Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Writing Faster and Smarter #IWSG | Ghosts of Fire Released #fantasy #horror

The Insecure Writer's Support Group was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. This month's co-hosts are Beverly Stowe McClure, Megan Morgan, Viola Fury, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Angela Wooldridge, and Susan Gourley. Visit the other participants here.
My thoughts have been returning to NaNoWriMo, which is less than a month away. I participated in NaNoWriMo from 2009-2013. I have been writing every day since July 1, 2015, but I'd like to stretch my fingers, so to speak, and write more words in a month.

Since I want to find ways to increase my word count, I've been reading a few books on the subject: Chris Fox's 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Writer Smarter, Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k: Writing, Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love, and Jacqueline Garlick's Tick-Tock Plot. Although none of these books re-invent the wheel, I do believe they'll help me focus and plan better to use my writing time even more wisely. I'm using Chris's spreadsheet to keep track of how many words I write per day in combination to what I learned from Rachel's book about tracking my enthusiasm as I write and what chapter I'm working on, and I plan to use Tick-Tock Plot to help in plotting my next book.

I hope to see improvement to my words per hour/day as well as where my book might be sagging. After all, I would love to consistently write/type 1500-2000 words per day in an hour's time. *crosses fingers*

I've set a deadline to finish the first draft of A Soul to Reap by October 31. If I can do so, then I'll participate in NaNoWriMo with A Soul to Keep (Soul Reaper 2). We'll see how it goes, especially since I'll likely have to write 35,000+ words to finish A Soul to Reap in time.

This month's question: When do you know your story is ready? I read a quote recently about stories are never finished but abandoned. That's probably very true. I can always find something to fix, but I call a story finished when I am not making any major changes, the story has been through edits, and I'm in the stages where I'm just changing a word here and there.

What are you insecure about this month?

I've gotten a lot finished in the month of September. I've written through Chapter 16 in A Soul to Reap. Just seventeen chapters left to go!

I edited A Soul to Save (A Soul Reaper prequel novella), edited/proofread/formatted two novellas for my friend, and proofread and formatted Ghosts of Fire (Elements of Untethered Realms 3).

My goals for October include:
- Write two thirty-minute sprints a day in A Soul to Reap. As you've seen above, I would love to finish this novel by the end of the month so I can participate in NaNoWriMo.
- Outline A Soul to Keep (Soul Reaper 2).
- Start my read-through/notes of The Fate Challenges. I'm starting at Reborn and plan to keep on reading until I've finished the series. This goal will likely take several months, but I'm hoping to complete it by the end of the year so I can start editing the last two books, the novella, and the bonus woodwose scenes.
- Continue to help my friend publish her fantastic novella series.

What are your goals for this month?

2016 Stats: 267,148 words written and 1,767 pages edited

Shadow Born by Jasmine Walt and Rebecca Hamilton
Dark Dawning by Christine Rains
Silent Whispers by Christine Rains
Ghosts of Fire by Untethered Realms' authors

Shadow Born by Jasmine Walt and Rebecca Hamilton
Finding who killed her fiancé leads Detective Brooke Chandler down a supernatural path that there might not be a way out of in Jasmine Walt and Rebecca Hamilton's Shadow Born. Brooke is a strong character. She may not always know what's going on, but her persistence pays off and gets her into a bit a trouble. Walt and Hamilton paint a vivid supernatural world. The mysteries brewing in Salem drew me in bit by bit until I was completely hooked, and I feel we've just scratched the surface of this fantastic world. I'm looking forward to the next book in the Shadows of Salem series. An intense start to a new series, Shadow Born by Jasmine Walt and Rebecca Hamilton is a great read.

Dark Dawning by Christine Rains
Polar bear shifter Ametta Dorn dreams of the big city, as long as that city isn't in Alaska, in Christine Rains' Dark Dawning, but those dreams will be put on hold until Ametta and her family stop the hunters seeking down shifters for their skins. Ametta is a spitfire, sure-of-herself woman who can be more than a bit stubborn about things. Lucky Osberg can be stubborn as well as he and Ametta butt heads on matters. The mystery of who is killing shifters and why intrigues me. We don't get all the answers to our questions, but it's a good thing we have eight more novella-length tales to read. Rains weaves Inuit mythology with a modern day world populated by paranormal creatures. I enjoyed the glimmers of romance brewing between Ametta and Lucky too. I found myself grinning more than once at Lucky's antics. Dark Dawning by Christine Rains sets up what I think will be a great urban fantasy series.

