August 31, 2004

Another Semester Begins

Yesterday started the Fall 2004 semester. Wahoo. Work, as usual, was crazy. I hardly had a chance to eat lunch and when I did it was interrupted every five to ten minutes. The joys of room changes.

The beginning of the semester also means taking another class. I've selected Intercultural Communication this semester. I hope it's informative and fun. There hasn't been a Communication class I've taken that I haven't liked. I'm hoping this holds true this semester, too.


Wedding, Reception, and the Aftermath

Let's see.

My brother got married on Saturday. It was an outside wedding and we were lucky not to get wet. It rained most of the day but stopped in time for them to tie the knot and for pictures to be taken outside.

Limo ride was fun. We went to one bar and had a shot (lemon drop for me!) before heading to the hall.

The reception was a blast. I admit I drank a bit more than I probably should have but I didn't pay for it the next morning so it was still within limits. Came home afterwards and played cards with my sister, her husband, my cousin from Texas, and the hubby. I remember being very, very tired and wanting to go to bed even though I didn't want to stop visiting. Knowing everyone was heading home the next day tends to make one forfeit sleep in favor of a just a few more minutes of togetherness.

The next morning was busy. Had to run to my dad's house because I had left a bunch of my stuff in his truck after the wedding (clothes, shoes, purse, money, gift card...). Ran home, ate breakfast, jumped in the shower, took my cousin to church so she wouldn't miss her ride to the airport with my mom, went to my mom's house to mess with her computer (digital photo problems), and then made it to my brother's for the traditional opening of the gifts. All that by noon.

Yep, it was a busy weekend.




August 19, 2004

Trying Something New

I just finished writing this post (click here) on the Forward Motion website. I have no idea if it will work but I'm willing to give it a go!

Edited to add:
I just realized the board I directed you to in the link above requires a login and password (free!!). If you don't have one, get one! FM has been a great resource for me over the last couple years despite the occassional flare of tempers. (It's best to ignore those as much as possible...something I can't get away with now that I moderate some of the boards).

Anyhow, if you'd rather not get a free login and password and join a kick-ass writer's community here's the content of that post:

I have three sets of notes I'm using. Yep, three. Here's how they work:
Document Number 1
Chapter by Chapter Overview
Chapter One:
1. First Plot Element
2. Second Plot Element
3. Third Plot Element

Document Number 2
Chapter by Chapter Questions
1. Question Plot Element Number 1 (from document one) raises.
2. Question Plot Element Number 2 raises.
3. Question Plot Element Number 3 raises.

Document Number 3
Chapter by Chapter Answers
1. Is plot element number 1 answered in this chapter?
2. Is plot element number 2 answered?
3. Is plot element number 3 answered?

Ok. So that may look a tad bit confusing. I also realize these could all be combined into one document, saving me the time and trouble of flipping between them. However, I'm using Newnovelist to keep organized and these "notes" are quite easily accessible and don't require opening several documents. Hard to explain but here are my results:

Document Number 1:
Chapter by Chapter Overview

Chapter One: 1. Vryc arrives in Glamyr to find and convince Sakkara to return to Muireach where her brother waits.
2. Vryc kills two of the Chancellor's Guard to keep his presence in Glaymr a secret.
3. Vryc finds a Lainir slave and helps her escape.
4. The slave tells him about the others she had been separated from

Document Number 2:
Chapter by Chapter Questions
Chapter One:1. Will Vryc be able to get to Sakkara and convince her to return to Muirrech with him?
2. Will anyone report the missing men? And will it incriminate Vryc?
3. Will rescuing the slave endanger his mission?
4. Will Vryc decide to rescue the other Lainir?

Document Number 3:
Chapter by Chapter Answers

Chapter One:1. Not answered in this chapter.
2. Not answered in this chapter.
3. Yes, pursuit is given immediately but Vryc manages to elude them in this chapter.
4. Not answered in this chapter.

You'll notice my answers document has a lot of "not answered" statements. It's because I haven't written the answer yet. When I get to the chapter where this question is answered, I will go back and fill in not only what happened but what chapter it occurred in. (I'm hoping this will help with manuevering through the manuscript...I'm forever needing to back up and look at something.) I'm also hoping this will help me verify that I've tied up the various plot threads woven throughout the story.

I know this probably seems a bit over-the-top. It likely is. But once I started doing this I realized my fears regarding my plotlines were groundless. So far.If this hasn't helped you find a method for dealing with your issue, maybe it gave you a sense of gratitude that you're not nearly as crazy as I am.

August 18, 2004

This and That

Well, the hubby has been gone since Sunday and it's just been me and the kids. So far so good. We even managed to get their rooms in order--no easy feat! Of course they're missing their daddy but that's to be expected; they'll be excited to see him when he gets home this weekend. So will I!

Keeping the house clean has been more of a challenge than normal, though. I'm having my future sister-in-law's Bachelorette Party at my house Saturday evening and I don't want to spend the whole morning and afternoon cleaning. So I'm trying to keep things picked up and relatively clean this week. With two small boys running through the house it's almost impossible but I'm managing somehow. I've even got the laundry down to manageable piles. Amazing.

I'm looking forward to going out with the girls dancing. The stripper I could do without but it's not really my call. I wonder if it would be rude to ask him to stay outside? Or restict him to he backyard? There aren't any neighbors to see him shaking his stuff. Yeah, it's probably still be considered rude. ~sigh~

Am I turning into a fuddy-duddy? It's possible I suppose. Or it could be the fact that I know deep-down my hubby isn't thrilled with idea of having another man dance nearly naked around our house. At first I thought he was just giving me a hard time--when doesn't he--but right before he left he made it pretty clear he had been serious and didn't want the guy in the house. I couldn't understand it at first. I mean, this isn't the first Bachelorette Party I've hosted where a stripper has been booked (I come from a large family and there have been lots of weddings). Kind of late to be telling it to me straight as the invitations had already been mailed. He relented right before he left but I still feel guilty.

Would I feel the same if it were a female stripper coming to our place for a Bachelor Party? As much as I hate to admit it, yes, I probably would. Why? Well, to be honest, I've heard some pretty raunchy tales concerning strippers and Bachelor Parties. Those women cross the line. Continually, the sluts. Male strippers might be shaking their stuff but they keep the g-string in place and there's no inappropriate touching. Or worse. Whereas I've heard one too many tale of sexual activity taking place at Bachelor Parties.

Only a few more days and this will be behind me. Thank goodness.



Writing Update

Endangering Destiny
I managed to write a few hundred words last night. Finished Ramses' scene, at least I thought I had. Now I realize I need to add in the other plot layer. There's a lot going on over in his neck of the woods and the reader needs to know about it. Luckily, it just occurred to me where I can add it without much trouble. Love it when that happens.

Vampire Romance (in need of a title)
No new words. Last Friday was a bust. Maybe this Friday will prove more accommodating.

August 13, 2004

I'm a sucker for these things.




I'm from Gryffindor!

You're known for being brave, loyal and trustworthy, sometimes to a fault. But if the chips were down, wed count on someone like you to help out or save our lives.
We just hope you don't get yourself killed before we can cash in on that.

Hogwart's Sorting Hat Quiz

made by The Genki Gang


Daily Horoscope

At Lola's prompting I decided to see what today's Yahoo horoscope had in store for me. Here are the results:


Quickie:
Late bloomers flower at last. There are no limits. Be yourself. Others join you.

Overview:
Talk about emotional. Whatever you're feeling will quite literally be written all over your face. This wouldn't be the best time to play poker -- not for money, at least.



This made me smile because not ten minutes before hand I was struggling to control my temper. Oh, yes, I have one. Believe it. I won't go into detail about my little mini-fit. Just suffice it to say someone at work had irritated me yesterday and a good night's sleep hadn't eased my frustration. I have no doubt she knew I was pissed--between my tone and my very easy-to-read expressions it would be hard to miss.

How totally coincidential is it that this happened to be my horoscope today? Or is there no such thing as coincidence?

August 11, 2004

New Bedroom Outfit

The ArtVan delivery men arrived early this afternoon with our new furniture. It's so pretty and adds to the homey feel of the house. We got a new sleigh bed, a chest of drawers, and a dresser with mirror. The nightstand was out of stock; we should get a call sometime in September to pick it up.

It's nice to have my house back together. Last night it looked as if a tornado had gone through each and every room. Breaking down the waterbed did result in more than a huge mess, though. I'm going to get bookshelves out of the deal! I can't wait. I'll post pictures when it's done.

Worked on ED Tonight

Well, I'm holding true to my lastest plan. I wrote on ED tonight. Added a measely 375 words. Not complaining, really. Just wish I had gotten about three times as much done. Oh, well. 375 is better than nothing.

I'll try to work on this scene tomorrow night, too, leaving Friday open for my vampire story.

