Saturday, January 31, 2009

Last Minute Push

Well, I thought I could do it until the bleepin cold kicked in. But I must say I didn't do too badly.

Today I pushed as much as I could. It was my full day at work (I work a 6 day week, 5 short days and 1 long day), but I managed to get a chunk written. I don't know if I'll be able to do anymore writing tonight so I'll post my official JaNoWriMo word count.

Drum roll please........

Not quite there, but pretty close.

Onward and upward! I'll continue this wip into next month because I'm really liking it.

It's been fun! See ya'll tomorrow

It's a wrap!

Wasn't January fun?

I have to admit, I love writing like this! It's fabulous to hear about everyone's progress and have the inside track on their developing stories. I have enjoyed cheering others on and even though I haven't been here as often as I'd hoped it has been a wonderful experience.

Also, I have truly, from the bottom of my heart, appreciated all the friendly support I've received. I know that without this commitment to writing and the kindness and encouragement provided here, I never would have completed the first draft of Tango At Midnight this past month. Never. It would have been an idea that I pushed to the back of my mind, one of those "I'll write it someday" novels. I'm so glad it didn't end up in a dusty corner of my head. Thank you for that!

So while I'll be AWOL during the beginning of February yet again (I'm sorry!) I will be working on my February goal from the first day of the month. At least that's the plan. And as soon as I can I'll check in to see how everyone else is doing and to give an update on Madcapped. Fingers crossed this one goes well!

I hope everyone has a great time beginning anew tomorrow morning!

Thanks, Marianne, for bringing this amazing adventure to life. You are a fabulous organizer!

Oh! I almost forgot! Tango At Midnight, the first rough draft, closed at 51,357 words.

A JaNoWriMo Lesson Learned

Wow.. Here we are the unofficial end of the first version of JaNoWriMo. :) 
Although I didn't complete 50,000 words, I definitely learned how to pace myself for best writing potential. And one thousand words a day is my new goal. My new daily regimen. My new mantra. The pace that works best for me. And the most important lesson I learned from JaNoWriMo.  

Thanks, Marianne for leading the pack, everyone for your support, and continuing this great support system. 

Happy Saturday and back to work! :)  

Saturday check-in

Well, my writing pace certainly slowed down by the end of this month. I'm still really happy with what I got done, and I'm delighted to have this group in terms of accountability and support. It's been truly helpful.

I don't know if I'll write today or not, so here's my grand total for January:

Thanks to everyone for the continued support all month - it's been a blast!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Month, New Goals, New Blog Header!

Several of you have forwarded your goals, and I'll get them posted shortly. (EDITED TO ADD: I've added the goals for the nine people who emailed me -- go look at the sidebar and if you're not there, I didn't receive your February goals!).

If you haven't looked up at the top of this blog, do so. I'll wait....

..... YES! That's right, we have a new header and a new title. I hope you all approve :-)

I'm excited to look forward to a new month. But, before this one ends, I'd sure love to see EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US post how many words we did in January. How exciting it will be to see what we accomplished!! I can't wait. Whether it was 5,000 words or 50,000 words ... we all moved ahead.

So, yay us!!

Monday, January 26, 2009


I haven't had time to even think of my JaNoWriMo project due to the already sold projects needing attention. Hopefully I'll do better next time around, but right now I have contractual deadlines to meet!

At least I have over 10K on this new idea. I already know how I want to rewrite the beginning, too. All I need is...time!

Write where you are

One of the things I’ve discovered during JaNo is some of my best writing times are when I sit in the waiting area while:
  • My son gets his guitar lesson
  • My daughter takes her gymnastics class
  • My daughter takes her dance class
I haven’t tried writing at my daughter’s swim lessons. Pen and paper? Or handheld computer? Either way, just add water = instant disaster.

I’m at 15,300 words at the moment, which isn’t even close to 50,000. But it’s a lot closer than zero. And I have JaNo to thank for that.

I’ve also discovered things I never knew that I knew, such as there really is such a thing as a vintage (circa 1983) Star Wars pencil case. A good thing, seeing as I gave one to the chess club president.

Go on. You know you want one.

Mired in a non-creative Week

Somehow, I seem to have lost my creative get up and go this last week. I can blame it on the cold but I think it had more to do with what was inside me than outside. This is my first attempt at this kind of writing.

At first I found it motivating to just write. Usually I belabor over a story paragraph by paragraph. This seemed like it let me free. I had no plan, a few characters in mind, and a fuzzy outline of a story I had thought about. But, my story didn't seem to go anywhere.

Then I began another one. Yet I think I slid away.

But I feel very motivated about continuing with the group and am more motivated about the commitment of say 250 words a day. It is more how I write, something that I feel I can achieve creatively, and a good motivator.

Count me in.

Progress? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Progress

Oh, we do?

It's been a busy week full of plenty of writing -- just not much fiction. My report would be so much more impressive if I could count the whiny 2000 words I sent to my writing partner -- the ones where I outlined all the various and sundry ridiculous subplots I've managed to pack into this ... thing ... so far. I practically begged her to say: You're right. It's a mess. Please feel free to give up and go back to your slackery ways. She didn't though. Instead she said something like: I think it's going to be okay. Keep up the good work. Just beware of gypsies ; ) Thanks, C.

I'm still only at 18,801 words. And that is only 7300 words more than what I started the month with. Still, I'm getting at least a paragraph or two down every day and some days the words really flow. I guess I'll keep up the (good) work while keeping an eye out for wandering gypsies.

Saturday check-in on Monday

Although I know I probably won't make it to 50,000 by the end of the month, I'm really happy to have made it this far! 

I tried to get ahead of schedule and bank some words for when I took my son to Berlin for four days this past weekend. The idea was that I'd only have to write 1,000 words a day in Berlin. Well . . . that didn't happen. I took my Alpha and wrote about 4,000 words related to Berlin-with-a-kid but found I couldn't switch voices from travel journalling to fiction - is that a walk and chew gum thing? Or is it just me? Oh well, I was glad to get the travel stuff written because I haven't been doing a great job of that lately on trips so to get back into the discipline of it is huge for me. 

The other thing I did on the trip was read the first two books of the "Twilight" series. I'd already read "The Host" and flew through that (okay, it was somewhat flawed, but still, I couldn't put it down!). Then I listened to an interview Stephanie Meyer did and found her suburban-mom-to-author-story hugely inspiring. It turns out we have soooooo much in common. She's  a mom, I'm a mom. She loves to read, I love to read. Okay, the commonality ends after that but it's more than I'll ever have in common with James Patterson!  What are you reading right now?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday check-in on a Sunday

Well, this is the week I petered out a bit.

I was getting very stressed keeping up the word count, and I also felt I was spinning my wheels creatively. I've also been dealing with a serious bout of arthritis and stress appears to be one of my main triggers.

So... I let go a bit.

For next week, I'm pushing for 5000 - 7000 words.

And I'm delighted to have done as much as I have this month. This has been a wonderful motivator! My current word count is:

The Home Stretch

Sometimes life has a way of giving a person exactly what she needs, when she needs it. That's what's been happening here. I've been given some early morning hours to call my own and that's when I'm writing. I generally begin each day writing but with all that's going on I never thought I'd be able to stick to my schedule.

