Catching up

I’ve been so busy lately, I didn’t think I’d have time to update this blog. But I’ve just submitted the finale for “You and I” to Noveltrove Erotica, and can now take a breather before getting on with the rest of my to-do list.

Update on the publishing thing: I have signed a contract with Siren-Bookstrand, written blurbs and summaries, and hoped to high heaven that someone will tell me if I’ve done a crap job! I still kind of can’t believe it and am trying hard to keep my fears and doubts at bay. I really hope you guys enjoy my first novel. Will share more as things progress.

This week, I’m setting up a newsletter and hope to goodness you’ll enjoy the updates, new reads and other goodies I’m putting in it. It’s short, sweet, and only once a month so it doesn’t clog your inbox. The first issue goes out in August!

I’ve been reading a lot of fiction prompts lately, and have been thinking about sharing stories on this blog. When I was in school, first learning to write essays, we’d be given a topic and have to write 150 words. Now, 150 doesn’t sound like a lot, but I remember when it felt like heaps. I love flash fiction for that reason – you can do so much with so little.

I love soup and simple recipes for that reason too, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, what do you think? Would you read romance and erotica on a person’s blog, or do you prefer story sites like Noveltrove and Literotica? Or do you prefer grabbing whole ebooks and reading away from the computer? What about getting short stories emailed to you directly?

I’m getting published!!

I’m so excited. I signed a contract with a publisher earlier this week. My futuristic thriller novel will see the light of day at some point later this year.

My friends have been incredibly supportive. From beta reading the manuscript to going out of their way to try a genre they wouldn’t normally touch, to reviewing my flash fiction, nudging me about a newsletter, and even asking to include my work in their monthly book club. I’m so grateful, I could cry.

I haven’t cried yet. It all feels so surreal and, I admit, there’s a cynical and insecure part of me that’s bracing for something going wrong. It’s seriously making me reflect on my attitude. I know when it comes to writing, fear has caused me to hesitate a lot over the years. I don’t want that to be the theme of my whole life.

When I was younger, I used to write a heap of fiction. That was back when you could still be anonymous online. I could be a different person. Writing and sharing with people who know me in real life is completely different. It makes me nervous.

So, sharing my work like this lately has been a big step. I guess even if something does go wrong, I feel relieved to have made it here. I feel inspired to work hard and keep going.

Thank you to everyone who’s supported me so far — even though I haven’t told most of you that I have a blog haha. Whenever it is you find this post, know that I love you. 🙂

Rambling in a post-beta world

There was an unexpected theme in the feedback I got from my beta readers. They said they wanted “more”… More scene setting, more background; essentially, more words.

I was surprised. The whole time I chipped away at my novel draft, I was scared to death of boring my readers with too many words. Come to think of it, I’m pretty much constantly scared of it. It’s a monkey on my back.

Earlier this year, I read Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others. I loved it. As a storyteller, I found myself in awe of the surreal and imaginative worlds he conjures with his words. As a (sometimes) technical writer, I marvelled at how his composition was so precise yet so emotional. Seeing that made me see how I struggle to resolve that difference in my own writing.

I write non-fiction for a living. Usually feature articles and blog posts about science and digital marketing, but sometimes professional profiles, business emails, documentation and copy. Because most of my work gets published on the web, there are certain styles and guiding principles I have to adhere to.

Succinctness is one. A big one, in fact. Huge. Being wordy is considered taking the piss with the reader’s time. It’s considered indulgent.

After so long, I feel guilty when I ramble. Don’t get me wrong, I still ramble, but I feel guilty now, where I didn’t used to before. I suspect it shows in my writing. I’m hesitant to describe things too thoroughly, too scared to dwell on a scene for too long. Because shit, isn’t that what you skip over to get to the good bits?

Recently, a friend told me that she loves detailed descriptions. She loves reading in-depth nuances about a scene. It blew my mind. I’d never heard anyone say that before. Perhaps all this time, I’ve been living in a bubble of rushed, “just get on with it” types who don’t want to stop and smell the roses. (Or, read about how the roses smell.)

So I’m in the midst of my edit now. I’ve been told the editing process should take as long as the writing process, so I don’t feel bad that it’s going at a glacial pace. I also don’t feel bad that I’m adding so much more context via so many more words. I’m being indulgent and I’m trying not to care, because my readers have asked for it. And shit, it’s fiction. Isn’t indulgence kind of what fiction’s all about?

The next 15 minutes

Phew! I’m halfway through my edit. I’ve been chatting with a fellow writer (one who’s actually been published in the romance genre!), who’s given me plenty of advice about writing and publishing. So there’s a lot swimming around in my head.

I have many questions and, while I know you’re supposed to ask questions when you’re just starting out, part of me feels inclined to just shut up and put my head down and get my work done. Ask with my body and actions instead of with words, you know?

Well, today my body says we did good for getting to halfway, even though I started the week intending to finish by this afternoon. Whether I’m taking a break for today or for the next 15 minutes, I need to just enjoy it and not feel guilty. Even Chuck Wendig says so.

So, *raises teacup*… Here’s to you.

Late night bravery

It’s so late, but I’m on my last couple of scenes for this first draft and can’t stop. It’s strange. I’ve spent months working up to this point, and now that it’s here, I feel so anxious.

I guess it’s because once the first draft is done, the editing process begins. It means I can no longer dismiss the things that are wrong with my plot and prose. I have to confront them, fix them, instead of saying, “Oh, I’ll deal with it later.”

While I don’t advocate drinking on the job, I’ve had a dram of single malt liquid courage tonight. It’s helping. Another thousand words to go. Hopefully the final thousand. Wish me luck!