Sunday, June 26, 2016


Okay, I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t stress this enough. If you are writing a series, especially if the books need to be read in a sequential order, do NOT write the next book in the series before you have the one before it finished.

Three years ago, I did a really stupid thing. I really wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo but I was having trouble coming up with an idea. So I decided to work on book three in my Moonstone Chronicles, Wandering Wizards. The problem was, I didn’t have book two finished yet. But I thought I knew how it was going to end, so I blithely wrote my 50,000 words of Wandering Wizards, basing it on the events in Lucky Dog.

But as books sometimes do, Lucky Dog went in an entirely different direction than I expected, so Wandering Wizards ended up with enough plot holes in it to make a giant’s golf course. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to spackle over those plot holes, but like trying to mend a big hole in a wall, sometimes you just can’t spackle over it, you need to do a full on repair job.

Finally, I just had to sit down and think about where this book is going. There was a lot of stuff that didn’t need to be in there and a lot of stuff that needed to be included. So in the end I made the only decision left to me, I decided to scrap what I had and start from scratch.

It’s all good though, at least now I have a better idea of where this story is going.

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,672 words total
Down by about 60 words from last week. I did pretty good about getting my posts written and scheduled on time, except for the quotes post. The night I wrote this post I didn’t get to bed until after 2 a.m. Sleep is for the weak. ;-)

Goodreads Reviews
0 words total
Since catching up, I’ve read two more books, but I haven’t got around to reviewing them yet. So much for my big plan of reviewing as soon as I finish reading. *sigh*

New Ideas
0 words total
Ditto to last week: My mind’s been a bit of a dust bowl lately. Sometimes the ideas come faster than I can write them down, sometimes ... no so much. But that’s okay, I’ve got ideas a-plenty in my files in case I want to start something new. Which I really don’t.

0 pages total
I did make a bunch of notes, so I know exactly what I need to fix in Elemental Earth, but last week was big on the planning, light on the actual doing. It needed to be done, so I don’t consider it time wasted.

New Words
1,287 words total
The first 1,000 words were for the new prologue for Wandering Wizards. It introduces the bad guy, makes a subtle reference to the book that came before it, and sets up the motives and action for the rest of the book. All in all, I’m quite pleased with it.

The other 287 words were on my short story Dreamer. I’m not sure this story is working for me anymore. While I know there’s a way to fix it, I’m not sure I want to go to all that trouble. Don’t be surprised if I just end up scrapping it altogether.

This Week’s Goals:
New words on Wandering Wizards
Figure out how to start Elemental Spirit
Decide what to do with Dreamer
Bonus blog post

As for last week’s goals .... I did make the decision on what I was doing with Wandering Wizards, and I managed some new words on it - even1,000 are better than nothing. I don’t know that I’m any closer to being able to start Elemental Spirit though. And while I also got some new words on Dreamer, I did not get the bonus blog post done. So I guess that puts me about half and half for the week.

This week’s excerpt is from the prologue for Wandering Wizards:

Deep in the heart of the Shadow Mountains, darkness gathered. In a cave within Carenkara, the highest mountain, two men met. The first was a tall, thin man, features so fine and pale he might have been carved from alabaster. He was not, as one would expect, dressed in black robes, but in robes of a deep, dark red, the colour of oxygen rich blood. They were bordered with gold symbols so bright they were painful to look at. He stood in the centre of the magically created chamber, awaiting the approach of a man dressed in brown.

“You wished to see me, my lord?” The man in the brown robes bowed low. At a glance he was seemed quite ordinary, and he took great pains to keep it so. He was both a thief and a spy, and it would not do to have any memorable attributes.

“Have you discovered the source of the marked shift in the magickal energies near (whatever town was closest to where Jessica healed Dominic)?” asked the other, without preamble.

“I have, my lord. A woman healed a man of a grievous injury using magickal energy.”

“And why have you not secured this woman?”

The man shrugged. “She has lost her magical aura. It would appear she burned out her magic with the single healing.”

