a rush into unselfconsciousness


Update:  30,190, Errors of Choice. Good productive session this morning! Can’t believe I wrote a difficult scene in one session. I was really worried that I wouldn’t get far today. By the way, yesterday I reached 28,482.

26,773, Errors of Choice. This novel absorbs my days and you’d think that would be enough to carry me through, but it isn’t. I’ve a number of stories pressing on my mind–two of the most pressing are Possessed and Loose Daddy.

Loose Daddy is a finished first draft. It took me a long time to reach the end, and the novel has set for years in my file, untouched. I wasn’t ready to revise and rewrite it; now I am.

Possessed also has been with me for a long time, another first draft, 75% percent written. I’m at Act III and I’ve drafted a list of scenes and sort of know what to do, but I haven’t got a handle on the final part yet. I have figured out that it works best divided into parts by the characters, Part 1- Randall; Part 2 – Deidre; Part 3 – Kenny; and the final Part 4 – Deidre. Once I saw that, the story aligned itself better, and now I need to write the final part, but have not carved out time for it because of EOC.

I plan to take December off from writing, and catch up on my reading. I like the idea of spending an entire month doing nothing but reading, recharging and entertaining myself through the visions of other writers. But Possessed presses on my mind so we shall see.

I’ve got my Thanksgiving menu planned. My sister and her family are coming over. It’s going to be a grand day and Errors of Choice will sit quietly in its binder on the desk in my office.

I’m heading toward the 30,000-word mark and the reward of a day off. Not sure if I posted my NaNo rewards. Here they are:

  • 10,000 words – New planner stickers (ordered from Amazon)
  • 20,000 words – Movie (I streamed The Dark Tower)
  • 30,000 words – Day off (not including Thanksgiving)
  • 40,000 words – Shopping (Antique store browsing)
  • 50,000 words – Open the bottle of cabernet sauvignon and have a glass or two

A friend suggested I give myself a bonus reward–have the book cover done. The one I mocked up is this one:

Slide1It’ll do for the my eyes only draft, and I’ll have it done by my favorite cover artist,  Angie at Fiverr.  It’ll be fun to have the manuscript in book form. I think it’ll make editing it fun too. I’ll see the mistakes more clearly.

It’s Saturday! I’m up early and I’ve got a long day of work planned.

Happy writing!






no worries


15,916, Errors of Choice. I’m having a stress-free Nanowrimo for the first time in my decade of doing NaNo. Perhaps it’s because I’m better prepared than in previous years. In his essential Nanowrimo book, No Plot, No Problem, Chris Baty advises to only take a week in October, seven days, to prepare for writing your novel and I can see the sense in this. You don’t want to get hog-tied by your idea and stressed out before November 1. On the big day, you don’t want to sit in front of your computer, gazing into the white wastes of the screen or sit staring blankly at the yellow desert of a legal pad with the lines resembling the fine wind imprints of the Sahara. You want to write, right?

I took most of the month of October, three weeks exactly, to get ready and I think it’s because I had much material for the story in my head. So much so that I was able to create in Scrivener a good set of scene idea cards. I put them in rough order, not caring if they stayed in order once I started writing. I’m not a linear writer, but I had enough connecting ideas and enough potential connections to give myself a decent map into the story with enough plot bunny material to back it up. In short, I had something to say.

Now I’ve had something to say before with other stories, and I’ve spent past Novembers wrestling with the words, wrestling with the angels of inspiration, and beating at my brain to get those 50,000 words by November 30, all the while promising myself that I wasn’t going to do it again next year. I lie to myself all the time.

It’s Day 9 and I’m at 15,916 words, a little ahead instead of a lot behind. I love not having to play catch-up. In the past it’s been different. My brain is the Titanic and I’m always up against that damn iceberg.

I might be doing my happy dance in terms of progress too soon, but it sure feels nice to know what the hell I’m writing (even if all I have is a vague idea of the scene), and I don’t care if it makes sense right now. Are the words coming out in a silky flow in perfectly constructed sentences? Hell no—but they’re showing up on the page, my characters are talking, and that’s all I ask.

So y’all out there facing the 1,667 every day—turn off the Internal Editor and shut down that other nasty voice attacking your talent, take a deep breath, gather your zen, and accept the words that come. Go ahead, write badly, write wildly, babble all over the page, write! Writers write, and then writers rewrite because Hemingway wasn’t wrong.

all’s good


Errors of Choice, broke 10,000 words today. Updated the word counter.  Yippety!

It’s early days yet, but NANO is going better for me this year than in previous years. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to stay out of my own way. Kicking out the Internal Editor helped. I’m still uncertain what I’m going to write when I start each morning, but I promised myself not to fret about finding the words. I have an idea for each scene. It’s only a matter of accepting the words that come whether they’re perfect or not.

Writing is rewriting.



Day 1 Nanowrimo 2272 words. Off to a good start. The writing went well and I didn’t allow the Inner Critic to get a word in edgewise. I pushed the little “Take My Inner Editor” button in Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem! :)))

Completed all of the items on my Preptober Checklist last week. The last thing was deciding the playlist. It’ll be songs chosen from the following, depending on the scene:

  • Sade Lovers Rock
  • The Best of Sade
  • Sade Stronger Than Pride
  • Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Vanessa Williams Greatest Hits

I’ll post the playlist at the end of November.

Decided I’d work on whatever I wanted to if I made my word count before lunch.  This morning was a success so I did a read-through of A Useful Blind, a steampunk mystery novella that I plan to rewrite.

Happy Nano!



asterisks and touchstones


One more thing I like to do during Nanoprep and while writing in November is read or re-read books on the art and craft of writing. I have at least a hundred books on writing, maybe more, haven’t counted them. This year’s selection:

  • 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, Jane Smiley
  • No Plot, No Problem, Chris Baty
  • The Art and Craft of Novel-Writing, Oakley Hall
  • The Art of Fiction, John Gardner
  • The Writer’s Notebook, edited by Howard Junker
  • Techniques of the Selling Writer, Dwight Swain
  • Make A Scene, Jordan E. Rosenfeld
  • Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg
  • Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
  • The Art of Creative Writing, Lajos Egri

Through October and November I’ll dip into these books for inspiration, rejuvenation, to crack writer’s block to smithereens or melt the frozen tundra my mind becomes when I sit down to write, and also to just take joy in writing. These books serve as my touchstones. Like the glow of Earendil’s star, they are a light in dark places.


pecans are falling



My pecan tree has gone nutty, dropping black-striped brown egg-shaped missiles all over, turning my backyard into a field of nuts. Considering the cost of pecans at the grocery store and considering I love pecans, I’m one happy nut-gatherer. I was greatly aggrieved last year when I found few nuts–maybe 5–that the squirrels hadn’t squirreled away but now I’m thinking maybe the squirrels weren’t the only reason the yard was practically nut-less. The house stood empty for a couple years before I bought it and down here in Alabama, you can sell your pecans to the various nut suppliers so I figure anyone who knew the property had a large mature pecan tree in the backyard probably came by with buckets and sacks. This year–they’re all mine! (Snoopy dance!)

Last year, a whole nation of squirrels–mamas, papas, grandmamas and grandpappies, aunts, uncles, cousins and all the babies scampered about the boughs of my pecan tree throughout the summer, swishing their bushy tales, chattering and eating my pecans bold as they please. When winter came, they vacated the pecan tree for the oak trees and they have not returned. Probably has something to do with the new landlord stalking the property–my cat Loki.IMG_0609

Fine with me–the little freeloaders! The tree is a skyscraper and when I’m outside I can hear the nuts plummeting from on high and landing in the grass, sometimes with a crack! They pick up speed as they dive earthward and hit the ground so hard, they actually crack. Some hit the wood planks of my box garden and at whatever mph they’re falling, it’s like a firecracker going off. You know how hard pecan shells are? That’s amazing. One other amazing thing is there’s an insect that can drill a tiny perfectly round hole in a pecan to get at the meat. That’s one insect I don’t want to meet–although, given how I was eaten alive when I arrived here last summer, I may have already had the displeasure. I spent August and September scratching my skin off. Alabama has a universe of insect life and they all bite.

So it’s Sunday, usually my reading day (almost finished with Gone Girl), but I’m preptobering so the agenda today is to continue on with getting ready to write Errors of Choice. Might do a few other things too, like:

  • Do some market research today for the 3 short stories I wrote this year;
  • Re-do the manuscript progress list at penpanther’s sidebar; and
  • Find my printout of The Bone Box because for some reason the right version is not–gosh darn it–on my computer; don’t know why not!

Time to get to work!