A Series of Intriguing Events

Anyone who knows me can tell you about two very important characteristics I have: I like lists and I’m all about finding fun new experiences. Put those things together and I often have a ton of different lists going on in the form of vision boards. Consider Exhibit A:

That’s my life list in the form of post-it notes on my living room wall (yes, my husband is amazing for letting me do that). There’s also Exhibit B:

This is something new I’m trying. It’s a blown-up version of an adult coloring page and each enclosed space is something I want to do this year. It has a ride range of items on it, from reading fun (not work-related) books, going to the beach, taking vacations, etc. Every time I do something on the board, it gets colored in. I have REALLY loved this board so far.

I tell you all this so you’ll understand (and maybe laugh) about my next idea. You hear about method actors? Well I love the thought of being a method writer; of experiencing the situations I’ll put my characters in so I can write about them more authentically.

So I’ve come up with an idea: A Series of Intriguing Events. This will be a dynamic list here, on my blog, of different adventures I want to have. The list will be created from experiences I already know my characters will have, plus unique/fun things that I or you (yes, I’m taking suggestions) come up with, which may serve as inspiration for future books.

The best part: I get to share each of these adventures with you! Each one will be a future post so you can get your giggles in by reading what I go through.

Without further ado, here are the ideas I have so far:

  1. Birthday at a drag dinner show. This one will be happening quickly – tomorrow, in fact. Twist: I’ll wear a wig to “be” someone else – I might think of a different twist for this one still.
  2. Make homemade dog treats. Twist: Bring my husband along to hand these out to shelter dogs (this is a twist because my husband has a history of going dog-crazy like woman sometimes go baby-crazy).
  3. Mini road trip. Twist: There can’t be any set plans for where I go/stop.
  4. Karaoke. This doesn’t need any more twist because it scares the crap out of me. 😝
  5. Visit a trampoline place to have some bouncy fun. Twist: Still thinking on this one too.
  6. Drive a race car. Twist: Still needed.
  7. Have a picnic and fly a kite. Twist: I have to make the lite myself.

These are the first events that come to mind based on books I’m currently writing. The “twist” piece is important because I figure adding a different element to the activities will allow me to get a slightly different perspective than just my own. For example, maybe adding the wig to the drag show one will give me the perspective of:

  • Someone who wants to be someone else
  • Someone who’s hiding from the law
  • Someone who’s lost their hair due to chemo treatments
  • My poor husband who’s already said (jokingly) that he won’t be sitting with me

More ideas will be added to this post as I come up with them. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your suggestions! Are there any adventures I should add to list? Twists I should add or consider for the activities that are already listed?

Share your ideas in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear them! 😄

Week 2 Check-In

It’s been about two weeks since I launched my mission to write, edit, and complete a new book within three months. In that short time, I’ve already learned a few important lessons – some positive, others not so much – but all of them worthwhile.

writing schedule

On the plus side:

  • The outlining strategy I’m trying is working well. It’s a combination of concepts from K.M. Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development and Libbie Hawker’s Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better, Writing.
  • I have to write less words than I thought. I’ve been judging my story length off standard novel averages, which means I planned on it being 80,000-100,000 words. Apparently though, e-book novels – which is what I’ll be writing – typically have a range closer to 40,000-50,000 words. That actually works perfect with how my outline planning has gone and should mean that I have wiggle room in my schedule.
  • I’ve changed up my word count goal. This aligns a bit with the last bullet. Since my overall word count has been adjusted, my rough draft chapters are ranging anywhere from 1,500-2,500 words. Since this is so close to my original 2,000-words-per-day goal, I decided to simplify things and commit to completing a chapter each day. It’s more or less the same but seems soooo much more satisfying.

On the less positive side:

  • A silly decision set me back a week. You see, I’ve had Story A floating through my brain for a few months but, for a number of reasons, I wanted to wait to write it. So I did a last-minute brainstorm and tried to launch this mission with Story B and then even Story C. When it became obvious that those stories were not lining up the way I wanted them to, I turned back to Story A. Ultimately, I’m glad I did this because the words haven’t stopped flowing since, but the mistake cost me a week of planning time before I was able to start writing.
  • I’ve already burnt myself out trying to play catch up. When I started out that week behind with my right draft, I decided to write extra each day to make up time. While it did catch me up some, it also kept me from other tasks and led me to feel frazzled by the end of the week.
  • It takes longer to accomplish my daily writing goal than I thought it would. I currently work on my books for a solid hour and a half every morning. When I was building my schedule, I thought 2,000 words into that window each day would be a breeze. Instead, I’ve had to complete it throughout the day. It’s been okay so far but when I start my next class for work that early morning writing time won’t  be guaranteed so it’ll be interesting to see how my schedule is impacted.
  • I’m still struggling to figure out how I’ll stay on track with everything. Again, this somewhat relates to the last bullet, but I realize that right now I’m just focusing on writing. Pretty soon I’ll have to be editing too. If I want to keep momentum up than it would be ideal to edit one story while I’m planning/writing my next book.

All that being said, I’m pretty happy with how things are going and I look forward to sharing some fun tidbits from this book soon!

If you’re a fellow writer, what fun lessons have you learned since starting your writing career?

Writing Schedule

The last few months have been very interesting. While I have been writing all my life, it’s only recently that I decided to actively pursue self-publishing as a career. As a result, I’ve been gobbling up as much information as I can find on the subject. So far, there’s one piece of advice I’ve come across that I find particularly intriguing – that it’s best to have at least three books fully written before I self-publish my first one.

As you may imagine, I agonize over this suggestion for a number of reasons:

  • Pure impatience. With my mind made up and my heart set on publishing, it’s difficult to imagine all that WAITING.
  • Time to write. I work a full-time job and go to school so finding the time to get one book written seems challenging, much less three.
  • Anticipation with no payout. Obviously three books takes longer to write than one. With that extended timeline, I hesitate to say my first book is “coming soon” when that could still be a year away.

All worries aside, I’ve decided to trust in the wisdom of those who have come before me. To help with the waiting, I’m considering turning my first book into a freebie that will be offered here, to my subscribers. Then, at least people will have something to read while I plug away at my other books.

Also, I’ve decided that I need to develop a true writing schedule for each book. With that much work to do, I’ve got to make a plan and stick with it, otherwise there’s no telling how long these stories will take!

So here’s the schedule I want to try:

  • 1 day to write my character details 
  • 1 day to write my basic story outline
  • 1 day to flesh out the full storyline 
  • 2 months to write the book (that’s roughly 1500 words/day)
  • 1 month to edit the entire project

I’m sure for some writers that seems like a long time and for others it seems short. To be honest, I find the challenge to be intimidating but exciting at the same time.

To keep myself on track, I’m going to post updates both here and on my Facebook page. I’ve been under the weather the last few days so I’ll give myself the week to rest and then it’s game on April 1st!

Be sure to Follow my blog to see how it goes and stay up to date on that first freebie book!