Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Of Technology and Other Issues by Konnie Enos

 At the church the other day the teacher in our Sunday class was having some technical issues with the equipment she was trying to use as part of her lesson. For several minutes the lesson stalled and at least one class member left the room looking for someone who was elsewhere in the building to solve the problem.
Several of the women in the room (it was a woman’s meeting) made comments about getting one of the younger children to help.
I turned to the older woman beside me a told her that when I have issues with my technology (which isn’t often) I call my youngest son. I also admitted I obtained my first internet ready computer while I was pregnant with my older son. Both my boys have grown up with technology and at least my youngest daughter doesn’t remember much before surfing the web was a common everyday thing.
On the other hand, I think I was in high school the first time I saw a computer and that wasn’t to use it myself. The secretary at the school I was attending was using it.
My first computer class was when I was in college.
Today, I have my own laptop and use it every day.
So I sat in this class thinking more about how much things have changed over the last twenty years. The last forty. Then I did about the lesson.
Just think about the changes you’ve seen in just the last twenty years.
Internet ready and capable devices and World Wide Web being one of the biggest changes. Now the idea of not only flying cars, but self-driving cars isn’t so farfetched.
This technology can be a blessing and a distraction.
As a writer, I appreciate the fact I can now type a full page without having to use whiteout or eventually rip the paper out of the typewriter and start over. It’s also helpful that the program can, sometimes, help me properly spell words, something I often have difficulty with. And if I can’t find the word I want sometimes I can get the program to help me find a similar word that would work just as well.
It also helps me get things done, like managing the family’s finances.
The downside of technology is it’s a major distraction.
I fought even having a video game system in my house for years for this reason. (Yes, I am very anti-video games. Long story.)
People get lost surfing the web or on Facebook every day.
I spent the last couple of days doing little else but reading, though my files.
This is why my post is not only late, but sort.
I was distracted, by my writing.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Weather and Natural Disasters by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Life isn’t always sunshine and roses, and we shouldn’t have our stories be that way. The weather can sometimes wreak havoc on our lives and we should be doing the same to our characters. “A Very Special Delivery” by Linda Goodnight starts with an ice storm bringing the hero and heroine together. And I recall a story I read years ago that started out with guy driving home in a huge thunderstorm and spotting a little girl on the roadside in the glow of his headlights, leading him to finding the little girl’s mother in their wrecked car. “The Lawman’s Honor” by Linda Goodnight also starts with an accident in a thunderstorm, though in that one, it’s the heroine rescuing the hero, which I think is a nice change from the man always doing the rescuing.

I’m not talking about starting your story out with, “It was a dark and stormy night,” for one thing, that is telling. In the “The Lawman’s Honor” I know its stormy by the fact that both the hero and the heroine in their separate vehicles are keeping an eye threatening conditions outside their car, and by the fact their windshield wipers are having a hard time keeping up with the deluge. No telling needed, I can visual the storm and that winding mountain road.

Anyway, weather can, and should play a part in our stories, and not just weather, but natural disasters. I know there are stories that start with avalanches, earthquakes, tornados, and blizzards. I’m sure there might also be some that start with a hurricane or a Nor’easter.
Those stories are about the disaster, about how it affects the character’s lives, but it is possible to write a story where the storm or the disaster is just something that happened to bring two people together. I’m talking something that happened, then the story moves on past that. It is over, but the story isn’t.

Though I guess if you have an earthquake, or a volcano erupting, or an avalanche, you need more time to get past those things. (Every volcano story I’ve ever seen was all about getting away from, surviving, the devastation.) And I guess that works for action/adventure or disaster type stories, I just don’t write them.

When I write, I try to consider what time of year it is, and what the weather might be like, because for one thing, the weather would play a role in whether or not they need a coat, or an umbrella. The weather plays a role in whether or not they run from their car to the house or not. It can’t always be sunny and warm that wouldn’t be realistic.

Weather plays a role in what we do each day, it should also play a role in your stories.

In my stories, the weather helps set the time of year that it takes place. In one I have, the bees are buzzing and flowers are in bloom, in others I guess I’m not as clear on the time of year. And I’ve read some where they make me feel like the characters never even experience rain, its always sunny, and they don’t even need jackets, let alone coats.

Maybe that’s just where its set, and the time of year. I know at least a few of those are set in like California or Florida, so they are forgiven, mostly, but I do have one which starts out in California, but its during the rainy season, and involves a series of mudslides. You can’t tell me that wouldn’t happen, because I started writing that one the year there was a ton of mudslides all over the state in California.

And let’s face it, there are other natural disasters. Florida is having problems with sinkholes. Who has sinkholes in their story? 

California is known for their earthquakes. Who has earthquakes (even if its only a minor tremor) in their stories? And California isn’t the only one with earthquakes, back East they don’t occur very often but out here, they happen, a lot.

I keep telling myself I should write an earthquake scene were at least one character isn’t used to earthquakes (only knows about them from disaster movies on TV) and panics at the first tremor thinking everyone there with her is going to die.

Its easy for me to visualize, I’ve seen it. It happened to me in college. We weren’t that close to the epicenter (it was within this state, but a couple hour’s drive away), and while the house was shaking quite a bit, nothing was falling down.

Anyway, we need to consider the weather as we write our stories. Into every life a little rain must fall.

Happy writing everyone! 😊

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Meditation and Writing by Konnie Enos

In a recent conversation with my oldest son brought up the subject of meditating because one of his teachers made them do yoga as a means of de-stressing them.
He said he didn’t understand why mostly because part of the time she had them listening to a recording of a lady talking them through a meditation, noting that he didn’t even listen to it. Then he said, “I can never empty my mind completely because when I try story ideas start popping in.” He blamed this on ADHD.
I’m sure, from what Bonnie has told me, she’d concur with him. Based solely on the number of partially finished stories she has I’d say she is constantly bouncing from one story to the next. I’ve seen her work on at least two different stories at once to the point of putting the wrong heroines name in one manuscript because she’d been thinking about the other one.
She blames this on ADD.
I blame it on being a writer.
Because I don’t have ADHD or ADD.
My mind is always going and if it doesn’t have to concentrate on the task at hand it will be either creating new stories or working out the details in the one I’m currently writing. Even in my sleep I’m working on stories. Ask any writer and they’ll tell you of a story they got from a really good dream.
Unlike my sister, I don’t generally work on more than one story at a time. Although I do have several right now that I need to finish and or edit. I’m not usually writing in one and thinking of what happens in another. Unless of course, like a couple of my books, they have the same characters in both books.
My point is writers think differently.
A writer’s mind is always full of ideas and more come all the time.
I doubt it is possible to empty a writer’s mind completely because their characters will see the empty stage and come out to play. If you have multiple stories they might even contend for time. If none of your current characters want to talk to you a new one will rush out and ask for attention.
It’s almost funny how often new ideas come.
That’s why one of the best gifts to give a writer is notebooks and writing implements so they can always have something to jot a quick idea down on. The quickest ways to lose a story idea is to not get any part of it written down.
Though once you get even a few bones down you have to figure out if there is any meat to the story. Because without that meat, it isn’t worth writing.
I’ve lost story ideas because I didn’t get them written down.
I’ve discarded story ideas because some aspect of it didn’t seem plausible or it just wasn’t going to work.
I’ve stopped working on other stories because there wasn’t anything there to make a good story (the meat).
I’ve also left stories because I couldn’t figure out what happened next. This was because the characters weren’t talking to me. Without their input I couldn’t figure out what happened next or where I went off the rails. Those stories stalled.
Other stories I’ve got I’ve only been given a scene or two and I still can’t figure out how to make those into a full story. Of course, those characters aren’t talking to me yet, so no help at all.
I have one story idea that I dropped after trying to write one scene because I figured out I’d have to do a ton of research to do a proper job on it.
The stories that get somewhere, the ones I get to “the end”, are the ones were the characters start talking to me. They tell me who they really are and what their hopes are. Even what they are doing.
The best writing I’ve ever done was when I was typing out a scene I’d outlined for my story and one of my characters surprised me with something they said.
I went to delete it. I not only had not planned on putting that line in, I had intended not having that outcome in the story at all. However, before I removed it, I looked over what I had and thought about the character and the scene. It stayed. It worked. Sometimes your characters surprise you.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Mirror Twin Distractions by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Living with ADD isn’t easy and being a writer and living with ADD can be the pits. I think my life would be a whole lot easier if I didn’t have to deal with ADD.

More than once this last week I caught myself getting distracted from what I was doing each time I took a break to use the facilities or get more water. At some point or other I would notice something that needed done, or remember something I was going to do, and, instead of a couple minutes away from my computer I’d be more like twenty or longer, i.e. long enough the thing went to sleep.

