Write Anything Wednesday

Write Anything Wednesday – September 28, 1016

You know the drill, write something. Why? It’s a great day to write and I say why not? Write absolutely anything. Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Make an outline or character sketch. Write a chapter, or as many chapters as you can. Nothing to write about? Try making a list of ideas or free-write. Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day then pick another. The important thing is to simply write.

If you feel stumped grab a timer and do ten minute sprints. The first time you do this might not garner great results but the more you do the more you get used to it and your muse will shine.

If you would like a prompt:

  • A wandering spaceship finds living beings on what it thought was an uninhabited planet. All life is supposed to be extinct and now he has to decide whether he’ll keep the humans as pets or destroy them law dictates.
  • Write a story, real or imagined, about a car.
  • Elves: big or small?

Happy writing!

Everything Update

Everything Update (Mostly A Writing Update)

Writing: I’m in the home stretch! There are only four scenes I absolutely have to write to finish the first draft of book one of my fantasy trilogy, plus any scenes they inspire.

This draft will be very bare bones. It has little in the way of description and setting. I used placeholder words such as forest, tundra, ocean, ship, dragon, etc so I could get the story on paper as quickly as possible.

When I get to the revision stage I’ll add all of the details in. Once upon a time I would put in every detail as I wrote the story and it would take forever to get anything accomplished. I finally learned to trust my muse and just get the important stuff out of my head. I can embellish to my heart’s content later.

I don’t need to describe the type of trees in the forest in the first draft (unless it’s plot relevant, which it’s not in this book). I know what it looks like in my head so it can wait while I write the action. I concentrate on the conflict and dialog in the beginning.

Maybe it’s because I find description tedious. Even when reading a book, I tend to scan over the description of places and buildings. Once I have a mental image I don’t need all the fluff and I refuse to add a lot of fluff to my novels.

There were some exceptions of course. The desert in this story is important, as are the magic creatures who attack my main characters (which will be referred to as MC’s from now on) while they cross it. So they got detailed descriptions. I spent some time on the mother of one of my MC’s because she interested me. I described all my MC’s and one of the bad guys. I haven’t spent much time on the big bad but I will before I finish this draft.

Being this close to the end makes me nervous, and excited, and scared. I have finished first drafts before but this one is different. It’s more important to me than any other. This book, the whole trilogy really, have been in my head and trying to be written for too many years.

It began in 2003, on a plane, on my way to make one of the biggest mistakes of my life. All I started with was a character in a scene who could hear dragons. The story has grown and changed a lot over the years, mostly because I kept putting it to the side. I was discouraged from writing it at times, and afraid to write it at other times.

I picked it back up two years ago and wrote a lot during Nanowrimo but something was wrong with it. I didn’t know how to fix it and it was weighing me down so I decided I would write it when I believed I could and it didn’t matter how long it took or if it never got written.

After that I wrote around 80 short stories and several first drafts of other novels, to varying degrees of completion. Clearly I made the right decision.

Not too long ago I found myself thinking a lot about one of the characters from the trilogy. I don’t know how it happened but something clicked and I knew how to fix the story. I replotted the entire thing. Part of the issue was the order in which certain events happened. Once I did some rearranging, removed things that didn’t work and added some new ideas it all fell into place.

I sat down and started writing it again. Instead of fixing what was already written I just made a new file in Scrivener and got to work. When I got to a scene I wanted to keep I skipped it with the intention of copy and pasting it later. If I reached one that had parts I wanted to save then I rewrote it. I was so scared I would slip into editing mode so I didn’t mess with fixing bits and pieces in the old file.

That brings me to today and my last four scenes. I suspect I’ll write more than that but those four are the only planned ones. My nerves were getting to me so I am writing this post to try to shake it off before getting to the real work.

I don’t know if I’ll finish today but it could happen. I do know I’ll finish this week, which is my true goal. Afterwards I will not start revising it. I need to step away and let it all settle in first.

The best course of action may be to start writing something else. Not book two. Maybe I’ll write some short stuff for a couple of weeks. Nanowrimo is coming up soon so during the last half of October I plan to plan. I don’t know what story I’ll work on. I have several in process I could choose from or I might do something new.

I’d really like to have something plotted out to work on in November. Book two of the trilogy might tell me I’ve picked it to write for the month. It was my original plan after all. Still, I wonder if I need a short break from the story. I don’t want to get bogged down again and end up putting it aside for too long.

I’ll let you all know what I decide and keep everyone updated on any other writing that happens anytime soon.

Medical: I went to the pain doctor today. I’ve been putting it off hoping the pain I’m in is a result of my surgery. What I’m feeling is almost exactly what I felt back when all this trouble started. It’s disk pain and I suspect it’s the disk above the fusion. The neurosurgeon and the pain doctor suspect the same.

The plan is to go in for an MRI whenever my insurance approves it. If the results are what everyone thinks they will be then I’ll have an injection. There is also a possibility of burning off some of the nerves, just like they did with the other disk. I hope it works because the idea of having another surgery is horrifying.

I also recently learned the fusion hasn’t bridged which basically means I’m healing very slowly. There can be all kinds of complications in this situation. So medically it all sucks but there is a smidgen of hope.

On Friday I got a call from the Physical Therapy place. I rolled my eyes so hard I was afraid they heard it! They want me to come in for at least one more visit to talk about how I’m doing and to be officially discharged from their care. They should have done that on my previous visit. I think they did a good job but they were determined to drag my therapy out for as long as they could, months longer than I needed because my insurance authorized so many visits.

I understand they are a business and profit matters but for that last month they were wasting my time and theirs. I had made as much progress as I was going to and the only reason they kept me coming was money. I implied as much and no one disagreed. I’m not mad at them, I’m simply done and it’s unlikely I’ll return to them if I ever need PT again.

Okay, I’ve put off working on my story long enough. I’m going to go eat lunch then try to write 1500 words. Expect a post when I finish the draft as I’ll probably be freaking out!

I Can’t Wait Until I’m Old So I Can Be An (*$#%@&^)

When I was younger, a few months or so ago, I often wondered if people getting close to the age they consider old said that to themselves. Lately I’ve encountered so many mean, irritable, grumpy, rude, insertcurseword-ish elderly people it was like a plague had hit.

It seemed everywhere I went they were to be found. At my favorite writing spot hogging tables. At the grocery store mumbling obscenities at everyone they passed when the other people didn’t move out of their way quickly enough. Driving through town causing road rage wherever they very slowly went. There was the guy at the convenience store who cut in a long line and glared at the young girl who dared to question him, or at least started to dare before his frightening expression shut her down.

Oh, I can’t forget to mention the lady in a department store parking lot whose car somehow managed to take up three spaces. When I noticed I shook my head and she jumped out of her car and screamed at me as I walked by.

During some of these, and other, encounters, I’ve said what was stated in the title to myself. Or wondered if I’d be a jerk to everyone around me with impunity once I hit a certain age.

Every time I encountered one of these people it would irritate me and I’d piss and moan about it to my husband or friends, sometimes even my kids, but I wouldn’t do anything.

Then something happened.

I wish I knew what my trigger was but I don’t . One day I realized my bullshit detector was on super sensitive while my tolerance of said bullshit was at an all time low. At times, like with the lady in the parking lot, I snapped back. All I said was “Look at your parking lady.” when she was yelling and questioning my right to shake my head. However, while I know I didn’t say it in a nasty tone, I’m quite sure I delivered it in a way that would irritate her the most. Not very nice on my part.

Or at the grocery store when an extremely older woman tried to herd me out of her way with her cart and I didn’t budge. In all fairness, in this case I couldn’t have moved due to other shoppers but I know damn well I wouldn’t have anyway.

So this brings me to my point. It’s a vicious cycle. These pissed off elderly folk were probably treated poorly by people they thought of as old and now that it’s their turn, they are doing the same to the ones of us who are younger.

AND I WAS IN THE PROCESS OF PERPETUATING THIS CRAP!

There I was, reacting the way we all eventually end up reacting  when others are jerk faces to us. It’s like the ones who were pissing me off were gradually passing the torch to me. I’ll admit, at the rate these encounters were happening, my goal-age for being an old asshole was going to end up being much younger than the ones I watched behave badly. Not only that, but I was contributing to the anger these perpetrators already had too much of.

A strange, and all too often occurrence (at least the start of it) today made me really think about what I was doing. A lady deliberately cut me off with her cart several times at a drug store. I don’t know why she singled me out or what prompted her to keep it up but I was getting pretty irritated. Not the first time she did it. I hardly noticed, just a minor blip on my ‘oh look another a-hole’ radar. I can’t tell you what my expression so I don’t know if it contributed. A few rows in she did it a second time, with eye contact.

I remember thinking, man what’s up with this lady, but I kept searching for what I needed to buy. You know that feeling you get when someone is staring at you? I kept feeling it and every time I looked up I saw her over the short displays and she would quickly look away. It was so weird but I said “It’s not all about you Kristi” over and over. But it was all about me this time.

We were in the vitamins section and there are four or five rows of the stuff. Each time I left the row I was on, there she was, her cart almost colliding with mine, along with a nasty look, then a satisfied smile for her friend looking at end caps.

After several times I was beginning to wonder if she was playing some kind of game since she seemed to be enjoying herself. Then it hit me. Was I really taking the time to wonder if some pissy old lady was messing with me? Yep. As this had never happened to me before I was quite surprised. It was a little funny and I found myself smiling. I glanced at my nemesis  and instead of quickly turning her headthis time she glared at me. Guess the smile rubbed her the wrong way. Oops!

I giggled. A lot. It was just so ridiculous. I couldn’t help myself, every time I looked at her, I laughed harder. She got madder, then I guess confused based on her expression. Somehow through my giggle fit I found my vitamins and started to leave. She moved to cut me off again.

I let her. Then I left.

Once in my car I felt guilty because I know me laughing made it worse. Then I got mad because I didn’t think I should have to feel guilty for her being an ass and I hadn’t done it on purpose.

Then I made a decision. From now on I’m going to do whatever it takes to avoid people like her. I don’t have to bite back, or in this case laugh (which is another form of fighting back at times). I can keep my head shakes to myself and just get out of the way when needed. This doesn’t just apply to the well aged, I’ll stay away from jerks of all ages.

I can’t control my face (when I amused mostly) so I’ll keep my head down when others act like toddlers. I’m not really a petty person and I don’t like how someone being nasty brings it out in me. I can’t fix them, but I can try to be a better me.

Most important, I’m not going to let the anger infect me. And when I’m old enough to act like an asshole and get away with it, I won’t. Even when I want to.


 

Sidenote: Somehow some aspects of the lady from the drugstore must becomea part of my novel. I’m in need of minor characters.

Saturday Six Minute Challenge

It’s another busy weekend but I hope you can find at least six minutes to write. Squeeze it in where you can. Write while you’re eating breakfast. If you take a daily walk or run, use your phone to dictate. Cooking dinner tonight? Write while you’re waiting for water to boil or something to finish up in the oven. Write-stir-repeat. Pretend you don’t have ten shows on your DVR to catch up on and work on a story/poem/outline/blog post/etc instead.

Sneak into the bathroom, assuming you’re left alone at a time like that, and write on your phone. Got little ones? Write during nap time. Better yet, schedule a ‘quiet time’ every day where everyone in the house does no noise activities for thirty minutes (or however long you can manage), such as coloring, reading, etc.

I’ve been known to sit in the parking lot at the grocery store and hand write for a few minutes before or after I do my shopping. You can also dictate using your smart phone while driving.

If you have nothing you are already working on, then free-write for six minutes. If you’re lucky, maybe it will turn into an hour. If you already have an hour – set a timer for ten minutes and write as much as you can in that time. Keep doing this until your hour is up.

