Looking Ahead

NanoWrimo is over. Do not get hung up on whether you “won” but instead take the time to celebrate the effort.

For me, November’s event was about adding fresh words and perspective to an existing work. It was also about shaking off my non-writing funk and jumping back on the writing/editing horse. Like school, writing is one of those things, that can be kind of hard to focus on when dealing with the daily hustle and bustle of work and family life. NanoWrimo provided the opportunity for me to reinvigorate my passion for writing words.

I hope this same passion was reawakened in you.

Looking ahead, my new goal is to have revision for this book done by January 1st. Yes, I am solidifying a date in hopes it will help me from dragging along.

Things I learned from NanoWrimo this year included:
1. Revisions done in different locations can offer a needed boost.
2. Writing partners are key to my motivation.
3. I have so many ideas and stories to share, that I really want to develop a better way to manage all the crazy in my head:)

What did you learn from Nano?

NanoWrimo: 2014 Inspiration

So I, like many of my writing friends, am taking part in National Novel Writing Month (NanoWrimo) this year. I have participated since 2008 and actually won in 2012.

This year, I am revising, rewriting, and rebuilding a novel that I started in February 2013. I have a had an interesting journey with this novel. It’s a NASciFi piece that I finished as part of a Nano-like competition. It was the first book I fast drafted and completed in a month. It has been through several revisions, was the first book I outlined, and is a book with a series already outlined:)

My big goal with getting involved with NanoWrimo this year was about latching on to inspiration. I really want to latch on to this book, retool it and push it out in the world because I think it ROCKS!

So when seeking inspiration to getting my writing juices flowing, I look to the author of The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer.

Marissa Meyer began my favorite book series as a nano book! Read about her excellent Nanowrimo journey here.

My biggest take away from her story is that most of what she wrote for The Lunar Chronicles had to be scrapped but that writing all those words served as a great road map.

As I am working on yet another set of revisions for Cycles, I am encouraged thinking of the long journeys writers take. It takes many revisions to get to publication and I am excited to be on this journey.

Revisions: Where do you go?

My life has definitely changed since I finished the first ever draft of my NaSciFi book.
I have changed jobs, finished school, and seen my responsibilities increase. It would be foolish to say that all of these changes have not impacted how I have revised this book – especially since I am just looking at it after putting it away for SEVERAL month.
One thing that has also changed is revisions. For this go round, this is what I have done differently:
1. I printed out a coil-bound, single side printed copy.
2. I am refusing to even look at the Word changes to make corrections until after I have revised the whole paper copy.
3. I have been doing the bulk on the revisions on the train.
I began this revision process at home and found that it just was not working for me. My attention was too easily pulled. However, on the train I am usually just reading or playing a game on my phone. The first time I pulled out the book, magic just happened. I knew then that revising on the train was my sweet spot.

Has anything changed about your revision process? Is there a difference in the space where you write and where you revise? Share in the comments below!

Looking to the Future

I did not win at Camp Nanowrimo.

It’s not like I went in thinking I was going to win (okay maybe a little) but the more practical side knew better. My practical side recognized that I had recently started an internship while embarking on my final class. My practical side recognized that I had kids starting school, household obligations, and when it came down to it my internship was tiring me out (in a good way). So I got some writing done but I did not win.

But, its okay. It was actually eye opening.

What I lacked in the expected word count, I made up for in finding was to get re-energized and re-focused on my writing ambitions. I read as much as a could, I chatted with some great cabin mates, and got to craft the beginning of a great story. But the biggest thing I learned was not to give up and that writing is a long process.

So with this revelation in mind, I am now back to the story I feel like I have been revising forever – my NA SciFi piece. Why? Because I really love this story and we are not done yet. I want to get this story in fighting shape and send it out so it can truly be a contender. Thus, it will be my major September project – Cycles – The Revisions.

In the mean time, I plan to rest! I am officially finished with my program and now have an MPH! I am going to eat, read my friend’s blogs, drink, watch tons of TV, and read things on my nook. Then in September, I start the word war again.

What are your future writing plans?

February Goals: The End!

Earlier this month I set several goals in regards to a book I was revising. Without further ado, here is how it turned out:

  1. Wrote 4381/6000 new words. I originally set a goal of 6,000 new words thinking that would be needed for my story. Well after deleting, character development, and world building I came in under 6K words – and I’m fine with that. I never wanted to push the words and I feel comfortable with where my story is.
  2. Researched agents for query. I followed #MSWL on Twitter and that was super helpful. I am eager to begin the process sometime in March.
  3. Send novel to Betas/CP. It is going out today!!! Can you envision me doing my happy dance:)

I hope you all were able to reach your goals in February. I am looking forward to drafting a new project in March, so don’t forget to check in on me!

Revisions: Knowing When To Stop

I simply got tired of looking at my book. I kept looking at the words and waiting for some situation to present itself (or some character to whisper in my ear) – and nothing happened. That is when I knew there was nothing else for me to do.

I feel that we often keep writing and force ourselves to write things that are not good. These words add nothing to the story and are just things that will get cut because they confuse the story or simply just weigh things down. It’s easy when trying to obtain certain word counts to try to push ourselves and add things that are not organic to the story we are telling. If you are not writing a love story, don’t try to force a kissing scene on the reader out of the blue. I mean does this even fit with your high energy police drama!

After examining each chapter and looking at each character, my story told me it was time to let go. It’s at this stage of revisions where you release it to other eyes. From there you make changes and then after reconciling all viewpoints, take comfort into sending it out into the world.

Good luck on your writing journeys:)

***This blog is part of the “I don’t like Monday’s” blog hop. Click the button to check out other participants!***


Revisions: Taking a Holiday

I have heard many times that you need to take a step back from your novel before embarking on your revisions. This enables you to look at your work with a fresh pair of eyes.

