And just like that, it’s December 31st! It’s been a very light year for posting blog updates for me. For a while, I cheated and cross-posted my Instagram photos here as pseudo-blog entries, but I think I’m ready to start some (light) blogging again.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, thinking about all my goals for the new year.
I want to do something in the first half of this blog that I rarely do lately — take a look back. I’m usually busy keeping up with my daily To-Do List and mapping out my goals for the futures. So… what the heck happened in 2017?
I’m so happy to report that the story that started out as a novel way back when, then morphed into a web-comic, then a digital comic, and a complete 9-issue storyline has now been optioned to be a movie!
I’m excited to see what the next 30 months hold for this story (12 months for the initial option, 18 for the extension, if needed).
I’d love it if the movie was actually made, but I’m skeptical, of course, just because making a movie is a gigantic undertaking with hundreds of moving parts. And I thought scripting all 192 pages of this comic was a challenge…!
It’s awesome that something I started working on nearly a decade ago has found a new life, and I’m just glad all the heavy lifting — for me — is already done.
Although now I’m already plotting out the next book in the In Maps & Legends series…
Just a quick note here to let y’all know I’m still here.
Plugging away after life threw me a couple curve balls — our Raleigh office closed in April, and they let go pretty much everyone at the office, including me.
So I’ve been job-hunting and networking like a champ since then, which becomes a bit draining after a while. You look at all the jobs, try to narrow them down, and then fill out the online application (some of which can be long and tedious), add a resume and custom cover letter, and hope for the best. Then you start to worry you’re missing the perfect job, so you keep hunting. It becomes a vicious cycle.
But I’ve got some leads, and while I got sidetracked by a job that I (and one of my potential bosses) thought was all but wrapped up in late May, and I’m feeling good about the prospects.
What I haven’t been doing is writing fiction. I tried to keep up with the novel in April after the lay-off, then by May I was knee-deep in job applications and creating some (pretty awesome, if I say so myself) writing samples for potential jobs. But I wasn’t working on my novel.
I wrote all of 1,800 words on my current novel in May. That’s just 6 pages. In a month. Bleh.
So for my birthday I decided to challenge myself: I will write 500 words a day, minimum, every day.
If this is my dream — to be a full-time fiction writer — then I need to keep on writing, despite what distractions are going on in my world.
On Saturday, my birthday, I got up early and got back in touch with my characters in Hunter’s Moon, the sequel to my novel Family, Pack.
And I wrote about 600 words. Sunday I wrote about 700 more. And yesterday, even though it was a crazy day, I squeezed in another 600 words (a car chase scene, woo!).
Which leaves me with today. I just wrote about 350 words on this blog post, which could’ve been used on my novel — I could’ve finished up that car chase. What was I thinking?
And so the challenge continues! Wish me luck, and thanks for reading!
From October 3rd to October 17th, 2009, I attended a Fiction Writing Master Class with a dozen other writers. We had hours of classes every day, assignments every night, and we wrote. A lot. I came away with three complete stories, pages of notes, and ideas for at least a dozen novels.
I also learned a ton about publishing, and that led to all of my adventures in indie publishing with UnWrecked Press. Definitely a life-changing experience (and I even had to miss the wedding of two of my friends to attend it, so I knew I had to make the most out of every minute).
So what have I done since my return from that Master Class workshop in mid-October 2009?
What have I accomplished in the past 5 years?
One thing I did was make ebooks. Lots of ebooks – close to a hundred! I did one short-story-as-ebook a week for the entire year of 2011 (that was kind of ambitious, eh?).
And I learned how to create print-on-demand books.
And I found narrators to make audiobooks out of three of my novels and one short story, which was a fun exercise. I’d love to do more, and maybe even narrate one myself.
For the past month now, I’ve been getting up early to work on my new mystery novel that has a splash of the supernatural in it.
