Posts Tagged ‘writers’

Word count: 50,012.

Yeah, got it done and it was almost impossible to do. If you are or have participated in this, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Nothing replaces one’s own intention and this last week was proof of how stubborn and pig-headed I can be. I put a lot of things on hold to finish this, but the one thing I was not going to do was blow-off Thanksgiving. My original target was to finish the day before, but life had other plans for me.

On Friday, my car decided it was time to start acting up. I woke-up with an almost flat tire and wasn’t sure if I could make the drive to the gas station right down the street, but I HAD to get to work as I had a client that had flown in from back East for the week and there was no way I could reschedule. During the agonizing drive was the time the “check engine” light decided to go on – again. I knew I needed to take it in and get the spark plugs replaced but you always thinks you’ll have time to do that. Nope, not anymore.

The guy takes a look at my tire and tells me he can’t fix it because it’s too worn out and not safe. This was news to me, but who am I to argue with a mechanic? I ask him if he can put the spare on for now and I’ll get a new tire later. He says he can and gets out the thingy to take the lug nuts off. I’m texting my client while he’s doing that and telling her I will be there soon as I am getting a tire fixed. I look over and the mechanic is waving me over and I suddenly don’t want to know why, but I wander over there to see what the trouble is.

The problem, he tells me, is one of the lug nuts is stripped and he can’t take it off without breaking it. Even I know it’s not a good idea to drive around without one but I try to get him to tell me that it’s OK to do. No such luck. So all he can do is fill the tire with air and hope for the best because I now need to drive the car to a tire shop and have them deal with it.

I am now running late and not sure how long the tire will hold, so I take city streets to work and all is fine. I get there on time and life moves along. I leave for home Friday night and cautiously approach my car with my fingers crossed that the tire is holding up. It is and I do a quick happy dance in the parking lot. I get home and cross my fingers again because I have to be back at work the next morning and I can’t do it if the tire is flat, so I call a friend as a back-up driver if I need it. He says no problem.

The next morning, with my fingers crossed again, I check my tire and it’s fine. I drive to work and again go through the same routine when I leave. All is good and I figure I will get a new tire tomorrow and all will be right with the world until I start driving home.

My car now doesn’t like me accelerating and is being a real bitch when I drive home. I wish now I hadn’t gotten on the freeway and would like to personally apologize to all the drivers behind me when I couldn’t get my car to go faster that 35 MPH while merging. By the time I got it up to 45 MPH, I was ready to take my exit.

The next morning I find out the tire place is closed on Sundays! Who the hell closes on Sunday? I snap and snarl but at least the tire is fine. I run a few errands and my car REALLY does not like me pushing on the gas petal. Too bad, I have places to go and things to get done.

I also have to get this all done before Wednesday as I am driving 4 hours to see my family for Thanksgiving. I start to feel a sight panic start in me but I push it aside and tell myself everything is fine and not to worry.

I can’t go on Monday because of another client and by now I am so nervous and worried when I drive that I start to get a headache. I am now staying off the freeway and praying for slow cars on the road that I can stay behind. Better they get honked and yelled at than me.

I finally get it to the tire place and come to find out, I need two tires replaced and I can see exactly what he’s talking about. I tell him that he needs to give me a break because I am the 99% and after he was done laughing so hard I thought he would die, he tells me that he will give me a discount because I am so funny and adorable. Shit, I’ll take it. Then he tells me they can’t fix the broken lug nut and give me the address of a guy who can.  So now I have to go somewhere else to get this done.

I thank him and again drive carefully over there and trying to keep visions of two tires falling off and me crashing into the retainer walls and dying a fiery death.

I get to the new guys and it takes them about 1.5 hours to take care of my car BECAUSE ANOTHER LUG NUT BROKE OFF! What the hell is it today with cars trying to kill me? I am wondering if I need to name my car “Christine” and start looking around the parking lot for Stephen King.

Now once that’s done, I still need to take my car over to the mechanic who is going to fix the “check engine” light and get my car past her fear of acceleration. I get lost going over there, can’t find the damn place and am about to pull over and have a nervous breakdown when I see it. I mentally bitch slap Mapquest for HAVING THE WRONG ADDRESS!. I pull in and throw myself on his mercy to fix my car.

He does – 2.5 hours later – and now I’m toast. I am spending money I don’t have, I haven’t been able to get any writing done because of all errands I’ve had to run the last few days and now I have a headache because I haven’t eaten all day. He also gives me a discount because I was funny and nice to him and I drive off wondering how I am going to pay for all of this. I decide that it doesn’t matter because the important thing is to make it for Thanksgiving and now that my car is safe, everything will work out.

