Excerpt,  Work-In-Progress,  Writing Journey

#WIPMarathon Report #7 (August)

Is it just me or is August one of the longest months of the year?

Last report wordcount + chapter count:
I had finished my edits and revisions for “Discord” and started doing some planning and note taking for “Whisper.”

Current report WC + CC:
Finished my Baby Outline for “Whisper” (though the ending is a hideous mess right now) and got some words down: 6801 words, Chapter 3 ^_^

Also, doubling up for the first time ever! 10 chapters through the outline and 11,013 words, Chapter 7 for Phantom Silence (yep, the one I said wasn’t ready at the end of last month was literally ready a week later!)

Also, started drafting a third project (don’t ask – Lol): Between Ashes and Ice formerly known as “The Queen of Diamonds” – 7286 words through Chapter 2, 5 chapters into the outline.

Oh, wow, that’s over 25k words for the month! And here I was feeling like I hadn’t done anything. Yay. ^_^

WIP Issues This Month:
I didn’t really have any issues, but I’m not feeling as confident about “Whisper” now that I’ve finished the outline and seen the sad, sorry shape the plot is in. Because of this, I’ve lost some of my enthusiasm for the story, so I don’t know if it’s going to work out or not. I haven’t given up, but it has moved to the bottom of my priority list for now (and yes, I have a story priority list). Other than that, things are going well enough. I’ve just had a pretty bad focusing problem this month from being in the query trenches. (As evident by the crazy juggling act.) Story beginnings are rough in general for me, so, I’m actually not feeling like I need to beat myself up this month. Plus Between Ashes and Ice is going GREAT!

What I learned this month in writing:
1* Not to sweat chapter lengths so much. My chapters tend to be on the shorter side anyway, but sometimes I find myself trying to force more words in a chapter because I feel like it’s too short. But chapters are only as long or as short as they need to be, so I’m learning to let go and just go with the flow on this.

2* There is no need to put pressure on myself, especially at the start. I’m a slow starter. I know this. I also edit myself a lot. Once I get the hang of the story and get the neurosis monster kicked under my bed (until next time), I finish strong. So, I just needed to remind myself that I go through this every. single. time. How soon we forget! Note to self: It doesn’t matter when these stories get done. No one is breathing down my back…except that monster I created. 🙂

3* It is RIDICULOUSLY exciting when you totally drive by the school you’re using in a story by accident! Yes, by accident. GPS thought it would be cute and take me a new way home from my shopping trip one day. About 5 minutes into the trip, I look up and see a sign for the high school and the tiny tiny town it’s buried in. The area looks just as I was hoping it would look! And the coolest thing of all, the road the school is on led me right to the highway I’m used to taking to get home! speechless Real life man…is like so cool sometimes.

What distracted me this month while writing:
I needed distractions from the query trenches, but writing was one of them, so other than the Netflix problem I seem to have developed, I didn’t really have any. Admittedly, I wasn’t trying very hard to write this month because I was supposed to take half the month off to recoup from my last story. Somehow I ended up starting stories earlier than planned, as well as replotting, organizing, and started a story I had NOT planned, so I was just very random about everything this month.

Goal for next month:
I’ve been going back and forth about whether to make a concrete goal or not. With the way I’ve been bouncing around, I don’t have any confidence in my ability to meet a goal, but I’ll make one anyway, see if it’ll help me focus. Official Goal: get to the halfway point on Between Ashes and Ice and as close to the middle of Phantom Silence as I can by the end of next month. My overall goal is have two drafts done by the end of the year. I want to say 3, but that’s just the crazy talking.

Last 200 words:
Hmm…decisions…okie, here’s last bit of chapter two from “Between Ashes and Ice” literally the last bit I wrote.

“It’s my fault,” Kyle says, climbing to his feet.

“No.” I shake my head, shuffle back over to the couch, and throw myself down on the cushions. “It’s not your fault she’s crazy.”

He gives me a small smile that doesn’t reach his eyes and sinks down to the sofa beside me.

“We can’t really play Clue with just two people.” I check the time on the vintage, purple cat-shaped clock above the television. “We can always go to Brooke’s party.” I can’t even fake any enthusiasm right now.

“You don’t want to go to that party.”

No. The thought of going makes my stomach lurch. I can just see them there. The two of them. All over each other. My throat hurts, like I need to scream and shout and cry but won’t. Or can’t. I reach over the coffee table and grab the little manila envelope in the middle of the board. “Mr. Green, in the Billiard Room, with the Lead Pipe.” At least it wasn’t me.

Kyle shifts on the couch. “Riley…maybe this isn’t a good time to say this, but—”

The doorbell rings, cutting him off.

Until Next Month!
May the muse be with you all. ^_^

Check out the wipmarathon #hashtag here!


  • Suzanne van Rooyen (@Suzanne_Writer)

    Hey that’s a lot of wordage – congrats! And to juggle so many projects like that – respect!

    I would say chapter lengths are something you don’t need to worry about at all – as you say, they’re as long or short as they need to be.

