Sunday, May 30, 2021

Editing Takes F O R E V E R

Seriously. I've been working on the new edit for this book I'm on for so long. I keep thinking it's going to get easier, but it never does. I make goals that I feel are generous, but don't actually finish by then because I've discovered a previously unknown huge issue that needs a complete rewrite. It might just be this story though because I don't think I had this issue on this scale with my previous book. 

The one I'm working on, Shadow Warrior, is the first book I wrote. I think that necessitates a lot more editing since I was learning all the things when I was first writing it, and have since learned so many more things. And you can tell. Will this story ever be finished? Sometimes I wonder. This is the fourth major edit of this book, and I thought for sure that this edit pass would be the last major revision of this piece and it would be finished by the end of April. I'm probably not going to make the end of May (unless tomorrow is extraordinarily productive), but I'm so very close now. I should have this pass done and ready for beta readers in the next couple of weeks. However, I'm not optimistic that this is the last major pass anymore. I think there's going to be one more big one before I get down to line level stuff. 

We'll see. Maybe my beta readers will tell me I'm crazy and too hard on myself--which is definitely a thing. My ultimate goal for this story is to be ready to submit to agents by the end of the year, so that still seems possible. Hopefully.

Once that one is out with readers, I'm going to do one last editing pass to Child of Blessing and send it back out as well. The beginning wasn't doing what it needed to do, and a couple other scenes were problematic for another reason, so I'm going to fix those too. Anyway, that seems totally doable, and I'm looking forward to finally being finished with that one again.

After that (or somewhere concurrently in there), I'm going to finish the first draft of my latest story. I'm having a lot of fun writing it, and it feels so much more solid right out of my brain than the others. I can't wait to get feedback on this one from my beta readers this year!

If I get all that finished, I plan to make some decisions for Cruising the Cosmos, my middle grade series, and get the first book edited. Then brainstorm several of the next book ideas and perhaps draft one of those. Or perhaps I'll draft my YA alien one. Those are my top contenders at the moment, but I have a lot to finish before I'm allowed to start on those.

Anyway, wish me luck. Hopefully you'll get to read one or all of these someday. They certainly keep me busy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Murderbot is my favorite!

Seriously, if you haven't read the Murderbot series by Martha Wells, you're missing out. The first novella is called All Systems Red, and it's a gem. There are four novellas and a novel out that are all excellent, and she has another novella coming out at the end of the month! Yay! (I pre-ordered mine in October) I may have read this entire series at least six times in the last year...

Murderbot is a Security Unit (SecUnit) for a company that leases it as cargo/supply to endeavors that might need security, like mining operations or exploration. It is made of both robotic parts and cloned human tissue. The story begins on a survey mission on an uninhabited world. Murderbot is the sole SecUnit for a team of scientists from an unaffiliated world (meaning non-corporation owned) called Preservation Alliance. 

But Murderbot is no longer SecUnit standard--it has hacked its governor module. Meaning, that there is very little actual control anyone has over it because the governor module can no longer inflict pain or death if it disobeys. That said, all Murderbot wants to do is watch its shows, so it continues to fake being controlled so that it can download and watch media all day long.

Also, Murderbot doesn't really like interacting with humans and doesn't at all understand its own emotions--especially the ones that mean it might actually like the humans it's working with almost as much as the characters on The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon. So when things start conspiring to harm its clients, Murderbot needs to do something about it.

Okay, that's as non-spoilery as I can get. Especially since all I want to do is gush about how much I love all the things about it. Of course all I want to do is give Murderbot a hug, but it would absolutely hate that... I have friends like that. If you do go read it, I think Ratthi is my favorite human in the series, but ART is my favorite person...well, other than Murderbot.

Anyway, the stories are amazing, and you should read them. Enjoy!

Friday, April 2, 2021

I'm back!

Well, I obviously disappeared into the void somehow. Sorry. Without Finish That Thought to keep me engaged here, I guess I've found it difficult to remember to post. I've never been much of a diary keeper, and blogging feels similar.

However, I'm going to try again.

