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.

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.

NaNoWriMo Update [2015.2]

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I guess a title change was in order, just so I don’t get too confused or confusing by using the same title too often (I might be planning to participate in NaNo years to come). That’s not the only change I made if you’ve seen my Home-page. Yes, it’s English only now, but I will add another page for my German Neuigkeiten.

That, however, has nothing to do with NaNo, I’m just a little more productive these days. But NaNo…it’s still going well, though I had two days of procrastination so far. It had a little to do with finishing Halfway Home. I don’t know what you do when you just finished a novel, but I usually take a couple of days to regroup, decide on a new project, let it all sink in.

This being NaNo, that wasn’t really possible. I had a hard time deciding what to do next. And, yes, I know I made that perfectly good list for the projects I wanted to write, but I’m kinda bad at following simple lists. I needed a new project.

So, because I had such a good time writing about werewolves (you can read Courage here and here now), I wanted to go back to the supernatural. And now I’m doing a zombie story. It’s for a submission call, so there are some directions to follow, but I have a good feeling about Gale: The Zombie Diaries. And, of course, I had to make a cover to go with it (you may have noticed the header looking a little different, I put up some covers of stories written, to be written, maybe never to be written who knows).

Yesterday was half-time NaNo and I reached my 25k words through sprints and some actual continual writing. The great thing about the NaNo sprints (you’re not familiar? it’s a twitter feed with great prompts and timed sprints @NaNoWordSprints) is that they go well with the diary style I’m writing. The prompts are so random and I get to write some additional diary entries using totally unrelated themes. It’s great.

So, NaNo is still a go at my house. How are you doing? Leave me a comment to let me know. Also: you’re awesome. Your writing is worth the effort. Go, writer, go!!!

NaNoWriMo Update [1]

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So, how is everybody’s NaNo going? I’d really like to know and would be thrilled if you told me in the comments.

My own NaNo endeavor is going great so far. I’ve written every day, though I haven’t reached my daily requirements the last few days. I had a little bit of family time to do – doing it gladly, of course. But I’m still on track, ’cause I worked a little more intensively the first five days.

I finished project 2 – Courage – on Tuesday. I’m really glad how it turned out. It’s a Halloween story, so I’m late, but I guess it’s also good reading for any kind of November night when it’s raining and shadows look like critters you’d rather not have lurking in your apartment.

I’m especially proud of Courage, because it’s something I haven’t done before. I’m not talking about the supernatural part of it, I have done something like that before, though not with werewolves. My protagonist is transgender, and I used the singular they pronoun. It was a little confusing at first, but by the end I had gotten used to it and it went really well.

I haven’t gotten to editing it yet, but I hope I can do that next week, so you should be able to read Courage by the next weekend – hopefully.

Today, I finished project 3 – Halway Home. While I’m feeling good about Courage, I feel like dancing for having finished Halfway Home. It was a holiday project for last year, but it turned longer and now it’s a novel of almost 75k words. I’m really, really proud and happy. There’s still a lot of work to do, because it’s the first draft, but I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing for the first time – though there’ll be mistakes galore.

I hope to get it published, but that’s still far away.

So, two of five projects down. I’m thinking about starting another novel, actually, but haven’t decided for sure yet. I mean, it’s a great feeling when it’s finished, I just don’t want to fill too much onto my plate. Everything is so fragile, inspiration, time, motivation. But NaNo is certainly working for me this year.

I’m at 16k words, and I still have some words to write today. I hope you’re all doing great, but if not: Writing is hard. Any writing you do is magic. You’re awesome.

Okay, tell me how it’s going in the comments. And write, write, write!

I’m writing [4]

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Good morning, lovelies. As you can see by the picture above, I’m going a little overboard with the cover-making these days. This one is actually just a template, because it doesn’t fit Halfway Home at all.

That’s what I’m writing at now. I’ve finished my Halloween story Courage at about 15k which is mind-boggling for me. And now I’m at 71k with Halfway Home. Writing works at the moment and I couldn’t be happier. NaNo is giving me an additional push and I think I’ll be finishing Halfway Home at around 75k sometime next week.

