a jolt of reality
coffee cup
reality: n. something to be tampered with only after several cups of coffee.

Road to Writing
When I first started, I thought all you had to do is write a book. Can you say *naive*, boys and girls? Join me on my journey as a pre- published writer looking to see my name on the cover of a book. I'll talk about all the bumps, bruises, joys and frustrations I encounter along the way.

current mood

recent posts


Burn Me Once
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
49,500 / 100,000

Shifting Rhythms

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
24,000 / 100,000

Powered by Blogger

Listed on BlogShares

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Image Hosting

Template Design by Miz Graphics

Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood

Pardon my Mister Rogers moment, but I thought the song was fitting. It's a horrible day out--stormy and gray--the perfect day to curl up in front of a roaring fire with a cup of hot chocolate. Except I don't have any firewood. Or hot chocolate.

Instead I'm sitting on my bed, Rocky warming my lap, a glass of water by my side. Not really the same thing. I won't even slide down under the covers because I've made the bed and I don't need to add yet another thing to my "To Do" list. Ah, hell. At least I'll find out who got booted from American Idol last night (thank goodness for TiVo!).

Am I whining? Tough. *g* It's a whiny kind of day. The good news is my daughter's soccer game has already been cancelled, so that's an extra 1-1/2 hours I'll get to tackle my "To Do" list. Oh, and my shower this morning felt really really really good. Why do showers feel better some days than others?

I'm thigh-deep in vacation preparations. Yesterday I researched Disney restaurants and made our Priority Seating arrangements. We invited my mother to drive up from South Florida and spend a day with us...she decided to make a week out of it. I had to call the Disney Reservations line and find out what that would add to our bill. I hope my husband remembers to call and get that taken care of.

And on top of vacation itinerary prep, I have to find a way to get this house cleaned before we leave. Can't be embarrassed when the neighbors come in to take care of the dogs, now, can I? There's also tons of laundry to be done, and my husband wants me to have my truck detailed. Doesn't look like I'll be taking care of the truck today, though.

Then there's my writing. I owe two crits, and I'm hoping to get those out before we leave. Ideally, I'd also like to get those FDi30D Worksheet 6 holes filled before we go, too. But I've decided to let the IH synopsis sit until we get back. That means I've got three days to finish two crits and a worksheet. I can do it. Power of positive thinking, right?

In the midst of all my running around like a headless chicken, I did have one bright spot last night. Okay, more than one, but this one was really bright. Final Frontier's Rob Moratti e-mailed to thank me for my recent comments about their new release, High Tension Wire. He also forwarded along some photos of him performing with Survivor's (the band, not the show) Jimi Jamison last week at a fund raiser. The song was "I Can't Hold Back". Damn, but I wish I could have heard that performance!

And now it's time for me to stop rambling and get to work!


MOOD: Gray and somewhat frazzled
PROGRESS: Got all my longhand pages from Worksheet 7 typed in and printed last night
WHAT I'M READING: Get Bunny Love by Kathleen Long

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Yes, my FDi30D Worksheet 7 is finished. Even got to throw in a few good Millie Jericho lines there at the end. I'm not entirely pleased with the resolution, but it can always be tweaked later. Today I'll be working to fill in the gaps I've left previously, then it's time to move on to Worksheet 9, the Dialogue Sheet. I'll be skipping worksheet 8 (Interview Questions) at this point, because I don't yet think I'll need to be interviewing anybody. But it's there if I need it.

There are two new bloggers listed on the First Draft in 30 Days website! Sheri Haynes (who's also one of my CPs) and Florence Cardinal. Go, ladies! I hope this book is working as well for you as it is for me.


PROGRESS: 12 handwritten pages yesterday. Finished FDi30D Worksheet 7!
WHAT I'M READING: Get Bunny Love by Kathleen Long

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I had the most amazing dinner of my life last night. We went to Fogo de Chão in Buckhead. My husband had eaten there last month for a business dinner, then came back and told me he would have to take me there someday. And someday was last night.

Fogo de Chão is a Brazilian steakhouse. We all ended up referring to it as a carnivore's paradise. After we were seated, the restaurant concept was explained to us, and then we hit the extensive and somewhat unusual salad bar. We all finished our salads then turned our cards over. What does that mean?

Every diner is given a little round card, red on one side, green on the other. The restaurant's brochure says Fogo de Chão features continuous tableside service of fifteen different delectable cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken... Patrons control their service with a small green and red-sided chip. The green side signals the "Gaucho" chefs to bring out skewers of sizzling meats to the table, while the red side indicates a stopping point.

These "Gaucho" chefs, as the brochure says, roam the restaurant with different meats on skewers. They ask if you'd like whatever meat they're holding, and then upon your consent, begin to slice some off for you, which you retrieve with special little tongs. And they keep coming, until you finally flip your card back over to red in defeat.

Everything they served tasted amazing. I mean, totally amazing. I didn't want to stop eating, although my body was telling me if I didnt, I'd soon have meat coming out of my ears. I did finally stop, though, and by the time the dessert menu came around, I thought I might be able to stuff in just a little bit more. Tiramisu. YUM!

