Zombies, Kicks & Giggles

The not-so wise words of Adrienne Lecter

Category: update

NaNoWriMo 2017 roundup + update on GF#8

So I “won” NaNoWriMo yesterday at officially 50,188 words. Never mind what the site is saying, validation always screws with the final word count. I take mine from Scrivener every day so it’s a good benchmark. Did a great job, I’d say, as I almost, accidentally, finished a book! Now how did that happen?!

Let me explain. As you probably know (or read in my facebook fan group) I’ve been slogging my way through the 8th Green Fields book. The plan was to finish it in September October for NaNoWriMo, but when I finally got to what felt like the halfway point of the plot and I was shy of 100k words, I realized I might have miscalculated. I also wrote the perfect last line last week and thought, so sad, I’m not done with the book, but this would have been the perfect light cliffhanger ending!

Also factoring in that last week I only wrote 6k words (which on a good day I can do within said good day easily) I should have realized that something was going on. My subconscious has a habit of slowing me down when something’s not quite right (which in 9 times out of 10 is the reason why I get writer’s block, which really is “you wrote yourself into a corner and need to fix this” block). I guess the problem was, what I WAS writing worked well, so I didn’t see the issue.

I’m right now at 110.9k words for the novel, with about 5k of that over the mark where the book will end. I have a list of five scenes that I want to add to / introduce to the book, something that I’ve NEVER done until now. So yay, learning something new on book #15, or something like that. Being a writer can be very fascinating (and scary!) sometimes!
Looking over what I’ve written, it feels like a solid plot, but because I thought I had to pack it all into one book, I think I took a few too many shortcuts. It feels to me like I hewed my way with a machete through high grass without ever pausing or taking the chance and exploring something appearing along the way. Those are usually the best parts of the book so I really shouldn’t skimp on them…

I still think that my original idea is a solid one, and it would have made a solid book, but seeing as no one was angry with me for splitting the book when I asked, I think I can take a hint. Fact is, since that week in early 2015 when I had a massive boost of creativity that ended up turning a stand-alone biotech thriller into a 6-part zombie apocalypse series, I haven’t really had to go back to the drawing board and play around with plot arcs. When book #5 came out and readers wanted more, it was easy to leave some questions unanswered and add some foreshadowing, so #7 was a wrap when I sat down to write it. If you’ve read it already, you know that, like book #2, it has a very road trip like feel to it, and that’s pretty easy to write. You just check off boxes, and each of those boxes ends up being a part in the book about the same amount of words, usually 10-20k.

Book #8 (and now #9) doesn’t work like that. For starters, I wrote an extra 35k in the beginning that wasn’t planned, yet it just happened. I started writing just after finishing the first draft edits of #7 and sending that to my editor and the beta readers, and until I got everything back from them, I wrote the first half of the book, including that unplanned chunk. The opening chapter was supposed to be what ended up being chapter 10 or 11 now. It’s a great opening chapter, don’t get me wrong, but not the right first chapter if you consider how #7 ended. Because unlike every other book, #8 needed to start with what happens an hour after the end of Affliction. The day after. The week after. No spoilers here from me, but I think you would have all killed me if I’d just hashed over the next five weeks and confined what happened to a paragraph of reflection. Seriously, what writer can pass up 35k words of emotional and physical anguish!?

Well, not this writer, it seems. And so the “issues” started.

Everything I write usually runs long. Just ask my high school teachers. What ended up being Incubation, the first book in the series, at just over 90k words, used to be a 40k novella concept. Two of my books have gone to almost 150k words, which is 1.5x of what I’m always aiming for. Only the first stayed below that. It’s like once I’m writing, I need more words than I plan, and my plan for #8 was very tight, and very crammed. Oh well. So now you get to have two books, one coming out soon, the other likely in early spring, and I get paid twice. The horror, really!

So will it be two shorter books? Hell, no. #8 will likely clock in at 120k, just like #7, Affliction. And while right now I can delude myself into thinking that #9 won’t be as long, I’m not holding my breath there. That book will have a pretty heavy climax of about 50k realistically (I thought I could do it in 10. Ha!), with a beginning round-up section that’s 35k, I’d say, and I need connective tissue between those, so another 15k, plus the end, which will be around 10-20k… so about 120k again. Sounds legit! Now for real. Come to think of it, on the writing and structure part #9 is starting to feel a but like Resurgence, book #5–that ended up at 140+k. Damnit!

Have I mentioned I make most of my money with Kindle Unlimited, and I get paid by pages read for that? So actually, writing more means moar monayy! Bring it on!

Oh, right, I’m the one who has to do the writing. Never mind.

So what’s on my agenda for the rest of the week? I’m almost done proofreading my first draft, as it is. I will finish that today and type in all the changes (5-10 per page, printed in double space, 8pt font. Yes, I’m crazy, and apparently have a paper saving fetish). I have my short list of content additions that I will work on after that. One scene gets a massive addition, another some elaboration, and then some extra, mostly conversation stuff in a few strategic places. I definitely told Bree’s story in this book, but she’s not an island, and the other characters deserve some time on screen as well. Today I’m tired as hell as I only got 4 hours of sleep last night, and tomorrow I have some social obligations that involve great company and booze (plus, I really need a haircut!) so that will cut into my productivity, but I will have this wrapped up soon. I think. As I said, I normally don’t go back in and add stuff. All my foreshadowing is already in the book. I usually do that in a way that feels like throwing little balls of plot forward so my future self can then catch and unravel them, or continue to throw them forward. What’s missing from this book are non-essential things, but things that carry the very soul of the book. Details that make it feel more real, bits of research I was so excited about when I discovered it so I decided it needs to go into the book. Since I don’t have an agent, publisher, or developmental editor that tell me no, not essential so it needs to be cut, you’ll get your extra 15% soulful content! And, who knows? It might be those extra scenes that turn out to be the starting point of yet one more plot ball getting lobbed into future books. Yes, I plan my plot, but sometimes connections develop that surprise me as I write them. I believe that’s the secret of a plot that keeps readers on their toes. Have a good, solid foundation, but be prepared to catch a random ball that ends up fitting perfectly.

Damn, I need more sleep because that mental image just made sense to me.

So maybe you’ll get a book this year after all. If not, you’ll get it in January, and starting next week, I’ll work on the next one so that it will be out sooner rather than later. After all, I’m smack in the middle of the story and my head is in the right place. Gotta use that momentum!

Q4 Plans

Instead of boring you with a September recap (hint: September was kind of a dud for me) I’ll entertain you with what I have planned for the remaining quarter of 2017!

But first, a very, very short recap of what happened in September, because I’m a glutton for punishment. Beware, personal stuff ahead.

Exhaustion hit me like a freight train at the beginning of the month. You’d think that after publishing 13 other novels, I’d expect this to happen, particularly after a very, very productive summer, but noooooo. Not only was I toeing a mini-burnout from several months of constant productivity, but as usual, the release was strong, but numbers only started to really pick up in week 3 post-release. A lot of writers who still have a day job dream of doing it full-time. Let me tell you, if you’re all in, waiting until you have the data to start crunching the numbers is excruciating. Or maybe that’s just me. Don’t worry, most of my fretting was for naught, but it adds a nice layer of stress. Of course then karma had to swoop in and remind me that good things come to writers of gory horror stories, and one of my all-time favorite authors shared a promo I was running, giving it a great kick that still keeps burning. Yes, I once again embarrassed myself fangirling all over Bobby Adair. I swear, if I ever meet him in person, I will apologize. But I have no regrets!
Then there was the vacation in Italy (I posted a pic in the new facebook fan group, and the header image is taken from our room’s balcony as well), which was amazing, but since my mind was still on a bender, it took until the last few days for me to really come down and relax. Then, of course, within hours we left the sunny, warm late summer beach of Bibione and drove home to November weather Vienna. Cue in the worst case of SAD I’ve had in years! I’m a little better now but damnit, I’ll need a long, sunny October to get me ready for actual winter!
Oh, and this week I bought a new motorcycle after selling my old one. You only live once, as they say!

