the wind is high, the lilies scarlet

Have stacked up a goodly number of pages on A Haunting of Roses since August. After a severe slicing away of narrative, cutting the manuscript from 38,000 to about 16,000 words, I’ve built it up to 31,774 words, writing over 15,000 words to get it to where it feels right.

I’ve been fretting some over the structure and the plot. It’s a fantasy novel containing a murder mystery and I’ve been wrestling with point of view–single? multiple? Have written it both ways and there is merit to each approach. It comes down to am I writing a whodunnit or a whydunit? Do I want only the point of view of my detective, Senior Inquisitor Mira? Or do I want the point of view of the potential suspects as well? What do I want to show? How do I want to embed the clues? Do I want the reader to know what the detective doesn’t know or hasn’t yet discovered? Or do I want the reader and the detective to discover things together?

On my coffee cup mood tracker in my bullet journal, I’ve colored in five days of frustration, one day of stress, two happy days, one depressed day, and eight good days, so not doing too badly. Today I came to a happy conclusion, thanks to Kathleen Bittner Roth: “Write what you love, and in the manner you love!”

I’ve made up my mind.

Happy writing!

 

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hello, september!

Boreas_Waterhouse

A happily productive day yesterday. Wrote 1,060 words on A Haunting of Roses (“AHR”)  before noon during my morning session, which I managed to start on time after having been late to the office for a couple days. My morning writing time is 9 a.m. to Noon. AHR gets the morning session and after lunch, I move onto my next manuscript, Verdugo Bay Dark, a paranormal young adult or if I’m stalled (temporarily) on it, I’ll do research or fiddle with a short story, or find something creative that’ll jog me back into the manuscript.

Wow where has the year gone! September already! Wasn’t it just January yester-month? Today or early tomorrow morning must do my Writing Progress & Productivity Report for August, have it ready for my monthly meeting with my productivity accountability partner. These monthly meetings really keep me in the loop of my creativity, listening to all that she’s accomplished during a month energizes me to keep going for the gold. It’s so easy to fall down, not because I’m not dedicated to writing, but because of the constant wrestling with doubt demons. In my combination writing and bullet journal last month, I created a mood tracker to chart the up and down days to see how to help myself stay focused. I like creative mood trackers, but I’m not a graphic artist so I printed out spaceandquiet.com’s coffee cup mood tracker for this month, free from her Resource Library. Can’t get the link to set :(.

I submitted two short stories last month, but been too busy with the novels to carve out time for my self-directed Short Story Workshop. Hope to remedy that this month and get back to it. Doing the workshop gave me three new stories that might never have been written had I not developed the workshop and carved out time for it.

Yesterday, I’d hoped to get another thousand words done on AHR in the afternoon–sort of a bonus goal–but instead I ended up reading and writing story notes, developing more material for the novel. I also printed out the first ten chapters. I was so happy at how well the morning session went, completely writing a new scene that I’d expected to be difficult going, that I cooked a tasty dinner for my sister and me. I harvested from my garden a half a dozen bell peppers and stuffed them with shrimp, turkey sausage, rice, and summer squash with fresh garlic, onion, a sprinkle of garlic salt and pepper, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and for dessert, made cheesecake. A successful writing day usually leads to a successful dinner!

Next month is NANO prep or Rachael Stephen’s preptober.  Haven’t decided on a book yet, but it might be Verdugo Bay Dark. I’m only a little ways into it–2 scenes.

Now I’m good and late for today’s work.

Happy writing!

Lillian in the Doorway

 


Lillian in the Doorway by Michelle Dutton is Book One in the Orange Ranch Brides series, a charming sweet romance spiced with danger set amid the orange ranches and oil derricks of 1924 southern California. As Shakespeare wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” proves all too true for intrepid Lillian Spratt, on the run from Chicago gangsters, hiding in the sanctuary of Gilda Axtabal’s Boardinghouse in Fullerton, California. Lillian’s roommates at the boardinghouse think she should marry first and provide them with a proper parlor in which to meet gentlemen. They finagle a meeting between Lillian and the widowed German pharmacist Jens Schreiber, an honorable man with secrets of his own, devoted to his six-year old son Leo and doing his best to avoid the matchmaking efforts of his housekeeper and her friend the mayor’s wife determined to see him married to a suitable woman. To keep the matchmakers at bay, Jens proposes a fake engagement and Lillian agrees. Jens finds Lillian very much to his liking, but Lillian is only biding her time until she can safely return to Chicago. Things go awry when Lillian’s past catches up with her and she and Jens find themselves in a tangled web of romance and danger. A delightful read.

bits and bobs

 

Thoughts on writing A Haunting of Roses…

What to do is as plain as the nose on my face. At plot group I was advised to get rid of the prologue and begin at Chapter I with the murder. Okay. No problem, but now the decision is if I begin with the murder and follow with the detectives, that is, my inquisitor and his physician assistant, then the mystery follows the cosy style, although it’s more like a thriller in content. It becomes a matter of Inquisitor Mira and Physician Evara puzzling out who did it.


On the other hand I could begin with Marisandra’s dilemma—that’s the first set-up for a motive to murder. I would have to follow with other set-ups of suspects and motives: Chard Roelof maybe, certainly the Geddes situation, and Lady Elynde’s unhappy situation, and finally the true reason for the murders would come to light, that is, must be woven in so that Inquisitor Mira (and the reader) could figure it out. The focus would be more on characters than puzzle, although the murder is a puzzle, the truth would be misdirected–heh, heh.

done again!

 

Made it ahead of schedule! Had a number of down days when not one word was written, but my goal, which began as 25,000 for July Camp Nanowrimo, was upped to 40,000 for the rewrite. Final word count: 40,355.

It is satisfying to see the manuscript come together finally.

RIP Brandon Rogers, MD

I rarely watch America’s Got Talent but I had the pleasure of catching this young doctor’s audition. What a beautiful voice. Smart and talented, not only was he a doctor in Family Medicine, he was gifted with a glorious voice. He passed away in a tragic car accident June 11, 2017. He was 29. Gone far too soon.