Still on that chapter

And I have been writing.


It’s just that this is a fight scene, and one I am rewriting from a new character’s POV. So I’m not just fixing up the fight, but rewriting big chunks of it because Barb wouldn’t know what a trained warrior would. It’s exhausting, mentally.


It’s one thing to switch POV between characters with a similar background, but it’s a lot more work to use a novice in any scene. While I appreciate the opportunity for natural exposition and world building, my brain hurts after a few paragraphs because I have to translate actions into an alien mentality.


I’m reading a few paragraphs and then taking a few hours to process how Barb would interpret those actions. Then I have to edit and rewrite and find the right transition.

Or decide that Barb wouldn’t have the faintest clue what’s going on, and then rewrite around that revelation.

sigh annoyed

And it’s going well, more or less. I’m hoping it will speed up once the action starts in earnest. Most of the scene setting stuff just needs pronoun changes, and Barb is only starting to come into her own, so she can observe actions; she doesn’t have to be a part of them. Which means I have to change a few lines and add her reactions. Hopefully. As long as I don’t change my mind, again.

the leaf

So, I’m moving right along, if more slowly than I thought. But it’s the story that’s being slow, not me. I’m writing. Which is a good thing. I like being writing. I am braining the words so hard. So hard the braining. Such words.


Sorry, I have to get back to my book.



The abyss is staring back

So I’ve been not so much rewriting as rearranging Red Witch. No new scenes, just a new timeline for scenes. Occasionally, I switch POV or squash a few together, or extend something, but nothing new. Until today.


I knew this was coming. After all, the point of this rearrangement is that I needed more action sequences. The problem is that now the ephemeral ideas of “Oh I could do something like…” have to become actual words on the page.


This is where novellas call me again. I love epics. And I want to write one. But the balancing act is much harder for 100,000 words. This takes work, not the typing, but the braining. I have to choreograph fight scenes. My few lessons in stage fighting does not cover battlefield tactics for specialized fighters.  This is work.


And once I get the action down, it’s not finished. No, that process is just begun. The scene I rough out over the next few days–


Fine… WEEKS.


So many hours of Sims are coming… so much procrastination….



Those rough fight scenes are just the beginning. They will have to be edited and refined. They will likely be way too long or too short. It’s not unusual for authors of epics to take years to write a single draft.

And there’s that abyss again. The years of work on something that I have no intention of publishing until I finish the series. Six books, one finished, one in pieces, one started, one drafted, two theoretical concepts. Each a minimum of 100,000 words. Each focused on a different genre. All intricate pieces of a puzzle. All taking a minimum of three years to write, in total, if the first one is any indication.


Some days I do wonder if it’s worth it.

Then I find myself plotting dialogue between Brenda and Edie. Or I see Marley tuning his guitar… and I open scrivener and stare back.





So the betas are all over Red Witch, and a few are even combing The Haven again. But these are dense books that require concentration… and Red Witch is still finding it’s way, and that’s a long complicated process that will take years to finish…

In other words,  I’m bored.


This isn’t to knock my betas and critiquers. They are plugging away, and doing a great job. This is a manifestation of my inability to wait with grace. Waiting for feedback so I can make the changes, minute and huge, that make a better book is basically torture for me.


So what to do? There’s always a need more Chelsea stories.



Click on the pic to sign up for my free monthly story. And remember, shame is for people without student loans!

But I have a bunch of Chelsea stories in the hopper already.

So I’m back to bored.


Editing is not my favorite thing to do. Editing my novels is significantly harder than my short stories and novellas.

But drafting is easy. Letting my characters out to play is much, much moer fun than cleaning up after them.

So I think I’m going to read a few chapters for a writing partner, and then I’m going to look up what Edie and Marley are doing in book three…




Because I’m trying to downsize my stress…

Here’s a blog post I did over the weekend. Read this if you need my literary musings.

I have a chapter to finish.


Talking to myself: A logical look at breaking my own rules.

Hey logical side are you awake?

Bitch, I might be.

Yeah, I feel you. Insomnia and a puking husband.


However, there’s something I need to work my way through.

You have coffee, right?

Yup. With the Boba Fett Creamer!

Who thought I was joking?

Fine, lay it on me.

It’s the Red Witch.

Yes, that has been an ongoing problem, hasn’t it?

I just don’t know what to do. I know that finishing the draft is always preferable, otherwise you get stuck in the “constantly-rewriting-the-beginning” loop.

Neil knows what’s up!

But you are really thinking about ditching this draft?

