Sunday, February 25, 2007

It's late, so no witty pun for the title this time...


Well, I didn't manage to finish the ubersynopsis, despite my best intentions. I did, however, manage another 1300 words of it, bringing the total up to 4400. We're into the fourth act now, and Alec has come out of his pit of despair and decided to find Elspeth in her own time. All that remains is to sum up the intercutting (and mostly written) scenes of Alec and Elspeth in modern day as they come closer and closer together, overcome setbacks, finally reunite, and decide where (read:when) to spend the rest of their lives together.

Bless their hearts. They spend nine months falling in love, finally handfast and get to spend one night together, and then they're separated and think each other dead for the better part of a year. Ah, well. They'll have plenty of time to make up for it. *wink*

At any rate, I will finish this tomorrow (Sunday) night. I'd keep plugging tonight, but things are starting to feel wooden and my creativity is running dry. Though most of what remains is summarizing already-written scenes, there are still a few blanks to fill (the, um, ending mainly) and I want to be fresh. So far I've rounded out a lot of the story by writing this, so it helps if I can make decisions and come to conclusions while I'm doing it.

I'm also still a little behind on sleep after the whole croup episode, and I have to get up for church in the morning. To bed with me.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Croup d'Etat

Once again, "Life is what happens...when you're busy trying to write a book."

Thursday night I was going strong on the ubersynopsis and was about another 600 words in, when DH and I became aware of Baby Boy's increasingly loud and labored breathing over the monitor. He'd been kinda lethargic/sleepy when I got home (late, 7 pm) from work, sounded a little congested and was running a low fever. We gave him some Tylenol and put him to bed at 8. Along about 11, he was audibly wheezing on every inhalation (stridor). I went up and held him, thinking that would clear the congestion. But it didn't help, and the few times he tried to cough, you could tell he could barely get air through. It was the tell-tale "bark" of croup. Great.

So we looked it up online and did what any anxious, first-time parents would do: we went to the ER. (I should say that he was really struggling for breath; it wasn't just that he was coughing. I was afraid if we didn't go in, then along about 2 am his throat would close up completely and he'd start turning blue and we'd have to call an ambulance or something.) Thus passed one of the worst nights in our parenting history. We got there at midnight in order to wait 3 hours to be seen, with a gasping, tired-but-can't-sleep baby. He ultimately conked out around 3 am, only for the doctor to finally come in, look him over for about 3 minutes, confirm it was croup, and send nurses in to give him a shot - which really bothered him and made his breathing worse because he was crying so hard - and make him breathe some kind of misty air for about 5 minutes. Then we had to wait 2 hours for "observation," during which I had to incessantly sing and walk the baby to get him to calm down, but it my butt touched the bed he'd start shrieking again. At 5 we asked if we could go home so the baby could sleep in his own bed, and were told the doctor was "on his way." 30-45 minutes later, the doctor popped in again and said he'd get us our discharge papers and a presecription for some oral steroids. You guessed it, another 30 mintues later we finally got the paperwork. Home at 7 am, another hour of singing and rocking to get the baby to sleep, and then we managed to crash till about noon. We're all still sort of recovering from the gross disruption of our schedules, but at least the baby is doing much better. The PediaPred stuff must be working; he slept all the way through the night last night.

Anyway, so everything about the book's been on hold for a couple of days. I'm back at it tonight with a couple of Mt. Dews in me (now that Baby Boy is weaned, I allow myself the really caffeinated stuff) and this time, by hokey, I will finish the ubersynopsis. From Glencoe, onward to "The End"!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ugh, my ear hurts.

No work tonight, I'm afraid. Oh, I'm wide awake and I could probably make some decent headway for an hour or so...except I've got an earache. Had it for 2 days. It's getting worse; I think I have a full-on ear infection now. Great. I hardly slept last night (and I'm worried about tonight). It's very distracting, so it'd be difficult to concentrate on writing. I took some Tylenol PM and hopefully that will help me sleep tonight. But no writing. *sigh*

Also, we just watched Heroes and now I'm in that mindset instead of 17th century Scotland, hehe.