But, as I said, life has a funny way of evening things out. I've been so busy caring for Hubby and home that I've gotten into the habit of falling asleep (passing out, actually!) around midnight, sleeping for a couple of hours, then waking...and writing. I feel like life is getting back to normal here, piece by piece and word by word. It's all good, and I am grateful.

Oh? My word count? Well, as of this morning, Tango At Midnight is 41,938 words long. I know a lot of that will change when I rewrite, but for now it is very satisfying to watch the story grow.

Now, to find some coffee...

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Check In

Okay, here's where I am thus far

Not bad but I really had hoped to be further along. Too many skipped days, not enough motivation. I was inspired today, however, to write a scene from my fantasy just so I could introduce a particular character. I have about 1200 words from that so far, so I can't complain there.

One more week left! I'm still hoping it can be done.

And thanks to everyone who's been wishing me well. Slowly but surely I seem to be improving though a coworker is convinced I have bronchitis. Is that contagious??

just posting word count

I'm far short of where I need to be at 50K by month end, but as of today I'm at 22,568 since I started JaNo. Not quite 1000 words a day average, but given that I've found somedays taking out as many as I've written (despite the firm talks I've delivered to my writing self), I'm feeling pretty good. Had planned to do more writing each day on this wip, but too many gotta-do-it-now opportunities that wouldn't be available after the end of the month cropped up--and I'm weak.

May not make the 50K, but I'm still plugging along!

One Week To Go

Plugging along and almost done my revisions and additions for my YA non-sporty novel, PINKED. :) 

I'll admit, I have been neglecting my JaNoWriMo WIP and this week, I only added a total chaotic mess of about 2000 words. But it's okay. PINKED exhausts me. And when I'm done writing and revising, all I want to do is veg, like Mr. Potato in the pic. 

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever written an emotionally draining novel or story?
Happy Writing! :) 

Friday, January 23, 2009

challenged but still game

I was going to wait and make my confessions tomorrow, but I just received the most wonderful email from my accountability partner and felt ready to hit the blog tonight. Anne, you're my hero.

This has been a very challenged week--not challenging, as that implies a lot of highs--but challenged, as in I had to push a lot to get through each day and its barriers. I've allowed myself to get into one of those pragmatic moods, where I don't allow myself to expect things to get worse, but I keep saying "isn't something going to go easy?".

So why did all that change with the email from Anne? Simple--she put the week into perspective. She can see my life more clearly than I can right now simply because she's 1500 miles away and looking in via my daily messages. She reminded me of how I didn't kill a doctor I was sent to interview who was a complete waste of time, and still figured out how to get an article despite his attempt to torpedo my efforts. She reminded that I will be able to send out at least 6 contest entries Feb 1st for a big yearly contest one of my writers groups holds for members, and may even squeak through with a 7th--and best of all, several of the entries will mean probable sales in publications, and will definitely lighten my load in future months as at least one of the entries will mean I will likely already have three monthly columns completed way ahead of time. She reminded me that I had an epiphany in my JaNo fiction project this week, and though I may have to push to get my goal by the end of the week, the fact that I hit this "mountain top experience" means "it's tough then to come down from the mountain."

So what if I didn't get my fiction writing goal yesterday. I still have a few hours to double today's output to make it up and congratulate myself.

Part of my way of starting the new year was to get a calendar just to document my writing each day. Mine has beautiful pictures of gloriously green Ireland, and at the end of each day I hurriedly sketch out how many words I've written on each project I've worked. You would think that while I was feeling challenged I would have the simple brain power to go to my calendar, look at the progress I'd made this week, and just shrug everything off. But I didn't. It never even came to mind.

Instead, it took someone half a continent away to bring it all into focus for me. And having to account here makes me push harder each day to not look like a slacker to any of you either. I know that none of you are going to judge me--but if this group weren't here, who knows if I would push through at all. Those stone walls are awfully hard to break down, but luckily I have so many helpful people handing me the figurative sledge hammer.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Feeling Good

No need to comment, just wanted to post... got another 1000+ words today.

Still way behind in the overall scheme of things, but I have 22,000 words done in Queen and Assassin. I'm shooting for 65,000 total, and have a long way to go.

Wanna do this again in Feb? LOL...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Yeah, I've done it again. Switched wips. I ran out of steam on my fireman story so I'm reverting to the story I was writing for NaNo 2008 which I actually like and was on a roll with. I only stopped because I reached my goal and had to get back to work on the sequel to Sweet Forever.

Thus far I'm up to 33241 words, so I'm nearing the end, but I have to get back to work. I'm still sick and dealing with sick kids. This cold really kicked us all in the backsides.

So, instead of gabbing I'm going to go and write.

Writing feels GOOD!

I finally managed to squeak in some writing time this morning -- and it felt GREAT!! I worked on "Queen and Assassin", still frustrating myself with the overabundance of dialogue and lack of narrative, but oddly incapable of changing it as I wrote despite my awareness of the lack.

Still... I wrote. Only 1007 words -- I wanted more, but ran out of time. I'll try for more later today.

In the meantime, my current total word count for JaNo is:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Was I Supposed to Write a Novel This Month?

The hall monitor caught me goofing off in the teacher's lounge. Actually, it was at the vet's office where I had to take my diabetic cat because, to use the medical terminology, he is "out of whack." Blood sugar too high. If only my word count were as high as my cat's blood sugar.

Was I supposed to write a novel this month? Uh oh. I seem to have fallen off the wagon and landed in a puddle.

Lots of personal stuff this month, but isn't that true of everyone? Writing should have been an escape from that, but somehow that didn't happen. Instead, the farther I fell behind in my goals, the more desperate I became. The more I pressured myself, the less I could do. I've got five chapters written and I've stalled.

The good news is that while writing my chapters, I laughed. (And I also burned a couple thousand calories on the treadmill.)

I earned some gold stars but there are too many voids. The interesting thing is that pattern of gold stars. It tells me how I work -- and how I don't work. When I get gold stars, I get them every day. When I don't get them, a whole week can pass by. That means I either work every day -- or I don't work at all. That kind of self-truth is pretty ugly but what it says is don't lose momentum. Keep going!

I need to forgive myself for failing to meet my own expectations, let it go, and get back to writing. This little check-in is a good thing (thanks, Marianne), because it allows me to adjust my goals.

What's done (or undone) is undone. But there is tomorrow to do more and to bring fresh hope to my book. So, my goal for the rest of the month (actually, I'll have to stop January 30) is to write 18,000 words.

Did I just write that? Can I erase it? Too many zeroes in that number.

Here I go again -- starting to back down. But, oh yes I can do it. I grant myself a fresh start. And a fresh big fat number. All I have to do is Write Every Day.

Anne AKA smellshorsey, who appears to have give up but has not.


I suspect that there are a lot of words that will eventually be edited out when I rewrite Tango at Midnight, but by last night I was just over halfway to the 50,000-word mark. I'm tickled! I really wondered if I'd be able to pull this story out of my head this month but now that I've begun to write it is coming easily. No major roadblocks, writing-wise, although I do need to mull over one more plot complication. I can't let this couple find happiness too smoothly, can I?

