Motivation

I found it. I found what can motivate me to keep going. This article about “The Dip.”

I’ve been frustrated by Mandy’s Story because the edits are hard and I feel like I’m fighting with it more than fixing it.

So in the article it asks these questions:

  1. Do you care about this story?
  2. Are you in love with this character?
  3. Does that story arc actually matter to you?
  4. Does this scene make you feel a strong emotion?
  5. And for every distracted writer out thereā€”is that TV show/Twitter feed/game more important to you than finishing your most important writing project ever?

I do care about this story. It is more than just the story. It’s the start of a whole World, a place I created and dreamed up. There are people in this World that I need to share with others, places in Glenn Lake (the fictional town) that need to shown, explained.

I love Mandy and I feel her story needs to be told. She wants to tell it so that anyone who feels taken advantage of by someone they love (like a parent, spouse, friend) knows they can stand up to them and thrive. She does that. Stands up to her mother and then thrives without her.

The story matters to me. I’ve been in a controlling relationship and being able to stand up, move forward, and find yourself is so much a part of me. I need to figure out how to get that in my story.

The scene(s) I keep stuck on probably don’t matter as much as I’m making them out to be, but yes matter. I just need to prioritize how much they matter and move forward. This is why I keep getting stuck and falling in the dip because I’m trying to make each part too perfect rather than just regular perfect. Some of the smaller scenes really could stop and I don’t need to work them to death.

And, finally #5, except for my family, there is nothing more important than getting my story finished so I can publish. That is my goal and I need to stay focused on that fact.

So I found my motivation to get back to Mandy’s story, to finally just finish my edits already and get this thing out there for people to read.

Frustration…

I have hit the wall (again) with this journey. It is bound to happen. This isn’t an easy thing to do. Yes, yes, I could easily self-publish and be done. My stories would be out there, but I want my stories to be must reads, not just good. I want someone out there to stay up until 2 in the morning reading it because they just could not put it down even though they have to be up early for work…

Reality says that won’t happen, but I’m trying.

And yes, I have read some excellent self-pubbed books. You can tell that they put the time in and had a great story to work with. However, several have been meh at best. They really needed to spend extra time on them, gotten more feedback, and edit the typos and grammar better. That’s what I’m trying to do. And yes it is possible they won’t be perfect and/or not everyone will enjoy them, but I’m trying to make them as good as possible before publishing.

As part of that process, last month I had Mandy’s Story professionally edited. I got great feedback. Things I kind of already knew but didn’t really know (if that makes sense). Let me explain. I knew there were issues, but needed someone to draw me a map so to speak. Fix it here, here, here and stop doing this, this and that.

I love it and hate it at the same time. Why? Because, again while I knew there were issues, like duplication of themes, speech, thoughts, I didn’t think that I did a bad job of character development for explain or getting the point of the story across, but clearly I did.

I intentionally didn’t talk about the character descriptions to leave it up to the reader to form what they thought. I mean clearly the few main characters in this story are white (except Mandy but we won’t know that her father is Mexican until book 2)… However, in my mind/World of my fictional town, there are many characters that have diverse backgrounds. Just that in the current book, Mandy’s World is rather small and again, I didn’t describe any of the secondary characters. I see many of them as POC.

Glenn Lake is a fictional place that geographical is near Houston, Texas which obviously is a real place and my hometown. One of my favorite things about Houston is the diverse. I love people who are different, unusual, not afraid to be who they are. I love learning about different cultures.

However, I clearly missed that boat when writing this so one of my major fixes is to show the audience better what I see this town to be. A small town with loads of interesting, diverse people from different walks of life. My challenge is not making it so in your face and forced because nobody likes to read forced.

However, the main focus of the Glenn Lake series is women. The many journeys they take, strength of character, and in some cases love. Mandy finds love in her story, but the biggest lesson is learning to be strong and stand on her own.

But I understand the feedback and accept it. I’m taking it seriously but I just reached my breaking point (for a minute… or a couple of weeks). I was ready to throw the entire series out and just focus on my other projects.

The thing that stopped me is that the editor did say there is potential in my story, that it is almost there, but I just need to fix these things and be more clear. Got it. Doing it… hitting my head on the wall here and there, but just like many of my characters, I’m a fighter and have always fought for what I want. I have done many things that I’ve been told I couldn’t do or were impossible.

So stay tuned. I hope in the next few months to be saying Mandy’s story is available. (Maybe March?)

As always thanks for your support.

Editing, editing and more editing

This is my life at the moment as I have recently decided to self-publish and I know my stories aren’t quite ready. I have tons of work to do to get them ready.

