And Then She Spurted a Second Novel…

I’m glad to be back, though I’ve been back for a week and two days.

I haven’t stopped by at my own blog much.

Well, that would be for several (good!) reasons.

It’s Been a Life Changing Summer

The stress of my job in this last year had prompted me to really do something I hadn’t done before: delve into travel as much as possible this summer.

I did it to relax. I did it to get in touch with my more spiritual side. I also did it to explore: new places, new stories, new adventures.

Here I am now, writing before I set off on one last little journey before returning to work in August: the beach.

We’d planned these trips in April. Last summer, in 2015, we spent it moving, and the summer before that I was taking classes and working as an administrator for a school. The summer before that? More classes.

I figured it was time to get back into living down some adventures.


Traveling Gives You Great Perspective

I don’t know what great soul recommended “going someplace once a year where you’ve never been,” but I can’t recommend that highly enough.

While on the meditation retreat in June, I finished the second draft of my first novel.

And while on the road trip, I blazed through the fourth draft. Husby started editing. He’s still working on it, but he’s also working a lot and has maybe has an hour or two here and there to work on editing my novel, let alone do the things he has to do in his own life.

That’s fine. Because…while he’s doing that, I cranked out the entire first draft of my second ghost story novel.

That’s where I was this last week. I was putting in hours and hours each day to finish before heading to the beach over the weekend and back to work the week after that.

I wanted to establish a strong routine of getting up early and working for a couple hours before starting my day.

These travel journeys have completely reignited my love of writing. Not that it ever went away. But I had to just be happy with journaling whlist finishing classes and working full time. There just wasn’t enough time or energy to do much else.

On the meditation retreat, I’ll share that the Buddhist monk who led it encouraged me to give into writing. I told her how, now that I’m finished with my master’s and working back in education, that I don’t know if I’m really cut out for that world. All I want to do is write.

She encouraged me to cultivate that love, that often we don’t know exactly what we want until it beats us over the head. And well, very often the third time is the charm (Anthropology and Spanish being the first two attempts at finding my calling).

I intend to finish out this grant-funded position (assuming we have monies after August…I still don’t know, actually) and come next June, I will take steps to indulge my writing while being smart about my income. (That’s an echo from the first time I tried, which was an honest failure. But it was a “good” kind of failure: one in which I learned a lot about myself, and what to do and not to do when it comes to quitting my job, how to have more focus, etc., etc.)


Next Steps to Publishing

The next steps will be twofold:

Get a cover made for the first book and publish under a pseudonym. Then finish the subsequent drafts of the second novel.

I honestly don’t expect much with this first book. It is the first book.

I know for a fact that most authors don’t get their first works published the first time around. Sometimes they do, but many times they don’t.

It’s because the mastery of the craft just isn’t there, yet. That’s not to say that some amazing, fine writers ARE masters by the time they publish their first novels. In fact, I think I know of few of those kinds of folks personally.

But, even Shakespeare’s early plays aren’t well known. It wasn’t until he’d cranked out a number of plays that his really great ones became known for what they were. Shakespeare had finally achieved mastery of his craft and we all only associate him with intricate Elizabethan writing, coining scores of new words for the English lexicon.

And so it is with novel writing. I expect to sell um…7 copies. 🙂 And that’s fine. I probably don’t want to be known for this first novel.

Don’t get me wrong: I gave it my best shot. But my best the first time around is going to look very different than the second time, to say nothing of the twentieth.

This first novel is about a Latino college kid who stumbles back to his college campus, cuts through a graveyard and upsets the gravestone of Marina Oliver. It was an accident, but that doesn’t matter: it unleashes an angry ghost who attaches to Jorge and drags him and his friends into a years old mystery. Their only chance of getting Marina to “cross over” is a bit of luck and resolve before time runs out and Marina drives them to their deaths.

(I hadn’t yet written out the “blurb” for my novel, but that up there doesn’t sound half bad, me thinks!)

The Second Ghost Story Novel

This second novel, I’ll have two editors. And I might spend a little more on creating the cover.

I don’t want to share what the plot is just yet because it’s only the first draft. With a few more iterations, things could change.

But something interesting happened on this second round of writing. The words came a little easier. The sentences were a little prettier, and my oral language has taken on a different layer of expression than how I spoke prior to cranking out over 120,000 words in a month and a half.

My sister in law and I were having dinner the other night and I was telling her about our recent road trip. I included descriptions of the environment: the parched trees, the pigmented sandstone rocks, the effervescent spring waters, etc., etc.

