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Archive for the ‘My Writing’ Category

Let’s rewind to mid-November. I was actively working on my novel every day. I was optimistically hoping I could keep up the pace and finish by the end of the year.

Well, what happened? LIFE! A family emergency took my full attention for over a week. I tried to write a little in the midst of it all. I did manage to make a little more progress, but then Thanksgiving came. Suddenly I was responsible for an entire Thanksgiving meal, plus a couple of dishes to take to two more dinners.

We managed to make it through Thanksgiving. Then our car started acting funny so we had it checked out & dropped a couple hundred dollars to fix it. Immediately after that, my husband got sick & discovered that a nasty chronic infection that just wouldn’t go away was back with a vengeance. The next week the car overheated, almost stranding my husband on the way to work. He added water & barely managed to get it to the shop. We shelled out several hundred more on a new head gasket. My husband had to bum rides to & from work for a few days. We almost didn’t get the car back in time for Christmas.

The total car repairs for the month of December ended up being around $1,000! Gee, we could have gotten a new car if we knew that was going to happen, but we definitely couldn’t afford it now. We couldn’t even afford to buy presents for family. We’d already gotten stuff for our son, but we decided not to get each other anything. We consider our new computer that we had to buy to replace our lightning struck one to be a present for both of us. Sometime between car repairs, I got the idea to put my creativity to good use to make gifts for other family members & friends. I crocheted constantly, making scarves, slippers, even dolls. A few of the gifts had to wait till after Christmas since I had very little time to finish.

By the end of the year, we were ready for it all to be over, hoping that maybe, just maybe, next year would be better. The new year started okay, except that my husband still wasn’t better, despite three rounds of antibiotics. Then mid-January we all got a bad cold. Hubby got a new & different infection on top of his old stubborn one. He’s now taking the strongest antibiotic to date, but is still not better. My son somehow got strep on top of his cold, & despite the antibiotics he’s taking for that, his cough isn’t getting better. I foresee more doctor visits in our future. I’m almost all better, though, so I can’t really complain there.

I can complain, though, that our sickness just happened to coincide with the birth of my new baby niece. So far we’ve only been able to look at her through the window. I hope that, soon, I can convince my sister that I’m well enough to hold her.

Somewhere in the midst of all these happenings, I’d gotten so depressed that I didn’t want to do much of anything. Crocheting became my escape & my obsession. After all the Christmas presents, I made a cardigan & hat for my new niece & some cute Converse style baby booties for a friend by altering a pattern. Then I took on a new project to make a Yoshi plushie for my son’s birthday. I couldn’t find a free pattern, so I decided to design my own, which I’ve never done before. Then I made my husband a pair of Converse style slippers, once again my own design, because he was jealous of the baby booties I made.

So needless to say, with all this crocheting I’ve been doing, I haven’t done any more writing. I’m not sure what to make next, so maybe I’ll get back to writing. Then again, my mom gave me a sewing machine for my birthday, and I need new pillows and curtains. When will I write again? I don’t know, but I do know that I will…… soon.

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I somehow found myself with no opportunity this past weekend to write. (Except for a half hour window that I spent checking my email for the only time during the weekend) I was very frustrated because I have lots of ideas that I want to get down. Hopefully, I can manage to write extra today if my little man takes a really good nap and I can unlock my inner speed writer. I just realized last night, though, that I still have almost a whole chapter to revise before I can go on to something new and add to my word count. I’m probably being way too optimistic with my goal, so I’ll revise it to 50,000 words total. See future posts for possibly even more lowering of standards. Until then…

 

15,757

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I  participated in NoWriMo last year and came nowhere near to finishing, particularly because I changed my mind about a lot of things mid-way. I REALLY had to go back and edit. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have finished anyway, because I’m pretty slow and perfectionist about just about everything I do. I’m just glad it helped me get started on my lifelong dream.

I wanted to do it again this year, but I don’t want to go on to another novel before I finish my first one. So this year I am unofficially participating, trying to finish my work-in-progress. My husband is doing it this year for the first time, so he’s my accountability partner. It’ll be hard to keep up with him though, because he’s a very fast writer compared to me. I can’t let him outdo me. 🙂 I started this first after all. I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot about writing in the past year.

Anyway, I suppose I’ll try to post my progress here since I can’t officially do it through NaNoWriMo. My goal is more to finish than to achieve a certain word count. I suspect it’ll take more than 50,000 words to tell my story, so I’ll set my goal conservatively at 60,000 total, including last year’s writing. Last November I wrote about 10,000 words. Then I went back and rewrote most of it over the past year, developing my plot and characters pretty thoroughly in my head along the way. Unfortunately, my word count has remained pretty much stagnant up until this point. I’ve usually been working in spurts with weeks-long breaks in between, but I’ve written every day this week so far during my little man’s naptime. My total is now up to 15,504. Even if I don’t finish this month, I’m not giving up, but I do hope to report on December 1st that I’ve completed my first draft.

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Well, It’s been over two months since I last posted. My computer got fried by lightning about two months ago. It was an iMac, and our back up computer is an old Gateway laptop. It’s just not the same. I haven’t gotten over it enough to get back to writing. I know that’s a really bad excuse. We’re getting a new iMac today, and I expect to get back into my writing again soon.

I’ve had a few good ideas during my off time, Most came in the usual way, middle of the night epiphanies that I’m too sleepy to write down. I’ve tried to remember most of it and bounce the ideas off my husband to see if any of them are actually good. If nothing else, I’ve gotten to know my characters better in my reflections.

I got one of my more unusual ideas just before my computer got zapped. I had an idea to actually name the chapters of my books. I wasn’t planning on this, because I have so much trouble naming things as it is, but I just got this idea stuck in my head. I was lying awake thinking about the first chapter, which I was adding scenes to at the time. Since I was sleepy, my thoughts kept wandering randomly, and a song kept popping into my head. It kind of became like a soundtrack to my thoughts. It was one of the songs my husband and I wrote. This gave me an idea that I wanted to test, so I fast-forwarded in my head to chapter two, and another one of our songs came to me. Then I realized that I could think of a Tiny Rain song that would fit, either perfectly or loosely, with almost every major part of the story. It also worked for the other book ideas I have for the series. So I decided that I would name each chapter after one of our songs, and if one didn’t fit then we could write a new one just for it. We need some inspiration to make new music anyway. Since I love writing, and I love music, I thought this would be a great way to bring them together. This idea also led me to a few other ideas, like book names, a name for my fantasy world, and also the idea to play up the role of music in the story.

I actually have to give partial credit for this idea to (I don’t remember who) who wrote (I don’t remember what) which used titles of eighties songs for the chapter names. I had started reading this book because of this interesting hook, but it didn’t otherwise grab me, so I stopped.

At some point I might share these ideas more specifically, but I’m not sure how much to reveal at this point. Until next time (hopefully not months from now), listen to some Tiny Rain songs at our Virb site.

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Well, it’s not my first and I certainly hope it’s not my last. It’s actually my entry for last week’s NovelDoctor contest. His challenges are so much fun. We were given three first sentences & three last sentences to choose among. Here’s what I chose. First sentence: Somewhere between roof and the pavement, Sam remembered where he’d left his wallet. (That was a fun one to work with.) Last sentence: The bottle was empty.

Stephen was gracious enough to post everyone’s stories on the site, and mine was one of the first. There’s some other great stories there too, so check it out.

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Somewhere between roof and the pavement, Sam remembered where he’d left his wallet. He stopped and peered down the darkened alley, listening carefully. Then he turned, clambering back up the stairs, cringing at the metallic resonance of his steps.

Upon reaching the roof, he knelt down, breathlessly searching through the dark. There it was, perched precariously near the ledge. He grabbed it and ran back to the stairs, hastily shoving the wallet into the back pocket of his faded blue jeans.

Sam recklessly descended the steps, three at a time, but when his feet hit the ground, he didn’t run. Instead, he crept along the brick wall to the edge of the building. Hiding in the shadows, he peered around the corner, afraid that his pounding heart might give him away.

The street was deserted except for a small crowd forming about twenty feet away. He spotted something on the sidewalk between the crowd and himself. Making certain that nobody was looking, he darted out to get it and returned to the shadows before anyone could notice.

The sound of sirens blasted in the distance. He bolted through the alley, past the fire escape, pausing at the end to check for witnesses. He saw only a few people who seemed to be doing some late night window shopping. He nonchalantly stepped into the light, walking the short distance to his tan sedan. He breathed a sigh of relief after closing the door and starting the engine, thus blocking out the growing wail of the sirens.

Pulling out of the parking space, Sam wondered which way to go. He waited at a red light, watching as two police cars sped by with their blue lights flashing. He stole a glance at the broken camera in the passenger seat. He may not have gotten what he’d come for, but at least he’d escaped with his life. Now, if only he could get out of town.

The light turned green and Sam decided to go straight, heading toward the interstate. After pulling safely into the fast lane, he set the cruise control. Except for a few truckers and night owls, the road was his. Searching for comfort, he reached into the glove compartment and groaned. The bottle was empty.

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Well, here’s the story I promised to post that I wrote for NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction contest. I’m couldn’t come up with a good title, so I finally decided just to call it “Choices”.  I’m still not satisfied with that though. I’d like to hear what others think of it. I’ll have another short to put up next week from another NovelDoctor contest.

(I have since changed the title. See post above.)

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The Word I Never Knew

I’d always assumed you’d forgotten me. If only I could do the same it would make things so much easier. Believe me, I’ve tried, but time has etched the memory of you into my being.

I’ve treasured the short time that we shared. I memorized every detail of your face for fear that I’d never see you again. I’ve tried to recall your sweet smell, your soft skin, your silky black hair, but my memories are hollow compared with the reality of holding you. You haunt my dreams. Your voice has awakened me countless times, calling me out of fantasy only to find phantoms.

Perhaps we were never meant to be together. I was merely a grown up child when you came into my life. Everyone told me I should let you go, that I wasn’t ready to devote myself to you. As much as it hurt, I knew they were right. I was forced to make the hardest decision of my life, to hold on – or let go. Either way, it would cost us both dearly.

A river of tears raged through my heart that day. What began as tears of joy transformed into a flood of sorrow. Saying goodbye was the most painful thing I’ve ever had to do. I knew you’d never understand why I had to do it, but you deserved the best and that certainly wasn’t me. I’ve never been sure it was the right thing to do, but I’ve prayed for you every day since. As I watched you disappear through the door, my heart was screaming for you to come back. But it was too late.

Then you found me. I couldn’t believe you’d forgive me. After all those years, and after all I’d done – you really did want to start over.

I’ve never been so nervous in my life as at this moment, sitting alone in a room full of strangers. All I can think about is seeing you again. Will I recognize you? Twenty-five years is a long time. I wonder what you’ve done with your life. I have so many questions. But whatever the answers, I will love you just the same. I just hope I live up to your expectations.

Pulled out of reverie by the clanging of a bell, I anxiously turn to watch as a well dressed man enters. He is a handsome man, tall and dark, but not a cliché. My heart skips a beat when he looks my way. Those deep brown eyes are unmistakable. Do I see some glimmer of recognition? Then you smile, and I realize that our tenuous bond has not been broken. You have not forgotten me, after all.

I rise awkwardly as you approach, heart racing and stomach churning. My knees feel weak, and I fear I may fall to the floor in humility. Instead, I fall into your arms, burying my face into your strong shoulder. I almost expect to wake up and find myself alone, but the warmth of your skin assures me that this time you are not a mirage. The sound of your voice soothes my broken heart as you speak the word I never thought I would hear: Mother.

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I actually did enter that NPR contest that I mentioned before. I surely don’t expect to win, but it was a good writing exercise. The only specifications for the contest were that the story had to be no more than 500-600 words long. I’m not so great at coming up with ideas, so I wasn’t sure that I could think of something to write about before the deadline.

I had almost given up when, one day last week, I was struck with inspiration. It was nothing special, just the first line. It was morning, just after my husband left for work. I was in that between awake and asleep state that I muddle through every morning when I must have dozed off for a minute. I woke up with a vague impression of a short dream and the sentence, “I assumed you forgot me.” Since I didn’t remember the dream well enough, I really didn’t have much to go on, but I thought that it would make an intriguing first line.

I had to go against my general preference of writing in third-person for this story, but I have been convinced that it is easier to write a very short story from a first-person viewpoint. I’d recently learned this premise from multiple sources, including the judge of the NPR contest, so I gave in. (Thank you to my husband for not teasing me about it after I recently criticized something he wrote for it being in first-person. It really was good. I just wasn’t feeling it at that time. He’ll probably never write again.)

Anyway, I took that first sentence and changed it just a bit, then tried to think of what to do with it. It had multiple possibilities, but I gravitated to one particular idea and followed it. Then my husband helped me to fine tune it. He is my toughest critic, but I think he actually liked it.

This story is different for me. I was a little out of my comfort zone, but I think it is still enough like me, though it may be a bit too dramatic. If I tell any more I’d spoil it. When the contest is over, I will post the story here for your perusal.

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