Writing Update #12

This is unfortunately going to be short.

I don’t know what happened in January. I did dive back into my SF WIP, I started re-reading it since I hadn’t messed with it since October. Then, I don’t know what happened.

So, really, I haven’t worked on my SF WIP in weeks, again.

I’m bummed.

And now I’m so busy at work, and I’m exhausted and physically sore when I get home, the last thing I want to do is write.

It’s all excuses I know, and I’m frustrated.

I want to work on this WIP and I’m going to finish re-reading it, so I can dive back into the revisions. That’s my weekend goal.

To get back into revisions.

On another note, I had a shiny new idea present itself to me.

I was at work, loading shirts into the folding machine (I work at a Shirt Screen Printing and Embroidery shop) and my brain kind of turned off and I was doing my job by muscle memory, and ‘Phantom City’ came into my head.

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 11.00.46 PM

I don’t really have a clear picture of what the story or the conflicts are, but I’m definitely interested in finding out. I thought about it all afternoon and then when I got home, I started typing it up on my Notes app, and I’m sure there’s almost a thousand words written? I think it might be kind of dystopian, with a paranormal element – though, I’m not entirely sure yet.

So, clearly, I’m not too tired to write. But I also feel like drafting is way easier than revising where you have to be more critical.

Anyways, I’ll probably still tinker with this new idea a bit and see what happens. I’ll probably mess with it while on lunch break or something, since it’s on my phone. I can say the re-read of my SF WIP and revisions for at home.

If you have any tips on how to power through utter exhaustion at the end of a long day, I’m here for them. Also, any tips on how to sit down and work on a WIP when you’re utterly exhausted is highly appreciated.

Next month I plan on have a longer Update, with better news than ‘I’ve wasted another month not working on it’. Oh, and if you’re interested, you can check out this post here, and see the Sim4 Versions of my characters from my SF WIP.

There’s Someone I Want You to Meet

Well, someones, as in plural…is there a plural of someone?

I just Googled, and yes there is – despite Word giving me the annoying red squiggly line under it.

I’ve talked a bit about my SF WIP Destiny and I was playing around on The Sims4 – I’m sure you’ve figured out by that sentence alone what this post is going to be about. But as I was saying, I was playing around on The Sims4 and I decided to make my characters.

Though, real talk, I technically made them a few years ago, but they’ve gotten an upgrade. I don’t use Custom Content in my game – mainly because I feel like it’s a rabbit hole I shouldn’t go down – so these Sim versions of my characters are a close approximation of how I envision them. I also had to adjust their wardrobe greatly, but I feel like it’s pretty close to how they would dress day to day on board Destiny.

I also went ahead and did all of the outfits, though, some aren’t necessary to my actual WIP. Like with the last Sim Character post I did – here – I had so much fun doing this and I kind of want to actually play with the characters now.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I make over these characters – I like to go back and do it from time to time whenever I purchase new packs for my game. New packs = new content and maybe one step closer to getting them exactly right.

This is just for fun – despite the sheer amount of time it took to do this – and I highly encourage you to create your own characters in Sims4. It’s a fun way to bring them to life, so to speak. I’m not going to be going into too much detail, as I don’t want to influence your opinion too much on the characters before ever reading the book – hopefully one day it’s published.

I teetered on the edge of even writing this post. I wasn’t sure if I should share the characters before the book is even in stages of publication, or if I should just eventually let you meet them on the page. But I’m in this place with this WIP where I’m excited about it. I can actually see myself taking the next steps this year. The story is finally what it was always meant to be and people outside of family and friends have read bits of it – which is a huge step for me personally. I just want to share these characters with you – or at least give you a brief introduction.

With that being said, let’s jump into this.

I’ll group the characters by families – and I should mention that I didn’t include every character.

I’m also going to time stamp this post as if you were meeting them at Destiny’s Launch in November 2065.


Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 4.06.14 AMName: McKenna Hampton

Age: 19

DOB: October 15, 2046

Height: 5’6”

Eyes: Brown

Hair: Dark Brown

Family: Mom + Dad + Cole

Fun Fact: She likes coffee with her sugar

Quirk: Her jaw ticks when she’s trying to stay calm.


Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 9.13.47 PMName: Cole Hampton

Age: 26

DOB: August 2, 2039

Height: 6’2”

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Light Blonde

Family: Mom + Dad + McKenna

Fun Fact: He knows how to make ice cream in a zip lock bag.

