Wednesday, July 18, 2018

ROW80: Week 3: Wednesday & Spain

I always wonder why I should post on any Wednesday for A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80). Sometimes I do just skip, because Sunday was just yesterday, wasn't it?

Updates for Midweek, Week 3:
--On track to meet goal of +1,000 new words this week (800 words so far).
--Digging into research on museums collections, robberies, and types of theft.
--Have read x4 other writer's blogs.
--Staying afloat with babysitting immersion this week and next.
--Quilted a little each day. Exercise. Not this week. I'm counting running after the 3-year-old and the 6-year-old as exercise!

Now, about WIPpet and the writing, I do have a chapter outline and a general sense of my characters and what's going to happen next. But each day (and each bit of research) takes me in unexpected directions. Today's surprise was an amazing collection of tapestries -- in Spain!

Here with thanks to Emily Wrayburn for Wednesday's SNIPpet (WIPpet) are 7 short paragraphs (for the month of July) from my current work-in-progress:

-----
     Sandra slipped into Roger’s office, struck again by the two small framed tapestries that decorated his office. “Those are quite lovely. Are they French?”
     “You have a good eye,” said Roger. “I’m very proud of them. Actually, though they were woven in Flanders, these two are from Spain.” He touched the frame of the two hangings. “They were a gift from the Giroux family, one of our major donors.”
     Sandra wondered if the gift had been approved by the museum. She looked again at the hangings. “Were they part of the collection at the Palace of La Granja just outside Segovia?”
     Roger looked at her with surprise. “Yes, I believe they were . . . surplus, or something like that.” He huffed. “I do have appropriate provenance.”
     Sandra shook her head. “I visited Spain a few summers back. What an amazing museum. The palace itself was modeled after Versailles.”
     “I haven’t been. Yet.”
     “I do have good news for you. Mrs. Campbell is going to donate the Narwhal Cup to our Museum.”

-----
Check in with other ROW80 writers on our BLOG or FACEBOOK page!


PS Someone asked me how I come up with names -- Here, the internet is another rich resource. I usually search (as this morning) for 'most common last names in France'. Or, first names. Usually 2-3 resonate, and my character has a name!  Sometimes I find names of places by reading street names as I drive around, as in the Waterford Inn or Sprague's Tavern. If I'm feeling very snarky, I might use the name of someone who was mean for an antagonist. And how do you pick your character names or place names? Have a great week writing!

Monday, July 16, 2018

ROW80: Monday morning . . .

"I'm late. I'm late." So the rabbit sings as he falls down that hole in the ground to a different dimension. My early morning breakfast of cottage cheese, blueberries, and walnuts with a smidge of banana prepares me to catch up, to focus, and to get to work.

WEEK 3 CHECK-IN: I've been a member of A Round of Words in 80 Days since 2013. Our online group is smaller, but I've gained writing friendships and that inexorable desire to set goals by the week, by the month, and by the round. The goals shift and change, but slowly (sometimes with very slow progress), I do make progress.

The challenge always is how to balance my personal goals with other commitments -- and how to say 'no' when that 'to do' list gets too long. And how to check-in to ROW80 without inhibiting that daily goal to write. Simplify!
  • WRITING: Continue studying the craft of writing and drafting The Seventh Tapestry. Goal 1,000 words/week. Last week: 1,461 new words!
  • RESEARCH: Continue digging into research that supports The Seventh Tapestry. Last week: 4 sessions.
  • MARKETING: Refine overall plan; carry out 2 activities/week. Last week: Sent promo for reading this coming week.
  • BLOGGING: Post minimum of 2 posts each week.  Last week: Posted 2x here and 1x on Writing blog -- "World-building more important than Story?" Note: research this week fed the blog!
  • COMMUNITY: Improve outreach through active participation in social media, online and F2F writing groups x5 activities/events each week. Last week: Attended workshop on difference between women's fiction and romantic fiction. Got to meet with writers' group. Posted on FB. Improvement needed!
  • HOME-TENDING: Support healthy diet, exercise, and my family, keeping a balance between work/play. Last week: Birthday party for son-in-law. Steady progress on diet (lost 1 pound) and swam x3. But, darn, foot still hurts if I do too much, so that link between good progress on diet and exercise more often just isn't working like it did when I was younger.
And there you have it. My week in under 30 minutes.

May your writing go well. 

Why not join us OR check in to see what other ROW80 writers are up to on our BLOG or FACEBOOK page!


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

ROW80: Weds check-in with a snippet

Summer has arrived here with 90F plus predicted for the next two weeks. I'm feeling lucky my writing routine is early in the morning. Our patio gets just a little morning sun, so my one potted plant is still flowering.

Yesterday, I drove DH to his last section of the Centennial Trail, an easy walk of some 4 miles. Just as he was ready to hit the trail, we realized I left my phone at home, making coordination for pick-up nearly impossible. So I drove the 30 minutes home and then back again, recognizing again how quickly we rely on new technology. All ended well. Now, he's looking at new trails to hike. The hardest part is not going with him.

