Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day Two of Real Editing

Today went slightly better.  I'm really beginning to think that Stephen King was not messing around when he suggested waiting to read the first draft for 6 weeks in his book 'On Writing'.  I look forward to taking a few weeks completely off while my friend (or friends? depending on other possible volunteers) reads the draft I'm working on now.  So far I'm just mostly having to change around confusing sentences and fix up descriptions.  I remember from the read through, however, that there are sections throughout the manuscript where I will want to completely rewrite areas and add in new scenes altogether, so those days will take me a lot longer, I'm sure.

As of right now, I've finished the Prologue and Chapters 1-3.  I am getting more confident about the writing quality, though I still have terrifying moments where I think it's absolutely horrible.  No matter what, I'm going to stick with the editing until I'm done, then see what my friend thinks of it, and go at it again.  This part of the process has had a weird mixture of detached editing and creative moments.

So far it's moving along quickly enough.  I even had time to go to the Phoenix Zoo with my husband and daughter between edit sessions:

New Year's Eve is only a couple of days away!  I am beginning to think it's my favorite holiday of the year.  I love the feeling of changing my habits for the better and getting to share that feeling with thousands of people all over the world makes New Year's a pretty awesome time of year.  

Friday, December 28, 2012

Past the read through...on to the real editing.

This part of the process really freaked me out today.  I started off with this great superior feeling, thinking 'it's going to be easy to edit this masterpiece because I'm obviously awesome at writing', and by the time I got through the first page of my manuscript (it's part of a prologue, no right off the bat I'm hearing the critics in my head scream at me), I was sourly aware of the fact that this is going to be a long, hard road.  I really ended up starting to think I'm terrible at this.  What made it worse was when I read each sentence aloud and thought 'this sounds like awkward rambling'.

Just like every day of writing the first draft produced different qualities, I fear that every day of editing will change depending on my mood.  And today, I was in an awful, horrible, cranky mood.  I have no good reason why I've been so moody all day.  Maybe I'm coming down with PMS?  Who knows.  Maybe my thyroid medication is making me feel short tempered and easily aggravated?  I really don't know, but for some reason, I have been on the verge of snapping at everyone and everything all day long.

So even with my terrible mood and harsh mental critics, I still think I got through the prologue (which I'm still considering ditching, even though it feels right) and chapter one.  So that's pretty good for a first day, right?  And with 33 chapters total (3 is my favorite number, so even though I ended up with 33 chapters by chance, I'm planning on trying to keep that amount all the way through), the whole process should only take about 17(ish) days, right?  I'm actually going to put that in my little notepad (a moleskin storyboard notebook I got with a Barnes n Noble gift card from my sister for Christmas-I'm going to try using it to keep track of edits I want to make and issues I find with the story).  Since keeping track of my progress and working with a goal in mind worked really well for me with the actual first draft, I think I need to keep that kind of accountability for the editing process.

The plan is to finish the editing, then read the whole thing again.  If the actual overall story sounds okay, I'll make little edits here and there (silly grammar errors and issues like using the wrong person's name) then send it to Dan to read.  I'm hoping that happens before the end of January.  Then more edits in February and maybe I'll be ready to query it out by March (...I turn 30 on March 3rd...).

So here's to getting through the rest of the edit days without too much aggravation!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

First Read Through and New Year's Resolutions

I'm just about finished reading my book for the first time, start to finish.  I definitely have quite a few edits to make but there are both parts that I feel are extremely amazing, and parts I feel that really need work.  The amazing parts really do make me feel good though.  I would read a whole section thinking 'I wish I knew what I was doing the day I wrote this part because it's such better quality writing than the next page or two'.

I'm totally a New Year's Resolution type gal so, of course, I have a few ready for this upcoming Jan. 1st.  I will just go ahead and make a list for you...

1.  Make every effort in my power to get my book published.
2.  Make every effort in my power to get a good job.
3.  Enjoy exercising again (this past year was my first ever that I stayed active on a regular basis all year, so it has lost a lot of that 'fun' quality since becoming so routine).
4.  Do yoga more often (3-4 times a month, at least).
5.  Meditate more (5 times a week, at least).

My average amount of time of actually following my annual resolutions is only about 4-5 months, so I was worried about putting the first two resolutions on the list for fear that I'd quit on them just to stay consistent, but I figured number 2 is in crucial need of getting accomplished in month 1, and hopefully number 1 won't need more than 4-5 months (that's probably about when I'd get discouraged enough to quit for a while anyway).  Whew, that was a long sentence, but I think it makes sense.

So with the Christmas holiday coming to an end, and the New Year just around the corner, I'm really spending a lot of time daydreaming about what I want my 2013 year to look like.  The number 13 has always scared me, so hopefully this year gives me a reason to reevaluate why I let superstitions get the best of me.

No matter what happens in the coming year, I'll always remember 2012 and my final year in my 20s as the one I finally wrote my book :)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

:) :D :) :D :) (but also a really really big :'''''( for the events that took place in CT)

I made it to 70,170 words yesterday!  And though I wanted to go up to 75,000 words, I ended up hitting the end of the story, therefore, I'm done writing my book!!!  I've finally written an entire book!!! I'm going through already for the first edit (Stephen King suggested waiting 6 weeks before the first reread, but I don't think I have that kind of willpower, especially since I'm unemployed NOW and might have a much busier life in 6 weeks).


The events that took place on Friday morning make me want to cry forever for the families who lost their young children, and for those children who didn't get to continue experiencing the long and happy lives they deserved to live.  I have no idea how someone could be capable of even contemplating such horrible actions and I wish someone could invent a time machine and give that day a do-over...and have it end with those kids getting tucked in like any other normal Friday night.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

17 Days :D

I will be finished writing my FIRST EVER FULL BOOK in only 17 Days!!!!!  You know, as long as I keep writing a thousand words a day for 17 days (and I'm way too excited about this book to slack off this close to the end).  It's moving along wonderfully too.  Some last minute decisions were made on the ending today too...things that will help for the next one.  There will probably be about four total, I think?

I can't wait to edit it enough to be able to start submitting it to agents.  Holy crap am I excited about this entire makes my skin tingle.

Changing the subject...

It's definitely the holiday season in the Dillman household.  My husband got me my Christmas present yesterday and was able to wait about 30 whole minutes before he had to give it to me (he did wrap it though).

A DSLR Camera!!

YAY!!!!  And I'm already having a ton of fun with it :)

                ~~~~Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!~~~~~~~

I also got a wifi SD card...which I purchased for myself a couple of days earlier.  It's called an Eye-Fi SD card and when it's used in a camera, it automatically uploads the photos taken with the card to the program of my choosing (iPhoto, please).  It has been working flawlessly and is really changing the way I use my camera.

So all in all, today was a really excellent day.  In fact, this weekend has been really amazing.  I can't even express how excited I am that I'm finally accomplishing a goal I have wanted to achieve since I was single-digit aged.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

74% and a Timeline :)

I am 74% through my manuscript and the story is parallel in its storyline to the amount of words I have written for it.  Today, I just took a really fun turn in the story (kind of an awful twist, but it had to be done).  The idea came to me while I was walking my dog the other night, and it was one of those 'Ah Ha!' moments.  What made it even better was the fact that it was over a mile and a half into the walk and I was passing my street and debating whether or not I should just finish the walk early.  I toughed it out and the creative book idea side of my brain rewarded me for it.

In this extra 3/4 of a mile, I pretty much came up with the final really exciting climax of the book.  The end is going to have to work itself out but I know pretty much how it needs to go.  This climax was something I didn't really have yet but it fit the whole story perfectly.

A week or two ago I purchased the book '2013 Guide to Literary Agents' on Amazon and I started reading through it a few nights ago.  I'm really excited about the whole process I'm going to go through to see if I can get my book published.  Here's my planned timeline:

December 31, 2013:  Finish the first draft

January-March, 2013:  First read through and edit (also take notes on major issues I need to work on..I'm going to take advice from Veronica Roth and her blog post entitled Revision, Day One: The Read Through).  

March 3, 2013: Turning 30 (AHHHHHHH)!

March, 2013:  Sending the manuscript to my friend in Louisiana for a first read through (thanks Dan!)

April-May, 2013:  Revisions and more revisions (tips from Dan and second read through after fixing major issues)

June, 2013:  Sending inquiries to agents

July and on, 2013:  Get an agent, publish book, become successful best-selling novelist. 

Some of those things might not go exactly as planned but it's a rough estimate.

So yea...lookin good! :)

I'm allowed to be disgustingly optimistic right now because I'm still just writing the first draft...after I get a million rejections I'll definitely change my tune.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Ahhhh!  At the start of November, I decided that in honor of NaNoWriMo, I would use the writing vibes from the thousands of writers in the world to get my book to 50,000 words.  I was at somewhere around 30,000 words at the start of the month (keep in mind, that's a little over 3 months worth of work on this project).  Tonight, as I'm sure you have guessed, I made it past my goal!!  YAYYYYY!!!!  And not only that, but I'm a whole crapload closer to finishing my first ever full-length novel!!!

So yea, lots of !!! these in this post.  SOOO...I wrote a whole bunch of stuff right here...well, about two longer sentences that made up a paragraph...and they're all gone because I wrote some dashes that looked like an arrow pointing at those explanation points in the beginning of this paragraph and it turned the whole paragraph into a weird internet code that I had to delete.  Whoops! Moving on...

Now that I'm this far into the book --and I'm just repeating myself here-- I'm worried it'll be awful.  Then I'm worried that it'll be amazing.  Then I'm worried again (and most often) that it will be just terrible.

I have a friend who is all willing and eager to read it.  I'm going to go through and do one edit before I let him though, but it has been really nice this whole time knowing that someone is going to give me real live feedback before I send it off to agents.

Once the manuscript does hit either the digital mailboxes or the physical snail-mail versions, I'm going to expect some heart break and humility.  It's hearing about books like 'The Help' that gives people like me fairy-tail type dreams though.  The common theme in this type of business is that it's totally normal to get rejections left and right until someone finally bites.  That could be after the 50th rewrite, but it doesn't mean I ever really have to give up on this particular story that I've had my heart set on for nearly a decade.  Persistence.  It's the motto I've used for my jewelry business, which has seen a real boost in sales lately (thank you Christmas).  And it's the motto I'll definitely use for this, which has been a dream of mine for at least 10 times longer than the jewelry business.

Either way, I need to get to bed now.  I wasn't even supposed to finish this many words today.  I ended up writing about twice my average because I couldn't sleep.  The story itself is really developing perfectly though and I think it's about to get even more fast paced.  I might see more late night writing sessions in the future?

New goal....
FINISH it before 2013...because 13 is a super unlucky number.  Hopefully that doesn't affect me getting someone to buy this thing but I don't want to take the chances that it'll affect me finishing it.... :-/

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Still Thanksgiving

So, I went back a few blog posts (which was about how long it took me to get to the beginning of this blog...this year anyway) and I sort of regret not keeping up with you. I am currently at 64% with my book (Holy S****, right? compared to the last time I updated you) and on Chapter Twenty Two (is there supposed to be a hyphen between Twenty and Two? Shouldn't I know this?!).

My story is moving along pretty much exactly how I want it to. Somedays I feel awesome about it, and others I'm overwhelmed with fear that it'll be a flop when I'm all done and finally doing my first read-through.

I listened to that whole Audible book about the 'Successful Novelist' and loved it. I might re-listen to it soon. I then listened to Stephen King's 'On Writing', which was also a great motivator. Now I'm on to 'Stein's On Writing', which is so far my least favorite of the three, but I can't tell if it's because of the narrator or the book itself. Either way, the fact that I'm listening to audiobooks about writing, reading a book in my genre ('Matched' by Ally Condie, totally addictive and I'm loving it), still unemployed (not proud, just finding it helpful for the book), and able to drive 10 minutes to the nearest Barnes N Noble.. have all been adding to the recipe that is me finishing my first ever book.

It's not like I got to this point without a lot of dedication and struggling. Like I said a few months ago, I was a damn busy woman when I started writing this book. For example, the first two weeks of writing this involved a full-time job, a ridiculously busy two weeks of two summer courses in grad school (basically a full semester crammed into 4 weeks), Jane, selling a house, and I think there was a bout of strep throat in there too. Then, when school was done, I still had the job, the house selling, Jane having strep and me getting it AGAIN, and then actually moving to the other side of the country.

Right now, I'm getting about 750 (average) words written a day but I'm still in school and my jewelry shop had a crazy busy spurt. Plus, no more daycare (we miss them soo much! Hardest part about leaving dubois...saying goodbye to Jane's first friends :( ) yea, lots more time now, but still really busy. I think all of that helps in getting me to write when I do finally have time. Then again, on some days it's definitely placed on the back burner in order to really shut off for a bit.

I guess right now I'm sort of giving myself a shout out for how far I've gotten. 64%. Damn. Obviously if I don't reach the story's end by 70,000 I'll keep going. But for all intents and purposes (I suck at common that even right?), I'm gonna finish it if I get that far, you know? And if I go past 70,000 words, I'll be at 105%, 110%, etc. :)


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Location:Litchfield Park, AZ

Happy Thanksgiving

I don't know if I'll get any novel writing in today but I can't stop thinking about how close I am to finishing my first real full-length novel. I'm 45,000 words into it, which is almost twice as far as I've ever gotten in a project before.

