Thursday, April 9, 2009

done, Done, DONE!

I'm done, done, done with my stinky first draft! And it's not as bad as I thought, but there are some mega plot problems to be fixed. A couple of things don't make sense, and it's not a matter of shoring up motivation because there isn't any! Or there isn't any motivation that makes sense. But I'm noodling it around in my head and trust that the answers will come.

I'm trying to take a break from it--do some reading, for pleasure as well as some writing books. Then I'll dive into the rewrite. It's a little scary. You have this vision in your head that you try to put down in your first draft. You *know* it's not working but you console yourself with the fact that you can nail it in your revision. But can you? What if you can't?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Something Smells

Do you smell that? I was writing one of my penultimate scenes the other day and realized I was actually making a face! I was wrinkling my nose and my mouth was pursed up the way it gets when something tastes bad. Yes, my first draft writing was so bad that it actually smelled!

A second read a couple of days later revealed that it really wasn't *that* bad. Not great, but not absolutely stinky either.

Honestly, I was writing and making a face...kind of blew me away when I realized it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Three Scenes, People!

I am about three scenes from The End--give or take a few. I just got back from a walk with the dog (gorgeous day here in Michigan) during which I ran through those scenes in my head. They should be pretty easy to write. Fun, too. Then I can sink my teeth into the rewrite.

I have "Don't Murder Your Mystery" by Chris Roerden on my desk to be read. I hope to apply her tips and tricks to my rewrite. I will need to put the manuscript away for a week or two anyway to gain some distance. Then I want to print it out and read it through. I'm sure I've forgotten entire scenes!

I know it needs some work from an organizational standpoint. And I'll have to be sure to wrap up all subplots and dangling clues. And give my main character a personality. Ha!

Fun stuff ahead!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In Sight of "The End"

Finally, I am only a couple of chapters away from The End. And I feel a strange reluctance to finish for some reason! Which is ridiculous because I'm hardly done with this manuscript--just beginning actually. I'll probably come in at 70K which means adding another 5 to 10K in the rewrite. That's fine because I write very spare the first time around. I need to do tons of editing and rewriting.

My protag needs to develop some sort of personality in this second draft! She's a bit bland. I need to ratchet up the other characters as well. But I enjoy that part. Now that I've got the action more or less block out, I can concentrate on the details.

And a title. I need a title. Two actually. I envision this as part of a series so the series needs a name and this manuscript needs a title.

Fun stuff ahead!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Working with a Coach

I'm working with a creativity coach. No, I'm not paying for it--they were looking for volunteers to work with coaches who were taking extra training in creativity coaching (see My coach is from Norway and writes absolutely perfect English. I have no sense of who/what she's about because the focus is meant to be on me, and any round-about questions I might ask about her are subtley deflected. Which in and of itself is very interesting--I am so used to concentrating on the other person that this feels quite strange.

One of her first suggestions, after getting a sense of my process, was to get up earlier and write before work. She feels I might be very surprised by the "quality" of my ideas first thing in the morning before I've given away most of my energy to work and family. I will try it. But maybe not right now. Life is really stressful at the moment, and I don't think I need the added stress of trying to wake up earlier.

Plus in a few more weeks it might be a bit lighter earlier...or at least there will be the suggestion of dawn on the horizon. And maybe a little warmer, too. We're keeping the house at 66 during the night to save money and our sinuses. Although one can program the thermometer so perhaps I could just change it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I just read another writing instructor who recommends "modeling" as a method for learning to write. It's James N. Frey in his "How to Write a Damn Good Mystery." It was also recommended by Elizabeth Lyons in her book. I think I need to try this! I hate taking time away from my actual writing, but I'm almost finished with the first draft and will need to put it in the deep chill for a bit before revising. Maybe that would be a good time to try it.

Meanwhile, I'm writing away but my body is beginning to suffer, specifically my shoulder. At work my mouse is on my desk and is just a tad too high--I have to lift my arm/shoulder ever so slightly. It takes a toll after awhile. A massage will help. I can also smear on some of that dreadful smelling Chinese ointments we bought in our tiny little Chinatown area here. They're kind of like Ben Gay. Fortunately hubby doesn't mind the smell.

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's Already February--Who Knew?

Wow, it's been ages since I've updated this. I have a good excuse though--I've been writing my fingers to the bone on my latest wip. I'm now about 10K from the end whereas not too long ago I wondered if it would be another abandoned project. I *always* finished what I started until recently when I abandoned two manuscripts at around the 150 page mark. I will get back to them though. Especially the one--I still keep getting ideas for it.

I'm considering an exercise from James Scott Bell's book called plot drills. You take six books in your genre, read them, and create scene cards for each and every scene. You then read these over and over and over while you assimilate plot and structure. It's a huge investment of time obviously. He thinks it's worth it--and he's selling and I'm not! Perhaps when I finish the current draft, I will set aside the time to do it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Live & Learn

I've been thinking about my goals for this new year, 2009. I don't want to make any resolutions--they always come across as negative and things you're *not* going to do like smoke or overeat. No, I think goals are much more motivating.

One goal is definitely to finish my cozy mystery manuscript, make revisions and get it circulating with agents. And the sooner the better.

My other goal is to learn. I want to take some good books off my shelf and really study them--do the whole underline in different colored magic markers thing. I want to try "modeling" as described in Elizabeth Lyons' book Manuscript Makeover. And writing riffs from the same volume.

Once and for all I want to see, inside out, how accomplished authors put their books together. Then I'm going to use that knowledge to write another one of my own.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What Is It About Deirdre

Okay, what's going on with me and the name Deirdre? I wrote a YA with a protag named Deirdre. That was on purpose, so okay, that's fine. But I've just been re-reading my current work in progress--not the YA but an adult mystery this time--and I have named not one, but TWO minor characters Deirdre! One is the about-to-be-married daughter of a secretary in the police department...the other is a snooty sales clerk at Abigail's, an upscale dress shop.

I toyed briefly with seeing if the two Deirdres could be one and the same, perhaps unleashing some interesting possibilities, but I don't think it's going to work. Alice's daughter is NOT snooty, and I need the sales clerk to be so she can intimidate my protag Gigi.

But seriously, what is with me? Any suggestions for alternate names is appreciated.