I am used to starting my posts out with an apology for not making a deadline. Here is another one of those posts. I meant to have this for the end of April, but it is into May. Also, I had only partial successes with the April goals I made:
- Join the writing communities I mentioned here.
- Gain some followers and reach out to family and friends.
- Make a video of my thoughts about the YA fantasy process.
- Finish editing.
Goal 1: Writing communities and my experiences (partial success)
My first goal I had three resources/communities I wanted to explore: 1. Wattpad, 2. Reddit, and 3. Facebook.
Reddit: I have not really gotten into Reddit in terms of interacting, but I have been reading a lot about publishing tips. My husband keeps telling me to just submit an application. He thinks it is worth the try. He asked me what I was afraid of and kind of challenged me that it was fear of rejection. I truly do not believe I am fearful of rejection, and I think it is because there is always self-publishing. I do think there is a lot of research to be done still about which publishing companies only allow agents to submit works for the authors and which allow the author to self submit. I also know applications are tedious for me. I should just try though. Honestly, it is me being lazy not wanting to do the research.The worst thing to happen is no one accepts and my book goes unread, which is its current status kind of, but then I can always post it to publish and just share my works, so no loss! Right?
Wattpad: I was able to get into Wattpad. It is user friendly and a community of both readers and writers. As a new writer there, I read it is best to post 2 chapters a week. This is a reasonable goal, and I have been doing that for the last couple of weeks. I have posted two more chapters there than I have here on my blog. Many Wattpad writers do this continual progress of their writing, and from what I can see, have had great success.
Update 1/25/2021: Wattpad took too much time to network, and I removed my works from there. I did enjoy Wattpad in meeting other writers, but it is similar to blogging- you need to be extending your time to get others to do the same. I think there is just such a huge group of struggling writers that it is hard to make your way because everyone is short on time. I just can’t keep up with so many social media accounts.
There is a lot of potential to gain relationships.
It was easy to sign up for, and it is also easy to get set up with book lists, providing feedback, and publishing your own works. The feedback can be done paragraph by paragraph. On other works, I can hover over a paragraph and add a comment if there was a typo or a thought I had. Readers can easily do the same for mine. I have found it nice to navigate through other people’s comments, even if it is someone else’s book, to see what readers are thinking and are looking for.
There are a lot of resources for how to write, market, publish… There are a lot of good books to read! It has been enjoyable to read what others have written.
The community is very active there. I am lowly ranked, but I still have met two others there who have given me good, useful feedback.
Wattpad Cons: All of the pros take time. To build the relationships, you really need to be out reading others’ works, posting comments, reaching out. I also have found myself in the situation of feeling “stuck” reading a book, when really I have no interest in the actual book. I have been active now for 2 weeks, and have just 3 followers. I also have only 22 views total of my 4 chapters. I feel like many start to read and lose interest, for my first two chapters have most of those 22 views, and my third and fourth do not have any… So, that is kind of discouraging.
Also, when I wanted to publish the first parts of my book, it took me through some prompts and one of the requests was a book cover to display. I did not have that, so I felt obligated to sketch one up. It was something that caused a hold up and more time. Again, I am not in a position to be able to pay for things, so it was another things that I had to try to pull off that really I am not qualified to pull off, so another not-so-professional addition to my unpolished work.
My book is ranked low though. Wattpad has an algorithm for ranking depending on factors which I have read are based on “community support”, so the number of reads, followers, comments made, and other unknown factors. If you can build your ranking, I am guessing it could really snowball into more support WITH TIME.
Facebook: I failed. I did not get to it.
Goal 2: Reaching Out for Beta Readers (kind of failed)
I reached out on Twitter, and did get about 5 amazing and supportive friends to volunteer to be Beta Readers. I was very appreciative of the support I got for my tweet about this accomplishment. I fear I may have posted my announcement and call for Beta Readers a bit prematurely, since I do not have a completely edited story yet to give to my support. I just have to say thank you so much for those willing to read when I am through. I am very sorry it is taking me so long to edit. When I am done, I hope to push those out quickly.
Goal 3: Making a Video (success)
I did make a video, and after much back and forth, I was about to have the courage to post it only to have Youtube reject it for being too long. I’m not sure how else to get it up, so I won’t post now. I just talked about challenges and how I have made my progress so far.
I want to say I was not going to post it because I didn’t want others to know what I looked like. It is such a shallow thought. It starts out too with me fretting about my hair… why are our minds so wrapped around our looks and such silly things sometimes. What I need to worry about more is the usefulness of the content I talked about. Let me just say- it is not so useful, but it shows me and others where I was at with my kind of all over the place thoughts at this time. Maybe sometime I will figure out how to post
Goal 4: Editing (fail)
Oh my goodness. I would say total fail, but I am trying to give myself some grace here. I did not know what would be a reasonable amount of time to edit. A month’s time was not reasonable for me and the circumstances of life now.
I could have done better though. Editing is not my favorite. In fact, I find it awful. I have read my own words so many times, it all sounds like it needs work. Not to mention, it is confusing. I feel like I have read parts before and worry that I was redundant in writing, but really it was just because I have read that paragraph however many times.
I got through 1/3 of the book. I do find there are a lot of pages gained. So far, I added 9 more pages came from filling holes and building up ideas and characters. I also find it hard to decide how to do the number one rule of “not being boring”. I read a lot of my parts and think they are essential, but I am thinking many things are not and probably could be deleted. It is really hard to delete though it needs to be done.
I have gone days in between editing, so I think it is reasonable to make May a push month to give myself a boot to write. In much of this process when I had the pressure of NanoWriMo and Lent (which I gave up an hour a day to write), I did do a better job.
MY ONE AND ONLY GOAL:
I have my beta readers who volunteered, and who I do not want to lose to be my pressure to get this finished, so my goal this month is to finish editing and being able to push out my story to them. I hope to have my end of the month post on May 31st, no later, with this success. Honestly, if I could edit a chapter a day, I should be done in the middle of this month.
Thanks, everyone! Fellow writers, keep up the fight and let me know if I can help in any way!
Here is an additional chapter of my book here if you care to read! The first two chapters can be found here. Thanks!
The Push by Erin Yung
~~ Chapter 2 ~~
Mai hovered his hand over a rock drawing it towards him. It held steady, and then, with a flick of his wrist, a small force pushed the rock flinging towards a boulder nearby. It left the slightest of nicks before ricocheting and landing off to the side to rest again. Mai smiled pleased with himself. He had done it. He had tapped into the pushing skill in the last couple days, and he wanted nothing more than to show Emme and maybe gloat a little.
Impatiently, Mai looked around for his friend to come, but still no sign of her. He wanted to debut it to her by a casual showing. He kept flinging rocks feigning an unawareness of any approachers while hoping she would walk up at just the right time to see him in the middle of one of the small pushes. She never approached. This would be the third time in a row she had not shown for the usual evening meetings at Todey’s for supplies. They always did this together and suddenly with no warning, she had disappeared. She had not called on him at all. They had not practiced at the gorge once in the last week, though he would not have had much energy to do so even if she had called on him one evening.
Admittedly, he blamed himself partially for being so distant working in the mines. Tunnel 16 had energy of Pure in it even he could feel. The last week he worked tirelessly and he had really neglected everything but showing up and trying to tunnel as much as he could to strike on that grain field.
The crowds started to get louder. The sun dipped into Outer Circle’s silhouette. The shadows stretched themselves over the grounds and so did the mob of miners who had been let out from the day shift. The widest mix of men and women came out of the mines, those weak in body but strong in mind, strong in body but weak in mind, and all of the combinations of weak and strong. Though their appearances in no way matched a certain mold, they all wore the same rags of frustration and heavy efforts of finding more reserves of Pure. They were all exhausted, but not exhausted enough to sleep. The miners brought the streets alive with a rampage of emotions, grumbles, complaints, groans, arguing, and noises which may have been more productive sleeping.
The commotions of the streets recently had escalated to new levels with many changes happening in the land and a call for leadership that tipped any balance of social scales in the favor of focusing on negativity and hostile encounters. Division right in half made for active streets. Circles of brawls and groups of activists, active in both the vocal and physical departments, converged and diverged in uncontrolled patterns along the maze of roads that led to route dead ends, the pubs. Mai leaned against the farthest pub on the outskirts of town, but these days, the angst of the division seeped even to the farthest corners.