Quirk: He cracks his knuckles when he’s stressed.


Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 9.18.29 PMName: Conner Hawthorne

Age: 20

DOB: April 14, 2045

Height: 6’0”

Eyes: Blue-Grey

Hair: Brown

Family: William + Sarah + Melanie

Fun Fact: His pancakes are always lumpy no matter what.

Quirk: He find’s McKenna’s temper endearing, and you can tell, because he smirks.


Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 9.59.11 PMName: Melanie Hawthorne

Age: 16

DOB: April 20, 2049

Height: 5’5”

Eyes: Grey-Blue

Hair: Brown

Family: William + Sarah + Connor

Fun Fact: She has a massive crush on Jack, but alas, it cannot be.

Quirk: She twirls a strand of her hair in her fingers when she’s nervous


Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 9.58.52 PMName: William “Will” Hawthorne (Husband)

Age: 53

DOB: January 4, 2012

Height: 6’1”

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Brown with some streaks of grey

Family: Sarah + Connor + Melanie

Fun Fact: He has the same smirk when it comes to McKenna’s antics.

Quirk: His right eyebrow raises a bit when he’s hearing bullshit.


Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 9.59.00 PMName: Sarah Hawthorne (Wife)

Age: 50

DOB: July 2, 2015

Height: 5’7”

Eyes: Grey

Hair: Dark Brown

Family: William + Connor + Melanie

Fun Fact: Is a mother to all – Free Mom Hugs anyone?

Quirk: She knows when either Melanie or Connor aren’t telling her the truth about something. Sixth mom sense.


Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 10.36.13 PMName: Clara Castor

Age: 19

DOB: December 5, 2045

Height: 5’4”

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Light Blonde

Family: Father + Hawthornes (by default)

Fun Fact: Not so “fun” but Clara’s sick but enjoys just hanging out with Connor, who’s her best friend.

Quirk: She can read a 400-page book in mere hours.


Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 9.15.54 PMName: Jack Archer

Age: 26

DOB: May 5, 2039

Height: 6’2”

Eyes: Green

Hair: Brown

Family: unknown

Fun Fact: He’ll be the first one to tell you if there’s anyone attractive nearby. He’s open to anything.

Quirk: He gets really quiet when he’s worried and won’t talk.


Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 4.36.26 AMName: Celia Arden

Age: 19

DOB: June 8, 2046

Height: 5’8”

Eyes: Green

Hair: Blonde

Family: Father + Mother

Fun Fact: She’s a bitch to everyone.

Quirk: Self-absorbed and doesn’t take no for an answer.


Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 10.29.25 PMName: Luke Pierce Aimes

Age: 21

DOB: Feb 1, 2044

Height: 6’0”

Eyes: Green

Hair: Dark Brown

Family: Father + Mother

Fun Fact: He’s super smart – went to medical school and works as a doctor on board Destiny…there might have been some nepotism involved.

Quirk: Also, a bit self-absorbed.


I had to keep it vagueish as to not spoil anything, so if you have questions, I’m sorry. Hopefully one day everyone gets to read this SF WIP I’ve created. That’s the goal, that’s the plan. Until then, I hope you enjoy this little peek into a good chunk of the main characters.

I’m feeling inspired now, and if I didn’t have work in the morning and have to be up in about 6 hours, I’d probably sit down and jump back into revisions.

Let me know if you create your own characters in The Sims4!

 

Writing Update #11

I took December off.

It was an unplanned break.

I started with just taking a week to recoup a bit from NaNoWriMo and then some personal stuff happened – we had to put my dog down – and then all motivation left me. I also tend to take December off after NaNoWriMo to recover from burnout, but I thought for sure that I was going to be able to jump right back into my SF WIP because I was so excited to work on it.

Then life happened and things kind of sucked and I didn’t want to get lost in my own story. Doing that would have required brain power, and I wanted to turn my brain off and get lost in other people’s stories – which is exactly what I did.

That feeling of excitement and itching is back, but with the end of the year two days away, and a million things to do before then (to prep for the NYE party we go to every year) I unfortunately just don’t have the time to sit down and write. That, and this break has been kind of nice. It’s let me miss my characters – absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

I haven’t been completely ignoring my WIP though. Since I’m excited, I’m constantly thinking about it and I know exactly what I need to do when I jump back into revisions at the start of the year.

