Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chapter 19 of Pinned but Fluttering Is Now Up


Chapter 19 of Pinned but Fluttering is by far the longest chapter yet at over 4,000 words and is now available on both Wattpad and FanFiction.net. It's receiving great reviews from both sites and in only a couple of hours has already garnered 25 votes on Wattpad...which is the total number of votes received for the final chapter of Evening Star.

I thought I'd put up an excerpt here from Chapter 19, so here's Bella's flashback to her thirteenth birthday, less than a year after Sarah Black's death. So here 'tis....


The loss of Sarah Black was still a fresh pain for all of us, and Billy had been drinking himself to the point of passing out nearly every night after dinner. Then the two girls left the house to hang out with friends, taking full advantage of the freedom from their usually strict father; they often came home smelling of bourbon, sweet weed, and sex. Rachel and Rebecca, my beloved big sisters who had always watched out for me, were far too caught up in their now-exciting social lives to care that Billy locked me in my room indefinitely as punishment for killing their mother...a punishment they coldly assured me that I fully deserved.

So Jacob hauled his slumped and mumbling father back to his room in the wheelchair and assisted him into bed where he snored away his grief in an alcoholic daze. After the girls left the house in their too-short skirts and too-high heels, Jake would often let me out of my room to watch TV together on the small loveseat. Sometimes I would read while he did homework.

No one had said anything about my birthday all day, and I really didn't care; I didn't deserve a celebration, anyway, and I knew it. But Jacob had been walking around all afternoon with a cat-who-just-ate-the-canary look in his eyes. From behind my deadbolted door, I listened as he helped his intoxicated father to bed, and as Billy's bedroom door clicked closed, Jacob appeared in my room smiling widely. He beckoned, and I hopped off my naked mattress and eagerly followed him into the living room.

Jacob served me half a frozen-but-reheated chicken pot pie for dinner and a shiny red apple...a feast compared to my usual fare. Then his wide grin widened even more, and his black eyes, encircled with dark rings of sleepless nights, sparkled mischievously as I wondered what he was up to.

“Wait here,” Jacob ordered excitedly. “And close your eyes.”

Obediently I masked my eyes with both hands as I heard him rustling about the room. Then just as the curiosity was really getting to me, I heard a whisking sound and smelled the faint sulfur of a lit match.

“Okay, you can look!” he exclaimed.

Lowering my hands, I opened my eyes to see in his large hands a bakery cupcake topped with pink icing and a single lit candle nestled carefully on one of Sarah Black's treasured china plates. Walking carefully forward to keep the candle lit, he laid the plate gently on the coffee table in front of me. Beside it was a large box, wrapped messily in pink tissue paper...and half a roll of Scotch tape. A large silver bow sat crookedly on top of the gift...my only gift.

“Happy Birthday, Bella!” Jacob crowed.

I remember feeling the pressure of tears in my eyes as I took in the lit candle swaying in the movement of air as Jacob plopped beside me onto the loveseat, the inexpertly-wrapped gift, but most of all, the beaming face of Jacob Black, his black eyes dancing with merriment and joy, expressions I hadn't seen on his face since his mother's death.

Leaning over, he grasped the edge of the china plate and brought the cupcake and burning candle between us in the soft half-light of the small room. “Make a wish,” he ordered gently, smiling.

But I sobered. I knew which wish I would make, if turning back the clock were truly possible. If the last year had never happened. If I could change that one night...the night when I had killed Sarah Black, the woman whom everyone loved and adored.

The woman whom I loved and adored.

The woman who became my mother after my mother died.

If I could have switched places with her, if I could be dead in her place so that she could be alive for Billy and Jacob and the girls, I would do it without a second thought.

Billy blamed me, and rightly so. As did Rachel and Rebecca. But Jacob, loyal brother that he was, refused to let me think it was my fault...even though it was.

If it weren't for me, Sarah Black would not have been out on the road that night.

If it weren't for me, clumsily falling out of a tree at the Clearwaters' house while playing hide-and-seek with Leah and Seth, Sarah Black wouldn't have been driving at twilight, taking me to the reservation clinic to x-ray my injured wrist.

If I hadn't been stupid and careless and clumsy as usual, we wouldn't have been in that car, and that drunk driver would have hit someone else or no one else...and Sarah wouldn't have been killed instantly when we hit the tree.

And if I hadn't been the reason for Sarah driving, and if I hadn't walked away with a hairline fracture to my wrist (caused by my fall, not the accident) and a slight concussion, perhaps Billy and the girls wouldn't blame me for their beloved wife's and mother's death.

But none of these wishes were possible.

So as I closed my eyes, I wished desperately that Billy would stop blaming me for Aunt Sarah dying, that he would stop saying I was an angel of death who had caused my mom, my dad, and now his wife to die, and that he would stop drinking and forgive me.

I wished desperately that Rachel and Rebecca would stay home, stay safe, and forgive me.

And I blew out the candle, Jacob smiling at me, his white teeth brilliant in the twilight of the half-darkened room.

Then he thrust the heavy gift into my lap, laughing as I attempted to unwrap the awkward box. Finally I managed to remove the paper with his help, and he helped by slitting open the packing tape with his pocket knife, laughingly refusing to let me handle something so sharp, knowing my track record.

I pulled back the cardboard flaps to reveal a midnight-blue faux leather-bound book, the title embossed in gold print: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I had squealed with joy, jumping into Jacob's lap with delighted pleasure.

“Thank you! Thank you, Jacob!! It's wonderful!!” I enthused, wrapping my arms around his neck and hugging him close.

