Saturday, October 12, 2013

How long did this take?

This is the blog where I get a little personal. 
I started the novel that I’ve been working on as a Nanowrimo back in 2011.  I made my 50K goal on Thanksgiving Day just before I was supposed to start stuffing the turkey.  I was pretty damn proud of myself and happy with making the goal, but the story was far from over.  Not even close.  But the Turkey turned out really amazing that year.  I cooked with some serious passion that year.  
 I kept working on the story through the rest of the month and put in another 6K words and it still wasn’t done.  When I got to December I wasn’t able to keep up with writing because of life being life during the holiday season and I set the story aside for several months. 

When I finally got back to work it was well into 2012 and I only got another 10K into it, so there I was at roughly 65K.  I’m was  thinking this thing is never going to be done.  I love the story, the characters, the world I’ve made.  I know exactly how it ends.   But getting there was a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.  Far more twists and turns that I ever expected there to be, as historical research changed the path a few times.  When October of 2012 approached I realized I should be preparing to write something new, but I wasn’t ready.  I also knew this book had another 50K worth of words to be written at least.  Well, it’s technically “cheating” to the Nanowrimo purists but this was what I needed to work on.  So I kept going with this story.  Kept up with word counts and everything except for when I had the flu.  Then back to business with my writing, right up until my cat kept vomiting up his food constantly.  Turned out he wasn’t a fat cat, he was all liver.  It was a mass of liver compressing his stomach.  We tried for surgery, but they found it was much worse than they thought.   He died before we could even bring him home.  That was right after Thanksgiving.  Didn’t finish the Nano, and didn’t write again for about three months.  
When I finally got back into the swing of things, I knew I needed better discipline and a schedule.  I set up a real office in my garage where I wasn’t going to be interrupted when I did sit down to write.  Or I’d have to leave the house.  The local Panera Bread is my other office.  Can’t deal with Starbucks, too crowded and there are no earbuds good enough to block out that many people drinking coffee and being hip.   
About a month ago I realized my story had a sequel.  Well, technically I tossed the idea out vaguely to a friend and to my dad six months ago and they didn’t hate it.  But a month ago I realized it definitely had to happen and I was at the turning point in the story where I needed to work specific characters in that would appear in the next book.   So, if I was going to do it, this was the time.  Well, that led me to restructuring the end and changing the beginning.  All of this made the whole thing stronger.  At least, I hope it does.  

This brings us to the end of September 2013 and just a few days before my birthday when I finished the book.   So, that’s two years to finish just one draft.   Just how it worked out for me.   I’m not sure how the pro’s who maintain a day job keep up the writing discipline.  It’s really hard.  But I do also take care of my 90 year old grandmother in addition to the day job. 
It's possible no one is interested in any of this, but here it is anyway.   Next time I'll write about something fun, like the never ending research spiral that is the internet.

Still raising  money for Night of Writing Dangerously.  Please consider donating, it's a good charity.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter G

I have at least six characters in my novel with names that start with the letter G.  Now, in the grand scheme of things I suppose this shouldn’t be a problem but most of these are the main characters.  The perspective characters romantic interest was named with a G.  Her mother AND step mother were named with a G.   The step mothers twin was named with a G though I admit that actually makes sense since twins are often named with like letters.  At that point I still didn’t realize I had a problem.  Nope, because then I even named the romantic interests MOTHER with a G name.  Yes, you read that correctly. 
Let’s count them shall we? 

Ok, that’s actually five, but I think there’s another character somewhere in the middle of the book that I can’t recall at the moment.  I finally realized I had a problem when I was updaing character profiles in the writing software I use and then arranged them alphabetically.  Half the characters in the story were in the G section.  What gives self?   What’s with the love of G?
Part of the problem is that when you write a story set in a specific historical place and time you feel obligated to use names that fit in that place and time.   So I would spend time looking for names that were appropriate for ancient Trace, and Ancient Gaul, Celts, or Teutonic peoples.   This also leads you to baby name sites, and then on to a never ending Wikipedia loop of wondering if this is the right name. 
Then there’s just picking a random name for a character because you need a name RIGHT NOW.  The first half of the novel I’ve just finished the first draft on, I started as a NanoWriMo year before last.  When I got to the point of naming this romantic interest, I was in a book store.  I picked a random book up off a shelf next to me and flipped open the book to a page and picked a name.  Luckily it was a book on history and was actually a name that sort of fit. 
The name was Gron.   It is a terrible name.   Horrible.  Don’t worry; I’m going to change it.  It became a running joke between myself and a couple of friends.  One friend even jokingly started calling my book “Gron's Woman.”  Though that is nothing even close to what the story is about.  But the name is so bad, and so cliché it was hard not to joke about it.  Another friend borrowed it for a time for another story, but dropped it in favor of something better.  After awhile I started to like the name.  Then hate it again. 
Eventually I realized I had to change it even if I did like it because of my G problem.   It needed to be something appropriate to the place and time, so I asked a friend from Iceland for a good name, and he gave me one.  When in doubt, ask people for good suggestions.  People are better than the internet.
Ultimately I will change about half of the G names for others.   I will also learn to not give people such a hard time about finding names for characters on the fly.  I used to be part of this gaming group, and half the fun was asking the GM the name for characters she’d never once thought of naming.  The poor characters would end up with names like Mr. Paper or something along those lines.  Well, now it’s no so funny is it? 

