All of the work presented on this blog is © Joanna Peterson.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Switching Cabins

OMG! I am totally that camper.

The one who complains that her bunkmates suck and asks to be moved to a different cabin.

Yep, I did.

They were really quiet. So very quiet.

Like, I'd been in the cabin for a week and no one had said anything.




I'm sorry, but I can't stand quiet cabins.

So I asked to be moved. And, because it's Camp Nano and they're awesome, they obliged.

And now I'm in a new cabin.

They all have similar writing goals (remember, mine is 25K), and we appear to be a diverse group of people. Some of the story synopses even sound like books I'd enjoy reading (not so big on Fantasy when reading, but they made it sound enjoyable and interesting).

But they're quiet too.

Now, I don't know how long the rest of them have been together. I just know that I just got assigned. So I decided to strike up a conversation and get us started. 

We'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, I'm really excited about my project for Camp Nano! Except that I'm going out of town for the 4th of July, and I won't be within internet - or electricity - range at all. 

(We're going camping, in case you couldn't figure it out.)

Maybe I'll buy some lined notebooks and take them with me. After all, that is how The Sector got its start: camping Labor Day weekend forever ago. I wrote it by the light of the moon, the stars, and my tiny little battery-powered lantern that attracted the giantest moths you've ever seen. No lie.

And look how that turned out!

In the meantime, I'm working on something different. It's definitely going to be more sci-fi-y than The Sector was. And I'm excited about that. I even have a sequel novella planned (but mostly because part of it is going to be incorporated into part of what I'm working on. Confused? Yeah, me too!).

I'll try and blog before I go. If not, watch for my farewell to tech post on the Facebook page, and I'll see you all next week!

Thanks for reading! (and commenting! *hint hint*)



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Camp Nano

I got my cabin assignment for camp earlier this week! I totally forgot about it until the other day when I looked at the calendar and realized how close to July it really is. I'm not sure exactly how active my cabin is going to be. As of right now, we've been cabin mates for the better part of a week and no one has said anything in chat. They mostly have really low word count goals too. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if you stick to the planned schedule Nano provides of 1,667 words/day, you're more than likely to hit 10,000 words in a little over a week.

My goal is 25,000 words. July is going to be a little crazy. I can tell already! There's a ton of stuff going on in my real life that I won't get into right now (maybe later), so I'm going to make it so I can actually succeed this time around. In April I made it to just under 25,000 words, so I figure I can easily hit that in July.



I'll need all your help and support to keep me buoyed up, okay?

And maybe, just maybe, if I hit my goal at the end of July we'll have a giveaway of some sort.

How does that sound? Pretty sweet, right?

Here's the catch though: You have to actually participate here on the blog and over on the Facebook page. I know, I know, posting comments takes time and it's way easier to just like something. But if I'm going to hit this goal of 25K, I'm going to need some actual verbal support.

In exchange, I'll post little sneak peeks of what I'm working on. Sound like a good enough deal?

Yeah, that's what I thought! ;)

Well, I have 7 days left to plan - even though I'm not really the planning type - so I guess I'd better get started on that outline, huh?

Until next time!



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Please Don't Die!

I posted on Facebook earlier this week that our writing prompt for today was going to come from 642 Things to Write About (Buy it Here), and was going to involve telling a dying houseplant why it needs to live.

So, here goes! Please feel free to share your versions on the Facebook page or in the comments here on the blog.

Thanks for reading!



Note: This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission when you click through and purchase the items. This helps me fund my writing. Thanks! :)

(As always, all original work posted by me is copyright Joanna Peterson 2015. Thanks!)

I stared at the wilted leaves, wondering why, after I'd cared so diligently for it, it had decided to die anyway. I watered it when the soil dried out. I kept it near the window so it would get enough sunlight. Heck, I even bought the expensive plant food at the nursery and followed the directions to the letter.

And yet, there it sat in front of me, dying. I knelt on the floor next to the little side table I'd set the basket on and clasped my hands before it. 

"Please, little plant," I begged. "Please, oh please, don't die on me. Not now. He already thinks I have the Black Thumb of Death. If you die now, despite my best efforts to care for you, he'll blame me forever."

I stared intently at the little plant my boyfriend had given me just a few weeks before, as if I was waiting for it to respond. Like it would explain to me why, after all my hard work and loving care, it was deciding to leave this world. Naturally, it didn't say anything. It was just a plant, after all. 

"Come on!" I shouted, slamming my fist down on the table. "Really? You're really going to die on me?"

Now I was starting to feel silly. I was shouting at a plant. A houseplant. A freaking peace lily!

I pushed myself off the floor and started toward the kitchen where I kept the plant food and the watering can. I wasn't going to let it just drop dead on my watch. I would nurture the crap out of that little plant until it either gave in and perked up and continued to live, or decided to go all in and die on me.

"Fine!" I shouted at it as I filled the watering can in the kitchen sink. "See if I care if you die or not! I won't give up on you though, little plant. And if you do crap out on me, he'll understand. He's seen the care I've given you. He won't blame me. Your little plan to screw with our relationship won't work."

