Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 30 - Done!!

I am now the proud writer of my fourth novel, "The Secret" and I can say that I have finished Camp NaNoWriMo!  Wow, I'm done.  I'm not quite happy with the ending, but that's okay.  I can fix it in editing and that won't be for quite a while.  That was a crazy month for writing and for life, so I'm very glad that it's over!  I will now proceed to tuck this novel away in a drawer and return to my task of editing my third one, but that can actually wait until tomorrow.  It's almost 1 am and I need to get some sleep.

Word count - Day 30:  50,074

Novel completed.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 29 - You think this is hard...

You think this is hard... That's what starts some of Sue Sylvester's lines on the television show "Glee" that my friends and I like to watch.  I remember that one of the times she mentioned it, she said "You think this is hard, I'm passing a kidney stone."  I know now how that feels because I have a kidney stone.  I spent more of yesterday at the doctor's office, drinking this nasty tasting barium and waiting for a CAT scan, with suspected appendicitis.   That was not fun at all.  Don't ever drink barium unless forced.  It was this white liquid that looked like milk with a little thicker consistency.  It tasted a little chalky with a hint of sweet flavoring.  But the aftertaste was a killer and I couldn't rinse out my mouth with water until I was done.  I drank one cup of it and waited an hour in the boring waiting room, then drank another half cup and waited for half an hour before getting poked twice because they couldn't get the IV in my arm before the CAT scan that only took ten minutes.  All to find out that I had a kidney stone.  Not my best day.  I spent the rest of the day on my parent's floor, between feeling okay and throwing up from the barium. 

Let's just say that my writing had not been happening the past few days and I'm still at least 3,000 words from finishing Camp NaNoWriMo in two days.  I can do it, but it will have to take some motivation since I also need to hardcore do some packing to move in a few days.  Gah... bad timing.  At least it didn't happen when I was moving or before the wedding I'm going to next week.  That wouldn't be fun.

Hopefully it passes soon and I can move on.  It's definitely not fun.

Current word count - 46,625
Words-to-go:  3,375

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 23 - Resolutions are more fun!

Now that I'm past the high point of the story or the climax of the plot... it's time for the resolutions to begin.  I can finally start tying up those loose ends that have been hanging out all around my novel.  My main character is no longer so crazy stressed, though she is partially.  I like writing these happier moments, though I'm not completely done with the conflicts yet.  I have some conflicts to bring up and resolve in these last 8,000 words.  It should be a nice walk in the park!

And the weather in Iowa has finally calmed down enough that it's bearable to go outside.  I have five days left at my current job before my internship begins.  I'm excited for that!  Also, I move a week from Monday.  I really need to finish my novel so I can concentrate on packing. :)

Day 23 - Word count:  41,421

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 21 - Light at the end

There's light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm getting closer and closer each day to finishing this novel.  50,000 words in 31 days is actually really crazy!  I tried reasoning it to my roommate tonight and I couldn't do it.  It just has to be done.  The story is floating around in my mind and I need to write it.  I can do this!!

On another slightly sad note, I decided to remove "Falling Star" from the Kindle and Nook today.  I received another negative review and it was quite specific to my failures.  In no way am I saying that I quit, but that was my first fully written novel and it's not my best work.  I don't want a half-cooked novel published with my name on it.  I'm sure that a lot of people enjoyed it, but since I'm on the road to traditional publishing, "Falling Star" will now live only on my computer, resting in peace.  I think it was bound to happen.  I'm hoping that my writing will continue to get better.  Maybe someday I'll come back to Evelyn's story, but not now.  On a side note, there was a reason that I named her Evelyn.  A few years back there was a little four year old girl found dead with that name and there's been no justice for her or her family.  That's why I choose her name.  Evelyn in my story also doesn't get the justice that she deserves.  I need to let go and let her move on.

Most of the time, I have a reasoning behind the names of my characters and that's very important to me.  I can't just slap a name on my main characters.  I research name meanings and I think what name fits the story that I'm trying to tell.  So far, my protagonist's have been named Evelyn, Olivia, Sophie, and Lydia.  The male characters are Caleb, Ethan, Matthew, Jordan, and Zach.

Anyway, "Falling Star" has been put to rest and I'm getting closer to the end of "The Secret".  I'm still waiting patiently to hear from my perspective agent about my second manuscript.