Oh, speaking of! Jo posted a link to "rules for writing historical fiction" on the Compuserve forum, and one of the spin-off links was for Scottish Romances. Hee.

Some don't really apply to me, some hit close to home, and some are dead-on. I like #1, but my favorites are #11 and #12:

11) The Campbells are the only Scottish clan that is bad.

12) There can be a clan feud, but it has to be ended in order to fight the English.
Except if it involves the Campbells because those are bad (see 11)*

The best part, though is the comment train. Someone said (in reference to rule #11):
Thus proving there are a damn more MacGregors published than people realize, and that after eight hundred years of feud, the MacGregors may have lost land and fortune but we got ours back in the end.*

Alec would approve. *grin*

But now, to bed, and I pray God to sleep.

*(from the source sited)

Alas, no progress.

Sundays are busy, with church and whatnot. Tonight we also met with friends for dinner, and then DH and I watched "Rome" (for which specifically we subscribed to HBO for the next 3 months) and then it was late and I didn't get any work done on the ubersynopsis.

Tomorrow! (Famous last words.) And then I will send it off to my writing partner Kimb' and possibly others who ask for it.

And I will pick up the almost 20 books that have arrived per my "hold requests" at the local public library. Most of them about castles.

And based on what I learn, I will draw floorplans of Kilchurn and Tigh Mor, and possibly perspective sketches, too.

And then I will research clothing and food. And other day-to-day stuff.

And I will brainstorm and diagram relationships for Elspeth and Alec, and I will decide on my cast of supporting/secondary characters. I may write out character sketches for the MCs and Campbell and anyone else that warrants that much attention.

Oh, and at some point I will write. *g*

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Work on the ubersynopsis continues

I added another 1000 words tonight, bringing me up through Glencoe and the end of Act II, into Act III. I think that makes about 2/3-3/4 of the way through the book. There are 29 paragraphs, and if you figure an average of one paragraph per chapter, that looks pretty good. I average 2500-3000 words per chapter. Looks like my length/word count is on track. All of this is estimates and back-of-the-envelope calculation, of course.

I'm pleased. Not only with the way everything is laying out wrt length and chapters and word count, but also with the way things are clicking into place in the story. Forcing myself to walk linearly through this ubersynopsis is causing me to fill in gaps. A few bits I knew needed to be in but couldn't figure out where just dropped into the synopsis in a perfect, logical flow. Beautiful.

I'll continue work tomorrow, and I plan to finish it then. This last part of the book is where the majority of my actual scenes are currently written, so it will really just be summarizing what is mostly already known. Still a few small gaps to fill, though. Then more reasearch (a lot of the books I reserved at the library are in) and organization for the next week or so. After that, I may go back and actually start to write a rough draft/SFD linearly, based on the ubersynopsis. Allowing for breaks to write chunk-wise any scene that comes to me fully visualized, of course. We shall see.

For now, to bed.

Status 2/16/07...oh, wait it's 2/17/07 now.

I sat down with no real motivation to write or creative reserves to do so. It's been a long week. But I resigned myself to a few hours of research at least. This was about 9 pm. Sometime about 10:30, my brother IM'd me asking to be picked up from his apartment, so I dragged myself into the cold and got him.

Along about 11 I decided to try my hand at a rough draft of a synopsis for my story, a la the synopsis crapometer Miss Snark ran over a year ago. 1000 words, basic plot, shouldn't be a problem.

Well, I do have a tendency to be a bit verbose. Somewhere on the second half of the first page, when I hadn't even finished summarizing the first chapter (I have to set the scene!) I gave up trying to write a "submission-style" synopsis of under 1000 words and decided to write a longer one for myself. Somewhere between an actual synopsis and what Jo would call "Story Notes."

