Microsoft bought Wunderlist. Of course they did. Wunderlist was awesome, and Microsoft’s offerings…were not. Wunderlist was voted best product, Microsoft wasn’t. So, as is the case these days, the giant consumed the little guy.
I have been using Wunderlist for almost two years to help keep me on track with writing goals, and this year especially, I have used it as a motivating tool. I have even shared progress reports to help keep myself accountable.
Of course, I have no idea what Microsoft will do with it. For the moment, I can still access my stuff. Not sure how long.
But I can see the changes coming.
One of the things I loved about Wunderlist was that it was platform neutral because it was all on the web. I could access it from my android phone, my iPad, my laptop, or my MacBook. It was always the same exact screen.
The very first thing the new Microsoft platform wanted was for me to download the app for my specific device.
Uh, yeah, no.
Looks like it still has a web component. For now.
Maybe it will be as easy to use, maybe not.
I get progress, I really do, but I am not sure this is progress. The original program was terrific, met all my needs, and was easy to use. I don’t really want to spend brain power re-learning how to use something I understood before. I just want the darn thing to work.
Of course, I can’t tell you how well the new program works. Because I have to go back and figure out all of the passwords I had simply saved as part of my keychain.
Yeah, I know.
I am the weakest link. But I figured if someone really wanted to steal my To Do list, they could have it. Maybe they’ll even do it for me.
So, my progress hasn’t been as spectacular as I would’ve liked.
Yes, I finished Second Chance, but it’s just shy of 60,000 words, and I was aiming for 70,000.
The story is complete, and I almost always add another 10-15% in revisions. While I have heard the advice to “kill your darlings”, I simply don’t write a lot of extras.
Actually, I write quite the opposite way.
While I’m not a plotter, some might consider my first draft closer to a robust outline than a fully finished novel. I need to go back and add more internal dialogue for the characters, give better descriptions of places, and expand on several other details to make the characters feel more real.
But the plot is there. Character motivation is there. And I think the chemistry between the characters really works. It’s not what I had originally set out to create, but my dark mage surprised me, and I ran with it.
At lot more will be fleshed out during editing. This is partly because I give myself at least six months between finishing a first draft and editing it. It gives me space from it so I can come back with fresh eyes, and I can see better what I’m missing as I am not as close to what I know is happening versus what I wrote.
I have plenty of other projects to work on in the meantime, so I promise I won’t be idle.
Like that edit on Knight of Valor.
Which I *might* not have gotten as far on as I would have liked.
Okay, I definitely didn’t.
I have a slew of reasons. That trip to Ohio. The slog. My day job and April 15th happening this month.
Still, I did get Second Chance written, and I’m almost 1/3 of the way through this revision for Knight of Valor. Then it’s back off for another round of beta reading.
I already have back A Knight’s Redemption (working title) that I’m planning to release later this year. I will start making those edits as soon as Knight of Valor is ready. There’s a whole lot less red on that one, so there’s a good chance that will be ready on time.
Editing A Knight’s Redemption is my June goal, and if I can meet it, I will back on track by the end of June.
It’s the end of March. As you can tell, February and March aren’t complete, but April is. That’s because February and March involved a great many thing related to a new book release in April that is not happening in April.
Two more months’ worth of things have been added, so I really have fourteen months of work to accomplish in twelve.
Sounds like my day job.
Still, I am making progress.
I am trying to decide if I quit working on the brand new story I’m writing and go back to editing Knight of Valor, or if I should finish this fresh WIP then settle in for a long bout of editing. Not only does Knight of Valor need editing, but Pirate Captain’s Daughter is rough.
Even for a second draft. I need to work on the heroine in that a lot more before it goes to a beta reader.
And, I can’t edit and create new at the same time. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work for me.
Originally, May’s goal was to finish the WIP I started in April. I know how hard it is to drop a WIP half-way through and try to pick it back up again. I’d love to say I always finish. But I don’t.
Not the kind of person I want to be, but best to know yourself
My current plan to finish this WIP, then I will be spending a great dal of time editing. First, Knight of Valor. That may mean pushing off the other edits as you can only spend so much time editing before you need the rush of creativity that comes from creating new.
Yeah, I know, the rainbows, unicorns and butterflies of a writer.
But if my writing journey has taught me anything, it’s to trust my own process. It might not work for Nora Roberts or Stephen King, but so far, it works for me.
Their processes may be better, and their processes certainly create best-selling books, but we all have to start somewhere.
How about you? Are there things you just can’t do together no matter what the experts tell you? Can you finish something half way, put it down, and pick it back up again?
I received the latest draft of Knight of Valor back, and it looked like a field of poppies with the amount of red comments on it.
Sad, really, for an eighteenth draft, though most of the comments revolve around letting the hero’s personality shine through and maybe showing a bit more of the broken side of his character.
He, of course, wants no part of that. He wants to be the strong silent type that you can rely on. Which he is, but he’s also been through hell and back and survived. He’s not the naïve and idealistic youth he once was. And that’s okay. Both he and I need to be more comfortable letting some of those broken pieces show through, at least for the reader.
So, yeah, this has been an exhausting rewrite.
But, I will say, the story is better for it. I feel like the changes I am making help better convey Sir Marcus’s character and explain why he is my favorite of all the heroes I have written to date.