The meal wasn't cheap--$45.50 per plate plus drinks and dessert. But in my personal opinion, it was all completely worth it.

On the writing front, I just finished typing in my longhand summary for FDi30D Worksheet 7. One more scene summarized, and that worksheet will be done. It's taken me a little longer than the book schedules, but Karen Wiesner (FDi30D's author) does say we should work at our own pace. And since I'm still getting a feel for this method, I assumed it would take me a little longer. I'm sure my own methods will become more streamlined as I continue to work the method.

I'm just happy the scene ideas are still flowing.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Rain Rain Go Away

It's been raining pretty solidly since late Saturday night. The blah skies outside have given me a bit of a blah feeling inside. As I sit here watching Sliders on the SciFi Network, I can't help but wonder if anything will help that blah feeling go away.

Tonight my husband is taking me out for a nice dinner, so I have things I have to get done today. I need to call the sitter and tell her what time to be here. I have to clean the first floor of my house so I won't be embarrassed when she arrives. I have to get my hair trimmed and my nails done.

Okay, those last two things aren't haftas, but wantas. Regardless, they're all still on my list.

One of the Sliders plots this morning made me wonder if I could write a book like that. If you're not familiar with the show, it's about four people who have a device (invented by one of the show's characters) that transports them to parallel universes for finite periods of time. Their main objective is to find their way back to their universe.

Anyway, in this episode, Quinn, Collin, Remmy and Maggie slid into a world where drug use was mandatory, and the Quinn of that world had been imprisoned for spreading anti-drug propoganda.

Interesting premise. Could make an interesting story. Or a it could make for a really stupid story that has people shaking their heads and throwing the book against the wall shouting, "Impossible! It'll never happen!" I'll just add it to my list and let it sit a while.

Today, that grindstone is knocking me in the head. "C'mon, Lynn. You promised you'd put your nose to me and get back to work."

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's on my list. Once I get all my haftas done today, I'll sit down and finish the FDi30D worksheet 7 in between yelling at my kids to clean their rooms.

Now...what am I going to wear tonight?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter, Everybody!

My husband's at work, my kids are tearing around the house on a chocolate high, and I'm doing housework. A typical Easter Sunday around here. *g* I hope everybody is having a wonderful holiday.

Yesterday was absolutely NOT a writing day. I was out of the house all day--my daughter competed in the County Jr. Olympics (took third place in two track events and fourth place in a field event) and then from there, we headed to a downtown venue where my husband was setting up for Easter services (he works for a church). In other words, I left the house at 9am yesterday, and didn't get back until almost 11. By then, I was too burned out to get any writing done. So I finished reading The Next Big Thing (wonderful book--kudos to Johanna Edwards!) and started a new book.

This past Friday night, I posted my synopsis for IH over at the RWAOL critique board, and just popped by there this morning to take a look at the critiques I received. It's pretty much unanimous that I need more info in there about Chris, and a couple lines didn't read like they were supposed to. Looks like I'll be splitting my time between the FDi30D worksheets and editing and polishing this synopsis.

And I don't think I'll be meeting my self-imposed deadline for submitting IH, but it'll be pretty close. I'll probably hold it until we return from vacation. That way, I'm not worrying about it while I'm riding Space Mountain. *g*

Oh, and I finally watched my TiVo'd second episode of Mr. Romance, the contest on the Oxygen Network where the winner gets a contract to model for the cover of a Harlequin Romance. As with the first episode, I laughed my butt off! I'm not rooting for anybody yet, although Adam (one of the contestants) has posted a couple times over at Romance Divas. I do know who I don't like, though.

Seriously, if you haven't seen this, and you get the Oxygen Network, I recommend it for some light, fun entertainment. New episodes air on Monday nights at 10/9 central.

WHAT I'M READING: Night's Kiss by Amanda Ashley

Friday, March 25, 2005

Lynn, Meet the Grindstone

Yes, I'm reintroducing myself to that proverbial grindstone today. I took the day off yesterday. No writing. Instead, I trucked my kids around for after-school activities, got caught up at Romance Divas, and did some reading.

Finished The Pleasure Slave. Loved it. But I knew I would. Congratulations, Gena Showalter, you've just elevated yourself to my auto-buy list. Then I picked up Rocki St. Claire's Hit Reply. The buzz on this book had me curious for a while, and it's another I'll recommend to my friends. Especially since I read it in one sitting. It's unusual in that the entire book is comprised of e-mail messages and IM conversations. No narration. No description, other than what the characters type to each other. And the author pulls it off beautifully. Definitely going on my keeper shelf.

Today, though, it's back to business. I have one more crit to get out, so that's first on the list. Then it's back to finishing worksheet 7 (summarizing the end of my book) in the FDi30D method. And I'm determined to get that worksheet done today.

I also had a nice surprise yesterday. Karen S. Wiesner, author of First Draft in 30 Days, apparently found out about the fact that I've been blogging my progress with her method, and has linked both me and Lady Tess (who has also started blogging her progress with this method) from her First Draft in 30 Days site. I can't even begin to express how flattered I am. It's always nice to be noticed.

