It’s Been Awhile… and Covers Revealed

My plan was to blog my way through NaNoWriMo this November, but instead of spending time blogging about writing, I actually did some of that. Writing, that is. While I didn’t “win” NaNo, it was never my intent to do so. Especially after I discovered that my former WIP required a LOT more words, approximately 24,000 of them.

I did end up finishing that novel, a.k.a. the beast, and sent it off to be critiqued in December. I’ve been holding my breath ever since – just kidding… kind of. I don’t expect it to be good. I just want to learn where I made my mistakes. Hopefully I’ll get that feedback in the next couple of weeks.

I didn’t get much time to dive into the short stories I wanted in order to finish up the Cop and the… series. Life got in the way and my writing life was put on pause for a month. But I did start writing and am almost finished with the sequel to “Love Bites.”

And as I am so close to completion I thought it was time to get those covers made.

LoveBites

“Love Bites” was originally published in the anthology, LOVE STINKS!. But I was given the rights back so that I could self-publish it should I choose. And I wouldn’t have if the question about a sequel hadn’t been asked. And even then…

It is a very short story. The guidelines for writing it specified a length which I almost adhered to. Even with this very lovely and amazing cover I just couldn’t see publishing it as is. And so I wrote – or rather, am writing – a sequel. One that also has a cover.

LoveBitesHarder

As there are no limits to its length or to its topic, “Love Bites Harder” will be a bit longer. Okay… a lot longer. But it’s still a short.

I haven’t decided whether to self-publish or just offer them for free. Or offer “Love Bites” for free and publish the sequel. I think I’m going to leave that decision up in the air until I’ve asked a few people to read it and give me their thoughts.

And…

If you couldn’t tell, the covers – which I approved without change on first pass – were the inspiration for this site’s redesign. They are also the design for my new business cards. (So excited!)

They’re also making me want all sorts of other designs… so very dangerous.

If I were a little more comfortable with self-promotion I might have tried to do an actual reveal instead of a blog post here on my writing blog. But a) I am not comfortable reaching out to people – at all; and b) I have the patience of a two-year-old.

So there you have it.

If you happen to stumble onto this site and catch this post – as I haven’t decided whether or not to tweet it – I’d love to know what you think about these covers.

Site and cover design credit goes to…

Parajunkee Design

A Pre-NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge

This weekend I had writing on the brain. I really should have spent the weekend reading and blogging and saved the writing for next month. But you can’t always get what you want.

It all started with a new design for the blog where I’ve been posting some of my short stories. Other than the fact that I think it’s gorgeous and incredibly inspirational, the header image/design sort of fits my WIP perfectly. And it makes me really want to write that ending I’ve been sitting on for almost a year. I hope it will keep me motivated to work on edits and proofreading. We’ll see.

But at some point on Saturday I got into a conversation with another writer and was challenged to write something out of my typical genre. As someone who loves writing prompts and who does not like to walk away from a challenge, I found myself agreeing.

And while I’m not quite ready to spill the beans about what the story is about, just in case I really can’t handle stepping this far outside my comfort zone, I managed to get around 2,000 words written in just a few hours late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Had the writing bug bit me just thirty days later I think this would have been a great story to work on for NaNoWriMo, but now that it has bitten I can’t table this story for an entire month. I want to keep writing it, I want to see where it goes. I want to find out if I am capable of tackling a subject/genre I’ve never attempted before.

I’m not even entirely certain I’ll be able to keep this story going for the agreed-upon length. As a short, maybe. But somehow the challenge turned into something of a long novella, short novel challenge.

But until the day comes where I’m staring at a blank page in frustration knowing I’ve written myself into a corner or the ideas stop coming for where my story should be headed – I’m a total pantster – I’m going to keep at it. And hopefully I’ll have met the writing goal for the challenge before NaNoWriMo begins. Unless, that is, I decide to double the story’s length, in which case I’ll be using NaNoWriMo to finish it.

Now I just need to find one of those word count countdown widgets so that I can track my progress. And I also really need to figure out a name for this current project other than “Untitled.”

I’m just really glad that I’m not alone in this mini challenge and that I have someone to pester mercilessly. This month should be fun. My only hope is that I don’t totally wear myself out before the big “race” in November.

On being prompted

I often find it easier to write a short story when given a prompt. Whether it’s simply a character’s name, a physical characteristic, or even just a nudge to continue a previous character’s story.

When given this tiny push, all of a sudden my brain unlocks itself and the lines just come tumbling out. Almost as if they were there all along.

But when staring at a blank page, I find that more often than not I’m blocked. Every so often an idea tackles me. Usually at the most inconvenient times when I can’t possibly do anything about it. But they’re few and far between.

Perhaps it’s because I have so many things to focus on in life that drain my mental energy – work, family, book blogging – or maybe it’s ennui. But when someone says, “Hey, you should write a story about a guy with green eyes!” all of a sudden that story starts to unfold.

It was much the same for the story I had published in the anthology. I was given a set of parameters – word count, YA, an anti-love story and Valentine’s Day – and within three hours the story was written.

The same cannot be said for my last installment in the “Cop and the…” series. Without a nudge, while I had the title in place, it took me nearly eight months to write it. My brain was on total lockdown and I had to fight against everything in me to turn that idea into a short story.

This morning someone asked me whether I planned on continuing Shelby’s story. (Shelby was my character in “Love Bites.”) I hadn’t. It was just a one-off. But as soon as I finished reading the question, the very next lines in the story hit me. And the story’s direction just started to fall into place.

Almost all the stories I posted on The WastelandZ are ones that derived from a prompt. I was given parameters (most of them quite silly) but it made writing the stories that much more fun.

I’m starting to wonder if it’s because of the fact that I can say, “Hey, it wasn’t my idea!”

Being prompted takes the pressure off. It takes the responsibility off in some ways, too. If the story is a total failure, well, it wasn’t really my idea to begin with. Of course that’s b.s. because it was my combination of words that caused it to fail. But I think it’s enough to trick my brain into feeling less self-conscious. It takes away the question of whether the idea is stupid. It takes away some of the self-doubt.

It’s very possible that I see a prompt as a challenge, a way to prove to myself that I can do something. While I’m not competitive with others, I am insanely competitive with myself.

So when someone says, “I wish you’d write a story about X!” my brain goes immediately into challenge mode and gears itself up to tackle it.

I just wish writing without a prompt, a nudge, a suggestion was easier. If the ideas came as quickly for those stories as they do when prompted to write, maybe I’d actually finish to satisfaction one of the full-length stories I’ve been writing fighting or maybe I’d try to write a few short stories that I could submit somewhere for publication – something I haven’t yet attempted.