Journey Through the Journals

Journey Through the Journals

Lately I have begun a thing where, once I get a story idea, I go out and buy a journal specific to that idea to start outlining in. I have one for When Heaven Was Blue, When Stars Rise, a new novel idea I came up with, and another for short story ideas or promotional stuff for When Stars Die. I had one for WSD, but my cat threw up on it, and so it was rendered completely useless. I then got another one for WSD, but I frankly have no clue what happened to that one. Needless to say, I have decided to make sure I keep them all from now on. Here they are:


picture065This one is for the newest WIP that I am mostly just going to outline for now.











picture066This one is for When Stars Rise. I had hoped to be able to fit the outline of the third book, When Stars Collide, in it, but WSC will need its own notebook.










This one is for misc. writing things, like short stories, promotional things, future novel ideas, ect…






This one is for When Heaven Was Blue, which is currently on hiatus while an editor looks over the first 1/3rd of it.








So those are my journals. Where do you guys store your outlines?





On Writing Despair (The Dancing Writer Edition)

On Writing Despair (The Dancing Writer Edition)

I know I said I’d blog every other day, but since tomorrow’s post is planned and this one was too good to pass up, I just have to do it today. I already finished revising chapter thirteen of Stolentime during the time I’m usually doing my blogging, so it doesn’t hurt for me to blog today. I suppose I should revise another chapter, but I’m a one a day girl. My brain has to be fresh and ripe for the plucking to do any type of revising. Once it starts to slow down, those revisions are not going to be as superb as they would be with a fresh brain. I should also probably be editing for my client, but I’ll get to it after this.

Libba Bray, my favorite author of all time, wrote an intense blog post. Currently she is struggling with book #2 in her Diviners series–struggling really bad, like so bad it would make a newbie writer wonder why they’re not struggling as bad. But here’s her post: On Writing Despair (Juicebox Mix). At least skim her post. It’s a delicious little thing.

The gist of her post is that she writes by the seat of her pants, and because she does, it makes revising more difficult for her. But she also can’t outline, so she feels like she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. She has tried outlining. She mentions she has ten different outlines for book #2, but she can’t complete any of them.

I think all of us can relate to Bray. All of us. Each and every one of us who has ever sat down and began writing some form of a story. When Stars Rise, without an outline, was a terror to write. Georgia McBride edited each chapter as I wrote, and I ran into a roadblock with chapter three. I had to re-write it FIVE times to eventually find the heart of it. But even then, things grew more difficult. I finished half the book, sent it off to McBride, and it came back with hardly any editing. You would think this would be a good thing, but the less ink, the more work. My story had completely de-railed, so there was nothing she could say about it because a de-railed story is a de-railed story. It lost its heart. It veered away, and I was left doubting myself and wondering if McBride was suddenly doubting me because she loved my project so much in the beginning. But I had a conversation with her, and she mentioned that I needed to outline.

So I did.

I had Megan Curd edit the half that I changed, and she had no content comments–just line edits.

But, unfortunately, my gut was still going all over the place. There was too much information packed into the first half of the book. While Curd may have been able to keep track of all that, that didn’t mean other readers could, so I knew I had to shelve When Stars Rise. I had to bring out When Stars Die to make all the information in the first half work.

I took McBride’s edits from the sequel and applied them to the first book. I outlined. I wrote. I didn’t struggle. I re-wrote. I outlined against. I re-did scenes. I added scenes. And thus was born When Stars Die.

But I have to outline. My mind can’t be cluttered. While my surroundings can be a cluttered mess with shoes nailed to the wall, I cannot have shoes nailed to the wall of my mind or else I’ll flip.

Currently the revisions for Stolentime are going smoothly. I’m having no problem deleting scenes or adding scenes or getting rid of characters or better developing them. In fact, while I have a revision outline, I’m still making changes to the outline. I’m combining some chapters, getting rid of others, adding things to scenes, deleting scenes, and coming up with more things as I progress. I love the story, but I don’t fall into that romantic trap of being IN LOVE with the story.

But everything could change by the time I get to line edits. I plan to spend a week away from Stolentime to let it bake before going back to it. Then I’ll do line edits, then I’ll have somebody read it purely for content before I tackle more line edits or proofreading. During the week I’m going to spend away from Stolentime, I am going to do revision outlines for When Stars Rise because the way it’s currently written doesn’t match up well with When Stars Die, so things are going to need to be changed yet again. The sequel may still bring me grief because sequels aren’t easy. They have to be better than the first, and that can be extremely hard to do.

Heck, right now, I’m struggling with trying to come up with new book ideas, because what am I going to do after the third book in the Stars trilogy? I don’t know, but I know in order to maintain a solid career, I’m going to have to come up with something, right?

The Madness of the First Draft

The Madness of the First Draft

Part of Stolentime.
Part of Stolentime.

