Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Advice On The Beginning (stuff I picked up along the way)

I’m not perfect – no where close, even, and I still have a lot to learn. But I have taken a few writing classes(At LitReactor and WritersDigest) that focused exclusively on the first chapters of a novel. The thought was, if we could get our openings to shine we’d have a better chance of nabbing an Agent. Of course, I think it was implied that we would continue revising and make sure that the entire novel glittered with excellence. But in class we only focused on the beginning.

And one of my goals in starting this blog was to give back to this amazing, supportive, online community of writers. To that end, I thought I’d capture some of the fun, and hard, writing advice I’ve gleamed over the years:

Here's what I've learned:

1. Never start with a dream: LOL, I know. But Agents say it's still WAY overdone.

2. Never start with the weather: Again, heard it’s overdone. And opening with weather often fails to move the plot forward so it's wasted words.

3. Cut the first 50 pages of your book:
Literally, one teacher, an Agent herself, said to take the first fifty pages and chuck them out the window. I was in shock. But the point the teacher was trying to make is that, usually, a book doesn’t take off until 50 pages in. Which means, do you really need the first fifty pages? The teacher, speaking from her personal (and subjective) experience, said most of the first 50 pages she receives in her slush pile are boring. Her advice doesn’t sound that crazy anymore.

4. Never include a flash back in the first 50 pages of your book: I think this advice goes hand in hand with item 3. The beginning is about conflict, action, and hooking the reader. Flashback's don't typically hook the reader. Save the flashback for the third act.

5. First sentence: This sentence must pop. This one, measly little sentence could be the only chance you get to hook an Agent. So make sure it's full of action. Generally, its advised that the first sentence should not be spoken, as in dialogue. But I’ve broken that rule. Aren’t rules meant to be broken? No, that’s not an excuse to stop improving your craft. *narrows eyes at you* I know what you’re thinking. Just know the rules and understand their value before you break them.

6. First 250 words: These are the NEXT most important words in your entire novel!!! Why? See number 5. An Agent may never read past 250 words. Use these words to setup WHO, WHAT, WHERE, and CONFLICT (It doesn't have to be the main conflict of the chapter but it has to be something). Think about the 250 words like the first scene of a movie. The reader, or movie goer, needs to be dropped into a world. In order to understand the world they need a few key elements: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, and CONFLICT. Often, the first chapter will include all of these elements but not the first 250 – but you may have missed your chance. Rework the first 250 words to ensure the reader is dropped into a fully established world from the get-go.

7. First 10 pages: Can you guess where I’m going with this? These are the THIRD most important words in your entire novel!!! Yay! So you got an Agent passed the first sentence. They even read the first 250 words and now what? Now, they read the full first chapter and it should be short-ish and punchy. In one class our assignment was to slash our first chapter down to 10 pages. Sounds arbitrary, right? But the point was to laser focus our opening and drill the first chapter down to the most essential facts and details. It was hard, but fun. The essential stuff includes action enough to engage the reader and keep them asking for more. But it's also something that makes the reader connect with the MC. How many books start with someone getting fired, getting dumped, getting lost, failing a class, getting an eviction notice, etc. These are little conflicts (although they seem HUGE at the time to the MC) that propel the MC into the next, MAJOR conflict.

8. Eliminate words that create narrative distance: This is especially important in third person POV but relevant to all POV. Words like "felt" or "Seemed" separate the reader from the story. I put together this list of words that I look for when editing my own WIP's. I cut these words and rewrite the sentences so they are no longer needed. Some of the words I target are: toward, felt/feel, seemed/seem, like, heard, saw, think/thought, looked, got, just, almost, big/small, very, never/often, important, thing/things/stuff, went.

9. Rule of Three (aka, avoiding the info dump): when describing the setting – or ANYTHING, really- pick three important things and only three things to describe. More than three things is generally overwhelming to the reader. This is actually more of a best practice and not really a 'rule' but it sounds catchier as a 'rule' LOL. And it's possible to cut too much, so be careful. But if you’ve been told you info dump in the beginning chapters this is a good 'rule' to keep in mind.

And last, but not least,

10. There’s no single right way to write a book: If someone tells you there is a right way they are wrong (run away from them.) Every class opened with the teacher saying their advice was just guidelines in a highly subjective business. If something resonates with you, great, run with it. IF not, then feel free to completely ignore it, heck, maybe even try Ron Swanson's approach to witing:

It’s a lot of advice to take in. I know. And revising is already hard on the soul. But when revising to make changes associated with this advice I picked one task at a time and applied it through my entire novel. When completed, I’d pick another task and run with that. Focusing on one element at a time made the task of revising more manageable.

