So, we have hit August, and I thought it might be a good time to update how my writing life has been going. This is for all the lovely people I see IRL who ask me ‘how’s the book going?’ as well as those who are writers themselves and hear me natter away on Twitter about “Christmas story” and “Third Drafts” and “Nano 18 edits”.
In October last year I was feeling a little stuck. I was in the process of working on the second draft of my novel The Librex. While I loved it, there were some aspects that made me wonder if it would be a difficult sell as a debut. I also knew I needed some sort of incentive to get it done.
My friend KD Kells was about to do the AWC Write your Novel On-line class. With less than a week until sign-ups closed I took the plunge and joined her. It seemed the perfect way to get the next draft of the Librex done, while also up-skilling and having an opportunity to work out if this novel was worth investing in.
It was wonderful! I learnt so much about writing from the feedback and the tutor, I met a great group of critique partners, and everyone seemed to enjoy and believe in my book. I got my second draft finished by the end of March and as of last week have taken on the class feedback and finished draft three!
So now what? I’ve sent this next draft of the Librex out to a few people for some more feedback, to see if the changes I’ve made between drafts have solved the issues my class-mates found in the story. Then my plan is to enter PitchWars. PitchWars is a mentoring competition where writers enter their completed manuscripts for the right to be mentored by an industry professional, to get that manuscript up to scratch. Then Literary agents can read their submissions and if they like it, offer to represent the author and their book. (If you want a book published by one of the big publishing houses in America, you generally need an agent to make that happen)
I am nervous about this next step, and am tempted to second guess myself and my beloved book. But I know, if my nerves had their way, I would never submit my novels anywhere! Pitch Wars is a great incentive to get my book up to scratch, and whatever happens, I will have submitted my manuscript for the first time and that’s a pretty cool milestone.
AJ is my NanoWriMo Novel for 2018. It has been mostly on the backburner with occasional tweaking. Because I am me, instead of being an easier, more straightforward novel than The Librex, of course instead it’s a complex secondary world, dual POV, trilogy monster! I have had two writing friends look at it, who have given me some great feedback as to what isn’t working (namely- most of it!) But that hasn’t dampened my excitement and I’m looking forward to getting the start up to scratch for critiquing on my upcoming Writing Retreat.
Savey & Mason
My Fantasy Romance isn’t quite shelved, but I’ve put it aside for the moment. I wrote it as part of my Fantasy Novel writing course with CS Pacat, and while the characters are super dear to me, I know it needs a tonne of work, and I’d lost my faith in it. But when I had the immense pleasure of meeting CS Pacat face-to-face this year, she remembered the characters! So that gives me hope that there might be some merit of dusting it off in the future and giving it another try.
Part way through the year, the wonderful Emily Wrayburn suggested we start at #6amAusWriters hashtag on Twitter as a way of gathering early morning Australian writers, and motivating each other to write. A gang emerged and it’s been a wonderful incentive not to hit snooze! One of us was writing a Christmas story, and then V.E. Patton suggested we do a #6amAusWriters Christmas anthology.
Random but fun, hey!
It’s happening and I’m contributing. This will be a great chance to dip my toe into the self-publishing world, and I have a Christmas Sci-Fi story that won’t leave me alone (I’ve entered two versions of it into Furious Fiction already). So now I can expand it out and see what happens. The plan is to get it published in time for Christmas. Can’t wait to finish mine and see everyone else’s stories come together.
I’ve continued to enter the AWC Furious Fiction competition each month, making it 19 out of 19 since it began last year. It has been one of the highlights of the year, a great chance to get my creative brain pushing out new stories (which let’s face it, is my favourite part of writing). I haven’t been short-listed since June last year, but that matters less and less to me with each month. The enjoyment I get from the process, and the constant chance to improve is reward enough.
Writer in Motion
I won’t spend any time on WiM as I’ve done a whole blog series about it, but if you are interested in seeing my process of bringing a short story from first draft to edited polish- see here for the first post.
My New Years Writing Treats, an update.
At the start of the year I decided rather than having writing resolutions, I would give myself permission to get writing treats over the year. My aim was to attend three writing events, to buy more new books, and to go on a writing retreat.
So how is that going? Rather spectacularly!
I’m averaging around a writing event a month! As well as some more formal writing events (YA Day, Emerging Writers YA Day, and KidLit Vic), I’ve also been to several book launches and catch ups with writer friends. It has been wonderful to move out of the haze of early babyhood and be once again immersed in the world and people again.
As for the other two aims, I am already at twenty-two new books read this year. And a group of Sci-Fi Fantasy friends and I are all set to go away on a writing retreat at the end of September. We’ll give each other time to write, but also do some critiquing and world building chats and I can’t wait!
It’s so affirming to prioritise things that are good for my writing career, and I’m grateful for a husband and Grandparents/Aunts/Uncles who are committed to making that possible.
Thanks folks for listening to my ramble-ly post. It has been a fun writing year, and while the steps ahead are huge and a little scary, I’m excited to have so many people in my life cheering me on. So thank you!