Weekly writing check-in: It’s not going to edit itself

Oh, look at me doing two check-ins in a row. I know. It’s crazy.

This week, I made it through all the hand edits. I ran out of blue tabs, so I had to use yellow for episode two. Then I ran out of pink for the chapters, and episode three is in purple and green. And I used all the green tabs as well (episode three is the longest).

But the thing with hand editing like this? The updates aren’t going to magic themselves into the manuscript.

That’s my task for today and this coming week (I’m hoping the long US holiday will help with that).

So, I’m going to dive into all those tabs and squiggles I’ve created. We’ll see if they make sense.

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Little Free Library: How it’s going

So, we’re officially official! My Little Free Library is up and ready for reading.

You’ll notice we opted for the easy, screw-in library post. We are not digging holes for this. (That being said, I did check with all the utility/cable companies to make sure we wouldn’t hit anything crucial or dangerous).

Wouldn’t you know, we’ve been in a drought all summer, and the moment we set up the library, we get rain. You’re welcome.

But! The library really is waterproof, and we apparently added enough coats of varnish to the wood that the design is holding up just fine. (I say we, but you know, my daughter.)

I loaded it up with some books and then hoped for the best.

You guys, people are already finding it. They’ve taken books to read and dropped some off as well. Someone brought a handful of children’s books for the small set. I have mostly middle grade, young adult, and adult titles, so this was a boon.

I literally check it several times a day (I’m outside anyway, and hey, it’s better than scrolling social media), and every time I see a new book or that one has vanished, it’s like a gift.

The local Barnes and Noble was having a 50% off book haul sale, so I stopped in and picked up a few more titles as well.

In the months to come, I hope to have even more fun with this: theme months, featured authors, and so on. But for now, I couldn’t be happier.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I need to step outside and check on my library.

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Weekly writing check-in: done and then some

Yes, I know.

I should probably call these posts monthly writing check-in. I’m not going to make any promises about posting more often, except I want to blog more about my new Little Free Library, books, and writing in general. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed, okay?

So, not only have I finished the draft of Coffee and Ghosts, Season Four, I’m well into the revision. In fact, I’m through episode one, the short story, and started on episode two this weekend. 

When I draft, I write in block format. I use Cambria typeface (the default for Microsoft Word on Mac), and I only use scene breaks, no chapters. Also? Spell and grammar checks are off.

For the first round of edits, I first do a quick spell and grammar check. Just the big stuff, so the mistakes don’t annoy or distract me. Then, I change the font to Times New Roman, bump it up to 14, and then put it into standard manuscript formatting. 

Honestly, I think making it look different does wonders for adding emotional distance (as does time–I haven’t peeked at episode one since I finished it). 

I go through the entire manuscript and mark it up by hand. This is also when I figure out where I want the chapters to be. 

New for this edit: I decided to mark where all the scenes are (blue) and where I think the chapters should fall (pink). This gives me a good visual for where the chapters should be. Also? I highly recommend a header with page numbers, at the very least. You drop this thing? And the papers scatter all over the floor?

It’s nothing but wailing and crying and gnashing of teeth after that. 

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Little Free Library: How it started

So, I’ve wanted a Little Free Library probably from the first time I ever spotted one. This year, for Mother’s Day, I decided to buy one for myself.

It didn’t take long to reject the idea of building one from a kit. That wasn’t happening. An unfinished one, however? That my daughter could paint as a Mother’s Day present?

Totally doable.

People, it took us at least a month to figure out how we wanted to paint it. An entire month. But have you seen some of the designs? So amazing. We scoured Pinterest board after Pinterest board. Then, one day, I said:

“What about a Starry Night library?”

And an idea was born.

The first thing we did (I say we, but it was really my daughter) was prime the entire library with exterior house paint primer. Then my daughter bought some good acrylics.

The problem with acrylics is they’re not weather-proof, so once the painting was all done, we (again, she) gave it several good coats of an oil-based sealer.

Of course, once you paint your library, you have to get it into the ground.

But that’s a post for another day.

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Weekly writing check-in: home stretch (with sunflower)

IMG_4424Well, yes, it’s been about a month now. So can I really call this post a weekly writing check-in? I’m going to be optimistic and say: yes.

I haven’t been posting for a variety of reasons. One, I got a new computer! Yay! I’m still setting it up, getting it to where I need it to be. The other is … I still hate the new WordPress interface, and blogging has become a chore, and it’s never been that before.

So, I either need to get over myself and learn to love–or at least tolerate–this new interface or figure out something else.

But in actual writing news, I’m in the home stretch with Coffee and Ghosts Season 4! Three scenes to go, more or less. I hope that next week I can report that the draft is done.

