The Creativity Corner: Winter 2017

It feels weird to post a wrap-up of a winter’s worth writing, reading, and other creative happenings on the second day of spring. (This is the new “writing monthly update” series I had mentioned last month, btw.) But the truth is, I’ve procrastinated on this post for a couple weeks now, and not due to lack of time. Instead, I’ve been feeling anything but enthusiastic or confident about writing lately.

(Btw, my latest DIY MFA post went live last week. Something funky happened with the blog post announcement, so click here to read the article at DIY MFA.)

The good news is, I’m now taking steps that can hopefully help me regain that confidence and lead to a better, more productive spring. I’ll touch on that, as well as the progress I’ve made so far with The Novella (my new writing project) and the books I’ve read so far this year. Also, since this is the first Creative Corner, any feedback on the content and/or setup will be greatly appreciated. 🙂
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Chronicling The Craft: On Beta-Readings, New Writing Projects, and the Future of This Series

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On Beta-Readings, New Writing Projects, and the Future of This Series

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE. These articles alternate between progress reports, fun WIP-related content, and writing / revising / editing tips. Today’s post serves an update on TKC’s beta-reading stage and the beginning of Draft #1 of “The Novella.”

Starting a new phase of the writing process is always exciting. And nerve-racking. And scary. But mostly exciting. However, what makes this “new beginnings” Chronicle unique from past ones is that it covers not just one writing project, but TWO!

Today’s Chronicle is mostly updates on my YA fantasy novel The Keeper’s Curse and my fantasy novella-in-progress, which is tentatively titled The Novella. (Not very imaginative, but I don’t have any title ideas yet. *lol*) I’ll also share my plans for the upcoming round of Chronicles – and if you’re interested, I could use your help with deciding what “fun stuff” to share during the progress reports.

Also, because I saw the movie “Moana” recently, I declare today as Moana GIF Day. ❤

moana-ocean

Ready? Let’s start with…
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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 Is DONE!!

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Plus, the Final Five-Song Reveal from the WIP’s Playlist

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

Well, the title gives it away… but this happened 2 weeks ago!!

So, yes, TKC is done for the third time, and 2 weeks before my “soft” deadline of November 20th. Since then, I’ve been feeling… well, a weird mix of emotions. Relief. Accomplishment. Excitement-anxiety-nausea over the upcoming beta-reader phase.  Also, a sense of “What do I do with myself now?”. You get used to weeks and months to doing something on most weeknights and weekends, and when it’s done you’re almost at a loss. But I won’t let myself flounder for long, and I’ll explain why shortly.

You know what else this means? It’s DANCING PIKACHU TIME!!

pikachu-dancing

Now, here’s the final progress for Draft #3, as well as the final five-song reveal from TKC’s novel playlist. 🙂
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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 80% Progress Report

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Plus, Five Non-Metal Songs That Appear on the WIP’s 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’s post marks 80% completion of Draft #3 with another progress report and more songs on TKC’s novel playlist.

This is it, guys. The finish line for Draft #3 is in sight!!

incredibles-baby

Don’t worry. The WIP hasn’t gone up in flames. I just think this Incredibles GIF is adorable. 🙂

And it doesn’t seem like long since the last pair of Chronicles, right? Well, it’s not that the editing has picked up in speed. Rather, I couldn’t schedule the previous pair until 3 weeks after I’d passed the 60% mark. But thanks to my new blogging schedule, you’re getting this only 1 week after I passed 80%. 😉

(NOTE: Despite last week’s blogging schedule announcement, the second half of the 80% Chronicles pair will still post this Thursday, since it’s ready to go.)

As always with these progress reports, I’ll share Draft #3’s latest word count and what else made the past 20% of edits unique. Plus, I’m sharing five more tracks that currently appear on TKC’s novel playlist. So, shall we?
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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 60% Progress Report

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Plus, Four Songs from Leah’s Kings & Queens That Appear on the WIP’s 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’s post marks 60% completion of Draft #3 with another progress report and more songs on TKC’s novel playlist.

It’s time for another update! And you know what’s better that giving another progress report? Sharing the news that I’ve met my stretch goal for cutting TKC’s word count!!

Guardians of the Galaxy dance-off

Let’s dance, Star Lord!

