Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Challenge

Okay, I’m declaring the race has been won by Konnie because I’ve hit a major snag in my story, it’s actually something I should have done a little more research on before I started writing. But now I’ve looked it up and learned what I thought was correct wasn’t, meaning I have to go back through the whole manuscript and make some major changes. I’m also not going to be able to move forward until I do fix it, because the needed changes affect how I can move forward.

And that means, since I’m such a slow typist and reader, that there’s little chance I’ll finish by Saturday. I haven’t even gotten close to the climax scene yet, and Konnie is almost to hers. Though in all fairness I should point that Konnie technically already has her ending written, due to the fact that this monster manuscript she’s writing started out at first as just one story.

One story she actually managed to write almost in its entirety in one month. And it is the main story in this larger manuscript, but after finishing that one, she started one about the sister and best friend of the hero in the first one. The time line was a complete overlap for first one, and before she even finished that one, she started a yet another story, about a set of twin boys and the sisters they like.

Well, at some point she decided she didn’t have enough of the two new stories to comprise a whole novel each, so she decided to combine all three, since all three do occur during the same time frame. Only problem is that she eventually came up with plenty more to fill, well I’m guessing, four to six novels. But I told her to worry about the length, size of the monster, after she actually finishes telling the whole thing.

Considering that the first two stories have a lot of the same scenes, in a different POV, and the third one has scenes that happened at the same time, just a different place, that it isn’t going to be easy to divide this into three or even four stories. And frankly, if she hadn’t decided to limit the number of POV’s she used, it could be way more than that.

I can think of three or four other POV’s she could have used, and frankly, two or three other stories, if not more, she could have told with those other POV’s. Yeah this is a huge story. It’s also a really good story. Personally, I can’t wait to see it finished.

  And now to prepare for Nano!

Happy writing everyone. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Challenge

Last week, as Bonnie said, I challenged her to a race to the end, see which one of us could finish writing our current work in progress by the end of the month. Her main goal was to get it finished so she’d have a clean slate to start a new story for Nano next month.
My motivation is finally getting my mega opus finished. Today I started writing chapter 137 of these epic story, which is really several stories in one. There are so many characters in it and even the non-POV characters have a story line. But I’m oh so much closer. Since at least part of the last few scenes are already written (I do know how the opus ends) I know I’m almost there. I just need a few more scenes to wrap up some story lines and set up that final event.
As I look at what I have now, and the scenes I still need to write, I’m sure I won’t finish at 140 chapters, in fact, because that last event is so big, I’m pretty sure I’ll make at least 150.
Which means I could have 14 more chapters to write in just over a week.
I have ten days to write about 14 chapters.
Scratch that.
Due to plans I have this weekend, I doubt I’ll have any writing time on Saturday.
And then there’s the paperwork, bills and so forth I have to deal with. The grocery shopping. My husband’s car is down, at least until we can fix it, which won’t be until after the first, so guess who gets to do a lot of chauffeuring for the next ten days to two weeks?
But having a goal is a good thing.
Both of us are trying hard to complete our stories.

Most days we both spend time on our stories either adding to them or editing, tweaking, what we already had.
One word at a time we are both getting closer.
She doesn’t think she’ll make any more than I do, but we’re not giving up.
Although I don’t do Nano, I rarely have the time to do that much typing, I can see the value of such challenges. Setting goals with friends, people who will not only keep you on track, but race you to the finish line.
So for all those writers who are doing Nano, I support you. Keep fighting to ‘the end’, and when you reach it, go back and edit, edit, edit, until it’s the best you can offer.
I’d write more now, but I’ve got an alarm going off, I need breakfast, and my opus really wants me to finish that scene I left in the middle of so I could get this written. And I’m sorry this is late, but I really was trying to write that scene.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Race

And the race is on!

Both Konnie and I are nearing the completion of the novels we’re each currently writing. Of course, Konnie has been working on the one she’s calling her opus for like seven years, and I started my WIP last November, but at this moment, we both have about the same number of chapters left to finish them.

And it’s anyone’s guess which one of us will finish first.

Konnie is hands down the faster typist of the two of us. We’ve known that for years, but Konnie’s also the one with four of five kids at home, along with a whole menagerie of animals, including four dogs, and then there’s her husband. All of these are potential interruptions that I, clearly don’t have.

I live alone. I do have all the chores and errands she has, but not in as great a number, and unlike her, I can spend whole days writing with little or no interruptions. Well, let’s just say, in comparison to her, I don’t get interrupted that much at all. In fact, the last time I groused about interruptions, she was doing it, and it happened yesterday.

I was trying to work on my current scene and having trouble getting the order and choice of words just right. And every few seconds or so my skype would chime and it would be another message from Konnie with either a brainstorming question or a sample of what she’d just managed wanting my opinion, which of course drew my attention from my own writing. There was no way I could answer her and not have my brain focused on her work, and each and every time, that meant I had to refocus on my manuscript, which, thanks to my ADD, isn’t easy.

I’d finally start typing again, and she’d send another message!
So, yeah, I got upset. With her, interruptions are just a matter of course, and she isn’t ADD, which is probably a good thing, because her family interrupts her a lot. I don’t know how she can put up with it. When my husband was still alive, he learned pretty fast, that if I’m writing he probably should leave me alone.
I growl. Konnie doesn’t.

So, at any rate, last night Konnie challenged me to see who got to “the end” first. And this after I’d told her I’d challenged myself to finish this draft of my manuscript by October 31st, because of course, come November 1st, unlike her, I will be participating in National Novel Writer’s Month or Nano , just like I have done for the past twelve years. This year will be thirteen. And unlike any year before, which I still completed, I actually have an outline of a story ready and waiting for me to write!

But, I’m still working on the one I started during last year’s 50k challenge. Of course, that’s another story. :)

I can’t wait to see who wins this race. How about you?

Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


The last two days I’ve mulled over what I could write about this week for my post and I actually got nowhere. As I sit down to at my computer to work on my post I still have no clue what to write about and while I should be focusing on the words to put here, my brain is tumbling over and over again on all those tasks I need to get done.
Laundry. Bills. Picking up my son’s glasses and getting my daughter’s new glasses adjusted. The cat needs shots, two dogs need their nails trimmed, and another one needs his tags renewed, the air filter needs changed, we have to get a new one. Hopefully my car will be ready today. Somebody has to do the dishes, probably me again because my girls are down for the count and my boys, well you try getting teenaged boys to wash dishes, by hand, and actually get them all clean.
And in the middle of all this my oldest has called twice in two day having a severe allergic reaction to something. So it’s looking like her sisters aren’t the only ones with severe food allergies.
Now I have a kid home sick from school, so I have to call the doctor, again.
Don’t let anybody ever tell you managing a household isn’t a job.
Half the time when I’m trying to do something, I’m “doing three things at once”, something I tell Bonnie all the time when she asks me why I haven’t done something simple yet, like answer her last question or check my mailbox.
Try talking/typing to someone through AIM while talking to someone on the phone and attempting to work on your own writing, or paying your bills, or whatever else you need to get done while four dogs are loudly announcing someone is at your door and nobody in your house seems to be making any effort to get to the door. Either that or the landline is ringing, which still means going to the front room. Oh, and you’re buried under your computer and a mound of paper work so getting up and getting to the front of the house is a production in and of itself.
(Okay, I’ve actually never had all of that happen all at once, but I’ve sure come close a few times.)
The one good thing about my strong attempt at trying to focus on writing yesterday is that I finally, after a month at least, wrote the next scene, and actually chapter, of my opus. I’m thinking I’m within six chapters of “The End”. I know I only have five events to put in and one of those is basically already written. So much closer. Maybe I’ll be able to get it finished soon.
Now to move on with another chaotic, perfectly normal around here, day.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Have you ever had one of those days, when you're moving right along, everything is going smoothly then you happen to glance at the clock and realize that Time was moving too fast. Suddenly, you didn't have enough hours in the day to finish everything, because just one thing was taking longer than you thought it would?

Well I've had that sort of month!

I'm not going to tell you how many times I've looked at the clock and realized that I'd spent hours more time writing than I'd planned. Nor am I going to tell you how many things I didn't get done when I should have because I was writing.

But this week I actually thought I was doing okay, and managing to get more than just my writing done then just a few minutes ago I realized what little writing I managed yesterday should have been on my blog post not my novel.

I did think about it, but I did that while I was driving to and from doctors appointments. It didn't do me much good, and I sincerely wish there was someway to slow down the sands of time, just for a little while, so I could get more done in a single day.

Until that's possible, I'll just say: Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Language and Communication part 2

In my last post I introduced the concept of language shorthand’s within a culture or between a few people. These shorthand’s can and do develop in families.
In my own family, we’ve developed this type of shorthand. You can easily get my kids laughing by saying “three sneezes”, “cheat, cheat”, “now which one are you” or “nobody has shoes on”.
Come to my house sometime and listen to us discuss a dinner menu or shopping list and try to figure out what “death, poison and pain” are. Death we make efforts to at least limit in our house and keep it away from my youngest daughter. Pain we don’t limit, but do keep away from my two daughters (the two living at home). Poison is not only encouraged, but my youngest son will complain about me making him eat it every day (he’s the one who started calling them poison). I’ll gripe that the list of death and pain is growing.
In one of my stories I have an MC convey a whole story to his brother by saying the name of one of their deceased relatives. It quickly got his point across to his brother, then he had to explain himself to everyone else in the room. But the fact is, as family members, they could express a full story with just a name is believable. The scene wouldn’t have been believable if the MC had to tell the whole story to his brother, who already knew it.
At another point in that same story the mother of one of my characters told her, “Don’t pull an Andrea.”
This was referring to the young woman’s sister, but she got the point. Her sister was known for dawdling.
Do we as writers create believable family dynamics with family members who have a shorthand? Do they say things that sound off the wall but make perfect sense to the family members, while being confusing to anybody else? Can your characters convey stories to each other with just a word or two, or a name?
This dynamic doesn’t have to apply to just families, but can also fit people who’ve been around each other a lot, or grown up together.
In the story I mentioned above, I have a scene where the introduction of a simple food item has two characters, who grew up together laughing. Their community’s shared shorthand. A familiar story they both knew that was funny to them. The people in the room with them had to be told what was funny.
Read through your stories and find out where you can use this shorthand.
In the first scene I mentioned, had the MC told his brother what the problem was by telling the story of their deceased relative, the scene would have been completely different, and they would have trooped out of the room faster than I needed them too. However, normal family dynamics got him to relay the story twice, once quickly to his brother, then a second time, in longer format, to everyone else.
In the second scene I mentioned, I can remember the long sentence I had were the mother was telling her not to dawdle, then it occurred to me, the line about not pulling an Andrea was shorter, got the point across, and was consistent with normal family dynamics.
Read through your stories and see if the dynamic is there. Do they have that shorthand? If not can you create one for them.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.