Happy May! I'm so glad it's spring. The flowers have all bloomed basically overnight and they've stopped forecasting snow, now it's actually here! I'm having so much fun going for walks now that it's not dark within an hour of getting home, it does such good things for my motivation.
Camp Nanowrimo was a lot of fun as always. I wrote over 52k words, most of it on Always Three and a couple of short stories. I also roped a couple of friends in with me, which meant zoom calls, virtual write-ins, texting each other yelling about the lines we wrote that we're super proud of, and crying over cute couples. I wrote SO MUCH PINING. I had no idea it was so much fun.
Here's what I have coming up this month:
I worked a lot on this story for Nanowrimo last month, which was great- I'm almost to the halfway point of completing it, including edits. I can't wait to share it, but this month I'm not going to be posting any new chapters. I need to get a little further in my draft to make sure that what I post is complete, so I'm going to spend this month doing hard outlines and reread after reread. I'll come back with a more complete plan as to the future of this story next month- I also have been posting it on Wattpad, but I'm not getting any feedback from it so this might not be the right platform, in which case it doesn't make sense to keep posting there. Don't worry, though, I definitely plan to finish it and share it! I just need to figure out in what form.
In the meantime, you can read the first four chapters on Wattpad here!
My Patreon has a new short story: "Lines to the Sun", a contemporary letter written by someone disappearing. It was fun writing a contemporary, but I still think most of the stories on there are going to be a little fantastical. I have a type.
If you haven't checked it out yet, you can find it here. For $3 a month, you get to read all of my new short stories- I have three available now!- with a new one that comes out each month. I have a new one I'll be posting on Friday the 14th, too. I have a couple in mind, but I think this one's going to be sci-fi!
The other thing I'm doing with my short stories is submitting them to contests and magazines in the hopes of getting them published! It's an entirely different thing, submitting my work, but I'm getting some great feedback and I'm hopeful I'll be published somewhere soon, which would be so exciting! I have three flash fictions that I'm submitting- one fantasy, one paranormal, and one sci-fi- and one contemporary short story. I can't say much about them yet, but I'm hopeful that eventually I'll be able to post a link for you to read them online!
During Nanowrimo, I usually have an epiphany on an unrelated story while I'm trying to focus on one story. True to form, while I was writing Always Three, my brain went You haven't worked on Runeless for a while and I got sidetracked with that. So! That's going to be my project for this month. I edited another chapter- a really fun one, I'm so freaking excited to share this with people it's KILLING ME- and I'm doing major revisions this month. Cutting things out, moving them around on my floor, drawing things, technical research, writing background lore that might not even be in this book, that sort of thing. I actually love it, but it's a little daunting.
And that's all I've got going on! It's a lot, but I like keeping busy. I have more projects that I'm working on, too, but no news regarding them yet. For random musings and what I'm reading and in progress stuff, you can find me on Instagram (here), and feel free to contact me here! I'd love to hear if there's anything you want to see more of or have any questions. I love talking about my books and writing in general.
Have a great month, and May the Fourth be with you! ;)
Happy spring! It kind of felt like it was never going to come/ is never going to come, but we have some sunshine so that counts in my book. There was ice on my windshield a couple days ago, but in Washington as soon as we get sunshine we start going outside and celebrating it. So it's here! I'm ready for it this year.
Also, happy Camp Nanowrimo! One of my favorite times of year! I have big plans for this one, and I'm keeping busy, and I hope to have lots to share with you! Unfortunately, one of my plans is NOT starting a new story. I don't know what it is about Nanowrimo, but as soon as I start to focus on one story, I get a new great story idea and want to jump ship and work on it immediately. I got a great one yesterday. Why, brain.
Here is what's going on this month:
The first three chapters of Always Three, my paranormal adventure story, are available to red on Wattpad now, and this story is my priority this month for Nanowrimo. I'm ambitiously hoping to finish it, since it's a pretty fast-paced story, and the next two chapters are going to be posted to read this month. I'm aiming for a chapter every two weeks right now, which may get adjusted in the future as I get towards the end, which means there will be a chapter up on April 9th and 23rd. I'm about to jump into the action, so check it out here!
There are now two short stories available to read up on Patreon, "Drowning Lessons" and "Siren Songs"! I'm very proud of them and I'm having a ton of fun writing flash fiction- short stories that are less than a thousand words, so it's a lot of story packed into a quick read- and I have another one coming out tomorrow. Patrons who pledge $3 a month or more can read them here, if you're not a patron yet go check it out! ;)
I edited another chapter, which puts the draft at about ten percent completion now! I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but this is a lot of story, and I'm aiming for this to be completed in around three drafts. Three... freaking LONG drafts. But three drafts, hopefully! This is my second priority after Always Three. Some chapters need to be entirely rewritten from the first draft, which would work well with Nanowrimo.
As you might have guessed by now, this is what the month is centered around. I'm going to be sharing my progress on my Instagram (here) and on my Nanowrimo profile, which you can find here! Come say hello if you're participating too, I always want more writing buddies.
That's all for now! I'll see you at the end of the month, hopefully with some nice finished work to share! :)
Anyone else feel like the months are going faster? I definitely feel like the months are going faster. It's so surreal. I feel like I was just here. I don't know whether to blame it on the pandemic or just time, but it's weird.
Either way, though, February was a great, productive month. I wrote a couple of great short stories, and worked on both Runeless and Always Three. I also came up with a bunch more ideas, which I need to keep myself from starting. I always need to keep myself from starting new things. I'm never going to actually catch up but darn it, I'm going to try.
Here are how my current projects are going and what I have to share this month:
My Patreon is officially live! Right now, it is home to a brand new fantasy short story called "Drowning Lessons", and I have another one that will be posted this Friday. When you join Patreon you get access to all previous work that I've posted, so if you want to read both of those, you can find them here.
My new paranormal story is available to read on Wattpad now! I'm having so much fun with these characters. It's a paranormal story, but it has a lot of focus on the characters, which means it's basically a chance for me to put every fun monster-movie trope into one story with my own spin. The first chapter is up now and the second will be available shortly, with more updates coming every two weeks. You can check it out here!
Finished editing another chapter, so it's coming along slowly but surely. I don't have anything to share quite yet, but I did want to put a link to my playlist for it on Spotify. I have so much fun finding the perfect music, and it's basically a behind-the-scenes look since I use these for specific scenes. It's kind of all over the place, but most of it is epic soundtrack music, instrumentals, and songs in other languages that give me the right vibes for the story. You can listen to it here, and if you have any suggestions PLEASE share them with me. I absolutely love finding new music, and new music drives a ridiculous amount of my writing.
I also wanted to share my new Instagram. This is going to be where you can get glimpses at my writing processes, my favorite books, what I'm reading, what I'm doing (when I can leave the house), and more. Come check it out here!
I can't wait to share my projects with you, and as always, please let me know what you think! I'm hoping to have some exciting news next month, so stay tuned!
Hello, hello! I can't believe it's February already. January continues the string of odd months with no sense of real time. I'm falling into a bit of a routine with it, though, including weekly Zoom meetings and socially distanced walks when the rain stops, and writing so much. I do at least have that going for me. Lots of writing is getting done, and I have lots to share!
My new story is coming along really well, so I'll be posting the first chapter this month! I'm very excited to share it. Here's the summary:
Ivy, Jason, and Gray were inseparable when they were younger, eager to cause trouble and investigate their tiny town of River Road and the strange forest that surrounded it. They were afraid of nothing, thought they would always be together... until a tragedy five years ago, when Gray disappeared into thin air. Ivy and Jason moved on and grew apart, his disappearance hanging over them.
Now Gray has reappeared as suddenly as he vanished, with new scars and no memory of what happened to him, forcing the three of them back together to try to solve the mystery of what happened- and what is lurking in the forest.
The first chapter is coming on Friday the 12th! You can read it here.
