Awakening Revision Process 2

It’s been….slow. Mostly due to laziness. I had a week off from work and it was refreshing, but that week off reminded me of my goal–to become a full time writer, so that I wouldn’t have to come back to a job that isn’t my passion.

I think I struggled with revising this manuscript because it needs time. I need to sit with  chapter, read through it, see what needed to be conveyed, and then rework it. That takes time. I just had a great session tonight where I went through a chapter and was able to add more emotion and meaning to a scene that, when I first wrote it, wasn’t planned.

I really don’t want a whole month to go by without this revision being actively worked on. It might not be realistic for me to have it fully completed by the end of this month, but one goal that I’m going to aim for is this: a chapter a day.

Spending time at work thinking about the events of that chapter, how I can change them and coming up with pieces of dialogue will make this less daunting in my mind, as well as allow me to spend enough time in that space of the story. Like tonight, I wouldn’t feel rushed, I would focus on my character’s needs in that moment, how to make the world more alive and in sync with her own personal journey.

That’s the plan for now. Even if I don’t finish the edits by the end of the year, I know this will be finished. I will send this to beta readers, then to agents. I will find an agent and they’ll find a good deal for me. It will happen; I just need to do my part for now and make sure this is the best version of Roxna’s story.

Check out my first post on my novel Revision.

Advertisements

Awakening Revision Process

Revising has been more difficult than I thought it would be. There are a few chapters that have to be rewritten or tweaked, but the problem with those chapters is that they contain a lot of information about the world. I have to change that or rewrite it so that it makes sense and flows with the narrative. This caused me to open up a new document and start rewriting the first chapter.

I have to remember what the reader needs to know at that point and if I decide to leave out something for later, I need to make sure I put it in later.

I really like this revised version of the first chapter because that was one of the weakest moment when I read it. I tried to add more tension, more anxiety with Roxna but it was all through dialogue. I was basically telling the reader “she has no time and she’s super stressed out!!”

This time, I used everything around her to add to the tension, very quietly. It’s the Rootkeeper, it’s the binding ceremony, the sacred but ominous feel to it, then the little fact that right after this ceremony she has to meet up with Malik and his family to see if she is worthy of this ceremony. The whole situation defines Roxna in that chapter; she has no family, she has a strange scar on her arm and she’s fearful. The only comfort is Tea Tea, a small, rapagazi that is out of place as well.

Hopefully today after work I’ll tweak the first chapter a little more and finish it so I can move on to the second chapter.

Updates August 2017

Again, I haven’t been here in a while. But!! Lots of new things have happened.

1. I’M ENGAGED!!!!

Yup!!! My amazing boyfriend of five years proposed to me on May 4th. It was amazing. He took me out to dinner and presented to me a book contaning all of the pictures he’s taken of us during our relationship. At the end of the book, there was a picture of the ring box and that was when he got down on one knee!

I’m so excited! I’ve been wedding planning and figuring out financial stuff but I’m so ready to be his wife. He’s an amazing man and I’m so thankful to God that he’s in my life.

2. STRANGE HORIZONS ACCEPTED MY MERMEN STORY!!!

Another yup! I finished that mermen story, edited it and sent it to them! I’m definitely going to have a link here once it’s published but it’s my first pro sale! A few thousand more words published and I can be an active SFWA member! This happened about a month ago.

3. I FINISHED THE AWAKENING!!!

Yes. Yes. I did it.

I finally did it.

The novel that I’ve been working on for years, the novel that started out as a fan fiction is now a full fledged epic fantasy manuscript. I printed it out after a light edit and it was worth the $30 to feel the weight of it in my hands, to feel all the years I poured into it, feel how my writing style has changed.

Right now I’m doing some major edits and rewrites. It’s been hard but I can see the issues that I need to fix. Which makes me so happy. Being in it, writing and writing, made it hard for me to see how I could improve upon it. Since its been so long since I visited the beginning, I can see the flaws and know how to fix them. The amount of time it took me to write it was actually a good thing!

Oh yes. Also got a new job that pays me more and is less physically demanding, so I’m not worn out all the time. Plus when there’s not alot of calls or emails (I’m a customer service rep) I work on my stories.

