Six Plus One Completed During Women’s Horror Month

Celebrating Women’s Horror Month really motivated me to get my butt into gear with editing Six Plus One, not only edit the darn thing, but finish. Last month, I spent 7.5 hours editing my thriller horror novella. In February, I’ve spent 14.25 hours so far.

Tonight, I can say I’m finally finished! Now, it’s in the hands of my writing buddy Meka. She’s been awesome, already looking over my story once before. We’re both in the 365 Writing Club and keep each other accountable in reaching our writing goals. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her. She had reached out to me when I was in a dark place. My health was plummeting. I was depressed. It seemed like no critique partner would stick around after they got feedback on their own work. I was lost, thinking I’d never be able to publish again. I’m one of those writers who value feedback from critique partners and beta-readers to help improve my WIPs before submitting to editors.

My novella is at 32,326 words right now. When an editor gets ahold of it, hopefully by their comments, my word count will increase. If not, that’s fine too.

When I published my debut novel, One By One, it was meant to be a standalone novel. That was back in 2013. Man, time flies! But, I felt like I wasn’t done with the concept of characters getting terrorized and killed in the woods, one by one. So my sequel idea was born. Alta and her friends are from Voy, the place Kenan and Rae had horrible memories of. First, psycho hillbillies murdered their parents in front of them 10 years ago in their vacation home. Then, their friends are tortured and killed years later.

Alta and her friends are well aware of Voy’s tragic past. What happened 4th of July weekend is mentioned quite often. I’m hoping people will have read One By One first before buying Six Plus One. Otherwise, spoiler alerts!

I’m proud of myself. I’ve been through a lot, taking everything in stride. With Meka’s help, I realized I didn’t need part of the story back in Voy. A decent ending was right after the massacre finding out who the killer(s) is. So, I deleted all of that extra section. It had a different tone than the rest of the story, more quiet, more depressing. I don’t want readers getting bored over mopey situations. I want them sitting on the edge of their seats ’til the very end.

Hopefully, the editor I want will be available when I need her, and hopefully my funds will be okay. Hospital bills are no joke! I’ll find a book cover soon, then it’ll be almost time to publish Six Plus One! I can’t wait. I see all these awesome authors releasing books back to back. I want to join them. 🙂

Soon, I’ll write another post giving more insight into Six Plus One‘s plot and characters. I may even share an excerpt. I’ll also mention how my DIY MFA helped me stay on track with editing my story at a later date. If I can keep up with this schedule, then I’ll be able to release more than one book a year.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Writing Goals For 2014!!!

It seems like only yesterday I created New Year’s Resolutions for 2013.  Geez Louise, time flies by!!! I’m looking forward to 2014 and I hope you all do the same.

WRITING GOALS FOR 2014

  • Finish editing my previous novels for publication
  • Write 2 new novels or novellas
  • Focus on my blog more
  • Attend at least 1 writer’s conference
  • Be a competent critique partner/beta-reader for other authors

For all the writers out there, what are your goals for the new year?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Embracing My Author Identity

I’m on hiatus with One By One until I can afford an editor. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a second job yet (trust me, it’s not for lack of trying), so it’s taking much longer to save up for one. Plus, my lease is up April 1st–I’m looking for a more affordable place, opting to save up for that instead. I need a roof over my head, right :)?

I refuse to be one of those authors who publishes books without hiring an editor/proofreader first. Unless I find someone free or really cheap, I’m at a standstill.

That doesn’t mean I can’t do anything at all. Freelance writing can be my second job–of course, I have realistic goals about payment and publication. Some magazines I researched are non-paying markets, saying exposure should be good enough.

Over the weekend, I submitted three short stories to three online magazines! I compiled a thorough list of markets to submit to, so if I get rejected, then I have other options. Here’s my list so far (if anyone has any others to share, please let me know; my short stories tend to focus on suspense, drama (literary?), mystery):

  • Jersey Devil Press
  • One Story
  • Glimmer Train Press
  • Spinetingler Magazine
  • Suspense Magazine
  • The Write Place At The Write Time
  • Fluent Magazine
  • Every Day Fiction
  • Cemetery Dance
  • Black Bird
  • Literary Juice
  • Pithead Chapel
  • The Shaded Pen
  • Evergreen Review
  • Stirring
  • Fail Better

For 2013, Melissa and I plan to write/edit two short stories each month, plus submit to magazines/journals. Hopefully, I can pique someone’s interest, enough to take a chance on me. If not, Trapped could use company on my blog. I found some markets that will accept stories from blogs, online forums, etc.

Today, I set up a PayPal account (seems like freelance writers’ majority forms of payment are by check or PayPal). Over the weekend, I set up a Short Story Submissions Tracker on Excel. My different sheets are: General Submissions, By Title, By Publications. The categories are: Submission #, Date Submitted, Title, Publication, Response Date, Results. According to experts, it’s a good idea to keep submitting to the same magazines, so editors remember your name. If you get more personalized rejections, then you’re almost ready for publication–you just have to find that right story. Some markets allow multiple and simultaneous submissions. This tracker will keep my bases covered.

Things I’ve learned so far:

  • Don’t refer to an editor by his or her full name. Use Mr. or Ms.
  • Follow submission guidelines to the tee
  • If require cover letter, keep it very brief (don’t embellish)
  • With author bios, keep information that pertains to your writing career (don’t embellish and don’t use first person point-of-view)

On Friday, I had my writing group help me create my author bio. It seems like my blog and book reviews are publishing credits. Cool beans!

Now, it’s nothing but a waiting game. I’ll keep writing while submitting other short stories until I hear a rejection or acceptance. Besides 24 short stories, in 2013, I want to self-publish One By One (also focus on promoting the thriller), edit my 90 day novel, participate in NaNo in November (producing another novel), and create a couple of novellas. Plus, keep up with blogging and maintaining an Author Website and Author Facebook Page.

It’s fun embracing my author identity. It’s like I’m being more productive instead of just setting up shop. When people ask, I don’t shy away from talking about my goals and projects (like I used to do).

How have you transitioned from being a writer to being an author?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Looking Forward To 2013!!!

Happy 2013 everyone!!! Thanks for the Mayans being wrong, we get to live another day! Usually I’m not big on making New Year’s Resolutions, but this year it’ll be different. I have two lists: 1) for my writing life 2) for everything else.

My Writing Resolutions for 2013:

  1. Embrace my author identity.
  2. Start my publishing company.
  3. Write everyday.
  4. Finish at least two novels, several short stories, and a few novellas.
  5. Keep meeting local writers and stay motivated with The Procrastinators goals.
  6. In November, participate in NaNo–so absolutely, positively don’t stress myself out before then. I want a chance to win an award!
  7. Promote my books but DON’T SPAM!!!
  8. Keep up with blogging.
  9. Be a good critique partner and beta-reader to other writers I engage with.

My Resolutions for everything else 2013:

  1. Embrace my quirky side (wait, I already do that hee hee).
  2. If an opportunity arises, be open to dating or starting a relationship. I enjoy being single, but it’d also be cool to meet a special someone. Friends first, of course 🙂
  3. Try to think less with my head and more with my heart.
  4. Be less of a couch potato and create a more social life.
  5. Embrace change. Don’t be afraid of it.

For everyone out there, what’s your New Year’s Resolutions? Good luck with keeping them!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Day 60 of 90 Day Novel

I can’t believe it’s Day 60 already! Where did the time go? I’m still in the mindset of jotting down notes in the mornings then typing my scenes once I get home. The downside to that is I read part of my story before creating new scenes, which causes me to edit. A few days ago, I decided I didn’t like a scene in a particular character’s point of view, so I deleted it (YIKES!!!). I rewrote it in someone else’s perspective. Sure the story flows better now, but geeze louise, that set me back.

Right now, I finished with all the heavy-hitter scenes–basically the juicy plots. Now, I’m filling in the gaps with transitions and smaller plot points. I don’t know how far I’ll end up with word count at the end of 90 days, but I know I’ll have a completed first rough draft.

