Friday, November 23, 2007

Keeping it Real.

November has been a strange month for me emotionally, one of change, perhaps mirroring the season? Trees are losing their leaves or changing color. Mountain tops are capped with snow. Nights are cooler, days are shorter. The ducks and the Coots are setting up residence around the lake, and inside my little abode, my writing is getting a major overhaul.

I finished the story in NaNoWriMo, pushing through and completing the remaining 30,000 words in the first ten days and then dropping out as it was hard to do an actual wordcount once I began revising.

Several days later I read that Bob Mayer had two last minute cancellations for his writers retreat on Whidbey Island. I'd been interested in going. As luck would have it my dog sitter had just returned to work after a six week abscence following abdominal surgery. Was this a sign perhaps? Or would I merely shoot myself in the foot, become dejected after intensive feedback and give up writing forever?

I went. Now I'm back and more determined than ever to get this writing thing under control.

At the retreat there were six writers, one Category Romance, two Sci Fi, one Literary, one Chick Lit, and me. I'm writing (attempting to write) Romantic Suspense. Bob is multi-published in Sci Fi, Thriller, and Romantic Adventure. It was an interesting group and I did learn a lot. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who feels stuck. Bob has this knack of pulling the eyes of the story out and saving those, getting rid of what doesn't work, reworking the original story idea or concept, and keeping it all simple. I had thrown in everything but the kitchen sink, all external conflict, not much emotional. Sigh. He uses the KISS theory--keep it simple stupid--I'm simplifying like crazy now.

I'd tried a story within a story and Bob didn't like it. Neither did anyone else. It had major flaws. He advised ditching the second story and using a clean, linear structure. At first I didn't like my simplified story idea, it semed barren, perhaps told too many times by more proficient and talented writers. I felt I had no new spin to give this story, then I realised the details are all in the characters anyway. Sooooo, make my characters more interesting, dig deeper, I mean really, really deep, show more real motivation. It's a start. Painful, but a start.

This is going to be a long journey. But I swear, I'm keeping it real. Who knows, I may have a major break through in my writing style. It'd be about time.

For information on Bob's future retreats, go to

Friday, November 02, 2007


I'm so excited, I've always thought about doing this writing challenge but each year November rolls around and I'm struggling to get an RWA Golden Heart entry finished and can't see my way clear. This year is different.

I am a proud first time participant in NaNoWriMo. Yay! me! I'm part of The Cherries group which has I think nine or ten writers.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, this is a free organization that challenges authors around the world to write their little hearts out during the month of November. You can't start writing until the first of November and then you complete your writing on the 30th. The idea is to finish a novel of fifty thousand words in one month. You don't stop to tinker, or make corrections, you just plow through. What fun, huh? Block that internal editor and just fly free putting copious words on the page. There's time over the holidays to play with the story and embellish it or make it better. And if it's really, really bad and totally beyond redemption, there's always the trash bin. *grin*

I've been learning the craft of writing all year long. In some ways I've been intimidated rather than stimulated to write. Now that I know more of the rules of writing I realize those same rules have been holding me back. It has taken me until now to try to really write anything new. I've been doing rewrites all year and while that has been helpful, they aren't fresh ideas, or stimulating new work.

This is the end of the second day of NaNo. Yesterday I wrote an entire chapter, today not quite as much but I have a two day total of 6,679 words. On the website you can record your daily word count and do an accumulative count. Also, you are associated with a region and each region around the world competes for the highest total word count. There are also discussion blogs, sharing of excerpts if you want to do that, and groups often form to do physical write-ins using their laptops. Loads of fun! I love how the story is shaping up and am excited to keep at it but realize I do need some sleep. At my current rate I'd be finished in two weeks but probably have severe back ache or a total meltdown. *grin*

There is a huge NaNo website, if you want to read about it. It truly is quite amazing. So, just in case you don't hear from me again until the end of the month, know that I'm here and slogging away. Wish me luck!