WIPMarathon: February 2016

I realize I’m double-posting today, but hopefully no one minds! Today marks the end of February, which is the shortest month––and yet it felt really long to me. Maybe it’s because the weather has been so nuts. A couple weeks ago the temperature was getting into the negatives, and today it’s 62˚ (Fahrenheit that is, but still)! But I’ve also been really busy with writing and editing this month, so I have a lot of stuff to talk about for my WIPMarathon post this month!


 

If you’ve been following my WIPWednesday posts, you probably know this already, but I FINALLY FINISHED MY FIRST DRAFT OF I CHOSE THE MONSTER. It took me almost three years, but I finally wrote those beautiful words “The End”.

… Of course, now comes the worst part: Editing. But I’ll get to that in a second.

Last WC/CC: 150,258 words / 54 chapters

Current WC/CC: 154,339 words / 56 chapters

And before anyone says “Wow Brigid you know that’s way too long, right?” … I KNOW, I KNOW. I’m not insane enough to ever pitch a book that long, haha. 😛 My first drafts tend to be extremely long––it always happens. After a few rounds of edits, I’m confident I can get it down to a reasonable length.

WIP Issues This Month:

Besides the obvious “oh god my manuscript is ridiculously long”––a bunch of things. Obviously I am glad that I finally finished the first draft of this monster (pun totally intended). But I only felt good about it for about half a day. As soon as my head hit the pillow that night, the worries started bursting in my head. I don’t even know where to start, but just some of the major issues:

  • There’s not really any central conflict. The first draft is very “episodic,” with the characters pretty much doing the same things over and over.
  • At the moment, the characters are not very fleshed-out. I think I’ve only scraped the surface, and the characters need a ton more development.
  • The world-building also needs a lot of work. The story takes place in the future, but it doesn’t feel very different from present-day. Also I think the Morts (the zombie-like creatures the characters are facing) need more defined characteristics, since it’s pretty inconsistent right now.

I can complain all day about all the things I have to fix, but the more important question is: What am I going to do about it? Well … I’m trying to get it together, and to try to tackle all these things one at a time.

This month, I started by making an outline of all the scenes I wrote in my first draft, and I’ve started brainstorming and taking notes on some potential changes to the plot in the next draft. I may need a bit of a break before I really start on the next draft, but at least I’m still keeping the ideas rolling.

What distracted me this month while writing/editing:

I did a lot of reading this month––which isn’t a bad thing of course, but it did cut in to my writing and editing time a bit.

I also felt a little burnt out after finally getting to the end of the first draft, and I was torn about whether I should get into edits right away or not. I’m still kind of torn about that, so … I don’t know. Guess I’ll just go with the flow!

Goal for next month:

Hmmmm, good question. I feel like it’s kind of up in the air right now, but I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing––in other words, doing some light edits on ICTM while brainstorming bigger changes for the next draft. By the end of March, I would like to have at least tried to rewrite a scene or two, though. We’ll see. But I’m also considering giving it a bit of a rest for a couple more weeks and maybe working on The Resurrectionists instead. So, I don’t quite know––it’s a surprise, woohoo!

Last 200 words:

Well, obviously I’m not sharing the last 200 words of the book! 😉 But I’ll go with an excerpt from a chapter I’ve recently been editing:

Aim. Shoot. Miss.

The target glares from a distance, judging me with its critical red bullseye. Bullet holes pepper its surface, but that’s more from other people practicing on it than from me. I’ve only made a few weak dents at the corners.

Crack.

The weapon jerks in my hands again, and the bullet bounces off the edge of the target with a faint ping. I let out a long sigh, lowering the gun.

Across the training ground and through the fence, the wasteland beyond shimmers in the heat. An occasional tuft of grass dots the ground, but most of it is barren and dusty. Barbed wire curls around the top of the fence, glinting menacingly.

This place feels like prison, but I don’t know why they bother trapping us here. If someone were to escape this place, where the hell would they go? There’s nothing out there.

How about you guys?

How are those WIPs going? Comment and let me know! 🙂

WIPMarathon: January 2016

Here we are at the end of January! Is it just me or did it seem like a really long month? I already feel like it’s been 2016 for ages.

I’ve been super busy these past few weeks, but luckily I’ve managed to squeeze some writing in. So, I’m happy to present my first WIPMarathon post of the year!


 

GUESS WHAT GUYS????? I …. still haven’t finished my draft of I Chose the Monster. I know, so shocking! I still haven’t finished the manuscript I’ve been saying I would finish for like a year! Hahaha!

