Nancy: July Recap

july 2015 calendarIn many ways, you already know the big story in my July progress report: bright lights, big city. Much of the month was consumed by preparation for, attendance of, and decompression from converging on RWA Nationals in NYC with the other eight ladies. But wait, there’s more! And it has to do with story progress, which is always exciting, so let’s get started!

New Story. My five-book Victorian Romance series has now grown to 7 (planned) books. While there was always going to be a sixth, a wrap-up novella where one of the characters driving the others to their HEAs gets her own love story, there wasn’t going to be a launch novella. That changed at RWA when one of my business-savvy self-publishing friends recommended I write a 20k novella to launch the series.

My first reaction was, ‘yeah, right, good one’. I explained how my characters have already been paired with mates, and there are no more friends in the group of Harrow’s finest five to get an HEA. I maintained this position until I started packing at the end of the conference and my mind wandered to book 1 wherein there is a best friend of that book’s heroine who is a newlywed…But her husband isn’t one of the five male friends who tie the series together…Unless he could have known them for some reason…

You can see where this is going. I spent the train ride home brainstorming the basics of a plot and the turning point scenes. I’ve written a few of the scenes, tweaked the plot outline, set up a playlist, and shifted the writing schedule to make time for writing the rest of the 20k words, with a goal for a very messy first draft by the end of the month. (You heard me Elizabeth – I’m adding that to my goals list!)

Ongoing Stories. While I feel like I’ve been making great progress with my series, I must admit July was not a great month for word count. But as readers of this blog know, quality isn’t everything, and I’ve continued discovery and outline of later books in the series that have helped me strengthen the earlier books. So, just to recap – book 1 is in major revisions, with a goal to get it out to critique partners no later than the end of September. Book 2 is in first draft stage, with the goal of having it ready for critiques no later than the end of November. I’ve also started firming up timelines for development edits, line edits, and proofreading schedules. I’ll share more about that whole process when I move into the professional editing phase.

Submission Story. As I continue to develop and write other books, I can’t forget about a story very near and dear to my heart, My Girls. I still hold out hope of finding the right home for this story, and at the conference in July, I met two agents and an editor who requested the manuscript and who now have it in their possession. As I think I mentioned at some point here on the blog, while I’d submitted the story to three different agents over the course of a month at the end of 2014, I got rejections from all three within the same 24-hour period in early 2015. In keeping with that (terrible) precedent of bulk rejections, two of the five agents to whom I’d sent My Girls in the spring sent me rejections last night. But just like our plucky heroines who pick themselves, dust themselves off, and get back to their stories to fight for their goals, My Girls and I will keep keep fighting for our own HEA with an agent or editor who loves this book.

So, what’s your story? Did you make story progress in July (or early August)? Have you reached a word-count goal, submersed yourself in discovery, or solved an important plot point for your WIP?

7 thoughts on “Nancy: July Recap

  1. Nancy – I’m tired just reading your accomplishments and plans. Have you given up sleeping? Sounds like you are making great progress. My WIP has been sitting in a drawer, resting, since I finished it before nationals. I comes back out this weekend for the addition of the missing scenes I noted in my goals post, as well as a full read-through so I can identify what remains to be done.

    While that story has been percolating, I’ve been plotting out two different contemporaries (a change of pace from historical), and doing a lot of reading. Focused writing time has been scarce as my day job has been very hectic and expanding to fill up all my available time and brain cells.

    Good luck with your expanded series and your My Girls submissions.

    • Reading is one thing that’s been sacrificed for the past few weeks, although I did go on an historical romance novella binge last week (read 5 in one day).

      I understand about the day job sucking up valuable brain cells. I had a string of crazy work weeks, then downtime for the conference and a writing reboot. I just got word that the next client project is heating up and I’ll be engaged full-time for the next four weeks, during which my writing productivity will definitely decline. But I’m trying to be much more disciplined about writing when I can, so lots of hours when I’m between day-job gigs, and I hope at least 10 when I’m gainfully employed (although 80-hour work weeks, when they happen, tend to preclude even a minimal amount of writing).

  2. I have goals . . . I just have low-willpower right now. I spend it all on doing other things that need to be done. I hope to get a very good night’s sleep tonight, and get started for real tomorrow (although, my plan is to try some handwriting this afternoon — I want to see if there’s a difference between drafting on the keyboard and writing in a notebook for me. I used to write in the back of my subject notebooks when class got a little too boring as a kid . . . a little injection of subversiveness might be motivating.)

  3. Good luck with your subversiveness :-)! I’ve heard of lots of authors who spend some of their time writing longhand, particularly when they need to shake things loose. I might try it sometime, but right now one of the fingers on my right hand is in a stacked splint, and it’s actually harder to write longhand than to type with 9 fingers.

  4. You have really been getting a lot done (a little jealous here). I didn’t make a lot of writing progress in July. I feel like I need to solve some problems before I can move forward because they are key to the story. One is key to who Finch is, deep down. I need to know it in order to give him more personality on the page. This point will also shape FInch’s father. Good luck with all your stories.

  5. I am pressing on slowly with my first draft – almost no childcare and having to look after children by myself (unexpectedly) hasn’t helped. But what has helped is the 50,000 word public deadline I signed up to – actually I can’t remember who set up the public deadline challenge, was it Elizabeth? I think I’m unlikely to make it (I’m at 10,500 currently), given what’s happened this month, but I’m going to get as close as I can – and I am finding it motivational.

    Really impressed with what you’ve done Nancy – I meant it about beta reading – Jilly and Justine have my email address, so feel free to send anything over when you’re ready.

    • I have not forgotten your kind offer :-)! Expect to see something in September…

      You remembered correctly – it was Elizabeth who corralled us into posting goals. I didn’t post my goals at the time because I was reworking them. Your goal is ambitious – we are all rooting for you!

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