Dec 19, 2008

Happy Holiday Hiatus

As might be guessed by the post title, I’m taking a bit of a break from writing for the holidays.

If I get some writing done, that’s fine. But I’m not expecting to and if I don’t I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

So, because this is my writing blog and I’m not planning on getting any writing done, I won’t be posting again until January.

I wish every one Happy Holidays, and I’ll see you again in the new year.

Dec 16, 2008

The Best Laid Ideas . . .

Um, so much for the great idea I had that was bugging me, I can’t remember what it was!

Just as well, I’ve pretty much decided that for the January Faux Nano, I’m going to make up my 50K word count by finishing the stories I’ve already got on the go. Unless a really great idea comes along to whack me across the back of the head, it just makes more sense to me to finish the stories I’ve started before going on to something new.

That could be why I'm struggling so much now that I'm close to the end - I have a problem finishing what I start when it comes to writing. Just take a look to the right where my WIPs are listed.

To be honest, I’m not getting a lot of writing done these days. I’ve been doing research to go back to school, the holidays are coming and right before Christmas we need to move the daugher and her fiancĂ© back home. Too much going on right now to focus on the writing.

I did, however, have lunch with a writing friend on Sunday and we had a nice chat about our works in progress and what we hoped to accomplish. She’d been on a hiatus from writing to take care of her sick husband, but he’s on the mend and she’s ready to get back to work.

I seriously doubt I’ll get my Nano novel finished by Christmas, but for sure I’ll get it done by New Year’s, even if I have to take my lap top to a coffee shop where people can give me pointed looks if I start playing games instead of writing.

Dec 13, 2008

Make It Stop!

God help me, I had another idea.

What I think is actually going on is it’s a plot by my Inner Editor to get me editing before I finish my first draft.

As I mentioned before, I added a section to the beginning but I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out. It goes on for a few pages, and then skips to my original beginning. Now I’m starting to wonder if I should keep the original beginning and incorporate the new part as flash backs as he regains his memory later on. Which, of course, would require editing.

And this isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is I’ve already got an idea starting to rear it’s ugly head for January (when I’ll be doing the unofficial Nano over at AW). Wouldn’t you know, it’s another space idea.

I don’t know where all these space/adventure/romance ideas are coming from. Maybe it’s my subconscious taking me back to when I started writing and my first love was science fiction. Seriously, I always thought I’d end up being a science fiction writer, that’s what I was interested in. Then I started focusing on fantasy, and finally romance.

However, looking back I see that the science fiction I enjoyed the most was Edgar Rice Burroughs, C.L. Moore, H. Rider Haggard and the more romantic Sci Fi writers. So, I guess maybe, in it’s own way, it does make sense.

This doesn’t mean I’ll be abandoning my paranormal or fantasy romance writing in favor of more science fiction based romance. It just means I’ll have to start writing faster to use up all these ideas.

Dec 12, 2008

It's Getting There

Yesterday I wrote a scene I’ve been wanting to add with my main characters up to their necks in hot water, literally. Who knew a bath could stretch out for so many pages, or so many thousand words. ;-) Today they get to move the action to the bedroom and in a couple of days (their time) it’ll be time for the MMC’s ceremony confirming him as heir to the throne and time for the antagonist to make her move. The end is in sight. Well, the end of the story, not the end of the writing. There’s still a couple of plot craters to fill.

After I finish the ending, which involves the antagonist poisoning the FMC and then leaving her unconscious body in the catacombs and the MMC has to find her before the poison kills her, I still have two major transition scenes.

The first takes place shortly after they arrive on the MMC’s planet and they discover who he is. At the doctor’s suggestion, they take him to places and show him things he used to do in an effort to jog his memory. It bodes to be boring, but it’s still necessary because I also need to work in the antagonist’s animosity towards the FMC and there needs to be a couple of subtle attempts on the FMC’s life.

The second takes place after he gets his memory back where he attempts to prove to the FMC just what a manly man he is. It has a potential for humour and it is, of course, where the first wedge gets driven between them.

Would it be too much to ask that I get this sucker done by Christmas?

Dec 10, 2008


I was bad yesterday. I had every intention of getting lots of writing in, but . . . .

The phone woke me before I was ready to get up, not one, but two telemarketers in a row. I know because when the phone rang twice like that I thought it was someone important trying to get a hold of me so I went downstairs to check the answering machine. While I was down there I had a bowl of Corn Pops, and while I was eating my Corn Pops I started reading the new Kerrelyn Sparks book (All I Want For Christmas Is A Vampire) I’ve had sitting beside my chair all during Nano and been manfully (womanfully?) resisting.

I didn’t even boot up my lap top until around 3 p.m. And then of course I had to do my daily e-mail and blog checks, which led to more reading. Needless to say, I got very little writing done.

The evening was somewhat better . . . I did get the opening scene mostly finished but it’s not a pretty sight. Some days I look forward to the day I get this done so I can start editing, and other days I shudder to think of all the work ahead of me.

Today I’m going to continue to fill plot holes. The only trouble is I keep finding more. There’s a couple of places where there’s a series of smaller plot holes that combine to make a plot crater. I want to finish the opening scene (which seems to be dragging out longer than I expected) and then keep moving.

I also have to come up with a name for my MMC’s planet, a name for the palace doctor and a name for the specialist who restores his memory. AND I have to give his brother a little more story. I thought about cutting the brother out entirely, but he’s integral to the beginning. I also have to work in a little more about the woman who’s after the MMC in the beginning - she could be a real source of trouble.

Is it just me or is this beginning to sound like the story that never ends?

Dec 9, 2008

Life On A USB Key

I wonder if the current low price of new lap tops will push the price of computer repair down?

My lap top is two (three?) years old. I have never had it properly cleaned. It is getting very slow. While I’m not worried about an imminent crash, I do worry about viruses and such. And it’s not like I’d be completely stuck, I do have a desktop computer I can use in a pinch, but it just wouldn’t be the same as my lap top.

I’ve read a couple of posts over at Absolute Write by people who have lost everything when their computer crashed . . . It’s a scarey thought. Probably 80 % of what I’ve written has a paper back up but the other 20% (the most current and better stuff) is all electronic.

I have 3 USB keys. Two 2 GB black ones that I alternate backing up my files onto(when I remember), and one red one that’s 4 GB that I have my whole life backed up onto: document files, photographs . . .

Once my Nano document went over the 25K mark I started backing it up every night before I shut down. Today I just realized that I haven’t backed it up since I hit the 50K mark. Oops! My bad!

Yesterday I finished the space pirate scene. They came, chased my FMC into the asteroid field, got chased away by a war ship, and my FMC was left in a crippled ship. Then I added a bunch of pages to where my hero comes to the rescue. I guess that would make him her hero, wouldn’t it?

And for your reading enjoyment, Mari Carr is offering a free read on her website: HERE I read it yesterday before I started writing and enjoyed it immensely. I really liked the way she resisted the temptation to drag out the ending like so many writers do with this kind of scenario.

Today, I’m tackling that pesky section I need to add to the beginning.

Dec 8, 2008


Saturday was a write-off, writing wise. Instead I spent the day out of town Christmas shopping and when we got home we still had the grocery shopping to do. By the time that was done it was pretty late and I was exhausted.

Yesterday I worked on the space pirate scene in my WIP, although I had to keep reminding myself why I thought this was a good idea. Yes, it does make more sense than the sabotage - not only does it explain what she's doing in the middle of nowhere with a damaged ship, it explains why she's so far off course.

I started out with the aftermath where my FMC’s ship is disabled but the pirates are gone. Then I moved back to the pirates attacking. Then I moved back to where she’s just left the MMC’s planet (which still doesn’t have a name) and is trying to convince herself she’s doing the right thing.

Also yesterday, I posted a piece on the Erotic Share Your Work forum over on Absolute Write. I’ve been participating in a weekly practice challenge, which has been a lot of fun. This week’s challenge was a scene involving two people meeting for the first time. Previous ones included: describing a kiss; touch; and describing a body part.

Anyone who’s interested in erotic reading, Samhain Publishing is offering a free story every day this month. You can either download it to print it out or read it online. The link for this is HERE .

Today I’m going to try and finish with the space pirates and then move on, or rather back, to finish the scene I’m adding at the beginning. Or maybe just finish the pirate scene and then treat myself to some reading.

Either way I expect to get some writing done.

Dec 5, 2008

It’s Getting Drafty

It’s still a first draft until I print out a hard copy.

I decided this yesterday while I changed over my sabotage scenario to the pirate scenario because it took a bit of judicious editing to make it fit. But it does make a lot more sense with the pirates, believe it or not.

