I mentioned several times that I was participating in a writing challenge during November (and partially in October). Actually, I think I mentioned it on nearly every blog post written during that time. And I mentioned last time that I had finished the rough draft of my book, a fact that I still can’t quite believe.

My manuscript currently has 78,983 words in it, broken into 26 chapters. I sat down last night and figured out where the chapter breaks would be, since I had only organized it by scenes and point-of-view characters. I will be spending the next week fixing up any typographical errors and seeing how the scenes flow the way I have them lined up. Then I will send it out to the members of my writing group so they can tear it apart and help me put it back together again.

This book is the first book in a planned trilogy. I say that because a trilogy sounds like a good idea, not because I have big ideas for two more books. Oh, I have ideas, don’t get me wrong. But the next books are still mostly a mystery. Surprisingly, this doesn’t worry me. After all, most of this book was a mystery to me until I started breaking things down and writing it.

These books are Young Adult Fantasy, which is a booming genre right now. It’s a lot to live up to. What will make people pick my book up when there are so many out there? It’s a funny thing to think about, especially when I haven’t even finished the darn thing, much less convinced someone to publish it.

I’m looking forward to the revision process. It’s the first time I’ve ever done it, since this is the first time I’ve had a writing project that actually came to fruition. So I have left the Truby exercises behind and moved on to Maass. Which means more writing exercises, of course, these designed to take my writing to the next level. I can’t wait to see what happens, what changes will be made. And of course, I will keep everyone posted on my progress on the blog.


New Writing Challenges

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I love my writing group! Things have been getting slow lately, especially trying to recover from the summer, but starting October 20th we are starting a challenge. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, we will all set writing goals. Instead of working over just the month of November, we will have six weeks to accomplish a writing goal. It doesn’t have to be 50,000 words, but it needs to be something challenging.

Oh, have you never heard of NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month happens every November. Writers from all over the world try to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s a crazy goal, one that I have to admit, I’ve never been able to achieve. Even when I don’t participate, November always seems to be filled with creative energy as I think about all the people around the world writing like mad. The few times I have participated have been fun, although I usually only made it to around 25,000 words.

Here’s the main reason why our writing challenge excites me: there is a good chance that if I set a goal ambitious enough, I will finish the rough draft of my novel by December 1st. I will keep everyone informed of my progress, both here and on Twitter. This is the first time that I’ve ever been close to finishing a writing project. The idea of actually going through and revising this thing is both exciting and terrifying – I’ve never had anything to revise before! But I have the support of my writing group, and lots of notes from where they’ve critiqued my work, not to mention family and friends who are willing to give me a good swift kick if I start slowing down and doubting myself.

I will spend the time between now and the 20th trying to plan out the rest of the story. I know where it’s going, but need to list out the individual scenes. I’m not a big outliner – I never have had the entire thing planned out from beginning to end. Since finding John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story, I have a much better procedure for writing, but I have found that outlining a bit, then writing that bit, then outlining a bit more works better than trying to outline the entire thing.

So now all I have to do is prepare for October 20th. I can’t wait!

Busy busy little bee . . .

So over the past few weeks, it seems like I’ve picked up a few followers to this blog! Thanks everybody! If you are so inclined, take a second to introduce yourself in the comments. I love making new Internet friends!

This week has been crazy busy here at the Calvin homestead. The good news is that everyone is (finally) well. My daughter and my husband were both sick as dogs the end of last week and into this one, but they are now both on the mend. Thank goodness. I really hope I don’t get it – I’ve been crossing my fingers so much that they might get permanently stuck that way one of these days.

This weekend is another meeting of my wonderful writing group. I love meeting with them, but I have to say, I’m a bit stressed about this upcoming one. I’m still struggling through chapter two of my story (which sounds pathetic, I know) and, due to the sick folks at home and an ever increasing work load and my day job, the creative juices are just not flowing. I know where the chapter needs to go. I have a goal for what needs to happen and what the characters need to do. It’s just getting that onto paper without it sounding terrible. That’s the hard part.

I am very much a perfectionist, so it’s hard for me to allow myself to do things wrong at first so that I can figure out how to do them right later. That’s what the writing group is for. And nobody, other than those five people, will ever read the “bad” version. Once I get it finished and revised, I can take the first draft and have a bonfire party. There will be singing and dancing and lots of marshmallows. Can’t have a bonfire party without s’mores!

In addition to that, I will have to carve out some time to look over the chapters that the other members of the group have submitted for critique. *sigh* It’s times like this I really wish that there were more hours in the day. But it will all get done somehow. It always does. I’ll just have to ignore the house cleaning for another week or so. Please pray for my family. 😉