Today’s blog has been brought to  you today by the Letters G, B and the Number 5.
PS - Still raising money for this.  You know you want to help out.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

All done

On Thursday on the wee hours of the morning I finally wrote the very final words of my novel.  It was two am, holy crap it was two in the damn morning.  Then I went to work the next morning. 

Let me tell you something, when I first started this story that I've just finished I knew very vaguely how it would end.  There would always be this scene played out near a bog and it would be sad.  That still happened.  As I was getting nearer and nearer these points in the story I knew certain characters needed to die and I found myself floundering, second guessing myself on if it should happen.  The how and why of it, and if it and if it still worked for the story.  But it still works.  Part of the story needed to tie to things at the beginning.   I just didn't know that when I started writing.  It's funny how the story finds it way out even when you don't realize exactly where it's going.   Like the story is leaving you breadcrumbs on it's way through your brain in case you got lost along the way.  Did that make sense?  Kinda...  In the end I realized I'd left myself some really interesting threads/breadcrumbs that were supposed to be tied together, so I tied them up/made bread pudding.

Also, today is my birthday.  I have been 39 for 42 minutes now. 

In a few hours I'm leaving to go to Disneyland.  When I come back I'll start doing some fun blogs about process and also start planning book two.  I'm leaving this story to sit till after November so I can look at it with fresh eyes.  Well... I'll try anyway.  I'm still pretty close to this story.  It's hard not to jump right into revising.

One more birthday mention, since it is my birthday you could donate to my Night of Writing Dangerously NanoWriMo fund raising page.   It's a great fundraiser for them.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I'm still here - Updates, fundraising, guest blogging.

I'm still out here in blog town.  I've been working a lot lately with my day job, and also spending most of my free time focusing on finishing up my rough draft of the novel I'm working on right now.  It's going really well with the novel.  I'm almost there, really.  Only a couple chapters away actually. 

Then I can put it away for a month or two while I start planning the second book and get prepared for November.  I plan on getting my first 50K of book two done in November during NaNoWriMo. It's always a good way to just get the words out and let go of worrying.  Just trusting what I've planned and seeing what happens instead of stressing and letting myself get worried about what might be coming next.  I'm also raising money for Office of Letters & Light/NaNoWriMo and the Night of Writing Dangerously fundraiser this year so the can help put the program in schools and do all the great programs that they do each year.  So, if you'd like to help me out, please donate.  my goal is pretty modest, but I'd sure like to go far beyond it.

The link is here Elanor's Night of Writing Dangerously Fundraising Page

I'm also raising the money in memory of my cat who passed away at the end of November last year.  It was a very tough November, and this year I'm going to kick Novembers ASS.  You heard it here first.  Remember that when I start complaining.

This Sunday I'll be guest blogging over at my friend's Sheryl R. Hayes Blog.  There I will pretend I know things about writing and say stuff about words that seem pretty darn convincing thus proving I know at least a few things about writing.   Also, by doing this guest blog thing I'm guilting myself into being more regular about writing my own blogs. Hilarious.

I have plans though! 

In the next few weeks I plan to write blogs about the Novel I've been working on and some of the things that I've struggled with. 
Such as names that begin with the letter G, just like an episode of Sesame Street.
Going on a never ending research spiral.
Do you let family beta certain kinds of stories read if they have PTSD?

So, I leave you with these exciting preview ideas of what will come in October, because that's when I plan to write about these things.  Until then, this has been a semi irregular blog from me.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A real introduction

Just kidding.

I don't really have anything to introduce, I'm just writing things in this blog as I write my books. Hopefully one day that leads somewhere, but for now it's just a lot of fun and a good reason to pull my hair out.  By day I do something completely different.

I'm working on a story set in ancient Thrace right now and for the most part, the biggest challenge is naming characters in ways that don't annoy me.  I think this deserves a d long and devoted blog post sometime, where I go on about how much fun it isn't finding appropriate names that people can read, say and that I can repeatedly spell and keep track of in an ancient world so I'll save that for another day. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Not an introduction

Forgive me Blogger for I have sinned, it has been one year and two months since my last blog.
Who am I kidding here with this confession thing? I'm not even Catholic so I don't really care about that sort of thing, but it seemed like a good beginning.  I'm supposed to really start doing this sort of thing more often.  So, here I am doing this, blogging.  But I've got nothing much to say.
I could go on about my outrage over the things I've retweeted on twitter this evening, but I really can't.  I could spend some real quality time baring my soul over why it's so important but it's no ones business why it angers me so much.  It.should anger anyone really, that should be enough.  I'll just leave this nice and vague.
I should actually introduce myself.  Is this going to be my introductory blog post?  GOD what a terrible introductory blog post this is!  No, no I'll do that some other time.  I think I'll just ramble incoherently like this instead. Probably no one will read it anyway so it's not a problem.
Just changed the name of the blog to "Writing in the Dust" instead of the line from an Imogen Heap song, which was "the dust has only just begun to settle."  It was a fine name for a blog but it wasn't mine so I probably shouldn't use it.  I do like the dusty theme though so I'll keep writing in it for now.
Next blog, a real introduction and what the heck I'm doing here.  Hopefully it'll be sooner than a year and two months.