Want more thoughts on the beginning? Check out this post on Subjectivity in the First 250 Words.

What writing advice have you picked up along the way? Share what works for you here:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

11 Contests You Should Know About

Contests are an important part of the writing community. They're the way some authors find their agents. They're also a way in which the writing community gives back to the up and coming crowd. Contests are also a good way to thicken your skin, build your chops, and get recognition for your skills.

There are a ton of contests out there for writers without an agent. Here are some of my favorites:

Authoress Anon’s
famous website Miss Snark's First Victim hosts contests and critiques aimed at helping writers find an agent:

1. Bakers Dozen and Secret Agent - The Bakers Dozen auction happens once a year where the Secret Agent contest happens every few months. Theses are great ways to interact with other writers and get exposure to agents. Check out details here.

Brenda Drake’s is well known for her amazing contests :

2. Pitch wars – where published/agented authors, editors, or interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions to shine it up for agents.

3. Pitch Madness held in March and September-where writers enter for a chance to win requests from the participating agents.

4. #pitchmad pitch party - is a pitch party on Twitter where writers tweet a 140 character pitch for their completed manuscripts.

Cupid’s Literary Connection: Where an undercover cupid specializes in making literary connections. This site runs a variety of contests.

5. Love Triangle (Jan. 2012)

6. Blind Speed Dating (Feb. 2012) 2013

7. Surprise Agent Invasion (Mar./Apr. 2012)

8. The Writer's Voice (May 2012)

9. Come And Get It (Sept. 2012)

Jessa Russo and Tamar Mataya created

10. Pitchmas and Pitchmas in July - Both events allow writers to pitch to agents.

Michelle, Michael, and SC Author’s contest

11. Nightmare on Query Street: Where you highlight your characters' greatest fear (in addition to your query and first 250 words) for bids from awesome agents.

These are just a few of the amazing contest opportunities available to writers seeking literary agents. What contests do you follow?

Want more on contests?

Check out this post on staying professional during contests

On learning from contests rejection

Or this post on contest fatigue

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review of Alliance by Aubrie Dionne

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing a book for an awesome writerly friend of mine, Aubrie Dionne.

The book: Alliance (book 3 of the Paradise Reclaimed series)

Audience/Genre: YA Sci Fi

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are entirely mine.


“Saving him meant saving her colony…”

Lyra Bryan has been saving people her whole life from a chick in the ventilation pipes to her mentally ill brother when his mind drifts back to Old Earth. She meets her match when she finds a gorgeous alien man aboard the arachnid ship. Captured after a failed attempt to save his people, his spirit is broken, craving only vengeance. To save her colony, Lyra must save his body and soul.

Lyra’s lifemate, Tauren, is jealous of her obsession with the alien man and will do anything in his power to break them apart. While they travel to the arachnid’s home world to defeat the mother brain once and for all, they must set aside their differences and work as a team. But, can Tauren be trusted?

Sounds fun, right?

Grab a copy now!

My Thoughts on Alliance:

(Don’t worry – This is a Spoiler Free Zone)

I’m a big fan of SciFi so I was pretty sure I would love this book right from the start. See, I’ve read other books by Aubrie including her adult SciFi and some of her Contemporary Romances and I know Aubrie’s style to be fun, fast, and ripe with excellent characters in memorable worlds; Alliance was no exception.

Alliance picks up where the other two books in the series left off ( learn more about book one and two ) but don’t worry if you haven’t read them because you don’t need to in order to enjoy Alliance (I totally think you should check them out –buy them here and here- they are also wonderful). These are companion novels. Each book is told in the same world but through different characters.

In Alliance, I loved Lyra’s story, her challenges, and her growth. One of the best parts of the book, IMHO, is the relationship between Lyra and her brother. Sibling relationships are so tough that some fall flat on the page, but not here.

Aurbrie writes believable teens with believable emotions and relationships. The frustration and jealousy was vivid and real. I was hooked early which made this a fast, enjoyable read.

Oh, and the world building is fabulous. The details of life on the ship and the society are rich and enthralling without being so dense (or hard science heavy) that a non science reader would be turned off. The world is approachable, engrossing, and easy to imagine.

I give Alliance 5 Screaming Cats of Awesome:

Great work Aubrie on another wonderful novel!
Grab a copy now!


Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her books have received the highest ratings from Romance Times Magazine, as well as Night Owl Reviews and Two Lips Reviews. She has guest blogged on the USA Today Happily Ever After Blog and the Dear Teen Me blog and signed books at the Boston Book Festival, Barnes and Noble, and the Romance Writers of America conference. Her writings have appeared in numerous publications including Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Hazard Cat, Moon Drenched Fables, A Fly in Amber, and Aurora Wolf. Her books are published by Inkspell Publishing, Astraea Press, Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Publishing, Lyrical Press, and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. When she’s not writing, Aubrie teaches flute and plays in orchestras.

Find out more about her on her blog or on twitter.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

10 Up & Coming Writers You Should Know

If you need a laugh, boost, or just an interesting read, I suggest you follow one, any, or all of these 10 Up And Coming Writers:

1. Cherylanne, aka @CA_Corneille - She's a YA Writer, lover of Travel, a runner, an a Geek with a capital G. Originally from the wild west she's now living in sunny Florida where she tweets about her writerly exploits.

2. JA Ward, aka @JAWardWrites - She's a lover of good books, grilled cheese & anything cat-related. Music connoisseur. YA author seeking an agent soul mate. Contributor to @writerdiaries

3. Megan Peterson, aka @season141 - She's a writer, reader, wife, sister, daughter, and friend; addicted to coffee and pizza. In other words, she's just like you and me.

4. Ellie Moreton, aka @ByEllieMoreton - She writes YA Epic Fantasy, devours books and downs coffee. Follow her blog for more fun and insight into her writing journey.

5. Mark O Brien, aka @mobrienbooks - He's witty, funny, and all around awesome, Mark is a very active twitter user. He is a talented writer and a PitchWars Alum, like me.

6. Ashley De Young, aka @AshleyNDeYoung – She's a financial analyst, writer, MYSO cello coach, black belt x 3...chronic overachiever. She is a Pitchwars Alum, and teammate (go #teammostlyharmless)and all-around talented lady.

7. Paula Harvey, aka @PaulaLHarvey – She writes stories & daydreams, a lot. Probably too much (is there such a thing?).

8. Diana Souse, aka @DianaSousaBooks - She's a Writer that can be found near internet sources, and feeds on chocolate and books. Proficient in fantasy, sci fi, history, and being a nerd. She's a trip and a Pitchwars Alum and teammate. Go #Teammostlyharmless!

9. Kat, aka @ekatwrites - She's a writer . teacher . She ♥'s YA & hopes to publish her novel. A member of #scbwi. She has an exceptional voice and her work will definitely be in print some day soon.

10. Courtney Duff, aka @courtneysthird - She's a writer and head editor at @parable_press. She's fun if not a bit surly. Her fun tweets will keep a smile on your face.

Do you follow anyone who lights up your twitter feed, whether it be with humor, insight, or just general wittiness? Share your faves here:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

All About The Synopsis

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: writing a synopsis is the worst form of torture. But it must be done. I posted about how I learned that lesson the hard way.

Luckily, I learned some awesome tips at last years RWA conference. Before I learned this little trick my synopsis was three pages long. THREE. Which made sense for me, because, how could someone cram an entire plot into one page? Sounds impossible, right?

Here's the deal, you can summarize your entire novel in just seven paragraphs. Eight max. That's it. Here's what they should cover (I'm going to use Twilight as my model story since everyone knows it:

Paragraph 1: Your MC and their world (establish who she is what she wants. Think "She is__________and wants__________.") If we use Twilight as an example it would be something like this: Bella is the new girl in town and wants to fly under the radar.

Paragraph 2: The love interest and his wants (establish who he is and what he wants. Think "He is__________and wants__________.") Again, with Twilight as the example, it would look something like this: He's a vegetarian vampire who's family has survived for years by laying low.

Paragraph 3: The First Threshold - this is the event that brings the two characters together. The first Threshold in Twilight is when Bella and Edward become lab partners in science class. They are now FORCED to be together. This forced interaction triggers the future conflict.

Paragraph 4: The Inciting Incident - this is the event that spins the plot forward - they must choose to move forward into the new and different world. This is also usually the end of act one. In keeping with the Twilight example, the inciting incident is when Edward saves Bella from the car accident).

Paragraph 5: The 1st Pinch - something that trips up the characters on their mission in the new and different world. A misunderstanding/ a conflict. This is called a pinch, as I understand it, because it tests the relationship forming between the characters. Here's the Twilight 1st Pinch example, Bella annoys the heck out of Edward with her questions about what happened. She refuses to let it go but Edward tries to ignore it.

Paragraph 6: The 2nd Pinch - again, something that tests the characters budding relationship. In Twilight, it could be when she calls Edward on being a vamp. It fundamentally changes the nature of their relationship. But it could also be when he saves her from her would-be rapists in town. Again, their relationship is changed. He admits that he can read thoughts. It's optional in the synopsis because the most important pinch, arguably, is the third and final pinch. The pinch that triggers the end of Act Two and moves the story into Act Three.

Paragraph 7: The 3rd Pinch - think about this as a pinch with a capital P. This is the big event. The inciting incident that closes Act Two and signals the begging of Act Three. This event pushes the characters into the final leg of their story together. In a lot of romances this is actually something that forces the characters apart. In Twilight it's when they are seen playing baseball by other vamps. Edward reads their minds and learns that they want to kill Bella and will stop at nothing. Bella is separated from Edward in an attempt to keep her safe. She's smuggled to her old home town. cue Act Three.

Paragraph 8. Resolution - Note: this is where you spoil the ending. Really. Give the details. Specifically. No vague generalities will do in a synopsis. The Agent needs to know how the story ends without reading the entire thing - so give them the juicy stuff. Also, if this is a romance then you must include the redemption - whatever happens between the hero and heroine that allows them to be together again. In Twilight, it all comes together at Bella's old ballet studio. Bella's life is in danger. Edward kills the bad vamp and is forced to do what he never thought he could before - taste Bella’s blood - to save her life. Having conquered his demons he can now be with Bella safely (he's changed). Be sure to highlight how the MC has changed.

And that's your synopsis. Eight paragraphs. Done. Bam. You've conquered the beast of the synopsis.

At least, that's my approach to synopsis writing. But there's not a single right way to write one.

How do you plan your synopsis?

Need more thoughts about the dreaded synopsis? Check out this post from YA Stands and this post from Jamie Krakover

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Write Foot Forward: Rest

You think you can run 12 hrs straight? I doubt it. Same with writing. And even if you could, the quality would suffer.

Let’s talk about rest, baby. (*sung in manner of boys to men). No really, let’s talk about resting as a writer. It’s important and it’s something most of us forget.

I was reminded how important rest is when I started running again. A recent article in Runners World stated this perfectly: Sleep isn’t a luxury – it’s a training tool. That’s right, all training, even training geared to elite runners, include rest periods. And the same is true with writing.

You must rest. It’s okay, even the mega-zillionaire famous authors rest. It’s a fact. You may hate the idea of resting but you can’t escape the truth. Your body needs rest to refuel, revive, and focus. Your thinking, “But I know so-in-so author who never rests. Stephen King writes a bazillion pages a day, every day, and he doesn’t rest. So neither will I.”

Here’s the thing, everyone rests. Even Mr. King rests after he completes his fifty-bazillion pages. He takes the rest of the day off. Or he goes for a walk, or whatever. But he stops doing one activity and changes gears. He rests. Some elite runners practice twice a day. They run in the morning. They rest. They run at night. Did you see where I typed ‘They rest.’ Yeah, they take time off.

The amount of time varies from person to person and level to level but the universal truth remains: everyone rests. You should too. And for the biggest bang for your rest-buck, you should plan/schedule/protect your rest time like you plan/schedule/protect your creative time. It’s just as important.

Here’s the key to rest: Be Kind to Yourself.

Most training sites for runners planning their first distance run, be it a 5k, 10k, Half, or Full Marathon, insist that if you feel the need to slow down and walk – Do it! Most running advice columns will stress again and again how you should listen to your body. If you have a nagging pain, stop. If you have a chronically sore muscle, rest. If you get a headache 4 miles into a long run drink more water, if that doesn’t help, stop.

It’s important to listen to your body in running because your body is the tool. It’s the machine that gets the job done. But it’s easy to beat yourself up for a failed long run or an extra rest day. You’re a passionate, disciplined athlete, how could this happen to you? If you trained better this wouldn’t happen. You don’t see famous runners taking rest breaks during their marathons, do you?

Sound familiar?

It should. Only in writing, it’s more like “I’ll never write as well as her,” or “So-in-so writes every day. If I don’t do the same I’ll never make it,” or “I didn’t meet my daily word count so I am a pile of suck.” As writers, our bodies, minds, and hearts are the tools we use to get the job done. It’s important to be kind to yourself during the creative process and to allow for the ups and downs that occur naturally.