But, hear me out. I’m literally writing the last chapter. I was really, really hoping I’d finally get to the end this month, but I guess it was not meant to be. I can honestly say, though, that I think I will be done with this draft within a week, probably less. Yes, I’m THAT close.

Last WC/CC: 144,668 words / 51 chapters

Current WC/CC: 150,248 words / 54 chapters

(*screams* I know, it’s insanely long. I was hoping I wouldn’t go over 150k words on this draft, but hopefully it won’t be too much longer than that.)

WIP Issues This Month:

Endings are hard, man. The end of this draft is just … a mess. It’s extremely rushed and anti-climatic. But, I’m trying not to sweat it too much. The next draft is going to involve a lot of major changes, so that will probably affect how powerful the ending is.

What I learned this month in writing:

I have to accept that my first draft will be horrible no matter what. This has always been a big problem for me. Even though I know a perfect first draft is impossible, I think a tiny part of me always wishes I could get it right on the first try. But I’m really trying to overcome that. As I said, I think my second draft is going to be pretty radically different from the first––so I just have to keep reminding myself that nothing is written in stone, and I can always toss and/or rewrite something if I’m not happy with it.

What distracted me this month while writing:

The primary distraction for me this month was that …. I got a new job! (I mean, sort of. It’s temporary.) But I’ve been hired by a local author, Melissa Burch, to help her with marketing her new memoir and booking author events all over the country. It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun and I’ve been learning a lot of stuff that will probably be useful to me in the future!

Otherwise, I haven’t had too many distractions besides the usual: reading books, using the internet, occasionally spending time with real live human beings … you know. 😉

Goal for Next Month:

FINISH THIS FREAKIN’ DRAFT. OH MY GODDDD.

Seriously though. And then once I’m done with this draft, I need to start planning out the next one. I’m not sure how much I’ll get done in February in terms of getting words down on paper, but I’ll certainly be doing a lot of planning.

Oh, and I’m teaching another teen writing class, which starts tomorrow! I know at least six students have signed up so far, and two of them are returning students from my last class (YAAY THEY ACTUALLY LIKE ME) so I’m very excited about that. And this time around, I actually kind of know what I’m doing. 🙂

Last 200 Words:

I’m not going to post the last 200 words because they are extremely spoiler-ish, haha. But here is a recent snippet:

I don’t know what time is anymore, if it has ever existed. I am everywhere at once. I am every version of myself I have ever been.

I am the Nina Sylvain in the back of a car, trying to get to the safe area with my parents. I am the girl who chose to fight monsters––a painful, violent end––instead of accepting a swift and peaceful death.

Since that day, I have lived a thousand lives. I have fired bullets through hearts, lungs, and brains. Without blinking an eye, I have killed. And with each kill, some part of me died with my victim. Even if those victims were monsters. Somehow, I saw a little of myself in each of them.


I hope everyone has had a good start to the new year! And if you have any writing accomplishments/goals you want to share, feel free to do so in the comments! 🙂

WIPMarathon: December 2015

I can’t believe there’s only a day left in 2015! This year has gone by way too quickly … and yet it also feels like it’s been super long. It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, I was about to start my last semester of college. And now it’s been more than 7 months since I graduated (yikes, can that be right???). Wow.

Without further ado, here is my WIPMarathon  post for December.

This month I got back to working on I Chose The Monster. (And … surprise surprise, I still haven’t finished this first draft. But I’m really, really close!)

Last WC/CC: 128,804 words / 46 chapters

Current WC/CC: 144,668 words / 51 chapters

WIP Issues This Month:

I haven’t written much in the past week or so because of all the holiday craziness, and I didn’t write much at the beginning of December, either … but those two or so weeks in between, I really wrote up a storm. There was one week where I pledged to write 2k each day and I actually did it. I totaled about 15k words for the month––which for a non-NaNo month is pretty great, by my standards.

However, I wouldn’t say this first draft is flawless––in fact, I would say the opposite. It’s an utter mess. This month in particular, I was trying to get through the final section of the story, and there were parts when I felt really stuck and just skipped over big chunks of time. I think right now, the main problem is that so much of the central conflict is crammed into the last like, five chapters. I’m already starting to think about the next drafts, and how I’m going to introduce the biggest conflict/stakes earlier in the story. It’s coming to me bit by bit … but right now I just need to focus on getting to the end of this draft.

