TBAS Snapshot

Hey all! With the semester almost over and the holidays coming up, things have been a little crazy but I’ve still managed to get some editing in. If you hadn’t heard, I finished my WIP Nightfire! You can read my post all about that here. But I know that y’all have liked the snapshot posts, so I thought I would continue them as I dip my toe into the editing phase, and eventually get into major revisions where I’ll be picking apart my beautiful shiny MS completely.

I created To Build A Story to take you through the writing process and journey with me–which doesn’t stop when I’ve finished the first draft. I’ve changed up the snapshot a little bit so I can give you a better look into my editing process.

Title: Nightfire

Current word count: 67,505

Words written this week: 500

Words cut this week: about 100

What I’m working on: My first full read through of the story start to finish, with some light edits and tweaks. I’m actually surprised by how well it turned out. I expected I would have to destroy most of it since it is only the first draft. But I think that the beginning is very strong, though it does start to change around the middle, with the parts I wrote for CampNaNo. They’re not awful, but they’re not entirely working, though I need to figure out exactly where I want them to go before I try to fix them. I also finally divided (most of it) into chapters! So at least there is some sort of organization and logic now.

Favorite lines: 

In this ever-shifting world, only two things are sure. Tangible, unchanging.

The breath in my lungs, and the drumbeat in my chest.

I sit crouched in my vantage point, my muscles stiff with cold yet poised to strike, an arrow notched in my bow. My breath crystallizes as it meets the frigid night air, swirling clouds from my lips. Here in this austere silence, instinct pulses through my veins and my humanity falls away.

I am a predator, born to kill.

Goal for next week: I’m a little over halfway through, and I hope to have finished this read-through by then!

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Crossing the Finish Line

I apologize for the lack of posts this week, but I have a good reason: my sister is having a baby! By the end of this weekend, I am going to be an aunt, and I couldn’t be happier 🙂 So life has been a little crazy in between classes, social life, and getting ready for the new addition to our family. But I have some big news for you all today!

Despite the craziness, I was struck with a few good sessions of manic inspiration, and I finally did it.

I finished Nightfire! 

It has officially gone from a WIP to an MS, with a final word count of 67,154. I can’t even begin to explain the feels I have right now. I was crying while writing the final scenes, which I hope is a good sign (or maybe just means I have issues). I feel very strongly about this manuscript. I think it has a lot of promise and could be my best yet. Though it is still very raw, I can’t wait to share it with y’all, and I am so looking forward to all of the plans I have for it and the rest of the series.

Writing Nightfire has been a whirlwind. I started in the end of June this year, wrote 20,000 in July for CampNaNo, then took three months to write the next 20,000, and by November, five months later, I’m finished. It has by no means been a smooth ride–which if you have been following me, you are well aware of. (If not, you can check out my posts tagged either To Build A Story or CampNaNo). But everything is so worth it in this moment. Because though it is still raw and imperfect, I have a shiny, new, beautiful manuscript.

I’ve been enjoying it as much as I can, as long as I can. I read almost half of it in one sitting, cozied up in a blanket fort with a cup of coffee and my dog curled up beside me. At this moment in time, no one else has read this story, known this world, fallen in love with these characters, but me. I love that. And I love everything about this story, even in all its imperfect glory.

Though it’s not the first time I’ve fallen in love with a story, I am still head over heels for this one, and I never want it to go away. I know it will, when I get deep into the edits and start picking it apart into pieces and have stared at it until I want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon. That day will come, but it is not this day. This day is for cuddling my fresh, pink little baby and shielding it from the world as long as I can.

Five months is by far the shortest time I have ever taken to complete a novel. I have learned so much about myself in this process, and grown so much as a writer. This is the first time I have written a novel while connected to the online writing community, and it is a completely different experience.

There are both positives and negatives to this. On one hand, I had to consider others’ opinions and the context of publishing, which I’ve never really had while writing before. On the other, I have never had such amazing support through both the highs and lows. I’ve had all the wisdom and advice of the entire blog and Twitter-verses combined, right at my fingertips. Needed a word? No problem. Advice on a scene? Got it. Without word sprints and words of encouragements from my fellow bloggers and Twitter peeps, Nightfire would not have happened. Well, it would have, but most certainly not in five months. With everything that has been going in my life lately, I doubt I would have finished in a year, or maybe even at all.

So as much as this is a moment for me to feel proud and accomplished, you all should too. Without you, I couldn’t have done this.

In a way, we all wrote Nightfire together. And one day, when it is on the shelves, you’ll be able to pick it up and say, “I helped make this.”

We did it.


I had planned to do another snapshot post for y’all, but I had most definitely not planned to finish before I could. So I thought I would leave y’all with a final snapshot in this post, and maybe do some more as I begin the editing process.

Title: Nightfire

Current word count: 67,154

Words written this week: 3935

What I’m working on: I finished that pesky battle scene, wrote a transitional romantic scene that was so perfect for these characters, and wrote the climax and resolution. I really surprised myself, and I love how everything turned out. I pushed Kera and the others to their brink, and farther. And I ended with a little bit of mystery that alludes to events in the next book, which I am so excited to explore.

Favorite lines: 

His words fall on the austere silence, with only me and the black stalks of the trees as witness. I look up, searching his face. The raw, unnamable pain rooted in my chest is mirrored in his features. “I am sorry,” I breathe.

“I promised him that I would find a way to bring him back. But every year I get older, and he gets older, just rotting in that tank, waiting. And I’m no closer to finding a cure than I was six years ago.” Torren’s voice catches and he clamps his jaw shut, his temple trembling.

“I know the feeling,” I say.

Our eyes meet, and something unspoken intertwines us, binding us through this shared, unnamable ache. We have both known joy and the desolation that comes with having it taken away. Grief deeper than words can touch, lodged beneath our hearts like parasites.

Words left to write: Zero! *throws confetti*

TBAS Snapshot

Hey all! So I thought the snapshot last week worked out pretty well, so I’m going to try it again this week. It is finally starting to feel like fall here, which I am loving, but I haven’t gotten many words down with Halloween weekend and trying to catch up in school. Not to mention I’m starting to get sick, but I hope it will give me some time later this week to write some more, and hopefully I’ll have a better word count for y’all next week. 🙂

Title: Nightfire

Current word count: 64,134

Words written this week: 1345

What I’m working on: Still working on the same battle scene (sigh). I haven’t written much this week though, either. But I am very close to the end of it! I have the action all down, I just need to fill in some details and the aftermath. I also surprised myself with some awesome bits of gore.

Favorite lines: 

She is gone.

I cry out involuntarily, a strangled mix of frustration and grief.

“Kera?” Torren says from behind me.

“Hana,” I manage, my voice raw with a sudden, searing ache. “Hana!”

My voice is swallowed by the clash of metal and bone, by the garbled cries of dying men. I throw aside the bow and take up the sword, running headlong into the fray, only one thought in my mind. I have to get to her.

I can’t lose her again.

Words left to write: Around 4k, maybe even less. It really depends on how long the climactic scene ends up, but it shouldn’t be too long. Really looking forward to the next couple scenes!

TBAS Snapshot

Hey all! Hope you are getting ready and excited for Halloween! I know I am 🙂 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 🙂

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 🙂

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’t 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!

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.

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?

To Build A Story: Burn Out

It’s been a while since I’ve written a To Build A Story post, so I’m sorry, but I’ve been so busy with CampNaNo, I haven’t had the time. But I promised you this series would take you along the writing journey with me, the good, bad, and the ugly, so here it is.

This month, I’ve written almost everyday, and have down 17,668 words. For me, that’s a lot. My creativity juices are spent, and I am exhausted. It’s gotten to the point where I even dread sitting down to write–and I hate that.

On top of regular CampNaNo burnout, I am over 37,000 words and am starting to enter the middle slump, otherwise known as the writing Twilight Zone.

For me, this is the hardest stage in the drafting process. Somehow, when I reach about the 35k-40k mark, all the life gets sucked out of me. The story feels dull, the characters lifeless, and each word is like pulling a tooth–and even then they don’t feel right.

I still love this story. Nightfire was love at first word for me, and has been burning consistently since then. But I think with any story, no matter how great or how much you love it, you reach this stage. The initial momentum wears off, and suddenly you have to wonder, Where is this going? Does this make sense? Do the dots connect? The rose-colored love glasses are broken.

To stave off the burnout, I’ve been reading. A lot, actually. It has been a long time since I have torn through books like a knife through butter, but it feels pretty awesome to rediscover my true love for reading. And though it started out as a break from writing, reading has also helped me to write, both directly and indirectly. Directly, it’s given me inspiration for scenes or words and phrases to use, or conflicts and actions I like. Indirectly, it’s expanded my vocabulary, sparked my imagination, and refilled my creativity well.

So, I’m still plugging along, and tearing out each word like a tooth as I go.

One thing I realize as I go, is the more I write, the more I realize how much I have left to write. I’m starting to realize that there’s a lot more to this story than I thought at first–maybe even more than just one book’s worth.

Those in the writing Twilight Zone with me, how do you keep going? Those who have made it through, how did you do it?