TBAS Snapshot

Hey all! Hope you are getting ready and excited for Halloween! I know I am ūüôā Since I have been so busy this semester, I have only been able to post about once a week. I came up with the idea to reblog a worthy post from the writing community every week to fill the gap, but based on your feedback, I decided that wasn’t the best answer.

So I am going to try something else.

Since I started To Build A Story to take you along the journey of writing a book with me, I thought I would give you a little snapshot of where I am, every week. It’s a more detailed look than my usual overall posts, so I hope you like it and maybe even find it helpful. Feel free to join in, and let me know where you’re at in your writing! After all, we are in this together ūüôā

Title: Nightfire

Current word count: 62,786

Words written this week: 2,421

What I’m working on:¬†A battle scene before the climax. Or at least, trying to–battle scenes are not my favorite. I’ve been stuck on this one for a little while. If anyone has tips, I’ll gladly take them ūüôā

Favorite lines: 

I grit my teeth, fighting the sudden, desperate ache in my heart. Hopelessness–in¬†the bitter tang at¬†the back of my mouth,¬†in my heart¬†with the¬†skittering pulse of a cornered animal. I can only hope their plan for escape doesn‚Äôt depend on any divine gifts they think I have.

If that is our only chance for escape, then we are already dead.

Words left to write:¬†I’ve estimated about 5k, but will likely end up being more before cuts. Excited to finish this draft!

The Great Indie Quest

So you may have read the post I wrote recently, where I examined the different publishing paths and which one was right for me. Since I didn’t know a lot about indie at the time, and some people had not even heard of it when I posted, I thought I would share some of the resources I found in my search–my Great Indie Quest, a¬†traditional girl’s quest to see what indie publishing can do for¬†me.

Indie publishing has a lot of things to offer potential authors, a lot of things I never realized. Freedom, rights, customization. You get to be part of a more intimate, and very loyal community. Not to mention when published through an indie publisher, there is still a gatekeeper and official stamp, as well as all the resources and services a publisher provides, but you get to forgo the entire stressful querying and finding an agent process.

I wanted to share these with you so hopefully if you haven’t heard of indie publishing, or like many people don’t really know a lot about it, you can learn more, and maybe discover that it is an option, or even the right publishing path for you.

Here are some of the resources I found:

1. This site is a great, straightforward guide, particularly to the business side. This post is helpful,  but her others are definitely worth checking out as well.

2. S.M. Boyce has some great advice for writers and indie authors. Here is an overview page of different aspects, and here is a list of recommended vendors and people to assist with all the different aspects you might have to handle if you choose to go indie–editing, design, formatting, etc.

3. Kirkus Reviews is well-known and prestigious within the writing and publishing industries, so I was glad to find that they had a guide on indie publishing. It is more general overview advice, but very helpful for those who are just starting to consider indie publishing, or want to find out more about it.

4. Though the Indie Author Guide is a book, which you can buy here, this companion site has a lot of excellent resources, including outside sources and links, and even worksheets for indie authors such as for tracking sales, production costs, budget, etc.

5. Again, though this is a book by author Susan Kaye Quinn, the site also includes two webinars, 10 Ways to Survive Indie Publishing and Facing Your Fears, plus dozens of links to resources for freelance services and other recommendations.

6. This is an article¬†about an author’s journey to self-publishing, and different aspects of it. The title, Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know, says it all.

That’s all I have for now! I hope these can help you to understand a little more about indie publishing, and maybe even consider it if you haven’t already. Do you have any questions, or more resources about indie publishing you’d like to share? Let me know!

Nearing the Finish Line

If any of y’all have been keeping an eye on the word counter in the sidebar, you’ve noticed it creeping ever closer to full. Now, the space is hardly noticeable at all. And it’s true. I’m only 1k away from my original goal of 60,000 words.

Am I almost done? Yes, but I still have more to go. That original goal is probably around 10k short, and that’s okay. But nearing my goal feels beyond amazing.

I’ve struggled a lot with this WIP. Between CampNaNo, burnout, and an overloaded semester, the words have been difficult at times. But somehow, at some point, I got out of the slog of the middle and into smoother waters. I’ve been churning out words, new characters, and plot points, and love where the story is going. I get excited every time I sit down to write, and when I start I don’t ever want to stop.

I love this feeling. It certainly hasn’t been an easy road, but writing a book never is. And as this WIP gets closer and closer to becoming a full, complete manuscript–my second publishable one ever–my smile gets bigger and bigger.

What started out as a snippet of an idea, one I pursued only as a break from my original manuscript, turned out to a story and world of its own. Now, it is about to be a book, and then a series. I feel a little bit like a proud mom, about to have her second baby. My CP and I call them brain babies, and this really is. And I think for a while I’m going to keep this one to myself, and enjoy it while it’s fresh and exciting and new, before I send it out into the world to be beaten and taken apart and reformed.

I’m actually looking forward to edits. I’m looking forward to going through it, and exploring this world deeper, and these new voices I’ve just discovered. I can’t wait for it to be polished and shiny and ready for the world–and to share it all with you.