I'm really planning on going through with my original idea of getting a MacBook Air as long as I kept it up this long. Just so you know, getting a new computer wasn't the reason I got this far...but now I really feel like it'll be a lot of help. I started using Scrivener this past week instead of the Simplenote app (though I don't have anything against the Simplenote app...I really like it in fact, but I have gotten too deep into the story and need the assistance of the organization that comes with Scrivener).

Anyways, I have this awful feeling that there might be a book or series of books out there already with the same story I'm writing. I haven't ever come across any, but I'm writing a genre I don't read too often (except for the really mainstream versions, like Hunger Games and the Divergent series, which is more the route I'm trying to go with my book). I'm taking my chances anyway, obviously, considering I've already gone this far with my idea (and I've had it since I was a kid). Even if it gets rejected left and right when I actually start sending it out, I'll survive and try again (holy moly, I am going to send a real book that I really wrote to agents in order to try to really get published...this is seriously a dream come true, and I don't mean that to sound cliche or sarcastic in any way....because even if it does get rejected, just this step of finishing it and sending it out is something I always felt was unreachable for me).'s Thanksgiving! My toddler (2 year old now...growing like a weed) is pressing every last button I have, but she still makes me laugh 3 <--that was a gift from her...she's past her nap time but she didn't even take a nap yesterday, so I'm not getting my hopes up for today. We are having a small thanksgiving this year.., since we just moved across the country a couple of months ago..but also because we accidentally left the turkey out over night and it went we're eating a tiny 'turkey breast' ...the only already thawed out version of turkey we could find at our local grocery store. Big bummer!

I hope all of you out there are also having a great Thanksgiving!!! Jane wants me to read to her, so I'll have to end here. :)
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- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 6, 2012

31% and almost 22,000

If I had a nickel for every time I think about writing and publishing this book I'd be as rich as J.K. Rowling. I can't help feeling so excited about it this time. I've started and stopped a writing project at least half a dozen times and this is the best I've ever done. The only issues I'm running into this time are the problems of remembering important plot points that happened earlier in the book. It hasn't become too severe of an issue yet though. I've had these issues before and they've contributed to me quitting projects in the past so I'm happy there isn't a major problem with it (yet).

Getting a MacBook Air is my hopeful solution to this becoming a serious road bump. I can use Scrivener again when I have a smaller and more portable computer.

I'm writing exclusively on my iPad now (did I mention in an earlier post that I'm using the app Simplenote for this?). If they come out with a mini iPad, I'm going to trade this larger one in for it...but that won't be until I swap out my computer though. I sound like a terrible person, but I guess I'm not the only one who sells their outdated technology on eBay for the newest 'best' thing.

I know I've talked about the MacBook Air before. The one I want is probably a tiny bit bigger than the keyboard/iPad combo I'm using now. I'd stick with the current set up if I could use a good program like Scrivener on my iPad. I really look forward to having an actual computer with the ability to get super organized on this book. Plus the MacBook Air will be much faster than my computer now because of the hard drive being solid state and not needing much to access its contents. The battery will last longer, there will be less risk of having any problems losing info in the hard drive, it'll be super portable. I can't wait!

Hopefully I'll have a chance to write today. Right now, I need to get my husband, toddler and self ready to go to Shippensburg..we're meeting my longtime college friends there for the day. I can't wait for this either!

Just under 2 weeks until we will be in Phoenix!!!

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

30% Done

I'm still committing myself to this project most days. In fact, in August AND September I wrote 18 days out of the month (sounds better in September because that's 18 out of 30 days instead of 18 out of 31). I wrote over 1,200 words today (not to kid you though, this is one out of only 3 or 4 days that I've broken 1,000).

With this consistency comes a frustrating urge to talk about what I'm doing with my family. Unfortunately, it's difficult to talk about a 'wanna-be' book that I'm writing when I have nothing to show for it and no previous success in this area of my life (I've talked about 'wanna-be' books in the past so I'm speaking from experience here...all it gets is a smile and a courteous acknowledgement that I've just said something).

It's just hard to receive or expect to receive any support from anyone for this endeavor. I'm already doing the jewelry shop, I'm a part-time graduate student, and I'm in the process of relocating across country with my husband and toddler. Would anyone be expected to take this seriously?