Editing is coming along on schedule! I'm feeling a little less optimistic about finishing it by the end of this year- I have to edit a chapter a week to stay on schedule, including the ones that need to be rewritten from scratch- but so far that's still my plan. I don't have anything to share quite yet, but I hope to have a piece posted on here or on Patreon soon. Stay tuned!
I've discovered that I really like writing flash fiction- which was an odd thing to discover because the other thing I like to write is 100k+ novels- so I've written several of those this month. They all have a sci-fi or fantasy or supernatural twist (because it's me) and I have ideas for a bunch more. Some of them are submitted to contests, and some of them I'm going to be posting on my Patreon here. The first one is going to be posted this Friday- a story about sirens!
That's all for right now! For updates on what's coming, what I'm reading, and more, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and if you have anything you want to read on here drop me a comment!
Happy New Year!
I don't think I've ever had such strong feelings on a year's end in my life. Oh my god I'm so ready for a new year. I know nothing actually changed overnight, but it still feels like a reset. I'm really excited for this year.
I could've done without the circumstances, but 2020 has been AMAZING for my writing: I completed three Nanowrimo's with my friends, I finished the first draft of Runeless, I completed another draft of The House on the Rocks, and I got my first rejection letter! While I would love for things to go back to normal so I have other options- I have watched so much Netflix- I do want to keep the productivity going. I spent December doing other things and I'm ready to get back to my stories.
So! Here are my goals and projects for 2021:
The House on the Rocks:
I've been sitting on this story for a while, and this year, I'm going to focus on submissions. I want to submit to at least twenty-five agents this year, and hopefully one of them leads to getting a publishing deal!
Now that I'm sitting on a draft one, my next goal is a completed draft two. It's going to need a lot of changes- it has plot holes that swallow entire characters- but I have a schedule worked out that should let me finish it by the end of this year.
My other goal is planning. I'm still a recovering pantser, so I want to have a completed outline for book two, and a basic outline for the entire series. I also hope to make character and worldbuilding sheets, which I'm going to be sharing here. It's driving me crazy not to talk about it on here lol, so I'd love you to see what I have coming.
This is a new story- one that I'm going to be sharing! It's a paranormal adventure story that centers around three friends who drifted away from each other and are forced to team up to fight monsters and I'm super excited about it. I'm going to be posting it one chapter at a time on Wattpad, starting in February, so watch for that!
I made a Patreon account! I'm going to be posting WIPs, extras, and sneak peeks at my work, so please check it out here!
I haven't linked to it before, but I am also going to be posting about my writing and my life on Instagram and Twitter. My username is DonleyAlexa on Twitter and Alexa.Donley on Instagram, please come follow me!
* * * * *
There will almost definitely be more- I have a hard time not starting new projects, which you've probably noticed lol- but these are what I'm going to focus on!
I also just want to say thank you so much for reading my blog over the last year. I've had a lot of fun writing these posts, and I'm going to be spending more time on my website. I would love to hear from you if there's anything you want to see more of, so please leave me a comment or come find me on one of my other accounts! I'd love to chat. :)
Happy New Year, and may 2021 be better for all of us! Talk to you soon!
Sorry for missing October's update- it was a nice busy month, with my birthday and Nanowrimo prep and a quiet Halloween and eating pumpkin pie with every meal!- but November was so full. I jumped right into Nanowrimo with a virtual kick-off party at midnight with Allison and Lauren, my writing buds, and then it never really stopped. I love Nanowrimo, so even in a weird year like this with no physical write-ins, it was a return to normalcy. Heck, I think I did better this year because I had no distractions like usual lol. This year, I'll take any silver lining I can get.
