Wednesday, August 28, 2019

ROW80 Aug28 check-in: Baby Steps

This week has been a bit challenging, and I'm still trying to figure out how to report in for A Round of Words in 80 Days without getting overwhelmed.

So to keep it simple, here are my goals and progress for this week:
  • REVISE 1-2 chapters for The Seventh Tapestry. 50% done. Meet with critique partner. Scheduled for Friday.
  • READ 4-6 blog posts – WEP/IWSG and ROW80. 100% (Read 8 so far).
  • MEMOIR: Do something! Anything! 100% Actually wrote 200 words after several months of  nothing.
  • OTHER: Work on quilting comfort quilt (50%). Read 3 writing magazines by Friday (33%). Take care of Jack the Cat every day this week (100% so far). 
More on the writing: The writing is really uphill right now. My new first chapter starts in the middle of the action, making most of the first 8 chapters back story. And these 8 chapters have been revised time and again. So, instead of moving through final revisions, I'm back to reinventing the front section of my story.

What helps? Asking what comes next. Scaffolding ideas at the beginnings of new chapters. Thinking about the emotional cues that motivate my characters. Updating synopsis and chapter summaries so they are current. Cutting out scenes that don't advance the 'real' story.

Catching up on reading that backlog of writing magazines led me to a gem by Matt Bird, "The Secrets of Story" in Writer's Digest (October 2018), which led me to buy his book (it arrived today). So my progress may be slow, but I'm feeling stubborn and tenacious.

Meanwhile, have a good week. Write a lot. Share your thoughts with other ROW80 writers participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days -- also on Facebook.

And here's that comfort quilt, my first attempt at machine quilting!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Round 3 ROW80: August 21 Update

Feels like almost 100 years and not just 4 months since I last connected with you folks who are continuing to write, set goals and post progress each Weds and Sunday for A Round of Words in 80 Days.

So, I'm back. Yes, I still have been setting goals and making progress (including major changes), but in charts and diary entries to myself. Our lives have been full. I tell myself that every decade has its own unique challenge, but one of the biggest has been a little less stamina. Yet, I'm stubborn and so will persevere.

Writing Goals Met:
--Overall goal: Finish draft for The Seventh Tapestry. Currently working on close review of first section and major rewrites (new first chapter affects all that follows). Mon-Weds: Reviewed 4-5 chapters each day.
--Writing blog: Today posted poem about Frida Kahlo for WEP/IWSG's August Challenge. You can read it HERE if you like.

Making Some Progress:
--Read blogs by others x7 each week. So far have read 6 posts.
--Followed up with trusted voice actor who's recording Years of Stone and Rivers of Stone for ACX release late fall. Despite some setbacks, she's back on track.

Nothing Done Yet:
--Work on memoir. Send Chrissy draft. This project is so big, I'm just not certain where to start or what to do next.
--NOVELS-L crit 2 subs by other writers each week. Plan to start subbing my own chapters for review once my current round of editing is reasonably on its way.

Set Aside for now:
--Marketing. Don't even want to think about it! Maybe start a promotion in the fall.

That's it for Wednesday night update. May your week go well, and may you enjoy these last two weeks of summer as those green leaves turn to brown. Beth

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Row 80 #8: A Royal Wednesday

Is anyone else grateful for every reader, every book sold, every word written?

I am. It's been a long day. I tested out many, many beds in a quest for a bed that doesn't have lumps (our current bed is ten years old). I just downed a Bud Light, commiserating with my tired feet, yet looking forward to another episode of Killing Eve. I don't drink beer that often, but oh, when the feet hurt, what a treat.

Spring finally popped here. Nearly all of those deciduous trees are sprouting shades of green. In addition to hyacinths and tulips, we now have azaleas and Oregon grape.

Somehow, in spite of distractions (shopping, doctor visit, library stops), I'm feeling blissfully happy. Yes, we found a bed. And, yes, I wrote today.

Round 2, Week 4: Wednesday Update:

Today's report is really short and sweet. Wrote 800 words so far this week. Read posts by others x3, subbed Chapter 8 from The Seventh Tapestry to NOVELS-L, did two yoga sessions, and posted today's update before midnight!

