National Novel Writing Month 2016

Guess what I’ll be doing in November! Nanowrimo!

Those of you in the novel writing world have probably heard of National Novel Writing Month. According to Wikipedia, it is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words (their minimum number of words for a novel) from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process.

It winds up being an average of 1667 words per day. You can do more or less depending on your schedule, but to win, you need to have 50,000 by the end of the day on November 30th. Last year I think I had my 50,000 on November 24th, a couple of days before Thanksgiving. But continued to write to finish the draft of the story.

I participated last year and won with approximately 63,000 words and a rough draft of the sequel to The Hard Way called The Bully’s Way. This year’s novel is called The Street’s Way, which will be the third book in this series. Same characters continuing their story lines. Be sure to look for these books coming soon.

If you are also participating in Nano and want another buddy, I am in as SelmaPVerde. It is a great motivator to get the draft done and a fun activity to participate in with other authors on their writing journies.

Thoughts in the Writing House

Monday night: I’m sitting in my recliner watching some major league playoff baseball; the Dodgers versus the Nationals. Just letting myself relax after a hard day at work.

It feels weird to not have any writing to work on right now. It is a nice break, but I keep thinking that I am supposed to be doing something. Guess I am excited to get working on The Hard Way’s manuscript again.

Thursday: Next batch of edits came from my editor Michelle. I plan to jump into those over the weekend. Like I have said, it is a lot of work, but so cool to see how the clean up is really bringing the story out and making it shine. It also gives me a great opportunity to clarify ideas and fix the storyline that needs fine tuning.

Saturday: I am seeing the colors of the leaves changing and the cooler air of fall settling in. Gives me a beautiful view as I write. Sitting at my computer today with a comfortable feeling provided by an extra sweater. Love this time of year. Will continue to work on the edits as I enjoy a pumpkin spice coffee to keep me warm and comfortable.

Sunday: While watching a little NFL football, I read through the rest of manuscript showing all of the edits from Michelle. I worked through the suggested changes and either accepted them or rejected them. I’ll let it sit for the rest of the night and read through the manuscript a couple of times during the upcoming week to make sure the story line works and everything still sounds right.

The goal is to have this section revised and sent back to Michelle by the end of the month. I think it will be more than doable. It feels really good to be making progress.

Writing House Status Update

Just when you think it sounds right, the next sentence comes along and then there is more work to do.

The editing process continued at the Writing House this week. Not only did I get the second read through done, but I spent some time reading the manuscript out loud. It really helped me to hear what it sounds like. After listening to my reading, I seem to be on the wordier side of life when it comes to writing. I think I may speak that way too.

The first ten chapters went back to Michelle this week and I’m looking forward to the next ten coming my way next week. I took a little break from writing to read a story that my friend’s daughter wrote and to take care of some other tasks around the house. It was a nice mini break to celebrate the completion of the first round of edits.

Over the weekend, I hosted our book club meeting on Saturday. We read South of Superior by Ellen Airgood. Great read. Very relatable for people who have visited the small towns and cities found on the coast of Lake Superior. It had mixed reviews in our group. And with our last day of fall baseball on Sunday, we had a full weekend around our home.

Each round of editing brings me one step closer to having it published! The editing process will continue into this week. Be sure to look for another progress update next Monday!

This week at the Writing House

Hello! Still at the desk in the writing house this week. I was able to work through the changes that my editor Michelle sent to me and I completed a first read through of the updated manuscript. The process pointed out a couple of fixes that needed to be made.

After I added my editor’s suggested changes, it was like weeding a garden. I was able to read through a cleaner manuscript and focus on the storyline to make sure that it was developing the way I wanted it to. I renamed a couple of things and reworked some sections that smoothed out the evolution of the story itself. It also helped to clarify my MC’s feelings and added some more depth to his character. I think it may have made him even a little more engaging.

I’ll be spending the rest of this week working on a second read through, maybe make a few more tweaks to it before I send this section back to my editor. Then she will send me another section to work through. Although it is a lot of work, I can see the changes helping it evolve into the story that I imagined; and more. Can’t wait until it is ready to publish and then share it with my readers and followers.

Back to the Writing House

Since last weekend, I’ve been working on a couple of formatting changes to my blog, including new categories and colors. Trying to give it a fresh look and clean it up a bit.

After some soul searching last week, I decided to jump back into my edits for my WIP, The Hard Way. My goal is to get the manuscript done and get the novel ready to publish. Lately, I have been spending a lot of time with the blog, which has been keeping me writing. However, I had a voice nagging in the back of my head asking, “when is it time to finish the novel?” I guess I can say that life got in the way, but that seems to happen to me when it comes to my own writing goals.  Maybe I’m scared of achieving my dream or maybe I’m waiting for the right moment to do it. I’m not sure. But I have decided that now it the time to make it happen.

Part of building this writing house is getting the novel done. Not only is it a goal of mine, but it is also a big milestone on my writing journey. I enjoy the writing that I do on my blog, but once my first book is out there, the writing house takes on a whole new look. We will then have to install bookcase in the house, for our own books.

I still plan to do a weekly post for #MondayBlogs and WordPress postaweek, but will be keeping things a little shorter for a while. Now on a weekly basis, I will have status updates on how my editing is going and what interesting things I’ve learned by doing it.

