Tag Archives: the mind of a writer

Weekends

Why do weekends always go by so fast? I swear, Douglas Adams was right; time really is an illusion. It was bad enough when my weekend came in the middle of the week but now that I have the same weekend as everyone else I swear I blink and it’s over before it’s begun – and long before I’ve had enough time to do all the things I wanted to do.

Fortunately, this is going to be a short week for me. I work today and tomorrow, then Wednesday is just a half day and no school on Thursday and Friday, so maybe I can actually finally get caught up on stuff.

Of course, one of those days I have to take my car to the garage. On the way to Michael’s on Saturday it started sounding like it was going to drop the muffler at any time. (Actually, it sounded like the entire back end of the car was going to fall off, but the logical part of my mind knows it’s the muffler.)

Aside from the car it was a pretty uneventful weekend. I did a lot of errand-running on Saturday (and got thoroughly peopled out) and on Sunday I got a lot of stuff done around the house. (Not all that I’d planned, but, well, time went into hyper space and came out near bedtime.)

I’m doing pretty good at keeping up with my Habitica goals, although I do find myself changing the “due date” on some of the stuff on my To Do list because I always over-schedule myself.

I haven’t worked with WordKeeperAlpha much yet (and probably won’t until December or January) but I am getting a handle on Asana and have a goal to add a project a day to it until all of my WiPs and starts and ideas are entered. Anyone want to start a pool on when that will be done? (And can I keep ahead of the plot bunnies?)

My outline for November is coming along slowly. At this point it’s probably more notes to myself than actual outline, but it’s coming along. I hope to have the first draft of it done by the end of the week. (Yes, I do drafts of outlines. Doesn’t everyone?)

And the space battle scene in Onyx Sun is starting to pick up momentum. I’m even doing more than the one sentence that I promised myself I’d do every day. (Hmm. Maybe that can get wrapped up on my days off this week too.)

So that’s the latest. I have a four (and a half) day weekend coming up that I’m really looking forward to and my writing mojo seems to be on an upswing. Can’t wait to see what the week holds…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Revising Goals

On Monday, I wrote “I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.”

And so far I’ve done a pretty good job at that, despite having spent most of the week battling the cold from hell.

Unfortunately, all of it has been for the prequel to The Academy of the Accord (current working title: Creating Accord) and it’s been nothing more than a few notes jotted down in the traveler’s notebook that I carry with me at work. Some of the notes are things to check (or possibly change) in the other books and some are notes for this one.

So, it’s been some progress, but not much. (The lack of productivity is mostly courtesy of the cold from hell and the evil day job, but mostly the cold from hell.)

Since the cold seems to be breaking up and I’m starting to get some energy back, I think I’m going to have to revamp my goals a little bit, by changing just one little word.

No more “or.”

“Or” is now “and.”

I need to do one small thing daily for both The Academy of the Accord (either the series or the prequel – probably the prequel this month since it’s looking like it’s going to be my NaNoWriMo project) and Onyx Sun.

Otherwise, Onyx Sun will continue to be ignored, and I’ve already missed several “I want to release this by” dates, which is only adding to the frustration with it and the feeling that it will never be done.

Will this work any better?

I have no idea.  Monday will be too soon to tell so I’ll give it until next Friday to see how it’s working.

 

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Goals for October 2017

We’re in October already, which means that November and NaNoWriMo are just around the corner, so it’s time to set up my goals for the month.

The main one, of course, will be to decide on a project for NaNoWriMo and get it outlined.

The other main one is to get the additional scenes for Onyx Sun written and inserted into the manuscript, then get it printed so I can do another round of paper edits on it. At this point I’m relatively certain that it is not going to be published this year.

I’m really balking at working on it, finding a million other things to do instead.

Why?

I’m not sure, but for some reason it just feels like my heart isn’t in it right now. The Academy of the Accord is calling. It’s been on my mind more and more lately. I really want to get back to it. I miss it, miss the characters, and I want to get back to it.

But Onyx Sun is my current project and I’d really like to finish it and get it published but…

But my heart’s not really in it.

My heart is with The Academy of the Accord and I’m starting to resent Onyx Sun for keeping me from it.

So, remember Friday, and that novel (prequel to The Academy of the Accord) that I’m not outlining? Yeah? Well, that non-outline now has an epilogue and the whole thing is looking like a good candidate for November.

It doesn’t have nearly enough plot points yet, and the main characters are still lacking some important things, like… oh… descriptions.

And names.

Definitely need names. (Actually, I need to check the current series and see if I ever named either of them. I think the wizard might have been named in passing, but it’s more likely that there is a note to myself to name him.)

Anyhow, writing down what the epilogue was going to be made me have to write notes to check and change things in the series.

