Where are you on your writing path?

I’ve met a great many wonderful writers through this here blog, and I’m very thankful for your support, your informed opinions and your fresh perspective on things. You make this blogging thing all worth-while for me. 🙂

But sometimes I feel like I don’t know you as well as I’d like. And unfortunately, you don’t know each other much either, even though you’re all an awesome bunch of writers.

So — where do you all stand with your writing right now?

Writing a fist draft? Are you writing to an outline, or pantsing it?

Revising a finished manuscript? Editing? Polishing for publication? Traditional or DIY?

Dealing with beta readers at the moment? How’s your experience with that? Where did you find your best betas?

Marketing a new book you’ve got out into the world? Link to it please. Give us a short pitch.

Planning a new book? Brainstorming? Outlining? Is it an old idea that won’t give you peace, or is it brand new?

So many questions!

Where you at?

Please share!

 

44 Replies to “Where are you on your writing path?”

  1. I’m finishing up a rewrite on the first act of a current novel. There were things required for my characters, and I went in and fixed them up. Once I’m finished, I’ll move on to the next act.

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    1. It’s a tough thing to revise while you’re still drafting. I know, I did the same. I don’t think I’ll be doing it a second time, though it works really great for some people. 🙂

      Good luck with your novel, Cassidy!

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  2. I am waiting on my copy editor, working on some final polish for book 1, and starting book 2. This is what I have worked up as a blurb for the first book “L.A.I.R.A.”
    Meet L.A.I.R.A., Learning Artificial Intelligence Run Alpha. She is the creation of a young boy of thirteen. With her help, he transforms the very world around him with limited AIs that makes life safer and easier for the masses. But the boy Dominic and L.A.I.R.A. have knowledge that the world is facing a world wide apocalypse that will destroy the human society. He and L.A.I.R.A. must rush to finish their ultimate creation, a time machine to take them into the far future. L.A.I.R.A. has her own secret, for the past eight years she with help has grown herself a human clone that she downloads herself in. The body she chose is Dominics long dead childhood love, whose death he blames himself for and suffers from nightmares about that last day he saw her alive. Though confronted with the need to figure out his new relationship with his AI, they must push on and jump forward in time. But in his own company lurks a darkness that will both follow them into and be waiting for them in the future and will change everything.

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    1. An AI inhabiting a human body is one of my favorite ways to combine technology & humanity. I bet your AI causes quite a lot of trouble, at least to Dominic. 🙂

      Good luck with your novels, John. The story sounds really interesting.

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  3. Where am I? All over the place because I’m in between things. I have a novel called Ghost Dance which I submit every now and again. (Historical Fantasy set in Colonial America) I’m using the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction…etc for a finished but with a few rough edges novel called Parkland. Soci sci fi I suppose. And finally I’ve just finished, and it’s been Beta read, a novel called ‘The Gift.’ I’m quite pleased with this – but disorientated as to what to do next. Here’s the pitch for the Gift. does it work for you?
    Dear X,
    I am hoping you will represent my novel The Gift (89K) an occult Catherine Cookson involving Satanists, aristocrats and Nazis.
    Born in a Liverpool slum, Lizzie McBride is the daughter of an Irish witch who dies when Lizzie is barely twelve, leaving her in charge of two younger sisters and a grieving father. When her father commits suicide Lizzie is caught between two worlds. An aunt and uncle decide the three orphans would be better off with them in America. Her mother, appearing in a dream, urges her to stay. Just as they are about to board ship Lizzie, on impulse runs away, and her life changes forever.
    Pursued by her aunt, Lizzie cannonades into the magician, Aleister Crowley, who for his own reasons takes her under his wing. He introduces her to Lady Gwyneth Morgan, daughter of the richest family in Wales and sister to the young occultist Evan Morgan. At this point Lizzie doesn’t realise her gift, the ability to open the Gates of Hell and control its greatest demons, including Satan himself. When the occult world discovers this, governments and powerful individuals seek her out. Only one man can protect her: the magician John Grey, head of the Occult Bureau of MI5.
    http://baffledspirit.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/blue-boy-and-black-monk.html
    http://baffledspirit.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/was-there-something-in-water.html

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    1. You sure have a lot on your plate, Mike. It doesn’t surprise me. 🙂

      How’s OWW? I’ve not yet taken part in any online workshop, even though I’ve been sniffing at them for a while. Joined the Absolute Write forums, but haven’t been very active yet.

      The Gift sounds awesome! Very promising. I want to read that when it comes out. Would you be so kind as to remind me of it, should I miss the moment?

      Since I know you’re a perfectionist (like me), I’m gonna make some fine-tuning suggestions to the pitch, ok? Just my opinion.