“Do you really like it?” he whispered in my ear.

“I love it,” I assured him, smiling.

I hadn't smiled in months, and it felt good.

With Jake smiling back at me, we sat there on the love seat, practically nose-to-nose, me sitting in Jacob's lap, my arms around his neck.

Our smiles faded a little as the energy between us became charged. I was thirteen, he was turning thirteen in a few months. We had always treated each other as brother and sister.

But something changed at that moment. His eyes fixed unblinkingly on mine, Jacob slowly leaned toward me, tilting his head to the side as his lips touched mine.

I didn't move as he kissed me tentatively, gently, his lips warm and sweet as they pressed against mine. Without conscious thought, my eyes closed, my arms tightened around his neck, and I was kissing him back, our mouths hesitantly moving together.

We both backed away at the same time, his black eyes glowing in the dimly-lit room.

“Happy Birthday, Bella,” he smiled warmly.

I blushed, breathless and strangely pleased.

So there's the big revelation in Chapter 19...the reason why Billy blames Bella for Sarah's death, and why Bella even blames herself. This question was raised in the first chapter, and now we finally have the answer....

And about six more questions, LOL!

I've just started a new one-shot, an EPOV story. I have only about 700 words so far, so we'll see where it goes. I hope to work on it during my break as I don't return to homeschooling or teaching until January 9th.

So, back to writing....

--Cassandra :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Readers, Beloved Readers


I still pinch myself every time I log onto Wattpad and view my profile. I simply can't believe the enthusiasm and support I receive from my readers on a daily basis.


This week Evening Star topped 150,000 reads, and Pinned but Fluttering is a mere 25 reads from passing 70,000 reads...which will happen within the next hour or two.


My total vote count for all of my works (two stories and four poems) has passed 3,000. My comments are very nearly to that point.


Each time I post a new chapter to Pinned but Fluttering, I have to spend a few hours responding to the fans who comment. It's wonderful that they do comment--but replying to fifty-some comments twice a week can take up a great deal of time...time I could spend writing.


I had to abandon my twice-weekly updating schedule this weekend because of Christmas, but I will return to posting new chapters of Pinned but Fluttering on Wednesdays and Saturdays this week. I post to FanFiction.net as well as to Wattpad, and I finally passed the 100 review-mark for Pinned but Fluttering last week. Yay!


I'm already working on Chapter 19 and will jot down a little more before bed tonight.


And I hope you like the updates to my blog--inspiration provided by That One Nerdy Girl who walked me through some Blogger upgrades I was unaware of. Thank you, my dear!!


So off to writing I go....


--Cassandra

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Evening Star Now Available for Downloading!


Well, with Evening Star now completed, I thought I'd set up some free downloads for you all.


I formatted Evening Star in two ways: 1) a PDF with a regular font (14 point) for reading on a PC/Mac, and 2) a PDF with a much larger font (24 point) for reading on E-Readers like Kindle, Nook, etc.


Basically, these PDFs are the same as the original postings on Wattpad and FanFiction.net (see sidebar for links), with the exception of the last few chapters which I edited from looooong chapters into multiple shorter chapters. I didn't remove any wording (or fix many typos--sorry!) but just added a few chapter headings for a total of sixty chapters. The PC/Mac version runs to about 340 pages, and the E-Reader edition comes out at 925 pages. The text of the story itself is 140,000 words.


Trying to get my PDFs uploaded was not easy. I Googled and searched and found DocStoc where I was able to upload my PDFs and have them available here. But if anyone knows of an easier way to upload PDFs into Blogger, I'd be thrilled to learn how.


Anyway, scroll on down to the bottom of my blog, and you'll see the two versions available for downloading, the E-Reader Edition first, then the PC/Mac Edition.


Please let me know if there are any problems with downloading either edition; I haven't used DocStoc before and am hoping it will work well. :)


Consider these downloadable versions of Evening Star as early Christmas gifts to all my wonderful readers!! Enjoy!!!!


And, on the Pinned but Fluttering front, with Chapter 15 uploaded on Wattpad, the story made #1 on the Thriller List, #2 on the Fan Fiction List, and is currently #86 on the What's Hot List...which encompasses the entire website!!! I'm quite thrilled to have made it into the Top 100 for the first time since Evening Star's early days. Yay!!!


Well, I'd better start editing Chapter 16 of Pinned but Fluttering if I want to post it tomorrow. The rough draft was composed on the final day of NaNoWriMo and was extremely rushed, and thus needs a great deal of revising and editing! :)


Merry Christmas again!! Enjoy those downloads!!!


--Cassandra

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pinned but Fluttering Milestone...We're #1!!!

Yes, it's Darkward!!!


Well, I did finally win NaNoWriMo...with 14,000 words posted in the final 24 hours. It was exhausting, and I verified my word count with a mere 14 minutes to spare!! Whew!!


But the big news came today when I arose, bleary-eyed after two night this week of grading essays until 3:30-4:00 AM, and checked my Wattpad profile.


And...WOW!!!!

A screenshot right off of my Wattpad profile!!  


Pinned but Fluttering was ranked #1 in the Thriller category (which has happened before) and, the big surprise, #1 in the Fan Fiction category!!!! And Pinned but Fluttering was ranked #111 all together on the entire site under "What's Hot!"


In addition, Pinned but Fluttering also passed the 1,000 vote mark and the 1,000 comment mark as well...just yesterday!!! And it's just passed 40,000 reads, too, on Wattpad alone.


