October 3, 2021 · 12:38 pm
Okay, at this point, I should call these check-ins: Whenever I want writing check-in.
But! I’ve been working on the edits for Coffee and Ghosts, Season Four.
It’s. Almost. Done.
The last episode is with my proofreader (and she does a tremendous job), and I have the Vellum file set up, so all I need to do is drop that last episode in, and then I can generate all the files for publishing.
Before I sent the manuscript for proofing, I tried something new with my listening edit this time around. I made a free account on Amazon Web Services and used Amazon Polly to create audio files.
Then I played the files on my phone and did a “story and sound” edit. I’ve done these in the past, but I’ve been tied to my desktop PC. This way, I was able to move around and pause the audio when I heard something hinky.
Curious about doing that yourself? Joanna Penn has everything you need to know. Check out this post on The Creative Penn.
September 5, 2021 · 10:43 am
For the most part, I am making sense of all my squiggles.
I’m currently working in Word with Grammarly opened in the side panel. This is something new. In the past, I’ve completed my edits and then would open Grammarly to pick up on anything I might have missed.
Note: this is not the way I draft anything. When I draft, spellcheck, grammar checks, everything is off, off, off.
But I find Grammarly a bit tedious. There are any number of things I simply skip (and you should too). And I wasn’t looking forward to running a check after I was all done with the edits. So? Two for one!
It seems to be working. The edits may be a bit slower, but that’s not a bad thing.
Also, I’m pretty sure the only reason Grammarly has “checked” +300,000 words is it runs the check each time I open the manuscript or wake my desktop. I look far more productive than I actually am.
August 29, 2021 · 8:20 am
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.
August 22, 2021 · 10:00 am
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.
January 17, 2021 · 1:16 pm
I’m taking this three-day weekend as a respite: lots of reading, some historical podcasts, and maybe a movie or series or documentary or two.
I am keeping up with Storystorm. I’m up to 23 ideas for the month. That gives me a cushion for days where I don’t jot down an idea. Although, I’ve been finding that simply being aware that hey, I’m collecting ideas, brings more of them. Funny how that works.
Also, I’m making revision progress on Coffee and Ghosts. Slow, but progress.
And that’s it because I am committed to some rest this weekend.
January 10, 2021 · 11:38 am
So, you might be wondering how that “eliminate distractions” thing went last week.
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
Okay. Whew. Done with that.
Yeah, I took a deep dive into the news and decided to do a deeper dive with some relevant nonfiction as well. As I said last week:
I won’t miss the big things. I can do without all the little things.
It’s not every day that you watch history unfold right in front of your eyes. I needed more context, and I needed to pay attention. Last week qualifies as a very big thing.
However, I did keep up with Storystorm. I’m up to 16 ideas for the month. Even if you’re not participating, I encourage you to check out the daily posts. They have been inspiring and informative.
Coffee and Ghosts progress? Eh, not so much. So with that in mind, I’m going to see if I can open the manuscript and use this lull in the storm to get some revision done.
January 3, 2021 · 12:42 pm
Three days into 2021, and I’m keeping up with the Story Storm challenge. I have three ideas, and I’m inordinately proud of that.
I noticed that last year, I really didn’t do a “year in review” or post about goals (well, other than the (Love) Stories for 2020 project–that was the goal for 2020).
And I’m not going to post goals for this year. I’m really not all that prescient, and I can’t peer that far into the future. If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that.
However, there are a couple of things I do plan to work on:
- Lean into my strengths. My writing process actually involves a lot of thinking. You know that saying: Don’t think, write!
Well, mine should be: Go think, then write! This is contrary to a lot of popular writing advice. Then again, a lot of popular writing advice can be wrong (as least on an individual level).
For instance, way back in January of 2020, I mentioned in the comments that I had an idea for a pirate adventure. The story didn’t come together until late in the year, and not until I decided Heart of a Pirate King was a Christmas story.
I need to give myself more time to think. To that end I also plan to:
- Eliminate distractions. I like to stay informed. During 2020, it felt crucial to stay informed for so many reasons. But it’s one thing to stay informed; it’s another to drink from the firehose.
I’ve been drinking from the firehose. Intellectually, I know I don’t need to. I have trusted go-to sources for news, politics, and the publishing industry. I won’t miss the big things. I can do without all the little things.
And that’s as far as I’m peering into 2021. Here’s to a year full of writing and stories and joy.
December 27, 2020 · 11:47 am
We have storms. Many storms. All the storms. After our October surprise snow, we’ve had nothing here until the 23rd.
Then it was Mother Nature playing catch-up with a blizzard.
Now we have lots of snow.
This week, I did a little work on Coffee & Ghosts. Mostly I focused on the holiday and musings for 2021.
I also officially released Here’s How We Survive: The (Love) Stories for 2020, which is the ebook and print version of all the (Love) Stories for 2020 (which you can absolutely still read for free).
I also signed up for Tara Lazar’s StoryStorm. 30 story ideas in 31 days. I’m pondering what sort of ideas I’ll (hopefully) be generating. Fiction? Nonfiction? Blog posts? Really, you can use it for any type of writing.
Want to join me? Click the image or the link to visit Tara’s site.
December 20, 2020 · 1:04 pm
I’m not really sure why I’m so surprised that my rough draft is so … rough.
But it is, and I am.
Okay, not too surprised. I do need to pull out an entire section (trust me, it doesn’t work) and delete an entire character (he’ll just have to wait for another book/series). I was hoping that the structure, at least, was solid, if not the prose.
But I slept on it. In the morning, things looked brighter (as things tend to do). I have a sense of what the story and the revision need and how that will cascade into the other two novellas in Coffee & Ghosts Season Four.
Again, I’m writing at the speed of tortoise, but I’m nevertheless pleased with my progress this week.
June 2, 2019 · 11:30 am
This week, I played around with ideas and structure for The Trouble with Necromancers (which may or may not remain as the title).
I do not want to revise (once again!) only to realize that I’m no closer to the true story.
Therefore, I’m questioning everything.
And I do mean everything. Lots of what if and do I need that and what happens when …
I hope this is it. If it isn’t? Well, then there’s a good chance this book and series weren’t meant to be. Or maybe that I need to let it compost for much, much longer than I have.
But I hope not. Let’s see what this new week brings.
Wish me luck.