Yeah, I am. There’s some huge pacing issues, and I had a great idea for a new opening chapter, because a lot of critiques pointed out that–

Do you have to list your reasons?

Well… yeah… I mean if I’m going to break one of my own writing rules, I should have a damn good reason, right?

You do. Look, you’ve been at this for a while. Two years of self-publishing shorts, four novels written… you know how to write. Yes, the “finish the damn draft” rule is a good one. But you aren’t doing this arbitrarily.

I don’t have an ending, though. Working without an ending means that I can’t actually get the beginning right.

Ignoring that this next draft won’t be your last, yes, you do have an ending. Okay, you don’t have a current ending written out, but you know how this story ends. You have for three years now. 

True. But–

And you have finished two drafts of this novel. You’re simply contemplating revising this draft again.

Yes, but, and this “but” is very important, this is the first huge revisionary draft and I haven’t finished it.

I get that. It’s a big deal. You radically changed some characters and the timeline. You want to see how that changes the ending. 


However, are you changing the ending?

The ultimate ending, who lives and who dies? No. No plans on it.

Not just who lives and who dies, but the moral and emotional upheavals the manner of those death create and the lessons the characters learn along the way, do they change?

As far as I can see, no. The biggest changes are how we get there.

But that almost always changes from draft to draft anyway.


The important thing here is that you’re so busy contemplating all the flaws in this current draft you aren’t writing it. You spent last week reading and rereading, but not getting any words down.

Yeah, that really has been bugging me.

You have a lot on your plate. You’re publishing, on top of the monthly flash series, the weekly comic, and the daily writing blog. You’re also gearing up for another story for the Bowman’s Inn. And in the middle of all that, you gave yourself two weeks to work on your novel. So pay attention to your instincts. If you want to write a new opening chapter, then do it. If you want to spend a few days fixing the timeline, have at it. After all, this is supposed to be the working draft, one step closer to a finished product. You have some critiques, and the changes you want are based on them and your own knowledge of storytelling. You are doing exactly what needs to be done.

Okay… am I really justifying this?

Of course, you are!

i dunno

However, there’s are legitimate reasons behind this justification. Most of which are genuinely reasonable. So, stop feeling guilty about breaking some stupid ‘rule’ and get some words down.

You’re right.

No, you’re right.

Now, I’m confused.

Bitch, get writing!

Right, right, on it.

‘Brutal’ Honesty? Thanks, but no thanks

I’m always on the lookout for critique partners.

I even joined a Goodreads group dedicated to matching up partners.

My only response, so far, is from a person who prided themselves on their ‘brutal honesty’. I declined the offer.


The phrase ‘brutal honesty’ has come to represent something I intensely dislike in my critiques, and that is people acting like being a jerk somehow makes what they have to say more true.

I love honesty. Tell me what’s wrong.  But pointing out flaws shouldn’t be accompanied by insults.  And yes, I will give an example of what I mean.

Let’s say that I’m reading a text and I notice an author repeating a descriptor (We all do it. You get an image in your head and boom, you’re using that word over and over). Highliting the repeated word with a note about ‘You seem caught in a loop here’ is pointing out a mistake.

Telling the author that they need to learn to vary their vocabulary if they want to be taken seriously is not ‘brutal honesty’. It’s being a jerk.

bitch alert

And people are less likely to listen to your, admittedly, legitimate points about their writing if you’re being a jerk.

People who use the phrase ‘brutally honest’ to describe themselves tend to be the kind the people who write those types of critiques.

i'm done with you

I don’t want to cringe when I get an email from a critique partner. I want to be excited that someone read my work and is helping me to improve it.

Yes, that means I’ll have to hear about characters that aren’t working, plot holes, and poorly written passages.


But every rough draft will have those things. That’s why we have to revise. Insulting the author while you point out the flaws in their work doesn’t make you a better critique partner.

Seriously, did you expect  anything less of me?

It might be unfair of me not to give this person a shot. I might be missing out on great commentary on my work.

But I’d rather not deal with the hassle of ‘brutal’ honesty. I have enough doubts about my writing without having to read insults about it, and myself, daily.

writing is hard

And we’re BACK!!!

uc page 12

And there is it! New comic!

It feels great to type that again.

As for writing, yes, I do need to get on the ball with my editing. Things are looking better, but I still don’t feel ready for a November release. At this point, I’m not only obsessing over word choice, but also doing the tiny, nitpicky things that every series needs for continuity. The kind of editing that really drives me insane.

Hopefully, despite the teacher’s strike and my kids being home again, I can buckle down and get this stuff done.