Friday, September 30, 2016


I finished the book in the back seat of my car, in the hour-long interval between The Son getting out of school and a Cub Scout meeting at the town's "Fall Fest". If that's not the portrait of a mom writer, I don't what is.

It's 36 chapters and 103,782 words.

I wrote for 62.5 hours in September.

It took me seven months to write this draft.

I am happy and dazed, and also a tiny bit sad. I have loved writing this book so much, in an entirely selfish way. Now I have to make it something that can belong to other people, not just me.

But that starts tomorrow. Tonight, I can bask a little.

Daily Goals, Part Five

My goal is to finish the book today!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Daily Goals, Part Four

I finished chapter 35 and am currently at 100,452 words. One more chapter to go!

I got through most of the chapter 36 outline, but didn't finish the dialogue yesterday: I got hung up researching coronation ceremonies, and then I had an idea that grew organically out of that research which would add some pizzazz to this scene but which also has plot ramifications for the next book, so I had to think that through (I decided to go for it), and THEN I had a difference of opinion with myself about whether a character's engagement should be broken or not. I did get the first bit of dialogue done, but now I have a complex scene's worth of discussion between two nobles who aren't sure they want to be engaged to each other any more.

Goal for today: finish the dialogue, and get as far as I can into the chapter.

I don't think I'm finishing today, but for sure tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Daily Goals, Part Three

I made both my goals for yesterday! I'm now halfway done with chapter 35, and at 99,562 words.

I will admit to having a lot of feels while writing the dialogue yesterday. This is the "emotionally satisfying wrap-up" chapter, and I am kind of basking in my love for these characters.

Next chapter will be the "but wait... there's more trouble on the horizon" chapter to set up book 2, heh heh.

My goals for today are to finish chapter 35 and get as much of chapter 36 outlined as possible. I might not have time to do the dialogue today-- depends on how easy vs. hard it comes.

It's possible I could finish the draft tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Daily Goals, Part Two

I finished chapter 24 and got chapter 25 half outlined. Mender is now 98,551 words. Criminy!

My goal for today is to finish outlining chapter 35 and get at least half of it written.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Daily Goals, Part One

I think I'm going to post every day this week to help keep me on track as I finish the draft. It's still my goal to finish by end of the day Friday, but as long as I make my 60 hours I'll consider the month a success even if I don't finish until a few days into October.

As it stands now, I'm at 96,692 words. I've finished chapter 33 and am halfway through chapter 34. There will be 36 chapters total. Math majors will have determined that I have two and a half chapters to write this week. Both chapters 35 and 36 are relatively short-- just one scene apiece.

My goal for today: finish chapter 34.
My rockstar extra-credit goal for today: outline chapter 35.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Getting Into the Final Stretch

I've written for 43 hours in September so far.
I have finished chapter 31 and am midway through chapter 32.
Mender is now 94,631 words.

Four and a half scenes left! One of them extremely short!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag!

This is another tag that went around BookTube a while back, and I thoroughly enjoyed the snark of it all.

Sharon, I would love to read your answers to these!

1) A popular book or series you didn't like: Outlander. I tried really hard with that thing. And I didn't think it was bad; I just couldn't see what about it makes people so obsessed with it that they're willing to read so very, very much of it.

2) A book or series everyone seems to hate, but you love: Kushiel's Legacy series. Obviously this one has plenty of fans, but I've also read some scathing reader reviews of it-- many of them deserved! This series definitely has its flaws, but whatever reason, I eat it up with a spoon.

Interestingly, some of what infuriates people about these books are the very things I enjoy. For example, I've read several reviews by people who couldn't get past the first few pages of book 1, in which the main character describes in loving detail how beautiful she is for, like, paragraphs. What a conceited bitch! the reviewers cried. And yet, I kind of loved that, because I am SO TIRED of female main characters bemoaning how unattractive they are when from their own descriptions of themselves, you can tell they look like contemporary models. "Ugh, I'm so slender, with such long legs, and I can never tame my curls, and my eyes are freakishly large! I'm hideous!" Bitch, please.

But young girls really do have insecurities! But being thin really was considered unattractive during many periods of history! But-- ! Don't care. I'm done with that shit. It's disingenuous, it's a raging cliché, and it sends the horrible message to young female readers that being aware of your own physical attractiveness is an unforgivable character flaw. DONE WITH IT.

Sorry, went on a rant there. But I loved it that Phedre was like, "I'm a courtesan from a nation of people famed for their beauty because they mated with angels. Yeah, I'm gorgeous. Deal with it."

3) A love triangle or romantic pairing you're not a fan of: Harry and Ginny from Harry Potter. Don't get me wrong: Ginny's great. It's just that the romance always felt forced to me. I never bought it. I thought Harry had more chemistry with Luna.

4) A popular genre you hardly ever reach for: Historical or Fantasy Romance. I rarely read romance, but when I do it's always contemporary. I love Historical and Fantasy books to have romance subplots, but when it's an actual Romance novel that is also an Historical or Fantasy, then I can't get into it. I realize that's weird of me.

5) A beloved book character who gets on your nerves in a major way: I don't know how beloved she is, but I'm pretty sure I was supposed to like her: Gwen from the Ruby Red series. OMG. You know how some protagonists are all-around smart, and some are book smart but have no common sense, and some are uneducated but street-smart, and maybe some are even ignorant and naïve but have great emotional intelligence? Well, Gwen is perhaps the only protagonist I've ever read who has no type of intelligence whatsoever. She was stupid in literally every sense: low intellectual capacity, willfully ignorant, no common sense, and no understanding of how human emotions function in a normal person.

It was both hilarious and infuriating. Hilarious, because time-traveling Gwen keeps meeting men in the past who are like, Women can't do things because they're not intelligent and are ruled by their emotions. And she's like, That's sexist crap! Which it is. BUT, Gwen is dumb as hell and is constantly making nonsensical, impulsive decisions based completely on how she feels. The hell? If this book was written by a man, I'd be calling out an anti-woman agenda. But really, I think the author probably isn't even aware of how totally freaking moronic her character is.

And it was infuriating because even when she starts time-traveling, she resists learning anything about history that might help her, and is always rolling her eyes that all these nerds think that learning stuff is important. And then she's right! A few things she's been taught turn out to be incorrect, so that means all of it is useless crap, and since all her idiotic blundering turns out mostly okay, that means she was right. The ultimate message of this book seems to be: Learning stuff is super lame, and won't help you in the real world! And a boy will probably wind up rescuing you anyway!

6) A popular author you can't seem to get into: Catherynne M. Valente. I know she's the darling of literary quirkiness, and she has indisputable skillz, but I just can't connect with her writing. It's too... overly fond of itself, or something. I read Palimpsest and only finished it because I had been so sure I was going to love it. And then I gave The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland etc. a try, just to be fair, and... it's just not for me.

7) A trope you're tired of seeing: Aside from the "I'm so unattractively caucasian and coltish!" beef mentioned above, I'm pretty over Chosen Ones. I'm more interested in reading about heroes who choose themselves.

8) A popular book or series you have no interest in reading: Twilight. I am convinced I would hate it, and I am willing to live with the incredibly slight possibility that I'm wrong.

9) The saying goes: the book is always better than the movie. But what movie or TV adaption did you like better than the original book?  I liked Dune, but I liked the 90's mini-series even better. (NOT the movie starring Kyle MacLachlan and Sting; that thing is a hot mess.)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mid-Month Report

I have written for 32.5 hours in September so far.
I have finished chapter 29 and outlined chapter 30.
Mender is now 91,397 words.

I'm more than halfway through the action climax!

I haven't make as much word count progress as I'd hoped, since hours after writing my last post, my computer crashed and was subsequently in the shop for three days. I am super-proud of myself, though, because I didn't let it derail me. I'd already worked out a revision plan for the book, including a week of doing exercises from 21st Century Fiction. I spent three days working on those exercises, and actually got an astounding amount done-- so much so that I now only need a day to finish them up once I get to the revision stage.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

90%, Y'all

I am 90% done with the first draft of Mender!

The numbers at a third through the month:

I have written for 21 hours thus far in September.
I am halfway through chapter 29.
Mender is now less than a hundred words shy of 90,000 words.

I'm a quarter way through the action-y climax, which comprises four shortish scenes over three chapters.

Then I have the emotional climax, and some conclusion-y, set-up-book-2 bits, and then the draft will be DONE.

So I'm on target for my first two goals for September. I've done nothing yet for my third goal-- to send out 10 more queries for TOB-- and I completely failed at the fourth, which was to pitch TOB once more for #PitMad. I just completely forgot about #PitMad until 11:00 that night. Oops.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September Goals

My primary goal for this month is, again, 60 hours of writing.

My secondary goal is to try and finish the first draft of Mender. I have a revision plan all worked out, and I'm feeling mentally ready to move on to the next phase of completing the book.

Goal #3: send The Owl Bearer out to another 10 agents, using the new query and revised first chapter I put together for Pitch Wars.

Goal #4: pitch TOB in #PitMad next week, and see if I get any nibbles.