I rush over to work but it’s pointless. The day is shot. I’ve only had 2 days off for the month, so I figure I deserved a break. I grab a check, run to the bank to cover my expenses and go home. I am too tired to move. My toenails hurt and I don’t have anything for dinner. I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and decide to watch  movie and pick-up my writing the next day after a good nights sleep. Besides, it will be the day before Thanksgiving and the office will be quiet, so I’ll have time to catch-up and finish my word count while I am at my family’s house. Everything will be fine as I hit the “Power” button on my laptop.

I won’t boot up and keeps dying on me.

“NO!” I scream and scare my cats so bad that they run for cover under the bed. I don’t care. I lost count of how many times I hit that power button but I knew – I was totally and completely screwed.

I sit down and cry. I cried for a long time. I was exhausted, broke and at my wit’s end. I sat there for a long time and no matter how hard I tried to figure something out, it was useless. I was out of money, didn’t know what to do and was tired of thinking.

I finally got up, packed up my laptop and headed out to Best Buy. My friends were there. The Geek Squad was there and all I needed them to do was wave their magic wand over my laptop and everything would be fine again and I could take it with me, get my writing done while everyone was asleep and have a nice Thanksgiving.

Instead he told me the mother board was dead and couldn’t be fixed. I suddenly realize I had not backed-up anything and my book was gone. Gone. It was all over for me. All my files were gone, all my notes, my pictures and all my documents for work.

I was an idiot and now everyone was going to find out. I confess to him that it wasn’t backed-up and casually asked if there was anything they could do about it. I was calm and he had no idea he was talking to a woman who was hysterical. No reason for him to know that. It might have scared him away.

He tells me they can try, quotes me a price and then points towards the computer section and says I’ll need to buy a new one in order to transfer the data. I quietly look at them and all I can see are the prices. I have no idea what to buy or how I am even going to do it. I walk out, go home and cry some more.

The next day, Wednesday, I go into work and tell my boss what happened and I feel myself wanting to cry again. We talk and we work out a way for me to get a new one and off we go, back to Best Buy. I love these guys. I had called Fry’s and you would have thought I had just killed their kitten with the way they treated me.

I get the computer but it’s going to take a few days to transfer the data. I smile and tell them it’s fine and that I understand there’s no guarantee that they can but they will try.

I leave early Thursday morning for a long drive of coffee and rock and roll blasting out of my radio. I don’t care anymore. If I have to take another month to finish this damn book, I’ll do it. If I have to re-write it from memory, then so be it but I am GOING TO HIT 50,000 WORDS EVEN IF IT KILLS ME.

I come back late Saturday afternoon. I had called The Geek Squad (some of the nicest people I have ever met) the day before but they couldn’t say exactly when it would be done.

Then suddenly on Saturday night, they call! It’s done and I can come get it. I rush through dinner, grab a friend to come with me because I hate crowds and am too wired to speak rationally and off we go.

I pick it up and now I’m terrified that something will happen and I’ll either drop it or run it over with my car. They told me they recovered all the data and it’s ready to go.

I power it up and hold my breath. YES! It’s all there! I immediately grab the flash drive that I bought and back-up the laptop. I did that again today. Yes, I do learn things on occasion.

This morning I start writing and writing and writing. I forgot to eat, so around 1:00 I forage and find something. I write some more and suddenly realize I have to go to work tomorrow morning and haven’t done my laundry. I jump up, go and get it done and come back.

(Out of respect for my male readers, I’ll not write about the “period from hell” I got on Thanksgiving. You can thank me later).

I am 2,000 words away from my target when the toilet stops working and floods the bathroom floor. I stand there, watching it overflow and suddenly I start laughing. Well, it’s either that or cry, so I decided to laugh. I clean it up and call a friend who comes over but can’t fix it, so tomorrow he will get some different tools and try again. All of this strikes me as so par for my life. You set your sights on something and it’s as if you called forth the God of Murphy’s Law.

Have you ever noticed that when your toilet doesn’t work, you have to go to the bathroom more often? Fortunately for me, there’s a gas station right across the street, so in-between going over there and putting my laundry away, I wrote. I ignored the looks I started getting from the attendant the third time I used the facilities.

Then I hit the 50,000 word mark and screamed and scared my cats again. I did it, somehow.

And the best part is this – I love my book. There’s more to go but I learned that any one of us can do what we set our minds to. Busted cars, broken laptops, impossible working hours, clogged toilets, horrible cramps and PMS and lack of sleep and money but I kept going and I did it.

I did it.

I DID IT!

Word count: 36,295.

