On Writing and NaNoWriMo

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I decided I would join the National Novel Writing Month challenge and committed to finishing my second novel, MIND MATTERS in the month of November. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I’m quite good at procrastination and forcing myself to finish this work should forestall my usual dithering.

Today being Friday the 13th seems like a good time to face my mistakes, well, some of them anyway. The list is long, so I’ll just admit I’m not progressing well on my writing challenge. What was I thinking? Finish a book I was only on Chapter Twelve of in the space of one month??? Madness, sheer madness! I’m actually writing here to avoid the pages of my story. It’s not that I don’t know where to go with the story. I have it all mapped out in my head and up until now, it was flowing rather well. But now I have a deadline. Holy Crap! Why am I Blocked?? Why is a deadline so daunting?

If you have read this far you will note that this is all in my head, such a mess. I set myself a deadline and then choked. All the advice from authors is to write and write every day. Well, I’m not built that way. I write when the story forms the words in my head. Sounds totally crackers when you write it down, but some of my best work, according to my editor, John Hudspith, has been when I am lost in my own story. My characters become real to me and their journey is what I must record. I’m still reading my first book, working on clarity and that holy and sacred point of view elephant in the work.

Enough drivel! I admit I’m flawed. I can’t force the words onto the page. If I’m not with my characters, I can’t tell their story with the heart and soul they deserve. These novels are a collection of real people, some I’ve known and some I only wished I could have known. So I will stop now and get out of my own way. My first novel, LIGHTED WINDOWS is nearing final edit and I will be releasing it soon. My editor has many kind words for the work and sooner or later I must let it  go, just as I must embrace my new characters. They deserve my full attention. Their story is something that will flow if I can simply get out of the way.

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Rain & NaNoWriMo

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Yes, I realize these two things don’t go together but it is that time of the year and I’ve made a commitment to finish one of my novels this month. Today being the first of November, I sat down to write and watch the rain. I love rain and here in parched Northern California it is a blessing beyond mere words.

Speaking of words, I did manage to advance MIND MATTERS, the novel I’m striving to finish this month, by about five pages. Some folks are going on word count but since my darling editor, John Hudspith, will cut a great deal of my ‘fluffy’ writing, I’m setting a goal of pages. It is an effort to move from scene to scene regardless of word count.

It may not have come up in national news, but Beverly Hills not only did nothing to save water, those privileged folks actually used over one hundred percent of their normal water usage. The State Water folks are fining them for the abuse. Somehow, I doubt Beverly Hills and the other wealthy offenders will care. It’s only money. Green lawns and golf courses are far more important.

I think we may have gotten at least half an inch of rain here in Folsom. I don’t think it will make Folsom pond back into Folsom Lake. I do think it will make leaving this state so very much easier. I now own a house in Kentucky and it is lovely to see all the water passing through my next and I hope, last state of residence.

The thing about writing is, you don’t need to be in any particular place. Jack Kerouac managed to become famous for not really belonging anyway in particular. While I love to travel, I’m a little picky about where I sleep each night. Don’t take that wrong because I have spent many wonderful nights in a tent, traveling in the U.S. and in Europe. I am, however, getting on in years and require a bed for the night or at least a comfy air mattress. 🙂

So now I have made my commitment public (4 whole people and yes, Zanna, I still love your red hair). I am going to stop now. The next five or six pages need some thought. Oh, a Thank You to Nancy Loderick for her kind grammar assist. Naturally, WordPress doesn’t have a grammar check or even the ability for someone to correct their brain fart. (pardon the language 🙂

Until next time, I bid thee Adieu, darling fans  xx

Winter

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#historicdrought
Shakespeare had it with “..now is the winter of our discontent made…” but I would say fire, not flesh. The very air in California is brittle from lack of water. I am still gathering the bones of my poor white birch, skeletal white and so dead, from the ground of my slowly dying landscape. Yes, they will pay you around a thousand dollars to remove your grass and install “drought tolerant” plants with bark or rocks but don’t be fooled. It costs way more than that and even tolerant plants still need some water.

The clouds come by once and a while, but they leave without a drop. Did you know that virga is rain that does not reach the ground?? The weather maps show some green, but no water actually falls. I’d never heard that word until I reached this desert. Rain that does not reach the ground, is that a cosmic joke on us? Have I mentioned we are trapped in a C. S. Lewis novel? (if you don’t get the reference “always winter, never Christmas”) Always cloudy never raining.

I am not a travel writer, I like my fiction. I write love stories, no not romances, not enough sex (or so I’ve been told). I like fiction because I can control (usually, sometimes things get out of hand) how the story goes. Reality is not as much fun and bad things just feckin’ happen. I am proofing LIGHTED WINDOWS one last time before sending it on to the editor. It is disappointing to see some of my rookie mistakes still happening in these last chapters. To be a writer, you must write. To be a good writer, you must write a lot and daily if at all possible. The more I write the better (I hope) I get. But it does not correlate with the drought problem. The longer we go without water, June 6th was our last real rain, the less we are able to handle it. Being in a drought never gets easier, no matter how hard you try.

Ciao darlings! If you have rain read this bit one more time before you get too depressed. It will stop raining but will it ever start???

The Joy of Being Right!!

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As you may know or maybe not, I have complete a novel titled: LIGHTED WINDOWS. It is currently in editing and I just recently had the funds to send another three chapters to my wonderful and ever so kind, editor, John Hudspith. He has been instrumental in cleaning up this first manuscript and catching ghastly errors that four of my friends missed. I will not mention those errors here but suffice it to say “…even a platter of scrambled eyes” (eggs) has been removed from my opus.

Last night as I was shutting everything off, I happened to notice I had an email from John. Since he had chapters to edit, I thought, why not check his note so I will know approximately how much work awaited me. Bad move on my part. The note said, and I paraphrase here, “…100% POV correct, equally perfect succinct imagery throughout. No failings whatsoever, oh, and no weird foodstuffs..”. He liked it! I did a good job, OMG, sleeping is something I could not do. I wanted to celebrate my success, even if it was only three chapters. It was done well and I did it. Yup, it took sleepy -time tea and emails at one o’clock in the morning before I was able to sedate myself to sleep. WOW, that felt so good.

I suppose I should have been sad that I celebrated with tea and my cat while my husband slept, but honestly, I felt so good I did not care that I was alone. I wrote this alone, so it did not bother me. My cat was very happy too, being nocturnal, he was thrilled to have me up at 2:00 A.M. It proves I can learn and maybe I can write even if it is just a simple love story (not a romance, I have been told, not enough sex). It was a joyful interlude. Now, I just need to squeeze the budget and send off the rest of this manuscript. It should take about four more bundles to Dearest John (great editor) and this first book will be off to the Amazon slush pile. But, I will not be that author with a badly edited book. I was right for a change, it was magical! Love, Light and lots of Chocolate my dear ones….Ciao

The Never Ending Edit

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I seem to be always in the editing phase of my first novel, Lighted Windows. I sent off the next three chapters to my wonderful editor John Hudspith and I am now working on the next three or four if all goes well. What bugs me is the time necessary to work out the kinks (okay, there is no kink in this particular story) in a book I finished last year. I have two more books I am working on and finding time to work on them is a difficult proposition. There is all the life stuff to handle on top of blogging, and Facebooking and I have not Tweeted in a month and I have no idea how to Instagram but it appears that is also necessary for a complete author’s platform. I do have a cover now if I can just afford to complete the editing process if that is ever complete, and move on to the publishing phase.

I’ve been listening to Brenda Drake regarding pitching my book and reading Anne Allen for all kinds of good information and I am reaching information overload. I know it is the coward’s way out but honestly, Amazon is the elephant in the field so I may just join the slush pile. I know I should try to find an agent, but the query letter, the pitch at conferences and the research into each agent, is mind numbing.

Is it so wrong to just want to write? I’ve had years of jotting notes and writing scenes without the time to complete a work. Now I have time but the industry is changing and I feel the need to at least try to educate myself on the publishing industry. I am also not all that sure my funds will hold out long enough to complete even one professionally edited book, much less the five I have outlines and notes to write.

I am whining again. Sorry, sorry, truly my apologies. Thankfully I have no followers to offend. Enough for now, back to the book! Ciao my darlings, xx