What I learned this month in writing: 

  • I am capable of meeting word goals if I just take the time to sit down and focus on writing for an hour or two.
  • If I have a larger word goal for the day, it can help to divide it into smaller chunks.
  • It’s helpful to start brainstorming for future drafts even when I’m still on the first draft––but I also try not to let that distract me from finishing the draft I’ve started.

What distracted me this month while writing:

  • Two words: Christmas shopping
  • And you know, Christmas itself

Goal for Next Month:

Finish this gosh darn draft of I Chose The Monster. No really, I’m serious. I have like two chapters left and I just need to do it.

If I do finish it before the end of January (which I will!!!) I’m going to start the editing process. The first order of business will be to start cutting out what I don’t need (which is a lot) but I also need to start reworking the plot, fleshing out characters and backstories more, etc. It’s going to be a good time.

Last 200 Words:

I can’t seem to get my legs to move yet. My hand is on my gun, and I pull it from its holster, yet I can’t throw myself into the battle. Although I’ve anticipated this moment for days, although I knew it was inevitable, it all seems so unreal. Truthfully, all I want to do is run and hide. In fact, some people are doing just that. While some throw themselves into the fight, others are scattering in all directions. But soon it’s clear that there’s nowhere to hide. The Morts have us surrounded.

I close my eyes and try to think through the wild pounding in my head. I quickly remember why I’m doing this. Who I’m doing it for. My parents. My friends. All the people I’ve lost. All the life I’ll never get to live.

And I remind myself why I made this choice. How I could have chosen death, or I could have chosen to fight back.

How I could have chosen to go peacefully, or to give up all humanity so I could do all the things I’ve done—everything that has led me here.

To be a ghost or to be a monster.

And I’ve chosen the monster.

Title drop! …. Sort of.

I hope you’ve all had a good writing month/year! Did you manage to get any writing done despite the holiday season?

Tomorrow I’ll be posting an end-of-the-year wrap-up and some of my writing goals for 2016!

NaNoWriMo: Week Four + WIPMarathon November 2015 Check-In

Here we are, folks––the final day of NaNoWriMo 2015.

And guess what? I WON! I WON, I WON, I WON!!! (Can you tell I’m excited?)

Screen shot 2015-11-30 at 2.44.56 PM

Look at that beautiful graph! I’m so proud. As you can see, I did fall behind on some days, but for the most part I stayed pretty on-track. Compared to the past couple years, where I had to write like 5k+ on the last day, that’s pretty good!

Anyway, this post is my final NaNo ’15 update, as well as my November WIPMarathon check-in. Here we go!

Last WC/CC: 33,684 words / 14 chapters

Current WC/CC: 50,499 words / 20 chapters

Progress Since Last Week: 16,815 words / 6 chapters

Total Words Written in November: 50,499

WIP Issues This Month:  

  • Since this month was NaNoWriMo, it meant I was tackling an entire new novel from scratch. I hadn’t started something new in over a year, so it felt a little intimidating.
  • I didn’t do much planning for this NaNo, which was unusual for me. As someone who usually prefers to have a full outline, it was kinda scary to wing it some of the time. But I found a good process of switching between writing and outlining as I went, which worked out pretty well.
  • Since I only decided on an idea like two weeks before November, that didn’t leave much time to do background research––and since my novel is (kind of) historical fiction, that meant there were some gaps in my knowledge about the time period. But I just had to suck it up and not be a perfectionist. I can always go back and do the research later.
  • Considering I didn’t do much writing in the months before NaNo, it was quite a leap to go from writing practically nothing every day to writing 1,667 words a day. It felt overwhelming at first, but I got more used to it as the month went on!

What I learned this month in writing: 

  • I don’t absolutely need a full outline before I start something. In fact, I found it useful to not be tied to a detailed outline for this story, because it gave me more room to explore and experiment.
  • Yes, I can write 1,667 words a day, even on really busy days. I really have no excuses not to write every day.

What distracted me this month while writing: 

Not very much, actually! I was pretty focused all month, which was awesome. There were some days I didn’t get much writing done, but it was usually because I was spending time with friends or family. There were also times I got distracted by the internet, but that’s nothing new.

Goal for next month: 

Dare I say it? I’m gonna say it.

*Deep breath* I really, really want to finish my first draft of I Chose The Monster this month. “But Brigid,” you exclaim, “you’ve been saying that every month for like two years!” I know, I know. But I feel like NaNo has given me the drive I need to finish this draft. I only have a few chapters of it left and I just need to get it done.

As for The Resurrectionists (my NaNo novel) I am going to set it aside for a little while, but I will get back to it eventually! But it might be a couple months before I return to it. I have ICTM to finish/edit, and then I also still need to finish The Waters and the Wild. Gahhh, so much to do in 2016!