By taking two days of vacation from work and making a four day weekend out of it, I decided it would be the perfect time to get started. So, on Wednesday night after work, I cleaned off the writing desk to get ready to jump back into my Word file that holds the current version of The Hard Way

Thursday morning comes. After getting the kids off to school and Sam off to work, I took care of some things around the house so I could clear my plate to get started. After grabbing a cup of coffee, I sat down to my laptop and the system needed to do some updates. I sighed and decided to do them. One more hurdle to my starting my project. It took quite a while to get those updates done, must have had a lot of them to do. Finally the computer is ready. It is time to begin!

Are you ready to join me on this writing journey?

The Secret Pond – Chapter 6 – Abigail

Here is the last installment of The Secret Pond. I hope you have enjoyed this writing journey with me. I feel good about completing the story. I learned a lot along the way about myself and my writing style. Writing this story in installments every week as a “pantster” has been challenging for me. I found out that I could do it, but it isn’t where my writing strengths are. It adds an element of pressure for me to not only create it within a timeline but also have it well edited and ready to publish. I envy those writers that write with deadlines like these every week.

Chapter 6 – Abigail

Continue reading “The Secret Pond – Chapter 6 – Abigail”

The Secret Pond – Chapter 5 – Sally

Chapter 5 – Sally

Sally was anxious to find out what Abigail thought of her special place. She took a big leap of faith to share her stories in the first place. It took even more to actually bring her here. 

When they arrived at the pond, Abigail stopped on the path next to Sally, turned around in a complete circle to take it all in. After a couple of minutes, she took a deep breath and gave Sally a great big smile. Sally felt a great sense of relief. She had finally shared the location of her special place with someone other than Lila.

“What do you think?” Sally asked.

“It is just like you described it in your stories. Very beautiful.”

“Let me show you where I do a lot of my writing,” she said and started walking on a narrow path through the trees that stayed pretty close to the pond.

They continued walking and arrived at a spot on the opposite side of the pond from where they started. There was a big red colored rock that sat about six feet back from the water. Sally climbed up on it, sat down, and put her backpack on her lap.

“This rock is made of red granite, the state rock of Wisconsin. I know, because I looked it up. Please come and sit with me Abigail,” Sally pleaded, “there’s enough room for both of us up here.”

Abigail walked towards the rock and climbed up next to Sally. The vantage point from there allowed her to see the entire pond. As they both sat there taking in the view, she saw the mama deer and her fawns across the pond walk up to the edge and take a drink of water.

“It is one of the best things about being here. The view is beautiful and it is so peaceful,” Sally replied as she took her notebook out of her backpack.

“The house is a very busy place,” Abigail said, “it has to be nice to have a place like this to come to.”

“It is. My mom likes the hustle and bustle and to show off what she has. She’s always inviting people over.”

“I thought they were friends of your parents’,” Abigail said.

“No. Typically they are either influential people in the area, members of the higher society, or they are just trying to meet my parents to say that they know them.”

“Do your parents have any friends that come to visit them?”

“Not really. Although, when the family comes to the house it is more of a visit than a party.”

“Were they the ones who stayed here over Christmas?” Abigail asked.

“Yes, those were my father’s relatives. My mother’s relatives will come and stay with us in the fall. After I leave for school.”

“Are you looking forward to going away to school?”

“In a lot of ways, yes. I don’t like living here. But I’ll miss the pond. And you.”

Sally reached over to give Abigail a hug. She felt Abigail’s body jerk away from her when she touched her. She pulled her arms back right away and put her hands in her lap.

“I’m sorry Abigail,” Sally said, “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“No Sally, I’m sorry. You just startled me. I’m not used to receiving affection. My mom wasn’t the hugging type, so I haven’t been exposed to it. Let’s try again.”

Sally nodded and reached around Abigail and gave her a hug. Sally felt her hang on a little longer than what she was used to with hugs from her own family. After Abigail let go, they both got resettled on the rock.

“Like you, I wasn’t very close to my mom. She was so busy trying to get me out of the house.”

“Why?” Sally asked.

“She thought I should be working on my future and not just sitting around. I think she didn’t want me to rely on her for support.”

“I know my parents financially support me. But I don’t even know who they are.”

“That’s really sad.”

“I’m afraid that when I move away they won’t even contact me. They will be too busy. The only contact I will have back at home will be Lila. And she was someone I created to keep me company.”

“The stories that you have written about her show your strength in creative writing. That skill will take you far at school.”

“What will you do when I leave Abigail?”

“I’m not sure. I have to talk to your Mom and see if she still needs me. Otherwise, I don’t know. Do you know where Claire went when she left here?”

“She went back to live with her mom and dad. Her mom was pretty mad at mother after Claire left.”

“Why?” Abigail asked.

“Since her mom was friends with my mother in college, she assumed that my parents would have been more generous with their money. Claire’s family is not very well off. Instead of sending her to school, they had her come work for my parents. The idea was for Claire being my nanny, that my parents were going to give her money for to get her education.”

“What gave them that idea?”

“I think they agreed to it before Claire came to live here. Then mother decided not to do it.”

Sally hoped that things would go better with her parents and Abigail. But she didn’t have good feelings about it.

“I don’t know where I will go. I don’t know where my mom is. And, I don’t think I want to go back to Superior.”

“You should go somewhere and teach. You are a good teacher. I hope that you do something that you like with people who love you, like a family. You deserve that.”

“So do you Sally.”

“I’m going to a place where I’ll meet some new friends and find some new things to do. You won’t have that unless you leave here.”

“When I took the job, I saw it as a great opportunity to grow and do something I love, to teach. And that working for a rich family would give me a great place and connections to grow successful from.”

“I’m afraid that my parents may not support you the way you want them to, Abigail.”

“You are right Sally,” Abigail replied, “my true future may not be found by staying here.”