It's after 3 in the morning now, and I am going to be regretting this when Baby Boy wakes up in about 4 hours. Or not. Y'see...I've gotten over 1600 words written. That's the most I've written in one sitting in, well, in a very long time. Oh, it doesn't count toward my word totals, but I think this is a vital step. It's really laying the whole thing out in order for me, and forcing me to fill in the gaps that I've been avoiding because I wasn't sure what to put there. I want to write this ubersynopsis linearly so that I have to make those decisions. That doesn't set them in stone, but it does give me something to work from.

The 1600 words so far cover the first 1/3 or so of my novel, lengthwise, and get me through Act I and into the beginning of Act II pacing-wise (following the Crusie-Mayer 4-act system). So I still have a ways to go and quite a bit of exciting stuff to lay out for the rest of the book. Hopefully tomorrow. Or...later today. Whatever, I'm going to bed.

Oidche mhath.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What Dreams May Come

I'm still on a self-imposed writing hiatus to allow my system to recover/equilibrate after all the recent changes/stress/etc. in my life. My motivation and interest in writing is returning slowly, so I should be back on track by the end of the week. I spent this evening futzing around with yWriter, a "novel building" software that I downloaded for free (virus scan checked out ok!). You can get it here. The concept is REALLY cool, and I'm an organizational junkie, so I may end up using it. My big problem is the formatting: I can't use italics, nor Times New Roman font. And it only exports to .txt (not .rtf). So I dunno...I may stick with Word for now. But oh, if I had all of those nifty utilities in Word!

Anyway, the main topic for this blog post was the dream I had last night (this morning?):

I dreamt that I had somehow impressed an agent enough to sign with them, and they sold my book practically overnight. The original number thrown around was $200,000 (!) but after negotiation I ended up with a final deal of $93,000. (Holy Crap! That's more than I make in a year.) I put all the money in a high-interest savings account, because I wasn't supposed to spend it yet. Why? Here's the funny part: my book wasn't done. In the dream I was basically where I am right now. But the agent (and editor) were so impressed with my concept/outline and writing samples that they bought the book. But then I had to bust my @$$ to finish and polish the darn thing, and I wasn't supposed to spend the advance money until it was published. So, I started in and about then my alarm clock went off.

Of course, that could never happen. I'm realistic in my understanding of first-time author advances. I'm not doing this to make money; I'm doing it to write a novel and get it published. And I don't flatter myself that my story/writing are so good as to get an agent and a publishing deal without a completed MS.

But it was a fun dream (may it have some basis in future reality!) and it did perk up my spirits a bit. *g*

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Funk Returns


I'm back in a writing slump, and it's really starting to annoy me. At the beginning of the past week, the fact that work and family obligations had kept me from writing was really getting to me, and I was chomping at the bit to get on my computer. Only more obligations got in the way.

But by the time I had time to write, later in the week, all my motivation was gone. And it's not even the kind of problem where if I just sit down and read over stuff I'll get into the groove and start working. It's the "I've been on my computer staring at various parts of my story (and/or writing-related websites/forums/blogs/articles/books) for over an hour and nothing is happening." The I-can't-write-even-if-I-have-the-time-and-try kind of slump. Very frustrating.

I think part of it is that Baby Boy has apparently decided to wean himself, and I wasn't ready for it, and it's doing all kinds of things to me emotionally and hormonally. I mean, he's almost a year old, and I was going to wean about that time. But I was planning on it being a slow process, at my discretion. He, however, trumped my plans with a nursing strike that started about 2 weeks ago. We were doing great, still nursing morning and evening, and then one night - WHAM! Screaming and crying every time I tried to get him "in position." I did manage to get him to where he'd nurse some in the evenings again, and we've been limping along the past week or so. But it's 2 nights in a row now that he's refused to nurse before bed. I'm looking forward to the freedom, but it's still kinda tough at the moment. Especially since I wanted to know ahead of time when the "last time" I nursed him was going to be. If it was two nights ago, then I wish I'd known to pay attention and remember it better.

