Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Page of Cups

Hello friends and welcome to another wry week of writing.

Friends, by now you know the drill. Every Monday, I come here and talk about my hopes for the week and how I plan to tackle my writing tasks. Sometimes my motivations are external (like deadlines) but most of the time I try to draw my own experiences and thought processes.

This week, my inspiration isn’t especially creative. Its not grounded in my love of writing, and its not something I’m exactly proud of.

The thing keeping me on track this week is stubbornness.

See, I’ve been struggling the last several days, a week or more even, with staying on task. Which shouldn’t be the case. Without a romance novella to labor over, I should be hyped to take advantage of the extra hours in my day and get some writing done. I’m in the middle of a cute standalone cozy fantasy, that I’m drafting in longhand no less. The project is supposed to be fun, no stress, and designed to help me get back to fantasy writing after what has been a kind of disappointing 2022.

So, why do I feel so meh about this project?

Friends, I’ve been suffering from that troublesome writer condition that makes every current idea seem Not Good, Worthless, Boring and every future idea seem Perfect, Exciting, The One.

Actually, if I’m being honest, I’ve been struggling with this issue ever since I put Border Towns on the shelf. For those keeping track, that’s coming up on three years ago now.

Border Towns was the first manuscript I ever finished (even if it was just a first draft), and even to this day I think of it as the story I will query agents with one day. I think some part of me believes that everything else I do in the meantime is just… filler until the real story wends its way back into my brain.

And, frankly, I don’t have time for that shit. I’ve got way too many ideas to waste prime writing hours on just waiting for my fickle muse to decide to cooperate.

So, even though I’m no longer passionately in love with Pieces of Eight like I was when first put pen to paper, I’m going to keep on toiling away at it. Because right now I think the most important thing for my long term health is a writer is proving that I can stay focused and finish a story.

And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0013

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quaver, on the cusp of failing her completely, a cry sounds from the wall. A moment later, something whizzes past her ear. An unearthly scream of pain and rage from somewhere behind her, sending a chill down her spine despite the sweat pooling at the small of her back.

She looks over her shoulder and is shocked to see how close the monsters had crept up on her without her realizing it. The group is barely ten feet back from her — had they put on a burst of speed they would have caught her easily.

Now, however, they are falling


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Thursday Words

Zero Draft

Hello friends and welcome to another lover of longhand edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Since turning in most recent, and possibly last for the year, romance novella last week I have found myself with the most curious thing: spare time. Wild, I know. Of course, I took a few days off to let my brain unclench a little after I struggled hard with that last romance, but now it is back to the grind.

I had just started what I am, for now, calling a cozy fantasy (though I am starting to doubt that label) when I got my contracts, which meant I had to take a two-month break from the idea. This week when I hauled out my notebook again, I’ll admit it was pretty darn tempting to just lay it aside and dive into something new or different, especially since I’ve been doing some world building on the Border Towns rewrite (more on that later).

But, my better sense won out in the end (for once), and, honestly, it felt really darn good to write until my pen ran out again. 

If you’re new around here, it might come as something of a surprise that I prefer to write my first draft entirely by hand. When I’m on deadline I have to switch to typing simply because of the time factor, but absolutely given my druthers, longhand is the most effective method for me to push through a first draft. 

Think about it, first drafts can be pains in the anatomy. If you’re like me and many other writers, the propensity to doubt (or even hate) what you’ve written can often lead to just wiping the slate clean and starting fresh. And while I’m of the opinion that no words are wasted as long as you’re learning from what came before, moving backward is rarely helpful when you’re trying to tell yourself the story, like in a first draft.

For me, writing longhand helps stem the tide of backspacing. Part of that is simply because I’m so neurotic, I really don’t like seeing a bunch of big ugly scratch outs on my page, and I really, really don’t like wasting paper and pens. So, when I’ve written a few paragraphs that I don’t necessarily love, where it would be easy to erase them and start over on a computer, when I’m drafting on paper I pretty much have to decide if it’s worth it or if I should just move on. Most of the time, I move on.

Because it’s the first draft. It’s not supposed be pretty and perfect. 

Actually, in a way, I consider my longhand writing to be the zero draft of a project. My scribbles are often indecipherable to any second set of eyes, littered with shorthand and misspellings, repeated words are rife, and description is thin on the ground. Then, when its time to transcribe the pages into my computer, I take things nice and slow, fixing errors and rewording things as I see fit. That’s when I identify the places where I’ve written myself into a corner, or repeated a scene idea. That’s when I evaluate what lessons I’ll take into, what I consider, the real first draft. 

Plus, writing longhand gives me an excuse to buy sparkly gel pens I’ll actually use and pretty notebooks I’ll actually write in. And what writer doesn’t love that? 