2020 is the year I seriously hope I finally finish this book and start the process of getting it out there. That’s the other thing that’s changed this year. I’m still terrified of people reading my book, but there’s also this anticipation and excitement for people to fall for these characters the way I have. I’ve been working on my SF WIP since 2011, and it’s gone through so many versions, drafts, iterations and it’s finally (well, once I’m done revising) the story it was supposed to be.

You know, when I started this story, I had these grand delusions that I would be able to write it in a year, get it published and use that money to put myself through college. It was a freaking dream and I knew it was unattainable, because let’s be real, that would be like a one in a million chance. Then I think about how if I’d published that draft, that first, very shitty draft, how different it would be. How bad it would be, and then I’m glad I never fulfilled that unattainable dream.

It’s crazy to look back and see how much I’ve changed as a writer, and how visible those changes are in the various drafts of this story. 2020 is going to be MY year, and I’m going to finish this damn WIP and I swear I’m going to take the next steps in getting this thing on a Barnes and Nobles shelf.

So, here’s to 2020 and may all our Writing Dreams come true…now we just got to stick our butts in a chair and write.

 

 

NaNoWriMo 2019 FINAL Update

Maybe you’re like me and tired of all the writing updates. NaNo kind of consumed my life in November and the book reviews were kind of sparse – I know. So, if you’re here for the book related content and not the writing, know that in December my plans are to read more and post more reviews.

I’m glad NaNoWriMo is over. While I did have fun, between the crappy new site and losing all track of what my story was supposed to be, by the end it was a little tiresome. I ended with a count of 50,334 words, and I’m pretty sure I stopped writing in the middle of a scene. I’ll probably regret that later, but oh well.

Week 1:

Screen Shot 2019-11-08 at 2.13.28 AM

Overall, I will say that I find writing a contemporary romcom incredibly hard. This was my first time writing anything like this (that wasn’t just a short little scene) and being confined within real world rules…it kind of sucked. It could just be that I need practice. I’ve been writing science fiction and fantasy for years, and I create the majority of the rules that happen there, and I have more freedom to make stuff up. I found that in contemporary, you can’t just magic or fate away something that doesn’t make sense.

I also know that I went into this NaNo, this story, woefully unprepared. True, I had an idea – one I was very excited about, but I had no idea how to execute it. None. I had no plot, very few ideas, and I really didn’t know the characters. I knew who I wanted them to be, but as it turns out, they wanted to be entirely different. I know my writing process is to write it wrong before I get it right, but this draft is a legit mess. I honestly can’t remember the last time a wrote a first draft that was this messy.

Week 2:

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 1.58.29 AM

I know all my first drafts are messy, but I usually have some semblance of knowing where the story is going to go. I’ve even gone into NaNo before with no prep and not suffered as badly as I did this past week. I also found it really weird that ultimately, I couldn’t connect with my main character Cassie.

Every other main character I’ve written feels like they’re me – or at least a part of me, and I find it really easy to connect with them. The reason I find it so weird is that her life is legit inspired by my life. A bunch of the things that happen to her happened to me (to some degree, remember inspired by). But maybe that’s why it was so hard – maybe that’s why I didn’t feel as creative. I wasn’t making stuff up but pulling from real events. Which led into another headache. With this story being inspired by real events, I had to be careful to not inadvertently put a real family member into this book.

Week 3:

Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 3.29.25 AM

Not that they would get to read this draft, but I wanted to avoid the potential of pointing fingers and inadvertently calling someone out. Again, being confined to the rules of the real-world kind of sucks. It might be awhile before I dive back into this WIP.

I think it needs to sit in my brain for a bit before I go back to it – which is kind of a shame because I really liked Cassie and Chase. I also think I need to possibly age up my characters to college age – some of them already were, but I found it hard to connect with them due to their ages as well. This doesn’t surprise me since most YA contemporary, I can’t connect with, because I find most teens (in YA) immature and whiny. I think that’s a major reason as to why I tend to steer clear of it.

Week 4:

Screen Shot 2019-11-29 at 3.10.22 AM

This post has kind of turned into a bit of a rambling one, and for that, I apologize. I don’t really know what happened with this NaNo project and this is my attempt at trying to think it through, but any rationalizing that I’m doing here, feels more like a lame excuse than an actual answer. I do want to tell this story, but clearly that time isn’t now. I’m glad that I have 50k written that I can come back to whenever I want to work on it again – and hopefully draft 2 will be leagues better.