Beautiful places to describe
This image is one of many I snapped while on our road trip. It’s a photo of Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis, WY. And one that would be awesome if I had to write up a graphic description of some place beautiful but parched, despite the hot springs.

She blinked at me several times before saying anything. I asked her what was wrong.

She laughed and said that she’d never heard such a vivid description of a simple little story before. Most of her friends will say something, hope it’s witty enough to crack up a bit, and then be done with it.

Of course, I knew exactly why that happened, and relayed it to her.

In any case, I have much work to do before this second novel is complete.

Watching the iterations will be fun, too.

When I finished the first novel, it was right about 50,000 words. But after four more drafts, it expanded to 73,000.

For this second novel, it stands about 43,000 words. I know that will swell. There are side things I thought of while I was writing and descriptions I know I’ll need to flesh out.

This second novel is different in that I used a technique called “Deep Point of View.” I wrote it all in first person, from the perspective of one character. I decided to try that to “up” the scary factor.

I do love a good, solid scary book.

As a side note, I’m reading the non-fiction book, “The Haunted” by Ed and Lorraine Warren. It’s scary, but honestly, after watching lots of scary movies, seeing lots of ghost shows, visiting so-called haunted places, it takes a lot to ruffle me.

I’ll have to compile a list sometime of some really awesome scary reads that I’ve read in the past year (in addition to everything else I’ve read; I do have a voracious literary appetite).

Achieving Goals

But I cannot fathom how, at the end of May, all I wanted to do was finish a novel.

I’ve completed one, save for the edits that I’ll need to do once husby has finished the first one.

I’ve completed the first draft of the second one.

I already have ideas for a third and fourth one.

I’m cranking them out fast. It’s taken years to figure out, but if I don’t blaze through that first draft quickly, I won’t get through it at all. It wasn’t until I got the idea from that book, 5,000 Words an Hour, which just emphasizes getting through that first draft.

Now that I figured myself out – at least as it relates to writing – I feel like I’m in “crank ’em out” mode.

And yes…I’m going for the mass market paperback segment. This is why pseudonyms are good. If I want to channel the esoteric Barbara Kingsolver, another pseudonym will suffice.

It’s been an incredible summer, full of personal growth, and many, many realizations. These include wanting to write at HubPages more, wanting to include photography here again, wanting to spend quality time on my writing.


21 thoughts on “And Then She Spurted a Second Novel…

  1. The title of this blog had me laughing. That’s how this novel thing works sometimes…it just spurts out. Good for you, Lil Sis…I love that you are suddenly writing novels….best wishes to you.


    1. BB – haha, apparently I’m good with the witty words here and on your blog lately. *giggle* I’m *really* enjoying this novel writing stuff. Dang it…I wish I would have stuck with it since 7th grade when I wrote a 25-page short story and all the kids were mad at me. 😉


  2. Wow! This is awesome! I can’t believe how crazy productive you’ve been this summer. This is just so…so awesome!

    Isn’t it amazing how you can accomplish so much when you focus on one thing, especially when it’s a thing you are passionate about? It’s like you spent forever stuck in traffic in the slow lane, and then you finally got over into the fast lane, and now you’re just ZOOMING ahead to where you’ve been wanting to go all along.

    I LOVE IT!


    1. Chris – haha, dang. I just “decided” that I was going to do this. 😀
      I love the ghost story genre but I’m glad I’m writing with a pseudonym. I may get interested in something else, but that’s fine. I’m writing. Hehe.
      It sounds like you’re ZOOMING, too!


  3. Wow Cynthia. You seem to be spurting with passion and work. I admire your passion and dedication to writing, growth and moving forward. I’ve tended to let things wallow in my life. And I hope you take some time to relax and play too. 🙂

    I feel a passion for promoting peace through my words, writing and actions. That seems to be my current focus for purpose.


    1. Brad – yay! Thanks for comin’ over! How did the rest of YOUR road trip go? And yes, I checked out your last post, but didn’t have a chance to comment, yet! I’m thinking the peace promotion along with your writing and actions is just the ticket! You’re made for it! 😀
      My next passion is investing more in making the world a better place. I’m trying to do that with writing – with a certain degree of plain ol’ entertainment – but I want to use the proceeds (whatever those might be) for social good. Don’t know how or even when, but I wanna. 🙂 Thanks for coming by!