I've been in all kinds of bad moods every night for the past several nights. And the fact that I can't make myself write just puts me in a worse one. It's a vicious cycle.

So I guess I'll wrap up my pity party and just go to bed. Maybe some rest and de-stressing will help. I might just choose to take a few days off and see how I feel then. Goodnight!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Newton's Third Law

...y'know: "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction"?

Well, work has been taking so much of my time lately that it's really been eating into my writing time. I'd get home so late and be so tired that not only would I put off writing, but I would put off other things that I would then have to do later when I did feel like writing. That's been going on for a couple weeks now, and things finally got to a breaking point.

So, in reciprocation, today I've spent almost the entire day at work...writing. The equal and opposite reaction, hehe. Specifically the February exercise on the Compuserve forum, which helped me get deeper into Elspeth's head and understand her motivations. The whole thing fit in really well with some stuff Jenny Crusie said at the writing workshop I went to in December. Cool.

I probably shouldn't have spent quite so much time, and now I have to scramble to catch up if I want to leave at a decent hour, but the urge to work on my book had just been building up. I feel better.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Conflicts of Interest

I have determined that in the evenings after the baby goes to bed, I can choose one of the following: write, watch TV, do maintenance-type stuff on my new aquarium, or spend time with my husband. There are certain shows we're kind of hung up on (namely Heroes...I'm not ashamed to admit it *g*) so Monday nights and Tuesday nights usually go to that. My aquarium is having issues and so I have to spend time on it fairly frequently. DH, well, he doesn't like to be neglected *w* so I do have to take a day or so for him every now and then. Unfortunately, that bumps writing to the bottom of the list most nights.

Another problem I've recently run into is that at work or in the car I'll start to feel inspired but when I get home I switch into "Mommy mode" and I'm so caught up in my son that the writing urge slips away, and I can't quite get it back once he's in bed and I do have the free time. He takes precedence of course--I wouldn't have it any other way--but I could wish my inspiration chose a more opportune time to manifest. There's one scene in particular that I've known about for some time, but for the past few days has been trying to make its way out. It's...of a certain nature, and the maternal instinct kind of quashes the mood to write it. My windows for these types of scenes are a few days at best, so I may have to move it back to the back burner and let it simmer for another month or so.

Anyway, it's late and I do have to work tomorrow. Tonight was a TV night. Tomorrow, too. Wednesday, I promise myself to get a solid evening's work in.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Pork Board threatens breastfeeding supporter

Yeah, I know this is a writing blog, but I'm also a breastfeeding mother. (For another month or little boy is growing up. *sniff*) I heard about this through the BabyCenter message boards, and decided to check it out:


Apparently, a WAHM with a breastfeeding-support blog: has been threatened with a lawsuit from the National Pork Board for selling a t-shirt that reads "the other white milk." The Pork Board claims that not only is she "tarnishing" their "good reputation" but that her site promotes breastfeeding for "beyond merely infant consumption" (read: adult breastfeeding). Not only is that weird, it's ludicrous, as anyone who spends a few seconds on her blog can tell.

I think the Pork Board is doing more to tarnish their good reputation by picking on this blogger and inviting the ire of breastfeeding mothers across the country.

Anyway, I just thought I'd post this to lend my support and add to the "viral" web defense she's mounting, as discussed in her post.

Happy Groundhog Day

Well, it's February. Here in Kentucky we're having the first appreciable snowfall of the winter. It's been cloudy and snowing all day, so I think it's safe to say the groundhog did not see his shadow, and so spring will not be late. Which I, personally, don't mind (being a warm-weather girl) but I do have to wonder...if winter's this late getting started, will spring be late by default? I guess we'll see.

As for writing, the day job once again ganged my beautiful best-laid plans agleigh, and I didn't make any progress for the last week or so of January. So, I will continue my revisions and then move on to some serious research this month. Any wordage is bonus.