Happy 2016! 

Okay, so it’s a couple of days since New Year’s, but since I’ve not blogged since 2015, I still want to wish you all a very happy 2016! I hope this is the year you find all the happiness and joy in the world! 

I’ve started editing my November 2015 NaNoWriMo novella, still undecided if I should keep its original title of Freedom. That, as some of you may know, is the title of the flash fiction series I wrote here on my blog in August that became the inspiration from the novella. Maybe one of my resolutions should be to learn how to title novels better. It’s never come naturally to me to find a title very early in the process. Only after spending some time with the characters and plot does something evolve in my imagination. My favorite part of the novella is the couple at the center of the action, once married spies Aidan and Tasha. I love to write about them, so I wouldn’t rule out any additional projects involving them. 

I like to let my goals develop as the year progresses, so I don’t have a list of ten resolutions, but one thing I do plan to do in 2016 is finish the mystery novel I started last June at JuNoWriMo. I had to put it aside, unfinished for other things, and I miss it. Once again, the characters are calling!

Today is a special day here in the U.S. because it’s the Masterpiece Theatre premiere of Downton Abbey! My favorite show is in its last season, but I’ll just say I know things about the finale that make parting much easier. Thanks to overseas friends, I know what an international feed is, but I won’t give any spoilers all season long! The best part about the domestic airing is my season pass to iTunes, which will allow me to download each weekly episode the following day and enjoy on my iPad. It makes me very grateful to the person who gave me an iTunes card for Christmas! 

I wish everyone a great day!

Post Nano Planning

Now that NaNoWriMo 2015 is finished, I need to edit my 52,000 word draft. It’s the first time that I’ve written a complete story all in the 50K required for a win, but as I think back over the previous month, I know I have a lot of editing to do. My goal is to flesh out the characters, from appearance to more about their backgrounds and mannerisms. I believe that the flashback and flash forward style works because I enjoy reading stories like that myself. To move chronologically from beginning to end would bore me with my particular storyline. It works beautifully with certain storylines, though! 

I’ve also had much less time to write as I make my Christmas preparations. Last night I finished my entire card list in one sitting and am very pleased to have completed it in that way! Little by little, the things I need to do are getting done. 

So much of what I’ve been able to accomplish has been done through my new Theory Of Five Minutes. Too often I find myself wasting time in the day because I don’t use my spare, waiting, in between times to do anything useful. A few story ideas jotted down in five minutes, a note written, a stack of papers organized, it all makes a difference. Of course, it’s always important to find time to relax, even if for only five minutes!

I wish you all a good day, may you be productive and happy. 

Survey Sunday

What is your favorite genre for reading and writing?

It’s hard to choose just one for each of the categories! I love to read mysteries, historical fiction and nonfiction, sci fi and chick lit. Over the past 12 months, I’ve participated in four wrimos and have written in a few different genres. I finished one sci fi novel, as well as a sci fi fantasy romance, started a mystery and struggled through the beginning of another sci fi story. My project for November is a suspense novel with a few sci fi and romance elements. I’m equally comfortable writing in terms of the real world as I am speculative fiction. 


What’s the last book you read? Did you enjoy it? Give us your thoughts. 

The last book I read was a YA novel called They All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach. It was centered around four high school seniors whose lives change abruptly when an asteroid is on a collision course with the earth. I enjoyed it on the whole because it had excellent character development and deep plot lines as they adjust to the likelihood of the fate of the planet. I won’t give anything away, but the end was very much a cliffhanger that left the typical wrapping up of storylines unresolved. I didn’t particularly like that element because it felt so abrupt. Normally this doesn’t bother me, but in most cases of books that end this way, there are a few clues as to what might happen. This may just be me, but that’s my take on it. 


Do you prefer paper books or ebooks? 

I love both. I grew up with paper books, so I love the touch and smell of reading one. Ebooks are great, too. Storage is not an issue and the backlit displays are very easy to see. 


What’s your take on fanfiction?

I love it. I know there are various mindsets among authors on this issue, but I think writing or reading fanfiction can be very rewarding. Before the Internet and sites for fanfiction, I can imagine a lot of creative types wrote it before anyone gave it a name. I know I did; I wrote a resolution to the end of the television show Quantum Leap as a teenager. In my opinion, anything that gets more people, especially the young, involved in reading and writing is a good thing. Writing on the basis of already established characters and plots and still being able to make it feel authentic and true to the source is not easy, and I think it prepares a lot of the skills one uses to write original fiction. I know a lot of people started out in a fanfiction setting and kindled their love of writing into the world of original works. 


What’s your favorite way to spend your free time?

I love to relax by hanging out with people I love or being alone… Both suit me equally well. I love reading, watching films, listening to music, exercising, shopping. There are many ways to fill a free day, depending on what’s going on!

Post Wrimo

I need to formulate a plan for all of the editing I need to do now that the summer Wrimo sessions are ending. There’s so much advice among authors regarding the editing process… what’s a writer to follow? Those of you who have your strategies in place have my admiration and applause, but perhaps you’re new to the multi novel editing process like me. Some writers like to edit a project without even touching anything else. Others alternate between projects or even mix it up between finishing writing one while editing a second. I’m not sure what will work for me, but since I tentatively plan to start a new novel on November, it would be great to tie up as many of my loose ends as I can before that time. The best approach seems to be one of abandon, to dive into whatever method you think may work for you and giving yourself freedom to change later on. 