The point of these tips are you have more opportunities to write than you realize. Take advantage of these times and the words will add up.

Good luck and happy writing!

 

Write Anything Wednesday – September 21, 2016

You know the drill, write something. Why? It’s a great day to write and I say why not? Write absolutely anything. Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Make an outline or character sketch. Write a chapter, or as many chapters as you can. Nothing to write about? Try making a list of ideas or free-write. Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day then pick another. The important thing is to simply write.

If you feel stumped grab a timer and do ten minute sprints. The first time you do this might not garner great results but the more you do the more you get used to it and your muse will shine.

If you would like a prompt:

  • Actually, make up your own prompt or three!

Happy writing!

Flash Fiction – Finding The Right Tactic

Ten year old Jack watched his mother carefully as she prepared what she called her morning “wake up” drink. It didn’t look so hard to make, he thought. He might even be able to do it himself. Still, he hated getting in trouble so he would try to get permission before being sneaky.

“Mom, why do I always have to drink little kid stuff?” he blurted out. Oops.

“Because,” she replied in her annoyed tone.

Frustration overtook good sense. “Because why? It’s not fair! I don’t want to be like everyone else. I want a grown up beverage.” Maybe he was going about this wrong. He plastered on his sweetest smile and prepared to charm her.

This was an argument they had every morning for two weeks so he was surprised when his mom fixed him the adult drink and sat it in front of him. Wide-eyed, he stared at it for several moments before taking a sip. When it didn’t burn his tongue he took a longer swig, finishing half.

“This is really good. What is it?”

“Water.”

Jack finished it off. “May I have some more please?” he asked in his most polite voice. He feared he was pushing her too far but she only nodded and filled his glass again.

His mother’s odd little smile confused him but the water was so good and he felt so grown up, he didn’t even complain when she dumped his triple mocha latte. He was glad he won this round but hoped she would give in regularly.


 

It’s always struck me as strange seeing young kids drinking coffee drinks. I hated coffee as a kid and it was always a grown up drink to me. I know it’s not any different than someone drinking a soda, in fact, it’s probably more healthy. Still, it’s odd and makes me feel old. You know, the whole ‘kids these days’ thoughts we all eventually have.


WR

Flash Fiction – Drowning

Someone in my writing group posted a writing prompt today. As it was not a picture prompt (oh the struggle!), I was able to come up with a little something. The prompt was:

So this is what it means to drown.

I wasn’t terribly clever with the title but at least this time it didn’t start with the word ‘The.’ Enjoy!


Drowning

So this is what it means to drown, Bruce thought. The water splashed over his head repeatedly as he bobbed up and down, yet he couldn’t breathe. He spun in all directions looking for his friends but they were nowhere to be seen. They probably disappeared as soon as he found himself in trouble. Jerks! If he survived this he would give Willy the beating of his life for talking him into this.

If only they hadn’t double-dared him.

The halfway inflated life ring around him made the situation worse. One moment he was floating, the next he was head down in the water. Since it wasn’t saving him Bruce tried to escape it. He gave up after three tries. Every time he flipped the right direction, the air in the tube would shift to the other side and cause him to start drowning again.

Exhausted he finally stopped his thrashing and waited for death to take him. He couldn’t help but gulp, taking in more of the horrible stuff killing him.

Bruce was almost unconscious when he heard an unfamiliar sound. As it got closer he recognized it, a boat. He’d never heard it like this before, so oddly muffled. He wanted to signal it but he no longer had the energy.

He couldn’t even work up surprise when the boat pulled alongside him and freed him from the life-preserver. As he sank he breathed deeply, several large draws. As the water rushed through his gills he felt his strength return. He swam upward toward the boat. Several men leaned over, watching him. He was tempted to grab one for dinner but since they had saved him, he let them all live.

He surfaced once, mouth open wide, showing all of his teeth to scare the men who saved him and give them a good story to tell, before swimming off in search of a certain killer whale to get some revenge.

 


This was the first story to pop into my head when I saw the prompt. I dismissed it at first because it’s so cheesy but later decided I wasn’t about to contradict my muse. Not after her coming out after over a month of writer’s block (affectionately known as the time of hell TOH for short).

This is the second silly story my muse has presented me since that TOH. I’m starting to get the hint. Perhaps it’s time, or almost time for me to write something funny.Nanowrimo is coming up soon and I thought I would work on book two of the trilogy but perhaps I should take a month off from it and do something completely different.

It would please my flighty muse and give me a break from the serious nature of books about good versus evil. I have zero ideas for this proposed humorous endeavor but I’ll start looking at prompts and asking people if they have any ideas to throw at me, that includes you!

Sidenote: Bruce is the nickname for the mechanical shark used in Jaws and Willy, as you might have already noticed, references the whale in Free Willy.

P.S. to Melody. Keep the prompts coming!

 

Saturday Six Minute Challenge

It’s another busy weekend but I hope you can find at least six minutes to write. Squeeze it in where you can. Write while you’re eating breakfast. If you take a daily walk or run, use your phone to dictate. Cooking dinner tonight? Write while you’re waiting for water to boil or something to finish up in the oven. Write-stir-repeat. Pretend you don’t have ten shows on your DVR to catch up on and work on a story/poem/outline/blog post/etc instead.

Sneak into the bathroom, assuming you’re left alone at a time like that, and write on your phone. Got little ones? Write during nap time. Better yet, schedule a ‘quiet time’ every day where everyone in the house does no noise activities for thirty minutes (or however long you can manage), such as coloring, reading, etc.

I’ve been known to sit in the parking lot at the grocery store and hand write for a few minutes before or after I do my shopping. You can also dictate using your smart phone while driving.

If you have nothing you are already working on, then free-write for six minutes. If you’re lucky, maybe it will turn into an hour. If you already have an hour – set a timer for ten minutes and write as much as you can in that time. Keep doing this until your hour is up.

The point of these tips are you have more opportunities to write than you realize. Take advantage of these times and the words will add up.

Good luck and happy writing!

 

Write Anything Wednesday

Write Anything Wednesday – September 14, 2016

You know the drill, write something. Why? It’s a great day to write and I say why not? Write absolutely anything. Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Make an outline or character sketch. Write a chapter, or as many chapters as you can. Nothing to write about? Try making a list of ideas or free-write. Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day then pick another. The important thing is to simply write.

If you feel stumped grab a timer and do ten minute sprints. The first time you do this might not garner great results but the more you do the more you get used to it and your muse will shine.

If you would like a prompt:

  • Write about a triumph through tragedy – real or imagined.
  • The pixie (or gremlin, or monster/whatever) who steals socks from dryers is missing and the world is being overrun with excess socks. Who will restore the balance?
  • Rewrite a scene from a movie that you didn’t like to make it better.

Happy writing!

Everything Update

Everything Update 9/12/2016

Writing: Writing is happening! After a month or so of writer’s block I am happily writing regularly now. Last week I had a moment. You know, when of those moment’s of clarity where pieces mentally fall into place. Add to it a healthy dose of stubbornness and determination and I sat down to write.

I was going to make it happen. I’d been having ideas for my fantasy trilogy for a few days and jotted them down but it was really Tuesday that the magic happened. I went to my favorite writing spot and since it was a Tuesday, the elderly table hording ladies were there. I didn’t get irritated (shocking right?) I simply sat somewhere else. I arranged all my paraphernalia and turned on the laptop.

Somehow I knew I would successfully write. I set myself a goal and posted on Facebook about it. I stated my goal was 1600 words but since I’d had writer’s block for so long I would be satisfied with 3000. In the first hour I wrote 1700. The only reason I stopped was my back was hurting from hunching over and I desperately needed a break. It happened to be lunch time so I ate as fast as I reasonably could and got back to work. Did I mention when the table stealers left I didn’t bother to move to MY table? It just didn’t matter.

