Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Learning Experience with More Than a Few "Facepalms"...

Two more writing days have passed and although Ten is coming along slowly, things are starting to progress in that story.

Chapter One has been started and although I had to do a few rewrites in it already, I think how the characters meet is solid and fits the setting, which is my hometown, and a small town. 

Getting past that first meeting wasn't easy and I'm considering redoing how they start meeting up from time to time. What's in the main file now doesn't seem to work right and I'm now thinking of ways to get them to get to know each other via more plausible scenarios instead of what I have now. 

Yesterday was the real test to see how well I can write something I haven't done before. The scene I had starting to gel in the mind was something in the erotica realm, and I thought it would suit the story and the lead characters, so I decided to give it a whirl, in a separate file to splice in later when I reach the right point in the main manuscript file. Five hours and five pages later, I had the scene finished in its ultra, ultra rough draft and it was bus time so I couldn't do a reread and edit. Son was in one of his ultra clingy moods after school and since it's an over 18 scene, I had to set it aside to work on later, when he wasn't around.

After the guys crashed last night, I opened the file and read it. Well, a lot of things were not working for starters. I had it flipping back and forth between the two characters and since I wasn't sure on how to do things on his end without going into the realm of "not fit for human consumption", I scrapped his POV and worked things so it was from hers only.

I was online while doing this and my best friend, Peapod, asked me if she could see it. Normally I don't like showing off the ultra ultra rough stuff to anyone, not even my best friend, at this point in the game but decided to anyway. I knew it wasn't great and was ready to chuck it and start over with something different.

Peapod told me that although it needs work, it's not bad for a first run. She gave me a few awesome suggestions and so far, it's all working for the scene itself. It still needs work on the latter parts of it, but it's more up to my standards now and fits a lot better than it had when I sent it off to her. I admit although I've written a few graphic regular love scenes in the past, I'm still uncomfortable writing them sometimes, moreso if it's something new that I've never tried to write before. With this scene, I'm in a realm I've never been in before, and although it's fun to try to amp things up and try something new, it's still kind of intimidating. I'm just glad I'm willing to try new things and learn with my work, and that I have someone like Peapod to give me a slap upside of the head with a reminder I *can* do this, when I need it the most! I'm also glad I have someone like her to help me with my weaker points. I still have problems with dialogue sometimes, and well, she knows my style and her suggestions always seem to fit perfectly, which is great.

Boy, this one is really turning out to be one heck of a learning experience alright, and I'm not even into Chapter Two yet... I keep wondering if the rest of this story is going to go like this or not, with the write something up, be ready to toss it and then get a slap upside of the head and a strict order *not* to do that. I know revisions and rewrites are part of the writing process, but I'm one who likes to get things perfect the *first* time, and I know, I should be less hard on myself. Maybe if I was, I'd learn a lot faster and be able to grow in my writing a lot easier. I'm too darn set in the "get it perfect in rough draft" ways and it's hard to let go of that thinking pattern. 

I'm trying, and that's the main thing I guess.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Changing Compass Points...

Hello to all of my readers! If you're new to viewing my blog, welcome, and I hope you enjoy reading my writing journey!

For all of my longtime readers and subscribers, I'm sorry I haven't been updating my blog as frequently in this new year as I had hoped, but things are in a transition for me as a writer and as a person in general. 

I've decided to shelve Untitled 9 for the time being. The idea of it is sound, but looking at my first two manuscripts, I've decided that maybe it's just too complicated and too ambitious for an unknown author like myself. Something simpler, shorter and to the point is more appropriate for an unknown like myself, and that's what I'm going to do.

I've been busy thinking about a lot of things, and well, I've been busy getting things set up for a *new* work in progress (WIP for short).

Untitled 10, or "Ten" as I've dubbed it in honor of my favorite incarnation of the Doctor from Doctor Who, now has a place of honor as my current WIP on the desktop. For the last week or so, I've been doing all of the "pre-writing" stuff for it, from character descriptions/personalities, how the characters meet and why, the setting/town it will take place in, and other things. The best of it is, I managed to get a detailed outline written up and I am going to stick to it. No extras, no sudden plot twists, no huge mysteries for the main characters, and not a zillion tons of baggage for the leads. Short, simple and to the point, not the ultra complex epics I have written in the past.

I'm not going to say *what* led me to the change of direction with my writing other than "I have my reasons" and it's "strictly confidential". Those who matter know, and that's as far as I'm going to delve into it publicly.

I have the prologue for Ten written - ultra rough draft, of course - and this week, I hope to get things moving in the main body of the story. Now that I know exactly where I'm going with this one and how I want things to play out, I'm feeling a lot better and can't wait to start getting into it! 

I think that's part of the problem I was having with Untitled 9 as well. I had no clear idea on where that story was going to go other than a "general and foggy overview" and the more I tried to force it, it kept getting more and more unclear to me... Plus I don't think I was destined to write that particular story at this time, and am supposed to take my writing in another direction, and hone my raw writing skills and talent in the meantime. 

