Update On Writing and Future Plans

Hello loves! 

Today’s blog is a little bit different than usual. I have been making some headway with writing in the last few days (I have extra time to write due to the Virus) and I wanted to share some of that progress and my writing plan for the near future. 

Before I jump into it, I would like to know if you guys would appreciate a progress bar on various projects put on the homepage of this blog. It could be interesting to see what I am currently working on. Let me know in the comments whether that would be a good idea. 

The Blog

As you have noticed, I have been a little bit more active on this blog than usual. I have been trying to publish a new post once or twice a week. My posts are usually between 500 and 1,000 words and I spend a decent amount of time on them before posting. This means that that word count is not going towards my short stories and novels. The shift to something that is not fantasy can be a nice reset for my mind. So, it is a net benefit at this point. If/When I get publish I may go back to publishing once a week to once a month depending on my schedule but, for now, things will carry on as scheduled. (As always, you can email me ideas or put them in the comments.)

Short Story

This is the most exciting update, in my opinion. Sunday to Tuesday afternoon I wrote a complete draft of a 28 page 9,000 word short story. (that is why I didn’t post a blog on Tuesday) I had previously written a 5,000 page draft of the story but that was more of a really thick outline and I only kept two paragraphs from it. This taught me some really important things that I had known deep down but had not surfaced for me yet. 

I really love writing. It is exhilarating and I might actually be good at it. The words flowed very easily. On Sunday my word count was 4,218 which is a lot because there was so much else going on that day. I learned that I really can write a lot when I put my mind to it. 

I could totally write full time. This virus has allowed me to live as I would as a full-time writer before I got published. The lifestyle fits me and I am, surprisingly, able to push myself, create deadlines, and be a self-starter. This has helped me as I think about my future and what I want to do that writing is worth pursuing and I am going to do it no matter whether it takes two or ten years to get published. 

This story has two or three more drafts to go to but I am hoping to get it published in a Sci-Fi and Fantasy literary magazine as soon as possible. 

Novels

As I have completed a draft of my short story, I need to begin plotting my novel. This way I can begin drafting it. I am going to try to write between 2,000 and 5,000 words a day which will give me a novel draft in a month and a half plus the time it takes to plot it. I am going to take some time researching and plotting this novel before I write it so that the drafting process will go smoothly and I will have to revise less on the back end. I am hoping to have a completed first draft by early June and then revise in July and August. This will put me in a good spot to start querying in the fall, just in time for World Fantasy Convention. This is all tentative and, as we know, a lot can change quickly. So, who knows where we will be by then. 

Other Projects

I am always working on other side projects and I plant to overlap plotting, drafting, and revisions. So, I am always rotating in a new novel or short story to keep something fresh and keep my writing moving. 

I have a working idea page that I can go to and pick up plot and worldbuilding ideas and I have a page that is filled with scenes that I use to deal with writer’s block. I always have many irons in the fire and there is never a dull moment. 

I hope that this was an interesting and helpful update. Let me know if you like having these updates and what else you might wish to know about my writing, writing process, specific projects, etc. 

Stay safe loves!

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

Email me at evilholmess@gmail.com

Give me a follow on Instagram @evi.l.holmes 

Follow me on twitter @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes

My First Draft Sucks :( (No this not a working title)

First drafts aren’t supposed to be gold. They are messy and that is a good thing. You have to write a lot in order to write well. This means many messy drafts and a lot of revision before you get something even close to decent. Everyone else has to go through it too. Find other writers and commiserate with them and share encouragements. 

I just completed a full draft of my short story!

I felt really good about completing it and I knew there were issues with it but I completed 90% of the story in two days. That was quite an achievement for me. So, I decided to send it to my Alpha reader. Last night her responses began to roll in. I made the mistake of reading them. She had read and commented on half of the story and has not gotten to the rest of it yet. (so I don’t know if she thinks it is at all good or not)

Don’t stunt your creativity with criticism, learn from it instead

I did exactly what you shouldn’t do. I should have left the story alone for a few more days. Instead, I stopped myself from working on my next story. I had an idea that was pressing on my mind and not letting me sleep and instead of writing it, I looked at comments that only served to discourage me and tell me that my draft was bad. 

In reality, the storyline is good, the plot is interesting, and the theme is compelling to my target audience. Where it lacks is in the literary elements,  sophistication of prose and character development. Most importantly, I told it too much as a description rather than intertwining character, plot, and scene to create a brilliant tapestry rather than three different colored rags.

How to get yourself out of a Slump

I would be lying if I said I did not have a slump yesterday and this morning when I got up to write at 6 am. However, the best way to push yourself out of a writing slump is by brainstorming or writing something. Last night I wrote an 800-word outline for a romance novel. This morning I tried to write my first chapter and I wrote 120 words and it felt flat like a generic Romance. In my mind, it seemed wonderful and fresh. As I wrote the outline I was excited about the characters. But my inciting incident has elicited no emotion from myself and definitely wouldn’t touch the reader. So, I opened up a new document, grabbed an idea from my working idea page and started to write ideas based upon it. This story may never happen but it gets me writing something. I have a writer’s block document where I write scenes for the same reason. It doesn’t matter how you do it but writing can be a quick reset for your creativity and mental state. 

Get an Alpha reader that is Strong in things you are weak on

My Alpha reader is a very literary focused reader. She reads a lot of the “great books.” These include ancient texts as well as books like East of Eden, Pride, and Prejudice, and Shakespeare. She reads broadly and has good taste in all things literary. I focus more on Science Fiction and Fantasy (although I do read many of the great books as well). This is why she is such an asset and helpful friend to send my stories to. 

She can point out the flaws in my fantasy stories from a literary point of view. This is such a benefit because it makes my stories rounded out and clean. She tells me when my stories are juvenile and where my sentence structure is too similar for the good of the flow. A word she loves to use for my stories is “chunky.” She is wonderful at seeing things that I cannot. Get yourself a brutally honest Alpha reader but make sure that you are up to being challenged. 

Don’t think about perfection when you draft or you will never get started

Finish a piece! If this means writing a short story when you consider yourself a novelist, such as me, do it. Finishing a piece will give you confidence to work on your longer pieces and invest time in yourself and your writing (remember not to dwell on comments from your readers or don’t send your short story out right away). There are other benefits to writing short stories. You can publish them in literary magazines and then use those publications in your query letters for novels. There is no right way to write. Everyone gets there by a different path. Keep drafting, keep writing, and finish the dang project. You will get there! It will probably be messy. You will need to revise and rewrite, but at least you will be able to edit it once it is on the page. Part of the reason why first drafts are not always the cleanest is the fact that you have to force yourself to write at times and this makes the dialogue simple and the characters flat. THAT IS WHAT EDITING IS FOR. You aren’t etching your story in stone. You are most likely typing it on the computer which means it is easy to revise without having to rewrite. Write it out and then write it again but better. 

Have you ever been discouraged by a critique that you asked for? How do you get yourself out of a slump? What things do you need to look for in a reader to shore up your flaws? How do you feel about drafting?

Stay safe loves!

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

Email me at evilholmess@gmail.com

Give me a follow on Instagram @evi.l.holmes 

Follow me on twitter @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes