Weekly writing check-in: reading pillows and dictation

So tomorrow is the big day. My BookBub featured deal for the first season of Coffee and Ghosts goes out the door (or through the email server) bright and early.

To say I’m nervous is an understatement. In fact, I’ve been dreaming about the featured deal. I’ve been checking obsessively to make sure that the book is still free everywhere. So far so good.

If you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, you should, you really should. Because, again, it’s free everywhere.

To follow up on my cryptic note from last week about productivity, I’ve decided to try dictation.

While I am hoping it will help me write more, I’m not sure if I’m going to use it to dictate actual stories, or if I’ll just use it to brainstorm notes, outlines, and things like that. But the main reason I’m looking into this is that I want to future-proof my writing.

Last year on Mother’s Day I woke up with my upper back, my neck, and my right arm completely seized up—and it hurt like you wouldn’t believe. I could barely move. I really couldn’t write, and I could barely do my job.

We just finished up a huge software update at work, and I was starting to head down that path again, and that’s not a place I want to go. Despite doing all of my physical therapy exercises, it’s still a little iffy at this point.

I did write this week, but not as much as I wanted to. So. Dictation. I’ve been reading up on it. I’ve been practicing. I’ve also made some classic mistakes as well, like jumping into my work-in-progress and trying to dictate that.

Pro tip: don’t do this.

New reading pillow: what’s mine is hers.

I’ve discovered I can’t look at the screen when I dictate, and a lot of the advice on dictation echoes this. Looking puts you into editing mode, and I think it’s even worse than editing while you’re drafting on the keyboard.

I think my ideal set up is going to be to walk and talk. Right now I’m just trying out a recorder app on my phone. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a system that may not work for me. On the other hand, I did dictate last week’s blog, and right now I am dictating the draft to this week’s blog.

True, I need to do a little editing, but a lot less than I expected.

And now, I’m going to go reclaim my reading pillow.

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Weekly writing check-in: of fairy tales and productivity

Oscar in his mind palace

This week I started the fairytale series in earnest. The writing itself is a switch for me since I’m writing the entire series in the third person point of view and in the past tense.

Recently, most of my fiction has been in the first person point of view, in the present tense. And I know that makes some people grind their molars, but I enjoy writing this way.

But the fairytale series is different. It needs to be in the third person and in past tense because that combination gives it that fairytale feel.

I’m also writing it in multiple points of view. I’ve done this before, but it’s been a while, so I feel a little rusty.

So not only is there one overall voice for the story, but each character has their own voice as well that must be consistent. Each character has a unique worldview—how they see the world, think about it. Even word choices will be different, not to mention how they relate to all the other characters in the story.

I’m also experimenting with productivity and getting more words on the page. This is very much an experiment at this point (as in, I’m starting today). I don’t know if it’s going to work, but if it does, I will blog about it here. And if it doesn’t? We’ll just pretend this paragraph never happened.

In other news, I’ve been getting ready for my BookBub promotion on May 21st. So I’ve been running some low-level ads, and I’ve been obsessively checking to make sure that the book is free everywhere it needs to be free (which is actually everywhere).

And that’s about it for this week. If all goes well, I will let you know about my productivity experiment next week.

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Weekly writing check-in: stepping outside your comfort zone

I have a guest blog post over at Nunum this week:

Use Flash Fiction to Step Outside your Comfort Zone (and step up your craft in the process)

In other news, I started writing the new series this week (and by “started” I mean I’m not sure I’ve even hit 1,000 words yet).

My current mood is neatly summed up by the picture to the left. I always feel this way when I start a story, whether it’s a five-hundred-word flash fiction piece or a 50,000-word novel.

But if it feels new and untested, if I’m–you know–stepping outside my comfort zone, maybe that’s a good thing.

At least, I hope it is.

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Weekly writing check-in: an outline in the bag!

I have an outline for the first story in the fairy tale series in the bag (along with a cat). Not only that, but I have an inkling of what might happen in the other books, and how I’ll go about accomplishing that.

Well. More or less.

I might start writing the draft this week. I want to do a little more brainstorming of the entire series, get something more concrete than “bad stuff happens here” and things like that.

That’s about it for this week. I think I got a rejection (checks submission tracker … yep, I did), which I’ll look to sending out in the next few days or so. Otherwise, I’ve been focusing on the new series and getting everything ready for the Coffee and Ghosts BookBub in May.

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Weekly writing check-in: Hello, Spring!

Blizzard last week, spring this one. We’re looking at temperatures above 60 degrees today. There’s still a bit of snow on the back deck (we got a lot of snow last weekend), and it’s weird to have the air so warm and the ground covered with snow in places.

But … we’ll take it.

In other news, you may have noticed I’ve done some spring cleaning on my covers. I did like my coffee pot covers, but they didn’t convey everything about the stories that I wanted them to.

   

 

 

 

 

I really like the update. I think the covers convey the fun, quirky, and romantic feel of the stories. And I’m not the only one who agrees. Just this week, the first in the series was selected for a BookBub featured deal (coming up on May 21st). As some of you may know, Bookbub is pretty much the premier book advertising platform. And you may also know that there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a featured deal–ever. (And I’ve been trying. Oh, how I’ve been trying.)

So … I’m pretty excited about this.

In other news, I started really digging into the fairy tale series this week, not draft writing, but lots of structure for the first story (while keeping the entire series in the back of my mind). I also turned in the article I was working on and just okayed all the edits this morning.

And that’s it for this week. Now, I think I will take a walk in this amazing weather and ponder the fairy tale series a bit more.

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Weekly writing check-in: Minnesnowta

Because this is Minnesota, and we really can’t help ourselves, I give you pictures from #Blizzard2018.

Before the storm   

After the storm

We’ve been snowed in all weekend. The pizza place where my daughter works called and told her not to come in for either shift this weekend. Her snow-day makeup dance class was canceled because of the snow.

In actual writing news, it was a slow week. I did manage to do some work on an article and some fairy tale reading and research. I sent out a reprint story as well.

And that’s about it. Now, I must leave you and go take some more pictures of the snow.

Because that’s what we do here in Minnesota.

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Weekly writing check-in: quickly, quickly in Italian

Just a quick check-in this week.

A while back, a young woman contacted me, asking if she could translate one of my stories (Just a Matter of Time) into Italian as her final dissertation translation project. I said yes. I mean, of course I did. I was thrilled.

That was back in August. This morning I heard from her. She sent a followup email with the story, in Italian, attached. She completed her project, it was a success, and she graduated from her program.

I’m so happy for her, and I’m still all kinds of thrilled that she picked one of my stories to translate.

Now if I could only read Italian.

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