Archive for November, 2006


November 26, 2006

I haven’t written any more of George’s book this weekend though I’ve read two excellent books on craft. James Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Novel II and Michael Seidman’s Fiction The Art and Craft of Writing and Getting Published. They will help when I begin my revisions and hopefully help me complete this book so that I avoid some of the mistakes I’ve been making. I’d recomment Fiction to every beginning writer. I’m going to buy both these books and Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Novel for my library because I’m going to be referring to them and using the exercises Seidman provided.

This weekend has been spent with family and researchiung things for the house. The family part because I wanted to and the research because we have to. I plan to resume writing tomorrow am if not this evening.

I’m watching several auctions on light fixtures on ebay because the electrician threw out the ones we’d told him and the contractor that we wanted to save. I’m planning to send them a bill for the replacements and to notify the insurance company so they will not reimburse them for those lights. That makes three lovely original lights they have thrown out against our wishes.
I also need to write a letter about the problems we are having with the contractor and send it to the regulatory agencies since the owner is ignoring our requests to talk to him about the problems.

It’s a beautiful day, we’ve all finally relaxed and it’s time to go back. Isn’t that always the way.


November 23, 2006

But I’m not going to stop. The book’s not done yet.

The Premise

November 22, 2006

Last night I was reading Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Novel. He was talking about how important it was to know your premise. Which worried me. Because I realized that I didn’t know what the premise of my current book is. Or the other two.

This means the stories kind of meander around and there are scenes that don’t feel right. There’s something wrong with them but I can’t put my finger on it to fix them. Then last night as I was reading I had a lightbulb moment. I can’t fix them because I don’t know their purpose and that’s because I don’t have a clear premise.

I’ve been going to workshops and listening to speakers and reading How To Write books but when they start talking about every scene having to have a conflict and a resolution that leads to the big black moment in the book and the final resolution I start mentally stuttering. And worrying. Because I know I’m not building the scenes up the way I want to or making the point of the book clearly. I can’t verbalize or write it because I’m not sure what it is.

It’s like I’m driving somewhere. I know where I want to end up. I get there but I can’t give you directions that make sense and I can’t explain how or why I arrived at my destination.

I’m not sure that makes sense either.

But just a few minutes ago, I had some insight into the central character in my book. So I started a new document and wrote it down. Then I wrote down the motivations for two of the other main characters. (I wrote down something for the fourth too but his motivation and goal needs work. )

And suddenly I understood the premise for this book. And wrote it down.

We are haunted by fears that destroy our lives. Or more succinctly. Fears destroy lives. Then I turned it around. Acknowledging your fears allows you to conquer them and find happiness and peace.

Yes I know I’m switching from first person to third to second. The POV lightbulb hasn’t gone off yet.

That’s okay. It will.

Almost 50,000 words into the book and I just figured out the premise. But that should make the second half of the book easier to write. And help me revise the first half. After NaNoWri

Thanks to Deb Dixon, Jenny Crusie, Bob Mayer, J. Frey and all the other writers who share their knowledge in person and in print I’m learning the craft of writing. In spite of my fears and mental blocks.

Playing on the Internet

November 22, 2006

I’m here at the cottage, just me and the dogs and cats. Perfect time to write with very few distractions. Except here I have the internet. And it’s a chance to catch up with friends and their blogs, with HeWroteSheWrote, with my romance writers chapter loop. So when I got her last night, I didn’t write. And so far this morning I’ve been playing.

Setting my goal. I have to write for 2.5 hours before I check the Internet again. I’m going to get at least 5 hours of writing in before my family descends on me. I wish I could say that I’d make my 50,000 words today but I’m struggling a bit with the story. I need to go back and revise and edit but not until after Nov. 30. And I probably should wait until I finish the book, walk away and work on something else then come back to it. But first I have to finish it.

So off the Internet for several hours. I need to get dressed and walk the dogs first. I hope none of us get blown away.

Now I’m tempted to write down the funny things that happened yesterday when I picked up all four dogs by myself and drove them here. But that would be playing and I am going to work.

Passed 45,000

November 20, 2006

Just uploaded my novel and officially have 45,701 words. Whoopee.

Got to get back to the book.

The Weekends Over Already?

November 19, 2006

I can’t believe it is Sunday afternoon already. I didn’t do as much writing as I had planned. I got sidetracked yesterday trying to do research for the book on line. I need to take a class. I spend hours finding nothing. Or I find it, lose it and can never get there again.

I wrote 4040 words yesterday though. That brings me up to about 42,000. I’m going to make 50,000 words. I’m so excited.

What amazes me though is that except for the first day, I didn’t write huge amounts on any one day. It just proves what I’ve heard successful writers say. Write every day. It keeps you focused and even if you only can write for a couple of hours, doing it every day you build up your word count. And that means your book is progressing.

When I went to the NaNoWri site to sign up, somewhere I read that to do this challenge you need to turn off your internal critic. That does help. Because the point with a first draft is to get the bones of the story. You can flesh it out or trim it down when you do your second draft. Or in my case, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th–You get the picture.

I’ll go from the cottage to our rental tonight. Then Tuesday I’ll pick up the dogs and come back down here. I want to set my goal at making 50K by Tuesday. That’s probably unrealistic with the way things have been going. So my goal is to write 4K words between now and Tuesday night. That will leave 4K I need to write and I can do that even with Thanksgiving in the middle.

Just checked my calendar and one of the boys has a long orthodontist appt on Tues morning. Vowing here to take my computer and write while he’s there.

Well, I have to go drive up the road again. I was just thinking that it’s too bad there isn’t a way to dictate directly to the computer as I’m driving. Then I thought about that. I’d probably have an accident.

Making Time

November 18, 2006

The past week has been insane. I’ve been in the car more than out which is true of most mothers of school age kids I think. School, library, store, school, orthodontist, eye doctor. And they weren’t things I could cancel or change because I’m trying to write 50,000 words in a month.

Then there is the stuff with the house, I’ve been to plumbing supply houses, electric supply houses, we’ve had to replace Christmas stuff so we could send in the receipts to insurance. To buy some winter clothes because I’ve learned mine have been deemed unsalvagable. We could just list these things but we are insured for replacement value and the kicker is if you don’t buy the items to replace what you lost, they depreciate the items and don’t give you the money it would cost to replace it. So I had to go shopping. I’m missing the female shopper gene or chromosome or whatever it is so it’s not my favorite activity. But our Christmas trees and wreathes and many ornaments had to be thrown away and my kids want a tree. We’ve made the mistake of waiting until after Thanksgiving to try to buy a tree before and had trouble finding one. My husband is only home (in the same state) Friday through Sunday so we went today.

My mother’s 80th birthday was Thursday. One of my sisters decided to have a surprise party at a restaurant for her. On Wednesday. A school night. An hour away from where we are living. My sisters aren’t married and don’t have kids. Wednesday was the day I had a doctor’s appointment, had to take clothes to the laundromat, was squeezed in for an appointment at the plumbing supply and my younger two had eye appointments.

I thought about not going to the dinner. I worried about being too tired to drive back after the dinner which I knew would be at least three hours. I was afraid of having an accident. I didn’t feel like making conversation with relatives. I worried that my sixth grader would skip doing his homework. I was exhausted and stung so tight I was afraid that the wrong word would make me snap.

My mom would have understood. She’s worried about me. About us. But as I drove from one place to another barely making it to each place on time, I knew I had to go. It was her 80th birthday. We are so incredibly lucky that she is healthy, active and on top of things mentally. And she made time for us. Always.

My dad’s blind so all the driving, all the running around, all the appointments were her responsibility. And she was his driver. His reader. The person who helped him search titles. Who picked up the baby being adopted from the hospital or the parent who couldn’t keep it and brought him or her to the new parents. The one who told him what color the wires were in the circuit box so he could fix whatever wasn’t working. Not because they couldn’t call an electrician, or a plumber or send the lawnmower out for repairs. But because he wanted to do it himself and he enjoyed it.

She couldn’t always be the one to pick us up from school but she always made sure if she couldn’t that a neighbor could. She wasn’t always home when we got there but she made sure someone was. And as the oldest, I knew she was torn. She loved (still does) my father and wanted to help him in any way she could. But she also wanted to be home with us. And I knew if I called, if I needed her she would drop everything and come.

My mother came to every concert, every open house, every recital. We always had a birthday party and she was always smiling and making sure it was wonderful for us.

I went because I felt obligated and I didn’t want to hurt her by not being there. Once there, I enjoyed visiting with family friends and my cousins and aunt. And when my mother walked down the steps and saw all of us sitting there, the surprise and joy on her face made me so glad I’d made time. That we’d all made time for her in the middle of what was for everyone a hectic week.

My mother thinks my dad is amazing. He is. But so is she. And I never appreciated her so much as I do now when I’m frantically trying to keep up with everything I have to do and my kids have to do. As I juggled everything on Wednesday and stressed about everything I had to do the rest of the week and the next, I realized something. The only reason I can do it is because for my entire life she has been showing me how.

Now I need to tell her that.

Round and Round and Round She Goes

November 10, 2006

Thanks for the good thoughts CMS and SDCB. Writing does put me in a happy place. I don’t think I’d keep doing it if it didn’t.

Got about 1000 words written last night and the first sex scene. Feel good about that.

Spent 3.5 hours looking at light fixtures, 2.5 hours driving and 2 hours looking at our furniture. It cleaned up better than I expected though a few pieces need to be refinished. From the fire. A lot needs to be refinished because it did before but we’ll do that ourselves after we are back in the house.

I was supposed to go to dinner with the chapter board and our speakers tonight but the site of the dinner was changed to a place at least 30 minutes further away from me and I just can’t do it. I might make it there but don’t think I’d make it back. So I’m going to call and give my regrets. Instead I’ll spend some time with my family. That’s a good thing.

Contractor still hasn’t called me back. Grrrr.

Days Like This!!!

November 9, 2006

Days like today are the reason I’ve tried to write like crazy on the days I can. I haven’t written a word today, not even in my notebook. Blah. I will write tonight though. First a look at a day in the life…

Boys off to school. Knew I needed to run by house first to move tape for closet. So didn’t go exercise, just jumped in the shower. For some reason, water pressure wasn’t good. I managed to wash off the soap and then dressed and went to brush my teeth. No water. None.

Okay, if I call the landlord he’ll kick us out because I complain to much. But we need water. So I called his son who is supposed to do maintenance here and left a message. Said I’d be glad to do/check whatever if he’d tell me what to do/check. My husband is the one who got the tour of the workings of this place and he is of course in NY. And not answering his cell phone.

Called the contractor. Left a message. I need to ask him some questions about the things he told me I needed to do.

Called the mortgage company to find out why they haven’t released money to the contractor. Got shifted to hold four times. After about 10 minutes of this I gave up. Called back cleaners who are trying to get the smoke out of our clothes. Got the answering machine again.

Drove to house. Talked to plumbers but forgot to show them where to put kitchen sink. Didn’t remember until late afternoon. Drove back to the house but they were gone.

Called my brother, a contractor, to find out good measurements for a small walk-in closet. I’d ask our contractor but he hasn’t called me back. Moved blue tape on floor. Will tell contractor where I want the door if he ever calls me back.

Went to look at bathroom/kitchen fixtures. Loaded with brochures. Went to look at appliances. Couldn’t find what we were thinking about at the Sears outlet. Drove back to check on electric fixtures at store in our town. Walked in. No showroom. Turns out they’ve moved it. Did hear a funny story about a mouse storing catfood in the motor of a pick-up.

Drove to electric showroom. I need an appointment because we have lots to figure out. I don’t even know if the electrical contractor doing our house gets things here. I don’t know his name/co so I can call and ask. Because the contractor has not called me back.

Loaded with more catalogs and with an appointment for tomorrow am. Drove back to house (30 min.) to measure rooms and ceilings. I have the measurements but they are at the cottage 90 min away. While I was there I collected the mail. Spreadsheet from the cleaners. Most of my winter clothes have been deemed unreclaimable. Oh joy. Glad it’s going to be unseasonably warm for a few days.

Picked up youngest for orthodontist appt. 45 min away. Scheduled middle son for next Friday. Another afternoon I won’t get much written.

Came to library so I could check emails. Still have heard nothing about the water or from the contractor. So I may get home and have no water. Oh well. As long as I have electricity so I can write.

Tomorrow will be more of the same. This is why I tried to get ahead.

I will write today and tomorrow even if I only manage 200 words. I will write.

Almost to the Half-way point

November 8, 2006

I uploaded my book to the Nanowrimo site and I’ve written 24,400 words. I’ve actually written a bit more but I did it while I was waiting to pick up the kids so it’s in my notebook not on the computer.

I’m relieved at the word count because you never know what is going to happen in your life and it seems to be working out that I have several days a week when I can’t write for any length of time. Like tomorrow. The contractor called today and said we needed to pick out our plumbing fixtures. Now. So tomorrow I’ll be running to showrooms. After I blue tape where I want the closet in our room. I built it before and it was a little too small. Or I put the door in the wrong place or something. So I need to show them where I want it. Tomorrow. They’ve been twiddling their thumbs for months and but of course now that they’re moving everything we need to do should be done yesterday. Figures. But at least we’re seeing progress now.

And I’m at a good point in the book too. My plan. Instead of laying in bed thinking about the story when I wake up early, I’ll fire up the computer and write it Then I’ll have something written.

I’m in the middle of the first love scene and I’m bound and determined to finish that tonight. At least in the notebook. I can type it up when I’m too tired to be creative.

I want to write now! But I’m in the library and middle son will be calling any minute to tell me to pick him up at the Y. My poor characters are frustrated enough without me starting and stopping them like that.