Monthly Archives: October 2015

Ready and Not

It’s almost NaNoWriMo.

Am I ready? Not really.

I mean, I have a fairly detailed outline, but…  I’m not ready!

For one thing, I’d like to have the outline in a little better shape and with more details worked into each plot point.

And there are a few silly last minute things I’d like to research – nothing of earth-shattering importance, mind you, but not knowing is going to bug me.

And I really need to sort out and clarify some back story that is kind of essential to the plot – it explains the antagonist and why he does the things he does.  I kind of have a handle on it, but I’d like it sorted out better so that it’s right there in black and white instead of the hazy shade of grey that it is now.  (It would probably be a lot less hazy if I hadn’t changed it half a dozen times in the course of an hour yesterday.)

But other than the antagonist and a few minor details, it’s pretty much ready to go, except…

Except I’m not sure how it starts.

Do I start with the phone call from Jacob, telling Cara about her grandmother’s death?

Do I start with her driving into the town of Crossroads?

Do I start with the funeral?

I know I’m starting at midnight, but other than that…

Yeah, I know.  Just start. Start with the phone call and write through the other two possible starts and sort it out in the revisions.  That’s probably good advice, but it just feels weird.  See, I love beginnings (that’s probably why I have so much stuff started) and I don’t think I’ve ever not known how my stories start.  I have always had the first scene completely worked out in my mind.  This… indecision… just doesn’t feel right and it’s making me a little nervous about the rest of the story.

Oddly, though, I do have an ending scene.  Usually I have no idea how or when the story is supposed to end, so having the ending worked out instead of the beginning is completely backwards for me.

And I also have a title.  And a really bad blurb.

The genre is still a little foggy, which isn’t really a whole lot of consolation.  I’m not sure whether to classify it as urban fantasy or paranormal. I’m pretty sure it’s probably not horror.

And the worst thing facing me?  One of the other nurses where I work quit, so I’m looking at extra shifts at work.  I’m currently part time, and have been working three days one week and four the next, but I just saw the new schedule and I’m working five days during the second week of November.  The money will be nice, but did it have to happen during NaNoWriMo?

All I can say is I’d better get my outline nailed down because ready or not, here it comes!

 

(And somehow I managed to screw up the scheduling of this post, so pretend that it posted on Friday instead of Saturday, okay?)

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Wednesday Words #44 (10/28/15)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

(Click for larger image.)

WW 10-28

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Procrastination

Can you believe that I’m planning next year’s goals already?  I can’t.

I mean, we still have two months left of this year: there’s no way I should be trying to organize next year’s writing and editing goals.

And yet I found myself doing just that yesterday.  I’d finished my usual morning routine and had caught up on the Sunday Snippets blog hop, so instead of writing or working on an outline, or doing anything else related to the goals still remaining for this year, I started working on making a list and schedule of my goals for next year.

And at some point it dawned on me that I was procrastinating.

“But I’m not,” I argued with myself.  “This is useful stuff that I’m doing.”

Well, yes.  It is useful.  It’s nice to have a list of the things I want to work on and some sort of timetable for getting them done.  But I already have an impossibly long list of things that I need to do by the end of this month.  (I procrastinated more today by making a list of them and figuring out that I need to write 6000 words a day for the rest of the month to make my goal – which, admittedly, will make the 2k a day I want to do next month seem like a short note, but still…)

And that’s the most dangerous kind of procrastination – the kind where you’re doing “useful” stuff – because it doesn’t feel like you’re wasting time so you don’t count it as procrastination.  (Unlike, say, time spent on FaceBook.)

And now it’s time for me to quit procrastinating and go frost the pumpkin bars, which aren’t really procrastination because you can eat them.

 

 

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Sunday Snippet October 25, 2015

More from Onyx Sun.   Taliya’s father is giving her some background information about her mother, explaining things she never knew – and leading up to why Taliya is the heiress to the House.

 

“When I was about your age, my parents and I were on this little backwater planet called Benize Ten.  That’s where I met your mother.”  He shook his head.  “If we’d met anywhere else we probably would never have even given each other a second glance, but on Benize… There wasn’t much of a settlement there, and our fathers and her mother were working together doing an environmental survey of the planet – flora, fauna, looking for any signs that it had ever held any sort of sentient species.  They were exploring a coastal region when they were attacked by an ischkarae – it’s a creature that dwells along the edge of the water on Benize.  They are huge, and poisonous.  Maureena’s mother and my father were killed instantly and dragged under the water to be eaten.  Her father was stung, but he lingered for days before the venom finally killed him.”

