Tuesday, June 21, 2016

ROW80 Check-in: Just not sure

Most likely the ROW80 linky is closed for this week's check-in. Today is Tuesday, and I'm so far behind. 

OK so I finished that horrible first draft of Rivers of Stone (roughly 95,000 words), and now I'm adrift. Can't write. Can't think. Maybe I'm stuck in that low place where doubt rules. But I bound the sucker. Sent it to my trusted first reader and should hear something within a week or so . . . though just now I can't bear to look at it.

Any writing? I'm back to Granny Vampire for a few words here and there, mostly stuck in character maps and arcs and plotting bits of scenes and stabs at humor. Wondering why I'm even trying to write this particular story, for no matter my interest in writing a cozy mystery with those 'stabs of humor,' I'm always drawn to the underpinning issues we don't want to talk about/think about: elder abuse, aging and the loss of thought and memory, and, of course, death. 

Marketing? Yesterday I met with a small book club at a local assisted living home and was charmed by the ladies. I had been forewarned they might have dementia, so I reviewed some helpful 'how to' tips (mostly, stay calm, talk in nonthreatening ways), changed my bright writer's shirt for something a little calmer, and sallied forth to a pleasant afternoon with mermaid quilts and stories and a poem.

This week outside our apartment window, a young man and his girl were flying kites -- her kite a box of crayons and his, an amazing bird of fire, perhaps a Phoenix bird, rising to challenge the darkness.

Summer flight (Camp 2016)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday check-in: Oh, the inbox!

Those red chokeberries outside my window have popped from early summer heat, so this morning a cheeky robin had breakfast -- just right there, a fingertip away. 

"American Robin," by Steve Shelasky on Flickr

But already, it's Sunday evening, and I'm looking at three stacks of paperwork to sort through, reflect on, organize, and complete. All related to writing in some way, while my 'real' writing languishes. To report on goals for this week:

WRITING: Drafted 500 words for Granny Vampire. Sent first draft Rivers of Stone to 1 pre-beta reader. Sent quilting article on 'comfort quilts' to The Country Register. Sent monthly writing tip to SASP Newsletter. Blogged Mon, Weds & Sunday. Did read 5x for ROW80 this week.

EDITING for JUNE: Read through Mothers Don’t Die (Chapters 1-10). Have not started -- yet. Planned to read through Rivers of Stone (Chapters 1-20). Just decided to give ROS a rest until comments from beta reader about June 30. Read Chapters 1-3 of Justice (beta read), when the writer requested I stop reading and wait for her next revisions. She has a terrific story. 

MARKETING. My marketing presentation to senior center directors on last Thursday went reasonably well. What I'm most excited about are new opportunities to support marketing by writers in our local writers group, which include book club readings and a group table at an artisans' fair (so far). But my two main projects (newsletter and audiobook marketing) languish.

READING: Most useful writing craft article I've read so far this week? Rachel Carrington's A Call to Action in The Writer (July 2016) which in two pages makes it very clear how to cut superfluous action (you know, Margo brushed her teeth, tidied up the bathroom, and wondered if she would ever meet Mr. Right). Head to the library or a book store, as this article's not online.

And I'm loving Orson Scott Card's Characters & Viewpoint (a classic). His comments make me want to dig even deeper into my characters. He says physical description is nice . . . but what connects with the reader most intensely: ". . . what the character does in the story, what his motives are, and what he has done in the past" (13). That last phrase gets me every time. "What he has done in the past."

That other goal, DECLUTTERING. I think my e-mail inbox is stuck at just over 300 to-read. So I shall measure progress by the number of e-mails I delete. So far this week, only 53 gone.

Again, thank you, Fallon Brown, for showing me how to organize my goals by the month. At least the list in my Daily Work file looks manageable! It's my desk that's a wreck.

Check out what other writers in A Round of Words for 80 Days are up to this week HERE. And make it a good week.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

ROW80: Weds Morning Check-Up

Good progress this week so far. Most of my energy has gone to prepping for today's presentation re possible readings and promotion to about 15 folks who schedule such events. That's this morning at 8am. 

My biggest hope is that someone will bite and host a Veteran's Day reading for those writers in our group who write military fiction. Maybe a Saturday workshop. We'll see.

Why do I love complicated projects? Is it the organizing? Creating structure out of chaos? Making something of value happen? Don't know. But I did volunteer to coordinate PR for our author's group. We don't even have a directory (first stop getting info on Excel). 

