Monday, June 24, 2013


It has been three weeks since my last post. Earlier this month I started struggling with motivation, focus on Shadow's Caress, and word counts. I was inspired to write a new story based in Baltimore at a museum to mimic the Baltimore Museum of Art, with a magical (paranormal?) guy and an art history graduate student. My husband convinced me that I should stop tracking daily words and instead just track daily effort (whether that be written words or progress/thinking about the novel). So I returned to occasionally writing for a few weeks. I have not made it to the daily writing but restored that energy level last week as I prepared a draft pitch for a MD RWA chapter meeting that I ended up not attending.

With the help of my FB writing group, they helped me draft up a pitch that has inspired me to tighten up and make the conflict more drastic for my hero and heroine. I am not entirely charged up over this and hoping to ride the motivation-coaster that is Camp NaNo next month. Of course, I'll still be aiming to write daily for the rest of June and just use their inspirational emails. I might create a spreadsheet so that I can track writing and not writing, but it will not record word count.

On that note: Happy Summer, my favorite season for daydreaming.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


I've been keeping steady with some words each day. However, a number of days since the 23rd have had very low word counts, which has dragged my daily average and mood down a bit. My husband reminded me last week to focus on why I write.

The why of it is that I enjoy sharing these ideas floating about in my head. At least I like to put them into a form and then pour it out onto the page. I enjoy manipulating the different ideas and trying to fit the pieces together so that they make sense and so that there can be some character and plot development. Right now I'm learning how to write a romance, which leads to a lot of starts and stops as I realize my mistakes and then want to rewrite to get it better. As Julia Cameron notes in her book, The Artist's Way, you can't get better while looking good.

However, this desire to get better is warring with my desire to just get through draft 1. Roz Morris (in Nail Your Novel) promotes writing out the first draft without worrying about editing. It certainly will help you get to that finished product faster, but it counts on you getting that original outline/plan for the story right. Or at least shutting up your brain so you can get through it until the end.

And so I continue to try to fix and move on at the same time, and it's probably leaving me a bit scattered on focus. I could argue for either approach, although the mature decision is likely to just take notes and keep on going based on the new decision/goal.

And on that note, I'm heading back to writing.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Flirting with RWA

Since my last posting, I've missed writing on two days. I want to say that it seems to be a weekend thing, however this is only occurrence that wasn't impacted by being sick. Friday was a busy day between work and preparing for my husband's office party. After that, I had a headache which left me uninspired to do anything other than take some Excedrin and take a nap. Sunday's focus ended up going to plot planning for the story, so in the end I guess I still contributed effort towards the novel.

Overall, the "at least write 10 words" reminder has continued to achieve me an average of about 350 words per day. As of yesterday, my daily word count average is 364.This is certainly not a NaNoWriMo velocity, but it is more than I wrote last May! I have scenes mapped out 38 different scenes for getting me through the story arc. I'm sure there will be adjusting, and I'm technically restarting the novel this week, but I plan to reuse some content from previously written work and I feel like I finally have a complete plan that can withstand some scrutiny. So now I will write against that synopsis sheet.

In somewhat related news, I attended a little romance novelist panel at my local library last night, where 6 authors discussed the trend of the modern romance novel in contrast to the 'bodice-rippers' of the past. They also did a reading of their favorite hero & heroine from one of their own published books. I am planning to attend one or two meetings of this group's chapter meetings this summer and likely become a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) in a month or two. It probably says something that I'm considering letting my PMI membership lapse for a few months so I could join RWA instead!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Inspiring TV Characters and Plodding Dullness

Welcome to another week. I continue to write a little bit of the novel every day. I'm averaging around 380 words per day and have not missed a day since the 3rd.

The plot ahead continues to be a bit of a mirage. I can't seem to pin it down, and I'm a little paranoid about mapping a plot. I've already mapped about 4 story lines for this novel. Each has felt flat and overbearing and has caused me to do an overhaul each time. This is probably why Roz Morris in her book, Nail Your Novel, recommends doing the story planning first. It's so easy to get part way into the story and then need to change it. Or get through it and realize that you didn't get to the key points that you had intended at the start. Or, as I found with both NaNovels that I reached 50k words, you end up with a whole bunch of words and a silly, inconsistent story.

I am eager however to get a completed rough draft that is worth editing. It's so easy for me to push aside a draft (partial or 'complete') and say it's beyond help. But this current writing pace is slow, and I don't know what is ahead. I read romance novels and watch TV, and the plots are so neat and mysterious and often unpredictable, and I just wonder how those authors pieced it all together. Did they start with the end and work backwards? I probably should be doing the same, and yet my ideas feel too simple and not interesting enough to carry a novel.

