Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September 2014 Wrap-Up

October already?!

I can almost believe it, actually, since I was back in my hometown last weekend and saw the fall foliage. Amazing how much of a difference that can make in seeing time pass! San Diego truly is the endless summer, which can make the months and years bleed together. Not that I mind! But it was nice to see the leaves going out in a blaze of glory.

Anyway, aside from traveling to Iowa for a dear friend's wedding, what did September hold for me? Well, my birthday for one. And another month away from my boyfriend, for another. And a wee bit of writing! A rather mixed month, all in all. I only got down 1374 new words over 5 writing days (so 25 non-writing days).

Wordcount goal: 49.1%
Non-writing days goal: 88%
Agents queried: 0
Rejections received: 3 forms, 1 closed due to no response

I didn't quite hit my wordcount goals, but I did hit more of my intangible goals. I finished the readthrough of novel 7, although the plethora of post-it notes has not yet made it into a coherent revision plan. I wrote 3 flash stores and one longer story (though it bordered on flash as well). Not prolific, but not bad for someone struggling to adapt to a new job and an entirely new lifestyle. I certainly won't hold it against myself!

As October dawns, I have big plans. BIG BIG plans that I won't go into here. But suffice to say that I am becoming even more serious about my writing career (something that is already my number 2 priority). More about that later. As for writing goals--I want to continue to produce my weekly flash stories (expect to see a new #FlashFridayFootage this week!), so I plan on 4 in October. I'd like to do at least 1 longer story for an anthology I have in mind. And I am going to attack the second draft of novel 7! The revision plan should be drawn up by the end of this week, and revisions will commence immediately. I am still SO excited about this novel and cannot wait for someone besides me to read it--so I need to get it written!

Because novel 7 is a bit stunted in its current form (barely over 40k words), I'll be adding a LOT. I hope to finish the revision by the end of November (no NaNoWriMo for me this year, sadly), and I need to get to at least 65k. Which means I better get close to 13k down this month. That sounds like a lot now that I write it out...

Anyway, between all of that, I am looking at a wordcount goal of 14,300 words! That would be a productive but not record-breaking month for me, so I think it is completely possible. That works out to less than 500 words a day! I could do that on my lunch break. So my goal is 14,300 words with no more than 10 non-writing days.

Bring on the pumpkin spice and the writing! Let's do this, October!

Friday, September 12, 2014

#FlashFridayFootage: "Sisyphean Hopes"

Friday again?! For a week that consisted of some tough days, it went by really fast! Hopefully it'll slow down for me to enjoy the weekend. But before that, take 2 minutes to escape this world with some flash fiction as part of my #FlashFridayFootage project!

Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 5, 2014

#FlashFridayFootage: "Transformation"

Hello, it's been a few weeks since you've been able to see my ridiculous face and hear a story! That's what I get for moving and starting a new job at the same time--not to mention lots of writing and bunny care and now training for a race. Phew! Even a 2 minute video is hard to do with all that. But I'm finally settling in, and #FlashFridayFootage is here for the long haul!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

August 2014 Wrap-Up

Only a couple days behind!

August was A Month. I don't quite have words to describe the whirlwind of emotions and ideas and everything. There will probably be a very introspective post next week--breaking the chain of all my previous light-hearted posts...

But for today, let's talk August numbers!

I knew August was going to be low-key after my crazy productivity in June and July. I did achieve my goal of finishing novel 7's first draft! It's a short lil thing, only 42k, but it's there for me to work on now. I intended to fill my "cooling off" period by writing shorts and editing novel 6. I did do some editing, but no shorts, and there just wasn't a lot of new words in August. But that's okay! Not every month needs to be a 25k month. Especially not ones where I am moving apartments and starting a new job at the same time. Plus traveling. And, you know, life.

Between all that, I came up with 8165 new words over 9 writing days (so 22 non-writing days).

Wordcount goal: 85.1%
Non-writing days goal: 31.8%
Agents queried: 9

Contests entered: 1
Rejections received: 3 forms, 1 personalized, 5 closed due to no response

All in all, I am happy with August. Did I meet my metrics goals? No. But that was more because my metrics weren't set right than anything else. I did spend plenty of time working on my writing, editing and reading about the writing craft and submitting to #PitchWars and all that good stuff. I'm headed into September with my head held high!

So what does September hold? Editing, mostly! Yay! I have already broken out the purple pen and the post-its, and novel 6 will yield to my crushingly awesome editorial skills. My goal is to have my quick read through and notes done and my revision pass in hand by the end of the month. That may not sound like a lot, but it most definitely is! I would still like to do some work on short fiction, so I hope to write one flash fiction story a week (I have to for #FlashFridayFootage!) and one longer short story over the course of the month. Which means I would need at the very least 2800 words, so goal is set! I would say I could do that in 8 writing days, so let's put the non-writing days goal at no more than 22. Again, this doesn't sound like a lot (because it's not!), because the focus is editing, which I don't have metrics for. Mostly becayse I'm not sure how to enter blood, sweat, and tears into Excel.

And on I go!

I'm just glad my kitchen doesn't look like this anymore!

Monday, August 18, 2014

All About Nora: A #PitchWars Mentee Bio!


I wasn't going to do one of these, but then I wanted to procrastinate, so here we are.

My name is Nora, and I am a pre-published author. I am currently sitting on my couch in pajamas eating iced animal crackers and watching HGTV. And that right there pretty much sums me up. It's noon and I pretty much look like this:

I am creeping closer to 30 than 20 (when the hell did that happen?). In fact, I'll be ticking another notch on September 7th—I will be accepting early gifts on September 3rd in the form of mentor picks!

Oh, and I should probably mention that I'm 6'4". But since this is the internet, don't worry, you won't have to have me looming over you! And nope, I don't play basketball/volleyball/whatever. I am determinedly uncoordinated!

So, what else about me? I was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Iowa, but I escaped the Midwest via the Navy. I went to college at the Naval Academy in Maryland where I got a B.S. in Astrophysics with a minor in Spanish. After that, I spent the last five years in the Navy. Luckily I was able to get four of those years in San Diego, where I stayed after getting out in June. Among all of these upheavals, moves, underways, and duty days, my writing has remained a constant.

I write science fiction and fantasy. I blame my parents! My dad started reading The Hobbit aloud to me when I was little, and I haven't looked back since. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Heinlein, Asimov, Ender's Game, Star Wars, Doctor Who...well, you get the idea. Magic? Space? Lasers? Give me it ALLLLLLLL!

The manuscript I submitted for #PitchWars, Anna's Stars, is the fourth full novel I have written. I love Anna, I love science fiction, and I love my kickass story! The book deals a lot with grief and loss, seasoned with galactic politics, Imperial machinations, and space adventuring. I can't wait for one of the mentors to fall in love with Anna and her story, too!

Well, that's me! Check out some of the other mentee bios over at the Contestant Hop!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Depression, Suicide, and Other Happy Thoughts

Yesterday I was scrolling through the New Posts tab over at AbsoluteWrite when I saw a post titled "Robin Williams Dead at 63". I couldn't believe it. I went straight to Twitter and it was the top trending topic—RIP Robin Williams. Dead from apparent suicide by hanging.

I spent much of the afternoon watching YouTube clips. Particularly one of my favorite Disney songs ever, made brilliant by the comedic stylings of the incomparable Mr. Williams.

How I learned what baklava was.

And as I started thinking about my blog post today, I thought that I should write about suicide. I should write about depression. I should try to share what it is like to be mired in an endless stream of self-recrimination. How it feels to want desperately to die and to hate yourself for not being brave enough to do it. How it feels when someone you love and care about is gone because of it. The dread that comes along with knowing someone close to you is struggling with that burden and you can't help it or lift it. The days when getting out of bed seems pointless, when sitting at a red light you plead with the universe to send an out-of-control semi crashing into your car. When a challenge as small as choosing what to wear can seem overwhelmingly huge. The ways you deal with it and the ways you don't because it can't truly be dealt with. Wondering if other people are as fucked up as you but only feeling worse when you realize many are.


I can't do it. I can't bring myself to truly sit down and write about my own struggles and the struggles I have witnessed in others. Instead I will point you to PostSecret, a site that has helped me connect with the humanity in those around me. To the Suicide Hotline who once fielded a call from me that helped pull me back, though it lasted no more than 30 seconds and they never had a chance to say much at all. To this touching post by David Wong that discusses the pain in comedy. And leave you with this amazing poem by Walt Whitman, made so famous by Robin Williams.

O Me! O Life!

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Friday, August 8, 2014

#FlashFridayFootage: "Emily and Brody"

TGIFFF! Because #FlashFridayFootage is clearly the highlight of Friday.

Thanks to the wonders of post scheduling and Tweetdeck, I am currently somewhere high above the United States on my way to Chicago for a bachelorette party—but you can be enjoying my reading of the flash science fiction story "Emily and Brody."

Have an excellent weekend!