Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IWSG: Changes, May Goals, and Jessica Bell's Adverbs and Cliches in a Nutshell


It's the first Wednesday of the month, so you know what that means ... it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting. IWSG was created by the awesome ninja captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can find out the other members of the group here.

Okay, I love the A-Z Challenge, but who else is glad it's now May? *laughs*

I've been doing a lot of thinking when it comes to writing and blogging, and I've realized I need to cut back a bit on the latter. Between Surrounded by Books Reviews and this blog, I've been blogging from six to eight posts a week (not including the twelve posts a week during A-Z). That's a lot. So, I've decided to start blogging on Mondays and Wednesdays. Only.

Here, I will continue my typical Monday and Wednesday schedules. Mondays will look like: 1st Monday - Book Chat, 2nd Monday - Purrsonal Stories, 3rd Monday - Fantasy Chat, and 4th Monday - Bookworm News. And Wednesdays will be: 1st Wednesday - IWSG, 2nd Wednesday - Indie Life, other Wednesdays - Writing Update.

If you've been following this blog for a while, then you'll notice what's missing. Yes, that's right. I'm giving up Friday Flash. I've been participating in Friday Flash off and on since July 2010. I love writing flash fiction, but most of my writing nowadays is focused on longer works. I do still love showcasing my writing on this blog, so instead of flash fiction, I will start having excerpts/teasers of my writing in my Wednesday Writing Updates.

And I'll still be open to guest posts/interviews/etc., but I'll move those to Mondays and Wednesdays as well.

Why the change? I've figured I have another  215,000 words to write this year, give or take a few thousand (20,000 or so in The Loveless Princess, 80,000 or so in both Book Two of the Phoenix Trilogy and in Book Three of the Phoenix Trilogy, and 35,000 or so in Neighbors of Foxwick). At least a hundred thousand of those words will be written in July (Camp NaNo) and November (NaNo). I'd like to have all this writing done before December, so that means I'll need to write 23,000 words a month (excluding the 50k in both July and November and zero in December). That comes to around 766 words a day. With that type of word count needed, then I must make changes and focus on writing more.

And I still want to visit people's blogs too, so I thought cutting back on the blog a bit will give me more time for everything. We'll see how it works out.

Also, since A-Z was going on, I didn't do my typical goal's post, so here are my goals for May:
1. Finish writing The Loveless Princess, do a self-edit, and send to critique partners.
2. Do final edits on Men of Foxwick. I should have my short story collection back from CPs by May 20th. That'll give me time to do a final edit, proofread a couple times, and format in May/June for a June release. 
3. Catch up on blogs/emails.
4. Finish doing my self-edit on Part III of The Phoenix Prophetess and send to a few CPs.

That's it. Do you have some May goals? Are you changing up your blogging schedule?

2013 Stats
Counted since January 1
75,610 words written (35,006 in April!)
795 pages edited     

And we have a special message from the lovely and talented Jessica Bell:

Too many adverbs and clichés in your writing? I've got just the fix for you.
by Jessica Bell

Writers constantly have rules thrown at them left, right, and center. Show, don’t tell! Stop using so many dialogue tags! More sensory detail! More tension! Speed up the pace! Yada yada yada ... it can become overwhelming, yes? I used to feel overwhelmed by it all too. In fact, I still do sometimes. It’s hard enough to get the words on the page, let alone consider how to put them there.

In Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, she says that in order not to be overwhelmed, a writer needs to focus on short assignments. She refers to the one-inch picture frame on her desk and how that little picture frame reminds her to focus on bite-sized pieces of the whole story. Basically, if you focus on one small thing at a time, the story will eventually come together to create a whole. I believe the same applies to learning the craft of writing. If writers focus on one aspect of the craft at a time, the process will seem less daunting and piece by piece it will come together.

My name’s Jessica Bell, and my own struggles with feeling overwhelmed inspired me to write the Writing in a Nutshell Series of pocket-sized writing guides. So you can learn to hone your craft in bite-sized, manageable pieces. In the first book of the series, I focused on demonstrating how to transition “telling” into “showing.” In Adverbs and Clichés in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Subversions of Adverbs and Clichés into Gourmet Imagery, I deal with another of the most common criticisms aspiring writers face: to absolutely avoid adverbs and clichés like the plague. But see, right now, I just used one of each. I also used a couple in the first two paragraphs of this post because they come naturally, and we utilize them frequently in everyday speech. But in fiction, too many adverbs and clichés weaken your prose. It’s considered “lazy writing,” because it means we don’t have to show what’s happening.

If your manuscript has too many adverbs and clichés, it most likely means that the emotion you felt while writing it is not going to translate to the reader in the same way. So how exactly can we approach the subversion of adverbs and clichés? For starters, play around with simile and metaphor when you’re trying to convey emotion, and for action, use strong verbs to show it happening in real time.

The key? Think smaller details rather than the bigger picture.

Need some help and inspiration?

In Adverbs and Clichés in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Subversions of Adverbs and Clichés into Gourmet Imagery, you will find thirty-four examples of prose which clearly demonstrate how to turn those pesky adverbs and clichés into vivid and unique imagery. Dispersed throughout are blank pages to craft your own unique examples. Extra writing prompts are also provided at the back of the book.
“Jessica Bell's latest pocket guide, Adverbs and Clichés in a Nutshell, will inspire you to leave bland behind and pursue your creative best. With force and clarity, she demonstrates how adverbs and clichés hobble vibrant writing. She then marks a course toward unique expression and provides workouts that will help writers at every level develop a distinctive voice.” ~Laurel Garver, freelance editor, author of Never Gone and Muddy-Fingered Midnights
Purchase links:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Ca | Kobo

Bio: The Australian-native contemporary fiction author and poet, Jessica Bell, also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

She is the co-publishing editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and the director of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat and Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca.