I also have two big victories from November to share! I hit 50k for Nanowrimo... AND I FINISHED RUNELESS DRAFT ONE! I'm so freaking happy. The total word count is 327,235- 653 pages. I printed it all out and it takes two binders. So to say the least, it's going to be an undertaking to edit it all. But I have a solid plan for at least the first part of the book, and I'm equal parts nervous and excited to get started. It was a little rough in some parts, but it really started to take shape towards the end and I can't wait to polish it and share it!! :)
Words Written: 55000
Days Worked: 30/30
The House on the Rocks- I kind of put this one on hold because Runeless was taking up so much of my attention, but I want to get back to it this month. Now that I've spent so much time away from it, I'm going to give it one more look-through and take another stab at my query, hopefully get it sent out!
Runeless- I'm trying to keep myself from looking at it too much, to let it sit so I can read it with fresh eyes, but I do plan to edit the prologue at least, since it's been so long since I wrote it. (I wrote it over two years ago! I can hardly believe it.) I also want to work out what edits I want to make over the next year, come up with a schedule. My ambitious goal is to have a draft that's close to publishing by the end of 2021, so I can't afford to do five drafts of this one like I have my other stories.
I'm pretty sure I'm not saying anything new here lol but I've been really enjoying reading the Writer's Digest issues recently. I used to get them from Barnes and Noble, but I subscribed recently when the bookstores closed and that's been so convenient. My favorite section is the poetry one- I don't know much about poetry, so it's cool to find a style and practice with it- and the craft essays have some super interesting thoughts and tips. So if you haven't actually read the magazine, I'd recommend you check it out!
That's all for now! See you next month, and have a great and safe Christmas and New Year! :)
September: conference and editing
I can't believe it's October already!! This year feels like a very odd dream, honestly, but I'm glad it's finally fall. This is my favorite time of year by far. It has everything- cold weather, spooky stories, cozy clothes, Halloween, Nanowrimo, and my birthday! I'm both especially grateful for it this year because the smoke from the fires was awful and I'm glad that's over... and not that happy about it because it's going to make it harder to get together with my friends. We've been hanging out outside and I'm not sure how we're going to do that, but we're determined so we'll find a way. I've been waiting for Halloween to be on a Saturday for freaking EVER and I'm going to figure out a way to have a Nanowrimo kickoff party with my writing buds, dang it.
The big thing I did in September was the PNWA Conference, which was a blast even though it was virtual. I found so many good tips and resources and new people to follow, took as many classes as I could fit into the day, and in between I wrote. I did about twelve hours of writing a day, which was fun but definitely only something I can do in short bursts. The other thing I did was work on short stories, which was a lot of fun. I'm getting the hang of them and I have some fun Halloween-themed ones started already. And then, of course, Nanowrimo prep! I honestly think I look forward to Nanowrimo more than any holiday, and this year I'm especially ready for it because I have big goals!
Words Written: 65,800
Days Worked: 30/30
The House on the Rocks- I'm getting my query together, and this month is the month I submit! I'll let you know how it goes in next month's update because I think I'm officially out of excuses not to send it out lol.
Runeless- I got about a quarter of a way through the chapter I wanted to do this month, which is a good start on finishing by the end of November. I'm slowly finishing it, but at the same time I'm also making a lot of notes for revision, which is going to be just as big of a project as actually writing it. I want to spent October finishing at least the chapter I started- if I can keep going I'll do that, we'll see- and making a revised outline. I also want to work on worldbuilding. This project needs SO MUCH worldbuilding and I love it.
I'm still going through the Masterclass lessons- I have the subscription for a year, I might as well use it!- and I found a new one that I might have to buy so I can revisit it later. The class by James Baldacci is focused on thrillers and mysteries, but it had a lot of specific, useful advice about a bunch of different topics, including research, action scenes, and how to turn writing a book into a writing career. It was a nice, upbeat talk and I listened to most of it in a single day, which tells you how interesting it was. Along with Shonda Rhimes, this one was one of my favorites I've found so far, and I definitely recommend it to any writers!
See you next month, and if anyone is doing Nanowrimo, add me as a friend! :)
August: editing and education
I hope you're all still doing okay in this one of a kind (PLEASE be one of a kind) year. I can't believe how fast it's going by considering I haven't done anything big or noteworthy. I have done nothing for so long that the other day I got excited to have the house to myself for the night. I'm daydreaming about taking weekend trips in my own state. Freaking odd, I tell you. I'm grateful to be an introvert and all the extroverts, hang in there!