The only reason even I am still taking this seriously is because I'm using a couple of iPhone apps that are making me keep track of the words I've written. That's how I know what percentage of the book I've written so far. The goal is to get to 70,000 words and right now I'm at 21,147 words (tracked with the 'Word Count' app) and I can see the days of the month I've written by logging the words in my TracknShare app.

At least half the time I force myself to write so that I have something to enter into those two apps. And I don't consider that to be a bad thing. Almost everywhere I turn to for advice about writing tells me that if I want to finish a book, I have to write. This wouldn't be such a constant piece of advice if I were the only one who struggled getting the words written. It takes time and commitment and I highly doubt there's anyone in this world who can spend months straight on a certain writing project without having a day or two where they just don't feel like getting into it that day. And for busy people that have several big and unrelated things ruling their time, they might see those couple of days spread to months. The only way to get myself to do this is to remind myself on a daily basis that it's something I want with every creative urge in my body (it sounds weird, but I have loads of them) and that I'll never feel totally whole unless I do this.

So once again, I'm happy to have this blog to track my thoughts on this topic and be an audience for me to put it out there that I'm excited about this.

"First get it written, then get it right." -not sure who


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Location:Wapwallopen, PA

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chapter Five

I'm starting Chapter Five of this book tomorrow. It feels way more legitimate now that I've been sticking with it for several weeks. I started listening to an Audible 'how to' book on becoming a successful novelist. It was written by the guy who wrote the Rambo books (I didn't even know they originated from books...sorry David Morrell!!). I definitely don't expect to become a successful novelist because of this audiobook, but I have found that listening to any nonfiction book helps me stay more aware of whatever topic that book is about. And they take me weeks to finish, so if I'm thinking about writing fiction for weeks, it can only help.

I just wanted to give myself a little congratulations on finishing another chapter. I'm using an app to track the amount of words I'm writing (did I mention this already in my latest blog post?) and the app is telling me that I'm 12% done with my goal of 70,000 words. I definitely say 'hooray' to being anywhere in the double digits of percentage done with this. If I could just get to triple digits percent complete...that's obviously my ultimate goal.

This audiobook brought up something interesting for me today. The author asks 'why do you want to be a writer'. He even brings up the really good point that writing one book could involve up to a full year of work that you may never ever be paid for (this is something I've thought of time and again recently..simply because I'm making and selling jewelry now, working for a living, and raising a daughter--all of these things give me a very limited amount of time and I can't help but equate time with money now that the jewelry business is something else I could be putting my time towards here at home).

I still haven't really fully answered the question, to be honest. I'm gonna have to keep thinking about it, I guess. Some of the reasons I can't let go of wanting to be a writer...
-I've been writing in journals since I was younger than a teenager.
-I have stories that I haven't even ended in my head I feel like the only way I can see them finish themselves, is by writing them.
-I need to feel like these desires to get published have not always been a delusional and childish 'I'd like to be a ballerina when I grow up' type dreams.
But I don't feel like any of these really answer the question of why I WANT to be a writer.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I'm almost embarrassed to be writing here. But I'm writing a new book and I want a place to sort of post it to the world. I'm big on social networking and getting my thoughts and feelings out there (even if I'm not really getting a response...there's just something about knowing I told some public forum about something that legitimizes it for me).

I haven't finished a book yet, but I've started several. I always have an excuse, and it always has to do with life and a lack of making this a routine. I've started yet another writing project with new motivation (don't get me wrong, I have done this at least 5-10 times in the past...each time with this overwhelming desire to see it through to the end, never with any success).

I figure I can write to you, old ancient blog, to try and keep myself going. This is, after all, the sole purpose I created you in the first place.

For new project is called 'The Earths Project: Book One'. It's an old idea that I've morphed now for the third time. I'm almost done with Chapters 1-3 and a Prologue.

I currently have strep throat for the 4th time since March and my husband and I are moving with our 2-year-old daughter to Arizona after spending a month homeless in Pennsylvania starting September 13th when the military movers come and take all our belongings to storage in our soon to be state of residence. We plan on living with my family and his over the month between September and mid-October, when we're starting our drive across country.

So keep in mind that my life really is hectic. I wasn't just saying that. But as an incentive, I think I'm going to reward myself with an Apple Macbook Air at Christmas as long as I keep up with the book until then. Of course, that would also depend on me having a job in Arizona. This particular Macbook is something I've wanted for years, because of my writing, so I'm probably going to look into trading in my current Macbook Pro for the smaller, lighter, and much more portable Air.

ONLY IF I KEEP WRITING (or else, why would I need it??)

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Location:DuBois, PA