January 2017 Planning

I haven’t updated here in awhile and we’re a third of the way through the month, but I need to start being accountable again.  So here’s January’s plan though it’s a bit short!

Publishing

Double Helix – Shadows and Secrets

Editing/Formatting

Double Helix – Emergence anthology

Zero Drafts/Revisions

  • Not Alone Project short story
  • Witches & Warriors short story

Adding to the Process

With most of my stories, I don’t make notes after I’ve finished them. There’s really no need to since most of them are one-shot stories. This is a good thing because I don’t have reams and reams of notes I’ll never use again. It’s a bad thing because I do have a series building up and the only notes I have are on the individual stories.

There’s a simple solution – take a time out from writing those stories and create a story “bible.”  Television shows and existing fiction franchises keep story bibles so that important facts, events, and characters are portrayed accurately no matter who the author is who is writing a particular story. It’s something I have to add to my existing process.

So that’s what I’m doing right now. My Double Helix series started out as one book. Then I had an idea for another one, and a collection of short stories about how each of the members joined Helix. Now the series notes are up to six novels and six short story collections.  There are too many details to keep straight without a little help.

So characters, locations, organizations, timeline notes, and other details for the entire series are going into one place. I can update it when a new detail comes up. I can refer to it when I’m not certain about something. I can give my beta readers the relevant parts of it so they can make sure I’m consistent with descriptions and motivations.

It does take time away from writing the actual stories, but it will also make things quicker when I need to remember details. Here’s to learning and using new information.

Cover Reveal, Pre-Sales, and Release Date!

The 2015 Sirens conference was my first. It made a rather large impression. I found part of my tribe. And out of a writing related post on Facebook back in February, something astounding grew.

Two characters, a queen and courtesan from completely different stories, were being very loud in my head. Neither was from the story I was working on at the time, but both were insistent. One of my fellow Sirens thought that would be an interesting conversation to hear. Not something I could write, since their stories are centuries and worlds apart – but her thought sparked another story idea in my mind. And in other Sirens’ minds as well. Within two weeks, the first real work on creating the anthology started.

I am extremely proud to be able to reveal the anthology cover, announce the release date, and announce that the e-version is available for pre-sale now.

Title: Queens & Courtesans: A Sirens Benefit Anthology
Release Date: Thursday, October 6, 2016

Queens & Courtesans Anthology Cover

Queens & Courtesans Anthology Cover

Description:

Women have long wielded power in various ways. This collection explores two prominent archetypes, the Queen and the Courtesan, in memorable stories that cross speculative genres. Whether finding love, or finding themselves, coming into their magic or other strengths, these complex women rise above the roles that confine them to ask: who will you be?

E-Book available for pre-sale at:

Decisions, Decisions

The benefit anthology that I wrote a story for is coming out soon.  As the US “publisher” I’ve been very involved in getting it set up with several different distribution channels. It hasn’t been too difficult, though they’re all just a little different.

But there’s a problem.

That book, sitting there all by itself on each distribution page, looks lonely.

My name is on the book, if I had other stories published – traditionally, or self-published – I could take advantage of any sales on the anthology.  There won’t be any “By the same author” links for any of my writing.  Some of my fellow contributors probably will see links like that with their names in them.

I’ve always intended to self-publish some of my writing. But I’ve been concentrating on a couple of novels that I was planning to submit for traditional publishing. I don’t have anything ready, polished enough, to self-publish right now. And a month probably isn’t long enough when I’m working on promoting the anthology.

So, do I pause the projects I’m working on? Self-publish them instead of going the traditional route? Or do I pull out some of the story ideas I haven’t written yet, finish and polish them with the intention of self-publishing them as soon as possible?

Decisions, decisions…

February 2016 Planning

Normally I try to switch between zero drafts and revisions, but since I’m querying Secrets and Shadows starting this month, I thought revising the sequel would be a good idea. I’m sure it will take a couple months to hear back on any of my queries, but I’d like to have the sequel more or less ready to go, just in case.

Revision

Dark and Light

Short Stories

2AM Cheerios (title will probably change)

Blog Posts

1 per week here
1 per week on other blogs

Other Writing Related Projects

  • Track words written/revised
  • Send out queries for Secrets & Shadows
  • Post first audio/video short
  • Track queries and responses

January 2016 Plan

I didn’t keep up with the plans or wrap-ups toward the end of 2015. I’m going to try to do better in 2016.

Revision

Secrets & Shadows – final revision before sending out queries

Short Stories

End of Existence

Blog Posts

1 per week here

  • Jan 1-7
  • Jan 8-14
  • Jan 15-21
  • Jan 22-28

1 per week on other blogs

  • Jan 1-7 – Wandering at the Shadow’s Edge
  • Jan 8-14
  • Jan 15-21
  • Jan 22-28

Other Writing Related Projects

  • Track words written/revised
  • Re-establish email list
  • Research/Choose audio and/or video shorts possibilities
  • Revise Secrets & Shadows synopsis and base query text

November 2015

November is National Novel Writing Month!  That means that my plans are a little different than they are for most months.

Zero Draft – Hollywood Divine
This is my planned project for NaNoWriMo.  The word count to win NaNo is 50,000 but I’m shooting for 65,000. That will hopefully mean less I have to add during the revision stage.

Other Writing –
Blog posts – I’m hoping for at least one blog post here every week, but we’ll see what happens. I’m also hoping to post on my non-writing site.
Short stories/Flash fiction – I doubt I’ll get any new stories written, but depending on how Hollywood Divine goes, I might get one or two done but I’m not counting on it.
Revisions – any revision work is unlikely. I may make some notes, but that’s about it.

My Process

Every writer works differently. What works for one, may not work for any other.  It took me a long time to figure out what mine is.

Plotting

I’m not a “pantser” – or a writer who doesn’t plan anything out in advance. I’m not a “plotter” either – if I outline the details of a story, I get bored when I’m writing it. I fall somewhere in between the two.

When it comes to planning, I do some – mostly what I do is make a list of the major events that need to occur and the characters that have to be involved in the story. Beyond that, I let the characters and the story itself tell me how to get from point to point. It keeps me from getting bored, and in fact, I’m able to still be surprised by some of the things that end up happening.

Drafts

The one problem I’ve always had with writing has been to finish the stories I start. It took until NaNoWrimo 2013 for me find a way to get past the problem. Writing 50,000 words wasn’t the problem for me – finishing the story was.  In 2013 I decided that I wasn’t going to pay attention to the word count as much. Instead I concentrated on getting the entire story arc on the page. That meant there were some places where the text contained something like [fight scene here] because at the time, I knew what needed to happen but the words weren’t coming.

What I ended up with is what I call a Zero draft. It’s not something I’d let anyone read – but the whole story is there, from start to finish, and I know the characters and the issues.

Once the zero draft is done, it’s time to let the story sit for a bit while I revise or edit or format other stories. After a minimum of a month, I print the zero draft out and I start on the official revision process to make the First draft.  This is when I fill in those places between the [ ]s. This is when I add more sensory tags and cut things that don’t add to the understanding of the story or the characters. This is also when I look for those spots where I left something out because I forgot that a reader can’t see the movie that’s running in my head.  My first drafts are the ones that go to beta readers or, if it’s fanfic, gets posted.

Editing/Formatting/Publishing

So far I’ve only taken one project to this point – the collection of short stories set in the story world of the Double Helix. I’m a one person shop at this point.  Would I love to have a real editor? Would I love to have someone do my book cover for me? Or take care of all the publishing details?

Of course.

But those things all take one thing I don’t have right now – money. A good editor costs. A good cover artist costs. Finding someone to take care of all the fiddling little details of publishing, that I can trust, costs. So for now, I’m stuck doing them all and they all take time away from the writing. So they don’t happen quickly.

That’s my current process. It’s constantly evolving, so I have no doubt that it’ll be at least a bit different a year from now.