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this much done with an impossible schedule. I realize it’s far from being done as it will have to survive a few re-writes, but yesterday the story started to flow and suddenly I knew the characters inside and out.

I really dove deep into them and I must say, I like them.  Suddenly, there they were and it was so easy to write about them. Almost as if they wrote the story themselves. They didn’t, of course, but there was a point where they came alive in my mind.

I’ve had this happen a few times but not quite like this. I know these people and they fascinate me. I would have kept writing tonight, but it’s getting late and I’m tired.

But something tells me they will be here in the morning when I wake up.

One of the things that prompted all of this, ironically, was some recent rejection I had experienced the other day. The details aren’t important, but it was something that really pissed me off and hurt my feelings.

I wasn’t in the mood to write but I’ve got this ridiculous target to hit and I can’t let my emotions get in my way. So, I picked-up the story where I left off but I was in a pissy mood, so my main character had a bitchy side to her.

I sat back and wondered where that had come from and realized I was taking my upset and putting it into the book. Well, that’s fine if it’s part of the story, but today it wasn’t. What I was feeling was not what the character should be feeling.

I know we all do this as writers. Use something that happened to us or someone else and spin it. It’s quite therapeutic to do but not in the middle of a story.

I put the brakes on, took my emotions and parked them, and went back to the story.

I rocked it. I just nailed it and then some. I didn’t go and change anything because someone had hurt my feelings.

I stuck to the story and was true to it. That was the exact moment the characters came more alive and the story took off.

It’s not easy doing this, but we do it anyway.

Word count: 17,310.

Gulp.

Yeah, I’ve never done this before. Didn’t quite expect it and I’m not sure how to go about it.

I’ve certainly read enough of them in books and to be honest, I don’t quite care for them with few exceptions.  I much prefer the author let me use my imagination.

But, now it’s important to the character and the story because, well, she’s been having a rough time lately and really isn’t into the whole “trust thing” with guys and this scene needs to convey a few things and one of them is her vulnerability with this guy.

This guy. The great guy that no one knows yet how great he is. In fact, right now you can’t determine much about him or whether or not he’s worth her trust OR just another loser that’s come into her life.

So, there they are and it’s time and it has to be written perfectly to move the story onto another level and make the relationship cohesive.

It also needs to be just right to play into the back story of the loser husband that she dumped and sex with him was, well how to you say this? Let’s just say she wasn’t sure she even needed to be in the room with him when it was happening. Know what I mean, jelly bean? Thought so.

I am a believer in letting a reader use their imagination as much as possible with a story. Tell them enough so they know what’s going on and keep it moving at a steady pace, but don’t give them too much detail. Let the reader see what they want to see and let them, with their own imagination, contribute to the story.

That is one of the reasons I don’t care for heavy sexual scenes in movies or in books. The same with violence. I don’t need anything shoved in my face. Let me read or watch and participate with my own thoughts and ideas. Let me enjoy a story the way I want to.

I didn’t quite expect this to go this way with the story. Yes, I intended for them to get together, but I’ve written a much deeper and complex woman than I originally thought I could. I hadn’t thought that this scene would be so important to her and the story, but it is.

Maybe I should go pick-up some romance novels, which I don’t generally read.

I can’t believe I am blushing while I write.

Word count: 14,959.

I took a quick road trip yesterday to see my family and didn’t get much writing done. Now that I’m back, I am wondering why I thought it was such a good idea to have blueberry pancakes for breakfast.

Oh, yeah, I remember – BECAUSE THEY TASTE FRICKIN AWESOME! That’s why.

Plus my Mom and my cousin made me do it. Yes they did. They actually did. My cousin put a gun to my head (right there in the restaurant and no one called the cops) and my Mom said she would be disappointed in me if I didn’t eat them.

Because I’m a writer, I get to make shit up. Like the above. I get to do this all day long. Well, most of the day I don’t because I have to earn money and I can assure you, no one is paying me to be a writer. I don’t know if anyone will, but no matter; I’ll write anyway.

I am tired but it was worth it. I had a great weekend with my family and will be going back up there for Thanksgiving. That is one reason I am trying to keep such a high word count. I plan on being done with NaNo before Thanksgiving so I can take some time off, take my writing and shove it in a drawer where the sun don’t shine and start on my next project.

But, back to the carbs. I don’t eat them hardly ever, but when I do, it’s like a drug. I get the immediate high and then the crash. Plus the fact that it took me over an hour to drive through Sacramento due to some horrendous car accident, by the time I got home my butt was killing me.

I have not figured out how to write standing up, so here I am again. Sitting down with a headache and pounding out the words.

