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Update… on Things


I meant to make a monthly update, but somehow I missed it last month. I must have been engrossed in editing or life or something, because I totally let that slip.

January saw the completion of eight chapters of Forever Heart edited. In the midst of it all my dear friend Voirey Linger answered my desperate plea for a writing coach. There comes a point in many of our lives we face our shortcomings and we realize we have no way of fixing them without an intervention. I began the quest to nail down my hero’s motivation. Without VL he’d still be a mystery to me.

I also read Debra Dixon’s GMC book. Very entertaining and enlightening. I’m starting to sound like a regular writing nerd.

February, though not over yet, I read yet another craft book… 2K to 10K Writing What You Know.

Another excellent read that inspires me to write better, smarter. I am also digging into my heroine’s motivation in Forever Heart. This means the edit is on hold until I get her … and him, nailed down.

Onward ho! Toward March!

Nena.

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Vacation!


Yes, I’m taking a vacation from the evil day job, but not from writing. Also, I have made a commitment to spend more time on this blog. This is the year for ‘stuff’ to happen. At least I hope it does. We all know we are responsible for our own destinies. This year I take the bull by the horns. (Geez, I’m full of clichés)

Regardless, I started my exercise program already. I swim three times a week. I also walk stairs for twenty minutes. I changed jobs in Aug and my activity level dropped tremendously. The poundage is inching back on, regrettably.

 

I also bought a yearly planner. It took me two weeks to find one remotely acceptable. Then a sweet writer friend (Dee Carney) set me on the road to an Erin Condren planner. It isn’t here yet, but I can’t wait to start writing in it. In the meantime I’m utilizing a simple notebook to keep track of things. The old planner is now my work planner, which I desperately needed for only work. Thank you Dee for your exuberance!

Erin Condren Planner

This wonderful year I will have my last child graduate high school and I will revise two – 2 – of the manuscripts I have sitting in a Dropbox folder. (That is 2 of several finished works, mind you.) This woman will get it done this year.

I have also run across a marvelous spreadsheet for keeping track of your works, the link landing in my inbox just today, thanks to Babette James. If you are a spreadsheet freak, try this one….

http://jamieraintree.com/writing-progress-spreadsheet

Good luck to all of you in accomplishing your goals this new year. I applaud you, because I know how hard it is to get it done.

Nena

 

Let’s Fix It!


I love to write. God only knows why. But I really get a kick out of it. I don’t do it very well… yet. I’ll get there, though. I just need to keep up with the “saddle time”. This is term I used when learning to ride my horse.

I didn’t start riding until I was almost 40 years old. Goes to prove you really can teach an old dog new tricks. I just needed to spend a lot of time in the saddle. I took that horse out every day. Rode him all over our pasture, through trees, through tall grass and learned to stay on his back after a few well placed buck-offs. It just took time.

I approach writing in the same light. Write every day. Practice, practice, practice. I read A LOT and read a ton of craft books and collect craft websites like designer beads. The most recent acquisition is an editing site. There are a few out there, but this is a good one for me.

http://prowritingaid.com/

It has number of great features even for those of us too cheap to pay the fee. The one I use heavily right now is the over used words feature. After my mentor returned a chapter to me with several over used words highlighted, I discovered eliminating those words altered the sentence structure for the better. Who would’ve thought!

DSC_0003

Lots of pretty colors there.

I know, I know… I probably should have learned this trick a year or so ago. Just because you can teach an old dog new tricks doesn’t mean she learns them right away.

Better late than never. Thank goodness!!

Nena

A Little Sizzle and a Little Pop


This week’s shinnagen’ s included dumping a whopping 5000 words from this new little story I’m writing. But… The replacement chapter and a half puts the story on track. I owe this revision to another on line class hosted by Romance Writer’s of America. Seven Steps to Sizzling Sexual Tension by Tracy Wolff.

 

Somewhere in the class Tracy asked what were the stakes for my H/h and I had to sit down and write them down. I must remind you I had filled out an excessive character sheet the week before for each person, so I really got to know them pretty well.  After looking at what was at stake I knew the first chapter had to be in his POV and from there the whole plot fell right in place. If only I could type as fast as my brain thinks.  Now I just have to get it all down.

Furthermore, I see all the tension build from that first meeting.

The first class talks about 12 steps to physical intimacy as a part of reaching good chemistry between our h/h. We all know these by instinct, but I had never seen them written out in plain sight.

1)eye to body
2) eye to eye
3) voice to voice
4) hand to hand
5) arm to shoulder
6) arm to waist
7) mouth to mouth
8) hand to head
9) hand to body
10) mouth to breast
11) hand to genitals, and
12) genitals to genitals or mouth to genitals.

Now I know the proper order, you can mess with those people in my head and ramp up the tension by breaking the rules, without being sleazy of course.

This one tool has set me free!!! And I’m going to make their world crazy.

I promise to add to this post with more secrets to sexual tension. Stay tuned.

Nena

Who Are These People in My Head?


That’s a really good question.

 

As a writer this is something I have to know. How else will I be able to write them? As a newbie writer this is something I am still learning.  I took a class last week to shed some more light on the subject. A lot of light really.

RWA offers free classes to its members every other month or so through its RWA University. In between it offers a class at the cheapest rates ever. I can’t not take a class for ten dollars! This one was well worth it too.  It was Building Great Characters by HelenKay Dimon.  She deftly taught us to take the obvious traits we give our characters and find out why they are the way they are. Then dig deeper and see how they walk through thier world.

One of the tools she provided for us was this link: 100 Character Development Questions for Writers.

Oh. My. Goodness. It took me over an hour to fill out the questions on my first person. The questions delve into the past, pulling up back story and history. Some of it had to be revealed by that character as I sat and ruminated on it.  I found this filled in bunch of the plot details, because I like character driven plots.

Yes, I have found the character sheet of all time. I should tell you I have a collection of them too. I can’t find the one I really like either, because half of them are hard copy and the others are in some file on my computer. I have no clue how to get organised. Except, I put this sheet into a Scrivener template to drive me crazy when I start a new project.

If inclined, check it out and let me know what you think.

Happy writing!

Nena

Progress Report


I’ve decided my Monday’s will have to be the days I post something of my progress in the projects underway. This is my attempt to get into a regular blogging habit, something I have neglected horribly over the last year.

This year is the year to learn my craft with vehemence.

The third week of the Scrivener class is completed and all the assignments completed. This is Gwen Hernandez’s Scrivener class. One more week and we’ll be finished. The exercises are enlightening and I’ve used everything. I recommend this course for any serious writer.

The progress on the mentor apprenticeship is the first chapter is sent to my mentor and awaiting her evaluation. Special attention is to made on deep POV, as this is a very weak area of my writing. I am now plotting and writing chapter 2.

Also, I’m starting another class through RWA on building great characters, which I believe is a weakness of mine at the moment. Looking forward to that.

I forgot!! I have edited the New Year’s Eve story to chapter 5. I hope to pitch this story this June.

Nena

Happy New Year!


Whew! It took me long enough to get here with this post for the new year.

This is the first chance I’ve taken away from all my other New Year’s commitments. Blogging is a priority, but I have to say, the taxes and house take precedence over this wonderful little blog. All the tax info is entered into spreadsheets awaiting the arrival of the W-2’s. The best part of the New Year… I just had a week’s vacation and spent it organizing the kitchen.

After eight years I finally decided to get rid of some furniture and do what is so appropriately called “minimizing”. My daughter was over joyed at the decision, one she has pestered me about for the past couple years. I am so proud of the results. The encouragement of so much order makes me hopeful the following months of my writing will reflect that sort of dedication to organization.

This year I have a 100k contemporary set in a small town of the Midwest I want to finish before the end of July. Then edit it by September or October. I have to rework Maggie’s Find to put her back on the market and I have 3 shorter stories to re-edit and shop them around. For me, this is a full load.

Unfortunately, this bend on neatness and organization does not extend to my desk area. I ran out of steam before I made it to the office area (only inches from where I stopped, mind you). And working one extra day on my first week back to work will give me absolutely no time to give it any attention.  I’ll have to fit it in the next couple of weeks. Lordy, I hope that works.

This would be a dream office for me.

I want to wish all my writer friends a very prosperous and full New Year. I pray you make all your goals and that your families stay healthy and happy and may goodness and peace smile on you. I know you have resolutions, but don’t let a little slip discourage you. We are all trying to juggle fifty things at once. We must allow ourselves some leeway.

Have an awesome New Year!!

Nena