54,939 words, Possessed. Thunderstorm last night, the flashing of sheet lightning startled me and Loki more than the sky-cracking thunder. Rained for maybe an hour, then the night quieted. First thing this morning, finished my manuscript review of Runaway Heart and moved onto getting words for Possessed, but only wrote 583, a new 3-page scene, something to build on. I would love to complete the novel by January 31 although I have the whole first quarter of the year to finish it. It will be a mess of course but writing is rewriting.
Finally understood how to structure Runaway Heart, so I’m feeling better about it, but Possessed has priority right now. I’ve set A Fall of Diamonds aside for a bit, but I want to get back to work on it as soon as I can.
I’m doing my best to maintain focus.
Struggling my way toward the end of Possessed. Wrote 1,165 words this morning, hope for more in the afternoon. Have a vague sense of how the end goes, but trying not to fall into a hole of mediocrity. The novel right now has many weaknesses, but it is a first draft and I’m determined to finish it, warts, blisters and all. I’ve reached 54,356 words, not sure how long it’ll be. I’m not even sure what kind of book it is–a horror novel crossed with a romance? There’s a ghost and a tragic relationship, but can’t call it a paranormal romance because it’s nothing like what’s published in that sub genre. It is, I think, a dark fantasy, the story goes from a tragic love story to a horror story. It has taken some unexpected turns, a good thing, and I hope to find the end by the end of this month–word by word.
We’ve had some beautifully warm days here in southern Alabama for the past week. Today’s overcast, but it’s a warm 73 degrees outside. I have a short story to go out by month end, received a rejection on another short story last Thursday. Soldiering on.
A week ago in the hollow hours before dawn I had a nightmare that I’ve now come to terms with. It was a dreadful nightmare of the sort I had not had in a long while. The night it occurred I could not imagine what brought it on. I was dreaming pleasantly, can’t remember what now, only that it was peaceful. Then the nice dream turned in the way of dreams, flipping me into the icy grip of the restless tide of ocean waves watching a clipper ship sink.
The ceaseless waves were loud, the sea itself roared all around me and I was alone in dark and terrible water, rolling lap upon lap in relentless rhythm. Off to the left something bright red and tentacled hung on the surface, most of it submerged. I was afraid the waves would sweep me toward it and I despaired. When the ship was going down, I’d glimpsed a rim of land some distance away I thought I could possibly swim to, but when I struggled close, the land became no more than a rock, already sinking beneath the wash of waves, disappearing, leaving me with absolutely no hope.
There was nothing but inky ocean and dark sky and me with no hope of rescue. Despair overwhelmed me. I woke up, thank goodness.
I’ve read that the subconscious mind will break you out of nightmare when the terror becomes too great for the mind to bear. That might be true or it might not, but nightmares can be far more vivid than simple dreams and more real. They are the virtual reality of the subconscious.
It was such a strong nightmare I spent the following days obsessing about it, unable to not think about it. I finally recognized it as a reflection of the deep feeling of isolation I’ve had since moving from southern California to rural Alabama. Now that I know what it meant, I can deal with it.
- Completed 1st draft of Writing Emotion ebook
- Completed 1st draft of Runaway Heart
- Won NANO, A Fall of Diamonds
- Wrote 2 new short stories; submitted 5 short stories
- Wrote 28 penpanther posts
- Attended 2016 Literary Orange conference
- One sale: Grave Shadows
Since monthly goals overwhelm me, I’m breaking the goals into quarters, giving myself some breathing space.
1st Quarter – January – March
- Revise and restructure short story, Come Be My Love Forever. Deadline: 1/31/2017
- Finish 1st draft of Possessed, dark fantasy romance novel. Manuscript 80% completed. 1000 words per session, M-F.
- A Fall of Diamonds, fantasy romance. Write 2nd draft, 1000 words per session, M-F. a) Research settings. b) Map the plot action.
- A Lamentation of Swans, epic fantasy. Revise and rewrite. (Start in February)
For Quarters 2, 3 and 4, to be determined from list:
- A Useful Blind, mystery, rewrite into novella (1st draft short story completed)
- Rewrite Runaway Heart, contemporary romance, (1st draft completed)
- A Haunting of Roses, fantasy
- The Bone Box, horror novella, 90% completed
- The Serene Widow, Regency novel
- Princess of Rosenstein, Regency novel
- Loose Daddy, literary novel
- Death of a Young Woman, literary novel
- Chained, fantasy romance
- Write a short story inspired by a painting
- Writing Short Fiction project (Spring Forward workshop)
December, the lazy month when I let myself not write or even think about writing–mostly. The stress of NANO is over and I’m in recovery. And prepping for the new year. I’ve reviewed 2016, written my assessment and decided my writing goals for 2017. Will post those here New Year’s Day.
Happy New Year!
Rained last night. This morning the grass is damp, the eaves drip, desiccated leaves stick to the soles of my ballet slipper flats. I walked around the yard hoping to spot Loki’s red tag but no luck.
She caught the bracelet collar on something, managed to pull free but it unhooked and her tag fell off somewhere. Luckily I’ve got the tag from her first vaccinations with the National ID number on it so I’ll keep that one secure.
I’m in that empty head state that descends once I’ve finished a major writing endeavor like Nano but I don’t like to drift so last week I did setting development work on A Fall of Diamonds and yesterday I read over the short story I finished in October to see how to improve it.
Alabama’s winter weather shifts every day. Some days are cold, a roustabout wind hisses about the house, some days a thunderstorm shakes us and furious rain beats down, and some days outside is humid, no breeze at all, just warm, still air.
Saturday frost slicked my car’s roof and Tuesday dawned warm and misty. The pecan tree is just about bare of leaves and the squirrels have moved out for the winter.
Today I’m going to run that short story through my mind again. Maybe it doesn’t need much more work, but I’ll see. There are a few things that need doing. It has a January 31st deadline for the anthology so I expect to have it ready to go soon.
I’m planning 2017’s writing agenda. I have two stories out right now and my fingers and toes are crossed. They’re both good pieces. I’ve got a personal essay to submit too but have to go over it, make sure it’s properly polished before winging it to the chosen publication, and in January for sure I’ll be back working seriously on the second draft of A Fall of Diamonds.
My Christmas gifts are all mailed off, 12 more days–Merry Christmas!
Day 28 2576 words, surpassed 50,000, final count 67,609