Well, friends, I’m ridiculously awful at keeping secrets, as the title of this post clearly states, but OH MY GOODNESS. THE DAY HAS FINALLY ARRIVED AND I CAN SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!!!
I’M GETTING PUBLISHED!
EEP! Okay, okay, I can barely contain my excitement even as I type these words, but I’m going to try and hold myself down so that I’m at least somewhat coherent for this. XD
About three months ago, I decided to strike out on a limb and write a flash fiction piece for one of Havok Publishing’s monthly themes. I was fed up with writing and needed something quick, painless, and quirky to get myself moving again. One dining table brainstorming session with my mom (is this where all the best ideas come from? absolutely) and 1,000 words later, and I had a teeny tiny story about a grumpy muse and his nuisance of a writer. I took many pieces of my own daily delusions experiences and wove them into this story, and I can honestly say that the end product is one that I was extremely proud of.
One month, one birthday, one new job orientation, and many many screams of delight later–my story was accepted at Havok.
My dearest peasants. You are now looking at the author of a Wacky Wednesday Flash Fiction. And my teeny tiny story is set to release this Wednesday. October 12th! Yep. That’s right. In two days.
I’m not screaming, you’re screaming. So, naturally, I’m going to do what every good writer does and ask, if you happen to have a moment on October 12th, please consider popping on over to Havok’s website to read my smol bby story! It’s only available to non-Havok members the day it is published, so if you don’t have a membership with Havok, you’ll need to read it on publication day! Non-Members and Members alike can comment, though, so if you like the story, I’d be forever grateful if you commented on it, as well… it would legit make this little writer’s whole year, I swear. XD
Y’all I don’t even have words to explain how giddy this whole process has made me. I got to sign a contract. I went through the whole editor feedback thing… It’s honestly made me so excited and beyond ready to have a book published someday, though I know a project like that will take a lot more time to get out there. But this process has been such a dream, and the fact that I can tell people I’m a real and true published author here in a couple days is more than I could have ever dreamed of during this wildly chaotic time. I could never have done it without the wild amount of support and kindness I’ve received over the years–from my family, from my writing group (cabinnettes, yeet!), from you guys… The journey is long, yes, but I can finally say in truth and not just conjecture–the waiting and the hoping and the dreaming and the working is so, so worth it. So thank you to everyone who has stuck through it with me (and continues to stick through it) to this point. You guys make this all so much more than just a hobby or a pipedream. You make it a blessing and an honor, and I cannot wait to keep sharing stories with you all.
Lately I’ve been suffering from a conundrum. Of course, you could probably say that I’m suffering from a conundrum every single day of my life–“what am I?” “what is the meaning of life?” *indefinite existential crisis*–but this particular conundrum is one that I’ve been suffering through for a while now, and therefore I no longer know the correct way to battle it.
So, because everything seems to become clearer when I put my fingers to the keys and type, I’ve decided to write a blog post about it. Because maybe then I can finally understand what is happening inside my head, you know?
The focus of this post may be a little bit messy. (apologies in advance for that. i know how much you guys love my totally professional blogging style. [*awkward cough*]). I’ll do my best to clean it up and form a concise theme once I’m done spewing out the first draft of whatever this turns into, but this is just your friendly neighborhood warning: here there be rambles.
It is officially May, my peasants! Goodness gracious, this year is tripping by fast. Camp NaNoWriMo, especially, slipped through my fingers before I could fully get a handle on it. But if I’m being honest, April was so refreshing. There was a restoration within it that I wasn’t expecting, but was oh so needed. I’m actually genuinely excited to see where this new month takes me, which was NOT how I was feeling about four months ago. XD
April was truly a blessing to me. May, on the other hand… well, we’ll get into that in a moment. *insert nervous laughter*
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Good Morning Month post ’round here, so please bear with me, friends! I have a feeling a lot of this is going to be slapped together with sticky tape and pixie dust, but the main goal is to give you all a brief little peak into what I’ve been doing, where I’ve been, where we’re going, and–most importantly–how Camp NaNoWriMo, 2022 went!
My goal for PROJECT SUNSET was 30,000 words for the month of May. This… unfortunately did not happen. Aha. However, I did manage to revise 11,000 words of the project! Which, personally, feels like a rather large accomplishment for me. Especially considering the fact that I’m doing a very deep, very gritty revision of this book. I’m sure other writers could whip through this much faster than I, but I’m trying to remind myself that in regards to revision and plot dynamic, I’m still a relatively green creature. Some things can only be learned through time and patience, and I am of the stout mind that revision–good revision–is one of these things.
Not gonna lie, even though I didn’t hit my word count for this book during the month of April, I still took a small break from writing after Camp. I had every intention of keeping the momentum moving between months, but–as we will discuss momentarily–May had other plans for me. *nervous laughter intensifies* I’m starting to ease myself back into it all, though, and though the chapter I’m currently working on is a hot mess and a half, I’m still very excited for where I know this story will eventually lead! I just need to grasp the enthusiasm for gritty revision first, I guess. XD
Oh! Abd I have also created a new deadline for this book since I’ve completely blown past the first three I’ve made, but we don’t talk about Bruno that.
THE WORST PROJECT – 5,000 WORDS
My second goal for the month was to work on THE WORST PROJECT. Unfortunately, due to conflicting schedules between me and my co-conspirator for this project, we weren’t able to work on it at all in April. However, I’m super hopeful that we’ll get to find the time to do so sometime soon! This project is going to be such a weird, quirky little thing to create. I can’t wait for y’all to see more of it!
WHAT’S UP, MAY?
In a nutshell, Camp NaNoWriMo could have been a bigger success. There were definitely some days (and some nights!) where I could have chosen to write and didn’t. There were moments where I picked books and movies and less “brain-intense” methods of passing the time. But at the end of the day, I’d consider this yet another successful Camp in the books. It was fun. It was leisurely. And it was just the right dose of chaotic playfulness that I needed after the first few stress-intense months that 2022 threw my way! And at the end of it all, I have some happy, deeply revised words in my pockets!
I’m still nowhere near done with completing PROJECT SUNSET. There’s so much work ahead that sometimes, if I think about it for too long, it becomes slightly discouraging. But I knew this project would be an undertaking when I accepted it. I knew what lay ahead of me, and I’m not planning on backing down any time soon. Despite the frustration of plot holes and character development and all the beautiful things that happen in revision, despite the fact that deadlines have been pushed (and pushed again), despite my fear that I might be nothing more than twenty frauds in a trench coat, the hope still stands: I will complete this book. And it will be my beautiful, disastrous mess.
And oh, how I will love it.
That being said, the month of May will not be a strong writing month for me–however very desperately I would like it to be. The coffee shop is in a heavy hiring period right now as we prepare for summer, which means a heavy training period, which means a slightly exhausted Kenzie as she struggles to balance it all. But the more balls thrown at me, the more I learn how to juggle them, and at the end of the day, I think I’m doing okay!
*massive explosions in the background*
Please ignore that.
So what is the plan for May, you ask? Honestly, other than simply surviving, I’m not entirely sure there’s much of a plan. As we teeter on the precipice of summer, I feel the best thing for both myself and this story is to just take it slow and steady. It may not be a wild burst of productivity every day, but I can easily write 300 words! And after a month of consistent 300 word chunks, perhaps June will see some actual progress. *crosses fingers and eyes and toes*
So yeah! That’s my plan for May! Survive. Have fun. Read good books and write good words. Take tiny adventures here and there. I just want to enjoy this summer, you know? This is the only May this year will ever have, and I want to make it a good one.
talk to me, peasants!
So tell me!: what are YOUR plans for May? Are you writing anything special? Finishing school? Discovering any new favorite authors? Tell me all the many things you’ve been up to, friends! And also your plans. Because those are also fun. XD
As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS down below! And until next time…
I’m a sucker for a good April Camp NaNoWriMo session, and I could not be more excited for the projects I’ve decided to tackle next month! It’s going to be a highly chaotic adventure filled with words and characters and ALL of the storytelling goodness, and I am very very excited to bring you all along for the ride! I will also most certainly regret biting off this much, but ya know. It’s all part of the journey, right? XD
*cough cough* Please excuse the construction dust around here, friends! I’ve been reformatting some of this blog’s old pages and behind-the-scenes features, so while things might not look too awful different… there are definitely some new things happening here at the Smudged Thoughts headquarters…
One of which being the revival of the writing update series that I created approximately 3,000 years ago and then promptly forgot about! As one does, naturally.
look, I never said I was perfect, okay XD *kicks the amount of times I’ve called myself flawless under the carpet*
Anyway, back when this series first aired, I named it WIP It–a title I have since come to deeply regret. XD I’m still not sure exactly what I’d like to call this series–or how often I’ll even update this–but for right now I’m calling it “Behind The Scenes”. Because it’s… behind the scenes… of the book I’m writing… aha….
(by now it must be obvious that I have no clue what I’m doing.)
Well, friends, we made it! it’s officially December, and NaNoWriMo is behind us once and for all. In case you didn’t notice, I kind of disappeared halfway through the month, but this was less because I didn’t feel mentally capable of writing blog posts, and more the fact that every spare moment I had to write, I was working on my book.
Because by golly, my friends, I was determined to win this NaNoWriMo. Sometimes, however, things don’t go accordingly to plan. Like here. Or right here. Or… ya know, in 2020 when I also failed NaNoWriMo but was wise enough to not document the crippling disappointment. I feel like a constant theme in my life lately is God stabbing a stick of dynamite into my plans before whispering, “Wait. I have something even better planned.”
Except I’m still not sure what that ‘something better’ is, and–though I truly believe He’s right with my whole heart–it’s starting to feel a little bit like clickbait. XD
So when I started off on this NaNoWriMo 2021 journey, I wasn’t holding out that much hope. 15 revised chapters in 30 days certainly seemed like an achievable goal. It sounded easy. But not everything that sounds easy is easy, and nothing is truly quite how it seems.
Which is why I wanted to take this first post of December to recap on what, exactly, happened during those final two weeks of NaNoWriMo.
I was going to do a whole introduction post for the first day of NaNoWriMo last week, but alas alack, sometimes things don’t go according to plan.
The past two weeks have been silent here on my end of the blogosphere, but let me tell ya, folks: that time away was used for some much-needed rest. I have exactly 0 regrets. XD I’ve definitely missed being present on the blogs, though, and now that I’m back, I thought it would be fun to jump back in with a Weekly NaNoWriMo Recap! It’s crazy to think that we’re already a solid week into November, but I guess time truly does fly when you’re having fun! *awkward laughter*
Let’s take a look at the first week of NaNo, shall we?
And welcome back to the 2021 Preptober series! Today’s post is a little more on the lighteared and fun side, which I feel provides a nice little relief from the nitty gritty topics we discussed last week. This particular idea wasn’t voted on too heavily during the Instagram polls, but some of y’all really wanted to see what I had up my sleeve in regards to my Spotify playlists! And who am I to tell you no? If it’s behind-the-scenes content you want, it is behind-the-scenes content you are going to get!
So without further ado, let’s dive into my playlist for Project Sunset!
BEHIND THE SCENES OF PROJECT SUNSET – THE PLAYLIST
Not gonna lie, this playlist was one of the highlights of drafting Project Sunset. I absolutely adore creating playlists, specifically ones with themes or inspiration for character casts, and this one is by no means an exception. The creation process of this playlist was a labor of pure and intense love, and I am so excited and proud of how it turned out. (and since we’re only just beginning the second draft, I have a feeling it’s only going to grow as time progresses.) However, since this is a Behind The Scenes sort of deal, I feel it is not only necessary, but my duty to share the nitty gritty details behind some of the song selections. Because there is a LOT of thought that goes into choosing a song for a story playlist, my friends. A lot of thought.
And at the forefront of my mind at all times, no matter what song I’m listening to, there are the characters.
I’ve mentioned multiple times that I’m a character-driven writer, so it’s by no means a surprise when I say that my playlists are typically driven by my characters, as well! One of my favorite things to do when learning the “voice” behind the cast of my novels is to find songs that perfectly match their unique personality. And since Project Sunset has so many characters, I have quite a few songs that are character specific.
THE SONGS BEHIND THE CHARACTERS
As the Main Main character of Project Sunset, Ed Whittaker’s main theme is technically double-sided. Not only is it his theme, but it’s the Main Theme for the entire novel as a whole! He also has two theme songs in particular, whereas the majority of other characters only have one–thus is the curse of being a side character.
As the other main character of Project Sunset, Shelby’s theme song is, once again, directly integrated into the plot. I discovered her song while listening to Pandora one day, and it immediately stuck in my head. I knew that it would play during a pivotal scene for Shelby (one that I had planned since the very inception of this novel), but trying to find the song after it stopped playing on our Alexa was nothing short of a nightmare. (curse you, lyric-less music XD)
behind the scenes: not gonna lie, the scene this song was chosen for may or may not have brought tears to my eyes when I drafted it. I’m… not exactly excited to get back to it during the second-drafting process. (even I’m not proud of my Vulcan soul sometimes, friends.)
Not necessarily a Main Character, but still one of my favorites–Fitz’s theme song is one that I still jam out to to this very day… I even went so far as to add it to my work playlist so that all of my coworkers could jam with me. (it’s fine. they love me. kinda.)