Silent Whispers by Christine Rains
Polar bear shifter Kinley Dorn wants to get out from behind the computer and help her family find the missing totem tokens, but doing so may put her life in danger in Christine Rains' Silent Whispers. Book two in the Totem series follows the middle Dorn sister Kinley. As much as I loved Ametta, Kinley is close to my heart as she's an awkward geek with fierce bravery. Ransom Averill, a lynx shapeshifter, matches her well and they make a great team to go against a giant in search for one of the tokens. I also think Bert has become one of my favorite vampires of all time. He's classic! The mysteries continue as we delve further into the world Rains has created here. Silent Whispers by Christine Rains has some great twists and turns that keep the reader reading. I'm looking forward to the next Totem book!

Ghosts of Fire by Untethered Realms' authors
Ghosts of Fire features ten thrilling fantasy and horror short stories by Angela Brown, Jeff Chapman, River Fairchild, Gwen Gardner, Misha Gerrick, Meradeth Houston, M. Pax, Christine Rains, Cherie Reich (me!), and Catherine Stine. In Jeff Chapman's "The Flaming Emerald," Jimmy and Orville must return a cursed emerald before they go up in flames. This story has such fantastic voice that sets the reader right on down into an old western setting. Meradeth Houston creates a world not too different from our own in "The Cost of Greatness," but I'm hoping for a better outcome from our world. The Otherkind were fascinating creatures, and I would love to read more about them. "On Day 168" was by me (Cherie Reich), so I'll just say if you like dragons, elves, and treachery, then you might like my story as much as I do. In M. Pax's "The Vargaries of Eloise Stanton," Lucy must save her family from a museum art project gone awry. I loved the use of mirrors to reflect Lucy and the grim worlds she's caught between in her attempts to free her family. Gwen Gardner takes the reader to England in her "Mind the Gap." I enjoyed the idea of Gap Walkers and the combination of it and art theft. Ryan and Aleria are caught in a struggle to the death in Misha Gerrick's "Ryan." This short story makes me want to read her novel Endless. I'm intrigued with the creatures of phoenixes and griffons and how Gerrick uses them in her story. "Rollerskate Boys" by Catherine Stine is a haunting and yet vibrant story. Stine paints such beautiful pictures with her words. Many people know the tale of Hades and Persephone, but I love what Christine Rains has done in her story "The Torchbearer," which focuses on one of Hekate's lampades and the handsome prophet who foretold the six. In Angela Brown's "In Plain Sight," Kazel and Amandine reveal each other's secrets in their escape from the Harvestors. Having read Brown's Neverlove, I found it to be a lot of fun revisiting that world she created. River Fairchild's "Demon in the Basement" is a chilling story where Robert must revisit his childhood home to destroy the evil within. The style reminded me of some Stephen King stories. Even though I was one of the editors and contributors to Ghosts of Fire and may be a bit biased, I have to say this is one of my favorite anthologies to be in to date.

From USA Today, Amazon bestselling, and popular science fiction and fantasy authors comes Ghosts of Fire, a supernatural anthology of ten thrilling tales. Meet paranormal detectives, imprisoned dragons, dark demons, cursed jewels, and handsome prophets. Explore shifting realms trapped in mirrors and a disturbing future where a president aims to rid the world of Otherkind. Ghosts of Fire is the third, long-awaited Elements story collection from the dynamic and inventive Untethered Realms group.

