Day 5 (Optimistic)

MAY 6TH – 1,856 WORDS

I thought I knew how I wanted this story to go, but after watching “Straw Dogs,” I believe that I can make Miki darker and creepier. I’m very optimistic about the changes I’ll make. It’s pretty cool writing the villains–probably will be a running theme you guys will always see regarding posts on my writing. I can’t help it. I think it’s fun to get into Finia and Miki’s perspective on the situation they’re in. She’s lost and just wants to be left alone. He’s “in love,” a.k.a. obsessed, and doesn’t care how he gets her as long as he does.

So far, Jahlin hasn’t been born yet. I finished the scene where Finia and Miki are in the doctor’s office and find out she’s pregnant. I reached Chapter 3, which focuses on the aftermath of that visit. Miki learns that Finia won’t roll over and play nice like he had assumed. He’s dreading the challenge.

Since I actually accomplished writing today, I’m proud of myself. If I can keep this pace of writing more than a 1,000 words if I get behind, then I should stay on track. Keeping my fingers crossed as I daydream about my New York City trip coming up June 1st 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Day 2 (Stalling Should Be My Middle Name)

MAY 3RD — 1,232 WORDS

I sat in front of my computer for a couple of hours. Don’t pat me on the back. Don’t congratulate me. I wasn’t productive unless you count playing spider solitaire, checking my email, staring at my submissions tracker as something important. Plus, it didn’t help that I was in one of those moods where I wanted to sing loudly off-key, really feeling the music blasting from my iPod, instead of concentrating on the computer screen.

At 11 PM, I made myself type. I took that hour to focus on the doctor scene, taking no breaks. I stopped at an interesting spot–Finia just found out Miki’s betrayal. I’m motivated to continue my story the next day. So far 1,000 words a day has been a breeze. Hopefully, it stays that way.

Other things occupied my mind:

  • I’m excited about my New York City trip the first of next month!!!!
  • I received my business registration today!!!! I can officially start my business as: DREAM SNATCHER PRESS

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Day 1 (Cool As A Cucumber)

MAY 2ND — 828 WORDS

For May, I’m participating in NaNo. Instead of a 60,000 word novel, I’m writing a 30,000 novella in 30 days. That means only 1,000 words a day. I may be facing this challenge alone, so I hope I’m motivated to get past the 2nd week blues. We’ll see.

I’ve received a lot of feedback about how I should expand on my short story Trapped. Finia and Miki’s past will be explored as well as the aftermath of their therapy sessions. Since I had so much fun writing a thriller, I’m making this story a thriller or suspense. It’ll depend on how dark and twisted I want to make it. Right now, I can see Miki doing despicable acts if he doesn’t get his way. Poor Finia. Poor Jahlin.

I participated in NaNo last year (in April), so I know what to expect. That’s why I was cool as a cucumber today. Zero word counts will be okay. Lower word counts will be okay. So no rush. That’s why I enjoyed my zumba class at Gold’s Gym and watched TV before starting. Oh my goodness, I was worn-out. My eyes kept drifting close and I had a headache. I was tempted to just have my 1st day be a zero word count, but my motivation caused me to turn on my computer.

  • I’m trying something different. Instead of writing in a notebook first, I’ll be typing on the computer once I get home from work. And I won’t print off the pages as I go; I’ll just wait until the end. I’m a busy bee–probably stupid of me to begin a stressful, but fun, challenge at this time–so I better do my other obligations in the mornings.
  • Book reviews, critiquing other writers’ work, blogging, social media, editing my other stories, formatting my debut book, beta-reading for other writers, etc. etc. etc. etc. take up the majority of my time. Which I’m not complaining. The day in the life of a writer 🙂 On Tuesday, I successfully formatted One By One into a PDF file and emailed it to my kindle. It took me all night to read it over. I was excited to see it as a real ebook! To see it with pages instead of as a continuous screen on a computer! Formatting was perfect–my author photo even transferred to my kindle. Yea!!! Hopefully, it’ll be easy to download to Createspace and Amazon. Keeping my fingers crossed. Anyway, I noticed only a few typos that I need to fix in my Word document, then I can upload.

I started my NaNo story at 9 PM; I reached Chapter 2. Finia just found out that she may be pregnant. She’s flabbergasted. If only she knew what else is in store for her…I focused a lot on her surroundings, practicing to be better with describing setting elements. I have a bad habit of waiting until the last minute to describe characters’ physical details. I enjoyed what I wrote, not even taking any breaks. I reached Chapter 2 where Finia and Miki are waiting at the doctor’s office. Miki, that manipulative bastard. He’ll be fun to write for. No comment of if he’s based off a guy I used to know. I don’t want to get sued 🙂

Since I was really tired, I ended up stopping early to go to bed. Once my head hit the pillow, I was knocked out. I couldn’t even finish watching the end of Braxton Family Values. Oh well, good thing reruns are always on.

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

Pushing the publish button

Yawatta would like to welcome her special guest Danielle Uidam…

I just did it. I pushed the button. My book, The Malthus Conspiracy, is now being sold online through Amazon  http://amzn.com/B00B3SV3RWBook Cover7

After numerous edits, rewrites and what if’s I took the leap, I am now a published author!!! Yay!!! 120,000 words, a book cover, and the formatting. Done!  I allow myself a day or two of pride, before realising, that pushing that button was only the beginning.

Now new nerves are creeping in. Will my book sell? Will anyone like it? Review it? Recommend it? The questions have started as well… how do I market my book? Do I pay to enter competitions? Do I buy ads? How does this all work?

