A New Novel Approach

How are you doing? What have you been up to this month? I’ve been working on a novel and I feel like I’ve established how I’ll be writing novels, or at least the next few, when I’m free falling without an outline.

This month for Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m working on a new novel. Camp NaNoWriMo is a challenge that happens in April and July. You set your own goals, whether it’s page number, word count, or hours written. And you can work on whatever project you want. It’s the much more laid back version of NaNo. And since I could make any goal I wanted, I decided to see if I could push it to 70k.

Seventy. Thousand. Words.

In one month.

I am often a very optimistic lady. And I like to stretch myself with my goals. I like to make things challenging. I like to try hard to get there. If I don’t make it, I’ll end up with a nice clutch of words regardless. That’s how I’ve looked at this challenge.

I wanted to write two novellas in April. One for Blood Roses and the other was going to be an erotica based off of the short story I started on here, but didn’t finish Just One Night. Two stories that I had good ideas for that would be relatively “easy” to write, which is why I decided to just discovery write them.

Meanwhile, the story decided to morph and shift into something that I didn’t even know was brewing up there! It’s a fun one. I’m having such a good time writing it. I’m tapping into ideas that I haven’t explored before, but that I’ve been interested in. I can’t wait to see how it ends.

That’s not to say that I’m giving up on Blood Roses and Honeysuckles or the the cozy mystery. Not at all. The plan now is to publish the three of them by the end of the year.

So keep on a lookout for those updates.

Like I said, this month, I’ve been working on the new story, which has shaped into more of a thriller than a cozy. I’m totally discovery writing it. I wanted to have freedom for it to go any way possible and to see what would happen. I didn’t want to be hindered by any expectations for the story.

What I typically do, when I’m writing a story this way, I’ll start the story and do a lot of word sprints. I’m writing down the first ideas that I have, learning my MC as I go along.

After I write a few chapters, generally speaking, my brain will start to throw scenes that are out of order. Ideas that do not fit yet, but are intriguing. I write them all down. I use Scrivener, so I can move the ideas around. I have a file that I’ve called “Spare Scenes.” That’s the catch-all shop where I put all of those spare ideas.

As I’m writings, I often have questions that I need to answer so that the story will make more sense. Those questions, I type in the document and make them red and increase their font. At some point, I take all of those ideas and add them to a different file. I labeled that: RED Questions. I paste them into the file and then I add which chapter I pulled it from so that I can go back to look at the context. With these questions, I’m able to figure out what I need to research, what isn’t work, what I need to build up in the beginning so I can give my readers a good path to follow.

After I’d written about 15k words, I moved things around so that I could

Then I’ve been having chatting sessions with my Mathmagician. I told him the story because telling the story out loud helped me to hear what I missing. It also helped me to know what I really enjoyed. And this book discusses cryptocurrency, so I talked to him about that aspect and what I need to research. It’s really helpful to know what I don’t know.  Does that make sense?

Like I said, this month, I’ve spent a lot of time doing writing sprints. I’ve also been hosting them on my channel where I’ve co-hostd with a friend. The last one will be this Thursday 4/26  at 7 p.m. EDT on my channel. Below are the videos that I’ve already hosted. You can retroactively write with us.

With Amber Craft:

With Alina Popescu:

With Clare Kauter: 

This first week of Camp NaNo went by like a flash for me. I started off with a bang, but then health-related issues popped up and I wasn’t able to write as much and be as productive as I wanted to be. I had to remind myself that I can’t measure my progress and my health by other people’s standards.

This was my latest vlog for Week 2. I talk about my writing process, I ask you a few questions, and I added some fun edits that do include flashing lights. If you’re sensitive to that, you may want to skip the library section of the video.

 

If you’re interested in checking out my writing products, go to my Amazon page where I show you my writing stuff. It’s an affiliate link, which means I’ll earn a couple of pennies if you purchase something with no added cost to you.

Thanks so much for spending some time with me. I’ll be posting more often, now that I’ve moved my blog and I can actually access it.

 

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month? Or are you working on something? Let me know in the comments.

 

Aloha y’all!

 

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Finding Black Romance Writers in a Small Town

Diversity is a huge hotbed topic these days, especially diversity in literature.  There are more books being published by people of varying races, sexual orientations, and gender identities than ever before. Some people consider it a trend. Others consider it a grand conspiracy perpetrated by the Social Justice Warriors of our time to wipe out white men from the popular narrative.

I say it’s about time.

I don’t understand the resentment people feel when the term diversity is brought up. They act as though they are personally being attacked. I think of literature as an infinite table. And everyone should be able to have a seat there and choose what they want to eat. And for the longest time, only certain literature was served in this country. Now the menu is expanding. The other stuff is still there. There’s just more to sample.

When I think about my mother who is old enough to have experienced desegregation in Maryland when she was young and I think about how her experiences differ from mine, I feel really heavy at heart.

She is not someone who has a lot of access to the many arrays of black authors who write romance. She doesn’t like to online shop. She still prefers to look at the books on the shelves and flip it over to read that back cover.  The books aren’t available in the small bookstore across town. They ain’t at Walmart.  They’re not lining the shelves of the public library. They’re not there. She lives in a small town where there’s only a handful of black people. And there’s still an idea that white people don’t want to read about happily-ever-afters that aren’t about white people. Those books aren’t stocked and she doesn’t get to have a first-hand experience of this awakening in publishing.

So what can be done?

How can we get these books to the small towns where people would like to read them as well?

I made the video below after I posted this on Twitter:

 

It reads: “Romance readers! I’m looking for more black romance authors to read. Give me your recs!”

And then I had an eye-opening conversation with my Mom about this whole issue.

Afterward, I created this Google Document that you can access. If you have any black female authors you’d like to add to it, please do. I’d like it to go beyond what I’ve learned and be more of a comprehensive list that people can search for and use.

I talk about it all in more depth in this video. Please have a look and forgive me for getting a bit emotional. Sometimes tears happen.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Aloha y’all

 

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