But if that weren’t bad enough, I couldn’t concentrate on one manuscript! I’d get thinking about changes I needed to make on my science fiction series and open it up only to have my brain switch gears to one of two other incomplete novels I have and some changes or additions I need to make to them. Except if I opened either of those, my brain would switch back to the sci-fi.

In other words, I never got much of anything done even though my brain was actively working on my various stories – I doubt anyone could write about A and B when their brain was thinking about X and Y. I personally found it disconcerting when I had the story about A and B open, and suddenly my brain had the story about X and Y running through my thoughts and I very nearly inserted the new details for X and Y’s story into A and B’s story, which would have been more than a little weird since one is sci-fi and the other a contemporary romance. 
And adding to my problems with concentrating on just one story was my problems with sticking to just one task until I was done. More than once I caught myself stopping in the middle of the room, on my way back from the bathroom, trying to remember what I was going to do next, and when I did remember something to do, I’d start doing it and suddenly remember what I’d been doing before I got up, either that or I’d go back to what I’d been doing and I'd suddenly remember that I had something else I was going to do before I got back to it.

More than once it was my empty stomach or water bottle which finally reminded what I was going to do before returning to my computer.

None of which helped me because while I realized all sorts of tweaks that needed done to three different manuscripts this past week, I didn’t get a whole lot done toward actually executing any of those changes.

On the other hand, Konnie actually managed to get some writing done this last week either, more than I did anyway, which for her is an improvement, but let’s face it, her life is so much busier than mine, which is why she’s usually the one who doesn’t get a lot of writing done in a week.

Time zone wise I’m an hour earlier than Konnie is, but she beats me up every morning, because she’s up before the crack of dawn, whereas I sleep in. Typically, when most people are heading out the door for the day, I’m just crawling out of bed, while Konnie was heading out the door around the time most people are getting up in the morning, and she’s constantly busy from the moment she gets up in the morning until she finally shuts off her computer and goes to sleep each night.

I spend the majority of my time around the house, with the only noise being when I turn on the TV or the stereo. At Konnie’s house, noise erupts anytime someone so much as walks past the house. With, I think the current count is five, dogs I have a tendency to cut phone calls with my sister short because that pack started barking again.

Konnie on the other hand lives in that racket, and lives with her family, so there is always something going on, and always people talking or doing something, and it only gets quiet around there after like eleven o’clock at night, but their mornings start around four-thirty or five. And she not only works in all that chaos, she’s in charge of it!

So, while I don’t get a lot of writing done because my brain won’t focus on one project she doesn’t get a lot of writing done because her family requires so much of her attention.

As kids, living together, our lives were very similar, but things changed because we now live such different lives as adults.

Happy writing everyone. 😊

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Finding the Writing Motivation By C. Hope Clark

Motivation means different things to people, but for many it is so elusive that they give up on it. Some are afraid they don’t have it. Others are afraid they’ll mistake a quick nice feeling for motivation. Some worry they don’t understand how to maintain it.
            Many of my readers ask where I get my motivation from. It’s not magic, and it’s not science. For a writer, motivation comes about through the culmination of its several parts.

1)      Having an original idea.

In reality, most of us fear of being too original. Sure, we talk about having that grandiose idea or remarkable brand, but seriously, are we willing to be SO original that we are unlike anything else out there? Isn’t that scary? What if we are so different that nobody gets us?
Experts and celebrities bank on their originality, making money because of their talent and the fact so many people want to be like them. However, we have to avoid emulating someone else’s success so much that we lose our originality. Following someone else’s path means we often take the safe route and latch ahold of someone else’s wagon. We call that copycatting. The trouble is, there’s nothing motivational in being a copycat. We don’t totally scratch that itch.
On the other hand, when we snare a grand idea, and are daring enough to strike out with it, we can become flooded with a deep motivation that carries us so much further than an idea similar to someone else’s. There isn’t any energy in playing someone else’s game.

2)      Being organized.

We can be busy or we can be organized. And if the busyness feels frantic, stressful and out of control, then we’ve indeed lost control of our direction . . . our motivation. We are answering to all sorts of stimuli instead of focusing on a plan making us ineffective. Disorganization quickly dilutes motivation.
So the point is to establish your goals for each year. Complete the novel? Publish the novel? Submit to 25 magazines? Attend three conferences and take a class. Identify your writing strengths and weaknesses, then make concerted plans to fix the weaknesses. Wake up in the morning knowing what you will do that day toward your annual goals. Keep a calendar and stick to it, helping (enforcing) family and friends to better understand the seriousness of your mission.
You cannot get anywhere without knowing specifically where you need to go. Don’t say you’ll write more. List the word count, number of chapters, and period of time to complete them. Define your tasks in measurements you can be accountable for.

3)      Being focused.

The world today is about instant gratification, easy wins, and keeping a tally while watching our neighbor. It’s about writing a paragraph then checking email. Writing another then reading Facebook. Attempting one more paragraph then reading a new blog post.
Being focused means just that. . . working uninterrupted. And don’t blame others for interrupting you. They can’t without your permission. Leave the phone out of the room and don’t open social media. Mute the sound so you don’t hear incoming messages or updated headlines.
Then fall into your work. Become engulfed in it. That’s where you find magic. That’s where you tap that stupid mythical muse so many talk about. It comes from you being proactively focused, not from some invisible feeling randomly striking you. There’s almost nothing as satisfying as coming out of a straight, multi-hour writing afternoon with a couple thousand words under your belt. That doesn’t happen with a muse. It happens with purpose and sweat.

What is motivation?

Motivation is having an idea, planning how you’ll achieve it, then diving in deeply to create it. And the amazing thing about it is that the more you’re able to achieve using this formula, the more empowered you become. In other words, the more motivated.
I simplify. I say no to things. When I feel out or sorts or too busy to get everything done, I start culling the obstacles in my path that are inhibiting my motivation. If writing is your goal, then whenever you’re doing something that’s NOT writing, ask yourself if it’s necessary or did it just slip in the way. Then discard it. Decide what really isn’t needed in your writing plan, and what’s in your way of doing something meaningful.
Learn to feel excited about your writing again. Feel excited about the direction you’ve decided for yourself. With a mission, and a plan to achieve it, you once again love reporting to work, even accepting the parts of your work that aren’t your favorite. Make your work become play again.

BIO: C. Hope Clark’s latest release, Newberry Sin, comes out late April 2018. It’s the fourth in the Carolina Slade Mysteries, and Hope’s eighth mystery. Hope is also founder of where her newsletter reaches 35,000 readers. The site was selected for Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers . . . for the past 17 years. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Morning Thoughts by Konnie Enos

Try this morning. You get up at your normal hour and start waking teenagers up. Ten minutes later you hear activity but it isn’t your son getting in the tub so you go investigate. Oldest son, who doesn’t have to be up just yet, is getting food while youngest son is still in bed. You wake him up again. He finally gets up.
He can only find two pair of pants. Being on the autism spectrum he is picky about his pants. One won’t due because their pockets are too small. The other pair has big enough pockets but has a nice big hole in the crotch.
So you have dig out your sewing supplies and stitch up his pants while you make him get in the tub, already later than he should have. Situation handled and you can still get them to class on time.
Then you realize that it’s garbage day.
Now since the garbage man doesn’t come until after the sun comes up and you have to get people out the door well before that it’s likely the cans can get to the curb in time but as you are realizing it is indeed that day it dawns on you that it is also blog post day and guess what? You did not write your post.
Your choices are hope it isn’t your turn to actually write the post or wake up dear husband and hope he takes the children to school so you have to time to write, should you come up with something.
As luck would have it, it’s your turn and dear husband is willing to drive. Yeah!
Now to get an idea.
Unfortunately instead of coming up with an idea yesterday you spent the whole day paying bills, balancing checkbooks and running errands. You tackled quite a bit of your to-do list, just not that part of it.
So you get on your trusty computer and start looking but the clock is ticking then your phone rings. It’s your youngest son and you are positive he is going to say his headache won’t go away and he wants to miss even more school. You’re actually prepared to fight him on this one.
No. The car won’t start. Dead battery.
Now this poses a problem not only in getting your two teenagers to school but your youngest daughter needs to get to her college classes and she has mid-terms today.
So instead of writing you are calling to get them some help hoping it is fast enough so people aren’t too awfully late.
Then your son calls again. The car finally started.
Now you have to pray the car stays running long enough to get all the kids where they need to go and nobody is late, and you still need to write your blog, with no ideas.
And the clock is still ticking while you are facing the very real possibility of having to drive your daughter to school. So you are trying to type some stream of thought in hopes of inspiration and still praying that dear husband will actually take daughter to school, you know since he is already in the car. Not to mention dressed.
Then the phone rings again. This time it’s your husband, only if he says anything you can’t hear him. Your daughter goes out front and checks. He’s home.
She says she’s leaving. Oh good. He did drive her.
Guess my morning is taken care of now.
I hope that’s the end of the problems today.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Camp Nano part 2 by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Camp Nano is over, and I’m telling you right now, it wasn’t easy for me. By the 14th, I’d only finished 14,835 words, when I should have been to 22,580 words. Meaning two weeks into the challenge, I was 7,745 words behind!
 By the 21st I was at 28,016 words, when I should have been at 33,870. I was closing the gap, but I was still behind at the end of the third week of the challenge!
I do know why I got so far behind. I kept realizing I had a plot hole, or I needed to show something sooner,  or some scene I’d already written wasn’t right, but if I changed it, I had change certain things that came before it, so I kept going back. In fact, by the 21st, I’d gone back through my entire manuscript 4 times editing and adding things, which wasn’t helping me at all.
Then came week four.
On the 22nd I managed to get to 32,521, but I was still short of where I should have been, 2,962 words short to exact. But I had least closed the gap further.
On the 25th, I realized I had another plot hole, and a few other things I needed to change entirely. But it was the 26th, and I had plans on the 31st, which I couldn’t change. So I decided that I didn’t have time to go clear through my manuscript (which, may I remind you is the one I started last November, so it isn’t nearly 50k long, it was closer to 75k on the 26th, and I’m a slow reader/editor ), so I determined to just write some notes, and press on. I had to finish. I set the goal; I was going to make it.
So, I moved forward, on the 26th I not only managed 3,158 words, I closed the gap! I was right where I supposed to be for my goal. Wahoo!
Then on the 27th I did 3,022 words. I had 5,039 words to go. I thought I can do this; I can finish before the 31st. All I had to do was to manage 2,520 on Friday, and 2,519 on Saturday. Since I had been managing at least 3,000 words a day, I knew I could do it.
So I started writing on the 28th with the goal of getting a minimum of 2,520 words, but I also told myself, if I could manage more, I should. And I did! When the day was done, I wrote 5,039 words! I reached my goal on Friday the 28th!
Now talk about perseverance and determination, writing that many words in one day took me all day. It was after 8 in the evening when I finally finished, but I did finish.
And I know not many writers have the time to spend an entire day writing but I’m so glad I could, and that I could reach my goal. And now to take a few weeks from writing to get some other things done around here, like laundry and dishes, and mopping the floor.
Yeah, I neglected a few things so I could write all day. But don’t all writers do that at least some times?

Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Write What You Know by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Writers the world over have probably been told a time or two to write what they know. I heard it a lot in high school, and at some point, I began to wonder how any author could come up with more than one story, if authors can only write what he or she has experienced personally. To my mind, even all those years ago, I didn’t think I’d be able to write a decent story, if I had to stick with only things I’d personally experienced.

I mean I did try. My two novels dating back that far have a heroine who was two years behind in school. That was something I did know. And in one of them, I originally had a scene where the hero and heroine meet while watching a pair of swans taking off in flight from a place called The Oxbow, it’s on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park.

The setting exists, and that pair of swans did once take off in flight, but there had only been one person standing on the bridge above watching — one young lady. Me.

And, just so you know, that’s one sight I will never forget.

But even as I wrote both of these stories, I felt like I wasn’t really writing what I know. Yeah sure, I’d seen those swans myself, and yeah sure, I had been two years behind in school, but neither of those characters were twins. I’m a twin, I know what being a twin is like. And yet, while I have had characters that are twins, I’ve yet to write a story where the heroine is a twin.

And I’m still not sure why.

Then I discovered Dick Francis.

Now anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of his. I have been for years, but well after reading a couple of his books, I started thinking he must have led a fantastical life, considering all the careers he knew so much about. I was beginning to wonder how I could ever write anything when I had such limited experience. Then I learned a few things about him personally.

Number one, he had been a jockey, which explains why horse racing plays such a major role in many of his stories, but he’d also been in a pilot in World War II, explaining his stories where the hero is a pilot. But he never lost a hand; he never suffered the injury his character Sid Haley suffered nor have I ever discovered any information on him saying he was a fraternal twin like his character Kit Fielding.

And what of the artist living on a Scottish mountainside? Or the wine merchant, or the glassblower, and oh so many other characters. He didn’t do all those things! It was physically impossible for one man to have that many careers in one lifetime.

So how did Dick Francis do it?

Research! From what I’ve read of him, he’d interview people in those fields, picked their brains for details, or even follow them around for a few days. And his writing shows that knowledge, making each novel interesting and fresh.

So the take away is, write what you know, but don’t limit yourself to personal experience. Go out there and find the information you need to make your story realistic!

Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Descriptions by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Not too long ago I saw a post on Facebook asking how to describe a character without a “standing in the front of the mirror” type scene, which any decent writer knows is a big time no-no. But it isn’t always all that easy, especially if you have only one POV. How would the POV character describe himself to the reader without standing in front of a mirror to do an assessment?

That isn’t easy to even to answer.

I have one story I’ve written were the reader learns the hero has red hair because he complains about how his whole family (whole community actually) has red hair and how boring it is. In the same story, the reader learns about the main character’s size because some other characters point out the size difference between him and another fellow his age, and he reflects on why he is understandably larger. The only other description given of him is the way he dresses, and that was in form of describing the dress code of his people to an outsider. (They’re aliens.)

At no point do I have this character standing in front of a mirror.

In another story of mine (an unfinished one), I show the reader the POV character’s appearance by having other characters react to it. Of course, the whole thing is in his POV, so he does inwardly react to their reaction, thereby the reader learns why people do have such a reaction, but my main character isn’t standing in front of a mirror describing himself either.

Generally, I find it easier to have at least two POV characters, so each of them can “assess” the other in their eyes when they first meet. Simple and easy, but then sometimes you need more, because there are always things a character isn’t going to take note of. Or maybe doesn’t need to.

I have a scene in yet another story of mine where the hero describes what he assesses to be a young boy climbing out of the passenger seat of his tow truck, which his employee had just returned to his garage. In that short paragraph, the reader learns about the description of this new character in the hero’s life, including said characters size, though not her gender.

Which brings me to another post I read this week about pronouns (and frankly I find this incomprehensible) but apparently it is now politically correct to use the plural pronoun “they” to describe an individual who prefers to remain androgynous. I even noticed an author using this incongruous pronoun to keep the sex of a character unknown to the reader.

And it makes me wonder if schools are even teaching grammar anymore at all. He, She, and It are all singular, They is plural. Personally, I would never want to be referred to as in it, but “they”?

And instead of keeping the reader in dark about a character’s gender don’t refer to that person as “they”! Keep the POV character in the dark too, or at least confused as to gender, which I’ve said I’ve done, but frankly, if I ever read something where an individual is referred by the pronoun “they” I’d probably stop reading the book. I might even consider it a wall banger. Such writing would certainly draw me out of the story, which we all know is a bed thing.

Yeah, I know I’m old fashioned, but I can’t be alone in this. Can I?

Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Ode To November by BonnieLe Hamilton

November is the busiest month of the year for me, as I stated in my last post, November is National Novel Writer’s month, it would also be the month of my anniversary, if Tom were still alive, and it is the month of Konnie’s anniversary (and no, not the same the day or even the same year). And, of course, there’s also Thanksgiving, and Christmas shopping. As I said, it is a busy month for me. Plus let’s not forget the National Election and just incidental things like trips to the pharmacy and grocery stores and just plain household chores.

It’s a wonder I’m able finish the Nano every year.

Okay, maybe not a wonder, because, I only have one person I chauffeur around on a regular basis (my sister-in-law, who doesn’t drive) and Konnie still has a Mom Taxi. And where I need to take my sister-in-law to appointments at most three times a week (and some weeks not at all), Konnie has to chauffeur kids around several times a day.

Frankly, it’s a wonder she managed to finish the rough on her colossal sci-fi with how much time she spends running kids around and just plain running errands. It also explains why she spent so much time while she was visiting me working on editing that sci-fi; she actually was able to work for hours straight without interruption. Too bad my place is so quiet; she resorted to putting videos in just for the noise!

Yeah, our lives are totally different. I really doubt the lives of any two writers are the same. We all have different living situations, and our families have different needs.

But anyway, for all those writers out there participating in Nano, I’d like to tell you my personal motto, “Slow and Steady wins the race.” 

And for all those who are not participating because a deadline or family obligations won’t let you, keep on writing. Each word you put on the page is one word closer to, “The End.” Or I could remind you of the old quote attributed to Nora Roberts about how you can’t fix a blank page, and tell you, if you have one word on it, it isn’t blank anymore. J

Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Making it Worse by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Have you ever had one of those days when everything thing seems to go wrong? Well I’m having one of those months, and I think it might be two months.

All my problems actually started on June 24th. I know the exact date because on June 24th I had to drive all the way into I.F. to the airport to pick up Konnie, who was flying in to spend a couple of week with me over our birthday.

Or maybe everything started the day before when I got that call from the doctor’s office, saying the lab test came back and he needed to see me as soon as possible. Dang, yeah that didn’t help any.

But the next day with a bit of a limp, it wasn’t easy getting to the airport at all, but I managed, thanks to having a walker. Getting to my doctor’s office later that day wasn’t any easier because my limp had gotten a little worse, and my left ear was bothering me, that cough I’d developed wasn’t any fun either.

Anyway, long story short, along with having to change some of my regular medications, my doctor informed me my sciatica was acting up, I had a mild cold, and an ear infection. Oh swell. At least Konnie was around to help me while I spent a few days trying to stay off my leg as much as possible, but well, when things on that front got better, I suffered a small accident.

It was nothing major. I have one of those store-bought reusable plastic water bottles, 24 ounces. And I put it, full on my padded footstool while I turned to sit on the couch. I’d barely managed that when my bottle tumbled off the footstool and landed hard on my shin. I even remember telling Konnie I was going to have an almighty bruise on my shin in a day or two.

The only other problem I noted during those last few days Konnie was visiting was that while I had finished the antibiotics, my ear still was “clogged” to the point I couldn’t hear out of it. I made another appointment with my doctor.

Between making that appointment, and it actually happening, I took Konnie back to the airport, even though I was again limping. For some reason my bad ankle was acting up again. Or at least that’s what I thought, until I saw my doctor.

I must point out at this time, that I should have noticed there was only a barely discernable discoloration on my shin, and not the almighty bruise I expected. It hadn’t dawned on me that could be a problem, but it turns out, my shin didn’t bruise all that much because the blood was pooling in my foot and he instructed me to spend the next two weeks with my ankle elevated above my heart!
Do you have any idea how hard that is?

Well let me tell you, it isn’t comfortable to do while sitting up. Promise. But the hazards of lying in bed for two weeks aren’t so fun either, especially when my favored pastime is sitting on my computer, writing. Where do you put a computer while your in bed?

The easy answer is on a bed tray designed for a computer. I don’t own a bed tray of any sort. I grabbed my reader and a pile of books, and despite getting some time to read, I went a little stir crazy. I think the biggest part was that despite living so far apart, Konnie and I usually connect every day, online. We talk in AIM all the time, which of course we couldn’t do while I couldn’t get on my computer.

And believe me I did try, but the only place I could put this thing was on my stomach, and putting this big heavy thing on my belly made me feel like I was about to lose it, if you know what I mean. I couldn’t do it for very long, and I frankly avoided it as much as I could.

Then my ankle started to feel better, I was starting to think I would be able to make my brother-in-law’s wedding even though it fell the day before I was supposed to be up and about again, but well, the day before the wedding my hip went out. Or rather, I should say, my sciatica reared it is ugly head again.

Only this time, after 2 weeks of not sleeping on my side (the best position for my back problems) I was now in a lot more pain than any other time my sciatica had acted up. I, in fact, ended up in the emergency room one night simply because my pain was so bad I couldn’t manage to get myself into my bedroom, let alone my bed.
And, just as I am starting to see improvement on that front, just as the new month has barely started, what happens? For the first time in months, I get cramps. Here I hadn’t done anything more than spotting, if at all, since before Christmas, and suddenly, well until this ends, messes will happen, and I hate this.

And I’m beginning to wonder if someone upstairs is trying to keep me home bound for a reason.

But at least it got me thinking about how in writing we’re supposed to think of the worst thing that could possibly happen, and make it worse. Every time someone has told me this, I have always thought how could you possibly make the worst thing to happen worse? Now I know.

Why did I have to learn this the hard way?

Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Flow of Things by Konnie Enos

I’m going to tell you the honest truth. Last night I had several ideas I could write about for my blog post. I really did. I don’t know if it was the hour (it was nearly 2 this morning) or they simply weren’t good ideas, but I couldn’t get any of them to flow.
I finally scrapped them.
Sleep. I need sleep. Then I’ll be able to think, write.
I went to bed. Then got up way too early to get my son up for school (he’s in summer school). I still had plenty of time to type up one of those ideas I had. I got him going then laid down to get some more rest.
Apparently my son, despite what he said, also got some more sleep. He missed his bus because he wasn’t looking for it.
That debacle at least got me awake. It also took me half an hour to figure out that he’d actually missed it. (I called the bus garage right away, I was on the line that long trying to find out where the bus was.)
So here I am, Wednesday morning less than half an hour before my post is supposed to go up and I’m tired from not enough sleep, plus I can’t think beyond the fact my son tried to get away with lying to me.
And to make matters worse my dear sister is complaining about how she feels every few seconds while I’m trying to organize my thoughts.
I suppose it could be worse.
I could have the rest of my family vying for my attention.
I’ve certainly been there. Trying to write and every single member of my family comes in and insists on talking to me interrupting my train of thought. But of course, I’m just on my computer, I’m not doing anything.
I could go on and on about family members who always interrupt me, who think I’m never busy and always have time since I’m ‘just on my computer’.
And now my post should already be up and I still can’t get the ideas to flow.
There are several things I should be doing.
Getting breakfast. Taking my medications.
Doing the chores I’ve been putting off, avoiding all week.
Doing the finances, because those always need done.
Getting a bath. Getting dressed. Though I doubt I’ll go anywhere today so I probably won’t do the last one.
And last of all, I could be editing my opus. I’ve actually been working on it for the last month.
In the end I just have to tackle one thing at a time and hope too many things don’t crop up to interfere with my plans. Because we all know life happens.
A child gets sick. A pet gets hurt. You run out of milk (ask Bonnie, that happens a lot around here). Someone needs a ride someplace. Or, like today, you have to write something and you can’t get a single idea to flow.
 Some days you just have to grin and bear it.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Calendars and Challenges

At the beginning of each month, besides working on paying all the bills, I update my personal calendar and make sure the family calendar is up to date. This is generally a daunting task because two of my daughters and my husband usually have multiple doctor’s appointments each and it’s a rare week that doesn’t have something scheduled.
This month I opened my calendar and decided that my girls hadn’t told me their appointments yet, and my husband’s needed to be added too. For the whole month there was only my doctor’s appointment. 
I asked.
One daughter gave me the mere two she had while the other sent the message she miraculously didn’t have any, while I added my husband’s—one.
I looked at the completed calendar in sheer astonishment at all the blank spaces.
I can’t remember the last time my calendar was that empty at the beginning of the month.
Then of course of I dove into my week, including adding a doctor’s appointment for a sick kid. Then I’ve had to fit in trips to the vet for several pets between runs to the store for necessary things like milk and bread, which I can’t seem to keep enough of in the house. Not really surprising since I have two teenaged boys.
In between all that I’ve had to figure out where all our money has to go this month and I still have to get those bills paid, plus I’m still hard at work trying to finish my opus, and I’ve finally managed to get to the day of the momentous final event, but like Bonnie, I’ve hit a snag in reaching ‘the end’. (Neither one of us has won this challenge yet.)
As I was scrolling back, just a few pages, to check something I’d typed, I found an anomaly, a line of code that I’ve run into before.
How it gets into my documents, I have no idea. I have found there is only one way to get it out, copy and paste everything into a new document without any formatting.
Easy enough to do. And if your only formatting is line spacing and indents for paragraphs, it’s a matter of selecting all and reformatting it, and you’re done. Of course if you have chapter heading, like I do, you’d then have to do a find for the word chapter and reposition where the heading is, i.e. center it.
For most documents that’s be about all you’d need.
But I have scene breaks that would need centered. So do a find for all of those. Also not so hard.
Okay. Next step.
I have subheading that need to be flush right and italicized. Fortunately they all start the same. So do another find and change all of those.
Now it’s back to the way I had it, right?
Not quite.
Because I also had some italicized text within the body of the story, and, you guessed it, it’s all different. Now I have to do a careful hunt in the old document, with the anomaly in it, for everything that’s italicized and make sure I italicize it in the new document.  
Considering I was working on chapter 144 when this happened, and my document is well over 1700 pages, it’s a massive undertaking.
And as you can see, I’m now late making my post this morning. Plus I’m running behind on getting ready for the busy day I have.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.