Last 200 Words: 

For now, enjoy some recent words from The Resurrectionists! I’ve had a lot of fun working on it this month.

“I suppose I should frame the question differently. It isn’t painful to breathe, is it? You don’t feel like there’s some kind of … crushing pressure on your chest?”

“N––No,” Elmira stammered, putting a hand over her chest. “But … my heart. It feels strange.”

“Strange how? Does it hurt?”

“No, not exactly. But it’s like––like it isn’t beating right. It feels like it’s … clicking.”

Alice became aware of the strange clicking sensations in her own false heart.

“That’s entirely normal,” Cyrus said dismissively. “It sounds to me like you’re recovering splendidly.”

“Recovering?” Elmira repeated. “From what, exactly?”

“From death,” Cyrus said.

“Cyrus!” Alice exclaimed, aghast at how casually he’d said it. “You can’t just––”

“What? She may as well know the truth now.” He looked back at Elmira. “I’m sorry if that sounded a bit callous, my dear. But unfortunately, it’s true.”

“Death?” Elmira repeated, her voice small with horror. “But I … You can’t be saying that I … No. No, no. I can’t be dead. I’m not dead.”

“Not anymore,” said Cyrus.

“Stop it.” Alice moved in front of Elmira as if she meant to protect her from physical harm. “All you’re doing is scaring her.”

How did your month go, my fellow NaNos? Did you win? Even if you didn’t, did you still write a lot and learn valuable lessons?

Thanks to those of you who have followed my NaNo craziness this month!

WIPMarathon: October 2015 Check-In + NaNoWriMo!

Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a spectacularly spooky day. I got to hang out with some of my friends from high school––we played Zoombinis and carved a pumpkin and it was a lot of fun. At the moment I am alone at home (on “handing out candy” duty) and I just finished watching the “Freaks and Geeks” Halloween episode, which I traditionally watch every year.

The best ❤

Anyway, on to the first order of business, which is my October check-in for WIPMarathon.

UMMMM … I really did not write much this month. My two (lame) excuses are 1) I was in the middle of writing a very difficult part of the book and it’s been too emotionally draining, 2) I got caught up in planning for NaNoWriMo and that kind of consumed a lot of my time. I am a bit frustrated since I was really hoping to finish this draft of I Chose The Monster before NaNo, but I guess it can wait until after November. *sigh*

Last WC/CC: 126,838 words / 45 chapters

Current WC/CC: 128,804 words / 46 chapters

WIP Issues This Month:

  • Mostly procrastination/laziness
  • I was distracted by planning for NaNo.
  • I’m trying to get through a really sad and dramatic chapter that’s been giving me a lot of trouble––and honestly that’s part of what prevented me from writing all month (besides just being lazy).

What I learned this month in writing:

It’s hard to say since I didn’t get much writing done at all. 😛 But ummmm … I guess I’ve learned that it can be very difficult to emotionally detach myself from the story/characters, but sometimes I just need to rip off the band-aid.

What distracted me this month while writing:

As I’ve mentioned a couple times: planning for NaNoWriMo! I got so caught up in researching, outlining, etc. that I just kind of set ICTM aside. I started to feel much more attracted to a new, shiny story than to an old one I’ve been working on for ages. 😛 But I’m sure I’ll be sick of the “shiny new story” by the end of November and then I can go back to ICTM! Yay!

Goal for next month:

To win NaNo! This is my tenth year participating––I can’t believe it. And I’m hoping to keep up my winning streak because I’ve won the past seven NaNos. Let’s make this number eight!!!

Last 200 Words:

Ohhhh boy. As I’ve mentioned, I’m in the middle of quite a dramatic part right now so uh, the emotions are running a bit high in this excerpt. Also WARNING: some strong language. 😛

“Fuck you,” I say. It comes out louder and fiercer than I thought it would, and Juliet winces as if I physically hurt her. I get shakily to my feet. “Fuck … you.” This time it comes out weak, broken—strangled by the sobs that are fighting their way up into my chest.

Juliet shakes her head. “Nina––”

She takes a step forward, but I step away from her. I clutch at my wrist, where it’s still throbbing. “You’re such a bitch, you know that?”

As soon as I’ve said it, I want to take it back. I see the look on Juliet’s face and I know I’ve hurt her. But at the same time, some sick part of me is glad. I need her to feel hurt, to show any kind of emotion at all.

