Nature, Write-a-Thon, Writing

Write-a-thon Update…and Runaway Characters

Whew! Half-way through the final week of CW Write-a-thon! In case you’re wondering, yes, I did finish last week’s story, and on Saturday, so I’m still on time and on-target for the goal of a story a week after the novelette draft was complete.

Now I’m some 1500-words into this week’s story. Why so few words? Well, for this story, I’ve decided to go into another world, one that I know nothing about. So, the first two days were just background research and world-building. Those typed notes and pages don’t add into the story’s word count…but I count them as a day of ‘writing’ nonetheless.

Last week’s story surprised me. I thought I knew just where it was going, and then ‘Bam!’ — it took off in a completely different direction for the ending. It was an ending I hadn’t thought of, hadn’t anticipated…but even so, I’m very pleased with it. I don’t think I could have planned it, actually. I had to be in this character’s head, thinking her thoughts, to see the possibility. Once I did that, I was sure it was the only way to end.

I haven’t had a character run away with me for awhile, and it was…odd, but fun. I’m curious to know if any other writers experience this (I know some of you do), and if so, how often? Did it happen more often when you were a beginning writer, or does it still happen at about the same regularity over your career (to this point. I’m not retiring you, by any means!)? Or do you just think it means you haven’t understood your character well enough before beginning to write?

Finally, in news-of-the-odd (and the dreaded superstition mode again), today’s unusual occurrence with wildlife: I took a walk in late morning sunshine. At the river, I went down to see the water instead of just crossing at the bridge above. There’s a small erosion-control sluice where many people fish and kids play, but today it was empty, so I went there. A raccoon stood in the shallows, washing…something. It raised its head as I went by and watched me closely, walking toward me until I was far enough away.

Obviously, it’s sick with distemper or rabies, being out in daytime and aggressive. I want to avoid it, especially seeing as how I’m in sandals and shorts. But now I was on a peninsula of concrete sticking out into the narrowed flow of the river. No way to go but back. So I waited until it was away from the concrete again, looking the other way and then I raced back by it, not looking its way. Still, it charged at me, and after me! I got away unhurt, just alarmed and adrenalin-charged, and warned the trail monitors of it’s behavior and location. So now I’m wondering:  Considering what the other cool things foretold, what could this possibly presage?

Uncategorized, Write-a-Thon

Write-a-thon Update…and more.

Well, I’m back into the groove, it seems. I’m all set to finish a story today, and since this is Saturday, it means I’ll have finished the story in one week. Yay! Another goal met. Now I just have to do it. And then do it again next week…but let’s not jump the gun. One goal at a time, right?

Also, I’ve installed DropBox on my computer and keep all my writing there now. I just did this, so I can’t say yet how it’s going, but I’m guessing it’s a good thing. When my hard drive crashed, many people in my writing group mentioned how they have DropBox to protect them from such tragedy. Well, it kinda feels like locking the barn door after the horse is stolen (yeah, I’m old enough to have heard that one as a kid), but I’m preventing the next horse from being stolen. I guess that analogy is getting pretty stretched, but hey, work with me here–my head is turning into mush in Week 5 of the Write-a-thon.

I just updated “My Writing” page, but don’t yet have the date for my latest story yet. Still, it felt pretty great to update that with another writing credit, even if it’s not quite there yet.

Finally, I have news I’m dying to share…but not just yet. Be prepared for more good news in the future, but for now just feel the anticipation! And doesn’t that feel good, too?


Write-a-thon Update: Day 16

I’m back to writing again. Yesterday I finished a revision on a short story and sent it to my writing group for comments. It’s not in my stated CW Write-a-thon goals, but I figured no one would hold it against me to slide into writing easily. Editing a piece (even with a chainsaw, as this one needed) is easier for my distracted brain to grasp on to, and thus I’m more likely to succeed and then to go back the next day.

It seems I succeeded well enough, since today I…are you ready for this?finished my novella! Well, at least the first (very rough) rough draft. The piece got distracted and runs in circles about 80% of the way through (corresponding with my concern over an increasingly sick dog). But the end is tidy enough. And — it’s done. On to the next, for now. Editing this will come later, after the write-a-thon is over and I can look at it with fresh eyes.

Recording my writing yesterday, and again today, felt really good. Satisfying, even. It feels like a return to normalcy in this, my surreal (post-real?) world.

The bad news is that now I have to write a short story every week, for three weeks! (picture me biting my nails) I think I’ll get started tomorrow, right away. I may need the extra time as “padding.” Or, I may just end up with an extra story! And I wouldn’t be at all opposed to that.

Personal Life, Write-a-Thon

Write-a-thon Day: 10 Update

Bad news in this update, two-fold bad. First, I didn’t write a word on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Today I will, but the value of those words may be questionable, in the end. Maybe not, who knows. I think my brain needs this now, this escape into the world of my writing, into imagination. Because the results from Monday’s tests came back: my beloved dog has stomach cancer, and maybe a month or so to live.

No more writing today, okay? (from our previous home)

My tears are cried out, for now. The dog, Luna, is in no pain. In the two weeks since initial symptoms began, she’s gone from “mature” to “very old;” she sleeps a lot, plays little, but she loves sitting out in the grass marina-side (by our apartment), watching boats, ducks and people go by. Not such a bad way to be, and I’m content to sit beside her, watching her be content, to be happy in her understated, fully-present way.

So I hope you’ll understand if I’m slow with the posts, and the replies to your comments. Her graceful exit from life is my prime concern right now.


Writing Encouragement

Everyone needs a little encouragement now and again. When I get down, I like to think about all the books and stories out there, published by someone, bought by others to read. I’ll get there, I tell myself. I will!

And every once in awhile, along comes something that just makes milk come out my nose, ya know? Something so outrageous, I have to just stop and shake my head. Here is the latest one. I found this book in a local branch of the library, so not only did someone write it and have it published, a library found fit to carry the title. And, I tell myself, if this makes the grade, then surely my writing will!

I mean, really?

Yes, I admit I’m not a cat owner. But I like cats. And this–well, it seems to me kind of like feeding ground cow-meal to cows (and getting mad-cow disease, you know!). The back copy started with text in a starburst that read: Got Hairballs? I just had to snap this photo between my giggles.

So, take heart, all you struggling writers. We will make it! Maybe someday our books will sit alongside this lovely tome in the local library!  🙂

Nature, Write-a-Thon, Writing

No Rejection, and CW Write-a-thon Update 2

Yay! The curse of seeing wonderful wildlife and being rejected is at an end. (Everyone chair-dance!)

I saw two really cool animals on Monday, and have yet to receive a rejection for any stories in circulation. And really, what a relief. I mean, it was getting a little freaky, you know? Now I can just enjoy seeing wildlife again without wondering about the rejection soon to follow. (How quickly I fell into that superstition, too. What does that say about me, about our society? What’s the story there… . Hmmm.)

OK, now for the Write-a-thon update: Today is Day 3 and today’s word count is  1700!

Fireseed is coming along very nicely now. It’s at just under 15,000 words. I know there’ll be plenty of cutting and revising when it’s done, but the “sh*tty first draft” has to be finished before the polishing can begin. And it’s moving, people, it’s moving! I fell into that wonderful groove where the words flow from brain to keyboard almost without effort. It doesn’t happen often enough, but I have to admit, it tends to happen most often when I’m in writing regularly–which I haven’t been doing enough of lately. (Sick dog + sick Mary=little writing. sigh.) So the Write-a-thon is really working for me.

If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time to register over at the Clarion Write-a-thon, which starts June 24: a week after CW. Go for it! Give yourself some public accountability, and your writing a shot in the arm. I bet you won’t regret it!

Clarion West, Nature, Write-a-Thon

CW Write-a-thon: Day One, Update One

It’s the first day of the Clarion West Write-a-thon! Yay! (To everyone at Clarion West right now, good luck. And congrats on Day One.)

2012 Clarion West Write-a-thon

I’ve already written today, 1,000 words on my novella “Fireseed.” And I’ll do more this evening, too. That puts me at just over 12,000 words total.

Today’s writing got me through a crucial point in the narrative, when my protagonist finally takes the bull by the horns and gives her life a shake and restart. I’ve been waiting for this bit for quite awhile, and I’m pleased by how it went. Now the tone of the story changes, and I think — I hope — that it’ll get easier for me to write. Not bad for Day One, huh?

To all who’ve sponsored me so far, thank you. I appreciate your votes of confidence. And remember, it’s not too late to sponsor me, or any other CW Write-a-thon author. Just click here and go to the person’s name you want to sponsor. It’s that easy!

In other news, I’m holding my breath: walking this morning the dog and I came across a baby raccoon right at the edge of the path. It exploded from the leaves into a tiny ball of growl and back-arching menace, all of 8 inches tall, as we passed. (Unfortunately, there was no way for me to get near it, no way for me to help it. Captured raccoons are routinely put down, and it’s being abandoned and awake during the day most likely means it’s sick and almost dead. I couldn’t find a place to take it in, and I still feel terrible about walking away. Sigh.) A short while later, we say a wild turkey strutting down the path, refilling its crop with gravel until we showed up. It was my first close-up view of a wild turkey.

For those of you who’ve read here often, you know that it’s beginning to seem like whenever I see a really cool bit of wildlife, I get rejections. These were definitely in the “really cool wildlife” category, so now I wait. So far, nothing. Could this be the one that proves the superstition wrong? I hope so!

publication, Uncategorized, Write-a-Thon

Post, Pimp, Promote

Today, I learned about the Post, Pimp, and Promote Party from awesome blogger Marc Shuster. Here are the rules:

1. PIMP: Share a link to a blog post, book or other venture you’re stoked about.

2. PROMOTE: Share a link to a pal’s post, book or other work you think ROCKS.

3. MINGLE: Have fun checking out others’ links, while the rest of the partygoers enjoy yours. Feel free to pop by later or over the next few days to catch links of the fashionably late. ;)

So, to Pimp:  I’m happy to give a well-deserved “pimp” to a novella out from MUSA Publishing by author Jennifer Mason-Black. It’s called Phoenix, and while it’s a short work (being a novella), the characters were so real — so amazing, so damaged and hurt — that it was a compelling read that I wanted to go on, instead of end. Sigh. Them’s the breaks:  good stuff always ends too soon!

To Promote:   I’m going to promote the Write-a-thons going on over at Clarion and Clarion West. If you want to support new great writers in the SF+F genres, this is where to put your money! We write, the Clarions get money to support their workshops, everyone feels the love. So, I’m writing this time for Clarion West (since some folks I’ve come to appreciate are going there this year) and I’d love to have your sponsorship. At Clarion’s site, I can recommend Sarah Hans as a writer worth sponsoring. She’s in my writing group, and is an all-around excellent person as well as a wonderful writer.

OK, so now I’m off to Mingle for a bit, before I buckle down and try my hand at some actual writing today! Ciao for now!