I checked out my plot holes in my Nano novel yesterday and I wrote a few point form lines of what needs to happen in these places, just to get me started. It appears to have worked, because I’m back in the head space I need to be to get the thing finished.

While I was in this headspace, I started thinking about why certain things took place in the story and before I knew what was happening, this whole conspiracy scenario started insinuating itself into the story. Excuse me? Isn’t there enough going on without adding conspiracies into the mix? Apparently not.

I have even figured out a logical reason for the MMC to know why the Imperial ruby he sees in the market place has a flaw in it. AND it’s even makes sense that the ruby is there when you know that he gave the ruby to a woman who pawned it to pay for someone to sabotage his ship which gets him into trouble in the first place. So I guess the section I was contemplating adding to the beginning is important after all.

The beginning section is harder than I thought it would be, mainly because I like my MMC the way I’ve portrayed him throughout the rest of the book - kind, gentle, but stubborn as hell - and now I have to paint him in a more unfavorable light. I think maybe if I’d had that section in the beginning, I might not have ended up liking him as much as I do.

So I guess it works well this way after all.

Dec 4, 2008

Getting It Done

Repeat after me. The first draft doesn’t have to be good, it just has to get done. The first draft doesn’t have to get good, it just has to be done. The first draft doesn’t have to be good, it just has to get done.

Yesterday, on Absolute Write, someone posted a concern that the first draft of their novel was taking too long to write. From reading their post it appeared, to me at least, that part of their problem was that they were editing as they went along.

This person was also concerned that other writers produce first drafts that are 150K+ and are pared down through editing, while it doesn’t happen for them. You know what? It doesn’t happen for me either.

The first draft of my first novel was about 33K, a third of what it should be. I thought the story was complete, but afterwards I wasn’t so sure. It’s been languishing for a couple of years now and I think that I’m going to use that first draft as an outline and start from scratch.

Everyone writes at their own speed and in their own style. What works for one writer may not necessarily work for another. Maybe this guy should do less worrying and more writing.

Maybe I should do less blogging and more writing. :-)

Dec 3, 2008

Characters Gone Wild

My FMC starts out pretty strong and sure of herself (of course in the situation she’s in she has to be) but then she starts having all these insecurities pop up, especially when it comes to a relationship with the MMC. She was fine when he had no memory of who he was, but once he becomes a prince again, boom! Insecure city.

And my MMC . . . he starts out as an arrogant SOB, loses his memory and becomes a likeable guy, then regains his memory and kind of blends the two, with the emphasis on the likeable guy. But first he becomes a bit of an ass trying to impress the FMC.

And, to top it off, I’m stuck in a plot hole. My FMC is fed up with the MMC (see acting like an ass comment above) so she’s gone off to visit her friend on another planet. Now, someone on the MMC’s planet (which still doesn’t have a name) wants her out of the way, but I can’t decide whether they sick space pirates on her (she’s a trader so they could just tell them she has something really, really valuable) or if they sabotage her ship.

I already have most of the scene written using sabotage, but I don’t like the way it’s reading. It might make better sense to use the space pirates - they could damage her ship, she could end up off course, they can get scared off by a warship who doesn't notice her . . . Hmm, I’m starting to like that idea. Then, when the prince goes after her, he can commandeer the warship to help him search.

See, who says blogging is a waste of time? :-)

Dec 2, 2008

Nano Aftermath

With the excitement of Nano behind me I’m back to having to rely on myself for motivation to get the words in every day, and we all know how well that’s worked in the past. It does not help when your best friend sends you a link to a website that leads to a highly addictive game.

The game plan for December is: fill plot holes in Nano novel; start edits on Nano novel; finish one of my other WIPs. There’s a Nano thread on Absolute Write where people like me are unwilling to let go of the Nano experience and are keeping the spirit alive by having a January Nano. This will just be for our own entertainment and we’ll be on the honour system, but it’s something to look forward to it.

So far I’ve filled a couple of minor plot holes and managed to ignore my inner editor. I really don’t want to start editing until the whole thing is finished. Ahead of me are some major plot holes, the ending for one, which has the potential to run on for pages. I’m also considering adding a section to the very beginning that will help define the male MC before he suffers memory loss, for comparison purposes later on. The other two major plot holes I have are the section where the MMC is home without his memory, and how he changes after he’s regained his memory. There’s also a scene with my MMC and FMC in a sunken bathtub that I want to try to fit in somewhere. ;-)

Hopefully, these plot holes won’t turn into deep chasms, although I am finding out why I skipped ahead on these sections. They may be important to the story, but they’re pretty draggy to write! I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and get ‘er done.

It’s going to be a long month!

Dec 1, 2008

Things I Learned From Nano

Planning ahead, while not necessary, really helps. Even if the plan is all in your head.

It’s so much easier if you actually like the story you’re working on.

Gummi worms, while not a healthier snacking choice than chips or goldfish crackers, are a better choice because I tend to eat them slower and don’t eat as many in one sitting.

While I’m able to work on more than one WIP at a time, I make much better progress if I focus on one project until it’s done.

My mind does not work on a linear track.

I prefer to write the first draft in single space rather than double spaced.

I can do anything I set my mind to.

I think the most important thing Nano has taught me is to not give up. When the going got tough I didn’t give up or work on something else because this was the story I was going to win with. Working on something else would be just as bad as not working at all. So even when I felt the story wasn’t there, I persevered and pushed through it. And in the end I think the real win was that I finished what I started.

Nov 29, 2008

Nano, Day 28 & 29

I actually passed the 50K mark late Thursday night, so I’ve really been a Nano winner for a couple of days now. :-)

Yesterday I started plugging up some of the plot holes and added another 1500 words, and I’ve got more holes to fill. Not sure how long this novel is going to be, but I’m going to keep at it until it’s done. Then, while I’m in the process of editing it, I’ll start working on something else.

Today I logged onto the NaNoWriMo site and validated my word count, which entitled me to download a couple of spiffy icons and print off a certificate which I will hang on my office wall as soon as I get a frame for it.

I’m actually sorry Nano’s done, but I’ve learned a lot about myself and my writing habits and I’d like to think I’ll keep going. They say it only takes 14 days for something to become a habit, so that means the habit must be doubly set in after 30 days. Which means, I have no excuse for not writing 2,000 words a day.

Maybe I’ll just have to pretend that every day is a Nano day.

Nov 27, 2008

Nano, Day 27

I’m driving myself crazy.

Yesterday I had a really hard time buckling down to the writing. Maybe it was my mood, maybe it was the weather, maybe it was just the cosmic alignment, I don’t know. All I know is I couldn’t seem to concentrate.

I’d plug away for awhile and then check my progress and be appalled at how little I’d done. Then I’d go back and read some of what I’d written and think “Ew, how could I ever write such drivel?” *sigh*

Then I’d plug away some more and thought I was finally making progress, but when I checked at about 1 a.m. I was shocked to see that I hadn’t even passed the 1,000 mark for the day. Finally I skipped ahead to the scene where my female main character’s ship is dead in space and the male main character has to rescue her. It started out as just a filler, but now it’s become important ‘cause it’s given them both time apart to get their priorities straight. Well, his priorities anyway. She still has issues.

In the peaks of my creativity I write entire scenes, in the lulls I try and go back and fill out the stuff that comes in between. Actually, the lulls are sometimes caused by trying to backfill the holes in the story.

Some of what I was reading tonight was pretty good, a lot of it wasn’t. But I still like the story and I can almost say I’m looking forward to editing it into something readable.

Nov 26, 2008

Nano, Day 26

I remember my first Nano. I had a good idea, I knew where the story was going, I had my characters more or less figured out (well, they had names anyway). I had a well thought out outline and though I tended to jump ahead to the more interesting parts, I still pretty much stuck to the outline. I ran out of story before I ran out of words, and I’m still trying to edit that sucker. I may just start over from scratch. I still like the basic idea, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Recently I came across the original prologue and it’s a much better fit than the new one. In fact, it’s long enough that I might dispense with the prologue altogether and just use it as chapter one.

Last year I attempted Nano. I had what I thought was a good idea and I booked a week’s vacation in the middle of November. I wrote 2,000 words and then stopped. In retrospect, what I had was a good beginning for an idea. It needed a lot more developing before it was going to go anywhere.

This year, I almost didn’t sign up for Nano. My writing was floundering and I didn't think the extra pressure from Nano was what I needed to pull me out of my slump. I was working on three different projects simultaneously and my progress just seemed really slow. The two weeks before Nano I was hard-pressed to even update my blogs, let alone get any other writing done. There was this story that was stuck in my head. Every time I tried to write something this story would rear its ugly head in my mind and demand my attention.

I tried to ignore it but the problem was it was a good idea. It kept revolving in my head, refining itself until I knew the whole story from start to finish. I knew the characters and their motivations, I knew their flaws, I knew exactly where the story was going and how it was going to get there including the obstacles my characters were going to encounter.

After two weeks of not writing, I was leaning more towards not signing up for Nano. I just couldn’t face more failure. And then I read a post on Absolute Write that changed my way of thinking. The thread asked the question, “Is Nano a good idea for beginning writers?” The answer was illuminating (at least for me). I wish I could find the original post, but in a nutshell it basically said that writers often have to work under tight deadlines and Nano is a good way of testing yourself.

I want to be a writer. Nano is making me feel like one.

Nov 25, 2008

Nano, Day 25

I must admit today's wordage wasn't as good as it's been lately.

In the morning I did a thorough house cleaning and in the afternoon my daughter was home for a job interview. I didn't even crack my lap top open until late in the afternoon, and then didn't start any writing until the evening when my daughter went to a friend's house to watch NCIS. Truthfully, I didn't really get going until she went to bed at 11.

So, I only did about 1,000 words today, but that's okay. I'm still ahead of the game and any words are better than no words.

Now that I'm so close I don't think I'm going to update my Nano counter again until I'm ready to use the Nano validation to become a winner. I've seen the little web badges and I wants one!

Nov 24, 2008

Nano, Day 24

Okay, I can definitely say I’m not going to run out of story. In fact, if I have the time once I reach the 50K that makes me a winner, I have a section at the beginning I need to add.

I started today as I normally do, checking my e-mails and my blog list, and then I sat at my desk staring at my document, fingers poised over the keyboard and . . . nothing. I reread the last section I wrote yesterday and . . . nada. I stared into space for a while and . . . zip, zilch, nil.

So then I logged into Absolute Write and started checking out the forum and after checking out the new posts I participated in a word war with some fellow Nanoers. This is where we pick a mutually agreeable time to start and then write as fast as we can for 30 minutes. Afterwards, we post our word counts.

The idea behind this is to give ourselves (and our writing) a little boost and for me it worked well. I wrote just under 900 words in my thirty minutes. Not only did it give me a jump start, I kept going and reached the 45K mark just before supper.

I’m turning into a regular writing machine, go me!

Nov 23, 2008

Nano, Day 23

Well, in spite of grocery shopping and girl’s night yesterday, and Christmas shopping today, I made my 43K. And before midnight too!

Let’s see, my female main character has recovered from her illness and my male main character has developed a real stubborn streak, especially when it comes to recovering his memory (he doesn’t appear to want to remember).

He’s lured my poor FMC to a barn, of all places, for nefarious purposes, and just when they thought it was safe to relax in the afterglow, someone sets fire to the barn. They escape, but there’s still the question of who set the fire and why.

I managed about 500 words before shopping this morning, and the rest this evening. Despite the volume of the television, I was able to focus and just get it done. I think this deserves coffee cake and ice cream!

Nov 22, 2008

Nano, Day 22

Yipee! I passed the 40K mark! The goal for this weekend is 43K by the end of Sunday. A little less progress than I’ve been making but I’m factoring in the grocery shopping today, a girl’s night out tonight, and Christmas shopping tomorrow.

Wow, I’ve got a lot on the go this weekend. It will be interesting to see if I’m able to reach my wordage goal and how late I have to stay up to make it :-)

My characters have reached his planet, which still doesn’t have a name. She’s been sprung from prison and is recovering nicely from her life-threatening illness. They’ve been reunited in his former home, and he’s beginning to show his stubborn streak regarding his memory loss. They've met what's left of his family and she's just given them a run-down on how they met.

I am no longer worried about running out of story before I hit the 50K mark. I think I’ll still be adding words even after Nano ends. If that’s the case then even when the pressure’s off, I'd like to stay focused until I get this finished.

I owe it to myself to see where it takes me.

Nov 21, 2008

Nano, Day 20 and 21

I am becoming more focused on my writing than I’ve ever been before. It’s a strange, yet good feeling. Even when sitting with my lap top in front of the T.V. I keep adding a sentence or two at a time, slow but steady progress.

When I get to the bottom of a page I check my word count and I always think “I’ll just keep going to the next thousand and then I’ll take a break” and by the time I reach that thousand I’m in the middle of a scene and then I don’t want to take a break until I finish that scene.

Yesterday’s words came in dribs and drabs, but I kept at it despite the fact I’m back to feeling sick again. There’s nothing more distracting than your intestinal tract writhing inside you when you’re trying to write. However, I persevered and ended my day about 2,000 words ahead.

Today my goal is to break the 40K mark. Already I’m further into this book than I’ve been ever been with any of my other attempts at novels. It’s a good feeling.

Nov 19, 2008

Seriously? It’s Wednesday? or Nano, Day 19

I thought yesterday was Wednesday. Of course I thought Monday was Friday. It’s easy to lose track of the days when you’re a practicing hermit. I see I also forgot to post yesterday.

Nothing much to report, other than the steady increase of words. My main characters have reached his planet, which still doesn’t have a name. I suck at naming planets. The last planet they were on was Sigma Alpha IV, which I think I stole from Star Trek.

My female main character is in a real skanky prison, my male main character is else where, kept prisoner with kindness. I am in the process of getting them back together.

The writing has been going so well lately that I actually got to bed early a couple of nights in a row, however, I still ended up sleeping in. Yeah, I know, poor pitiful me. The thing is, if I get more than seven hours of sleep I end up more tired and head-achy than if I don’t get enough sleep. So, I give up. Until the end of Nano I will bow to my body’s desire and stay up that extra hour to watch Star Trek (original series). I mean, to write.

I’m back to the whole - am I going to run out of story before I run out of words thing. I think it’ll be close. It’s taking them a while to find my female MC in the jail she’s in. There’s something a little underhanded going on and the man in charge of the jail is going to have to get his comeuppance. I think he might end up being the father of the woman who’s been pursuing the male MC romantically. Oooo! That would work out great! That’s how she knew Aleksandar was back at the palace . . .

*wanders off to include this new plot development*

Nov 17, 2008

Nano, Day 17

Am I driving everyone batty with incoherent, repetitive Nano posts?

Good. Insanity love company.

Yesterday I was taking a break from my procrastinating for lunch and I happened upon another Star Trek marathon. This one with different movies from last weekend. There’s something about Star Trek that’s conducive to writing because I made pretty good progress while I was watching.

At one point, early in the evening, I was conscious of being close to my daily word count but I wanted to “just finish this scene” before I stopped. Before I knew it, I’d not only reached yesterday’s word count, I finished today’s as well. Go me!

Slowly I’m learning to ignore distractions, like the television (I’ve been using the lap top in the living room a lot), games, blogs . . . I’ll open up spider solitaire, but then close it up again because I want to type just another few words first.

Dare I hope this will last?

Nov 16, 2008

Nano, Day 16

Well, I’m over the hump. I’ve passed the 25K mark. To celebrate, I bought myself a tub of Nestle French Vanilla ice cream.

I have stopped obsessing over the fact that my prime writing time seems to be after 1 a.m. I spend all day writing a word here, a sentence there, but come 1 a.m. I start to get serious and I probably write a thousand words between 2 and 3.

Why is that I can focus so well at that time and not any other? Yeah, I know I just said I’m going to stop obsessing over it (it’s not like I have any pressing need to get up early in the morning so it’s not the staying up so much, it’s the writing itself) but it would be nice to be able to generate that kind of focus at other times during the day. Just think of the kind of output I could have! It would make the difference between staying home to write and having to go out to work for a living.

The story itself is progressing well. In the beginning I tended to skip ahead just to get the word counts in, now I’m slowly filling in the gaps. The first 30 pages are more or less seamless now, and I’m hoping by the end of the day this will be the first 35 pages (I’ve got my document set for single, not double spacing) and they haven’t even got to his planet yet.

Hmm. Maybe I’ve just answered my own question. I’ve been skipping ahead to get the word counts in, and when I start my writing for the day I start to fill in the gaps. This could be why I get off to such a slow start. Gap filling can be hard work - it strains the brain. While it’s important to fill in those gaps, it’s more fun to skip ahead.

Today’s mission, should I choose to accept it, is to pay attention to what changes that allows me to focus when the writing is going quickly.

Nov 13, 2008

One Wave Short of a Shipwreck or Nano, Day 13

I’m having one of those days where I feel like everything I’m writing is crap. Even the sex scenes (which I’ve actually been really enjoying writing) sound boring and repetitive. According to my Nano Newsletter, this is called the second week slump. Apparently, I’m in it.

I’m feeling jusifiably proud of myself that I keep writing anyway. Trust me it’s not easy. As you well know, my normal reaction would be to go find a Fantasy Island marathon on television and forget all about writing. The trick is, to avoid going back to re-read what I’ve written. Yeah, maybe a lot of what I’m doing is crap. But there might be some good stuff in there too and I don’t want it to end up guilty by associating with crap and get cut.

See what I mean? Did that last sentence even make sense?

Of course it doesn’t help that my stomach is doing more back flips than a dying fish on a beach. ‘Tis the season to get flu bugs. Sorry, I don’t have time to be sick right now. I just passed the 20k mark for Nano, only 30k more to go.

I’ll make myself a deal. Five hundred more words (which will put me at 21k) and then I can go curl up in the living room for awhile.

Sounds fair to me.

Nov 12, 2008

It’s A Kind of Magic or Nano, Day 12

Despite my misgivings about the story lasting as long as the word count, I’m finding a magical thing occurring. I start what I think is just a minor scene, but it starts to stretch out. And it’s not just filler to boost my word count either. It’s important stuff that moves the story forward.

Be still my heart.

I’m also seeing places where I’ll be adding wordage when December rolls around and it’s time to start the dreaded editing.

The best part of all is, I’m still enjoying the story. I want to know “what happens next”. I haven’t included this minor conspiracy thread that I had originally envisioned, but it’s still there if I want it. The brother is turning into not as bad a guy as I’d figured; if I use the conspiracy thread at all he’ll have been coerced into it.

I used to think it was a dangerous thing, keeping a story in my head. My memory’s not what it used to be (not that it was ever great) and I was always afraid of forgetting the story before I could get it down on paper. But now I’m beginning to realize, for me at least, if I can work out the entire story in my head and it’s still in there when I start to type, then it’s a story worth remembering.

Which in my books makes it a story worth writing.

Nov 11, 2008

B12 or Nano, Day 11

I have a serious lack of B12 in my system. Most people do and don’t realize it, and in most people that’s fine. But one of the first things they check for (or should check for) with depression, is your B12 level. Mine was non-existent, hence the need for supplements.

You’re wondering what this has to do with writing. Well have patience, I’m getting to that.

One of the benefits of B12 is it's an energy boost. However, I have found that before I get the energy boost I get tired. Sort of like the water pulling back before the wave rolls in. If I take the B12 with breakfast, I get the energy sink just after lunch, but I’m fine late in the afternoon and the evening, which is when I’ve been getting my writing done. However, because I get such a late start to the writing, I end up staying up later to get what I’m working on finished.

I wanted to change this. I’d like to get my writing done during the day like a normal person, and then relax in the evening and go to bed at a normal time.

So the last few days I’ve been taking my B12 at supper time (you have to take it with food or it won’t be absorbed into your system). The energy sink hits around 11 p.m., but by the time I’m ready to go to bed, say 12:30 or 1, the energy boost has kicked in. Last night I was up until after 3, at which point I went to bed, but it was still a good hour before I fell asleep. There has got to be a happy medium.

I just have to find it.

Meanwhile, I’ll just keep plugging away between naps.

Nov 10, 2008

Groovy! Or Nano, Day 10

It’s late at night. The hubby’s in bed because he has to be up early for a bowling tournament in Toronto. I find a Star Trek marathon on the television to distract me from my writing. I have a cat curled up on the foot of my recliner. All of a sudden, I realize I’m paying more attention to my writing than the movie.

Insert open-mouthed look of shock here.

We’re not just talking any movie, we’re talking Star Trek VI The Voyage Home, my all time favorite movie. Is it possible? Could it be? I’ve finally found my writing groove.

It’s no longer about the word count. It’s about getting the story done. I keep getting distracted from my distractions by wanted to add just a few more words, finish that scene. One of the pep talk letters I received in my e-mail from Nano states: “. . . once you’ve established a daily rhythm of work, you’ll find it energizing and sustaining in itself. Even when it’s not going well.”

They’re right. Even when I’m having trouble with a scene I still keep plugging away, and eventually I work past it and before I know what’s happened I’ve added another few hundred words.

Persistence plus a whole lot of determination just might see me through to the end this year.

Nov 7, 2008

Nano Day 7

I was up until 3 a.m. again last night, but at least this time I made my word count. Today I been plugging away at it, but I’m still short by about 500 words. I’m hoping to get them done this evening.

I’ve noticed for a lot of Nanoers (Nanites?) that they tend to have low word counts during the week, but make up for it over the weekend. I have just the opposite problem. I can keep up the steady word count during the week, but the weekend is when I usually start to fall off.

I know why this is. Week nights, the hubby bowls two nights and goes back to the office the other two. But the weekend he’s hanging around the house a lot. He just doesn’t understand that even if I’m sitting here staring at the computer screen that he shouldn’t interrupt me unless the house is on fire.

I love you but I do not need to know who’s winning the car race or the hockey game, nor do I care about what happened at bowling this morning. You’ve just derailed my train of thought, for the twelfth time, and the track that train runs on is very fragile indeed.

Nano is turning me into a night owl. I’m starting to have a real problem getting creative until after the sun goes down, and the last couple of nights my optimum writing time has been between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.

Maybe it has something to do with the B12 I've been taking. I've been taking them with breakfast but maybe I should take them with supper instead. Then the burst of energy I've been getting in the wee small hours of the morning will be at a more reasonable time of day.

Hey, at this point I'm willing to try anything!

Nov 6, 2008

Nano, Day 6

I am determined to finish Nano this year.

This year I’m enjoying the novel I’m writing and I have it all worked out in my head, it’s just a little slow moving from my head to the keyboard.

You would think, being unemployed, I’d be making all kinds of progress on my Nano. Alas, such is not the case.

Yesterday saw me with a 100 word shortfall, which, considering I started the day 400 words ahead of the day is not a good thing. I think the saddest part is, it was my own damn fault. I piddled around and procrastinated, and then just as I’d get going I’d let myself be distracted by silly things (like the little old lady who goes for a walk around the crescent every day and bears a frightening resemblance to my Aunt Florence who’s been dead for years).

So then I ended up staying up until 3 a.m. working on my nano novel because earlier in the evening I started reading the archives of one of the blogs I’ve started frequenting. I probably could have pushed and done the extra 100 words, but, my God! It was 3 a.m.! What am I still doing up?

I’m not unreasonable. I’m going to give myself until the end of the week and if I have not reached or exceeded my daily word count then after checking my email and blog list in the morning I’m going to start unplugging the router so I can’t get an internet connection on my lap top. The idea will be that it stays unplugged until I reach my daily goal.

Great idea. If I can make myself do it.

Nov 5, 2008

Under Pressure

Never underestimate the power of peer pressure. Last night I participated in not one, but two half hour word wars on AW and I not only caught up to my word count, I exceeded it.

I have also discovered that my optimum writing time appears to be after dark. These last couple of nights I’ve been using the lap top in front of the television, and I’ve actually made better progress than I do during the day.

This is a good thing, really. Eventually I’ll be going back to school, and if not then I’ll be going back to work, which means I’ll be busy during the day and will only be able to write during the evenings. Might as well get into the habit now.

Only five days into Nano and I’m already worrying about running out of story before I run out of words. Oh, well. As I said to a friend this morning if that happens I can always just start adding sex scenes and turn my space/adventure/romance into an erotic/space/adventure/romance. ;-)

Nov 4, 2008

Track Time

It appears I’m well on the way to getting back on track writing-wise.

Yes, I suffered a minor set-back when my sister came to visit yesterday, but I got back to it last night and made some decent progress. I even managed to update my word count on the NaNo site, although I still can’t access the forums.

In between fits and starts of writing I’ve been sneaking over to the AW site to hang out a bit on the NaNo thread over there (no problem logging in here!) just to see how everyone else is doing so far. Some good, some bad, some you really have to wonder if they’re cheating when they show word counts of 10 or 15 thousand words after only 3 days. I know it’s possible, but still!

The hard part about Nano is to write and not look back. And if you do look back, not to fix what you see.

I was talking to the friend that I talked into joining Nano the first year I joined. I ran out of story at 33,000 words that year, but she completed hers. This year I’ve been making slow, but steady progress and she’s just figured out her plot. I’d let myself enjoy the fact that I’ve got the jump on her, but she’s probably going to end up kicking my ass again.

The point is, it takes all kinds to Nano, and it ain’t over until November 30 when the word counts are in.

Nov 3, 2008

Interpretation of Waffle Post

Did anyone actually get the fact that I signed up for NaNo from that run-on, back and forth post I made last time?

I almost didn’t, not because I kept changing my mind, but because it was so hard logging into the NaNoWriMo site. I don’t remember the last time I participated, but I forgot my password. Because the site is so busy the first few days it took me three hours to get my password reset.

However, my password is reset, and I wrote it down in my notebook of Important Logins and Passwords, and now I’m good to go.