      Everything is great and very enticing up unto this point:

      “Pursued by her aunt, Lizzie cannonades into the magician, Aleister Crowley, who for his own reasons takes her under his wing. He introduces her to Lady Gwyneth Morgan, daughter of the richest family in Wales and sister to the young occultist Evan Morgan. At this point Lizzie doesn’t realise her gift, the ability to open the Gates of Hell and control its greatest demons, including Satan himself.”

      The underlined part is not need-to-know, and only creates confusion by introducing two new characters without having them play any role in the actual pitch. And the shift from a telling introduction to the casual mention of Lizzie’s ability to (!)open the Gates of Hell and command demons and even Satan himself(!) is like going from talking about the morning weather to recounting one’s experience with mutilation. It’s a bit jarring, and diminishes what must be phenomenal by placing it in a prosaic context.
      Long story short, ditch the thorough introduction of Gwyneth & Evan, and replace it with something like “Aleister introduces her to the occult world, led by world-famous occultist Evan Morgan, which becomes increasingly interested in her, because…” Of course, you’ll do a better job than me with that measly sentence.

      Also, the last sentence places the action and thus the weight of the story’s outcome in other hands than those of the protagonist, Lizzie, which also weakens the pitch. Only one man can protect her, true, but what will she do? What decisions does she face? Which directions can her path take? And if you mention John Grey (which is a character introduced almost like an afterthought, even though he is apparently paramount), then give us a tiny hint as to his personality or relationship with Lizzie.

      All in my opinion, of course, which is far from officially valuable. 😀

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      1. Thank you, Vero, for going to so much trouble with my query. I’ll make some tweaks. Ref the workshop it can be very good and it works for me. It costs $49 a year, which, I suppose, sorts out the committed from the dabblers. But for me it acts as a kind of discipline. I submit, and I crit and over the years I’ve improved considerably because of a certain consistency of effort the workshop encourages. Ref the critting itself, at worst you get basic line crits, sometimes from people with less than musical ears. At best you get insight and thought. And, if you’re lucky enough to attract a hard core of regular critters you find you have beta readers for whole novels. You make good friends, and from the start I’ve appreciated the fact that whatever I put up attracts readers from every class and from all parts of the world. So, have I sold it 🙂

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      2. I hope you don’t mind I picked on your pitch. 🙂

        Yup, I think you sold me OWW. I’ve been looking for a good network to find critique partners through, and so far I’ve only checked a very few. Unfortunately, I have that nagging feeling that before my MS is beta-ready I am wasting time networking instead of working to get it beta-ready. Ugh. But I’ll definitely give OWW a serious thought when I’m done. Thanks!

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    1. No beta readers?! I couldn’t do that. I’d go batshit without input before publication.

      A cookie tale? Of course. Special cookies, no doubt. I hope it finds many eager readers. Sure sounds quirky and funny. 🙂

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  4. I’m working on editing my seventh book, “Someone’s Clone.” The story is:
    Kayse Kiare doesn’t know why assassins murdered his parents and attempted to kill him, causing him to jump twenty-three years into the future. Thinking to escape with his life, he lands smack dab in the middle of a war between aliens and his native Alysians. Who is he and why does everyone want to him dead? As Kayse discovers the shocking truth of his true identity, he is transformed into something more than human, but who still cares enough to try to save his world.

    That and marketing. I’m offering “Caught in Time” (book 1) free for one more day as I’m trying out the Kindle Select Program. http://www.amzn.to/1mmNYLM.

    Then thinking about the next book which is started, but needs some adjustment on the story structure. (pulling out hair here)

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  5. I write short stories, though, one day I will move on to novels.

    I have a couple short stories on the go right now. I don’t outline, but I don’t pants it, either. Usually, I take a few notes about my characters and what they want. I find the more notes I take, the less that ends up in the story.

    I have to get into my characters’ heads and know who they are before I start writing. I also have to know what they look like. If I can’t picture them, I have a lot of trouble starting the story.

    I edit as I write, and usually from the very beginning of the story. This is slow-going, but it works for me. I write in chunks. A two-hundred word chunk at a time is a good piece of writing for me.

    I don’t have a book to pitch, so I’ll promote the Speculative Literature Foundation, of which I’m Managing Editor and Grants Administrator.

    Short pitch: Free grant money. Longer pitch: The Speculative Literature Foundation has four grants annually, including the Gulliver Travel Research Grant, which helps fund travel expenses for researching a novel. Find out more here: http://www.speculativeliterature.org/Grants/index.php

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    1. It’s so interesting to find out how others write! I, for example, don’t need to know much about my characters before I begin writing. All I need is a good grasp of their current problem, and I discover them while I write. I do edit while I write, but only a little bit. Maybe that will change, though, because I’ve really come to hate having to go through what felt like a thousand drafts before the manuscript was anything close to decent. 😀

      The Speculative Literature Foundation sounds really cool. I hope it gets many writers motivated to keep pursuing their dreams!

