Tag Archives: writing process

Finished the novel, finally

The end of this novel decided it wanted to drag out. And I finally wrote the last chapter. The entire thing came out to 104, 456 words. My goal was 100k. I’m glad to be about on target. I tend to write a bit thin. When I go back to take a look at it, it will probably get another 20-30k of descriptions/ details added into it. It will get a couple of months to rest before I bother to look at it again.

Later this week, I’m going to go back to my NaNoWriMo2012 novel and finish it. I hit 52k in November, but then got sick with a sinus infection and hit a wall. I finished the word count goal, but not the novel. The goal now is to add another 40-50k to finish the plot line.  Exciting stuff.

©K. Klein 2013

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Refuge

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.  Bob Marley

When I was in elementary school, I played flute, but I never practiced. I played passingly and usually sat towards the end of the section because I didn’t put the effort into improving my musical skills.

The interesting thing about music or art versus writing is that often there is the idea that writers are born and not made. However, writing is a skill like any other, and to develop any skill that means you need to practice.

I’ve been working on my writing practice this year. I’ve been writing towards a novel since late January and am at sixty-two thousand words. I’m happy with my progress. When it comes to my writing, I want to practice. I want to get better.

When I write, I am a happier and more complete person than when I do not write. For example, yesterday, I was in a funky mood. A bit anxious and upset and I sat down to write and just lost myself to my characters. And when I finished, I felt better. I even went on to write more in a second session later last night.

Writing is my refuge from the world. When I am telling stories it takes me away from my problems and issues. It allows me the freedom to bring my characters to life and to share them with others.

©K. Klein 2013

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Energy & personal limits

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.  Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.  Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.  ~Theodore Geisel

I’ve been running into my personal limits lately. I looked at the last time I updated my blog and cringed. However, I need to remind myself that I only have so much energy and so much time to do everything. There are only twenty-four hours in a day. And only seven days in a week. Even Martha Stewart (or insert your mogul of choice) has to deal with those constraints.

From what I can tell, Martha Stewart doesn’t sleep – maybe she a super secret new type of vampire? A homemaking vampire that is my bet. Now the question is, what do these new vampires eat? Blood seems to messy for the perfect homemaking vampire. Oh well, that isn’t my point.

Further, I need to cut myself some slack, I am drafting a novel. I recently hit 45k in the draft. I’ve been going strong since Jan. 28th. That is a big deal. So mostly, the words I might have used in this blog have gone to the novel.

However, it isn’t just writing limits I’m noticing. For me, I have a pretty set amount of energy in which to accomplish things. For example, my introverted nature means that social interactions take more chunks out of my energy than cleaning the bathroom or doing the laundry.

An interesting thing I’ve hit upon in my own limits of energy is that my social interaction energy pool overlaps with my writing energy pool. If I have a big day planned on the weekend, likely, I won’t have energy to write afterwards. Or I’ll prefer not to write beforehand and conserve myself for seeing my friends and family. This has hampered my write seven days a week goal. I am pretty happy writing six days a week.

Every writer is different. And the idea of telling writers to write everyday is that writers need to practice. My whole 2013 goal was to practice, practice, practice. And I’m overall happy with my progress. I honestly wish I could write a bit faster. But considering that I only write in chunks of time as little as a half an hour to as much as two hours a day I’m doing all right. I’m super proud of the day I wrote 4k, but I also devoted 5+ hours to that. So, time is a constraint. And practice will help me to not only improve my writing, but also help me focus, and writer faster.

Half of my slowness problem now is sitting down and concentrating on what I want to write now. Rather than doing half a dozen other things. Sometimes I have “oh shiny” moments and they come at the time I am trying to sit down and write. So the strategy is to get the water, tea, and snack before I sit down to write – instead of trying to write and then getting up every five minutes. I also have started logging out of social media so that I don’t have the temptation to check Facebook or the interwebs every two minutes.

