I went to a writing retreat this weekend, in hopes of getting away from my regular chores and getting some serious words done. I didn’t do bad, I got a total of 1623 words so far, including the synopsis and storyboard. I didn’t get as many words done as I wanted but I did get some plotting done, with specifics about my hero and heroine, so it’s all good. One other thing I did get accomplished this weekend is that I found a dictation app for my smart phone that I want to use. I do a lot of driving during the day for my work and that can add to my writing time, as well.
The realization for me is that every day is not going to be a thousand word day, like when I’ve had to meet deadlines. I have to be comfortable with each and every word I get.
It was tough getting to writing tonight, after a busy day at work and mowing the lawn, but I remembered this accountability and worked to finish my plotting synopsis. I also worked on my storyboard for the project, a novella. Altogether, tonight I wrote 707 words.
I like using a synopsis to write down the progression of the story in larger terms. I try to hit the main points of the story and writing them down in a short one page synopsis has always seemed to work for me. I know a lot of people find synopses a chore but for me, it helps clarify my thoughts.
I also use a grid for a storyboard to plot out the turning points for my novels. The important stages of the story, where everything changes for the characters are something I’ve struggled to achieve in the past. Doesn’t everyone have the sagging middle? Drafting a storyboard helps me avoid that.
Well, that’s it for tonight. I’m planning on actually starting the novella tomorrow night, so hope for more words.
Total for two days:
A working synopsis
A working storyboard
A total of 1141 words.
I worked then mowed part of the back yard (battery mower gave out before the whole yard was mowed). I spent too much time on the internet and got sleepy before I started writing. I did start my story and got 242 words in before my eyes started to close. Total words for the week are: 1383. Going to bed. Tomorrow will only check email before starting to write!
It rained today, so no yard work after my day job. I didn’t play as much on the internet but it appears to be a hard habit to break. I finished the first part of a scene tonight and got 568 words with a four day total of words of 1951. I’m heading to a local writing retreat tomorrow evening, so hopefully will get some real word counts in by Sunday.
Making this commitment to write everyday and especially to document it has brough the accountability to the forefront for me. I do best when I have external deadlines (those set by others rather than by myself) so maybe this will help me to be more self starting.
You would think, as a writer, I’d write every day, but I don’t. I have a day job and also have excuses, like everyone, to not do things, even things I love like writing. However, I’m going to make the commitment publicly do write every day.
This is a big thing for me. You see, I’m one of those people who can find an excuse not to do something and I’m also a procrastinator. I get things done but sometimes, it’s crunch time by the time I finish. And I want that to change, at least in my writing. And I’m inspired. A fellow author, June Faver, is closing in on eight years of writing every day. She’s my hero!
So, here are my rules:
I will write every day. The writing can be new material, editing already written material, synopses (my way of writing down that first idea and then expounding on it. I love synopses!) and plotting. Yep, I’m a plotter. To the point that I have a little story board for every book or story I do. And I count that and editing toward my daily writing, as it’s the meat of stories.
I will keep track of total words and projects I complete during this project. If I have to delete words, I’ll add that to my word count too. Yikes!
I will do blogs about my experiences (which will not count toward the writing every day project) but may not blog every day. It could get very dull, indeed!
That’s it. Not a lot of rules, which is good. I wrote 434 words tonight on the start of a synopsis for my newest project. I’ll be writing more tomorrow!
I’m excited for this adventure and hope to be able to keep at it. If you want to join me, I’d love it! Let me know and we can encourage each other. Who knows how many words, books and stories can come of this?
I was listening to the news on my way to work one day and heard a story about bird flu and how the authorities were managing the outbreak. One announcer used the term “depopulate” to describe the actions taken. It totally startled me out of my mood, you know the one, you’re driving, attending to the road and only a part of your brain listens to the music or news. Well, this definitely made me start thinking of the power of words. The local news shifted to national and oddly enough, the same story was followed by the national press. This time, the word used to describe the situation was that the authorities planned to “cull” the flock that was infected to prevent a larger outbreak.
While both words were accurate in describing the actions taken, I vastly preferred the word cull. To me, it was more accurate, more succinct and definitely more powerful. While the first story definitely pulled my attention to the situation, the word depopulate somehow struck me as vague and too politically correct.
Which brings me to the focus of my blog today. How writers find the right words to use in their books and what happens when a word isn’t the perfect word to describe a situation. I suspect the same thing happens to a reader that happened to me. It jars them away from the situation. But in this case, the situation would be the world we create as writers.
I love words, it’s one of the reasons I love to write. I love the sound of words, the way the play upon the tongue as you utter them. I love to read them, hearing them in my mind while at the same time watching the scene they describe unfold in my brain. But when I read a jarring, misspelled or grammatically incorrect word, I’m pulled from the scene and examine the word or the sentence itself. Often, when I’m editing my own work.