Then I started making more notes that may end up changing other things in the series – mostly in the later books. (Book Seven, especially, and Book Twelve.)

I also wrote myself a note “Is this prequel going to delay the series?”

Then I wrote some more notes about things I will need to edit based on the epilogue, and then another note to myself: “Yep! Series may be delayed.”

(I hope not! I sincerely hope not. 2020 is a good release date.)

So, I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.

So yesterday I typed up what I have of the outline so far and today I wrote down another idea to include in it. It’s a rather vague idea and I’m not sure how (or if) it’s going to work, but it’s written down. (It kind of doesn’t fit the universe but I think I can make it work.)

 

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Grecian Formula for Plot Bunnies

It’s been a fairly productive weekend. Not so much where writing is concerned, but with taking care of other stuff that I’ve been procrastinating on.  It’s been too hot to do much, though, which means that I still have a couple swaps to finish up tonight so I can get them in the mail after work tomorrow. (On the other hand, glue is drying pretty fast.)

Back to work today, and it was a fairly low key day. We’ve kind of started a pool as to how many days he’ll be in school this week. (The world of nursing is strange. Almost as strange as the world of a writer.)

Writing-wise, nothing’s been written except blog posts. The journaling challenge that I’ve been doing on my other (Pagan) blog only has a few more entries to go, and I’m both happy and sad about that. It’s been nice to be kind of “forced” (even if it was voluntarily) back into the groove, but a post a day in addition to everything else gets to be a little much.

That’s not to say I’ve neglected novels.

Part of my mind is working out stuff for The Academy of the Accord and another part is busy trying to hide from old (ancient) plot bunnies.

Seriously old plot bunnies.

One wandered in the other day and I thought, “I should ask Danielle what this term makes her think of.” Then I started thinking and… OMG, I felt old! Danielle is one of my best friends and I have plot bunnies that are older than she is. (This one originated during the first Star Wars movie.)

(Do they make Grecian Formula for Plot Bunnies?)

And on that note I think I’ll go sit in a corner and melt…

 

 

 

 

 

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Interruptions, Distractions, and Annoyances

Predictably, no writing over the weekend.

I seem to have done an awful lot of running around on Saturday so pretty much nothing at all got done.

Most of yesterday was spent doing paper crafts. I have one more artist trading card to do to finish this swap and it’s almost done but it still needs… something. I just don’t know what that something is.

I had to cancel my car inspection for Saturday – it’s been rescheduled for tomorrow morning.

So today I have to:

  • do the Rainbow Snippet blog hop I didn’t do over the weekend
  • do the Snippet Sunday blog hop I didn’t do over the weekend
  • write the thrice cursed space battle!

And deal with the day job that is being super annoying as I’m trying to write this.

(I got a text that they didn’t get my time card so I scanned it and emailed it, and in the process of doing that I got a phone call that they didn’t get my time card. So I sent it and got an email that they got the emailed timecard but could I scan and email my log as well. Seriously? You couldn’t have asked me that when I was talking to you? I just got my scanner and program shut down. They’re gonna have to wait because now I’m more thoroughly annoyed than I was before.)

(On the plus side, I’m gaining a lot of villains for future stories!)

Off to find my logs…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday Already?

Why didn’t someone tell me?

Seriously, I’m having a major issue with the day of the week today. On the one hand, I know it’s Friday because I have an appointment to get my car inspected tomorrow (Saturday).  But on the other hand, I had stuff to mail today and almost panicked thinking it was Saturday and I had to get to the post office before noon.

Work being weird isn’t helping. The kid I ride the van with was supposed to be back in school on Thursday, but then they called and said he’d be back on Wednesday.  So, yay for a three day pay instead of a two day.

But Thursday morning I got a phone call telling me he was back in the hospital until the 29th. A few hours later I got a phone call telling me he’d be released on the 22nd instead, and would be going back to school on the 25th. (Could someone please make up my mind?)

So, that’s where work stands, at least for now.

Despite the lack of structure with my job I have managed to get a little more writing done, but we’re coming up on a space battle and I’m dragging my feet (fingers?) because I really hate writing fight scenes.

So, inspire me, folks. Or at least let me know I’m not alone.

What kind of scene do you find the most difficult to write?

 

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Anything But Routine

This is the promised follow-up to Monday’s post.

Well, so much for routine.

When the staffing agency was telling me about this job they said it would be from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, then from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  (I’m riding a school bus (well, van) with a special needs child.)

Great! I thought. Three hours in between to work on writing or whatever.

Ha! It’s more like from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm with an hour from 11:00 to noon which turns out to be more like half an hour sometimes. (It’s a three hour round trip twice a day, plus time to unload and load the kids. And that doesn’t take into account traffic and road construction.)

