Novel Update: Virtually Yours Forever

Somehow, I have managed to carve out six entire days of writing in the last week.

I’m not exactly sure how this is possible. I’ve spent the last two and a half months running around southeastern Michigan like a headless chicken. But look, today is August 24, and our summer rush’s days are numbered. Pretty soon, we’ll be back in a peaceful, nearly coma-inducing rhythm and we can catch our breath.

As for writing, it helped to have the husband in San Francisco for four of those days. Once I got into a groove, and after he returned, it was fairly simple to keep up the forward momentum. I retired each day for a few hours of diligent editing.

Most of the story is already there. I wrote Virtually Yours Forever during NaNoWriMo last November, after spending a summer devising plot lines for my sequel. I opened the file up for the first time in late July. The first week of August was spent mapping out scenes on color coordinated 3″ x 5″ index cards.

Of course, this meant first having to construct color coordinated 3″ x 5″ cards, because in this modern age, office supply stores are loathe to carry them. While there, I also snagged a pretty notebook – on sale – in order to further map out my plot and characters.

I have to say, it’s kind of a mess. VY4ever is 30 chapters long, and with seven major characters, it’s a gargantuan effort to keep everything straight. When I write during NaNo, I write like a crazy person. I don’t self-edit, I don’t look back. I just want to get the words down and worry about the execution later. As with the first book, I spent each day in November writing from one character’s point of view, which gave me a lot of material until Thanksgiving.

(The bride and groom’s wedding is scheduled for November 29. Between the 22nd and the 28th, the Virtual Mom world begins to unravel.)

Well, such a frenzied pace shows in the writing. It took a week of reading the first draft before I figured out what I wrote. During the excavation, I noted some pretty interesting and twisted dialogue I’d completely forgotten about. This edit is all about weaving the individual stories together. Then it’s off to my Editor for Life, and he can figure out the gaping holes or inconsistencies.

I’m old-school, so looking at two open Word files on the same computer screen drives me crazy. Add to that mess my 3″ x 5″ cards littered all over the living room floor. After three days, I had confetti everywhere, and I’d lost two pens and one fine point Sharpie. I was certifiable and my eyes were permanently crossed. It occurred to me (in the dead of night) to highlight what I’d used in the old draft, after placing it in the new so I wouldn’t get lost.

Yesterday, I made it to Chapter 15, meaning I’m halfway there. Halfway there in six days. I can only hope I can make it the rest of the way in six more, but that would be tempting the fates. It’s best if I tell myself now that it’s not going to happen, and pray that it might.

(I don’t know what I’d do if I had to work under real deadlines. As it is, my ED is a little behind on the last project I sent him, so all in all, we’re probably even. That’s what counts.)

I’d like to be able to tell you that VY4ever will be ready for release next spring, but that, too, would be tempting the fates. But I’m working on it.

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Available Now, Virtually Yours – and the Anticlimax

It’s been a long and sloggish journey. First you have to have a germ of an idea (which you poached off your best Internet buds, with their consent); then you actually have to commit to time and energy to get your idea out of your head and onto paper and/or Word document (which is much harder to do than you think); after which, you have to commit to making it better (meaning surrendering your baby to a real, live editor and re-writing massive parts of the story); and after shiny and new, you enter it into several contests and query for a year (with high hopes and few positive resulting answers), before finally making the leap (because the sequel is nearly ready for the first edit and you have to get that out) to self-e-pubbing (and that alone takes a lot longer than you thought it would).

(For those Grammar Police: Yes, that was a very long sentence. Bite me. 🙂 )

With Book Baby, you don’t know exactly when your book will hit the “For Sale” shelves. (Maybe this is true of other e-book publishers as well, I don’t know.) Amazon was to take two or three days; the rest, two or three weeks.

At this point – between writing, re-writing, editing, formatting, and the dreaded Real Life sagas (which are too many to list here) – I am completely spent. I have officially entered the Virtually Yours anticlimactic black hole.

Imagine my surprise when I received a Facebook message from a friend telling me my book was out! So I investigated, and sure enough, it is!

So now the worries: I’m not sure I like the blurb. I’m not sure I like the cover design. And I’m for sure not sure I like that someone else wrote another Virtually Yours which appears several titles above mine. (Not that I’m angry she scammed my title and launched on or about the same time I did. My Virtually Yours is soooo different.)

For a brief summary, see below. For purchase on Kindle, go HERE.

Genre: Mom-Lit. Which is chick-lit, matured. Think of chick-lit as a bottle of Boone’s Farm. Think of mom-lit as a bottle of Kendall Jackson.

Characters: Six major, plus one interloper. It’s a lot, but there are stories bubbling with each of the six women. And the interloper.

Theme: Things aren’t ever what they appear to be.

Big Reveal: OH, LORDY, YES! But you won’t know until you read to nearly the end, so don’t give up too soon.

As for me and my anticlimax: After getting my employees paid, I’m going to retreat to my hole and write a few hours this afternoon. Because I should, and I must.

Tracking, Not Back Tracking

The last several weeks have been busy with my Day Job. I don’t know about other writers, but I find I have to have at least three hours of uninterrupted time in order to complete a chapter of about 4,000.

Since I’m doing this part-time, it’s a balancing act.

There’s no way this time of year.

Instead of having good news to report about the progress I’ve made on Oaks and Acorns, I instead must hang my head in shame. 😦

What I have been doing when I get a chance is going back over the first six chapters, getting rid of the excess (I am the Queen of Excess, no doubt), tightening up my sentences and streamlining my words.

I’ve also laid out the characters and plot, something I didn’t do the first time around. It’s going to make so much more sense.

This is my first venture into chick-lit, which is different from that dark and dreary book I first wrote. Finding Cadence is more a journey into the deep recesses of the soul, a trip that could just as easily end badly as it could have redemption. I’m trying to keep O&A light, fast, inventive.

This is hard to do when there are other things pressing on the back burner threatening to torch the rest of my life.

As with other areas of my existence, I find that self-imposed deadlines are the best bet. I want this baby put to bed by the end of September.

On another note, I joined the local group of Romance Writers. Unfortunately, the RWA national convention is this week and as a result there will be no meeting this month. I’ll have to wait until next month to gain some wisdom from this group of ladies.

It’s going to be hard, but I’ll try to keep tracking and not back tracking.