Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This week, it is not going as planned.  I had starry-eyed visions of 2K nights, leading up to me finished (or nearly so) with the SFD this weekend.

Despite staying up till 1-2 am every night so far, juiced up on soda and caffeine pills, my wordcounts have been half to as little as a tenth of my projected targets.

But!  I am at least getting wordage.  Consistent wordage, writing-every-night wordage.  This is something I haven't managed to accomplish in over two months, so I consider it progress.

So I won't be done in November, but next week the majority of my other irons will be removed from the fire: Heroes and DwTS have run this-season's course, so no more TV nights breaking up my momentum.  And my external projects are mostly completed.  Now there's just the little matter of Christmas...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Big Vocabulary = Free Rice for the Hungry

This website is for real:
Take a vocab quiz and for every correct answer, rice will be donated to the hungry.
According to Snopes the cost of the rice is paid for by the advertising.
With the kind of vocabulary rampant in our writers' circles, we could feed a small country at least!
(Warning: major time suck!  But you learn some cool words!)

Christmas Cards

I'd love to send out Christmas cards to everyone!  If you want to make my Christmas list, send me an e-mail with your mailing address.  International requests welcome!  *w,g*

Media Blackout

Despite the fact that I'm about to make several posts, I'll be on a complete media blackout this entire week, in an attempt to get my butt  in gear and make more significant headway than I have been.  Yes, it's time for one of Jenny's masochistic manic marathons.
So if I don't respond to e-mails/messages, that's why.
The word counter is still not correct.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Future

The Future:

It is Now


Carol tagged me for this, and I finally surfaced to see it.  *g*  So here goes...
Four Things You May or May Not Know About Me

A) Four jobs I have had in my lifetime:
1. Hallmark Cards merchandiser
2. Color Guard assistant coach
3. Humane Society adoption counselor
4. Medical Physicist

B) Four movies I would watch over & over:
1. any Star Wars
2. ditto Star Trek
3. and LOTR
4. Hmmm...Indiana Jones?  Now, if you'd asked me about books...

C) 4 places I have lived:
1. Louisville, KY
2. Brandenburg, KY
3. Irvington, KY
4. Lexington, KY (see a pattern here?)

D) Four TV Shows that I watch:
1. Heroes
2. Journeyman
3. Dancing With the Stars
4. NCIS/The Unit (they're kind of a single entity for me) 

E) Four places I have been:
1. Israel
2. Tampico/C.D. Madero, Mexico
3. Seattle, WA
4. Washington, D.C.

F) Four people who e-mail me (regularly):
1. Shaylin
2. Deniz
3. Carol
4. Claire

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. sushi (did I ever think I'd say that?)
2. homemade Crispix mix
3. anything from Red Lobster (Cheddar Bay biscuits!)
4. warm cornbread muffins with real butter

H) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Gatlinburg
2. Scotland
3. Florida
4. The Bahamas

I) Things I am looking forward to this and next year:
1. Finishing OHN
2. Getting an agent (I hope!)
3. Hiring another physicist at work
4. Paying off a few of our big loans
Well, everyone tagged already?  I'll safely say Shaylin and Jon and Brooke (if you're still out there), and anyone who hasn't been tagged yet in case I'm missing someone.
Side note: generally, when Jenny isn't blogging Jenny isn't writing, but I have been.  Sorta.  Anyway, updates coming soon and the word counter is not accurate.  Progress at last!

Monday, November 12, 2007

And we're up!

Or I am, at least. My pitch is the very first one on today's list of critiques over at BookEnds:

Pitch Critiques Round 5

As I told Carol, I guess I should have sent her the one I sent EE, and sent him that one! All the detail was based on comments from EE's blog, after my nice, tight paragraph "left too many unanswered questions, i.e. how exactly did she end up in the past?"
Not really negative from her, though. I could wish she'd said if the concept or the rest of the hook worked for her, besides the fact that - as a "synopsis" rather than pitch - it was too long.
Guess I should take heart from the fact that she didn't say "BORING!" like she has for a few others.
And it really was nice of her and generous to offer the critiques in the first place. I really appreciate her doing it.
Still at the drawing board...
I also got my chapter of the group novel up on the CompuServe Forum, so now I can return to OHN full-strength. Well, after Heroes and Journeyman tonight.
(I had the weirdest dream this morning. It involved Russia, braces, time travel, and Red Sox baseball. Bizarre.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Group Novel and other distractions

Well, I've had some minor setbacks since regaining my momentum somewhat over last weekend.  Nothing insurmountable, just my progress hasn't been what I'd hoped.
I tend to focus on one major "project" at a time.  For most of the last 18 months, that project has been the book.  Others have intruded from time to time and slowed me down.  This week, the group novel and the Project Night Night event I've been planning are vying for my attention.  But the PNN thing is this evening, so that will be one thing down.  The group novel will be the other.
I didn't read the previous chapters of the GN until my turn, so I could take them all in at once and try to come up with a coherent continuation.  I read it over Monday night, but needed to let it simmer before I knew what to write.
At long last my ideas for the group novel started to "come to a boil" yesterday and this morning, and I was able to get about a page of notes and a page of narrative down today at work.  Not sure how many pages I'm supposed to write overall, I think maybe 3-4 (single spaced)?  So I should be able to finish that up tonight or tomorrow at the absolute latest.
Confession time: I've not been nearly as strict with myself on internet usage as I planned to be.  It is a little better, but I've still frittered away plenty of potential writing minutes on the web.  I blame the "Superheroes" app on Facebook *sheepish grin* and another "project" that is sapping a lot of my resources: braces.
Yep, I'll be getting braces first of next year and I've been doing a lot of research on them of late because of the insurance paperwork I have to get set up ahead of time.  I even started a blog to chronicle my progress, since you guys and my friends and family will get sick of hearing about it on my regular blogs otherwise.  I needed an outlet - catharsis, you know.  *g*
Anyway, back to it since I need to leave work early today.  People coming to my house tonight.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Illuminating Article

And interesting article about "communication overload" and how interruptions and multitasking can make it harder to be productive at work:

Office ADD

I think it can be applied to my tendencies during writing time, too.

A quote:

"If I weren't checking e-mail 30 times in an evening, would I be writing a book?" Bill wonders.

Rough start

Adjusted plan: goal is 1500 words nightly, but I absolutely cannot leave the computer until I have at least 500 words down.

As I posted, I did okay the first day.  But last night I didn't manage any words at all.  It wasn't for trying: I sat at the computer for two hours at least.  And I wasn't fooling around online, either.  I was messing with my iTunes a bit, mainly to listen to some of my bagpipe music and get "in the zone" but for the most part I was just trying to focus and get back into writing mode.  At midnight I gave it up for a lost cause.

Had a productive day today: cleaned up the kitchen, cleaned and did a partial water change on my aquarium, washed several loads of laundry, and cleaned out/reorganized the garage.  (We can actually park a vehicle in there now, which will be handy when it starts freezing in earnest.)  Then we went to a bonfire with our Sunday school group.  Couldn't have asked for better weather - not too cold but with the Fall crispness in the air, still enough daylight to cook by, and not so dry anymore that having a large fire was risky.

Tonight I started slow.  Found some new Alec-y pics of Martin Henderson that got me closer to the character again.  Spent some time looking for an Elspeth, but it's hard to find pics of, say, 20-something actresses with brown hair and eyes online - unless I am the only one not aware of where to look.

Opened three or so scenes and skimmed them, trying to find a place to pick up.  Finally settled on the kidnapping scene, one of the ones I left in the middle and haven't been sure how to finish.

Tonight I squeaked by with my 500 words, and it's pretty late.  At least I get an "extra" hour of sleep in the morning.  (Though I'm not thrilled at the prospect of darkness so early in the evening from now on.)  But!  I have regained a tiny bit of momentum, and the scene is taking shape, so I should get out of the gate quicker next time.

Tomorrow I've got church, some book shopping for the Project Night Night drive, my FIL is coming up to visit, I need to write, and oh - did I mention I probably have to go into work for 3-4 hours (unpaid) to catch up on all the stuff that hit the fan Friday afternoon?  *sigh*

Friday, November 02, 2007

NaNoWriMo, after a fashion

Happy November!  It's National Novel Writing Month, and writers everywhere are geared up to crank out almost 1700 words a day in order to have written a new 50K book by thirty days from now.