Mark Twain said it best when he said “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” When you belittle yourself, stop, breathe, rest and remember to be kind. You, too, can be great.

Want more on rest? Check out this post about sleep as a tool

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

DRACIAN LEGACY: Interview with Priya Kanaparti

Last week Dracian Legacy, by Priya Kanaparti, re-launched into the world. And if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what exactly I mean by ‘re-launched.’ It’s a cool story:

You may remember some of my previous interviews with Priya, about her self pub release of Dracian Legacy . That’s right. It was self pub’d. You might also recall my post about the book finding a publisher. Once DL found a home with a publisher it was worked over by Priya and the editors at Reuts. The end result is a shiny new Dracian Legacy available now. Here's what you need to know about the book:

At seventeen, Ren Pernell knows the meaning of tragedy.

But then, a year after losing her parents, Axel Knight walks through the door and changes everything. Strange creatures start to appear, her best friend suddenly finds her irresistible, and an undeniable, unexplainable bond with Axel threatens to drive her insane. She knows he’s the key. There’s something he’s not sharing, and she’s determined to find out.

Demanding answers, she finally learns the truth: everything she ever believed is an illusion. Caught in a centuries-old blood feud between races she never knew existed, Ren discovers her true destiny. She’s the chosen one, the Echo, preordained to end the bloodshed.

There’s just one catch–in order to save those she loves and a homeland she’s never seen, she’ll have to die.

With the clock running out, she’ll have to navigate a new world of betrayal, lies and deceit. If she can forgive, finding love even in the darkest places, she just might be able to escape the prophecy. But how much is she willing to sacrifice for a cause she didn’t know she was part of? And what will it take for her to be free.

Buy it here.

Today, Priya has stopped by the blog to answer all the questions about DL and her journey to publication:

1. First of all, congrats on the release of Dracian Legacy. *fires cupcake cannons* *does ribbon dance in your honor* And congrats on finding a publication partner in Reuts. What was it like working with all those fab publishing pro’s?

PK --- Thank you Colleen! It's great to be back on your blog. *bows*. As for my publisher, I gotta say, the experience has been wonderful! Reuts Publications is just a little over a year old and Dracian Legacy is their second book that's been released. But the experience with them has been wonderful! Everything that's been planned from the time the contract was signed up until now has been down with professionalism! I didn't have to stress out as much as I had to when I initially released Dracian Legacy as a self-pub. So that was a major plus!

2. Why small/indie press? What attracted you to Reuts?

PK--- The biggest thing that attracted me to Reuts is, one they were small and new, which meant more attention to me. the second reason was their involvement in community! They write articles that really benefit the writing community more than any other publisher I've seen. And the last but my final reason was their EDITOR, KISA WHIPKEY! I swear, I'm soooo in love with her--stalkerish obsessed really. She has an amazing talent when it comes to editing. And truthfully, I learned a lot about writing during DL editing process than I had over the past year or so I've been writing :).

3. Now, I know you edited the crap out of Dracian Legacy before you self pub’d. And I’m sure Reuts put the book through the editorial process again once you signed with them. Some people describe the edit process as a madman yelling at the wind – while others describe it as a methodical archaeologist uncovering the hidden gems of the story. What was the edit process like for you - madman or archaeologist?

PK--- lol. I think you've got it right! It's a MADMAN YELLING AT THE WIND PLUS Archeologist uncovering hidden gems. My editor and I went back and forth on some many of the information that's been in DL, sometimes it was a debate and until one of us convinced the other, we'd continue hashing it out. Then there were other times, during those discussions, we found out ways/secrets to future books in this trilogy :).

4. I like the new cover – so pretty. Often we hear authors talk about how they have no say in the cover selection. Was that true at Reuts or did you have a part in selecting the cover?

PK--- Ashley - creative direction and owner of Reuts Publications worked with me on the cover. And I'm not sure what the experience is for other authors, but mine has been wonderful! Just like the editing process, I had a say in every single, minor details of getting that cover created, down to the different shades of color you see for model eyes :). She was absolutely wonderful and patience while working with me!

5. How is the new book different from the original version? No spoilers, but what surprises can re-readers (like myself – I loved the original, btw) expect to find?

PK--- Well for one, the book has 3 new scenes added, two, with the exception of the first two chapters, ALL the other chapters are not in the same sequence, and finally, we decided to remove alot of the information dump that happened in the original version! But in addition to that we also worked quite a bit on character and plot development!