So, in closing, I hope I use the best, most descriptive and most succinct words possible in my next releases. And I hope I don’t jar a reader from the carefully constructed world I’ve built just by using a careless phrase or term.
Okay, let’s face it. Most of us make resolutions and then break them about three weeks (days) into the new year. But I always have a positive outlook on them, at least before the clock strikes 12:01. So, here goes, my writing and reading resolutions for the year 2017.
As far as writing is concerned, I want to post in this blog more often. All of the handful of readers can rejoice! Ha! I enjoy sharing my thoughts occasionally but also am aware that sometimes, my navel gazing can be boring, so I’m going to write about other people in the blog, as well as events and things that are important to me.
It goes without saying that I’ll be writing my romantic fiction this coming year as well, and hope to have good news in the future. I have several projects in the works, but that will have to be discussed in upcoming blogs. Gotta save some material for the dry spells, huh!
As far as being a reader, I’ve always read, ever since I learned while interfering with my father while he tried to read the evening paper. Yep, I was the kid perched on his knee asking “what’s that word?” over and over until he gave in an taught me to sight read. I regularly read before sleeping and have started the Harry Potter series over. I love the fact that when I reread books, I discover even more wonderful things about the books every time. My newest resolution concerning reading is this; I want to read one new genre or author a month. This year I discovered Kate Wilhelm, a mystery author my mother’s age who apparently wrote well into her eighties. Wish she still were able to write the Barbara Halloway series. And I rediscovered my love of history with books by Sara Donati ( The Gilded Hour and her Into the Wilderness series) as well as history of women in war. I’m still devouring books about that.
I’m looking forward to the new year and my writing/reading resolutions. These I think I can meet! What about you? Do you make resolutions? And do you keep them? What promises have you made yourself for the new year?
As a creative type, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is something missing in the creative mind. It’s a block that other people, the more left brained, constrained type appear not to have. It’s that mechanism that keeps them from standing in the middle of a parking lot and staring at the clouds’ formations or the color of the late summer sky. It’s that awareness of what others will think if they stop and talk to the small child who is pretending that he is a star warrior, not only stop but add to the kid’s tale.
I’ve always been considered odd by my family and “creative” by my friends. As people become familiar with me, they come to consider it typical for me to stop and watch a dandelion fluff burst into flight. To pull out a scrap of paper and scribble something on it after walking past a couple arguing or cuddling or walking hand in hand. So, I’ve come to the non-scientific conclusion that I have something missing.
I’m convinced that most people see the same things I do. But their reactions are almost always different from mine. A “typical” day can become inspiration for a story or a scene or, even better, a source of joy for me. I love walking and watching, seeing life evolve around me. For others, a leaf twirling on the end of a tree branch doesn’t warrant several minutes’ observation. But for the creative mind, it’s a wonder, a priceless gift of the day.
I used to think I was something less because I had that “mechanism” missing in my brain. I stood out as a bit odd, a little different from others. Now, as I become older, I’m convinced God blessed me with a gift. The gift of seeing the small things. Of feeling the joys and sadness that life’s foibles bring.
It’s a two-edged gift, of course. I also feel the intense sadness of life. But, for now, I choose to see the happy face of a flower as it blooms in the rain and will stand in a down pour to commune with nature.
I’ve posted about my writing resolutions this year and here is the health related ones. If you had a chance to hop over to the guest blogpost I had with Mustard Seed Botanicals, you notice that I’m trying to eat healthier. I haven’t viewed that as a resolution, as I’ve tried to do that for a while now. Eating less processed foods and cooking for the week, or part of it, anyway, is something that I’ve found helps me feel much better. I don’t always do that, but when I do I usually lose weight without altering any other area of my life.
This year, though I’m making a new resolution. It’s a simple one, so I’m in hope of being able to meet it. I’m going to walk everyday.
Hey, it’s not so funny. In my day job, I’m driving between schools all day and sitting most of the rest of it, so I don’t get a lot of movement during the day. Walking as exercise has always been touted as a great and efficient (not to mention inexpensive) way to get healthy and to lose weight. So, I’m going to walk on my Treadclimber or outside. I’ve walked so far this week (started on Monday) and feel much better after wards. I’m only starting at 15 minutes at 2.0 miles an hour, but on my Treadclimber, it’s like I’m climbing a hill all the way. For a person with a history of giving out on any hikes that incorporate a hill, that’s okay as a start. I’ll increase the time and speed as I go, but I’m just grateful I have an opportunity to do this simple exercise.
What do you do for your health? Are you trying to turn over a new leaf this year? What are they?