April was a crazy busy month. There were family obligations, holidays, and a ton of things to get done at work. But here we are at the end of it and I thought it would be fun to do a summary of everything I accomplished this month and everything I wanted to get done but didn’t. Because you know, accountability.
April was the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo for the year (the next one is in July). Camp NaNo is a more relaxed version of National Novel Writing Month that takes place every November. At camp, you can set your own goal for the month instead of the straight 50,000 word novel goal of November. I set myself the goal to do 30 hours worth of editing during the month and I was able to validate that win late last night. My time ended up being split about 50/50 between editing and writing.
The Journey Missions: Crystal and Flint
I was able to finish this story during camp, and I don’t mean just finish the latest draft. I mean really finish it. I have been working on this story every day since last July, and off and on for years before that, and it feels amazing to have actually completed it. The characters are well rounded and interesting, the story is engaging, and having read through it several more times I can’t think of any way to improve it. I say all this knowing that I’ll still need to make edits and revisions once an editor gets it, but for now I’m extremely happy with how it turned out.
And since I’ve taken the story as far as I can on my own, that means it’s time to start submitting it to agents. I spent a good deal of time this month putting together my submission material, reformatting the manuscript, and researching agents. I’ve even participated in a couple Twitter pitch parties which resulted in some interest from agents. Here’s a breakdown of where I am so far:
Agents Queried: 8
Request Full Manuscript: 1
Cleansing Rain (working title)
So, since I finished Crystal and Flint about halfway through the month, I needed something else to work on in order to reach my camp goal. My original plan was to start revisions on the second book in the Journey Missions series, but I took the advice of the agent I had a live pitch with in March and started something completely new.
Cleansing Rain features a kidnapping, a secret organization of eco-terrorists, a world ending mass genocide, and bottled water. So far, I’ve written 11,426 words, most of which are complete garbage.
Writing Cleansing Rain has been such a different experience than writing The Journey Missions. I’ve spent so much time getting to the know the characters of The Journey Missions that I could literally throw them into any situation and know exactly how everyone would react. Whereas, I’m only starting to get to know the characters of Cleansing Rain, making the process of finding their story a little more challenging. Despite that, my plan is to write at least 1,000 words a day, taking Fridays off since by the time the work week ends I can barely think straight. If I can keep up that pace I should have the first draft finished by mid-June, then have a few weeks to let it sit. Then I can start a complete rewrite of it during camp in July.
While social media hasn’t been my priority this month I have been able to slowly grow my platform on both Facebook and Twitter. I currently have 117 followers on Facebook and 167 followers on Twitter. Even though I have more followers on Twitter I have much more engagement from my followers on Facebook. I’ve really enjoyed using both platforms to connect with people about my writing, as well as other writers going through the same things I am.
It’s hard to be a good writer if you aren’t an avid reader. I don’t read as much as I would like to and that’s something I’m trying to work on. I did read one book this month, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I enjoyed it but honestly the story just wasn’t for me. At times I thought the undefined magic and other worlds made things a little too easy and I never really connected with the characters.
I really dropped the ball with this website and blog this month. I had wanted to post a new blog post at least weekly, which clearly didn’t happen. I really need to make the habit of blogging a priority next month.
Overall, I’m really happy with what I accomplished this month. Here’s to an even more productive May.