A Writer's Journey

August 14, 2017

Taking on a Life of Its Own

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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A couple weekends ago, I decided to take part in a fun thing I saw on tumblr—asking people for a ship and a prompt. Then I would write three sentences (more like three paragraphs) based on that prompt. Seemed like a good way to pass the time.

With the exception of one Regal Believer prompt, most of them were for Outlaw Queen.

One of the first ones I got was for Regina as a soldier returning home from the front and reuniting with her husband and child. Everyone loved it. So much so, they kept sending me more prompts. I’m still getting a bunch almost daily.

So, yes, it’s now taking on a life of its own. I’ve had to give it its own name—Soldier Verse.

Right now, it’s still just a bunch of drabbles. However, I’ve decided to turn it into a proper fanfiction once I’m done with my Dancing With the Stars AU, Better When I’m Dancing. I don’t have a title for it yet, but I have some time to think of one. I’m only a little over halfway done with Better When I’m Dancing, but I hope to get the Soldier Verse fic up before the end of the year.

Just goes to show that you never know what’s going to catch on and grow bigger than you intended.

August 7, 2017

Jump Starting the Big Project

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 2:00 am
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It’s August! I know it’s not the usual time for fresh starts, but I’m making one.

As you can tell from the title, it has to do with my “Big Project.” For those who are new, I’ll give some background on the “Big Project.” And why it’s called that rather than with a proper title. The “Big Project” is a fanfic that I’m preparing to self-publish as a novel. I’m not yet ready to reveal which one it is so I use the codename instead. Last year, around this time, I had decided to devote a half hour every day to working on it and it proved quite fruitful.

So what happened? Well, for starters, the holidays happened. I focused on NaNoWriMo, my submission for the Outlaw Queen Advent Calendar and my gift for my Once Upon a Time Secret Santa. Then I got a cold for New Year’s. (No, seriously, the ball dropped and then my nose clogged up. It was torture!) By the time I got over that, my grandmother passed. So January was pretty much shot.

I thought I would start over in February, but then I decided to participate in a Valentine’s Day exchange and had a few other projects to finish. So I kept pushing the Big Project back more and more. Especially once my hours got shifted at work and I no longer had the same amount of time at night like I used to. So I was focusing more on my other fanfictions.

Which brings me to a conundrum. I know if I want to focus on the “Big Project,” one of my fanfics will have to get sidelined. And I don’t really want to do that. They are mostly popular and I like to keep to my posting schedules. However, I know one of them is going to have to suffer. I guess I just have to choose which one.

This is going to be hard.

*Insert long sigh here*

July 31, 2017

This is a Blog About Writing, Right?

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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Yes, it is.

I know in some ways it hasn’t really seemed like one since I’ve been writing about more personal things. Namely, travel. But I promise this isn’t turning into a travel blog.

So, let’s talk about writing. How’s that?

We’ll start with the Big Project. It’s stalled and it’s my fault, I know that. I haven’t made the time for it like I used to and I need to remedy that. So starting in August, I’m going back to working a half hour each day on it.

There’s not much movement still on original works. As I’ve said, when I’m inspired to write fanfictions, it usually takes all my energy. Right now, I don’t mind that. So, we’ll discuss my fanfics!

Well, we’ll discuss one—“The Dark Legacy.” It’s the sequel to another one of my stories, “The Prince of Darkness,” which rewrote the end of the Season 4 finale. Instead of Emma taken on the darkness, Robin did and became the new Dark One. The story then followed him and Regina as they tried to free him from the darkness before it completely devoured him.

In “The Prince of Darkness,” I decided to keep Zelena’s baby with Robin and I also introduced an Outlaw Queen pregnancy. These two girls are important for “The Dark Legacy” as it involves a mysterious figure trying to kidnap them and ultimately succeeding. The figure takes them to the Underworld so their parents have to go rescue them, encountering dangers along the way.

So why I am discussing it? Because sixteen—almost seventeen—chapters in, I decided to put it on hiatus and do some major rewrites.

Why did I make this decision? How? Good questions. I’m happy to answer them.

To be honest, I hadn’t been happy with the story for a long time. I wondered at various points if I was best to consider a major rewrite but decided to keep chugging forward. Yet it seemed to me that I was just repeating myself and my characters were going in circles.

Which brings us to two Saturdays ago. I took a shower and was thinking that I was almost done with Chapter 17 of “The Dark Legacy.” I was thinking about the story going forward and I once again wondering if I was just writing in circles while repeating myself.

Then I was also thinking about all the characters I have in play. And there were a lot. So many, I worried I had actually forgotten one and accidentally written her out.

Oops.

It was then that I decided it was time to put the story on a hiatus and to reread the posted pieces to see where I wanted to start the rewrites from. I figured it would be when the girls are in the hospital and how they get to the Underworld so that I didn’t keep coming up with several stupid reasons why they were always a few steps behind the girls. 

As I was rereading, though, I realized that I was just not happy with the story in general. Everything felt too rushed to me and more like I was telling and not showing enough. That I wasn’t diving as deep as I could’ve. It became clear to me that I needed to completely rewrite it. So that’s what I’m going to do.

What is this complete rewrite going to entail? A lot of things, I hope. I hope to eliminate the circles, tighten up the plot, deepen conflicts, strengthen character development and focus a lot more on Outlaw Queen.

Hopefully, I can pull this off and improve the story. My readers definitely deserve it. And I know I have it in me.

Wish me luck!

July 17, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge Update

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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It’s halfway through the year so I thought I would update you on how I’m doing on my goal to read more this year. On Goodreads, I set a goal of 12 books (one book for each month). How am I doing?

I’m actually on target! That’s right, I read six books through June and I just finished my seventh. If I play my cards right, I hope to have the eighth finished by the end of the month.

Maybe even the ninth.

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July 14, 2017

I Dream of Paris…

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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I knew that when I got to high school, I wanted to study French. And I did, even though Spanish probably would’ve been more useful. I was one of eleven girls in my high school class who learned the language and we all got really close because our class was so small. We also learned about French culture and history, enjoying our lessons. Our one dream was to go to Disneyland Paris as a class.

However, we went to Catholic school so there definitely was no budget to send us to Paris. We had enough to go to Quebec in Canada, which was gorgeous and still gave us a chance to practice our French. And in college, I went abroad to England and don’t regret it.

There was a plan for a family vacation to France when I graduated college. We would visit Paris and my father wanted to go to Normandy, since his father landed at Utah Beach on D-Day. He also spent a month stationed at Marseilles. My grandfather didn’t speak much of his time in the war so I guess my father wanted to feel closer to that part of him. However, I graduated in 2008 just as the recession kicked in, so that trip got scrubbed. We went to Boston instead.

Yet, I still want to go to Paris. I would love to stroll down the streets of the City of Lights, take in the sights, take in the history and just be there. It would be a dream come true.

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July 10, 2017

Lessons Learned on Vacation

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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I went to Walt Disney World during June. My father retired at the end of April and this was his celebration. So my parents, sister, aunt and I went down to spend a week at the Most Magical Place on Earth. At the end of that week, I learned some things about myself.

I am an adult.

No, that’s not a “I’m too old for Walt Disney World” realization. I firmly believe that you can never outgrow Disney World and that there’s plenty to do as an adult, even without a child.

It’s just a realization.

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July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July!

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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No matter what you think of our nation’s current affairs, I think we can all agree that today is a day to celebrate America. Just 24 hours of pure patriotism…a chance to just be Americans.

So Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans!

Personally, I love the Revolutionary era. I can’t get enough of it—and that includes going down to Colonial Williamsburg. I loved the John Adams miniseries and, of course, Liberty’s Kids. And I can quote 1776 like nobody’s business.

So, yes, I will be watching that today. I’m not sure what you’ll be watching to celebrate but I hope you enjoy your day!

Remember to be careful today. Wear plenty of sunscreen if you’re outside, stay hydrated, practice water safety, practice firework safety (if they are legal where you live. If they aren’t, please don’t shoot them off), and drink responsibility.

Now, I’m off to my pool and our 4th of July party!

June 12, 2017

Summer is Coming

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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Get it?

And I’m not even a fan of Game of Thrones.

I’m going to go put myself in the corner when I’m done with this post. Don’t worry.

We’ve already had a heatwave here in New York. Three days in mid-May peaked over 90 degrees—all in a row. It was like a preview for the summer.

However, the weather since has been mixed. Sometimes it’s been really nice, sometimes…not so much. It’s been chilly and rainy. Very rainy. Hopefully this isn’t an indicator of how the summer is going to go.

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June 5, 2017

Go West

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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And then run back East, if you’re me.

We have established I’m a diehard East Coast girl, right?

But, yes, I made a trip to the West Coast at the end of April. I mentioned it in an earlier post—I went to Anaheim for a work conference. It was a great conference and I learned a lot.

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April 24, 2017

April Showers

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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She laid on her couch, wrapped up in a soft blanket as she watched the rain hit the bay window in her living room. The pitter-patter of the drops against the glass was the soundtrack for her afternoon and she sighed, content.

The door opened and closed, sending a cool breeze through the house. She raised her head as she heard someone kick off their shoes, muttering under their breath. “I feel like a drowned rat,” her husband called out.

“All you need is some dry clothes,” she replied, not bothering to look up. She remained focused on the window.

He walked into the room and kissed her forehead. It sent a shiver through her body as his icy skin brushed against hers. “You need something warm,” she said.

(more…)

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