6. Dracian Legacy is the first in a series. Which is fantastic because I need more Dean in my life. Can you give us any hints about the next book and when we can expect it?

PK--- So the only hints I can give you is that Telal will play more role in this next book and that Ren will be introduced to Dracian culture! As for the timeline, currently we are aiming for July 2014 :).

7. What was the hardest part – and the best part - of writing Dracian Legacy?

PK--- Hardest part is the fact that I didn't think through how the story was going to be in book 2 and 3, until AFTER I wrote the first book. And for the best part? Romance and Dean! lol

8. If you could have any exotic animal as a pet what animal would you pick? (I know I’d pick a lion. No. Too lethal. A platypus. Wait, those have lethal spines on their arms? Okay. A squirrel. No, too secretive. I know. A buffalo. No. too big…)

PK--- oh gosh... Exotic? I think an Elephant, especially one of those that can draw it's own picture. lol.

9. What books are currently in your TBR pile?

PK--- my TBR is million miles long. BUT I can tell you that I'm currently reading Jennifer L Armentrout's White Hot Kiss series :). Kinda excited about getting down and dirty with JLA's writing :).

Thank you once again Colleen for having me on your blog! It's always fun to stop by here!

Thank you, Priya, for coming by the blog. Congratulations on the release!!

Priya lives in the beautiful city of Boise, ID as a full-time working mom and part-time YA Novel Author. For the past 7+ years she has worked in multiple fortune 500 companies and has recently found the passion to read and write. The Dracian Legacy is her first YA paranormal romance series. She strongly believes that true love conquers all and that’s a common theme you’ll find within her novels.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I Can Haz Productivity: February 2014 Month In Review

This past month has been busy. I know you feel me here. It’s a short month which seems to amplify the madness. So much to do and so little time.

First, there was my birthday and the Olympics.

What else …? Oh yeah, the snowpocalypse hit ATL a SECOND TIME. This time around there was more snow and ice but less disaster. With the last snow storm so fresh in our minds I think the entire city of ATL decide to play it safe. No one in my family or circle of friends lost power, got hurt, or was stuck in their car for fifteen hours this time around.

And it was so pretty. Mostly because we didn’t have to go anywhere. But still.

And of course, Valentines day was nestled in there. We escaped up to the North GA Mountains for a neat nature retreat. Here is a pic. There was still snow on the ground. Pretty cool.

If you follow my blog or my Twitter feed you may have picked up on my powerful lust for Parks and Rec. It’s one of my favorite shows on TV. It certainly has its ups and downs but I almost always LOL while watching.

One of Leslie Knope’s favorite things is to celebrate Galentine’s day. One day before Valentines day she gets together with the lovely women in her life and together they celebrate being awesome women (regardless of their relationship status).

A brilliant idea, if you ask me. I think this should be a thing. So I’m going to try to take more time to celebrate and cheer for the amazing women in my life.

And on top of all the celebrating, lovey-dovey stuff, and snowpocolapse I had class. I started taking a class that meets 3 days a week for 4 hours. It’s tough to manage on top of my day job, writing, and general life activities. But I love the class (even though I’m not a big fan of the amount of homework). I’ve really enjoyed the class so far and I’ve got 4 more months of it so enjoyment is a good thing.

All of that to say, I was busy. My word count suffered but my novel did not. I’m deep in the maddening maze that is editing. I’ve been working on the list of changes I’ve compiled from my work in the contests last month. It’s tough but worthwhile.

I had set a personal goal to finish all the edits in February. I failed to meet that goal. But I came so close. In fact, by the time this very post goes live I should have finished the edits. So, not bad.

One theme that keeps repeating in my writer life is to be flexible. Flexibility is so important in writing – and other parts of life. So I won’t beat myself up for missing the deadline. Heck, I’m just proud to have accomplished so much. Editing is tough work. Trying to weave story elements in (or out of) an entire novel is no small task.

So what did my month yield? The productivity is as follows:

2 blog posts
0 novels read
16 edits tackled (only 1 remaining edit needed)
And words, lots of words *does happy dance *

For a grand total of 8,406 words. Tracking word count during a heavy edit month is always strange. I’m certainly cutting the crap out of words in my novel but I’m always rewriting/rephrasing and adding new passages. Last time I tracked word count during a heavy edit month I smashed the word count goal. This time, not so much. But that’s okay.

The edits are good and it’s a much stronger story because of it.

This brings my total ‘tracked’ word count to 23,265 for the year! My writing goals are off to a good start.

How are your writing goals coming along? How do you determine you daily word goals?
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