Thursday, March 2, 2017

February Update

Melissa:
Wow, that was one short month! I had forgotten it was short by 2-3 days. It's surprising how much of a difference 2 days can make.

I've been stumbling along this month with family stuff, content editing work, and re-writes. It's going well. Could be better, but well. I'm not going to complain. I'm content with the work I've completed.

Goals:
Christmas Warmth:  5,000 word goal.
-- I had stopped working toward this one at the end of January. I was content with what I added and will add and adjust when I go through re-writes with this one. This goal ended February 28th.

Christmas Spirit:  32 hours by March 10th.
-- I have added 12 hours in February to my 5 hours in January, bringing me to a total of 17 hours logged. That leaves 15 hours to be put in by March 10th. It's doable, but I probably won't get all of them in.

Something additional I wanted to share about Christmas Spirit, I'm 84 pages into 359 pages of the book. I've had sections that I've added a good bit and I've had sections I redid keeping the same idea but adding something that changes things in that scene. Those things could be reactions or feelings or even when something is done in the scene.

Want to see a picture of the page comparison? Maybe I'll start sharing an image each month, to see the progress even if it is slow.

It looks like a ton of pages to get through yet, but that's okay because I feel like I've come a long way in what I have completed. I even had a great sentence to add come to mind when driving to work this morning! That's what happens to me after I work through a sections, I get a clear idea the next day since my mind slept on the idea. This idea was something that ties a previous scene and who Em is to the moment she's in. I love the feel when those moments hit me.

This book needs LOTS of work and still will when I'm done with these re-writes, but I have a great feeling about this book and series. If I can get it to where I want, with help from friends, I would love to share this one with the world.

At least that's what I'm thinking now, may change later. ;)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

January Update:

Melissa:
Ugh. Where did January go?!? Really. A whole month has flown by without me even seeing it. Or so it feels that way. Recovering and catching up from the holiday's seems to always take longer than I hope. Then I've gone on college visits with Kiddo. Ugh! I'm so glad I don't have to make that choice again. So many colleges to visit and chose from. How do you know?

I did get some work done. Yea for small miracles!

It'll be easier for me to track my work this year thanks to NaNoWriMo's new feature, Goal Tracker. You can set a goal for a length you'd like and for words or hours. You can also do more than one Goal Tracker! Totally awesome!

My goals so far:
Christmas Warmth: 5,000 word goal by February 28th.  4,018 words achieved.
-- This totally works for me as there are some sections that still need to be added but will be done in re-writes when I'm reading through the story.

Christmas Spirit: 32 hours by March 10th. 5 hours spent in re-writes.
-- This is a slow start, but I will pick up the pace. This means I have 27 hours to get through in a little over February. February is a short month, but I believe I can do it!

So, I am working. Any and all small skips forward are an accomplishment. Here's to continuing on for February!

How did your January go? Did you get done what you wanted? Or was it weighted down with recovering and getting caught up from the holidays?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year Resolutions

Photo By: Melissa L. Hayden At: Spellbound in a Flash
Happy New Year!

You may have read my generic resolutions for 2017 at my book blog. Here I'm going to put a little more fine tooth comb to it.

1)  Write/edit every other day. (except when working on editing jobs, which are worked on daily) I know it's said to write daily. But writing daily seems to stress me out more. I went through a period a few years ago that I wrote/edited every other day. It might have been slow moving, but I didn't feel stressed and it seemed to give my brain time to digest and move on with what I'd written, making it all fit together better.

2)  Finish Christmas Warmth. I started this in November for NaNoWriMo, and stopped with the holidays. This is a small goal, one easily reached, as there isn't much to add to the story to bring it through to a conclusion that's sitting in my mind.

3)  Get re-writes of Christmas Spirit done. There are many things that need to be added to the bones of this story, things I missed in my thinking when writing it. So, I'll need to add and adjust the story in this first pass of re-writes. It could easily take me all year with my pacing.

4)  Write a short story. I have this idea that I started to research and stopped. I want to research it again and outline it. Maybe even get to start writing it. It's a secret project but I can say it's got steampunk in it. ;)

5)  Send something to a friend. If things go well this year, I'd like to get something to a rough point to send to someone to read. This is a first for me. I've sent no words to anyone to read. I've had no faith in my words to send them out, even to a friend. I want to overcome this fear.

So that's it. I think these things will keep me busy enough for the year. What's your resolutions?

Friday, December 2, 2016

November Update:

Melissa:
And it was NaNoWriMo month!!

I knew going into the month that I would not start writing on the first. I was totally cool with this.

I finished up a content editing job and readied to dive into writing Christmas Warmth. I thought it would be neat to dive in while at Panera Breads, different scenery and all. Until I was sitting at Panera Breads looking through my flash drive for the document...and couldn't find it. Eep! I raced home, panicked as to where this novel could be. I looked through all my computer hard drives (one desk top and laptop again) then looked through the flash drive again, finally finding the right document. Phew! I was panicking but trying to stay calm, knowing if I let myself panic that I would not find it. The worry was that I'd set up the novel in Scrivener with lots of notes. I had taken a lot of time in making folders for chapters and placing scenes in order with details and descriptions for writing. I was worried I lost it all. But I found it!

It's been a hard month to keep up with NaNoWriMo. I didn't get writing in every day. I didn't get started until the 7th as I had pay work. Pay work always comes first, it helps keep things going around here. Then we had lots going on with Kiddo and college searches and tours along with a few events since he's a senior this year. Lots of time tied up in the traveling and such too. And we can't forget about a holiday, which I didn't get the Friday after off this year. And car issues, so I didn't get to stay home all the time as I had to pick Kiddo up or drop him off for work.

It was a bit hairy for a while. There was a time I didn't think I'd hit 50,000 words. I was okay with this too, at least I was getting words. Life kept happening. But I hate losing and was determined to hit the word count. I found an extra wind and drive to keep going. The house may have been a bit messy a few days. I may have skipped out on watching a movie. But I got those words in!

I pushed through and finished on the last day with a 3 hours to spare.

That's right! I won NaNoWriMo 2016!

Is the book done, you ask. No. Not by a long shot. I still have a few scenes to add in or add to. There are all those drafts of re-writes to be done next. So lots of work still ahead of me. But, the bones are in place to work with.

What are the plans for December? Rest. Well, not that much rest. I guess I need to get the house ready for Christmas. But in the way of writing, I want to add what I skipped over in order get done and win NaNoWriMo, those few scenes missing or missing a part. Then it's to re-writes of the first Christmas novel I have here. It's just the bare bones of a story and has a lot of work needed to fill in the gaps of things I left out when racing to write it.

Monday, November 7, 2016

September & October Update:

Melissa:
September:
I'm late getting this post up. *sigh* Life has been moving fast with Kiddo playing football and going to college tours on Saturdays. The days are limited.

But, I'm thrilled to announce.... I finished my re-writes! The steampunk story is done with re-writes. Took me longer than I intended, sure. But they are done! I had sections I had to completely re-write, sections I added to, and new sections added all together. And there are those words that got removed because they just didn't fit. All's good because it worked out!

The story has come out to be about 86,000 words total. Amazing right!? This story had started as a simple little thing to maybe hit 40,000 about a young woman. It grew to over double that with characters and plot. I love what it became! And how it's lead into more stories to follow.

My plan for October.... to re-read Christmas Spirit (working title) in preparation for writing Christmas Warmth (working title) during November for NaNoWriMo. Exciting plans! Now to keep life on the calm so I can get everything done, including content editing work coming in.

See you next month!

October:
Do you believe I had that short section for September done but never posted it!? Yea, that seems to be the way life's been going. We've had football games and gone on college visits. And tried to keep up with the house in all that's going on. LOL! That's funny!

