Writing Process

Everything Update – 5/25/2017

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I thought I should write an update, so everyone knows I still exist. The last few weeks have been a bit crazy and unsettling for me, which affects everything I do, as I’ll explain.

Writing: The Writer’s Academy starts in less than two weeks. My nerves are on high alert. I received an email containing homework. The people in the class were asked to talk about ourselves, our projects, etc.

I put it off for two days because I was horrified. It wasn’t as bad as having to introduce myself in person to a room full of people, but I was still nervous about it. When I did answer, I got ‘yelled’ at by Alexandra Sokoloff, (author and one of the instructors) and it was hilarious! Let me explain. I’m a starter, and not always a finisher. I’m aiming to change this, which is part of the reason I’m taking the class.

I admitted to having twelve projects in various stages of completion, and she said exactly what one would expect. She told me to pick a novel and stick to it until it’s complete. Then she gave concrete reasons why. The irony is I haven’t even chosen which project I’ll be working on for the course! I hope I have it figured out soon.

Other than avoiding preparing for the academy, I haven’t done much writing. I wrote a piece of flash fiction and have thought a lot about writing. Mostly my mind is on my fantasy trilogy, so it’s currently the top contender for the class.

Reading: Pern, that is all.

Food Issues: Salicylates suck and avoiding them now rules my life. After several strong reactions to foods containing the nasty buggers, I decided it was time for a pantry/fridge/joy purge.

It was as painful as it sounds. I started with a list, well two lists on one piece of paper – front and back. Good on half of one side and Bad on most of the rest. On the bad list, there are foods I would never touch along with foods I will forever miss. Oranges, almonds, peanuts, mustard, basil, oregano, corn, all tomato products, tea, olive oil, rum, and many other things I regularly consumed. Okay, I haven’t had rum in over year because of pain meds but still!

The bad list is even worse than it looks at first glance. I mentioned corn. This means no corn products, except corn starch. Do you know how many things have corn syrup or corn meal in them? Blo-Pops, along with almost all hard candies, do. Soda, chicken bullion, most hamburger buns, any of the good frozen meals (I know, a rarity), and lots of cereals have one or the other as well. No more popcorn either.

Losing tomato products was painful as well. I’m a sucker for A-1 steak sauce, I’ll dip bread in that stuff, but I can’t have it. BBQ sauce. I live in TEXAS for crying out loud! Talk about unfair. No more ketchup, hell, no more Raising Canes sauce. Actually, Raising Canes uses paprika so I couldn’t have it anyway, but that’s not the point.

At least I can still eat garlic! I might have terrible breath if you ever meet me but I’m seasoning everything within reason with garlic, salt, chives, parsley and soy sauce from now on. Perhaps not all at once. I’m also happy to report I can consume pecans, limes, potatoes, and green beans. The world would have ended if these were taken from me.

The important thing is I feel different now that I’ve given up the foods I should have cut out a year ago. I’m less tired, less foggy, more energetic, etc. I’ve even lost a few pounds. The symptoms, besides major reactions, were much like the ones you would encounter with hypothyroidism.

Medical: My back hurts, as always. I won’t see any of my doctors unless I think I need to.

Everything Else: I’m obsessing/worrying about my packing list. The one I wrote five months ago. This is normal behavior for me when I go on a trip so nothing to be concerned about.

That’s all for now. I’ll post another update once I decide on a project.

Everything Update – 3/21/2017

Writing: My goal is to revise book one of my fantasy trilogy. I’ve worked a bit on it, but my lower back and a cold have kept me from doing much.

I used Grammarly to do a quick HA, not so quick check on grammar and spelling. I learned I have comma issues and I use too many compound sentences! The word ‘but’ is the bane of my writing existence.

When I opened Grammarly, I was shocked to see it found 900 critical issues! I almost fell out of my chair, seriously. As I went through it, I found it wasn’t as bad as I first thought. One issue the program has is it wants you to use more identifiers than I want. It’s a personal preference and not likely to change.

Another problem is sometimes it is flat-out wrong. There were times it wanted me to say ‘she’ or ‘he’ in place of her or him. It was wrong, I was right, and I clicked ignore on those.

I spent more time than I wanted on this and now it’s probably wasted time. There are some plot points I need to expand on, ideas I need to add and a few things I need to cut. My goal is to write the extra scenes, rewrite what I have to, then use Grammarly again.

It doesn’t matter that it’s not a perfect tool. The thing finds more of my mess ups than I do so I’m glad to have it!

