Friday, March 29, 2013

Reflecting - Relaxing - Working

I am happy to announce that I am done with "I Remember."  I have finished with the rewrites and my part of the editing and it is now in the hands of my editor.

While I am waiting to hear what kind of changes are needed in the book, I am already putting the final touches on the outline to part two in the Remembrance Series, called "Loving You."  Thanks to pulling a major scene and pushing it into this book, I already have a 7,000+ word head start.   

The day I finished, I took a moment to reflect on how long this journey has taken and how wonderful it feels to have completed it.  I decided to take a few days to catch up on some much needed sleep and reading.  My TBR (to be read) pile has grown considerably and it is time to take a few books out of the pile. 

Some may ask, why spend time reading when you should be writing.  (I have actually been asked this question numerous times.)  The answer is easy...sometimes when you are writing, you stumble across a brick wall, or writer's block.  I don't know about everyone else, but for me, I like to step away from the scene and either jump to another area of the book or stop working on it entirely and read a book.  I find that reading allows my mind to let go of anxiety, imagine, and become one with the story.  It also provides you with new thoughts and ideas.  Let me ask this, "How many times have you read a story and said to yourself, 'That's a nice idea, but what if it went this way instead?'"  That is the writer in all of us!  This is why we read a lot!

Today I decided to take a look at a story that I have had on hold while I finished up my other story.  I have decided to go through a round of edits, to refresh me on the story and hoping to start back up on writing by next week.  I am about two-thirds complete with the story at this point and would like to see what I can do to complete it, before bouncing back to my other series.  Besides, the two main characters are giving me heck in my dreams, demanding that I complete this portion of their story!  :-)

I am also trying to get everything finalized for my website, so it can finally be up and running.  I will let everyone know on here when it is ready to go.  Also, be sure to check back sometime within the next week.  I will go ahead and post my cover for I Remember. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Edits, Edits, and More Edits

Can you tell, by the title, what I am working on?  LOL.

I made a rookie mistake of getting too detailed and wordy with the first book and I am now paying my dues trying to tighten the story and trim as much as possible.  I have been doing an on again/off again, approach to the editing, so I don't become numb to the story line.

To date, I have been able to trim 25,000+ words, pushed one major scene over to book two, Loving You, (which now has a good start at 6,000+ words) and am slowly approaching the end of my editing.  Only about 75 pages left.  Can I get a big WOOHOO, from everyone?!

My only fear is that I still need to cut some more.  There are two scenes that are emotional, but could due with less detail and still have the book survive.  However, I am holding out until I absolutely have to trim them, because they mean a great deal to me.  Plus, I fear a scene that I am coming up on needs several more lines of clarification. 

Sorry this blog is short this week, but my focus is on getting this done.  I want to stop talking about the book and release it already!

Back to editing....  ;-)

Monday, March 11, 2013

What Are You Working On?

I have written posts about my first Valentine's with my sweetie, about sources of negativity that has, at times, affected my ability to write, and about how much is involved in getting a thought from your head to actual publication.  But, I just realized that I never mentioned anything about my works in progress (WIP). 

For eight years, I held a story idea in my head, never fully believing that I had the ability to convey the concept into words.  I allowed the story to grow, gathering new insights and details, based on my life and the world around me.  Try as I might, I was never able to complete the vision or allow myself to write it down. 

Several months later, some of my mom friends were discussing various books and authors.  We compared our likes and dislikes of various genres, when one finally asked, "Have you ever written anything, and if so have you thought about writing a Young Adult novel?  They are currently quite popular for a variety of age groups."

I had admitted to writing a couple of children's books, tales my father had spun to me as a child, that I wanted my family to know.  Our group encouraged me to give it a try, but I dismissed the idea, or so I thought, until my dreams started to demand the written word.

Over the course of the next week, the tale in my head intensified through my dreams and played out to fruition.  I discussed the concept with my husband, wondering what I should do.  He told me not to dismiss the idea and give it a try.  He said, "You never know until you try.  If it is something you want to do, I will support you.  But, you need to take that first step."

He was right.  I fought the idea of sitting and writing, believing myself doomed to failure before I even started.  However, my story would not let up, as the characters developed even further until one day I found myself in front of my laptop and began to type out a few words.  Granted, it took six attempts to get the right words to start the book, and since then I have completely re-written the beginning, but it was enough to get me going. 

I promised myself that if I reached 50 pages, I would keep going.  Then, once I hit 100 pages, I would commit to the next 100, until the book was complete.  Of course, I stopped, started, stopped, started, and so on, thanks to negativity, fear, and a severe case of writer's block, along with the need to continually edit what I had written, to ensure perfection, before finally letting go.

So after much time and effort, the first book in the series is ready to come out soon.  The cover will be revealed on my author Facebook page this week.  My final round of edits, prior to an editor, will be done by end of week. So I do not have a release date as of yet, but hope to soon.

But, what is the book about?  It is called I Remember, part 1 of 4 in the Remembrance Series.  It follows two main characters, a hero named Gregory and a heroine named Jordan, who discover an inexplicable bond to one another.  They share similar dreams about both the present and past and have been given clues to unlock the mystery of who they actually are.  Along the way, they unleash mysterious capabilities that defy explanation and they learn of a darkness set to destroy all that stands in its way.  They are guided by a divine visionary to help right where their paths went askew in the past, but will it be enough to keep their future moving forward?

Some questions that might come from this book are:   If you are faced with death, can you see life?  Can the heart trust or can it be clouded with judgement?  If you discovered you were born to hold back the evil of humanity, could you go forward on that path or would you try to alter it?  and of course... Is love strong enough to survive against all odds, even one that can destroy life?

Just wait and see....

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What's Taking So Long?

I have been asked this question, numerous times, by a variety of people.  A little over a year ago, I would be asking someone the same thing if I found out they were writing a book.  I, too, had believed that all that was required was to write it, send it out to get published and then wait for it to appear online to buy.  Seems simple enough; however, there are so many steps one must follow to get to the finish line.

An author first has to have a good idea, obviously, then they have to research it to make sure no one else has anything too similar.  If they do, they must rethink their writing plan or write something entirely new.  After the research regarding your initial thoughts, other investigation may be required, especially if you are writing anything factual in terms of medical, health, certain business processes, historical accuracy, specifics on cars, geographical locations, the list is endless. 

Once the idea is in place and the research is completed, one can start to write.  For some, they have the ability to write everyday, a certain amount of time a day and can complete things in quick order.  But, for others, you are limited by your environment.  If I had the time to just sit and devote to nothing other than writing, I could probably pop out a book every few months or more.  Unfortunately, that is not the case for me.  My family takes priority with their needs coming first, with schooling, work hours, errand running, cooking, and so forth, essentially all the duties that would typically accompany a mother and wife.  So my writing time is severely limited to early mornings, late evenings, the wee hours past midnight and the occasional weekend.  So my pace is a little slower than some, but each day I add a little more to the process and take one step closer to my goals:  Finishing my first book (done), editing it (in process), cover art (done), beta/critique readers (waiting for the final edits), setting up an  Author Twitter page (done), setting up an Author Facebook page (done), setting up a blog (done), setting up a website (work in progress), setting my information up on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble (still to do),  releasing the book (holding pattern - trying to determine date)....once again the list is endless.

There are so many steps involved in the process of a story.  When the book is done, you have to go back through it to edit areas you find are unnecessary, overly stated, not enough information, could be left out entirely, and so on.  Then you have to secure an editor to read over what you have written, as they can help smooth things out, show you details you missed and essentially assist in tightening up your writing.  After the editor, you sometimes consider enlisting the help of a proofreader, to help pinpoint errors in grammar, sentence structure, misuse of words, and even spelling mistakes or type-o's.  Once this is done, you make all the corrections and then send to your beta/critique readers, to see if what you have done is appealing to them or if they have suggestions on what would make the story even better.  During all of this, if you are tyring to get picked up by a publishing house, you have to submit query letters that summarize your work in a couple small paragraphs, to various literary agents and hope to get positive responses back and wait, for an undetermined amount of time.  If you choose the become an Indie (independent) author, you try to locate a cover artist who can best represent your book.  One has to admit, that when looking for a good book to read it is the cover that first draws you in and then the blurb on the back of the book that entices you further.  So these two items must be perfect.

While all the above is going on, you need to start branding your name or advertising yourself, via means of the Internet, word of mouth, attending various author events, and so forth.  You could wait until it is released, but why, when you can put some effort into it now.  So one needs to decide on how much time they will allot to this action and begin the marketing side of things, along with the writing, and your everyday life.

When you have all of the processes done, though I think I may be missing a few bits and pieces here and there, but at least you get the general idea that there is more to this than just writing and getting it published, you then have to focus on publication.  If you get signed with an agent and a publishing house, then you have to move at their schedule and what they want to do with your book.  If you are an indie author you have the responsibility of getting things done by setting a release date, printing the books, uploading the books to the various websites for purchase (Amazon, B & N, Smashwords, etc.), scheduling a book release party and doing a lot of public relations/marketing for your book.  One author friend summed up the process very nicely to me in these simple words, "Writing is about 10% talent and 90% being able to market yourself."  While I disagree about the low percentage of it being talent, which I feel is a much higher number, it is about being able to represent yourself to the public and getting them to listen.  Once you have their attention and they read the book, it is then carried by word of mouth, reviews, and so forth.

My apologies on the length of this blog, but I wanted to emphasize there is more to writing and publishing than what the words suggest.  I admit I have taken a long time to get the first book done.  I will honestly state that I have stopped writing on numerous occasions falling into the negativity zone buying into the idea that writing was a waste of my time, nearly giving up entirely on the idea of my dream.  But, once I finally realized that writing made me happy and that I am doing it for myself and my family, I committed to the idea of seeing everything through to completion and have since been moving much faster.  Granted there are still hiccups in the road from time to time, but I strive to spend at least an hour or more on writing/editing, every day, to ensure it is a part of my daily routine.  I have also learned to just write, not continually re-read and edit everything to get all things perfect right out of the starting gate.  If you do this you will never make your way down the track unless you learn to let go, write freely and know that you can go back and fix things when you are done; getting to the finish line is priority.  This is one reason my writing was slow in the beginning, I wanted perfection up front and did not allow myself to progress.

As for the status of the first book, it is completed, in terms of writing, just needing to finish the final steps in preparation process for release, which will happen this year.  I don't have a date set, but as soon as I know something I will post it on here.  I already have an outline to books two and three in the first series and have written a couple of scenes for book four.  The second series I have been working on, kind of back and forth, has one book nearly done (which I also plan on releasing this year), the cover art has already been selected and so on.  I have an outline to the second, in the series, nearly complete and the third of the series will have to wait for now, though I have several ideas.  I have been trying to keep new ideas about other books at bay, only writing down what I have to, in order to keep my focus, since it is easy to get caught up in a new thought.  I have established a tentative schedule of what I am writing, when, how long I will allow myself on it and when I would like to see publication, barring any unforeseen factors that life can sometimes throw at you.  So I use the word "tentative" loosely.

I am hoping this blog helps everyone understand all that is involved in getting from point A to point B in terms of writing.  Essentially, ALOT!!!   Plus, from what I hear, the first book is always the hardest because you want it to be perfect, putting so much extra care into it, which I am definitely guilty of.

Have a great week everyone!