Oh! Actual word count: 26, 201

Roll Call!

We are starting week three of JaNoWriMo and some folks are conspicuously missing, so I'm going to nag :-)

I warned you, didn't I?

Here are the folks I show as participants and the last time the posted a word count or progress information:

edeevee - 1/16
Keri Mikulski - 1/17
Jen of A2eatwrite - 1/17
Joanie - 1/15
Tiffany - 1/15
groovyoldlady - 1/12
Amy - 1/16
Charity - (videos, but no WC)
Ceri Hebert - 1/18
Karen - 1/7
Melissa - (excused *G*)
Kealie Shay - (MIA)
Sarita Leone - 1/17
Marianne Arkins - 1/18
smellshorsey - 1/7

If you haven't posted a word count, or at least a progress report of some kind since 1/13 -- the hall monitor is coming to get you. Just saying.

We can't support you if you don't let us know how you're doing. That's why we're here... in a group... on a blog. Right? Rah-Rah!!!

So, c'mon folks... let us know how you're doing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Weekend Check-In

Geoff and his friends are NOT BEHAVING. I am not pleased at some of the things that came off my fingertips this week, so Geoff has to go sit in the corner. Beginning tomorrow, I'm back at work on "Queen and Assassin". That'll teach my characters to think they have any say in the story.


So, my pitiful total word count is currently:

A Day Late

Not that there's much to report. I haven't put out more than 1200 words since the 14th. I got slammed with a horrible cold and it's all I can do to speak coherently, never mind write anything that makes sense. I tried going into work on Friday, didn't make it much past 9am and tried again yesterday but called it quits at 1pm. Not great.

Anyway, I have the next two days off. I'm going to try to get lots done. I'm shocked that we're past the halfway mark for the month. EEEEKKKKK.

Everyone have a wonderful day!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This weekend's motivational video: how publishing really works

You can thank me later.

Seventh Inning Stretch

The only thing missing from the above pic are crumpled up tissues scattered all over the floor. :) 

Back to bed, but plugging along with PINKED and my new WIP.    

Have a productive weekend, everyone! 

Too Tired to Tango

I wish I could say I've got myself up to where I should be, word count-wise, by now but I can't. I'm giving it a good go but honestly I am pooped. Clearing snow, hauling firewood, caring for my husband...between all that I have been feeling physically, emotionally and mentally drained.

Still...I'm poking along. And you know what? The hour or two I manage to pull out of the day so I can work on Tango at Midnight is, easily, one of the best bits of the day. I feel more myself than almost any other time when I'm writing. Weird, isn't it? But true.

So, my JaNo novel is woefully behind but it is truly bolstering me when I need it most.

Oh? Word count? 14,973...and each word feels like a step toward normalcy in what is a very unusual time for us.

Happy Saturday!

Saturday check-in

I'm sort of middle-mired myself, but then my characters pull me in a new direction. The protag and her mentor are about to have a face-off that I thought was going to happen much later in the story, but they're already getting on each other's nerves. Just as well - they were both becoming too settled in their routines.

I'm still on target with the word count:

I really think it helps that the rest of my life is kind of out of control and this is a major outlet for me right now.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This Just In: Slackery Slacker Slacks!

I know. I was shocked too ;^/

After picking up speed last week, I only managed a little over a thousand words for this whole week. On top of that I failed in my commenting duties too. And you don't want to see the condition of my hall floor. I'm blaming it on the cold.

And promising to start trying anew ... tomorrow.

Mired In The Middle

I have been very quiet here because I've been posting NEGATIVE word counts, and, frankly, that's just embarrassing.

Part of the problem is that I'm finishing a book, so I've already got a nicely put-together first half, and as I'm writing the second half, I'm having to go back and, you know, DELETE things. The middle has been very bloated and a bit unfocused (so when you read a tightly written, focused, exciting, book middle, write a note and thank the author profusely...she probably worked very hard to make it that way), which makes it tough to move forward in the last third, but I've been recombining and paring down scenes for the most impact and the writing is stronger for it. The book is stronger for it. The characters are stronger for it. The STORY is stronger for it.

So I have something like 46,446 words to make the JaNo count, which turns out to be 2,903 words/day. Not impossible, but improbable. Though only about 20,000 of that is the current story. I tend to blow through the opening chapters in a new story, so if I can FINISH this one, I might have a chance.

But I wouldn't go to Vegas on those odds.

Of course, after yesterday's word count of -247, there's nowhere to go but up, right?

Learning Quirks

I had an epiphany yesterday. I've really been struggling with "A Jewel for Geoff" and I couldn't figure out why. I have the basic story in my head. I know the ending. I have a couple dozen scene ideas. I did all the pre-work. So why is getting the words down so difficult?

Two days ago, I cranked out more than 1,000 words on the novel I just submitted. Just a quick scene addition that slid fluidly into place with no real need to edit elsewhere (thankfully), but that added the reason for another--very necessary--scene to have happened. It was easy. I did it in a matter of minutes. It has drama and emotion and a little goofiness, and it rolled off my fingers.

So, why was that so easy, and writing AJFG worse than pulling teeth?

Because I knew those characters inside and out. Knew them, their motivation, their thoughts.

Because, despite having written about Geoff in "One Love for Liv", I didn't really get to know him. I knew he was a stuffed shirt with a good heart, but not much more than that.

Today, I'm writing miscellaneous scenes with Geoff, something I should have done before I started. I like to write scenes with my characters doing a day-to-day task (for instance, in the novel I submitted, I wrote a scene with my heroine vacuuming the floor of her new apartment, and in another WIP, I wrote a scene with my heroine taking a shower and getting dressed for work) Sometimes they get used in the actual work (the shower scene did) and sometimes they don't (the vacuuming scene didn't). But they all have the power to show me small things about my characters. No one showers the same, or even vacuums the same. No one grocery shops the same, washes the car, folds the laundry, or grooms the dog the same. We all have quirks.

So, now I'm off to write about Geoff doing... something. I think I'll put him in his condo, but I'm not sure what I'll have him do. He's quite fastidious, but I don't imagine he does his own cleaning. OTOH, I picture him as being embarrassed at having the place a mess for the maid, and may clean up before she arrives.

Hmmm.... See -- already learned something new.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

new day, new information

My daughter is starting a college short story course this week. Her first assignment was "what is a good story." She asked me to tell her. While I could give her my ideas right off the top of my head, what for me constitutes a good story, that wasn't exactly what the I believe her professor planned. So, I put it back to her. I began interviewing her, made her think about stories and novels I knew she liked, and had her come up with her own list of what makes a good story in her reader's world. I wasn't surprised that what she ultimately came up with was nearly identical with what I felt myself. She's grown up in my world, after all, so of course our ideas would mirror each other. But more importantly, her answers were universal, because a good story is a good story because it has all the elements reader look for in a timeless work--regardless of the genre.