It will probably take me at least the rest of the month, maybe longer, to finish the rewrite. Then, I need to walk away for at least two weeks.
Four would be better so that I can look at the manuscript with fresh eyes.
Okay, all right, sort of fresh eyes. After nineteen revisions, I’m not sure I’ll ever have truly fresh eyes for this piece again.
I have updated my goals in Wunderlist to track the extra revisions I need to put in.
It’s basically two more months’ worth of work.
And yes, my OCD would really like to call February finished, except it isn’t. There were things in that month to accomplish to launch Knight of Valor in April. Just as there are things in March I was supposed to do to get ready for a book launch as well.
But, you can see if you add the progress of February, March and April together, I am a little father ahead than where I had planned to be this time in mid-March.
I am not sure I can do the extra things needed for Knight of Valor and stay on track with my other writing goals this year. Plus, I still don’t know what else will throw me off schedule.
And that’s okay.
I am making progress. I can see that.
There may be unforeseen things along the journey, but I am still traveling it.
My beta reader was taking a bit longer than normal on this particular piece of work, and while I was a bit worried about it, they have a very busy life.
Yeah, that wasn’t it (though they do). Nice try on my part.
She gave me some high level feedback explaining why it was taking a bit longer.
There will be a bit of a delay in releasing Knight of Valor.
She noted I needed to tighten my beginning. Doable within my original release date timeline.
More than that, I needed to flesh out my hero in the beginning. She thought he felt flat. I cringed a little, knowing why she was saying it and where it came from.
I wrote this book over four years ago. It was one of three books I completed when I first got back into writing, and the only one I loved the characters enough to try to salvage. The other two are now buried on my hard drive and are not fit for human eyes.
But I loved Sir Marcus. I wanted to do him justice. And through him and his story, and I pushed myself to do better as a writer. His story helped me learn a lot about finding my voice, plot and character development, and even trusting myself as a writer.
So, I’d set Knight of Valor aside for a while and work on other things, become a better writer, and tackle this story again.
During the process, I read a whole bunch of craft books. And you can see their influence on the story. One of them was how to write a romance hero…and I did Sir Marcus a lot of disservice. Granted, he overcomes the bad writing advice towards the middle on the book, but it takes him a while.
At the time, they were telling romance authors that romance readers wanted alpha heroes. Don’t even bother writing anything else as it won’t sell and an agent won’t want it. So I changed him.
And he was no longer Sir Marcus.
Don’t misunderstand me. He is neither meek nor mild. He was not the “chosen one” and forced to do anything. He saw evil, and if there was a chance he could destroy that evil, he had to try. He dedicated most of his life training to do just that.
But he’s still a genuinely nice guy. The kind of person who’d come over and help you fix your roof because he heard you were having trouble without being asked. You’d share an ale afterwards, and that would be all the thanks he’d need or want.
Punch a kid or kick or dog? You don’t want him to see you do that.
Kill a village to fuel a evil spell?
Time to run. Fast.
So, I need to let his true personality shine through the first half of the book as well as the second. No easy task, that.
Oh, and I need to fix a plot hole, tighten up my pacing, and remove a few loose ends from earlier drafts I missed. And this is before I get back the full list of revisions.
I see why this is taking a bit of time to get back the beta read. I also know I sent this out for just this reason.
I am literally on my eighteenth revision of this story. Yeah. Eighteenth. That I’ve counted. The first draft and several subsequent ones (no idea how how many four, maybe five?), I didn’t number and track. I am really close to this story, and I’ve put a lot of work into it. I can sometimes lose the forest through the trees. So I need more help on this than most.
It means a lot to me. I really want to get it right.
So, this is going to be a large revision, not a small tighten-things-up late game revision.
And that’s okay. Sir Marcus deserves the best story I can give him.
Yes, it means my entire plan for the year needs to change.
Yes, it means I will not make that April publishing deadline.
Both are okay.
I want to give you the best story I can.
Delaying the release date until June or July gives me the time to make it the best that I can right now.
As I review my New Years Resolutions, I thought I would give a quick update of my goals to show I am holding myself accountable.
Release Two Romance Novels / Write Three First Drafts
I am still on track!! I finished my January goals, and while I waited for feedback from beta readers that I need to start my February goals, I did get to work on March goals. Not a lot, but with everything else going on, I am really proud of myself for completing January at all.
Not Wasting Food
That has been more of a work in process. There were *so* many leftovers after the holidays that we didn’t make this goal in the early part of the month. We got better as the month went on, but we were far from perfect. That’s okay. February is a new month, and I have started it by cleaning out the fridge. We’ll try again.
Moving At Least Three Days a Week
Okay, I wasn’t perfect on this. And the bar isn’t all that high.
Logging when I exercise has helped me learn a bit. With the new gym at work, I do manage to get at least two to three days of movement in. But they are all on workdays. I am terrible about exercising at home, even though we own a treadmill and elliptical machine. Time to do some thinking on how to get myself and my family into our finished basement so the opportunity to move more is at least there.
I have been pretty terrible about this. I am okay through lunch on workdays, but once I get home, I don’t remember. And, I have learned, I may have an after dinner sugar addiction. Hard to really see, though, as I have so little data. While I have identified the issue, I have yet to come up with a plan around it. Maybe I can set reminders or something in the app to ping me to log. Not sure. But I clearly am not remembering on my own.