White Rabbit: Aquamarine Edition

Another month down. Eeesh, how did it get to be March already?

I completed my read through of the Cat novel! It is now fully marked upon and awaiting my tender care in shoving those changes down its digital throat. I gave myself a couple of days to get my courage in hand before that plunge, especially since the last few days of read through were a twee neurotic. But editing has begun. Updates on how far I get next month.

I have also returned to the submission to agent bandwagon and have been tossing Trask’s novel at people. Fingers crossed.

And for new words on the page…
February Total Word Count: 27543
So, only 500 words short of a thousand word per day average. Not bad, considering the last few days of the month became focused on getting through the last chunk of the novel and not putting new words down. As for what I wrote, I was actually doing pretty good at slapping new words down on Phoenix and Wolf during the month, that’s moved forward quite a bit. And… then I got distracted by a completely new idea in a totally new world with fantasy vampires that was supposed to be a quick bit of personal entertainment and took me a week of buildup before I chickened out on the sexy bits. Yup. Aaaand this week, I took off on ANOTHER brand new idea, I need to stop doing this, this has been a TERRIBLE year for new ideas springing forth instead of working on all of the older stuff I have laying around. Nyargh. BUT, at least I’m producing…? Y-yay?

And now, a short evaluation, lifted from Chuck Wendig’s blog:

a) What’s your greatest strength / skill in terms of writing/storytelling?
Dialogue is one of my strengths. I’ve always loved writing dialogue and I think I’ve got a good ear for realistic dialogue. I also can write humor pretty well.

b) What’s your greatest weakness in writing/storytelling? What gives you the most trouble?
Finishing things. Not just the act of getting all of the story down on the page, but writing endings. They’re so damn important and so damn hard to write. Another weakness is knowing the scope of a project, where ‘done’ is and how many words I’ll need to get there. I have a bad tendency to use more words than I need to get there too, at least these days. Also, action.

c) How many books or other projects have you actually finished? What did you do with them?
Works I consider complete: 7
3 Novels
2 Short Stories
1 Novella
1 Novelette

Of those:
1 novel is in its 3rd draft and I am seeking an agent for it
1 novel is in edits now
1 novel was lifted to a 2nd draft stage but is now a dead project
2 short stories have been examined for a 2nd draft, but second drafts have not been completed
And the novella and novelette have not been touched at all since I wrote them.

We will not get into how many ‘in progress’ things I have right now.

d) Best writing advice you’ve ever been given? (i.e. really helped you)
“Never stop writing.”
Been told this a few times, by a few different teachers/adults/mentors. And it’s made all the difference in the world to a paranoid introvert kid who wanted to write but had a shaky confidence in herself. It’s not that this is really good ‘advice’ to guide a writer’s craft or ability. But it kept me tacking words on things and pondering stories and scenes through high school and college when there were a number of other distractions to take up my time. Those three words are words that I live by.

e) Worst writing advice you’ve ever been given? (i.e. didn’t help at all, may have hurt)
“To cope with Blank Page Syndrome, when you stop writing for the night, stop in the middle of a sentence, even the middle of the word. That way, you have an automatic place to pick up when you start the next day.”
This is actually good advice for some people, it really helps them. But it absolutely KILLS scenes for me. If I leave off in the middle of a sentence, I inevitably cannot remember how I was going to end the sentence the night before and anything I put down will feel lame compared to what I thought I was going to put down. Whenever I’ve tried this method, I usually end up deleting the entire half finished sentence and starting clean at the last period. And the whole process adds a good ten to fifteen minutes just to get me writing. Just not good advice for me.

f) One piece of advice you’d give other writers?
The writing advice that you need varies, not just from person to person, but from point to point in a single writer’s career. What’s helpful to a raw beginner may be annoying or even damaging to a writer who is working on polishing the finer points of craft. That doesn’t make the advice useless over all, it just means that it’s not the advice needed RIGHT NOW.

So, grab what’s helping you now and run with it. When you reach a new phase in writing, re-evaluate the old advice and dump it if it has stopped being useful. There’s always more writing wisdom in the pond.