I’m back to writing every day. I think it’s important that I write every day so that I stay present in my work and also because with writing on my mind all day, I’m generally happier and feel less despair working a day job. This idea to start writing every day again came out of a recent session with my psychologist. For the past three years or so, I’ve only been writing on weekends, because I had been feeling so overworked at my day job because of some projects I was involved with. My psychologist at the time and I decided it would be best for my stress level to stop writing every day. It helped with the stress certainly, but it was ultimately a detriment to my happiness and my feeling of having a purpose. Those projects are over now. I don’t know why I didn’t think of going back to writing every day on my own, and needed a therapy session to come up with the idea, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

Needless to say, I am thrilled to be writing every day again. I feel so much more alive. True, I only set a goal to write for thirty minutes a day. But I set an easy goal as a strategy. It’s easy to find thirty minutes in a day. It’s easy to have enough motivation to sit down for only thirty minutes. But the truth is, it never ends after thirty minutes. I become so consumed with what I’m working on that it can go on for hours. And during that time and the hours following, I feel inspired and excited. 

This week I’ve been writing and rewriting a prologue for a novel version of Forever Candy. (It was originally a screenplay.) Though I’m not nearly satisfied with the writing (I don’t think I found the right voice or style for the book), I feel exhilarated just working on it. I do feel bad though that I’m not working on the fifth book for the Me and My Friend Maddie Gothic Book Series, as I had made some posts on social media stating that that was what I was working on, and those posts received such positive responses. But the story I had planned to write hit a major brick wall and it seems I will need to devise an entirely new story altogether.

 

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This week I read all four books of the Me and My Friend Maddie Gothic Book Series, just to get back in touch with them as it has been four years since I’ve written one of those books. I was apprehensive about getting to Book Four, The Dead Girl I Like Heart and Stuff because of criticism I received stating that the book was offensive to the trans community. Gothic Beauty Magazine even refused to review the book after overwhelmingly positive reviews on the three preceding books. At the time I took that as a favor, thinking it was better to receive no review than a bad review. But now I don’t feel that way. 

Of course it was not my aim to offend or disparage people of the trans community. I have trans and nonbinary friends who are very dear to me and I would never think of hurting them or anyone else. 

When I set out to write that book, my goal from the beginning was to write a book where Maddie was flawed and would learn something from her BFF, rather than him always learning from her. Upon rereading it this week, I don’t know if I accomplished that. I felt like she understood what her BFF was trying to convey to her, but that her mentality was far more complex than the simple flashcard solution he presented could appease. Though it is unclear, even to me, whether Maddie learned from her BFF, it is certainly clear that she is flawed, and that’s how I want all of my characters to be. That’s what makes them human. During these rereads, I was reminded that Maddie was already portrayed as not perfect in the third book as she self-identified as a former cutter and then succumbed to the temptation to cut again.

One of the reviews I received considered the end of The Dead Girl I Like Heart and Stuff to be a cliffhanger of an ending. I never considered it as such. I walked away from that book thinking it clear that Maddie and Jackie Jinxed would be together, but I guess that was not as clear as I thought. Perhaps I felt it was clear because in my mind I always knew they would be together in the fifth book. 

I’ve talked to readers who didn’t find Maddie’s reaction to discovering her boyfriend was born biologically female as unreasonable. They told me they too would have been surprised to make such a discovery. Some said they would feel unsure of what they would do. Some even said they would have felt lied to. Though those expressions gave me some assurance that Maddie’s reaction was within the realm of plausible reactions, it was not much consolation, for I still knew my book was seen as offensive to a community I am strongly supportive of. 

Be that as it may, I am concerned that the fifth book will come across as an apology for the fourth book, as Maddie will admit to Jackie that she was wrong and that she is not perfect. But that was always the plan. Perhaps I should have let that scene play out and end the fourth book instead of where it ended. But at the time I didn’t know that I would spend the next four years writing the first two books of the Black Wax Vampire Trilogy. I thought the fifth book would have come out soon after the fourth.

I don’t want the fifth book to read as an apology. Because I make no apology for my characters being flawed. Still, I hate thinking that The Dead Girl I Like Heart and Stuff gives the impression that I am prejudiced against the trans community, as I know I am not. And I feel that that sentiment smears a series that I have loved writing and know many have loved reading. 

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AMS

Because I haven’t written since I finished Scribbling The Eternal, I am really itching to start writing again. I think I’ve taken enough time off. I believe the next thing I work on will be a fifth Maddie book. I’ve been slowly developing plot elements in my head, but I have yet to write anything down. 

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading and watching tutorials about Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), so I can learn how to promote my books better on Amazon. It’s a lot of work and there is a lot to know, but I’m hoping that if I focus devote time to it, I’ll see positive results. 

I continue to dream of a day when I can stop reporting to an office on weekdays and spend all my days writing. 

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Now that I’m done writing and revising Scribbling The Eternal, I’ve been trying to decide what to write next. I always have more ideas than time. Therefore, there are many things I’d like to write. I posted this on my social media recently and it received a lot of likes and many positive comments. 

A New Book in the Me and My Friend Maddie Gothic Book Series.