I have learned a lot since the year started, notably within the last week. I didn't know as much as I thought I did, I was too arrogant about the level of my writing skills, and was too confident in my work. I see that now, and I'm more humble and more apt to see what I'm doing wrong in my writing and other stuff related to it.

Hopefully what I'm doing now will lead me to my dream of publishing one book in my lifetime. If Ten doesn't do it, maybe another idea and story will. I'll keep trying, keep learning, and keep going until I finally grab the brass ring. I'm one determined girl after all, and I'm willing to work hard and keep trying until either the final bell tolls or I die trying. Knowing my luck, it'll be the latter, but no one can say I "didn't try"... The proof lies on my desktop and my external/backup drives...

I just hope this new year and new idea progress as well as the last two years and manuscripts have. With a little luck, I'll be deep into the writing in a few weeks, and I hope to have the first draft of Ten finished by my youngest niece's second birthday at the end of January 2015... IF I can get into it like I did with the series.

It feels good to know what's going to happen in this new one, and now that I'm starting to get back into the actual writing again, I'm feeling wonderful. I've been out of sorts since I wrapped up the "Legacies" series about three months ago, and felt like I had no solid idea of where to go with my writing, or even what to do as a writer. I hated feeling like that. Anyone who knows me and has read my blogs, my posts in Sanctuary, and the updates on my personal and public profiles on Facebook know how vital writing is to me. It's like breathing. If I'm not writing, I'm not living, and to not be writing is like trying to breathe under water. It's that crucial to my life!

Anyway, I hope all of you are having a great new year so far. I'll be back when there's more to report on Ten's progress, and I hope to do that later this week after my writing days. Have a great Sunday everyone!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Post Holiday Surprise for All of You...

I know, the holidays have come and gone, but tonight, I've decided that I'm going to do something I swore I would not do until after I had signed a publishing contract. (I have "NOT" done so at this time, just to be clear!)

But, considering the amount of fans, friends and family who have supported me - including a lot of people I've never spoken to, and some that I haven't met until recently - and a number of people asking me if they could read my first book before it was published, I have come to a major decision.

I've decided to break my own rule of not sharing an excerpt, or anything related to the actual story line itself, in a fully public area and give all of my readers here a taste of my actual writing style. I know I have a few people who read my blog that are not on my personal profile's friends list, so I thought I'd give y'all a sneak peek into No Regrets.

This part is from Chapter 8, and the leading lady's cousin isn't impressed with who she has fallen in love with...