“It’s always about you,” I force myself to continue––even though the tears are streaming freely down my face now, even though my voice trembles, even as the first sob racks its way through me. “You don’t give a damn about anyone but yourself. Even now. I––I can’t believe you.”

My voice finally breaks on the words. I’m losing control. Coming apart. Everything is growing hazy and unreal and I just want it to stop.

…. So much fun, I know!!!

Ah-hem well uh. Anyway. Time for the second thing on my agenda:

NaNoWriMo!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll keep this brief because this post is already getting really long. But anyway, the working title of my NaNo is The Resurrectionists. 

resurrectionists

~spooky~

It’s based on real-life grave robbery in 18th century London, but it has a bit of a supernatural twist to it. 😉 I guess I’ll just leave it at that partly because I don’t really know what I’m doing!!!! but there is a bit more info about it here if you’re curious. (Also, feel free to add me as a NaNo buddy if you are also participating!)

I will try to do a weekly update for NaNo so I can tell you guys more about the story as I start making progress. Also I’m hoping to do a special NaNo edition of Music Monday this week. So, stay tuned!

Hope you’re all having a fun and safe Halloween. Don’t eat too much candy. 😉 …. Just kidding, eat lots and lots of candy.

How about you guys? Are you also doing NaNo? If so, what are you writing about?

WIPMarathon: September 2015 Check-In

So, this check-in is like a week late. Also I realize I’ve only been posting WIPMarathon updates for the past few months. But I’m sure you’re all tired of me starting every single one of my blog posts by apologizing, so I guess I won’t apologize. 😛

September was not a super productive month for me. It was going well at first and then … I don’t know. I just totally fell off track. Honestly I’ve been feeling a bit depressed lately. I’ve had horrible, horrible insomnia all month long and it’s been really hard for me to gather the energy to do anything, including writing. I really wanted to finish my draft this month and I just couldn’t do it. As much as I’m trying not to beat myself up over it … well, I’m beating myself up over it. *Sigh*

But I guess all I can do is keep going, even if it’s at a snail’s pace. At least progress is progress.

The actual update:

Last WC/CC: 120,191 words / 43 chapters

Current WC/CC: 126,838 words / 45 chapters

WIP Issues This Month:

  • The aforementioned depression/insomnia
  • Procrastination
  • Having to kill off a character I really like––which I think is partly what has been keeping me from writing lately. I keep putting it off, telling myself I need to be in the “right mood” to write it, but I should probably just get it over with. 😛

What I learned this month in writing:

If I don’t keep to a schedule, then I just don’t write. And it’s a real problem. Also, I think I expected too much of myself this past month and it just ended up biting me in the butt. When I went through July/August with lower word count goals, I wrote every day. I find that if I set my goals too high, I just get scared and don’t write.

What distracted me this month while writing:

Eh, the usual. Internet. Work. Reading. But I also had a busy past few weeks. I went to Boston Calling which was amazing! Also I visited some college friends this past weekend. And I started teaching a writing class for teenagers––which is awesome and I should totally write a post about that. 🙂 I was also pretty sick during the last week of September so I didn’t feel like doing much, so yeah. But now I feel better (besides an annoying, lingering cough) so I’m out of excuses.

Goal for next month:

Well, I’ve already missed like a week of October but for the rest of the month, I think I’ll aim for about 250 words a day and hopefully that will at least get me back in the habit of writing, even if I don’t finish this horrible never-ending draft.

Also I need to start planning for NaNoWriMo! *screams*

Last 200 Words:

I’m not posting the last 200 words because of spoilers! But here are 200 words from a recent part. 🙂

Bracing myself, I take a step through the doorway. The room is very small, and the air is hot and musty. The dull light of my flashlight illuminates shapes on the ceiling, and I look up to see the walls are covered in old wooden carvings. Demonic faces leer at me from the highest corners.

My instinct is to back out of the room right away, but something keeps me in place. Something about … the smell. It doesn’t seem right. I inhale again and this time it hits me hard—the distinct, stomach-turning stench of something decaying. Something dead.

I take a step back, but I’ve already seen it. In one far corner of the room, across from where I stand, a pile of something pink and glistening lies on the floor. Dark red stains the wood floor around it.

Bile rises into the back of my throat, and I stumble backwards out of the room. I crash into something—someone, and they grab my arms. I cry out in alarm, and the sharp noise echoes from the walls.

“Nina?” It’s Juliet.

I try to catch my breath, try to slow down the wild fluttering in my chest. “They’ve been here,” I manage to say.

“What?”

