PitchWars? Not For Me, This Year.

Sitting This One Out

For the first time since I found the PitchWars community, I’m really not entering.

Between work stress, life stress, and not having anything new, it’s just not going to happen for me this year.

I haven’t even looked at any of the blogs in the mentor blog-hop.

I mean, I haven’t put away the manuscript I submitted both of the last two years, but it’s just getting minor tweaks between rounds of queries.

And it’s not that I stopped writing. I’ve mentioned that middle-grade adventure that I’m almost excited about.

Yet, here I am, listening to my writer groups filled with people all their nervous and excited and stressing over mentors, reminding me the time when my manuscript was new and shiny and full of hope. Before I had to polish the smudges weekly to see that hope shine back at me.

creepy let me in GIF by Team Coco


Are you entering PitchWars?

I wish you all the best. That your manuscript starts to shine.

I hope you can find the right mentor, the one that gets your story and knows exactly what it needs to grow. Better pacing? New plot twists? Cutting characters?

A lot of work is in store for those that are chosen.

For those of you that aren’t?

New beta-readers and critique partners await, with writing boot camps and editing methodologies ready to be selected.

Your manuscript is ready to level up.


But for me? I just feel tired.

 

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Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com


Are you writing a story? Where are you in the process?

Plotting? Writing? Editing? Polishing?

If you’re doing PitchWars, tell me about your story!

Accountability Time For Morgan

For me, accountability is key for me moving forward with my writing. So, here’s my irregularly scheduled check-in post, to let you know what I’ve been up to!

1. Query novel #1 at least 3 times every other week until I get an agent

(unless I’m revising it)

Well, thanks to that little caveat, I’ve only missed about 3 times this year. Because every time I hear back on a query, I take another look at my pages…

For reals, though. I’m planning on sending out another 3-8 queries in the next few weeks on WIP #1.

Although, from checking my SPAM folder with a hitherto now unknown diligence, I now know that the Nigerian Prince scam isn’t actually an urban legend. They come in ever 3-6 weeks, like clockwork.

2. Move forward with my picture book

I’ve done no research or revisions. I need to decide if I’m moving forward on this. It’s a sweet bedtime story, with little to make it stand out.

Plan? Find some picture book writers and see what they think: does it stand out, how should I edit it, or back to the drawing boards.

3. Revise at least one of my shelved rough drafts

Nope. But the year isn’t over? I don’t *think* I can count revising my WIP #1, again…

4. Write something NEW during NaNoWriMo

Well, I’ve got something new in my head. Working on getting a story ready, so I’m pretty sure I’m gonna write something new. I’m just hoping it’s more than 5,000 words.

I may start it early, but 50,000 in anything new should be reasonable for this goal.

5. Keep blogging and decide if vlogging is worth it

I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job at the blogging thing and I’m slowly building a vlogging audience.

My blog is growing – I average over 100 views a week thanks to viewers like you. I started a new Query Corner feature, that’s up to 25 queries already. I’m looking into a published author spotlight feature, so look out for that!

Plus, my vlog is growing – I average 25 views per post – eventually. Not amazing, but I remember when my blog was there.

6. Try to use  social media better

This one I think I’m doing fine at.

  • This is the year I wrote my own guide to social media
  • I hit 5,000 followers on Twitter (last night)
    • I’ve tried to use it regularly, not just for posting
  • I’ve posted 132 things on Instagram – so beating my goal of 1 thing a week
  • I’ve been using Tumblr more, joined the #writeblrs?
  • I’ve earned 81 Reddit karma – even writing a couple short stories to add to r/noSleep. Thus, practicing this whole ‘writing short stories’ thing.
  • I’m using Pinterest — we’ll see if it helps
  • I joined a couple blogger groups, but I’m not sure if I’m the right demographic

7. Read an average of 2 books a month

BAM! Got this one.

I’ve been ranking them on GoodReads – and sometimes on Amazon. No bonus points for reviewing them, but I’ve already read 23 books this year – putting me 1 away from my yearly target.

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* Bonus – Networking!

Okay, this one wasn’t a written goal, but I’m giving myself points for attending 3 different writers groups in the last 2 months, joining 2 of them, and reading my work aloud to an audience. Plus volunteering to help judge a writing contest.

Note to self: Remember to make time to write your fiction. Not just blogging, networking, and all the rest…

How Change Can Be a Good Thing – In Life and In Writing

I’m moving.

This week has been spent packing, painting, and making seemingly endless to-do lists.

I’m partially moving to be closer to friends and family, partially to be closer to my new job (that I took partially BECAUSE of it’s proximity to the aforementioned friends and family), and partially because it’s cheaper there than it is where I am now.

That’s a lot of change.

I think it’s going to be a good thing.


Getting Away From The Status Quo

In life, if you don’t make changes, you end up doing the same thing, day-after-day, year-after-year. If you want to reach your dreams, you need to be actively working towards them, changing your life to get you there. Wishes are only useful for the direction they give you.

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In writing, if you don’t read and practice and learn how to use criticism to grow, your writing won’t improve.

In your stories, your reader cares about change. Stories are about things HAPPENING and that means change. Sure, there are some stories about daily living, but something, even if it’s internal growth or understanding, should happen. “May you live in interesting times” might be a curse, but that’s where stories are.


Trying Something New

You weren’t born knowing what your favorite food was, you had to try it to find it.

Just because one writing style, one point of view, one tense comes naturally to you, doesn’t mean that a different style can’t compliment your writing better! If you don’t try something, you’ll never know.

Whether they like it or not, your main character is probably going to have to step outside their comfort zone if they want to fix the problem caused by the ‘inciting incident’ (assuming a traditional style novel, and most non-traditional).


Embrace The Unknown

This new thing you’re trying might be a complete disaster. You might make every mistake in the book–and invent a few new ones along the way.

You won’t know til you try.

OR

This new thing may be just the thing you didn’t know you were looking for. Sometimes the ‘mistakes’ you make are just how you figure out what comes next.

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Less esoterically? There’s a program I used at my old job that I learned how to use by breaking it. Repeatedly. And having to unbreak it was how I learned the ins and the outs.

And now, at my new job? My current task is to switch most of the projects to use this program.


What changes have you made that turned into a complete disaster?

What changes have you made that turned out better than you could have ever dreamt?

 

Link: Winterview with Me

To celebrate 13 weeks of winter, Hàlön Chronicles will be conducting one interview a week for 13 weeks. Join us on the hashtag #13Winterviews, or check out our right-side blog hop to sneak a peek at all the wonderful authors and artists I’ll be interviewing in the coming weeks. Hosted by: K. J. Harrowick Without…

via Winterview with Author Morgan Hazelwood — Daily Cup o’ Coffee

When Your Rough Draft Is Really Rough

When Your Rough Draft is Really Rough

The Truth About My Rough Draft

Friday night, I wrote 3,560 words and finished my second book. The book is done at 85,600 words. And it’s shit.

  • I have place holder names for about 35 characters –from Alice to Zed (why do I even need that many named background characters?)
  • I have stupid tactics and plot holes a mile wide.
  • I have dropped side plots and disappearing-reappearing characters.
  • It’s right around my target word count–but I’m used to cutting 1/3rd of my story to tighten up my babbling writing. There’s nowhere to cut
  • My denouement – that falling action after the climax of the book? Mine’s maybe 200 words. That’s gonna need work.

I had to finish the book though. Book 1 is with an editor and the best thing for me was to wrap it up before I got lost in the rounds of revision, so I pushed hard and got it done. Having it done didn’t stop me from feeling embarrassed about the state of the draft, though.


I was talking to my sister, (also known as my alpha-reader, the best way for “me” to read what I’ve written without being the one to have written it), on Tuesday about ongoing discussions with my editor over my artistic vision. My lovely sister was cheering me up by complimenting my writing and letting me know how much better I’ve gotten over the years she’s been reading drafts of book 1.20170124_1830121

Reluctantly, I tell her that’s because she hasn’t seen the nightmare that is book 2.

You know what my sister says? Exactly what I needed to hear today.

“It’s a process, not an assembly line.”

She says I just need to clean it up for a month or so and it’ll be fine.


Writing is an Art

When my sister reminded me that writing is a process, not just a formula, I remembered exactly why I count my rough draft as I do.

I start off numbering my Rough Draft as ‘Draft #0’. My rough draft doesn’t even count as an integer – it’s not “a thing complete within itself”.

My first step is to turn that spew of words into something coherent and legible, before I can even think about plot revisions.

Most books on writing and many authors out there agree–rough drafts are shitty. They’re the necessary evil you’ve got to get out on paper so you can find the REAL story and discover what you were actually trying to say all along. Sure, there are those authors who crank out saleable first drafts that only need a bit of copy-editing, but those authors are few and far between.

I now know that expecting my second book to be better than the rough draft of my first book was a vain hope.

The writers and writing books agree, every book is different and requires different things of you.

I can only hope that the lessons I’ve learned on book 1 make polishing book 2 into something I’m proud to share a faster process.

I’m not counting on it, there are so many writing mistakes out there I’ve yet to make.


Count Your Successes

And this I when I remember that my rough draft of book 1 took me 3 false starts and 10 months to write. This one took me 1 false start and 2.5 months to write.

I set a goal to write 10,000 words on that story before the 25th and I beat that by 5 days.

I set a goal to finish that rough draft by March. It’s pretty clear that goal was reached.

I was going to write a big “100th Post!” thing, but then my 100th post ended up being my announcement of finishing my 2nd book. I think that’s a better post than anything I could have written. This is 101st. 🙂

Maybe I am making progress.