Now that I’m aware of what makes me lose concentration, I can do those small things to help keep me focused when I sit down to write. And hopefully that means writing more words. Yay.

©K. Klein 2013

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Impatience

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood.  I’d type a little faster.  ~Isaac Asimov

No news on the personal front. Sigh. It makes me more impatient the longer I have to wait. Oh well. I just have to take a deep breath and know that the news will come when I least expect it.

The lack of news and my impatience over it makes me wonder, how in the name of heck did I ever decide to become a writer? In an odd sort of way, writing does require a decent level of patience. I have to sit down and type out the words. Then I have to put them out there. And then I have to write some more.

I’ve been reading a lot of Dean Wesley Smith’s blog and his series on Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. It is really interesting. I don’t know if I agree with it all, but I definitely find it informative. I like that he makes me think.

One of the things that he talks about is Heinlein’s rules for writing:

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

Now I’m not sure that I entirely agree with this set of rules. However, it seems solid enough and a good place to start. For me, in my process, “editorial order” is my brother. He is my first reader and helps me to see my writing through a reader’s eyes. I don’t take that one literally.  At the same time, I think it is good advice not to polish for so long that nothing is ever done.

Further, I can see my own pitfalls in this list. Right now I am getting back on the writing bandwagon. And I know I can finish. However, I am stuck on numbers four and five. I’m not going to lie, I’m scared. There is a pit in my stomach when I think about moving forward.

I know that I can’t stay in stasis forever, but there seems to be a precipice in my mind when it comes to making the jump to get published. Part of it is my personal impatience. No matter what route I take – indie or traditional – I will have to wait for a response. There is that tinge of impatience again…instant gratification would be wonderful. Or possibly horrible.

And oddly enough, I am terrified of failure, but success frightens me even more. Tonight is making me think about the enigma of writing. Why should anybody care about what I have to say? Who says anybody does?

So far as I know, no one does. And yet, I cannot stop writing. The stories come and I write them down. I finish one and write another. Perhaps I could be an Emily Dickinson, but what fun would that be? I will get there eventually. I just need to give myself permission to jump off that metaphorical cliff. Who knows? It might be fun.

©K. Klein 2013

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Hiding

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

Whenever I feel sad or depressed or too anxious to function I have a tendency to hide. And looking at my blog and how I haven’t posted for most of January I think it is safe to say that I have been hiding.

When I was in high school, my way to hide included a dark blue sweater with a Mickey Mouse embroidered on the front. I felt a lot like Mia Thermopolis from the Princess Diaries – minus the whole royalty spiel.

For the most part, I have tried to use other more positive coping mechanisms in my life. However, I didn’t realize it until now, but I have fallen back on the hiding technique. It is just easier to pretend nothing is wrong when I pretend I am not there.

There are several reasons I think I went into this mode during January – a lot of overwhelming things have happened.

Firstly, I read a writing blog called Miss Snark’s First Victim run by the lovely Authoress. She ran a Critique Partner Dating Service. I actually put myself out there, which is a challenge for me. I met some lovely people. However, it seems that none of them have clicked. Perhaps there is still some sting from rejection. And sting from an honest critique. (I probably started the novel in the wrong place and my first line wasn’t a hook. Sigh. I suck at writing hooks.)

It isn’t that I don’t want honesty, but the critique killed my creative voice. And the critical voice has been in the forefront since then. I’ve been feeling apathetic and averse to writing since then. I suppose it just means that this person was not my destined critique partner. And that is ok. I wasn’t super nice to them either. Their technical skills were solid, but for me, their character fell flat.

It is interesting, because this ties into something else that I discovered this January. I stumbled into the blogs of Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. And they have some offbeat advice. In fact, they made me start thinking about writing as a business. And in thinking about it as a business, I started to question my original plan.

Initially, I wanted to get a query together and find an agent. Now that I have read their blogs and thoughts I am definitely considering indie publishing. I am considering a small publishing house or self-publishing e-books. A year ago, this would have been an unimaginable decision for me. Now I am really weighing the cost and benefit of each model of publishing. And the thing that seems clear to me is that indie publishing is perhaps a good launch pad, even if traditional publishing is the goal.

