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!

 

Making Progress

Just not enough progress! I now have to average over 3000 words a day if I am to reach my goal. It seemed like I wrote a lot today, but when I did my final count it was only 2,664. So close! Maybe tomorrow I will be more successful.

A Few Words More

For the first time ever, I’m facing the possibility that I might not make my word goal for this month, due to this trip I’m on. All my time has been taken up with family and with going through my mom’s things to help out my dad.

Yesterday, after working all day, my brother and his wife and my husband and son left to go on a hike. I didn’t go with them because I was wearing flip flops and I’m not interested in hiking in flip flops.

Instead I came back to our lodgings and had a little time to WRITE. I passed the 10,000 word mark at last—but that’s still not even a quarter of the way there and the month is half over.

Of course, family trumps writing—but I’m still hoping to pull off a spectacular save before the end of the month.

Slow Start

It’s kind of not fair that this writing month starts off with a holiday weekend. On the other hand, November, when the “main” NaNoWriMo happens, has Thanksgiving in it, so that’s hard too.

I have a handle on my story and I’m 6195 words in, but if you have even a tenuous grasp of math you no doubt realize I am about 3000 words behind already—and I’m getting ready to go on a road trip.

I have a feeling that the bulk of this novel will be written during the last two weeks of the month.

Baby Steps

I started my new novel last night but the problem was I had no idea what the impetus for the plot was going to be. So I only got as far as the important phone call before I had to stop and figure out what on earth the phone call was going to be about.

This is a weird profession, where daydreaming counts as “work.” But you know what? I did figure out what this story is going to be about. In fact I am pretty jazzed about writing it now. I’m only 1889 words in, but I know I’ll get some 3000 word days so I’m not worried.

I’m Back!

My writing has really suffered due to my “real-life” commitments over the last few years, but after an incredibly stressful school year I am taking a break from teaching and plunging back into writing with a vengeance. I plan to chronicle my adventures here as a way to keep myself motivated.

In the past, July was always my “writing intensive” month, where I tried to write a full novel—as many as 80,000 words. The last few years I have been teaching too much to make that possible, but guess what? I’m back, baby! This year I’ve joined Camp NaNoWriMo and am hoping to write the second book in my middle grade series this month.

But that’s not all! I have a publisher who wants to publish an anthology of my short stories. Huzzah for that! But, ahem, he doesn’t have enough to fill an anthology yet. So I’ll be “cheating” on my novel project this month to write more short stories, which I find much more challenging than novels, to be honest. I have written two new stories in the last few weeks and am almost finished with a third. I have two older stories that I can expand/revise to bring them up to my current standards. And I figure I need to come up with at least two more killer story ideas to round out the collection.

So, lots going on here. My creativity is surging and I am so ready to get back to work!

NETWO Conference

As it turned out, the two writers’ events I wanted to attend this year were only two weeks apart. After WORDfest/Writers in the Field two weeks ago, I didn’t even have time to sink back into apathy before attending the North East Texas Writers Organization conference today.

It was the smallest conference I’ve ever attended, but the classes were all excellent and I found it very worthwhile. And I have to admit, I really enjoy hanging out with other writers. I now feel doubly inspired to start sending my work out again. I’m saying that here in hopes that making it public will make me feel obligated to do it.

A Virtual Shot in the Arm

I am ashamed to say that I have not followed through on my resolve to start querying again—but now I feel that I am newly re-motivated.

This past weekend I attended an event in Dallas. In fact it was two separate events that kind of merged together: WORDfest and Writers in the Field. Writers in the Field is my favorite writer’s event of all the variety I’ve attended. It’s a hands-on research bonanza where you can learn about almost anything you might be planning to write about. I went the first year, in the fall of 2017, and last year I presented a workshop on historical writing implements there.

There was just one little problem. The venue was flooded out due to torrential rains. We had to hike in. The food truck never made it. We had a tornado warning. Therefore, some of the presenters and exhibitors were unable to present and exhibit. So yesterday (Sunday) we had a “do-over” day at an indoor venue in Dallas. I was asked to give my workshop again, which I was happy to do. I had about a dozen people attend, and they really seemed to be interested.

Since I was going to be there on Sunday anyway, I went on Saturday also, to WORDfest, an event in its third year, which I had wanted to attend the last two years. Let’s just say that next year, I’ll try to make a priority of going. It was such a massive infusion of enthusiasm and motivation.

In addition to a great schedule of classes—several choices in each time slot—there were hallways full of exhibitors, many of whom represented various writers’s groups and services in the North Texas area. Everyone was so friendly and enthusiastic. I got to vote on the Oxford Comma (I’m in favor, in case you wondered). I got to participate in a live-action game of Clue. I learned about Chinese folklore and writing fight scenes and so much more. I entered the raffle but didn’t win anything (I never do).

On Sunday, after I taught my class, I attended more classes, but since this was Writers in the Field, I also got to learn about all kinds of things, from people who are fanatics about their area of expertise. True fanatics are absolutely irresistible. I talked again to the amazing man who is an expert on the Titanic and who impersonates its captain. And the lady with the stunning collection of Victorian-era ladies clothes. A martial arts expert. A locksmith. An equestrian. An Olympic level archer. A lady weaving Viking-era trim. And did I mention that this was all FREE?

I drove home feeling so encouraged and so ready to get to work on getting my writing out there at last. This time, I really need to follow through!

 

Something for Everyone

A few months ago I had the honor of being published in a new anthology, Mythic Orbits Volume 2 (I also had a story in the first Mythic Orbits You should read them both!).

So anyway, I thought you’d like to know what to expect if you decide to get the book—and of course you should. All the stories are speculative fiction tales by Christian authors. The stories themselves may or may not have Christian content, but they were all written by Christians, including yours truly.

First up is “Living History” by Steve Rzasa, set in the future where humans have been subjugated by aliens and the main character works as a historical re-enactor of Earth’s past. It’s a fascinating glimpse of what it might be like to be the losers in a contest with alien invaders.

“Her Majesty’s Guardian” by Donald S. Crankshaw comes next, featuring a more medieval setting and a protagonist who works as the queen’s guardian. I can’t say much about the plot because I don’t want to reveal the twist at the end! It’s a short little gem of a story.

Following that is my own story, “Dragon Moon,” which you will have to read for yourself to decide if you like it. It involves a tattoo.

“The Other Edge” by C.W. Briar comes next, a relatively hard sci-fi story about astronauts who are the first to board an alien ship and who get a lot more than they bargained for. A gripping read.

“Seeking What’s Lost” by Cindy Koepp is set in the world of video gaming, where a bereaved mother is doing a final run-through of her game program and grieving for the loss of her children at the same time. Touching and relatable for anyone who’s had kids.

C.O. Bonham’s story, “Recalled from the Red Planet,” is probably the most overtly Christian of the stories in this anthology. A teenage boy living on Mars is forced to evaluate his life when a stunning Biblical prophesy fulfillment occurs, changing his world forever.

“The Workshop at the End of the World” by Kristin Janz is a fresh take on the lore surrounding Santa and his elves. A fun holiday read.CC

William Bontrager’s story, “They Stood Still,” is much longer than most of the others and will require more investment from the reader. A combat vet suffering from PTSD experiences the surreal sensation of being the only living, moving being in a world where time has frozen. This one also has a Christian message, one that many will be able to identify with.

“The Memory Dance” by A.K. Meek starts with a car crash during a blizzard, leaving a man and his young daughter trying to find shelter before they freeze to death. What they find is rather unsettling.

Keturah Lamb’s story, “Unerella,” asks the question, what if you were one of the girls in “Cinderella” who went to the ball but didn’t get the prince? I love stories like this with a fresh take on a familiar tale.

And finally, “Mark the Days” by Kat Heckenbach is another heavy-hitter and one of the longer stories. This one also has a Christian theme, and an intriguing premise. I struggled with the ending, though. I felt like I was too stupid to understand it. I don’t normally think of myself as stupid, so I will probably reread this one and see if I get it the second time!

All in all, this collection of stories is well worth your time. Everything from medieval fantasy to futuristic sci-fi and magic realism are represented here. Some of them will no doubt spark your own imagination—and that’s the point, isn’t it?