So while Pinned but Fluttering only has sixty-some reviews on FanFiction.Net (almost half from two faithful fans who have reviewed every chapter), at least Pinned but Fluttering is receiving lots o' love on Wattpad.


Plus, one of my favorite fan fiction authors, Aleeab4u (who wrote the amazing, incredible Falling Beyond Redemption, pimped Pinned but Fluttering on Twitter earlier this week!!! Yay!!!


And...Chapter 15 of Pinned but Fluttering will be up tomorrow (Saturday)!


So, thank you to all of you delightful readers and faithful reviewers/commenters/voters who have done so much to share my stories and spread the word!!! THANK YOU!!!!


You're the BEST!!!! Love you all!!!!


--Cassandra

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update


Well, here it is. November 30th. In previous NaNoWriMo years, I've been done by now. A couple of days ago, really. Finished. Waving my "winner" banner in everyone's faces. Savouring the triumph and all that jazz.


Yep. Here it is. November 30th. And I'm at 38,224 words. That's 11,700+ (not doing math right now--sorry!) words shy of "winning" by writing 50,000 words by midnight on November 30th...yeah, in a mere 21 hours.


So, the question is: Is it possible to write 11,700 words in 21 hours, get a few hours of sleep, homeschool three boybarians, and complete the remainder of my extensive "To Do" list, all by midnight tomorrow night?


Sigh.


Why am I lagging, you ask?


Let me count the ways...




1. I was sick with a nasty cold and sinus infection for a complete week...


2. We did a lot of entertaining at the beginning of the month, which included a lot of cleaning of a very dirty house...


3. My Brave Writer class (Literary Analysis: Anne of Green Gables) has sucked a great deal more time from my writing than I had planned. It's a hoot to teach, but it gives me little time left over for writing...


4. Almost everything that I have written has also been edited at least once and posted online, so in a way, I've done double the work...


5. I've had a huge upswing in my own essay grading business, so that's taken a good deal of time, too...not that I'm complaining...


6. My chiropractor was out of town for two weeks, thus my neck and upper back are in constant pain, making typing difficult....


So, yeah. I'm not done. Nowhere near. Either I can take all day tomorrow (well, today really since I'm writing this at 3 AM. Don't ask) and type my little heart out (and drive both my chiropractor and my family up the wall), or I can resign myself to abject failure.

Plus, I wouldn't get one of those cool winner's button thingies. I've gotta add 2011 to the collection, right???

So, type my little heart out or abject failure? (And no cool button, either.)

Which one would YOU choose?


Okay, okay already--I'm getting offline to go write more of my novel. Sheesh. Who knew you were so pushy?


Blogging when I should be NaNoWriMo-ing,


--Cassandra

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Final Chapter....


Tonight I am going through the last chapter of Evening Star. With the rough draft at almost fifteen pages, I've elected to split the final chapter into two parts. It's entitled "The End," the same title Meyer gave the equivalent chapter in New Moon.


And it's a bitch to write.


It's long. Shall I cut it down? Should I add more (as I usually do)? Shall I split it into two separate chapters? Or merely into parts?


Edward's head is spinning. So he's making my head spin. I'm trying to follow what happens in New Moon, but without all the detail in some places, but more detail in others. Have I quoted too much dialogue from New Moon?


The questions are endless.


The pressure is intense.


I want to do this story justice. I mean, I started writing this story nearly a year ago--November 27, 2010. It's been a long journey for me...and an exciting one. Evening Star is only my second work of fiction since my college Creative Writing class back in 1987. My first work of fiction is an unfinished NaNoWriMo attempt that I wrote over 2008 and 2009, and I haven't looked at it since reaching 50,000 words on November 29th, 2009.


So I am really excited about completing Evening Star, yet I feel more than a little trepidation as well. I want it to be perfect--but will I be?


Yep. Pressure. Ack!!!


But I'll keep revising and refining, rethinking and rewriting until it's as perfect as perfect can be.


Thanks for being patient with me!!!


Wow. The final chapter.


It's still hard for me to believe.

Wow....



--Cassandra

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chapters 52 and 53 of Evening Star Are Now Up!


The two looooongest chapters of Evening Star are now up on both Wattpad and FanFiction.net. Each chapter is over 4,000 words!


FanFiction.net is still having severe issues with italics. Somehow all spaces between italicized words just disappear so that the words are all smushed together. It's really annoying. I even edited all of Chapter 53 before uploading it, placing **two** spaces between each italicized word, but it didn't help. And I use italics a lot when Edward is reading people's minds.


I'm beginning to get really peeved.


Now only two chapters remain--one covering the time between Bella's birthday and the last day they're together, and the last one in which he leaves.


They're not going to be easy to write, but I want to finish preferably before the release of Breaking Dawn Part 1 next Friday, and definitely before November 30, the last day I can post if I want Evening Star to be included in the Watty Awards, the annual award for the best stories in each category on Wattpad. I know I really have no chance, but I do hope to at least place. It's a long shot, thought.


With house guests from Boston this week and way too many essays to grade, I'm only at 12,000 words for NaNoWriMo. If I can write another 2000 words tonight, then I can make it writing 2000 words every day (no days off!) for the rest of the month. We'll see.


Part of the problem is that I'm not just writing but am also editing each chapter before I post it on Wattpad and FanFiction.net, and NaNoWriMo is all about NOT editing--just writing with abandon.


So we'll see if I have Evening Star completed by this time next week, shall we?


And let's not talk about how many Wattpad readers are upset about my not posting to Pinned but Fluttering this week. It simply wasn't possible.


And I've pushed myself so far now that I'm getting sick. Ugh. Hate that.