Now Available

Ghosts of Fire by Untethered Realms' authors
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith
Nemesis by Anna Banks
Iron Man: The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer
Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino
Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast
The Delphi Effect by Rysa Walker
Rift by Elana Johnson
Shadow Marked by Jasmine Walt and Rebecca Hamilton
Bloodwalker by L.X. Cain
Remember Yesterday by Pintip Dunn
Spindle by Shonna Slayton
Dark Dawning by Christine Rains
Silent Whispers by Christine Rains
The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
The Hunt by Harper A. Brooks
Children of the Veil by Colleen Halverson
Crosstalk by Connie Willis
Venom and Vanilla by Shannon Mayer
The Illusory Prophet by Susan Kaye Quinn


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations on Ghosts of Fire!
Five thousand words in a day? It would take me twelve hours to do that. (I'm a very slow typist.)

Julie Flanders said...

Yay for Ghosts of Fire!! I need to get my hands on that one ASAP.

Good luck with your Soul to Reap deadline. :)

Bob/Sally said...

Calling a story finished when you're not making any major changes sounds like the right approach. I have a tendency to tinker too much, and to make changes just for the sake of making changes. That's when I know it was ready before I was.

Chrys Fey said...

You've written every day since July? Wow. You've been more disciplined than I have been. Good for you!

Congrats on the anthology!

"never finished but abandoned" I never thought of it that way before. Interesting.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

With your dedication, I bet you'll finish and just right into NaNo without missing a stride.

Leandra Wallace said...

Wow, 1500-2000 an hour?! That'd be a dream come true. =) Heck, it'd be a dream come true for me to write that in just one day!

Nicola said...

Congratulations, Cherie!! You are truly an inspiration. Wishing you a successful month and hope that you achieve all that you desire. I really don't know where or how to tap into the amount of energy you have! Kudos!! Take care.

L.G. Keltner said...

That "never finished but abandoned" quote definitely rings true. If I let myself keep making small changes, I could do it forever.

Best of luck with all of your goals, and congratulations on Ghosts of Fire!

Stephen Tremp said...

I know a story is ready when I edit it for the 87th time.

Crystal Collier said...

LOL! Now we know the truth. You only publish something when you're sick of looking at it. ;)

Hey, if you learn anything truly helpful about increasing productivity, say the word!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome there are so many books out to help you write even more each day. Sounds like you're making great progress on your goals.

Jeff Chapman said...

Daily word count is the dragon I'm trying to slay as well. 250 to 500 a day just doesn't lead to that much production.

Christine Rains said...

You're so awesome sticking with writing every day. I believe you can finish ASTR by the end of the month. You can do it! Thank you so much for the wonderful reviews. I must get to the other GoF stories that I haven't read yet. So far, I loved them all.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I used to have an app on my phone to log word count onto. I can't remember if I deleted that or not. It helped me track my progress.

Good luck hitting your word count goal!

emaginette said...

My insecurities rotate around a work I'd like to submit to the anthology. It keeps changing on me. Luckily I have my son to discuss plot twists and character motivation. Now its time to put it all together. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Kristin Smith said...

Wow, I'm so impressed that you've been writing every day since July! It sounds to me like you're ready to go for NaNoWriMo!

I love the list of SpecFic authors releasing in October!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on Ghosts of Fire! Your writing progress is always so impressive. I'd love to write 2,000 words in an hour. It doesn't happen often, though. Good luck with your October goals!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Great goals. That's a lot of words. Good luck and have fun with NA NO

Tyrean Martinson said...

Congratulations on your word counts and revisions!!! Wow!
And, those sound like great craft books to read. I'll try to check them out soon.

I might try NaNo again this year . . .might.

Chemist Ken said...

Congrats on the anthology!

You've written enough books so that when you think your book is done, it's probably done. It's the newbies (like me) that need help knowing when it's done.

Misha Gerrick said...

Mainly, I'm focused on finishing Book 3 before the end of the year. (Which means I have like 150k words left to write.)

Other than that, I want to enter a short story into the IWSG contest.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the word count. I need to figure out some goals. I tried to take last month off to relax and that didn't happen, so I'm still struggling to find the energy to stuff other than the day job.

Jenni said...

I'm always so impressed with your goals. And I loved what you said about we just abandon a story, not finish it. So true. Good luck with NaNoWrMo!

alexia said...

As always, great job on accomplishments and goals! I am wanting to write a first draft and a novella by year end, along with marketing a new series... we'll see :)

M Pax said...