Here's my update for Weds, Week 1, #2:
  1. WRITING: Continue studying the craft of writing and drafting The Seventh Tapestry. Goal 1,000 words/week. Progress: 720 words so far. Still working on my romantic suspense tale, inspired by "Where's the chocolate in your story?" (a writing prompt that led me to focus on taste -- and writing with more attention to the five senses).
  2. RESEARCH: Continue digging into research that supports The Seventh Tapestry. Progress: Specific goal: Read 2 chapters in Houpt's Museum of the Missing. Read one chapter, but information a little too general, sometimes the tone is snarky (class-based), and yet, I'm finding useful nuggets. Not started: Build map of building and images of key collections. What's next? workshop on world building on Saturday.
  3. MARKETING: Refine overall plan; carry out 2 activities/week. Progress: Updated 'back matter' for all my books. In process of uploading/converting from CreateSpace to Amazon (not an easy process). Local library added two more of my books. Now have 2 book club visits pending. Prepping for reading this coming week. 
  4. BLOGGING: Post minimum of 2 posts each week. Progress: Posted x1.
  5. COMMUNITY: Improve outreach through active participation in social media, online and F2F writing groups x5 activities/events each week. Need to clarify action steps more precisely for this category. Read other blogs x8. Progress: Not as much as I'd like. I did read other blogs x4. That's it.
  6. HOME-TENDING: Support healthy diet, exercise, and my family, keeping a balance between work/play. Progress: Swam x2 this week so far. Birthday party today (goal: small piece of cake). Quilting scraps organized. Books all donated. Did organize notes on Panama trip. Next: Organize notes for last spring's Merida trip. 
Too hot for much else. Question of the day: Which of the five senses do you tend to use most? Why? What does your current story need more of?

And for Weds WIPpet, thanks to facilitator Emily Wrayburn, here are 7 sentences for the month of July -- and one to grow on: 

     The first time Sandra held the Narwhal Cup, she almost dropped it. Mrs. Campbell had unwrapped it from packing materials and placed it on the large oak table in her drawing room. Sandra slipped on her gloves and held it with both hands. 
     The outer face of the carefully carved bone cup was covered with sea-unicorns floating on an ocean of stylized waves. Inside, the cup was lined with bone of a slightly different color. Sandra wasn’t sure how she could authenticate the cup without taking a small scraping. She couldn't help but remember all the stories about how such a cup was supposed to prevent poisoning – except for the Duc du Lac, the Monseigneur Claussier, and how many others? 
     That's when the cup wobbled and threatened to fall right out of her grasp. 

Have a great week ahead. Why not check in to see what other ROW80 writers are up to on our BLOG or FACEBOOK page!






Sunday, July 8, 2018

Round 3, Week 1: All by Myself . . .

My F2F writer's group was cancelled this morning, so I'm singing that lovely tune, "All by Myself . . ." today. But I don't feel all by myself. Supported by texts, e-mails, and videos (even music), the writing goes well. So here's my progress this week on Round 3 goals. Of course, a new goal got added.
  1. WRITING: Continue studying the craft of writing and drafting The Seventh Tapestry. Goal 1,000 words/week. Progress: +1,278 words.
  2. New goal added: RESEARCH: Continue digging into research that supports The Seventh Tapestry. Progress: Mostly online. Feeling a bit stymied about my imaginary museum and am looking forward to the workshop on world-building next week. Found lovely checklists for museum security at Collections Trust for the UK. More specific goal: Read 2 chapters in Houpt's Museum of the Missing. Build map of building and images of key collections.
  3. MARKETING: Refine overall plan; carry out 2 activities/week. Progress: Invited to visit another book club (Sept)! Pending: Still working on updating back matter for all three books. I'm feeling a little down on social media, which leaves me wondering how to reach readers.
  4. BLOGGING: Post minimum of 2 posts each week. Progress: x3 posts, including one on the value of "Waffling and Decluttering" (a focus this week).
  5. COMMUNITY: Improve outreach through active participation in social media, online and F2F writing groups x5 activities/events each week. Progress: Visited/commented x6 other blogs. Busy week decluttering brought e-mails from over 300 to about 70! Need to clarify action steps more precisely for this category. 
  6. HOME-TENDING: Support healthy diet, exercise, and my family, keeping a balance between work/play. Picnic on the 4th, a little quilting. Next week: take that last box of books away! Organize travel notes for Panama.
Had fun exploring the online coffee houses in Edinburgh. Here's my latest find: Deacon's House Cafe, just around the corner from Sandra's mythical bank on the Royal Mile. Who doesn't like a bit of hot coffee?

Deacon's House Cafe (Terry G. on Yelp)

Question for this week: What strategies do you use for world-building? Do you invent names instead of using 'real' names for businesses or institutions. And, how's the writing going?

Check in to see what other ROW80 writers are up to on our BLOG or FACEBOOK page.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Row80 #1: Round 3 Begins!