For more information about Jessica please visit:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's difficult to write when the Challenge is in full swing. My May schedule is full, but come June, I may go down to the same two days as well.
Looking forward to Jessica's book!

Jessica Bell said...

Hey, thanks for posting this today. And good luck with your new schedule!

Shell Flower said...

I'm impressed that you wrote so much in April while the challenge was going on. You are definitely very productive. I think we are all glad April is over, yet it was very fun,too.

Al Diaz said...

I think your idea is good. You have a lot to write and you must focus on your greater goals in order to achieve them. 24 hours doesn't seem enough sometimes when you have so many ideas to accomplish. We'll be cheering for you! :)

Nissa Annakindt said...

I've been neglecting both my blog and my writing so my May goals are to reach 25000 words in my Western/Fantasy crossgenre novel 'On Tejas Trails' and to reanimate my blog. I made a writing chart to post my daily word count output.

I'm also thinking of making another chart for my blogging goals--- more blog posts, more commenting on other people's blogs.

I can see how you need to cut back on your blogging, if it is cutting in to your writing time. It's good to set goals.


Unknown said...

Wow, Cherie, you set such high goals for yourself. To me you're superwoman! Send some of that super writing power my way, please.
I've seen Jessica all over today. Congrats on the new book! :-)

Anonymous said...

You gotta do what you gotta do. Blogging is fun and can be important to your writing, but not if it means you have no time to write the stories!

Gina Gao said...

These are very high goals! I admire how you set time to do everything.

Jai said...

You are a writing maniac. I enjoy your posts, but blogging takes time. A couple times a week is a good schedule and if it gets your books done sooner it is a win/win for all.

M.J. Fifield said...

Yes, I am glad it's May. And I wasn't even posting as frequently as you were. But now that A to Z is over, I'll probably go back to my posting M-W-F schedule. And I might lose Fridays.

I will have May goals. I don't have them yet, but I'll have them soon enough. I have a bad feeling that the word "blurb" is going to make an appearance.


Best of luck with your goals!

Julie Flanders said...

I'm definitely glad it's May! And I will miss your Friday Flash stories but it's certainly understandable why you need to cut back. Your schedule makes me feel like the laziest person on earth LOL.

Congrats to Jessica, I'm definitely going to check her book out.

Callie Leuck said...

Wow, is today the big day for announcing blogging cutbacks?

Yeah I cut back on blogging last fall for my thesis and I liked the slower pace and kept it. Now I just blog 3-4 times a month, depending on how often I have something to say. It works for me.

Brandon Ax said...

It's good to cut back on things when you need to. You have some amazing goals and I know you can do it. Good luck.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I think that's a great idea to cut down your blogging schedule. It makes it easier for us followers to catch pretty much all your posts too.

I'm looking forward (hopefully) to cutting back to spotlighting one author a week in the summer since it's so time consuming. I'm hoping to have more time for writing and just relaxing a bit.

Congrats to Jessica. She's everywhere today.

Suzanne Furness said...

Seems like a good idea to cut back and make things more manageable. Like the sound of the book will have to check it out!

Cathy Keaton said...

I say cutting back on blogging is the perfect idea! If it's cutting into other more important things (writing, editing), then it's a no-brainer. Your posts will be that much richer for it. ;)

Heather R. Holden said...

I think it's a good idea to scale back on blogging a bit. It's always a time-consuming process for me, so if there weren't days where I avoided it, or the internet in general, I'd never get any art done! Hope your new Monday/Wednesday blogging schedule ends up working well for you, especially since you have so many goals for May!

Christine Rains said...

Perfectly understandable why you have to cut back on blogging. You amaze me already with how much you do.

Congrats to Jessica! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Love Jessica's series, and I agree that it's tough to keep up with all writing and blogging at the same time. I'm looking at my blog schedule and seeing where I can trim too . . .haven't decided yet, but I will soon.
May goals . . .I need to make some of those . . I have a list. That's a start.
Great goals!!! Best of wishes on all your writing!

Misha Gerrick said...

I'm also starting to think about cutting back on my blogging. I do eight posts a week, but I don't know how I'm going to get everything done once I go back into editing Doorways.

Right now I'm keeping the schedule as is, but the moment I start to feel overwhelmed, I'm cutting back.

Ella said...

I like your schedule and I think I have to do the same. I'm going to tweak the blog, finish my poetry book and try to comment more. I have found my new lifestyle is a challenge. (Hubby home-retired from Navy). I'm not use to all the noise. Yes, you are so invested-you must get back on track :D I admire your goals!

Jessica's book sounds great-small and doable keeps the overwhelming aspect-quiet!

jan said...

My daughter is getting married on June forget May! But come June I have to write another 20,000or so words to bring my WIP up to snuff. Then: get to work on a memoir, polish and submit the short stories that are collecting dust on my shelf, and promote and market my recent release, "EMPOWER!Women's Stories of Breakthrough, Discovery and Triumph". Good luck to you!