Screenshot of Page saying The End

My Second Novel is Finished

Hi everyone,

It took a little longer than I had hoped but here we are on the 10th of January, 2022 and I have completed my second Novel! Totally at 80,746 words, it took me 70 days to complete. Not too bad for having to work full-time and doing writing sprints in my car every morning. It was quite an adventure!

The story went places I never expected and into spaces I’m happy it ventured. Part of the fun of not outlining is seeing where things develop on their own. I started with a main character, and a rough idea on where I wanted to end. The big surprises were just as surprising to me as they happened in real time while writing. Including a certain throwaway character with one line becoming not only a major player in the story but a main character herself. Within three chapters my tiny outline had been derailed, for the better I think.The characters grew on me. They grew with each other. They pulled themselves through the story no matter how rough things got.

My own personal journey with this story was also quite an adventure. It was the first time I’d committed myself to finishing a new novel in over 10 years. I learned a lot while editing my first novel and decided that I was going to try something different with this one. Instead of staying in my comfort zone of a single person, first-person viewpoint, seeing things, learning things along with the main character, I decided to try multi-POV and third-person. I have to say… It was painful. I struggled so much and it shows. I’m going to have a lot of editing to do just to fix how its voice, let alone the developmental and line editing. However, I’m happy I tried something new and made myself get through it. It’s an experience I won’t forget and hopefully some of the things I learned will help me find better ways to write in the future.

That being said, going forward I think I want to go back to my first-person viewpoint for my next novel. Something about living the story through the point of view of the main character feels so much more natural to me. I’m still looking forward to editing my manuscript after letting it rest for a few months. I’m planning on starting work on my next story idea soon while this one rests.  That way when I come back to it several months from now I can read it with fresh eyes and hopefully gain some perspective on its flaws. At least that is my hope for the process. The last time I let a story rest, it was for 11 years. I’m hoping no more than 6 months for this one.

Well, thank you all for reading my rambling once more. I swear I write these things right before bed and end up going on and on about everything. Please do not take these posts as a quality check for my writing! I write them completely spontaneously without checking or editing them.

Also, this song popped up on my random songs playlist while I was finishing up my novel and it is amazing! I already liked Mandy Harvey’s music but somehow never heard this song. It’s beautiful!

 

 


I just thought of an idea… Maybe I should do dream posts. Sometimes my best random ideas come from dreams. I usually write them in my notebook right when I wake up if I think it’s something interesting. My latest scribbles say “A multi-level university for wizards with different belief systems working together.” Okay. Rambling done. Goodnight all!

Work in Progress Update!

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a bit since my last update. I finally hit 75,000 words on my work in progress, Lies Beneath the Sea! I know what you’re thinking… Weren’t you at 73,000 words like 2 weeks ago? Yes… I was. I hurt my back a week before Christmas and was bedridden for almost a week and a half. During that time I could barely move let alone work on my story. So that set me back quite a bit. Luckily, I’m improved quite a bit and have been trying to get back into my writing habit. I can’t let it stop!!!

So this morning, I hit 75,000 words! That was my minimum goal I wanted to meet with my story and it looks like I’m heading passed it. I’m still estimating finishing around 80,000 words for this first draft. I’ve got quite a lot of editing to do on it at some point… It feels like it’s somewhat of a mess right now but I guess that is what first drafts are supposed to feel like. I’m excited and eager to get started on my next project.

This may be my last update of the year but if something drastic changes… Like I pull a few all nighters over the long weekend and finish my story. We’ll see! Happy New Year everyone!!!

Update on my NaNoWriMo Novel

Hi everyone,

I set my new finishing goal for my NaNoWriMo Novel to be around 75,000 maybe 80,000 before the end of the year. I’m still hoping to reach that goal and finish my story. I’m at 66,000 words now which is pretty exciting. That’s less than 10,000 to go until I’ve met my ultimate goal. Depending on how fast the ending creeps up on me I’m fairly certain I am going to land somewhere between 75k and 80k. Though maybe some fun side plots will end up taking me passed 80k. I was worried for a while at where my ending was going, where the plot was going, but after a late night revelation I think I see the path ahead! I’m looking forward to finishing this story and giving it some breathing room really soon.

