Van Go!

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Work on the novel is going well. Today I’m taking a day off for a date with friend Donna to see Van Gogh exhibition. I have to get ready in a minute. I’ve spent some time trying to post photos of my darling granddaughter (she’s five) when she saw the same exhibit. There’s an installation of his painting of his bedroom–she’s posing in it! So cute. But those photos are on a private family account. Plus the other thing where Word Press does not like a jpeg anymore.

My blogette on Twitter didn’t work, either. I wrote it last Monday and it disappeared. One person did retweet it before that happened. I’ll try the blogette again next week. Maybe with my own Van Gogh photos. But for today, I typed Van Gogh into Pexels and got pages and pages of people driving vans. Ha!

Took 3 days to revise 10 pages. I moved a subplot so that was quick and easy. Mostly what I did was take out boring parts and add in some color. I noticed even when I was doing the revision without stop that I had mostly dialogue. I kept going. Next weekend we’re having a writing Zoom meeting so I revised and added lots of description. Well, not too much. I had one goal with this revision and the description helped.

My goal: go somewhere. Take the story from negative to positive or positive to negative. And I did it. I try to do that with every scene. Make it move. Van go!

Shake it Up

Photo by Aishwarya Rivonker on Pexels.com

A few things. I’m not going through the hassle of converting from whatever photos is saving pictures to now or how WordPress is doing it now to jpeg anymore. That takes longer than writing a blog post. I am back to writing my novel daily and so I’m just using Pexels which comes with WordPress. I had a picture for today, too. My own, I mean. I’m so stubborn but finally I have caved into corporate blogging. It’s been twenty years and mostly the changes have been good. No more coding. I would code an image but I forgot how to do it <i/>. I could google it, but I’m trying to save time to write the book. Googling leads to trouble. Hours of it.

Yes back at the book for real. It’s been two weeks. Every morning first thing. I have a new writing partner who was having same stuck problem as me. We are in a mystery novel critique group together. She’s the reason I’m writing again and loving it again. Most of the time. I’ve never had a writing partner. It’s working for both of us. Before her, I was writing five pages a month, mostly spurred on by my group. Accountability.

Yes, the moving to Florida forever took a lot. But that’s done.

So from 1500 words a month, or 750 words in two weeks, I have progressed to 7000 words in two weeks. Maybe 14,000 by the end of the month?! After all my new writer energy burned out at about book 7 or 8, I learned this butt in the chair habit from NaNoWriMo. I learned it was possible to show up with a blank mind and build something. I built a Bat Cave 2020 today. (My book is set right before Covid). Didn’t know the spy house was coming. I knew Jane was going to visit Jesse’s house for the first time. I had no picture in my mind of what it would be like. The words and images showed up. I really like when that happens. So fun living in my head and following Jane around.

Now I’m learning the power of a partner. We do not stay in contact through the week with pep talks or anything, too busy writing. We are both determined self-starters. I keep a running tally like I used to do with NaNo. We just connect on Sunday, share what we’ve done and how we feel (we were both down and uninspired when we started this). She’s benefited as much from the partnership as I have. Writers are jealous of their writing time. They don’t want to share. But a minimal share like this (or a group!) can have maximum effect.

How did we find each other? Our group. She said “I’m struggling,” and I might have said “Me, too.” Then I got the idea to check in with each other once a week and texted her and she said she was in. I had no idea if she’d go for it. But she did. The thing is, if you want a partner, look around and then ask. If she’d said no, I would have understood. Writing is such a private thing (until you’re published and then it isn’t). Showing your word count feels like showing your bank statement. But nope, it’s motivation. And it works.

The other thing is I’m going to blogging every two weeks. One week I will post a pic of my own on twitter and write a blogette. The next week I’ll do this. For awhile. See how I like it. The older you get, the more you are willing to try things and then give them up if they don’t fit your life. Writers need to be careful what they let in. Speaking of, my dad and family are coming over today to see the house for the first time!

Starting With a Rug

When we walked on the ground level ceramic tiles (almost everywhere in our new house) we knew we needed area rugs. TBH it was a shock to Al but he soon agreed when I found a half off sale. This was before mega-inflation. I decided on three rugs to start. Dining room, living room and my office. Chatting with a friend who had an area rug in her living room, and told me a story about how she chose it, I decided to go wild and buy a rug just because I liked it. Our dining room was empty, what could it hurt?

As you see above, I chose this blue pattern just because I liked it. I had a wood table in mind and found something that would match the rug. I had two pieces of art with blue in them and they were both water themed. Hung those up. My friend said they needed “something else” or I should buy one big piece. I agreed with her. Meanwhile I’d unpacked as many books as I could fit into the bookcases I had from St. Pete and Michigan. There are two boxes of books left. Al and I set out shopping for a bookshelf, a third piece for the wall to even things out, and a table to use as a buffet.