Last week's plea for help in naming a small bookstore in Edinburgh came up blank. Maybe I'll have to go with the Unicorn Bookstore. At least that ties to the Royal Coat of Arms for the Kings of Scotland. And maybe my theme. After all, The Seventh Tapestry features a lion and a unicorn!

Meanwhile, have a good week. Cherish each day. Write alot. And share your thoughts with other ROW80 writers participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days -- also on Facebook.

Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland
Used from 12th Century to 1603
Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, April 21, 2019

ROW80 #7: Everything's Going to Be OK . . .

Does your life ever feel like it has more plot twists than a novel? Sometimes, every day is sunny, the words flow, and even the morning has promise when we face another empty page. And sometimes, we encounter the unexpected. Back pain. The serious illness of a friend or family member. A reckoning with the calendar: How many days make a true round of days?

So, tonight, after lovely holiday meals (including a chocolate meringue topped with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and whipped cream), I confront what's been accomplished this week and hope for another good week for us all.

Round 2, Week 4: Goals and Progress:

WRITING Goal: Write 1,000 words on Tapestry. Inspired by Kristen Lamb's "How Writing Faster Can Vastly Improve Your Storytelling,  I added 2,458 words (a first!) to Sec01. Editing from first to third person continues. Scaffolding helps me 'see' what's next.

BLOGGING Goal: post x3. Posted x2. Reading posts by others? So far 3/7.

NOVELS-L Goal: 4x/month. UPDATE: Completed 4 so far.

MARKETING: Need to order 2 audiobook covers.

Best writing moment. When the inner thoughts of a character come to life. When characters begin to argue with each other, even when in their own thoughts, they're thinking something quite different. And, when I can set aside editing when I draft!

HELP WANTED PLEASE: I need a FICTIONAL NAME for a small, used bookstore situated on a side street in the old part of Edinburgh. Imagine your favorite bookstore, with hundreds of books all well-organized by topic, shelves crammed with possibility, several nooks to simply sit and browse, and a corner office in the back, where the owner is as love with books as you are, always ready with recommendations. The Bonnie Reader? Lost & Found Books?

Spring at Manito Park, Spokane

May the coming week bring you new words, new insights, and good connections with other writers who encourage and inspire each other with A Round of Words in 80 Days -- also on Facebook. Why not join in?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

ROW80 #6: Wednesday already?

I've nearly stopped watching/listening to the news, even avoiding online updates, as much is heartbreaking. This week's fire at Notre Dame, so devastating to so many still brings us together everywhere in efforts to protect, preserve, and reconstruct this wonderful cultural heritage. Though the spire is gone, the two towers remain. So much work lies ahead.

South Wall, Notre Dame (Camp 2004)
I can report a good week and a few breakthroughs.

Round 2, Week 3: Goals and Progress:

  • WRITING: Focused on writing and revision of Sec01. Added +800 words (Goal 1K for this week). 
  • BLOGGING: The week is barely begun, so this update to ROW80 is my first post. (Goal posts x3). Reading posts by others? So far 3/7.
  • NOVELS-L. Would like to do more critiques this week. Goal: 4x/month. So far, have completed 2.
  • MARKETING: No progress. No planned progress other than need to order 2 audiobook covers.
  • OTHER: Swimming and quilting coming along on schedule. Planning for future travels involves much folding and refolding of maps, thinking about weather, and how much we can hike. My office is finally nearly organized and I've given another two boxes of books to the library.
Best writing moment. An e-mailed newsletter from Kristen Lamb, "How Writing Faster Can Vastly Improve Your Storytelling," invited me to register for her online class, but the class was full. So I wrote her, thanking her for her inspirational article, AND SHE WROTE BACK!!!!! 

The gist of her article is that when we write and revise at the same time, we stay somewhat at the surface of our creativity. When we write faster, push ourselves to get more words down on the page, we tap into our own deeper feelings and motivations that move our characters, our story, and our readers (as well as ourselves).

So, I'm switching The Seventh Tapestry back to third person point of view because I want that balanced inner connection to BOTH main characters. This week, I used scaffolding to build the structure of Neil's part of the story and began drafting. So, the verdict? Not sure yet, but I'm happy that more of Neil's story is emerging. My writing sessions are now balanced between drafting AND revision, well supported by comments from my F2F writing buddy and the Novels-L group of the Internet Writing Workshop. The writing goes well.

from Kristen Lamb
May the coming week bring you new words, new insights, and good connections with other writers who encourage and inspire each other with A Round of Words in 80 Days -- also on Facebook. Why not join in?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Row80 #5: Sunday Night Special

I'm not watching out for a tornado this week. Instead, spring is closer than ever with willow trees having that yellow-green blush that always precedes the leafing out of those long leaves that remind me of my childhood when I would hide in the willow.

So, short and sweet, here's my progress:

--WRITING: Made the goal of 1K by adding 1,157 to The Seventh Tapestry. Had a great work session with my crit partner. Finally worked a bit on family history.
--BLOGGING: Posted 2/3 for the week. Still behind in reading other ROW80 posts (only read 3/7).
--CRIT Novels_L. Critiqued 2x (goal for the month). Yippee. Would like to do 2 more crits before the month ends. Subbed a new prologue after much work.  
--MARKETING: Nada. For sure, I need to order 2 covers for audiobooks in progress. Amazon sales page finally, finally is linked for Rivers of Stone
--OTHER: Resumed quilting, swimming, and cooking. Falling more into the role of a caregiver for my husband. Feeling a little sad that I haven't written a single poem for April (National Poetry Month), so I read through old poems just for fun. 

May the coming week be filled with words that dazzle, your own writing a form of poetry, celebrating this round of words with writers who encourage and inspire each other with A Round of Words in 80 Days -- also on Facebook. Why not join in?

Japanese Garden, Manito Park (Spring)
A short drive from our apartment

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

ROW80 #4: Wednesday surprise

My feet keep giving up, but new shoes are on the way! Despite a hectic schedule this week with unexpected appointments, and a lower word count so far, I'm feeling pretty darn good. Forsythia, daffodils, a few hours of sunshine now and then, and that green or pink haze on some trees lets me know that spring is truly coming in the next few weeks.


WRITING: Weekly: Add 1K words to Seventh Tapestry. WEDS check-in: Added 437 words. No progress: family history. 

BLOG: Weekly: post x3 and read blogs by others x7. WEDS check-in: Posted ROW80 blog and have read blogs by others by Weds, 3/7.

CRIT Novels-L: Critique submissions by other writers 2x month. WEDS check-in: no critiques yet.

MARKETING:  Clarify marketing goals. WEDS check-in: No progress. Amazon pages finally linked for Rivers of Stone.

Best Writing Moment: The first pages of a romantic suspense story need to truly involve the reader. I'm just beginning to revise the first draft of The Seventh Tapestry. An e-mail invitation to participate in a writing marathon from Camp NaNoWriMo hit my inbox, starting today and 'running' through April 14. And that prompted me to write instead of revise!

 So, does this opening scene grab your interest?

     Sandra had to get out. Now. 
     Flames flowed up the walls, hot ribbons scorching her skin; the ceiling above her blistered by fire. Like a cockroach, she scrabbled across the carpet as fast as she could. Not fast enough. I'm going to die.
     The night light blinked. Sandra awoke on the floor, her knees burning from rug burns. There was no fire. She was safe in her dad's apartment. Her pulse pounding and in a sweat, she sat up. When will the nightmares stop?
     "You all right?" her dad called. "I'm here if you need me, darlin'."
     Sandra laughed, a shaky laugh that once started, turned to slow tears. "Maybe a cup of coffee?"
     "Come downstairs in five," he said.
     Sandra checked her knees. He didn't need to see her bloody knees. She limped to the bathroom and cleaned each knee. The bleeding wouldn't stop. She pressed bandages over both knees, as the smell of coffee lifted through the rowhouse. Sandra took a deep breath and pulled on a fresh pair of jeans. 
     It was time to talk with her father about their last case.

What participating in such a marathon means is that I will be pushed to explore and write even as I'm working on editing. And that's fun, even if what I write will ultimately not be used.

Check out ROW80's website at A Round of Words in 80 Days for how to get started! Or you can swing by our Facebook page to catch up on how other ROW80 writers are setting goals and measuring progress. May you have a good week, and let's celebrate spring!