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The Write Life: I’m Back!

It is with great joy that I announce that after a very rough end to 2022, I’m back!

There is still a bit of chaos in my home life as we wrap cancer & lung infection treatments for my mom (which will take at least through July), but life has settled enough that I can resume some of my professional efforts, including my Patreon and blogging.

The time off has been positive as it’s given me space to consider what efforts are working best for my career and energy, and which ones have been more painful than positive. I’ve also spent a lot of time assessing how I want to focus and move forward.

One thing that’s become clear to me is that I want to spend more time in and around inspiration. Working on the Story Kernels podcast made me remember why I have so many prompt resources and it let me stretch my ability to use inspiration and play more with storytelling. It was a positive experience I want to continue, so—in response to that—I’m adding a new tier to my Patreon:

Writer Prompts

Each month I’ll post a prompt from one of my many resources, and you can use that prompt to create! While I imagine most people following me are fellow writers, you don’t need to be limited to prose or even the written word. Take that inspiration and do with it what you will!

Underneath each prompt, I’ll include a response of 100–500 words—what the prompt inspired for me.

Whether you want the prompts for yourself or want to read what I’ve written, the Writer Prompts tier is where you’ll find inspiration and what I’m doing with inspiration.

You can sign up for Writer Prompts as a new patron or change your pledge to include access to the new tier.

But if you don’t have the cash to join Patreon (don’t worry, I understand), I’ll be posting a prompt to this blog roughly every other month. Most of these will be prompts previously posted on Patreon (or Story Kernels), but I might share something fresh every now and again to keep things ~interesting. (And not all prompts posted to Patreon are guaranteed to be made public—so there will absolutely be Patreon exclusives among the offerings.)

As part of the changes to my Patreon, I’m also retiring the 3-Page Editing Advice tier. The execution of that tier never matched how I envisioned its use, so I’m planning to transform it into a new offering that better matches how patrons have been redeeming banked pages, my workload, and what would best benefit writers. I’m not yet ready to launch that new effort, so look for it later this year.

I’m excited about pushing forward with more focus and am feeling positive about the changes I’m making and how they align with my long-term goals and self-care. Hope you’re also making plans that center your mental and physical health alongside your creative goals.

 

 

For full access to The Write Life and the story of what the heck was up with my Christmas tree this year, sign up on Patreon for $1 or more per month. You’ll also receive a personalized thank you in a future edition of The Write Life.

The Write Life: Outline – Revise – Surprise!

This month my writing life was focused almost exclusively on outlining. (Also on Kate Bishop, since I wrote an article about the other Hawkeye for SlashFilm in anticipation of the Disney+ Hawkeye series debuting Nov 24.)

DragonCon kicked off my September with a workshop by Bethany Kesler called “This Is How We Time/Space Travel and Other Chronological Pitfalls.” Bethany’s session got me thinking about leaning into the alternate history of my Gay Airship Pirates novel, and I started noodling new options for the outline.

How would I emphasize the historical elements when I hadn’t framed the story around history? Does the history complement the story I actually want to tell? Am I putting too much pressure on myself by developing a historically based world?

I put all these questions aside while I worked on a new plot, shifting the antagonist’s focus and grand plan, and retooling the breadcrumbs that would allow the heroes to discover (and be threatened by) this new mystery. Some things didn’t work as neatly as they did in the previous outline, but I figured out a stronger motivation for the opening scene, there weren’t any huge gaps, and I added a longer denouement that more fully resolved one character’s emotional journey.

And then I was selected for a one-on-one with Hannah Kates during the virtual writing retreat Write Hive Lite. (Insert pitch to check out the Write Hive community and all their valuable programming.) Obviously, I needed Hannah to look at my new outline, right?

I submitted my outline for her review and then sat back to think… about those questions I asked myself and then ignored. 😬

Here’s a secret a lot of writers hate to know: when you’re struggling to make a decision, you have the answers, you just want someone else to tell you that you’re right. And that is exactly what my one-on-one with Hannah turned into. I knew what I wanted to do with the story and how I wanted to proceed, but I needed someone enthusiastic about the premise and who had distance from the years-long development process to tell me to trust my instincts.

Which is why I’m revising the outline. Again. To remove the historical elements. 😂

But here’s the awesome thing about doing all that work focused on bringing in more history: I now know that’s not what I want to do. Up until now, I’ve been second-guessing myself and allowing that doubt to hinder my progress. Also, looking at the story from a different angle let me find new solutions to old problems and I’ve got a better outline because I did the work!

The planning stages of writing can be frustrating and sometimes un-fun, but it’s important to put in the time thinking about a story and how everything comes together to ensure the story actually works once you get to drafting. Having an impartial person to talk to about that process was exactly what I needed to move forward.

This seems like a good time to mention that while I’m currently closed to new patrons for my editorial tiers, I’ll be opening new Patreon tiers later this month. The best way to get notified of when they’re available is to follow me on Patreon or Twitter.

For full access to The Write Life, sign up on Patreon for $1 or more per month. You’ll also receive a personalized thank you in a future edition of The Write Life.

The Write Life: Fresh Start December

Normally at this time of year I do an end-of-year assessment on the goals I set in January, or do some kind of wrap up to talk about what I achieved. But 2020 was so wildly unpredictable that most goals I set for myself quickly morphed, and I came to accept that writing things that made me happy was more important than anything else.

Even so, in this last month, I finally started a project I’ve been putting off all year.

The last time I re-submitted revisions on my agent pursuit, I came up with the wild idea to split my finished novel into a novella trilogy. I decided to wait through one last round for agents to respond, then a publisher’s open call, before dedicating myself to dividing the novel for self-publishing.

…And then I waited two more months because who wants to do all that extra work if you can just keep waiting???

But as I waited, I thought more about what the revision from novel to novella series would look like, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it (even if I kept procrastinating on making a mess out of something that was “done”).

In December, I finally bit the bullet, split my Scrivener file, and started outlining each part as a separate novella. The original novel structure with three distinct acts means making the initial split was easy, but work still needs to be done to establish inciting incidents for each part and ensure each book resolves a major conflict. (Also, increasing the word count overall, or else I’ll have a short story and two short novellas.)

So far, the first novella is fully mapped out, and the existing parts from the other two have been structured so I have some idea of what’s missing. I still have some planning to go before I start writing, but I’m expecting these revisions (and prepping the series for self-publishing) to be my major project through most of 2021. I’ll be launching some new tiers and rewards on Patreon to support this project, so if you’re interested in reading more about the self-publishing process or seeing previews of the work-in-progress, keep an eye out for that announcement, likely in February or early March.

 

 

For full access to The Write Life, sign up on Patreon for $1 or more per month. You’ll also receive a personalized thank you in a future edition of The Write Life.