She Shoots…..

I can't believe it's been over a month since I last blogged. With the loss of Zoey, getting ready for the holidays and everything else in between, that time has gone by in a complete blur.

So, with the New Year just a day away, it's about time I set some concrete goals for 2011. I've been thinking about it already, but I work best with items I can check off my list rather than a vague idea of what I cant to accomplish (see – even in goal setting, I'm still not quite a Pantser). So, here's what I want to do with my writing in the coming year:

  • Complete & submit 2 stories a month
  • Finish the 2 NaNo WIPs that are connected
  • Put together stories for a collection that I've been thinking about
  • Finish revamping my freelance writing website
  • Get back on track with my article writing

 So, not too rigid but some definite goals there. And room for more! I know i have a few more tasks filed in the recesses of my mind – but I'm still in holiday mode. But I'm sure the list will grow weekly. Hooray for over-achievers!

I wanted to try #write1sub1, but since I'm going away at the end of January, I don't want to start the year of crazed (my trip will be here before I know it!). Plus, I'm not sure if I'm ready for it. A month of madness is 1 thing. But I don't want to set myself up for failure.

I've already got 25 story ideas that are either half-finished or with plot notes worked out. Granted, I'm sure other ideas will come to me (at least I hope!) and my planned pieces will change as the year goes by, so I'm leaving it open to where inspiration takes me. But if worse comes to worse and I have no new ideas in 2011 (I shudder at the thought), at least I've got a Plan B.

So, what are your plans for 2011? Or do you bother making resolutions and just go with the flow?

The Lockwood Collection

This is going to be tricky. Normally I tell you, dear readers, how I came up with the idea for my story. But this time, it would be giving too much away. And I want you to truly feel the effect of horror when reading this tale…

So let me tell you this…

One of the themes in the story is the origin of the art that the main character Regan Lockwood, creates. I explore an idea that I hope artists of all types – writers, painters, sculptors – can relate to. That often, what we create comes from another place – and that place is sometimes the shadowed depths of our human nature. Ideas we didn't know were there; images that can intrigue and terrify us. The question is – why does it terrify us? Because they are unexpected? Or because the darkness came from within us?

I've mentioned before that when I first began plotting out the story, I came up with an entire back story and history of the Lockwood family.

Regan is born into a long line of artists. Her grandfather, Preston, was an archeologist, and it is his legacy that she unearths and is faced with the choice of whether to continue this legacy or to bury it so their hidden truth will never be revealed.

In coming up with such an elaborate past, I ended up writing a set of journal entries from Preston that I originally considered using if I were to ever make Lockwood into a novel-length manuscript.

I still have the itch to do so – so maybe you'll be reading more about the Lockwoods in the future.

WIP Wednesday is Derailed Ever-So-Slightly

I'm not sure what I'm doing about my NaNoWriMo book.

Obviously, with everything going on, I abruptly stopped working on it last week. In fact, most of the month, I struggled with hitting my word count until late at night because most of the day I was either cuddling Zoey (on her good days) or worrying about her (when she wasn't feeling well enough to cuddle).

I surprised myself by writing almost an entire first draft of a new short the other day. Maybe it's the comfort of getting back into routine but it was actually a bit of a relief, to tell you the truth. Something tangible to hold on to with so much turmoil going on around me. Either way, I'm not sure if I'll "win" NaNo this year. But I'm not going to abandon my book either, no matter how long it takes me to finish it.

* * * * * 

In other Writing Wednesday news, have you seen the trailer for Aaron Polson's Loathsome, Dark & Deep yet? That guy knows how to entice! Check it out and don't forget to pre-order the book while it's still only $8.99. And take part in A Very Loathsome Contest!

Bye Bye Babe

ZoeyWe lost our Zoey to Cancer this past Thursday.

While we knew she was sick (she had a mass removed last December), it was still a shock as her health only took a turn for the worse very quickly within the last month with the disease spreading aggressively to her lungs and it was an awful decision to have to make to let her go.

There are so many things I'll miss about her but one in particular is my morning ritual of showering, getting my coffee, giving her a treat and then sitting down at my writing desk. She got into the habit of joining me and sprawling under my desk between my feet so I put a fuzzy blanket on the floor and she would lay there with her head on my foot and sleep while I wrote.

She would only give me an hour or hour & a half tops before I would feel a little tap on my leg, look down, and see her up on her back feet, trying to get my attention for a proper cuddle and I'm glad that I took her up on her suggestion as often as I did.

It's still surreal – looking at photos of her. Seeing her captured in still-frame when I expect her to come waddling out of the bedroom and bounding up onto the couch or hopping up onto the bed and snuggling between us (stealing my pillow in the process – which I secretly loved because that meant being able to bury my face in her fur and listen to her purr).

We miss her terribly.

Nanoing Along – Days 6 to 9

Sorry I've been incognito the past few days. The weekend, as I suspected, was taken over by home improvements. Well – sort of. We ended up having to clean out all our closets first so we could do the renos we intended to do. We threw out so much stuff, it looks like we just moved in here. So, it looks like this coming weekend will see the start of work instead.

Fun times.

Either way, I managed to catch up on my word count today and add a bit of padding. Not as much padding as I would like, but there’s still time.

I’m not sure why but simply hitting the daily minimum word count is not satisfying enough to me. In fact, I feel a failure if I am not able to add at least a few extra hundred words to the required 1667 words to stay on track. Even in accomplishing goals, I still manage to lay a guilt trip on myself :)

Anyway, I’m feeling a little more in the groove. I also feel like I have barely scratched the surface of the story, which is good I guess, seeing as I am aiming for more than 50,000 words at the end of it all.

Whether I am able to completely finish the book in November or will have to carry on workng on the first draft when the month is over remains to be seen.

Words written today: 3,054
Total Words Written: 16,137

Fun facts: When I started the first book in the series for NaNo ‘07, I recruited a cast of characters in the form of celebrity head shots to stand in for my characters. Keeping those images open helps me get back into their voices after such a long time away.

Curious to see who they are? Read this post.

NaNo Day 5 – Punk Is Not Dead

My usual writing music is dark ambient. But this time, I've decided to do what all the cool kids do and pick a playlist that would suit the story I’m writing.

One of the settings in my NaNo novel is the local pub. So what better way to get into the mindset but to play a little Exploited, Dead Kennedys, The Pogues and The Real McKenzies. That’s what’s so great about writing. Downloading music for ‘research’. Plus, they all share a similar vein of punk rockin’ celtic sound that I’ve always liked, so why not be inspired by it?

Maybe @LizWorthXO can offer me a few more suggestions but until then, Scene 3 and 4 are fueled by the above.

Words Written Today: 2065
End-of-Day Word Count: 8814

Discoveries:

  • I had no trouble writing a fight between my 2 MCs, who also happen to be married. What that says about me, I don't know. But I couldn't get my fingers to fly furiously enough.
  • my research is coming in handy to more than just me – my female MC is looking into the same research topics. Next time, I need to record each & every little thing and not rely upon my computer history, which only seems to go back a month. Better bookmarking, I must do

NaNo Day 4 – In The Beginning

Day 4 of NaNo is under my belt. After yesterday's pretty decent word count, things started out slowly today. But after a 2nd writing session later in the evening, I made up enough ground to cover the words I missed writing on Days 1 & 2. Woot!

I may have to bank some words tomorrow, though. Home renovations begin this weekend, albeit in small scope, I still may be too exhausted to do anything else. And you know how it is with these things. Chances are extra trips to Home Depot (*yawn*) and it taking twice as long as anticipated are – well…anticipated.

End-of-Day Word Count: 6749

4 most interesting words I've used in my NaNo Novel so far: lurked, innuendo, puking, git

Discoveries:
– my male MC drinks bourbon
– I am finding it easier to slip into the voice of my male MC over my female. Maybe I should revise my post from yesterday
– slow start aside, I’m still having fun. Good thing, since it’s only Day 4 and all
– people are sighing way too much in this first draft

 No writing meme today. Too exhaustimicated.

Writing MeMe & NaNo Day 3 – Inevitable Path

An update on NaNo day 3.

Working on: Scene 2 – where my MC steps foot on an untraveled path, not sure if she wants to go there. Of course she will. Otherwise there would be no book.

Words Written Today: 2564
Total Words: 4355
Fave Words: Keagan looked up at her sister-in-law. “Fear. It’s no different than the Millbrook of today. Fear makes people do unspeakable things. The only problem with that? I’m not one to stay silent.”

Things on my desk:
– red pen
– MP3 player
– flash drive
– bottle of purple nail polish
– discarded mini Coffee Crisp wrapper

Insights:
Happily, I was able to work in some history that I had set up in the very beginnings of Book 1. Yay! I’d like to think it was by magic but truth be told, even though I started Book 1 in 2007, I guess those residual ideas have just been waiting patiently in the folds of my mind for me to bring them to light again.

Daily Wrap-up:
This was my 1st full day of writing. Cleaning off my writing desk and holing up in the writing nook worked wonders. Granted, not sure how shiny my words are, but at least I got them down.

————————

Continuing with the 30 Days of Writing MeMe, here are my answers for days 2 & 3.

2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

Asking a writer how many characters he or she has is like asking one to count the number of toothpicks after spilling the contens of the box on the kitchen floor :)

As for which I prefer, I'm not sure that I consciously choose whether my MC will be male or female. As my fellow writers know, story ideas come to us at the strangest times and often from the most curious of places, so when I do get an idea, often the MC is already magically there, waiting for me to breathe life into them via my words. So far, I haven't had to battle over which sex to make them. Maybe I'm lucky that they already come to me having decided for themselves.

3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you're writing about fictional places)?

I have my trusty Name book and a few baby naming websites bookmarked. I actually put a good amount of thought into naming my characters. Often times, I cannot get started on a story until I have names that feel right. And I generally choose names that symbolize some sort of personality trait in my characters. Not that readers are going to necessarily know or recognize the connection. But it sort of allows me to channel their personalities better.

In my current NaNo project, I created the name of the main setting by smushing 2 words together, but it is not uncommon (and maybe I subconsciously took note because when I went on a mini road trip to do research for my book, I found there is a local town with the same name).

And don't even get me started on naming stories or novels. That is, often, a drawn out process in and of itself.

30 Days of Writing – Day 1

I know – it's November 2nd, which means I'm a day behind. That's what happens when you book 2 vacation days at the beginning of a crazy month.

I'll be blogging periodically about my NaNo progress, but you can always stay updated by watching my as-of-yet still blank progress bar in the right-hand sidebar.

That's right. I've made no progress yet. Tonight, my pets.

Until then, here's Day One of the 30 Days of Writing Meme. Enjoy picking my brain!

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

I really enjoyed working on my piece for The Scroll of Anubis Anthology from Library of Horror Press.

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I have a keen interest in Egyptian mythology. I saw the Book of the Dead when it came to the ROM and the King Tut Exhibit at the AGO. My dream is to go to the pyramids one day.

So when the call went out for Anubis, I knew it was a perfect fit for me.

When I started the story, I actually created an entire history that spanned various generations of the Lockwood Family, including historical journals from one of the patriarchs. But after only scratching the surface of the story, it was already well over the word limit for the antho, so I scrapped it all.

My not-so-secret plan was to eventually turn the story into a novel. Not sure if I still will since I think the story kind of stands on its own – but I've also learned to never say never…

Guest Blogging for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo has started. Stuck yet?

If so, head on over to the Indie Book Collective blog, where I've contributed a guest blog inspired by my alter ego, Miss Write.

With tips on how to combat the fear of falling flat, facing literary stage fright, getting over the idea that every sentence will be the literary equivalent of the punk rock power chord and info on how to rock your writing IBC style, I hope you will find some inspiration to help you make it through this crazy month.

How NaNoWriMo Can Unleash Your Inner Writing Rock Star