By the end of day one I only had about 700 words, but that’s still 700 more than I managed in the last week or two. Yesterday I did much better and I even managed to update my word count on the NaNo site.

One of the nice things about NaNo is that it gives me permission to focus on one thing and one thing only. I don’t have to feel guilty about ignoring my other works in progress because this is NaNo! That’s not to say I can’t work on them if I want, but their word counts don’t matter in the larger scheme of things.

I think what surprises me most is, rather than feeling restricted by NaNo, as I’d feared, I’m feeling liberated.

Viva la NaNo!

Nov 1, 2008

Happy All Souls Day

If you’d like to read my Hallowe’en post on vampires, go HERE .

I have spent the last week, week and a half, writing a novel . . . in my head. This novel is complete from start to finish. I know the characters, I know the motivations, I know how it begins and how it ends, I even know what goes on in the middle. However, every time I go to write it down, my fingers lock up. It’s like I’m under some kind of magic spell that only allows me to think about writing it.

To date I have written down the name of the female main character (it came to me in a burst of inspiration), the title, and exactly one line of text. Right now the male main character’s name eludes me - in my head I keep referring to him as “Ape” because that’s what the crazy old woman who’s holding him prisoner calls him. The crazy old woman is not named either, and probably won’t get a name.

The sad part is, this is a good story. I just need to get it written down.

I’ve been waffling these last few weeks over whether to NaNo or not. I still am. Part of me says: “This novel is a sign. The reason you weren’t able to write it on paper is that it’s saving itself for NaNo” while another part of me wonders if I really need the pressure.

On the other hand, I read some of the replies to a post about whether NaNo is a good idea over on AW and one of the old timers brought up a very good point. Writers often have to write under pressure to meet targets or deadlines. NaNo can be a good test for anyone with the desire to write for a living.

Fifty thousand words in one month. That’s about two thousand words a day. Looking back in my posts I see that I was able to manage that kind of progress in the month of September . . . I have to wonder though, what happened to October?

On the other hand, this year is perfect for me. I'm not working, and other than getting the ball rolling so I can go back to school, I really don't have much on the go this month. I have the time, but do I have the inclination?

See what I mean? Waffling.

Sigh. I guess I’ll never know if I don’t take the plunge.

Oct 27, 2008

Cheese Anyone?

The weather (and my mood) have not greatly improved, but I’m working on it (my mood, not the weather).

The cheese I am offering is to go with all the whining from people who don’t know where to get ideas for stories. I’m sorry, but if you haven’t figured it out by now, then maybe writing is not for you.

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’’re doing it.”
~Neil Gaiman

Here’s what happens to me. My mind wanders. It meets someone. All of a sudden, that someone starts having an adventure, maybe even meets some more someones. Before I know what’s happened I have a full-blown idea roaming around in my head and it wants out onto some paper (or onto the computer screen). And it will continue to wander in my head, going in circles, refining itself, until I finally cave and at the very least write an outline for it.

Now this may sound all well and good, but it isn’t. Trust me on this. These ideas are persistent, and pushy. They are not willing to wait while I finish the piece I’m working on, they’re like spoiled children. They want attention NOW! And if they don’t get it they start intruding on my other writing; a word here or a phrase there, popping up where it’s least expected.

Even when I’m not writing, there’s always an adventure going on inside my head.

So listen, all you whiners out there. It could be worse. Instead of searching for ideas you could have so many they start leaking out of your fingers.

Now wouldn’t that make a good idea for a story?

Oct 23, 2008


I have the greatest respect for people who post on their blogs every day. Or maybe it’s a case of blogger envy. My life is just not that exciting. Take this week for instance. What have I done so far?

I sorted through and organized some piles of stuff from my office - not just back into new piles, but into storage bins that have been put away. My desk area looks so nice now! We'll just see how long it lasts.

Set up and cleaned up my desk top computer. Watched the snow. Watched the Africam. Went to talk to my career counselor about going back to school.

Very little reading, very little writing. And even though the weather’s been grey and miserable, I’m not going to use that as an excuse. It’s just the kind of mood I’m in.

Oct 20, 2008

Characterize This!

I was over at Absolute Write today and someone in the Writing Novels forum posted a thread topic about using character sheets. This person was told by an “experienced and published author” that in order to make a successful novel she needed to write a character sheet for each character. She then invited comments on the character sheet she came up with.

The sheet itself was a very long form. It listed everything from the character’s name to how they felt about crime.

I really wanted to reply to this post, but I couldn’t find a truly diplomatic way to tell her to stop listening to this so-called “experienced and published author” and start thinking for herself. Maybe character sheets are necessary for this author to be successful, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.

I totally agree with the poster who replied with: “If I were to take a character form and just try to create somebody from scratch by filling in stuff, I'd never end up with a character, I'd end up with cardboard.”

Think of your character as someone you just met. Do you need to know all that stuff about them to be their friend? No, you don’t. All you need to know is that you have something in common and the rest will be revealed as you spend time with them and get to know them better.

The only way I could see using a character sheet is if I was looking for a new form of procrastination.

Oct 17, 2008

Is It Friday Yet?

This week did not turn out the way I expected. Not writing wise, not any wise.

Today I couldn’t write fast enough - 2000 words outlining a new story idea that’s been bugging the crap out of me all week. I finally wrote it down to get it out of my head. Now I keep thinking of things to add to it. It’s going to be a space type steamy romance - not quite erotica, but there’s one scene that comes very close.

I added 700 words to Changeling earlier in the week, cut 1400 yesterday, and then added 850 today. I think that still leaves me on the minus side.

I didn’t get any work done on DIF, but I did add 1200 words to Magic.

Not great, but not bad at all considering this was both a short week and I spent most of it feeling sick.

Oct 16, 2008

Holy Interruptus Batman!

So, I’m sitting here, working on the very last sex scene in Magic. I decided to re-work the ending of the book because even though my main character has progressively more graphic sex with a series of phantoms, the one person she doesn’t have sex with is the guy she ends up with in the end. Not only does she need to have sex with him, she needs to wake up with him the next morning to prove he isn’t just one of her phantoms.

Anyway, I’m sitting here, merrily typing away, my characters are divesting themselves of their clothing, and in walks . . . my husband, with his octogenarian aunt. Talk about your bucket of cold water!

See, this is another good reason to have more than one WIP going at a time. I was able to quickly switch to a document without so much sex in it before auntie came down the hall to have a chat.

So, what’s the big deal?

Quite frankly, while I have no problem writing about sex and I have no problem with strangers reading what I’ve written, it’s a whole other story when it comes to family. Especially elderly family.

Yeah, I know, I’m a sad case. But there’s hope for me.

A few weeks ago I thought writing erotica was just too far out of my comfort zone. At this point I would have to categorize Magic as just that, and you know what? It’s been fun to write. So I’m sure that once it’s finished and sold I will have no problem with family seeing it.

But not until I’m ready.

Oct 15, 2008

Hump Day

I’ve been working on Changeling today. I still feel like crap but I decided I was going to feel like crap whether I got any writing done or not so I might as well suck it up.

I have to admit, I’m at one of those points where the story seems to flounder a bit. I’m sure that most of what I’ve been writing will end up cut in edits, but at least I’m pushing through.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After reading a lot of good books lately, I’ve started to wonder why I’m doing this - writing that is. There are so many excellent books out there that what chance do I have of getting published? Fortunately, most of these books have been vampire romances, and other than one short scene in Magic, I stay away from writing about vampires. As I said, too many good ones out there already.

However, today I started reading a book that isn’t a vampire romance, and to be honest, it isn’t very well written. If I were the author, I’d be doing some serious editing. There were a lot of preachy paragraphs (paragraphs where the author seemed more interested in preaching her world view instead of moving the story along) strung together and the dialogue was very soap-operaish.

And this wasn’t some low budget book either, this was a Silhouette Nocturne, the first book in a series. And the author has written many other books for Harlequin/Silhouette.

I think I enjoyed it all the more because it was so badly done. Woo hoo! There’s hope for me yet!

Oct 14, 2008


Remember how I said earlier in the week about how I was going to print out what I had of Driving Into Forever so I could take a look at it and figure out how to fix it? Didn’t happen.

I must have had a brain fart when I thought I’d get any writing done. It was the Canadian Thanksgiving, which meant I was pretty much booked solid. And apparently three days of forced socialization was more than I’m able to take, because I’m really sick today.

Actually, it’s my own fault for being sick. I hadn’t had anything to eat yet when I went to the in-laws yesterday so what was the first thing I had? A couple of deviled eggs. On an empty stomach. Have I mentioned I can’t eat eggs? I’m not sure if it’s an allergy or what, all I know is they make me sick.

The bottom line is, I got no writing done on the weekend, and I’m probably not going to get much done today. Tomorrow better be one hell of a good day.