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      1. I think with a novel you can feel your way through a character as you write because you have the space to do so. With a short story, especially flash fiction (which I write often), you have to know the characters up front because your space is severely limited to feel them out.

        I suppose you could feel them out in that limited space as you edit draft after draft.

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      2. Hi Malon
        Couldn’t agree more. I completely pants my novels, although I with you Vero on the thousand drafts thing. But my short stories are really tightly planned. My novellas are somewhere in the middle…

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    2. It sounds like we write in similar ways, Malon. I, too, have to get into a character’s head before I can write about him/her. I also edit as I go, because if something in the story isn’t working, continuing from that instead of revising before going on just results in a mess that needs MORE rewriting afterward. I’d rather fix the big-issue problems as I come to them, and save the editing process for smaller things.

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      1. Thomas, I totally agree about the mess that needs more rewriting later, though I edit the big-issue problems and smaller issues at the same time. I just have to fix it all. But I do allow myself to let the story and characters take me where I it/they want to go. That’s the best part of writing 🙂

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      2. If I realize there’s an issue in what I’ve already written (plot, characterization, setting, or even story structure), I make a huge, neon-highlighted mark on it with notes on how to fix it, and then I continue writing as if I had already fixed it. I act as if what I’ve written is already pristine, and I correct it after I hit THE END and gather all my notes.

        The experience with my current [huge] MS has taught me that I’ll likely change my mind about those changes later in the novel, so if I fix it now, then I write some more, and figure out I have to change it yet again and go back to fix it, I’ll just endlessly tinker with what I’ve already written instead of conquering new ground ahead of me. I’m NOT saying it’s a bad working method, not in the least! All I’m saying is that I can’t work that way. I’d go batshit.

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  6. Currently, I’m working through the final edits on a Scifi novella I plan on self publishing. It somewhat odd dealing with the fact the main character is an older woman, who is a cripple, and her world is being peacefully invaded.

    The other novel I’m waiting to get final edits back on is a high fantasy world with a twist. This one I’m hoping to get picked up by a publisher, but we’ll see.

    And, last I’m doing an adventure path for Numenera, which I should be done by end of June at the latest.

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  7. At the moment, I’m…

    — Marketing a new indie-published science fiction novel, The Remnant. http://www.amazon.com/Remnant-Paul-B-Spence/dp/1929928203/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400016347&sr=1-1&keywords=the+remnant+paul+b+spence

    Short description: An archaeological expedition becomes stranded on an alien planet and discovers evidence of an ancient war that may not be over.

    The author is my ‘clone-sibling’ (identical twin), so I’m doing as much as I can to promote this novel even though it isn’t, technically, mine. 🙂

    — Revising a mostly finished manuscript. It’s in the final stage of rewrites before actual editing starts. Once it’s done, I’ll probably send it to my loyal beta reader.

    — Waiting on a short story by a friend (the aforementioned loyal beta reader), which I’ll edit before he submits it for an anthology.

    — Figuring out what changes I need to make to a novel that’s about half written.

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    1. Identical twins? Both writers? How cool is that! And your brother’s novel sounds really interesting too.

      Oh, revisions… they’re a blessing and a curse. You can greatly improve your MS, but at the same time, you find so many things to improve on. I, at least, had to practically rewrite the entire thing from scratch, keeping characters and plot, but ditching the actual draft almost entirely.

      Good luck with your projects, Thomas! & Good luck to Paul, too.

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  8. I’m currently compiling an international anthology due for release in December (Heroes & Villains) that deals with the flexibility of what is ‘good’ and ‘evil’.

    Also planning a serializard, hard sci-fi with an LGBT superhero as the main character, set for release next year.

    And I’m outlining my first novel project. 🙂 (for the third time, hahahah)

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  9. I’ve already started my next big novel project (which I don’t love enough yet–I might turn away from it again for another space adventure or something) and about to start the edits on recently finished final part of the Falaha’s Journey trilogy.

    A pitch, you say? I’ll drop this here:

    FALAHA’S JOURNEY is a vivid tale of alien species, races, and cul­tures, a fam­ily saga span­ning mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions and across the Uni­verse, a tale of iden­tity, explo­ration, and self-discovery amidst a dev­as­tat­ing strug­gle for sur­vival, and a love story that touched the stars. (No, I’m not exaggerating.)

    It had already passed the Beta-Reader stage. After I get the manuscript back from my editor, it’s preparation for pub time.

    My best Betas are non-writing folk who are voracious readers in my genre, but whom I don’t know personally (I don’t know them at all, so they are not biased.) How I found them? Through our mutual friend on Facebook.