The story is going fine and I’m just getting into the next section of it and am at a bit of a loss on what to do next. I’ve got the outline but I am learning to segue better. I still suck at it, but it’s getting better.

I am also way behind in my own personal reading. I just picked up a book called “Once bitten, twice shy” by Jennifer Rardin. I’ve been hooked from the first paragraph. I will be reading everything she wrote. Godspeed Jennifer.

Word count: 12, 644.

I’m still here with the rest of you. I am reading your blogs and comments on G+ but mostly too bleary eyed to say much back. I can handle a comment here and there on a thread and I must say, reading how everyone else is doing is helping.

The book is going very well, humming right along. I’ve written this one character (based on a true story) that is a real asshole and the more I think about him, the more I want to kill him off. I don’t know if I will or not, but it is quite amazing how we can take things that happen to us and turn it into a story.

I have had a few things come up on this book that stirred some long forgotten memories and emotions. My book has a bit of truth mixed in with the fiction, but I think we often use that to tell our stories.

I also know enough not to slam down a true story carelessly or to write about people I know. That I would never do, but it’s interesting the things I am using from the past to write fiction.

Whether this or other characters stay in the final draft, I do not know. Right now it’s all about getting it written the first time and letting the story evolve.

Last year when I did NaNo, I was completely alone with no support system. Now I have G+ with a bunch of writers that I chat with and it has been an amazing difference.

I’ve never taken myself seriously as a writer until a few years ago when I just jumped in and started doing it. There really is no way to prepare for it or to really understand it. You can’t easily explain to someone why you would rather stay home and write all by yourself than go out that evening.

But now that I am this far into it and it’s going well, I am enjoying my time with the story. I am now finding it relaxing and not hard. I am magically making the time for it and that is becoming a bit of a struggle, but that’s OK.

I like what I’m doing and I’m proud of myself.

That says a lot.

I am tired and bleary eyed, so I’m keeping this short. Hopefully get some sleep and start this all over again.

Word count: 8,808

I mean, really? What was I thinking about when I decided to write this story? I’m not going to bore you with the details of it. Besides, you can buy it when it’s published and I’m rich and famous.

Yeah, right! It sure doesn’t seem that way right now. I thought my story would be easy to tell. I have it outlined and all I’m trying to do is follow the outline.

Why didn’t anyone tell me that the outline doesn’t mean shit when suddenly you have characters showing up out of nowhere and won’t leave?  An outline is supposed to be how your book begins and ends with a bunch of stuff in the middle, right?

Wrong! Oh no, not for me apparently. It seems that while I’m writing, if I have a thought about a scene or a character, suddenly I am writing something that isn’t even planned. It’s like I’m possessed.

But then I’ve got to explore the idea and see where it goes. Because I have to. I HAVE TO.

Sure, it’s great for the word count and is probably one of the reasons I’m a bit ahead of target. That plus I’m blowing off everything I can in order to write this month. So I realize it’s about the quantity more than the quality.

But that is a lie that I tell myself because the quality of what I write IS more important than the quantity.

My story is starting to get complicated. I’ve turned off my inner editor and am slugging it out, but I had hoped to keep this story simple and lean and it’s not cooperating with me. At all. Whatsoever.

How well do you follow your outline?

Word count: 4,752.

How many of you are brave enough to do it?  I actually would like to read them, so please share them with me. I know for me a book has to grab my attention fairly quickly if I am going to continue reading. I may give it a chapter, but when I’m in a bookstore and trying to find something to read, that first sentence and paragraph is very important.

I also won’t buy books online if I can’t read parts of it. Sorry, it’s not about the money. It’s about me spending my valuable time with a book. Whether I spend $1.99 for $25.00 on a book, if I don’t like it, I feel ripped off.

Here’s the first two sentences of my book:

Eli thought it had been a wonderful business trip for the last week until she came home and found a used condom in the bed she shared with her husband SamUp until then, it had been great trip but not so much anymore.

I love this first and second sentence. Every time I think about tweaking them a bit, I just can’t. I don’t know if  they will survive the second draft, but for right now, I love them.

I’ll also confide something to you, but only you and that is: this is based on a true story. That one moment in life where everything changes and goes off the rails. But before you jump to conclusions, it didn’t happen to me but it did happen to someone I know. I’ve put a bit of a creative spin on it, but it did happen.

It’s funny how we as writers can take a moment and build a story around it. I think that makes us the coolest people in the universe. Whether any of us get published is not relevant. What is important is our stories and what we do with these moments in life and how we use them.

If you look around, there are stories everywhere to write about it. All it takes is the intention to do it and sitting your butt down in a chair for a long, long time and telling the story.

So, don’t be shy. Tell me about your story so I can learn.