In Which I Have Actual News

It’s past time for an update here. First of all, anthology news. My publisher seems to be a little behind, which has given me the chance to maybe write one more story for the anthology. I have started it, but this has been a very busy month so it is not yet finished. I think it’s a pretty good story premise though.

Secondly, I recently signed a contract to write a high school literature guide for Jane Eyre. (In an intriguing twist of fate, I have an actual ancestor whose name was Jane Eyre.) I’ve made a good start on that also, and hope to dive into it with real enthusiasm next week. Possibly I might be writing similar guides for several other classic novels.

Thirdly, I received an email today which made my entire week. Years ago, I wrote a middle-school creative writing curriculum which I used to teach many kids from my home. The curriculum was picked up and published by the Institute for Excellence in Writing, but a couple of years ago they discontinued it without even telling me.

When I figured it out, I contacted them and they told me that all the rights reverted to me. My plan was to revise and update it and then release it myself through Amazon—but I hadn’t got around to it yet. Then today I received an email from the academic dean of a Catholic school in South Carolina. He wrote: “Several of our middle school teachers used your Story Quest text for several years but it seems it is no longer in print through IEW.  Is there any place where we could still purchase these books?  They have had an incredible impact on our students.”

You have no idea how much that encouragement meant to me, sir. And now I am highly motivated to finish revising that curriculum so that your school can have it. Stay tuned for a notice that it is once again available!

This Time I’m Really Done

I had a friend read my most recent story, and her comments led to some changes which I believe make it a better story. I have finished my revisions and have sent it to my publisher. Whew! I have no idea what the timeline is on this anthology, so while I’m waiting I will move on to something else.

Ta Da!

I have FINALLY finished what I hope is the last story for my anthology. I had the idea in my mind for a couple of years, and during that time I’ve thought of several different ways to handle it, but of course once I started writing it, it took off in a somewhat different direction.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got stuck. The plot was okay as far as it went, but I needed something to get it to work out and it finally came to me in the last couple of days. Then I couldn’t wait to get back to my computer and WRITE.

I will give this one a few days before I go back to revise, but meanwhile I hope and believe that I can take a break from short stories and go back to writing novels, which is what I prefer.

Christmas?

So, I think I’m going to write one more story for my anthology, and I’m wondering if it should be a Christmas story. What do you think? I also might incorporate a tradition I’ve done with my students for many years now. Their last assignment of the semester is always a story, and most years I consult an online noun generator to come up with a handful of random words that they have to incorporate in the story. It’s a fun little challenge, and I usually write a story following the same rules that I set out for my students. Should I do it? I’ve already asked people to leave me words on Facebook.

It Worked!

I know you’re all dying to know if my road trip yielded any new story ideas. Yes!

Yesterday I can’t say I had any new inspiration while driving. But after I got to my hotel room and started unwinding, I had a great idea. Today while I was driving again, I turned that idea over and over in my head. I thought last night that I would use it as the basis for a new story, but during my drive today I realized that it could solve my dilemma with my current story and now I’m excited to start writing again.

Halfway

So, we’re halfway through November. Have I been doing a lot of writing? No. I am working on a story but I am struggling with the plot. However, tomorrow I leave on a road trip to go visit my dad (700 miles each way). Hours and hours of being alone in the car. You’d better believe I am taking a notepad with me to jot down ideas as they come to me. Road trips spark my imagination like nothing else!

National Novel Writing Month

All my writing ambitions were put on hold due to illness for the last few months. Today, the first day of NaNoWriMo, I am feeling much better and able to write—but I’m not writing a novel. I’m back to writing short stories for my anthology, because that’s a project I committed to.

I am currently working on my tenth story for the anthology. I had originally thought that ten would be “enough,” but I feel like I need a total word count of at least 50,000, and I’m not there yet. I believe I will need at least two more stories after I finish this one—which I’m struggling with, to be honest.

What I really need, to be honest, is a road trip. Hours of driving alone in the car are the absolute best thing to dredge up potential stories from my well of ideas. But thanks to the pandemic and my own serious health issues, I haven’t been on a solo road trip since May. I’m hoping later this month I will be able to hit the road!

My Muse and Me

Sometimes, inspiration just descends on you unasked for, and you sit down to write and your fingers all but catch fire as they try to keep pace with your brain.

This is not one of those times. This is one of those times when you have to go in search of inspiration, yank it out of its den, wrestle it into submission, drag it back to your writing chair, and hold a gun to its head.

So yeah, I’m still writing my new story. Everything’s fine.

My Idea File

I am patting myself on the back right now for maintaining a file folder on my computer for story ideas. I went through it the other night and found ideas I had totally forgotten about. At least two of them I think I can use for the basis for new short stories to go in the anthology.

I’ve already picked the first one I want to work on. It’s about a girl who’s cursed.

Fall Back Five and Punt

That’s what my husband always says when we have to come up with an alternate plan. I don’t even know what that means, since I don’t watch American football, but I imagine most of you do.

Turns out, it just wasn’t realistic for me to write 50,000 words in July when I was gone for a third of the month and also had a presentation to prepare. I got over 20,000 words written, and that’s not nothing—just not what I’d hoped for.

However, that particular novel is going to have to wait a little longer because my top priority now is getting short stories written and/or revised for my upcoming anthology. Last night I dived back into a story I started in March but have really struggled with. And you know what? It was almost finished. I finished it. Whew!

Today I went through a few of older stories and revised them, bringing them up to a higher standard (I hope). Having done that, my only option is to come up with some new ideas and write some new stories—at least three more, I estimate. Usually not a problem for me—but a road trip would help!