It feels a little like magic, you know. Being able to write every day. The day after I’d finished Courage, I was like: meh! Don’t wanna write on a different story now! Wanna wallow in the feel of having finished a story and missing the characters! (Yes, that’s what it feels like.) But then I went on twitter and found NaNoWriMo sprints. And let me just say: these people are doing a hell of a job, giving you prompts to figure into your novel, cheerful, inspiring. So, I did some of those, just to get the feel of Halfway Home again. And it worked.

The next day, I could just work on it as if I’d never left. And it was a sexy love scene, too, and I hate writing those. Yesterday, I wasn’t really feeling it either, but I pushed myself through it. Somehow I’m working and somehow it doesn’t hurt at all.

You might wonder what I’m getting at with this. I’m not really sure myself. I’m using this platform as a writing diary of sorts (not to write every day, but to write about the experience). This is my experience at the moment. It’s the experience of why I love writing so much, because it can give you a feeling like nothing else can.

Having said that, I think I’d really like to thank my writing buddies, the fab peeps of NaNoWriMo, the coaches and sprint instructors, the authors who take the time for a pep talk, everybody involved in getting me going on that platform. I think NaNo is a great experience, and if you’ve never tried it maybe give it a go. It’s only the sixth, you can still jump on the moving train, sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo or wait till next year. (And yes, I’ve earned myself another badge with this paragraph, but I’m also feeling the thankful.)

I hope you’re writing. I hope you’re reading. I hope you love words. And I hope it all for you.

Later, lovelies.

Happy NaNoWriMo 2015

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Ah, November, finally. I love November, unlike a lot of people. I love the first cold days, the rainy days you spent at home with a novel and tea, the chills it gives you. And then there’s NaNoWriMo, and I’ve come to like that a lot too.

Since my prep post in September, some things have happened. Or rather, they didn’t happen. I’ve thought I would have done a lot more writing, finishing some things. But I haven’t. That’s why I’m going to do NaNo a little differently this year.

I will be writing on different projects during NaNo. And yes, one of them will be to finish a novel I’ve been writing on for over a year now – or not writing, however you wanna see it. I found that I would feel better if I finished these other projects before delving into a new one. So, this is kinda bits and pieces-NaNo.

If you’re wondering what I’ll be up to during NaNo:

Project 1: Finishing a dream, an obsession, a nightmare that kept me up for over three years now. I can’t go on with life unless I’m writing this and it’s only roughly 1,500 words I’ll still have to write – in German.

courageProject 2: Courage – After Dark. A short story I had planned to finish for Halloween. I’m a little late, but the story turned out longer than I had anticipated. I’m around 8.000 words now. Not sure, how long it’ll be in the end, but it’s something you’ll be able to read sometime in November, I guess. I’ll keep you updated.

Project 3: Halfway Home. The novel. I’ve started this as a holiday short story for last year, but it got longer and now I’m at 68k words. That’s what happens sometimes, but I’m looking forward to finishing it. I guess another 10k words will do it, hopefully.

Project 4: A short story. I have the idea and title for this one, but don’t wanna go into it too much. It’s still in a dark space of my brain, because I didn’t have the time to think about it much. I want it to be around 7,000 words. We’ll see.

Project 5: Remembering Amy. The idea is very old. It was actually a novel I started in rememberingamyGerman, but now I’ve been rethinking the concept and want to turn it into a short story or novella, depending on how long it will turn out to be. It can’t really be done in the way I envisioned it before – too sentimental, almost soap story-like.

Those are the projects I want to work on. Hopefully, I can finish all of them, or at least most of them. Some of these projects have been haunting me for some time and I actually found it a relief when I decided to schedule them for NaNo. I’ll probably be updating you every Sunday about my progress.

Happy writing to all who participate on NaNoWriMo – and those who don’t too. Virtual pen to paper, lovelies. Let’s go!

Time for a cuppa and a romance

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Today is the perfect day for absolutely nothing – except for a cup of my favorite tea and a well-loved romance novel. I feel blah.

That is not to say that I didn’t do any writing today, but it felt awkward. It was a phone conversation, one of my favorite things to write usually, because the dialogue is so front and center. But what should have come out as a light, flirty scene became something awkwardly silly. And now I’m gonna forget about it until I’m doing the revisions.

My body’s begging me for some downtime, maybe a nap. My imagination wants to get fed fluffy romance. And I’m just gonna indulge them, ’cause really there is no good reason not to.

Well, until tomorrow and then it’s back to work.