But I have been entertaining myself with drabble fics by CaraNo and Amethyst Jackson. I am so addicted to Cara's River that I can't see straight. ;)


So have a wonderful week, my fan fiction friends, and we'll see how much I can get accomplished in a week.


And enjoy Breaking Dawn Part 1. My daughter and I have our midnight tickets. Do YOU?


--Cassandra

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chapter 51 of Evening Star Posted!

Evening Star cover created by Fusiee on Wattpad

A very kind Wattpad fan created two new covers for Evening Star this week--isn't she a dear thing? I've posted my favorite of the two above. So many thanks go to Fusiee (Rachel) on Wattpad--thank you, sweetie!! :)

Last night I posted Chapter 51 of Evening Star. Over the weekend, I completed Chapter 51 and roughed out most of Chapter 52. Now that I'm nearing the end of the story, I think I'll end up with 55 chapters total.


I'm also incorporating elements of another story within Chapter 52. With the kind permission of FanFiction.net author AllTheOtherNamesAreUsed, I am weaving in some poetry from "Bella's favorite poet" as revealed in her story Midnight Sun Bridge. I am quoting a short portion of dialogue and will be working in a poem by "Bella's favorite poet" into a future chapter...when it will be extremely poignant (I hope!).


I think I have the overall picture worked out for the conclusion of Evening Star, so much so that I'm planning to devote the first few days of NaNoWriMo to completing Evening Star before I start drafting Chapter 8 of Pinned but Fluttering. I know that I'm not quite following NaNoWriMo's rules, but hey--as long as I write 50,000 words by November 30, I shall consider myself successful.


Currently my goal is to complete Evening Star by November 15. I have entered the story in the Wattys (the annual contest on Wattpad.com), but although I have a loyal fan base, I doubt it will win anything. I'd just love to place third or something. Ah, well.


I remind myself that I'm not writing to win prizes or a popularity contest; I'm writing because I love to write and because my readers on Wattpad (and two or three on FanFiction.net) are demanding more chapters and a sequel to Evening Star. I'll think about that prospect after I've completed this story and have a good deal of Pinned but Fluttering written.


I'm teaching a new literature class online starting today, so I'd better return to my "real" job, LOL! How I wish I could just write fiction all day...and that's a very odd desire coming from ME, the non-fiction writer before NaNOWriMo and fan fiction came along....


Have a wonderful week, all!! Love you!! Mwhaa!


--Cassandra :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chapter 7 of Pinned but Fluttering Now Posted

New Pinned but Fluttering cover designed on Wattpad by ExxIce

Yes, I updated Pinned but Fluttering early this morning, posting my longest chapter thus far. It's already racing up the lists on Wattpad, reaching #2 in the Thriller category and #8 (a new high) in the Fan Fiction category.


A couple of days ago, Chapter 50 of Evening Star reached a new high, #9 in the Fan Fiction category; currently it's ranked at #16.


I'm gearing up for NaNoWriMo, with the Prologue of Pinned but Fluttering posted. Somehow I need to complete Evening Star before the end of November. I'm thinking about having a marathon writing session this weekend try try to complete it. I really only need three more chapters, perhaps four. I might just be able to pull it off and finish with a bang.

And isn't the new cover for Pinned but Fluttering amazing? A sweet fan on Wattpad just e-mailed it to me out of the blue. ExxIce did a lovely job of picking up the pathos of the story. I love it. And another friend on Wattpad offered today to design new covers for both books! I told her that I already had covers, so she should perhaps design for people who didn't, but she likes to design for her favorite stories, so I gave her the "go ahead," if she'd like. I'll post them when I receive them....


So that's the current news. I'm up far later than I should be, but essays must get graded and homeschooling must happen. And addictive fan fics must be read, of course....


Have a wonderful rest of your week!


--Cassandra

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chapter Fifty of Evening Star Now Posted!


Tonight I posted Chapter Fifty of Evening Star on both Wattpad.com and FanFiction.net. See sidebar for links to both sites.


I can't believe that I've posted fifty chapters in just over eleven months. I started posting Evening Star on November 17, 2010 on Wattpad, adding it to Fan Fiction a little over a month later.


And soon we'll be entering New Moon territory where the story will end. I think I've figured out a way for Edward to tell his side of the story without quoting too much from New Moon. I know that I'll have to quote some dialog here and there, but I really want to keep it to a minimum while still showing Edward's reaction to the early events in Meyer's second book of the quadrilogy. (Is "quadrilogy" really a word?)


I also wish to direct your attention to the lovely new cover for Pinned but Fluttering at the top of the sidebar, created by Wattpad fan Exxlce. I never asked for a cover--she just made one out of the blue because she liked the story so much. Isn't she a gem? It's lovely and haunting and everything I would want in a cover. It's a vast improvement over my quickie five-minute job sans PhotoShop.


I'm still taken in by solosintwilight's In Your World because I have had a crush on the Amish lifestyle since I was eight years old and my dad brought me a sunbonnet from Amish country in Ohio where he grew up.


And I'm positively addicted to CaraNo's River which updates in snippets several times a day.


So those are the two WIPs I'm following avidly, along with Nolebucgrl's Words with Friends (BPOV) and Words with Strangers (EPOV) which will both update on Wednesday. I'm counting the hours until she updates....


Have a lovely week!!


--Cassandra

Friday, October 21, 2011

Entering a Poetry Contest on Wattpad



Screen Shot of Wattpad Profile Page
 
Through another fan fiction writer on Wattpad, I read about a poetry contest on Wattpad that closes in four days. We were to write and post a "Manifesto Poem" which I did, along with another poem.