But, the cozy fantasy (working title: Pieces of Eight) isn’t all I’ve been spending my creative energy on. Nope, you read that right: I, Kerry Share, have been world building. And its not just any world building. Its world building for a story that long time readers might recognize as Border Towns, my erstwhile WIP that I took to Nano, finished just days before my 30th birthday, and then proceeded to struggle with in subsequent drafts because, as I later realized, it needed major revisions.

That said, revisions isn’t quite the word I would use to describe what I’m doing with the project. Complete overhaul is more accurate. While the premise, characters, and general plot threads will remain the same, pretty much everything is getting a massive makeover. I’m even changing all the names, including the title. Henceforth, Border Towns will be known as Tyranny of Titans.

And the very first lesson that I’m taking from its predecessor is: I can’t just leave the world building for later. I’ve got to have a really clear picture of the space around the characters, the cultures they exist in, and the broader scope of the conflict at the heart of the story, before I can start writing in earnest. So, in the creases between the day job, the child rearing, housekeeping, and drafting Pieces of Eight, I’ve been doing some world building.

I’m starting off slow with just the custom language of the setting. I used the VulgarLang tool to plug in the phonemes of the language I wanted to base mine off of (a secret, in case you were wondering), and generated a few examples until I found one I liked. Then I skimmed through the dictionary (I paid for the full version of VulgarLang years ago and is still one of the best purchases I ever made) provided and chose about 100 words that I liked the sound of and plugged them into an excel spreadsheet. From this list I am coming up with the names for my cast of characters.

I’ve always been really bad at coming up with names in my stories and one of my chief dissatisfactions with the original Border Towns was that everything felt so uncreative because the world had no uniqueness to it. So, this process has been actually kind of fun and inspiring in its own way. I definitely recommend checking out VulgarLang if you’re a fantasy writer, like me, who might need or want a fantasy language for their story but can’t figure out how to make one.


That’s all from me. I’m still trying to think of ways to fill the Friday blog spot, so I may post something random or experimental tomorrow. Until then, my friends! May your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0012

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the creatures pursuing her are her answer. She has no other choice but to push her already exhausted body onward to the city on the hill.

Surely they will tire, she tells herself, a sharp pain in her side like a knife between her ribs from the effort making it difficult to breathe, and the walled city growing ever so slowly nearer. Surely they will give up the chase.

Alas the monsters are not so accommodating.

However, in a stroke of good fortune, the woman does not need them to be, after all. For, just as she feels her legs


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Drabble Rock

Drabble Rock; Week 10


blame


“Your mother never told you what she was doing in my city that day, did she?” Torrence’s voice was low and teasing, a sadistic smile tugging at their lips.

Leema didn’t answer – couldn’t. But her silence was answer enough.

“Of course she didn’t,” the spy continued, still circling her as an animal might circle their cornered prey, “because that would mean admitting that she had done something not just reckless or foolish, but utterly wrong. And we both know the perfect, peerless Mirabel Stone would never confess to being responsible for all those deaths, now would she?”

No. She wouldn’t.

Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Knight of Cups

Help friends and welcome to another wolfish week of writing.

Friends, I am back after yet another unexpected week off thanks to yet another of my children coming down with appendicitis. For those keeping track at home, that’s two in two months.

Fortunately, everything went well and I am back to the grind. Best of all I was able to use some of the down time to at last finish the romance novella that had been giving me fits for the last five weeks. I’m hoping I can squeeze one last pitch in before the cut off but if not then that is a wrap on romance writing for the year.

Which puts me in the position to, for the first time in months, focus on my fantasy writing for a while.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t of two minds about this prospect. Romance writing is what helps pay the bills after all and with Christmas right around the corner, it sure would be nice to have some padding in the bank account.

On the other hand, fantasy is where my heart is at. I can scarcely pick up a book, watch a tv show or movie, or play a video game even tangentially related to a fantasy setting without getting inundated with dozens of new ideas for stories. So, having a few months break to really focus on a fantasy draft should be exciting.

If I can finish, that is.

Because that’s always the rub, isn’t it? I have too many ideas in my head to properly keep track of but not enough time, focus, energy, or some combination of the three to actually bring those ideas into existence.

So, while it sound like fun to take these next few months to blow off writing in the interest of recharging my batteries before romance pitching opens up again, I think it’s actually more important than ever to really focus on finishing up this cozy fantasy draft. At 900 words a day, less than the output I strive for when I’m under contract for my novellas, I can knock this sucker out by New Year’s. And wouldn’t that be something?


Until next time, friends!

Kerry Share

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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0011

Previous


their own volition, as if her body is possessed by a power that is at once both foreign and familiar. It is… strangely exhilarating.

Eventually, the wild terrain gives way to tamed, yet unkempt farmland. A dirt path forms, a welcome relief to the woman’s aching feet after the undergrowth, and here and there barns and cottages dot the landscape. Yet, as she draws nearer, she realizes the houses are not the first taste of civilization she’d hoped for. All of them, to a one, are rundown — abandoned.