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    1. Interesting… getting beta readers who you practically don’t know, so they are not biased. I bet their feedback is very different from that of writer friends, people who might guess what you wanted to do with the story and also offer improvement ideas. Readers (especially strangers) tend to only remark on the effect of what they read. Right?

      Congrats on finishing Falaha’s Journes — and *gasp* starting a new novel! That’s always exhilarating and intimidating at the same time, at least for me. 🙂

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      1. I am intimidated by the new project, but only because I know how much time and energy it will consume. With my health that is scary and quite challenging. I’m still doing it. 🙂

        And right, those Betas will tell you where the story is thin (in character, plot, or anything else) and what would they, as readers, want to be developed more–sometimes taking particular interests into account might make story better. If a bunch of strangers tells you they loved it and why, BINGO.

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  10. Great questions, Veronica.
    I wrote my second novel (first one is not published), which although in final form hasn’t made it anywhere yet. I queried agents/editors a few years back, with a different novel/mystery and although I got several full requests, nothing happened. Last year I had my first short story accepted by a publication (had published three other shorts since). Now, I have to get serious about my query/synopsis and see what, if anything, the publishing world has for me. I don’t know that I want to self-publish, nothing against it tho.
    My beta readers are mainly from my online critique group. My husband reads everything I write, but he is not a writer. I had a couple of friends read for me, but the best critiques come from my critique group. That, however, requires thick skin, which I’ve developed over the years. I think. 😉
    Great post, and nice to read all the entries.

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    1. Going the traditional route is very time consuming and nerve wrecking, but I will also attempt that one first. Not because I subscribe to the [old] mentality that it means I’m somehow more of an author, or more officially good, than if I self-published, but because it would me more practical to me to not have to do everything myself. I’m lazy like that. 😉

      You’re lucky your hubby is also your beta-reader. Mine is supportive as well, but he’s not really a reader; he just waits till the movie comes out. Ha ha.

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  11. Hey Vero
    What a lovely idea for a post, thanks.
    Lots going on at the moment.
    Writing: I’m in book one of a zombie series (I’ve written zombies before but in fantasy settings. These ones are trashing London:) I’m trying a sort of pilot thing where the first fifteen chapters or so will go on the blog then be collected into a free short that will form the introduction to the full series.
    Also writing a trad fantasy short for my newsletter people around a village troubled by a pesky beast. I’m going for a very specific tone which so far I think I’m hitting. Of course, I may discover something quite different when I get to the edit!
    Editing: I’m doing a re-edit on the first book in my superhero trilogy and final proof read on the second one. They’re being released and re-released in July. I’m also waiting for the third one back from the editor so I can get my teeth into that.
    I’ve been podcasting for a few weeks now, reading the serialised story that appears on my blog, so spending time recording that as well.
    Made some amazing chocolate brownies at the weekend for my daughter’s third birthday. Not strictly writing but important nonetheless 🙂
    cheers
    Mike

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    1. Zombies trashing London, superheros, and chocolate brownies? Sounds awesome! Of course, you’d have to be off your rocker to think so, but aren’t we all a little crazy in Writerland? 😉

      Your hands are definitely full. That’s the best state to be in for a writer — busy creating, polishing and sharing. Keep up the good work. Good luck!

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  12. I am currently taking a short story that I have on Amazon and expanding it into a novel. It is horror/Southern Gothic (kinda like if “Carrie” and “Fried Green Tomatoes” had a love child). Nearly every review mentioned that they would like to read more about the characters and the town, so I decided to keep working on it. It turns out the characters won’t shut up, so I am about half way through the first draft now.

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    1. That’s great, having people asking for more of a story! Great job.
      Also, writing a novel is so much harder and so much more fun than anticipated. Hang in there, and it will be a blast!

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    1. It’s a great thing to have help, especially because drafting a novel (not to mention, the first) can take a really long time, and consume most of your writing energy. But hang in there!!

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  13. I’m in three stages with three–maybe four–projects. One is my memoir, which is done and just needs another editing run or two and then I’ll be ready to throw it out there, but I might split it into two books. I’m writing somebody else’s memoir and i’m about halfway done and would really like to get it over with. I “accidentally” started a project the other week and that is almost written but will need some serious critiquing and cleaning up before it can see the light of day of publication.

    How about you? How goes your writing?

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    1. Sounds like you’re right in the middle of things, James. I don’t know how you people do it. I couldn’t work on two projects at the same time (not two large ones, at least).

      Good luck with those projects!

      I’m currently editing my MS, getting it ready for beta-readers. I can’t wait having some pertinent feedback on it, because I’ve been working in a vacuum at it for years, and I’m afraid my own opinion doesn’t count much. 😀

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