“In that room, there––there’s something on the floor. They killed someone here. Recently. We have to get out.”

WIPMarathon: August 2015 Check-In

Hey, guys! Sorry I haven’t been posting very much lately. I’ve been a little scatter-brained these past few months. This is the first year I’m not going back to college, so it feels really weird. I’m trying desperately to find a job, but the search has been a bit hopeless so far. But I applied to another job today, so everyone keep your fingers crossed for me!

And now for the WIP update:

Last WC/CC: 113,944 words / 40 chapters

Current WC/CC: 120,191 words / 43 chapters

And my goal for this month was to hit 120k words in this draft, so I’m very proud. *pats self on back*

WIP Issues This Month:

You know what? Things actually went pretty smoothly this month. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually feel like lately, I’ve been really well-organized and consistent in getting things done. Somehow things just “clicked” this month and I was really on a roll when it came to writing every day.

I’m not saying this draft is perfect––it’s definitely not. I’m obviously going to have to cut a lot of scenes when I’m done. And I’m worrying about things like plot structure and believability and consistency and character development, blah blah blah. But I’m just trying to focus on what I’m doing right now and worry about editing later.

What I learned this month in writing:

Quite a lot! Part of what really helped me was reading Write-a-Thon by Rochelle Melander, a book Faye from The Sprint Shack (one of my favorite writing blogs!) recommended. Melander’s book does have a bit of a “self-help” vibe (she’s a life and writing coach), but it did give me a boost of motivation and inspiration.

I took some of her advice, which included keeping a “writing journal” to keep track of my writing progress. So I’ve been trying a bit of a new method: when I sit down to write, I open my Writing Journal (which is a Word document on my computer) and write about my progress, feelings, and daily goals for just a few minutes. I talk about what I’m working on, how it’s going––what’s working, what I might need to fix/change later––and what I’m going to work on today.

This has really helped me to narrow my focus, and to not get overwhelmed with all the tasks ahead of me. When I just write, “okay, today I’m going to write the scene where [x] happens,” I feel like I’m more fixated on that small goal, rather than freaking out about finishing the whole thing. I’ve found that this makes me much more excited to sit down and write every day.

And I have been writing every day, which also has helped immensely. I’ve been using this app on my phone called WriteChain which you can use to log your daily word progress, and it’s helped me to remember to reach my goal every day.

I had a goal this month to reach 120k in this draft, which meant writing about 325 words per day––not bad at all! I’ve found that when I set myself a rather small goal like that, not only do I feel confident that I can hit it every day, but also I’m likely to write more than I need to because I feel like I’m on a roll. It’s a bit weird and unexpected, but it works. With such a small goal, I’ve been writing a lot more than I have in a long time.

What distracted me this month while writing:

Mainly looking for and applying to jobs. But also the usual things … *shakes a fist at the Internet* I’ve also been learning German and how to play the guitar recently so that also can be distracting!

Goal for next month:

Alright so I know I said last month that once I hit 120k I would maybe be at the end of this hellish, never-ending first draft of I Chose the Monster. About halfway through August, I came to realize I’d definitely not be at the end of this draft by the end of the month. But, I mapped out a plan in which I will hopefully, finally finish this draft by the end of September. It will involve a slightly bigger daily word goal than I used this past month, but I am determined to finally get it done. I’m so so so close; I think I have like 5-7 chapters left at most, some of which will be pretty short. So, here’s hoping I can finally do it!

Last 200 Words:

This isn’t literally the last 200 words––because first of all it’s 232 words, and also the last 200 words I wrote were a bit too spoiler-ish. But ah well, close enough, right?

“Oh, my God. What happened? Where’s everyone else?”

“It’s okay. They’re fine,” Gavin says. “They’re just in the other room.”

Juliet lets out a heavy sigh. “And the Morts?”

Again, Gavin and I look at each other.

“We took care of it,” I answer at last.

“What? All of them?” She scrambles off the bed and starts to get up before we can stop her.

I jump to my feet. “You probably shouldn’t––”

“I’m fine.” She stands, sways for half a second and then stumbles over to the window and clutches at the sill. Then she throws the curtain aside.

The daylight blinds me and I turn my head away. When I look up again, I see Juliet take a step back. One of her hands still grips the windowsill, and the other is over her mouth. I don’t even want to know what the balcony looks like in broad daylight. It was bad enough when darkness was falling—the bodies everywhere, piled on top of each other, oozing with bullet wounds.

Juliet sits down heavily on the mattress again.

I skirt around the bed to where she’s sitting. Now I can see the hollow expression on her face.