Oct 10, 2008

Friday Count

I don’t know why, but I always think I’ve done more work on Changeling than I actually show in my word counts. Maybe because I’ve been taking my time with it. Hopefully, that means I’ll have less editing to do when the time comes.

Don’t worry, I’m not counting on it.

Driving Into Forever is still driving me crazy. I think part of it is my need to explain everything so much in the beginning. I’m going to print off what I have so far and then try to work out an outline of some kind.

Magic +16
Changeling +2367
Driving Into Forever +11,069
Total 13,452

Oct 9, 2008

Due to the Weather . . .

Yesterday was not a good day. Actually, this hasn’t really been a great week but yesterday was particularly bad because it was a cold, overcast, incredibly miserable day. My depression kicked in big time and to be honest, my husband was lucky I could even muster up the energy to make him supper.

I wandered around the internet for awhile, tried to get some writing done . . . read a new vampire book . . .

I did spend a lot of time in front of the computer with my other two WIP open. I skimmed through a little of Magic and changed the order of what happens next (I’ve already got the beginning and the ending done, in the middle I have a short, point form list of what else is going to happen). I wrote about 100 words in Changeling, deleted about 96 of them and gave up finally.

Here’s hoping today’s better.

Oct 7, 2008


There’s an icon out there that shows a cartoon figure sitting at a computer typing until their fingers turn bloody and then they start banging their head on the keyboard until there’s nothing left but a stub. That’s how I feel, except without the typing, just banging my head on the keyboard.

I’ve added about 10,000 words to DIF in the last three days, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s just not working.

So, rather than tossing the whole thing into the chiminea (which would mean printing it out first and wasting a lot of paper), I’ve decided to set it aside for a couple of days. Maybe I’ll print it out on the weekend to have a look at it - things always look different in print.

I guess the thing that bugs me most about this is that I’m not having this kind of problem with Changeling. I’ve been moving along at a slow, steady pace, and I really like what I’ve written so far. That’s not to say it’s not going to need some heavy editing, but I’m creating a good base to work from.

Magic is kind of all over the place right now. I’m thinking it needs something near the beginning that’ll make a reader want to keep going to find out what happens next. There was a short scene near the end that explains a few things and I may move it up closer to the start. It’s a stand alone scene, so it should work just as well at the beginning as the end. Hmmm, or maybe expand the scene and then spread it out, like use little snippets for the start of each chapter. That could work too . . .

Oct 6, 2008


Okay, I just couldn't resist this. I posted a quiz on my other blog and then I went back to the site of origin to try out some of their other quizzes and stumbled across this one.

What Kind of Writer Are You?

You Should Be a Romance Novelist

You see the world as it should be, and this goes double for all matters of the heart.

You can find the romance in any situation, and you would make a talented romance story writer...

And while you may be a traditional romantic, you're just as likely to be drawn to quirky or dark love stories.

As long as it deals with infatuation, heartbreak, and soulmates - you could write it.

Oct 5, 2008

Bleeding Eyes

I’m really starting to hate Driving Into Forever.

Okay, not really. The way the story starts out, there’s a lot of information that needs to be shared and I’m trying to spread it out to avoid an info dump. The problem is, it’s like the information is shards of lead and I’m a big magnet. It all wants to gather in the one spot.

Yesterday I worked on the same section (where my FMC learns where she is and what’s happened to her) until I felt like my eyes were bleeding. I kept changing my mind about what she was told and who was telling her and what she was shown and who was showing her.

All I can say is, thank God for cut and paste. I think I’ve got it pretty much straightened out now, but I’m going avoid re-reading it at all costs. Re-reading leads to changes which leads to eyes bleeding.

Today I’m working on introducing her to the rest of the characters she’ll be interacting with and it’s turning into another info dump. This is not good. It’s got to move the story forward, it’s got ignite the spark of attraction between my two main characters, it’s got to keep feeding that flame - Argh!

And the worst part is, I want to stick with this section until it’s done. I don’t have the urge to play games, I don’t want to watch T.V., I’m ignoring the siren call of my stack of unread books. All I want to do is write.

How scarey is that?

Oct 4, 2008

I Knew There Was a Good Reason!

Remember when I said I wanted to get all my writing stuff organized before I got down to brass tacks? Then, figuring it was just one more procrastination ploy I stopped organizing and started writing. I’m here to tell you now that it’s come back to bite me on the ass.

I had the urge to work on DIF today and I finally reached the part where I’m going to explain a little more about the mist they’re all stuck in. This particular section has been plaguing me since I first came up with the idea for DIF. I have to come up with a way to explain it to my female main character in such a way that it’s not just an info dump, is plausible enough to be believable, and yet leaves room for the FMC’s doubts.

One of the things that needs to be explained is what the different colours of the mist mean. A long time ago I was whining about this to a writing friend of mine who suggested I make up a poem or a nursery rhyme to explain the colours. What a great idea! Look at the origins of a lot of old nursery rhymes and you’ll see what a great idea it is. So I made up the poem on the spot. Only now I can’t find it. I remember seeing the scraps of paper I worked it out on, and I vaguely remember refining it and writing it down somewhere when I was organizing, but I have no clue where it’s gone.

You have no idea how irritating this is.


But, as tempting as it is to stop what I’m doing to look for the poem and get the organizing done, I’m not going to do it. Instead, I’ll leave a marker (okay, more like coloured text to mark the spot) where the poem is going to go and write around it. After the pathetic word count last week I can’t afford not to strike while the iron is hot.

But as soon as that iron cools off, I’ll be starting work on the organizing again.

Friday Update

Worked mostly on Changeling today. It’s probably a good thing when you keep plugging away at a story because you want to know how it turns out. The older brother and the best friend I was talking about yesterday have decided they might like bigger parts so I’m trying to oblige them.

The word counts for the week:
Magic +306
Changeling +2977
Driving Into Forever +2534
Total +5817

To be honest, I thought I did better than that.

However, when I think back on it, I spent one day with the heating pad on my back and another day sick. Add to that a few other things I have on the go and the books I got last weekend singing their siren songs and it’s actually surprising I did as well as I did.

Guess this means I don’t get the weekend off.

Oct 2, 2008

Pushy Characters

So, I was working away on Changeling yesterday, and my main character had to go talk to his brother . . . He’s spoken to this brother before but this brother has always been just a very minor character, someone more referred to than interacted with. Suddenly, this character starts intruding into the story. And now he’s pushing for a story of his own!

So I spent the next couple of hours writing out a one-page out-line for big brother’s story. This would be the 3rd sequel to Changeling, I’ve already got the other two outlined. So now big brother can meet my female main character’s best friend and I don’t have to worry about inappropriate behavior from either of them. She’s getting her own story too, but it won’t involve big brother.

There's this whole bad guy secret organization sub-plot that's crept into it and I think I'm going to have to go back and start developing it a little more because it’s becoming more and more important to the over all story.

Now, if these characters would just start co-operating, maybe I’d get one of these books finished!

Oct 1, 2008

Happy First Day of October

Yikes! It’s been a few days since I last posted. My bad.

The truth is, there hasn’t been that much to post about. I’ve been writing, I’ve been reading, I’ve been suffering a lot of upper back pain which I’ve been treating with the heating pad. The heating pad is fast becoming a close, personal friend since my doctor can't see me until January.

I’ve been working on all three WIPs. Monday I concentrated on Changeling and yesterday I seemed to flit from one to the other. Today, so far, I’ve worked on both Magic and Changeling, but I have DIF sitting there waiting for its turn.

I’m not going to lie and say I’ve been going great guns, I haven’t. Monday I think I managed about 650 words, but it’s still 650 more than I would have had. Yesterday I didn’t think to check my word counts. Yeah, it'd be nice if every day could be a 3,000 word day, but I count any day that shows progress as a good day.

Sep 26, 2008

Friday Update

Yes, I know I didn’t post yesterday. That’s because there was nothing to post. It was not a good day.

Today, however, things started to get better. Despite the fact I was busy with other things until mid-afternoon, the writing came a little easier for me. I’d like to breathe a big sigh of relief and say whatever was wrong with me is over, but I don’t want to jump the gun. There’s still tomorrow to come.

Now to the nitty gritty. The weekly word update:
Magic +1483
Changeling +4077
Driving Into Forever +7924
Total +13,484

Almost as good a word count as last week, but spread out amongst the three works in progress instead of just a single work.

To be honest, I’m surprised at how well I did. Especially when you consider how much I struggled this week. Perhaps the biggest surprise was Changeling - I had no idea I’d worked on it so much.

Guess this is what happens when you don't pay attention.

Sep 24, 2008

Ho Hum Hump Day

Despite my decent word count (+3000 on DIF), today was a bit of a trial. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m not the only person with the lethargic attitude. Several people I talked to, and a couple whose blogs I read, are also feeling this way - tired, no energy, headachy. It almost makes me feel better - misery loves company.

I think Friday’s Zokutou update is going to be very interesting as I seem to be flitting from one project to another. My writing cousin (okay, so technically she’s not my cousin. She’s my sister’s best friend who married and then divorced my cousin, but I still think of her and refer to her as my cousin – got that?) said to me that she doesn’t know how I can keep track of three story lines at the same time. To be honest, I don’t find it hard at all. All three are romance, but they’re very different romances.

Changeling has this thread of espionage with lettered agencies and secret organizations (which was only supposed to be hinted at, but wriggled its way up to being an important plot development). Although I appear to have made the most progress on Changeling, the daily word counts are much lower because I need to put more thought into what I’m doing.

Driving Into Forever has undergone a great many changes since I started, and after the first person debacle I decided to start from the beginning again. It’s the only one of the three that I made an outline for. I know exactly where this story’s going but I’m trying to take a little more time getting there.

Magic comes to me either in spurts or not at all. The ending came to me before the beginning and now I’m having to fill in all the space in between.

Sep 23, 2008

Book Plug

Okay, to start off today I’d like to do a plug for another author. Go HERE and read a free version of Big Bad Wolf. Gennita Low not only writes amazing romance novels she works full time as a roofer. I can’t imagine what that must be like in the Florida sun (not that you’d ever catch me up on a roof under any circumstances). Anyway, she just finished serializing one of her books on her website and you don’t want to miss it! I read it as it was posted (and Kudos to you Jen for never making us wait more than a couple of days between posts) and enjoyed it tremendously. I have three of her other books as well and trust me, they were worth every penny. It makes me wish I was 30 years younger so I could run away and become a Navy SEAL!

Today’s progress was a little slower, but as long as there’s some progress I’m not going to complain. I have noticed that this week I seem to work better in the later afternoon and evening though. I have no idea what that’s all about, other than the fact I missed an episode of Fringe to write instead.

Changeling +813
Driving Into Forever +2206
Today’s Total +3019

And the surprising thing is, that Magic was the one that didn’t get opened today. The Muse is a fickle creature and she appears to be having a lot of fun at my expense lately.

Sep 22, 2008


I was sitting here earlier today contemplating taking a break but I had to ask myself, take a break from what? I’d been piddling around all morning, not really writing.

One of the things I promised myself when I started this blog is that I’d be totally honest. So here goes:

After the burst of 400 words on Saturday I fizzled right out. Then Sunday I didn’t even open my document file. Yeah, I know in my Sunday post I said I’d been working on it. Other than the fact that I did feel the urge to edit what’s best left alone, I lied. See, that’s the pattern for me. I start out all gung ho and then start tapering off (usually rather quickly) and then I start lying about my progress, and then I stop posting about my progress at all. Then I start making excuses about why I’m not writing.

The fact that I’d had large word counts for six days in a row lulled me into a false sense of security that I had my dysthemia under control. But the problem with any kind of depression is that it’s never really under control, it’s always there and you have to really work at it to not let it take over your life.

So, now that we’ve cleared the air, I can say that my word count for the last three days is as follows:
Magic +705
Changeling +3264
New Short Story +557
Three Day Total +4526

Not outrageously stellar for three days work, but not bad either. Today I’d just about given up, I couldn’t really get any thing done on Magic or the short story, but I pulled up Changeling picked up where I left on it. I guess the message for myself here is, if A isn’t working go to B and if B isn’t working than go to C. There’s a reason I have so many stories on the go.

Sep 21, 2008

Somebody Stop Me!

Repeat after me. I must not edit. I must not edit. I must not edit.

I can’t help it. I have to edit, at least a little bit to get started each day. But it takes an extreme act of will power to stop at just a little bit. ‘Cause I know if I keep going I’ll just start editing the whole thing over and over again and progress will grind to a halt.

Note books. I need more notebooks. Dollarama has 4-packs of little composition books that would be just perfect for editing notes.

Of course, notebooks can become lost. So I really should make the notes on the computer. But that would lead to actual editing and I must not edit.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Fortunately, the ideas for Magic are still coming fast and furious so it’s only when I pause (like now) that the urge to edit rears its ugly head. This is what I get for taking a break.

I’ll post today’s word count tomorrow because I’m still working on today’s edits . . . I mean words!

Sep 19, 2008


I forgot to post yesterday.

You know it’s going to be a good day for writing when you wake up and before you even get out of bed you’re pulling out a notebook to start jotting down ideas. I’m slowing down a bit on Magic, but that’s good because it means I’m putting a little more thought into what I’m writing down.

The word count says I only did about 1400 words yesterday, but I know I did more because there’s a whole section missing. Unfortunately, my word processing program froze and had to be shut down. I had several documents open and it only backed up a couple of them. Grr!

Today was a little more than 2000 words which brings me to a grand total of *** drum roll please *** just over 14k for the week on Magic.

Sep 17, 2008

Still Going

Today wasn’t my best, words-wise, but it was still respectable. 2700 words on Magic and a couple of hundred on Changeling. I blame this on Christine Feehan. I picked up a copy of her latest Drake Sisters novel, Turbulent Sea, and couldn’t seem to put it down. I’m going to have to learn to either pace myself or stop reading books that I can’t put down.

Of course it didn’t help that twice last night as I was trying to fall asleep I had to turn on the lights to write down plot points that came to me out of the blue. One was for Changeling, the other for Magic. What can I say, my mind isn’t what it used to be and my memory has never been the greatest. But this meant another late night. The really sad part is, I never even got around to using the idea I had for Magic. That’s not to say I won’t tomorrow, but still.

My good friend told me that I needed to rediscover my joy in writing, and I think Magic has allowed me to do just that. I’m having a lot of fun writing this. The ideas just keep coming, and when I pause all I can think about is things I need to add or re-do when I edit it. Since I already have the ending finished, I decided today I need to get working on the beginning. So now I seem to be working on both ends and at some point I guess I’ll meet in the middle.

This should be interesting.

Sep 16, 2008


Yes, for the third day in a row I have made writing progress. Be still my heart.

Admittedly, the progress is not as good as it could have been, but part of that is my fault and part of it is extenuating circumstances.

It was definitely my fault that I stayed up late reading last night. I wasn’t wearing my glasses so I couldn’t see the clock on the VCR. I swear I had no idea it was 3 a.m. Which of course meant I was off to a late start this morning.

The first extenuating circumstance occurred just as I opened up the Magic file - my sister called. Let’s face it, you can’t write hot, steamy sex when you’re talking to your older sister. She’s going through grandchildren withdrawl and needed to talk - for over an hour, long-distance. Glad I don’t have her phone bills.

The second extenuating circumstance occurred just when I thought it was safe to start typing - I realized I was almost late for a coffee date downtown. I made this date yesterday, thinking I’d have the whole morning for writing. A little more than two hours later I was back home . . . in time to start thinking about what to make for supper.

I did some minor editing between interruptions, but only added about 1500 new words. Good thing tonight was a slow night for television.

Oh, please note that I have not updated the zokutou bar this time. Frankly, it’s a pain in the butt to have to do it every day. So I’ve decided to update it once a week - on Fridays. Stop by and be amazed at my progress. :-)

Sep 15, 2008

Two Days in a Row!

The old me would have looked at the word count yesterday and then slacked off for a week. In fact, that’s exactly what happened the last time I did 4,000 words in one day.

But that was the old me. The new me couldn’t get interested in games today and made the conscious decision not to catch up on my blog reading until I’d done some writing. So I opened up all three works in progress.

I had ideas for all three - I’d left Changeling at a crucial point and I’m basically starting from scratch with DIF. But the WIP that really pulled at me to deal with it today was Magic, and deal with it I did, to the tune of 3500 words.

I wrote the ending, the part leading up to the ending, and came up with a title. But I’m still going to refer to it as Magic because quite frankly it’s magic the way I’m sticking with it.

I hope I keep up the good work.

I know better than to make any promises.

Sep 14, 2008

Ch-ch-ch Changes

If you look to the right you will see changes to the Zokutou bars. If you write category romances for Harlequin or Silhouette, you can probably get away with 50,000 word novels. The same goes for Young Adult. But I write paranormal romance that I hope to one day sell to one of the big houses. So let’s get real people.

The sad part is, the original first draft of DIF only topped about 30,000 words. Where am I going to come up with another 50K? By hard work, that’s where! And 80K is pretty much the minimum. *sigh*

But I think you should also notice that I wrote over 2k on Magic today. Progress like that gives me hope for the future.

