Progress Report: Pieces Here and There

No, this isn’t a redux of All the Pieces Coming Together — though I have something fun in the works for that one next month. Stay tuned!

2019 has started with me working in pieces. A flash piece here, a submission there, a proofread right here, and bits of stories in between. At the moment, I’m working on an epistolary piece for a themed submission. Epistolary pieces are usually told through letters. I decided to take a different approach and tell a story through an ongoing thread on a fictional Reddit forum devoted to nightmares. The title may change, but right now, it’s “r/uawake.”

Writing it has been a challenge, mostly because with the setting of a forum and for the plot itself, time stamps are important. As such, I have to write time stamps for each post, which has made my eyes cross more than once. Balancing it out, though, are the names of the users. I’ve had fun coming up with punny usernames. My current favorite is Constant Craven (if you take it and/or it already exists, then, insert disclaimer about how all characters in this story are from the author’s imagination).

I’m also in the final stages of preparing Without Condition for publication on February 12 (mark your calendars). I received my ebook and paperback proofs from Doug, and just finished reading through my paperback to make any final corrections. I’m also sending it out to reviewers. If you’re interested in providing an honest review in exchange for a free ARC, let me know in the comments; or feel free to contact me at sonorataylor (at) gmail (dot) com. Please include a link to your site or your social media pages (Goodreads, Instagram, etc.) where you’ll post the review.

Whether you review it or just want to give it a read, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Without Condition on February 12! In the meantime, you can shelve the book on Goodreads; or learn more about it right here on my website.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Progress Report: SO CLOSE

I’ve been absent from the blog because I’ve been trying to finish the first draft of my second book. I wanted to check in, say hi, and let you all know that I’m SO CLOSE. I only have three bracket notes left to write out, and then I’ll be done, done, done! *does a dance*

It’s been a longer process than I anticipated, from conception to finish. Last summer, when Please Give was out for edits and I was wondering what to write next, it took me a long time to settle on the next book. I had a lot of ideas, many of which I began to write, but then got stuck. I wrote some short stories, and started one short story that slowly grew into a novella. Even the novella got stuck.

Then this idea hit. It hit me as a short story — and hit me right as I got Please Give back for revisions. I decided to write down some notes (something I’ve been classically averse to). My notes told me this wouldn’t be a short story. It would be a novel — and it would be my next one.

I finished Please Give, opened Word, and began to write — slowly. It came to me in flashes, in passages I often forced myself to write, which was a much different experience than Please Give. I had to make myself stop writing that one. This one, I had to constantly tell myself to keep going.

I kept going — and I’d find myself surprised at how it came along. I cheered when I crossed the 50,000 word mark. I got closer and closer. There were times I thought I was close, then just had to add something else. I’m still being careful to avoid the trap of never stopping. But I see a stopping point ahead, and it feels really good.

I’ll be sure to celebrate in proper GIF form once it’s done. Thank you all for following along!

Progress Report: Over 50,000 Words!

This past week, I crossed the 50,000 word mark on my next book. Achievement unlocked — I have a NaNoWriMo!

Woo hoo, I have 50,000 words!
I actually dance like this.

I call this a NaNoWriMo because the goal of NaNoWriMo — aka National Novel Writing Month — is to write 50,000+ words, or a novel, in 30 days. I always get excited when I reach this point, even though in my experience, it’s one where I can see the finish line as opposed to having crossed it.

Truth be told, my excitement increases when it doesn’t feel like the finish line. I like crossing the 50,000 word mark and knowing I’ve still got more to write. I know I’m going to be doing a lot of trimming, so having too many words is my ideal when a first draft is done.

I have more to write, but at 50,000 words, I am at least halfway done — maybe more. I’m thinking that Without Condition will reach 90,000 or 100,000 words when I finish the draft, and rest somewhere around 80,000 words by the time it’s complete. Of course, I say that now and I’ll end up with 200,000 words by the time I finish the draft.

But for now, I have over 50,000 words in the manuscript; and I’m feeling pretty good. To the next 50,000 — and soon, the next draft!

seinfeld-dance

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Progress Report: Let’s Keep It at Two

Happy 2018, everyone! It feels like it’s later in the year than it is. I always want January to go pretty quickly, as it’s cold and grey and makes me feel like a sad hibernator. I like to be out and about, enjoying my walks to the Metro or late evenings out with my husband. Enjoying my time out helps me feel happier indoors, where I do my writing.

But alas, I cannot change the seasons. I can, however, keep up with the writing. I am still working on multiple projects, but have gotten into a better balancing act of a) keeping it at two active ones, and b) working on one at a time.

I am making more progress on Without Condition, my second novel. I’ve outlined several sections and written out a few. I like having notes not just to help me remember things to write later, but to see how far the story’s come since my initial ideas. I save all my notes, even ones I know won’t be used, as keepsakes throughout the process. Like my old drafts, I find it fun and amusing to revisit them — especially once the final version is out in the world.

I also find the notes useful in focusing my efforts on other projects that need to be done first. I am at a point in Wretched Heroesthe graphic novel I’m working on with Doug Puller — where I need to just focus on finishing a first draft of the current script, rather than switch between projects. I reached this point in part by forcing myself to write through unknowns, putting me on a better-known path towards finishing. I still have ideas for the book, though; and writing down the notes helps me feel better about putting it aside for a week or two while I finish the first draft of the next Wretched Heroes script.

So, I’m currently in full-on script mode. It’s a very different experience writing a script for a graphic novel, even with my fondness for dialogue in my books. Among other things, I’m learning to divide scenes into panels as opposed to just moving through them with motions and words. I need to account for scenes happening in blocks as I write — something that takes practice.

