Sometimes Life Does Eat Everything

I’ve always been one of those people who has believed that there’s always time for creativity, that no matter how much life throws at you you can always eke a little bit in, here or there, that as long as you schedule and try, you can reach your goals.

And now I know better.

I’m not really ready–nor am I sure I ever shall be–to talk about my current stressors, but let me say that now I understand what people mean when there’s just no more spoons left, when you physically, emotionally, mentally just have nothing left to give.

And on one hand, it’s agonizing, to have creative goals and not be able to make any headway on them, especially when I have managed to do so many times before. But on the other, I know that this happens sometimes, that it’s temporary, that life is everchanging and even if I’m only getting to write twice a week it’s still something. And it’s okay. It’s okay. I’m okay. Sometimes this happens, and you just have to roll with it.

I am not a failure just because other things in my life have taken precedence.

And even the smallest burst of creativity feels so good now. Last week I patched some holes on the smaller, mobile one’s sock monkey (he now has matching bracelets) and it felt amazing even though it took me 15 minutes and is not the cleanest sewing job I’ve ever done.

(In related news, I cannot find …

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107,000 words written on Ever Touched – and Deep Thoughts

So, since I’ve hit the 100k milestone on Ever Touched and went beyond it, I thought I’d talk about some things I’ve discovered or learned or just plain thought about with this novel.

#1 The first draft is not done yet. Technically, I have till the end of the month, but as that is fast approaching, I may not make it. I have at least 15-20k more to go minimum. I may do what I did with both Fey Touched and Grave Touched. Start the revision anyway, and write the ending once I get there.

#2 The good news is that I have a comprehensive plan for the ending. The bad news is, I had to replot it twice. I’m not ruling out a third or fourth time.

#3 Usually, a book’s theme song comes to me while planning. And I usually listen to it as I write the book. With Ever Touched, the theme song announced itself last week, after writing over 100,000 words. What the hell. (For the curious, it’s “The Sound of Silence” covered by Disturbed. Once you watch and hear it, you’ll understand why. Helpful link is helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk7RVw3I8eg

#4 In every book I write, there’s a scene that could be a movie scene: intense action, intense feels, heartbreak, distress, characters in peril, etc. It’s the one scene that for me, encapsulates the entire book. Fey Touched has one. Grave Touched had one.  Ever Touched has one, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I …

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I Think I Need A Planner – Or Something

Wanna hear something scary? I went through my entire day, oblivious to the fact that it was my turn to post a blog here. Normally, I’m plan it in advance, and I get it written early in the evening. Nope. It’s after 10:30pm, and I am now just sitting down to write this.

I spaced on a recent TDP meeting. Just…forgot.

The other scary thing is that I have a planner. It’s called Commit30, and I thought it would be fun to try. But please note that the last time someone asked me to use a planner (teacher in high school), I did all my planning in my head and then wrote it all up the day it was due.

Because I usually plan in my head, and for years, it has worked. I was younger then, and I had a better memory.

Now? It seems that I need something more. The planner is cool, but I still have trouble finding the time to write stuff. I still plan in my head mostly. And, oddly enough, I write it in, but I rarely ever look at it after that. Epic fail.

I’ve also experimented with using the app Trello. It’s cool because I can do a version of Holly Lisle’s planning: one list for To Do, one list for Doing, and one list for Done. And then I move stuff along as I go. I’ve been using it with great success for camping to do lists, and recently when I was so overwhelmed with …

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The Magical Fantasy Dream Castle Retreat

Guys, I’ll be honest with you. Right now I’m struggling. I’ve had a bad cold/cough on top of impossible work deadlines all month, and that came after a hectic June and…to be honest, this has been going on for a while.

Luckily, I only have to get through this week and then it’s on to Internet-detox-and-nature-with-family time. But that’ll be over soon enough. I need a better solution. So I give you…

THE MAGICAL FANTASY DREAM CASTLE RETREAT

(There’s no picture here. You’ll see why in a moment.)