    Wishing you all the best with querying and writing in September! 🙂

  • Emma Adams (@ELAdams12)

    It’s amazing how the word count adds up when you’re working on several projects! I find it hard to start a new MS, too (the first chapter’s the hardest – I can only start by accident!). Best of luck with your goals next month! 🙂

    • krystal jane

      Thanks! Right?! It’s like, I always start that first chapter randomly. I just sit down and think, “Why don’t I see what happens?” It’s the best way to start, I think. No pressure that way. ^_^

  • Jessica Harvey (@xomiragexo24)

    Haha, your excerpt. That’s me always not wanting to go to parties but not trying to hide it lol. Love it!

    I’ve also been dealing with chapter length issues, except on the opposite end. I’ve been trying to ignore it. You can always go back later. Forcing words or trying to cut words while you’re in it is tough. We’ll figure it out! 🙂

    I love the your title: Between Ashes and Ice. You’ve got me hooked right there, and I can’t wait to see where it goes!

  • Amy McNulty

    Wow, lots of words for a “break” month–and juggling THREE WIPs? Awesome! Keep up the good work… Best of luck with all of those WIPs and the query trenches! (I’m just about done with mine ;-; before moving on to small pubs that take unagented subs…)

    That is weird about the GPS thing! 🙂

    • krystal jane

      Right? I’ve spent the entire month thinking I was clocking the lowest word counts ever. Thank you! I didn’t plan any of it, but isn’t that how it goes? I’m hoping I won’t be in the trenches just too much longer. Just waiting, waiting, waiting, the trench mantra. 🙂

  • Jodi

    …”but–” But what? You can’t leave that excerpt RIGHT THERE! 😉

    “No one is breathing down my back…except that monster I created.” YES. I get this crushing stress sometimes when I’m not meeting my self-imposed deadlines, and I’m constantly having to remind myself that THIS (as in writing) is something I CHOOSE to do. No one’s making me do it. So what I fail to get done shouldn’t feel like a weight on my chest.

    Congratulations on the progress you made this month!

    • krystal jane

      Oh my gosh, right?! Why do we drive ourselves crazy like that? I wonder if talking to the monster will help. You’re so right. This is a choice. No one is making me write these stories. No one is telling me I have to finished it in 90 days. It’s okay to move at a more reasonable pace! ^_^

      Lol! You know, I break my chapters up based on what I have to cover in the next one. I’m not usually for breaking them up like that, but this story is making it impossible not to!

  • Ifeoma Dennis

    Good luck with querying! I know how things like querying (or house-hunting on Craigslist, which is like querying) is. It interferes with everything. But you could trying reading more novels for inspiration. They could overwhelm you with their awesomeness, and make you write inspite of your query-trenching.

    I have the same issue with you. Sometimes, my chapters are so short and then I have to combine scenes that don’t really fit each other to make them longer. But like you rightly said, it doesn’t matter! I just need to remember that.

    August was relatively short for me, haha! Kept thinking I’ll get the time to write but didn’t!

    Happy writing next month!

    • krystal jane

      House hunting is SO distracting! (Plus I like to look at houses online even when I’m not hunting!) I did finally pick up an old book that I know I love and start reading that. It’s wildly exciting if nothing else. ^_^

      Right! I’ve done that sometimes, too, combining scenes, but when I read, I notice that the chapter lengths vary a lot, and it really is okay!

      Best of luck in September!

  • amandashayne

    “Baby outline.” Hah! I love it. Now I want to start referring to the different drafts and stages in terms of age. Baby outline, toddler outline, kid outline —> Baby draft, etc. Lol

    Anyway, congrats on a seriously awesome writing month! *bows to you* And I love that you drove by your “story school.” I know the feeling! I was at Marshall’s last year (or maybe earlier this year) and the girl at the checkout was very close to who I’m picturing for my MC. And a couple of months ago a sausage festival (yeah, it’s gross, but Cincinnati loves their sausage, lol) I saw a boy leaning over a booth and smiling, and my heart was all fluttery with the “That’s Theo! That’s Theo!” Those coincidences are the best!

    Ooh, and your excerpt–Who’s at the door? Who’s at the door?! 🙂

    Best of luck in September!

    • krystal jane

      Baby draft! I like that. Lol! Thank you! I didn’t feel like I was super awesome, but I totally take it! ^_^

      Oh my gosh, it’s the best to see people who look like one of our characters in real life! It’s like, they’re real, you know. Lol! I couldn’t wait for my characters to open the door! Writing can be ridiculously exciting sometimes. 🙂

    • krystal jane

      Oh, thank you! ^_^
      I was really surprised about the word count. It makes me that much more excited about this month! It’s also amazing how much it helps, knowing that I had an idea some agents found interesting, even if nothing more happens. 🙂

    • krystal jane

      I am a machine!…sometimes. 😉
      I definitely need to be reminded that varying chapter lengths are common. It’s not a problem really in one of my stories, but the other two are varying a great deal. I actually made a note in one of my documents the other day that this is okay and to calm down. Lol!

      • sandiedocker

        If that’s where the writing needs you to stop, then that’s where it needs you stop. One book I read with varied chapter lengths was The Language of Flowers. Some chapters were a more standard 10pp, others were 2, some were even 1/2 a page. And it worked.

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