Now what’s the plan for the next three months:

  1. Finish the 8th Green Fields book (that is still without a title)
    Sounds easy (and it looks good and almost complete in my head, just today I worked out a few more pivotal scenes), but I still have 50-70k words to write, which is possible, but means I need to do a lot of writing. Did I mention I bought a new bike?
  2. I will be doing NaNoWriMo in November again. I was planning to write the first novel in a new series, but since I got the go-ahead for my Patreon project from my accountant, I will instead write 50k words of short stories for Patreon instead! Yes, I know it’s called National NOVEL Writing Month, but considering I’m a pro, I think I can cut myself some slack. Plus, 50k short stories would make up about half a year for monthly stuff on Patreon, so it would take off a lot of priority tasks for the start of 2018. I could also launch my Patreon in January 2018, so that’s another bonus!
    Short stories that will be included in this are:
    – What the gang was up to while Bree was gone in GF#5, Resurgence, Nate’s POV
    – How Bree and Nate met (alternating POVs, so we get some backstory from before from both of them. And there will be two versions, a smutty and not quite that explicit one, for everyone to choose their poison)
    – A story from Pia’s POV that ties into hints that are dropped early in GF#8
    – Maybe the backstory of Sadie and Bates, but not sure about that yet. Might get a little raunchy as I would write it from his POV
    – Either Burns’s or Andrej’s POV of the parts early in GF#5 that Bree blacked out on. That’s going to be super fun and uplifting! (/sarcasm)
    – Something that happened at the bunker during the first winter – either a late loot run to Cody, a typical training day for Bree, or someone being a nuisance in connection to the apple-sauce-pocalypse.
  3. Someone has to proofread and edit all this! And while I have a kickass team of beta readers and the best editor in the world, that someone will also be me! I might have mentioned that before but I hate proofreading with a vengeance! Also, the audio version GF#7, Affliction, should be ready for proofing soon as well! Looking forward to that for real!
  4. Depending on how much October will bleed into November (90% chance), and November into December (depending on how long it takes me to need to write something longer than a couple of pages with a given setting – 50% chance) December might just be the month to finish what needs finishing. I plan on publishing GF#8 in December as well, so that will easily eat up a week, plus cue in another round of exhaustion after that… and Christmas, my least favorite holiday of them all!
  5. Or I get everything wrapped up on Nov 30, and December is all free for the next novel! Might be GF#9, might be the first of a new series (still trying to decide between three possibilities. Maybe four. My mind is a crowded place!)
  6. I have a lot of socializing going on:
    Winter of Zombies blog tour, a 30 day-long zombie extravaganza all over facebook, and blogs!
    – November to Dismember at the Reading Horror facebook group – my day is Nov 29
    – and some more interviews I’ve signed up for. I should compile a list one of these days…
    – Oh, and there’s that matter of that anthology coming out on October 10. Almost forgot! (Just kidding. I’d never forget!)

If you haven’t joined my super duper Fan Club on facebook yet, do so now! It’s a great place to stay up to date with information, and it won’t get swallowed up by endless processions of cute cat pictures! Unless I post a few of my cats. Promise, never more than one or two at a time! Great stuff going on there right now! Including me being a dork, but what else is new?
You can read an exclusive teaser for GF#8 in the group, and more to follow.

On the future of the blog:

Not sure what I will be doing with this. Right now, the fan group is the best place to share information. Of course, I can share the blog posts there, too. I still have some written that need editing before posting. I will get there eventually. I will also be sharing stuff all through November for the events, and I have, tentatively, considered abusing the blog for an accountability thing for NaNoWriMo, kind of a way to give you a real-time behind-the-scenes update how things are going (an almost-guarantee for me to get stuck, but hey, not the craziest idea I’ve had this week!). We’ll see! Not fretting this. Just telling you that if you want to stay up to date, the fan group is the place to go, also for blog updates.

August 2017 recap

August has been crazy, just like July, only different. And that pretty much describes the state I’m in right now.

Tl:dr version: I published a book! I wrote a huge chunk of the next! And now I need a vacation!

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Why Blog?

There are a million different reasons to start a blog, probably as many as there are bloggers. So why do I, of all people, think I need to blog? Well, let me enlighten you.

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