Writing Update: NaNoWriMo Uprising

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I hosted a write-in at my library this past Saturday to kick-off NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) We had thirteen people in attendance and lots of writing got done. Prizes were given out for highest word count in a writing sprint, lowest word count, best line written, and worst line written.

Unfortunately, I had to spend my writing time editing, but I got it done! It’s back with the editor now and hopefully we’ll move forward from there.

With limited hours in the day, I’m a bit behind on NaNoWriMo but I made a start on Saturday, getting 600 words in. Another 1200 on Sunday. Though not as many as I had hoped, it is still progress. 

I plan to catch up as time goes on. 2,000 words a day is not an unreasonable goal.

For me, NaNoWriMo is all about getting words on the page. I suppose I’m what they term a NaNo Rebel. I open a new document and EVRYTHING goes into it for the month. It could be a novel I’m working on, a digression into a short story, or even book reviews and blog posts. Every word counts.

Right now I’m filling in the missing bits of my Iwo Jima recon short story. Once that is drafted, I’ll move on to continuing the second novel in my paranormal series. I’m really looking forward to it.

There are quite a few quirky angels and demons in the books. Strangely enough, I just found out that an old family favorite, the Polish cookie Chrusciki, means “angel wings.” I may have to make some for the book release party.

Writing Update:

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Sometimes you just need to contemplate a really funky geometric bowl of green and purple cauliflower.

Of course, I’m still working on marketing plans and writing a short story while preparing for NaNoWriMo, but I took time off this past week to celebrate another trip around the sun.

If you’ve ever contemplated writing a book, you should check out National Novel Writing Month. (NaNoWriMo dot org) It’s a ton of fun! And you don’t have to write a novel, you can be a NaNo Rebel and write anything your heart desires!

It’s just you making a goal and writing, writing, writing, with the support of a lovely community of people. I’ll be working on my second paranormal romance this year.

Hope you can join us!

Writing Update: One Chunk at a Time

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Some days, nothing happens. You send poems and short stories out to publishers and they come back.
 
“No thanks.”
 
“Not for us.”
 
“Not what we’re looking for.”
 
And some days the sale of a poetry book pays for the coconut cake or you get an email that your poem has been accepted into an anthology.
 
Or an author whose poem you are giving feedback on asks about your writing, whether you’ve written anything new? You tell her you post a new poem nearly every Friday and she says, “Those are all new? You’re a machine!”
 
It’s the little things, they claim. But they can feel pretty big on any given day.
 
Right now, I’m furiously working on a short story. And by furiously, I mean I open the document every day, sometimes more than once, add whatever new words I can, and rearrange a few. It’s getting there, slooooowly.
 
I so very much want to finish drafting this story so I can set it aside to marinate while I go back to writing the second paranormal book.
 
I’m getting there, one chunk of scene at a time.

 

 

Writing Status Update: Clothes Pegs

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I haven’t written much historical fiction and certainly not something for which there is such a good historical record. Writing something of this nature has advantages and disadvantages. It requires a good bit more research than my regular fiction.

To that end, I’ve been reading Iwo Jima Recon: The U.S. Navy at War, February 17, 1945 by Dick Camp. It has a huge amount of information on the Navy Underwater Demolition Teams – how they volunteered for the job and the training, as well as the Japanese fortifications, bombardment of the island prior to the landing, timing of events, and everything else relevant. It has been fascinating.

I also watched the 2002 movie Windtalkers with Nicholas Cage and Adam Beach. That was much harder. It is a very realistic movie in some ways, depicting the confusion and horror of battle. It was downright nauseating for me at times, but useful.

When writing a story, I try to make use of whatever filters through my brain, and applies. While writing this story, I had a dream that I was in a small house that was picked up, largely intact, and carried into a huge tornado. The next day I wrote that in as part of the back story for one of my two main characters.

At our last writer’s group meeting, a work-in-progress from another writer sparked a discussion on the difference between a clothespin and a clothes peg. That night I dreamt of carving names into clothes pegs so that got written into my story as something a main character’s girlfriend does to remember people who have volunteered for military service, as she hangs the laundry to dry or takes it in.

Now I’m working some more on that big story picture – plot points that I know have to be there and the reality of timing during the reconnaissance with the fictional movements of my characters.

I’ve learned far more than will ever go into this story, but hopefully it will enrich the narrative the way a good broth base does for a soup.

Writing Update: Research Haiku

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Weekly Writing Update: Sharing Stories

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I currently have five short stories and a novel submitted to potential publishers, and two more short stories I need to pick potential homes for.

It’s a little like holding a lottery ticket. You want to find out whether you won or not but the anticipation is wonderful fun as well. Schroedinger’s cat is still alive! Yes, there’s fun in both creating and sharing. That sharing can take a multitude of forms. There’s at least one story that I’ve shared with my writer’s group which I may never send out, but it was cathartic just writing it and sharing it with them.

Yesterday, I sent a copy of my poetry book to Brené Brown on a whim. I recently read her book, Braving the Wilderness, and so many things she said resonated with poems in my book that I wanted to share it with her. She may never read it, may never even see it if someone opens her mail for her, but I sent it.

Making connections, sharing who we are, is a big part of why we’re here. Sometimes I see memes that say things like “I should just keep quiet, nobody cares.” Bullshit. I care, I’m interested in people’s stories and what they think, and I’ve found over time that whatever it is I think or feel, there are plenty of people out there who feel the same way.

So, keep on sharing your story. Somebody may be waiting to hear it.

DONE! For now. (A Novel Submission)

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Well, I did it. I FINALLY submitted my paranormal romance, Earthbound, to a publisher. My husband poured me a really big glass of wine last night, twice what I would usually pour myself, so I hope I didn’t rush this. 🙂

I wrote the novel, let it sit, and edited it. I rewrote bits and shared some with my writer’s group members. I gave it to three beta readers then applied their suggestions. I gave it to three MORE beta readers and applied THEIR suggestions. Writing is truly a recursive process, you keep going back to a piece over and over, but at some point you have to let it go. So I submitted it last night.

I’ve been working on this novel for several years now. To be honest, I don’t even know when I started. I’ve worked on it, alternating with short stories, poetry and other novels, for quite some time. But this year is about finishing things and putting them out there.

For rejection? Maybe. I hope not. I’m hoping for an acceptance, but if they pass on it, some useful feedback would helpful too. Now, I try to forget about it until I hear back from them.

On to the next thing – plotting the next book, editing my short horror story, and finishing the other science fiction series I started.

To be honest, I’m very excited to move on to the next book, Firebound, about my main character’s best friend, Jennifer, who was burned in a car accident. I saw a youtube video on plotting a novel that I plan to watch – “How to Plot Your Novel FAST” from Ellen Brock. The comments on it are very positive.  

I’m actually feeling very accomplished. I even managed to clean some windows, sort munchkin and my clothes for donations, cook three meals, and do her laundry on Sunday along with submitting the novel. What more do you want from life?

Update: Writing or Rhubarb? Both

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When the rhubarb rolls around, take the time to make cobbler.

Sometimes I get to the end of the month and wonder – what did I accomplish? This past month has been filled with working eight hours a day, driving an hour each way to get there, spending quality time with my daughter (including playing Harry Potter Clue,) cooking, getting groceries, laundry, Easter preparations, reading three really good novels on the theme of visual arts for my book club (The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro was outstanding,) and a ridiculous amount of time getting my car repaired so it would pass inspection.

I still managed to write a number of new poems (April is National Poetry Month,) edit a short horror story, submit some stories for publication and very nearly finish editing my paranormal romance novel, Earthbound, to submit. (Just two more scenes to go!)

I tried to rush the editing but Life has a way of slowing me down, of reminding me that it’s quality over speed that counts. Life is also about balance, and the rhubarb only arrives once a year.

Seriously, Google “Smitten Kitchen rhubarb cobbler recipe.” Totally worth it.

Update: Has Anyone Seen My Flash Drive?

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Ah, the writing life. Things have not quite gone to plan . . . again.
 
First, I left my flash drive at work, an hour away. My weekend schedule simply did not hold two hours to drive out there and get it, and a major part of my plan was to edit Earthbound while my car got a new catalytic converter this morning. (That didn’t happen, but that’s a whole other story.) Thankfully my husband offered to go get the flash drive while I did Easter preparations with our daughter.
 
Then, this morning, Windows decided to update, though I HAD turned automatic updates off AND just run updates on Thursday. A box popped up offering to save my edits but before I could approve it, Windows forced my word processing software to crash. The recovered document held none of my editing but, thankfully, the original file opened and SOME of the edits were in there.
 
So, not as far as I planned but neither am I back at square one. I did work on eliminating the use of SEEM and WAS, as much as possible.
 
Tomorrow is another day which will, undoubtedly, hold more editing.

Submissions, Rejections and Presentations

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March is going out like a lion, with whirling, swirling thoughts. There’s so much going on!

I’ve recently received two short stories back from the publications I had submitted them to with a “no, but thank you for letting us read it.” Sent one back out yesterday to a new pub and will pick a new pub for the other one in the next couple days. Doesn’t do any good to let them sit.

I’ve been using Submittable and Authors Publish to find publications to submit to. They certainly do make it easier, though you need to spend the time checking out the current specs from the publisher.

For example, I read through everything on how to submit to one publisher then clicked on their link to Submittable and couldn’t submit. Why? I didn’t click the link to see their publishing schedule; they’re closed for submissions until the first of April. My bad. Next!

I’ve been reading through my plague novel, UNPREPARED, making myself cry all over again, which leads me to believe that besides needing an ending to tie up the loose ends, it might need a few more moments of levity and/or hope. I’m afraid it’s a little TOO bleak. I can do that though. Next week.

This week, I’m pretty focused on my presentations for a writer’s conference I’ll be talking at Saturday in Corning, New York. The first presentation, on Book Trailers, has SO many options on how to create them that I’ve decided to go the simplest route, creating one in Powerpoint with only images, text, and music, then talk about how to upgrade from there by adding video and voice overs. (I do love book trailers with voice overs. There’s something very inviting about them.) And with royalty free video clips available out there, you don’t even have to be able to take video yourself!

The second presentation, on getting book reviews, is not nearly as big but still has LOTS of options. There are so many avenues to approach people for reviews, from Amazon to Goodreads to professional reviews. I’m definitely going to try a Goodreads Giveaway myself very soon.

And real life goes on. Not sure yet whether I’ll be posting a new haiku this week or something from the poetry archive on Friday. We’ll see what I can come up with.

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