Time Flies!: August 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

I’m starting this post with a confession: While I’ve managed to keep up with my own blog-writing, I’ve been so burnt out from the past month’s busyness that I’m struggling to keep up with reading other blogs or replying to comments. I’ve also been dealing with stress from (without going into too much detail) expected and unexpected sources. Some days were great, but others… Yeah.

Bilbo faints

I hope this is temporary, though, since I still have one big event around the corner: My friend’s wedding (the one where I’m a bridesmaid) is this coming Saturday. Maybe once things calm down and I have some time to rest and regroup, I’ll feel some semblance of my normal self. But I just wanted to let readers know what’s going on, since you guys deserve my honesty.

But I really can’t complain. August was an awesome month on its best days, and it ends with much that I’m grateful for. This will make more sense as this post goes along, so let’s start with…

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Writing Spaces, Rituals, and Other Habits

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Ahhhh… Isn’t that a lovely view? Sometimes I think the beach would be my writing space paradise. Other times, I know I’d be so distracted by its beauty that I’d be better off indoors. But one can always dream, right?

Today I’m sharing tidbits about my real writing space, from my current “Draft #3 Central” to rituals and other habits when working on my WIP. This topic was inspired by recent posts by Jessica Matteliano and Rae Oestreich. In fact, I’m sort of copying Jessica’s format, which was based on questions from a recent #Storycrafter Twitter chat led by Faye Kirwin of Writerology. (Hope you don’t mind, Jessica. *winks*)

Curiousity piqued? Then let’s dive in!

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Time Flies!: July 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

Ahhhhh. What a lovely month this has been. I sort of feel sad that July is almost over, because it’s the most relaxed I’ve been all year. (With the exception of a flat tire earlier this week. :/ ) So I want to savor that feeling a little longer.

Bilbo Rivendell_2

August is going to be super-busy, though. The Writer’s Digest Conference is in 2 weeks, and Doctor Friend’s wedding (the one where I’ll be a bridesmaid) is 3 weeks later. My head spins just thinking about those events… But I think I have almost  everything I need for both, so I’m not too stressed out. Well, not yet, anyway.

Ifyou’re wondering, I don’t anticipate taking a blogging hiatus next month. However, it may take me longer than usual to respond to comments, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from me right away.

Now, let’s get to this month’s recap!

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Chronicling The Craft: Adjusting Your Writing Schedule (and Maintaining Your Sanity) In Response to Life Changes

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Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today’s post is the tips-oriented post to celebrate 40% completion of Draft #3.

One of the biggest challenges with Draft #3 hasn’t been craft- or story-related. Rather, it’s process-related. Certain life changes made my previous writing schedule unsustainable, so I needed to rethink how to approach the editing process and devote adequate time and effort to my story. And when you’re used to having a particular schedule, altering it for creativity’s sake can be an overwhelming and eye-opening experience.

So, today’s Chronicle focuses on the “writer’s life” side of things. I’ll offer tips on adjusting your writing routine in response to life changes. I’ll also explain why writers should practice acceptance and patience when altering their routines, and why it’s essential for us to take care of ourselves as we do so. Our sanity and well-being are just as important as our craft, right?
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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 40% Progress Report

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Plus, Four Within Temptation Songs from the WIP’s Novel Playlist

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today marks 40% completion of Draft #3, with a new progress report and more songs from TKC’s novel playlist.

I’m going to try my hardest to not start this post like a ping-pong ball bouncing off the walls… Oh, forget it, I’ll do it anyway.

I’ve already reached my word-cutting goal for Draft #3!!!!!!

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To be honest, aiming to get The Keeper’s Curse under 105K was a conservative goal. I was aware of that going into Draft #3 – but I also underestimated how much editing the manuscript needed. The longer, overwritten chapters have benefited from the most trimming, but even some of the shorter chapters are 200 or 300 words slimmer now.

Wow. Simply wow.

So, what happens now that I’ve already reached my word-cutting goal for this draft? And what playlist goodies do I have to share today? Hop in and find out!
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Time Flies!: June 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

It feels right to start off this month’s Time Flies with a big “thank-you” hug for everyone’s support recently. You were right: I didn’t need to worry about how downsizing my blogging schedule would affect things here. Plus, I feel more relaxed now that I’ve accepted my new time limitations and am focusing on quality and enjoyment instead of quantity and pace. This was the right choice, and I thank you all so much for encouraging me to do what was best for me.

Stitch hug

Speaking of change, I’ve altered the format of Time Flies this month. It’s not too different from what it was before, but you’ll see what I mean as this post goes on. So, let’s get to it!

Oh – and I’m still looking for questions for the upcoming blogoversary interview! Read here to learn how you can submit them. The deadline is Tuesday, July 5th! 😉

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Time Flies!: May 2016 (Plus, An Important Announcement)

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

Good morning, everyone! (Or good afternoon or evening, if it’s that time for you right now.)

Welcome to Isengard

I’m going to keep this month’s intro short. We have a lot to cover, especially some upcoming changes to my blogging schedule. So, let’s get right to the recap:

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Chronicling The Craft: How to Identify and Cut Down on Lengthy Descriptions

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Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today’s post is the tips-oriented post to celebrate 20% completion of Draft #3.

Going into the WIP’s third draft, I was aware that one of its lingering weaknesses was overdescription. I tend to overwrite in general, but it’s most noticeable when I’m describing character appearances, setting, and action. So, one of the major questions has been, “How do I use fewer words to convey the same meaning or paint the same picture?”

Today’s Chronicle will focus on answering that question. I’ll share strategies that can help you identify overly descriptive areas in your manuscript, as well as tips for shortening descriptions as you edit. I’ll also explain it’s more important to make your own decisions as to how much description is enough, rather than following specific word- or sentence-length recommendations.
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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 20% Progress Report

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Plus, Five Film Soundtrack Pieces That Are Featured on the WIP’s Novel Playlist

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today, to celebrate 20% completion of Draft #3, here’s the first progress report and a reveal of some of the songs on TKC’s novel playlist.

Yep – it’s update time!

Mark Watney Martian gif

Well, I haven’t been blowing things up like Matt Damon / Mark Watney was in The Martian… But I’ve reached the 20% mark in editing Draft #3 of The Keeper’s Curse! That means it’s also time to unveil the “revamped” version of the Chronicling The Craft series.

Based on readers’ feedback, I’m splitting each Chronicle into two separate posts. The first one (i.e., this post) will feature a progress report and a few tracks on TKC’s novel playlist. The second post (scheduled for Saturday, May 21st) will focus on tips for the editing process. So, whether you prefer “fun stuff” or “writerly stuff,” you can now choose which one you want to read – or, you can read both posts at different times. 😉

So, how have things been going with Draft #3 so far? Let’s see…
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Time Flies!: April 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

Happy Day Before May Day, everyone! 🙂

Just a quick note before we jump into this month’s recap: I might not be around to respond to comments on this and other posts until Monday. My parents are finally moving to Cape Cod this weekend, so I’ll be away from the computer most of the time. I’m hoping to catch up with any replies and such next week!

Also, don’t forget to enter the latest thank-you giveaways! They end at midnight EST on Tuesday, May 3rd. If you’re a writer or an avid reader, then these should pique your interest. 😉

Now, here’s what happened during April:

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