First, an update on how things have been going: 

I finished that MG story, and researched agents and whatnot, then sent it out into the void. And didn't get a nibble (Well, I got one request for a full, but that's it--still all rejections.). That story is currently waiting for another rewrite, but I think this time I may know how to fix it (Thanks, Cedan!). 

I am currently deep into another large edit of my YA fantasy novel, and I think it's getting close, so that's super exciting. 

I still haven't edited the MG Spaceship book, but I've brainstormed it, and I think I have a clear plan ahead for that one also.

In the meantime, I've started and almost finished a new YA fantasy romance. I'm probably about 80% through the first draft, and it's going well. I haven't made much progress on any of the other stories.

Second, a look ahead:

I think I can finish the edit of the YA fantasy novel by summertime. I'm hoping it's before then, but time is moving too quickly. Once that edit is finished, I'm going to send it out for another round of beta readers, then do the agent thing once I've made any tweaks needed.

I also expect to finish the first draft of the YA fantasy romance by the end of the summer. It'll go through my alpha readers and beta readers by the end of the year. I'm not anticipating this one will need the extensive edits that the other one needed. *crosses fingers*

In the fall, I hope to edit the MG Spaceship book finally. I'm excited to get this one out into the world, and I'm appalled that it's taken me so long to make decisions about it.

Finally, I'm going to attempt to tie writing a blog post to a weekly activity so that maybe I can be better about posting. Hopefully that works better than the last few times I've tried to jump back in here. :) If you have any great resources for writing prompts, post them in the comments for me. They're always fun to play with.

Friday, February 1, 2019


I've been taking a Children's Literature class, and as an assignment I wrote this poem about the importance of sharing books and reading. Enjoy!

Me to You

I have some books for you to see,
chosen very carefully.

Pick your favorite, pick a few.
Read them all, not one or two.

Sad or hopeful, filled with glee,
or hurting, struggling desperately.

Every time there's something new;
Let me share my love with you.

Step into a story; Be.
Experience infinity.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Continuing to Hope

I'm obviously not that great at remembering to post anything, but I have great news! I spoke with a dear friend who took that accountability thing to a new level. She is AMAZING! I started getting up with her (though she lives very far from me) at 5:30 in the morning. We spend time reading the Bible and working on writing stuff. I was convinced it would be a terrible idea. I've never worked well in the morning, but I've gotten a ton of editing done so far! When I posted at the new year, I was probably a third of the way through the edits and stuck. I am now just several chapters away from having this edit finished!!!! (I'm stuck a bit again, but I feel confident now rather than defeated.)

I'm hoping that I will have this book out to Beta Readers sometime this month! Which means I need to start the daunting task of looking for Agents to submit it to. I have a few ideas, but I have to do research or something. It's a bit daunting.

Once I have this book to Beta Readers, I'm going to start the first edit of the scifi chapter book and get that ready for my Crit Group. I'm still planning to work on the edits to my YA novel after that, but I might take a break from editing for a little while first. I've started writing the YA scifi, but haven't made a ton of progress (about a chapter). I'm still feeling around for her voice, I think.

So, overall a pretty good two months since last time. I'm excited about being able to post that I've finally finished (for the fourth time) this MG story! Until next time, Alissa :)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

New Year, New...Something

It's honestly been so long since I've posted here that I almost don't remember how. I last posted a little over a year ago, but in reality it's been almost two whole years since I've posted regularly. I have an innate desire to apologize, but I'm not sorry. Taking that time off was important. Unfortunately, my time off didn't give me an over-abundance of time to work on my writing. Or, more accurately, I didn't use my time off as well as I'd hoped in that area.

That's not entirely accurate. I'm being too hard on myself. I don't remember where I was when I signed off, but I have finished my upper Middle Grade novel and I'm on my third edit of it. (Edits are HARD!) Once I'm finished with this edit, I'll send it to a plethora of beta readers then research agents! So, yay! That's a thing I've done.

I've also written the first draft of a younger Middle Grade novel--more chapter book size--and have plans to edit that as soon as the other one is finished. That will go through a first round of my critique group, and we'll see what it needs from there. So, yay! I did that too!

