Optimism Monday: Groove Is In The Heart

 

Alright, I feel fully and actually recovered, now. I woke up in a good and writing mood this morning. Me thinks it is going to be a good reading and writing week. I hope to get a lot of fiction written, and also a lot of blogging done, too!

Let’s make up a list:

1) Send off Accountability for review from a writer in my writing community who I have a lot of respect for. I’m nervous, but I’m looking forward to his feedback from this rewrite.

2) Rewrite and post Before Her Time rewrite.

3) Start a YA idea that I’ve had for a few weeks. I’m excited about this one–I don’t have a name for it quite yet, but hopefully it will give me one by the end of the week.

4) Flash Fiction! Chuck’s Challenge is cool this week. The Title generator gave me “The Wrath that They Murdered.” I’m really feeling it. There is also “Gods in the Beard” and “Heaven is Logical.” All three of these are begging to be written… we’ll see which one I choose.

 

Four items, but at least 6k worth of fiction this week. Moreover, add the mommy blog and this blog, and I’m in for a lot of words this week. A good thing–my brain has been begging for some exercise!

Let’s get to work. It’s going to be a great week!

Accountability Friday: Failing Up

 

So I can tell you that I didn’t meet all of my goals this week, but I am feeling fairly accomplished anyway because despite the acute challenges of my week, I still managed to create fiction. I’m looking forward to snuggling up to this computer and finishing up a few things so that I can walk into this weekend feeling really accomplished. Moreover, I feel like I can end this week feeling stronger than I did the week before: I have moved my family, I have settled them into our new home and our new life, and I was still able to create something for myself in the process. That’s fantastic.

Let’s go to the board:

 

1) I’m so pumped about Chuck’s Flash Fiction challenge this week. We’ve got to create our own “punk” genre and the muse threw something cool at me: Blacksploitation Samurai-Punk. Oh yeah. Get pumped. It’s going to be a great week.

Done and posted.

2) I’m going to, for the love of God, edit this prequel for Before Her Time. I’m excited to finish and put it back out there.

Can’t cross this out right at this moment, but I’m on track to finish tonight. And I have a reader for it, which makes me happy.

3) I have notes in my notebook for a start of the reboot for the original Before Her Time. What I have (5 handwritten pages) is pretty good. I’m going to digitize and continue. I’d like to post that by the end of the week.

I’m going to table this until Monday so that I can start fresh and feel like that is going to be the Story of the Week.

 

Thanks for sticking with me as this has been a bit of a rocky blogging time. But I’m back and I’m settled and I’m ready to rock and roll. I have ideas in my head and words that need to be written. and published.

Have a fantastic weekend!

1,000 word Excerpt: Accountability (Work in Progress, Working title)

 

I wrote a flash fiction a few weeks ago called Before Her Time, about a woman perceived to be a “witch” and the man who loved her. It wasn’t the best thing that I’ve ever written, but it got me thinking about women, power and society. I wanted to think about her origin story, and write more about her. Her world and character really lit up my imagination. It turns out the story has legs. This is the first of multiple stories involving Victoria, the Duchess of Duxbury. It is still a work in progress, which I’ve submitted to my writing group for critique. I’ve already veen given a few really great suggestions, which I’ll be incorporating this week. When I’m done, I’ll post the short story in its entirety on this blog.

Here is the first 1,000 words (and remember, this hasn’t been fully tightened and edited yet, so it will most likely changed between now and the final version).

 

 

Finer ships had never been produced in the kingdom, and the Duchess of Duxbury looked upon them with the proudest smile that she could muster. Her men had worked hard, and they were to be rewarded today with the best food and wine she could find. Famers from her duchy and the two surrounding had fallen all over themselves to get a piece of the fortune she was using to purchase the food, wine and ale for the celebration, and she was happy to give.

Five ships were in the docks, fitted and ready to sail to the far corners of an ever expanding world. None of her men were sailors. Those men would be trickling in over the next few days to set the ships on their maiden voyages. When the docks cleared, her men would start anew on five more for another year. This was the third completion of the cycle, and orders came in by the day, along with more skilled craftsmen looking for work. The Duchess stifled a giddy giggle. The success and growth seemed to have happened over night.

“You look like a proud mother looking after her children, Tori,” her good friend and chief advisor, Alistair, observed in a low tone.

Liza, Tori’s governess, overheard and cleared her throat. “The Victoria, Duchess of Duxbury, should be very pleased with the progress of her people. Their hard work is for her benefit, and for the benefit of our great kingdom.”

Tori’s proud smile faded into her unimpressed expression. Liza’s undergarments were always just a bit too tight.

“Will you be addressing the men now, your grace? Shall I have them gathered?” Alistair, too, had better things to do than mind the minder.

“This is their day. Let them have it. I shall address them later. Bring me the dock master. I should like to tour the men’s good work.”

Alistair nodded his head in acknowledgment, but hesitated before he turned to do his duty. Tori’s mind was on other things. She’d noticed something missing from the revelry of the feast on the docks below.

“There aren’t a lot of women here, Liza. Where are the wives? The sweethearts?”

“Since the Duchess chooses to set a poor example by not being married herself,” Liza started. Tori let out an audible and annoyed sigh. Enough to make Liza change course. “I believe that a lot of these men are simply unattached, your grace.”

“These men live here, they eat here, they drink here, and they’ve laundry and other needs. Women usually fill those needs, yet there are none here. This makes no sense, Liza, and it has nothing to do with my attachments.”

Liza tittered for a moment, then gave a sort of shrug. It was odd not to see any other women about. The men were serving themselves ale and food was being served by the farmers who brought it or the cooks who prepared it. Tori thought about this for a few more moments before her attention drifted to the large and beautiful ships that were about to leave her shores. They were beautiful, they were strong, and they were a perfect representation of her land and her people.

Alistair returned with the dockmaster, a tall, older gentleman with a slender build but for noticeable belly built from years of drinking ale. He genuflected, he eyes downcast.

“You’ve built fine ships that will bring more people and money to our duchy, dockmaster. I commend you,” Tori greeted warmly.

The man stood, “to be in the presence of my beautiful duchess is too great a reward, your grace.”

Liza frowned in disapproval, though Tori giggled at the compliment. “Your duchess would like a tour of your ships, good sir. Off you go!”

“Please don’t mind my governess,” Tori’s laugh masked her growing annoyance, “would you please show us your ships.”

The group walked toward the docks and were noticed by the happy workmen, who stopped and cheered as they walked by. Tori loved the attention, rarely having the opportunity to come face to face with happy citizens of her duchy. She stopped and greeted some of the men as they walked passed before they took the long walk down the pier and onto the first ship.

“This is your very basic merchant ship, you grace,” the dockmaster explained as they walked onto the deck, “but it is fast. Probably among the fastest we’ve ever built…”

The others listened with interest, and Tori put on her listening face, but her mind wandered back to the men reveling on the deck. So many men with so few women about tugged at her. She walked around the deck and into the holds below. It was a beautiful ship, with plenty of room for cargo and goods.

The second and third ship were much of the same. She looked about and was generally please. When they got off the third ship, she took steps toward the fourth.

“Your grace, the other two ships are more of the same,” The dockmaster rung his hands, “I would hate to tire you out or, worse, waste your time by showing you identical ships.”

Tori stopped to eye them and noticed differences in the bodies of the last two as compared with the first she’d seen. While the first three were made for speed as well as space, the last two seemed to emphasize more space than nimble speed across the seas.

“I see some details that I think would be nice to look at up close,” Tori said, and took a few steps.

Alistair stepped forward, “your grace, you still must address the gathered men and as you can see, they are already becoming a bit raucous.”

Tori looked the ships over and wondered how much of a difference they would be. They were ships, well made and destined to take the fame of her craftsmen to far places. She turned her back to them and prepared herself for addressing the gathered men.

Writer Wednesday: Tripped Over that First Hurdle

 

Ohhhhmygoodness it’s Wednesday. Already. How the hell did that happen. I swear, I have been writing, but clearly I’m not accomplished! Too much left to do this week!!! Roar! Let’s go to the boards:

 

1) I freaking must finish the prequel for Before Her TIme. I am 2,000 words into this thing, and it shows no signs of stopping. I think that I’m allllmoooosssstttt there, but I think that I have another 2,000 words more before this story is complete. Excerpt by Friday. EXCERPT BY FRIDAY!!!! (roar!)

Can I tell you, I’ve written somewhere in the ballpark of 5,000 words for this short story. Unfortunately, I’ve deleted about 3,000 words of work between Monday and now. I kept writing things, losing steam, staring at my computer, feeling stuck, and then deciding to go in a completely different direction. I did this a good 4 times, writing an average of 800 words before deciding that I went down the wrong path. I think I found the right direction, but I’m at 2079 words despite all the work I’ve done!! SO FRUSTRATING!!!! This story will be finished. By Friday. Come hell or high water!

2) Flash Fiction for Chuck this week? Let’s pick a line right now… Here we go: “That plan didn’t fly, superhero, and now we’re short a bazooka.” I liked this line the first time I read it and it has been with me all weekend. I envision a wedding. Let’s see.

*sigh* What the hell, man… I have a good idea for this one…but I am not going to do it unless I finish this short story. The goal is to get to this tomorrow night…

3) Write out 1000 words of a YA concept that I have. I’m going to guard this one close to the vest because I think that the idea is interesting and viable. I might share this with my writing group before I put it on this blog. Well… maybe I’ll share a little bit. We’ll see. :)

 

Yeah…studies show this isn’t going to happen given the pace of what I’ve accomplished so far this week.