Now for a quick overview of the actual event.

I managed to stay on track most days. There was definitely a day or two that I accidentally fell behind and/or forgot to update my account, but then the handy little “update past days” feature revealed itself and that was a life saver. I also input my words a little differently this year. In past years I would only ever update after I hit words, or during. This year – mainly because I hated the site and found it finnicky, I would input my daily goal prior to writing and then meeting that goal – and often surpassing it.

Final:

Screen Shot 2019-12-02 at 9.42.36 PM.png

I wish this story had come a bit easier, felt a bit more natural. I also wish that my characters would get on board with the romcom aspect of the intended story. they all made it their job to make it anything but that, and just ugh.

Daily Word Count Graph (bar and line):

Screen Shot 2019-12-02 at 9.42.55 PMScreen Shot 2019-12-03 at 2.57.06 AM

Overall, my daily writing was consistent, with a few anomalies. Due to lack of creativity and boredom and probably frustration I wasn’t able to stay ahead, like I usually do. I usually try to stay at least a day ahead, but this year I was lucky if I managed to stay a couple hundred words ahead. There were moments while working on this WIP that felt like pulling teeth. Very rarely did I feel inspired to write or hit a writing roll.

Okay, this post is turning out to be a lot longer than I anticipated, so I’m going to leave you with partial scene between Cassie and Chase – my two favorite characters from this WIP.

Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2019-12-03 at 3.08.46 AM.png

(If there are typos or tense issues in the scene, I got to a point where I honestly stopped caring and just wanted to get words on the page, so apologies in advance.)

On a final, final note: How did your NaNoWriMo Projects go?

 

NaNoWriMo 2019 Update #4

This is it.

We’re down to the wire.

It’s hard to believe that another NaNo is just about wrapping up. Today’s post isn’t going to be very long – and I’m going to be spending most of the day writing. I wasn’t able to get in as many words yesterday, with it being Thanksgiving and all, so I have a little bit of catching up to do. \. Nothing too major, just about 800 words – no biggie. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish this trash draft tomorrow.

That’s my goal. To get words on the page and just finish this draft.

Screen Shot 2019-11-29 at 3.10.22 AM.png

I’m sitting around 47000 words, so I’m really not hurting. I tried creating an outline for this story – really, I was procrastinating actually writing, and wanted to fill up some words. So, I created this rough outline, leaving a lot blank. I knew I wanted a cutesy hot tub scene between Cassie and Chase. A scene where they almost kiss, but not quite. I legit wrote that in my outline and then promptly went to write the scene.

And guess what I did.

Well, I should say, guess what the characters did, because I stopped controlling them a long time ago. They’re writing themselves at this point. I’ve been sidelined and I’m just watching.

Image result for kiss gifCassie and Chase kissed.

Sorry, spoiler. But they freaking kissed.

And not only did they kiss – they kissed twice. They weren’t supposed to kiss at all!

I give up lol.

I’ve been writing this book all sorts of out of order, making the draft an absolute mess, but I’ve been hitting writing strides and just going with them. I have to write it all wrong before I can write it right.

My characters are continuing to surprise me. Cassie is super bold now that she’s moving past her sadness and anger. Chase is still goofy, but completely in love with Cassie and it’s adorable. Ryan is actually an absolute ass (completely different than how I intended him to be) and he’s super hard to write. Layne – who I never wanted to like – is being nice to Cassie after making her life a living hell. Not pretend nice, but genuinely nice and friendly and I don’t know what’s happening.

Also, for these four characters being in a house full of people, you never see any of the other occupants – something I need to address and fix in draft 2.

I’m glad that this draft is a mess. I might complain about it and my characters, but I really do have a better sense of what the story is supposed to be, what needs to happen, what I want to happen and who the characters are. I had this pretty idyllic idea in my head of what this book was supposed to be – a cute fluffy romcom – and it still is, but it has some heavier undertones to it. While I like the heavier undertones, I kind of want to try and write it without them – though I have a feeling that doing that is going to be really hard…seeing as how Cassie nearly drowns.