One day, when I’m as rich as J.K. Rowling (hey, a writer can dream), I’ll build this castle. It’ll be in the mountains and on a fjord at the same time, with a deep dark forest behind and a quiet cove in front. There will be horses and a sailboat and a canoe and a hammock and a hedge maze. The mountains will have caves and high passes and valleys beyond. The forest will have trails (but not too many) and brooks and glades. There will be mighty trees, and a treehouse worthy of an elf or an Ewok, and a magical white deer (or maybe it’s a unicorn) that can only be glimpsed on a full-moon night.

Inside, there will be the library from Beauty and the Beast. There will be a grand staircase and stained-glass windows. The bedroom will have a four-poster bed with a canopy, and a window seat, and a balcony. The bathroom will have a hot tub. …

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The Pantser is Plotting, Yikes!

So, plotting.

I am currently plotting out an idea I had a few weeks ago for a horror novel. Now, I am a pantser — that is, I make sh#$ up on the fly while I write. I’ve done this for most of the time I’ve been writing, with a few exceptions.

If you remember, I talked about Monica Leonelle. She uses a method for plotting that is very detailed. More detailed than anything I’ve ever plotted, with the exception of Survivor, which was plotted using the Snowflake Method.

But I have to wonder. Would Survivor be the awesome book it is today if I hadn’t thrown stuff in on the fly? I have whole characters and situations I’ve added that were never part of the planning. If I’d stayed the course, what would Survivor be like? What about that cool ending I dreamed up, that wasn’t the ending I’d plotted? Would it be the same? Would I have gotten there somehow anyway? (It’s like writer-fate. Would the story still insist upon being told the way it was fated to be told, or not?).

Take Fey Touched, my debut novel. I purposely did NOT write a single thing down plot-wise. I just followed it along a vague path that was in my head only. In fact, I’d gotten superstitious about writing anything down until the last 10% or so when I got stuck for the first time and devised that cool plot twist where [redacted] does [redacted] and …

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Adventures Come in All Sizes

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Have you heard this saying? (Interestingly, although it’s often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, the true author is Mary Schmich.) That’s a bit of a stretch for most people, myself definitely included. But regularly doing things out of my comfort zone? That I can handle. If I remember. Ruts are easy; adventures take work.

My most recent adventure: a dramatic haircut. I had my hair all sorts of lengths when I was younger, but it’s been in long layers, between chin length and shoulder length, for many years. But I’ve been thinking for a while about long pixie cuts, and short bobs (and doing enough research to know what to call the haircuts I’m interested in!). I just haven’t dared to do it.

This weekend I finally took the plunge.

Now I have a very short straight-across bob with bangs — think 1920s flapper hair. It’s cute as all get-out, and very different. I like it. But even more, I’m excited to play with different cuts now that I’ve realized that going short isn’t so scary after all.

Other scary and/or new things I’ve done so far this year:

  • Wrote a back-of-the book description with Kit for City of Hope and Ruin (it took a lot of drafts, let me tell you)…not to mention going through all the stages of getting this novel ready for publication
  • Gradually slid into helping to run the social dance series I’ve been attending for …

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Guest Post: Dianna Bell on Fanfiction

Siri here. We have a special post-Easter treat for you today. Because it’s the fifth Tuesday of the month, you’re getting a guest post from fellow writer Dianna Bell. Dianna is an Aussie who writes primarily fanfiction, and she’s here to share some ways in which lessons from fanfiction can apply to writing original fiction as well. Pleeeease welcome…Dianna!

This guest post feels like all my writing: I have a plan, but no idea how to start so that the words in my head hit the screen. How about I just wade in? I write fanfiction, and there are things I’ve learned from it that could apply to all writing. (Supposedly I also write original stuff, but I’ve had more luck in the last few years with fanfiction, and in any case that’s probably another blog post. Which may be a while coming, because I’m a guest. :-P)

Dismissing fanfiction as ‘not writing’ is wrong.

It’s true that characters, locations and more come ready-made; however, I’d note that I’ve never seen this argument made against people who redo fairy tales. I believe, whether fanfiction or original, a story boils down to a “what if” statement. No matter how much they started with or had to create from scratch, each writer has that moment when the “what if” comes to them, and they write down the story which follows from it.