God has really been providing. Sometimes it’s hard for me to see that, when I get stressed out, but it’s because of Him that all of this is happening.

I will try try try to update here more often! I’ll talk about wedding stuff and the revising process of this novel!!

Writing, Little by Little

So my writing plan hasn’t been as successful as I hoped it would be, but that’s okay. I wrote a good hundred words on the fantasy a few days ago, and wrote out some questions for me to dwell on as I work today. It’s so funny; I only seem to get writing done on the days I work as opposed to the days that I’m off.

I was a little productive; I sent one of my romance novels to LyricalPress. I wanted to see if it would make it as a traditionally published novel. I hope so! Every day I’ve been checking my submittable account to see if I hear anything. I really pray I do. To be honest, I could use the extra money!

I bought a new notebook (my weakness!) and wrote another chunk of the fantasy in that. I need to buy new pencils. I realize that part of the writing ritual is writing with pencils on good paper (in this case Rifle Paper) when I’m not somewhere comfortable enough for me to write on my laptop. I’m going to keep doing that, since I’m getting in words that way.

I’m still going to try for the 5k a week. I’ll try to write as much as I can in my notebook and write more tomorrow on my day off.

Masks

A poem/story I wrote last year:

 

Masks

Maisy’s first mask came from her father. It was black,

Grinny. Cheap.

She didn’t like it, but if she wore it, Miss Sally calling her a nigger wouldn’t hurt so much.

This mask will protect you, Daddy said. And it was simple enough.

Now when she bought eggs from Miss Sally and wanted to talk back,

she pulled out the mask.

It grinned. Chose its words carefully, slowly.

Miss Sally called her a good little colored girl then.

Maisy really learned about masks from Mama.

Mama brought her to her room, and showed her all her masks,

Clattered on her vanity,

Hanging on the wall,

In azure, black,

Crocodile-green.

With jewels and lipstick and ribbons.

You only see the masks of others if they let you, she said. But if you look close, you might see Where the mask ends

And their face begins.

Right in front of her eyes Mama fashioned with her fingers

A mask of her fears and Maisy’s tears.

It was hard. Pale.

It hurt, but not as much as Maisy’s private parts did

That night Daddy came home drunk.

What else could she do?

But pull it out when Daddy was having one of his fits.

This mask did not move.

This mask kept her far away from her bed, from the night.

From Daddy’s sour breath. But sometimes it wouldn’t come off.

Dinah made a lilac one for her

That only covered her eyes

For the boys she said, with a secretive grin.

So when the heavy mask appeared, Maisy put on the plastic lilac

Masquerade mask.

It made her first kiss much easier.

Maisy made her own mask at a rally

For the nation of Islam.

This was after a restaurant sit-in.

She was older, stronger from that hard mask

But she didn’t agree with everything everyone said.

Didn’t want the righteous indignation

to be spilled out on her

Cause she said the wrong word to the wrong person.

So she broke her first mask that was for Miss Sally

And used it to craft a double sided mask.

One that smiled, one that frowned

One with a dove, one with a black fist.

It worked for a little while.

Pleased everyone, for a little while.

Until she met a man with the same exact mask.

Mal and Maisy

Pulled each other’s masks off.

And laughed.

There was beauty in their naked, flawed faces.

An intimacy that bred love.

Maisy knew she didn’t need a mask with Mal.

That was why they married.

But he frowned when she wanted to keep working at the hair salon.

Said that she didn’t have to work

Like her Mama and his Mama did.

That her place was at home…right?

She cried into the gumbo she stirred,

Onto the mask that she began to craft onto her face

Just for him.

It was seamless. A false intimacy.

She felt safe.

But when they kissed goodnight,

She could feel her mask and his mask

bump against each other.

When Maisy discovered she was pregnant

Their masks were gone, for a while.

But when the excitement and the joy turned into restlessness and monotony

The masks returned.

Bumping and chafing against each other.

Until one night, she felt Mal’s hands on her face as she slept.

Felt his fingers pull under the mask

Until a piece cracked off.

Maisy gasped; the pain was sharp, but brief.

She reached over, tugged her finger under Mal’s mask,

The mask that covered his stress, his many hours at the office,

And cracked it.