Day 21 - Word Count: 38,060

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Single Dream

"A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities."  - J. R. R. Tolkien

I love "The Lord of the Rings" much more than any other book series out there!  Nothing can surpass it.  I do love Harry Potter, but there's something more about Frodo's journey and Aragorn that I love more.  Not to say that one is less a greater work of fiction, but in my opinion, I love Tolkien's story more.  I've been thinking a lot about my trip to New Zealand next year and I see clips of The Lord of the Rings everywhere, Frodo and Sam traveling across that beautiful country that I will get to see.  I can't imagine it!  But it's very exciting.  It's almost August and next August, instead of packing for another apartment, I'll be moving to another country.  It's all very exciting.

I love this quote from J.R.R. Tolkien about how a single dream is better than a thousand realities.  I would rather have a dream to be something than to live for a thousand lives with no dream.  We're here because we have a dream to be an author.  In some ways we are already authors because we write.  We dream of being published and whether it comes true or not.  We dream. :)

I must read more of Tolkien's beautiful words before I fall asleep tonight.

Day 20 - Word count:  37,235

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 19 - the story Climax

Another great day of writing today!  I managed to write a wonderful and suspenseful scene involving my main character, Lydia, and the trunk of a car.  Yes, that doesn't sound good at all and it's not supposed to. :)  It was a really interesting thing to write about.  I'm the type of writer that likes to imagine myself in those situations and how I would respond, then modifying it to the character.  I admit it even made me cry, so I'm hoping that it's a powerful scene.

Day 19 - Word count:  34,207

I also wanted to show you some of the pictures that my friend, Rachel took!  They turned out really well! :)

This one is my favorite!

Hope you had a great day! :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 18 - A False Vacation

After my tiring day yesterday, I decided that I wasn't going to do any writing today.  While I was bored at work, I tried to keep myself interested in other things and not thinking about the novel waiting for me at home.  It wasn't that simple.  I was doodling and I actually came up with a few little plot bunnies that fit with the change in my original plot that I've been fighting.  I decided to stop fighting it today.  After work, I spent some time washing the neglected pile of dishes in my sink and made some dinner instead of skipping dinner to write, which means I've been eating corndogs and other random easy foods.  After I watched a little TV and thought a little more about what's happening and how to connect it with Lydia's struggle for faith in God.  It became a little clearer and I broke my decision not to write today.

The goal was only to write a little bit and if I got frustrated, I would stop.  It didn't turn out that way at all.  I actually managed to write a little over 2,000 words with ease.  Since I stopped fighting, my novel went smoothly today.  I got to write that scene that I dreamt of before starting my novel and it turned into one of the new plot bunnies with a great twist!

It was a very encouraging day of writing for me. :)  Thanks to all of you!

Day 18 - Word count:  32,016

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 17 - Worn out

I'm at day 17 of Camp NaNoWriMo and I'm worn out.  I'm tired of camping, bugs, and writing this novel.  My character has taken it down a different road and now the ending that I imagined is suddenly blind to me.  I can't take that same path to the ending and it feels like time is running out in a way for that ending.  I'm not sure where to go. 

50,000 words in 30 days really is a crazy idea.  I'm sure that my plot is missing points everywhere and characters are missing subplots.  That's what editing is for, but at this point... I'm stuck.  My character has finally revealed what has happened with her mistake, the plot change she created, but I don't know how to continue from here.  I'm just tired.  I think I need to step away from my novel and since I'm ahead, I don't plan on writing tomorrow at all and I'm done for today.  There are fourteen days remaining of July. 

Day 17 - Word count:  30,000

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 15 - Running out of S'Mores

Now that I have reached the half-way point, I am running out of steam.  The plot has twisted and I'm not sure where they are going.  I admit that I'm getting tired of writing "The Secret" and I don't want to spend any more time on it.  This is where writing gets hard, when the author wants to give up and needs to keep going.  It's the tough spots and rough spots that will prevent us.  It's like getting sand in your swimsuit at the beach, or a sunburn before going down a water slide - both are ouch situations.  I really just want to get this finished.  I have many others thing to get done, packing for moving August 1st and finishing my job. 

I just need to stick it out and continue writing this novel, hoping that it will get better and I won't be so darn frustrated with it.  I agree to finish this novel by July 31st and I still intend to.  I am just in need of some encouragement.  I'm possibly in need of some s'mores to finish this Camp NaNoWriMo. 

Day 15 - Word count: 26,004

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 13 - Non-fiction descriptions

It's been a month today since I sent my full manuscript to my perspective agent and I'm patiently waiting to hear back from her.  Okay, I admit that I checked my email at least ten times today and didn't hear anything.  But, I know it can take two to three months for an agent to read a novel.  I just need to have faith in my writing.