“Stupid woman,” the man muttered. “I have another task for you.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“I seek a talisman, or more to the point, the person in possession of a certain talisman.” He produced a clear crystal teardrop and held it up. “This is attuned with the talisman and will aid you in your quest.”

The man in brown accepted the crystal. “My thanks, my lord.” He hesitated for a second, then spoke again. “The world is vast, my lord. Is there one direction better than the others to begin my search?”

The lord chuckled mirthlessly. “The talisman appeared in Ghren from another world and was lost again in the Darkwood Elven Realm.”

If the man in brown was surprised by this information, he kept it well hidden. “I live to serve,” he said, bowing once more.

“While you serve, you live,” the other corrected him. With a casual flick of his hand he dismissed the spy. Once he was alone, he snapped his fingers and torches set throughout the chamber flared to life. With unhurried steps he made his way over to the throne sitting on the dais.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Details and Reading
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

I must have a word with Jamie and tell her to stop sending me such great quotes - it’s getting too hard to choose. ;-) However, after much internal debate, I finally settled on this one:

The reason novels were so thick for so long was that people had so much time to kill. I do not furnish transportation for my characters; I do not move them from one room to another; I do not send them up the stairs; they do not get dressed in the mornings; they do not put the ignition key in the lock, and turn on the engine, and let it warm up and look at all the gauges, and put the car in reverse, and back out, and drive to the filling station, and ask the guy about the weather.
- Kurt Vonnegut

Who out there has been guilty of putting in way too much mundane detail? Raise your hands. C’mon, be honest now. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

I get it, I really do. You love your characters and your setting and you want your readers to experience the story the way you see it so you don’t leave anything to chance. But unless you’re participating in NaNo where you’re trying to write as many words as possible in thirty days, don’t. While you do need to use enough detail to make things real, you don’t need to detail everything. Too much detail can be boring and kill the pace of your novel.

Jamie says it best herself: ... everyone knows how things work if a character is driving, right? Everyone knows that if I say the character is doing something "the next day", that he/she probably ate and slept and dressed in between...

You want to use enough detail and description to make the scene feel real and immediate, but not so much that the reader feels overloaded. Give your readers just enough description to fill in their own details. The key is using details that are relevant to what you’re describing, that matter to the story, and that aren’t already obvious or self-evident.

I had some good quotes myself this week, and in the end I chose this one:

Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.
― William Faulkner

Most writers are already avid readers, but there are some out there who just aren’t interested or don’t feel that it’s important. I know someone like this and her writing is mediocre at best and though she has self-published more than a dozen books, they show no growth, no improvement.

Reading widens your skills as a writer. By reading what other writers have to say, whether they be classics or non-fiction or poetry, you gain a greater command of language, of techniques and craft, of what works and what doesn’t. It gives you an appreciation of style and voice and the unique approach of other writers.

It improves your vocabulary. This is true even of non-writers. It’s proven that children who are read to on a regular basis have larger vocabularies than children who are not. You can become inspired by something you’ve read, it can give you that push you need to move forward with your own writing. It will improve your creativity. It will help you explore and understand the human condition, one of the building blocks of writing.

In conclusion, you need to use details judiciously but write, write, write, and read, read, read to succeed as a writer.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Crisis of Faith

I think we all have the occasional crisis of faith when it comes to our writing. One of mine came yesterday morning from an unexpected source. I like to read on my Kindle while I’m riding the stationary bike first thing in the morning and after opening and closing several ebooks, I finally settled on one that appeared to have all the ear-marks of a good read for riding - Vikings, Highlanders, historical romance ...

To make a long, ranty post short, it was bad. And not just bad, it was very, very bad. There were no Vikings, no Highlanders, and other than the fact the main character lived in a castle and there was no technology, it wasn’t even historical. The writing style was ... weird. Sort of third person, but bordering on second person at times. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. ;-)

So you’re probably asking yourself why did I keep reading if it was so awful? Part of it was the train-wreck syndrome (it was just so bad I couldn’t look away) and part of it was that I caught myself starting to catalogue all its faults and then suddenly wondered if someone out there is doing the same to one of my books. Or maybe all of them. Maybe I should stop wasting my time and get a real job.

Enter, the crisis of faith in my writing ability.

Self-doubt is a nasty little troll that hides in a dark corner, waiting to attack when we’re at our most vulnerable. In my case I was already having problems second-guessing myself with two of my WIP, the incident just seemed to add fuel to the fire. The inability to fight this troll is what keeps us from finishing that story, completing that novel, it may even persuade us to give up writing completely.

So what can we do about it?

Maybe you need a change of scenery, or a change of pace. Why not try something completely different? If you write non-fiction, try something fiction. Or if you write suspense, try a cute little love story. Nobody except you has to read these, but you never know, you just might find a new direction for your work.

You could try reading a how-to book, just to continue your growth as a writer. Or perhaps there’s class you could take or a writer’s group you could join. At the very least it might renew your enthusiasm for what you’re doing.

Accept that you won’t always succeed at what you do. You’re going to get rejected, you’re going to make mistakes. Accept the rejection and move on to the next project. Your failures weren’t a complete waste of time, learn from them. And above all, keep writing.

The Science Fiction Writers of America have a far more comprehensive article about self-doubt and overcoming it that you can find HERE.

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,719 words total
Up by about 500 words from last week. Guess I was feeling chattier or something. And once again I was able to get my posts done and scheduled on time. Well, all except this one. This one I was up extra late working on because the hubby kept finding good stuff to watch on TV last night and I kept getting distracted. ;-)

Goodreads Reviews
895 words total
And this gets me caught up with my back log of reviews. Whew! What a job. From this point on expect much smaller numbers. I’m going to try and review the books as I finish them, and then update Goodreads at the end of each month.

New Ideas
0 words total
Ditto to last week: My mind’s been a bit of a dust bowl lately. Sometimes the ideas come faster than I can write them down, sometimes ... no so much. But that’s okay, I’ve got ideas a-plenty in my files in case I want to start something new. Which I really don’t.

0 pages total
The thing about editing is, it’s best done in spurts. Finish a draft, let it rest. First rounds of edits, let it rest. Second round, let it rest. An Elemental Earth is resting for now. In the meantime, I need to get some idea about what’s going to happen in the next (and final) book in the series so I can make sure I set it up in this one.

New Words
558 total
These were added to my short piece Dreamer. I’m kind of at odds with myself here. I really want this to be a short story, but I keep writing it like it’s a flash piece. Maybe I should just suck it up and write until it’s done. I can worry about the length once I know what the length is.

I also, while sitting on my deck enjoying the sun, wrote out about six pages of notes (roughly 1,000 words) using a pen and paper. Some of these notes were trying to work the kinks out of Wandering Wizards -- trying to decide whether I should try to cram all action into one novel or spread it out into two. The rest of the notes were ideas concerning my final two elemental books.

This Week’s Goals:
Make a decision on what I’m doing with Wandering Wizards
New words on Wandering Wizards
Figure out how to start Elemental Spirit
New words on Dreamer
Bonus blog post

Last week I only managed to meet one of my goals, and that was to add new words to my short piece Dreamer. But I think all that note writing should count for something. :-)

This week’s excerpt is from Dreamer:

Long ago, before the world existed, there was the Dreamer. It was her dreams that brought the world into existence.

Is she God?

No. I don’t know. Perhaps. Now hush, and listen.

Where does she live?

According to legend, she sleeps in a beautiful temple on one of the moons in orbit around our world.

When I grow up I want to visit the temple.

You can’t. You would have to travel through space to get there.

Then I’ll learn to travel through space.

I surely hope you do not.

Why not?