Both "Tone-Deaf?" and "Trailing Fingertips" ended up tonight ranked in the top poems, the former at #16 and the latter at #48.


I was also surprised to see both poems on Wattpad's "What's Hot" list today, "Tone-Deaf?," which I entered in the contest, at #232 and "Trailing Fingertips," which I also posted on FanFiction.net, in #644.


I posted the latter as an AU from BPOV set a century after her marriage to Edward and transformation into a vampire. I thought I'd post it here for you as well:


Trailing Her Fingertips...

"True love lasts forever,"
she said,
trailing her fingertips
through their years.

Theirs had been the tale often told:
love entwining,
twisting time
into binding cords,
cutting her delicately
if she struggled--
the scars unseen.

Unless, of course,
one gently gauged
the depths of her eyes....

But no one did.


Copyright Cassandra Lowery/SMB
All Rights Reserved


So I'm hoping to bring more attention to my poetry and perhaps win a contest at Wattpad, and also bolster my FanFiction.net postings.


I've received some really great comments today which is nicely encouraging, considering I'm still sick in bed after being down with a flu bug all week....

And some Pinned but Fluttering news.... It's remained at #1 on Wattpad's Thriller category and now edged into the Top Ten Fan Fictions at #10, also a new record.

Wow.

Just....WOW.

I think I'm pinching myself...again.


--Cassandra

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wow--Another Wattpad Milestone!


I am so thrilled...literally!


Pinned but Fluttering reached #1 in the Thriller category on Wattpad. Wow!


I've written here before about why I think my stories do better on Wattpad than on FanFiction.net. Wattpad deals with stories in many genres, not merely fan fiction, plus Wattpad has a younger audience and thus my stories, which are more like PG/PG-13 level, do well there.


Don't get me wrong--I would *love* to have a following on FanFiction.net too, but right now it isn't happening. There are just soooo many fan fics there and I don't have time to do stuff in their forums or on Twilighted to spread the word.


But right now I'm quite happy with my Wattpad fans, and my two or three consistent reviewers on FF.net. And I am so happy to reach #1 in the Thriller category! Pinned but Fluttering also passed the 10,000 reads mark this week as well, plus I also surpassed 250 fans now, so I'm very happy about these milestones as well.


Over the weekend I'll be writing and posting Chapter 50 of Evening Star as I wind down that story in order to complete it by November 30 to enter the Wattys. the annual story awards at Wattpad. I may finish Evening Star for NaNoWriMo first, then proceed to writing chapters for Pinned but Fluttering.


Next goal: #1 in the Fan Fiction category on Wattpad; right now Pinned but Fluttering is at #13 and the high has been #12.


Have a wonderful evening all!


Keep writing bravely,

--Cassandra

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chapter 49 of Evening Star Is Posted!


I just posted Chapter 49 of Evening Star on both Wattpad and FanFiction.net--links for this story on both sites can be found in the sidebar.


I can't believe that I've written almost fifty chapters for Evening Star. I've composed this story the same way I tackle stories for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo): completely off-the-cuff, with no outlining and just a Post-It note reminder of a plot twist here and there. I mull over the next chapter during the course of the week, and then I sit down and write it, usually in a short sitting or two. Then I revise a couple of times, expanding some areas and editing others (but usually adding material), and I post. That's it.


I have approximately five chapters left in order to complete Evening Star, and most of it will be occurring within the context of Meyer's New Moon. I must finish Evening Star by November 30 in order to qualify for the Watty Awards on Wattpad, and I think I'll make the deadline fairly easily. I definitely want to complete it before Breaking Dawn Part 1 hits the theaters.


Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I'm planning to write the rough draft of Pinned but Fluttering during the month of November, or at least 50,000 words of it. With Evening Star approaching 115,000 words, I may not complete Pinned but Fluttering. But I will get a good portion of it roughed out during NaNoWriMo. I have at least three former students joining me at NaNoWriMo and possibly one new student trying it as well.


I love doing NaNoWriMo with students; I've done it in the past with current students as "friends" so that we can compete against each other in finishing our 50,000 words. So that's my plan for getting a good bit of Pinned but Fluttering in rough draft form at least. I still hope to post 3-4 chapters before the start of NaNoWriMo; in fact, I'm going to get started on Chapter Five right now. :)


Speaking of Pinned but Fluttering, I was quite pleased with its ranking on Wattpad this week after I posted Chapter 4 on Tuesday: #2 on the Thrillers list, #8 on the Fan Fiction list, and #161 on What's Hot, which encompasses all of the stories in all genres posted on Wattpad. Those are some impressive numbers!


And I think I may have figured out one reason why my stories do so much better on Wattpad versus FanFiction.net. The popular stories on the latter site tend to be rated "M" (Mature) and contain truly "mature" content--as in sex. The stories on Wattpad, however, tend to be a little more innocent. And the old proverb "Sex Sells" seems to apply as much to fan fiction as it does to advertising. I don't necessarily have a problem with the steamier stories; I just don't care to write them. I'd rather imply than describe in detail, and I appreciate those stories that do the same. It's one theory, anyway, as to why my stories are quite popular on one site and are barely noticed on another.


So, I'm off to write start another chapter of Pinned but Fluttering now that Evening Star is properly updated.


Have a wonderful week, everyone!


--Cassandra

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chapter 4 of Pinned but Fluttering Is Up!


