Saturday, March 28, 2015

ROW80: Last Post for Round One

There are no words for this morning's post. No good words. No bad words. I'm reminded of Virginia Woolf's call for a room of one's own. I have that. But new words have gone away for a bit.

So I'm not volunteering to be a sponsor for ROW80 for Round 2, and I may not even check in. Time for the muse to take a rest.

Not to worry. I'll be editing like mad and maybe writing a poem or two. And a scene. Maybe even this morning.

All the best to all of you prodigious and inspirational writers who are a part of A Round of Words in 80 Days, that writing community that knows we all have lives outside the keyboard.

Check in on what we've accomplished HERE and celebrate our accomplishments!

The Write Practice

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday night and springing ahead!

I came so close to not checking in at all tonight. I could blather along about unexpected this and time-dump that. But Shanjeninah's spring post invited me back to ROW80 with her generous note wondering how thoughts of spring were motivating or distracting ROW80 writers away from goals set here for A Round of Words in 80 Days.

Very soon, we'll find our way to the small Lilac Garden once again to celebrate true spring here in Spokane. 

Lilac Garden, Spokane (Camp)
These last two weeks, I'm foundering a bit with my writing. The balance between research, drafting, and revising goes slowly. I should know that my projects take about three years to complete and not fret, as I'm into this one just a year and a half. But I'd like the work to come along more smoothly. Sometimes I doubt my ability to remember what is important to bring my characters to life in their certain time and place. But this week, I can report:

--Writing 5 out of 7 days.
--Critiquing (finally) another writer's work.
--Truly starting to read (and loving) Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See.
--Losing and finding the charger for my Kindle.
--Really behind on decluttering e-mail (460 awaiting my attention).
--Swimming 2 out of 3 and walking 4 out of 7 times.

My favorite walk these days is along a wetlands, quiet pond, water birds. One early morning, I caught this photo of an unexpected visit from a heron, startled in the reeds. So our writing will surprise us!

Heron, Spokane wetland walk (Camp)
Check out what other ROW80 writers are up to HERE as March moves swiftly to April. May your own writing and reading and all else go well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

ROW80 and Weds WIPpet: Reality Check

Between jet lag and a switch to Daylight Savings, I'm still climbing back into a daily routine that leads to balance, a sense of order, and that wild card, writing.

ROW80 check-in today will be short as we move to the end of Round 1 (March 26). This round's goals and progress.

1. Writing: Finish first revision of Section 01, Rivers of Stone, and begin revising Section 02. First section done (14 chapters), but I will return again, second section well begun (on Chapter 8). Read one book on writing craft? How about half of two writing craft books? Still have 2-1/2 weeks left, right? 

2. Community. Social media daily x1. Blog 3x each week. Yes to both of these goals. Meet commitments as ROW80 sponsor and participate in WIPpet Weds. Not able to read all posts but met goals of 6x/week. Critique or write reviews for 4 other indie writers. Done x9. Also attended a quite useful writing conference, the first in several years.

3. Marketing. Draft 2015 marketing plan. Schedule one more workshop. Done. 

What have I learned from Round 1 of ROW80 so far? That of these three categories, marketing remains the  most challenging. Participating in BookBub led to many new readers, and I'm still amazed and so appreciative of every reader, especially those who review, comment, and write me! My progress is still slow, with at least another year before Rivers of Stone is ready for publication. 

Participating in online writing communities has been so helpful. I highly recommend A Round of Words in 80 Days (to set goals and measure progress), NOVELS-L of The Internet Writing Workshop (to exchange critiques at the chapter level), and WIPpet Wednesday (to simply share work in progress).

Now for that snippet of Rivers of Stone for K. L. Schwengel's Wednesday WIPpet. Inspired by the date of March 11, that's 5 paragraphs, plus 1 for luck. Cat, still disguised as a boy, works as a clerk at York Factory in 1842. November temperatures average 4 F in Upper Manitoba. A Swampy Cree named Muchk has befriended her.

You fall asleep out here, you die.” Muchk tapped her on the shoulder. “You don’t know who come up behind you.”
Cat shook herself and laughed. “All I do is fall asleep.”
“Not good to sleep inside or outside. Help me get some shot and powder.”
As Cat measured out Muchk’s order, a wave of smells from bodies pressed close to the counter made her dizzy, and the powder spilled out on the counter.
“There’s a mess,” said Murray. “Did ye have no breakfast? Better get over to the cook’s and see if he needs any help. For sure you aren’t worth much today.”
Cat hunched over to walk across the parade grounds, her feet crunching through the snow, her hands pulled inside her jacket. Damn cold, she thought and then laughed at herself. Mam would never approve my swearing, but it's cold, bloody cold enough to freeze my nose. The dizziness had cleared once she was outside. Cat glanced at the Hayes River covered with ice and remembered what Muchk had told her about the polar bears, how they hid their black noses so they would be invisible when they hunted seal on the ice pack. The story didn’t seem so funny this morning.  

Alex Burger, Polar Bear at Churchill (Flickr)

Cheer on other ROW80 writers as they work hard to achieve their goals -- or visit WIPpet Wednesday to read other snippets from works in progress. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Weds WIPpet and ROW80: Cold toes

Short and sweet check-in tonight.

Thank goodness for Excel in preparing tax info, all that data on sales, shipping costs, unit prices, starting and ending inventory. If I didn't know better, I'd say I was working again.

ROW80 check-in: But since Sunday, it's been a good week. All moves ahead slowly but steadily.
--Making good progress on Sec02 for Rivers of Stone. Almost fell into a big plot hole, but was rescued at the last moment. No cold feet here!
--Actually tweeted an indie writer's new release, Bob White's To Catch A Monster (currently $0.99 cents on Amazon). I've known Bob since 2010 as a very thoughtful critter from NOVELS-L, The Internet Writing Workshop.

Here's today's WIPpet (3 paragraphs for the merry month of March . . . it did snow lightly yesterday) from Rivers of Stone. Context: In 1842, Catriona followed her husband to Upper Manitoba, disguised as a boy to work for the Hudson's Bay Company. He's traveled west on the fur brigade express, while Cat remains behind, working in a fur trading post at York Factory.

Cat sat on a bench outside the cookhouse and gutted the fish with her new knife. Polar plaice they called it. Maybe the last fish the hunters would get before the ice froze so thick they could no longer fish. She pulled the entrails out with one clean move, tossing them to one of the post's many dogs, this one a scrawny wolf mix, not big enough yet to haul a sled. She stank. Her clothes stank. Her nose itched, and she knew if she scratched it, she would smear fish scales all over her face. She rubbed her nose on her upper arm, and her stomach turned over.

Cat glanced down at the fish that somehow had slithered onto her lap, frozen near as cold as the snow nearby. Yuck. Nobody cared about keeping clean here. These men were pigs. If they bathed at all, they splashed water from a bucket kept near the fire to get the blood off from some fight. They never changed their clothing. As the wind blew colder, they added more layers and joked the dirt would keep them warm.

When the men came in late to the Barracks and into the warmth, Jean pulled off his socks to reveal missing toes. Cat thought she would gag. Frostbite. He had laughed about it. Made jokes that he was lucky he only lost a few toes. 

Churchill Ice by Travel Manitoba (Flickr)

As we move to the end of ROW80's Round 1 for 2015, check out what other ROW80 writers are doing HERE.

And drop in to see other snippets for works-in-progress as part of WIPpet Wednesday HERE.  Make it a good week!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

ROW80 Sunday check-in: Home at last!

After 7-1/2 hours on the plane, we're home and adjusting to two hours later (or is it earlier?).  My poor body can't tell. But the internet works really well. I just have to transfer all my files, update those pictures, and wallow in the joy of my own kitchen -- and sewing machine -- and computer. Sheer pleasures here. The week ahead looks good!

--Revise Section 02 on Rivers of Stone. Editing Chapter 3 (Sec 02) and revising Chap 4 (Sec 01) based on crits from NOVELS-L. Still working a minimum of 1 hour a day on revision.
--Read Elizabeth Lyon's Manuscript Makeover. Still mid-way through Chap 5 on story structure. Wanting more on character.

--Blog 3x week. 3/3 this week so far.  Travel blog: Nearly the l
ast day in Galveston on Bolivar Island (saw a roseate spoonbill).
--Read others' posts x6 weekly. Done.
--Participated in WIPpet Weds weekly. Done.
--Crit drafts by other writers 1x weekly. 1/1 done.

--Social media: Twitter x3. \

--Post reviews for other indie writers: Posted a review of John Donohue's Sensei, an interesting airplane read about martial arts with a serial killer mix.

--Draft marketing plan w/action steps by month. Still in progress.
--Evaluate possible ads: Collected background on 3 out of 5. Pending. BookBub ripple sales continue for Standing Stones (after over a month).

--New goal: Read one book/article on marketing. Yes! Currently reading Norm Schriever's The Book Marketing Bible  (which I've had since 2014). I really like his open, easy style and very practical suggestions on rethinking marketing. Not a "you must do this" but more a "rethink your approach" and learn as you go.

Finch Arboretum (2014)

Now the best lesson I've learned from Norm Schriever is to write blog posts about ONE idea, one major point. Instead of being intimidated about creating that perfect post, write just one thing. Alas!  I wander. My fingers type too fast. The post is too long. But I shall persevere.

May you have a wonderful week, ROW80 writers.

Read what others have written HERE.