Because she dreams all the hopes of the world. While she dreams the world is full of possibilities. To awaken her is to doom us all.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Stories and Other Lies
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your best bud . But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

If the quotes I’ve been featuring seem to be a variation on a theme, there’s a very good reason for this - they’re supposed to give us inspiration to write. I think the fact that we’re able to find such a huge variety is points in our favour.

We usually send them in the morning so we have the whole day to be inspired by them. And I don’t know about Jamie, but I don’t read the one she sends me until I’ve sent hers - I don’t want it to influence which quote I choose. One of these days I fully expect we’ll send each other the same quote - we’ve already sent a quote by the same author on the same day (two different quotes though).

Jamie’s quote this week is another short and sweet one. I admire the way she seems to be able to ferret out the ones that cut right to the chase:

To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.
—Allen Ginsberg

This is a great piece of advice. Many creative writing teachers over-emphasize the need for budding writers to find their “voice”, that elusive thing that makes their writing unique and recognizable. But the problems arise when too much time is spent trying to be unique instead of striving to write the best story possible. You may end up with a unique voice, but nobody wants to listen to it.

I’m not saying that finding your voice isn’t important, but don’t let the search be so all consuming that you forget about the writing. Focus on the writing, on telling the story only you can tell, and before you know it you’ll find your voice without even trying.

Once again, my quote kind of goes with Jamie’s:

A lie was something you told because you were mean or a coward.
A story was something you made up out of something that might have happened. Only you didn't tell it like it was, you told it like you thought it should have been.

― Betty Smith

Again, you’re telling a story that only you can tell. The story itself makes you a writer, the way that you tell it is your voice.

I like to tell people I tell lies for a living. What? It’s true - I make things up and people pay to read them. Writers make the best liars. We exaggerate, we twist and mold the truth and present it in such a way that the reader never knows what’s real and what isn’t. That’s our job. We take lying to a whole new level.

Writers are liars, my dear, surely you know that by now? And yet, things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot.
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country

Sunday, June 12, 2016

To Write or Not To, Right?

The quotes on my Friday post this week dealt with how you can take a break from writing but not from being a writer, and to be a successful writer you need to make it a priority. I questioned whether the two statements went together or not, and I think that they do.

There’s something hard-wired into a writer’s brain that keeps us writing no matter what. Even when we take a break from our writing we still think like writers, still see like writers. So in that respect, we never really take a break from writing. Which is a good thing, really, because to succeed as a writer you have to write no matter what.

Most people don’t make writing a high enough priority. These are the people who are doomed to fail. They intend to write, but end making excuses about all the other things they need to do instead. Turn that around. Make writing an excuse not to do other things.

It’s actually helpful to establish a regular time each day to write. Find the best time of day for you to write. It’s a combination of when you are most alert and when you have free time. Pick that time and write. Shut off distractions. Don’t answer the phone, don’t come to the door. For as little or as much time as you are writing, do only that.

While it’s important to write every day, don't let yourself become obsessed, especially if you’re the kind of person who tends to throw themselves into new projects only have their interest wane after a few weeks. Write for your hour or two and then continue with your daily routine. Remember that you're in it for the long haul. Your mind needs time to replenish itself so don’t be afraid to take the occasional break.

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,245 words total
At first glance the words for the blog posts are way down, but if you take away the words for the extra post that was included in the last report, then they’re about the same. But one thing I’m happy about with the posts, I got them written earlier, so I didn’t have the “up until 2 or 3 a.m.” issues I had the week before.

Goodreads Reviews
2,148 words total
After some debate I decided to include this because it's new words, even if they're brief book reviews, and it can be time consuming. I've been trying to catch up on updating my Goodreads account, and as I writer myself I think it's only fair that I leave at least a brief review of the books I enjoy. Which is pretty much all of them - if I don't like a book, I'm not going to wast my time reading it.

New Ideas
0 words total
Not a one. My mind’s been a bit of a dust bowl lately. Sometimes the ideas come faster than I can write them down, sometimes ... no so much. But that’s okay, I’ve got ideas a-plenty in my files in case I want to start something new. Which I really don’t.