He flung a few more rocks trying to hit the same mark from the first. He fooled himself with a hope of precision and ended up making a few more dings far off from his original mark. When his rock hit and agitated one of the already drunken rally enthusiasts standing nearby in a crowd, Mai chose not to wait any longer for his flakey friend and finally dove into the pub. He cringed at the sight of a well-populated room. He hated it most when there was company at the high table where Todey served. There would be an audience today.
Mai nodded over to Todey, who immediately started rambling as he prepared the usual cider for Mai.
Upon handing the warm, pale liquid across the counter, Todey nodded and said, “The risers be risen these days, eh? He held his voice loud enough to be heard by only someone paying very close attention. The company of two at the counter would be able to catch pieces of the conversation here and there, though they seemed occupied in their own jabber. Still, Mai and Todey performed to them.
“They are loud, saw about 16 shouting wishwash out there. 6 of them in brawls.” Mai responded.
“Aw. What a show. Do you want to buy any of my craws today? I’ll wrap them for you.”
“I’ll take 4, 2 smoked, 1 seasoned hot, and 1 really crispy,” Mai said. “Thanks.” He took his cider and sat down in the corner.
Todey had a weird way about him with zero social skills and likeliness to a twig, shivering, shaking with the slightest breath blown his way. Anyone who came into this pub, would get the same lines intermixed with trails of incoherent mutterings. Though Mai had been frequenting this pub since he was just little, he still knew very little about Todey besides he had always been very old and odd. Honestly, he had not seemed to age, for he had always been at the peak of old looking. He had grown odder and more senile. The question Mai always wondered was how much of Todey’s craziness was an act. Todey was sane enough to carry on code instated by Zayda. Not one regular to the pub questioned Todey’s craziness besides those who worked with him.
People came though for his brews. Like his craziness, no one questioned his brew skills. Even being in a poor location, the pub farthest away from the mines, Todey always had a steady company who shrugged off his oddities and drank up a serious amount of brew and ate his craws.
Like most crazy individuals, Todey harvested a secret; many secrets, in fact. One of those involved his beloved ciders. Unbeknownst to his regulars, Todey’s brews had a distinct quality that made him unique from all other pubs. Todey did not serve up the usual cider with the formulas and liquid Pure distributed by the Outer Circle. Instead of relying on the Outer Circle, Todey came up with his own concoctions, using his own mix of herbs. He used what he believed were plants naturally rich with Pure to create his ciders rather than the formulas made from unknown percentages of Pure particulate. His assortment of flavors had their own enhancing effects and exhilarating side effects, which arguably were just as powerful, if not more, than the ciders served in the other pubs. Just as any of the other pub-goer, all of Todey’s customers went out in a super boosted, high on Pure drunken stardum. They joined the others out on the streets ready to conquer, compete, fight, or whatever came their way.
His loyal regulars swore he had the best tasting and most generously concentrated mixed up ciders than any other pub had to offer. Even his most loyal customers, however, would falter if they knew he did not use the Outer Circle’s Pure formulas. Fortunately, the satisfied drunks had nothing to suspect, for all they cared for was how the drink went down and how it made them feel.
Zayda, the leader of the naturalist side of the fight that carried on in the streets and thus the woman behind half of the rallies, chants, and brawls was Mai’s very own aunt. Zayda was one of the very few who knew of Todey’s special craft. Just she, Mai, Emme, and Todey’s daughter Lanka knew him to be a pioneer herbalist. This knowledge brought Zayda to be Todey’s best customer, though also in secret. For one thing, she could not be seen in the pubs, drinking up on the assumed Pure particulate formulas which she did not condone. Plus, she did not want any of her attached influence and attention, positive or negative, to latch onto Todey.
Zayda hated the political gatherings and the skits, as she called them. As of late, she had not been performing as much, as the growing disease of darkness and her ability to treat and nurture them back to health was appealing enough for many and took up a good deal of her time and energy. 6 shouting wish-wash and 2 of the brawls meant she had 6 in treatment and 2 in critical states. 1 even got a win meant there had been 1 death, or complete loss.
Depending on who you asked in the street, the darkness was either caused by too much Pure in the systems of people or not enough Pure in the systems of people. The disease had no relation to contact. It was not seemingly contagious, but struck randomly and heartlessly. The darkness referred more to the state of mind. The sufferer first started out feeling tired and sluggish to the point they appeared slower and delayed. Then, the entire body would inflame and cause acute pain for the sufferer. Though the inflammation would die down, the body would react to the trauma it had just exhibited and this would be the most serious and critical point of the disease. The end manifestation of the darkness varied depending on the host it conflicted; some lost all concept of reality and would forget who they were; some got angry and mean; some just seemed to stop, their soul perishing into a place of nothingness.
Zayda’s approach to the darkness was herbal remedies and nurturing care. Many of her subjects came out whatever awful end state they experienced, but some did not. With an imperfect cure, there were of course pushes for other cures. Many argued the increase of Pure helped alleviate the problems, but there were some signs that the sufferer taking Pure to treat the disease, ended up falling harder into the darkness and not at all being able to pull out of the crazed state. They would be lost in a crazed state and the soul they had been before, unrecoverable.
Todey’s daughter, Lanka, had been good friends with Zayda and worked alongside her in her treatments of the darkness. When Lanka fell ill to the disease 2 revolutions ago, Todey did not hesitate to bring her to Zayda, but he revealed his own expertise on herbal treatments at the time. Zayda found a great partner in the unfortunate event, and Lanka did recover with no lasting or scarring effects.
No one really messed with crazy Todey, and he was able to get some of the harder to get commodities at market under the assumption he had secret brews and recipes he followed. Through Mai, and usually Emme, Todey would send many supplies Zayda’s way.
Today, they needed a lot of supplies with the numbers up. Mai cursed Emme for ditching again and at the same time worried for his friend. Later on after he got the supplies to his aunt, he would go over to Emme’s house. He would deliver some bread or something. He hated knocking on the door and having to talk with Pag, Emme’s mother. She was a strange woman, cold and distant. She herself had been on the road to being a champion landmover.
Pag had an even greater gift than her landmoving abilities. She had been an exception to the rule of the mostly sterile reality of the people. She had a gift of fertility and birthed a baby. The irony of Pag was she had landmoving skills that could have put her in the Outer Circle to have her genetics passed on, one of the great rewards of living on the outer wall. Instead of living the luxury of the outer wall and having her genetics mixed and synthetically grown and produced in the outer circles labs, Pag had gone through the horrendous task of labor and delivery. The miracle of fertility was a very dark miracle. Most of those with the blessing lived and carried her child as a curse. At the birth of the new life, the curse seemed to be to take the mother’s life with it. Pag lived two miracles. Not only had she birthed a babe 14 eclipses ago, Emme, she also lived through it. But, her body had been crippled, and she had lost all skills and strengths she once had.
Emme always thought her mother blamed her for ruining her body. She never could put her finger on it, but Emme felt something off in their relationship. She had vented at times to Mai about a distance she felt between her and her mother. In Mai’s eyes, Pag lived vicariously through Emme with a steely coldness and jealousy. Emme did not really see it the way Mai did, but Mai would be the first to admit Emme was a much gentler and kinder soul than he, almost to a fault. Though Emme tried to please Pag, she always envied the motherly figure of Zayda. Zayda never had children of her own, but both Emme and Mai adored her as the motherly figure in their lives.
Though Mai could never understand it, Zayda and Pag were good friends. There had been times Emme had been reduced to tears and would come flying over. Zayda would not allow any bad talking about Pag. She would comfort Emme, but she would always encourage her to see the good in Pag.
“Be careful of saving up so too many bad things about someone in your mind. It blinds you to the good things they do,” Zayda would say.
“Being a mother takes sacrifice and a lot of things you cannot see. You cannot talk poorly about someone who cares and loves you and wants so much good for you. She is trying to have you be the best. Just like me. I only want the best too for both of you.” Zayda would direct the conversation towards Mai too. Pag and Zayda were opposite in every way, but recently they were very united to act as mothers to both Mai and Emme together.
Zayda had been very busy with the political obligations and also the rise in demands for care. Pag would be the caretaker in Zayda’s absences. Pag had dedicated her studies to diets and healthy foods, which meant she made a lot of terrible tasting things. Zayda had in a way put Pag in charge as the cook for the division. The other four divisions did not have the unity this one did, as it was encouraged and guided by Zayda.
Their division, was considered a wild one, for Zayda’s order was a bit unconventional. The hoots, an epithet given to those interested in returning the world to a more natural state, tended to gravitate to the division. Hoots were stereotyped as obsessed with natural order, and looked on as weak and lazy because many refused the use of Pure to increase their performances. Yet, despite the reputation of the people living there, when the darkness started settling in more and more, no one hesitated in their desperation to come to division 5 to seek Zayda’s treatments. Over the years, she had built quite a following in that fact alone of a large army of those healed by her.
Despite Zayda’s high regard for Pag, and Emme’s struggle to honor her mother, Emme could not hold back from letting lose some of her pent up frustrations through some good imitations of her mother’s lectures and nagging.
“Hold yourself more confidently. No! You’re still not doing it! You’re hunching. You should never hunch!” Emme stated with perfect sharpness and staccato.
“You could have lifted that higher at the base and had a lot more strength. Find the focus point and connect there. Have more focus” Emme would mimic, followed in her own confused voice, “What does that even mean? Find the focus point. Obviously, I do that, if I lifted at a point.”
Pag was a cook, acting as a champion coach. She once had great land moving powers, or so she said. Not anymore though. She had no strength. Some of her coaching had been helpful, if Mai were to be completely honest, but they had the powers now, and she did not. She was lost in some old sense of self that she had real worth to tell them what to do.
There was one time Mai tried to joke how Pag just wanted to raise a champion, and told Emme, “Someday you will kick my ass in the championship and it will all be because of your mom and your hard upbringing.” Mai would never forget how this instantly boiled Emme.
“When I bury you in the championship, it will be because I am better than you, and no other reason. Don’t ever give her or my upbringing the credit of my achievements. How dense of you to say something so stupid.”
Emme had quickly set him in his place. Made him realize his wrong right away. Emme was stronger than he in so many ways. She didn’t deserve the constant criticism and pressure she lived under. She had been pushing land for quite a while now. He had a lot of regrets in his life, and saying what he did that day was one of them no matter how much of a joke the intent was. Mai started racking his brain on what he could bring over to the home so as not show up empty handed. It would be an ill-disguise for looking for Emme, but he felt he needed something or some other reason to go there. Maybe Zada would have something for him to bring over.
With his mind more and more determined in figuring out where Emme was, Mai looked over impatiently to the kitchen where Todey still had not appeared. Mai had absentmindedly downed all of the cider in thought, and lost a good sense of time. Still, he was sure this was taking longer than the usual time. Impatient, he went up to order another cider and see if he could peek in. Just as he got to the counter to order, Todey came out.
“Impatient, I see. Didn’t even take long and you had a lot more to your order. So thankless. I hold grudges. Will take extra time next time. See if I hurry?. Here it is…
“I was going to order another drink is all,” Mai lied.
“It’s rotten,” Todey scowled, “Lies are rotten… Just trying to wrap things nice… Nice things aren’t worth it.. Lying’s not worth it.. Lying doesn’t get you far. Honesty doesn’t get you far either… What gets you far these days? Power, of course. Why, it would seem lies do get some far these days. Honestly, lies get you far. Honestly, lies. ” Todey abruptly laughed at his contradiction and then abruptly stopped.
“Do you have the crayfish?” Mai asked. He had really seemed to piss Todey off.
“Impatience!” Todey said pounding the counter. “Zayda’s boy. Hmph. Am I impressed? I think… am I impressed..”, Mai hated the directed, squinty but still bulgy-eye stare Todey gave him now. He moved uncomfortably not sure where to look.
“No, no, no. No time for that. Judgements don’t go far at all. Here’s your crayfish It’s wrapped nicely. Say it’s wrapped nicely. It’s nice. Isn’t it? Would you say- impressive?” Then Todey walked away with no real desire or need of affirmation. He had impressed himself and that was enough.
He was crazy, Mai decided. Still, he couldn’t help but feel stung a bit. He was pretty sure Todey had slighted him at least a couple of times in all of his fragments of sentences. He could not be sure. He was not sure about anything with Todey.
