Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Musings and a Snippet

Since the inspirational and quite structured online A Round of Words in 80 Days went over to Facebook, I've been missing. The election results hit me with a mighty thump, and I stopped writing. When I began writing again, that was all I could do.

The purpose of this blog and ROW80 is to connect with other writers and to set weekly and monthly goals for 80 days, with 4 rounds of 80 days throughout the year. I used ROW80 to motivate myself by being accountable for how much I'm able to complete in the last week -- and how much I wish to stretch in the coming week.

I missed the familiarity of reporting in to ROW80 twice a week, each Wednesday and Sunday. I missed hearing what other writers were doing as I struggled with my own unwieldy draft.

But I'm back. I can't promise I'll report in twice a week -- yet. My goals for participating in ROW80 as this last round of 2016 ends December 22 are to:

1. Post an update here on my ROW80 blog once a week and report in to FB.
2. Check out what 3 others are doing each week.

My writing goals are also simple. I'm tracking progress daily in a sort of chart. My clunky 4th draft of Rivers of Stone is at the 'divide and conquer' stage. So I will continue reading and editing Section 03 (37 chapters and 27K words), adding those missing scenes and transitions, hoping to tighten the story and let my characters breathe.

1. Write every day and track words completed, despite the fact that I'm deleting as much as I'm writing.
2. Complete editing 15 chapters by January 15.

Because it's Wednesday, here's a snippet from Rivers of Stone. Cat, still disguised as a boy, makes her way down the Hayes River late in the summer of 1843, hopeful of finding a way west to Fort Vancouver. She's an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company, and they're traveling the famous fur trade route.
     The next morning began the same, with the brigade leaving before dawn. The sun was just coming up, a faint glow of white behind lowering white clouds, when Pierre directed the brigade to the banks. “Take a pipe,” he called out. “This is White Falls.”
     The men groaned.
     “Most of you know what’s ahead,” said Pierre as everyone gathered on the bank, boats and canoes pulled ashore. “We have to lighten up. Some of you will carry packs to the camp ahead.” He pointed to the path that edged the steep gorge. “Might as well begin unloading the boats. Helmsmen, follow me.”
     Cat followed Thurston to climb to the top of the rocky hill. They joined the group of voyageurs overlooking the narrow channel their boats would navigate. The fast-moving current pounded the rocks below them.
     Pierre pointed at a sucking whirlpool and raised his voice over the roar of the river. "We have to avoid that. You get pulled down in that whirlpool, your bones won't come up until spring."
     The voyageurs shrugged.
     Pierre scowled. "Each of you has to know this. Making it past White Falls is the last bad run before Norway House. But we'll hit white water maybe a hundred times before we reach Fort Vancouver. And we'll portage when we have to. You'll get wet, you'll shiver, and you'll go hungry, but when I tell you to row, by God, you better row. Let's get through this one."
     Sobered, the men clambered down from the overlook. They were truly in the middle of nowhere, desolate, unending forests, and the river before them roiling with white water, despite it being late summer. "Somebody say a prayer," said one of the men. Pierre hit the man’s arm. "We don't need a prayer. Just stay clear of that whirlpool."
"The weather outside is frightful" [just now, a crusty 2 degrees F), but "inside it's so delightful" (hunched over my computer, happy to be connecting again to ROW80).

Happy holidays, happy end of the year, and happy writing to all.


  1. I'm so glad you're rejoining us, Beth. ROW80 is such a wonderful writing community. I've been part of a number of online communities and this is probably the kindest and most supportive of them all. I haven't been making it to every check-in, but I'm aiming for at least once a week. It keeps me accountable and if I'm lucky a post will spark some conversation with other writers, which is really why I blog.

    I love the tension in that snippet. Awesome!

    1. I agree, Denise, that ROW80 has been an inspirational online community of writers. That whole process of setting (and resetting) goals -- and being accountable -- has been matched by meeting (and learning from) other writers who are constantly working to improve their story-telling. I'm truly glad to be back. Thank you for the comment about the snippet!

  2. Beth, I'm glad you're back! We've all missed you. I'm anxious as ever to read the completed Rivers of Stone, so you better keep plugging away at it!

    1. Hello, Chris. Thank you for stopping by. I'm plugging away!!!! And I missed you as well. Connecting with other writers helps me realize I'm not really alone in facing down that blank page or falling into a plot hole. Persevere!

  3. You're not alone in being thrown by the election, either. In my online and physical communities, many were. So was I. The kids and I stayed up all night - we needed each other, and all hung out in the living room together. The next day, I was unable to sleep after my Accomplice went to work and the kids went to bed. I read, and learned. I feel like there's power in knowledge - and in going high. I've been thinking of ways that I can do that, short and long term.

    May the words flow, and the editing progress. I enjoyed this snippet - I've been holding my breath for a long time to see what becomes of Cat!

    And may I say that it's wonderful to see you back, on your own terms!

  4. Hi Beth, managed to find your blog via a post on your FB page - I'm having trouble adjusting to the new way of doing things also. Plus I have only just blogged last week, for the first time in a couple of months as NaNoWriMo and then christmas preps put everything else out of joint!


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