He winced, but there was a piece of his face.

Naked, flawed.

Free.

There were other things that cracked Maisy’s masks.

Mal saying that she could work at the salon once their child was older

Her explaining to Mal why she didn’t like sex

What Daddy did to her

And him holding her until the tears couldn’t come anymore.

Church. Seeing women there, flawed and free.

Who saw through her mask and spoke to the face inside.

Maisy letting the Holy ghost’s fingers

Lift off her mask

And shatter it against the cross.

Mal’s mask cracked too when he worked less hours

And came home earlier.

On her drive from the elementary school

To the salon,

Maisy saw her daughter’s gap-toothed smile

And caught where the mask began

And where her face ended.

It was crudely made of clay, and when Maisy pressed what was actually wrong,

It melted away as Jewel cried and said

She hated her dark skin

And poofy hair.

That the other girls hated it.

That night, Maisy brought Jewel to her and Mal’s room, and showed her all of the masks,

Clattered on her vanity,

Hanging on the wall,

Piled on his desk.

Lilac, pale, black and white

Dragon-purple. Rattlesnake-red.

Maisy and Mal smiled at their beautiful daughter

Their faces vulnerable, naked,

Full of flaws, joys,

Desires,

Secrets fully unfolded.

These won’t protect you, they said,

As they invited Jewel to crack and stomp on

All of the beautiful masks.

Writing Plan for 2017

Here it is! My plan that I sincerely hope to achieve this year.

  • Finish the Epic Fantasy by March. I’ll aim for a weekly word count goal of 5k, so I won’t feel constrained to writing every day and I have permission to write more words one day and less another, as long as I reach 5k by Saturday. I’ll probably aim to write more on my two off days then aim for the minimum on days that I have to work.
    • Spend April sending the manuscript to beta readers, and I’ll give them a month to read it, so I can take a break and work on others things.
    • Spend May making any edits needed, then send out queries by June to potential agents.
  • Finish my Mermen short story. I don’t have a date to finish this, but I probably should find one. I’ve been getting a lot of ideas for it so I’m excited to finally work on it again!
  • Put up fiction on my blog. I want you guys to read some of my fiction! I also want some stuff out there if there are any potential agents or editors lurking on WordPress  😉
  • Create a story  for the Global Dystopias issue of the Boston Review coming up. It would be amazing if my work could be featured in that.
  • Attend more Conventions. Boskone, HELIOsphere, Bookcon,  NYComicon. I need to get my face out there.
  • Finish the short stories I started by the end of the year.

 

I fully accept that these things will change. Stuff in my life will slow me down, or speed me up. Maybe I’ll find an agent sooner than I think ( I wish!). Maybe I’ll find a new job and have more time, or less time. My top goal is getting the fantasy done, so if things get tight, I’ll just zero in on that story. I’ve been working on it for ten years; it’s time to get it done.

Updates!

So, I’m sorry for being MIA–I wrote a chunk for Nano but stopped because it was my birthday, then Thanksgiving, then two weeks later I found a place in Harlem. My grandmother passed before New Year’s, I moved back home from Harlem (roommate situation wasn’t working out), and now I’m back and ready to  start this new year right!

  • I started working on my Epic Fantasy novel again, and it’s going really well. I wrote through a hurdle and now I’m at a place to do some more world building for this new part of the story.
  • I’m going to work on some short stories to be submitted to magazines and anthologies in the next couple of months. I just got a few print copies of the Black Girl Magic Lit Mag Horror Issue and it’s inspired me to get more of my short fiction in print.
  • I’m trying to figure out more life stuff; searching for a new job that pays better, being disciplined about writing, and saving up for my own place. I also need to start paying off my student loans :-(.  I need to figure out my priorities. I really want my own space, but I want more time to write. Would moving to a cheaper city be better for me? Or should I stay in New York, find a better paying job and write as much as I can?
  •  A new goal is for me to post some fiction on here, possibly a few flash fiction stories. I have two Christmas stories that I’ll probably wait until this December to post, but it’s exciting to have some of my fiction out there for people to read.

That’s it for now! I’ll make another post containing my goals for this year.