2019 Writing Resolutions

As you can tell from the date of this post, I’m really on top of this whole New Year’s Resolution-thing.

Oh well, better late than never, right?

Anyway, I thought I’d post my Writing Resolutions for the year, so you can all help keep me accountable. As usual, I’m restricting my resolutions to things I can actually accomplish on my own (ie. I’m not putting ‘get an agent’ or ‘land a publishing deal’ because the only things I have control over is writing and submitting – not whether anyone likes it enough to sign me.)

I don’t have a lot of resolutions this year, but the ones I have aren’t exactly small, so it’ll be interesting to see how the next twelve months shape up.

2019 writing Resolutions

  • Finish revising SHADOWCATCHERS (my MG Fantasy)
  • Send SHADOWCATCHERS to my fabulous critique partner/beta reader
  • Revise again
  • Send SHADOWCATCHERS out to Canadian publishers
  • Revise my Adult Urban Fantasy WiP
  • Query it with agents
  • Write something new
  • Attend 1 conference
  • Read more recent MG Fantasy

I’ve already made a start on the first – my goal is to finish revising SHADOWCATCHERS and send it to my crit partner by the end of the month. (Of course, it would help if my kids would stay healthy enough to actually attend school and give me time to write.)

I’ve also made a list of 2018 MG Fantasies I want to read, and started requesting them at the library. Unfortunately not many are available as audiobooks, so I might be a bit slow plowing through those.

Well, that’s it for my list. Post yours in the comments so we can cheer you on, too.

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Falling in Love All Over Again

As I mentioned last week, I’ve decided to dive into revisions on some old projects, in the hopes of breathing new life into them, and eventually finding them a home with Canadian publishers.

This has resulted in me completely tearing apart my old MG Fantasy (the one that got me my agent in the first place).

I was devastated when it was rejected by American publishers, but now, three years later, I can see the flaws that made them hesitate. And, even better, I can see how to fix them.

The more I dig into these revisions, the more I remember why I wrote it in the first place. I’m falling in love with the characters and the story all over again. Even better, I’m falling in love with writing again.

For the first time in a while, I’m excited to sit down at my computer and write. To dive back into this world. I’ve even been writing outside my normal work hours (which is a lot for me, considering the state of my hands).

In fact, I’m going to end this post here, so I can get back to work on my exciting ms. See you next week!

Reading and Writing

As I mentioned last week, I recently started listening to audiobooks. While they have their ups and downs, I can’t deny they’ve helped me “read” a lot more (I’m on my 8th book this month).

And already I’ve noticed the effect on my writing.

Listening to 3 very different YA Contemporaries in 3 days lit my brain on fire (in a good way). Maybe it’s because I was listening, rather than reading (I find I can analyze it better because I get less wrapped up in the story when I’m not seeing the words). Or maybe it was just the quantity.

Either way, it helped me confirm something I’d already suspected: my current YA, the one I wrote for NaNo, is not working.

It wasn’t exactly a surprise. I’ve been dreading working on it. Had to drag myself to sit down and revise. And been really confused about which (if any) revisions were actually improving the story.

The truth is, none of them were.

After reading so much so fast, it became obvious: my plot didn’t work, my voice was only okay, and my MC…well, she’s not meant to be a main character.

It was a disappointing realization, but also, kind of a relief. A relief from the frustration of pouring time and energy into something that, deep down, I knew wasn’t working.

Even better? All this “reading” has sparked an idea on what to do next.

But I’ll write more on that next week.

To keep myself accountable, I’m going to post my reading stats at the end of each of month. Here’s my current list (I’m mostly keeping track of the novels I read on my own, but I’ve also read a slew of picture books and some middle grade and chapter books with my kids).

January Totals:

  • YA Contemporary (4)
  • YA Fantasy (3)
  • YA Alternate History (1)

I’m trying to keep my selections recent (everything I’ve read so far has come out in 2017), and from a diverse range of authors – although audiobook options are a bit limited, so I’m doing my best with what’s available.

Feel free to post your own reading stats in the comments, if you want to join me in my reading frenzy.

Bring on 2018!

That’s right, it’s time for my annual year end wrap up post.