Taliya shuddered; it did not sound like a pleasant death.  “But if she was raised by environmentalists why is she so…?”

He shook his head sadly.  “Death affects people in strange ways, Taliya. Some want to honor the dead by carrying on their work and some turn against everything that they stood for.”  He sighed. “Maureena… her family never had a lot of money.  Her parents were happy and were doing what they loved, but for Maureena it… She just wasn’t cut out for their kind of life.  The things that mattered to them didn’t matter to her, and when they died she really began to hate anything that had to do with their lives.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to read more snippets from some really great authors?
Check out Sunday Snippets on Face Book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s About Time

Time for another blog post already?  Time flies when you’re not at work.

Ah, yes.  Time.  I’m beginning to think that Douglas Adams was right when he wrote that “Time is an illusion.”  How else do you explain that three days off zip past in the blink of an eye but three days at work drag on forever?

And have you ever noticed that tasks always seem to take longer than the time allotted for them?

And that different people have different ideas of what “in a minute” means?

Time, it seems, is not nearly as objective as some would have you believe.

I’ve been experiencing my own sort of time paradox lately.  Not just the with the “blink and they’re gone” days off, but with individual days.  I’ll look at the clock and ask myself how it got to be 1:30 in the afternoon, and then I’ll look again and it’s suddenly six o’clock in the evening.  Four and a half hours just… disappeared.

And yet, at work, I’ll look at the clock and see that I’m not even halfway through my eight hour shift, but I know I’ve been there for at least six hours.  And that last fifteen minutes waiting for the next shift to arrive?  It lasts an hour at least.

But it’s not just work vs. non work hours that are of inconsistent length.  Projects and errands always seem to overflow the time allotted to them.

And deadlines. No matter how aware I am of their impending arrival, they always manage to sneak up on me.

Like Christmas.  It’s at the same time every year and yet I’m never ready for it.

The same with NaNoWriMo. It starts on November 1st every year and I’m never quite ready.

And this year is especially bad.

I have far too much to do before the end of this month, and all of the things that I need to do are taking far longer than the amount of time I had planned out for them.

I either need to stock up on 5 Hour Energy Drinks (that wear off after three hours – there’s that time thing again) or learn how to live without sleep.

Oh, wait.  Living without sleep comes next month.

 

 

 

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Wednesday Words #43 (10/21/15)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

(Click for larger image.)

WW 10--21

 

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Plotting Epiphany

Just under two weeks left in the month.  Where has time gone?  I don’t know the answer to that, but I know the answer to where the rest of it better go: into my word count goal and getting pocket letters done and sent before November and NaNoWriMo hit.

And, of course, into plotting.

I’m working on two outlines right now.  One for Hedge House, my NaNoWriMo novel, which is coming along nicely except for a couple rather hazy areas where I’ve left notes to myself that say:

[NEED SOME SORT OF SEGUE HERE]

and

[NEED SOMETHING HERE TO GET HER FACED OFF AGAINST JONAS]

Those are okay for now, but I’m going to have to have something more specific by November.

The other is for Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord.  It is also coming along well except I need to add a lot more to it – I’m pretty sure that I don’t have enough outlined to make it novel-length.   And I need something more to tie it into the overall arc of the series.  But at least I know what the last scene is.

What I really need for it is motivation for the antagonist – and I’m thinking that his motivation will also help with tying it into the overall story arc for the series.  But I’m not sure what that is yet – it’s just this nebulous hazy half formed idea.

So how do I make it more concrete?

Simple.

I brainstorm it.

Here’s the question: Why does [BG] (Bad Guy – he doesn’t have a name yet) kidnap Shander?

Well, why does anyone kidnap someone? He wants something in return?  But what?  I mean, Shander’s an orphan, so it’s not like he can demand a ransom from his family – unless he’s trying to get it from the school, and the wizards and Warders there are more likely to see to his early demise than to give him any kind of reward.

And who is [BG]? Knowing that will help with the answer to why.