Here's her list. For her, a good story--
  1. ends in an action that keeps the characters alive, and keeps her thinking about what likely happened after she's run out of pages and closed the back cover.
  2. breaths life to everything relating to the work, and keeps a reader believing long afterward.
  3. offers a full sensory experience, with all five senses addressed throughout each scene.
  4. offers a valid conflict, with characters relatable on some level to the reader.
  5. shows change in the character, as no one can go through any level of conflict without changing in some way.
  6. gives a beginning that hooks a reader, a middle that keeps the story going at a strong pace, and an ending that not only gives climax, but offers satisfaction and believability. The ending doesn’t have to be “happily ever after” but it must show the characters acting true to the way the writer has portrayed them throughout the story.

Call me an indulgent mom, or a writer who wants to share market information with her peers. But most importantly, I am a happy writer who sees that even a young college student can see the things I try to put into each of my works, and looks for those same things in the works of others. The only thing I would add is:

7. Provides surprise(s) for the reader.

Other than that, I'm running slow but steady with my JaNo project, having to fit in work that will hopefully bring paychecks soon, and help me pay my heating bill. But since it's freezing cold outside, I don't want to go anywhere, and that always helps me write. Especially when I can keep my warm laptop on my lap to fight the chill. Unless the cat wants my lap instead, of course.

Worse. Day. Ever.

Ever had one of those days when every word feels like a furball hacked up and you knew you'd eventually toss the whole day's work because it sucked so much? Usually I can get my words in the early morning - before my son gets up and the day starts filing with distractions. But it didn't happen. The words were slow, I was tired. So I only got in 600 words. Then another 400 while my son did homework after school and another 600 before going to sleep. My mind doesn't really work after 7:00 pm so the evening words were particularly horrible.

On the plus side. I got back on track this morning and completed my words early - yea!

Sorry to indulge in the whinefest.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Are We Hunting Wabbits?

It's so vewy, vewy quiet.... we must be.

So, I finally set my butt down today and wrote. Not on either of my JaNo projects, but I added a scene to my romance/mystery that I think helps make something that happens more reasonable.

The reason I opted to work on that was because it's ready for submission. So, I'll be double-checking the query and synopsis (ugh) and sending that sucker off soon. Probably tomorrow.

And then, I'll work on my JaNo stuff.

My current monthly (new word) word count is:

Only 42,704 to go!!! And, um... 16 days. So that would be (:::pulls out fingers:::)...2669 words a day.

Not totally undo-able.

How are YOU doing?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Checkin In

I know it's only Tuesday, but I thought I'd check in because it's been so quiet here lately!

I've been a bit distracted by sick kids, but I've managed to get a few thousand words a day out. That's a good thing. The more words the better chance this wip will survive to see the first round of edits.

My current overall word count is.....

Not too scuzzy.

Hope everyone is having a good week. I hope all this quiet means that everyone is writing writing writing!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Coming Soon: Actual Words

OK. A list to dazzle you (or not).

Good news:

The funerals are past.

The Christmas stuff is put away.

The hip is healed up (halleluiah!).

The hubby is well now and back to his regular work schedule.

I have a great idea for killing off a character rather unexpectedly. I'm thinking Jason's mom...That would leave him as a suddenly orphaned teen. Will the large, goat owning, homeschooling family next door take him in? Or will he be consigned as a ward of the State?

Bad news:

My computer (along with my w.i.p.s and my brain cells) is in the shop. I am using my in-laws' computer to check email and waste time on the internet.

I am sick with a nasty stomach bug. (Groovy is longing for "normal"!)

My floor is disgustingly dirty.

I suck at writing by hand.


So here's the plan: Get well, get the computer back, kill Jason's mom and report my meager word count, vacuum and mop.

In the meantime, I'm off to handwrite (ugh!) a Valentine skit and come up with a couple of kids' songs for our 4-H group.


You all are doing AWESOME, so KEEP WRITING!!!!

Puny Wordcount

Yesterday was pretty much a loss. I managed to get out a whoppin' 76 words. It's a little funny. But at least it was something. 76 more words than I had before. I'll admit that I slept til nearly 10am. We didn't get home until 3am, sans stepdaughter's luggage. We don't have this airport pickup thing down pat yet and she didn't get her bag off the baggage carousel and before we even knew that her flight arrived (really early) the unclaimed bags were removed. We couldn't find anyone to help us get the bag so we left without it. Road conditions were horrible all the way home, heavy snow the entire drive. Thank God for my mother's Subaru.

I get to go back down to Boston to get the bag on Thursday.

I'm taking a bus. I'm a real wimp when it comes to city driving, and no offense to anyone from Massachusetts, but Mass drivers are nuts.

Back to writing. Already I have a few hundred words. I'll have to make up for yesterday somehow.


I got sick and writing screeched to a halt. I managed a few more words, but not much. I definitely overdid the late nights and cannot do that anymore. Of course, that's my only real free time to write so my expectations for January have been dashed to say the least.

And now, a four book continuity that I was asked to write with three other authors needs to be brainstormed. And since that one is sold with a June deadline, the JaNoWriMo has to take a back seat until we get our ideas to the editor.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Inspiration in two minutes

Just in case you need a little inspiration this weekend:

Failure is not an option.

I'm late...

but at least I'm here! Yay!! I'm thrilled to be able to say I've finally begun my JaNo novel. Yes, at 3:30 am I sat down with my laptop and began to write. It feels fabulous!

I'm not going to give the long version here about how my life has been on hold these past...goodness, it's over a month now. Wow, I didn't realize it had been so long! Anyhow, I'm just going to say that due to a family illness I've been mostly away from my real life--kind of dealing with real life, if that makes any sense. I've missed being at my desk, doing "normal" things like having my brows waxed, doing laundry or walking out to collect the mail, but mostly I've missed writing. It's true. I can deal with the rest of it but not writing? That's been tough.

But this morning I began writing my January novel, so I have high hopes of life returning to some semblance of normal. It may take time, but at least I've got a story churning in my head, characters talking and plot twists developing so the wait will be easier to bear.

Oh? The title? Tentatively, it's called Tango at Midnight but that'll probably change. And my word count? I've got a lot of catching up to do but I've got 3,739 words so far.

Happy Saturday, everyone!


Since today is really accountability day for the week, I'll do my confessing now. As you're probably already sick of hearing (I think this is the third time I've said it in this blog) I started handwriting my daily work, typing it in the next day as my review. But since I kept editing down as I went, my word count has been "little" on an average basis, and my Type A'dness couldn't take it anymore. So, for the past two days my hands went back to the keyboard and I just let the words go. A lot won't be keepers, but it made me get to about 7000 words for the week at this point. I've written a little over 1000 this morning--now I'm going to go have coffee with a friend, and hopefully I'll be so jazzed when I get back that I can write at least 2000 more!

That's my goal, anyway.

But the real reason I posted today is to tell everyone about the best tool I have in my writing arsenal. That tool is really a person--my accountability partner. I live in Oklahoma, she lives in South Carolina, and we met while taking an online class. We've never met face-to-face, but we "talk" every day through email, and I could not accomplish half of what I do every day if she wasn't around for me to toss out ideas to, vent about things I'm irritated about, and share my joy when something goes right. In fact, I wouldn't be in this group without her, as she was the one who found out about JaNo and gave me the means of signing in. Thanks again, Anne!