I've been buried for the past five days. My online research essay class submitted their rough drafts on Friday, and I've had to go through all the essays, commenting on formatting, language usage, and content. It's been exhausting, spending between three and six hours per essay.

 
So, needless to say, I didn't get much writing done over the weekend. I did finally get Chapter 4 of Pinned but Fluttering up on both FanFiction.net and Wattpad (see sidebar for links to both stories on both sites). This story seems more popular than Evening Star; it is more creatively based and has more of a "what's-gonna-happen-next" feel to it, so perhaps these factors explain its popularity. I looked back on Wattpad today and noted that I had 51 comments there! Now, a lot of those are mine as I responded to the commenters, but still--that's a lot of comments for me, anyway.


My class ends on Friday, and then I have ten days to do a final grading and return the essays to my class. Then I'm not teaching again until October 31 when I begin a Literary Analysis class on Anne of Green Gables. That should be fun!


Thanks for hanging out here and reading my blatherings! And go read Chapter 4 of Pinned but Fluttering if you haven't already, okay?


--Cassandra

Sunday, September 25, 2011

100,000 Reads and 1,000 Votes on Wattpad!!


YES!!!!!! Tonight Evening Star passed 100,000 reads and 1,000 votes on Wattpad, and I now have passed the 200 fans mark as well.


All tonight.


So very cool!!! Wow. I'm just flabbergasted. I came home from church today to over twenty comments on my stories alone.


So, thank you to all of you who read my stories...to all who vote, comments, review, and offer feedback. You're all wonderful...and I love you all! :)


And I'm so grateful. So, so grateful.


And I'm thrilled to keep on writing...because I can't seem to stop. ;)


With gratitude,
Cassandra :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Milestone for Evening Star


I am thrilled to report that Evening Star is just about to pass 100,000 reads and 1000 votes on Wattpad.


That's a fairly important milestone. There are some stories on Wattpad that have gone practically viral, with over a million reads. But passing 100,000 is still quite impressive. Wattpad has over one million registered users, so my first little fan fic (and only second work of fiction since college) attracting a very respectable number of readers is very satisfying.


Of course, as the readers/writers are mostly teen girls who compose most of their stories directly into Wattpad without editing, revising, or proofreading, my stories would look quite professional by comparison.


If only I could receive similar readership on FanFiction.net although I suspect that my stories would need a great deal more sex to become truly popular there. I have barely 150 reviews for 47 chapters which is pretty discouraging.


FanFiction.net certainly hosts more discerning readers and a much higher quality of writing. "Betas," or story editors, help writers to revise and edit their work, thus creating a far more professional product than what one sees on Wattpad. I have been invited to become a Beta on FanFiction.net, but I'm still helping one writer on Wattpad with her story plus I have enough grading to do IRL.


Being a writing teacher has both its privileges and its drawbacks.


I am almost finished with Chapter 3 of Pinned but Fluttering; I'll update it over the weekend. I haven't started Chapter 48 of Evening Star yet but hope to get to it over the weekend as well, despite all the teaching work I have to do: grading outlines and preparing new lessons for my online class and preparing handouts for my two co-op classes for next week, besides doing our own three boys' school planning for the upcoming week.


I just finished a few decent fics this week--nothing extraordinary, but solid reads, if you're interested. Here are the titles, authors, and links:


The Tutor by ItzMegan73


Distractions by windchymes


Blood Lines also by windchymes


Out of the three, Blood Lines was my favorite by far--a fresh take on the events after Eclipse with a very different plot line that takes us through Edward and Bella's wedding and parenthood. Very, very intriguing, and a wonderful explanation for Edward's reluctance for sex with Bella and his own feelings of inadequacy. Very well done and definitely recommended.


So, have a pleasant and productive weekend, my friends, and I'll be chatting at you very soon!


--Cassandra

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Finally, a New Chapter for Pinned but Fluttering


Okay, I just uploaded Chapter Two of Pinned but Fluttering on both Wattpad and FanFiction.net. See sidebar for links to both sites.


The chapters for this fic are starting off short--around 2000 words. We'll see if they lengthen. I'm trying something completely new by going off-canon and very OOC regarding the Blacks. My first fic, Evening Star, with which I am nearly finished, attempts to remain true to canon, thus somewhat limiting creativity.


And as a nonfiction writer, creativity, especially in plotting, just isn't my "thing."


But I'm trying.


I did get a really wonderful idea the other day, though. I thought that I may keep writing Pinned but Fluttering as my NaNoWriMo novel. If I write 2K words/day, which is just about what one needs to get to 50K words in one month, then I should end up with 30 chapters for the story. I'll be joining at least two former students plus at least one new student at NaNoWriMo this November, so it should be a challenge.


I am teaching an online class during November, but I hope it won't require too much of my time, so I hope to be able to make a go at NaNoWriMo. Last year I took on a poetry-writing challenge instead, and I probably would have spent less time writing fiction.


Now if I'll ever find time to actually revise a NaNoWriMo novel....


Yeah....


Anyway, I'm reading a terrific fic right now called Distractions by windchymes. It's set during New Moon with an alternate storyline in which Bella realizes that Edward lied, that he still loves her. Very intriguing--I'm quite enjoying it.


Well, I hope to write Chapter 47 of Evening Star this weekend; we'll see. I have a couple of pages of it done, so it's a definite possibility. ;)


Have a wonderful weekend, all!


--Cassandra

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wow...A Milestone


Wow. I'm rather flabbergasted.


My works--two stories (and two little poems)--just passed 1000 votes on Wattpad. That's quite an accomplishment!


I started posting on Wattpad six weeks before I discovered fanfiction.net. A certain story drew me into the Wattpad world, and I decided to try my hand at writing fan fiction, too.


There are many stories on Wattpad, in fan fiction and other categories, that have garnered amazing popularity, as in over a million reads. So my "success" there has been promising but not out-of-this-world.


But with Evening Star being more of a character study than a page-turner (more like Pinned but Fluttering will be), I'm quite pleased with the support it has received on Wattpad.


But the same can't be said for fanfiction.net. Perhaps I don't know the proper way to garner support there--do I need a thread on Twilighted? How does one go about doing that? I've received just over 100 reviews for Evening Star there. That's nothing. I have a few fans who stick with me through thick and thin, but perhaps my story just isn't that good when compared to the higher-quality fics posted on fanfiction.net vs. Wattpad.


Sigh.


But I posted this to celebrate the 1000 vote mark on Wattpad, and celebrate I shall! I've written a rough draft of Chapter 2 of Pinned but Fluttering that I hope to expand into a full chapter--it's about half of its necessary length right now. And I have plans for a really scary/thrilling chapter coming up soon.


The details of Pinned by Fluttering are falling into place beautifully, and I think it's going to be a really good story--something I'm not really that good at coming up with. Plotting is my weak point, which is why I've stuck to nonfiction until this point.


And Evening Star is drawing to a close, although I seriously doubt I'll be able to stick with my original plan of 50 chapters; it's going to take a few more than that. (I can hear the cheers over on Wattpad right now, LOL!)

BTW, I just finished reading a fan fic that I had to add to my Completed Fave Fan Fics list in the sidebar--it just blew me away in its complexity, psychological insight, angst (gotta love the angst!), theme of forgiveness despite horrendous injury, and the message that love may not "conquer" all, but it may slowly help to heal deep, deep wounds. It's extremely well-written, insightful, provocative, and deep. I found myself up past 4 AM reading it--and I didn't get much done this week because I was so bleary-eyed and muddle-headed from staying up so late reading it. 

IOW, if you haven't already, go read Alleeab4u's Falling Beyond Redemption. (Just click on the title and you'll love it!)


Sooooo, here's to celebrating milestones and to keepin' on writing, no matter the response!


Cheers!

--Cassandra

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Real Life Gets in the Way (Again)


My grand plan this weekend was to upload a chapter each of Evening Star and Pinned but Fluttering.

But as happens so often, life gets in the way.

A parent whose high school sophomore in my online writing class was upset about my apparent neglect of an area of research. So I spent the great majority of Saturday, my usual fan fic writing day, drafting a seven-page document on the reliability and authority of various non-print resources.

Yeah--exciting, eh?

It's true that it should have been treated in greater depth than I had planned, but researching, writing, editing, and posting that new lesson, plus re-editing and uploading four other lessons, took up all of my day Saturday. Right until 3 AM Sunday morning, to be precise.

With only four hours of sleep, I ended up napping for four additional hours on Sunday--day of rest and all that.

Which left me with my holiday to write my fan fics. Over the course of the week I had drafted Chapter 46 of Evening Star. It became quite lengthy for me--3300 words when my average is 2500. But something about it just isn't right, so although it's edited and technically DONE, I'm going to sleep on it another night and reread it--and possibly revise it--tomorrow.

Today (or I guess I should say "yesterday" since it's coming up on 2:00 AM Tuesday morning)--okay, Monday was devoted to meeting the deadline for the discussion questions for the literary analysis course I'll be teaching starting on Hallowe'en. My boss gave me through this weekend to complete them, which is a bit of an extension as they're usually due on the 1st of the month. So my day was spent drafting, revising, retooling, rethinking, etc., nine lengthy multiple-part questions for Anne of Green Gables.

At least I have that book practically memorized. ;)

So I confess: I have not even started writing Chapter 2 of Pinned but Fluttering. I have a decided idea where it's going--and it may go into some very, very dark and OOC corners before our hero steps in--yes, I'm unabashedly Team Edward. I hope to work on Pinned but Fluttering over the course of this week.

It could be that writing two chapters each weekend while teaching an online course may be unrealistic. I may have to consider alternating weekends--one week a new chapter for Evening Star, and the next a new chapter of Pinned but Fluttering.

It's a good thing that I'm almost finished with Evening Star, isn't it?

Okay, I hope that I've opened the portals so that creative story ideas will start flooding my brain, my fingers barely able to keep up with typing them into my groaning laptop. (Yes, it's rather archaic.)

Anyway, I'll take a fresh look at Chapter 46 of ES in the morning and see what is salvageable. Then I'll tackle Chapter 2 of PBF as I go through the week...teaching my online research course...running a household of six people and one dachshund convinced he's human...home educating three boys in grades 6, 9, and 11...driving my college-aged daughter to work two-to-three times/week and to community college twice/week...preparing for my literary analysis online course later this fall/winter...preparing to teach one high school expository writing class and one 4th-6th grade medieval history class at our co-op starting on the 15th...helping my chiropractor get started on his book...proofreading and editing for several churches and missionary groups...writing and updating the various blogs I keep up for myself and organizations near and dear...and enjoying the peace, quiet, and decided lack of interruption that writing at 2:00 AM, the house darkened and sleeping, affords.

Yeah. I'll get right on that.

After I go scream in a spidery corner for a few moments, that is....


--Cassandra

Saturday, August 27, 2011

First Chapter up of Pinned but Fluttering...and Etc.


It's up.


Yes, at last, Chapter 1 of Pinned but Fluttering is now posted on Wattpad and Fanfiction.net--see sidebar for links.