37 pages total
I had a break-through with An Elemental Earth last week, resolving a plot problem that was crucial to the next book in the series. But while I finished the first pass on Earth, it’s far from being done. There are a few places where some information is repeated and I have to decide where the best place is to include this information. You wouldn’t think it would be such a big deal, it’s the same two people passing the information along, but it is. At least to me.

New Words
349 total
And these were added to Earth. Of course there were a bunch of words deleted too, but I didn’t think to keep track of them. And it most cases it wasn’t so much deleting words as rearranging them.

No new words for Wandering Wizards. My characters are currently stuck in one of the Elven Realms, and so am I. I know how to get them out of there, I just don’t know what to do with them after that. There’s a couple of different paths the story can take from this point, and I really have no clue which path to take. Which is why I focused on the edits for Elemental Earth instead. ;-)

New Category
It occurred to me yesterday that I spent way too much time last week trying to decide what to work on. I have limited time for my writing and while usually most of it is spent on blog posts, there were a couple of evenings last week where I was sitting, staring at the computer screen, trying to decide which WIP needed the most attention. And ... I’d end up on social media or the MSN gaming site. So I figure it would behoove me decide ahead of time what I should be working on.

This Week’s Goals:
New words on Wandering Wizards
New words on Dreamer (the story I started a couple of weeks ago)
Finish first round of edits on Elemental Earth

Not unreasonable goals, especially seeing as I’ll have a bit of extra time this week. My daughter is going away on a course and I’ll be working extended hours babysitting. But the up side of this is the three-hour nap time, during which I should be able to get all kinds of writing done. That is, unless the granddaughter exhausts me to the point that I’ll need to take a nap too. ;-)

Just for a change, this week’s excerpt is from An Elemental Earth:

Chloe had left clean towels in the bathroom and he helped himself to a shower. When he was finished, he opened the door to find a tiny, grey-haired woman with an extremely large weapon pointed at him. She was dressed in a long, faded grey skirt and a bright red blouse, with a white apron over top. Without being told to, he raised his hands.
“And who might you be?” the woman demanded.
Her voice was high and sharp, and he was hard pressed not to smile. She was so tiny his wind could easily pick her right up and carry her away. “My name’s Zephryn, ma’am.”
“You’d be that pilot they’re searching for, I’d guess.”
“I guess so.” There didn’t seem to be any point in lying.
“Hmph!” The old woman tucked her weapon away in a pocket under her apron. “I might’ve guessed Chloe and her mother would be right in the thick of things. Have you had yer breakfast yet?”
“Ma’am?” Zephryn figured it was safe enough to lower his hands.
“Don’t ‘ma’am’ me, son. The name’s Granny.” She turned and led the way to the kitchen.
Too bemused to do anything else, Zephryn followed in her wake and was told to park himself in one of the kitchen chairs. Granny was obviously familiar with the place because it wasn’t long before he had a steaming plate in front of him.
“You don’t talk much. I like that in a man.”
He opened his mouth to speak and she waved a large spoon at him. “Eat first. Then you can ask questions.”
Zephryn was starting to believe that he’d hit his head worse than he thought in the crash and was dreaming all this - Chloe, her mother, this whole thing. It was all just some pain induced hallucination. But he didn’t believe an hallucination could cook this well. Breakfast was delicious and he quickly cleaned his plate.
“I like a man with an appetite too,” Granny said. “My Wilmott had a good appetite, rest his soul. Now there was a man that was pleasure to cook for.” She sat down in the chair opposite his, hands folded neatly on the table. “Fire away, son.”
“I beg your pardon?”
She frowned. “I didn’t take you for addled in the head. Your questions. Ask away. You must have a million of them.”

