WIPMarathon Check-In #5 (NEW YEAR UPDATE)


January 4, 2014 by Ifeoma Dennis

Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s to hoping 2014 is here with all the happiness and fun in the world J


Things I’m Glad I did in 2013: 

2013 was not a year I felt I achieved much, given that I went into it hoping I’ll get agented with my first novel, and hoping I’ll be among the first three in my class, so I can win a partial scholarship.

My first novel has long been trunked (since February 2013!) and I came fourth in my class.

My ex-boyfriend and I also broke up after a year together, so 2013 was an unsettling year in a way. There were times I felt lost, uninspired by anything, but I’m still here and that’s what matters.

And now I’m a bit on the outside looking in, 2013 was not bad. There were things I’m glad I did.


1. Joining Twitter: 

I was so afraid before joining Twitter last January. I was querying my first novel, and all the articles I read online were in favor of writers joining Twitter. And I remember telling a classmate (who also doubled as a beta for my first book) about my fears.

“I live here (on the Caribbean), most of the writers on Twitter are not. I’m going to feel so lost. No one is going to want to be my friend.”
And I don’t think I’ll ever forget what he said. “Don’t back out because you’re afraid. You’ll never know until you try.”

I’m glad I listened. If not because of his advice, I would not have met my best friend Amanda, or my CPs—Cat, Jodi, Stephanie and Yael—and I certainly wouldn’t have met all the amazing WIPMarathon-ers. There are just so many nice AND wise people on Twitter.


2. Starting TSoTT:

My current WIP’s inspiration came to me in the middle of a Pathology class on Monday, the 4th of February 4th, 2013. That day remains special because the muse came when I was in the throes of depression. I’d just realized my First Novel would not be the one, and I was wondering what else I could write. Everything I was coming up with seemed unoriginal, and those that seemed a bit original, I wasn’t keen on writing them.

For two weeks after that muse came, I wasn’t really sure what to do with the story—it lay floating in my head, formless, shapeless until slowly, the pieces started coming together in a way I never imagined.

I’m glad I had that muse and started this book. I’m so happy writing it.


3. Not giving up on TSoTT:

Eleven months later, I’m still battling with the second draft of TSoTT. I have no idea how many more drafts I’ll write after this, but I’m happy I haven’t given up on it. Considering, well, it’s given me a lot of hell writing it.


4. Learning to love my own company:

I haven’t been single for a long while (two months and counting), but I’m getting used to and actually enjoying not being responsible to anyone…oh wait, there’s still my family to be accountable to…
But most importantly, I love that I can stay in my apartment all day, just me and my books/laptop, listening to the barks of the dogs in my neighborhood, the cars driving past, and being okay with the quiet at night.

This is the girl I’ve wanted to be since I was in my late teens, and I’m glad I’m coming around to being her.


In 2014, I’d Love to Do/Be:  

I’d love to be focused on any given task while I’m doing it. Neil Gaiman sums it up beautifully.


So on to this week’s check-in:


Last Word Count + Chapter Count:

19 539 words and beginning of chapter nine.


Current WC + CC (or SC):

11 490 words and chapter four completed.

*sigh* Yes, I started almost from the beginning. AGAIN. Only the first half of the first chapter was untouched. And yes, I believe I’m perfectly normal (what’s OCD?)


WIP Issues this week:

After I got feedback from Yael on my first three chapters last week, and read her WIPMarathon Update where she talked about simplicity in fantasy worlds, I brainstormed on how to keep my fantasy world simpler and move the plot.


What I learnt this week in writing: 

First lesson: Keep it simple.

After reading Yael’s post last week, I spent days trying to figure out what parts of my book had to be simplified, especially in the first act. Then it struck me one important magic element had to be removed 😦

I wanted to show off all the cool elements of my book, but all those elements at the same time made my book convoluting.

So I’ve accepted it’s okay if all the magic elements don’t feature in this book, I can introduce more in the sequels (if this first one’s lucky to get published).


Second lesson: Learning the art of writing comes through trial and error (at least for me), and it’s okay if I have to try a hundred times before I get it right.

And I must say this is the first time I’m at peace with my inciting incident. I’ve never felt that, which is why I’ve re-written my first three chapters about thirty times. Or more. But again, I’ll wait till I hear from my CPs to conclude.


What distracted me this week while writing: 

I’m still reading A Girl of Fire And Thorns, but I’m more than halfway done. Studying. Internet. Nothing new.


Last 200 words:

Technically, this is not the last 200 words but toward the end of my chapter four. I only wrote it yesterday, and it’s unedited.

She yanked the huge, double doors at the end of the passage apart, and the force of the wind almost blasted her backward.

But this time, she would fight. This time, the wind would not get her easily.

She stepped into the patio, with only the stars lighting her way. Either the moon was gone or it’d been obstructed by the clouds.