The last book in the Me and My Friend Maddie Gothic Book Series, The Dead Girl I Like Heart and Stuff, was published in April of 2015. The long lapse is because I was writing The Scribbled Victims and then Scribbling The Eternal. A fifth book feels long overdue. 

However, for many years I wanted to write this other story of mine called Forever Candy. It’s a story I originally wrote as a screenplay (as I did with The Scribbled Victims), but thought I could really expand the story if I wrote it as a novel. There were some difficulties in converting that script to novel form, mostly with the differences in narration. However, during the shower I just took, I believe I made a pretty significant breakthrough on how to overcome these difficulties. (I often think up stuff while in the shower.) 

There’s also a third book I’d like to write, one that doesn’t even have a working title yet. But I’ve been making notes. It would be more literary than anything else I’ve published. 

As I said, I always have more ideas than time. If only life weren’t so short. 

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It’s a big day for me. I feel very accomplished. I finished the final reading of Scribbling The Eternal and am now ready to turn it over for editing. The final word count of the 35 page chapter sequel was 125,146 words. 

As I neared the ending of my read, I was overcome with the feeling that I was agreeing to permanence. That this would be the final version, the final words, the final phrases, the final descriptions. A draft is a hard thing for me to let go of because then there’s no more rewriting. It never fails that after months have passed since I finished writing something, that I find things that I would like to go back and rewrite and say in some other way. But publishing makes things so final. You have to live with it. 

Regardless, after twenty-seven months of writing and rewriting, it feels great to step away from the writing process and move to the publishing process. 

Video 2019-03.17.19

 

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 So this weekend was the weekend I returned to my manuscript to give it my final read. I read for many hours, but unfortunately I was only able to make it through sixteen of the thirty-five chapters. The revisions I made were small. On Saturday I netted nine new words, but on Sunday I netted negative two words. I’m tired now and decided I will just have to continue my final read next weekend. Though I’m behind schedule, I don’t feel bad as I am enjoying the read. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve written. 

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This is my second of two weekends I’m stepping away from working on Scribbling The Eternal before I give it my final read. It feels so strange not to be writing, although I’ve been doing poetry exercises from the book I purchased The Poet’s Companion. Writing poetry has been an interesting experience already. Though it is writing, the approach to it feels different. The thinking and daydreaming even feels slightly different. I don’t know that I can put the differences into words (which I suppose is a problem, being a writer, but oh well). At any rate, I’m enjoying it. 

As I was falling asleep last night, it came to mind that the phrase “my darling tragedy” might not have made its way into my new book. The term of endearment was one issued by Mirela Cobalcescu, describing Orly Bialek in The Scribbled Victims. This morning I checked the manuscript and discovered that the term was not used in the new book. 

My checklist of things to address in my rewrites was cleared two weekends ago, but when I do my final read next weekend, I’m wondering if I will find a place where I can insert it. For I do love that term for Orly so much.   

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This is the first weekend in a very long time that I did not spend writing. As I said in my previous post, I decided to step away from Scribbling The Eternal for a couple of weeks before giving it my final read. I’ve been spending most of my time seeing friends and reading. Today I finished reading Nausea and now plan to read a book about writing poetry that was co-authored by a poet I greatly admire, Kim Addonizio. My aim isn’t to become a poet, but I’m hoping to make my fiction writing more beautiful to read.  

 

    

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Around 4 p.m. today at Starbucks, I finished writing Scribbling The Eternal. It took twenty-six months to write and was completed at just over 125K words, so it’s significantly longer than The Scribbled Victims which was 82K words. 

I feel excited, but the feeling of relief hasn’t hit me yet. 

I’m going to not look at the manuscript for a couple of weeks and then do one final read through before I hand it over for editing. 

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I should have posted this back on September 22, but it has not yet become a habit of mine to post to this blog. Anyhow, after 22 months of writing, I finally finished the full draft of Scribbling The Eternal. I was in shock when I finished. I don’t think it really hit me until the next day, which is when I sent out the final eight chapters to my beta readers. 

Since that time, I’ve received their feedback, via the surveys I write for them to fill out. The surveys ask some general questions and some very pointed questions about things I am struggling with in particular. The responses have been mostly positive. All said it was a strong sequel, which was a big relief to me because I think sequels are difficult to write, especially when you know people enjoyed the first book. One beta reader even preferred Scribbling The Eternal to The Scribbled Victims, which made me feel especially accomplished.

All that being said, the amount of notes I took from their feedback is making me realize the rewriting phase is going to take a lot longer than I expected. Since I do a lot of my rewriting as I write my books, the earlier the chapter, the cleaner it generally is (which can work against me if I have to make early changes because that means deconstructing a lot of revised and reworked text). Since I considered the majority of my book to already be clean, I expected about a six week rewrite period, but with all the notes I received and the introspection I’ve done on my own, I’m now thinking it could take between four and six months. 

I’m not discouraged by that though. I know it’s in the interest of producing the best book I can, so it’s all worth it, even though it means the gratification of releasing a new book will have to wait a little longer. Anyhow, I hope people are really happy with the final version of the sequel. 

-Robert Tomoguchi

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