I must admit it didn’t start out that well. I looked at the few hundred words I’d written, typed a few words, deleted them, and stared at the computer screen some more. But then I stopped fighting it and just started writing the scene that was sticking in my brain, even though it was not in the order it should have been. Since when did I become such a stickler for linear thought? Must have been my old friend procrastination whispering in my ear that I need to do things in order, not jump all over the place.

The nice thing about Magic is that it lends itself very well to jumping all over the place.

Normally I’d be posting a full moon poem today, but, excuse me, I’ve been busy writing 2k on Magic. I challenge you to write your own full moon poem.

edited to add:
So after all my fine work I was ready to relax for the rest of the evening, but then I got the urge to see where I left off in Changeling. Next thing you know, I've added 2k to it as well.

Sometimes I amaze even myself!

Sep 12, 2008

Understanding Poetry

Three things I don’t get about poetry:
I don’t get people who think they can have rhyme without rhythm.
I don’t get poets who work on a single poem for years, searching for the perfect word.
I don’t get people who stretch a line all out of proportion just to get a rhyme in.

I’ve read a lot of poetry over the years. The poetry I enjoy the most is found in those old, cloth-bound volumes that are shoved to one side at the library sales. I grew up with this poetry, I wrote this kind of poetry, the kind with a strong sense of rhyme and rhythm.

High school opened up a whole new world of poetry for me - Haiku, Cinquain, Sonnet, Roundel, Limerick . . . most of which I was already familiar with but just didn’t know the names of. But now I was writing them as well.

The poetry that took me the longest to "get" was blank verse, or free verse at it is sometimes called. This poetry has neither rhyme nor rhythm. It conveys thoughts, but in a disorderly fashion that I find, for the most part, jarring.

Yes, I have written my fair share of blank verse, however I never know where I stand with these poems. They don’t rhyme, there’s not really a rhythm, are they really poetry? Sometimes I feel like blank verse is just the lazy man’s way of expressing himself, but I have spent just as much time refining a blank verse poem as I have a rhyming poem.

I guess, for me, poetry is like art. I either like it or I don’t. It either speaks to me or it doesn’t. I've only found one piece of art I've felt was worth the asking price. I'm still waiting for that perfect poem.

Sep 11, 2008

The More Things Change . . .

I can't say that I've done a great deal of work on my works in progress, but I have made a lot of progress.

I've reset the Zokutou meter on Driving Into Forever -- again. As much as I enjoyed my brief foray into the world of first person, it's just not my personal style. However, I did learn a lot from the experience so I don't feel it was a waste. I need to slow down and take my time. Empires are not going to rise and fall on my deathless prose.

You'll notice I also added a new bar to the side. Magic is just the working title, hopefully I'll come up with something better in time. I seriously did not need to start a new story right now, but this one just would not leave me alone.

I've spent a lot of time lately over at Absolute Write in the poetry forums, doing more reading than posting I'll admit. No matter where else I am with my writing, poetry has always been there for me. But like my other writing, I've never really taken it seriously.

Until now.

Sep 6, 2008


About once a week I see the question (in one form or another) posted on the writing forum I frequent: Where do ideas for stories come from? Is it wrong for the first thought to pop into my head to be: If you have to ask, do you really think writing is for you?

The idea for Driving Into Forever came to me when I was driving on the 401 to Kingston on a very foggy morning. There weren’t a lot of cars on the road and my mind started to wander. I started to "what if" about the fog and by the time I got to my destination I had the bare bones of the story worked out in my head.

I was three quarters of the way through the first draft when two of the minor characters thought they should hook up for a sequel. Since I was getting bogged down in the first one I thought, why not. Then halfway through their story the father of one of the main characters of DIF thought his story should be told. Then the brother of the same main character didn’t want to be left out. Enough already! I’ll fix him. The character of a woman came to me who’d be perfect in this story. She’s not going to make it easy for him either, it’ll serve him right.

I have never lacked for ideas. They just pop into my head. Some fully formed, some just snippets of scenes or characters. But not every idea is a good idea. In the beginning I would fall in love with an idea and start from there. This lead to a lot of partially written stories and novels that got off to a great start, and then just fizzled out.

While some writers can take an idea and just run with it, I have discovered that, for me at least, I have to know where the story’s going. Most of the time I’ll just keep going over the idea in my head until I’m satisfied with the ending. Sometimes I use a detailed outline, sometimes it’s just a sketchy, point form list of what I want to happen.

I write down all my ideas, both good and bad, in notebooks or on scraps of paper that end up scattered all over the house. You never know what might be "what iff-ed" into a keeper.

But until I know how it ends, I can’t begin.

Sep 5, 2008

Diamond in the Rough

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . . Sorry, wrong story. But this did take place a long time ago, before the age of computers, when writers used typewriters.

I was in high school when the dream of being a writer first came to me. At that time I was an avid (maybe that should be rabid?) Science Fiction reader, so of course my first novel was a science fiction epic.

Yesterday, while trying to purge the storage closet in the spare bedroom of useless junk, I came across a box with all my notes for this space opera. And I mean ALL my notes. I didn’t throw anything away because you never know what might come in handy. I spent the entire day reading some of these mostly hand-written notes. Trust me, what I read is just the tip of the iceberg.

All I can say is: Oh, my! The original idea is not too awful, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Some of it’s corny, some of it’s just plain bad, but it’s all pretty dated. I changed the leader’s name five times and he went from being a man to being a woman. I changed my main character’s name three times. Somewhere along the way I decided to make it into a trilogy; there’s notes and scenes that have nothing to do with the original story.

Still, after all these years, the original plot still sticks in my mind. There’s something salvageable here. Some day I’d like to organize all those notes. But today is not that day. So it’s back into the loch with this monster. Like all good monsters, your day will come. It’s only a matter of time.

Sep 3, 2008

Let’s Get Organized!

If I want to be a more productive writer, then I have to be able to find my files and notes to work with. But the problem with getting things organized is that you have to keep it up on a regular basis, otherwise you end up with just as big a mess as you started with. Well, maybe not quite as big, but a mess nonetheless.

I’m sure it would help if I didn’t wait until stuff (books, papers, etc) was stacked up so high there should be an avalanche warning posted. It would probably also help if I didn’t feel the need to redefine my organizational system when it gets to that point. One of these days maybe I’ll get it right!

I used to have two four-drawer metal filing cabinets in my office to hold all my files. My writing took up one drawer. The rest were filled with information, articles and junk. A couple of years ago I "re-did" my office and got rid of those metal monsters (they were replaced with two wooden two-drawer cabinets an several hard plastic file boxes that can be stored in a closet).

I’m a reformed pack rat. I used to save everything. I’d like an article in a writing magazine? Not only would I buy the magazine, I’d photocopy the article for my files. I’d cut up National Geographics for my files. I’d cut up newspapers and magazines for my files. I’d print stuff off the internet for my files. I save every draft and every change to every story I’ve ever written.

Of course that was the old me. The new me is more reasonable, but she’s still just a little disorganized. I have probably two dozen files marked "miscellaneous" that I would like to see gathered together in one place instead of scattered through various boxes and drawers. You never know what gems might be in there. And instead of having my notes, notebooks, and drafts for my current projects spread out all over the place I would like to have them close at hand.

Perhaps having "get organized" at the top of my priority list seems like a cop-out, but for me it’s a necessary step on the road to becoming a more productive writer.

Sep 1, 2008

Comfort Zone

I enjoy reading other people's blogs. I like that little glimpse into someone else's life, and if they happen to be a fellow writer, so much the better.

This being a holiday, I treated myself to some serious blog reading, starting with my favorites and then checking out some interesting links. Interesting, because they all linked to other writer blog sites. And although these blogs, too, offered a glimpse into a life not my own, there was always the writing.

I've had two blogs previous to this one where the intention was to share the ups and downs of the journey I'm undertaking to become a writer. Despite my best efforts, both shared more of my middle-aged angst than my writing struggles.

I've been writing for 30 years now. I have a handful of short stories I've never tried to get published. I also have two novels that need editing before they're finished, and two more about half done. I have files full of ideas. I have notebooks full of ideas. If I wrote steadily from now until the end of this millenia I would not run out of ideas.

So what’s my problem? Seriously, I don’t know. It’s like stage fright, where no matter how talented you are you just can’t bring yourself to get up on that stage. It takes you too far out of your comfort zone. What good is talent if no one sees you perform? What good is a writer if no one ever sees what you’ve written?

Time to fish or cut bait. No more anonymous blogs where it doesn’t matter whether I keep my promise to write X number of words, or Y number of pages. No more hiding in my office playing spider solitaire. I keep thinking of myself as a writer and it’s time I proved it. It’s September First, the perfect day for me to turn over a new leaf. To step out of my comfort zone.