Wednesday, May 17, 2017

ROW80: Weds night rather late . . .

Writer's group met today, and I got some feedback on my hopefully-close-to-final draft of Rivers of Stone. While I'd like people to fall in love with my story, critical feedback at this stage is more useful than happy faces scribbled in the margin.

But this beta reader told me (as tactfully as possible) that none of my main characters are likable. At least, not in the first 50 pages. How can my readers care about the story if they don't like the main characters? So do I wait out the rest of May, waiting for other comments before beginning to revise? Or do I dive in and work on the character motivations and arcs, setting aside the novella?

I've been working on 'the novella' (no real title yet), and completed about half the steps Randy Ingermanson suggests with his SNOWFLAKE method. The last two days involved writing the story line from each major character's point of view. It's been fun to discover some of their hopes and fears, along with bits of dialogue, plot twists, and lots of research questions. I've never done this kind of organized plotting before. Usually, the story emerges and evolves scene by scene. IF I continue with the novella, the big next step is to further develop the story with a four-page synopsis.

Goals for this week:
Purple = some progress. Red =  not yet. Blue = Done!

  • Another 1,000 words on the novella? 500 words so far. A little research. Just enough to know that more is needed.
  • Send monthly newsletter by May 20. 
  • Read a book by an indie writer and review. Started reading Annette Drake's Stay at Celebration House.
  • Read other ROW80 writers: So far have read x6.
  • Finish organizing that marketing material/research into a REAL PLAN.
  • Declutter e-mail down to under 100. Actually now at zero!

I have reorganized my e-mail (consistently over 250). Taking advice from  Michelle Schaeffer on how to tame that inbox, I set up folders labelled ACTION, REPLY, READ, and REVIEW. The result so far (after sorting through everything), is that some tasks moved to that ACTION file, which were a higher priority, actually got done because they weren't invisible any more.

I'm still undecided about what to work on for my writing. Guess I'll decide tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, make it a good week. 

Check out what others are doing for A Round of Words in 80 Days either HERE or on Facebook.




Sunday, May 14, 2017

ROW80 Sunday Check-in: Hail? Gotta love spring.

Just sitting down to my computer this lazy Mother's Day Sunday to check-in for Row80 with a nice cup of peppermint tea. Outside, a green, but cloudy spring day. And then those clouds opened up. and a steady stream of ice chunks hit the ground.

What happened last week? Well, a little extra babysitting of the grands as their Mommy was away at a conference all week, and a doctor visit, so a few distractions. But some work got done!

--Added 2,200 words to that novella in progress. Took working synopsis to writers' group and so appreciated their feedback on character arcs and conflict.
--Wrote a blog post on my writing blog with a little more about the novella.
--Finished that beta read and sent comments.
--Read only 2 other blogs. Sigh. Big improvement needed here.
--Swam 1x and walked 4x.
--Didn't work on marketing much. No reading and no organizing. 
--Did work on the newsletter and MailChimp. Still don't quite know how to attach a PDF to a newsletter through MailChimp. 
--Did play around with a marketing meme, using PowerPoint. What do you think? Not sure green works. Anything missing? Too many font changes? I'll add the link to Amazon once the book is available online later this summer.



What's on for next week? Maybe a little more progress next week as the calendar looks pretty clear. 

--Another 1,000 words on the novella?
--Send newsletter by May 20.
--Read a book by an indie writer and review.
--Read other ROW80 writers x6.
--Finish organizing that marketing material/research into a REAL PLAN.

I'm having fun working through Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake for the novella. I'm at the writing-character-sketches stage now (Step 5), and little bits of dialogue are coming through. For example, Dylan will say somewhere: “Ah, Moira, my heart. If you had only told me, I would have taken you with me.”

Novella's working title: "The Island Wife." What do you think? If most of the action takes place in Inverness and Edinburgh, how could I call it "The Island Wife"?

Make it a good week. Check out what others are doing for A Round of Words in 80 Days either HERE or on Facebook.

Four-and-a-half years old!
The two-year-old!





Sunday, May 7, 2017

ROW80 Catchup and a Freebie!

Today's the day that Annette Drake's cozy mystery BUILDING CELEBRATION HOUSE is up for free on Amazon. 

Why not hop on over and grab your copy? This well-written book plumbs a rare topic -- the relationship between two stubborn sisters. And that's against the backdrop of an antebellum Southern mansion and a few ghosts.

Now on to reporting for ROW80. Well, this week has been one of accomplishment! Only some writing, but I finished a queen-sized quilt (will post pic later . . . as this one is a surprise). 

I did make really good progress on mastering MailChimp's newsletter templates, and my novella is about 1,000 words richer. With the hero from Ireland, I have an excuse to do a little research.

A few tweets later, and I met online two writers who write historical fiction. Both look fascinating. Margaret Pinard and Elizabeth Bell. Current reading? Sara Donati, Into the Wilderness, and a chapter from Jared Diamond's The World Until Yesterday.

Perseverance furthers. That and a good cup of coffee have seen me through a hectic week.

What is ROW80? A Round of Words in 80 Days wherein participating writers check in twice a week (most times) to let others know our goals, progress, and to share what's going on. Go HERE to read what others are doing or HERE on FaceBook.

I'll conclude by saying I'm very grateful for all the comforts we take for granted today, compared to the average person in the 19th Century. May you cherish your warm bed, fresh food from the refrigerator, and antibiotics (when needed)!