Anyways, I’m going to end this here. I’m exhausted, full of amazing food and maybe a bit too much wine and I’m going to just relax and enjoy the evening. Maybe do a bit of shopping out and about with a friend, and then when I come home, eat some home made apple pie! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of good food and plenty of leftovers. And those of you who are still cracking away at NaNo, you go this, we got this. Today and Tomorrow. And then we can take a break! So good luck!

Writing Update #10

It wasn’t my plan to post this today, but the book I’m currently reading is turning out to be a bit of a dense read and it’s taking me forever to get through it. So, sadly the book review I wanted to post is going to have to go up Thursday instead.

But I thought I’d share a snippet from my SF WIP – I think I mentioned last month that someone besides those who have known me for my whole life, has read it…well, half of it. That’s still surreal and I’m excited. It’s been a bummer that I haven’t really been able to work on it this month due to NaNoWriMo, but the urge is so strong I’m really looking forward to diving back into revisions in December. I might take a week off from writing in general after this past month. I’m not so much feeling burnout, but I do think I need a bit of a break.

While I haven’t really been able to work on my SF WIP due to my NaNo WIP I did manage to work on a small scene for my fantasy WIP (my 2018 NaNo Project). Technically I tacked it onto the end of my current NaNo WIP – word counts and all – but I was inspired, and I know better than to deliberately ignore inspiration when it hits. The only problem is, that I now also want to work on that WIP as well.

All the shiny ideas want written – and I can’t tackle them all at once. It’s a problem. But I guess it’s a goodish problem to have.

Anyways, here’s the first page of my SF WIP. I’ll leave you to speculate. Enjoy! I’m going to go run and hide now, because sharing my work is still insanely nerve wracking.

Screen Shot 2019-11-27 at 4.47.11 AM.png

NaNoWriMo 2019 Update #3

Wow, the third week is wrapping up, that’s really hard to believe honestly. I don’t think I’m going to be finishing before Thanksgiving like I have for the last few years. Inspiration is still kind of lacking, but somehow, I’m still cranking out words.

How good those words are…I’m not sure? I’m just going with it. It’s a first draft and it’s bound to be not that good.

A quick rundown of where I’m at.

Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 3.29.25 AM.png

I’m currently sitting at roughly 35,100 words, so on track. I was kind of on track plot wise until my characters jumped ahead emotion wise and I’m kind of back to where I was in the beginning. My plot is a mess again. But OH WELL. At this point in the game, I’m just going with it.

Which, kind of leads me into a brief overview of my writing process – well, at least my most common process.

Let’s start with the fact that I don’t outline. At least for the majority of projects I don’t create an outline. I tend to get sucked into them and then I just start writing and going into way to much detail. You might think having a detailed outline is great, for me it makes me not want to write the story, because I feel like I’ve already written it.

So, I don’t outline. I don’t really plot either. I usually have an idea of the beginning, a few key scenes and maybe an ending. Then I just let the characters do whatever they want. This often results in a very mess plot, and a lot of reworking/revising/editing. I kind of have to discover the story, chipping away at it before it becomes clear.

It’s probably not the most convenient way to write, and it’s why it’s taken me years to write my SF WIP. I have so many drafts of my various stories. Never does the story just come to me – and I bet it doesn’t just “come” for other writers as well.

As I work on this NaNo WIP, more of the story becomes clearer the more I write. I get to know the characters this way and by the time I write a more complete and comprehensive draft, I know the story is where it’s supposed to be, and who the characters are supposed to be.

I’m just glad I’m currently on track, but as you’re reading this though, I probably won’t have started today’s writing. I’m going to try and get an early start, since I have a book event/signing I’m going to in the evening. I’m heading to Philly again, so another 3-hour drive! It should be fun, and I’m excited. I’m also excited to see how this WIP might end? My characters are constantly surprising me, and I’m thinking of maybe aging them up? I don’t know yet. But I have a couple key scenes I want to write – it’s how I’m kind of tackling this WIP with the lack of inspiration. I’m writing scenes out of order, which is something I rarely do while drafting. Anything to keep the words flowing. This is pretty much the final stretch of NaNoWriMo 2019 and I refuse to wreck my 8, soon to be 9 year streak. That alone is keeping me writing.

On a final note, good luck to everyone still participating and remember to be kind to yourself and be proud that you got your butt in a chair and wrote words! That’s what matters the most!