Today's Camp NaNoWriMo writing went fairly well.  I made a decision that Lydia, my main character, would go home for the week of spring break to spend a little time with her family, despite her lack of love for them.  She ends up having an amazing conversation with her half-brother that I could not have planned better.  But I got into describing the house she lived in and I discovered that it was quite easy to write about the house that I grew up in and imagine it.  It felt rich and real.  Well, it is real, though it's probably not decorated with a chicken theme on apricot walls in the kitchen.  It's non-fiction, but I really love it.

I'll let you read a little to see what you think of the descriptions.  I hope that it paints a picture for you. :)

I took my exit off of the interstate and into Haven, a small town with only six different restaurants and a failing department store.  My family lived only a few blocks into the city, in a brown house on the corner of Brewer Street.  I pulled onto the small gravel drive-way in a little crescent moon shape in front of the house.  The wooden fence was falling apart from lack of upkeep and the front porch swing was in desperate need of sanding.  I parked in front of the weeping willow tree.  There were no other cars in front of the house and I assumed that there was no one else home.  I almost dropped my basket as I walked up the cracked sidewalk and into the house. 

“Hello?” I called.

The front entrance opened into the wide hallway that went straight into the living room and dining room.  The small television was on and someone was lounging on the couch.  I slipped off my shoes, per Sasha’s crazy rules, and stepped onto the white carpet.  It was Austin, my half-brother.  He was sleeping lightly and it was clear how much he looked like a young version of my father.  A stray piece of brown hair was on his forehead and I wanted to brush it back, but I didn’t.  There was a bag of ice resting on his knee and he was still dressed in his gymnastic outfit.  The bag was dripping water onto the floor and it wasn’t doing him much good anymore.  I set down my things and picked up the bag.  His eyes quickly opened and he jolted to a sitting position.

I just love that description.  It feels like my home and it's... hard to describe, but I have a strong emotional connection to that house. :)  What do you think?

Day 13 - Word count:  23,409

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day 10 - The twisting plot

I wrote a little over 3,000 words today and managed to beginning packing a little bit to move on August 1st to my new apartment.  My plot took an interesting twist today when my main character, Lydia decided to make a life-changing mistake.  This plot bunny was not written into the original plot and actually changes the story some.  I'm not sure if I like this mistake, but I'm gonna keep going.  I love it when I feel like I'm the one listening as the character makes the mistakes and I'm just writing her story.  I'm letting it go and writing with the flow.  Lydia has taken control of my novel and that's okay with me. :)  I'll just have to see where it takes me.

How do you feel when a character takes over your writing?

Day 9 - Word count:  16,940
Day 10 - Word count:  20,031

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 9 - Update on Camp

Not been doing a lot of writing the past few days, but I can say that I had an AMAZING time at the water park on Thursday!  My back survived the adventure, so yay!  My favorite attraction was this 60 ft funnel that you went back and forth in the inside, after being dropped down this tube and then you were spat out at the bottom of the tunnel.  It was incredible!  My friends and I screamed so much, but we really really enjoyed it!  They also had this water roller coaster that was a lot of fun and a water toboggan ride where you raced.  Since fours of us went, we had the perfect number for every ride! :)  The only one that I didn't do was the slide that dropped you straight down 28 feet.  A little too scary for me.  I took a few pictures on my water camera, but I'll have to wait to post them until I get it developed.

I'm hoping to catch up a little on my writing today and one of my friends is taking my pictures since she's an aspiring photographer.  Rachel is quite good and I'll put up a few when she's done!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Day 6 - Word count:  13,347
Day 7 - Word count:  13,347
Day 8 - Word count:  14,444

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 5 - Jump ahead!

Though my back is really sore at the moment and sitting is making me sick, I can honestly say that I got a lot of writing done today and I really upped my word count.  I don't need to write until Friday now to stay on track. :) 

Favorite quote of the day from my little 7-year-old sister Alyson after watching "Free Willy":
"I wish you were like Michael Jackson."

Yikes Aly.  Thanks?

Day 5 - Word Count:  12,008

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 4 - May the 4th be with you

Happy Independence day to my fellow Americans!  I hope you had a wonderful day.  I got to experience some red, white, and blue with my family and it was a wonderful time!  I didn't spend much time writing today, but I'm still ahead and my back is doing a little better.  Hopefully it will be better by Thursday so I can go to the waterpark with my friends.

My patriotic toes :)

Me, Aly, and Hunter (red, white, and blue)

Taking pictures of fireworks are hard!
Hope you all had a wonderful 4th!