So, if you want your writing life to improve, I recommend finding an accountability partner of your own. While this JaNo blog helps us this month, a regular partner will help you all the days after JaNo ends.

But you can't have mine! Anne is already taken!


My JaNoWriMo WIP screeched to a stop on Thursday. Why? My agent sent exciting revisions for an existing WIP, titled PINKED. So, on day ten of JaNoWriMo, I'm switching gears and digging back into PINKED. 

I wish I could work on two novels at once, but I can't. I can't even work on a magazine article and a novel at the same time. In fact, sometimes I can barely clean the house, parent, and teach one night a week when I'm in the middle of writing a scene. I think the two sides of my brain fight with each other or something. But, I'm wondering.. How many JaNoWriMos can work on two novels at once? And how do you do it? :) 

Happy Saturday! :) 

Saturday Check In

Since I won't be around later on in the day (I have a fabulous road trip to Logan Airport in Boston planned for this evening, during a snowstorm. Pray for me) I decided to log in my word count up to and including the measly amount I wrote yesterday (only 290).

Yes, I'm pleased. Nearly halfway there. I'm liking the story, I have ideas galore to carry me forth. I have to work today, but I'm bringing along my laptop and will type during my breaks (easier to do that rather than handwrite it and type it later.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and productive day!

Friday, January 9, 2009

end of the first full week

I'm not sure where all the time has gone. My work is moving forward, but I haven't yet made it into the full swing of things yet. The handwriting strategy I started with was satisfying on one level, but by yesterday my inner writing child wanted to see some real progress, so I went back to typing instead.

In between getting a new assignment from an editor I've been trying to get assignments from for a long time, getting a family member's medical problems resolved, helping my daughter prepare for another semester of college, and just getting over the blahs of gray skies and sinus headaches, I've steadily made JaNo progress on my story this week. So, while I can't say I've set the word count world on fire, I've kept the spark going, and that's the best news I can hope for and it keeps me motivated for next week.

Have a wonderfully productive weekend, everyone!

Saturday check-in on a Friday

Well, tomorrow is *supposed* to be check-in, but if this storm we're experiencing alleviates, I will be flying early to a memorial and family weekend, so it's unlikely I'll be able to stop by.

I haven't written today, and may not end up writing today due to a bunch of family issues, a headache, and just plain being exhausted (so exhausted, in fact, that I DUMPED my entire google reader - I just couldn't face catching up. I'm going to start fresh tomorrow).

My total so far is:

I'm happy with the progress, but am even happier with the direction things are going. My having those more abstract things to play with (the playlist, collage) seems to work well for me.

It's also been great to see how everyone else has approached this.

Happy writing, everyone. I'm not sure I'll be able to check in until Sunday or Monday. On the other hand, I may well be snowed in, so if we have power, I'll see you shortly!

If You Build It They Will Come

I'm writing. Finally. My word count is a trifle compared to some of you. I've only got a net of about 4,300 words since January 1st. But, considering it took me a year to write the first 11,000 words in this sucker -- 4,300? I'll take it.

Dialogue vs Narration

I frustrated myself this morning whilst writing in "Queen and Assassin" -- the 1000+ words I wrote were mostly dialogue. Now, I am not a proponent of long paragraphs of narrative, or overly flowery descriptions. Since I skip long, unbroken paragraphs when I read, I try not to to write them.

On the other hand, dialogue alone is not always enough to carry the scene. And, though I didn't want to slow down, go back and put more narrative in, I really needed to because I was having a hard time picturing what was going on. It wasn't as though my four characters (five, if you count the animal) were standing in a circle, perfectly motionless, and talking. I needed to really SEE the scene.

Still, it was terribly difficult. I do find that I tend to lean one way or the other as I write a first draft, and then must go back to add whatever is missing. What about you? Do you lean toward more narrative or more dialogue in your first draft? What do you find more difficult to write?

With the addition of this morning's words, my total for JaNoWriMo is:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another Writing Day Over

It wasn't quite as productive as yesterday. I wrote 2452 words today. Part of my problem was I was writing a heavy duty nookie scene and I had kids wandering back and forth (I really need that office). Sorry, but I just can't write a love scene freely when I have younguns around.

Still, not a bad word count. I'm not complaining. Got the nookie out of the way for now (this is a HQ Blaze type book, so there will be more nookie), but it's nearly 10pm and my hands have had it.

More tomorrow! Along with a total word count.

Word Count Is A Tricky Thing

Not only did I start late, but then I got sick. Bleah.

But that's not the biggest conundrum. My biggest conundrum right now is: from where do I start my word count? I'm starting in the middle of a book, so I figured pick a starting word count and build from there.

I did not count on the delete key figuring so prominently in my early efforts.

I'd originally posted a starting count of 26,461. Then I started writing, deleted 1,457 words and finished my day up only 413 words from the starting word count, but actually wrote 1,870 new words that day.

Well, they were all new words, so I think I'm going with that.

'cause I can, that's why. Marianne said the count was NEW words. NEW words.

Which would make my progress so far look like this:

Onward and upward, right?

Best Day So Far

Woke up this morning at 3:41 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. Stoked the fire, loaded the pages for LASR, fed the cat, fixed coffee and wrote.

This morning I worked on "AJFG" -- I really wanted to get the super-soaker scene down, and I did. I also decided that my sisters (that's them lining the bottom of the collage I made) prefer to listen to 80s rocker chicks, so spent my morning watching YouTube videos of Melissa Etheridge (from the 80s -- I loved her first album) and Joan Jett (did you know she covered the AC/DC song, "Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)"?).

So, when Geoff -- dear classical music and opera Geoff -- walked into the girls house, he was accosted by much screaming of lyrics. It was lovely.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Oops I Switched It Again

No, I haven't settled into a WIP yet. I switched yet again and am now working on hot fireman manuscript. The fantasy was coming along so slowly and I had no idea where I was going with it. Maybe something will come to me, but in the meantime I want to work on something worthwhile, something that I can actually finish.

So, despite the fact that my kids were home YET AGAIN because of foul weather and my DH decided to take the night off, I managed to eke out 3237 words.

Now my hands ache and I can't stop yawning so I'm calling it quits for the night.

Toodles all!

Write or Die


I earned my gold stars with two visits to Dr. Wicked, one while on the treadmill, where I'm writing this though I think I'm about to make myself seasick because I sway from side to side when I walk (I'm not going to call it a waddle but that word comes to mind). Can't say much for the quality of anything but I wrote nearly 2,000 words today -- the first day I've almost achieved my word count goal this month. Kind of sad but overall I'm glad. Will keep going.

If you haven't tried "Write or Die," you might like it. You put in your word goal and your time goal then press "write." Anytime you pause the screen starts turning pink, then will get red, then will play obnoxious noises. Today's noise was a crying baby. You can also set it to kamikaze where it erases your words one by when while you pause, but I'm not that stupid. I've found it's a really good tool when I need to be forced to write.