“Are you okay?” I ask her. She doesn’t answer or even look at me. “Juliet?”

“I can’t remember,” she says quietly. “I can’t remember any of it. But I was there. Wasn’t I?”

*Phew* That was a long update. How was everyone else’s writing month in August? What do you hope to accomplish next month?

WIPMarathon: July 2015 Check-In (I’m Back!)

I know, I know. I haven’t participated in WIPMarathon in a while. Like, more than a year. I’ve really missed doing it, it’s just that my last year of college was kind of a crazy mess and I stopped participating. But I’m glad to be back and I’m hoping this will motivate me to finally finish my first draft of I Chose the Monster. I think I only have a few chapters left and this draft is getting MASSIVELY long, so I need to just make the final push and get to the end.

Last WC/CC:

Uhh I don’t think I’ve reported my WC/CC since February 2014 (yikes, was it really THAT long ago?!) but at that point my word count was 90,211 and my chapter count was at 31.

Current WC/CC:

WC: 113,944 (lol kill meeee)
CC: 40

WIP Issues This Month: 

I tried to do Camp NaNoWriMo this month with a goal of 20,000 words. Let’s just say … I did not reach that goal. Although at least I wrote about 8k words during the month of July, and that’s more than I’ve written in a long time. So I’m trying to feel good about myself even if I didn’t make my goal.

I’m still fighting my low self-esteem and trying not to beat myself up if I don’t write every day, or if my writing isn’t perfect. It’s an uphill battle, but I think it’s getting a little easier.

What I learned this month in writing:

I shouldn’t depend so heavily on my outlines. I have a bad tendency to get too attached to my plans, and then I get stuck because I don’t leave enough room for surprises. At the beginning of July I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the chapters I’d planned out––but as I got back into writing I Chose the Monster (after a very, very long break … like, I hadn’t touched it in more than a year I think) I realized I didn’t have to stick to what I planned.

Instead, I’ve allowed myself to stray a bit from my outline and to make some more spontaneous decisions about the story. I’ve thrown in a few wrenches here and there if I felt like the story was starting to drag. In other words, I’ve found that my enjoyment of the story is the most important thing right now. If I’m not having fun with the first draft, it’s not going to be fun to read or edit down the line––so I might as well go a little crazy.

What distracted me this month while writing: 

Life is hectic right now because I graduated college not too long ago, and now I have to figure out the rest of my life. *Laughs and cries* I don’t really have a job yet, although I’ve been doing some odd-jobs here and there (i.e. working at my mom’s office, working at a summer camp, doing some freelance writing/research, etc.) so that’s all a bit distracting. I don’t really have an excuse because I still have a lot of free time, but … I keep feeling guilty about writing instead of looking for a job since I feel like the latter is more important. But I also don’t want to ignore my writing, so …. *screams into a pillow*

Goal for next month: 

I hope to hit 120k by the end of August. It might be optimistic of me to hope that it’ll FINALLY be the end of this freakishly long draft but honestly I don’t know if I’ll even get to the end yet. But, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. (Just kidding, I’ll keep them typing.)

Last 200 Words:

“What happened? Is she hurt?” Gavin demands, kneeling next to me.

I shake my head, trying to pull my flustered thoughts together. “It’s an attack. She just had another one a few minutes ago. A bad one. But she said she was okay …”

“We have to get out of here,” Audrey says.

I glare up at her. “And what? Leave Juliet behind?”

“We’re all going to get killed if we don’t do something now.”

I’m shaking. “If you leave her here, you leave me.”

“No,” Gavin cuts in. “We’re not leaving anyone behind.”

“Then what the hell are we supposed to do?” Audrey is shouting now, waving her gun in the air in a way that makes me cringe. “Make up your goddamn minds!”

I look at Gavin, and he’s looking down at Juliet, and she’s still lying there totally lifeless.

“We bring her inside,” Gavin finally says. “When they attack, we hold them off.”

“But that’s suicide!”

“So is trying to escape.” Gavin looks up, looks around at all of us. “And if we’re going down, I don’t want a single one of us to go down alone.”

Hope you all had a productive writing month! Did you make any exciting accomplishments? Do you have any writing goals for August?

WIPMarathon Final Check-In

I realize I was supposed to post this update like a week ago, but I’ve been really stressed out lately and it totally slipped my mind (plus I haven’t been doing much writing … acck). But I will post it now anyway!

Last Word Count & Chapter Count:

WC: 90,211

CC: 31

Current WC & CC (or SC):

WC: 90,384

CC: 31

(Aggh I know, only a little over 100 words in two weeks. I’m terrible.)