Friday, June 10, 2016

Old Writers Never Die, They Just Keep Revising the Ending

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your best bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

Though you might find it hard to believe, Jamie and I do not co-ordinate our daily quotes. I swear! It’s just a happy co-incidence that they seem to go together, if not totally similar. Or maybe it’s just because we’re working with the same topic. ;-)

For Jamie’s quote this week I picked the one that seemed to stick best in my mind:

You may be able to take a break from writing, but you won't be able to take a break from being a writer...
- Stephen Leigh

I think anyone who’s ever been bitten by the writing bug will agree with this. Sometimes you can get frustrated or just tired and you set the writing aside for a while - taking a break, as it were. But then you’ll catch yourself thinking about the way the words flow when you’re reading a particularly well-written novel. Or maybe you’re enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend and as you glance out the window of the coffee shop you see an interaction between a young man and a woman and it gives you the idea for a story. Or maybe you’re getting a breath of fresh air in the garden and you start thinking, what if?

Just because you aren’t writing things down doesn’t mean you’ve stopped being a writer. You’re still going to be thinking like a writer and you’re still going to see things the way a writer does. And no matter how badly you need the break in the first place, somehow it’ll never be for as long as you think it’ll be.

My quote this week is also short and sweet:

Writing is like breathing, it's possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what.
― Julia Cameron

At first glance, my quote seems to contradict Jamie’s, but if you think about it, it’s like two sides of a coin. Writing can be like breathing, but sometimes we need to take that break so we don’t start hyperventilating. We should write no matter what, but even when we take a break we’re still thinking like writers or at least thinking about writing.

So follow the above advice, but don’t be afraid to take a break when you need to. You won’t stop being a writer if you do.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Back in the Groove

It’s taken a lot of work, and way too long, but I’m finally starting to feel like I’m back in the writing groove.

I may not have written every day last week, but I wrote more days than not. And it wasn’t just blog posts and journal entries, it was real writing. To be honest, it had been so long since I’d written anything really new I was beginning to wonder if I even could.

The only problem is, with the summer weather and all it’s becoming more difficult to sit in my favourite chair to write. Don’t laugh! You try sitting in a recliner with a lap top on your lap. Even when I’ve got the lap desk between me and the lap top that sucker generates a lot of heat.

Enter the Alphasmart Neo.

The first year I did NaNoWriMo I lusted after an Alphasmart Neo, basically an electronic keyboard that lets you write distraction free. The Alphasmart has no games, no internet, no bells and whistles. You use it to write on, and that’s it. It’s distraction free and holds up to eight documents at a time. When you’re done you simply plug it into your computer and sit back and watch it type in a brand new document file. It runs off of AA batteries, which last about a year with heavy usage. And the best part of all? It doesn’t generate any heat.

Unfortunately, they stopped making them in 2013. I got mine off of Ebay for $50.00 and I’d say it’s the best present I ever bought myself. It’s lightweight and durable and makes me type faster. Seriously! My typing speed just about doubles on it.

Now earlier in the week I saw an internet advertisement for a Hemingwrite, which pretty much the same idea only it has a few more bells and whistles - like mechanical switches to navigate folders, a status display that will give you your word count or the amount of time you’ve been writing, and access to WiFi so you can upload your work to the Cloud or Dropbox or whatever. However, it’s battery only lasts three to four weeks and its cost is $500.00.

I’ll take my little Neo over the Hemingwrite any day!

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
4,531 words total
Even before I added in the extra blog post I did I had last week’s score beaten. And no wonder, I was up late at least a couple of nights getting posts written so they could be scheduled. Of course spending more time on blog posts meant my other writing suffered, but you can’t have everything.

New Ideas
0 words total
Not a one. And the one that’s been running around in my head like a chicken with its head cut off has kind of fizzled out, so obviously it wasn’t meant to be written down.

16 pages total
Progress on An Elemental Earth has slowed a little because I’m getting into the part that needs some heavy editing. One of my characters is coo-coo-bananas and I don’t think that showed up very well in the original.

New Words
734 total
And these words were all on my new story Dreamer this time. I think it’s going to be more of a flash fiction than short story, but who knows, maybe I can add to it during the editing stage.