Looking out the Screen Door

While waiting for the ArtVan delivery people to show up this morning, I got to see a couple of morning visitors. I'm going to try to get the pictures here but...if that fails...I'll just post the links.



Look at those spots!



The protective mama never took her eyes off the house.

August 10, 2004

Feeling Pissy

Ever feel like screaming at the top of your lungs until your voice gives and you're left panting for air?

Yeah. That's how I feel.

August 6, 2004

WIPs

I've gone and done it. Remember when I said I wrote some 1300 words on a vampire romance? Well, the story has sucked me in. It's just so fun and sexy. I don't know if anyone else will like it but I'm sure enjoying myself!

The fantasy doesn't bring the same level enjoyment. The writing doesn't just flow. It's work. On some days, excruciating work. I still like it and I have every intention of finishing it--I don't give up easily--but I think a break from it every now and then will be good for me.

For those of you who know me, you know multiple WIPs are not my style. I'm a one-story-at-a-time kind of gal. I can't even write a new story while editing an old one (at least, that's my excuse for putting off the rewrite of Dragonborn).

However, I read an article on Holly's site a couple days ago. In this article she mentioned how her secret side-project became her Friday respite from her contracted work. Reading about her experiences, her decisions, and her results has had an impact on how I look at this multiple WIPs issue.

Point #1:
I'm not under contract. I have as much time as I need to write these stories. The only deadline I have is self-imposed and, therefore, quite flexible.

Point #2:
I'm making progress on the story I shouldn't be writing and not making much on the one I'm forcing myself to write.

Point #3:
Rules are made to be broken--especially if they're rules I made up.

Point #4:
Maybe the "fun" one will sell. Maybe it won't. But, since it's helping to write itself, why not have something out for submission well before ED is ready.

Point #5:
If I can write two novels at once, there's no reason I can't write one and edit another. Maybe two is my magic number.

See...5 good reasons to at least give it a try.




Blessed

There's this blog I read. It's about a woman's battle with infertility. Following a link from another blog I visit almost every day, I found a writer who is not a writer and a mother who is not a mother. While my WIPs are creations of imagination and grammar, her's are WIPs travelling down a fallopian tube.

Somtimes I forget how fortunate I am. I take for granted my "fertile Myrtle" luck. I got pregnant twice. I have two beautiful children. I never worried about the shape of my uterus or my hormonal balance. Artificial insemination or fertility drugs never crossed my mind. My body is made to bear children--although I now have doubts it's made to deliver them.

My first pregnancy was so easy. No morning sickness. No edema. I grew and my baby grew. He arrived two weeks before his due date and was the most wonderous thing I'd ever seen. Before the doc could even stitch me up, I knew I'd happily do it all over again. Labor had not soured my view of the miracle I held in my arms.

Fast forward two and a half years. It took a couple months to conceive, a surprise when compared to the one-time it took to conceive my firstborn. This pregnancy wasn't quite as easy. Bouts of morning sickness. Yet, it was, in all honesty, a breeze compared to the hell I've seen other women go through during the gestional period. When my last child was born on his due date (amazing, I know), I can't say I felt as euphoric as I had when I delivered his brother. It took me so long to come out the recovery room--too much medication pumped into me for the c-section required to remove this big boy--and I was drugged beyond belief. Then there was the worries about the baby. His sugar was too high and he was running a slight fever. But he was alive and he would be fine.

Two pregnancies, two children. How blessed am I?

I read this woman's blog and read through her reader's comments and I realize how fortunate I am. How incredibly lucky my husband and I are. I almost feel guilty.

Reading her blog makes me cry. Often.

It also makes me want to be a better mom.

August 4, 2004

Writing...not chatting. A First.

I turned on the computer tonight and actually started writing. I added 1300+ words to the WIP.

Of course, it's not the WIP I intended to work on tonight. ED (Endangering Destiny) has not a single word added to its length. Nope. I spent all night working on a vampire romance of all things. I had about 500 words completed on the story when I opened it for grins. Now it has nearly 1900.

And they were fun words. Easy words. I'm just going with the flow. I don't have an outline or any idea of where EXACTLY where I'm going with this. I'm just letting the characters lead me.

I'm not abandoning ED by any means. I intend to work on it tomorrow.

But how can I ignore the thrill I'm getting from writing Nate and Makenna's story?

Ramses makes an appearance.

Well, I started Chapter 10 last night. What a challenge. All the characters I've introduced so far are no where near the POV character...in fact, they're not even on the same continent. Ramses is far, far from home, which is actually very useful when describing his surroundings because, frankly, being an outsider, he does notice things the natives take for granted and would therefore never consider in their meandering thoughts. Not a ploy I'll be able to use all the time but it certainly works for this story!

I opened the WIP at 7:00. By 9:45 I had a measely 322 words. I blame this on three things: children momming me to death every five minutes, entering a chatroom when I should have been focusing on the story, and the how-to books I read when I couldn't decide on how to introduce this character. By the time I finally settled down to write I had about 45 minutes to work uninterupted. Too bad each line was a struggle.

Here's a brief excerpt--very rough and unedited:

Cedar-spiced smoke circulated through the domed lodge, wafting upwards toward the sizeable smoke hole at the apex of the earthen mound, obscuring a glimpse of the russet sunset outside the shaman’s celestial sanctuary. Ramses closed his watering eyes and concentrated on his breathing, cautioning himself to remain focused and in control. Inhaling the sweetly acrid atmosphere had not become any easier for him despite the many hours he had spent inside these walls. Every breath burned. His chest felt tight, as if the earth itself was squeezing the life from him, and he struggled not to bolt into the coming night.

Extending his senses beyond the taste and feel of the smoke, Ramses felt the cool earth beneath his fingertips, dampening his skin at the point of contact. So unlike the sandy terrain of his homeland, the soil of Muireach contained and provided life. Even in the driest months, when the rains still fell with amazing frequency, the soil retained moisture. Worms and grubs shared this viable environment with untold insects and root networks. Life teemed beneath his touch, stretching for thousands of miles in every direction.

Motionless, arms limp at his sides, face turned up toward the unseen sky, Ramses connected to the earth. Raw energy coursed through him, easing his discomfort and beckoning him to follow it through the dark, dank soil. He traversed roots, some clinging delicately to the surface and others penetrating deep into the layers of clay. As his awareness stretched across the continent he encountered insects and animals burrowing within the protective womb of the planet.


August 3, 2004

Watched TV instead

I didn't write anything last night. Didn't even turn on the computer.

After the hubby and I worked out we sat on our behinds and watched hour after hour of TV. Pathetic but true. Last night's vege-fest included: Casino (weird show...don't know that I'll watch that again), The Simple Life (pretty funny show about how good parents can set really bad examples), CSI: Miami (it's okay but no where near as good as the original), and too many commercials to count.

The kidlets, on the other hand, watched Tarzan, Pok-e-mon, and Yu-gi-oh!. They love Yu-gi-oh! When that show is on, they're entranced. Of course, loving the cartoon means they yearn to collect the playing cards, which are so expensive! Anywhere from $3.50-$4.50 a deck. Two kids. You do the math.

August 2, 2004

A Rewriting Idea

I know this may sound hokey but I think I'm willing to try it. If you've been hanging around here much (or if you were just unfortunate enough to find yourself trapped here every now and then), you may recall how much I dread the rewriting process. It intimidates the hell out of me. In all honesty, I'm not even sure I know how to do it.

But I've come to the conclusion it's a necessary evil.

So...how does one approach such a daunting task? I don't think alcohol is a good idea--altered perceptions and all that. Drugs are not an option. That leaves only hard work and determination. But I've tried those before and have failed in spectacular fashion. My last rewriting attempt lasted for a whole three chapters--the ones I decided to send out in query.

I've found a good source of advice on how another writer approaches this aspect of the craft. Thanks, Zette! I will definitely refer to these steps when the time is right.

I've also decided to try my hand at something a little different. Not unheard of. Not unusual. Listening to your prose is a great auditory aid in identifying awkward prose. I know many writers read their work aloud. I think I'm going to try something very similiar but, yet, a little different. I found a software that will convert text into audio files. I can convert my stories into "books on tape". Only they'll be books on CD when I'm done converting them. :)

The plan is :
Finish the first draft;
Buy the software;
Convert text to audio;
Save file to CD;
Listen to CD away from the computer to find the leaps of logic & dropped sub-plots (happens every time);
Fix text file.
Convert text to audio;
Listen to audio at computer this time as I read along--fixing grammar, punctuation, and typos.

Sounds good but will it work? I have no idea. But I guess I'm willing to spend $80 (plus tax) to find out.



Must Write...

I haven't written anything on ED since last week. Perhaps I'll find the time to get a few new words onto the screen tonight.

Wish me luck...