Another fun thing to do: rewrites

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The good news is: I’ve signed a contract for Halfway Home with Ylva Publishing.

The ‘bad’ news is: rewrites.

I see how they’re necessary, but sometimes it just seems brutal to cut again into your story – which of course you thought was already pretty polished (always compared to what your first draft looked like).

It’s to make the story better, of course. But you still fret. And this comes from a freak who cherishes the editing process. Going back to the writer’s board, reading up on writing tips, make more notes, and put your thinking cap on.

Another good news, though, is: nobody knows your story like you do. You’re an expert. You know names, dates, the whole frakking history of the piece. And you will prevail, of course, you will.

I guess patience is the virtue you need most of at this point. Patience with challenges you thought you had already mastered. Patience with the fact that what you think is pretty perfect, is not.

Endurance, too. And tea (in my case tea, in yours probably coffee).

But at the end – and here is more good news – stands the published work. And that’s, after all, the Holy Grail of writing, yes?

So, as an appeal to you and me (’cause I need to appeal to myself here since I’m not the most motivated person in the universe), rewrites are not only necessary, they’re fun. You get to explore new facets of your story, get to go deeper, get to revisit favorite scenes just to look up some random fact. Your work is still your work, but you make it stronger.

That’s pretty neat and possibly the best news of all.

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I’m Thinking [1]

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Yeah, that’s a first. 😀

Well, I’ve been absent here for awhile and not just to think. We already talked about how life gets in the way… it gets in the way of everything, it’s like it thinks it’s so important. Annoying. Sorry, just having a little bit of fun here.

So, I’ve been absent but not idle. I’ve finally (finally!) done all those revisions on Halfway Home. Well, I’m pretty sure if it’s gonna get published there’ll be an editor suggesting a whole lot more, but for now… yeah, Halfway Home is at a publisher’s right now, getting evaluated. Exciting times.

I worked through that thing in time to have surgery on my hand. I had a trigger finger which is not so much painful as it is annoying. It also gets painful with time and so I had this pretty standard surgery. And now I have to do a lot of things with my left hand. Of course, as I am just now typing this, I’m being an ass about my hand’s recovery. But seriously, do you know how boring not using your good hand is? Do you know how stupid one feels using the not so good hand, the dunce’s hand? Yeah, brushing teeth with that hand? Not a delight.

With all that going on I’ve got a little time thinking. These last few weeks I’ve read a lot about how writers writing blog are procrastinating on the real writing, how we shouldn’t be writing blog because ever so often we do that instead of the ‘real’ writing. And I thought about that and think it’s utter bull.

For one, blog writing IS writing. Just as writing an essay is, or a journal. Is there any type of writing that is not ‘real’ writing? Is there any type of writing that is ‘worthless’ writing? No, there isn’t. I like to think that all of it makes us better at what we do. This here blog may not be high brow entertainment, but it’s still important – if only for me.

For another, how is sharing experiences not important? What would we even know about writing if those before us had not written about the experience of writing? Jacksquatt is what! Yes, they wrote essays and such, but writing blog is the next best thing. yeah? It’s easily accessible and doable. Every person can do it, and every writer (in my very humble opinion) should do it. We can’t always spent time in other people’s (character’s) minds, we sometimes have to get things out of our own. And is there actually a better way to do that than writing it down? An empty page doesn’t talk back! (I like that about pages in general, not just empty ones.)

So, I stand that blog writing is important. I thought about it.

Also, I’m thinking about a new blog (actually, I’m kinda diddling with it already, but it’s not open to the public yet) – not an additional one, more of a substitute for this one. Something that looks a little bit more professional. Like the someone writing it knows what they’re doing… yeah, I know, it’s risky, but maybe I can pull it off. Thinking of translating my novella The Affair into German, too. You know, just busy thinking.

Are you thinking too? What abouts?

2017 – let’s get crackin’

First of all, happy new year everyone. I know we’re already three weeks into the new year, but you may have noticed by now, I’m moving a little slower than mostly everybody I know. But it’s been a peaceful three weeks, mostly. It’s been a helpful three weeks and I feel more inclined to take on the world now that the sky hasn’t fallen. It hasn’t fallen in my little cave of an apartment – I know the world looks differently today.

As a writer, I have high hopes for 2017, but so far no concrete plans. So far, I haven’t really written anything though I’m planning every day to sit down and do. You do see, how the title of this post is kinda misleading, right? I want to write, but I’m kind of in a bubble, a cozy one where I don’t wanna stir stuff.

the-matter-of-a-secret-kiss-wOf course, as of yesterday, stuff has been stirred. I got an email from a publisher that a short story I submitted for an anthology has been turned down. Disappointing, for sure, but not the end of the world. I already put The Matter of a Secret Kiss up on my writing platforms (you may read it on Wattpad, Inkitt, or Tablo, just as you please). I hope you read and like, maybe write me a note.

I’m working on Halfway Home, making revisions. This story has been lying around for over a year, burning a hole into my brain. I feel like it’s time to work on it, finish it, send it away on its journey. It’s a novel, as of yet 75k words strong. I’m excited about it, I hope you’ll be too at some point.

There’s nothing much else. I’m trying to sort through my ideas, see what’s worth going after, what to abandon. I’m trying to make concrete plans, trying to concentrate. There’re a lot of things going on in ‘real life’ and I’m distracted.

I have to smile at this, you know. The title is so contradictory to how I feel. I’m looking at it through a Sunday haze. Maybe I’m still sleepy, maybe I had too much sleep. I can’t even say. Hopefully, I haven’t bored you to tears with it. I guess, it’s just to say: I’m still here, I’m working.

Skipping Ahead

Well, now it’s almost Christmas, and now it’s almost time to reminisce in time for New Year’s. NaNoWriMo is over and I’m sorry that I haven’t updated at least one more time, but I’ve kept putting it off and then stuff happened in life and now… I’ve written 32,330 words this NaNo which is about 2,000 more than last year. So while it wasn’t a complete success, I’m not disappointed.

savingdanvers1This year’s NaNo was mostly about fanfiction for me. Fanfiction and Supergirl (or Supergays, as I tend to lovingly call it). I’m neck-deep in the evolution of Alex Danvers’ character, I just love that tiny gay bean. And I’m so close to watching again from the beginning, just to be able to explore her more thoroughly. She’s one of the few aspects of tv that didn’t disappoint (so far) and I hope Supergirl will keep up the good work. I watched a lot of Arrow this year, some The Flash, the pilot of Legends of Tomorrow, but Supergirl is my favorite DC show to date. And I may have jumped the Marvel ship completely, because they don’t invest enough time or money in their female heroes (cancelling Agent Carter, seriously?).

I’m a fan, I tend to get invested. And it affects my writing as well. At the moment, writing fanfiction is a sanctuary, a safe place.

But, of course, I’m always trying to find my own characters and story lines. I’m currently thinking about another YA series I’d like to write. It’s post-apocalyptic stuff and I guess it fits well into current times, with political leaders showing how little they care about people… and I’m prone to seeing all the bad stuff and imagine how it all will end. Also, I love the genre. Aside from horror, it might be my favorite. I’m rereading Legend by Marie Lu and The Hunger Games series might be next.

Apart from that, I also started revisions on Halfway Home. It’s been lying around for a year now and Halfway Home.altcoming back to it is strange and wonderful. I still love the characters so much and I think it’s a great story. It’s all romance and fluff, but it makes me hopeful at the end of a year which saw little of that. I hope I’ll be able to finish it mid-January.

Today’s winter solstice – the shortest day of the year. I’ve been awake since three a.m., so it won’t really be a short day for me, but I like sitting and working when nobody else is awake and by 8 p.m. I’m usually pooped enough to go to bed. The next two weeks will see a lot of family time and food, but I hope I’ll get some work done – probably in the form of fanfiction. I haven’t decided on anything I want to write next year, but hopefully it will be more productive than 2016. Hopefully, it will be more of anything good than 2016.

What’s happening?

I guess I took the title of my last post too literally; I took an unselfconscious break from blogging here. Books have been read since, hardly any words written, though. I’ve worked a little, helped others out, painted and drew. I feel creative, stuff is happening.

As far as writing goes, yeah well. I haven’t done much, but I feel that I’m on my way to remedy that. I’ll be doing some rewriting these next two months, also some editing.

Let me tell you about that: my short story Wrote Trip has been accepted for publication in the anthology Finding Ms. Write by Ylva Publishing. I’m so proud. Look at the beautiful Finding Ms. Write500x800cover! Anyway, that story needs some editing before the anthology’s going to come out in June. It’s the simply story of two women meeting as one of them hitchhikes a ride from the other. I like simple stories, I’m fascinated by the meeting of souls who cling to each other instinctively.

The rewriting project is a superhero story, or rather superheroine. Ghosts of Helltown is pretty old. It’s actually my first writing project that I wrote in English, hence the intensive rewriting! But I’ve started and it’s not entirely hopeless, though as of yet unfinished. I’m excited about this story. For once, it brought me back to drawing and painting, as I’m trying to figure out a costume for my superhero. That’s just a hobby, and I haven’t done any of it for far too long.ghost

And then, there’s of course the genre. I find myself a little obsessed with superheroes lately. As the billboards tell us, I’m not the only one. And as so many others, I’m more of a Marvel person than DC. I never liked Batman much and these days, all that comes out from DC seems to take itself far too seriously. That’s my take. Of course, both franchises are guilty of favoring white, straight dudes (yeah, I know Deadpool is pansexual, but obviously he’s the exception to the rule).

Well, this novella/novel series by Ylva will be all about female heroes who love other females, maybe heroes too, maybe sidekicks, maybe villains? Well, I’m looking forward to reading them all. But first I’ll be going down to Hell(town) and write my own. EXCITED!!!

Once Upon a Time…Editing

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There comes a time in a writer’s life when they have finished their first draft. And they’re happy. The sun is shining a little brighter, food tastes better and the stress of finishing a project is gone. Congratulations, the writer has fulfilled their destiny.

Or have they?

Because there’s the first draft, lying there in the sunshine of pride for two weeks, maybe 2 months. And from a certain time onward, the sunshine fades, the manuscript takes a big leap and lands on the writer’s shoulders, whispering: “I’m not finished. I’m just a first draft.”

The writer’s eyes water, but they’re fighting tears because…this is, after all, the moment they’ve been waiting for. And yet, there’s a whole lotta work yet to be done. Editing their own work.

This is necessary, of course, because when you’ve finished your first draft you have no idea if it’s even any good. We cannot evaluate our own work, it’s impossible. Even a manuscript we’ve worked on for years, sweat over, almost despaired over, can be shite, not printable, a total bust. It’s sad and it’s true.

But…even though we cannot evaluate, we can still make it better. And that first draft, yeah, that needs to be bettered desperately.

Halfway Home.altThat’s the kind of point where I’m at with Halfway Home. That is, I’ve just read the complete first draft and am devastated. Because there’s simply so much work to do. What I did while reading it, I added commentaries on what I need to consider. It’s stuff like: “Yeah, you have this in another convo, take it out.” or “Dude, what’s with all this exposition? Nobody cares!” or “You might wanna add that scene and not just tell people about it.”

Yeah, a lotta work. But also: fun work. No, seriously, editing can be fun and not just for geeks like me. Think about it: you get to eradicate all your mistakes without anyone ever seeing them. You have a whole thing and now you only have to make it shine a little bit more, make it as close to perfect as you possibly can. And nobody will ever see the trainwreck you just read. That’s good, that’s very good.

Because, let’s be honest, writing is only part of the job. And you knew that. Instantly, when you sat down to write and maybe weren’t one hundred per cent satisfied with what you just wrote, you thought: “I’ll polish that later.” Maybe you even made a note, wrote a comment to that effect. Because you knew there’s a later.

For me, later has arrived. Today, I’m gonna start translating those comments into my text, delete dialogue tags, do whatever I need to do to make Halfway Home the story I wanted to  read to begin with. And I’m happy for that chance, because really, that first draft – it’s between me, myself and I.

The Affair [Out Now]

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It has come the time when I can finally write this blog post: The Affair is out there, you can buy it at your favoirte ebook online shop – or at least on Amazon, All Romance ebooks, Smashwords and Kobo. I’m excited, of course. It seems a long time since I started writing it.

I first mentioned it here last September, and even then I’d been working on it for some time. It was the kind of story that took a back seat to other stories that I pushed, but I still knew I wanted to finish it, because the premise of an affair has always fascinated me. I’m not sure why but the predicament of falling in love with someone outside the marriage bond and pursuing that attraction or giving into the sheer force of it… the guilt, the question of whether to end a marriage over it or not… Yes, it is fascinating.

And this is what I wanted to accomplish with The Affair, to dive into that kind of drama. I think I made a decent job of it, but then writers are never the most reliable critics of their own works.

And we’re also not the best editors for them either. And this is where the really hard work begins. With the right story, writing can be like playing, you make believe, you do what you love (the degree on play and love can vary significantly from story to story, and at the end of the day it’s still hard work), but editing… it’s a process that can eat at you.

I personally like it as a learning process, where someone who knows more about syntax and grammar and commas teaches me how to do it better. I’d like to think that I grow more during the editing part of the writing than the writing itself. For example, with The Affair I learned that what I consider new and exciting ways to formulate sentences, are not really that exciting for my readers. They rather hinder the reading. This is something that blows my mind, even though from reading novels I should have already known that. How often have I frowned upon a phrase or a sentence that the writer probably thought was brilliant – and here I am doing the same thing.

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It’s a hard lesson to learn and I’m sure I’ll be ignoring it the next time I sit down to write some fiction. It’s also hard to see an editor delete those perfectly wonderful phrases which you think make your writing voice unique and fresh. But most of the time, unfortunately, the editor is right. I can accept that, most of the time, but as I said: hard lesson.

I remember years ago at a fan convention (nothing like comic con, just a small gathering of Xenites at a hostel somewhere in the German hicks), where there were fanfiction readings in the evening. It was the first time I heard someone read anything of mine and it was the most horrific experience in my young writer’s life. I didn’t know until then that every reading is also an interpretation of the text. And, of course, in my opinion, this interpretation was horrible. The reader made all the wrong choices when it came to pauses, the little jokes I build into the story mostly went over the listening crowds’ heads, it was all wrong. But that was mainly my ego. It was apparent that she had read the story many times before to do it justice on that night, she was a little nervous, understandibly, to be reading in public, and she did a decent job of it. Her reading voice just didn’t collaborate with the narrator’s voice in my head.

So, this was a little like an editing experience. And, nowadays, I appreciate the effort behind it more – I hope. Everybody at Ylva Publishing did a fantastic job on making The Affair better than it was to begin with. It’s also longer now and I’m really proud of the end product. I want to thank Astrid Ohletz and Jae, especially, and my editor on this, Alissa McGowan. The cover design by Kaitlyn Connolly is a thing of beauty. There were more people involved and I want to thank everybody.Writing is at times a lonely occupation, but putting out a novel is not.

That said, I hope you’ll all read this novella and tell me how you liked it, the second part being optional, of course. 🙂

Later, lovelies.