I shoved the watering spout down toward the roots of the little, dying peace lily and poured water on its dry roots. I'd show it. I'd show it I wasn't giving up. I'd die before I let that stupid little plant die.

Okay, maybe not, I thought to myself as I returned to the kitchen and placed the watering can back beneath the sink. I was just being dramatic. But that plant meant so much to me. It was the first real thing he'd given me. And if it died, well, I was afraid it was a sign of how our relationship would end. I glanced back over my shoulder, sizing up the wilted leaves. 

I blinked. Were they that wilted before? Or did they seem a little perkier now that they'd been watered. I sat on the couch, staring directly at the plant. I was going to sit there and wait until I knew for sure. I'd sit there all night if I had to. Luckily, I didn't. Three hours later, the leaves definitely looked perkier than before. I smiled as I brushed past the peace lily to draw the curtains closed.

"That's a good plant," I said, patting its leaves softly as I walked past toward my bedroom. "That's a good plant indeed."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Between Drafts

I've been reading the books I bought over the last few years about writing. Writing a book in a month, outlining your book, blogging about your book, even story generators. It's been fun, and I've gotten a lot of ideas. In fact, I think that's why I've been blogging so much lately.

Anyway, I thumbed through one of the books the other night called Novel Blogging (Buy it here) and found several great ideas for things to write about here on the blog. One of which is the topic we're going to cover today.

I know a lot of people wonder why it takes so long (at least, for me) to write a novel. Escaped and The Sector each took years to complete before they were ready for publishing. It's been several years since I've published them, and I know I've promised sequels. Believe me, I'm working on them!

But why does it take so long?

For me, I have to let the story sit and stew for a while. Sometimes it's as short as a few weeks or months, and sometimes it's as long as several years. It really just depends on how bad the draft is, how much work the story needs, and how I'm feeling about where everything went.

See, I've got everything all planned out in my head, and most of the time I can manage to get from where Book 1 left off to where Book 2 needs to end. Sometimes, as is the case in the two sequels I'm currently working on, characters go crazy and do totally unexpected things and throw the whole plan away. It really makes it hard to work in Book 3 or 4 (no promises here!) when my characters do that. And it's really frustrating and makes me wonder if the new plan is the right thing, or if the old plan needs to come back. You see where I'm going with this?

So what happens in between drafts?

Well, Draft 1 gets finished and I let it sit for a good while. Usually at least a month (lately a little longer). Then, I mull over the things I want to happen vs what actually happened in the story, and try to decide if it's going to be easy or difficult to insert said ideas into the existing draft.

If I decide it's going to be difficult, usually I'll scrap about 75% of what I've written and start fresh, keeping only the bits that I really, really liked that worked well with the new version of the draft.

Then I finish Draft 2. It's usually about this point where I send it off to my Beta Reader (love her, she's the BEST!) and then she rips it to pieces. :) After I get it back from her, I let it stew for a few weeks before diving in with fresh eyes, making changes, and adding or subtracting things. Then I send it back to my Beta Reader. This process goes on until the manuscript is finally in a good place.

Then I let it sit for a few more weeks before I begin editing.

Once editing starts, I power through the whole thing multiple times in about two or three weeks. Then I work on the cover, the description, and I send it out for a final proofread. And then, once it finally passes muster, I hit the publish button in Amazon and Barnes & Noble, cross my fingers, and hope for the best. :)

Hopefully this explains a lot to all of you, and kind of sheds some light on why I've taken so long in producing sequels.

I promise, I'm working on them. I promise, I'm on Draft 2 on both. It's just taking some time to get it Beta Reader ready. But, soon, hopefully very soon, they will be on their way to my Beta Reader, and then we can get the ball rolling toward publishing again.



Note: This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission when you click through and purchase the items. This helps me fund my writing. Thanks! :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Let's Cast a Movie!

Okay, so not really. Don't get all excited. I wish, but not going to happen. Not yet, at least.

Let's pretend we've got a movie deal for Escaped, shall we?  Who would you cast for the following characters?

Jamie Lynn Turner
Rob Stanton
Joel Earnson
Sam Wellington
Whitney Andrews
Lacey Martin
Todd Turner
Julie Turner
Detective Turturro

Can't wait to see who you've picked! Leave your ideas in the comments. I'm still thinking my cast over, but I'll be sharing it later this week.



Monday, June 15, 2015

I'm totally going to use this one in something!

Today's writing prompt was to describe a notification scene at a family's home who has just been told their loved one was killed in combat, is a prisoner of war, or missing in action. (Taken from 642 Things to Write About. Can you tell I'm kind of loving this book? Want a copy? Buy it here!)

I've been working on something for the past year or so, and there's a similar scene to this writing prompt that I've just not been able to get right. Well, I think I've got it (partially) figured out. I hope you enjoy. Please let me know what you think in the comments!



Note: This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission when you click through and purchase the items. This helps me fund my writing. Thanks! :)

(As always, all original work is copyright Joanna Peterson 2015. Thanks!)

This was my least favorite part of the job. The suburban pulled to a stop in front of the next home. I slid off the leather seat, taking slow, deliberate steps toward the front door. It was open, the family waiting for someone other than me. I watched as their faces turned from excitement to dread as I walked up the front path.