Could that have been what pushed me into getting back to work today? *g*


MOOD: Determined
MUSIC: None right now. Just finished watching Finding Neverland
WHAT I'M READING: The Next Big Thing by Johanna Edwards

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Jabber Jaws

They call him Jabber Jabber Jabber Jabber Jabber Jabber Jabber Jaws...

After I got off the phone with my neighbor this morning, the theme song from that classic cartoon started running through my head. Not in reference to her, but me. I've never been one to sit on the phone and blab, but for some reason, when she and I get on the phone together, I can talk for hours. And the sad thing is we live right next door to each other.

Anyway, I got about half of yesterday's list done. I ended up splitting the difference -- got as much of the list taken care of before I picked my son up from school as I could, and then wrote after that. I'm so much closer to finishing the end-of-the-book summary! It's like when there's a word you want to use--it's on the tip of your tongue but you still can't get it. The end of the last part of this summary is in sight, and if I reach my arm out and stretch, my fingers almost brush the edges of it but I can't yet grab it. It's so close.

But of course, once I finish that part, I have to go back to the middle-of-the-book summary and fill in the giant whole that occupies the space from where I left off to the beginning of the end. Still so much to do.

So this morning, I took my notebook with me when I went with my husband for his haircut, and I wrote while sitting in the chairs waiting for him--even had an idea to help with the book's resolution . Got home, called my neighbor, jabbered with her for a while. Then I mopped my kitchen (with a husband, two kids, and two dogs, my kitchen always needs to be mopped), and now I'm sitting down and blogging. When I finish this, I'll grab something to eat, then probably go back to writing. With all the progress I've been making, I'm anxious to do more!

Edited to add: My husband just called to let me know our Disney vacation is booked and paid for! It'll be our first time staying on the property, and we'll be in the Contemporary Hotel. WOO HOO! *insert happy butt wiggle here*


MOOD: Feeling productive!
MUSIC: "Far Beyond the World" by Ten
PROGRESS: About 5 hand-written pages between last night and this morning
WHAT I'M READING: The Pleasure Slave by Gena Showalter

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Good news so far...

I'm having a good day so far. I'm not totally caught up with blog-hopping, but I'm getting close! Last night I got another 4-1/2 handwritten pages free-written on my final chapters summary. Got closer to being caught up with e-mail, too. And I'm even sitting here with my makeup on!

All I have to do is finish getting dressed, overnight a payment for our property out west, get the care package for one of my CPs completed and sent out, get started on the crits I owe, catch up on the bulletin boards, and clean and vacuum my living room.

Wow. That's a long list.

Shoot. Now I'm depressed.

Maybe I'll 86 it all and do some more writing.

My work is never done...

BIAW is finished, and I finished out the week making 133% of my goal. Yup, I'm proud of myself. I completed a tremendous amount of my free-written summary, and now have a great groove going. I'm pretty damn pleased.

But, of course, since BIAW is done, I now need to spend time catching up on everything I neglected last week. Housework, e-mails, bulletin boards, blog-hopping, crits... *swiping my hand across my forehead* Part of me wonders if I'll ever get caught up.

I did manage to get through a bunch of e-mail today, got some laundry out of the way, and my husband and I took my truck down to have the oil changed. At this rate, I figure I'll be caught up by sometime in October.

Tonight, instead of tackling those crits that are waiting patiently for my attention, I spent time listening to music clips and listing the next group of CDs I'll be ordering at the end of the week. I think my husband's still shaking his head. After that, I started writing again. Like I said, I've got a good groove going, and I would really hate to lose momentum. So now the headphones are on, and as soon as I finish blogging, I'll be immersing myself in Chad and Dakota's world again.

And did I mention my husband decided this weekend that our family vacation this year will be a trip to Disney World in Florida? I can't wait!

Enough rambling...back to work!


MOOD: Smug satisfaction (I don't get to say that often!)
MUSIC: "My Sanctuary" by Soul SirkUS
PROGRESS: 3 hours yesterday for a total of 133% of my BIAW goal
WHAT I'M READING: The Pleasure Slave by Gena Showalter

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Why I Write Romance

Diana Duncan's blog answers this question more eloquently than I ever could.

Bethany's Rite

One of my CPs, Eve Jameson, just received the cover of her upcoming Ellora's Cave Release. Isn't it yummy? Look for Bethany's Rite at Ellora's Cave this coming July.

Putting Pen to Paper

Yesterday was a really wonky day. I actually hadn't planned on getting much writing time in for the BIAW because my husband wanted to take the family out for the day, probably hiking. I wasn't complaining--I'd already put in some good time with the writing this week, and I can really use the exercise. I only wanted to make sure the mailman got here before we left the house (see previous post).

So the kids were out playing, I was downstairs typing my work from the previous day into the computer, and my husband went upstairs to take a shower before we left. Then he came downstairs and told me we weren't going anywhere. Apparently our water heater had just bought the farm. Of course, the first words out of my mouth were, "And how much is this going to cost us?"

So much for hiking. The kids went next door and stayed with my neighbor while my husband and I trucked on down to Home Depot to buy a new water heater.

