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.