  4. I loved getting your update and am so excited for you with the books you have written so far and all you have done in recent times. congrats on this and more. Major hugs and Happy Wednesday now!! ❤


    1. Janine – you are such a breath of fresh air. I just love how you are always so encouraging and so wonderfully supportive! Major hugs to you and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo


  5. very exciting developments! (love the pitcha at the top of the post…)
    I like the complimentary (or is that complementary) (hell, knowing my brain, I probably mean both) -ness of the retreat and the writing. Sitting in a quiet interior space one second…. zooming around imagination-ville the next. excellent! Look forward to discussions (when time and chance hookup, given crazy schedules) on the writing thing… the first person POV is fun (in a potentially daunting way) and have used it for a single character, while keeping everyone else in 3rd limited. There’s something so personal (and, perhaps for that reason, so very effective) about writing from the 1st person. Especially for our people, to step into a another’s shoes and/or head is not easy, but of the three, we clarks are best suited to the task.
    Enjoyed the photos from the road trip, looking forward to the beach pictures.


    1. Clark – First person POV – it’s a trip. But it’s been a fun ride. 🙂
      Stepping into another’s shoes is a Clark-given talent, non?
      Beach pitchas! And so much writing to do. Very good things indeed!


  6. I’m so freaking proud of you and the fire you’ve got inside you blazing away with all these novels! It’s inspiring to see… makes me want to hunker down and start pumping out a novel. If only it were that easy, lol – maybe, one day.

    And I’m even happier that you took time to travel and see new places… it’s amazing what being in nature, away from all the drama and stress, does for the soul – sheweee! I need to hop on that and get planning something soon – craving some good old fashioned R&R. 🙂 Thanks for continously inspiring me, friend – you are just amazeballs. 🙂 Sending hugs xxx


    1. Such a sweet comment! Sorry about it taking awhile for it to post. Sometimes my website likes to hide them. I hope you’ve had a wonderful, wonderful Sunday! I loved it all: the traveling, the camping, the new places, resting and working on the novels. I think I got a little pooped from it all, hehe. But thank you so much for your sweet, sweet words and sending you hugs!


  7. “I figured it was time to get back into living down some adventures.”
    Ah, love that line Cyndi. That is what it’s about isn’t it? Life, I mean 🙂
    What a cool name for a town, Thermopolis! I would go there just the name! The pictures you’ve been posting have been beautiful, breathtaking actually.
    Your journey has been varied, challenging, exciting and I think it’s incredible that your writing has taken off like an out of control freight train 😀 I look forward to reading all of your hundreds of thousands of words 🙂
    You’re awesome, my friend.


    1. Oh, Denise, I just LOVE your comment! Yeah…Thermopolis. Even the spell check doesn’t quite know what to do with that awesome name! 😀 It’s a sleepy town, and smells like sulphur, but so worth the assault to the senses if but just to indulge in the “healing waters” as they say. My towel and bathing suit smelled like eggs for days! Hahah. It was a very interesting journey.
      And the writing. I just decided to do it. And BAM!
      You’re awesome, too, my friend! You are, too!


  8. Best of luck with the upcoming book dear Cynthia… as always, your posts are very insightful and leave me thinking…. Traveling even if it is not necessarily abroad is an extraordinary experience which entails renewal and relax… I fully agree with you…
    Wishing you a beautiful week ahead. Aquileana 😉


    1. Aquileana – thank you! Been chugging away, little by little. Went back to work…it’s been great…but I took a bit of a break from blogging to “rekindle.” Whew! I hope you’re well, sweet friend! Sending hugs!


  9. Oh Cyndi I am so pleased.. You sound so enthusiastic and writing I know is one of your first loves..
    I am so pleased everything is now tumbling together ever faster for you.. One completed another on the go with ideas of more.. Excellent..

    I am also loving that you are taking time out for yourself and your hubby this Summer.. We need to spend quality time and relax and take in the countryside..

    I am so very pleased I found my way here again via the matrix of posts I have been trawling through in my email box this evening..

    You know I wish you a wonderful holiday and send you Lots of Love dear Cyndi.. Sue xxx


    1. Hehe, Sue. Man, so, yes…we did a lot of traveling, then I immediately went back to work, all the while working on the novels…needless to say, I was…overextending a bit. Needed a little hiatus from blogging. I can’t wait to go over and see your words of wisdom and get my cup filled – you have such a beautiful way with words. Sending hugs!


  10. Your summer has been very productive! Your energy is amazing. I’m happy for you on completing a novel and continuing on with your passion for writing. Best wishes!


    1. Sweet Dianna! How are you? It’s been a busy summer! After going back to work, I admit, I was a little pooped! Hehe. I had so much fun I wore myself out! 😀
      Thank you so much for coming over and commenting. I appreciate you and your sweet words! I hope your upcoming school year starts off with a blast of awesomeness! Hugs!


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