I hate the concept of the rough draft. I hate that rough drafts are, by nature, rough and prone to innate crappiness. I love writing, but I hate writing rough drafts because revision ideas are already floating through my brain by the time I’m done with a chapter. I’m able to move on, but it doesn’t take away the fact that I really want to get to the revisions because that’s when things really become fun for me.

What exactly do I do to prepare for a first draft? Well, first I get the idea and let it stew for a week, pretty much being the character and playing out various scenarios in my head. If I can’t let go of the idea, I start to outline each chapter with a rough summary. I never used to outline. I’d just go by the seat of my pants; however, outlines keep everything in order for me and make revision notes that much easier to come up with. And as I’ve said before, outlines prevent writer’s block for me.

Then I just start writing. As I’m writing Stolentime, I’ve been very surprised with what I’ve naturally come up with that isn’t in the outline. The outline is guiding me, my story is going in the direction that the outline has it going in, but I’ve invented scenes I didn’t plan out, and that has been incredibly fun and surprising for me. It makes the drafting process more bearable, but still, I really want to get to the revisions. This story has a lot of promise and doing the revision outline will really bring everything together.

So I have been drafting a chapter a day, or have been trying to. In fact, I should probably be doing two since there is still daylight left to burn when I finish with one. I’ll get that much closer to revisions. I plan to finish the draft some time next month and hopefully have it revised before school starts. Then I’ll give it to my beta reader and see what happens from there. I know I’ve only mentioned Stolentime and haven’t really spoken of what it’s about. Well, this is the post where I’ll finally do that.

I have a vanity charm necklace that I will be using on the cover. Not this one though.
I have a vanity charm necklace that I will be using on the cover. Not this one though.

Gene White is a suicidal teen with treatment-resistant depression. Believing he is untreatable, his attempts to drown himself fail when Claude, a puppeteer and doll maker, rescues him from his suicide attempt. He decides to take Gene on as an apprentice and teaches him through bizarre and terrifying adventures that there is value to all life, including Gene’s.

So this is the story that I am working on at the moment. While the draft sucks (because don’t they all?), the story is coming together rather nicely, even though there are elements of it that will need major tweaks, like obvious inconsistencies I haven’t cared to fix.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Coraline book giveaway going on! The post is here. You must leave a comment to be entered and be a follower. Simply liking the post will not put you in the raffle. This will go on until I have my 230th follower, and then I will draw a name from the comments’ section. If you want this drawing to happen soon, share, Tweet, reblog, whatever.

The Madness of Writer’s Block

The Madness of Writer’s Block

Did someone call me for a case of writer's block?
Did someone call me for a case of writer’s block?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I’ve never had writer’s block. I’ve never suffered from this malady because when a story idea clicks in my mind, I don’t run to my Surface and immediately start tapping it out. I let it stew in my brain and let the idea actually take me on an adventure where the plot points are endless. If it stays in my mind for a few days to a week and I can’t let it go, then I know it is a story that I want to write.

Everyone is different and needs to beat writer’s block his/her own way. I’m not going to tell you to step away from the computer and do yoga or deep-breathing exercises, because anyone who thinks he/she has the cure is going to tell you that. I’m only relaying how I have been able to prevent writer’s block: This is what this post is about, preventative measures. Like good healthcare should be doing, I’m going to give you the tools to prevent it.

In any case, if you’re prone to writer’s block, these tips may be able to help you.

After I have let the idea stew, I go right into creating an outline because all the points will be on paper and I have no excuse for not knowing what to write about it. If you relax and let the character take you on a journey, you shouldn’t find yourself too stuck on the outline. But if you are, remember an outline is an outline, and you can always take another day to let the idea stew. I took a week to create the outline.

I do not want to hear that outlines will limit your scope and you’ll find yourself bored. No you won’t. This is the argument a lot of writers use for rough drafts, and I especially love this, “But character development will be shoddy!” An outline is not set in stone. For Stolentime, I just go rid of three chapters out of my outline because they are unnecessary. I also find my MC is adding things to make the chapters more exciting that were not in the outline. If you feel like an outline is going to kill your character development, then you yourself still need to develop as a writer because then you’re using the outline as a crutch, not a tool.

I don’t take crap.

Once you have that outline written, sit your butt down and refer to that outline to remind you of what direction you’d like to take your story. It is merely a reference tool that will help you finish that rough draft without much fuss. If you feel yourself becoming bored because of the outline, remember that your MC is in charge of where the story goes, and that if you let the outline lead you, you aren’t properly utilizing the outline as it is supposed to be used. When I start writing a chapter, I glance at the outline to remind me what I want this chapter to be about–assuming that it makes sense with the previous chapter. If not, I’m allowed to make adjustments. People really need to stop treating the outline like evidence that needn’t be tampered with.

If you’re the type who has to write chapters out of order, use the outline out of order. I simply think the outline is the best tool for preventing writer’s block because your story is all there and you have no excuse for saying you can’t think of what to write. At the rough draft stage, you shouldn’t be worrying about how you’d like your sentences to sound. You should be writing.