scene, slowly unfolding the story throughout her books, but generally little more. To the point that if what feels like a side-story or a side-note always ties back into the main story arch, and that I have started spotting upcoming plot-twists by the side-stories taking up too much space…

Outside of that I have gone back to Obsidian, once again. I want to send it to a publisher and an agent somewhere in the next month and a half. I have polished so often, that that should be enough time(I know, I have been intending to do this ‘soon’ ever since I started this blog – one day I will manage).

Afterwards, I want to take a stab at finishing one of my many unfinished novels. In the end, I am more of a novelist then a short story writer. If new stuff comes up, though, I may start on a submission to the Paul Harland-contest, a Dutch contest for speculative fiction. I have been intending to participate again. But I am getting ahead of myself. First thing on the menu: editing Obsidian. Once more into the breach 😉

Writing regularly

Winters aren’t my brightest part of the year, and the last couple of months have been hard. Between a very busy last half year on the day job, and a move last year, I went into the dark winter months tired. I had hoped to mitigate this with a vacation. While the vacation was absolutely amazing, the jetlag hit hard, and undid a lot of the good the vacation itself did energy wise.

Now, no man over board here or anything, but it meant that I was mostly too wiped to write, and when I wrote it went into my projects, not my blog. Since the days are slowly getting longer again, I’m picking it back up, though. And I am trying to see if I can post a little more regularly.

The question is how to achieve it. I’m starting by doing two things. Scheduling a little bit of time to write each week, and when I have the energy to write, to write some backup posts.

This is both good for the blog, as good for my writing. It’ll help me pick up the habit again, and hopefully I’ll be writing a little every day before summer gets here again, on both the blog as my other projects. Later this year, I’m going to see if I can find a way to enable myself into doing this, writing every day, by seeing if I can find a way to write during my daily commute.

I am curious though, how other people manage to keep up their writing. For those of you that write regularly, how do you enable yourself to do it?

Working on projects

Apparently my goal for this year, to post every week, isn’t going to happen. However, I am still writing, and working on other types of stories. I’m thinking of picking up an old project again in November. A project I’ve worked on a fair bit, but which still needs oceans of TLC to come any closer to being done. I am not starting a new project for November Novel Month, like I did last year. I want to finish projects before I start another large scale project. While there are plenty of cool ideas to go after, I am still very excited about some of the projects in progress. And as long as I don’t finish the story itself, it’s hard to share with others. So time to type more!

New Years Wishes and Resolutions

It’s currently the third day of 2015. I like to take some time to reflect now and again. The beginning of the new calendar year is a nice excuse for me to actually take some time and do just that. When you reflect upon your life, your choices and your actions, it is almost inevitable that you run into some things you like less. Even if you’re happy with most of the things you’ve done, and most of the choices you’ve made, there is almost always some room for improvement. Which is why I’m also a firm believer in new years resolutions.

Looking at the last year, I am very happy with a lot of the things I have done, especially with regards to storytelling and writing. I went out and told an interactive story of my own, wrote a lot, had a couple of incredible meet ups with local aspiring writers, competed in a couple of competitions I wanted to enter and -finally- started this blog.

What I am a little less excited about, is the happenstance pattern my writing has. I tend to write when the mood strikes me. This is not a rare occurrence, but the busier I get the less often it happens. And when I am relatively busy, I can’t just drop everything because I feel like writing. So I write a lot less. For instance, December was a very busy month for me. I wrote a fair bit the first week, then got boggled down so much that I didn’t write much until I was well into the days I’d taken off around Christmas and New Years’ Eve.

This was not the only month that happened last year, but a bit extreme, to the point that I did not manage to finish all the alterations to Obsidian I had wanted to make. I ended up giving myself one month of extension on that ambition for 2014 in order to preserve my sanity, but I am not very happy I had to do that. I tend to make my deadlines, whether I set them for myself or not. I am proud of that, and mind not making it a fair bit. So next year, I plan to write regularly. A little bit every day, even if it’s only 15 minutes. And at least one longer period a week, like an evening or afternoon. This might be too ambitious, but even if I get close, I’ll write a lot more regularly. Hopefully I’ll manage to extend that to this blog. I plan and hope to be making at least one post a week.

Next to new years resolutions, I realized that, according to my statistics, there are actually a couple of people out there actually reading my blog. To all of you reading this: thank you! Writing things down and posting them online, is most worthwhile if there people out there reading it. For all of you that are aspiring writers like me, I wish you a lot of inspiration, enjoyment in writing and productive writing sessions this coming year. And to everyone, writer or not, I hope that for you 2015 will be filled with wonder, inspiration and happiness!

Fireworks