I used part of 5000 words an hour to get back into the writing habit. Eventually, I'll reread it to apply to writing faster. I'm just happy with 1K a day at this point when writing. My goal with the next book will be to increase that and set a goal of 10K a week.

Gwen Gardner said...

Wow, I'd be interested in hearing how the writing faster goes. Right now I've slowed my writing down just trying to make a better first draft. Thanks for sharing, Cherie!

dolorah said...

I'd be lucky to get 5,000 in a month - including blog posts, comments, and book reviews. You are ambitious.

Diane Burton said...

Who can type 5000 words an hour? Not me and I'm a pretty good typist. Remember the Tortoise and the Hare? Slow & steady wins the race. Not that we're in a race. Perseverance is what brings our work to completion. Best wishes.

erica and christy said...

Wow..Just wow. What a list of specfic books! And love the cover for Ghosts of Fire! And YES, NaNoWriMo. I'm hoping to begin and end book two for a trilogy that month as well! And I'm going off the outline from TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS by Libbie Hawker. If she can spend four hours writing a detailed outline and then write the book in three weeks, can I! ;) Best of luck to you!!! Christy

Dawn Simon said...

Congratulations on how productive you've been! I always find your posts inspiring!

It was interesting to learn which craft books you've been reading. Thanks for sharing that info! I just started THE MAGIC WORDS by Cheryl Klein. I'm excited about it!

farawayeyes said...

'Books are not finished, they are abandoned', YIKES! I never thought of it that way. Maybe that's my problem, I just can't possible abandon my little darlings.

You certainly have been productive. I evny that.

I'm thinking about doing NaNo this year also. I completed in 2011, but haven't participated since. Nothing like 50,000 in a month to get the old juices flowing, eh?

Loni Townsend said...


And wow on the word count. Best of luck keeping it up! You rock!

Angela Brown said...

This post was chock full of lots of wonderful

Thank you as always for your work on Ghosts of Fire. I'm so humbled to be a part of this anthology with you and so many great authors.

You are kicking some major butt with your statistics. Keep up the good work and rocking it out!

Cathy Keaton said...

Congrats on that anthology coming out. Really cool!

Hey, if every book gets abandoned, technically, then I can safely claim I am always doing that, too... although, my stories never get completed. ;)

Unknown said...

It always impresses me how organized you are. I think you'll get a lot out of those self-help books about writing. They sound amazing! Good luck with improving your word count!

Olga Godim said...

Increasing your daily word output - what a worthy goal. And you're writing every day. Wow!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Best of luck with the word count. I tried that and totally stressed myself out. I'm going to give it another shot, soon. I saw that cover the other day. Love! Congrats!!!

H. R. Sinclair said...

5000 words a day would be a dream! Congrats on Ghosts of Fire.

DMS said...

Looks like you have been reading some great books. :)

Awesome that you have kept up your daily writing and I love that you are going to challenge yourself. I am challenging myself to wrap up the manuscript that I am working on by the end of November. I don't think I will officially participate in NANO- but I will be working to get the ms done. I have been having a hard time with balancing my day job and writing and I am going to set a deadline and hope I make it. :)

Best of luck to you with your goals!

Nicole Zoltack said...

5K an hour? That's insane! My best hour was 2K, I think, or just under. If I'm really in the zone, I can hit 1.5K an hour consistently. Right now, though, the writing is going a little slow. I think it might be because I'm writing book 5 of a 6-book series, and I'm already starting to think about the series I'm going to work on next, so shiny new WIP idea is itching for my attention and is distracting me.

Heather R. Holden said...

Best of luck increasing your word count! I'm a notoriously slow artist, so becoming speedier is something that's always on my mind, too. And wow, I'm impressed by everything you managed to accomplish last month. Hope your October goals have been going just as well!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Congratulations on your newest novel, Cherie. They certainly did an outstanding job on the cover. I'm trying to decide who he reminds me of. Sort of looks like a cross between Justin Timberlake and Jason O'Mara.

Tabatha Morrow said...

5K a day is a great goal. I hope to get there one day. Some amazing books in your reviews.