Since I've decided to feed off all the energy in the air, and since I'm way behind in the wordcounts and needed a good kick in the @$$, I thought "What the heck? I'll do NaNoWriMo too."

Strictly speaking, I'm not - my words will be the completion of a mostly-written book instead of a new one (mainly, see below) - and I didn't sign up through the official website.

But I have set myself a new goal (remember when I said I wasn't going to set specific goals anymore?) to try to keep pace with the NaNoWriMo folks and average 1500-1700 words a day.  That should pretty much guarantee completion by the end of the month, even if I have to top 120K and then whittle down before everything's said and done.  It's a crazy, frenetic pace, but I have seen that when I'm really focused I can accomplish it.  I just need to stay focused.  See previous post about the internet.  *g*

So I sat down tonight prepared to flex my writing muscle and power forward through OHN.  There was just one minor problem...

Despite my best intentions to not do this until Elspeth and Alec's story was done, I took a page out of some friends' books (if you'll pardon the expression, hehe) and - since I was stuck on Book One - worked on Book Two.

Book Two is tentatively titled One Highland Wife, and will be the story of Nathaniel (Elspeth's brother) and Mairi (Alec's sister).  All the new scenes popping up in my head were between those two, so I went with it.  I also did some more brainstorming, as all I have right now are a few loosely-connected plot points, and wrote a very preliminary "hook":

Nathaniel Martin is happy to accept his sister's offer of a free vacation with her in Scotland, even if it means babysitting his young nephew while she and her husband celebrate their anniversary.  But a family outing to a ruined castle goes completely awry when Nate gets sucked through a time portal and into the late seventeenth century.

The stone that opened the portal is taken from him, and the only way to retrieve it is to buy it back, at an exorbitant price.  It takes everything he has and knows—and then some—to raise the funds.  Meanwhile, [antagonist/conflict here].

On his way to make the trade, he is moved to spend the entire amount to purchase a beautiful young widow named Mairi at auction, to save her from a life of servitude to the brutal man who sought to buy her.  Now he must seek another way to reclaim the stone and find a way back to his own time, as well as overcome [antagonist/conflict from above].  But the hardest thing will be deciding what do about the auburn-haired lass who has taken his name…and his heart.

The major scene I worked on - and cranked almost 900 words out of - will be from a chapter late in the book, entitled "Revelations of the Bedchamber".  Here's a snip:
"You know," Nate said, reclining against the headboard with Mairi snuggled contentedly against his shoulder, "we've been married [X] months, and I don't think you've told me anything about your brother."

"Andrew?" she asked.  "But I've spoken of him often enough.  There isna much to say now, as he's been deid these three years past.  Left a young wife and son, but the bairn was too wee to become chief, so the line passed to my uncle's branch."

"I remember you talking about Andrew.  I meant your other brother.  The one you don't speak of.  I don't think you've even told me his name."

Mairi hugged her arms about herself and sat up, away from him.  Her eyes became distant and she fixated on a point in the opposite corner of the room.

"Alasdair.  But most called him Alec."
And a bit later, after some explanations...

"Hold on.  I thought you said your maiden name was MacAlpin?"

She sighed.  "Aye, and so I did.  MacAlpin is the name my family took when it became illegal to claim 'MacGregor' in public, and to do so was cause for persecution…or execution."

He put up a hand, as much an attempt to bat away the thoughts that were buzzing and swarming about his head as to stall her speech.

"Wait.  You're telling me that you were—are—a MacGregor, and that your brother, Alec, married a woman named Elspeth and then disappeared under mysterious circumstances, never to be heard from again?"

"Aye."  Her eyebrows knit together, and a look of consternation and old pain crossed her delicate features.  It made him want to hold her close and sooth away the hurt, but just now he needed to come to grips with this new information.

MacGregor.  Alec MacGregor, and his wife, Elspeth.  Son of a—

All told, my nightly wordcount was up around 1400.  Not too shabby.