This has been a marathon. I am so glad I’ve had y’all along with me on this journey, on the sidelines of the marathon, cheering me on. Though there were definitely times I wanted to give up, I am jogging towards the end–my lungs burning, muscles aching, and¬†heart soaring. I just need a few more cheerleaders, to make it through this home stretch, and break through that ribbon.

I can’t wait.

To Reblog Or Not To Reblog?

That is the question.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t had time to post as often with the semester in full swing, so I try to post once a week rather than every couple of days.

My question for you is, would you rather I choose one post to reblog every week, in between my own posts?

I know it’s not the same as a real post, but it’s better than none, and I’ll try to choose the best posts to share with y’all.

What do you think? Should I reblog each week, or not?

Why Do You Want to Be Published?

Yes, as writers, we all want to be published. But why?

It’s a question not many authors consider, but maybe we should.

And it’s a question I’ve been asking myself. Lately, the road to traditional (or perhaps, the warpath) has been a little disheartening. Not so much the rejection, but wondering where this is going. How many hours, queries, contests, years, would it take before I get an agent? And then how many more before I am¬†actually published?

I’ve never pursued anything other than traditional. A couple of years ago, I looked into self-publishing for a short time, mostly because I thought I had no chance of ever getting traditional publishing. But I didn’t like my options, and since then, traditional has seemed like the only option.

Then, a blogger asked me a question I had never really thought of. Why do you want to traditionally publish?

He asked it in the context of self-publishing, which I knew I didn’t want, but couldn’t really come up with a solid reason why. I brushed it away at the time, but recently I have been re-evaluating my publishing journey, and my goals. Yes, traditional seemed like the only real option, but is it? And is it really what I want?

To answer that, I have to ask myself: Why do I want to be published?

I’ve been writing stories my entire life. At the time, even when I started writing books, I didn’t think anything of it. These stories were for me. But somewhere along the road, a little girl started to dream, and thought just maybe that she would write the next Harry Potter, be the next JK Rowling.

I know one reason for sure I don’t want to published is for the success or money. Despite the fact that writing is probably the least likely career to get this from, writing is my passion first, and I will always do it because I love it. Any money or success that does come from it would be just a cherry on the cake.

I’ve also said that I want to publish because I want to share my stories with people. I want them to get to know my characters, feel for them, fall in love with them, get lost in the world. This is still absolutely true, and probably my biggest reason for wanting to publish. Maybe it’s a big reason most of us want to publish–we want to share this piece of our heart with others.

And then again, this blogger questioned: if you just want to share it with people, why not self-publish?

Now that stumped me. I was so anti-self-publishing for my own books, but why?

I couldn’t really answer that question, so I’ve been doing some writerly soul-searching. I re-examined each of my possible publishing options: self-publishing, indie, or traditional.

Self-publishing has many things to offer, like freedom, total profit from sales, absolute control. It also has negatives, like being responsible for all the costs and marketing, which is a big thing for me. And another aspect of self-publishing is that for me, it wouldn’t really feel real. I didn’t have to submit anything, get approved or chosen. Yes, it’s nice that there are no gatekeepers to get through, but on the other hand it wouldn’t really feel¬†earned.¬†Like I just woke up one day and decided to call myself a published author.

Traditional is the main option many people think of when they think of publishing. But when I looked into it further, I realized how many negatives there really are. Little freedom and control, losing your rights to your book, a small royalty percentage, dealing with bureaucracy, long wait times and long process, multiple gatekeepers. But on the other hand, it is the status of being a published author that everyone wants. Book signings, panels, events. Seeing your book in Barnes and Noble. It’s always been important for me to be able to hold my book. But is dealing with all of that worth it? Not to mention the entire querying and agent process.

Finally, I looked at indie, which I didn’t really understand when I started. Some people didn’t distinguish between indie and self-publishing, but I realized that there can be a world of difference. Some indie publishers are really just fronts for self-publishing, which is great for some people. I considered this as well, as a form of self-publishing but with some sort of gatekeeper and official stamp on it. But then I saw some of the publishers that Twitter friends of mine were releasing from–Twitter friends that I didn’t even realize were indie. They were doing book events, signings, all the things I thought of as traditional publishing. These publishers were small, yes. But they took care of overhead costs, design, marketing, logistics–while also allowing more freedom and input, and more profit. Not to mention a more direct, personal relationship. And there was none of the long, stressful agent process. You just submit directly to the publisher.

It took a while for my grip to loosen from its permanent vice around traditional. But when I really started to understand my options, I started to realize that maybe traditional wasn’t right for me. I knew I didn’t want to be self-published, but traditional didn’t feel right either. Which is why indie feels more and more like¬†a perfect fit.

And honestly, it feels like a relief. I feel like a weight has been lifted.

I’m getting ready to submit to a couple publishers in a month or two, but I have no idea what to expect and there’s no telling what will happen. But still, it feels right.

With indie, I get a personal, direct relationship, more control and creative freedom, and I still get to feel like a published author. I get to hold my book, sign it,¬†even see it in bookstores. And maybe I won’t be the next JK Rowling, but that little girl still gets to live a part of her dream.

