Yes, I know it’s been some time. I promise though, that I do have some updates on my progress with my next novel!

Always one with excuses, I will lay blame to the holidays and the nasty cold season that seems to be infecting everyone lately including myself. Between those two things and the last promotion I had for Beautiful People (which was excellent!), time has been quite limited.

Enough with the cry fest though. I have been working hard on my next novel. I had left it for some time and am having a really hard time getting back into it. I’m one of those that if I leave a half-finished project, it’s hard to get back to finish it. Luckily though, I had created a chapter summary for most of the chapters I had already completed.

After rummaging through each chapter, I see I had a good book lined up. The problem is though that the chapters are still quite disjointed. This led me to finding an amazing application called FreeMind.

FreeMind is an open-source, meaning that it is a free download. Basically, it is a mind map application. After downloading the application, I decided to give it a test drive using my stalled novel. Now I’m on the tedious task of entering all my chapters and characters into the program. I can see how it will help me organize my thoughts visually so that I can get back on track easier and speed up the editing.

I can’t wait to start my next project from scratch. This time, I will not set the project down until it’s done!

Yes, I know, it’s been awhile since my last post. The fact is, I’ve been pulled away and have had very little time to do much writing. This does not mean that I’ve shelved everything aside forever. In fact, I made progress yesterday on my latest novel! After having put it aside until things settled down a it, I decided I couldn’t let it sit any longer.

This post is not just about my latest project, but also a note to other authors just starting out on their first works. So here is my advice in a nutshell: Don’t let a project sit for awhile. Yes, I know this goes against some other advice of walking away to clear the mind. I admit, sometimes it is necessary. In my case, it was just that I had been too busy to focus on it. Now, I am facing the reality of trying to get back into the groove of the story. I find my ideas tend to flow better when I’m in the middle of my work. If I let it set too long, it is harder for me to get back into the process of writing. The longer it sits, the longer it will take me to get in the writing mode.

The good news is that I broke the procrastination phase I had wedged myself into and began to write again. My next novel will be a full length novel and I’m currently around 42,000 words. I tend to write a little differently than others where I like to get my structure down first.

When I think of a story, I generally know where it will begin and where it will end. I tend to get the beginning down and as I do this, additional ideas come to mind. I don’t focus on a word count goal, but instead hone in on the structure. In the end, I usually am short on word count compared to other works. This is because I don’t focus too much on the details to start with. The next phase is where more detail is drawn around the story.

With the structure in place, I then go through my story and find weak points or areas that need more detail and start the process of what I think of as the inflation phase. This is where I add meat to the story – maybe even side stories. I might even create new characters that I think the story needs to add more color.

My last phase is a cutting phase. Here I go through and cut where I think I might have added to much from the prior phase. This is what I consider the editing phase which usually turns out to be around three full edits. This is the hardest part for me, but the most necessary.

Looking at this phased approach, I would say I’m in the first phase of writing the structure. Still a long way to go, but I’m determined not to shelve it again!

 

Confession

OK, so I have a confession to make…and it’s a doozy. I have not yet started writing the next book for Conduit. Gasp! I know….I deserve a kick in the butt. I have however mapped most of what I intend to have in the sequel to the first book. It’s all stored safely away in one of the dusty vaults in my mind.

Do I have an excuse? Sure! I have a bunch. Get ready for the sob story and queue the violin.

First, writing is an escape for me – a way to get away from the typical work week that I put in that actually supports me and my family. So unfortunately, work has to come first for me and it’s eating up my time and has become extremely busy of late. Second, I do have a two year old daughter who is a treasure and I don’t want to miss a moment of her toddler life – even at the terrible two’s stage that she is going through filled with tantrums and crying fits. Honestly, aside from the really bad mood days, the terrible two’s aren’t so bad. Third, it is summer time and whatever time I get, I like to be a lazy bum like everyone else out there. Yes, I’m sure there are those that will tell me that I need to write everyday for x amount of time – but I’m human, not a machine.

So have I been completely lazy and will I never write another story? Heck no! In fact I’m still busy getting my novella, “Beautiful People” ready to go – I’m aiming for fall this year. I’m really excited about this story as it really fits to a lot of what is happening with society today. Now here is the exciting part if you’ve managed to make it this far in my rambling: I will be following a slightly different release plan for this story and will first load the book to Smashwords. This means that I can offer coupons for free on advance copies as a contest promotion. I will cover the details around the free copies in another post shortly.

I’ve also been working on a long running novel about alternate timelines – which still remains to be titled. I’m approximately 40,000 words in and believe I’ll finish the story with at least 60,000 words. I don’t usually talk about word counts because I’ve grown to believe that word counts and setting targets of word counts are a thing of the past. I don’t want to be an author who fills pages upon pages of extra wording in order to satisfy a word count target. The story is complete when the story is complete – regardless of how many words are in the book. I only reference the word count as a way to gauge how complete I think this story is – roughly 67% on the first draft. Yes, still more to go but I’m getting there.

Hopefully some of the above explains my absence from the blog and lack of news surrounding the sequel to Conduit: The Beginning. I promise I’m working my way into picking up where the first story left off. There is a lot to add and it will be worth the wait.