Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday Musings: October 14th

I am starting a new feature entitled Monday Musings. Mostly, this will be short blog posts about what has been going on each week. In order to fully understand today's post, however, I am going to give a little background to anyone new to my blog.

Background Information: Boarding School Blues Series
My first book, Boarding School Blues, was always intended to be the beginning of a series. As I have mentioned before, last spring I published the sequel and edited the following novella, intending to publish it in November. I was working on the next book in the series when I discovered a problem: I needed to give another character a voice. Thus, Confessions of a Teenage Celebrity was born. But, writing this parallel series meant I would have to make some minor changes to Boarding School Beginnings.

When I pulled it off the shelf, I realized Boarding School Beginnings was too long, so I cut it into Boarding School Beginnings and Boarding School Boyfriends. While it was pretty easy to decide where to split the two books (it turned out there was a clear part one and part two), I did need to create a new beginning and a new ending. So, the books are now in the beta reader stage. (See more on that below.)

Luckily, the novella only needed minor changes, and I was free to work on Boarding School Book 4. (It does have a name. But, it's not ready for beta reading yet, so I'm not ready to release the name). Book 4 also ended up being too long, so I moved some of the material into the following book. Unfortunately, I cannot tell if the book will end up being a full book (Book 5) or a novella (Book 4.5), but for now, I will refer to it as Book 5. Each book in the Boarding School Blues series, beginning with Book 3, will have a corresponding Confessions of a Teenage Celebrity and I have been working on these books in parallel.

Writing Updates: Boarding School Blues & Confessions of a Teenage Celebrity
So, now that you understand my series, I can explain what has been going on this week. Last weekend, we went on a family vacation. On the way home, I outlined my next Boarding School Blues book (Book 6). I am super excited to start working on it, but I know I have to finish Book 5 first.

A few days after the outline, I had a brainstorm. I realized one of the problems with Book 4 and decided to change a character. I had found Walter's ideal girlfriend, but I introduced her too early. She is getting cut and someone else is taking her place. Hopefully, this will only cause some minor changes in Book 4, but will help when this new character reappears in Book 5, this time with a bigger role.

I'm hoping changing the character will help me figure out how to end Book 5. The problem is the story doesn't take place at the school. The book begins there and I want it to end there, but the story has been mostly resolved before they get back to the school. So, I'm trying to figure out if all the subplots have been filled or if I have one more that can get them back to school to finish the story without arching into the story for the next book. The corresponding Confessions of a Teenage Celebrity is a little easier. It has a clear end that's back on campus. Unfortunately, it is clearly Pat's story, not Melinda's, so I can't use it to end her story.

Another part of the problem has been the fact that I've been making a LOT of changes using an app on my phone. It has been great for getting my ideas onto the paper, but it has not allowed me to easily work on the parallel themes between the two series. I need to get them side by side on my computer, but we've been super crazy. That's a good thing, of course.

Work In Progress Wonders
One of the things keeping me busy has been Work In Progress Wonders. I did two sample edits while we were away, inspiring a new segment, entitled Writing Tip Wednesday. I've got a few topics in mind, but if you have a question you'd like answered, feel free to ask. I was hoping to launch it this week, but I didn't have enough time to prepare it. I am going to write a few before I start publishing them, so the feature will not launch until at least November, possibly January.

Indie Author Day
I spent a lot of time last week getting ready for Saturday's Indie Author Day. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was a national event being held by many local libraries and bookstores. If I had known, I may have chosen a library closer to home. But, I was very happy where I went and I met some fantastic authors from all around the area, including one in my hometown. (Actually, we already knew each other from library story time and playgroup and other activities, since her kids are the same ages as my three youngest ones.)

Anyway, in preparing for Indie Author Day, I pulled my author box from the basement. I hadn't opened it in over a year, and realized too late that I don't have a lot of books. I had far fewer Boarding School Blues than I realized and it was too late to order them. I had some of the original Becoming Birgit books with the too-light/too-small font, but the new version isn't quite ready for print. (There's an issue with literally ONE page that I have not yet remedied.) I did find a bunch of the original Boarding School Beginnings, but since that has been revamped, I didn't want to sell them. They came in very handy to elevate my About the Author sign on my table, though.

I went to Indie Author Day intending on using the day for making connections, not sales. I made chapbooks of all nine of my unpublished works. Each booklet contained a cover and blurb, then one or two chapters, about fourteen pages. I laid them on the table for people to flip through, maybe read it quickly. If they liked what they read, they signed up to be a beta reader.

Beta Reading & Newsletters
In anticipation of this event, I bought a bunch of double-sided business cards: WIP Wonders and Ashleigh Stevens. People loved being able to take one. Even more popular, however, was my newsletter sign up sheet. Someone had suggested one at the last author fair I attended and I thought it was a fantastic idea. I wasn't the only one. At least three people who saw mine said they would definitely have one for their next fair. Although I did not get as many new beta readers as I had hoped for, a few people suggested other places to look for new readers. And, I got a FANTASTIC idea that will take several months to put into action. (So, shhh for now.)

1 comment:

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