Some good things did come as a result of this fiasco, though. My neighbor wore my kids out. Replacing the water heater wore my husband out. That meant the entire family went to bed early, left me alone downstairs, and I got a considerable amount of work done.

As I sat on the sofa, green pen and spiral notebook in hand and writing madly, I couldn't help but be amazed at how easily my summary for the First Draft in 30 Days worksheet 7 (summary of closing scenes) was flowing. Nothing, and I mean nothing, had flowed that easily and consistently for a long long time. Not since Irresistible Harmony.

Then it hit me. I was using a pen and paper, rather than working directly in Rocky (my laptop). And suddenly I realized that was my secret. That was the thing that got my muse talking. Because the initial summary outline of IH was written the same way. Pen to paper. Although, at the time I was doing IH, I didn't realize I was going to turn it into a book; I was just trying to get that dream down on paper so it would finally leave me alone. It was only when that dream turned out to fill over 2-1/2 70-page spiral notebooks that I thought it could be made into a novel.

So the family went to bed early, I stayed up late, and got in 6 hours of writing. And apparently my poor little left hand (I'm a lefty) is finally getting used to this, because when I finally went to bed my hand wasn't cramped and I had no new blisters to speak of.

And the only reason I went to bed when I did was because I knew I needed sleep. Otherwise, I'd have stayed up and kept going for at least another couple hours. But since today's the final day of the BIAW, I thought it'd be better if I saved that for today.

So I'm going to finish up BIAW tonight, hopefully finish that closing scene summary outline, then get back to posting once in a while on the bulletin boards I frequent and start visiting blogs again. I'm happy with all I've accomplished, but I've really missed everybody!

Final Frontier is back!

For a while, I had a virtual Post-It Note on my desktop reminding me of the release date for Final Frontier's new record, High Tension Wire. And that release date is coming up on Tuesday. So, imagine my surprise when one of my CPs posts that the record has moved from NEH Records' Coming Soon column to their Now Available column. Of course, being a fan of Final Frontier's previous two albums (and we won't even mention my reaction to the video), I popped right on over to NEH and ordered my copy.

Yes, I'd been anticipating this release. I'm not going to review the record here, simply because I'm not a record reviewer. I know what I like, and oftentimes everybody around me knows what I like, but I can't necessarily tell you why I like it. Besides, I depend on Andrew McNeice at Melodicrock.com for my reviews, and he's infinitely more skilled and knowledgeable than I am. Matter of fact, his review of the Japanese release of High Tension Wire whetted my appetite that much more for this record.

So anyway, I ordered the record on Wednesday, and from past experience I know that NEH Records always delivers quickly. I figured it'd be in my mailbox by Friday. Didn't stop me from running out there on Thursday, though. Hey, you never know. On Friday, my husband asked his usual "Anything good in the mail?" question, and laughed when I pouted and said, "Who cares. Final Frontier wasn't there."

Nice to know he still finds me so entertaining.

Then Saturday came. My 5-year-old met the mailman at the box then came flying up the driveway, the mail clutched in his little hands, brown padded envelope at the top of the pile. He gave me what he had, I put the rest aside and tore into the envelope. WOO HOO! It's finally here! Popped that little sucker into my laptop, sat back, and waited for the music to start. Even shushed my husband when he came into the house and asked about the mail.

I can honestly say, I'm not disappointed. There's not a track on this record I'm likely to skip. Andrew McNeice commented that this band is getting better with every release, and I'm inclined to agree. Great hooks, soaring choruses, sigh-worthy ballads--as far as I'm concerned, this record's got it all. (I will say I'm really digging the groove they've got on Who's Gonna Love You Now, and Sunset at Dawn did bring a smile to my face.)

My neighbor (who's 7 years younger than I) has said that I've got one foot firmly planted in the rock of the 80s. Final Frontier's music is often compared to the AOR releases of Journey, Styx and Foreigner of that era. After listening to High Tension Wire, I've decided that if my neighbor's right, it ain't such a bad place to be.

Last time I checked, Final Frontier didn't have clips posted at their site yet, but NEH Records does. If you haven't heard this guys yet, pop over to the NEH website and give them a listen.

(I know this blog is supposed to be about my writing, but I had to get this out of my system. Now that that's done, I'll be posting shortly about yesterday's writing.)


MUSIC: Do you have to ask? High Tension Wire by Final Frontier

Friday, March 18, 2005

In the Studio

Last night, the kids and I met my husband down at the studio again. These days, if we want to see him, the studio is where we need to go. Anyway, I didn't bring Rocky along -- the weather was decidedly icky and I didn't really feel like lugging him around. So I grabbed the chapters of BMO that I've already done, my copy of First Draft in 30 Days, a spiral notebook and a pen and got to work.

Four hours and a pinky blister later, I feel like I got quite a bit accomplished. I worked on worksheets 5&6 of the FDi30D method, free-form summaries of the scenes in the beginning and middle of the book. Since these are scenes that I've already written, it went pretty smoothly. So I didn't add anything new to the story yet, but I'm quickly reaching the point where I'll need to. As soon as I'm finished with these worksheets, I move on to #7, which is a free-form summary of scenes at the end of the book. Those are scenes I've not yet written but have ideas for, so I'm really looking forward to that.

