Friday, December 30, 2011

Year end writing goal met!

I'm happy to say that as of this evening, I've wrapped up this year's NaNo novel, the sequel to Trust. The rough draft came in at 95,000 words and its actually complete from beginning to end. I'm so bad about leaving gaps to fill in later, but this time, no sir, its really, really done. And I like it. I'd toss out that I love it, but it's a rough draft so that would be a little extreme. Let's just say I'm pleased.

I'm also pleased to announce that I found a role for Chuck. I know, he said he was happy here in my last post. I had great plans for him, mentoring him in how to actually be evil and all, but something came up and he was perfect. And no, I didn't kill him. He did get punched in the face, but the medic assures me he'll be fine once the swelling goes down.

This means I can start polishing a few of the shorts floating around on my hard drive and get Trust back into Query land in the coming months. Hooray for starting the New Year without a half finished editing or novel project looming over me!

Hey, there's a first time for everything.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Victims of the Knife: A late Christmas gift

This year, rather than throw myself into the holidays, I've assumed my Gollum-self and hunkered down in my writing cave. Yes, I filled the stockings, baked the cookies, hosted the extended family, cleaned the house, did the tree and presents thing with the kids, but then I ran back to my cave where only the tip tapping of keys could be heard throughout the day. It helps that my family got a Kinnect for Christmas and have been heavily occupied with it, which means more writing time for me.

My goal is to wrap up Trust's sequel, which was my NaNo novel, by the end of this year. Yes, that means there are only mere days left, but I'm almost there!

Which brings me to this announcement from Chuck, the Barthromian captain.

"We're ready for me now?"

I nod. "Go on. The others are listening."

Chuck clears his throat. "As many of you know, Bulky-short-haired-hot-tempered-violet-ex-partner-who-sold-out-Ms-MC-and-caused-her-serious-emotional-harm-before-she-hunted-him-down-and-killed-him vanished a couple days ago. Many of us thought he'd wandered back into the wastelands behind the desk after our plan to get our beloved writer to write us back into novels failed. We were wrong."

Nekar shouts, "Well where did he go?"

Chuck looks at me. "She wrote him into the sequel."

Protests fill the air.

"Now, now, I know this doesn't seem fair, but trust me, we should be grateful."

He leans close and whispers, "And thank you for not keeping your word to write me into that novel."

"You just weren't right for it. I'll find somewhere else for you."

"No, really, that's fine. I'm happy here." He plants a huge grin on his face. "See, really happy. No need to send me elsewhere."

"Suit yourself." I direct his attention back to the angry throng.

Chuck steps to the edge of the desk. "I've seen where he went. We're better off here. Way better off. She may have let him back in, and even given him part of his name back, but he was crazy and she killed him."

"That's right." I eye my suddenly silent characters one by one. "So next time you fill out your Christmas lists, keep in mind that I might give you what you ask for, but I won't guarantee you'll like it."

"This is the part where you laugh evily," Chuck whispers.

"I'll let you take that part. You need the practice. Now get out of here, I have a novel to finish writing."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wrapping up before Christmas

As the end of the year approaches, kid obligations are in a lull and business slows thanks to the oncoming holidays, I finally have time to get to some of the things I've put off...some for a very long time.

First and foremost, I've had time to work on the sequel to Trust that was my NaNo Novel this year. As of this morning, I've cracked 80k. Woohoo! I'm aiming for 95-100 knowing that I have a lot of things earlier on that I can clean out during edits which will bring me back into the 90k range. Then its getting shelved for awhile so I can take Trust from the shelf where it's been resting since October and polish then launch into query round two.

Then comes one of the projects my kids dread: The mom cleaning of their rooms. The Purge. We started with an hour in each room. So far, two stacks of outgrown clothes, one huge box of books to be donated to my NaNo book drive, and a bulging bag of garbage. Round two tomorrow.

As I baked Christmas cookies this past weekend, I found myself needing my missing seventh cookie sheet to toss into the oven/staging rotation. (Yeah, there were a lot of cookies.) This poor cookie sheet as been sitting on top of my son's bookcase for...egads...umm...years? He'd been working on some little sand on stickers craft thing at the time and we put it away when he lost interest. You guessed it, he never got interested again. So on it was piled his scrapbook and everything that should have gone in it.