I hit the kindle community, they are a wealth of information, I can’t believe how helpful and kind their responses are. My head starts to grasp the enormity of the task ahead for an unknown author.

The Marketing starts.

I update my status on facebook, maybe some friends will buy a copy?

I set up a Facebook page for people to like, (facebook.com/themalthusconspiracy)

I start a blog (http://duidam.wordpress.com)

I set up a twitter account (@duidam)

I seek out reviews

What’s next on this thrilling self-publishing journey remains unseen – fingers crossed some books start to sell, and I start to climb the Amazon rankings. All you authors out there with suggestions, tips and feedback for new authors please leave some comments!

Now for some info on my book:

In 1798 Economist Reverend Thomas Malthus thought not. His work ‘An Essay on the Principal of Population’ predicted that population growth would outpace our ability to obtain resources, resulting in a global epidemic of famine that would destroy society unless curbed.

Fast forward to 2012. College students Dean Adams and his best friend Felix Pye, unwittingly stumble across the greatest conspiracy in history, and by doing so sign a death warrant. They are forced to run as powerful, high society members of a 200 year old secret Malthusian League attempt to silence them.

The league will stop at nothing to continue its Malthusian cause. Their purpose? To curb population growth and ensure Malthus’ predictions for economic ruin do not come true.

With the aide of detective Isabella Mercena, Dean and Felix go head to head against the evil forces as they attempt to expose the league’s sinister plans to control population. Will they survive to tell the tale and tell it before the next wave of disaster is unleashed on mankind?

The Malthus Conspiracy although a novel, is meant to result in reflection and discussion amongst readers. Is our population growth sustainable? Should population control be implemented? What are the issues highlighted by our large population?

At the back of the book is some factual essays, graphs, pictures and references to start readers on a questioning process.

I hope you all enjoy.

Danielle Uidam

The Malthus Conspiracy

http://amzn.com/B00B3SV3RW

Book Cover7

Day 82 of 90 Day Novel

Should I stop? What’s the point? Last night, these thoughts kept running through my mind as I sat in front of my computer screen with the Word document opened (still untitled). I didn’t do anything for two hours straight while I watched The Voice. Then something told me I should keep going. That this is a 90 day challenge so get to work. I obeyed even if I hesitated a little.

I don’t know what it is, but for the past four days, I’ve lost motivation to continue with this novel. It’s like I’m adding scenes–just because. Because it has to be a novel so should be over 50,000. Because I have only a few more days left so should keep going. Because my inner-nerd doesn’t want to fail the challenge.

  • I talked with my writing buddy this morning, and she’s been experiencing the same feeling. Maybe it’s the 90 day challenge blues. I wondered if it would creep along somewhere in the timeline. With NaNo, it appeared in week 2. Maybe for this challenge, it happens at the very end. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one going through this.

I have the middle and ending. I’m just working on the beginning now (I wrote out of order). Some days I wonder if this  should just be a short story or novella. If that’s the case, then I should stop writing and focus on deleting the scenes that don’t really add anything to the plot. Scenes that are just there to add word count. However, maybe I should keep going to see if something interesting will happen at the beginning. Maybe I should start where the middle is–where the celebrity scandal has already taken place–instead of trying to plan things out beforehand.

All those thoughts are running through my mind at once. I’m going to pull my hair out. I love my story, I really do. It’s not boring to me at all; that’s why I’m so baffled that I keep debating over a short story or novel. This is the 90 day novel challenge I participated in, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I spent 90 days working on a shorter piece of fiction. At least, it’d be a finished first draft either way.

Since first drafts are meant for experimentation, I guess I’ll keep on writing. What’s the worst that could happen? I’m afraid to even answer that…

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

“One By One” Update #1

Writers are taught to just listen in a critique group when it’s their turn. To just listen and take it all in. Don’t defend their work. So how do you respond when someone wants to sit down and discuss your project, requiring a back and forth interaction? Act scared? Run from it? Embrace it?

I chose to embrace the situation. I’m used to reading comments in the margins, but it couldn’t hurt to hear what my beta-reader had to say. I was nervous (hopefully Mike couldn’t tell I kept tapping my foot and fidgeting with my hands hee hee) but played it cool. By the end of the conversation, I was at ease.

I took his suggestions for improvements and his compliments all in. I’m looking forward to the challenge of some rewriting required to polish One By One. In fact, on my lunch break, I went to the library to outline new plots and motives, feeling motivated. Throughout the conversation, I was all smiles–which was weird to be happy about someone critiquing something personal of mine.

But I couldn’t stop thinking how awesome it was that Mike took time out of his busy schedule to do me a favor. He didn’t have to, especially since he did it for free. The fact that he took the time to not only write in the margins but also suggested the talk will always be cool beans in my book. His feedback was insightful and helped me realize some of the kinks I need to work out. I’d rather hear it at this stage instead of have an editor rip my story apart.

Things I need to work on:

  • Elaborate more on characters’ motives
  • Re-tweak some plot points so everything connects together
  • Pace myself and stay consistent
  • Etc, etc

Thanks again Mike for being my first beta-reader to return my story. Once I receive my other beta’s feedback, I’ll start revising and editing again. I guess my 90 Day Novel will have competition for my attention around that time.

For writers out there, I encourage you to interact with people taking the time to read your work, if you can. There’s nothing more valuable than getting to hear answers to specific questions you may have regarding story elements. For a chance to guide the critique instead of just relying on what someone wrote. And a chance to reveal apart of your writing style or routine to them, so they can understand you a little better.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby