November-Eve Check In

Wow, October flew by fast. Back in September I thought I knew how my fall was going to look. I had a schedule for my NaNo prep, a series of blog posts I wanted to write, a brand new black page notebook (with neon gel pens!) I was saving for my new project.

And then… Well, things changed. I had done a few aborted drafts of my outline of my New NaNo Idea and was starting to spin my wheels. As I mentioned, I’ve always known this was a trunk novel, and yet the perfectionist part of my writer-brain couldn’t let go of the fact that it was a little absurd, all over the place, and probably didn’t have a future. Yes, I wanted to write it, but I wanted it to be good, and it just got to a point where no matter how many times I fiddled with the premise, outline, characters, etc, I just wasn’t getting anywhere.

So I took a few weeks off to get some distance. I had done enough prep work in September that I was sure I wouldn’t fall behind, so it seemed like the smart thing to do. In the middle of the month I took a weekend trip out of town for a wedding and managed to do a lot of reading (well, for me anyway).

As reading is wont to do for the wrung-out writer, it got me thinking. Both books I read were good, but neither were really what I wanted. That’s when I realized that the book I wanted to read was the one I was already writing: my temporarily shelved WIP Border Towns.

Border Towns got sidelined for the second time this year when my mental health took a nosedive in July, but there was something else stopping me from picking it back up when the fog cleared. I knew exactly what it was: my inciting incident felt… well, terrible. Even when I opened up the draft and did my first read through in three months it was still really bad.

Since my new Idea wasn’t coming together, I put all my creative energy into fixing it. It took a lot out of me, honestly. I spent nearly a week trying to figure out why it was so broken. I came up with a number of solutions that I was sure would solve the problem, but nothing ever felt right. Eventually, I just… powered through it. I wrote three new versions and then cobbled them all together into something… maybe okay.

It’s not always going to click. There’s not always going to be a magic solution your muse hands you when conditions are right. Sometimes, reaching the point where you’re okay with what you’ve written is a helluva fight. It was a tough lesson to learn, I’ll say that much. But now that I’m past it, I’m excited for this WIP again. This frustrating, wonderful story that I want to read.

How does this all relate to NaNoWriMo? Well, because in reconnecting with Border Towns I’ve had to accept the fact that I won’t be starting the New Idea tomorrow. In fact, because of the process I’ve adapted for this current draft of editing as I go, I’ve accepted the fact that I probably won’t be winning  NaNo like I did last year. I intend to give it the ole college try, of course, but just the last few days has taught me that it’s gonna be tough to get the words down and go back and edit behind me.

I’m kinda bummed, I’m not gonna lie. I really had my heart set on repeating last year’s thrilling (to me anyway) victory. But, I really do think Border Towns, unlike the New Idea, has a chance to be published one day. I’ve already lost so much time, and I know there’s more missed chances in the future. I have to take advantage of every scrap of motivation I can spare, and if that means giving up on this year’s community crunch, then so be it.

As I mentioned, I’m still going to try. I hope to post some updates throughout the month, but with as much as I already have to do, blogging definitely won’t be a priority.

To those of you Nano-ing tomorrow, you have my most ardent respect and support. To those who aren’t, you’re badasses too.

No matter what our path is to a finished novel is, let’s get it done, shall we?


For those curious, the books I read while out of town were Empire of Sand and City of Brass. I enjoyed and have thoughts on them both, but I don’t really know how to write reviews so I’ve been holding off on discussing them. How do people talk about books, anyway? How do you share criticism without being a dick about it? I don’t know, but if you like Middle Eastern inspired fantasy, check them both out.

And, while I’m here, if anyone has any recs for political fantasies, more in the vein of Kushiel’s Dart but not quite as dense, send them my way, cause that’s what I want to read.


That’s all from me this week. I’m sorry I’m so bad at this whole blogging thing! Until next time, may your writing be plenty and your struggles few.

Kerry Share


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Past vs Present

Manuscript News

This last weekend I had the most perfect opportunity for writing. My three littles were spending a few days at my mom’s, leaving my partner and I with a freakishly quiet house. There was also a terrible cold front Friday night, encouraging us all to stay in where it was warm, and, more particularly, in my favorite writing spot, also known as my bed.

I decided I was gonna get a hell of a lot done with this precious time. I challenged myself to write 5000 new words by the end of the weekend. I was feeling inspired, having finally reached the point of the manuscript where events start rolling downhill toward the climax, so 5000 seemed lofty but not unattainable. Not at first anyway.

So I settled into bed with my ambient noise app, a soda, and a bag of candy and was ready to work. I booted up my laptop and, well, thirty minutes later after troubleshooting why the darn thing was running so slow I realized it had probably caught a virus and needed a reformat.

In the end, I saved all my documents, but lost a lot of time. I wound up with about 2000 new words instead of 5, but I’m okay with that, really.


The Weekly Struggle

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Here’s another fun little tidbit about me: one of my writing hobbies of my younger years was roleplaying. I used many different mediums over the years, but where I really found my stride was in online gaming. I won’t bore with the details, but one thing that I took away from it was a love of writing in the present tense.

Present tense made sense in the context of roleplaying in these games, because the things we were writing were supposed to be playing out in real time. However, even as I phased out of that hobby, present tense permeated my other creative writing projects. I really loved how it injected a sense of urgency into my writing. If these things are happening right now, then they require one’s immediate attention. It didn’t even occur to me, at first, how jarring it might be to someone who is has never experienced it before.

When I first began work on Border Towns, I didn’t even think about it. Present tense just flowed out of me. However, somewhere toward the end of November, I stumbled on a Twitter thread discussing the pros and cons of past and present. In that order. And then, suddenly, this was me:

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I’m used to self-doubt, I think all writers are to some degree, but this was a new facet my anxiety-riddled mind hadn’t explored on it’s own. Yet.

I’m comfortable writing in past, I’m just more comfortable in present. I don’t feel particularly strongly that this story must be told in present, that’s just what I happened to use by force of habit. Now I’m clocking in close to 60,000 words and wondering if revision is going to require a change of tense, along with everything else.

Okay, maybe “require” is a strong word. But I do find myself wondering more and more if this will be a manuscript that will be passed on out of hand simply because of its tense. Or, perhaps, the arguments I was reading are out of date and not keeping with modern publishing trends. I don’t know. But I didn’t wonder before, and I now I do.

The net result of all this has been constantly telling myself “carts and horses,” because the reality is the tense of the manuscript is just a fart in the wind until the whole damn thing is finished and ready to go.

Carts and horses, Kerry Ann. Carts and horses.


What I’m Reading This Week

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I put out a call this week on Twitter for some help finding some potential comp titles for whenever I finally get this monsterpiece finished. And lordy, did yall deliver.

I’m starting with Six of Crows, a fantasy heist novel set in the Grishaverse. With multiple POVs and worldbuilding to make a fellow fantasy writer (hello, me) jealous, Six of Crows is a book I’m annoyed to have missed the bandwagon on. Definitely grateful to have been rec’d it and pleased to be able to rec it to anyone else in return.


That’s it for me for this week. May your struggles be few and your words aplenty!

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The Siren Call

Manuscript News

Since late November I’ve been pretty much exclusively drafting longhand. I personally find it creatively nourishing, as well as convenient for a busy lifestyle, since I can take my notebook in my purse to work, gymnastics practice, etc. After NaNo was over I no longer felt the need to actively transcribe my day’s work into my word processor, which took a little bit of my writing workload off my plate at a time when I needed reprieve.

Well, I finally got around to doing that this week, and the sum total of December’s efforts is… 5000 words.

Yep, I did just a hair over 50,000 in November, and followed it up with a tenth of that in December. Actually, probably even less than that since some of the pages I transcribed were written after the New Year.

And, you know what? I’m pretty proud of that. It would be easy to let myself get down about it and stress myself out again to the point of not wanting to write at all, but in the end it’s more than what I started with and that’s what counts.


The Weekly Struggle

ron-ideas

We’ve all felt it: that itch to create. That sudden seizure of a new, wonderful idea. Characters form in your head, setting shapes itself before your very eyes, a plot arc too tantalizing to resist calls out to you.

Problem is, you’re in the weeds of another project at the moment.

So, what do you do?

That is the question I have been asking myself this week.

I’m a percolator, personally. I like to let an idea simmer on the backburner for a couple years before sinking my teeth into it, using that time to focus on whatever project is presently at hand. Lately one of those ideas has come up due. It has been relentlessly nagging at the back of my mind, even as I struggle through the middle of the first draft of my current WIP, Border Towns.

I have heard some people have the ability to juggle multiple projects at once, surging ahead in whichever fickle inspiration has deemed worthy at the moment, and then returning to those left behind when the mood strikes.

If this sounds flippant, I don’t mean it to. Indeed, I’m ravenously jealous. Because I, dear readers, am quite the opposite. Once I turn away from an idea, I may as well consider it dead. I can never seem to recapture the magic of a story left by the wayside, and if I do manage to compel myself to take it up again, I typically have to start all over from scratch in order to rediscover the excitement that drew me to it at the very start.

In any case, even if I were to give in and crack open a fresh notebook, there would still be a Great Soupy middle to muddle through, there would still be new and exciting ideas calling out to me, and there would still be a pile of unfinished manuscripts waiting for me to return to.

So, for now I will jot down bits and bobs of ideas as they come, but Border Towns, come hell or high water, is my priority.


What I’m Reading This Week

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Circe by Madeline Miller

I have a couple of Greek-inspired stories brewing, including the one that’s been vying for attention of late, so this book came to me at the perfect time. One might think it would be the worst thing to read whilst trying to fend off the tantalizing idea of greener pastures, but actually it helped me suss out some things I do and don’t want to do with my stories.

But enough about me.

Circe isn’t just Greek-inspired. It’s not just Greek mythology based. It’s practically historical. It is a retelling and reshaping of the mythology of the titular goddess, most commonly remembered from Homer’s The Odyssey. But don’t think that this is a 300 page rehash of the famous epic. Circe spans hundreds of years, features Greek myth across the spectrum, from the obscure to the well known, and cameos more gods, goddesses, demi-gods and everything in between than I could count.

I consumed it. If you’re a fan of Greek-inspired fiction… well, chances are you’ve already read this. But, if not, it is worth the buy.


That’s all from me this week. I hope you all are powering through your own struggles, whatever they may be. Until next time!

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