This is what’s right for me, and it may not be for you. But don’t take traditional as your only option. Do some research, dig deeper, search your writerly soul to find what is right for you. And ask yourself this question: Why do you want to be published?


Are any of y’all indie? Do you know more about it than I do? Any snippets of wisdom to impart before I dive in? Or maybe you’re all in for self-publishing or traditional. What do you think?

Split Personality

I wrote a post a while ago called The Voices in My Head, about how characters are the heart of a story, and how to create characters that are truly alive.

Now the negative of that is if you bring characters to life, they stay that way. In your head. All the time.

Besides the obvious problem with your sanity, this can be a problem with your writing. As you know, I’ve been writing my WIP¬†Nightfire.¬†Meanwhile, I’ve been querying my MS¬†Ember,¬†but in the process have received feedback and started with some more edits and tweaks. Before, I’ve never had an issue with multiple characters, because I’ve only really worked on one manuscript at a time.

Now that’s changed, and I have two voices in my head–a split personality.

How do I navigate this, when characters are the heart of the story? It is hard not to lose the exact pitch of their voices, when they are both talking at once. Normally, I am engulfed in one world, one story, one voice. I know exactly how they think, how they would react, what they would do, because that is what I am surrounded by. I am lost in it. But how do I lose myself, in two places at once?

I have never seriously written two works at once, and have always heard of authors who can, and do. Some have written up to four books in a year! Maybe it is possible, but I am not sure how they stay true to each story, and distinct from the others.

When I go back for edits, I have to read through a scene or two, and re-ground myself in the world. Remember the exact tone of Falcon’s voice, the heartbeat of her world. Then when I reach a block in edits, I go back to¬†Nightfire.¬†I have to read through again, find Kera’s voice, the pulse of her story. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes I get lost in between, or with both at once. Sometimes I think I’ve found it, and a trace of Falcon will slip through, or vice versa.

This is a problem because Kera and Falcon, though they are similar in many ways, are also very different. They have entirely different ways¬†of reacting and dealing with situations. I’ve found that in some scenes, Kera will snap or lash out–when that is not her character, but Falcon’s. I have to step back and re-evaluate. Focus on her voice, and feel her emotions.

It’s not perfect, but neither is writing. I think the key is truly knowing both Kera and Falcon, and being able to recognize when one is not being true to her character.

Have you ever worked on two stories at once, maybe even more? How did you handle it, and keep them both separate and true? Even if you haven’t worked on more than one story, how do you separate voices when it comes to a new story?

Why You Shouldn’t Be Writing

We are constantly told: “You should be writing.” Especially from our fellow writer friends. It’s meant as a sort of tough love encouragement, a call to action, or push to get us going. Which is great, if the only thing stopping you is your own procrastination, or the ever-present self-doubt.

But sometimes, all this does is add to guilt us writers already struggle with every day. Every free moment we get, a little voice in our head is taunting, “You can’t relax. You’re being lazy. You should be writing.”

I’m here to tell you that little voice is wrong.

As far as little voices go, they’re usually wrong,¬†and it’s a good idea not to listen to them anyways. But that one I am sure you are familiar with that constantly nags at the back of your mind with guilt the longer you go between words, is¬†hard not to listen to. Especially when our fellow comrades in writing are saying the same thing.

Yes, sometimes we just need a little push. But sometimes, there is more than that going on. Maybe you’re a parent (a full-time job) or have a full-time job¬†(maybe both). Maybe when you get home you’re just so exhausted you can’t stand, or mentally drained, and all you want to do is veg out on the couch and watch some brain-numbing TV. Or if you’re like me, a full-time student with so much going on, it feels like you’re just trying to keep your head above water most of the time.

When I’ve finished studying for hours, or come home from a four hour lecture, the last thing I want to do is sit down and force out some words with brain power that I don’t have left. I’d much rather binge watch Once Upon A Time until I pass out and have dreams of Captain Hook (it’s happened, no judgement), or spend some quality time with boyfriend, or have an old-fashioned girls night, or I don’t know,¬†sleep for the first time in a week.

We are writers. The words are a part of us, and they always will be. That doesn’t mean that the longer we go without writing, we become lesser¬†writers. Yes, we are writers, but we are also human beings. With lives, and families, and responsibilities, and memories to be made.

Let yourself off the hook.

I know this can be hard for us writers, but seriously. If you need me to give you permission: You shouldn’t be writing right now. You have absolutely nothing hanging over your head, pressing at the back of your mind. You shouldn’t feel guilty. Go outside, read a book, spend time with your family, go out, take a nap. There are a hundred other things you can and should be doing instead of feeling guilty for not writing.

Again, we are writers but we are also humans. You do not stop being a writer if you’re not writing, or if you don’t think of writing every hour every day. The words will always be there. Go out and live your life, enjoy it. Maybe you’ll even get inspiration out of it, or come up with the next great American novel.

Trust me, letting go of that guilt feels amazing. When I stopped listening to that little voice, it felt like being freed from shackles.

So the next time you feel that familiar, gnawing guilt in the pit of your stomach, and hear that voice in the back of your mind, saying “You should be writing”?

Kindly tell him to leave you the hell alone.