I ended up with almost 3000 words. I’d joked about wanting this much but honestly I would have been happy with five hundred and overjoyed to get to 1000. In truth, being blocked on this story was the best thing for me. When I wasn’t able to write I was still able to think about it. My muse was in hiding but whispering.

As it turned out, there were several key changes needed in the novel and this month of only thinking made me realize it. Basically I’m rewriting the story. There is a lot of salvageable material from what I previously wrote but the beginning needed an overhaul so I started there. As I wrote I would check the old stuff and if I found something usable I kept it and moved on to the next scene. I didn’t add any of the previous stuff to the new Scrivener file because I want to be able to see my word count progress but I will put it all in soon.

It’s not too complicated or time consuming to flip back and forth between the two files so it works out. Besides, I have so many words trying to come out of me that little stops aren’t hurting my creative flow at all. I also try to have a game plan and glance over all the material before getting started.

Since Tuesday, on the days I’ve written, I’ve managed around 3000 words each time. I know I can’t keep up this pace every single day but I’m glad of it for now. I reset my goal to 1000 words so I don’t freak myself out when I have a day where the words aren’t pouring out.

A few days before my writing breakthrough I replotted the entire trilogy. I don’t do real outlines, I use index cards with scene sentences on them. I have one small wall outside my bedroom covered in cork board squares I use to pin up the scene cards for the first book. When I finished I did the same with book two on a medium-sized cork board and book three on a large one and put them on various walls.

It was particularly helpful because I realized there were some scenes (already written) that worked but not where they were located on the timeline. It’s very easy to rearrange index cards and then later move scenes in Scrivener in the same way. The story now made much more sense and flowed better.

As you can imagine I was so excited to write and thrilled with the results. I’ll keep you all updated on my progress. I hope to be finished with the first draft before November so I can possibly write book two for Nanowrimo.

Medical: It sucks, kind of. I had a CT scan and then a follow-up with my surgeon on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. I’m still in a lot of pain fairly often and I found out why. The fusion has not bridged yet. That means bone has not grown up over the rod and screws to connect to the next vertebrae above it. In short, I’m healing very slowly. My mom had almost the same surgery a year before me and hers were basically finished healing in 12 weeks. It’s been six months for me. I wish I’d inherited her superhuman healing powers.

I can take Ibuprofen now so I have another option. I try not to take anything unless I have to though. The important thing is I’m heading in the right direction, just not as fast as I’d like. In six months I need to have another scan to make sure my screws haven’t loosened (insert mockery here). If new bone doesn’t cover them this is a danger.

The downside to writing so much is it means I sit in one position for too long and increase the pain. Honestly I’m okay with it. Pain sucks but I’m not going to let it interfere with writing anyone. I have no choice but to deal with pain anyway, so I might as well write. When I’m being smart, I set a timer and get up and move around every 15 to 20 minutes. Even simply shifting position helps. When I’m writing it’s easy to get so into it I’m unaware of the passage of time until my back reminds me.

Working out/PT: I stopped going to physical therapy and now am able to do some exercises in the gym. I get on the elliptical daily for at least 15 minutes. If I’m not hurting then I stay on. Every other day I do some of the machines. I can’t lift anything straight over my head, which is fine because I’m a weakling. I can’t push out in front of me which is also fine for the same reason. I can do bench presses but I don’t at the gym because I feel too awkward. No weighted squats are allowed so I do regular ones at home.

I can use hip abductor machines and all the leg machines. No ab machines or twisting things. I can use the machines for arms and I was told I can do leg presses but when I did it hurt so I scratched it off the list. My legs are strong so I don’t feel I’m missing out. There are a few more exercises I can do at home and sometimes I do. I’m very disciplined if I’m in the gym and not so much when at home.

Photography: Nope. I haven’t taken photos since my vacation in NJ. I plan to take a couple of classes on Photoshop and Lightroom but I haven’t because concentrating on photography will knock me right out of writing mode.

Drawing: Same as photography. I don’t want to change creative zones at this point.

That’s all for now. Time to go make some stuff up. Have a great week everyone!