It was a difficult chapter to write because so many decisions had to be made. I have been mulling around ideas about Bella's past and how she got herself into this mess, into this abusive situation in which she's trapped and held against her will.


And now we know who her captors are, what happened to her parents, and a little bit about how her situation became what it is.


Now we also know that change is on the way for Bella after years of abuse.


I'm still quite surprised by the response, especially on Wattpad, to Pinned but Fluttering. I've had several people adding it to their libraries without reading Evening Star first.


And speaking of Evening Star, we just bypassed 88,000 reads and between the two stories, I'm almost at 900 votes and 160 fans. Wow.


Blows. Me. Away.


I also just joined Twitter under my pen name, Cassandra Lowery. I was unhappy that CassandraLowery was taken, so you can find me at CassandraWrites. Follow me, and I'll follow you! :)


I'm nearly ready to post Chapter 45 of Evening Star later tonight. I've spent nearly all day working on my stories, and I'm supposed to be getting ready to start homeschooling three kids and begin teaching a new online research essay course on Monday. Do I have everything done?


Nope.


It's more fun to write fics, though!


Okay, okay. I'll get back to work. Promise.


Keep your eyes peeled for Chapter 45--I promise it's coming! It just needs one more quick run-through to make sure it's all set. You know how it is.


Have fun, and keep writing!!!


--Cassandra :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some Favorite FFs in Progress....


I just posted Chapter 44: Repercussions of Evening Star; you may check it out on my Facebook page or on either Wattpad or FanFiction.net--see links to all three pages in the sidebar. Chapter 44 is about 2700 words, so about average or a little above in length. I actually got to 3200 words, but as I was editing, I found a great place to stop, so I have a page and a half of Chapter 45 already roughed out.


I had hoped to complete Evening Star before school started, but with school starting on Monday, it isn't going to happen. At least I'm down to the last five chapters or so.


I still need to start writing the first chapter of Pinned but Fluttering. It's kind of a weird title, but what I thought of was those old insect display cases when the collector takes a butterfly, puts a drop of something on its head to kill it, then carefully threads a pin through it to pin it in the display. But sometimes the butterfly isn't quite dead yet, so it keeps fluttering its wings as it slowly dies.


That's how we find Bella as the story begins. She's pinned, but she's still fluttering, still trying to get loose despite the fact that she should be dead from all that's happened to her. But she's strong and beautiful and worthy of love--although she doesn't realize any of those things about herself...yet.


Anyway, I started this post to tell you about some absolutely stellar fics I'm reading. I have a list of my favorite completed fics in the sidebar. There are also a few really wonderful ones that remain unfinished and probably never will be completed--those make me sad, although I completely understand that life often interrupts us writers and sidetracks us.


But the fan fics I'm recommending today are all active; new chapters are being updated on a fairly regular basis. With only one exception, they're all available on fanfiction.net; all the ff.net stories are rated M.


My Guardian Destroyer by Natalia Mazaur (4 chapters; last updated 7/26/11). Edward is an angel who seems to rescue Bella at the most opportune times. Natalia is my favorite reviewer on ff.net--I keep every review she's ever written me!


Our Yellow House by CaraNo (31 chapters; last updated 8/16/11). A pregnant Bella is kidnapped and missing for over three years, and Edward and Charlie are frantic. Events unfold that bring first Edward's son, and then Bella herself, back to him, but they have a long journey of restoration and healing ahead of them, but, as always, love conquers all. A sweet and poignant story that seems to be nearing its end.


In Your World by solostintwilight (24 chapters; last updated 8/20/11). Running away from an abusive Jacob, Bella finds refuge with an Amish family, the Cullens, and quickly falls in love with the orphaned young man on the next farm, Edward Masen. But Jake is unwilling to let Bella go so easily, despite the fact that she finds grace, solace, and love in the Amish ways, enough so that she commits to joining their world. My favorite fan fic EVER!!! So sweet, beautiful, and poignant!!


Hysteria by Emochan (9 chapters (about 10 planned total); last updated 8/21/11). A short fic, planned to be about ten chapters, Bella is bullied mercilessly at Forks High by Jessica, Lauren, and Mike, and everyone in the school join in until one prank goes too far, and the Cullens step in to help and befriend Bella. An improvement over Starlight Vows, and the author updates very frequently!!


Beyond Dusk by Sunray16 (13 chapters; last updated 8/24/11). After this author wrote amazing EPOV versions of New Moon and Eclipse, I've been looking forward to an EPOV of Breaking Dawn, and she has not disappointed in the least. She keeps well within canon while adding enough new material to keep it very interesting. A perfect balance of Meyer's original and new insights into Edward's character.


Changing the Future by ExtractsofLife (53 chapters; last updated 8/15/11). On Wattpad this time. Bella, just moved to Forks, and Edward, unaware of her presence, each receive a boxed set of the Twilight Saga. They seek each other out, determined to change the tragedy of Meyer's story while still allowing themselves to fall in love. As a pre-emptive move, they befriend the Quileutes before they become wolves (only Sam and Paul have transformed) so that there will be no reason for enmity between the Cullens and Quileutes. But can Edward, Bella, the Cullens, and the Quileutes keep ALL the tragedy of the Twilight Saga from occuring? Not as polished as the above stories, but with a sense of humor and good sense of pacing with lots of action.




So do check these fics out and enjoy them!!! I keep a constant eye on my inbox, waiting for the next chapter of these wonderful fics!! And let me know what you think of Chapter 44 of Evening Star!!




--Cassandra