One of the reasons I’m eager to move on is because I have some really fun ideas in my head that I want to start working on for the next project. There are two projects that are standing out to me the most. One as I may have mentioned previously, taking place in my first novel’s universe. Not a continuation but another story set in the world.

The other idea is completely random and actually sounds like a lot of fun. I want to write a Western Fantasy SciFi Mashup. Western being Old-West. An old-west style setting but with creatures, magic, technology? I don’t know. It sounds completely nuts and that’s why it seems like so much fun to try.

Westerns are something I’ve never been into, unless Back to the Future 3 counts. However, my grandma loved them. There’s only one real western I’ve ever seen, True Grit. My grandma was a fan of the original and was absolutely excited to see the new version. She’s sat through countless hours of every type of movie us kids ever wanted to watch (she loved it though, she was one of the biggest movie lovers I ever knew). Anyways, despite my disinterest in Westerns I went with her to watch it. Holy crap, if it did not become one of my favorite movies.

After recently rewatching the movie, which inspired this newfound interest in writing my own weird pseudo-old-west novel, I also found out that True Grit was in fact a book itself. Who knew?! I haven’t read it yet but I’m working on getting a copy to read through as part of my “Research” before starting this next project.

Look at that, I think I just finished talking myself into making that my next project. Unless I can write two novels at once… Stephen King must be writing at least ten novels at any given moment, right? I can handle two.

Thanks for reading my rambling! Until next time, take care!

LIES beneath the sea chars

I won NaNoWriMo 2021!

I won NaNoWriMo on November 30th at 50,157 words! Just because I won doesn’t mean I’m stopping yet. I’ve revised my goal to 75,000 words(maybe more) and given myself until the end of December to complete my story Lies Beneath the Sea. Oh boy is this story a mess! I have so much revising and editing to do to make the story work once I finish up. Even so, I’m super excited to have completed the goal for November and proven to myself that I can actually still write something new. Then to further my excitement towards finishing this novel, my wonderful and supportive significant other drew my main crew of characters. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful person in my life!

While I feel like I’m comfortably in the final third of this novel, I’m already thinking about what I want to write next! I’ve got a few exciting ideas that I’m really hoping to flesh out once I have some time. One of the ideas is actually a prequel to my Last Angel novel. It’s funny that I’ve never considered writing any sort of multi-book series. I tend to focus want focused, self-contained stories. However, this character has such a vivid back story that I’m really wanting to jump back into it.

Speaking of which, I’m participating in the PitMad event this year for my novel The Last Angel! Which happens to be tomorrow… I’m pretty nervous. I wrote out my short query tweets and scheduled them early so that I can just avoid Twitter all day and try not to send myself into a panic attack.  I really hope that I’m representing my novel well in these few brief sentences and that someone finds them engaging enough to give me a like. I know I’m going to spend all day tomorrow wondering what’s happening…

If for some reason you are an agent visiting my website after seeing my tweets… Hi… I hope we get to chat soon…

Until next time my friends!

My drawing is the one on the right if there was any confusion.

NaNoWriMo finish line is in sight!

Hi everyone!

Rather than adding to my word count on my story I decided to do some rambling here on my blog. I’ve been super busy with NaNoWriMo! I’m over 30,000 words already and nowhere near finished! It’s been quite a challenge to keep the momentum going, mainly because I had very little planning between the opening and ultimate ending of the book.

However, things are all beginning to fall into place now and it is so exciting! I am definitely going to need to do some heavy editing and rewriting of the earlier chapters to make sure everything aligns with what’s happening now and going forward. Overall, I’m super excited to be closing in on the 50,000 word goal and planning on going further into December.

I’ve been making a ton of new writing buddies on Twitter, hopefully I’m not annoying them! It’s quite out of character for myself to like and comment on random people’s tweets but how else are you supposed to make friends? Seriously asking,…

I’m up early this morning working on my 280 character #PitMad pitches for December 2nd. I’m a little nervous throwing myself out there but I’ve got to do my best to get my novel out there. I’m so proud of it and I hope it can someday bring comfort or even a little joy to a single person out there.

Is that enough rambling? No not yet! I’ve been watching Arcane on Netflix and it is amazing! I wasn’t sure how well I’d enjoy the story. I’ve tried playing League of Legends a few years back and just couldn’t get into the gameplay. It’s blown away all expectations and all of the characters are so interesting and full of depth. My favorite character is definitely Vi. She is badass and awesome! She also happens to favor one of my characters from my novel both in looks and personality.

A funny related story to this. When I did play League of Legends however many years ago… Vi was the only champion I bought and played as because I thought she looked a bit like my character Neva. Now, Vi in Arcane looks even more similar! (See the picture above.) Anyways, now I’ve revealed why I am totally biased towards Vi being my favorite character. In case there is any confusion, my drawing is the one on the right.

NaNoWriMo Profile

Oops, I missed a month.

Hi everyone,

I completely missed October for any updates on my blog! I’ve been super busy with work and home life but… I’ve started NaNoWriMo!!! As of this post I’m just under 8500 words! How crazy is that?

I maybe have already said this but I’m attempting something new with this project. For this story I’m attempting to write it all in third-person perspective. Normally, I write in first-person because I really like to live through the eyes of my characters. However, I wanted to try something new and challenge myself to do it differently this time. Hopefully, it doesn’t come back to bite me in the end. It’s definitely a different feeling but I’m liking my characters and trying to build them and the world they see as best as I can at this stage.

It’s been a while since I’ve worked on anything new and I don’t like to plan too much out before hand. I guess I’m a pantser in that way. I really enjoy seeing things unfold, not knowing whats going to happen next. However, it’s already led to an entirely unplanned new main character coming into the story. She just popped up in a scene with my main protagonist and jumped into the storyline. How fun is that!?

The whole thing has been fun so far! I’m trying to stay active on Twitter with updates and make new writing buddies both there and on NaNo’s website. There are so many awesome people in the world, I wish them all luck in completing NaNoWriMo.

Anyways back to work. If I could write novels like I ramble in blog posts I’d have that 50k words done in no time at all.

P.S. I updated my website to make it look a little more professional, including redrawing my avatar.

New Novel

I’m currently planning out my next novel… I can do this. I’m ready to push myself through Nanowrimo and complete a second novel!

Now I just need to concentrate and stop procrastinating.

If anyone wants to become writing buddles, feel free to add me!

https://nanowrimo.org/participants/ebalderson

 

P.S. I just finished the audiobook for I, Robot. It was super interesting. I’ve got Foundation on hold at the library when it becomes available! It should be interesting after finishing the series.

Since I’m back in the office now I’ve been trying to fill my days with audiobooks. I just started Tempest Runner by Cavan Scott.

Maximum Ride Novel

A Little Insight Into My Novel

I’ve purposely not given many details on my novel but I thought I’d make a post on what some of my inspirations were when writing it.

It was 2006 or so when I was recommended reading this book, Maximum Ride, by James Patterson. At the time I was not much of a reader, especially not just for fun. However, my friends were reading it and enjoying it so I tried it. I had never been so captured by a book before. Maybe it was the first-person narrative style, the short chapters, or just the interesting characters. Whatever it was, I was hooked. I read every single follow-up book as they came out.

Maximum Ride, if you don’t know, is a book about a girl named Max that is 98% human and 2% avian. She and her winged siblings were…well angels. This series is what inspired me to start writing. It also helped that James Patterson himself encouraged kids to write their own stories, even fanfiction based on it. I never really got into writing fanfiction but the style did influence how I wanted to write.

The first-person perspective of Max made me feel like I was living as the main character (another series I really enjoyed like this, later on, was The Hunger Games). So when I started writing my novel, I wrote it the same way. The first-person perspective, to experience the story as the character saw did.

The other inspiration I drew from Maximum Ride was the angels. At the time, Wizards and Vampires were all the rage, and Angels felt quite a bit different. However, the angels in my story were actual spiritual creatures and not genetic hybrids created in a lab. Still, the inspiration was there.