Now, if only I could figure out how to get off this treadmill..... Burned 156 calories. There. It's off. That felt good and will continue to feel good unless I make the mistake of reading my work.

Looking forward to reading about everyone's success and strategies.

Would anyone like to do a Vanessa Grant Writing Romance book work group after JaNo? I like hanging out with y'all and would like to continue after January.

Anne AKA smellshorsey

A new Energy

Admittedly I am behind, but I am still moving on. And, today, I felt I got a new energy. Hopefully I will still have it to continue after I get home from work.

I am behind in my words (ah, only a total of 5000 words - much to catch up with), but I feel my character is moving along.

It's Been A Week!

This is your friendly JaNoWriMo nag calling.

Has everyone checked in at least once?

Hope you're all doing fabulously!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Thanks, Charity and Marianne!

On Writing Wrongs, Charity gave a great tutorial on making a powerpoint collage.

So, finally, I got it.

Marianne suggested a great website for images:

And here's the result:

Done For The Day

All in all it wasn't too bad of a writing day. I worked on two wips and wrote a total of 3170 words. So my total is now.....

I've discovered that it's much harder to write a fantasy than a contemporary romance. Several times, as I struck out into cyber space for info, I had to wonder if I had flipped my lid by deciding to go this route. It's not too late to turn back but I'm actually curious to see how far I can take this.

Besides I've been getting all Mrs Robinson whenever I see a picture of Edward from Twilight. Yeah, that would probably freak my daughter right out.

Quick! Someone get me a picture of Gerard Butler!!

A Few Good Words

Still behind (I'm beginning to think that's my mantra). I had assumed that life would be back to normal in January, but I neglected to realize that rebuilding the entire LASR site and archiving the past years-worth of everything would still be going on.

I'm writing, but not as much as I like. And, I shift back and forth between works because Queen and Assassin is a highly emotional, fairly dark (for me), serious work. And it exhausts me. So I move to A Jewel for Geoff for a bit of fun.

My word count right now for the month is:

I plan on shooting for more today. I can't do a marathon website building day like I did yesterday (until I thought my eyeballs were going to fall out of my head), so I will write some.

I ended a scene in AJFG this morning, and started on Q&A. Fave line today?

A breath of time later, agony stabbed through Starrlyn—pain, but not her own. Death—but no one she knew. And the world wept as she lost consciousness.

And so the fun continues... ha.

Writing? Not So Much

Yesterday morning before work I only put in 671 words on my short story. And that was it.

For the entire day.

I decided to take the day off and read. I also ran around and did a lot of errands. Actually, I really didn't feel all that guilty about taking the break. I'm back at it this morning and already have 689 words down and still going. I have errands to do later today but I'm determined to finish this short story. I really think I can do it without a whole lot of distraction.

I could almost say that with a straight face. No distraction in a house with three kids?? Yah riiiiight.

Getting warmer . . .

 Have you ever heard that the more sleep kids get the more they sleep? I remember discovering that when I tried to keep Henry up late so he'd sleep in the next day only to find him awake even earlier than normal!

Since starting JaNoWriMo it seems that the more creative writing I do the more creative things I want to do.  This weekend I decided to carry my camera with me everywhere (a hassle because it's heavy and bulky and I'm lazy). I got lucky with a synchronicity of elements - the lighting was just right, the sky was dark and not the normal blah grey of the endless English winter and then, as a gift, a pair of riders appeared. 

Unlike some photographers, I rarely have time to wait for a picture. Most great landscape photographers are the ones who venture out at the crack of dawn and then wait hours for the perfect shot. If I'm out, it's at a decent hour and I usually have my dog with me - on the day I took this photo my son was with me too - neither child nor dog are known to want to hang around for long while I take pictures. 

I read an article recently in Oprah by Martha Beck where she advised to move towards things that make you feel good and away from things that don't as if playing "warmer, colder". For example, if you feel good after you've exercised - warmer! Drank too much and are now hung over? (Who me?) Colder. I must've needed to hear this message more than once because I'd downloaded a bunch of author interview podcasts from iTunes, she happened to be one of the authors and she said it again. 

Creative writing - warmer; photography - warmer; falling off diet wagon: colder; making word count for the day - hot!


Monday, January 5, 2009

Honesty Calendar

I am really six-years-old. I will do anything for a gold star. The more stars, the better.

I'm not motivated by public humiliation, the joy of writing, the excitement of finishing a project or even ice cream (since I was going to have some anyway). But -- a gold star. Now you're talking.

My friend Joan reminded me of Honesty Calendars mentioned in Vanessa Grant's Writing Romance book. These are calendars where you keep track of your real progress. Right there, in front of your eyes. It's either encouraging or guilt-inducing. I set the bar quite low so that it's encouraging unless I do absolutely nothing, and then I should feel guilty.

For 2009, I have two Honesty Calendars. One is on my desk for writing paragraphs or pages in my novel, the other is on my wall next to my treadmill for days I walked. I can't stand to see too many blank squares. Today was going to be a blank square on my writing Honesty Calendar. I couldn't stand it.

So I wrote. Not much. But I wrote. I got a gold sticker.

If I keep it up, maybe I'll get a whole novel.

And the best part is, that little piece of writing seems to have brought my excitement and confidence back. Now I'm all set to earn my gold star for tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I'll even write several chapters.

But the important thing is that I get my gold star.

Not even Pedaling

It started out great with the first three days seeming to keep me in sync towards the count, but the last two days I seem to have lost some of the energy. I've written, not much, but some each day. For that, I am thankful, but what I have written is not necessarily cohesive.

I will continue. At least attempting to get this pedaling up to speed. The story has wandered. The characters seem a bit lost.

Still Behind, but I'm Pedaling!!

Yesterday, everyone except the dog and I woke up cranky and needy... I didn't get much writing done in the a.m. because Sunday is the one day I can sleep in if I choose (no pages to load up for LASR). I slept in until 5:30!!

In any case, DH and DD took off to go ice skating for a bit, so I did do a little writing -- not as much as I like, but I kept having to refer back to "One Love for Liv" for details (the drawback to writing a sequel, I've discovered). I couldn't even remember what season Liv was set in (Sept / Oct in case you wondered).

This is what I have as of this moment (and not having written today...bad me):

Fave line from yesterday (and I wrote this on my personal blog to, apologies to those of you for whom this is a repeat):

Liv has just run into Geoff (much to his dismay). And she says:

“Geoff, I need advice.” She grabbed his sleeve and tugged him to the chairs that lined the wall, shoving him into one. “Okay, now pretend you’re a man.”

Ouch. That sound you hear is his ego deflating...


Moving On

My official word count thus far is.....

I really pushed myself yesterday, but it wasn't hard to do. Everyone seemed involved in other things and let me be. I'm hoping today will be as successful.

I've decided to work on my short story. It would be nice to get it finished too so I can do a "quick" edit on it and send it off somewhere. This also gives me more time to wrap my mind around the fantasy I really want to do.

Here's to a new week!

Better late than never

Today was our family's Christmas Eve celebration. It had been postponed on the 24th due to snow and on the 30th due to sickness so I shouldn't have been surprised when it started snowing this afternoon. Luckily everyone had made it to my house, but as we drove to Portland to have our annual family dinner at the Rhinelander, the snow seemed to pick up. By the time we were on the way home, everything was covered in white and we needed chains.

