Road Trip Wednesday: Season Changes

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

This Week’s Topic

October!! It is SO fall! How does your writing (place, time, inspiration, etc) change with the seasons?

My Answer

Although I’ve been writing since 2009, it’s only been since May of this year that I’ve been writing seriously and consistently with the intent to publish.  The major change in my writing due to seasons was simply that over the summer, my son was home from school. It meant more time traveling to activities during the day, more time playing referee between him and his sister, more time spent away from home on vacations… In short, less time to write.

Over the summer I took Candace Haven’s Comprehensive Writing class, hoping it would help me get Brotherly Love finished.  I did a lot of thinking about my story. Perhaps too much. I’m still lost in deciding which way the ending should go, and that’s freezing me up from revising any part of it as well.  *sigh*

Now that I think about it, the fall has changed my writing thought process, because NaNoWriMo is coming up. October will be about planning for NaNo…if I can get the Brotherly Love boys out of my head!

Starting a New Project is Hard!

I cannot move on from a fictional character.

Characters have a way of grabbing hold of us, don’t they?

In May, I finished the first draft of my WIP, Brotherly Love, after taking a FastDraft workshop with Candace Havens. And “first draft” is definitely the appropriate term for it:  There’s extraneous scenes, missing scenes, some less-than-stellar writing, and at least three attempts at an ending.

In short, it needs a lot of work. But since then, I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels. I haven’t done much revising yet, mostly just brainstorming. This path or that path? Why does this character have zero flaws? Should that character be a doctor or a minister?

Ahhhh, the questions are never-ending.

NaNo is Coming …

I’m super excited about doing NaNo this year.

Actually, no.

I’m super excited about the idea of doing NaNo this year.

I’m not really sure what I’ll write for NaNo. But I’ve got all of October to figure that out, right?

Before NaNo Comes FastDraft

Yup, I was just insane enough to sign up for another FastDraft workshop right before NaNo.  It starts tomorrow and last week was supposed to be dedicated to preparing for that.

I struggled all week to figure what what I’ll write over the next two weeks.  I struggled to develop new characters and relationships and conflicts.

Why has this been so hard? Usually developing characters is what I’m good at and they come fairly easily to me. But not this time.

The Voices Characters in My Head

A big part of the problem is that I can’t get the two main characters of Brotherly Love out of my head.   I’m always thinking about how I can tweak the plot to raise the stakes, put them into conflict, and tell the story I want to tell.

My book is almost finished, but I'm just not ready to say goodbye to these characters. Maybe if I just read the last chapter really slow...

We’ve all felt this way at one point, right?

They’re my friends. I love them. To start another project feels like abandoning them.

Does that sound crazy? Other writers can probably understand these feelings,  but writers are pretty weird to begin with, huh?

Judging by the number of memes about fictional characters and the way we hold on to them makes me think that readers get it, too.

Either that, or they’re just as crazy as us writers. 😀

Not Abandonment, Just a Break

I have to keep telling myself that I’m not abandoning my boys.  I’m not giving up on them. But I do worry that by the end of November, I’ll be so focused on the new manuscripts that Brotherly Love will fall to the wayside.

I even worry I’ll  forget about my boys.

Then I remember a story I started writing back in 2009 but never finished. I still think about that story. Not every day anymore, but often enough. I even still dream about those characters sometimes. The only reason I haven’t gone back to work on that story is that it’s fan fiction and my focus right now is on writing stories that I can publish.

So no, I won’t forget about my Brotherly Love boys in just a couple months. And yet I worry so much about it, I’m having trouble moving on even though I know I need to take a break.

I just have to keep telling myself that it’s okay.  Everything will be alright.  






My crappy first draft

Yes, I did just shout that.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned Candace Haven’s Fast Draft class.  Well, I did sign up for it, figuring at worst case it’d be a $20 donation to the instructor.  That’s so cheap for a writing class; it was worth the risk.

I’m so glad I did.

Because… (can I shout again?)


I now have a 40,500-word first draft of my young adult novel that did not exist prior to May 14.  I’m taking a couple days off before starting in on the revisions (of which there will be tons, but that’s okay!).

What I really love is that I was able to do it without too much of a disruption to my family.  Okay, my daughter watched more TV in the last two weeks than she should have, and I only did the basics around the house, but I didn’t have to hide myself away, exist on 2 hours of sleep a night, or anything crazy like that.

I was amazed at how fast the words flowed once I got into the right mind set.  I hit 800+ words in 30 minutes several times, and even over 1000 words in 30 minutes a few times!  That is unheard of for me.

If you are a writer who struggles with the ol’ internal editor (that nagging voice that makes you re-write every sentence three times before you move on), give Fast Draft a try.  I didn’t think it’d work for me, but it did!  Candace says she does them several times a year.  Her next one is already scheduled to start July 7.  For only $20, what have you got to lose, considering you could have a complete first draft done at the end of 14 days?

I’m Probably a Little Crazy…

I’ve signed up for two online writing classes and I’m considering a third.  This may be a little crazy, but ultimately I think all three can help.

The first two are on Margie Lawson’s website (and there’s still time to sign up!):

The Art of Developing Great Conflict taught by  Sharon Mignerey

77 Secrets to Writing Young Adult Fiction That Sells! taught by Tiffany Lawson Inman

Each is only $30 for the whole month.  The first lesson and assignment for the Conflict class have been posted and it looks like it’s going to be great!  I can’t wait for the first lesson for the YA class.

The third class will confirm I am indeed crazy, if I do sign up for it.  It’s Candace Haven’s Fast Draft and Revision Hell and it starts May 14 (so, again, plenty of time to still sign up!).

From what I can tell, the idea behind it is to write 5,000 words a day for two weeks.  I have to really push myself to write that much in a week, between two kids, my husband’s schedule, and my own perfectionism.  But that’s why I want to take the class: to learn how to get past my internal editor and just get the words out fast and fix later.

How about you? Have you taken any classes at Margie Lawson’s website?  Have you done Candace Haven’s Fast Draft?