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

Day 41 of 90 Day Novel Challenge

This morning I had writer’s block while trying to concentrate in Java. My mind was too distracted and I couldn’t calm it down. It’s my own fault for not going to bed at a decent hour last night. Oh well, that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes. Hopefully, by the time I reach home, I’ll be ready to finish my scene.

Normally, I write in the mornings. I’m motivated, hardly looking up from my paper. Then I go home to type it, sometimes including something extra if I’m in the mood. I’ve decided not to print this novel bits at a time like I usually do. When I hold the paper in my hand, it keeps me motivated because I see my story’s progress, I see it growing. This time, I’ll just wait until I’m finished my first draft since I’m writing out of order.

For some reason, the middle section is speaking to me more than the beginning. This story is fun to write. The female main character is the total opposite of me; she’s flirtatious and seductive. She can get whatever she wants from men without even trying. To help with showing rather than telling, I researched flirty body language, ways to know men/women are attracted to each other, when to notice they lost interest, with Google.

  • It’s been interesting creating those scenes. In a nutshell, this novel is about a love triangle. I write from the woman and the two guys’ perspectives. The girl will end up deciding she doesn’t want any of them; she’d rather be alone. One guy will respect that while the other guy will become a clingy mess.
  • I noticed the majority of my stories (novels, writing prompts, short stories) involve the guy pursuing a relationship but the girl hesitates. I wonder what that says about me…

Since I’m not concerned with word count this time around, it’s been less stressful. I’m confident that I’ll have a finished product on Day 90. I don’t care how long it takes to copy and paste a new document. Even though I’m focused on this new novel, I still wonder about One By One. I still haven’t heard from my betas yet. I feel vulnerable and exposed, which is hard for a shy person. I can’t wait to get feedback, so I can feel normal again. I hate not knowing; the suspense is killing me.

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

Day 7 of 90 Day Novel Challenge

This challenge has started off somewhat confusing to me already. I’m supposed to think of my imaginary world within my novel and brainstorm about my hero and villain (or protagonist and antagonist). However, it’s all supposed to be considered thinking very loosely. Don’t commit to anything regarding plot.  Then how come some of the questions asked for character sketches get specific with plot LOL?

I had an idea in my head where I wanted this novel to go before NaNo even ended. I wanted it to be suspenseful–a love triangle gone wrong. For seven days straight, I’ve been keeping that in mind answering these specific questions for each day.

Day seven. I completely changed my mind. Now, I want it to be a drama, still involving a love triangle. I was excited to jot down notes all this morning about my new concept than what I’ve written for the past seven days. This new plot (or imaginary world) will give me more options to play with. I don’t want this to be under romance genre, so I’ll have more leeway. It’s based off a celebrity’s experience at the moment. Please don’t sue hee hee!

  • The first thing I teach my students is you can find inspiration for story ideas through other people’s experiences, whether you know them or not. You weren’t there to personally go through it, so the details you include will be made up–therefore, fiction.

I’m not discouraged that I have to start all over. It’s quite the opposite actually. I’m relieved. Now, I can make the female main character the villain instead of the hero. Bad girls are always fun to write about. Instead of re-answering all those questions since day one, I’ll just leave it alone. It’s not even worth going back and changing anything. To be honest, I kind of hate the questions. I don’t think it’s really helping me understand my characters at all.

Maybe I should stick with outlining and doing my own version of character sketches to get on a more intimate level with them. I usually have my own set of questions, play around with character’s relationships, make mock journal entries, fake facebook accounts (drawn on paper, not created on internet), etc. Everything I can think of to roleplay. My favorite part of the writing process.

For this ninety day novel challenge, I don’t officially begin my rough draft until like day twenty-nine or twenty-eight, so I have plenty of time to experiment getting to know my characters better.

Wish me luck!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby