Monday, August 3, 2015

And They Lived…

B&B and Rose

On July 13th of last year (2014), I started a Beauty and the Beast novella called Tossing Roses with the intention of entering it in Rooglewood Press's Fairytale Contest. Halfway through writing I retitled it Burning Thorns, deciding it fit better with the theme. Two months after starting it I finished the 20k novella, later jumped into editing, shared it with my critique partners, edited some more, did NaNoWriMo somewhere in between there, yet more editing, and then in December sent it off for the contest.

On February 1st I learned Burning Thorns was not one of the winners for the Five Enchanted Roses Collection. Obviously there was a little disappointment there. I think that’s natural. But the strange thing was, I also felt a peace. I felt this strong urging to take my little 20k novel and expand it into a full length novel. Maybe that’s what it was supposed to be after all.

Originally I had planned to rewrite another novel this year, but I couldn’t get Burning Thorns out of my head. And so just two days after discovering Burning Thorns wasn’t chosen for the collection, I started an outline, an outline to expand it into a novel. In March I started writing.

It was a strange experience turning a little story into a full length novel. New characters appeared, subplots were discovered, backstories came to life. I realized the novella had just scratched the surface. The novel was where the REAL story was. The story I thought I knew rather well suddenly became so much bigger and deeper and more alive than I had ever imagined.Rose

Writing was a pleasure, a delight. With the novella, I snatched a moment with the characters, a little vacation; in the novel I got to LIVE with them. I grew to love them so much, they tugged tears out of me, and it’s an extremely rare occurrence that I cry with my own writing. But it happened. I became so attached I actually had to fight back tears on multiple occasions.

Writing was going great and at a fairly good pace, but I decided I wanted to move it along a little faster. I write (and do anything really) a thousand times better when I have a goal, so in June I set a 30k goal for myself. It was a bit of a struggle, but it pushed Burning Thorns from not even being halfway yet to having an ending in sight. With that realization I kept on pushing forward throughout July.

As the month went on, and life reared its head and laughed at my silly goals, I feared I wouldn’t finish the story by the end of July like I hoped. July exploded into a frantic mess of busyness. It tried its best to pull me away from Burning Thorns, but I kept holding on, even if by my fingernails.

The ending of the story was getting nearer and nearer, but so was the month. Finally, by the last week of July I realized it was silly to stress myself out over finishing the story. So what if I finish it at the beginning of August and not the end of July? Did just a few days really matter? My OCD side said yes, but I chose to ignore it (for once) and let my common sense actually show its face (again, for once). I’d just enjoy writing the ending (because, ya know, I do love writing endings) and forget about silly goals. The ending would come when it came.

Then Wednesday happened. I had 3 more chapters to write and only 3 days left of July. It’s a very rare occurrence (unless NaNoWriMo is involved) that I write a whole chapter in a day. So writing a whole chapter 3 days in a row? So wasn’t happening. But as I started writing Wednesday, it went super smoothly, and was superbly fun. And then I realized I had written a whole chapter in one day.


Then Thursday came and it happened again. A whole chapter in a single day.

Well then.

So there we were, Friday, July 31st. Last day of July, one chapter left. And I realized with an excited tingle. . . I can do this. I seemed to have forgotten once more that endings always move along so, so much faster than any other part of writing for me.

I sat down that Friday afternoon, wrote “Chapter 35” at the top of a new page of my Burning Thorns document, and started writing. By around 7 that evening, with fingers literally shaking from the thrill of it all, I typed two of the most satisfying words in the world: The End.

35 chapters, 83,835 words, and the first draft of the Burning Thorns novel is DONE.

I sat there for a minute, staring at the “The End” I just typed on the page, stunned. There’s always something so surreal about finishing writing a novel. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just an overemotional little elf. But spending days, weeks, months, hours upon hours upon hours pouring your heart and soul into words on a page and then realizing you finished the first step—wow. It’s a magical feeling!

I think I’m still a little stunned it’s finished. Probably because I spent so much time these last couple of months with it. Practically every free second I had was spent writing in it, and the not so free seconds thinking about it. I get so terribly attached to my characters. Spending all that time with them and then suddenly not takes a bit to adjust. They’re still running around in my head, giving me the illusion I need to rush over and continue their book. Since my brain has been so adamant in writing as much as possible, I can’t seem to process the fact that I DON’T have to write.

Perhaps my brain can’t adjust to the change because, really, this story has stuck deep inside my for a year now. In a year's time the novella was written, edited, sent off, read by a contest judge (O_O I try not to think about that scary thought), sparked an idea for a full novel, and now IS a full novel. Um, how did that even HAPPEN??? It was originally just going to be a little story I write for a contest and that be that. And here I am, a year later, with a fully finished, nearly 84k word first draft in my lap.

I don’t even know how to process this.

But still, am I happy about finishing? Ummm. . .


Pinkie Pie GIF



So what now? Yeeeah, I have news about that. Remember how I was all planning to join in on Rooglewood Press’s next contest, the Sleeping Beauty one? I had the beginnings of a rather fun idea and everything. Wellll. . .I’m thinking I won’t be entering this year.

See, my secret hope was that I’d finish Burning Thorns in June, take a writing break in July, and start my Sleeping Beauty Novella in August. Obviously that didn’t happen. Okay, so I’ll finish BT by mid-July, have a slightly shorter break, and then write the novella. Again, plan failed. BT just kept taking longer than I thought it would. And, well, I’m pretty burned out on the writing front. I don’t think I have another writing project in me right now.Five Magic Spindles Banner

The problem is, I’d have to start very soon because it’d probably take me about a month or more to write a 20k novella. Then I’d have to edit it and get it all polished perfectly for the contest before December. Which wouldn’t be a big deal except we have to add NaNoWriMo into the equation. This year’s NaNo is going to take a LOT of plotting, and I always use all of October for NaNo plotting, and then of course November is write-my-novel-and-do-nothing-else-like-a-crazy-person month. And in December I need a BREAK. So. Basically I’d have August and September to write, edit, and polish a 20k novella that I don’t even have plotted or anything if I’m going to join in on the contest. After spending SO much time on Burning Thorns, I really just don’t think I can do it. Writing is life, but sometimes even us crazy writer people need a break from it. So, as of now, I’m not planning on joining in the Sleeping Beauty contest. It’s rather sad, but for my own mental state of health I think it’s necessary.

I’ve ignored a lot of things in favor of writing lately. I literally almost want to cry when I look at my inbox. It’s just not even funny how much stuff I’ve put off that really, really needs tending to. (And have I mentioned I haven’t really read anything in like two months? O_O Yeah, I think I’m going insane from book dehydration.) My big plans of trying to catch up on EVERYTHING in July crumbled into me trying to keep up with life with one hand and type in BT with the other, while everything else fell by the wayside.

All that to say, I’m going to be spending the next couple weeks or so actually catching up with emails, friends’ stories I need to critique, and hopefully fit in quite a bit of reading in there, plus, ya know, that life thing. And then, hopefully, RELAX and be gloriously lazy. (Notice the emphasis on “hopefully” because we all know how life is.)

(And who knows, I might squeeze in writing a Sleeping Beauty novella in the midst of all that. Okay, okay. Mostly kidding! But with me you honestly never know. I didn’t mean to write a Burning Thorns novel any time soon and here we are. So. *shrugs*)

Then October I’ll be thrust back in the writing life and start planning for NaNo. (Can we talk about how close it’s starting to feel already? How is NaNo so CLOSE??? Actually, let’s not talk about it. It’s terrifying.) After NaNo, another break, and then in January I’ll be opening the Burning Thorns document once more and jump into. . . *shifty eyes* REWRITING. *cue thunder and lightning* Scary, I know. But that’s the plan. Watch it crack and shatter, but for now I’m sticking to it.

Long story short (real long story apparently, good grief): I FINISHED BURNING THORNS AND AM FLOATING ON AIR RIGHT NOW.

Hover Pinkie Pie GIF

That’s quite enough talk from me. I want to hear about you! Did you do CampNaNo (I guess I accidentally did two mini ones in June and July but not officially)? How’d it go? If not, what have you been up to in July? Annnd what’s your plans for August? (Except I’m pretending it’s not August because HOW IS IT ALREADY AUGUST???)


  1. CONGRATS! I am so happy for you. It is an amazing feat just to write a novel, especially in that span of time. So exciting that Burning Thorns is a full length story now. I loved it! Funny thing I had the same idea as you after losing the contest, but I am no where near finishing the novel version of my novella, so you have inspired me to get cracking. Or rather writing :D

    1. Thank you! I'm excited, too! It still has a long way to go as far as editing and such is concerned, but I'm so happy to HAVE something to edit, you know?

      Oh, girl, you'll get there! My problem is I have a little too much free time so... And I know your novel is going to be wonderful. How could it not? I mean, WILLIAM! <3

  2. CONGRATULATIONS!! I'm really looking forward to reading this!!! Ahh, you're just inspiring me again just as you always do!! 84K??!!? Wow! That's amazing!! You know I quite envy you, getting to flesh out this story so magnificently. Really. It's like you had the adventure twice. Only the second time around it was way longer and more complicated and everything!! AHH!! Can I just say that I'm floating on air right now with you?!?!? TOO EXCITED!!! True happiness is finishing your novel, or having one of your dearest friends finish hers. Truth. :D :D

    I don't know that I'll be entering the Rooglewood contest this year, though... at this point, I'm just writing about Sleeping Beauty for fun. ;) I've been way too distracted with so much else that I haven't completed what I wanted done at this point. :P Ah, well.... I'm still enjoying it. And that's the material point.

    1. Eeeeee! KIRI. How do I even express my thanks for such a sweet comment? You are such a wonderful friend!! *tackle hugs*
      You know, it did feel like I had the adventure twice. It was so much fun taking the little novella and seeing such a broader scope. I've never really done anything like that before, so it was quite the journey, and I loved it! YOU ARE THE BEST! <3

      Awww, you might not be entering either? That's sad, your story sounded so very scrumptious! If only we could find more time, am I right? But, if you're having fun then that's all that matters. I'm so glad to hear you're enjoying your story so much. ^_^

  3. YAY! Awesome job, Christine! *applauds like crazy*

    It's funny how quickly the last couple chapters can work themselves out. One of my most productive days while drafting my WIP was, oddly enough, the day I finished it. My fingers were banging and flying across the keyboard until I reached The End. It's like the writer's equivalent of an adrenaline rush. So I know EXACTLY what you're talking about, since I experienced it myself. :)

    Glad to hear you'll give yourself a short break in between major writing projects. I say you've earned it. ;) Plus, you'll feel refreshed when you start your next story!

    Things are going pretty well on my end. I'm about 30% through revisions for the WIP, and the story seems to getting more and more "on track." I also just got back from the Writer's Digest Conference in NYC, and it was AMAZING! Such an invaluable learning experience. :D

    1. Thank you!! :D

      I hear ya, girl! It IS like an adrenaline rush, I love how you put that. I even kind of get all tingly and overexcited and the words just explode out of my fingers. I love it!

      I fear my wee brain might just collapse into dust if I don't allow it a bit of a break, so I suppose it's necessary. XD But yes, hopefully afterwards I'll be all set to dive into my next writing project!

      That's fantastic. Keep pushing on, I know it's going to be amazing!
      And oh my goodness, that sounds like the experience of a lifetime! How awesome you got to do that!!

  4. I am so excited for you that you finished!!!!!!!!!!! The only thing is...I wish it were published so I could read it

    1. *beams* Thank you so much!! Well, it is my hope to pour myself into making it the best it can be next year and then start *gulp* thinking about querying. So maybe someday? Maybe not...but one can dream. ;)

  5. CONGRATULATIONS! This is so exciting:D Are you gonna publish it? 'Cause I think you should publish it;)

    1. THANK YOU!!! I am so very excited! :D

      I'd LOVE to get it published, whether it'll make it or not is anyone's guess. But next year I hope to really pour myself into editing and then perhaps start querying with it. Maybe hopefully. Scary thought, but I'd absolutely love to try to get it published.