However, Orphan Black, despite the jealousy it inspires in me, is doing what I had hoped with the character, Paul. It is helping me to realize the characteristics of my favorite heroes in romances. Apparently, I prefer the military heroes that only have a soft spot for their Ms. Right. Apparently, the hero in Moon Racer (by Constance O'Banyon) has stayed with me for a while. Maybe even 10 years?

In light of this discovery, I'm hoping to make Victor more tough and hopefully not be too gentle on both him and Isabella. I have that tendency. I really should unravel their worlds. Maybe a brainstorming map would be appropriate for this plotting effort so that I can track the chains of what-ifs ...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Forming a daily writing habit

The days plod onward. I have been successful in continuing to write a little bit every day. I still have the critical voice in my head telling me is isn't enough. It isn't good enough, it isn't cohesive enough, it's not fast enough, etc. That inner critic of mine will say whatever she can though to stay in charge.

I was hoping to mark a goal in days when I could say that I've made a habit out of it. I've heard informally that it can take a few weeks to establish a habit. In hopes to find a reference for that, I just did a quick Google search. In this article, the author decides that there's no telling how long a habit can take, which seems a bit disheartening. However, after riding the rollercoaster that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for a few years, it is obvious that even a month worth of break-neck paced writing may not be enough to keep me focused on the daily habit of putting pen to page, or fingers to the keyboard.

Perhaps daily writing is more like breaking in a pair of new hiking boots. The leather creaks and groans as it gets used to itself and its new mission. It is tight around the ankle, firm in its support but not quite ready to give where it needs to. Wear them every day, whether it's to work or the store, and little after little, they should adjust to my feet and then move like bliss, supporting me on trails and keeping me dry as I stomp through streams.

It will probably take a few days or weeks of really feeling out my story and a daily writing habit, before I land on a trace of what my days will be like in the end. No writing reference book will help me find my way, no matter how tempting it is to follow someone else's guidebook. I have to attend to my writing habit as I would attend to my feet after a few days or weeks in these new boots. Only the sores or lack of sores will let me know whether this strategy is a good fit. Work at it every day, whether it's a weekday or a weekend, and little after little, I should have a mess of prose which can hopefully be shaped and revised into a book. Maybe it will be marketable, or maybe I'll print it out and bind it and leave it on my shelf, proof that all I need to do is just put in consistent effort to break in my life for daily writing.

In other news, I finally got behind my sewing machine last night and cut out the fabric and batting to make coasters for my grandmother-in-law. She's been asking for some all-season coasters for at least two years. They are now stuffed and pinned and ready for the final sewing step. I should be able to finish these by Sunday morning, in time for Mother's Day. I'm also hoping to find the picture of the table runner I designed (which the coasters will match). If there's time, I hope to sew that as well (all the pieces are cut and staged).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Slow but steady... I hope.

My start has been slow and intermittent. I got very sick last week, which took me out of commission for writing for 2 days. Otherwise, I have managed to write at least 175 words each day.

Already, I have wanted to abandon the story entirely, or at least rework the entire conflict. I think I have found an intriguing angle to maintain the romance genre and also the original idea which placed Isabella as a source of awakening magic. It will be interesting to see how long this plot lasts. It's only the 10th or one hundredth idea I've had since February... I think I'm going to skip outlining at this point, in order to maintain some of the mystery and intrigue for myself.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Writing Goals for Spring and Summer 2013

It has been over a year since I last posted here, however I believe it may benefit me to post my goals and intentions for writing somewhere beyond the safe boundaries of my journal or Evernotes.

This month, I attempted to get a daily writing habit going. I hoped to leverage the energy from the April CampNaNo to keep my focus on a piece of fiction and carry it through to at least 20k words. It did not go so well, since my IT master's course demanded my attention (with a 15-20 pg paper, a final, and a group project). Now that class is completed and I feel like I have the whole world ahead of me.

I began work on a novel earlier this year, around January or February, which I continued to work with during the Gotham Romance class that I just finished. It's been through a number of iterations as I play with possible plotlines and character identities for my hero and heroine. I think I finally have a winner and plan to start writing in full force tomorrow, May 1.

My goal is to write daily, hopefully accomplishing a daily word count of about 1200 (at least 700), but I think I should be satisfied with daily attention given to the story. I have a rough outline for the events that should occur and somewhere between 2000 and 4000 words that are written for the beginning that can be worked with to fit this latest concept. I want to finish the rough draft before the UMUC Fall Semester starts so that I can get some practice at editing a novel.

Some options for this summer:
  • Take the Gotham Advanced Romance course this summer.
  • Sign up for the June CampNano.

I will look for an easy widget out there that could help to track my progress here this spring/summer.