What happened here? The woman wonders desperately.

The baying and snarling of


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Thursday Words

Just Keep Swimming

Hello friends and welcome to an underwater edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Friends, the last few weeks have been a little fraught in my world. Emotionally, financially, and writing…ly? I’ve had a lot of up and down moments, from launching my Patreon page to failing to secure a single Patron outside of my own inner circle, from having to cancel my trip to WorldCon because I could no longer afford the hotel to finally getting back to my romance novellas after a long summer off, from 7000+ word writing days to the stretch I’m in right now where flying a commercial jet seems like it would be easier than finishing this manuscript.

tenacity: the quality or state of being persistent

Something I’ve come to realize over the course of this journey, and its a lesson I am certain many authors have learned before me, is that determination is probably the most important quality in a writer — even more so than raw talent.

Because writing is going to be hard. There are going to be days (or several days in a row, or a week, or months) where it feels like there are no more words in your wrung out sponge of a brain. There are going to be periods where you think that you’re never going to make it. There will be deadlines you’re going to miss and you hate yourself for failing. It will feel like no one cares about your writing. It is going to be utterly demoralizing. And not everyone is going to be cut out for it.

I’ll be totally honest. I’ve thought more than once (often, even) that I’m one of those people. That, because my chronic depression and anxiety often rob me of creative spark, I’ll never be a professional writer. That, because I often find myself just too worn out from the other parts of my life that demand my time, attention, and mental energy, that I don’t deserve to succeed. And when the call is coming from inside the house like that, it becomes harder and harder to ignore.

There have been times when I “quit” writing. I just straight gave up. Told myself that writing was supposed to be fun, and I was making myself so miserable with guilt for not writing, that it was no longer an enjoyable activity for me. And if that was the case, what was the point? So, I walked away.

But, inevitably, a day or two later, I would miss it. I would feel the itch. I would be playing a video game and making up stories about the world or characters. I would be watching tv or a movie, and think about what I would do differently. I would hear a song and all sorts of ideas would come to life in my mind.

Then, just for shiggles of course, I would take a glance at the last thing I wrote before I rage quit, half expecting the words and ideas to be so terrible that they would actually affirm my decision to abandon writing altogether. Of course, they weren’t. Some of them were actually pretty good. And now that I looked at it again, I suddenly knew how to fix that trouble spot that made so frustrated before.

You get the idea. The point is this: I gave up. I stone cold quit. I was done. Writing was relegated to the long laundry list of failed endeavors.

And then I came back. 

Me to my WIPs

Okay, so maybe I didn’t quit quit. I really just took a break. But, at the time I made the decision, it really did feel like I was walking away, with all the emotional turmoil that entailed. And, weirdly enough, I think that was ultimately a good thing. It showed me how much writing meant to me, how I couldn’t stay away from it even if I tried, that though times get tough I will always find my way back to what I’m supposed to be doing.

Which is unquestionably, unshakably writing.


My monthly suggestion box is live over at Patreon for the $3.00 and up tiers. This month I am asking my Patrons to let me know what their favorite romance sub genres are. Who knows, maybe I’ll write one or two in those genres in the future. If you are a fan of romance, or know someone who is, please consider becoming a Patron or sharing my page: Patreon.com/KerryShare


That’s all from me this week, sorry it was a day late again. I’ll be back on Saturday with another installment of The Ballad of Mercy May. Until then, my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0010

Previous


as she passes.

The hot panting breath of the monster on her heels steadily fades. A scream of frustration echoes through the trees.

But she is leaving it behind. Slowly, the nigh on suffocating foliage begins to thin, and, a few strides later, she bursts through the thicket into bright sunshine and open space. In the distance lies a walled city on a hill, and her salvation.

A deranged howl behind her alerts the woman to several more of the beasts’ kin joining the hunt alongside it. She does not slow — she cannot. Her legs seem to be moving of


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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Five of Pentacles

Hello friends and welcome to another wrangled week of writing.

It’s officially back to real life this week and I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the routine. While I fervently wish writing could be my routine, it’s not and so I have to make hay with the one I’ve got.

Unfortunately, I have once again found myself in a pinch time wise. I’d like to make some sort of great excuse here about why I wasn’t able to write very much over the last month, but I can’t. The simple truth is I procrastinated. And now I’m in a hole.

At least the hole is familiar. Familiar enough that I’m not quite panicking (yet), though we’ll see how I feel after I’ve pulled three all nighters in a row to make deadline.

I’d also like to say that I’ll do better next time, but it seems like that too is destined to be a lie. So instead I’m just gonna be honest with myself: while it would be nice if I could make it a habit to write every day, so I’m not frequently putting myself in such a bind come deadline times, I recognize that am largely a binge writer.

I’ll try to get better. (Seriously.)

Kerry Share


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