Well, I was plugging away on the book, that is, until 1) I got a nasty cold, and 2) we had family visit and I got knocked off schedule. But I’d planned for the second option (and we had a great visit with family from in and out of state), and my plan is to be up and running again tomorrow. Typing away in the early hours as usual…
One thing I did in some of my downtime in the past few weeks was work on a couple of covers for the new book, which is still called The Finder Team.
I’d love to get your thoughts on which cover you prefer, so here are your two options (click on a cover to see a bigger version):
Cross another item off my Bucket List. I finished my screenplay this morning!
It’s right about the length I planned it to be (113 pages, or a one hour, 53 minute movie, and around 26,000 words). All told, it took me three and a half months to write, but about 60 hours total spread out over those months.
But, more importantly — what’s the screenplay ABOUT?
Sharp-eyed readers of this blog and website may have noticed some movement in my “2013 Word Count Goal” over there in the right-hand sidebar. Yep, I’m getting some writing done again — new words! It feels GREAT.
My current project is a new one for me. Instead of a novel or story, I’m writing a screenplay.
I think I’ve got the basics of the formatting down (I’ve been reading a lot of screenplays from the IMSDb and raiding the library of veteran screenwriter John August for assistance, as well as reviewing the latest version of Screenplay on my Kindle). Luckily I have some experience with the odd formatting of screenplays from my work on the script for our digital comic a few years.
But screenplays, yeah… They can be a bit weird to draft.
I figure I can go back and fix the formatting issues later. Right now I’m just chugging through the story. Getting the dialog down, letting the characters get into trouble, keeping up with the action, and so on. Figuring it out as I go.
And I’ve been having a blast. So much so that I want to keep at it. And that’s why I’m going to push myself.
As a writing challenge, I’m setting a firm deadline of the last day of August to finish this screenplay.
It’s been a while, I know, but I have indeed been plugging away on book 3 of my Contagious Magic series, A Lasting Cure for Magic.
I got a lot of work done in November of last year, and then hit the wall in December and barely wrote a word. Not sure what happened there… But then I started getting ramped up in January, and have hit a great rhythm here at the end of February.
I’m excited with where this is going, and I just finished up the end of Act 2 (of a 3-act novel). I tried to end each chapter with a bit of a cliffhanger (the story switches between the points of view for Kelley and her twin brother Jeroan).
So I thought I’d share the last sentence of each chapter with you. I like them probably TOO much, which means they’ll probably get axed as I work on the novel more. 🙂
I’ve been having a hard time getting around to writing the third novel in my Contagious Magic series, for a variety of reasons.
Part of it is fatigue from the day job. Part is from adjusting to the kids going back to school and the changes that cause on my weekday schedule. Part of is a lack of rhythm and motivation. Part of it is a feeling of being overwhelmed, trying to pull together all those plotlines and character arcs for the third book in a trilogy (which could pan out into a series, beyond three books).
And a good part of it is just plain laziness.
So, to combat all those parts, I’m making myself a work-for-hire writer. I’m gonna write 1,000 words a day for my new job. The new job is writing this novel. The new boss is, well, me.
So yesterday I re-read the last few chapters of the novel I’ve been working on since last fall (a novel I’d originally intended to bang out in, oh three months, but actually took me about eight or nine), and then I printed out one version of it to mail to a friend for copy-edits.
I also used the awesome writing tool Scrivener to format a MOBI file that I sent to another friend for his feedback, and made an ePub of it just for kicks. (I love that Scrivener gives me an ePub that is error free, according to this site. Love it!)
I totally ended the book on a cliffhanger, so I’m already thinking about what happens in book three, tentatively titled A Lasting Cure for Magic.
And I still have the ancillary work to do on book 2 — reworking the blurb, maybe making a new cover and possibly changing the title of the novel, not to mention incorporating the feedback from my friends — but the hard part is done. And I’m not quite ready to dive into all that yet. I need something different…
So I’m looking for the next challenge. Which I think will be a short story. Maybe two.