  6. That's so exciting!! I know the thrill of finishing a book, and it is almost comparable to free-falling towards a trampoline. Amazing!! I wish you all the luck in getting published.

  7. That's so exciting!! I know the thrill of finishing a book, and it is almost comparable to free-falling towards a trampoline. Amazing!! I wish you all the luck in getting published.

    1. Thank you!! Oh, I LOVE that analogy. It's so true. Such a thrilling experience.
      Awww, that means a lot to me. Thank you so much! <3

  8. Oh. my. gosh. OH MY GOSH. DJAKFSLJ. WOW. :") CHRISTINE. WELL. DONE. This is AMAZING; SUCH an effort. :') THIS IS THRILLING - I am so proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 84K. Well done for sticking with it, AHH! This is so exciting. :') Oh my land, I hope that you enjoy your well-deserved break! <3

    AND NANOWRIMO. OH MY LAND. LESS THAN THREE MONTHS. *squeaks* *also wails in terror at the closeness* Do you have an idea for it yet? :)

    1. Aaaaah, girl! You're making me grin so big. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

      I KNOW RIGHT. O_O How is it so close. HOW?!?!?! I'm freaking out a little here. Meep.
      I do! I'm working on this high fantasy series and I write a book for it with each NaNo. So my first NaNo was the first book of the series, and my second the second book, etc. This year will be the sixth book. o.o Next year will be the final book I believe, so this year will be like leading up to the big series climax and I'm QUITE excited. But also a little nervous...
      How about you? And hey, what's your NaNo username? I'd love to friend you! I'm Lauriloth over there.

  9. Oh my goodness, that's amazing! Congratulations, Christine! I can't imagine how accomplished you must feel right now. (As much as I love writing, I haven't completed a first draft of anything, lol!) So happy for you and YOUR FULL LENGTH NOVEL! :D

    1. Thank you so much!!! Your sweet comment is just making me smile so big. ^_^

      You'll make it to the end, I promise! I have to do things like NaNoWriMo or give myself big goals to finish, otherwise I NEVER would. I'm so lazy, I have to have that push. It's a miracle I get anything done. XD

  10. OH MY WORD CONGRATS!!! I've been out of town all week but this was such an amazing thing to see right when I got back. :) It's been so fantastic watching you craft this story, from a short novella to a very full length novel. CONGRATS!! This is just so great. :D I wish you all the best with editing and someday (soon!) querying. I can't wait to read it!!

    As for me, my summer has turned out to be incredibly busy. I would really //love// to enter the Sleeping Beauty contest, though I don't have anything remotely ready yet. And I think I might make my NaNo goal to edit one of my stories instead of writing a new one. :) I can't believe the year is flying by so fast!

    Congrats again on finishing Burning Thorns. And double congrats on winning the Enchanted Roses bundle! Let us know if you do write a story for Sleeping Beauty. :) Congrats!

    1. You are so precious. THANK YOU!!!! <3 I don't even know what to SAY to all this niceness. You are just so, so sweet!!

      It seems as though this summer has been busy for everyone. So much for those "lazy summer days", am I right? It's just been crazy! And good gracious, has it gone by fast. The whole year, yes! I just want to tug at time and beg it to slow down.
      That'd be so exciting if you joined in on the Sleeping Beauty contest! ^_^ And editing for NaNo instead of writing something new is kind of a brilliant plan. o.o I might have to think about that sometime. The best of luck to you!

      Thank you so, so, so much! I'm absolutely thrilled. And I sure will!

  11. We just found your blog... it is superb! Your stories sound amazing, and we fervently hope that they will be published someday. Especially Fallen Matter. And Burning Thorns. Well, all of them! Lol. ;) Congratulations on finishing Burning Thorns! Our dream is to write a novel someday. But are still working on getting our stories longer that 7,000 words. Ugh. ;) Keep up the good work... and we are following your blog now!
    Have a lovely day!

    1. Awww, you are so sweet. Thank you! That means a TON to me!

      Just keep writing, you'll get there, I promise. I like to do things like NaNoWriMo or set my own personal goals and have people holding me accountable, otherwise I'd probably never get anything done. Lol. Just get those words down and keep pushing forward, you'll have a full novel (or a dozen) before you know it!

      Thank you so much for the sweet comment and follow! <333

    2. Thank you so much for the help! You've inspired us to start writing again. ;)

  12. AHHH CONGRATS CONGRATS!! THIS IS SO AMAZING AND 83K??!! FJDALFD CONGRATS TAHT IS AMAZING. *sprinkles chocolate cake in you hair* I think finishing a writing project is one of the best feelings in the entire universe, seriously!! I can't even begin to sum up how emotional and squee-worthy it is. :') And I totally get what you mean about writing being LIFE but also...gah, breaks are good. Breaks are very good. x) I admire the people who can write every day for years and years, but me? NOPE. I need me some lazy breaks. x)

    1. EEEE!!!! THANK YOU, CAIT! <333

      It is so one of the bestest feelings ever. I can't describe it either, it's just...AH! It's so satisfying.

      Breaks are definitely good. Very, very good. I don't know how people do that either. I'll write for very long stretches at a time, usually I have some writing project going or another, but writing every single day for years? o.o No. Give me a book and comfy chair! I need my lazy time.

      Thanks again, girl. Your comment totally made my day! ^_^

  13. *crashes in late to the party* I read this shortly after I returned from vacation, but knew my bleary brain couldn't put together a comment to do this momentous occasion justice...thus the lateness.

    BUT OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS. CHRISTINE. YOU FINIIIISSSHHED. I cannot tell you how utterly THRILLED I was to read this post! I couldn't wipe the grin off my face, and I'm pretty sure I actually squeed out loud. XD And look at you--a novella drafted and thoroughly polished, then a novel-sized expansion drafted IN A YEAR. You go, girl!!!!!!

    Though I have to say it's a little disappointing to hear you won't be entering this year's contest, I *totally* understand. You need the break, darling! You've pushed so hard and gotten SO much done, it's no wonder you're feeling exhausted. Take that break! Enjoy it! Don't stress over catching up (none of those emails or stories or whatever are going anywhere), and take some time to just chill. Read. Relax. Replenish your creativity. Knowing your limits and choosing to take a needed break is actually a super mature decision! And then when you do jump back into writerly things, you'll be that much more refreshed and ready to go. <3

    ajskfjaskfhakhj This is just making me even more excited to lay eyes upon Burning Thorns! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! *throws confetti*

    1. *TACKLES YOU* I've missed you!!! And EEEEEE!!! Now I'm the one grinning and squealing reading your comment. You are the sweetest thing. THANK YOU! <33333

      Awww, Tracey. You've made me feel a lot better. Because I was rather bummed I'm not going to be able to do the contest. I really wanted to and was excited about my idea, but the reality is I just can't. Even if I did try I don't think it'd turn out well because when I'm this exhausted on writing my writing suffers for it. My creative juices are dry, I guess, and need to replenish. So I don't think I have it in me right now to write something good enough for a contest. If that makes sense. But that's okay. I'm really happy I will get a break, and just knowing I finished Burning Thorns is thrilling. Missing one contest isn't that big of a deal when I look at the big picture. Thank you so much for being such a supportive, encouraging friend! You are SUCH a blessing to me!

      Thank you again! :D I cannot WAIT until I get to share the full novel with you.

    2. Missed you too! <3

      That makes total sense. Looking at the big picture is a wise idea (not to mention a good reminder for myself). You've accomplished so much. And hey, who knows, maybe one day you'll write that SB idea just for the fun of it. ;D YOU are such a blessing to ME, dearie!

      Eeeep, I can't wait either!!! :D :D :D


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