Getting Excited! My Urban Legends Novella Is Moving Along!

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Last week, I finally finished revising my urban legends novella. I’ve been working on it for over a year. I’m a fast writer but slow editor. I thankfully got three beta-readers to agree to look over my story. I’m proud of myself because I reached over 47,000 words. Usually my books are in the 30,000-35,000 range. I don’t quite know if it’ll be horror or suspense, so I’m getting my beta-readers’ opinions to see if the story is scary enough as is. A serial killer is murdering college students, one by one, with urban legends.

After I get their feedback, then I’ll revise again. I have a beta-reader lined up for my later draft. After I get her opinion, I’ll revise again then look for an editor. Hopefully, someone will be available when the time comes. I loved Monica Shaughnessy as my editor (she helped me with Twisted Obsession), but the few times I’ve tried reaching out, I couldn’t get a hold of her. I also enjoyed working with Chrys Fey (she helped me with Six Plus One and Perfect Little Murder). Keep your fingers crossed for me; I want to publish my urban legends novella soon!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Running A Marathon, Not A Sprint

It’s dawned on me that I haven’t been posting about my writing experience lately. If I don’t talk about myself, who will? I’m still working on short stories. Right now, I have 5 that I submitted to magazines/online journals. I’m still editing my 6th one, so I can add it to the list.

I’m happy to announce–One By One is officially off hiatus!!! I found an editor. Correction. An editor found me; my author friend offered to look over my manuscript. I’m very grateful that he helped me out. Not only did he volunteer his time, but he delivered his feedback in a timely manner. Jim did a line by line edit as well as pointed out ways to improve some scenes. Thankfully, there’s no massive rewriting that I have to do on my part.

  • Thank you Jim. You have no idea how much your help meant to me 🙂 I also want to thank Monica. She gave me a step by step guide on formatting a Word document to Amazon’s Kindle format. Her instructions are easy to understand and way more helpful than those “helpful guides” online. Learning how to do this myself is a huge investment where I can cut down on expenses. I have to think like a businesswoman.
  • Last year, I wanted to publish One By One in March, but something came up (a.k.a. having to save money for a new apartment). As long as nothing awful happens during the formatting stage (a.k.a. I can’t figure it out and would have to hire someone, possibly being on a waiting list), I plan on having my book out mid-to-late April. One month behind schedule isn’t too bad.

For a long time, it was hard for me to find anyone interested in reading Something’s Amiss as a beta-reader. I don’t know why the romance genre gets a bad rep. I kept hearing, “Ew, I don’t want to read anything corny.” Thankfully, I found writers willing to look over my story now. So far they’re enjoying it! Instead of a romance, I’m re-tweaking some story elements to make it women fiction instead. I’d rather it be a drama instead of a straight up love story. So the feedback I’m receiving is helping me see what works and what doesn’t.

  • I contacted Sandra Giles, who was my cover design artist before, to see if she was willing to work with me again. She said “yes”! You have no idea how happy I was to hear that. She’s still free; however, I’m going to donate money through PayPal for her services. Having a cover produced has motivated me to release this book at the end of the year. I love that it conveys the book as a drama, and that it’s a nice shout-out to Jenna (the deceased character everyone bonds over). Here’s my cover:

As you can see, I’ve been a busy bee. Sorry that I’ve been working behind the scenes without revealing anything until now. I’ll try not to do that again. Between book reviewing, writing and editing my own stuff, being critique partners/beta-readers for other writers, blogging, and attempting to have a social life, there’s not enough hours in the day. I haven’t had time for any social media–the only Facebook and Twitter posts have been connected to this blog. And I haven’t had time to read other blogs like I love to do. Hopefully, when I finish book reviewing, I’ll have more free time.

***I’m not quitting book reviewing for good. It’s just I’d like to work on my own pace, so I want to go back to my reading challenge (finding books on my own from authors’ blogs and forums), especially focusing on my favorite genres: thriller, mystery, horror, women’s fiction, romance.***

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

“One By One” Thriller Third Draft Completed!!!

Is there such a thing as editing burn-out? If so, I think I have it.

Last Saturday, I finished revising One By One, then I left it alone for three days. On Thursday, I decided it was time to read the entire novel out loud to hear any mistakes. At that point, I’ve looked over this thing for so long that I skimmed the pages. Things didn’t go so well; I found errors, changed them, read it again, found more errors, read it again, then went back to original wording. I was all over the place, stressing out. It’s pressure knowing that other people will read your work for critique.

I was honestly two seconds away from giving up, clicking out of Word, and ignoring the document for good. Good thing I talked myself out of it. I think it’s wise to get  other peoples’ opinions because I think I’m just being too hard on myself. Do most writers do this? While they’re taking a look to make suggestions for improvement and highlighting what works, I’ll be taking a much needed break from editing. I won’t touch One By One until I get everyone’s suggestions in front of my face.

I’m happy to say that my third draft is completed with 55,125 words, 12 point Calibri font, single spaced, 101 pages. Hallelujah! Finished August 16th at midnight–just in time to start my first rough draft of my 90 day novel challenge.

Needing a new pair of fresh and objective eyes, I’ve put on my big girl panties to ask for beta-readers. I found two in my hometown and one author. Just need one or two more. My goal was to get two readers and two authors–both have valuable information to share whether they realize it or not :).

I’ve always had a thick skin, so I like constructive criticism. I view it as a challenge to make my work better.  It’s best to work out the kinks in rough drafts, instead of publishing with many errors and getting blasted with negative reviews all over the place. I respect honesty. Besides suggestions of improvement, I think it’d be cool if my beta-readers wrote in the margins when they had a suspect in mind. This would help me know if I have the right balance of red herrings or if it’s too predictable. Actually any feedback would be much appreciated! The fact that people will be taking time out of their busy schedules to help me out means a lot…more than they’ll ever know.

However, I’m only human so I have fears. What if my story sucks but they’re too nice to tell me? What if I send it out and no one finishes it? That’s why I want 4 or 5 (I like to weigh different opinions). If someone fails to come through, then I’ll have back-up. I totally have a Chapter 4 curse–sometimes critique partners disappear after chapter 3, claiming they read and made suggestions on chapter 4, but end up never sending it to me. It’s happened to me twice already. Definitely not a good feeling.

So far, there’s been no massive rewrites. I had to add a lot of details about setting (what clothes characters’ wore, what they looked like, rooms they stayed in, outdoor scenery). I waited to do this last because it’s the most boring aspect for me in the writing process. I see everything vividly in my mind where sometimes it’s hard for me to express it on paper. Plus, my 12th grade creative writing teacher said I overwrite too much–maybe I took that to heart to the 10th degree? Maybe now I underwrite? My main goal is to keep action going with short, sometimes choppy sentences. Some say I have a fast paced writing style like a sportscaster. Definitely something I’m trying to work on.

Once again, I really want to thank my beta-readers! And I want to thank Melissa for being my critique partner, sticking with me to the end. Without her help, I wouldn’t have gotten this far. I hate reading documents on computer screens (it seems like the process is neverending), so I would never force the people in my hometown to give me their email address, so I could send it to them. Instead, I printed my story out, will bind it this weekend, then give them a hard copy the next time I see them. I’m nice like that 🙂

For all the writers out there, how long does the beta process usually last? How long of a break do I have before going back to work on One By One?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby