A Writer's Journey

September 4, 2017

One Last Summer Fling

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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The lake looked beautiful in the setting sun.

Holly sat on the end of the dock, her feet in the cool water as she watched the pale yellow sun dip beneath the trees that lined the lake. The sky was lit up in a beautiful orange color that was starting to turn to a dark blue color. Soon the stars would appear as well as the moon.

She sighed, letting a cool breeze hit her face. It would be time to head in soon before the bugs came out and began to bite her. For now, though, she could just enjoy the pleasant summer night. There weren’t many left.

“Good evening,” a deep voice said, interrupting her musings. Opening her eyes, Holly saw a man about her age row up to her in a little rowboat. He had sandy blond hair and warm brown eyes that matched his pleasant smile. His short sleeves revealed well toned arms and she wondered if the rest of his body matched it.

Taking a deep breath, Holly smiled at him. “Hello there. Out for one last trip around the lake before it gets dark?”

“I guess you can say that,” he replied.

She tilted her head. “What would you call it?”

“Me finally building up enough courage to talk to the beautiful woman across the lake,” he said with a smile. He held out his hand to her. “I’m Jake.”

“Holly,” she said, shaking his hand. “Nice to meet you.”

“So, care to join me for a trip around the lake?” he asked. “I promise I don’t bite.”

She bit her lip as she considered his proposition. “My mother told me not to accept rides from strangers.”

“Good advice,” he agreed.

“But I don’t always do what my mother says,” Holly continued, sliding into his row boat. It teetered a bit but Jake managed to steady it.

She leaned back, trying to look seductive. “So, where are we going?”

(more…)

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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!

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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…)

March 8, 2017

Celebrating Women Authors

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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I am a woman.

I’m sure you’ve probably figured that out by now and that I’ve probably flat out said before. But I thought I’d state it again.

Today is International Women’s Day. Some women may have walked out of work today, protesting pay inequity between the genders in the workplace. Some may not. Still, today is our day.

So I thought I would celebrate by highlighting three of my favorite female authors.

Jane Austen: I absolutely love her writing. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book and I’ve loved the other books I’ve read (especially Mansfield Park). Many mistake her works for light romance but they are more than that. They are social commentaries disguised as light fare. Really read one. You’ll see.

Ann Rinaldi: She is my favorite author. Ever. I used to run into the library or the book store to find the next book of hers to read. Through her, I learned that historical fiction was a genre and it was one I enjoyed reading. I learned so much from her, including how to write historical fiction. I will forever be indebted to her.

Sara Donati: I think it’s been a while since I’ve talked about her. Mostly because I’ve been delaying reading “Endless Forest” because I don’t want the adventures of the Bonners to end. She brought the New York wilderness, 19th century New Orleans and Scotland to life with her vivid descriptions and  decorated the landscapes with colorful and intriguing characters. She is heavily influenced by Diana Gabaldon and poor Hannah Bonner gets put through the Jamie Fraser wringer, but if you want a straight historical romance without fantasy elements, check her out.

These are just 3 of my favorite women authors. Who are some of yours?

February 14, 2017

Be Mine Valentine

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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Red and pink dominated the office, with hearts dangling from the ceiling and flowers on nearly every desk. It seemed Dolores went all out this year and Grace sighed as she set her bag down.

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” Dolores chirped, coming up behind her. The office manager was dressed all in red and had pinned white bows with red hearts in her brown curls. Her glasses were perched on her nose as her blue eyes took in Grace. “Any plans?”

Grace shook her head. “Quiet dinner at home, some wine and the least romantic movies I can find.”

“Come on. Where’s your Valentine’s spirit?”

“There’s no such thing,” Grace replied, sitting down. “There’s a Christmas spirit, but no Valentine’s spirit.”

Dolores huffed. “With that attitude, you’ll never have a Valentine.”

“Maybe I’m not looking.”

With the way Dolores reacted, one would’ve thought she had just confessed to murdering puppies. She clutched her chest and her blue eyes went wide as her mouth fell open. “Don’t you want love?”

“I do,” Grace said. “Just not for some stupid commercial holiday.”

“It’s not a stupid commercial holiday.”

She gave the older a woman a look. “Please. Spare me.”

“How is this a stupid commercial holiday and Christmas isn’t?” Dolores challenged.

Grace sighed. “Can we not do this? Can you just accept that some of us aren’t as gung-ho for this holiday as you and leave us be? Please?”

“Or what?”

“Or I’ll report you to management,” one of her colleagues, Dan, said. He peeked over the wall separating their cubicles, eyes focused on Dolores. “This has to be borderline harassment.”

Dolores pulled back, sniffling. “No one appreciates this holiday.”

Before either Grace or Dan could say something, she stalked away. Leaning back in relief, Grace looked up at her savior. “Thanks for that.”

“You’re welcome,” he said. “There are a few of us grumps but you seem to be the only woman who isn’t hiding her disdain for today. I think that’s why Dolores focused on you.”

She sighed. “Great.”

“Don’t worry. I think I scared her off.”

“Good. Maybe I can get some work done,” Grace said, finally logging into her computer.

He wished her luck before sliding out of sight, returning to his own work. She smiled, diving into her tasks for the day.

(more…)

February 7, 2017

Return to the Big Project

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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So, I’ve been quiet about this for a while. And there’s a reason—I had to backburner it for a couple…months.

First, I realized I couldn’t focus on it and NaNoWriMo at the same time. I tried but it didn’t work. Not with me having a full time job as well. So I had to make a decision and put the Big Project on hold.

Then came December. “The Christmas Wish” wasn’t completed yet, so I focused on that. With a lot happening before Christmas, I had to keep the Big Project on the backburner so I could get the story finished—as well as my OUAT Secret Santa gift.

Which now brings us to January. I rang in the New Year with a glass of Reisling and then two hours later, I couldn’t breathe out of my nose. As the night wore on, I felt worse and worse and it was clear I had a cold. It was a lot of sleeping as we returned from my sister’s in Virginia and I spent the next day resting as well. After going to work on Tuesday, I was knocked out and called out sick on Wednesday because I was just feeling awful. I spent the rest of the week trying to get better.

And then my grandmother died.

So I realized January just wasn’t good. I decided to start again February 1st…and then got felled by a stomach bug. (My immune system clearly needs a boost). So that went out the window as well.

Now I’m hoping to restart this week. Wish me luck!

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