Against All Odds / Crossroads / Man vs Nature

How I’m Doing on Against All Odds–4

Time for a monthly update on how I’m doing with my WIP, Against All Odds, Book 3 of the Crossroads trilogy.

Based on a true story, the extraordinary saga of hardship, conflict, family, and survival…

A quick summary:

What should have been their new home became a battle to survive. A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but tough enough for this?

Here’s what I have done the past month:

  • I change my tagline–again. I still don’t know if I like it but I’m going to have to settle. I need to order the book cover.
  • I spent most of the month wordsmithing–moving words around, replacing some, unreplacing others. When I do this, I search common words (like so, mostly, often, have, was, is, he) that I am likely to overuse on early drafts. For example, I did a Word Find on ‘-ing’ and got 2500+ hits (in 330 pages–that’s extreme!). One page looked like this (the yellow highlights are the -ing words):

By the time I finished, I’d gotten it to this–just two -ings:

Of course, that doesn’t mean some won’t come back when I do a full re-read of the book the first, second, or third time. Or fourth.

  • Still haven’t contacted my cover folks but soon. OK, I said that last month but this time, I’m going to do it!
  • Ideas for Book 2 and 3 in Dawn of Humanity keep bouncing around in my brain. I’m keeping track of them on a Google Keep note that keeps getting longer and longer. I’m thinking of talking with a writing coach to lay out both books. I have a few names…
  • I’m also getting ideas for a sequel to Crossroads. I hadn’t planned on a sequel trilogy–three and done was what I intended–but my characters have different ideas. Those too I’m tracking with Google Keep.
  • I do like organizing my random writing thoughts in Google Keep. They’re a long bulleted list (text and images–even videos) that I can move around and/or copy into the mss as needed. Here’s an example of that:

  • I’m entering one of my prehistoric fiction novels in Writer’s Digest contest for Indies. If you haven’t looked at this contest, click the link. It’s under $100 to enter and has some nice prizes.

  • I am pondering a switch from MailChimp because it’s gotten so darn expensive. It offers way too many tools I don’t use and get charged for. D.E. Haggerty has a post discussing her switch from MailChimp to MailerLite. Great detail and re-ignited my thinking on this.
  • Still planning to do Diana Peach’s PowerPoint book trailer idea but for the entire trilogy. I’ll release it when Book 3 is ready as background on Book 1 and 2 and to encourage readers to buy the early ones if they haven’t. I’ve also seen this done using the free Canva.

How are you doing on your latest WIP? I’d love to hear!

#amwriting #indieauthor

More on How I’m Doing

How I’m Doing on Against All Odds–3

How I’m Doing on Against All Odds–2

How I’m doing on Book 3 of my trilogy


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Fall 2020. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

69 thoughts on “How I’m Doing on Against All Odds–4

  1. Oh, good heavens–the attack of the “ings.” I also struggle with was just, look, could/should…the list goes on.

    I’ll also give you some crit on your tagline, but feel free to disregard it. I like that sort of thing, but I’m sure you’re capable of coming up with your own. : )

    “What should have been their new home became a battle to survive.”

    The two don’t really compare–one is a place and the other is an event. “What should have been their new home became a brutal testing ground” would work, as would “What should have been a joyous homecoming became a battle to survive.”

    Also, I’d stick in an em dash after the first tough:

    A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough–but tough enough for this?

    And I’d find something more specific than “this” to end it. Tough enough to bury her oldest friend. Tough enough to outwit famine itself. I don’t know…Tough enough to beat Death at Old Maid. Okay, that last wouldn’t fit, but I’m sure you can think of something strong that does. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those are great suggestions. I just don’t seem able to get this tagline. I’m putting off ordering the cover because I keep thinking brilliance will strike. Thanks so much, Cathleen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope something I thought of knocks loose a lurking stroke of brilliance.

        Also, a technical note. If you go to my post and see your comment, you might notice that your name isn’t a link. And you have no way of knowing this, but the email from WordPress doesn’t include a link back to your site. Hopefully, there’s an easy way to fix that–a box you forgot to fill out or similar. : )

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the heads up on Google Keep. It sounds like I need that! Keep the updates coming on your book, please. Yesterday I took all of my chapters for my memoir (WIP) and copied them to a manuscript template. I am in the final stages of editing in order to get it out to beta readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re making great progress, Jacqui. I can tell that you’re starting to wrap things up because the next stories are brewing in the back of your head. I know that “ing” words are considered “bad” and I do avoid them, but I never really understood that rule since they don’t bother me. I’ll have to look that up. 🙂 Happy Writing.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I looked it up! One challenge is that they are often used incorrectly, in the case of dangling participles, for example. They also indicate simultaneous action and are incorrectly used to indicate a series of actions. And lastly, they frequently require helping verbs (those ugly little forms of “be”). I get it now, but when used correctly… I don’t mind them. Though I’ll continue to avoid them. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw the Writer’s Digest contest, but it’s a little too salty for me. I did enter the Spur. We’ll see….I’d be interested in learning more if you make a switch of your newsletter and how you do your trailer. I used to make trailers. Haven’t touched one in several years. You are smoking on cleanup. Hurry. Hurry. Can’t wait to read it:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That search feature certainly comes in handy. I’m doing final edits on my Amanda in Malta book and just started the France book. Blurbs and tags are hard. I’m not as organized as you are. Best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You sound more organized, Darlene–two books at once! I have to finish the book right down to the marketing before I dare start the next. Otherwise, I get mixed up!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Taglines and blurbs are so hard. I’m at the same spot as you in editing. I have to go through and cut those repeats and fix conversation tags while its being beta read. Eventually I get to the point where I can’t read it anymore then its up to the editor. You have a lot going on and I can’t wait to see the outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just ordered a book from a favorite author and finished it in a day–and I thought exactly what you just wrote. He worked really hard on this book and I consumed it in 24 hours. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like while you are busy working on this one you are making sure you are busy for the next few years. I’m going to have to check out Google Keep – never heard of it before!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love Google Keep. It’s an app so I access it quickly. I can keep lots of tile notes and you can take notes with text, bullet lists, pictures, links–all sorts. It’s a great way to jot down thoughts that pop up while you’re out and about.

      Liked by 1 person

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