As for the changes, there aren’t as many as I feared. There was a subplot I wanted to use in the beginning but chose to leave out. Now, I think the story needs it. I already have the notes and adding it won’t alter too much of what follows. I’ll have to change a few scenes, but mostly it’s adding new ones. It turns out my muse must have known because I inadvertently set it up as I went along.

The hardest part will be changing two character arcs. One of my most important characters is boring. He simply has nothing to do. He needs to be knocked down and dragged for a while. I don’t even know what torture I’ll put him through, but it will be bad.

Another change is the kinship of two of the ensemble. They are brothers, and I think they need to be cousins or half-brothers, or something that will make their relationship more complicated.

I have a character named I’maari who is probably the most interesting of the bunch, but she isn’t the main character. I need to dial her back a bit.

It sounds like I have a lot to do, but it’s not too much. It will be tedious work, and with all my medical issues it will take a long time. I’ll keep at it until I’m done. Then I’ll write book two, I think. There is a chance I won’t want to look at this story again for a while.

There are no plans for what I’ll work on if not book two but I’ll update when I figure it out.

Writer’s Academy: In three months I’ll attend the West Texas Writer’s Academy for the first time. It is a week-long intensive class, basically an expanded continuing education course. The one I chose is on plotting. I despise outlines, and this method uses index cards or sticky notes instead of a classic muse killing outline.

I’ve used the method a couple of times but I think seeing it demonstrated and being able to talk to an expert will help me with some rougher spots. I’m super excited about it. I’ve already made a packing list! Actually I made the list months ago, but that’s how I am.

Anyway, I’m transitioning from the kind of writer who writers by the seat of their pants to one who does at least some planning. I’m discovering as I go along how much I need.

Medical: This is the crappy part of my update. I have visited two doctors in the past week. First was my neurosurgeon. He said I’m still healing extremely slowly. Also, the fusion is not the cause of my pain. It’s disk above. In fact, I’m in more pain than before my surgery. He said to go see the pain management doctor, which I did today.

  1. I can’t say I’m happy with how it went. I have many options and all of them suck.
  2. Another fusion, preceded by another painful discogram.
  3. A neurostimulator implant. This is kind of like a TENS machine but on the inside.
  4. Targeted drug delivery. This is another implant, a drug pump. We’re talking continuous morphine.
  5. Pills.
  6. Injections.

As you can see, none of these options is appealing. Number four is out of the question and I’ll avoid surgery for as long as possible. The other implant might go on my last resort list. For now, unfortunately, they gave me pills. I was put on Tramadol and an injection semi-soon is likely.

The medication will make me sleep most of every day for the next two weeks. I’m starting with a half dose, once a day. I’m supposed to build up to four times a day. If I end up needing that much then I’ll schedule an injection. I cannot express enough how much I hate taking major meds. Tramadol isn’t a narcotic but it works very much like one. I won’t get addicted but I might not really be ‘me’ for quite some time.

So with all that said, I hope I can meet my writing goals!

Everything Else: I’m doing a lot of reading. I started rereading The Green Rider series by Kristin Britain. I didn’t want to read anything new because then I wouldn’t be writing, or new stuff could inject itself into my own writing.

However, with all this pain junk, and the new meds, I might read new to me books. There are several on my list, some of which are not in my normal genre. There are several people in my writing group with published novels and I own them but not read them yet. If my creativity shuts down for a while I’ll start on those. The genres are sci-fi, cozy mysteries, paranormal romance (vampires), and even some fantasy (YA). I think there are eleven novels I purchased (ebooks) sitting there waiting for me.

I’ll post another update as soon as I’m able. I can’t promise they won’t be loopy rambling. Just know, if the commas are in the proper places, it’s thanks to Grammarly!

Write Anything Wednesday #110

It’s a great day to write something, anything! Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Create 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. Grab a timer and experiment working in 10 to 25-minute increments until you find what works best for you. Take small breaks in between to make efficient use of your time while not overwhelming yourself.

Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day, pick another. Give yourself permission to do what you want at least once a week. Don’t feel guilty for prioritizing your passion. Write your heart out!

If you would like a prompt:

  • The Great Human Galactic Empire is the biggest, badest, and scariest terror in the cosmos, but not today. Nope, today their computers are down.
  • He only thought it would be a relaxing day off…
  • Make up a new species!

Happy writing!