I also stopped into Wal-Mart yesterday and actually bought some things to get organized with. Pocket folders, labels, and a couple reams of paper. Now I have three folders to store work in, and they're marked Burn Me Once, Shifting Rhythms, and Eye to Eye.

The organization's done. Let get the stories finished!


MOOD: Eager to get back to work
MUSIC: "I Will Be Your Witness" by Styx

PROGRESS: 4 hours yesterday toward BIAW
WHAT I'M READING: Sex, Lies, and Vampires By Katie MacAlister

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

You call this progress?

WARNING: This entry's a bit long-winded, but, what the hell. It's been somewhat cathartic for me.


Day 3 of BIAW, and my third day of trying the First Draft in 30 Days method. Because I'm working on the half-finished (and stalled) BMO, I decided to use chapter 8 of the book: Creating an Outline for a Project Already in Development or Re-Outlining a Stalled Project. Makes sense, right? On days 1 and 2, I followed the book's instructions and printed out the scenes I've written so far, starting each scene on a new page. No problem.

Next the book says to evaluate the previous draft. Hm. Okay. I read through what I've got so far and tried to determine if all the scenes were necessary. As far as I could tell, yeah. They were needed. But obviously, something's wrong because the story just stopped.

So I read through the scenes again. Nothing changed.

Now, I was doing this last night while sitting on the floor of my husband's studio. Lucky for me, I planned ahead. I'd read the chapter and knew what was expected of me, then trolled the internet for information about scenes. I jotted down some notes on things scenes must do in order to be effective, hoping they'd help me later.

As I result, there I sat, on the floor, books on one side of me, my scenes and a notebook in my lap, and my carefully written notes at my other side. (There was also a bottle of water behind me, which prompted me to complain about needing longer arms when I realized I couldn't reach it. My husband thinks I'm insane.) And I studied my scenes. And I struggled. And still, nothing changed.

I tried filling out the "scene capsule" forms--basically a summary--for each scene, thinking that might help me see things a little more clearly. No dice.

So I tried a different approach. I went over each scene one by one, and at the top of the first page jotted down things about the scene that helped it to meet the scene criteria I'd jotted down. Okay, so now we're making progress. Matter of fact, there were a few that I marked as "sequel" as defined by Dwight Swain. I felt like I was getting somewhere. I'd have patted myself on the back if I had longer arms.

Unfortunately, all that work still garnered the same results. To say the least, I was extremely frustrated. What was I doing wrong? I blamed my lack of knowledge. 2.5 hours of work yesterday that really got me nowhere.

Last night, I climbed into bed, and instead of fantasizing about my favorite slurpilicious male, I puzzled out my next step. Where was I going wrong? How could I correct it? What should I do next?

I finally made a decision, smiled to myself, and let my favorite hottie visit my dreams.

I took a little break from the writing this morning, and instead watched The Incredibles on DVD. Then after I picked my son up from school, I got down and dirty.

Okay, maybe not down and dirty, but I did get to work.

I decided that what I needed was to follow the method as though BMO were a new project. I filled out the character charts, easy to do since I'd already been getting to know my characters. I moved on to the setting sketches, again, easy, since I'd been working with these settings a while.Next worksheet is the Plot Sketch. Where I'm supposed to note things like the story goal, romance threads, subplots, tension, etc. Pretty much the skeleton of the story. As I moved along with this form, I started to smile, then giggle. Thank goodness my husband wasn't home, or I'd have been on the receiving end of that look again.

Anyway, where this long-winded entry is going is I finally had some SUCCESS! *insert happy butt wiggle here* Not that I figured out why the story stalled, but I did manage to brainstorm a couple more ideas for the story and a new subplot that will clear up my black moment problems.

2.5 hours of work so far today, and this time I know I've made real progress. And I'm not done yet! Next step is a free-form chronological summary of introductory scenes, and after I scarf down some dinner, that's what I'll be working on.

Tomorrow I'll pick up a folder for storage, print out what I've done so far, and depending on what happens while I work the rest of tonight, may even do a joyful butt wiggle in the middle of my living room.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Author, Know Thy Character

How well do you know your characters when you start a new story?

Out of curiosity, this was a question I put up at Romance Divas, and of course, I received the variety of answers I expected. Almost everything from "My stories have characters?" to "I know those folks inside and out."

I had been wondering because, as I've blogged before, I've been reading Karen S. Wiesner's First Draft in 30 Days. The first thing she has you do is a character chart. Hers isn't as intense as some I've seen--I have a copy of one somewhere that's 20-30 pages--but, as I said, it got me wondering.

When I start a story, I'd have to say I have varying degrees of knowledge about my characters, depending on the story. With IH, I dreamed the story, which means I knew the whole story. But did I know Chris or Teresa's religion or favorite color? Nope. I still don't, because that information really wasn't pertinent to the story.

But there are people who know everything there is to know about their characters before the first line of the story is written. They know favorite colors, favorite foods, religion, minute details about childhood . . . everything. And that works for them.

But not me.

