Alex Callahan

Perfect mix of magic and mayhem

Category: Updates Page 2 of 5

2019 in Review – The Year of Experimenting

I’m not gonna lie, I don’t think I’m ready for the end of the decade. I wasn’t ready for my oldest niece to turn 18, but apparently, nobody cares, especially not time. So, like every December, I looked back on the year that’s about to end and took stock of where I am and what I accomplished.

2019 was a Year of Experiments for me

I tried new things in my writing life as well as my professional life. And it all went much better than I initially anticipated.

After querying my first novel in 2018 and receiving nothing but boilerplate rejections, I figured I need to work on my craft and hone my skills before I can send another manuscript out there. So I read some books on plot and structure, to see what I can improve on that level (spoiler, apparently a lot).

I also asked myself if the writing and editing process I employed so far was what fit me best, or if I was simply doing what I thought would work. And so my experiments started.

Experiment 1: Can I pants through a novel?

Answer: YES

During this year’s CampNaNo, I decided to write a novel and not outline it ahead of time. I had a couple of scene ideas and I knew where I wanted to take the novel and the characters. And then I proceeded to write it. I was skipping around, writing whatever scene idea I got, then working my way back to connect it to the rest of what I had. I kept my excitement up and I actually managed to finish a 50k draft. Success all around!.

What I learned:

Skipping around the manuscript is a lot of fun and was a great way to keep my enthusiasm going. But pantsing is not for me, I like to know where I’m going. And I don’t have to waste time figuring things out.

Experiment 2: Can I write a novel in a completely different genre?

Answer: YES

Another CampNano achievement for me. I had this crime thriller at the back of my head for ages and I finally decided to write it. I needed a cleanse from my urban fantasy werewolves stories and this seemed like a great way to switch focus. It was difficult because while I’m an avid reader of crime novels, I’ve never actually written one. 

What I learned:

I still have a lot to learn when it comes to pacing and foreshadowing. I think editing this novel will also teach me a thing or two. Right now, I’m just happy to have this idea out of my head. And though I now know I can actually write them, I don’t think my primary focus will ever be crime thrillers.

Experiment 3: Can I pants a crime thriller?

Answer: Eh?

I’ve done it. I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. But after completing the first draft, I know how much better the manuscript could’ve been if I had it all planned out. Writing it was a great adventure, but the end result could’ve been much better.

What I learned:

I really need outlines with certain genres and there’s no denying it, I’m a plotter and I work best when I have a lot of prep done.

Experiment 4: Can I improve my editing process?

Answer: YES

After the disappointing querying results, I wanted to see if I could tweak my editing process to make it easier for myself and to make sure my novels are even better. So I started to learn from books and youtube all while editing Draft 0 of my YA urban fantasy. And even though I’m not done yet with my first pass, I can already see the improvements!

What I learned:

Thanks to all the time I spent learning and researching and applying all the new knowledge, I feel like I have established an editing routine that will do wonders for my process and my future projects. I can’t wait to test out my improved editing skills on the drafts I have sitting on my drive.

2019 was a great year and I learned a lot about being a writer. I’m really excited about what’s to come, so keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck!

My secret project has launched!

The last post on this website was about me taking some time off to focus on a big non-fiction project that I wanted to get off the ground.

Guess what. The super secret project has launched and has been going strong for the second month, making me feel confident enough to maybe venture back into the world of fiction. Right in time for the Camp NaNo in July, much to the delight of my writing buddy Megal Linden.

But first, I want to present you with the reason I disappeared:

PATH TO LESS

A website about the journey towards lessening my impact on the environment, lessening the focus on material things with the help of minimalism and zero waste movements.

I started to look around my apartment and all the things I own and I realized that I am part of the problem.

And so I made a decision. I am not a  superhero. I cannot single-handedly save the world. But I can become part of the solution.

And in a truly millennial way of doing things, I’ll be using this blog to chronicle my journey as I cut down on what I own, and the impact I have on the environment.

It’s highly likely that I won’t always succeed, but hell, it’s the one battle where the journey is really what matters.

Wish me luck?

Page 2 of 5

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén