Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lost My Mind...

It's official. I have lost my mind. Obviously given my last several posts, I have been feeling a bit "off" with my wip. Which as we've determined is not unique to me. I had determined some changes I needed to make in order to strengthen the story. And I've been away, in my cave trying to work through those changes.

Finally, I have them all flushed out. And I think I may have lost my mind. Because I am scrapping all 25,000 or so words I have written so far. Yeah, I've erased words before. But not 25,000! I didn't actually erase them, I just started a new document.

The most basic plot is still the same. But some pretty significant changes occurred. My hero has a different career and they traded a sibling, the inciting event has been altered and the conflict between them altered. I think it was the conflict between them... You know that "thing" keeping them apart... That was bugging me most.

There was a conflict in the previous version. A decent one at that. And technically, it's still there. But it's just not strong enough. And that was bugging me. So now it's a new one and that's great.

I don't regret all the writing I did earlier. If I hadn't written all of that, I wouldn't have realized what the real conflict is. So it was productive.

Now I've done a complete outline... something else new for me. And I'm taking it scene by scene. As much as I feel like I should be overwhelmed at scrapping the first version, really I'm just excited to have worked it out and be getting started. I might have made it to this point sooner if I had been more willing to just scrap the first. But that thought was a little scary!

What's the most you've ever scraped? Did you have a hard time doing it?


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Slowing Down...

Fall is finally here. And everyone has been talking about change. One change I am experiencing is slowing down to really think. When I first started writing, I kept hearing that the "average" writer completes seven manuscripts before getting published and I thought... holy mackerel, I better get writing. And I wrote like a nut.

Despite my push, it took me a year to complete my first manuscript of around 75,000 words. And then I began the second that fall (last fall). I was preparing to attend my first national convention in August of this year and my goal was to have it done and ready to pitch, so I pushed and pushed and finished it in time.

A lot has happened since then. I've narrowed and directed my focus of where I want to go and what I want to do with my writing, I've learned a lot from other writers, and I think I'm a lot different as a writer overall. Even if I do still want to use commas too much. Love those commas.

But a big change I've felt is that I don't feel like I'm in a hurry. I mean I want to be done with it. I want to have it complete, and I've been writing at a decent clip. 25,000 words in a month is pretty good for me. It's a much faster pace than my first story. But I don't feel like I'm writing fast. I feel comfortable as though I'm just plodding along and getting it done as it happens.

With my first two stories, when people asked about the stories, I was always stumped for a moment. I had a really hard time breaking the stories down into a small nut to explain in a few sentences, but I'm also not having that problem here. It's pretty easy to explain. It may not be EVERYTHING that happens in the story, but if it were, I'd just be reading the book aloud, right?

Moments of complete abject self-confidence failure aside (see previous post), I've really enjoyed feeling different with this story. I don't know if it's a sign that I've matured as a writer or that my abilities have improved, but it's nice and while I'm feeling good about it, I thought I should share that.

So my question is this: Has there been a turning point for you? Where your writing took a turn, hopefully a good one, but a turn none-the-less?


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Giving Yourself Permission

I've been busy with all sorts of activities and writing hasn't gotten the time it deserves. In a way, I think I may have been procrastinating. Maybe I even got bit by the self-doubt bug. Don't you just hate that little sucker. Or maybe it's just me.

Despite having a sketch of the upcoming scenes, I hadn't gotten any further on my wip. All of a sudden all sorts of questions started popping up. Is there enough conflict? Is there too much? Is the story too complicated? Is it too simple? Is it just a really stupid story idea all together? Self doubt.

While sharing emails with a friend, I revealed my quandary and she said, "It's ok. You're ok. Keep going." She pointed out that it's ok if it's crap. It's ok if I have to go back and edit or even erase. That's all part of the journey. And I know I've heard that a million times. And this may sound silly, but her giving me permission to keep going allowed me to do so.

Do you face self-doubt with your writing? How do you get beyond it?


Friday, September 15, 2006

Early Obsessions...

I had to go to an office supply store today. We needed those little dots you put on folded paper to keep them closed while they're in the mail. While picking those up, I also got a box of pens.

When I got back to the office, I handed over the dots and took the pens with me. I should probably note here, that my mother and sister both work in the same office with me. It's a family real estate business. Anyway, I happily went to my office and ripped into my box of brand new pens, not even noticing my mother following me.

When she saw what I had, she just shook her head and said, "Why am I surprised?"

I looked up from my glee and asked, "What? I just got some pens."

She gave me an indulgent smile and said, "You always have to have pens."

Since this remark resembled a Rain Man phrase to me, I of course immediately started to defend my purchase. "But I was out of black pens."

"You could have just gotten one out of the supply drawer," she reasoned.

What could I say? There are pens in the drawer, but they aren't these pens? Before I could answer, she pointed at one of the TWO pen holders on my desk. The one with my... novelty pens. There's a Tigger, a Mickey that lights up when you press down, a zany pink fuzzy guy on a spring and a big pink feathery pen. Oh yeah... and the red and white candy stripped double tipped pencil I stole from her last week. "You just like pens."

"Well, you always need a pen, right?"

She smiled. "Yeah, but you don't need the tub full you have at home." Did I mention I have a small... ok, 16"x16" tub o'pens at home. All sorts of neat pens and pencils there.

I guess she saw the defenses rising, because she sat down and her smile turned indulgent and she said, "Ever since you could first hold a writing instrument, you've been obsessed with them. When we'd go to the store and other kids had to have a toy, all you wanted was a neat pencil or pen, which was usually in the budget. I thought it was cute, I'm not criticizing."

Feeling somewhat vindicated, I twirled the new pen in my hand and said, "I just like them...."

Her reply was, "I guess it was an early indication of your writing desires."

That hit me like a brick. Because when someone learns I write, invariably, the question of how long I've been doing it comes up and I always hem haw around it. Usually I answer... "I've been seeking publication for two years." Because I've been writing forever, but not necessarily for a purpose other than to read my own dribble.

While I knew I had the desire to story tell in me, I didn't realize I had outward indications of those desires. And it was neat to discover one.

Did you have indications of your desire to write before you actually started doing it?


EDITED TO ADD: Big congratulations to Michelle Willingham who got THE CALL today. She's worked very hard to get here and it's a delight to see it happen! Visit her blog and read her story and congratulate her!

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Wednesday's post was an interrogation... I mean interview of author Mary Eason at Word Flirts. Check it out!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Beach Patrol...

While I was writing the other night and hubby worked on some work of his own, we were allowing Cops shows to play on the TV. Most episodes are good for at least one laugh. I know... I have a twisted sense of humor.

Well, after Court TV had exhausted its supply of Cops for the night, a program came on that we hadn't seen before. Beach Patrol Miami. And I was instantly entranced. It had all of the makings of a great Cops episode. Stupid people doing even more stupid stuff. But it also featured fit, athletic lifeguards who play, life saver/peace keeper in a city where the beach is daily life.

Since I was able to get 2000 words done this weekend, I thought I would reward myself and you guys with some pictures of lifeguards from the show. Enjoy!

There are female lifeguards too and they too do amazing work. And no, they don't resemble inflation devices, thank you very much. Although, I'd pay my life's savings to have a set of their abs.

How did your weekend go?


Friday, September 08, 2006

Don't Forget...

I want to remind everyone to go to Romance Junkies and vote on the entries. There are a lot of great entries, each week. Also, take a peek around Romance Junkies while you're there. Cat and her gang have really done a great job with the site!

So, I'm thinking about my weekend and trying to figure out what I'll do besides writing. What are your plans?


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The First Kiss...

My characters have finally shared their first kiss and I'm at 20,000 words! Woo Hoo! So it's party time.

And I thought we'd party over a first kiss discussion.

My sister is 12 years older than me and I remember a discussion we had when she was considering dating her now hubby. They had gone out and he had moved in for a kiss and she'd backed off. She told him, "A kiss will change everything." And this was long before the days when Julia Roberts was trying to prevent herself from smooching Richard Gere. He wrote a song about it and recorded it for her and that song helped settle his place in her heart.

I remember my first kiss. Although it wasn't truly memorable. I was young and my best friend was a little boy named Timmy. We were really best buddies. I was a bit of a tomboy back then. We played fort, dared each other to jump out of trees and off various pieces of play ground equipment and when we caught my then teenage sister kissing her boyfriend, we decided to do that too. It took us a grand total of maybe two nano-seconds to decide it wasn't for us. He had cooties and I didn't want them.

It was many years later, when I finally understood that not ALL boys had cooties and decided to give this whole kissing thing another whirl. It lasted slightly longer than the first, and thankfully, he didn't slobber on me or anything. As far as first kisses go, it wasn't bad. He was my childhood crush of the moment (I had several) and it was definitely a happy moment for me.

My hubby and I took forever to have our first kiss. We were really good friends for four years before deciding to date. And we were both so nervous about totally blowing our friendship that we decided to take things very slow. We were juniors in high school and we dated for over a month and a half before we had our first kiss. And FINALLY I had found the right one. The rest as they say is history.

When I'm writing a first kiss, I always think back to the first kiss hubby and I shared. It was on the front porch of my childhood home and it was Christmas time. So we were standing there, freezing, surrounded by the glow of Christmas lights and hugging, when it happened. It's a really wonderful moment to reflect on while writing.

While I haven't written a similar scene for any of my heroes or heroines, I like to reflect on the emotions I felt then. It's a lot better than that first kiss with poor Timmy. It must have been hard to kiss a girl who could beat you up.

What about you? What was your first kiss like? Do you ever think about it as you write?


Monday, September 04, 2006

Look Mom, No Net!

It's a holiday weekend here in the US and my first thought was... Maybe I'll get a lot of writing done. Then, Saturday I got my hair cut, went ice skating with my nephew (didn't fall once), had drinks with some girlfriends and then came home and flipped open the laptop thinking I would do a little critiquing and then do some writing. Maybe even some surfing on the side.

Only I discovered there was a "failure to launch" with my modem. And I thought... What in the world? Turns out our DSL was down. Phone worked fine, but DSL was a no-go. So surfing was struck and thanks to my slackness, so was critiquing because I hadn't downloaded the file yet. Real smart, I know.

What was I left with? That's right... writing. I considered shutting off the computer and doing some reading. I mean how can I write if I can't look up something on the web when I need to? I can't! Only I discovered I could. I could very well in fact. So well that I wrote over 6000 words. I'm now at over 19000 words and flying strong.

Maybe this is a sign to me. Maybe I need to shut off the net more often. I missed getting to IM my cp when I had a question about a tweak. And I would catch myself trying to open messenger or aol messenger to see if she was on and then it would try to connect and spit all sorts of ugly phrases back at me. Something about attempting an illegal operation. Who knew messenger got so fussy when there was no internet connection. Stupid maybe, but illegal? Not quite.

But maybe now that my internet is back up, I need to open messenger and leave my browser shut. It'll be hard. Very hard. But I think I can do. In fact, if it means I'll write 6000 words, I KNOW I can do it. Sometimes.

Either way, it's past midnight and apparently my DSL is back to working because I can finally log into the net. Yay! Only now I'm sleepy. So hopefully I'll get some critiquing done tomorrow after the family festivities.

How'd your weekend go? Get much done?