So, anyhow…

My first day was Tuesday and I was pretty wiped out. I hadn’t slept well Monday night, and Tuesday was rainy and grey and dull and it was almost impossible to stay awake. I was also getting moderately car sick, which didn’t help.

So, nothing got done on Tuesday other than survival.

Wednesday was better. I slept well Tuesday night so I was able to use my down time (“lunch” and waiting for the kids to get out of school) to work on… not writing exactly (as in, I didn’t write any sentences for a novel) but I did start on some character sketches that I need for Soraine’s crew.  Only one of the three has a name so far (well, maybe two – I think I named one in the last attempt at writing this scene) but they all had descriptions by the end of the day.

Thursday…

Thursday was not so good.

The kid was getting a little out of hand and being a distraction to the bus driver. When I tried to get him to stop he hit me in the face, then bit my arm. (Fortunately I was wearing a hoodie so all I have is a bruise.) By the time all was said and done I’d been hit in the face three times, head-butted in the upper arm I don’t know how many times, and warded off a couple more bite attempts. I think I got kicked somewhere too but he’d taken his shoes off so that’s no biggie.

But on a more productive note, I rewrote my notes for Soraine’s crew, enhanced their descriptions, and actually gave another one a name.

And that brings us to today.

Today started out well. I actually wrote some real words. The kind that go in a novel.

Then the van arrived and my work day began, and about an hour later I got hit in the face again.

So I called the agency to tell them what had happened and that I was sorry, but I was done.  They agreed that I shouldn’t have to deal with the abuse and would take me off the assignment after today’s shift.

Then they called me back with another question: “Where was the monitor?”

Me: “What monitor?”

Apparently there was supposed to be a monitor/aide on the bus to deal with the behaviors and I was only there for medical emergencies.

After much back and forth and at the very last minute they got an aide to start on Monday so I’m not unemployed at all.

Yet.

We’ll see. This whole thing has been a SNAFU heading for FUBAR since it started and I’m seriously out of patience.

So, I’m still trying to find my routine, but I did get some progress made.

Finally.

And as promised, here it is. (Please keep in mind that this is a rough draft.)

(This is part of an added scene for Onyx Sun. Taliya and Ayess have responded to a distress call and have rescued the crew of the StarFire, captained by Soraine, who will be getting a spin-off eventually.)

Soraine was tall and busty and flamboyant – everything that Taliya wasn’t – but there was genuine relief and gratitude in her eyes.

“Captain,” she said, extending her hand. “Thank you for the rescue. I was beginning to lose hope.”

“I’m glad we were in range,” Taliya replied, accepting her handshake.  “You are a bit far out from the normal shipping lanes.”

“Yeah, well…”  Soraine shrugged, a glint of mischief in her eyes. She turned to the three people behind her. “Allow me to introduce my crew.”

Taliya suppressed a smile as Soraine avoided the issue of her ship’s coordinates.

“This is Olleen Osten, my engineer.”

Olleen was a short thin man with fine blond hair plastered to his scalp. He wore a form fitting heavy shirt with another looser heavy shirt over it. Round green eyes darted in constant movement and seemed to be looking in different directions at the same time.

“Welcome.” She extended a hand but he ignored it, giving her nothing more than a quick nod, and it was only a lifetime of training that kept her from frowning.

“Chelu Sulov, my navigator.”

Chelu was tall and slender, her head and shoulders covered with long fleshy protrusions that stirred and shifted slightly around her. It was the protrusions that had earned her species the name Medusens from the humans who had first made contact with them.

“Welcome aboard. We may have the ship a bit too cool and low-lit for Fidian comfort, but feel free to adjust the climate in your cabin to whatever you would like.”

Slitted eyes registered surprise as she accepted Taliya’s proffered hand.

“Thank you.”  The warm voice carried an inflection that said she was grateful not just for the welcome but also for the courtesy of using the proper name for her race.

“And this is my first officer,” Soraine said. “Dektlan Arigral.”

Dektlan was tall and burly, with a wide mouth and leathery skin. He was completely hairless and his upper body was covered with geometric tattoos.

Taliya’s gaze traveled over the markings and she smiled and interlocked her fingers in front of her and bowed slightly.  “Mahishi.”

He started and withdrew the hand he had extended, interlocking his fingers and bowing.  “Sho-mah. Mahasho.” He tilted his head curiously as he straightened, and Taliya smiled.

“I had a friend who was a Desrath. I spent a lot of time with him and his family and learned their – your – customs.  And enough of the language to probably not get myself executed.  And this,” she added, pulling the collar of her shirt to the side to reveal a geometric tattoo.

“What happened?”

Taliya took a deep breath. “There was a fire. Arson. They – and a lot of other good people – did not survive.”

His eyes closed briefly.  “I knew that house.  They were honorable people.”