I want to take this one step further. I say you need to take a holiday with your novel.
Yes, you need to take a break from it. You guys need space! Your mind has been on this great literary masterpiece for a LONG time, and if you don’t take a breather you could go crazy. But, I also believe you need to take a holiday with your novel. If possible take a quick trip out of town, check into a hotel in town, or simply hang out at the airport. I found doing revisions in a totally new environment worked wonders for me.
For example, I had particular coffee shops and restaurants that I drafted in. When doing revisions, I could not go back. I felt like I had drained all of the energy out of those places and needed somewhere new. I also took a vacation day from work simply to write and edit. Let me tell you, it was pure bliss!

Have you taken a holiday with your novel? How did it work for you?


Revisions: Adding More Words

So one of the comments I got during the beta was to add more. I was writing a Science Fiction novel and I did not want it to get too wordy – I’ve ready plenty of stories like that. However, I agreed with my betas and CP that a little more explanation was needed in some areas. Thus to add a little length, I did the following:


  1. I went through all the areas noted by my CP. I had a great CP and any area highlighted with the words MORE I heeded.
  2. I wrote short stories for each of my pivotal characters. I then read through the story to ensure that my character descriptions aligned with how they were written in my story. This helped tremendously in dialogue and further describing certain scenes.
  3. I picked through spots to analyze: the beginning (in this case my prologue), the absolute middle, and the end. I checked these areas to ensure the sections engaged the readers.

What do you do to beef up your novels?

Time for Review!

I started this blog in January. Like all writers, I wanted to not only build up a social presence on the web but I really wanted to write. I have written stories since I was little girl and I love the written word. Once I started blogging, I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to get started.

With that being said, I thought it would be fun to share some of my “greatest hits!” I hope you enjoy them and continue to join me on my writing journey.

High number of views

I picked two blog post that I enjoyed writing that I had a high number of views. My interview with indie writer Woodrow Wilkins was from this week. I love interviewing people and it was awesome to interview someone I knew personally who also is on a writing journey. Check out his post by clicking the photo:


Another highly viewed post was on editing. As I am currently in revisions (it’s never ending!), I have been reviewing this one:


Most comments

I love Ashley Farley.  She hosted February Write-A-Thon and it changed my life! I finished Book 1 of a NA Scifi series and met a bunch of great writing buddies in the process.  Below, she gives notes on revision:


Finally, I LOVE Scandal.  Love it! Love it! Love it! In the post below, I wrote about how one episode gave me insight about fear:


Notes On Revision From Writer Ashley Farley

As I hammer through revisions on two projects, I wanted to share a fresh prospective.  I “met” writer Ashley Farley through February Write-A-Thon.  This was a Nanowrimo type contest hosted by Ashley.  Through encouragement from her and my fellow participants, I drafted the novel I am currently editing.  Ashley self published Saving Ben, which can be purchased via Amazon:



What is your revision process?

I don’t consider myself in true revision mode until my third or fourth draft, when the major work is complete and all that’s left is the fine-tuning. Of course there is always plenty of fine-tuning to do—grammar corrections and sentence restructuring, fact checks and time-line verification.

I always take a little time—at least two weeks—away from my manuscript before I begin to revise. Taking this break helps clear my mind so that I can start my revisions with a fresh pair of eyes. When revising, I read through my manuscript multiple times, each time with a different element in mind. I consider adverb usage. I make sure my sentence structures are varied. I analyze dialogue. And when I finally feel like I’m close, I follow these three steps in this order:

1)      Change the font as it helps errors stand out.

2)      Have Alex read selected sections to me—Alex is the automated voice on my computer. For Mac owners, these controls can be set in system preferences: system preferences-system-diction and speech-text to speech. Alex is the best thing EVER.

3)      Print your manuscript and comb through the pages with a red marker the old fashioned way. Words look different on paper.

What were the lessons I learned (about writing and my process) from Saving Ben?

Truthfully, I learned the most about writing and my process from my first never-will-see-the-light-of-day novel Legend of a Rock Star. I had BIG ideas for that book—three different protagonists with multiple points of view, plot lines that jumped back and forth within a forty-year time span. I changed points of view several times—from first to third and back again. I learned so much about what NOT to do with Legend that writing Saving Ben was easy in comparison. Well . . . almost.

The biggest lesson I learned with Saving Ben is the value in hiring a professional editor, for a manuscript critique as well as the line edit. My editor, Patricia Peters, is simply amazing. Not only did she correct my grammar mistakes, she gave me her valuable perspective on my characters and plot as well. Writers should never consider self-publishing without hiring an editor. And there are plenty available online if you do your homework. Well worth the money!

What do I think is the most common mistake writers make when self editing?

Impatience is the writer’s biggest enemy. Many writers rush through their edits, and without bothering to hire an editor, they slap their manuscript up on Amazon for the world to see their grammar errors. Writing takes time. Unfortunately, our instant-gratification society pushes self-published authors to crank out as many books as they can possibly write. Rushing the process creates undeveloped plot lines and shallow characters. Rushing the process is responsible for self-publishing’s bad name.



About Ashley Farley:

I wrote a novel, SAVING BEN, in honor of my brother, the boy I worshipped, the man I could not save. It’s not a memoir, but a story about the special bond between siblings.

I’m a wife and mother of two teenagers. I have lived in Richmond, Virginia, for seventeen years, a city I love for its history and traditions. Personal experience with my brother inspired me to become involved with the leadership symposium in my son’s school where I’ve helped bring in speakers to raise parents’ awareness of the alcohol and drug problems children face. When I’m not steering volunteer committees or working on my next novel, I can be found swimming laps or playing tennis.





Today’s blog is part of the “I don’t like Mondays Blog Hop!” Check out the other participating blogs by clicking below.