The memorial service was late the next morning, on a cloudy and cool day that matched Marti’s mood. Upon entering the church, she saw Ewan right away, with the rest of Miranda and Ralph’s employees.
Their eyes met for an instant and her grief hit him like a punch to the stomach. All Ewan wanted to do was hold her and he couldn’t. It wasn’t the right time or the right place for it. Her face was pale, her hair pulled back into a severe bun, and the black of her skirt and sweater made her appear smaller, more delicate.
He could sense her pain, and watched helplessly as she started to cry while “Amazing Grace” was sang by the choir with her youngest brother’s arm around her shoulders as she let out her sorrow, his own fingers clenched around the back of the pew in front of him. Sheryl, who sensed his anguish, reached over and patted his hand several times during the service.
After what seemed like hours, the minister led the way down the aisle and out the door, the pallbearer carried the urn and the family followed him. Marti’s eyes met Ewan’s briefly before she followed her parents out the door.
The graveside part of the service was short, the family decided that everyone could express their sympathy at the wake instead of the cemetery.
Everyone gathered at Grandpa Charlie’s house. It seemed all of his friends and family had brought food, more than enough to feed everyone assembled. People gathered in small groups, expressed their sympathy and talked about Nana Alicia with the family.
Ewan managed to find a spot by Marti not long after he arrived. She was standing with Miranda and her aunt Doreen in a corner away from most of the mourners, not saying anything and listened to her cousin and aunt talk quietly.
Miranda surprised him, and Marti, when she gave him a big hug after he expressed his condolences. “Thanks for coming, Ewan,” she said softly and patted his arm with a watery smile on her face. “Ewan has been a godsend, Mom,” she explained to Doreen. “He helped keep things organized at the office, and was the one keeping us all up to date on things happening there, but only after I twisted his arm.”
He shot his boss a stern look. “The office can run by itself for a few days. I didn’t see the need to bother you with work while you were busy and upset,” he said in explanation as Doreen excused herself and slipped away to greet more mourners.
“Thanks for doing it anyway. I know I kind of pushed you harder than I should have for updates.”
He shrugged. “It's the least I could do.” His eyes finally met Marti’s. “How are you holding up, Shorty?” he asked her gently.
She ducked her head and started playing with her rings. “I’m alright, I guess.” Her voice was almost inaudible and he could tell she was fighting tears.
To hell with it, he thought. He slid his arms around her and placed a soft kiss on top of her head. She returned the hug, squeezed him back with all of her might, more upset than she let on to everyone else. She started to cry and her sobs were muffled against his neck.
Over the top of her head, his eyes met Miranda’s, and he saw his concern for Marti reflected in the blue-gray depths of hers. Miranda lifted her hand to touch Marti’s shoulder, but when Ewan shook his head slightly, her hand stopped in mid-air.
The look told her that he would take care of her cousin, even if he was the last person Miranda expected Marti to turn to in her grief.
There was something in Ewan’s eyes that made the question of his true relationship with Marti tingle at the back of Miranda’s mind once again. Marti’s reaction didn’t seem typical of her normal behavior either. She normally tensed up when anyone but her family and closest friends tried to touch her, yet she was seeking comfort from someone she had let the world believe she barely knew.
The expression on Ewan’s face didn’t hide much. He was worried about Marti, which was okay considering they knew each other, but there was also a strong sense of protectiveness toward her emanating from his body. Miranda saw a layer of defiance in his eyes and appearance, as if he was telling her and the rest of the world that Marti was in his protection, no one else’s.
Her steely blue-gray eyes narrowed slightly at him. He met her gaze and his black irises shot her warnings not to say anything to upset Marti. She wisely kept her mouth shut, but Ewan knew he’d pay up for his boldness later. Miranda was not one to back down, and he knew when it came to Marti, all bets were off. She was like a mother bear when it came to her favorite cousin, and Ewan knew he had crossed the line in Miranda’s mind. Marti was an adult and could make her own choices, even if her family didn’t see it that way.
Marti’s tears were starting to turn to hiccups by this time. She turned her head slightly, observed the look passed between her cousin and the man she loved, and knew Ewan was in deep trouble with Miranda. Their secret was out, and although she was relieved about it, she felt shimmers of impending doom heading for both of them.
She pulled back slightly and tried to ease the strain of the moment by putting distance between herself and Ewan, but the damage was already done. He wouldn’t let go of her and his arm stayed gently secured around her waist as she met her cousin’s eyes.
Miranda reached out and tucked a loose tendril of hair behind Marti’s ear as she unsuccessfully tried to smile down at her cousin. She was too angry to say more than, “We will discuss this later,” in a hiss with a glare directed at Ewan before she turned and marched away.
Marti shivered. Miranda’s wrath was at its worst when she spoke quietly instead of screamed. She looked up at Ewan. He gave her a half smile as encouragement, but it didn’t ease her sense of the train wreck that was about to befall him at Miranda’s hands. Defying her was asking for a nuclear bomb to go off in one’s lap.
“I’ve never seen Miranda that angry,” Marti said in an undertone.
“She should mind her own business and leave you alone,” Ewan shot back quietly. “You’re an adult, and it’s none of her concern who you’re seeing.”
She stared up at him for a moment. “I know, but I’m more bothered by the fact that she is your boss and won’t hesitate to fire you for this.”
“If she fires me, she fires me. I can get another job almost anywhere and if I can’t, I have some money saved up to hold me over for a while.” His arm tightened around her waist. “If she thinks she’s going to chase me out of the province, she has another thing coming.” His forehead nuzzled hers. “The only way I leave the area is if you’re coming with me. I’m not leaving you behind, no matter what she wants to think.” He placed a soft kiss on her nose. “I love you too much to leave you because one of your family members doesn’t like me.”
Marti sighed softly. “I love you too, but you don’t know what Miranda is like when she gets a bee in her hat. She’s terrifying when she’s livid at someone.”
Ewan shrugged. “The only person who scares me is my grandfather, and Miranda’s temper is nowhere near a match to his. He just about disowned me when I told him I wasn’t going into the oil industry like the rest of the family, but I went down my own path despite his anger. He’s more accepting now, but at the time, he was fit to shoot me, literally. I’ve faced bigger and meaner than Miranda, trust me.” He kissed her softly and rested his jaw against her temple.
“Aren’t you forgetting your dream to open up your own agency?” Marti pointed out, a reminder of Miranda’s threat from weeks before.
He shrugged again and tightened his arm around her waist. “I have enough experience and enough of a reputation to get work in another place even if she does start causing problems for me. Besides, Ralph and I get along, and he has already given me a letter of recommendation, just in case I wanted to move on sometime soon.” He caught sight of Miranda’s glare from across the room. “Something tells me I’m going to need it.”
At Marti’s glum expression, he whispered, “I won’t go far, I promise, and if I do, you’ll be coming with me, remember? I was thinking along the lines of seeing what was in Wolfville so you wouldn’t have to drive down here every weekend, and we would be able to see each other every day.”
Marti stared up at him, shocked. “You would move up there for me? Even if you couldn’t get another job?”
He nodded and she cuddled up to his side.

I hope y'all enjoyed the little glimpse of what happens in No Regrets. 

Have a wonderful night, everyone! And if you're in the Maritime Provinces, I hope y'all are safe and warm. That blizzard was a doozy!