Needless to say I got a very late start writing. I spent the morning cleaning and talking on the phone to a guy who went to a rival high school of mine and who I had a huge crush on back then though he had no idea who I was. I found him on Facebook and he just happens to have worked where I'm setting my JaNoWriMo novel. In case you're curious, it's the Balkans. This is the second time Facebook has come through for me with expert research help!

After that phone call I couldn't wait to finally have time to write. Of course I had to wait 9 hours to finally get on my iBook, but the result was 2206 words. I'll be honest. I really wanted to start over at the beginning after learning some things this morning, but I didn't! I just made notes and kept moving forward. I'm pretty proud at my self-discipline over that. Usually I'm not that good! Here's my total word count:

Hope you had a great Sunday! Except for the teeth gritting drive home in the snow, mine couldn't have been better!

Out Of The Gate Late

If it's Monday morning....everyone has left (I hope. It's snowing as I write this, so there is the possibility I'm looking for my sanity under the sofa cushions because the kids are STILL off school) and I'm ready to get down to the business of words, words and more words.

My starting word count is: 26,461.

I've got a through-line chart for the story, which plots the different threads that weave in and out of the book. The chart is divided into four acts, and each thread has a complete arc across the entire story. It helps me keep everything straight as I'm writing each scene, which allows me to write the spine (rough draft) of the story faster.

It's been working well so far. We'll see how it does when I ratchet up the daily word count.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2 Steps Forward = 1 Step Back?

I'm still not adding much to my word count but I'm happy with the work I did today.

I had this moment of clarity about my project. I want my story to loosely (v. v. loosely) mirror Wizard of Oz. So I'm sitting there thinking about how to finish out a scene and it hits me that in wizard everything starts out black and white -- Dorothy's world is gray and blah and what she wants more than anything is to get out of Kansas and get on to something exciting. Well, my character wants something exciting to happen too, and she kind of sees her life as gray and dull. Then I thought, girl, you should use some of that imagery. I went back through the early pages of my story and inserted descriptions that are gray, dreary, blah. My hero doesn't realize it but the only color in her life shows up whenever the guy she thinks she doesn't want arrives on the scene. And then I finally realized what my character needs -- she needs to appreciate what she has rather than always seeking out a fantasy. "If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again I won't look any further than my own backyard!"

I'm not usually a very deep writer so it feels a little weird (and a little wonderful) to have this kind of insight into my story at this point -- like maybe I've grown a little bit as a writer. That felt so good that (after I patted myself on the back a few times) I looked over the physical descriptions and mannerisms of the main characters. I was able to add bits here and there to make them seem like their counterparts in Oz. It was easy to put the 'scarecrow' character in rumpled mismatched clothes and give him a scruffy beard, to have the 'tin man' be a little stiff, and the 'lion' to act shy and reticent (that sounds better than cowardly, right?)

The coolest thing though is that I can see this playing out within the confines of my plot. My scarecrow knows the right things to do when they are important but he needs to figure out how to not act like a goofball around my hero every time (brains). My tinman seems uncaring but it's really because he has the biggest *heart* of all. And my lion will go from shrinking violet to full-on blue haired vixen -- and she just might find the *courage* to tell her best friend where to stuff it before it's all over.

So. Word count schmurd count. I'm thrilled and excited about this project again! Yay!

Just Because

I can't let good writing time get away from me I'm moving onto my next wip.

But not before I made up a new collage for my Blaze like wip.

No, I don't know which one I'm going to do yet. Going to glance at them all and then decide. :)

Happy Dance of Joy

Just had to stop and shout to the world I'M DONE WITH MY MANUSCRIPT!!! I typed the lovliest words in the world "The End".

Well, I guess I shouldn't get too joyous. I still have to edit. The sucker came out to 91318 words. Yoiks!

No editing will be done today though. I won't touch it until February 1st.

Onward and upward!

Progress report

Made it through my goals of the past two days. I am NOT writing late again, however. While I made my 1000 words, they sucked, and I was miserable the whole time.

I did much better writing 1000 this morning and another 1000 this afternoon. I'm really looking forward to returning home on Tuesday and going back to my normal schedule for a few days.

new strategies

I'm trying something new--or rather doing something I used to do but stopped doing--this month as I write up my JaNo project. I'm writing each day's "new words" by hand, instead of on the computer, then the first thing I do the following day is type in the previous day's submission. The biggest reason I'm doing this is since I'm a freelance writer I've become addicted to using the Word Recount button--have it firmly available in the middle of my toolbar. This is important when I'm doing articles, so I don't spend more time "editing down" than I did "writing up" the article to begin with; but I've found I get a little too fond now of hitting that button to see "where I am" at the moment.

I used to write every first draft by hand, but changed that tactic as deadlines became more frequent, and writing on the computer became more comfortable. Even as I changed over, I knew I was missing the potential for having that quick edit when I moved my words from pen to keyboard. But I never realized what an addict I was to the Recount key until recently.

This fall, I was watching a morning program while procrastinating on an assignment and checking email instead, and the talking female head (don't remember which on it was) mentioned that during the continuous stock market dive she was continually checking the stock tickers and making herself more and more depressed as the day went on. While I don't get depressed by checking my word count (well, not enough to be concerned about), her words made me realize I was spending time stopping myself from being productive whenever I hit that dastardly little button. Worse, if I was near my daily goal, I would mentally start letting myself "shut down for the day."

Writing by hand also keeps me away from the possibility of checking email--or finding new reasons to research while I write (and become addicted to reading new sites that shift me over to other sites that let me click to other sites, and so on).

While I've always edited by hand (I just don't notice things on the screen that I should, and find things--especially repetitive words and phrases--jump out at me when I read them on paper), I'm finding this low-tech re-habit is kind of comforting right now.

That's not to say I'm writing any better. I've found that as I reread what I've written the day before, as I type, I tend to ax much more than I do when I'm just re-reading a previous day's work on the screen. Guess my fingers don't want to bother typing what I know will go anyway. And while I'm "writing" my 2000 word goal each day, I'm actually typing and keeping something between 500 to 1000. But that's okay. The editing I do now won't have to be done later. And I'm not throwing away these handwritten pages until the project is completed, so if I find I absolutely must have something I didn't give enough credit to during the first readthrough, it will still be accessible--if harder to find.

Best of all, doing the retyping the next day gives another deadline to keep me from straying off track. If I allow myself to only read the previous day's work while I'm typing, I'm not tempted to waste the morning rereading and editing a whole chapter.

It's only day 4, so I don't know if this new habit will be the best thing that ever happened to my fiction; but since my nonfiction has "deadlines", and my fiction has only "wantlines," if I don't find ways to make it have some kind of priority in my day, I just work on assignments instead.

Anyway, that's my life at the moment. Now I'll go back to reading about all of your more interesting lives. Love seeing all the collages, BTW.