So, did I get to do what I wanted in October... Sort of. With all that we've been doing with kiddo for his senior year this month it's been packed full. But I am about half way through a quick read through of Christmas Spirit (working title). This works because Christmas Warmth (working title) is from a different characters POV and her story at Christmas time.

I finished out October with a content editing job and will finish up the first week of October. After that I'll dive into NaNoWriMo. I'm good with starting a week late because I usually finish a week early with the required goal of words to win.

So here's to creating all sorts of words!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Update

Melissa:
It's September 1st and I'm slightly bummed with myself. I didn't get done with the book as I had hoped. Not for a lack of trying through! I've found a lot that needed work and feel the story is stronger for all the work these last two months. I shouldn't be upset with myself, there have been a few big events this month that slowed me, one being surgery and the other is school starting for kiddo along with football - those both pulled days from my writing schedule.

I've also found that with all else I do in a day, I need to have a schedule. So I usually only work on writing for an hour a day, some days more if I have the time with kiddo out and such. But mostly with working full time, cooking dinner, and all other things in life, an hour is what I can squeeze out most evenings. I also take breaks. I can't stress over it as I find I start to clam up on the words.

I also knew coming into the ending that it would need completely redone. In the last two read through's and re-writes I avoided the ending. I've made new short sections of things to touch on but didn't read it. I knew the story needed more work and without that work I couldn't even do the ending any justice. So now I'm at that ending. I'm pulling pieces from the three sections I've worked up and have notes on what additional needs to be touched on. Wow. It's a process! lol

I've learned one lesson this month:
In rewrites its not always how big of a section you get through or how many words you add or delete. No. Sometimes, it's what you realize needs done and how to add it in that's the major accomplishment. I found that out the first night in August. I didn't get through a large section but it dawned on me that I had a character that needs to be seen before I had him, at the end. And I scribbled notes on where to add him along with searched for a name for him. I had an idea of what his part is in the story but didn't really create him before.

So, I'm working through the ending of the story now. I feel much better with the direction of the story, though I know it needs a hell of a lot of work yet. I'm still going to be embarrassed to send it to anyone to read, but that's a step I'm going to have to overcome one day here.

For now, I'm working on this ending and hoping to finish the book in a weeks time (that's what I keep saying and that week comes and goes).

Thursday, August 4, 2016

July Update

Melissa:
I'm late with updating for July, but I have good reason! I do! Really! I've been busy, working hard on re-writes of my steampunk fairy tale retelling. YES! It's hard to believe, I know.

I've feared re-writes in the worst way for a long time. I still do. But after a few passes I wanted this to be a huge leap toward finishing. I'm going through the print changes I've red marked and making new and necessary ones now, along with adding new sections to make things flow better and fill in a few holes. No, not all holes are gone, I know that. But I feel as I'm getting through a great deal of them. And maybe, just maybe, this story is shaping up into something. :)  (I know, it's that glory feeling at the moment and it will fade very soon, like when it's crushed.)

I've actually grown the story from about 66k to 75k words, and still climbing as I'm not done! Exciting! (Again, this will most likely get cut down again when I go through it with someone who knows what they are doing and not a friend.)

I'm surprised that I'm actually having fun with this round of re-writes. I feel as I have a clearer mind in where the story is going and what the characters are doing. I might, eventually make changes of POV as I'm seeing things differently with this round of works. But, first, I want to finish this and send to a friend (who knows what she's doing in books) to read and discuss. I know the words are still rough and it's not the best of stories (my reader will probably laugh so hard she'll fall off the couch) but at least I took the next step in the way of words.

What helped get me going? I was free of editing work for the month of July and Camp NaNoWriMo was happening. So, why not? I proposed 50k words in a month for Camp NaNoWriMo. And I made it!

How did I count words for that? Well, with re-writes I was reading, rather detailed and slowly, along with adding and deleting words. So, I took the sections read and adjusted at their total word count when done with the section and added each section I completed. I actually finished at just over 52k for NaNoWriMo.

My next goal, to finish these re-writes by the end of August and starting into my Christmas Business series to do the same.

Here's to a great month in words!