word wrestle

A Fall of Diamonds, 60,667. Doing well with revising the novel. The total word count bounces up and down day to day since sometimes I delete more than I add. Still thinking about fast-drafting The Serene Widow, but maybe not this month (I’d set myself an August 31st deadline–loading the gun as usual to shoot myself in the foot.).

I’ve reached a point in revising where I need to pay purposeful attention to shaping each and every scene. Having a completed first draft makes it possible to get a panoramic view of the whole thing and then narrow down. I’ve got to get a better grasp of what kind of novel I’m writing and in what genre. Historical fantasy is what I think it is, but what’s the core story? Is it a romance or an adventure saga? Right now I know what it’s not. It’s not a mystery or a thriller or horror. I’m leaning heavily toward romance.

I’m in Part Two now. The part that comprises the bulk of the story and must be strongly structured to drive the narrative into Part Three and its eventual conclusion. I have three main characters, three story threads, and the book will be in three parts. I’m looking at 150,000 words, maybe 180,000.

That’s frightening.

Happy writing!

missing the scary


The Death of the Gravedigger, Carlos Schwabe

One thing I’ve noticed in recent horror fiction is the lack of scare. The horror is present but it’s not as visceral as horror fiction used to be, not as scary. What’s being published is good,  that is well-written, but I’m not getting that gut-deep intuitive fear that embeds itself in my consciousness while reading recent horror fiction. These days I see more scare in the crappy horror movies being produced by the streaming networks than I find in fiction, and by the way, what’s with the saturation of body horror movies on these networks? They’re not scary either; they’re just gross and disgusting and I refuse to watch them, but it’s sometimes unavoidable since body horror also pops up in other horror films. 

When I say scary, I’m thinking Stephen King-Peter Straub-Ramsey Campbell scary. I love a good chill-inducing when you’re alone story, and while I’ve read some good horror fiction over the past years, I’m missing the scary. 

On the writing front, the YA collaboration novel is still in progress, and I had a horror flash fiction published in the Charmed Writers 2019 Flash Fiction anthology. Yesterday I brainstormed a ghost story. I’m a pantser at heart, although it hasn’t served me well over the years.  Even though I only had a character and an idea to go on, I wrote an opening paragraph anyway, a good one too, but I don’t know where the story’s going to go from there. I’ve written about 25, maybe 30, (not sure since I haven’t counted them) short stories so I do manage to find my way to the end. 

I’ve tried to plan my novels so I won’t run into writing blocks, but it’s mostly a hybrid effort–some  outlining, some pantsing, depends on how much I already have in my head. I try to lay out the major action and hope to discover the fine details along the way.

Need to get started on today’s work. This week I edited my contemporary romance, Runaway Heart, and another horror short story, Dead, Baby! Both are on the cooling off shelf for the next couple weeks. 

Today I’ll work on the new ghost story, and I might take a look at the finished draft of my fantasy historical, A Fall of Diamonds, to see what I’m thinking.

Happy writing!

Day 30


Winning NANO is a kick to the creative ego, but it’s such an ordeal! Really I’m not stressing myself out in November next year, going to take a break. I’m sure I’ll be writing, but not under the NANO gun. The last few days I let the words spill on the page as haphazardly as they came, doing my best to hold back the perfection demon, the brain freeze, and the sinking despair that strikes when you feel like you’re writing crap and you know you are. How are you going to fix it and will you ever and is it even fixable?

NANO isn’t about getting the novel perfectly written; it’s about getting it written in any way that gets the novel done in 50,000 words (or more)! I’m happy to have written a good draft–yes it’s a crazy quilt of scenes, but I made it to a satisfying end. I thought I’d be writing right up to midnight today. The manuscript has great potential (as does every manuscript, I think). Was going to take December off, but not. Going to dive into editing and revising A Fall of Diamonds while it’s still smoking. I’d like to have the edits and revisions completed by 3/31/2019.

Happy writing!


Day 28


48,057 words. images I’m so relieved! Wrote the final scene today, but I’m not finished yet of course. I just couldn’t wait for it any longer and had to get it down! Frost struck last night, the grass was white-tipped this morning, but the brain and the fingers didn’t feel its bite.  I woke up with the final scene on my mind, made a large cup of coffee, wrapped myself in my robe, and settled in my office. I tappity-tapped tapped 2,987 words to the final line of dialogue spoken by the heroine. It could be the last line in the story, and it might be when I revise, but I’ve got 1,943 more words to write (at least) to ring the winner’s bell–so one more scene! Yippety!


Day 26 and Day 27


45,070 words. Tough going yesterday, but I finally finished that difficult scene I started writing three days ago. Last night I wrote 5 pages and finished the scene. It clocks in at 4,721 words–a chapter, I think; it encompasses a unified sequence. Today I wrote 2,005 words and finished another scene.

Outside it’s bright, sunny, and cold. Three more days. Three scenes to go.


Day 24


40,345 words. Proud of myself today–wrote 2001 words of a difficult scene, not finished yet though. The scene will take at least five or six more pages, but I’m happy to have made it through a significant part of it. 9,655 more words to go to finish the manuscript. I always write through the last day of NaNo. My reward for reaching 40,000 words: Shopping! Recently received The Vermont Country Store catalog. I love catalog shopping! Reminds me of the days when I would save my babysitting money and sit dreamily leafing through the Sears catalog for new clothes.

I am not doing this next year. I promise.


Day 23


38,344 words. Exactly three words beyond Day 23’s target of 38,341. I’m coming upon a very difficult scene, difficult because I have absolutely no idea how to write it. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.