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Stuck But Digging Out

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Again I apologize for the time between posts. I know it isn’t a real excuse but I have been taking classes since before Thanksgiving on the writing craft. I think I have hit a wall where I need to take all the information I absorbed and actually use it for my story.

Luckily I have a strong support group of writer friends who have been taking some of the classes with me. One of the organizations I belong to is Iowa Romance Novelists. It is our local chapter of Romance Writers of America and the source for some of my free classes.

Each year we try to put together programs to help our members at whatever level they are with their writing to move forward and succeed. We do have a handful of published authors including Sparkle Abbey who I have featured here before who write the Pamper Pet Mysteries and Kathy Bacus who writes the Calamity Jane series. This years Theme for IRN is Survivor. In January, our challenge was to write a synopsis. It didn’t have to be ready to submit but a work in progress. Our reward was chocolate. February we had to write down our goals for the year and our reward was a nifty Survivor bracelet.

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All of this activity has prompted me to move forward and I am feeling pretty darn good about meeting my goals this year. My synopsis helped me to determine exactly what my story is about and I have been using that to plot it out with note cards. I am using Scrivener, not actual note cards. I continue this week to fill in the holes.

With all the changes in the publishing world, it could be easy to get discouraged. But instead of looking at the negatives, I’ve decided to look at the positives and embrace the changes. I look at it as more options for everyone.  It is always easier to go with the flow than try to swim upstream against the current. Disliking the direction things are going in will not stop change from happening but it could affect your mood and your writing.

I found myself trying to force a story and I kept getting stuck. No matter how much I wanted it to work, it wouldn’t so I asked myself what would make me excited about this story?. That question led me to bring back a couple characters I worked with on another project and always felt they should be part of a series.  Picture two old ladies wearing polyester slacks and matching sweatshirts with a slot machine embroidered on the front. Those characters are Agnes Hughes and Frieda Kirkpatrick. Both over 65 years old, friends since childhood, like to play slots and bingo and are always getting into trouble. I could have fun spending time with these two. I merged them into the story I have been struggling with and now I have something I can’t wait to write.

 

Our challenge for March is entering a contest. I plan to enter the Montezuma short story contest again this year. Hoping that will count. The reward is a drawing for a paid entry fee.

What have you been doing to keep yourself moving forward? Do you have a support system of other writers? Do you take classes to sharpen your skills? Do you attend writers conferences and support local authors when they come to speak?

My mantra this year is “I will survive.”  Will you?

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2013 in Write a Novel

 

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WIP Wednesday

With this post, I will try to keep you updated on how I am doing with my project. I won’t call it a novel until I am further along and I won’t talk about the story because I don’t want jinx myself by sharing too much too soon.

What I will tell you about is the stage I am in with the project. I have written a few scenes and again felt like I was floundering. My critic came to visit and stayed. I started doubting myself again.

I want to get the first draft done before the end of September. I am going to a writer’s workshop in Minnesota and I felt it would give me a good date to aim for.

I have been working on plotting and outlining and reading everything that I could get my hands on about the subject. I found several books online that have helped.  I have been reading so much about outlining, that I volunteered to present a workshop on the subject this past Saturday at my CIFW (Central Iowa Fiction Writers – a local chapter of Romance Writers of America).

The workshop went well. I didn’t do anything embarrassing, at least; I had read so much about the subject I felt comfortable talking about it. The best compliment came from one of our published authors, the Sparkle half of Sparkle Abbey. She said I’d helped her figure out something with the current story she was writing.  The workshop was hands on and those present seemed to get absorbed in their work, so I was happy.

My goal this week is to complete my outline and actually start writing and keep writing.  When I have completed the outline, I will calculate the number of words per day I will need to do by the end of September and share the number of words written each week with this weekly post.

Your assignment is to help keep me motivated and moving forward.  As you can see, I am planning to post more often, not daily but several times a week. Writing here seems to make me want to work on my wip, so I will do what I need to do to get it finished. I enjoy blogging and it makes me feel a little more connected to the writing community.

If anyone would like to share their writing methods feel free to chime in. How much do you prepare before you actually start writing?    How do you stay motivated every day? Do you have a special time of day that you write and is it consistent? How is your writing going?

Until next time,

Virginia

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Write a Novel

 

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Power of Positive Energy

Today my local chapter of Romance Writers of America met to retreat. One of the members who had to drive the furthest, also brought breakfast. A great egg, sausage, and hash brown breakfast, homemade cinnamon rolls and orange juice. Most of us stopped at the local Caribou Coffee for our shot of caffeine and then we focused on writing until 12:30. After lunch we went straight into a workshop on using cliches and ended with each one of us sharing the goal, motivation, conflict and inciting incident for the story we are currently working on.

Do you determine your characters’ goal, motivation, and conflict when you plot your story. Do you plot, or do you sit down and write letting the story tell you where it wants to go?

Love spending time with my writer peeps and look forward to the next time. Actually it won’t be that long. Our monthly meeting is next Saturday. If anyone lives in the central Iowa area and is looking for a writer’s group. My RWA chapter and my Sisters in Crime chapter meets the third Saturday of every month. Romance in the morning and mystery in the afternoon. Let me know if you’d like more information and check out our website – http://www.iowaromancenovelists.org/. For Sisters in Crime Iowa you can find us on facebook.

What have I been reading?  I’m half way through ‘Maybe this Time‘, by Jennifer Cruisie. If you like ghost stories, you need to read this one. It has plenty of humor which should be no surprise but it does have a few spooky moments and a great story line. I did guess that her inspiration was ‘Turning of the Screw’. Her blog says she took the story and told it the way she thought it should have been told. Very entertaining.

I recently finished reading ‘The Girl Who Stopped Swimming‘, another story that surprisingly had a few ghosts too. This was an audio book I listened too during my commute to and from work. The author narrated it and she did a superb job. Loved the southern accents and her ability to read in very distinguishable voices. Loved the relationship between the sisters and the authors ability to weave all the subplots together with the main story into a tapestry of emotion, action, and conflict as beautiful as if it were the finest literary silk. Will watch for more from Joshilyn Jackson in the future.

Happy reading and writing,

Virginia

 

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