7x7x7x7 Challenge

I was challenged by Laura Harvey on Twitter and it sounded fun so here it is!

How it works? Go to the seventh page of your work in progress, find the seventh line, and then post the next seven to your blog or this blog or wherever you like! Then challenge seven other writers to do the same.

Vaun retorted sharply as he pushed the paper off to the side and picked up his fork once more. She might have ignored his breakfast cake but he would not.

The cringe never went beyond her eyes, but he saw it and it was enough to make him smile again. His sister had been forced into a marriage with the oldest son of the Vym family long ago and had never quite recovered from the scorn of it all.

“Tell me you didn’t rat me out to my own sister.” The Prince looked at Addom, taking a bite but only pretended to enjoy it. Eventually, even cakes became dull.

What did I learn from this?

1. My sentences are long. Really, really long.

2. Almost all of my writer friends are recluses who refuse to have twitter or blogs or even facebook. So, if you’re one of my writer buddies and you read this blog, consider yourself challenged. I’m going to have to go dig a few of you out of your hideaways..

-Cheryl

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Update. Go September!

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I should be working on one of my stand alone novel projects but, of course, all I want to do is work on the series I have out with publishers right now. Even when it’s not in front of me, it’s hard to put it out of mind. Of all the stages of looking for a home for a novel, I think the waiting has been the hardest because there’s simply nothing else I can do for the project in the meantime. I’m waiting to hear back from beta readers for the second and third books of the series and working on any more books for this series feels silly until I find a home for the first one.

So, as far as an update on the projects:

Vanity in Dust is sitting on the desks of publishers and I am breathlessly waiting to hear back.

Books 2 & 3 are with readers and I am looking forward to getting more feedback on them.

The Immortal Dead is being queried to horror publishers. Fingers crossed there too.

And the new project is outlined and ready to be written.

Cheryl is distracted by other people’s books and soon going to Umeå for a couple of weeks to eat far too much cake and drown in lattes. Pictures to come. Not likely to be an overly productive month but definitely going to be a fun one.

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Outlining

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I love outlining! I know, I know, that’s nonsense, but it’s so true. A handful of years ago I would never have thought that I would enjoy outlining so I know why a lot of pantsers out there would be skeptical.

Just consider it. Originally, I just wrote the book with all of the ideas of where it was going in my head. BUT, when I was writing the first book of a series, I found myself overflowing with ideas for the books to come. Desperate not to forget these ideas or lines of dialog, I started jotting them down in doc files.

When it came time to sit down and start work on Book Two of the series, I opened up the file with all of my notes only to realize that it was more than ten pages long. I read through it and started moving scenes around to get them in the right order and then just continued to add to it until I had a scene by scene line up ready.

That book took me maybe a month to write, following the scenes and keeping to a “word-count a day” schedule. Now, some of the scenes were literally just “-stuff” or “-Vaun/Addom”. But they were markers because I knew that I needed something more at that point and when I got to those spots, I had plenty in mind to fill them with.

I’ve continued to use this method and looooove it! I get my world in mind, have my characters and large plot line ready, and just sit down and write out an outline. It takes a couple days sometimes (when the outline is from scratch rather than from pages upon pages of scene notes) but, at least for me, it has been so worth it.

If you’re in the market for a new writing system, give this a try. It’s pretty much speed writing your book in bullet point form, scene by scene, sloppy as can be, but knowing that no one but you will ever see it. You come up with all sorts of things you didn’t even know you were going to do but were so necessary to balance out the book. You can see the pacing right in front of you and add in another scene if you see things being wedged too close together. And you get to sit there, typing and awing at your own genius.

At least for me, outlining has really made things easier. I don’t get distracted or convince myself that I don’t know what to write next or need to think about it for a while (which we all know means checking twitter and tumblr and roaming the internet at large). I’ve used this method three times now and it works. The book gets done and it gets done fast.

Writers out there, give outlines a chance!

-cheryl

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Revising/Editing

I’ve been editing the second book of my series and, because I decided beforehand to make some changes and add a few things to it, I get to these exciting pockets where I get to write a new scene.

Let me explain how exciting that is by explaining that I’ve been editing books for a while now. After I finished the zombie book (The Immortal Dead) over the summer, I gave that one a couple read throughs and then after that I gave Vanity in Dust a read through on the computer and then a printed out read through followed by another round on the computer. So, to get to write a handful of scenes again, makes me pretty giddy.

The book I’m editing now is the second of the Vain series I’m working on. I absolutely love working on these books! I love the characters and the world and knowing where everything is going. I can’t wait to get the second book in order so that I can start work on editing the third one (also written already) and finally get it in shape to have Phong and Linn read it.

I sent Vanity in Dust to a publisher for consideration at the start of this month and am just about dying to hear back from them. I’ve also built a list of agents to send queries to as well as a few more small publishers. I really want to see Vanity in Dust given life. I think if will alone could get me published I would be by now but we all know that’s not enough! So query letters and agent lists will become my life!

Honestly, getting to write those few extra scenes was such a pick-me-up. I will make this happen!

Posts with pictures from our Piteå trip to come!

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Hopes High

The publisher I’m planning to send my book to only takes submissions three months out of the year. This has created an interesting issue in that I have been ready to send it off to them for the past two months. I gave Vain (said book) another read through on the computer, printed it and read it through once more in an attempt to catch any mistakes I missed and anything I no longer liked.

I wrote this book in 2011, I think. I have since written the two following books, an urban fantasy that needs some serious polishing and then, this last summer, a post-apocalyptic zombie story (in an attempt to try something different). So, to go back and reread Vain after all of those was actually really fun and there were definitely some things I caught that I don’t think I would have seen at all a few years ago.

Printing it out and reading it on paper was also incredibly useful. I realized that when I was editing the zombie book. I feel like I catch a lot more mistakes, or just words used to closely to one another, on paper that I somehow missed when reading on my computer.

Back to the pending query though, I am getting really anxious. I’ve sent Vanity in Dust (affectionately called Vain) to a handful of agents over the years and, obviously, had no luck. I came across World Weaver Press a while back when I was entertaining the idea of writing short stories (turns out that short is not my skill). They are absolutely everything I ever wanted. Personal, professional, socially available and competent. Plus, their covers are lovely. It’s petty but come on, who doesn’t care?

The problem? The time I have had to build up the hope of being a part of this publishing group. Hope is as dangerous as it is powerful. I want it. I would usually avoid even talking about it for fear of how I’ll feel when it passes me by, but that’s not very honest. The truth is that I want to be published. I want to be heard. And I want this publisher to be the publisher and this year to be the year.

So, there’s a bit of honesty and a glimpse at the inner wants of a writer not yet author.

Someday.

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