WIP issues this week:

I really wanted to “cheat” on I Chose the Monster this week. That is, I’ve been really tempted lately to start something else. I’m not even sure why. I think it’s just been depressing me and so it’s been hard for me to write. But I’m feeling a bit better now, so hopefully I can keep resisting that temptation.

What I learned this week in writing:

Considering I haven’t really written anything in a couple of weeks … umm, I haven’t learned much. Haha. But I guess I’ve learned that I always reach a part of a manuscript where––even if I’ve gotten really far into it––I want to just toss it aside and start something new. I easily lose faith in my own work. But I just have to accept that my first draft isn’t going to be amazing and try to get it done.

What distracted me this week while writing:

I’m still trying to get into the swing of things, since my semester started not too long ago. Things aren’t too bad at the moment, though. I’ve also had some health problems these past couple of weeks which were stressing me out, but I’m feeling a little better now. *Knocks on wood*

Last 200 words [Censored for language, ah haha]:

“Then go without me.”

“Absolutely not. I’d never leave you behind. You know that.” He reaches down to gently place a hand on her head.

Audrey smacks his arm away. “Stop it.” She lurches to her feet. “Just … stop. Please. I––I can’t …” More tears streak down her face. She has her arms wrapped around herself, and even from where I’m standing I can see how hard she’s shaking.

Now Sadie is standing up, too. The expression on her face is grim, her eyes dull with grief. “Audrey …”

“What’s the point?” Audrey says, cutting her off. There’s a sudden venom in her voice, a harsh darkness in her gaze. “Really, what’s the f***ing point? The hunting, the fighting … It doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t––”

“Hey,” Gavin says gently. “Listen …”

“No!” she cries out, and the sharp sound of that one word echoes through the stillness. She’s breathing hard now, slowly taking steps backwards. “No, I––I can’t take this. All this bullsh**. I can’t, I can’t.”

Her voice has risen in pitch until it’s almost a scream. This time, no one reaches for her or says her name. Audrey stands on her own, in a square patch of light.

Plans after #WIPMarathon:

I’m going to be continuing with I Chose the Monster and hopefully I’ll be finished with the first draft in the next couple of months. I may keep doing weekly writing updates just to let you guys know how it’s going.

WIPMarathon Check-in #4

Last Word Count & Chapter Count:

WC: 84,296
CC: 30

Current WC & CC (or SC):

WC: 90,211
CC: 31

WIP issues this week:

I had to write a pretty painful scene this week where two characters die. They weren’t very major characters, but I still found it difficult to write. And I’m still trying to finish the scene and cover the aftermath of these two deaths, etc. I haven’t been able to write in a few days––partly because I’ve been really busy, but also because it’s been emotionally difficult.

What I learned this week in writing:

That writing the aftermath of a death is possibly even harder for me than writing about the death itself. I think it’s really difficult to capture the reactions to the death––how the other characters respond, how they experience grief, etc. So, that’s a challenge I’ll have to face a lot this coming week. (And even more after that because so many characters die in this book … gahh!)

What distracted me this week while writing:

My college semester started on Wednesday, and I came back to campus on Tuesday––so I was busy with coming back and unpacking, hanging out with my friends again, going to new classes, doing homework, etc. But hopefully I’ll quickly get back into the flow of things and I can figure out some good writing times in my schedule.

Last 200 words:

(I’m not going to post my last 200 words because of spoilers, but here’s a little something from an earlier scene:)

Gavin is still pointing his rifle towards the choking Mort on the ground, and doesn’t seem to be aware of the other one coming up behind him.

“Gavin!” I cry out. I’m already dashing forward with my gun raised, just as he looks up in surprise, just as the Mort is about to stab him in the back and … oh no, I’m too late, I’m too late …

BANG.

The Mort screams suddenly, dropping the weapon she was holding moments ago. She clutches at her hand, which I can see is pouring blood. On the floor below her are two small, bloody objects which I quickly realize are fingers. I shot some of her fingers off.

The creature is still in shock, which gives Gavin the time to turn around and shoot her in the chest. She drops to the ground soundlessly, already dead. The first Mort is still crawling on the ground, trying to get up.

I wonder if Gavin is going to kill her, but he’s not even looking at her. He’s staring at me, wide-eyed, as if he still can’t register what just happened. I’m starting to think maybe I should finish the Mort off myself …

Nina!” I hear a voice scream. Juliet’s voice. Coming from across the store.

Oh, no.