I tried one of those extensive character sheets once, and the phrase "Who cares?" passed my lips more frequently than the answers to any questions. I tried a character interview with Jackson and Rebecca in SR (this was for a workshop), to no avail. Rebecca started wondering if she'd dusted the picture frames in the upstairs hallway, and Jackson crossed his arms, rolled his eyes toward the ceiling, and began whistling.

It would seem I just don't work that way.

My characters tend to unfold, reveal themselves to me during the writing process. I discover things about them as I move along. In IH, Teresa started out to be very much like me. Almost a carbon copy. "They" say you should write what you know, so it was easy in the beginning to write her actions and reactions according to how I might act or react to any given situation. But she didn't stay that way.

Eventually, Teresa became her own person, her thoughts and actions very different from my own. Even though all my female characters are some part of me in their base form, they're no longer me. Yes, I can be snarky and sarcastic, but nowhere near Dakota or Braelyn. I have self-esteem and self-worth issues, but I ain't got nothing on Teresa, Rebecca, or Aine. And Keelin? I don't know enough about her yet to know what parts of her are me--except I do share her fondness for dark hair on a man.

I find it very interesting that as authors, many of us share common goals, yet as with most other things, our journeys toward those goals couldn't be more different.


PROGRESS: Got three hours in yesterday toward my 20 hour BIAW goal this week.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Days Just Fly

Sometimes the days really get away from me.

Yesterday, my husband had me bring the kids to the studio, and while they played in a different room, I had the opportunity to watch extra vocal tracks being laid for a song the studio's been working on. This isn't the first time I've been able to watch, but it was the first time I got to watch and hear at the same time. It really was interesting!

Then I listened as the tracks were mixed. Now this is something I've heard before. Matter of fact, it's something I got bored listening to before. My husband hears thing I can't hear, so while he listening to a track over and over and over again, making minute changes each time, he's hearing different things each time he listens. Me? I just hear the same thing each and every time. For the most part. But last night, I actually heard a lot of the changes he was making.

That was my weekend education. *g* And it lasted until pretty late last night.

On the writing front, I'm still reading First Draft in 30 Days, and started getting BMO separated into scenes so that I can start using Karen Wiesner's method to outline that story. Maybe it'll get me jump started, or at the very least, show me where I took the wrong turn. And since I committed to 20 hours of manuscript work for this week's BIAW, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to get this sucker figured out.

Oooh! I did have an idea late last night for the portion where I was stalled. Need to jot that down before I forget.

Anyway, off to have breakfast then get to work!


MOOD: Motivated to work
WHAT I'M READING: First Draft in 30 Days by Karen S. Wiesner

Friday, March 11, 2005

*happy butt wiggle*

WOO HOO! I'm floating on air right now. In LA Banks' workshop over at Romance Divas, Writing with the Senses, I posted a piece of a dialogue scene from BMO. My CPs had never looked at this scene, so it was all me. And let me tell you, I was a little more than nervous. I was shaking in my boots. (Yes, I do wear boots, mostly of the cowboy variety.)

Here are her comments:

Oooohhhh…. Lynn, this is excellent! Yeah! Fast, quick/hot, you can feel what’s going on, there’s a hint of the sensory, this scene doesn’t need any more to bog it down. You get the tension and mood between them right away. Her stomping, etc, nicely done! Hugs, Les!

I feel vindicated! I'd been worried I couldn't write a decent scene without input from my CPs, but Leslie just told me it's not true. My butt's wiggling like mad.

Two of my CPs, who are also taking this workshop, received similar comments from Leslie, so now I'm triply excited. ^5 Sheri and Cynthia!

AND THEN, to top it off, I got five good pages written on SR yesterday.

Yup. Feeling pretty darn good today.


MOOD: It's in the title, but it bears repeating. *insert happy butt wiggle here*
PROGRESS: 5 pages on SR yesterday

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Words Words Words

I'm in the midst of two workshops: Dialogue The Works: Less is More with Elizabeth Lowell through RWAOL, and Supercharging Your Scenes With the Five Senses with L.A. Banks through Romance Divas. Both have been excellent, and I'm learning quite a bit about my own writing.

But here's the problem. They almost seem to contradict each other.

In the dialogue workshop, we posted excerpts of our work for Ms. Lowell, and she cut and slashed them, showing how we can have the same impact, or even more impact, with fewer words.

In the five senses workshop, we're posting excerpts and Ms. Banks is layering in additional words, bringing out more emotion, more sensuality, more everything.

One seems to say use fewer words to pick up the pace with more impact, the other seems to say use more words to draw the reader in, to hook her.

Which one is right?

Now we all know that as a rule, I'm a wordy person. That's no secret. I love words. Love to play with them, twist them, turn them, bend them to my will. So which of these two authors should I listen to? Which one is teaching me the right way to write?

That was the question I asked myself this morning while going through the authors' suggestions from both workshops, and I've finally reached a conclusion.

They're both right.

The secret, however, is to find that delicate balance between slashing/burning and layering in. To find the right amount of words needed to express the actions, thoughts and feelings of my characters. And to do it in my own voice.

