Writing Update

We’re three-quarters of the way through 2016 and the holiday season is only 2 months away. Scary!

This year has been crazy busy with vet appointments, get-togethers with family and friends, errands, and crocheting. My writing life has been equally busy with writing and revising my manuscript, writing a short story, researching self-publishing and reading.

The more I research, the more I realize that if I want to turn my writing into a career I need to start treating it like one. And spending four hours two days a week clearly isn’t enough. So a new plan is in order.

While I’m figuring that out, let’s take a look at where I am with the writing goals I set at the beginning of the year.

1. Publish my mystery novel

Okay, so this one isn’t happening this year. I sent the manuscript out for a second edit, then decided I needed another set of eyes to take a look. So it went out for a third edit and now I’m working on those revisions. A fourth round is required. It’s going to take me a bit to get through those edits. The book needs quite a bit of polishing before I’ll be happy with it. It means waiting longer to publish it, but the end product will be a great book that readers will enjoy. I’ll also be able to save up more money for editing and for the cover design. Plus I’ll be able to learn from the editing for this book to create a more polished book 2 draft for editing.

2. Focus on other types of writing such as flash fiction, short stories, freelancing etc. by working on at least two projects.

I wrote the first draft of a short story. I’m going for a similar feel as the novel. I need to flush out the background and setting more but it’s a great start.

Last week, I started another short story. If I can get this one done in a month and a half, I’m going to submit it to a short story contest. Keep your fingers crossed!

 

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Blank Pages

The blank pages haunt me. They chase me through the maze, chanting over and over, “you’ll never fill us. We’ll be blank forever.”

Laughter echoes around me. I reach a dead end. There’s no time to turn back and find another way. I hear the rustling encroach. Shadows dance off the walls. My heart hammers.

“You’ll never fill us. We’ll be blank forever.”

I scramble into the corner, knees pulled to my chest and hands over my head. My face is wet.

The laughter grows louder. The rustling draws nearer. A soft melody drifts in.

I bolt awake, cheek wet from drool, piece of paper stuck to my face. The cursor on the monitor blinks at me. The electronic page is blank. A cool breeze escapes through the window and rustles the pages of a paperback novel.

My playlist displays a new song playing. I gulp cold tea and lower my fingers to the keyboard.

Book Review: Mario Coming of Age

Mario Coming of Age, by George Hatcher, follows a young man, Mario, growing up in East Los Angeles with his aunt in the 1960s. She works hard to provide a good life for her nephew and he does his best to stay in school and away from the gangs.

When Mario finds out his aunt can’t afford their apartment anymore, he decides it’s time to become a man and take care of his aunt. At 10 years old, he finds a job and learns he has a talent that could help people and make him a lot of money.

Hatcher weaves an intriguing tale of loyalty, love and betrayal, as we follow Mario through his struggles and successes, balancing expectations, school, work and friends. And while I thought there could be more to the story, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Hatcher.

Book Review: Woman in Jeopardy

My goals for 2016 include focusing on other types of writing. When an opportunity came up to write a book review, I decided that would be a great way to start on this goal. In addition to posting book reviews to websites such as Amazon, Indigo and Goodreads, I’ve decided to share them with here as well. I hope you enjoy!

Woman in Jeopardy by George Hatcher is a gripping tale about a courageous woman fighting to protect her family.

Carmen lives with her sister, Elena, in a house that’s been in their family for generations, in the small town of Nogales. To support herself and Elena, she’s forced to work for Francisco, the local crime boss, at one of his factories. He’s an evil man who abuses and terrorizes his employees. And he always gets what he wants.

When Elena and Francisco fall in love and get married, Carmen is unable to protect her sister and soon finds herself running for her life.

Hatcher has weaved a suspenseful story with strong characters you love, and love to hate. A great read that keeps you captivated to the end.

Check it out on Amazon and Indigo.

Welcome to 2016!

With a new year comes new hope and dreams of what’s to come in the next 12 months. Many people set resolutions – work out more, spend more time with family, relax more etc… I’ve always found resolutions hard to keep. So this year I’m trying something new. Instead of resolutions, I’m setting goals. Five goals in writing, health and finances.

My 2016 Goals:

Writing
1. Publish my mystery novel
2. Focus on other types of writing such as flash fiction, short stories, freelancing etc. by working on at least two projects.

Health
1. Do yoga for at least 15 minutes 3 days or more a week by end of May
2. Meditate for 15 minutes 3 days or more a week by end of year

Finances
1. Reduce debt by 25% by the end of year

If I have something I can measure and keep track of, I’m hoping it will motivate me more to complete them.

Do you find resolutions easy or difficult to achieve? How do you keep yours? What are your goals or resolutions for 2016?

This week’s writing challenge

It’s Sunday afternoon. I have music playing in the background, one of those 2-Hours Epic Music Mixes on Youtube. Thor is snoring next to me, back paw draped over my left wrist. I stare at the computer screen, reading and re-reading scenes.

I spent several months revising key plot points, adding layers of story, rewriting passive sentences and deleting unnecessary action and description. I’m in phase 2 now, checking continuity, timing and flow, adding in missing scenes and weaving in additional information.

As I’m finishing chapters, I’m keeping a close eye on my word count. I cut so much fluff and filler from my novel it’s much too short now. It needs to be 55K to be a novel according to my editor. But online articles suggest the standard for mystery novels is between 70K and 90K. Oh dear.

I need over 6,500 words to meet the 55K word count. And over 26K words to meet the standard for a mystery novel. I have no idea how to add that much into the story and make each word count. Without adding in all the fluff and filler I cut before.

Sadly, here’s nothing more I can do today. It looks like I have homework for the week!

 

Have you ever been under your required word count? What did you do to meet it?