Another decision I made when starting my novel was to make the protagonist female. I had some amazing female role models when growing up. My grandmother, my mom, my sister. One of my earliest heroes on TV was Captain Kathryn Janeway of Star Trek Voyager. In addition, my two favorite book series at the time, Maximum Ride and the Hunger Games had awesome female protagonists. Then I had my wonderful grandmother who’d always encouraged me to be my best.

It was a rough time in my life. I’d been bullied quite a bit in school, so much so that I hated going. I was depressed, lonely, anxious, and dealing with death for the first time. All of these things influenced my main character and she ended up going through many of the similar feelings I had been going through.

So there it is. A brief description of the inner workings of myself and my main character.

Mid September Update

Hi everyone,

I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since my last post! I’ve been out of town for work the past week and quite busy. While I tried doing some more editing in hotel rooms, I never got too far before falling asleep.

I’ve submitted a few query letters so far, and it’s quite scary. Even though I wrote, rewrote, and revised my query letter, blurbs, and synopsis, I still hope that I’m accurately representing my characters and their story in the short snippets I’m sending.

While this novel is still my primary focus, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to write about next. Especially with NaNoWriMo coming up soon. I’ve got quite a few story concepts that I’ve never fully explored, some new ideas, and even a novella (in great need of a revision, editing, and maybe even a full rewrite.)

There are so many interesting concepts to explore, it’s going to be hard to choose one to focus on. My current novel is a YA contemporary fantasy that loosely starts in my hometown, a smaller city most people haven’t heard of. It might be fun to explore more fantasy ideas based on the area. Or maybe a story using some mixture of two unlikely genres like Western and Fantasy.

Another genre I really want to explore is Science Fiction. SciFi, robots, space, aliens, these are all things I’d love to explore in a novel! I just haven’t found the right story/characters yet to truly bring something to fruition. Maybe that will change!

Now I’m going to go read some of the novel Star Wars The High Republic – The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott. I’ve been slowly reading it and am so close to finishing it! The High Republic series has been amazing so far, I’ve loved every book. I’m excited to get through the next ones I have on my shelf.

Leaving one last bit of information. I was asked for a favorite sentence from my novel in one of the query submissions I sent. There were a few I liked (most were 2-3 sentences), but this was the one that I chose. I chose it because it feels absolutely as meaningful today as it did when I wrote it a decade ago.

The past is an important part of what makes you who you are; you don’t ever want to forget it, but you can’t dwell on it, the future is what we have to move toward, and it won’t wait forever.

Until next time.

Researching Querying and Literary Agents

Hello everyone,

It’s been another busy week, but I’ve been trying to stay productive in my path to publishing! I’ve been learning so much about querying and how to prepare for it. I had no idea there was so much involved when submitting a manuscript.

First I researched Query Letters, reading as many as I could find, and started to build off of that. From what I understood, they’re supposed to be short, concise, and engaging paragraphs to hook someone into wanting to read the book. That sounds easy enough, what’s another few hundred words after writing a full novel? Apparently a lot… It took me nearly an entire day to write get those 300 words to a happy place.

The next project for my literary querying package was my Synopsis. I now know that I had no idea what a synopsis was. A 1-2 page spoiler-filled breakdown of my novel. And I thought the query letter was hard. but breaking down every chapter of my book turned out to be a nightmare.

After a few days of pulling out my hair, I was finished. I had an extremely long synopsis and a messy query letter. After getting some super helpful feedback on both, it was time for a rewrite on both projects.

That’s when I was turned toward this article How To Write a 1-Page Synopsis and the lightbulbs went on. I was able to use it to break down my story into a 1-page synopsis, less than half of what I had previously (1000 words to 480). It was clearer, more concise, and I was actually happy reading it!

Finishing the synopsis first actually made writing the blurb in the query letter a lot easier. Something I will have to remember for future manuscripts.

So now I have a query letter and synopsis that I can start to share and hopefully get some feedback on!