Round 3 begins with the first update after posting goals on Sunday. Isn't it too soon? Looks like I've done really nothing so far.
  1. WRITING: Continue studying the craft of writing and drafting The Seventh Tapestry. Goal 1,000 words/week. THIS WEEK: Deleted more than wrote so far. Now at 14,747 for Section 01. Hope to reach 1,000 by Sunday.
  2. MARKETING: Refine overall plan; carry out 2 activities/week. THIS WEEK: Finally organized marketing research. If I have about 70 pages of single-spaced notes, surely I can set priorities.
  3. BLOGGING: Post minimum of 2 posts each week. THIS WEEK: Posted monthly post for Insecure Writer's Support Group on writing goals and today for us (and WIPpet Weds).
  4. COMMUNITY: Improve outreach through active participation in social media, online and F2F writing groups x5 activities/events each week. THIS WEEK: Joined National RWA; local chapter next (they have great meetings). Read ROW80 x6. Connected with a new book club.
  5. HOME-TENDING: Support healthy diet, exercise, and my family, keeping a balance between work/play. THIS WEEK: They came first! Movie day on Tuesday, breakfast with my grown-up kid. Family picnic today. Exercise on track. Lost 1 pound. All is good.
Inspiration from Whisper
So, here's what I'm having fun with this week: CONFLICT and CHARACTERS. It's no secret that I hate conflict. I would rather sit down and talk than yell. So the conflict in my stories tends to happen off screen, except for a few gritty scenes. 

My focus this week and last has been exploring how to uptick the tension in ANY scene, and I'm learning more about my characters (their actions, emotions, and motivations).

Here's my snippet for Wednesday's WIPpet, kindly hosted by Emily Wrayburn: 7 sentences for the month of July from The Seventh Tapestry as two main characters get to know each other.

     Sandra dragged Thomas room-by-room, pointing out the tiny kitchen, the warming bars in the bathroom for towels, and, as she brought him back to the airy living room with its cozy navy couch and large, bright, modern paintings, she stopped by the large wooden table now decorated with pink and yellow roses. “This will be my workspace. Do you like the view?”

     He shrugged. “’Tis no' so bad for just off the Royal Mile. But how long will you truly stay.”

     Suddenly sobered, Sandra looked up at Thomas. She was still holding his hand. “I don’t know.”

How's your week going? Too fast? How's the writing? 

Note: You can always check in to see what other ROW80 writers are up to on our BLOG or FACEBOOK page.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Round 3: Goals & Deep Pockets

Did you ever buy a pair of pants with those dainty, shallow pockets your keys and cell phone fall out of? I have a 5-minute fix. Just cut the bottom right out of those pockets and drag out the sewing machine. Cut a 4 x 8" patch of a hardy fabric (cotton works), and sew an extension right on the raw edge of the pockets. Presto! Deep pockets!

Wish goal setting were as easy. Before Round 3 ends (80 days from now), here are my goals for improving my writing and marketing:
  1. WRITING: Continue studying the craft of writing and drafting The Seventh Tapestry. Goal 1,000 words/week.
  2. MARKETING: Refine overall plan; carry out 2 activities/week.
  3. BLOGGING: Post minimum of 2 posts each week.
  4. COMMUNITY: Improve outreach through active participation in social media, online and F2F writing groups x5 activities/events each week.
  5. HOME-TENDING: Support healthy diet, exercise, and my family, keeping a balance between work/play.
Now that list above is rather short, but it reflects the heart of what I hope to accomplish before Round 3 ends. What's next is hairy, messy, and may well morph into something new. We are truly half-way through the year. Shades of fall and winter beckon before the heat of summer is upon us. And some of us are stubborn! We are going to set goals and make progress.


Why not join us? Or, check in to see what other ROW80 writers have planned on our BLOG or FACEBOOK page.



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

ROW80: Wednesday???

We're near the end of Round 2 for A Round of Words in 80 Days. Well, I'm still trying to fall into the rhythm of reporting in on Sunday AND Wednesday, so I'm not stopping now!

Writing: +350 on Tapestry by Weds (Goal 1,000/this week). May get another session in tonight.

Revision: Yes! Actually revamped the back matter in Standing Stones and uploaded the new version to KDP. Up next? New back matter for Rivers of Stone AND Years of Stone. Apparently, a key marketing spot in your Kindle book is right after 'the end.' That's when we're supposed to ask the reader for a review -- and list our books (cover and blurb and link). Who knew?

Other major challenge for revision? Hubby (who is a brillliant and intrepid critic) is finally reading Rivers of Stone (out since November). Did he spot some areas that need revision? Of course. Am I making a list?

Marketing: One book club is now considering Rivers of Stone for their annual calendar. Two more local book clubs to contact. Musicians found for my July reading (much less stress). Until I get the back matter updated, I can't go ahead to schedule my BookBub ad. 

Other Stuff: Actually read/commented x5 for ROW80 posts. Reactivated my Spark People tracker to help me measure progress w/diet and exercise. Used cell phone waiting area at the airport for the very first time. What a time-saver. Actually made progress on reading: Finished National Geographic issue on race. Finished two books by Sandra Brown, writer of romantic suspense, and reading two others in the genre but with less emphasis on sex. Beginning a pile of research on controlling diabetes through weight loss, diet, and exercise (swimming and yoga).

And that's the rest of the story -- until Sunday. Have a very good week. Check out what other ROW80 writers are doing on the ROW80 BLOG or FACEBOOK page. See you there!