Month: May 2012 Page 1 of 2

Count ‘Em Up

I’m 13,000 and change words away from this being the longest thing I’ve ever written. And I feel like I’m just starting to scratch the surface. When I did NaNo I hit this mark and wondered if the story would be over before I made my 50,000 word goal. Now I’m feeling like it’s entirely possible I’ll run over 100,000. It’s a wonderful feeling. 🙂


The French Open started yesterday and there’s evening coverage every night. I don’t think I’m going to get much writing done for the next two weeks. I’ll call it research into present-day French fashion and pasttimes… I wonder if I can work Roland Garros into the plot somehow?

What’s in a name, and all that

By far one of the hardest things about writing for me is choosing names for my fictitious people and places. Callie is actually the third or fourth name for that character, and while in the context of the story it’s the best fit, it’s still not my favourite, although it’s grown on me quite a bit. I’m constantly googling things like “french names for boys” or “common last names” because I can never come up with anything I like on my own. Nothing derails my writer’s flow like introducing a new character – whether significant or incidental – and having to call them something.

It’s been mentioned to me that some of my creations’ appellations are a bit too trendy, and I suppose when looked at in a group, that’s true, but I strongly resist having a book full of Joes and Marys and Bills.

Tonight I’ve actually stopped writing for the night in mid-sentence – “He introduced himself as detective…” rather than spend twenty minutes struggling to come up with something I like the sound of. That’ll be the first thing I can tackle tomorrow night with a fresh head.

It’s nice when something just clicks though. Awhile back I was on the bus coming home from work and saw a word carved into the wall of a bus shelter and knew exactly which character I’d give it to. But that’s just one name, and it’s not the one I need tonight.

Crisis Averted

Let this be a lesson to everyone who uses more than one device. Last week my iPad suffered an unfortunate meeting with a glass of juice and has been a little out of sorts ever since – completely unusable, actually (Lesson within the lesson – don’t leave glasses of juice around your iPad when you have a two-year-old). I realized today that all my research bookmarks for my book were on the iPad, and not only was it not working, it had also been reset and wiped clean of all its apps and data at the Apple store when I took it in to see if it could be saved. Dozens of links to much-needed information gone, I thought, and I’d neglected to check the box to keep bookmarks synced in iTunes when I’d backed it up beforehand. Honestly, the thought that I should back them up too had never occurred to me.

Thankfully, after an hour of frantic forum and help topic reading, as well as many curse words both typed and uttered aloud, I recovered all the bookmarks directly from the iPad and now have them safely synced in Firefox.

Giant sigh of relief.

The lesson: it’s not enough to back up the document you write in. Save EVERYTHING you need to do your work, and save yourself some heartache.


Where a writer gets his or her ideas is apparently a hot topic. Obviously, fiction writers need to have a good imagination and creativity to spare, but the source of the inspiration is pretty varied. Dreams, true events, childhood experiences, even a mystical muse, can all get a writer working on a project.

My ideas mostly come from music. My entire concept for these books came to me because two songs played back-to-back on my iPod one day driving my daughter to school. It was as simple and straight-forward as that. In the first chapter I talk about how sometimes Callie gets an idea for a song all at once, like a high-speed download into her brain. Well, that’s basically what happened to me. The first song gave me the idea for Callie herself, and the second created the scenario for the plot and built more on her as a person and introduced the second main character (who I JUST got to write about for the first time – FINALLY! – the other day and I’m so pleased to start getting into his head at long last). In about eight minutes, I had a whole new world in my head and all these people started talking to me.

The rest is minor details, and like I’ve mentioned before, some stuff I’ve written doesn’t occur to me until I start working through a scene. Other parts have come after copious amounts of research. But the basic story arc all came about because of the whim of the shuffle algorithm.

With that I started looking to some other songs I like to fill in holes or describe relationships or certain scenes, with interesting results. Usually it’s a matter of just listening and waiting for the right song to come up. Sometimes it’s as little as one line of lyrics, others it’s the entire song from beginning to end. And there are definitely specific songs that I think about when I’m describing some of Callie’s work – a detriment to me because eventually I’m going to have to come up with some original lyrics for her, and that’s hard to do when you’re already fixated on something someone else wrote as your inspiration. Nothing beats the car for letting new ideas come to me, although now that it’s getting warmer out, I’m hoping walking can replace a lot of that.

When I’m writing a scene that has a song that inspired it, I usually put it on repeat – like I described in my last post – to keep my head in that emotion I’m trying to convey (I’m often prone to distraction, sadly). The second song of the original duo I’ve listened to over 250 times since I started writing, according to iTunes, and I have a nice little playlist built up with a bunch of songs that have triggered something for me.

Everything else comes from idle daydreams, but without those two songs coming up one day in February, I wouldn’t be on this adventure today. It may not be a typical path for a writer to take, but I’m going to run with it and see where it takes me.


I put this song on repeat in iTunes tonight and worked my way through the part I’ve been dreading to write all week. Yes, it was hard. Yes, there were tears. But it wasn’t as hard and there weren’t as many tears as I expected.

Tomorrow I move on and while I can’t really say the story’s going to get any happier, this is as bad as it gets for the next little while.


Well it seems I’m taking a little break from my book this week, after scrambling toward the end of chapter six in several marathon writing sessions. I’m avoiding starting it up again because I’m at a painful part in the story, and every time I think about delving into it, I feel a little sick to my stomach. So I’ve been updating this blog, pinned a bunch of stuff to my characters’ Pinterest boards and went over my first readers’ suggestions and comments, but haven’t actually opened the document up to write anything new since last Wednesday.

When I think about it, I cry. And that makes me realize I may have invested a little bit too much of myself into this story. I also feel like I can never find the words to do the emotions of the scene in my head justice.

Or it means I’m a little unstable right now. Really, it’s 50/50.

What I need is a nice quiet evening, a couple glasses of wine, a box of kleenex and a playlist of sad songs.

Or for someone to punch me in the back of the head and scream “start writing!” in my ear as loudly as they can.

Paris, je t’adore pt. 2

My husband must have some sort of prescience, because he sent me this video today, and I’ve been immersed in my memories of the city for the past two weeks. He has no idea what I’m writing about, we’re just on the same wavelength like that.

I spent my writing hour reviewing my friend Lindsay‘s novel-in-progress instead of writing my own. We’re at about the same point, six chapters, and it’s cool to see how we’re each progressing.

I’m still avoiding writing my own. I need to man up woman up pen up and just push through, even though it’s going to hurt. My thoughts are all in order so it’ll go quickly, I just don’t want to actually rip that band-aid off quite yet.

Well I did it


I wrote about 1,300 words tonight, faster than I’ve written that much before since I started this project – under an hour. Many nights I don’t get that far in two hours, so my thoughts were really organized tonight. Could be because as one of the major scenese I’ve been envisioning since the start, it’s already so well plotted out in my head that actually putting it on paper was fast an easy. And it turns out that what I thought was two new chapters – everything I’ve written since the end of chapter 2 – was actually four. So that kind of feels good. Did a quick readover and then sent it out to a couple friends before I could second-guess myself. My stomach’s in knots about it, even though they’ve already seen the first two chapters and gave good reviews. I really hope they like this next bit.

When I reviewed, I took out the boots part. It just felt too weird to me. I’m much happier now.

I’m currently sitting at 35,000 words. Hard to believe that’s about a third of a novel. In two and a half months!

Now for my celebratory salted caramel chocolate, and bed. I’m going to give myself a bit of a break for the next while, not stay up so late. Writing until 1a.m. or later night after night was what made NaNo so hard for me, mentally. I think I’m going to back off any future time-related goals and just get as much done before midnight every night as I can.

Writing the last sentence of chapter 6 was hard tonight. My hands were shaking when I did it. What I have to write tomorrow is going to be even harder.

Time’s up

I didn’t make my deadline. I’m close, but it didn’t happen before the end of the weekend. I still wrote close to 4,000 words in two days though, so I’m happy, and I think if I can put in a couple hours tomorrow, I’ll have it done. And I’m fine with that.

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