Or maybe he thinks he’ll get a ransom from Rahmael (Shander’s Warder).  If so, he’s underestimating not only Rahm and his family (and his family’s resources) but also (again) the leaders of the school.

Or maybe he’s a disgruntled customer upset because the orphanage was closed down and he had planned to buy Shander back once he was “trained” (or had sent him there for “training.”) (The Headmaster at the orphanage had a side business of training young boys to be sex slaves – he was shut down by some of the people from the Academy, which not only made him unhappy – and a prisoner of the Crown – but no doubt left some unhappy customers as well, and ooooo!  There was a thread I was going to use in that book but decided not to in order to focus on something else and take the book in a different direction and it’s going to tie in beautifully here and solve a lot of problems! Woot!)

And there you have it.  That is how I work out plot issues and do my outlining. I just keep talking through it and asking questions and writing answers and generating more questions until something clicks.

In this case, I have not only solved the problem of who kidnapped Shander and why, but I also figured out how to give some clues and foreshadowing for something that happens in Book 12, and, with perhaps a bit more tweaking, tie it into the overall arc.

Life is good!

Now I’m off to put all this down in less hazy words so I don’t forget my brilliant flash of insight.

 

 

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Sunday Snippet October 18, 2015

More from Onyx Sun, a science fiction novel currently in revision hell.   Taliya and her father have finished dinner and have moved to the living room to talk.

 

As she settled onto the sofa Taliya let her gaze travel the room. The walls were blue and the beige furniture was covered with brightly colored throws.  Photos hung on the walls in a seemingly random pattern, and open books and half finished cups of coffee littered the end tables.  A long low coffee table held parts of what looked like half-completed leather working projects.  Shelves along one wall held books, more photos, and a few mementoes of other places.  All in all it felt comfortable, like a place to live, not just visit, and Taliya couldn’t help but relax.

“It’s not much,” her father apologized. “Not as fancy as what you’re used to I’m afraid.”

Taliya shook her head. “It… No, it’s not what I’m used to, but I like it better.  It feels…”

“Yes?”

“It feels like…”  She didn’t want to use the word home – this wasn’t her home.  “It feels comfortable, like someone lives here.  Maureena’s house is more of a museum than a home.”  She winced, not at the word home, but at the bitterness in her voice.

He smiled as he sat down across from her. “My door is always open to you, Taliya, and you can stay as long as you like, or as long as you need.”

For a moment she couldn’t speak: his kindness affected her in ways that her mother’s cruelty never could.  “Thank you,” she managed.  “That…”

“Is non-negotiable.  I’ll help you bring your things in later.  Now,” he said as he settled back into his chair, “it’s time to tell you things I wanted you to know years ago.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to read more snippets from some really great authors?
Check out Sunday Snippets on Face Book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Still Have Two Weeks

Okay, so it’s a little over two weeks until NaNoWriMo, but the “I’m not ready!” anxiety has settled in already.  (It’ll get worse before it gets better.)

But there’s no reason for it.  My outline is coming along nicely.  There’s still a lot of work to do on it, but at least now it’s an actual plot instead of just a series of scenes.

I’ve also named a couple more characters and give a last name to a couple more.

And one of my co-workers is being written into it, more or less at her request.

See, there was this spider, and she doesn’t like spiders so she knocked it off the window ledge.

It came back.

So I started teasing her that it was going to haunt her and all of its descendants and friends were going to follow her home and…

And then I said that I was going to have to write a book about someone who killed spiders and faced retribution for it, and she was all thrilled with the idea of being in a book.  (I haven’t seen her since I decided to include her in this one, but I can’t wait to tell her.)

So, my outline is shaping up.  I need to get it printed again, though, so I can make more changes to it, as it’s nowhere near done yet.  There are still a lot of details to work into it, and I still have a few “Should this happen before or after this happens?” things to sort out.

So, NaNoWriMo is coming and I’m almost ready, at least writing-wise.

Beyond that?

That’s another story.

My 1K-a-Day word count is suffering badly this month, even worse than last month.  Part of it is other life things getting in the way.  Part of it is stress (mostly about other life things.) Then there was losing a day and a half to a migraine last week, and this week getting hit with something that was more than a cold but less than the flu.

Ah, well, I still have two weeks, right?

 

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Wednesday Words #42 (10/14/15)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

You wake up and discover that a childhood fantasy has come true.

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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