Are you someone who likes to focus on a singular thing? Maybe the one edit at a time will work for you. I have never had much success in this category because once I’m done with a Wrimo I have exhausted my capability to look at one thing at a time. But maybe you’re the opposite way. 

Do you find yourself multitasking more often than not, as I do every day? I think I’ll start with finishing one project while editing another. And if I don’t get it all done by November, that’s cool. I need to remind myself that some progress is better than no progress, and if I have made any part of my writing better, that’s the purpose of my mission, even if I don’t finish it by a certain date. A dear friend of mine, author Rebecca Odum, tells me that she likes editing because it makes the book better. I’ve adopted this philosophy and dread edit times less than I did before. I want to go back and see what I can do better in my second look at what I’ve created in a delightful frenzy of thirty days. 

I’ll embark on this process in the next few days, and I hope your experience will be a good one no matter what part of the writing journey is ahead for you. 

To Write Again

I lie in the dark of half an hour till midnight, sending an opening in my soul that I haven’t felt for a long time. The waves are washing over me like a wall dropping newly painted hues on my head, making me alive again. The lack of ability to create left me missing myself for this is my heart and soul, my essence.

It seems as if every day I learn something new about you. The knowledge loosens another certainty and I am not wrapped anymore in the warmth that I knew you at all. The part of me that belonged to you might have been fooled, misguided, led into the idea that I was special to you or that I mattered at all. The tears don’t even come to my eyes these days. I lie my head down and soak up the solitude.

Little by little, the tulips inside my heart raise their heads above the melting snow. I love the peaceful nightfall. I know I was meant to write again.

A Mutual Gift

The saying informs us to keep one’s friends close and enemies closer. She had one friend and one enemy. The latter lived one floor above her in the crazy brownstone they call home. On the other hand, the friend she had was great, the most loyal and caring ally for which one could hope. In short, she had everything. And yet there was a deep place in the recesses of her heart where she had nothing. It was a decent parallel, she supposed, to the friend and enemy balance.

She had no past. As if by design, she was an enigma. Faint mentions of a shade of a something, floating through the air like the phosphorescent cloud that it was colored in the details that could satisfy most curious minds. Her background in music and theater, dance and writing. How she was born in a better place but exiled. How she was born healthy but was taken down systematically, as if reduced to ashes. However, out of the ashes, a new person had risen like a phoenix. She was a person of the moment without much to hold her to any singular time or place. She was ageless. Young, very young, while older than expected.

Those who were accepting would be loved forever. They literally had no idea how much it touched her, running deeply into the seat of her soul that she was not an outsider among them. They had not even seen her, so she decided to finally show herself to them.
The elegant building, more art installation than brick and mortar, was crowded that night with men and women in fine dresses and suits hovering about, the tinkling of their champagne glasses mingling with the ubiquitous hum of conversation. At one table they sat, not expecting anyone who had not appeared on the guest list to join them. But then there was a brief break in the buzzing as they turned to see a lone figure walking away from the entrance and toward the tables. One of them murmured that the stranger’s dress was hauntingly familiar, the kind of question that lingers without resolution. It was a black skater minidress with a nearly open back, daring yet fitting the glamour of the night. The figure walked in smooth steps, nothing halting or hitching, causing the spectators to draw their eyes downwards to her feet, where one might expect to see a dramatic pair of stilettos. Instead, she wore a pair of soft leather flats in bright fuchsia. Turning toward the bar, she nodded slightly toward the watching table.

They began to talk at once, not unkindly but curiously. Where had they seen her before? Why was it that in her steady gaze, they imagined themselves looking into the eyes of someone so achingly familiar? What was it that drew them to her? They began to sense something calming, peaceful and enthusiastic in their midst, and there was no denying that it was because of her.

But like the phosphorescent light, she was gone.

She was undoubtedly satisfied with being so near, yet so far. It was a mutual gift. Were she made of flesh and bone instead of unfulfilled wishes, she could have joined them at the table. But she was not. She was formulated from heartbreak leading to a counterintuitive sort of freedom, the gleeful futility of someone with nothing left to lose. With nothing on the line, it was easy to enjoy.

Recite

You recite the facts to yourself as you discreetly shed a torrent of steaming tears.

No one must see them. The person who confided in you will think she’s made you sad. But you’re not sad. You’re angry. On her behalf.

Recite the facts again. Wipe the hot, angry tears from your eyes. No one can know.

The questions roll in. How can anyone be so thoughtless to this person all the time? Recite. You have the answer. It fulfills your mind on occasion, but never the heart. Not once the heart.

You’re not crying for yourself. There is no denying that your own life isn’t perfect. Whose is? But you are treated well, cared for, given beyond what most people could expect.

You’re crying for the one who has none of these things. And the reasons, no matter how often you recite them, never make sense. They never will.

You’re crying because you can’t make the problem go away. You want to do this so badly that stings in every rivulet that slides down your cheeks. You allow this for just a few minutes, arising from unrelated frustrations, it comes. But it must cease. Now. Wipe them away. Be content. If there’s one thing you’re great at, it’s being content. Others envy you. Always have. But would they if they understood how helpless you feel?

You take a deep breath now that the tears of lament for all the injustice are gone. Forcing yourself to relax, you return your voice to a steady dulcet tone, should you be required to speak. You won’t give it away. You cannot. You must be ready to help. It’s the only thing you know how to do. The only way you want to do.