Once upon a time, romance novels were packed with beautiful prose, flowery words that drew the reader into the fantasy world inhabited by characters, carefully and painstakingly built by the author. Unfortunately, once upon a time has passed.

The 21st century is a fast-paced world, filled with the need for instant gratification and drive-by reading. A reader in today's world is more likely to skim past the flowery prose in order to get to the meat of the story. Doesn't necessarily care about the beauty of the sunset.

Hence the need to slash and burn.

Yet, at the same time, bare bones descriptions and narration won't pull your reader in. Won't immerse her in the world you've built. Won't help her, for that brief time she's devouring the pages of your story, forget her real world problems and responsibilities to share in the fantasy.

Hence the need for layering in sensory details and emotions.

Writing a book is work. Hard work. There's no doubt about it. And as a writer, I learn every day. Learn things I'm researching for my stories. Learn techniques of the craft. And now, I'm learning to bend words to my will, layer in sensory details, harness the word monster, and do it all in my unique writing voice.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Today is the day.

No, really!

Today is the day I'm going to buckle down and really get to work. I've been tiptoeing aroung the writing for long enough. I'm gonna have some breakfast, drag Rocky's a/c cord upstairs, and settle in for some serious writing.

Mailman brought me a lovely surprise yesterday. FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS by Karen S. Weisner, a fellow FTH member. In simple terms, the book is supposed to teach a 30-day method that produces an outline so complete it's considered a first draft. I sure hope this method works for me because I could certainly use a fire lit under my behind.

So now I'm comfy, Rocky's in my lap, the laundry's started, my breakfast is next to me, and I'm ready to go. I'm going to log off the Internet, quit procrastinating, and start writing.

Really. I am.


MOOD: Rarin' to go!
PROGRESS: 2 pages yesterday. I'm hopeful for today.

Monday, March 07, 2005

I'm a throwback...

Stole this one from Cece:

You Belong in 1973


If you scored...

1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.

1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!

What Year Do You Belong In?

Got any aspirin?

Just got Ms. Lowell's response to my first assignment. She gave me a "Good job!" and also made some editing suggestions that probably cut half the words out of what I posted.

First reaction: WOO HOO! I didn't do it wrong, after all!

Second reaction: Does it come as a surprise to anybody that I'm wordy? *shaking head*

Guess I can stop banging my head. Now to get rid of the headache I caused...

Rollin', rollin', rollin'

Finally got moving on that troublesome scene in SR this morning. Just switched from Rebecca's POV to Jackson's, and we're good to go! It's still a little slow in coming--I've only written two pages thus far--but at least it's moving.

Today is the first day of the Dialogue That Works: Less is More workshop presented by New York Times Bestselling Author Elizabeth Lowell through RWAOL. We've already had our first assignment: to post 15 lines from the first conversation between our hero and heroine. And wouldn't you know it, I think I've already messed up. *sigh*

I understood that we were supposed to post up to 15 lines from the first conversation. Which is what I did. Posted 15 lines from the first conversation between Jackson and Rebecca, including dialogue, reaction, and introspection.

After I posted my assignment, the workshop coordinator posted a blanket admonition saying we were supposed to post 15 lines of dialogue.

Pardon me while I bang my head on the keyboard.


MOOD:Confuzzled, frustrated
PROGRESS: 2 pages so far this morning on SR
WHAT I'M READING:"Midnight in Ruby Bayou" by Elizabeth Lowell

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Pilates and Beer

It's been an interesting weekend. Notice I didn't say wild. I may have story-worth weekends, but I haven't seen a wild one in years. Not sure if that's a good thing. Anyway, it was interesting.

Friday night, my husband wanted a date. Yes, I mean with me. We had dinner at my favorite restaurant, and discussed what we might do next. On the way home, I discovered what old fuddy-duddies we've become. I looked at him, and said, "I'm tired." He looked at me and said, "So am I." We decided to skip anything else and just head home and get some sleep. It was 10:30pm. See? Fuddy-duddies.

Over dinner, we did talk a bit more about my writing. That makes this entry writing-related, right? Ever since I got it through his head I was actually doing this, he seems to want to make sure I understand he's supporting my efforts.

Anyway, I reiterated to him the plan for my first book is to start submitting to agents by the end of this month (I didn't say he listens all the time, and it doesn't always sink in, but he tries). We talked about pen names, and he asked about mine. I didn't tell him I had one. Not that he'd care or anything, but I didn't want to hit him with everything all at once. I did tell him I would be choosing one. Not that I dislike my name, but I think I'd prefer to have a name that doesn't sound like a city in Washington State. He looked at me kind of funny until I reminded him that his nephew thought I had been named after a school he'd attended in Oklahoma.

My husband suggested a name, that I must admit I really liked. Not using it yet, but I'm keeping it "on file" in case I ever need another name. I explained to him that I'll be keeping my own first name. I'll give it another week or two then hit him with the name, since I told him I was kicking a couple around with my CPs.

Saturday night, my neighbors had a party. They used to have a bunch of them, but the years passed, we all had kids (or in my case, the kids got older), and the parties became less frequent and only on special days. Last night's party, however, was a "just because" gathering.