I have started three other novels, all Young Adult, and have them in various stages of partial first draft. Very partial. One is a SciFi, one a Fantasy, and one...something else (fiction? contemporary? It defies classification--which is not good for marketing...). I have written on each of the projects since I last posted, so yay! Another thing I've done!

So, here's the thing. I'm not a planner. At all. Goals kind of stress me out. But, I need some accountability. So I'm going to state the things I'd like to get done, and post updates here about what I accomplish. That's kind of a boring blog, so I won't go spreading it around anywhere, but just writing here will hopefully give me the accountability I need.

I want to finish the edits to three of my novels this year--the three that are complete.

I want to finish writing the first draft to three novels this year--the previously mentioned partials.

I want to find an agent. (I acknowledge that this step is not entirely in my control, but I will pursue this course steadfastly once I have a novel ready.)

I want to read a bunch of books off of my TBR list. My Goodreads goal is 52 books, but my actual goal is to clear at least the top shelf of my TBR bookshelf. I'll always pick up the exciting new book and I'll always read the well loved old books again, but I need to make progress on these books that have been sitting here for way too long. They include writing advice books, non-fiction books, inspirational books, and fiction books for all ages. I want to read a variety.

I think that's it. Well, I want to clean off my desk. That should be a thing that happens. Really, there are a whole ton of things I want to do that are non-writing-related like exercise more and clean/organize the house and such. I'll leave those goals for now, but they might show up on here with me chatting about them--amorphous as they are.

That's enough for now. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for keeping me accountable to working toward these things. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Reflections: NaNoWriMo 2016

As I reflect on another NaNo gone by, it’s hard to reconcile my joy of writing over twenty-two thousand words, and my regret at losing yet another NaNo—six now. I’ve lost six NaNos.

I’ve never even come close.

Most of the time, I don’t mind. I know I’m not a fast writer. I know that I’m more of a tortoise than a hare. I know that my careful attention to word choice and phrasing make for an easier time during the editing process. I know that I’ve completed two novels of way more than fifty thousand words (and one of those is almost finished being edited!), and that my writing life is more than November. But I feel like a loser tonight.

I don’t know why this year is different. I’ve always been super excited at whatever word count I could manage each of the five previous attempts. My first NaNo, I reached eighteen or nineteen thousand words and I felt like a whole new world had been opened to me. Each year I’ve managed to write a little more than the last. Except this one. I beat my average, but only just.

Perhaps this is the first year I actually thought that maybe I could do it, maybe I could actually write that fifty thousand. I’ve never believed that before. And I was on-pace (over-pace) that first week. It was an amazing feeling! Then the election happened, and I had difficulty summoning any extra energy to write. My creative brain was exhausted and listless. I wrote a few thousand words over the next week or two. Then when I finally felt a little better, we had company come in for Thanksgiving (wonderful people who I don’t see nearly enough!) and life was focused elsewhere. By the time they left, I had two days to make up the thirty two thousand word deficit.

Not happening.

I know there are people who can write that in a couple days; I am not one of them. I sat down and cried at what could have been. Then I went to a write-in and pounded out a couple thousand words. The next day I managed a couple thousand more. The end. NaNo is over. I want so badly to post that stupid winners badge. I want so badly to cheer, but all I can think is, “I should’ve done better. I could’ve done better.” But I couldn’t’ve. I did the best I could.

And that is good enough.

I’m super proud of the scenes I wrote and really excited about the stories and where they’re going. (I was a rebel this year and wrote scenes in three different stories this year…well, four, but I don’t know where that one came from—well, I guess I do, but I don’t know if it’s going to go anywhere.) Today I came home from work, took care of the kids, made dinner, then got out my ipad and wrote more words. It’s not November anymore, but the writing doesn’t stop.

The stories don’t stop.

At some point my feeling will catch up to my knowing. Until then, I’ll keep writing.

And afterward also.

(And I’m sure I’ll sign up for NaNo again next year…)