Uh, what’s a fayth?

I’m writing a Frozen Fantasy X fanfic currently; I’ve replaced the Final …

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Why I Didn’t Post Yesterday

Normally, I’m pretty good at keeping myself organized. Because we’re on a schedule, it’s pretty easy to remember. I’m the third Tuesday. But, apparently, I got distracted.

Why did I get distracted? Well, you see, I was copyediting this awesome, kick-ass novel. The one we are releasing in May. I’d just gotten the second part, and I was DYING to keep reading because the place they ended part 1 was a bit of a cliffhanger and…gah. I kept thinking about it. And then I started copyediting, and time just went away.

It’s kinda been like this all month. Kit and Siri, bless their souls, were running a bit behind on edits, so I was working on Ever Touched and Covenant, my two main projects. Then, over the weekend, I got a kick-ass idea for a horror novel (or screenplay). So that’s been on my mind. I’ve had a few personal things happening in the midst of this, plus daylight saving time (don’t tell me it doesn’t effect you because I will smack you. Some of us are sensitive to such things, mmkay?) and work stress. So, yeah, I spaced on yesterday’s post. I apologize for my error. I know you were all waiting with bated breath for my monthly thought-dump.

But seriously? This book is out of this world (see what I did there? No? Okay, now I feel cheesy) and it’s very different from what’s out there which is the point. Awesome characters, awesome world, kind of dystopic, too. …

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Eight-Minute Writing

So I recently discovered Monica Leonelle. She writes fiction and non-fiction. I’ve read several of her non-fiction books, and one of them caught my eye: The 8-Minute Writing Habit: Create a Consistent Writing Habit that Works with Your Busy Lifestyle. This book was life-changing for me.

First of all, if you’ve been reading my posts for awhile, you know that I’ve written every day of my life (with a few exceptions) for at least ten years. Eight Minute Writing (the book) focuses on integrating writing into your lifestyle by writing just eight minutes a day. Brilliant, right? Anyone can grab eight minutes a day to pound out some words. Monica suggests doing this several times a day, and eventually upping it to maybe ten minutes, or fifteen. Back when I was struggling with Survivor, my psychological horror novel, in 2007, I wrote 50,000 words of it by writing just fifteen minutes a day. I was having ~issues, and fifteen minutes was a no-pressure, easy solution to the problem.

I highly suggest this for anyone who is struggling to find time or struggling period. It removes the expectations and wibbling (something which I engage in frequently) by giving you a clear deadline. Eight minutes and you are done. Note that there are no wordcount goals. This is strictly a time goal, and what you get — whether it’s 50 words or 300 — is fine.

But, since I’m already writing every day, I thought about how this might work for …

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Trigeminal Neuralgia: 5-Month Progress Report

Thought I’d give you an update on how I’m doing. For the most part, I’m pain free, which is wonderful. Some days I still have severe pain though, usually if it’s raining, if I’m stressed out, or, surprisingly, if I laugh too hard (that really threw me for a loop, but I suppose it makes sense — the motions of the face while I’m laughing must irritate the trigeminal nerve). I still have a bit of breakthrough pain near my next dose, and lately, I’ve had breakthrough pain as early as five o’clock (my second dose is at nine o’clock in the evening). Sometimes it will hit me out of nowhere with no discernible cause, and those times have me scratching my head. TN is definitely still a mystery, and I think it will take some time to peel all the layers off this condition.

BUT when I think of where I was around this time last year, in excruciating pain and hopeless, I am ecstatic. Most of the time, I’m okay, and I’ve been able to handle the breakthrough pain well enough. It’s not constant anymore. And, I have a diagnosis. I finally have a reason why my eye and face hurt so much. That’s invaluable to me. And to think that if I hadn’t done the research, had given up hope…I’d still be in pain and depressed and probably suicidal (did you know that TN was once called the “suicide disease”? Because people, like me, were in such horrific …

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