Guys! Guys, okay. I have this super, mega fantastic beta reader named Sarah Fox– maybe you’ve heard of her? I hope you have because she’s really an incredible writer, reader, and friend.
Sarah has a pretty epic cozy mystery coming out later this year (June 2nd, to be exact!) by HarperCollins (Witness Impulse) called Dead Ringer. I am one of the lucky few who gets to help Sarah reveal the cover for her novel. But before I give away all the awesome, let’s talk about the book a bit. I know Sarah worked really hard on this story–she put her blood, sweat, and tears into it and without a doubt, that shows.
Here’s a little description of Dead Ringer:
Midori Bishop’s life is hitting all the right notes. She has her dream job playing violin in a professional orchestra and is embarking on a secret relationship with the symphony’s hot maestro. But when Midori finds a cellist strangled to death, the maestro soon becomes the number one suspect.
Midori sets out to prove the maestro’s innocence but discovers that he and many others have secrets they would rather keep hidden. As the investigation takes Midori closer to the truth, the killer gears up for a grand finale — with Midori as the intended victim.
Eeep! Ok, how cool is that???? Pretty cool, I know. So you’re waiting to see the cover for this novel and it will not disappoint. The cover is…
wait for it……………..
hold on just a bit more……………
So beautiful and creepy and I love it!! Mark your calendars, folks! This one’s not to be missed. Thanks for stopping by!
When working on a project, whether its research, a new shiny idea, a revision overhaul, or beta’ing for a friend, it can hard to juggle these demands along with all of life’s other priorities.
I’m a very self-motivated and organized individual so keeping to a schedule comes fairly easily to me. However, that’s not the case for everyone else. And even when I have the best of intentions to complete my writerly plans, sometimes other things come up or get in the way.
I thought it might be helpful to talk about some of the ways you can keep yourself accountable throughout the writing process.
A Good Calendar:
Get a hard copy calendar and write in everything you want to accomplish. Daily goals, weekly goals a goal for the month. Review this regularly to keep yourself on track.
Rewarding Small Victories:
When you complete a chapter edit, or finish a round of research, reward yourself with chocolate, a walk outside, or an episode of your favorite TV show so each small step feels significant.
Write or Die:
This website has proven useful in keeping writers motivated. If you struggle with finding motivation or often procrastinate on your work, this pressure-inducing tool could be great for you.
Sprinting with Friends:
Another great motivator is finding a friend or group to work alongside while you write or edit. By challenging yourself against others, it creates a competition-like atmosphere that can propel you to be more productive.
When you embark on a new step in the writing process, you might want to contact your CPs to see if they can help keep you accountable. They can check-in once a day or ask how your work is coming along– the last thing you want is to let them down.
If a hard copy calendar isn’t useful to you, set reminders on your phone about when you should be writing. You can even set secondary reminders to check in with how you’re progressing.
What are some ways you stay on track?
I’ve reach that point again where I can’t shut off my pesky writer brain. Every time I conclude a draft, or revision, or beta round, etc., I know I should relax. Take a vacation. Ignore the buzzing ideas in my head. Sleep more. And in theory it’s a good idea. But in practice, nuh uh, ain’t happening. You can try and fight it, but the nagging just won’t stahp!
When you finish whatever you’re working on:
Then, you think you’re mentally exhausted:
But your brain is ssooooo not. It wants that new idea:
You try to find things to keep you occupied:
But your brain keeps racing through ideas for the plot bunny:
No matter how hard you try to ignore it, the idea keeps bothering you:
So you give up:
And you start working:
The struggle is real.
I never start writing before I know what the ending of the story will be. At least that’s the plan.
When an idea strikes me, I work on research, outlines, subplots, characters and the like before writing the first word. Even still, endings cause the biggest trouble for me. Without fail.
The idea I initially plan is generally well intentioned. It fits with the plot, the character, any twists or themes. That doesn’t mean it will stay the same as I planned. In fact, it most often does not. Mostly because once I read the completed draft, I realize the ending no longer fits. Sometimes it needs a serious overhaul before moving forward. Or perhaps minor tweaks.
I’ve also experienced endings I believe fit at first but later on, it dawns on me there needs to be a change. For the longest time, discovering these much needed edits would bother me. I had planned so carefully! Why didn’t things work out? And then one day it hit me. The ending, like the rest of the book, is alive. It shifts and changes and surprises you.
Things don’t have to go according to plan. I don’t need to get my ending right the first time words hit the page. I don’t even need it to be right when betas read through the draft. Writing is always a work in progress, so building up endings to a level that suggests they must be perfect simply isn’t true.
Nothing in writing is final until it’s in print. So there’s no need to stress so much over a tough or messy ending. Do your best. And that’s the best you can do.
What have your experiences with endings been? Do you find yourself sticking to your guns or editing with each round?