Day 4 - Word Count:  8,420

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 3 - It's easy to write when....

I found that it's quite easy to write when you are stuck in a chair all day long.  Yeah, it doesn't sound that fun and it isn't.  My little brother body-slammed me at the bottom of a slide at the pool on Thursday.  It wasn't his fault.  I was trying to catch him so his head wouldn't go under water.  He's the only 4 year old I know that doesn't like getting his hair wet.  Anyway, 40 pounds slammed into me.  I was sore on Friday, but not too bad.  Saturday morning, I woke up and I almost threw up from the pain.  Last night I had a hard time sleeping, part of the time I was on the living room floor - then the couch - then the kitchen floor - and then my little brother's bed.  The whole time, my dog Lacey followed me and slept where I slept.  My back is terribly painful, but I am tying to sit still and wait for it to heal while taking lots of ibuprofen and hot showers. 

At least my writing went well today.  I'm about to introduce one of the first big plot points with Zach's character.  :)

Word count - Day 3:  7,602

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 2 - Camp NaNoWriMo

Well, I managed to finish Day 2 of Camp NaNoWriMo and I'm actually ahead with my word count, which is wonderful! :) 

Here's an excerpt from "The Secret";

He could never love me because I couldn’t trust him. First, there is desire and then passion; followed by suspicion and jealousy, anger and betrayal. If love is for the highest bidder, there can be no trust and without trust, there is no love.

Lydia Anders, it seemed like such a simple name for my mother and father to give me. If only my parents had been better people that would give such good names with purpose. My mother chose my name because she liked it, which is fine but… my mother Alicia was only seventeen when she had me and my father Ryan was eighteen. They didn’t think about what about what their name choice would mean later in life for me. Not that it really mattered. I was given my father’s last name, which again was probably a good idea. My mom dropped me off on dad’s doorstep when I was six and never came back. Their relationship had only lasted until I was two months old and I hadn’t seen my father since I was a baby and didn’t remember him. Suddenly having to live with him was a complete shock.

Then there was Sasha, the woman my dad had married in college. They had a set of twins together before Alicia dropped me off. Sasha was bitter about my dad’s past relationship and jealous that he took a sudden interest in me. Let’s just say that he had a reason to be interested at first. I was sick when my mom dropped me off, which is one of the reasons she couldn’t take care of me. Dad had a steady job and she didn’t; waitressing didn’t pay as much as she needed for my hospital stay. I spent two weeks in the hospital due to a bad case of pneumonia. It made me close with my dad and I learned to love him, forgiving him for abandoning me as a baby.

But Sasha wasn’t that accepting. Her two children, Austin and Alyssa, were three years younger than me and Sasha raised them with contempt for me. Maybe it wasn’t intentional at first, but her anger towards me seeped into everything she did and her twins just soaked it up.

Things changed when I was eleven. Alicia came back into my life, suddenly fighting to have me back in her home and being raised by her. She claimed that she had changed and married a doctor that was financially and emotionally taking care of her. Ryan didn’t want to believe it and they got into a very messy custody fight. It ended up months later with my dad receiving full custody of me and my mom disappeared again. Two months later, I learned in the newspaper that my mom had been killed in a drunken driving accident. No one hit her. Alicia was the drunk driver and the only one killed. Her obituary didn’t even mention that she had a daughter. It was the story of my life; forgotten and ignored.

I’m not really surprised that the secret became a big part of my life when I went to college. I didn’t have the best childhood and I didn’t have the self-esteem that other young adults had. The secret was my only chance of being accepted and doing something for me. I just wish that I hadn’t lost myself in the process.

What do you think? :)

Word count - Day 2:  5,020

Friday, July 1, 2011

50,000 words, 31 days

Since today is July 1st, it's the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo and I've decided that I'm gonna do it or at least try to complete another novel in a month.  I'm gonna write a new novel!!!! :)

I've also thought about what PLOT I want to write about and decided not to pursue my plot bunny about the young woman who has an affair with a married man.  I'm gonna tuck that one back under the rug with a few of my other random plots that didn't make it.  Instead, I'm going to write about the story I mentioned a few months back about a young woman that works as a stripper for money for college, but hides it from everyone until a young man falls in love with her.

 Never fall in love with a woman who sells herself; it only ends badly.

It's called "The Secret".  

So, nothing yet from my perspective agent about "Down in the Creek", but I am starting my new novel!!  I hope you will all keep me accountable and make sure that I finish. :)

Word count - Day 1: 3,344