“It’s north, between the birches and the oaks,” she repeated to herself, refusing to think of the possibility that stared at her.

Her blisters were gone…gone…and it could only mean one thing. The one thing she didn’t want to think about.

Can’t wait to hear what goals everyone has for this year! And how last year went 🙂


18 thoughts on “WIPMarathon Check-In #5 (NEW YEAR UPDATE)

  1. I really like your 200 words 🙂 And yes – 2014 is a year for less multi-tasking! I think that’s an excellent goal!

  2. Jodi says:

    “This is the girl I’ve wanted to be since I was in my late teens, and I’m glad I’m coming around to being her.” Love that SO MUCH.

    I sniffled a little at the mention of my name, and I feel EXACTLY the same. I had so many reservations about twitter (like, do I really need another social networking site? And what makes this one any different?). But now I feel so grateful toward twitter because it has brought amazing people into my life (such as yourself) who, left to my own devices, I would never have met in a million years.

    Great reflection Ify–I feel like I need to do a little reflection of my own now in honor of the new year. 🙂

    • Right? I wouldn’t have believed Twitter would be so nice and I would meet my book sister there 🙂 I mean, thanks to Twitter, I was okay with leaving Facebook. Goes to show we should do the things we’re afraid of 😉

      Still waiting for your new year post! 😀

  3. Yael Itamar says:

    I like that passage! And I’m really glad you joined Twitter and brought us all together for WIP marathon.

  4. amandashayne says:

    First, can I just say, I am so so so so glad you decided to join Twitter even though you were afraid. You’re my very best friend and it makes me sad to think there was even a slight chance I never would’ve met you!

    I know 2013 was unsettling for you, and you feel you didn’t quite reach your goals, but I’m trying to think about it this way in my own life: Even if we don’t reach those super high goals we set for ourselves, it we hadn’t set them, we may not have even reached the goals we DID reach. You still accomplished so much this year and have grown as a person because of all the other things you went through. Here’s to 2014 being amazing!!

    I can’t wait for the day you finish TSoTT and it’s everything you originally hoped it would be and more. Plus I can’t wait to read it!!!! Also, I can’t believe I completely invented a new title for it in my email the other day, calling it… I can’t even remember, TSOS? instead of TSoTT. I am just clearly horrible with acronyms, so please forgive me!! (which reminds me, I need to tell you about me new setting idea)

    “This is the girl I’ve wanted to be since I was in my late teens, and I’m glad I’m coming around to being her.” I absolutely love that. To me it says, independence. And accepting who you are. It’s a wonderful thing to be content and enjoy your own company–especially good for introverts. 🙂

    Eek! Those last two lines of your excerpt… You’ve mastered ending with an intriguing line that makes me want more!

    • Awww Amanda, thank you so much! You’re my very best friend too, and I’m glad I conquered my fear because you were on the other side of it! ❤

      Haha I totally didn't mind. My title is long, so hoping you'll get used to it with time. Also, I can't wait to hear the new setting you have for Neverwood!

      Thanks so much for reminding me of the fringe benefits of failure. Hopefully, this year would be a lot better for us! *clinks to 2014*
      And I definitely cannot wait for you to start writing your second draft with all your lyrical turns of phrase!

      Hope the Nimbus 2000 I sent you works for you!
      Much love ❤

  5. Twitter is such a wonderful place for writers! I’m glad you joined and started the WIPMarathon 🙂
    I think you’ve accomplished a lot in 2013! Let’s make this year even better! 🙂

  6. krystal jane says:

    I was nervous about joining in on Twitter and participating, too. I’m so glad we both took the chance! It’s great to hear that you have a beginning you’re happy with! I think sometimes that and the ending are the hardest things to get right.

    Dude, I LOVE how you end your excerpts. Always so interesting. 😀

  7. Amy McNulty says:

    I’m so glad you joined Twitter, too! And I think you’ve accomplished A LOT this year, even if it was different than you pictured.

  8. Just from reading that little excerpt, I’m sure I’ll love to read your novel whenever you are done! On your number 4 point, I’ll just say “you go girl”

    Happy new year! Wish you all the best this year

  9. Ifeoma, you’ve done an amazing thing by starting the #WIPmarathon group. You’ve touched so many people’s lives and helped so many authors, and definitely me in a monumental way – so thank you! Sorry to hear 2013 was a tumultuous year but I’m so glad you never gave up and are putting a positive spin on things.

    I love rewriting so your process sounds perfectly normal to me 😉

    As usual, an intriguing excerpt. I really want to read this book!

    Wishing you all the best for 2014!

    • Yayyyyyy, so glad you liked the excerpt!
      Thank you so much, Suzanne. I’m glad we met too! And I’m definitely focusing on positives this year (like you) 😉

      Hope all the good things will keep coming your way this year!

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"Dreams can get you through anything."

-Cat York


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First Draft:

93210 / 90000 words. 104% done!

Second Draft:

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