Their parties always end up with the men (most of whom are firefighters) down by the garage with a bonfire, and the women up by or in the house. Now, normally I find the men's conversations more interesting than the women's, but it was too dadgumm cold for me to head out back. I stuck with the women. Glad I did.

The conversation ranged from Pilates (including drunken demonstrations) to plastic surgery to demonstrations of plastic surgery results to waxing to vibrating chairs. I didn't participate in any of the demonstrations because I've never had plastic surgery and I'm not as limber as the women actually doing the demonstrating. But it was a lot of fun.

Oh, and my new red-streaked hair was a hit.


WHAT I'M READING: "Midnight in Ruby Bayou" by Elizabeth Lowell

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

That's Mrs. Jericho to you stud muffins!

Afternoon, everyone. Millie Jericho, here. Thought I bought the farm, didn't you?

If you don't remember me, I'm a character in Lynn's Burn Me Once, and a long time ago she said I could use her blog once in a while. If you wanna read my old pearls of wisdom, check here and here and Lynn first introduced me here.

Anyhoo, she said I could use her blog, but she never gives her computer up. "Sorry, Millie, I'm writing." "Sorry, Millie, I'm answering e-mail." "Sorry, Millie, I'm taking a workshop." Sorry Millie Sorry Millie Sorry Millie...COW PATTIES! Workshops and e-mails, my wrinkled hindquarters. I know what she's really doing. She forgets I live in her head (still scary as a red-eyed bull) and can see what's going on. She ain't doing those things. She's ogling pictures of stud muffins and watching those rock videos over and over again. Though I don't really mind those videos. Those two men are--what's the word? Hotties.

All I want to do is hop out here and talk to you nice folks once in a while. Maybe meet a Stud Muffin of my own. Is that too much to ask? Whatever happened to respecting your elders?

But I got her back. She ain't opened my story since the peanut guy was president--yes, I know she says it's Chad and Dakota's story, but you and I know the truth; it's mine--but she finally opened it up the other night. She had Dakota walking to the edge of town, confuzzled--I just learned that word, isn't it a pip?--confuzzled by her feelings for her Stud Muffin. When she stops and sits down on a footbridge, I enter stage right. So I follow along, and even give Dakota my trademark, "Hiya, Moon Pie!" greeting. But after that, I ain't sayin' a thing. I can't whistle, so I squinted up at the clouds and called out the shapes I saw. "Look, a giraffe!" "Look, space rocket!" "Look, a penis!"

Lynn got so irritated, she closed the file. Not sure when I'll be nice to her again. Since she waited months to let me blog (and she didn't really let me--I'm sneaking on while she's in the shower), I'm a-thinkin' it'll be months before she gets any good stuff out of me.


Oh, horse hockey. She's back.

The Lollipop Guild

The only reason I named this entry this way is that little ditty from The Wizard of Oz has been banging around my brain all morning. It's gonna be a weird day.

Almost finished with my crits, and my CP Eve sent us the latest copy of her edits for her upcoming Ellora's Cave release (no definite release date yet), Bethany's Rite. Not for critting, just for enjoyment, and to get an idea of the editing process she's going through since she's the first of us to be published. The scenes she's added at her editor's request are hot hot hot! *fanning self*

I didn't write anything new last night, but I did revisit one of my stalled WIPs, Eye to Eye, the romantic paranormal thriller. (Note to self: change suspense to thriller at the website) And I took it one step further. RWAOL member Kristen mentioned in our chapter discussion about self-editing that she uses Text Aloud when editing to read her mss back to her. Since I'm always looking for a new toy, I popped over and downloaded a free trial of the program, then had it read the WIP to me. Very cool! I picked up a few minor errors that I'd not noticed before. I might have to actually buy this one. (Don't tell my husband.)

Today I'm going to write. If I can tear myself away from playing with that new program. *g*

about me
My Photo
Location: Atlanta-ish, Georgia, United States

I'm a wife, a mom, an operating room nurse, a writer, a hobby photographer, and a music lover who knits and crochets. And I'm fairly certain I've lost my mind.

daily visits
Adro's Mumbling & Bumbling
Cece's Big Mouth
Conversations About Famous People
Cynthia Justlin
Diana's Diversions
A Diva's Journey
Eve Jameson
Four Kids and a Blog
Gina's Ramblings
Jax's Artistic Journey
Jerri's Journey to Publication
Jordan Summers
Kate Rothwell
Larissa's Soapbox
Lori Devoti
Laura Bacchi's Bits
Marie's Blog
Marty Kindall
Road to Publication & Beyond
Sasha White
Sheri Haynes
Silma Pagan
The Soapbox
Southern Gal Goes North
Stephanie Tyler
Sylvia Day
Teresa Harrison
Undefinable Qualities
Yankeebob's Blog

places to visit
Lynn Daniels, Author
Romance Divas
My Webshots Site
Charlotte's Resources for Romance Writers
Romance Writers of America
From the Heart Online Chapter
RWA Online Chapter

music sites
Melodic Rock.com
NEH Records
Final Frontier
Harem Scarem

current read
Fire Me Up

shuffling in the cd changer

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com