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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tuesday Musings

 

 

thumbn_2945026921Tuesday is my day off. I normally meet with a friend every other Tuesday. Our schedule got messed up with the holidays so haven’t got together for a while. Today we couldn’t meet because she came down with the crud that is circulating. I am pretty sure I had it back before Christmas. I had the bronchitis thing that lasted for about six weeks. So we skipped again today.

I should be writing. I want to write but I have all these things I have to do today, errands, haircut, laundry, and I have to spend a little time doing housework since my next day off is Saturday and I already have meetings with two writers groups that start at 8:00 AM and don’t finish until 5:00 PM that day.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. I wish I was financially secure enough that I didn’t have to work and could write full time but don’t really see that ever happening. I will fit in some time to write later today. Maybe while the chili simmers for supper.

I am currently taking a ‘Finish your Mystery Class’. Trying to keep up with the assignments. Each assignment is one step closer to writing the book and I think that is what is making me a little melancholy about the whole thing. I just want to get it done but I know that what I am doing will make the finished book better. I just need to trust that I can push through to the end.

My word count hasn’t moved because of the classes, I will start updating as soon as I get back into actually writing the book. I have learned a lot from each of the classes. The Mystery Writing class I took before Christmas helped me learn more about structuring a mystery. The Fast Draft Class taught me that there is no way I can write 20 pages a day, at least not yet. I did learn that even if I can’t write 20 pages a day that I can set a daily goal that will challenge me but not stop me and if I do it consistently, I will get this done. Just not in 2 weeks. I am learning more about writing the mystery in this current class and feel I will finish further along the path toward publication. I will complete this novel. It’s there, I just need to get it on the page.

How is your writing going? What do you do when you get stuck? How do you keep motivated? Do you write alone? Do you have people who keep you moving forward? When do you write?

If you are out there writing alone, I hope I can help motivate you.

Keep in touch,

Virginia

 

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Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Writing a Novel

 

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X is for Xanadu

 

 

 

 

Yeah, I know. What does Xanadu have to do with writing? I am almost done with the alphabet series and I have to admit – X is a difficult one. There are no words starting with an x that could be a topic about the craft of writing so I stepped out of the box a little. So shoot me.

 

If you have written for any length of time, you know that after a while in your writing session you get into the zone. For a writer that is paradise. Now do you see where I am going?

 

Xanadu is not just an Olivia Newton John movie. There is a reference to a poem by Kubla Khan. What I got from everything that I read it is paradise. When a writer is in the zone, it is as close to paradise as you can get.

 

What about your writing makes you happy? What do you do to get to your Xanadu? Do you have a ritual? Do you light a candle as you start? Do you have to have your favorite beverage at your elbow?

 

If nothing else, describe your Xanadu, use it as a writing prompt for your story.

 

Next week on to Y. Why did I get myself into this?

 

Virginia

 

 

 

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Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Writing a Novel

 

What I’ve Been Reading

The one book I finished was ‘Not One Clue’ by Lois Greiman. It is a series with the protagonist as a psychologist who can’t seem to keep out of trouble. She has a hot police detective boyfriend, Jack Rivera, who she met with the first book, ‘Unzipped’. In that one she was counseling a star football player who tried to make the moves on her in her office with his pants down, right before he fell over and died. Try explaining that to the police. Lois has a cast of quirky characters who make you want to come back for more. If you are an Evanovich fan, you would love this series.

I started reading a couple books on my Kindle. The first was ‘Blue Moon Rising‘ by Lillian Francken. I was hoping for more than it had to offer. With the prologue and the title I was sure it was going to be a werewolf story. I read the first six chapters and there was a murder but it felt like another serial killer, nothing mysterious. It was like the author forgot about what she promised in the prologue. There were a few animal mutilations and I think she was leading into what I had been hoping for but her pacing was so slow I couldn’t hang in to finish it.  I think she may have had a good story there but the poorly edited book made it difficult to want to continue so I didn’t. I put it away in a folder for books that didn’t live up to my expectations. Maybe someday I will try to read it again but with so many other books to read it probably won’t happen unless someone else has read this book and can tell me to hang in to the end.

The other Kindle book I started is ‘The Secret Circle: The Initiation and The Captive Part I by L.J. Smith. I found this book because Chiller has been playing marathons of ‘The Secret Circle  on Tuesday nights and I got sucked in. It is about a coastal town where a group of six teens discover they are witches. They work together to find out what happened  in the past that killed most of their parents. Because I have missed some of the series I decided to read the books. Again it was a bargain on Kindle – only .99 but this time I think it was worth it. This author tells a good story. So far so good.

The last book is one that I purchased but haven’t used yet. It is ‘The Writer’s Lab – A Place to Experiment with Fiction‘ by Sexton Burke. It is full of pages with prompts and exercises that allow you to play with your story and your writing.

I am taking another online writing class this month so probably spending too much time reading and not enough time writing but what can I say, writers read.

What have you been reading? Any recommendations?

Virginia

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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

W is for Write

 

“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” – Maya Angelou

Judy Reeves and Julia Cameron both promote daily writing pages. They suggest you write a certain number of pages a day, by hand.

 

With all of the tools we have for writing, I think we sometimes forget about pen and paper. It is convenient. You can always have a notebook on you. I carry one in my purse, in case inspiration strikes. Judy Reeves ‘A Writer’s Book of Days’ contains daily writing prompts. I like writing prompts. Sometimes writing something that someone else suggests takes the pressure of the blank page away. It doesn’t mean I will ever do anything with the prompt but I have it to use in the future. Maybe I will have a scene I am working on and I know I described something in a prompt that I really liked. I can dig for the gold. You can also use what you’ve written for ideas. Maybe something happened one day in the news and you write about it because it caught your attention. That piece might be your next story.

Most of the time when I am writing seriously though, I do have to be in front of the computer. If for nothing else but the ability to edit, the computer is a life saver.

Since I began writing in the ’90’s things have changed a lot. I started out with a typewriter. It had automatic correct and I thought that was the ultimate writing experience. I then moved on to a word processor. It looked like a desktop PC but all it had was a screen and once I edited my work, I printed it out. It printed out like a typewriter. I then moved on to my first PC. It was big but it fit perfect on the desk in the basement of our house at the time. It was clunky and whenever you got on the internet it beeped and whirred and took it’s time. Now I have a desktop with a thin flat monitor and a much smaller tower. I also have a laptop that needs work, a net-book that I should use more because it really is small and has all the programs I use already on it. I have an alpha smart Neo that is strictly a word processor and is just a little bigger than my net-book and runs on regular batteries. I have had it for several years and have yet to replace the batteries. You can save a whole book on it and with a cord download it to any word processing program on your PC. You can also send it wirelessly but I haven’t figured that out yet. I also have an IPad. I love it for the internet. Not so thrilled about the writing programs and even with a keypad it isn’t so comfortable for writing for longer writing sessions.

I guess it doesn’t matter what tool you use if you struggle with the act of writing. I recently picked up another kind of writing book. ‘The Only Grammar & Style Workbook You’ll Ever Need’ by Susan Thurman. Let’s just say that even though I did well in high school English, that’s been a long time ago. I use the book like some people do crosswords. It is packed full of tests. The chapters are:

  • Finding the Right Words
  • Many of the Most Commonly Misspelled Words
  • Parts of Speech
  • Basic Sentence Structure
  • Verb Varieties
  • Pronoun Problems
  • Punctuation and Style
  • Writing Better Sentences
  • Avoiding Common Errors
  • Eliminating Wordy Phrases

I figured that if I planned to continue down this path, it might not hurt to brush up on the basics. The tests remind me of worksheets from school. Don’t know why I think they are fun now and back then it was torture.

What do you write with? What are your writing rituals? What keeps you going?

Virginia

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Writing a Novel

 

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

What I’ve Been Reading…

 

When I wasn’t shopping, putting up the tree, decorating, and cooking, I spent December indulging in everything Christmas. I had read Kate Kingsbury before and decided to read the new one that came out this year as well as some of her back list. If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, which I am, you will love this series. Since I have read a few already, I have come to love the characters. Cecily Sinclair Baxter is the protagonist. She owns the Pennyfoot Hotel/Country Club. There have been so many murders around the holidays that everyone has come to think of the Pennyfoot having a holiday curse. Luckily Cecily has a knack at solving the mysteries. You will get entangled in the lives of the servants as well as Cecily. These stories are satisfying cozy reads and you too will become attached to the characters. I picked up several from this series but only managed to read two. The rest will have to wait till next December. Here are my thoughts on December 2012 reads.

First I read ‘Herald of Death’ –  This one involves a murderer who kills with a different method each time but leaves an Angel sticker on the victim’s forehead. I would give this one 4 stars.

‘The Clue is in the Pudding’ – involves a maid finding a dead guest in his bed. At first it looks like he was poisoned by some Christmas pudding served by the new housekeeper. Pudding the cook was saving for guests for Christmas day. You then discover that though she might have a motive so do several more characters. 4 stars.

Santa Cruise‘ by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark was the third book from December. I have read a couple other from this series co-written by mother and daughter but it had been a while. This one was okay but found myself not caring so much about the characters. To be honest, I had a hard time telling who was the protagonist of this story. The characters who appear in the series are Regan Reilly a private investigator and her husband head of the NYPD Major Case Squad. I would have assumed they were the main characters but it felt more like Alvirah Meehan, a lottery winner who must have solved a few crimes in previous books in this series was also telling the story. Needless to say, I did finish it, something I don’t always do now – so many books – so little time. If you like a cozy mystery set on the sea, do check this one out. I would give this one 2 stars.

I resolve to continue reading. I believe you have to read to write. What have you been reading? Any suggestions for 2013?

Till next time,

Virginia

 

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in What I'm Reading

 

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