I’m still trying to process all of the information from their blogs. I would strongly suggest that if you are unpublished and don’t know what direction you want to go in to read these blogs because they are definitely thought-provoking.

Furthermore, I have also spent January being a bit anxious about some personal situations. Hopefully this week will bring some highly anticipated news and be a positive start.

©K. Klein 2013

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Self-Accountability

I am a bit of a scatter-brain sometimes. I live my life by a combination of writing events down on a calendar, to-do lists, and alarms. If I don’t write it down, I am not going to remember to do it. It isn’t so much that I have a bad memory, but I tend to get lost in my thoughts and my own little world.

So, I gave myself December to feel off – to let the depression and anxiety win. Now it is January and I am striving to hold myself accountable for my writing goals. I am super lucky, my boyfriend is an Excel wizard. I can use Excel reasonably well. But he can take my idea – a writing tracker – and make it cooler. Dating a business analyst has perks; I am definitely more artistic/ conceptual in my thinking. Business makes little if any sense to me.

He asked me to do some research. He said take ten authors in your genre and see when they started publishing, how many books they’ve published, and how many books a year they write on average. I took eleven, but in the SFF genre the average was 1.75 books a year. Not that I have to match that, but now I have an idea of how many books a year authors in my genre produce. Granted, these results are biased. I tend to prefer fantasy over sci-fi and there is a mix of adult/ young adult authors that I chose. But it is a figure I can work with. Especially when figuring out a daily word count goal for myself.

Boyfriend said, I think NaNoWriMo (1667 words/ day) goal for everyday is unhealthy. I agreed  – for now. I want to work my way up. I think that my goal will be around 500-1000 words per day.  My brain rested on somewhere in the 750 range. I’m not sure if that will stick yet or not. It may be higher or lower. But I am thinking about it. If I want to be a novelist and make a career, I need to get back into practice. And apparently, my New Year high, is over and now I am back to reality. Therefore, I am taking measures to hold myself accountable.

©K. Klein 2013

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Almost New Year’s Eve

December 2012 has been particularly rough on me. December is usually rough enough; this time of the year make me miss my mom more than the rest. I have also been dealing with the loss of my grandmother, Mama, and it was weird not having her around for the usual holiday cheer. The holidays seemed to sort of pass away on a grey palette rather than their normal riot of color. My birthday is also in December and this year it depressed me to not have reached some of my goals before another year ticked off on my life.

But, December is passing away, we only have a day and a half left of it here. I am starting to feel hopeful again. (Despair may have won for a while there…) I can tell I am more hopeful, because I am writing again. I am working on those last little shining bits of novel-1 and am hoping to get it to beta readers in early 2013. It is my hope to get their feedback before I take another pass on the novel and shine it up into its Sunday clothes and bring it out into the world. (By which I mean, submitting to agents…which is admittedly a little scary for me to think about.)

I’m not too big on New Year’s resolutions since everyone seems to make them and break them. However, I really like goals. So here are some goals for 2013 (in no particular order):

  • Get novel-1 to beta readers
  • Write a complete first draft of novel-1’s sequel. NaNo novel 2011 is an incomplete draft of this book.
  • Research agents
  • Write log-line for novel-1
  • Write query letter for novel-1
  • Send query letter to agents in batches
  • Try not to gain 30 pounds whilst querying agents.
  • Finish NaNoWriMo 2012 novel
  • Figure out novel-1’s genre –   It takes place in a mix of the real world that has magic and a pseudo-high fantasy realm. Urban fantasy? High fantasy? I’m not 100% certain.  I’m pretty sure it isn’t paranormal.
  • Outline the second sequel to novel-1. Yay for trilogies. 🙂
  •  Keep up Yoga practice
  • Write daily!

©K. Klein 2012

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