To be honest, I’m not surprised that I reached this second goal so quickly. I was just over 2,000 words away at the 40% update; and with several overwritten chapters around the corner, it was bound to happen before this pair of Chronicles. But that doesn’t change how thrilled and relieved I am that TKC is now within the recommended word count for its genre (under 100K for YA fantasies by debut authors).

Today I’ll go more in-depth about where TKC stands and what happens now that I’ve reached my stretch goal. I’ll also introduce you to the music of melodic metal singer-songwriter Leah McHenry and share more tunes from the novel’s playlist. Ready?
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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!!!!!!

Dory animated 1

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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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: FIRST DRAFT – DONE!

What’s Next, and A Question For You

Chapters Completed: 35

Chapters In Progress: 0

Chapters Not Started: 0

“Chronicling The Craft” is an article series where I share my experience with writing my current work-in-progress (WIP), which is a fantasy novel. Every 5,000 words, I let readers know what I’ve accomplished since the previous article and share advice, discoveries, techniques, etc. Besides the word count in each article title, a “chapter ticker” at the top also tracks my progress as I use the skip-around / “writercopter” method to write the novel. Today’s installment celebrates the completion of the first draft.

SURPRISE! 😀  I had originally promised to post a new Chronicle when I hit the 115,000-word mark. However, between various blogging commitments and how quickly (on my standards) I was cranking out the remaining chapters, I decided to wait on a novel-writing update until it reached the most important milestone of them all. And now – 25 months and 132,000 words after I started with an outline and this crazy idea of a quest story with magic, life-size Faeries who can fly, shadow demons, and a female protagonist who is her own worst enemy – the first draft is finally DONE!  Continue reading

Chronicling The Craft: 105,000 & 110,000 Words

Your WIP’s Characters and Their Myers-Briggs Personality Types

Chapters Completed: 28

Chapters In Progress: 4

Chapters Not Started: 3

“Chronicling The Craft” is an article series where I share my experience with writing my current work-in-progress (WIP), which is a fantasy novel. Every 5,000 words, I let readers know what I’ve accomplished since the previous article and share advice, discoveries, techniques, etc. Besides the word count in each article title, a “chapter ticker” at the top also tracks my progress as I use the skip-around / “writercopter” method to write the novel. Today’s installment celebrates the book reaching 105,000 and 110,000 words in length.

We’ve hit the home stretch now! I’m itching with excitement and impatience now that the first draft is getting closer to THE END. Half of me wishes I was already there at the finish line, done and ready to collapse creatively speaking. That’s when the other half of me chimes in, “Not yet, Sara! Be patient.” It’s a very fine tightrope to walk, but I have to keep at it for now.

I took work-related time off around Christmas and New Year’s to relax and (among other things) work on the book. That “mini writing vacation” helped me pass not just one word-count milestone, but two! So, for brevity’s sake, I’ll give a general overview of my progress since early DecemberContinue reading

Chronicling The Craft: 100,000 Words

A Glance into the Faeries’ Magic System

Chapters Completed: 24

Chapters In Progress: 6

Chapters Not Started: 4

“Chronicling The Craft” is an article series where I share my experience with writing my current work-in-progress (WIP), which is a fantasy novel. Every 5,000 words, I let readers know what I’ve accomplished since the previous article and share advice, discoveries, techniques, etc. Besides the word count in each article title, a “chapter ticker” at the top also tracks my progress as I use the skip-around / “writercopter” method to write the novel. Today’s installment celebrates the book reaching 100,000 words in length.

YES! Actually, it’s more like, “WHEW! OK, am I almost done yet?” *lol* Seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel has brought on a kind of “can’t-wait-to-finish-this-draft” itch. Unfortunately, with the upcoming December holidays on top of the usual commitments (if you have a day job, you know what I mean), I’m reminding myself more often to be patient. Thank goodness I’ve got some time off planned right after Christmas and around New Year’s. Guess how I plan to spend the bulk of that time? 😉

If you’ve been following this series, you may already know I’ve done “reveals” with every 25K-word milestone in the fantasy novel. Now that I’ve hit 100,000 words, it’s time for another! But first, here’s a quick update of what I’ve worked on since the Chronicle for 95,000 wordsContinue reading