Saturday, October 22, 2016

Whimsical Deadlines
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

Jamie and I both had a couple of “have I used this quote before?” moments last week, but when a quote is good, it’s good. Whether or not she’d used them before, all of Jamie’s quotes were good and I chose this one because I love Alice in Wonderland. :-D

"Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop."
― Lewis Carroll in Alice's Adventure in Wonderland

At first I was going to tell you that this is the best writing advice you’d ever receive, but then I started thinking about it. While it sounds in theory, it’s not always possible in practice. Sometimes what you perceive as the beginning of a story isn’t. And sometimes it makes more sense to start in the middle or the end of a story and work backwards.

On the other hand, maybe it doesn’t really matter where you start, as long as you keep going until the story is done. Once you set foot on the story path, it doesn’t matter how twisty it gets, you keep going until you get to the end. So maybe the King is right after all.

I think we can all be grateful that Lewis Carroll did so, how else would he have been able to give us such gems as Alice In Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, and What the Tortoise Said to Achilles? And if you’ve ever read these novels, or Jabberwocky or even The Hunting of the Snark, you’ll know that knowing when to stop must have been a bit of a challenge.

My quote of the week is a little more mundane:

A deadline is, simply put, optimism in its most kick-ass form. It's a potent force that, when wielded with respect, will level any obstacle in its path. This is especially true when it comes to creative pursuits.
― Chris Baty

And Chris Baty should know, because he came up with the ultimate deadline - 50,000 words in 30 days, which is better known as NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. If you haven’t heard of NaNo, just click on the link for more information.

Chris came up with the idea for NaNo in 1999. Having worked as an editor he had seen first hand what kind of impossible deadlines writers were capable of. So he challenged 20 of his friends to write a 50,000 word book in a month. They had so much fun that the next year he created a website and invited others to join in. From there it grew faster than even he could have imagined. Last year there were over 400,000 participants.

I’ve been doing NaNo for ten years now, and have 7 wins under my belt. I missed last year, but I’m going to participate again this year.

But that’s a post for another day. ;-)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Unlimbering the Typewriter
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

Tough choices this week, but it finally came down to: which ones stick in my mind the most? And interestingly enough, although the quotes I picked have only the fact that they’re about writing in common, we sent them to each other on the same day. First, Jamie’s quote of the week:

A writer should concern himself with whatever absorbs his fancy, stirs his heart, and unlimbers his typewriter.
― E.B. White

This advice makes a lot of sense. When you’re writing about something that interests you, when you enjoy what you’re working on - whether it’s a story, an article, or even a poem - it’s going to show. Your interest will make whatever you’re working on more interesting because you can’t help but wax enthusiastic over your topic.

Nothing will limit a new writer more than following the advice to “write what you know.” Better advice would be write what interests you. This is where research comes in handy. Find something that piques your interest, research your topic well, and then write confidently about it. You probably won’t use more than a small fraction of the information you’ve gathered, but the very fact that you’ve researched it so thoroughly means you “know” what you’re talking about.

My own quote of the week is something you probably already know:

There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.
― Ernest Hemingway

There are as many different ways to write as there are writers to try them out. It’s a fact of life - what works for one writer won’t necessarily work for another. Sometimes you have to try out several methods before you find the one that’s right for you.

But even when you find that perfect method it doesn’t guarantee success. Words and ideas are tricky customers. Sometimes they come flowing so fast you can hardly keep up, but sometimes they’ll hide behind a wall, teasing you. Those are the times you need to get your drill and blasting caps and just forge ahead.

Writing what interests you, in whatever fashion you choose, also helps to get the writing flowing. Give it a try.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Distractions and Lurking

Yesterday was a perfect day for editing and I spent most of it working on An Elemental Earth. It’s close, so close. But it won’t be finished today. Today I have to finish this post, cook enough carrots and sweet potatoes to feed between 10 and 19 people, and get to Fabricland up in the city north of us. And be home again by around 4 to go to dinner. Can we say tight schedule?

The food is for dinner at the in-laws tonight (it’s the Canadian Thanksgiving). And Fabricland doesn’t open until noon. My carrots and sweet potatoes are cooking as I type this to save time. But the good thing about being so busy with other things today is that it leaves me with the holiday Monday for more writing. :-)

I might have actually finished the edits on Earth yesterday if not for the constant distractions. It was a cold, mostly rainy day, so instead of working in my office I worked in the livingroom - a lot of editing involves reading, so I might as well be comfy, right?

But while I was able to resist turning on the television, I was not able to bring myself to off the internet. So in that case it wouldn’t have mattered where I was working. Ah, the internet - email, Facebook, MSN Games ... although I’m kind of proud of myself that I could only play games after editing a couple of chapters, and I limited my time. Give the author a pat on the back! ;-)

The internet, however, was a totally different matter. It’s always there, just a click away, with its blogs and its social media and its information overload. And even when you’re a total lurker, like I am, checking out the internet can be really time-consuming.

The best place to lurk is blogs. I have a list of blogs I visit saved in my Favorites. Actually, I have several lists. And I visit these blogs on a regular basis but like most people I rarely leave a comment. Why is that, why are we so afraid to acknowledge that we enjoyed what someone else had the courage to put out there for the world to see?

I have no answer. But I will tell you a story. A few years ago I frequented a writers forum called Absolute Write. And someone in the blogging section started a thread posing that very same question, with the suggestion that we take a deep breath an comment on someone’s blog. So I did. And she commented back. And we started commenting back and forth and discovered we have a lot in common. I’m not sure when commenting became emailing, but now I can’t imagine life without my best bud Jamie.

So give it a try. You never know if your best bud is lurking just around the corner. ;-)

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
2,224 words total
Down by about 1,000 words from last week, mainly because I didn’t have a movie review. Funny thing happened on the way to that review ... I had this wonderful plan to do classic horror movies this month because of Halloween, figuring to access the movies through YouTube. Only YouTube let me down. So did Netflix. However Walmart has an awesome, seasonal, display of horror movies, including the classic ones I was looking for. Now my only problem is picking which movie to start with.

0 words total
Still haven’t been doing the reviews of the books I’ve been reading, but I am keeping track of them. Not a lot of time for reading this week, but I did finish this creepy, really twisted fairy tale that was written more for middle grade or young adult. And I base that solely on the fact the heroine was only 12. But a really tough 12.

many hours total
As I said earlier, I spent most of Saturday working on Earth and I only have about 40 more pages to go. But don’t worry, once I’ve finished editing Earth I have several other novels that need to be worked on. ;-)

New Words
1,955 words total
Nothing added to Wandering Wizards, however I’ve added over a thousand words to Earth during the editing process. I also wrote around 500 words on that creepy story I came up with a few weeks ago. AND almost 500 words on a new idea that might be NaNo worthy. Yes, I’m seriously considering doing NaNoWriMo this year. Maybe. Probably.

Weekly Goals:

Last week:
Did not finish Earth, but I’m close.
Did not catch up on my book reviews.
No new words on Wandering Wizards, but I did get words on other stuff
This week:
Finish the edits on An Elemental Earth.
Minimum of 2,000 new words on Wandering Wizards.
Catch up on my book reviews. I mean it!
Find something new to edit.
Comment on at least one blog a day.

The excerpt this week is going to be from Earth this time, just because. In it, our Earth Elemental Chloe is performing a test given her by the mine master Gannon:

There was a pounding on her front door and her eyes snapped open. She’d been so caught up in what she was doing she’d been unaware of the passing time. It was no surprise that Granny had once more disappeared. As soon as her mother was safe she needed to have a long talk with that old woman.

The knock on her door repeated and she hurried to answer it. Ulrik smirked at her.

“Your stalling tactics won’t work with me. Let’s go.”

He reached for her arm but she jerked it away. “Don’t touch me!” she hissed.

“You’d do well to start being nicer to me. I’m Gannon’s right hand man now, and he listens to what I say.”

“Good for him. I don’t.”

Chloe got into the hover car beside the driver, leaving Ulrik to crawl into the back. She wasn’t overly worried about him - he wouldn’t dare to try anything in front of a witness. She’d just have to make sure he didn’t catch her alone.

They didn’t talk on their way to Lightning Strike. Chloe watched the scenery speeding past, while the driver - she thought his name was Kefton, one of Gannon’s flunkies - focused on his driving.