The craws were wrapped very nicely, although a little bulkier than usual. He was pretty sure there were extra herbs Todey gave that he had not requested. Todey’s extra generosity may have accounted for the extra time, leaving Mai feeling a little worse than he already had about being called out on his lie. He gently slipped it in his sac and removed two lights. The way would grow dark at this time of day and light was sparse over by the Gorge.
He refocused on the mission to get to Zayda.
Usually, when Emma was with him, they would go through the Gorge and even stop to train if time did not press them to get the package delivered. With Emme, the training site was not a nuisance as it was today. Mai did not want to go around or take the shaky bridge over it, so he went through the maze, land masses literally thrown about making it full of tunnels, random towers, gaping holes, and steep inclines and declines. There were rules in place for where the land was supposed to be directed and gentry were supposed to reset their work, but not many gentry had the real skills to hit a mark or the strength to reset the land, so the rules went unfollowed. A full force of practicing movers was out tonight, about 100 or so. The next full moon’s tournament would be the landmovers tourney. The best landmovers could win and or be selected to go to the outer wall depending on their performances.
Mai ran up and out of the far side of the Gorge. He started running. Scattered mushrooms started to appear along Mai’s path as he moved farther from the center, but the light the little hoods offered could not replace the quickly fading glow from the inner city and arena’s lights. He could see some lit homes in the distance, but first, he had to make his way down a rocky decline into Division 5 Mai tightened his sac closer to him, struck his lights, and started the descent. There was a path he could take, but this way was quicker and more fun.
The game mostly was to not fall on this face or tumble down too far. The trick was to have enough foresight and strength to pull up parts of land to level out the terrain for skipping and walking upon. The limited range of the torch and Mai’s limited strength made it a fairly high risk game. He had played this game countless amounts of times and lost mostly all of them.
Squinting in the cool night, Mai breathed and looked ahead. He slowed as he came upon a steep drop off about three paces off. Connecting to the ground, he willed it to come to him. A good-sized mass rose from the ground. Mai held it there, but divided his attention and scanned for another step to raise. Slowly and a little more shakily another stair arose next to it. Mai hoped down on them, feeling their connection stronger and still. The steps held steady as he skipped over them. They hovered there a moment until Mai relaxed and the steps he had made landed hard with a couple of thuds and crumbles. He kept searching the path, moving pieces up towards him, connecting, leaping, and leaving behind dislocated boulders in his wake.
He felt right on tonight. His skills were getting sharper. He could feel it. Maybe he had been in contact with some good Pure lately. The outer circle maybe was shooting off some extra particulate in the air, though unlikely since there had been no huge finds in the mines he had heard of lately. Maybe Todey had a new brew with extra enhancers.
He wondered if others were feeling this surge too and again found himself wishing Emme was here so he could ask her. In his distraction, he ended up tripping right at the bottom. He ran hard to catch himself from not actually falling forward. When he didn’t have to run anymore, the adrenaline gave him a kick and he let out a good laugh. He had lost focus and gotten careless right at the end, as he was known to do. Tonight, was a rare night with no falling, so a success, none the less. Zayda always preached about being humble with the skills for this very reason. The moment you get careless, you get dumb, she would say or Get hung up on yourself, and get yourself hung up. Her sayings against cockiness were many. She would also joke, “You couldn’t possibly be the chosen one right now,” referring to the prophecy.
“The one who is humbled to be in the shadows and see the sacrifices of the great will be the chosen one.”
Mai did not believe in any chosen one. Prophecy and relying on a singularity seemed like quitting and being cowardly if you asked him, not that anyone did. He of course denied any interest in being the chosen one putting on a mask to match his indifference of prophecy. Still, he lived by the value of humility well and strived to be humble for the simple truth in how he faltered when he got excited. You did have to be grounded to land move. Things could end very badly without focus and care. Mai knew he had a long way to go, but as for his immediate destination, he was just about there. He also was no chosen one, but he could pretend.
The outer circle wall loomed high at this section where humble huts and gardens spread themselves wide. This was the far west living quarters, division 5, Zayda’s territory. The first and brightest light was the shelter. That would be where Zayda was.