Mandy’s story (new name coming soon) is with an editor and I’m working on Mama’s/Becca’s story now. It is a hot mess but I’ll get it worked through and ready for the editor as well.

I have mock ups of what I think the covers will look like (or at least my idea) for both Mandy’s and Premedicated Murder. Nothing final on those yet, just a start.

So what does editing mean exactly? It means not only proofreading, but ensuring the story makes sense. Is the pacing appropriate, not too fast or too slow? Are there holes in the plot? Is it all in the same tense (my biggest issue)?

That is in addition to proofreading so needless to say I’m swamped with getting these together and ready to publish hopefully early in next year.

This blog comes in second to that for now and so I will write a few blog posts in a day to be scheduled out… and there might be gaps in those that don’t make sense, but I’ll be around and working towards my goal.

As always, thanks for your support and stay tuned!

Paranormal Experiences…

In February, on my Facebook page, I shared several experiences I have had in the past. One with each of my great-grandparents, two with cousins and one with a friend. I have had several more experiences though that I didn’t talk about.

When I was a child, I believed our house was haunted. Even when everyone was asleep, it was noisy with creatures moving through it. It had me creating my own story about the Monsters which years (and years) later had me yelling at the movie and creators of Monsters, Inc because it was nearly straight out of my head. Much like many of the Disney/Pixar movies were. Why? How?

Anyway, the way our house was designed, there was a door that led to what we called the hall. It was kind of foyer-like in that it was a room with doors around that led to 3 bedrooms and a bathroom. At night we closed that door which shut off the rest of the house from the bedrooms.

In my kid brain, we did it so the monsters could use the “common area” of the house, and they couldn’t access our part of the house, just as we couldn’t access their part of the house. It was their day when it was our night, and they did the same types of things we did. Go to work, school, etc…

Well also in the hall and across from my room was the attic access. There was a built in ladder on the wall and then the attic access was a plywood board that you pushed up and slid over to climb into the attic.

At night, it would lift up and these red eyes would look at me. They would laugh and then these creatures would climb out. These were not the “friendly” ones that I imagine lived in the other part of the house. These were evil and would climb down and then head to my brothers’ room.

I would hide under my teddy bear thinking they wouldn’t come in my room because they thought there was just a teddy bear in the bed, not a child.

I never told anyone about those creatures because they scared me so much and if I acknowledged them, they were real and might get me.

This meme always reminds me of that time.

Well several years ago, I was talking to my brother about our childhood house and how we thought it was haunted. Well he thought his current house was haunted too. He was telling me about some of the things going on. He goes on to say his oldest son had described to him a creature he saw in their house. I asked about it and got goosebumps as soon as he started to describe the exact ones I used to see as a child… the ones I never told anyone about!

Creepy, right?

Well a couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I were talking about paranormal stuff and I said how our previous house (that she lived in) was haunted. She agreed. I said there was a man that would come stand by my bed or try to scare me at night. He would lean down within inches from my face until I would wake up. When I would jump, he’d laugh.

She said was he big and wearing a trench coat?… Um, yeah, and had a large, round white face.

We both freaked out.

Thankfully we moved out of that house almost 5 years ago and no such trouble here. Thank goodness.

This is why I want to write paranormal. Why I have written about a medium (my experiences listed on FaceBook) and why I’ll be finishing me paranormal suspense at some point next year. I have just had too many experiences, not to share.

Writer’s Guilt

Is that a thing because I feel it almost daily? If I’m not working my day job, I feel like I should be writing, editing, querying or networking with other writers. And I don’t do any of these things as much as I should, mostly the writing/editing part.

To be fair, I have a busy life… don’t we all? Day job is busy. I have two chronic illnesses that seem to take up a lot of my life. Then I have a family and pets.

My daughter is living with us again with her 3 young sons (A 5 year old and 3 year old twins) so that takes up my time being Gigi and helping her.

However, I want to, need to be able to make this writing thing work. With my chronic illnesses I feel like I have a shorter time to work at day job. I don’t think I’ll make it to retirement age (another 20 years). I don’t know how much time I have left, but each day is a real struggle to get through and my body just gets weaker and sicker.

I recently got over a virus/cold/sinus infection that lasted over a month. Well the effects of being so sick like that cause me to flare up with my other illnesses. It causes fatigue, weakness and pain. Lots of pain. I nap almost each day that I’m not at day job (out of the house) but every “home” day, I have to lay down for some portion to rest. I hate it. It is frustrating but makes my writer’s guilt go into hyperdrive.

Why?

Because I need to help support my family and if I get sick like this, it could set me back to the point, I can’t work outside of the house. I feel like I’m just one cold away from that setback, but I don’t know… It could be several away. I could have 10 more years to work or 1 or a week. I have no idea. My body has let me down too many times and I hate it.