Rivers of Stone goes out to one beta reader this week. This is the first rough draft and I'll hope for the second round of 'true' beta reads by August. That's a good two months for final revision. Process? Printed out and bound the whole darn thing for the read through.

OK it is Thursday morning. Early. But you do know Golden State lost to the Cavaliers last night? Since Sunday, progress on June's goals:

  • Progress: Draft Granny Vampire, 1,000 words. Added 400 words.
  • Progress: Send Rivers of Stone to 2 beta readers. Got the draft printed and bound. Changed my mind about 2 beta readers. Only one.
  • DONE: Submit quilting article to The Country Register
  • Not yet: Submit monthly WRITING CLINIC article to SASP Newsletter.
  • Progress: Post blogs on Mon (Monday Musings: Disposable?), Weds (ROW80), Friday, and Sunday. Stay current with blog hops and ROW80 sponsor duties. Posted 2x, Read 4x. Not sure I can keep posting 4x a week.

  • Not yet: Mothers Don’t Die (Chapters 1-10).
  • Not yet: Rivers of Stone (Chapters 1-20)
  • Progress: Read 3 chapters a week for Justice (beta read). Chap 3 done.

  • Progress: Read 10 books and write 2 reviews. Finished 2 books. No reviews. Yet.
  • Progress: Reading & taking notes Orson Scott Card, Characters & Viewpoint (Chap 1 completed) and writing craft magazines x2 (not yet). Card is inspirational, prompting me at the draft stage to do the background work on characters BEFORE drafting. Usually I draft scenes and let the characters emerge through action.

Not yet: Focus on audiobook marketing & newsletter.

Another highlight? Sharing birthday sushi and cupcakes with my granddaughter. How many four-year-olds love sushi?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

ROW80 check-in: If it's not midnight, it's still Sunday

Spent the night rooting for the Golden State Warriors. What a game of confrontation, sweet swishing basketball hoops, and sheer athleticism. I even know the name of some of the players. 

Meanwhile, back at the keyboard, some stuff got done between Wednesday and Sunday. I'm taking a page (post?) from Fallon Brown and will just say I'm thrilled to be nearly finished with the first real draft of Rivers of Stone, ready to start a serious read-through. 

Other stuff that got done? Got another chapter completed for the beta read I'm doing for an indie writer. Kept barely up with reading or any other writing. Still prepping for Thurs. presentation, one article needs one more paragraph, and I did tweet a few times. Finished another comfort quilt.

Goals for June 
(with thanks to Fallon Brown's clever organization)

Draft Granny Vampire, 1,000 words.
Send Rivers of Stone to 2 beta readers. 

Submit quilting article to The Country Register
Submit monthly WRITING CLINIC article to SASP Newsletter.
Blog Mon, Weds, Friday, and Sunday. Stay current with blog hops and ROW80 sponsor duties.

Mothers Don’t Die (Chapters 1-10).

Rivers of Stone (Chapters 1-20)
Read 3 chapters a week for Justice (beta read)

Read 10 books and write 2 reviews.
Read Orson Scott Card, Characters & Viewpoint and writing craft magazines x2.

Focus on audiobook marketing & newsletter.

Favorite inspiration for the week? Just knowing that ROW80 writers are out there working away -- as are those folks on Facebook's 10 Minute Novelists. Stop by and check out what we're doing. Join in. And write!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

ROW80 check-in: Weds hump day

How did Weds get here so fast? Temperature in the 80's today, first time. Lots of activity. Maybe too much? So, shorter is better. Still don't feel like cooking. Here's today's check-in to measure progress so far this week for A Round of Words in 80 Days:

WRITING: Since Sunday, wrote 2 out of 3 days. Missed the deadline of finishing Section 05 of Rivers of Stone (ROS) by May 31, BUT I'm working on the very last chapter and will send to beta readers this week. Blogging is coming right along with 3 posts last week, and 3 planned this week. Also wrote a little article for THE WRITING CLINIC, but not sure where it will wind up.

MARKETING: Still prepping for tomorrow and next week's presentation. Allen's REACHING got a review from Vietnam Veterans' Association (Yippee), and I happily got some feedback on first two chapters of ROS. Thank you, Roanne. More plans than progress but that's OK.

READING/REVIEWING: Still have one more beta to go before tomorrow -- before reading anyone else. As for the rest, I'll report on Sunday.

Summer! Make it a good week! Check out what other ROW80 writers are doing here. Why not jump in with a few goals? Every time I read what my WR80 colleagues are up to, I learn a few new strategies. Onward!

Mistaya Canyon, Banff (2015)
Last year's trip to Canada