Both projects give me something exciting to work on when I’m stuck inside on a cold day. I look forward to sharing both with you later in the year! Stay warm, everyone.

Progress Report: Decisions and Revisions

Fall is upon us. Last fall, I got the first idea for what became my first novel. It’s fitting, then, that one year later I’m in the midst of revising it.

I’ve never revised a novel after receiving copy-edits. I of course revised chapters as I wrote the book, and made revisions as I went back and read it from beginning to end. But my revision experience based on edits from my editor has only been with short stories. I can usually go through these in a few hours, and read from beginning to end with ease (and multiple times at that).

Understandably, it’s a different process altogether to try and do this with a novel — and a somewhat long one at that.

It’s an experience, though, that I’m glad to take on. I’m finding a balance between making edits as I think of them, no matter the order they fall in the narrative; and working from beginning to end. I’m in the latter stage now, as I’ve found it’s easier and better for the edits to read from one chapter to the next at this point (though I’ve made notes to myself for later changes to make when I reach where they’ll go in the story).

It’s a longer process than I had with the short stories, but I’m grateful for the length. I’m usually anxious to write it all and write it now. As such, I can sometimes write rather haphazardly. It comes together in final drafts — it calms down, if you will — but for a novel, I need to exercise that patience sooner. I need to write the revisions as a note, and let them settle before putting them into the manuscript. It makes for a calmer process — and one, I hope, that leads to a more rewarding finish.

I still anticipate publishing Please Give by November 28. I’m still writing notes and passages for other projects, but the novel revisions are my focus. There’s time for everything. “In a minute there is time/For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.” (Side note: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is my favorite poem)

I look forward to sharing the book in its finished form with all of you. Thank you for reading!

And as a quick reminder, The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Progress Report: Circling Back

First, I want to do two things up top …

  1. Say thanks to all who’ve purchased, read, and left nice comments for The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales. Seeing the initial feedback helped make my first publishing endeavor a little less scary. So, thank you!
  2. Remind you all that The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! I hope you enjoy it.

The past couple months have mostly been focused on preparing The Crow’s Gift for release, as well as various writing projects. Most of them have either been new stories or continuing ones I started and didn’t finish. Some of them still remain unfinished, but I believe that stories worth finishing find a way to get done, in due time. Sometimes they just need to percolate.

I did start and finish one long story. I started it in Canada (and on my phone, since my laptop was on its own Canadian adventure), and started it on a random story thought: what if someone was friends with a married couple — friends with both the husband and wife independently — and when he met the wife for lunch one day, he did so with the knowledge that the husband was cheating on her? It morphed into a rather long short story that’s currently called Do Something. It’s a simple premise on the surface, but the choices Peter makes about what to say and not say to his friends take some interesting turns, ones I didn’t fully expect as I wrote. I started with a set idea of what would happen, but the story went pretty far from that idea by the time it reached the end. I like when that happens, though; and it’s one of the reasons I prefer to avoid outlining when I can. The characters tell me what happens as I write their story, and I become surprised by the results — it’s more fun that way. (I admit that works better for short stories than novels)

With the exception of Do Something, though, my writing has been a bit scattered — a revision here, an added page or two to an unfinished project there. I am used to working on one thing at a time, but I suppose as I write more, it’s to be expected that I’d be juggling a few projects at a time. I am still used to what it was like when writing became ingrained in my day-to-day — which was when I honed in on Please Give and almost nothing else for several months.

Please Give will be back for revisions soon. I’d shelved it while working on other pieces, though not entirely — I’d still think about some lines, or the characters, or a possible revision (though I’m not making any until I get it back from my editor and see what she says). It was around this time last year, though, that the story first came alive in my mind. What started as a title and a basic premise based on a shared joke with my colleague (now, sadly, my former colleague; though I’m happy he’s found a new job) morphed into a story I had no idea I’d get so involved with — and one I loved engaging with. I find it fitting, then, that it’s coming back for Phase 2 of its novel life around the time it became a story to begin with.

I look forward to sharing Please Give in its finished form later this fall, and the next batch of completed short stories in 2018. Thank you for reading!

Progress Report: Hello, August

July just seemed to vanish, didn’t it? Time has flown this summer, but that time has been filled with good things overall.

I’m still working away on the projects I mentioned before. Most of the work has been what is getting closer and closer to being my next novel. It’s over 60,000 words now, and still doesn’t include half of what I think should be in there. That’s where self-editing comes in, of course — as well as the knowledge that something can always be cut.

The hardest thing for me to remember is to wait to do that cutting until after the writing’s done. I’ve made some cuts, but true to advice I see all over the writing universe, bogging myself down in cuts, edits, and perfection while still writing only makes it more difficult to finish. I find myself having to repeat this mantra: Don’t let perfect get in the way of good. 

It’s a good mantra for both writing and publishing. As I prepare to publish my short stories, I find myself getting bogged down in the details, proofing over and over and trying to account for every way it could be viewed so that it will only look perfect. However, as most articles on self-publishing will tell you, there’s only so much that can be done, especially once the file is in an individual e-reader. I suppose this is why writers prefer to let their pieces go once published. They can’t think about all those details if they want to accomplish their main goal: writing and sharing a good story.

I do look forward to sharing stories with you, especially The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales. It’s still on track to be published on September 5th. I leave you with a picture of a fitting group that has taken up residence near my apartment complex over the past summer. I hear them every morning, and while they’re simply looking for shelter and food, I use their presence as a reminder to keep moving forward on The Crow’s Gift.