Monday, November 9, 2015

3 Lessons I learned Writing My Sequel



Oh my goodness, I haven't written a post since August. I am a terrible blogger. But the good news is that I had a fantastic excuse for my MIA status--I finished Book 2 of the Modi Series! Hip-hip-hooray!


Crimson Earth is coming out Thurs. Dec. 10th!! Watch out for links to pre-order your copy. The cover release is set for next week, Tues. Nov. 17th, so definitely keep an eye out. Add it to your Goodreads--and if you want the first two chapters before anyone else, just sign up to the Newsletter on my site


Would you be interested in blogging about the cover release? Please let me know!! I'd be ever so grateful for your help in spreading the word. Here is a link to the blurb on Goodreads.

And because I'm all about sharing experiences and knowledge, I also wanted to share my top three lessons writing this novel


1. Setting Realistic Deadlines 

Listen, I'm probably crazy about deadlines. I am an over-achiever and my excuses are... that I have none. I have no children, I have pets that require the least amount of responsibility (cats), and my only other hobbies are hiking, gym, Netflix, and reading--all of which, I'd hold off doing in order to finish a novel. My friends know my routine and understand that when I crawl out of the novel-writing rock, that I'm ready to socialize and create more fun memories together. 

That said, I realized that creative endeavors are not like other straightforward projects. My fiancee, who is an artist by trade, let me know that the best way to map out your deadlines is to consider the achievable timeline, divide it in half, and then add that other half to the total. For example: if you think you can finish a book in three months, probably best to say your deadline should be closer to 4.5 months. Because I didn't really have any prior experience, I set my goals a bit too high. Overall, the best thing to do is give yourself a little cushion and wiggle room. Though, I didn't make my original goal (I wanted to have 1.5 months to market between finishing the book and marketing it), I'm glad I had that extra time and got around 3.5 weeks to market the book before it released.
There are definitely things I could have done to help meet my goal, and the next bullet is one of them. 



2. Outline - Do you need one? 

I have a full-time job. One that requires a lot of travel between Sept - Oct every year. I decided to be in the thick of finishing my novel during that time. Probably too ambitious, of course. If you're a writer trying to juggle two careers, the best tool in your writer's kit is outlining. You don't have to adhere to every aspect of what you outline, but the exercise alone makes you consider your entire plot, your subplots, your ending, and if there are any holes. It makes you consider every scene, chapter by chapter, and know where some scenes lag, and which ones are going no where. When I finally began to outline, I was already halfway through writing my novel. And what a creative release it was! Really, it was incredibly freeing for me. Writer's block was simply non-existent because of it. I knew what I wanted to achieve with a scene, and then I sat down to flesh it out. 

So is outlining for you? Listen, at the end of the day, do what works for you--do what makes writing fun for you. I'm someone who doesn't like to wade through uncertainty. So outlining became my greatest tool. I know that it will help keep me on track to meeting my deadlines, and I knew where I was in the story at all times. When you're busy, the less ambiguity there is, the easier it is to be creative. I didn't believe this before, but now I do. 



3. Last Stretch - Dig deep

The editing... In my personal experience, that's the hardest part about writing. Lets say the first draft is done. For me, that means I'm only a third of the way finished. Polishing, cutting, trimming, re-organizing scenes, and tightening the writing is a whole other level of skill. It tests your patience and your sanity. I worked with an editor to give me the low-down on my story, only to find that my writing was killing what was otherwise a very interesting story. Ouch. Right... so I tried not to be discouraged, because it was a prime opportunity to take my writing to a whole new level; to learn and to grow, so that I may write better and faster in the future. 

I tried not to waste too much time crying over how hard it was (but boy, there were some serious tears shed over this book), or how down to the wire it was--and how impossible it would be to finish in time with all the edits that needed to be done. That's when I had to dig deep and remember why I was doing this in the first place. 


I was doing it for me. At the end of the day, I couldn't forget that this endeavor gave me personal joy and that no matter what, I wouldn't give up. So when you're at the home stretch of whatever passion-project you're working on, remember that. This is all for you... 


And don't forget to celebrate each milestone! 


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Well, that's all for now guys. I'll be back next week for the cover release! Again, please let me know if you're interested in sharing on your blog. I'd be ever so grateful! :)


Love,
Anna

20 comments:

  1. Yay!! I can't wait to read :) And definitely count me in for the cover reveal. Also, dang, I wish I could outline. balancing life, my crazy job that is massively time consuming, and writing can be so overwhelming. But I've yet to get an outline system that works for me. Hope springs eternal though! But for now I just edit my brains out (says the person who is reading her novel through, backwards and aloud, at 10:30pm....).

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    1. Thanks Meradeth!! I'll send over an email in the next couple of days with the cover and details. <3 And I definitely think of you during the hardest times of the writing process - I don't know how you juggle it all! As for the outlining, I think everyone's process is all trial and error and whatever works best. Maybe I'll write a blog post on how I made the process work best for me. Thanks again! :)

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  2. I hear you on the hard part, and it making you want to cry. I'm revising right now, and it's going soooo slow, and I fix one problem for it to create another and *wah wah wah* =) It's nice to know you're not alone though! And for sure count me in to help out w/the cover reveal, can't wait to see it!

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    1. Woot! You are amazing. Thanks Leandra! Will shoot you an email in the next day or two with the blurb and cover. :) And LOL on the "wah wah wah" I definitely did a lot of that...

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  3. Well said. Editing is the absolute pits.
    Many congrats. I'm sure its going to be a marvelous read.
    And I'd love to have you and your cover visit at my blog:)

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    1. Woohoo! Thank you Sandra! Will reach out and get your email to send the blurb and cover. :)
      And yes...best description ever "Editing is the absolute pits." LOL

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  4. I still don't outline--I'm required to do three chapters and a synopsis to be considered by my publisher, so I'll do that, but I have a hard time sticking to that synopsis while writing!

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    1. LOL I'm the same actually. I just flip flop between my post-cards, and then review to see if it's still works!

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  5. Actually, editing is my favorite part. =)

    I do go in with an outline, but it never stays fully intact. Parts do, and then I revamp the outline as I go to keep me aimed toward the major plot points, but allow the characters to surprise me too. I'll typically go through 5 to 10 drafts while up against a deadline, and NO ONE sees my writing until it's been through a third revision. No one. (Have to keep all that awfulness hidden away.)

    SO, I'd love to help shout about your release, but I don't do cover reveals. I'll have you over for a Writerly Wednesday if you like, but I'm currently booked into February. (Season of love.) Shoot me an email if you're interested.

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    1. Oh man, you are a rare breed, Crystal. :) I think I'd love editing more, if I had more time to edit. So in the future, I'm going to take more time doing that. I agree with you, the first three drafts are horrendous....just shameful. Anyway, glad to be past that with CE.

      No worries about the cover reveal. I'd love to be on your blog for Writerly Wednesday in Feb. and will shoot you an email on that! :)

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  6. Just stopped by to say hey. Hope you're having a productive day.

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  7. that is coming real close! Wishing you lick with the release!

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  8. Congrats on finishing book 2! I make deadlines for myself, but I can't outline. It kills the book for me.

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    1. I definitely understand. My motto is "make it work"...which I borrowed from America's Next Top Model. LOL :)

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    1. Hey Sandra! "See" you tomorrow for the release! ;)

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  10. Congratulations on the upcoming release of book two! Saw the cover art was revealed today.

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