I did it!

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Very happy and excited to have gone beyond my 50K already:)) It’s a great feeling to finish a book. Never gets old. And to finish a first draft in less than a month? I could not do it without NaNa inspiring me!

This morning before I started writing I had a vague idea of how I wanted my story to end. I knew I wanted to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my characters. I knew I wanted to provide the “sting in the tale” of my murder plot. I knew I wanted to advance the arcs of the main characters. I wanted a happy ending for everyone.

What I didn’t know was exactly how I’d do it. But I had faith. It’s a first draft. It doesn’t have to be the perfect final form the novel will take. So I gave myself permission to write as clumsily as necessary in order to affix my ideas to the page. And then the magic happened.

Structure effortlessly came together for me and I was able to lay my plot out and finish the third act. I didn’t think it would happen today but when you are this close to the end it’s very difficult to stop. I’d given myself permission to stop if I needed to. Take a night to dream it over. But then found to my happiness that I didn’t need more time. The perfect ending (well, perfect for now) wrote itself.

Thanks in no small part to the energy of writers around the world who participated with me in this annual event and for Chris Baty and his NaNo team for the incredible work they do to help us come together this way.

 

Murder Etc

While writing away on my happy Christmas story, the novel I decided to write when the one I’d been working on got too bloody and I needed a break from the gore so I went to humor and seasonal cheer…

Somebody got killed.

I didn’t see it coming but after it happened I realized how I’d set it up, how it was inevitable, and how there was no turning back. I could not erase it.

I blame Charlaine Harris. I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year (46K out of the required 50K as of today!) and they have famous writers come and give us pep talks every so often. Because we really need them.

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This week Charlaine wrote about the middle of the book, where things can get messy. Beginnings and endings of stories are pretty safe bets. You’re setting up your story and characters or you’re wrapping things up. But the middle can be tricky, tedious, swampy, even. So Ms. Harris wrote about how she handles the middle. She kills somebody. I’m apparently quite suggestible. Not a day later and I do the same thing.

But wait. My last three novels have all had murder in them. The first of the murder books, Love and Death in Blue Lake, is now available for pre-order on Amazon and in print through my publisher, The Wild Rose Press. It makes me wonder if I’m transitioning from my contemporary women’s fiction type story into something more along the lines of domestic thrillers. I do like reading those psychological thriller type stories. I’m a fan of aberrant behavior, at least as far as reading fiction goes. So maybe this is finally settling into my writing self as well.

Reading is like the gateway drug for writing. And guess I’ll just accept that writing domestic novels are the gateway to writing domestic thrillers, at least for me.

 

Emergency Writing Idea

Hello from the land of party after party after party…We have been on the go for several days and today Al is hosting his gang of pals, guys he has known and kept in contact with since high school. They have season tickets to football together and go to the NASCAR race in Michigan in August. He is barbecuing steaks for them and they will play pool for money, listen to loud Led Zeppelin, and drink copious amounts of beer.

I really wanted ONE quiet day at home to write, but it won’t be today.

It is time for emergency measures. I’m taking myself away from the testosterone to the movies, maybe some shopping, certainly dinner for one. Possibly popcorn will be dinner. In the midst of all this I plan to buy a new journal and hole up in Starbucks for some writing time and a latte.

If you are a writer, and you find yourself cranky in this season of good cheer, you are not alone. I am right there with you! The problem is not writing and the antidote is finding a window, even if you have to go to a coffee shop!

 

Writing Thru the Holidays

Does anybody get any writing done during the holidays? For me, it’s a challenge, but I manage to write (almost) every day. Here are 5 fail-proof fallbacks:

#1 Morning Pages. Write in your paper journal about whatever is on your mind. Aim for three pages. If you only get a paragraph, that’s okay. But push yourself to do more!

#2 First drafts. Really there is no way to screw up a first draft. None.

#3 Collaborate. I am working on a first draft of a non-fiction book with a friend. We email each other sections of whatever shows up in our minds that day regarding our subject. We chat. We brainstorm back and forth. We ask and answer each other’s questions on our topic.

#4 Blog. I have never been one to revise my blog. When I started out blogs were spontaneous and even misspelled words were okay. Bloggers posted every day. I did not miss a day for the first three or four years! Now it’s acceptable to do “once a week.” Piece of cake! Don’t listen to the rules of blogging. I recently saw that you MUST have a photo with every blog. Nope! Do it your way.

#5 Christmas Letters & Emails. Correspondence counts!

Into the Mystic

I’m a little bit of a mystic sometimes. One of the things that I feel was fated for me was being born at this time as a writer, both as an indie writer and with an established e-publisher. Online publisher The Wild Rose Press put out The Paris Notebook and they are part of that mix of my writing career  coming together with a 21st Century kind of synchronicity.

TWRP people are like a big happy family of book lovers. Romance, to be sure, but still quality books at reasonable prices and excellent terms for authors. This is the way the literary world is going. And I feel lucky to have hopped aboard TWRP. I sent the senior editor of my line a complete manuscript on Friday. Today she got back to me, having already passed along my manuscript to the woman who will be my new editor. If I get offered a contract. As far as I know, it’s always a one book contract with TWRP.

When I think back to the 20th Century and the six months or years it took just to hear a no–it’s like a bad dream. I went through that several times. That was my training and I’m happy for it. I wrote a lot of “practice” books and learned much of what I needed to break into actual published novel writing. I get a bit teary-eyed when I think that this is all I have ever wanted to do. As in career, not life. I wanted a life, a husband, children, a home. I wanted to be a housewife/writer but life conspired to take me places I never suspected I’d end up. Like a working woman. Single mom. College educated–hell college lecturer! Finally lasting love with a wonderful man and two sons who make me proud every day and grateful for the loving wives they found first time around:)

I feel very much like I am right where I am supposed to be, right here, right now. And I’m happy to be in this place of peace and contentment. Well, kitchen could use a bit of fixing up, but when you’ve lived in a house for 26 years, something or other always needs repair. That’s another thing I cannot believe. I think the longest I lived anywhere before I settled here is maybe four years. My parents moved a lot, I moved a lot. Those first two decades was always somewhere new. The only thing I’ve kept from that time is the desk I bought myself when I decided to get serious about writing. It’s a bit banged up, but it’s sturdy and it works for me.

I always knew I would be a writer. I didn’t know the meandering path it would take to get here, but I had fun along the way, learned a lot, surprised myself several times, and feel truly blessed. Now that may change once I hear from the editor who has my manuscript….am hoping she likes reading it as much as I liked writing it!