Unfortunately, I feel like I don’t have a lot to write about this year. My migraines really dragged me down, and made work difficult, but I did accomplish a few things, so I might as well celebrate them:

  1. Revised my YA Contemporary BIG FAT GEEK with the help of my awesome agent Bri and her assistant Ali, and got it out on sub with editors!
  2. Wrote and started revising a Middle Grade Fantasy that I’m absolutely in love with.
  3. Decided to put Picture Book writing on hold and focus on YA and MG.
  4. Re-joined my online critique group.
  5. Wrote a really messy first draft of another YA Contemporary, that I can’t seem to get out of my head.
  6. Got off the daily migraine meds that were dragging me down and affecting my mood.
  7. Almost reached 600 followers on Twitter (@k_callard if you want to help me get there!)
  8. Found inspiration for a PB.

It might not be thrilling news, but at least it’s something. Now that my head’s doing better (*knocks on wood to prevent jinxing myself*) I can’t wait for 2018 to come around so I can tackle all the things!

(Tune in next week to see what I’m planning to get done in 2018.)

Hope you all have an excellent New Year’s celebration!

Getting Ready for NaNo

As some of you probably already know, November is National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo), where the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.

It’s been a few years since I participated, but since my two best stories (SHADOWCATCHERS and BIG FAT GEEK) were products of previous NaNos, I figured this would be a good year to try it again with my YA Contemporary idea.

While I know this post is a tad on the late side, I thought I’d link to some of my old posts for fellow writers struggling to reach their word goals. In my opinion, the best way to get words out quickly is to have a plan in advance (I’m a combination pantser and plotter, but I definitely write better if I have an idea of where the story is going, and who the characters are).

So, if you’re interested, click the links for advice on plotting, character development, drafting, and finding time to write. As always, there’s no right way to write, and these are just some of the things that have worked for me, so YMMV.

Happy writing!

The Green Eyed Monster Rears Its Head

The past few weeks, my timeline has been filled with good news from friends and writing idols: book sales, book launches, awards, movie deals, interviews, and celebrity encounters, among other things. It feels like everyone I know (and lots of people I don’t know) have exciting book news to announce. And I’m super happy for their successes. I’m glad they’re getting the attention they (and their books) deserve.

But…

Deep down inside there’s this little tiny part that wonders, When will it be my turn? and What if I’m just not as good as them?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by those kinds of doubts. To let Imposter Syndrome convince you you’re the last person who should be writing. I think it’s part of the reason that, while my MG revisions have been slow, my YA draft is non-existent. (“I just need to plot some more,” I say everyday, even though I’ve already filled one whole notebook.)

(Of course another reason is probably the unending headaches – it’s hard to concentrate enough to draft when your head feels like it’s being crushed – but it’s more than just the pain stopping me.)

So what can I do about it? Well, pretty much I just need to snap out of my funk. Suck it up and get over myself. Other people’s victories don’t take anything away from me – if anything they open up more opportunities for the future.

Instead of focussing on all the things outside of my own control, I need to concentrate on things I can control: like writing the next book.

What about you? Have you faced down the green-eyed monster? Have any tricks for beating it you’d like to share? Put them in the comments.

My Biggest Pet Peeve

As most of you know, I’m currently in my fourth year of a concussion right now, and since I just came out of a five-day-long major migraine, it felt like a good day to talk about one of my biggest pet peeves in books, film, and TV. (If you’re a writer, you can consider this writing advice; if not, just let it be food for thought.) Ready?

Head injuries.

Specifically, people being hit in the head so hard, they’re knocked unconscious, then suffering no lasting effects once they wake up.

(I’m looking at you, Giles.)

Look, as the not-so-proud experiencer of three separate concussions (and mom of a once-concussed child), I know that you don’t have to be knocked out to get a concussion (only one of my three concussion hits included a loss of consciousness). But, chances are if you do get hit hard enough to pass out, you’re going to be left with one.

And that means you’re probably not just going to be able to jump up and run off like nothing happened, when you wake up.

I admit, concussions are pretty unpredictable things, but odds are you’re going to be left at least a few of the following symptoms: headache, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, and trouble focusing your eyes.

Now, in fairness, not all symptoms show up right away, (my son didn’t start feeling nauseous for about an hour after he hit his head), so maybe  you could make a clean escape before the pain set in, but if I don’t see the head injuries starting to take a toll at some point? *shrugs* Well, it’s a disbelief I’m not prepared to suspend.

I mean, I’ve only been knocked out once (playing softball, if you’re interested), and at this point, I’m not allowed to drive, suffer pretty much daily from headaches and/or migraines, and can’t leave the house without wearing sunglasses, so I’m a little sensitive about the damage head injuries can do.

Okay. Rant over. *Gets off soapbox*

What about you? What are the pet peeves you absolutely can’t handle in media? Let me know in the comments.