“The youngest boy survived. I’ve been trying to find a sponsor so he could return to your home world and be raised in your culture, but…”

“But my people are suspicious of the motives of outsiders, especially humans.”

She nodded.

“My family will sponsor him.  We’ll make arrangements when we are back at our home port.”

 

 

 

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Rags

I was actually going to call this post “Ragweed” because pollen count has been making me miserable the last few days. (Seriously. I was ready to drill a hole through my cheekbones to relieve pressure the other day.)

Instead, I’m going with the title “Rags” as a nod to Thursday Threads, which gave me the subject for this post.

What is Thursday Threads?

It’s a weekly flash fiction contest hosted by Siobhan Muir. You can find the rules here, and follow the Face Book group here.

(Unlike my Wednesday Words prompts, Thursday Threads is actually judged.)

Anyhow…

Yesterday’s prompt (“Do I make you nervous?”) brought up a great scene in my head. Unfortunately it didn’t make it to the contest, but I did start writing it. And saved it in a Word doc because it wants to be a side story for the Academy of the Accord series.

(Please note: this is only a side story, not another novel. It doesn’t even involve any of the characters in the series. At least, so far it doesn’t even involve any of the other characters in the series and I’m going to do my best to keep it that way.)

So, yesterday’s Thursday Threads prompt turned into a scrap of a story – a rag, if you will.

Actually, a lot of the Thursday Threads prompts do that. I can’t even begin to tell you how many novels have been started on Thursdays. (But it’s a lot more than the number of actual Thursday Threads entries I’ve made.)

And so it goes…

Now, if will just go from rags to riches…

(But that’s a plot bunny of a different color.)

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The Best Laid Schemes…

(of crafters and writers)

… gang aft agley.

Remember on Friday when I said that my plans for my weekend home alone involved rearranging some stuff in my craft room? (I believe the phrase I used was “editing my living space.”)

Uh-huh.

A plot was outlined. The characters (myself, the dogs, and an absent roommate) were developed. The scene (a craft room that looked like an episode of Hoarders) was set.

In short, plans were made.

The gods laughed so hard they had hiccups.

Cue inciting incident on Saturday morning in the form of the panicked voice of my not-done-packing-yet roommate yelling, “Paula! The washer’s overflowing!”

Sure enough. Apparently the washer had decided that “full” wasn’t “full enough” and kept on filling… and filling… and filling…

There was about half an inch of water covering roughly half the (carpeted) floor in my craft room.

So, instead of just moving the buffet table and the bins of yarn, I spent the weekend running the shop vac and moving over half the contents of my craft room into the back half of the basement and then back to where they belong.

I really didn’t lose anything to water damage because most of the stuff on floor level was in plastic tubs. (I learned that lesson a few years ago when the hot water tank declared war on the carpet.)

Epilogue to the weekend:

The carpet is a lot cleaner than it used to be.

The new washer comes on Wednesday.

My craft room is still a disaster but there is more room in it now. Not because there is appreciably less stuff, but because it’s better organized. (I “tightened the writing,” so to speak.)

There is still a lot to do.

The carpet is still slightly damp. (I think water is leeching back up to the surface.)

There is still a lot of unsorted stuff in boxes. But at least the mad rush on it is done, although I do need to still make more room by Wednesday. (Mostly I just need to move some stuff that is rather precariously stacked so it doesn’t get knocked over by the guys bringing the new washer.)

And the sink needs cleaned out – I was emptying the shop vac into it and it’s kind of full of sludge.

Let round two of the edits begin…

 

 

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Free to Write

Well, I did it.  I had two Swap Bot packets that had to go out today and I took them to the post office this morning.  The next ones I’ve signed up for don’t have to be mailed until next Monday, so I have time to clean up my mess from this last batch (one thing about writing, it’s not nearly as messy as other crafts!) and to take my time working on the next ones (an artist trading card and a pair of bookmarks).

And maybe even be able to focus on writing.

Actual writing, as in putting words on paper (or in a Word doc).  My mind is always on writing, and it’s been working overtime these last few days. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been focusing on the story that it needs to focus on. In fact, it’s not even thinking about any of the more pressing writing projects in my life.

Nope.

Instead, it’s been fixated on when a character should first put in an appearance in Sea Witch (working title only), arguing over having her show up first in the hospital or the court room.

Not very productive.

But it’s Monday, and one of the writing groups I’m on Face Book always has a post on Monday to set your goal for the week. So mine is to finish that blasted scene I’m trying to add to Onyx Sun.

Next week it’s going to be a follow up scene to this one – one that will segue into another already written extra scene that I need to work into the story.

So.

Weekly goal.  No word count, just… write the scene. Finish it. Even if it’s just bare bones, finish it. It can be fleshed out later.

Oh, and make an ATC.

 

 

 

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