We came home with hardly anything except groceries. Bookcases, well, it was folly to think I could match a 70 year old bookcase that my granny had antiqued blue, but I saw some painted furniture almost that color in other shopping forays. Yes, I found the painted furniture but nothing was the size I needed. Meanwhile I had realized almost as soon as the rug was laid that it in no way matched my Desert Rose dishes, nor the table. I found some dinnerware I thought would do on Amazon so those came and that made me happy because they blended nicely with the rest of the things I’d gathered for the table.

I started my St Pete condo with the idea of those pink and green Desert Rose dishes. I love them but Al, my consultant, was never crazy about the pink. Dishes okay but I also have a pink toaster, a pink tea kettle, pink placemats, pink wineglasses, pink apron, pink oven mitts, and a small pink pot for boiling eggs. All of that in my tiny St Pete kitchen gave a true pink effect, but here it just melts into the house. There is a green countertop so things look good. I will keep my pink dishes for everyday use in the nook where we take our meals at a small table with two comfortable chairs the color of marshmallows and just as soft.

I like to sleep on half-baked ideas. They come clear in the dark. I woke and knew what to do. I had a pamper day scheduled at a new salon only 7 minutes away, but after that I rushed 2 more minutes to the Posh Pelican and bought a buffet table with a driftwood edge. It is the same color as a bookshelf I left in St. Pete, also made by my grandfather. We will bring that bookshelf home, since we still have the St Pete place and need to fix it up for rental. I also bought an Englewood Beach poster already framed that filled out the empty wall space and kept with my water theme. Done!

Writing is a Gift

We had our first overnight guests (they brought gifts!) and watched our first sunset from our new beach which is maybe ten minutes away. This new place is so much more laid back than St. Pete and we love our house. When we booked the date with our friends, I told them I had my Zoom writers next day at noon and they were fine with that. Al was home so they hung out on the lanai while I worked. My writing friend and I are both having a problem pushing ourselves to finish our current WIPS. We decided on a simple weekly check in, how many pages, how many days. If for nobody else, then for each other.

Today is the first day. I talked it over with Al and have finally let go of the dream of sipping coffee and talking in the morning. He likes to check in with the market first thing so me writing first thing will help his plan. Our house is 99% finished and now it’s time to get back to work. Instead of 5 or 10 pages a month, I will try for 5 pages a day, or however many come out of a scene or sequence.

I noted that my writing has gotten a bit rusty, or maybe I didn’t revise enough, but I saw some plot holes in yesterday’s submission. So did my writing partners. They were very kind about it. Both of them saw the same problem and it was with the beat with which I was trying to wow them. Not there yet. I’m going to push on regardless. I have their notes and I know what I want to do there. I’ll come back to it. Now I’m pushing through to a finished first draft. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Finished during Mercury Retrograde

Confession: I am not an efficient mover of abodes. I can pack boxes and unpack them, too. I try to put things in the approximate spot they were in the other house. That works up to a point. Al and I mostly split chores but some things we had to work on together. We just hacked away until finally one day he was working in his office and I was writing in mine. Yes, writing!

I have been taking notes for Jane 2 and now I’m able to write scenes from the notes. Exciting! This is my favorite writing room ever. Maybe because it’s big. We wanted a bit more space and we managed to nab it. Everything in the room above is either from St. Pete or Detroit. About half and half. If you don’t count the books. I have 3 bookcases in here, 2 empty shelves and 4 boxes still full of books. I have a very high shelf I don’t use in my clothes closet where I can store any books I cannot fit in here or I can be a bit more ruthless and donate. We have a used bookstore in town.

So that’s what I mean by “finished” — still books to shelve (not many) and some art to hang. It’s been cold here, too, so I have plants to cut back and a lanai to make pretty. Everyone in the world has chores, stuff to do, and that doesn’t stop when you get your new house in order. For example, my MacBook Air has been acting up. Time for a new one. I had a decision–Mac or PC? Love my Mac, hate Word for Mac. This decision took me a long time but I’ve only got a few more crashes until this baby is burned.

It’s been a few years complaining but I wanted to finish the book on the same laptop. Instead I mailed the half-done manuscript to myself and then I’m buying an Inspiron (Dell) which is what Al is currently recommending. He also has suddenly developed a heart for the MacBook. New ones and the Dell are currently about the same cost. Still. I need WORD because I am too old to change. And not funky word as it really doesn’t work well these days on the Mac.

Also, Mercury is in Retrograde until February 2 or 3. I don’t let astrology run my life, but if I can put off buying electronics during that period, I do.