Now, I knew I was behind on this little motherly project, but as I unburied the cookie sheet (which was in pristine condition compared to is long used counterparts by the way), I discovered I'd not updated his scrapbook since second grade. He's in eighth this year. *headdesk*

Hours later, report cards tucked away, certificates proudly displayed, pictures attached, and birthday cards, movie stubs, artwork and award ribbons arranged, the much pared down pile was tucked neatly into the pages of the scrapbook and a stack of artwork and reports went into a box in the attic. Whew!

Tomorrow brings my daughters scrapbook, but that's only three years behind. Bah, no problem. Who am I kidding? *shudder*

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm not crazy, I'm just creative

As I was getting my day started (wandering the internet), I came across this article -- Scientific American: The Unleashed Mind: Why Creative People Are Eccentric -- and being a little eccentric myself, I had to go check it out. Whoa! How true! Not that I see my characters chasing me around (other than in my writing area), or have a germ free zone, and I do shower regularly, but on so many other accounts, a huge resounding yes!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Critiquing and the Percolator

One of the reasons I enjoy critiquing the writing of others is because it helps me make my own writing better. Yep, I'm selfish like that. Not only do I find it so much easier to point out the things that bug me or that just don't feel quite right in other people's work, but it then makes me think about those exact things when I'm writing. I've become paranoid that if I happen to post a chapter for critique, that same person might read it and call me out on the same issues I've recently harped on them about. My inner editor is armed with a steel ruler and she's not afraid to use it!

Beyond that, in the conversations often struck up after a critique, things I've been percolating on my own writing sometimes hit me. As they did today. I'd been working with someone on a troublesome opening chapter. In the back of my mind, it occurred to me that I had a novel with an opening chapter that had a very similar problem--the tension fizzled by the end of the chapter. It wrapped up too neatly instead of leading into chapter two.

Hours after this virtual conversation, I was out racing from one thing to the next (my overachiever scale back plan doesn't activate for months yet), and a lightbulb went off. I now have the answer to what I need to add to the first chapter of a novel that I haven't touched in over two years to make it work! Swan Queen, there is hope for you yet!

*insert evil laughter and much milking of the giant cow* And if you have no idea what that means, go read this.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Confessions of a recovering overachiever

Sorry for the sudden lapse of silence, but after a month-long blogging challenge with my discarded characters, I've needed a little time off.

Fourteen years ago, pregnant with my first child, I had lofty visions of all the wonderful and meaningful things I wanted to do for and with mhy children. It started with a journal while still pregnant, covering everything from current events, to family history and then milestones as my children grew up. I would soon become involved with their schools, their hobbies, and all things connected to them. We would make our own christmas cards every year, by hand. We'd make Christmas cookies for family, co-workers and neighbors. We had big family birthday parties. This was all great and wonderful and everyone was happy.

However, somewhere around hitting forty I came to the conclussion I'd run out of patience and time. Year after year becomes a rush of one project leading to the next with little to no downtime in between. You may remember that last year I buried my tattered superwoman cape. This year I'm going a step further. I'm allowing myself to put my overachiever tendancies aside and join the ranks of the average.

Last month I offically put in my notice that I will not being taking on the Young Writers Program next November. I also put in my notice that I'll be stepping down from Girl Scouts as of the end of this school year. And even bigger, (because this has been one of my pet projects for eight years now) I'm handing off half my elementary christmas craft program to my new assistant whom I'm training this year. Then, after next year, I'm done with that entirely. That's three huge time-sucking programs crossed off my list. Whew!

I will also freely admit that I didn't make Christmas cards this year. We're using up extras from years past. We're cutting back cookie production to immediate family only. My christmas tree has way more ornaments on one side than the other, and yet, my normally twitchy self is ok with that. Half my outside Christmas lights didn't work this year so I threw them away and I haven't replaced them. In fact, I let the kids put the working ones up and they look pretty atrocious. Oh well.

Now if all this cutting back will give me some of this mythical "free time" to do the things I like to do for me, I'll be a happy average woman.