Happy Turkey Day to all who celebrated.
Hope you all had a nice time with your families, a nice time off from work, etc.
Thought I would pop in with a short update. November was a super quiet month, nothing too much happened, so this'll be a quick one!
But still, I think it's worthwhile so you (and Future Me) can see what happens with a debut novel about 7 months before publication.
One. First reviews.
Last time around, I talked about how my book was officially live Capital E Everywhere.
(Go request an early read if you haven't already. Better yet, pre-order!)
So naturally, the next logical step was that real people were going to start reading the book.
And leaving reviews.
There hasn't been too much movement, but a few star ratings and short reviews have appeared from total strangers, along with a few kind words.
I absolutely loved reading the first true in-depth review that arrived, over on Goodreads. It was mostly very positive and complimentary, and pretty thoughtful in its few criticisms.
(The others so far haven't really said much one way or the other, beyond the star ratings.)
I know they won't all be like that. I'll have to be careful about checking and reading reader reviews. I think the way it works is you have to be burned and find out the hard way that you really need to stay away.
Two. New writing!
I have had a lot of false starts with my current work in progress.
I actually got as far as 17k words in one draft before putting it to the side!
I kept hitting walls, feeling like I didn't really know how to continue. Struggling with which tense to use, which POVs to use, etc.
(I have a lot to say about the experience of writing the second book. Will have to unpack why this has been so hard at some later date.)
A lot of it is still usable but will be rewritten, moved around, etc. But I think I'm finally moving forward again.
One of the challenges with the idea I'm working on is that it covers a lot of space and time. Dad Camp is purposefully very simple and contained — it's one location over 7 days. It was my first time writing a novel, I wanted the degree of difficulty as low as possible.
This book is just more complex. I mean, it's not historical military fiction or anything. But it's got more moving parts.
I won't really say anything else about it except I was really inspired by a couple recent reads including Us by David Nicholls (my favorite book ever, coincidentally) and Everything's Fine by (agent sibling!) Cecilia Rabess, both of which make excellent use of really short scenes, almost like little vignettes, where you can just sort of pop in and get a sense of what's going on with the characters, without an excessive amount of scene setting, less need for longer more traditional chapters.
Adopting that kind of style has, I think so far, unlocked this one for me. It suits my natural writing style better, too.
I'm about to get majorly derailed — my oldest daughter is off school starting December 20 (!!!) all the way through January 4.
That's an extremely long time off where it'll be super difficult to get much writing done.
So I'm going aggressive. I've set a goal of about 1000 words per day for the next two weeks or so. That should be enough to get me through the first Act. From there I would love to just totally unplug for a few weeks around Christmas and revisit what I've written in early January.
It'll sure be embarrassing now that I've written that here if I'm not able to pull it off!
I mentioned in the last update, but I don't expect much activity until the new year. We've got a few weeks where hopefully some blurbs will roll in? And maybe I'll get my hands on some physical ARCs?
But other than that, things will be pretty quiet for the holidays.
I'm actually OK with that! A great time to get some serious writing done.
I'm not under contract for anything, so there are no hard deadlines, but it will be a major goal of mine to sell a second book (hopefully early) next year.
Fingers crossed, and stay tuned.
And P.S. — I've had a few folks reach out via email and social media to let me know they're enjoying the updates. That's so fun to hear because it usually feels like I'm writing for no one in particular except me! Would love to hear from you if you've stumbled across my blog somehow.
All my contact info is here!