I got some good work done on a couple of my goals, but I gave myself a small break after Nanowrimo so I don't burn out, and it was kind of a tough month- my old cat, Fuzzy, died of old age. He was almost seventeen, so he lived a nice long life, but he was my writing buddy and I miss him a lot.
When I did work, I focused on mostly editing. I edited a couple short stories I'm going to submit, and lots of old pieces just to practice, and I'm reworking my Runeless outline in preparation for the next draft of that. I also took another few classes that were amazingly helpful through Hugo House, including finishing another Masterclass. I'm slowly working my way through all of the writing lessons they have, when I finish them I'll do a review of what I thought of them all if anyone is interested.
Words Written: 26,100
Days Worked: 26/31
The House on the Rocks- I didn't do much on the actual book this month, but I did work on my query letter to submit it. (Why is it so much harder to write a page pitchign the story than to write the entire novel??) This month my goals are to finish the query letter, make my hopefully final edits to the first few chapters, and start actually submitting it! Wish me luck!!
Runeless- One more chapter done, only four more to go! I'm getting so freaking close I can taste it. I just can't wait. This is the most ambitious project I've ever attempted and it's taught me so much, and it needs a lot of work before i can share it but I can't wait to start editing. I'm goign to do another chatper this month, and then antoher in october, and then I'll finish the draft this coming Nanowrimo!
I joined the Pacific Northwest Writer's Association (or PNWA) last year, and I've been finding they post really helpful content recently. They have monthly emails that offer great writing tips and helpful prompts on a variety of subjects, and different online classes that they've been running that don't cost much during the pandemic. I went to their conference last year- which is coming up later this month!- and it was an amazing experience that I recommend to anyone who can make it. They've moved it online because of Covid, and some of the classes look super helpful so I'm optimistic it's going to great again. I'm going to miss Pitchfest, I don't see how they could really do that online and it was the most helpful part of the conference last year, but I am looking forward to being able to attend the classes from my house instead of navigating through dozens of classrooms.
See you next month!! :)
Hello again, everyone!!
I hope you're staying safe out there, because the crazy isn't over yet, unfortunately. The Covid cases have started rising again, like I mentioned last time, but we're all still managing, I think. Instead of going back to shelter in place like we were all afraid of, it looks like the plan right now is to just stay at things being halfway-open and hope things fix themselves. I'm still working full-time, and I'm still trying to use my free time productively, but I'm ready for it to be over now. I'm grateful to have my job and to be living in a house instead of an apartment where I would be much more exposed, but I'd like to be able to see my friends at some point in the near future. And I need things to open back up so the businesses I like don't go under. I have about five bookstores that I love that I'm trying to single-handedly keep open and I'm actually running out of books to buy. (And space to put them. But technically I was out of that a while ago.)
Again, however, not having a social life is helping my writing, so I had another successful month! I did Camp Nanowrimo, which is always fun, and I made lots of amazing progress on Runeless and my miscellaneous stories. I also got critique on a couple things that I'm going to put to good use, and it put me in the mood to edit, which I think is going to be my focus this month. It works well after Nanowrimo anyways. I write so much that I feel like I need to recharge for about a week before anything new makes any sense lol.
Words Written: 50,250
Days Worked: 31/31
The House on the Rocks- I took a break from it, and now I'm ready to go back to it with fresh eyes! I felt like I had a last draft a couple months ago, but I want to be completely sure. I got really good feedback from Jane Friedman on my first few pages, and I'm going to use it to see if I can tighten it up any more so I have the best possible chance when I start submitting to agents. I also need to work on my query letter, which is a new thing for me. By the end of the month, I hope to have a good one I can send out!
Runeless- I hit another milestone this month: I finished Runeless through Act III, Chapter Ten! It's so exciting. That means I only have five chapters left to do. Guessing from the last five chapters I did- which took me about four months- it'll probably be another fifty thousand words before it's complete. Which I guess means I could get it done next Nanowrimo in November, but I want to make sure I finish, so I'm going to be working on it in between, too. I just really want to reach the end of this draft so I can start editing. I have SO MANY IDEAS.
This month I actually worked on short stories, which I'm still learning, and a place that I recommend submitting to is The Masters Review. It takes short story submissions, including a really cool format that I've been liking called flash fiction, which is less than a thousand words. They have a contest every couple of months with a prize of $3000- that's getting paid $3 a word for your writing, which is a freaking amazing rate. They also have an option where you can pay extra to ask for feedback on your story that I did, so even if you don't win you get something out of it. It's a little pricey, but well worth it if you want to improve. The critique I got back was several pages long and had very specific changes I could make, and it took a while but it was definitely worth the wait, too.
Stay safe, and see you next month!! :)
June: classes and coaching
So this time, oddly enough, I can say that things are pretty much back to normal, by which I mean it was a little bit of a crazy month. I found out that my car, which I've had forever, was going to be totaled from an accident that I got in (I'm fine, but the car looks terrible now and the insurance won't fix it because it's too old) so I bought a new car!! It's a bright blue 2019 Subaru Impreza and I love it and I've already started shopping for fun bumper stickers for it. That took up a lot of time, but it was necessary and I'm actually really glad to have a new car. In my old car, I got passed by trucks on the highway. It was sad. I'm also back to work full time now, although with the number of cases rising I guess that could change again next month. We'll see. It's a new month, let's see what 2020 throws at us next lol.
This month I spent a lot of time on classes and prepping Runeless for Camp Nanowrimo (which has come again! July always catches me off guard) and editing. I'm working on a Hugo House class that focuses on scenes, which is actually really helpful so far, and I signed up for a brand new thing: business coaching! I figured since I want to make a living at writing, I should treat it like a business, so I joined a leadership group where people can encourage each other to meet their goals and learn how to grow a business. It just started, but I really like it so far. It's so motivating, and I love the energy of the group, and I'm hoping it will help me reach my goals next month to get where I want to go.
Words Written: 20,100
Days Worked: 22/30
The House on the Rocks- I took a break from The House on the Rocks this month, to see if I can find anything else that needs editing with fresh eyes, and because I'm waiting for the feedback on my query letter and first five pages. I am looking up agents to send it to, so when I get my query letter finished, I'm hoping to jump right into it.
Runeless- I wanted to write five chapters, which didn't quite happen, but I did get one more chapter done, and since they're so long I'm actually happy with that. I spent a lot of time figuring out my characters and my overall plot for the series- again, why did I choose to write a story around prophecy, for a former pantser it's basically torture- and I'm ready for at least another fifty thousand words, maybe more, during Camp Nanowrimo. I really want to finish it, I have so many ideas for the rewrite. I WILL GET THERE EVENTUALLY.
Recently I've been learning a lot of new things through Masterclass. The ads for it are everywhere and while I know some of it is probably hype, the person whose class I definitely recommend everyone check out is Shonda Rhimes. While I know a lot of people don't know who that is, you've probably watched something of hers: she's a TV writer and showrunner, who made Scandal and Grey's Anatomy among others. Her Masterclass is super immersive and she goes into a lot of detail on her thoughts about everything from pitching a script to creating characters. If you're interested in screenwriting, interested in writing other kinds of stories, or even just want to know the thoughts behind your favorite TV shows, you HAVE to check her out. It's one of the most detailed, helpful online classes I've found so far. I'm actually debating on taking it again, because in addition to pointing out a lot of thought-provoking things about stories, she's also a great motivational speaker in general. So if you're going check out one class on Masterclass, so far, I'd say it should be hers.
Stay safe, and happy Camp Nanowrimo! See you at the end of the month!! :)
The place where I post my thoughts, progress, discoveries, and general know-how.