Tag: writing

Clarion West Write-a-thon


Another summer, another opportunity to spend six weeks kicking my butt into writing gear. My goal?

Finish the damn rewrite.

I mean it. (Pitchforks and other stabbity utensils welcome.)

For fundraising, it’s to match or exceed my own donation of $100 one way or another. Last year, I did landscapes to encourage people–and I’ll do that again, but I’m limiting myself to two for those who sponsor me for $30 or $5/week–I’ve got the bathroom from hell to finish.

A sample:

This is a segment of a larger landscape, but it’s approximately what I expect of a finished postcard. I do like embellishment, so you might find some grasses (embroidery floss or peacock hurl) or rayon threads for glitter, like I have here on the water.

If you decide to sponsor me, please let me know. I don’t always discover who my sponsors are until midway through the write-a-thon and sometimes even later, and I’d like to get a jump on these. You will get to dictate my color choices either by color range–-blues, browns, greens, via places–-ocean, lake, forest, desert, or even time of day–sunrise, moonscape, etc. You will also be able to choose between vertical or horizontal orientation.

To sponsor me, go to my Clarion West page. If you are a sponsor, I thank you! Clarion West meant a great deal to me the year I attended, and I still hold it (and all the people who make it happen annually) close to my heart.

And if you can’t sponsor, you’re always welcome to hang out and nag. I’ll whine post daily, so there will be no excuse not to make or exceed my goal. At this point, I’m expect to rewrite 40K, so now you have an idea of how much sweating I’ll actually be doing.

I should be very drippy by the time the end of July rolls around.

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One step forward, half step back


Survived Chinese New Year. And it was a pretty good day overall–no wind to rile the kids up. Such a difference from the day before.

The fact that it’s early dismissal had nothing to do with.

Much. :P

Put my butt in the chair for thirty minutes or so and managed to rewrite the three sentences that had been bugging me. I’m still not certain if I’ll keep this section–it introduces Bashak’s POV, his annoying soul, and his relationship with Kalim. But does anything happen?

That would be a bit not so much. Which means I have to make something happen if I want this scene to earn its place. If not….

Well. There’s always the axe. It worked so well for me in the opening scene, too.

I’ll make that decision this weekend. And then it’ll be a jump forward to where I left off. I’m sliding lesser characters around or combining them, which is something I never thought I’d be able to do. But look, here I am. Silas was originally the bad guy, but Bashak needs to report to someone–and there’s nothing better than reporting to a guy who isn’t actually a healer and doesn’t get what your job entails, and if he’s the bad guy on the side who’s making your life miserable in other ways?

Well, then. Noooooooooo problem.

I have yet to warm up. It’s 68 in the house, we’re in freaking SoCal, and I’m wearing my coat with the hood up. I’d probably be in my snowsuit if I lived some place with a real winter and not here in SoCal, although the temps will be in the high 30’s tonight. So I’m calling it a night and crawling into bed.

School hits early tomorrow, and as I recall, all my prep is not finished. There was this little issue of not having card stock for the 100 hats, but a quick stop solved that. Except for the part where I do the actual photocopying. Like tomorrow morning. And I have a few needles left to thread….

Man, I really hope my brain shuts off when I hit my pillow.

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One of these things is not like the other.


Harley has taken to barking in the mornings–after breakfast and before I leave. This is his signal that he wants to play: he barks at the chunk of rawhide, I finally give up and growl at him, he grabs the rawhide and runs away.

We make at least four or five circumnavigations of the downstairs before I collapse and slurp more coffee.

And then he barks again.

I am tired of this game. Sadly, he is not. Which means I will most likely play it tomorrow and the day after and the day after that.

Tonight’s writing was tough still. What I did discover is that I can delete bits here and there–mostly stuff I tell and then immediately show. Didn’t I fix this tendency some years back? And yet, what’s old is new again.

Stupid habits.

Negative word count for tonight, which is good, albeit frustrating. 700 words shrank to 600. In a frigging hour.

And I achieved success at having two characters talk at cross-purposes. First time I’ve ever intentionally done it, too.

I also have a character arc for this scene.

You don’t have to scream and faint dead away. Miracles do happen.

Just usually to someone else. (Shush. I know.)

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That’s what friends are for


And when they’re right, they’re right.

Bless ’em.

So because of Deb’s crit, my opening novel scene is not only two pages shorter, it’s amazingly better.

She just highlighted the first two pages and told me to completely cut them.

So I did. Okay, minor modification. I kept one paragraph (Touch of setting first. Thanks, Chip.) and added one sentence prior to the point she selected, and it was… perfect.

I don’t say that very often. But I’m at the point where I’m agonizing over single words and the thesaurus has become my best friend, so it’s reached perfection.

Now I just have to take care of the other 99,000 words. I wish chopping the second scene was as easily done.

Then the Posse had a nice chat about outlining, and I’m still tinkering with the concept of outlining–I’m playing with the corkboard on Scrivener and trying the pacing chart Jenn (of the Freeway Dragons) told me about, and winging it the rest of the time. But I’m pretty sure if I could outline, I’d write faster. Like maybe write the first draft during the summer and spend the rest of the year rewriting and outlining the next?

It sounds plausible.

Writing isn’t so much an issue when I know what to write. But when I’m making shit up and come to a screeching halt because I’m not certain that it’s going to work?

Yeah, then.

And the next step after that is to run away. To avoid writing because I don’t know what to do or how to fix it. It shouldn’t take a freaking seven years to write a damn novel. And then rewrite it. And half of that time not rewriting it. Twice.

I just have to look at writers I know: Bear. Keri Arthur. Jodi. Jaime. A bunch more.

And then do it. Write.

So tonight’s effort didn’t produce much after that beginning salvo, but I spent an hour and half doing it.

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Oh, so tired.


Bit more got accomplished today. The kitchen’s clean as is the downstairs bath. Couple loads of laundry, too, which is good since I needed clean clothes for tomorrow.

Squeaked out 160+ new words and rewrote two pages. Same characters interacting, so I was able to cut and paste old words here and there, but not interacting in the same way. Also, Lisen is going to be a big pain in the neck.

But if you’ve read the first draft, you knew that. And now she’s even a bigger one.

I also managed, when I still had energy, to do a crit and meet up with the KIAPosse on Skype. If you count the two and a half hours I was gone this morning at St. Max’s, it almost looks as though I worked the entire day on one thing or another.

And now it’s time for bed. Or not. Because I have three young women in the entryway trying to decide how to get the HUGE panel of two Miami Vice-type models (a Christmas joke gift) into my daughter-in-law’s car so she can continue the joke at the Middle Child’s scout offices.

I’m thinking chain saw.

Sadly, no one else is.

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So 375 for tonight and 150 last night. Progress, although I’m a little worried about where the new segment is taking me and what it’s going to change downstory.

Meanwhile, the visiting dog keeps sliding into walls as she chases her tennis ball, the kids are playing Wii in the family room, and I just finished in the kitchen. (Fair, really, since the kids cooked tonight.)

I am also hiving/rashing out and I don’t know from what. Might be the two glasses of red wine I had. I’ve taken two Benedryl and I figure I’ll be awake another ten seconds or so. I’m just a tad itchy. Of course, I’m out of every H2 antagonists, which had worked on the old allergy symptoms so well.

It’ll all be better in the morning. Right?

And if it’s not, I’ll be red and itchy. Mostly on my inner arms.

I’d blame the knitting, but I haven’t rolled in yarn, nor, for that matter, have I eaten any crab which was the last time I reacted like this. So.

But I swear I’m giving someone in this book or the next an allergic reaction. Because, dammit, I can.

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Bit by bit


So I whipped out KellyS’s crit that I didn’t manage to do before leaving for the weekend. (Well, whipped… it was an extremely slow whip. More of a drag, actually.)

And then I jumped on Trillian and met up with Amber and wrote. Less than an hour later, I’d rewritten four pages and begun the new twist. It’s far more active, I think, and throws Kalim into the middle of politics immediately, instead of waiting for things to take off after the ceremony.

I’m tired, but it’s done for tonight.

And then, even though I was tired, I tried knitting.

You know when sometimes things seem like a good idea and then reality proves you really, really wrong? Yeah. Just. like. that.

I tried knitting row 5 for the bazillionth time, and ended up two stitches short. They were there when I’d started. I swear.

So I ripped out all five rows, cast on AGAIN, and got through the first row before I realized those two missing stitches had turned up. Where they weren’t supposed to be.


Try again.


DAMN IT. For future reference, you need to know that when I am frustrated, I try harder. Stupid yarn won’t get the best of me. I can do this!

Row 1. Count. Recount. Whew. Good.

Row 2. Purl. YAY!

Row 3. Count. Recount. Oops. Carefully back up to mistake. Knit again. YAY!!!

Row 4: Purl. (Oh my god, I swear they only put in the purl rows so you don’t die.)

Row 5: Knit. Count. Knit. Count. Knitcountknitcountknitcount. Recount. I actually have the right enough of stitches for the edging. Really. SCORE!

Row 6: Purl. Set the needles down and walk away quickly. This is the furthest I’ve gone!

Yet. Or so the Slug claims.

And I’m only working the lace edging. I’ve haven’t even touched the main pattern section. But I’m telling you, I’m very glad it’s bedtime.

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At least, some. I’m on the way to rejuvenating my daily writing–or six out of seven days’ worth. I’d promised myself fifteen minutes a day, but some of the days have run closer to forty-five minutes.

The good: I’m writing and rewriting.

The bad: I’m starting from the beginning again. Hopefully, I’ll get through the first five chapters before it’s my turn to be ravaged by the Posse again. Not that they did much ravaging Sunday night, but there’s always the possibility. Letting the small email crit group see the opening chapter was also a good idea because, hey, new eyes!

And hey, progress!

Baby steps. Plus, I’m having a great time hanging out with Amber and chatting about the novel she’s writing me.

I’m taking the laptop north this weekend in the hopes I can find fifteen minutes here or there when I’m not too exhausted. I may have to switch to writing in the mornings on the road. Mom wants my attention when I’m there–which is perfectly understandable, and my best friend from college deserves mine. The Slug might be joining me, but there’s snow up at Whitsett, so she may spend three days in the snow. With the boyfriend.

I don’t think there’s much chance she’ll be going with me.

In other news, I’m exhausted. Don’t know if it’s the new allergy meds, (new improved! with less sneezing!) or if I really truly am using all my energy to contain the ravening hordes. (I probably am. The wind has been pretty brisk, and that always sends the kids into orbit.)

I have three new books winging their way to me: House Name, An Artificial Night, and Mary’s short story collection, Holiday.

I CANNOT wait.

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Thanks be to


Amber, I managed to show up online in chat, she said go, and I rewrote.

Only two pages, and it was difficult, so closer to thirty minutes rather than fifteen, and there you go. Two pages more on the novel since last October.

Progress, and I’m clinging to it. All I have to do this afternoon is rinse and repeat. Well, except for Amber. She’s out roller skating and I am on my own. We’ll see how I do. It was not horribly painful to return to rewriting mode once I began.

It’s ALL about the beginning and overcoming inertia.

I felt as though I accomplished progress at voice yesterday, too. I’ll practice like heck today (that’s what a commute is for, right?) and see if it stuck. This whole head voice/chest voice/legit vs. belt is opaque for me. I try to reach for whatever Paul is directing me toward and don’t have much sense that I know what I’m doing without his coaching. For me, it’s about being able to use whatever technique is necessary for the piece. Kind of like writing.

As for school, I’m back and I rearranged our schedule. The mornings had been chaotic what with trying to do an hour of groups, a half-hour of RtI, and another half-hour of computer time. I fought to keep morning groups though–twenty some years of the stuff is hard to break, but threw in the towel yesterday.


I was less stressed. I felt as though I accomplished more in LA, simply because it was all in one chunk, and got through the day without wanting to run away. Although the budgetary stuff is still worrying me. Life is not going to be good for the public sector any time soon, let me tell you. I’m also worrying that the powers that be will try to increase the kid count–some districts around here are back up to 30 per class in the lower grades.

I’ve been there. Talk about frustration. A little group of seven or eight kids is not easy to manage when you’ve got a rotation of four groups and no other adults to restrain them.

Still. That’s next year’s worries. Today I just have to survive. And not be exhausted by 9P.

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Moving right along


Zoey’s back on increased pain meds, calcium, and prednisone. The little howls as she shifts position have stopped. She’s not up and her perky self, but she’s not in pain.

Apparently, although her calcium levels were good at the blood test, she was still having muscle spasms–which explains why she lifted various paws and the shakiness of standing. She’s still being very picky about eating, but the prednisone will fix that right up. All I’m waiting for at the moment is a call back from the Eldest Child to see if she’s had morning meds.

After a second day of sloth, I’m ready for action and jump-starting the Slug and the Spousling into it also. Goal is to have the house whipped back into shape, to have the Slug actually unpack and organize a box or two, get the new DVD player attached to the new flatscreen, and clean stuff.

Oh, and write. I’m opening the laptop. (The good thing about keeping the laptop as a primary writing source, is that I don’t fool around with email and such on it. The bad thing is that I physically have to open it if I’m going to write. Which takes willpower of some kind.) I’ve had enough priming by working on other people’s WIPs, and it’s time for my own.

I’ve got two short stories I want to stare at and the novel, too–seeing that I somehow erased the current chapter two and notes from the Posse on this hard drive, and must replace it. Sans the notes from our Skype chat. Frustrating, but that’ll teach me to verify if I really want to save changes whenever Word asks as I’m closing.

Now, another cup of coffee and I’ll be ready for the day.

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