Waiting for Autumn

the cat is still alive and we are together, still breathing.

i want to delete everything and start over

make something waterproof

and strong as guitar strings

(not too strong)

bonds need to break

to make energy, the season needs

to turn

i am not waiting, i am running towards it. i’m so

pre-emptive i rush right past it

i can’t breathe

i want to buy a new purse, new

sinus cavities, new

allergens

i want to spend all my money on sleep

*

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

August 2019 Stats

Word Count:

12,610

Days I Didn’t Write:

18

New Poems:

1…I wrote 1 new poem *YAY*

Submissions:

4 sent out!

Zero accepted or rejected.

Project Notes:

So again, I did not do as much writing as I wanted to do this month (I really hope this isn’t going to be a trend). But I have a very good reason: I have started school again. After earning a BA and an MFA I’m going back to school to earn a BS in Laboratory Science. Chemistry is WAY too intense for it’s own good but it’s going to be literally ALL of my future job so I need to know it inside out. *sigh*

I did, however, focus on more of my poetry this month so it wasn’t all a waste*.

Not an Exit vol. 1 is coming along, I’m finalizing the table of contents and adding and subtracting stories. Three of the stories I want to include have themes of unrequited love or doomed romance. The rest of the stories are dystopian/post-apocalyptic. I’m still deciding whether or not I want to include everything in vol. 1 or make vol. 1 just about dystopia and make vol. 2 just about romance.

I haven’t added to any of The Slaughter Chronicles or The Heart of the Forest Cycle Drafts but I have done lots of brainstorming and have some awesome new artwork from Robin E. Vuchnick in the works.

I’m also putting thoughts towards writing another poetry collection that I will self-publish in 2021 or 2022 depending on how many poems I want in it. Lupercalia has about 50 ( I think…is it terrible that I don’t know how many poems are in my own poetry collection? ) so I’d like to publish something with 75. For me, 75 is a magic number when it comes to poetry. But I also have a chapbook sized idea that I want to focus on as well and I haven’t decided if that should be a separate thing or part of a bigger collection.

I think the most important thing I can take away from August is to stop being so fucking indecisive and write my fucking books.

*

*Note: none of it is a waste. You do what you can WHEN you can. My goal is to write every day because I want to, not because someone else told me I needed to. Always go at your own pace and don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t met your goals yet.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Pretend You Don’t Know

When you’re editing your manuscript, read it though, at least once, as if you know NOTHING about your story.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own heads when we write, especially during the first draft. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want to catch errors and inconsistencies you have to not only get critical, you have to suspend your own imagination and forget–temporarily–everything you know about your own story.

Crazy talk, I know.

But doing that changes your perspective and can give you insights you might not otherwise have.

But one of the hardest lessons I learned in my college poetry classes was not to make internal references or “inside jokes.” I might get the reference but someone who doesn’t know me sure as shit won’t.

The same thing applies to fiction. Readers can’t read minds. You might write something that makes total sense to you either because you get the joke or you know what’s going to happen three chapters or three books down the road.

Your readers don’t know these things. They might get confused. They might stop reading.

It also shows you things that you might take for granted. For example: does everyone know werewolves are bothered by silver? Does everyone know what necromancy is?

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to spell out every little detail, dumb your writing down, or waste pages with info dumps but it is important to be mindful of what expectations you are putting on your reader and if those expectations help or hinder your story.

Looking at your manuscript this way doesn’t just help fill plot holes. It can show you ways to enhance your narrative structure.

Here’s an example from my own experiences:

I love prologues.

I know AuthorTubers and many a podcast host tell you to avoid prologues like the plague. But I’m one of those weird people who love reading prologues so I thought, “Fuck it, I’m gonna write a prologue and it’s going to be my MC, Regina, reporting on the death of another character. And it’s going to be awesome.”

Well, I gave the manuscript to one of my beta readers and she didn’t like it. She has no idea who was talking and no idea who these characters were. Because there was no context. I knew what was going on because I have the WHOLE STORY in my head. She didn’t. And it didn’t work for her.

Then another beta reader said the same thing. And I was sad…because I made the thing and would have to change the thing.

If one beta reader has an opinion you can take it with a pinch of salt. But if more than one person has the same problem, the problem doesn’t come from their interpretations or expectations, it comes from your writing.

And I thought, “Well, what if I make it an INTERLUDE instead?”

And that works so much better because by the time this character needs to die you, the reader, know a little bit more about the world and can follow along with the MC and learn the WHY and HOW without getting confused.

So now, whenever I’m editing I always make a plan to read through whatever I’m working on as if I have no idea what’s going on. This helps me get into the mind of a reader and I can think about what kinds of things I, as a reader, would want to know.

I recommend that at least once you read through your manuscript and pretend you have no idea what’s going on. See what happens.

*

Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

Always Double Check Yourself

This one is going to be short and sweet.

When you submit your work to a magazine and they ask you to write a cover letter…

DON’T

FORGET

TO

ADDRESS IT TO SOMEONE!

Don’t say “Dear editor”

or “To whom it may concern”

Go to the magazine’s website, find their masthead and PICK OUT A NAME.

And for the love of god don’t start your cover letter with “Dear, ____________”

and then forget to fill in the blank.

It makes you look like a fucking moron.

*

Note: I just did that. I wrote “dear” and forgot to plug in someone’s actual name before I hit the submit button. Don’t be like me.

Photo by Cata on Unsplash

July 2019 Stats

Word Count:

15,541

Days I didn’t write:

16

Submissions:

Zero sent out, zero accepted or rejected.

Project Notes:

So I spent the first week of July on a successful Camp NaNoWriMo writing streak. I think I jinxed myself because I shared in our cabin chat that I’d never successfully made my word count and won camp before. And while everyone was supportive and not negative by any means, I completely fell off the map that second week and I was not able to recover.

I had many false starts and many stuttering attempts at writing in the second and third weeks of July. But then on the fourth week I had an epiphany. I wasn’t writing one book, I was writing two. And they needed to be told from different perspectives.

Once I separated the two plot lines, characters who were sullen and silent in my brain became active and positively vivacious.

So while this month was NOT a productive wiring month at all, my projects are better off for it.

Another thing that I did this month was completely (again) re-organize my publishing schedule. I threw all my plans out the window. And I’m thinking, from now on, unless I KNOW FOR SURE WITHOUT EVEN THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT that I will be able to finish a project, I will not be announcing any specific publication dates. On my About page you’ll find a list of all my projects and the year in which I plan to release them. But I will not be getting any more specific than that until each book is done.

For more details about what’s going on with my series The Slaughter Chronicles, check out this update post here.

For news about my new short story project, click here.

*

Photo by Grégoire Bertaud on Unsplash