But I try to be positive. It doesn’t always work and I do complain and let myself fall apart, but then I try to remind myself “It could be worse.”

I try to focus on my goal which is to become a fulltime writer. I don’t need fame and fortune, just want to replace my current income and be able to work from home.

And no it isn’t all about money for me. I do love telling my stories. My spin on life. Sharing my outlook. I really hope this next year I’ll finally have some thing published and can start making money with it.

But until I then I’m sure my guilt will continue as I take time from my family to work or spend time with my family and not work. Or being sick and not doing day job or writing.

As always, thanks for the support!!

Damsel in distress…

One of my projects is a Small Town Women’s fiction series. The basic idea is that each book in the series highlights one woman’s story. The good, the bad, and the ugly of being a woman.

Women’s fiction is defined as a story in which the main character overcomes some obstacle like a divorce or abusive relationship, maybe cancer or job lose. And, also means, the woman saves herself.

I love this idea, but I don’t think it should only be the woman doing the saving. I don’t see anything wrong with a friend, family member or love interest giving her a hand, support, and a push forward.

We all get stuck and stop believing in ourselves at times. It doesn’t only take a village to raise a child, but sometimes to help us get through life.

In my first book, Mandy’s Story, she has pretty much raised herself from the age of 8 to the start of the story at 17. I realize this could be classified as Young Adult. However, I think the themes of the story are more adult in nature and to fit into the series, I feel it is Women’s fiction.

At 17, she is running her own business and raising her two siblings all while trying to live in the house with their abusive, alcoholic mother. One night things take a turn she didn’t expect and they find themselves free of their abuser. Mandy is both elated and anxious at the thought of being completely on her own. She lacks confidence her in herself.

As she tries to learn to live in the World without her mother, things take a turn when CPS steps in and takes her siblings from her. She works hard to do all the things required to get them back, but it seems hopeless.

Enter Jimmy. He is the father to her siblings, no relation to her. He helps gets the kids back and is there for Mandy, building her confidence, and helping her push herself to be a better Mandy.

It is something she has been all along, but just needed to have someone reach out a hand. She never thinks of herself as a damssel in distress even though others might. She works hard and takes care of herself as well as her brother and sister.

I still think this counts more as Women’s Fiction than any other genre, and how I plan to sell it.

Reading as a writer… part 2

I recently wrote about needing to read as a writer to understand market, audience and be able to recognize comparable titles/work. However, there is another problem I have found with being a writer that reads.

I don’t enjoy some of the books I find.

I don’t remember many books through my first 43-ish years that I didn’t enjoy. There might have one here and there, but overall, everything was quality and enjoyable.

So what’s the problem?

I think it is a number of things, but before I go into that, this is not meant as a slam on anyone. I know how difficult being a writer is. You put your heart and soul, blood, sweat and tears, and countless hours getting your “baby” to a point where you think it is ready to be shared. So kudos to all writers, published or not, I know what it takes. I get it. I’m there.

Recently I have read a few books that I struggled to finish, and actually one I just couldn’t. I got to about chapter 6 and that was as far as I could go. The writing was just poor and this book clearly wasn’t ready to be launched. I didn’t even know what it was about, even though I had read the book cover, it didn’t translate into the writing.

However, these books were published. Published. One by a small publisher and the other two self-pubbed. Both of the self-pubbed made note of editors, beta readers and critique partners.

If that is true, were they not good? Did they read it differently? Or… is it me?

Is it just because I am in the trenches too? I know the process and know what to look for. Is that why so many of the books I have read recently aren’t enjoyable? Meaning I’m reading it as a “critique partner” and fellow writer who is currently editing like a mad woman.

One book I read had a great story and was almost there, but I felt it could have used a little more smoothing and a bit more conflict. Some of the details were “too convenient.”

The first book (the one published by a small press) had a story line that I could follow but it wasn’t strong. Again poor writing, repetitive thoughts/themes and was boring.

And as mentioned above, I couldn’t even finished the 3rd one. All of the same things but without a solid story. I think I had read enough that I should have known what the point of everything was, but I didn’t.

As I prepare to self-publish, I don’t want to make these mistakes in my writing. I know that most are there currently, especially repeating thoughts. I’m actively editing and working out the bugs.

I’m sure people will still find my work awful, struggle with whether to leave a negative review while others won’t have a problem with leaving a bad review (possibly hurtful and not constructive). Okay, it’s part of being “out there.”

I think I’ll be launching my first around the end of this year/beginning of next, if all things go well over the next few months that is.

Good luck to all the writers out there. Don’t let people get you down, do the best you can and know that what I wrote above has more to do with me than you.

Write on!