Finding the Balance

Alright, all you aspiring writers: how do you do it?

I’m trying to find the balance between writing and real-life-stuff, and I think that I’m a little stuck. I realized yesterday that, for a variety of reasons, I hadn’t touched my manuscript in four days. And I’ve got a deadline coming up that I have no chance of meeting. I’ve revised 158 pages of my 380-some (and growing) draft, but I thought I could have the whole thing revised and in second draft form by November 1st. Yes, two days from now.

Sigh.

So, tell me, readers, any advice on balancing writing with the everyday stuff that comes in between?

A Reflection on Satisfying Endings and My Magic System

I just finished Jim Butcher’s Cursor’s Fury, book three of the Alera Codex series. Like the ending to the first Stormlight Chronicles installment by Brandon Sanderson, the ending was supremely satisfying. As I read and write concurrently, I am so incredibly moved by endings that fulfill all of the promises made early on, especially when they do so through the underdog-esque success of my favorite characters. I’m trying so intently to learn from these authors and how they manage to pull it off.

We’ll see if I can manage it!

In other news, I’m thinking of changing the names of my magic and magic-wielding individuals. It’s a debate between keeping Augiri (mages) and Auri (magic – in this case, a person’s innate life force) and changing the terms to lifemages and anima, respectively. Does “lifemage” sound too hokey?

103,038 Words! (and an excerpt)

Holy cow! I did it! Remember when I had that goal of 100,000 words? Yes? Ok, good. Now, remember how I didn’t quite meet that goal? Wrote 96,000 and some instead?

Well, I have some great news for you then! Over the past two days, I have written in some extra scenes (a little backstory here, a little character fleshing out there), and my manuscript is now 103,038 words in length. 354 pages long.

I’VE WRITTEN 354 PAGES!!!!!

I did it! I met and surpassed my goal – I’m definitely at a good submission length now for the publishers on my list. And it feels goooooood.

What’s that? You want proof? Include an excerpt in this blog post, you say? Well, if you insist.

Here’s a little bit of Renna backstory, in the new and improved Chapter 2:

Renna tapped her foot impatiently as she waited in line outside the apothecary, trying to ignore the soft hum in the air and the faint itching in her hands and arms. The line was out the door and down the rickety steps, spilling out into the uneven dirt road. Renna counted the heads in front of her. Nine. Nine people before it would be her turn. She tried to keep her anxiety down, but she could already feel her pulse accelerating. She prayed to the Lord that she wouldn’t have an episode here, but she wasn’t sure how much control He had over these things. Shifting, Renna continued tapping her foot, trying to distract herself from the people in front and behind her in line.

Runin’s apothecary wasn’t usually this busy, but the salt blight had lingered on into the dry season, and there were more sick in the coastal village than usual. Including Renna’s aunt, Kendral. Kendral meant the world to Renna. She’d been the only family Renna had ever known, and Renna would do anything for her. Which meant that she would even come into town for medicine.

They had thought that there was enough fernleaf in the cupboards to last through the blight season, but, as Renna had discovered yesterday, a mold had gotten into one of the jars and made the contents utterly unusable. Kendral had been ill for the last few days, and her fever had broken over a day ago. Still, it wouldn’t do for her to relapse just when she seemed to be getting better. So, Renna had decided to go into town and restock their fernleaf, episodes or no episodes.

Renna ran her fingers along the inch-wide braids that crisscrossed her head, ending in a messy bun and tried to distract herself from the overwhelming press of bodies around her. She had to laugh at herself.

Only a true recluse would find two dozen people overwhelming, she thought, shaking her head.

Her foot continued to tap.

New Goal!

With real-world stuff getting in between me and my revisions of Augira, I’ve decided that I need a new goal. Submitting by mid-January is nice, but something more concrete is even better.

So, how about: Give second draft to alpha readers November 1st.

Nothing like knowing people I want to impress will be reading it to make me get to work polishing and tweaking!

Now if I could just stop getting distracted by amazing books… Right now I cannot put down Jim Butcher’s Furies of Calderon, part one of the Codex Alera epic fantasy series. I cannot tell you how nice it is to get involved with an epic fantasy in which the final book HAS ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN. Many of the series I get into lately just keep adding, and adding, and adding books with no end in sight. This five-book series by Mr. Butcher (of Dresden Files fame) is quite addictive. Go ahead, start reading one. Bet you’ll suddenly find you’ve run out of time to work on your book as well! 🙂