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Weekly writing check-in: quick-quick, slow-slow

Depositphotos_77672508_s-2019That’s been my week: words coming so quickly I can barely keep up and then the slowdown. Then, it picks up again.

I think it’s because I’m heading into the last third of the story. Sometimes I can’t wait to reach the finish line, and other times I want to draw it out, spend more time with the characters. 

At some point–some point soon–I will reach the end.  

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Weekly writing check-in: rain and words

We’re finally getting some rain today, and we really need the rain around here. It’s been weeks. I can already tell the plants and trees are much happier. 

And I have some words going on as well. I zipped past 10,000 words this week, zip being one of those relative terms. But I’m making progress, and like the trees and plants, I’m happy. 

 

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Weekly writing check-in: Internet: gone!

We lost internet last week for a few days. Thankfully, we had power since the temperatures hit the upper 90s. I thought I was going to melt right into the asphalt.

But, no internet, except for a hotspot, and I needed to save all my data for work.

We’re back online now (I mean, obviously), although I have to say, I didn’t miss it all that much. I spend most of my evenings reading. And over the last two weekends, I got in a lot of writing.

I’m inching toward 10,000 words in episode three, which I’ve decided to call The Necromancer’s Nephew. It’s both fun and complicated because I’m pulling in threads from all three seasons. I’m hoping to tie up everything in a nice bow at the end of this.

It’s starting to feel real. Not real enough to put up a pre-order, mind you. But real, nevertheless.

And that’s nice.

 

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Weekly writing check-in: done!

JoI went on a bit of a writing tear this weekend, and I finished episode two of Coffee & Ghosts Season Four! It came in at ~24,000 words, which is a nice length for the middle novella in the season. 

Just one more episode to go, and season four (and possibly the series) will be complete. 

I’ve also decided I’m going with my original (pretend) title of Misty Sandborne and the Vampire Husband. Just because I like it, and it’s fun. And if you can’t have fun, why bother.

Also? It won’t be the title for season four. For that, I’m using the title from episode one (The Ghosts You Left Behind). When naming the seasons, I’ve used the episode title that matches the season thematically. 

I mean, as far as Coffee & Ghosts has a theme. (It does, actually, but that’s not the main point of the stories. They’re meant to be fun.)

So no one will be giving Misty Sandborne and the Vampire Husband the side-eye on Amazon when they’re searching for books to read. Although that sort of title might pull in a definite reader demographic, I’m not sure there’s much crossover with Coffee & Ghosts.

This coming week, I hope to get the framework for episode three underway. I already have so many ideas for it that it will be more along the lines of corralling cats than figuring out what happens next. 

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Weekly writing check-in: pockets of time

Depositphotos_22887200_s-2019You know that exercise productivity gurus have you do? Where you write down how you spend (nearly) every minute of every day to see where you’re losing time?

Yeah, that exercise. The point being that you are clearly a slacker. And look! You’re wasting all this time.

Normally, I shy away from this sort of thing. I don’t believe everyone has the same 24 hours in a day.

People with chronic pain or chronic fatigue have a very different 24 hours. So do people who need to work an extra job (or two). New parents vs. empty nesters?

And so on. You get the point.

However, it’s an exercise I like to do because it helps me understand where I’m spending my time. I might not change anything. Sometimes it’s enough to see what you’re doing and why.

But, to be honest, I’ve been frustrated lately with a lack of writing time. So I went searching for a pocket of time I might be able to use.

There are various things I do in the morning. Coffee and morning pages come first, but other blocks of time I can move around. Dogs wake up early? I can take them out and feed them before I exercise (although I prefer if they sleep in).

I felt like I was missing something obvious. Last Monday, I was struck with a possible answer. And I asked myself:

Why do I shower?

Okay, I know why. More precisely, my question was:

Why do I shower at that time of day?

Before the pandemic and working from home and everything else, I would go to the office. And, of course, my coworkers appreciated it when I took a shower after I exercised.

But I don’t go into the office anymore. I don’t need to shower at that particular time of day. Ever.

So I moved my shower to another time where I wasn’t doing much and started using that morning time for my writing.

Not only have I been writing more since I made the switch, but I’ve also been using my peak creativity time for my writing. (Yeah, I was kind of wasting it there in the shower.)

I doubled my word count this week. And I’m pretty excited about that. I’ll let you know if it will stick—new habit and all that. But so far, I’m optimistic.

In other news, I also went into the KDP Dashboard and updated all my Australian print book prices since Amazon now distributes to Australia.

Heads up, writer friends. If you have any books published through KDP print, go into the dashboard and update your prices. You might be shocked to see just how little money you might make if someone buys a print copy of your book.

As in zero dollars, as was the case with some of mine.

Not that I’ve sold a print book via KDP print in Australia yet, but when I do, I’d like to make more than zero dollars.

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