(Before I begin, this is my 200th blog post? Wow)
Three novels in four years, and it’s time to step back and work on word craft. I’ve found that beating my fingers against a keyboard and my head against a wall has taught me several valuable lessons about story arcs, characters, and world-building, but the actual infrastructure on a sentence level, I feel that I have been struggle to grow in that particular garden. Here is what I’ll be covering today:
- What I’m doing during a month of a break from novel writing and full-time employment
- Explaining the specific books I’m reading
It is November. A month of holiday lead-up, Halloween (and quite possibly autumn) are over, and the writing sprints of NaNoWriMo begin. As someone who completed two novels this year, the idea of writing 50,000 words again exhausts me. Therefore, I’m playing my own game: #NaNoPlotMo, or National Novel Plotting Month.
Ah, querying. When you distill your tens of thousands (some people have written hundreds of thousands? wow!) of words of a novel into 250-300 words in the hopes that an agent will pick it up. But how long do people wait? How do you know if your query is working? Well, I wanted to share my experience and hopefully help ease people’s expectations around the querying journey by answering:
- Is my query working?
- How long have I been waiting on different responses?
- What were the outcomes?
Anxiety is a vicious thing. Something is wrong, but the fear’s cause is unknown. Sometimes, it’s jealousy-fueled nervousness. Sometimes, it’s crippling self-doubt. Most times, it’s nothing. With my prior lack of proper coping mechanisms, my reaction to the onset of nerves was to just work. And work. And work. Until I’d be crying, wondering why I’m not anywhere I want to be, motivation replaced by complete exhaustion.
And then, I sought help.
Thieves Project is the work in which, I think, I saw myself for the first time in my own writing. And parts of the plot simply didn’t work in the way I wanted them to, so I took it upon myself to do a rewrite. Because I’m always at a lack of resources, this is a post for pre-revisions me. Here is the action plan I took which brought a book down from 112,000 words to 89,000 words.
It didn’t feel right to talk about this before I finished my graduate school work. So, here I am in this candid moment to tell you about balancing graduate school and writing. I don’t feel the most qualified, as I don’t have an agent, don’t have anything published, and have trunked a project. But I did write 2+ books in 15 months, so that’s…something.
Part 2 of a 4-part series about my writing process and learnings. The first part was about going on a hiatus. This second part is about my discovery that I am not a “pantser” whatsoever.
Originally, this was going to be about how I always hit a point in my writing where I want to delete my book. Turns out, it was just a symptom of burning out. So, I’m talking about the necessity to take a break sometimes and common thought processes that can interrupt it.
(Photo by Ilham Rahmansyah on Unsplash)
For whatever reason, my to-do post came up blank. Anyway, for spring break from graduate school, I went to Portland, OR for 9 days to get back into writing. Here is an overview of what I did while I was there and why it was so necessary. Continue reading
My first language is Polish, the most comma-happy language ever. If I were to write that first sentence, there would be one after “Polish” and before “ever.” English doesn’t work this way. For clarity’s sake, commas are so helpful and I get into back-and-forth edits about them too often. Here are some tips.