Even though writing is a passion of mine, I still believe in giving rewards/incentives to keep motivated. That’s why Melissa and I came up with the bright idea to have $1.99 margarita night at Las Trancas to celebrate reaching 40,000 words so far. The celebration happened to fall on Day 60 (only 30 more left. I wonder if the challenge will stay chill or get stressful like NaNo).

It was pretty fun. We laughed about how when we tell people our projects, they always think we’re in school because we talk about deadlines and word count. No, it isn’t homework. We joked a long time ago that we named our group The Procrastinators since if we didn’t give deadlines or projects, then we’d never start or finish anything hee hee. It’s just our way of keeping the momentum going.

More laugh out loud moments:

  • For some reason, Las Trancas has a kid’s menu for only children. No exceptions. Well, I’m a rebel at heart even though I’m not aggressive about it. I like to test my limits to see how much people will let me get away with. Not liking Mexican food, I wanted chicken tenders and fries off the kid’s menu. I stated this to Melissa, and she convinced the waiter to let me order it. He was hesitant at first, but no one can say no to a Leo’s charms hee hee. We joked that he risked his job for me, then gave me dirty looks throughout the meal.
  • This was my first time ever with a full drink. I guess I don’t only eat slow; I drink very slow as well. It was funny because the margarita glass would not empty. Maybe I took sips from the straw instead of gulps. I don’t know, but I honestly thought I’d never finish.

Who knows, maybe our conversation or events we witnessed weren’t really funny? Maybe it was the margaritas playing tricks on us? All I know is I giggled a lot, talked loudly even though I tried to whisper (an older gentleman with a mullet caught my attention), and had a good time.

I didn’t let the fact that I had jury duty the next morning ruin my night. Even though that was another thing to laugh about: my bad luck.

When I got home, I worked on my story. I’m still iffy on the characters’ names and a little disappointed that I don’t have any working titles yet. Hopefully, I’ll think of something soon.

For all the writers out there, do you give yourself rewards for finishing a project or deadline? What’s the most interesting one you gave yourself?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

The Procrastinators Goals

Since NaNo was a success (we finished critiquing each others’ story around the same time), we decided not to wait to try the 90 day challenge of writing a novel. When I say “we”, I mean Melissa (my writing buddy) and I. Tomorrow starts the big day; I’m really excited! Our goal is to keep producing novels, to keep each other motivated. So after 90 day challenge, we’ll have a little bit of time before the official NaNo starts. Might as well do that too; if we post on the website, we have a chance to win. To get our name out there.

  • I can handle it. We’ll be pursuing these projects while editing our NaNo novels. I would hope by three months I’d be finished. I won’t be naive as my first novel when I assumed it only took a couple of weeks. Boy was I wrong. Anyway, we also want to write a screenplay somewhere in the middle of all of this. Or maybe after NaNo is over. Robin was nice enough to give us tips. Movies that are cheap to film (stay in one location, shoot in daytime for majority of it) are more likely to be brought. Something useful to keep in mind.

Wish us luck!

For the 90 day challenge, there’s certain steps that need to be followed. The first month–absolutely no writing the draft is allowed. You can only focus on structure and stream-of-consciousness questions, basically in-depth character sketches. At the end of this month, you begin outlining.

For the second and third month, you create your first draft into three different acts (the same concept as a screenplay):

  • Act I–opening, dilemma, inciting incident, opposing argument
  • Act II–false victory, midpoint, hero suffers, end of Act II
  • Act III–hero accepts reality of situation, action, battle scene, equilibrium

Cool beans–this 90 day novel challenge will give us practice on the structures of screenplay writing. I’m used to it, but it’ll be my first time with a partner :). I’m a team player, so I should be alright hee hee. This will also help me get back into the mood of writing, instead of just editing. I should have time to go back to writing creative prompts again; keeping my fingers crossed.

It feels good to work with people who are on the same page as you. Who want the same goals as you. Who has the same passion and can help keep you motivated.

We call ourselves The Procrastinators, but as you can probably tell, we’re far from it :).

For all the writers out there, do you have any future projects you’re working on?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby