Month: September 2012

I did it!

So I’m outing myself as a total noob here, but I’m going to do a little happy dance for a minute because I just achieved a very important goal to me, one that a year ago I would have thought was entirely impossible. For all those longtime authors with a few books under their belts this is totally going to be nbd. But for me it’s like, squeeee!

Crazy, hey? I was hoping I’d get it done tonight, and I did, adding about 1,400 words. I can smell the end now, it’s so close (and by close I mean within 20,000 words). I kind of hate to stop where I did tonight, but it’s late and tomorrow’s a school day for the grom. I’ll go to bed happy though, knowing I hit a milestone that I’ve been working toward for over six months.

Exciting! Yay! Exclamation points everywhere!!

Six Sentence Sunday

I looked around the store, searching for distraction. Without Dane’s input, the herbs and other plants in the jars held little interest for me, and I’d examined all the posters by now. The old-fashioned cash register caught my attention for a minute, with its round buttons and tarnished brass plating, but that soon grew old too. Hopping down from my perch, I added ‘for X-Men auditions’ to the ‘closed’ sign and set it back in the window.

“Leave the sign alone, Mia,” Dane growled from the office.

“What sign?” I called back, tiptoeing away.


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Today I’m Back

My tomatoes are done – 190lbs put in jars for the year in five whirlwind days.

This photo is so artfully composed. You have the empty jars. The full jars. The produce. The giant pot. The tomato splatter on the floor. It’s everything about canning all together. Courtesy my lovely husband.

A lot of canning is repetitive and doesn’t require much brain activity. Chop, peel, scoop, stir, ad infinitum. That leaves a lot of time for thinking and plotting and shaping scenes. Last night I finished my last batch and today I’m ready to write. To hell with cleaning the kitchen.

NaNoWriMo Sadness

I realized with some dismay today that I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo this year. Come November, I’m committed to having a finished first draft on deck to start editing. I certainly won’t be in any frame of mind to start Book 2 at that point.

Doing NaNo last year was the kickstart that got me believing I could give writing fiction a go. I’ve been doing freelance journalism for close to a decade now but had always wanted to write a book. Various things kept me from trying in all that time – we’ll out fear as the top one, and belief that I didn’t have the time as the second. Then last year a friend and I basically double-dared each other to do NaNo, and I found out that there definitely was time in the day for it once I conquered that fear of starting (my hands were literally shaking when I typed out the first few sentences). I went a little crazy last November, neglecting myself, my family, friends and all other writing commitments shockingly, but around the 27th I “won,” penning my 50,000th word. And it felt so good to do it that a few months later when this idea came barrelling into my brain, I actually had the confidence to sit down and start to write it out. Six and a half months later I’ve learned so much about how I can be a better writer and grown this little kernel of an idea into a thorny bramble of a story, so it’s kind of a drag that NaNo won’t be a part of my life this year since I feel I owe it so much.

Next best will be cheering on my friends who do take on the challenge, and hopefully scrounging up a few bucks to donate or spend in the NaNo shop, and that’ll have to do until 2013 when hopefully the timing works out a bit better.

Six Sentence Sunday

I don’t go rummaging around in other peoples’ minds, thank you,” I said. “You’re reading too much into all this, Dane, so I pick things up quickly, big deal. I’m just a normal girl, other than the whole empath thing.”

“Is that really how you think of yourself? A girl?” he asked.

“What the hell else would I think of myself as?” I said, baffled.

“A woman,” he said. I flushed.


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(I missed the deadline to submit the link to the site this week, but I’m putting up my six anyway)

Adding to my Shelf

I guess I’m going back on my no-advice-books rule again. I’ve seen Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print mentioned on three blogs in as many days, so I thought I’d take a look at it. While I’ve got many great tips on editing after the first draft is complete, this looks like it might be useful as well. For $13, it’s worth a try, I figure (I also bought yet another canning book – sshh, I’m just going to hide it on the shelf with the others and hope no one notices).

I’m not going to read it until I’m done my story though. I don’t like the spectre of revision hanging over my head while I write. Even now I sometimes look at my freshly-typed-out work and wonder if I’m just going to cut it in the end, and that’s depressing.

I’m also thinking about trying out Scrivener. It’s another thing I see praised often by writers for its ability to organize everything. Thoughts, anyone? It sure looks pretty. Makes me wonder why I spent so much on coloured index cards and post-its when I could have had them all on my screen. Right now I use Open Office, which works fine, but because I have everything in one massive doc, I do find myself scrolling through my 180-ish pages of single-spaced text looking for a specific reference in a chapter I can’t remember. This happens at least two or three times a day. So getting organized might be nice. I hear it also helps with outlining, my new favourite thing. Did you know, I’m through 1.5 bullet points since the other day? So great.

I guess what I want to know is, is there any point in getting it this late in the game, three-quarters of the way through this book? Will transfering everything over be a giant pain in the ass? Or should I keep it in mind for when I start Book Two and stay the course for now?

I’m buying roughly 200lbs of tomatoes to can tomorrow. I imagine one of two things will happen with respect to writing in the next week: either I don’t do any at all, or my keyboard will be stained red and speckled with seeds while I cram in a few paragraphs in between canner loads.

You Would Think…

…that a person who worked as a researcher for years would look something up for accuracy ahead of time before making it an important plot point. Right? That would be the sensible thing to do.

Yeah, not so much, if you’re me. And it was one of those stupid little takes-five-seconds-to-verify things. Two words to type into Google Translate. I’ve been meaning to do it for months. Turns out my knowledge of foreign languages isn’t quite as good as I thought it was and I made a mistake that puts me in a bit of a quandry. Shitfuckdamn. Time to dig myself out of another hole.

OMG Outlines

My brain apathy wasn’t lending itself to making words that fit nicely together tonight, so I decided to bang out some point-form notes on everything I wanted to have happen before writing THE END (or TO BE CONTINUED I guess, technically).

What a fantastic fucking idea that was. It’s, like, all right there. In order. And even while I was writing it out, some parts that were just vague notions – “they’ll find this thing, somewhere, somehow” turned into well-thought-out, logical scenes. There are layers. There is conflict that I hadn’t even considered. And while it’s too late tonight to get started on any new words, tomorrow when I sit down I can look at my little outline and say “BAM here’s what you’re going to write about tonight,” instead of twiddling my thumbs for twenty minutes wondering how things should progress.

And I am so excited about this. I do love the spontaneity of leaving some things to figure out as I go, but having a basic beginning-to-end map (in this case, a halfway-through-chapter-17-to-end map) to refer to is solid gold for my overfilled mind. So thank you, everyone ever who said outlining is important. Also, thank you everyone ever who said outlining isn’t important because you gave me the confidence to write 17 1/2 chapters without one and that went just fine too.

Tomorrow my fingers are going to be nimble and my brain is going to be sharp and I’m going to tackle the first of my 11 bullet points. November isn’t that far off but now I feel like I know how to get there.

Back At It

I went camping for four days over the long weekend and missed being able to write the whole time, but now that I’m home again, showered and alone in my little corner, my mind feels slow and my fingers feel stupid. Neither of them seem to be able to accomplish anything tonight, nor are they motivated to try. Too much campfire smoke in my eyes? Too much cider in my belly? Too much fresh air in my lungs? Hard to say, really. I’m going to do what I always do when I have fits like this and stare at my doc file for a bit until it shames me into writing something. After that, things should get better.

In other, smaller news, I pasted a big chunk of my story into I Write Like and came up with this:

I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I happen to like Margaret Atwood and her books quite a lot, particularly Oryx and Crake, so I consider that to be quite a compliment. The fact that she’s an awesome Canadian author is just the icing on the cake.

All right, that’s enough procrastination for tonight, I think. At the very least, I have some outline stuff to write down.

(did I just use the o-word? Yes, yes I did. It’s this new thing I’m trying called stop forgetting everything)

I’ll leave you with the song that I have a hard time believing wasn’t written with Callie in mind – I can’t stop listening to it, because it feels so right.

Have a peek at the lyrics if the weirdness of the video is throwing you off.

Man, this post is as disjointed and scattered as my head right now.

Six Sentence Sunday

“Fucking hell, that hurt!” he yelled, rubbing the spot where the stick had hit.

“When you’ve had your knees knocked out from under you or been thrown down onto the concrete floor a few times you can complain about it hurting, now are you coming at me, or did I kill you?”

“Assuming that was the blade and not the handle that hit, you killed me,” he said.

“You weren’t prepared for everything,” I pointed out, careful to keep my face neutral.

“No, I was not,” he said through gritted teeth.

“Good, now show me how to use the crossbow.”


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