My life and a YA summer challenge progress update

I can’t believe it has been five days since I have posted anything. That is what happens when life gets busy. Last Wednesday my children and I brought a lost kitten home from school and proceeded to spend the bulk of the week trying to find its owner. The owner finally contacted our vet looking for her and kitty went back to its own home on Friday. She was lovely and sweet and the children and I suspect my husband will miss her.

Saturday I went to see the final Harry Potter. It was the first live action film that I have seen in 3-D and I must say I was not disappointed. I felt the same sort of sorrow return at the end of the film that I had when I read the final book. It is a bit like saying goodbye to a dear old friend.

My six year old son has made his musical début in the school’s production of Oliver. It is a very small school and I was amazed that they managed to fill the hall for three showings over the past two days. The mayor even came to see it on Monday. I had tears in my eyes, the children all did a fabulous job. I think it was certainly a success.

Tomorrow my five year old daughter will be graduating from reception and moving on from the foundation stage. They are doing their own little play as well as getting their certificates in caps and gowns if rumour is correct. I have tissues and fresh batteries for the camera already packed in my bag.

Despite all this, I am still writing. I have been working on two projects mainly and decided to put the rest on the back burner for a little while.

The manuscript in progress is shaping up nicely. I am about a quarter of the way through and am pleased with where it is going. I am not sure whether or not it will still get completed by the end of the summer but at least it is still progressing so that is good. I am still using the Storybook software to track characters and chapters/scenes and am finding it very useful. Perhaps a more organised writer is emerging from this old pantser.

My completed work that I have been editing and rewriting for several months now is also progressing. This however is going in a slightly new direction. I had originally written about 90,000 words and then cut it down to about 75,000 words which I felt was a good size for a YA fantasy novel. The second novel in the series is only at about 50,000 words at the moment but is not completed and is on hold. It was always my intention to make this into a trilogy. I wanted the first book to shine before I completed the second or even started the third. This week as I was reading through it again, I have found a natural ending about halfway through the first book. I have now decided to end the book there and focus on rewriting and including some of the scenes I had originally cut from it. Making the second half a stand alone book and obviously the second in the series, perhaps now I may no longer be writing a trilogy but a series. I think this decision is a good one and will allow for the world to unravel itself to the reader at a better pace and will hopefully help resolve some sections that appeared to have become information dumps.

I know most of my other writer friends have been quite busy this summer too but here is a reminder that there is still time to participate in the July twisted freedom flash fiction challenge if you fancy it and are not too busy.

How are your writing goals shaping up? How do you balance life and writing during busy periods?


About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a primary and middle school teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three and a wannabe author.
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10 Responses to My life and a YA summer challenge progress update

  1. Your life sounds wonderful: rescued kittens and a children doing lovely childhood things.
    You are so prolific, Billie Jo. Interesting how you are finding the natural shape your series should take. Keep at it. 🙂

    • I believe life is what you make of it. I fill mine with loved ones and try to make lasting memories for my kids. I guess that makes it a pretty good one. As for the series it has been a long labour of love. This is the one world that nags me more than any of the others I visit in my mind, it is the world I can see the clearest and I know what is in every single characters heart. I so want the rest of the world to get to meet them all too but oddly enough it is the one world I have struggle the most with the writing of.

  2. Selena says:

    I know what you mean. Summer is always busier for me and the writing sometimes takes a back seat. But I’ve learned that I need that time…and when winter hits, I so make up for it!

  3. I’m glad the sweet kitty was reunited with its owner. Maybe your family should go to the SPCA and look at the lost kitties there.

    I love journeys of discovery for a writer. To find that natural ending in your manuscript must be heaven. And then everything falls into place. I have an unfinished manuscript like that. I hope (intensely) that it will follow that same course.

    Good for you for finding that balance in life. It’s probably one of the most important things in life…finding a balance, not only between writing and family, but between working from the heart and using your intellect to organize it.

    • We have discussed rescuing another dog. Our dalmatian is two now and settled in. We rescued him a year ago and feel he could use a playmate so we may add another to our family soon.

      The natural ending has provided me with both clarity and relief. I have struggled with this novel. I want to tell the story more than any other I have come up with but the mechanics have been difficult. I think now I have some much needed direction to work with.

  4. Sounds like you’re doing really, really well! Good for you. 😀

  5. Jody Moller says:

    Glad to hear you are doing so well with your writing Billie Jo. Based on your recommendation I downloaded StoryBook a few months ago and am loving it. My WIP is the first one where I feel that I have everything under control – I know where the plot is going and what my characters motivations are and if i forget it is all there outlines for me in StoryBook!

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