Hiatus Announcement

So, a lot has happened since I wrote last week’s post.

Our family has vaguely been discussing moving houses in the next year, and seeing how the pandemic isn’t ending any time soon, we decided to go “see what’s on the market.”

Somehow that turned into us buying a house, which we’ll be moving into in the next month!

On top of packing up all our belongings, we also have to prepare our house for sale, adding a few coats of paint where needed, etc. I’ve been putting in 12-14 hours a day of packing, cleaning, and repairs.

Oh yeah, and preparing for Christmas on top of it all.

Needless to say, something’s got to give, and I’m afraid this blog is it. I’ve already given up any thought of writing until the new year, but I’m already feeling guilty for taking ten minutes out of packing to write this post.

Anyway, this is going to be my final post for this year. I’ll come back in January with my annual book recommendation posts, and to let you know how things are getting on.

I hope you have a happy holiday season, if you celebrate any of the ones between now and my return, and that you have a joyous New Year.

See you in 2021, friends.

Emotional Phases of Writing a Novel

This work in progress marks the sixth (? I think) novel I’ve written. And while some stories are better than others, I’m definitely beginning to pick up on a pattern for how I feel when I’m writing.

Starting a new novel is always exciting for me. New characters! New world! New problems to figure out! Everything is fresh and exciting.

But, at about the 20,000-word mark, the rose begins to lose its bloom. Suddenly, the story doesn’t feel exciting. Heck, it doesn’t even feel like something any reasonable person would ever want to read. I begin to question not just the story, but my ability as a writer.

It’d be easy to give up at that point.

(I think one of the reasons I like to draft during NaNoWriMo is that it gives me a reason to keep going. Once my competitive nature takes over, I can’t stop writing, or I risk “losing.”)

But when I push past that sticky middle section of the book, that’s when things start to feel good again.

I write in order, so once I get to the rising action and climax, writing becomes exciting again, as I want to know what happens. (Yes, I’m a plotter now, so technically I know what happens, but I don’t always know the exact way things are going to unfold.)

By the time I reach the resolution and denouement of the story…well, that can go one of two ways. Either I still love the book and can’t wait to revise it, or I hate it…and can’t wait to revise it.

(I guess technically there’s a third possible fate, reached by only one of my novels, which is: once finished, I realize the thing is a piece of garbage not worth my time to revise.)

The revision process is a whole separate journey that’s even more of an emotional roller coaster, depending on how messy my draft is. I hate it! I love! I want to throw my computer at a wall! It’s the best thing I’ve ever written! No one will ever want to read this!

I’m currently in the “I hate this!” phase of my WiP, which is discouraging. And it’s probably not helping that I’ve reduced my daily desired word count to 500 words (down from 1,000) due to an overload of chores/other things eating up my time this week.

On the other hand, I’m feeling pretty smug about my decision not to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. The added pressure would likely have catapulted me over my stress threshold.

So, how do you feel while drafting? Are you as confident on page 100 of a draft as you are on page 1? Do you start with a whimper and end with a bang? Are you a fellow passenger on the emotional Space Mountain? Let me know in the comments.

November Check-In


*Double checks calendar*

Yup, definitely November.

Wow. This year has totally fluctuated between dragging and flying by.

The past few weeks have been full of stress from some personal/family health issues — nothing serious, but a bunch of minor things** all choosing to occur at once, as seems to be the way in 2020.

How stressed have I been? Well, this week I managed to make and eat tuna casserole without realizing I forgot to add the main ingredient: tuna. In my defense, I had to take the dog out twice while assembling it, and I had a feeling something was missing, but I didn’t realize what it was lacking until my daughter pointed it out (and started sobbing because I’d ruined her favorite meal). Sigh.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I was struggling to write while also trying to monitor my kids in remote school.

Well, I kept my promise to write in the mornings, and it’s been going great! I’ve been managing about 1,000 words/day (often before anyone is up, but sometimes I need to also write during their kids’ quieter work times).

With this new method, I should hit 20,000 words on my WiP by the time this publishes on Thursday!

I was tempted to try and do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, where the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November), however, that requires writing a little over 1,600 words/day, even on weekends, and I felt like that was too much pressure.

(Yes, I know I could do a modified NaNo, only aim for say 30,000 words, but I also know how competitive I get, and I didn’t want the added stress right now. So I’m going to stick with my goals of 1,000 words/day on weekdays, and see how far I get.)

By doing my writing early, I’ve also managed to free up time to get some extra chores done. It’s been laundry palooza at our house lately, and I’ve been trying to declutter different parts of the house each week, as we start to think about maybe moving within the next year or so.

This past month also included making Halloween costumes. It was a bummer not to be able to host our usual costume party (but, you know, pandemic), and Trick or Treating was cancelled in our city, but we managed to have a decent time.

We spent Halloween day carving pumpkins, did two candy hunts (one indoors, the other at great-grandma’s house, outdoors, after dark – Thanks, GG!), introduced our kids to Beetlejuice, had a dinner of party food appetizers (since we couldn’t have the party), and walked the neighborhood in costume twice.

Our family did a Mandalorian theme, and I went as The Momdalorian:

Since we couldn’t shell out, I hung some candy on our “Trick or Tree” for any kids were out looking for candy. There weren’t too many families going door-to-door this year, but 15 of our candy bags got taken.

Right, now onto this month’s

Reading Stats

-MG Fantasy (1)

-YA Fantasy (7)

-YA Urban Fantasy (1)

-A UF (1)

-A Mystery (1)

October Total : 11

Year-to-Date: 134 (+11 Re-Reads)

**[Reminder that I’m in Canada, so the U.S. election isn’t as stressful for me as it is for so many of my friends and acquaintances. Also, I’m writing this on Monday, so my secondhand stress levels might be much higher by the time this gets published, depending on what happens this week.]