Now, as you might have noticed, the progress bar for Wandering Wizards gave an almighty jump. As I had to keep reminding myself, while it seemed more like editing than writing, it really wasn’t. All I was supposed to be doing was deleting the stuff that conflicted with what was going on in Lucky Dog I wasn’t really editing, and that made things go much faster. I wish I’d recorded somewhere the number of words it was when I started messing with it, so I’d know if I increased or decreased the total words, but alas, I didn’t

Once again, here’s an excerpt from Wandering Wizards:

“You kind of look like her you know.”
“Aracelia. Something in the facial features, especially around the eyes.”
“I really enjoyed the time I spent with her,” Jessica said wistfully. “I wish I’d known then that she was my grandmother.”
“If it’s any consolation, she came very close to spilling the beans many times. But she swore an oath to Paranithel before he arranged for her to meet you, and he in turn swore an oath to Thackery.”
Jessica was silent for so long that Ellen was forced to ask, “What are you thinking? Are you still planning on going south to meet Thackery and Paranithel? Aracelia has offered to send you back to our world herself, if that’s what you want.”
Smiling slightly, Jessica shook her head. “No, I’m going to see this through. No matter what. I may not agree with their methods, but it’s obvious those two down south care about me. I find I really want to meet them, to find out about where I come from.”
“And to learn about your mother,” Ellen added softly.
“That too. Plus there’s the whole magic thing . . .”
“How cool is that?” Ellen asked with a grin. “You and Howard both.”
“Sometimes it’s very, very cool,” Jessica admitted. “But sometimes it’s pretty damn scary. What about you? Any magical powers for you popping up?”
“No! And I’m quite happy to keep it that way. I’ll stick to being Aragorn and you and Howard can duke it out to see who’s Gandalf.”
They shared a laugh.
“Now all we need is a Gimli and a couple of hobbits,” Jessica said. At Ellen’s confused look she added, “Well, we’ve already got a Legolas . . .”
At Ellen’s blush she began to chortle.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Ideas and Habits

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your best bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

It was incredibly hard to pick a quote from Jamie this week - they were all really good ones. But finally I settled on this one:

At one time I used to keep notebooks with outlines for stories. But I found doing this somehow deadened the idea in my imagination. If the notion is good enough, if it truly belongs to you, then you can't forget it--it will haunt you till it's written.
Truman Capote

All I can say is, Truman Capote must have had an excellent memory. I have to write my ideas down so I don’t forget them. Of course by the time I get to that stage they’ve been playing through my mind like a movie on continuous play as I refine them. Once I stop changing them in my head, they’re ready to be written down.

Or maybe Truman wasn’t plagued by a plethora of ideas the way I am. ;-)

I have file folders full of ideas, I usually write down at least enough to jog my memory, and every once in awhile I’ll revisit them in search of something new to write. Sometimes what I end up writing is totally different from what I first imagined when I wrote the idea down, as was the case with my first book, An Elemental Wind, but it gives me a starting point.

Technically, the Truman Capote quote could be said to be writing advice, so for my own quote I tried to pick something similar:

One hasn't become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating.
~ Niyi Osundare

I think to be a successful writer one almost has to have an obsession for it. And as I said to Jamie in the email I sent this quote to her in, that’s also what makes us crazy when we don’t write. Most writers I know have day jobs, so we fit writing in around our daily lives. But even when writing becomes a habit or an obsession, life occasionally interferes and the writing just doesn’t get done.

And if too many non-writing days go by... If writing is truly an obsession, then you’ll find the time, no matter what. And even if you can’t you can usually pick up where you left off. But if it’s more of a habit, then you face the danger of getting out of the habit when too many days go by without writing anything.

For a long time it was believed that it only took 21 days to develop a habit. However, new research has shown that it actually takes an average of 66 days of doing something before it becomes a habit. Sixty-six days!

Bad habits, like smoking, can take almost as long to break. But speaking from experience, good habits take way less time to fall by the wayside.

So make writing your obsession, not just your habit.