Writing Update – March 7, 2017

I would like to say I’ve made a decision about what I’ll be working on, but that’s only somewhat accurate. What I know for sure is it’s time to work on my fantasy trilogy. Where the indecision comes in is what part I’ll do.

There are two choices. Revise the first book or write the second. I have the last two books partially plotted. The problem is I don’t want to do extra work. If I write the second, then revise the first, I could end up not using things I write. I could destroy a plotline or add something that requires a lot of change to book two or three.

However, I am almost terrified to come out of creative mode. I’ve been putting off revising several books because I’m afraid I won’t be able to get back into the making stuff up part of writing. Really it all comes down to fear of finishing. I know this logically, but I’m having trouble anyway.

So, I’m going to treat this as a challenge to myself. My tentative plan is to work on book one, and if book two takes over occasionally, that’s fine. If I’m honest with myself, I know if I start writing book two, I won’t stop until I’m done. Then the regret will set in, writer’s guilt will attack, and I’ll shut down. Or I’ll go on to book three and potentially screw everything up.

I wrote a few scenes from the two and three back in October and I know I’ll use them, but I think I should leave well enough alone.

Hopefully, I will stay on track. Discipline skills are a lacking in this writer! The desire is there, and effort will be forthcoming. I’ll keep everyone updated on my progress or failure. I might keep writing flash fiction during this process but I can’t guarantee I can do both. We shall see.

Wish me luck!

 

 

Write Anything Wednesday #106

It’s a great day to write something, anything! Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Create 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. Grab a timer and experiment working in 10 – 25 minute increments until you find an amount of time that works best for you. Take small breaks in between to make efficient use of your time while not overwhelming yourself.

Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day, pick another. Give yourself permission to do what you want at least once a week. Don’t feel guilty for prioritizing your passion. Write your heart out!

If you would like a prompt:

  • Your character wakes up on an unfamiliar planet with no memory of how he got there.
  • Tala carefully applied the magical war paint carefully…
  • If Tom hadn’t lost his favorite pen, the apocalypse wouldn’t be happening.

Happy writing!

Write Anything Wednesday #105

It’s a great day to write something, anything! Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Create 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. Grab a timer and experiment working in 10 – 25 minute increments until you find an amount of time that works best for you. Take small breaks in between to make efficient use of your time while not overwhelming yourself.

Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day, pick another. Give yourself permission to do what you want at least once a week. Don’t feel guilty for prioritizing your passion. Write your heart out!

If you would like a prompt:

  • How does your character deal with losing a loved one?
  • Write a love letter to a trait you don’t like about yourself.
  • What is your most important secondary character OCD about?

Happy writing!

Write Anything Wednesday #104

It’s a great day to write something, anything! Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Create 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. Grab a timer and experiment working in 10 – 25 minute increments until you find an amount of time that works best for you. Take small breaks in between to make efficient use of your time while not overwhelming yourself.

Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day, pick another. Give yourself permission to do what you want at least once a week. Don’t feel guilty for prioritizing your passion. Write your heart out!


Due to two deaths in the our families I’m not going to post prompts. I just don’t have it in me to come up with something right now.

Write Anything Wednesday #103

It’s a great day to write something, anything! Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Create 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. Grab a timer and experiment working in 10 – 25 minute increments until you find an amount of time that works best for you. Take small breaks in between to make efficient use of your time while not overwhelming yourself.

Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day, pick another. Give yourself permission to do what you want at least once a week. Don’t feel guilty for prioritizing your passion. Write your heart out!

If you would like a prompt:

  • He’s the best assassin money can buy, but his phobia is hurting business.
  • Write about a setting…as a character.
  • What is your idea of a great day?

Happy writing!

Everything Update – January 23, 2017

Writing: It’s all about flash fiction. I’ve been utilizing word prompts almost every day and I’m happy to report they are working for me. In the last week or so I wrote several super short stories. Some I shared and some I held back. (Click a title if you would like to read the ones I’ve posted: The Smudge, Ashes, The Cycle, & Peaches).

There are two I’m not sure I like. One of them is simply ridiculous and the other is not quite a story, but I still find it interesting. I might put them up together. Another is still only bones but I’ll add the meat to it today before trying to write a new one.

My goal is to write as many short stories this year as I can, at least one a week, preferably more.

I’m completely out of novel mode but I’m okay with it. Burnout was on the horizon and I needed to do something different. Besides, with all these short stories, I might end up with one growing into a book length story.