Back To "Normal"

Well, after 24 (feels more like 39) days out of school, my kids are finally going back to school tomorrow. They've been out since the 11th of Dec because of the ice storm that hit us. And my DH goes back to work tomorrow. He's only been out since the 23rd.

And then I can get back to my normal writing schedule!!

I'm so happy!

Hope everyone has a wonderful and productive day!

Too Tired to Continue

Normally I'd be hitting my stride about now, but the last couple of nights have caught up with me and I need to call it a night before midnight strikes. My word count for today is 1931. I was hoping for more since we'll be celebrating our twice delayed Christmas Eve celebration with my family. Oh, well, there's always tomorrow night!

Hope the words are flowing for everyone on Sunday!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Notes from the last couple of days

Current word count: 4011, but I haven't written yet today. That's next.

I was hoping to come on here and be inspired and I was. I think it was Ceri or Keri, but one of you mentioned how nice it is writing in this manner and getting such wonderful support. I so second this! It's just a great place to visit at the end of a long day.

I played around way too late with a collage last night. I didn't like any of the images I found and power point was driving me crazy, etc., etc.

I really like the collage idea. Tonight, as a reward if I make at least 1000 words, I'm going to start gathering images for an old-fashioned cut and paste collage, which I'll make when I return to MI on Tues. Then I'll take a pic and post it. ;-) I'm such a techno whiz kid.

My mother asked me this evening what my story was about. And I told her. And I'm now thinking maybe I need to rethink some of my plot twists. It also pointed out the places I'm really unclear on. Those were the points where I'd be in the middle of explaining a detail and my eyes would glaze over and I think I probably went slack-mouthed and started saying, "Um, uh."

I'm worried I may have more of those than I realized.

I'm writing this draft in a linear manner. I never do that. I'm going to write out of sequence tonight and see how that goes.

I'm giving myself all these "treats" to write tonight because I am a MORNING writer and I'm so darned tired right now!

But I'm going to write.

Happy writing!


I've noticed that everyone who has posted a collage and a playlist has also completed more words than I have. Clearly, this lack of playlist/collage is at the root of my writing problem. I spent large blocks of time today ameliorating this situation.

My Playlist:

1. Somewhere Over the Rainbow -- Judy Garland
2. Geek Love -- Fan3
3. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots -- Flaming Lips
4. The Blizzard of '96 -- The Walkmen
5. Stuck In a Moment -- U2
6. Head Over Heels -- Tears For Fears
7. Suddenly Everything Has Changed -- The Postal Service
8. Over the Rainbow -- Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
9. Anyone Else But You -- Moldy Peaches
10. Somewhere Only We Know -- Keane
11. Four Leaf Clover -- Badly Drawn Boy
12. Rockin' the Suburbs -- Ben Folds
13. Somewhere Over the Rainbow -- Israel Kamikawio'ole

And my collage:

Any minute now the words will start to come, right?

slow and steady wins the race--right?

Plugging along. I know I have a great story, and I have all the research anyone could hope for--probably too much. I'm in awe of all of you who have put collages together. I'm afraid if I got started doing that I would never get back to my writing.

My big problem is I'm trying to write this by the seat of my pants. While I know others who do this, I really need some structure. I know the big picture, but I don't know the different avenues I need to travel down. I keep trying to do my synopsis each day--then tell myself how bad it is and hit delete!

I listened to a Vanessa Grant mp3 last night, and I'm trying to take her advice and just focus on the "big conflict," but since I'm writing thriller instead of romance, I'm still having difficulty keeping it down to "just the facts, ma'am."

Sigh... It will get better, I know. At least I'm getting my outside work done and turned in, and still getting at least 500 good words written on my project each day. The synopsis will come. The synopsis will come.

Yes, I know I probably should have completed the synopsis before I started JaNo. Sigh...

Widget Thingie

No too bad. Still got a ways to go before this story is done though. Then it's off to Fantasyland!

Or really hot firemanland.

Haven't decided. But if it's really hot Firemanland then I'll have to do a new collage. Might be worth it just to do the collage.

Running Late... As Usual and WC

I haven't contributed much to the discussions lately... sorry! Aside from health issues I just wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do. I have an idea that started with NaNo and just petered out when other stuff interrupted. I had a hard time making the time to sit down and write. Soo... I wanted to keep working on that one. So far, this is my word count widget:

We'll see if I can keep up when I don't have holidays to try and work around.

Honeymoon Phase

I made it! I didn't cheat and I chanted my mantra. And now I'm loving the feeling of doing this JaNoWriMo together. :) Writing, at times, is such a solitary process. 

Right now, I'm in the honeymoon phase - completely and utterly in love with my idea. But, as I approach the 25% mark, I know the stage of 'something or someone isn't going right with the story' is looming around the quarter bend.  

Does anyone outline? I did, my first pre-outline ever, while I waited for January 1st.. But, the story is taking on a life of its own and inspirations turn events. Does this happen to anyone else? Happy Saturday! 

Stand and Deliver

You know you are in for a difficult writing day when you try to clear your mind and find that Adam Ant has taken up residence there.

Just sayin' is all.

Word Count, Day 3 + Collage part deux

I've decided to lump together the words from both stories into one nifty widget. I worked on both this morning, so my total word count for JaNo is:

To be on track, I should really have 4838 words today... but I can still catch up. I have high hopes that once DH is back at work on Monday, and DD is back doing school, and things are just basically back to normal, I will have more uninterrupted time to write.

And, I did a collage for A Jewel for Geoff:

I love collages, but they are a serious time suck. Still... it's done. And it helps organize my thoughts. Yay.


I'd written up to a scene I'd written two years ago - but where was it on my computer? I finally found it (note to self: find new file naming strategy) but then couldn't open it because I'd written it in Appleworks on my old Mac G5. I became obsessed with opening the file because I knew that I could just rework the scene a little and my word count for the day would be done. Plus, the scene was great - I just knew it - in fact it could be the best scene I've ever written, if only I could open it.

I trolled around the Mac Appleworks forum but the discussion was far too techy for a mere mortal such as myself. Was it really that hard to convert old files? More panic - had I lost everything I'd ever written in Appleworks? Sure, I had hard copies. Somewhere. I think. But I hadn't moved them to the UK because I had everything on my laptop. Ughhhhh.

I eventually read that old Appleworks files could be opened using Pages and it was SO simple. Yea! I finally re-read my brilliant scene only to find it wasn't quite as great as I thought. In fact, aside from a few description lines, I couldn't use it at all. I had to write the whole scene from scratch after all. So much for shortcuts!

Do you have a good file naming strategy? How do you keep your chapters/books organized on your computer?

2361 Words

Not as many words as yesterday, but no complaints. I didn't start writing until later this evening. At first it was like pulling teeth. I finally picked up steam around 11 pm. Thank goodness because I feared I might only have a couple hundred words because things were going so slow.

I'm really struggling to turn off my internal editor. I spoke on the telephone with my critique partner, Virginia Kantra, this morning, and she had a couple really good suggestions about intensifying the conflict. But instead of going back and making the changes in Chapter One as I normally would do, I wrote them on my notepad and continued forward with the story. I do not want to go back at all until I reach the end.

At least that's the plan. We'll see how well I execute it!