4) Start the rewrite for Before Her Time. Notice I said “start.” Very ambiguous! Let’s see if we can make that a 100 word minimum, just so I don’t get cute and write only one sentence.

augh!!! So much bitten off this week. There is, like, NO FREAKING WAY this is going to happen!!!

 

Ohhhhhhhhh the pain! The agony of faaaailllllluuuurreeeeeee!!!!

SOMETHING is going to get done this week!

I’m done whining. Time to go write!

Best Practices: Going Analog to Get The Story

I absolutely love my Moleskines. I have three: My “home” journal that keeps all of my various notes and things regarding running life as a family of four. My “project” journal, which contains most of my major projects (including my blog organization and sometimes story outlining). I recently discovered a larger 8×10 Moleskine of mine that had been buried in a box and it is perfect for just dedicating to story writing. Super portable, it fits in my diaper bag and my purse, so now I can take it with me when I’m walking around with the boys. They play, I write. It’s perfect!

I’m currently writing a prequel for Before Her Time, and I’m having a hard time not being distracted by technology. The main character, Tori, is a fictional duchess, and I want to make sure that I get enough details regarding English peerage right so as to not take readers out of the story. Her nobility isn’t central to the story, but people will make enough assumptions that they’ll have certain expectations about behavior, language, location and so forth. Well, I don’t live in England and I’m not schooled on nobility (I actually find it distasteful), so I have to go looking for just the right detail to make it work.

Being lost in Wiki/Google doing research cane sometimes be exhausted. While I’m certainly learning, I’m not writing, and writing is the goal.

So I’ve turned to my trusty story Moleskine to help, even when I’m at home. No research, no google, no wondering…just writing. It is very satisfying to see a few pages full of my chicken scratch in this notebook. I also like having an analog record of my thoughts and inspirations.

I am by no means abandoning my computer. Writing digitally has its own satisfaction, but going old-school has a lot of perks. My Moleskine doesn’t crash….though it can get lost, or blend in with all of the other notebooks in the universe. I love the color Black, I really do, but I wish that had different and more rad colors! I also have a thing about ink stains on my fingers. I know, that’s silly.

I have 2,000 words more of this story to write. Then I have to perform a preliminary edit before I can think about submitting it for critique. I have two little boys that really need to get out and run around this week, though it’s hot at balls outside. This is the life of a woman trying to do it all.

What do you do to “get the story”? What are your favorite tools of the trade?

Accountability Friday: A Creative but Less-Than-Productive Week

Wow, what a week. If I could give a true grade to myself for what I’ve done, I’d give myself a “C”. The reason why? I could have gotten more done, but I ended up watching a lot of television this week. I spent a lot of time chasing babies or watching the Zimmerman trial during my usual writing time.  I was also so brain-dead after the dinner/bath/bedtime routine that I couldn’t contemplate writing, too. But that’s not a good excuse. I should have gotten more done this week.

 

1) Work on an idea for a new character/story, that connects two interesting ideas that came to me this weekend.

Not crossing it out because I’m not done, but I’m 2,000 words into a really great story/character idea. I’m hoping to post an excerpt on Monday, and submit it for group critique as well.

2) Rewrite Before Her Time completely and submit that for critique also.

I knew that I bit off more than I could chew this week. Before her Time will come next week…along with a flash fic too?

3) Return to my novel project, and create one complete area of world building–focus on Religion and Culture this week.

*sigh* Short story writing is really killing my novel writing… I’m going to completely table the novel idea right now. We’re going to revisit in October, plan for it, and then rock it out for Nano in November.

4) Enter Chuck’s sentence contest this week with the goal of winning.

Done. I wasn’t among the winners, but the ones that Chuck chose are interesting! I hope I can write a flash fic next week…

 

I’m excited about the idea that I’m developing. I wish that I had spent more time on it this week…

 

Hope you all have restful, inspiring weekend!

Writer Wednesday: Productive, but More is Required!

 

Oh my, is it Wednesday already? I’m feeling like I’ve done a lot, but not enough! Did I bite off more than I could chew this week? Let’s see…

 

1) Work on an idea for a new character/story, that connects two interesting ideas that came to me this weekend.

So I’m about 1,000 words into this. It’s a prequel for Before her Time, which is going to turn into a little series (or something even larger…we’ll see). I need to pick up the pace if I want to get this done, though!

2) Rewrite Before Her Time completely and submit that for critique also.

I don’t know if this is going to happen. At my current pace, I’ll be lucky if I’m done with the prequel by Friday…

3) Return to my novel project, and create one complete area of world building–focus on Religion and Culture this week.

*sigh* Short story writing is really killing my novel writing… I’m gonna mark this in the epic fail column right now.

4) Enter Chuck’s sentence contest this week with the goal of winning.

Done! 🙂 Wish me luck!