CARLOS & JUANITA GUTIERREZ
Not gonna lie, these guys impacted the playlist a LOT. XD Carlos and Juanita love music–particularly songs they can dance to–and there are at least two or three songs on this playlist that they directly influenced due to their passion for dance. However, the song that I’ve chosen to highlight was their “first dance”, if you will. It was also my initiation into actually enjoying some of Michael Buble’s music, which I still blame Carlos and Juanita for to this very day.
To be honest, this guy is such a minor character that he probably shouldn’t even have his own theme song. But one day my mom started playing this randomly during dinner and… well, honestly the rest is history.
Similar to Eugene, this is another minor character who somehow managed to get his own theme song! I can’t really complain, though, because Sam was one of my favorite characters to write during this first draft. He was unpredictable and chaotic, but with a soft heart of gold that made my own Vulcan soul melt. If I’m excited about anything when it comes to this novel, it’s for you guys to meet Sam Plinkett.
And last, but certainly not the least, on the flipside to Ed, we have our antagonist–Casey Crawford. And if Ed, our hero, has two songs dedicated in his honor, it only makes sense for the villain to have two songs, as well.
Parallels between Good and Evil and all that.
And that, my friends, is exactly why Casey has two songs! (that, and two songs claimed him organically, so it only made sense to feature both) The songs I chose for Casey are not only ballads, but by one of the greatest musical artists of our time… The man. The myth. The legend. Scott Sterling! Freddie Mercury.
THE SONGS BEHIND THE BOOK
Despite the fact that there are about a gazillion characters in Project Sunset, not all of the songs on my playlist have a specific character to correspond with. Sometimes, a song makes it through simply because it matches the vibe of the book–that particular blend of guitar riffs and vocals that takes you away from this mortal plane and deposits you swiftly into the world of your story.
So while the next few song highlights may not be driven by any character in particular, they are still driven by the story as a whole, and without them, I could never have captured the sound of Project Sunset.
And lastly, in case you just wanted to take a peek at the playlist as a whole and listen to it for yourself, I’ve included the entire thing right here for easy access!
Of course, please keep in mind that this playlist is still very much a work in progress, and I’m constantly adding and removing tracks as I see fit. Some songs help me write for a little while before I realize they don’t match the specific vibe I’m going for, and then I’m forced to remove them to make room for the tracks which do fit the vibe. But all in all, this playlist has been–and will continue to be–my constant companion when drafting Project Sunset. And as I prepare to head into this story’s second draft, I expect it to continue morphing and changing with the theme of the story.
talk to me, peasants!
Okay, y’all! It’s time to talk about one of my favorite topics–MUSIC!
do you create specific project playlists for your stories, or do you prefer to work in silence? if you’re a music listener, what kinds of songs do you typically listen to when writing? and for my non-music friends, do you create playlists to listen to when you’re NOT writing, or do you prefer other methods of inspitation–such as pinterest or aesthetic boards?
As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS down in the comments below!
It’s that time of year again, folks! NaNoWriMo is on its way, and for our first Preptober 2021 post, we’re bringing back a yearly tradition! That’s right! It’s time for this year’s NaNoWriMo Survival Kit: Rebel Edition!
honestly the only reason I’m claiming my rebel title this year is because it reminds me of the Rebel Alliance. do NOT judge me. XD
This year’s survival kit is a wee bit different than years’ past since I’m revising a novel rather than first drafting it, but there are definitely some familiar staples I’ve included! Also, I’ve been trying to fit most of this stuff into my writing bag, and it’s… kinda chunky at this point? Almost back-breaker level chunky. I definitely will not have a hunch by the time this NaNoWriMo is over from hauling this guy all over the place. Absolutely not.
Okay, friends, I have a solid question: how on earth are we already in the final stretch of August? I feel like August started just yesterday, and then suddenly I blink and… POOF. We’re already so close to September? Somehow I feel like this shouldn’t be so. (someone grab the TVA because I sense a break in the sacred timeline over here…)
Ahem. Anyway. As promised, I still have so much that I want to talk about during my Blogiversary month, and I figured that with just one more Tuesday left in August, now was as good a time as any to get those posts drafted up and sent out into the blogosphere.
Today’s post, in particular, is one that is very near and dear my heart, because it deals with the book which essentially started this very blog that you’re reading right now. The funny thing, though, is that on this very date five years ago, I didn’t even know this book existed.