Reading: I’m still reading The Sword of Truth Series. Book six is…challenging. I don’t like what’s happening. I’m unhappy about the development of one of the main characters and I’m bored with the excessive world building. If I see the words ‘wayward pine’ one more time I might scream. That’s a lie, I’ll probably only groan.

The biggest problem I’m having with this book, and the two before it, is the female main character is becoming unlikable. No matter how many times her husband is proven right, she never agrees with him, never believes he’s making good choices, and always wants to do the exact opposite of what he says they should. There are scenes where she acknowledges that no matter how odd his decisions may be, he’s been in the right every time. Yet she still argues!

It’s driving me nuts. The husband, who is the overall main character, almost always gives in to her wishes, even though he feels he’s right, and he’s the leader of a country. He’ll have a ton of inner dialog about how he just wants her to be happy, but he worries he’s making the wrong decision by giving in. He is. Every time.

How can I like these characters if they don’t learn and grow?

Still, I’m sticking with the series because I am doing this for research. Already I realized I have a character who always feels sorry for himself but doesn’t do anything to fix it. I might not have noticed how extreme this problem is if not for the flaws I found in the characters in these books.

As writers, we should always read and learn something about writing from every book we pick up.

Medical: I went to the pain doctor for a follow-up from my nerve burn procedure. It didn’t really help. Before they could offer I said I had no interest in pain medication. They said in that case, all I can do is wait until March, when I have a CT scan and see the neurosurgeon again. The suspicion is I’m healing very slow from my spinal fusion surgery and/or one of the screws could have loosened. Scary and frustrating stuff.

I still go to the gym almost every day. I’ve upped the intensity on a few things but still don’t push too much. I wish I could workout harder. I’m only keeping steady, not making real progress. I shouldn’t complain. Going to the gym does help with the pain. I just wish I could do more. I’d love to be more fit, toned. I don’t want to get giant muscles, but I would like some definition.

One thing I’ve been negligent about is the home exercises I learned in physical therapy. I’m getting back on track though. I just need to accept that I will be doing this forever.

Everything else: I’m obsessed with Rogue One and The Force Awakens. As of Friday I’m the proud owner of a Jyn Erso Funko Pop figure. She stands in front of my other Funko Pops: old Han Solo and Rey. Behind them is my Pez Death Star tin. Soon I will frame my 8 x 11 prints of C3PO, R2D2, and BB8.

I want to make one wall in my house a nerdy wall. The whole family would be welcome to put whatever franchise stuff they want on it. The only problem is it would soon be covered with Adventure Time and Stephen Universe (which I despise). I’ll have to give in though. It wouldn’t be a family nerd wall if it was only the stuff I like. Maybe I’ll divide it into sections. Once we have stuff up, I’ll take a picture and post it.

We got an old, but new to us car. My ex-husband bought himself a new car and didn’t trade in the old one because he was hoping one of the kids would want it. My oldest has a car and the others don’t drive. Seriously, one is 21 and the other just turned 20 but they don’t drive. My daughter has zero interest. She didn’t even finish driver’s ed. The other is almost interested but it will be a slow learning process.

So, the ex brought the car to me to use until one of them decides to adult. It has its problems. One of the seat belts in the back is broken. The brakes are squishy and need to be fixed. We had to replace brake light bulbs. Toothpaste and elbow grease fixed the foggy looking headlight covers. The outside looks fine, but the inside is torn all to hell. But, a free car is a free car.

My husband’s car is junkyard bound so he’s driving the ‘new’ one for now. The ex said he’d rather it be driven than sit in someone’s driveway. Regardless of the condition, it’s pretty cool. I’ve never been given a car before, so I’m not complaining.

I’ve been organizing. Normally this means I’m making a giant mess while making things better eventually. Not this time. I’m doing it slowly and just skipping to the better part. I reserve the right to still make a mess when I tackle the closet though!

There’s not much else going on. Just life. I’ll update again soon and post a few more stories sometime this week.

 

Write Anything Wednesday #102

It’s a great day to write something, anything! Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Create 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. Grab a timer and experiment working in 10 – 25 minute increments until you find an amount of time that works best for you. Take small breaks in between to make efficient use of your time while not overwhelming yourself.

Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day, pick another. Give yourself permission to do what you want at least once a week. Don’t feel guilty for prioritizing your passion. Write your heart out!

If you would like a prompt:

  • Write a story about someone getting in trouble by telling the truth.
  • Most people like bowling but I hate it. What is something you despise that others like?
  • What happens when your best friend (or your character’s best friend) stops trying?

Happy writing!