I offered my deepest condolences as I read the pre-printed letter in my hand. The mother's eyes rolled back in her head as she shrieked and fell to the ground. Her daughter, tears streaming down her face, rushed forward to help her. The father stared blankly at me as he took the letter I offered him. He didn't say a word to anyone as he turned, stepped over his wife's limp body on the floor, and stormed away. The daughter glanced up at me, screaming obscenities and begging me to let them grieve in peace.

I bowed my head and retreated to the suburban, disappointed that, of all the notifications I'd done that afternoon, this was the best - if "best" was even the word you would use to describe such a grim and horrible task. I shut the door, avoiding the urge to glance back at the grieving family I left behind as the suburban sped off toward my next notification assignment.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

It's Dark in Here

Today's writing prompt was to put yourself in the dark and write what happens. (Taken from 642 Things to Write About)

I had a lot of fun with this one. Let's just say I have some personal experience where this topic is concerned. haha

Let me know what you think in the comments!



(As always, all original work is copyright Joanna Peterson 2015. Thanks!)

I open my eyes, but still can't see anything. I swing my legs off the bed and stand, bumping into the bookshelf next to the bed. Water splashes on my bare foot, and I realize I've just managed to spill my glass of water all over the floor. I shuffle toward the door, keeping one hand on the mattress to guide me. I trip and stumble over a shoe, bumping my hip into the metal corner of the laundry hamper. I reach out toward the wall, feeling for the switch with my fingers. I press the button, and blink in the brilliant light from the LED on the ceiling.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dear Girlfriend

Today's writing prompt is: You are 21. Write a letter to your girlfriend. (Taken from 642 Things to Write About)

I decided to play off of the letter I did last night from the 13 year old girl's point of view. Let me know what you think in the comments!



(As always, original work is copyright Joanna Peterson 2015. Thanks!)

Dear Girlfriend,

Do you realize I've kept every single thing you've ever written to me? I just found a note you wrote when we were 13. Don't get me wrong, I love you more today than I ever did back then, but you were pretty sappy. (Also, kind of obsessed with Mrs. Hamilton's ears - which I had completely forgotten about.)

I just wanted you to know how much I love and appreciate everything you've done for me over the years. You are my lifeline to the shore as I battle the waves of the unknown.

Thank you for keeping me grounded and tied to home. I don't know what I would do without you.

I love you,

Your Boyfriend

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dear Boyfriend

Last night I worked on some writing exercises. I was in the mood to write, but I had no idea what I wanted to write about, or work on. (I know, you're all going to say "Work on the sequels!" but I just wasn't feeling it.) So on a whim I pulled out my copy of 642 Things to Write About and thumbed through it.

I stumbled across a few exercises that I thought sounded like fun. The one I'm posting below prompted me to write a letter as a 13 year old to her boyfriend. Fairly easy, having written several (but never sent them - they were always kept secret in my locked journal. Aah, the days of early teenhood) as a 13 year old myself, I was able to channel past me and I think I nailed it.

If you'd like to check the book out, and get 642 writing prompts all to yourself, you can buy it here.

Let me know what you think in the comments! (And, as always, all original work posted on this blog is copyright Joanna Peterson 2015). Thanks!

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission when you click through and purchase the items. This helps me fund my writing. Thanks! :)



Dear Boyfriend,

Today at school was awesome. You totally looked so-o hot in those Lucky Jeans you were wearing.
I'm totally bummed that the only class we have together is English.

Also, do you think Mrs. Hamilton even has ears? Janie said that Rob said that Susan heard she was in a really bad car accident like 10 years ago and she lost her one ear.

Ew! Totally gross! If that's true, it totally explains why she wears her hair like that.

Anyways, I was thinking we could work on our English homework together? I started my poem assignment already.  What do you think?

Roses are dumb,
Violet's a fool
'Cuz everyone knows
In the whole school:
You belong to me,
I belong to you,
And that will never change
'Cuz our love is too new. 

I love you babe!


Your girlfriend

*muah! *

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

It's a Love Hate Relationship

I hate vacations. But I love vacations.

Vacations are awesome while you're on them, but as soon as you get home and reality hits you square in the face, they suck. Hard core.

After recently returning from a vacation, I feel like I need another vacation to unwind from the vacation.

Who else is with me on this one? *raises hand*

I took my laptop with me on my last vacation with every intention of spending hours writing.

I didn't.

I wrote 553 words.

But that's better than nothing, right?

Now that I'm home and unpacked (sort of), I hope to be able to get back into the full swing of writing regularly before July when the next round of Camp NaNoWriMo starts.

So, what would you like me to work on in July? Here are the options:

Escaped #2 (finish from April Camp NaNoWriMo)
The Sector #2 (rewrite draft 1)
Omega 5 (new project)
The Choice (working title, project from 2013)
Untitled New Adult Project #1 (project from 2013)
Untitled Fantasy Project #2 (project from 2014)

Leave your vote in the comments. I look forward to hearing everyone's opinions. Also, check out the poll on the Facebook page (it's the post pinned to the top of the page) and make sure to vote over there, too!