“Not too close,” Ulrik ordered. “We don’t want anyone from Lightning Strike to spot us.” Kefton glanced at Chloe for confirmation. Clearly he was not pleased to be taking orders from Ulrik.

“If you can get us about a mile from the mine, that would be perfect,” she told him.

He did as she asked while Ulrik fumed in the back seat. Once they were parked, Chloe left the vehicle.

“Stay here,” she told the two men when they would have followed. “I have to do this alone.”

“Gannon said--”

“I don’t care what Gannon said,” she told Ulrik. “If you break my concentration at the wrong time there’s no telling what could happen. Would you like to be the one telling him that it’s your fault I messed up?”

“Fine, just don’t go too far,” he ordered.

Chloe wished at that moment she’d been blessed with Zephryn’s gift. She’d have smacked that superior look right off Ulrik’s face with a blast of wind. Instead she had to content herself with just ignoring him and moving several yards away from the vehicle.

She knew every move she made would reported back to Gannon so she needed to make this look good. Kneeling down, she placed her palms flat on the ground. On a whim she had the plants around her bloom, just for effect. A fleeting smile crossed her face as she heard a gasp behind her.

The gas had done its work, she was fairly certain the mines were cleared of workers. Hopefully there hadn’t been enough time for a team to suit up and be sent in to investigate. Opening herself up to her gift, she searched out the faults under the mine. There weren’t many of them so she was forced to create her own.

It wasn’t easy. The ground deep under the Lightning Strike was solid bedrock, making it the safest of all the mines. She was forced to go deeper, which made the land underneath them unstable as well. Ignoring the tremors she focused on the mine itself, caving in tunnel after tunnel. They could hear the roar of the collapse from where they were parked, and seconds later the cave-in siren.

Keeping Granny’s advice in mind, Chloe sagged where she sat, feigning a tiredness she did not feel. If Gannon believed collapsing a small mine like this one had her on the brink of exhaustion, perhaps he would not think she was as useful as he hoped.

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Joy of Eavesdropping
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

It was a tough choice, choosing a quote from Jamie this week. There was really cute one from Winnie the Pooh, but in the end I went with this one:

We have all been little pitchers with big ears, shooed out of the kitchen when the unspoken is being spoken, and we have probably all been tale-bearers, blurters at the dinner table, unwitting violators of adult rules of censorship. Perhaps this is what writers are: those who never kicked the habit. We remained tale-bearers. We learned to keep our eyes open, but not to keep our mouths shut.
- Margaret Atwood

I remember when I was little, overhearing my mother make a comment about my aunt and how I innocently repeated it to my aunt. My mother was mortified - little pitchers indeed! Was it possible that even at that early age I was showing signs of my future as a writer?

Actually, eavesdropping is a great way to generate story ideas - especially if you’re in a mall or a restaurant or any place you can overhear snippets of a conversation between strangers. Whatever you hear is going to be out of context, so you can put your own spin on it. Let your imagination run wild!

Eavesdropping also comes in handy if you’re having trouble writing dialogue. Listen to people talk. Write it down verbatim and then go back and take all the “ums” and “ahs” out, but leave in the run-on sentences and sentence fragments. There you have it - authentic dialogue.

But people don’t just sit or stand stiffly and talk - not when they’re having a conversation at least. Pay attention to how people interact as they speak. They nod, or shrug, or gesture with their hands. I had a friend once who waved her hands around so much when she talked that when we wanted her to shut up we’d tell her to sit on her hands.

For my own quote there was really only one that stood out for my this week:

Tell the story as if it were only of interest to the small circle of your characters, of which you may be one. There is no other way to put life into the story.
― Horacio Quiroga

What a great idea if you’re having trouble making your story come alive! And it makes good sense, too. Your story is about the characters, after all. Who else would find it as interesting as they would?

Write your story for them. When you’re done, read it out loud and pretend they’re listening. Imagine what their opinions would be. What kind of criticism would they have? Think about it.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

How Procrastination Became A Challenge Between Talent Vs Effort

I confess. I totally forgot about this post last night. A lot of things didn’t go as planned yesterday (not exactly on track today either) and the fact that I had a blog post to write just simply slipped my mind. Maybe I just got spoiled by the fact I had last week’s update written and scheduled well ahead of time. Oh, well. I’m here now and that’s what counts right? :-D

Sad to say though, I don’t have a whole lot to report for my week. Well, not much writing-wise anyway. What can I say? The spirit was willing, the mind kept wandering off.

I read several articles while researching my quotes post for Friday. And while I did copy down the links as I went along, I didn’t save them once the post was done. Mainly because while they started out promising and I was able to use a tidbit or two from them, they seemed to segue into something totally different. Like the one that promised tips for overcoming procrastination and turned into a diatribe against the school policy that makes every kid a winner. Say what?

When there are no winners and no losers, when every kid is guaranteed a prize, where’s the challenge in competing? Who cares if Billy worked his ass off to get first place, I got a ribbon just for showing up. This produces a generation of kids who see no need to rise to a challenge. And it also produces a work force that needs to be constantly supervised and praised because they’ve never learned the joy of a good challenge.

At first I kind of gave a snort of derision, but as I continued to read the article (see my post about procrastination) I found myself agreeing with the author. Most would-be writers tend to be at the top of their English classes because reading and writing comes so easily to them. They really don’t need to put a lot of effort into their assignments, just dash them off. There’s no challenge. And the teachers go along with it, praising them for their natural talent. What it’s teaching them is that natural talent is more important than honest effort.

And while this may get you through the school years, once you’re out in the real world you’re competing with every other kid who was at the top of his English class. OMG! You actually have to put some effort into what you’re writing. And that’s when the procrastination starts. You start putting your writing off because if you don’t finish something, you can still pretend you’re the best.

When you race ahead in your reader and are praised for being smart, you’re learning to equate being smart with finding things easy, not overcoming challenges. So when school is done you may have the talent to succeed, but you don’t know the first thing about putting it to work for you.

Here’s the honest truth. Talent is all well and good, but without the hard work to back it up, it’s pretty much useless. You can be the most talented writer in the world, but if you don’t write, who’s going to know? But by the same token, hard work will only take you so far if you don’t have the talent for something. You can spend weeks painting a technically perfect picture, but if you don’t have the creative talent to back up all that hard work, all you’ve got is a picture, not art.

The true challenge to success comes from finding a balance between talent and effort; you need them both.

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,955 words total
All right! Up by 100 words or so from the week before. And furthermore, I got all my blog posts up on time. Unlike this one. :-D

0 words total
Still haven’t been doing the reviews of the books I’ve been reading, but I am keeping track of them. I read a different kind of Seal romance - this was centered around a security agency that used disabled veterans. Then I read a nice, mellow contemporary story about a girl who got pregnant and left home to become a success. Not overly romantic perhaps, but it was a relaxing kind of read.

0 hours total
I haven’t really been keeping track of the amount of time I’ve spent editing, but it was a lot. At least I’m making progress with Earth. It would have been a lot more, but my weekend kind of got derailed so ...

New Words
3,067 words total
Okay, you’re probably wondering why the progress bar on the right doubled, yet I’m only showing a few thousand words above. That’s because I finished incorporating the NaNo words into the book, and the 3,000 I’m acknowledging are brand new words. The rest of them were pretty much old words. Now the pressure is on to keep going. ;-)

Weekly Goals:

Last week (or two):
Did not finish editing Earth.
Did not catch up on my book reviews.
I surpassed my 2,000 word goal for Wandering Wizards by 1,000 words
This week:
Continue, if not finish, the edits on An Elemental Earth.
Minimum of 2,000 new words on Wandering Wizards.
Catch up on my book reviews. I mean it!

Since it’s really the only thing I have going on at the moment, once again the excerpt is from Wandering Wizards. In this scene, Jessica’s friends Ellen and Howard are on their way to the Wild Woods Elven Realm, accompanied by the bard Sebastian and the elf guardsman Kaelan. Epona is the name Ellen gave to her horse:

Ellen could hear Howard and Sebastian murmuring to each other, but they were lagging too far behind for her to make out what they were saying. Maybe it was just as well, she thought with a fleeting smile.
She studied the elf riding in front of her. Damn, he looked just as good from behind. He’d been nothing but courteous to her, but the air seemed to sizzle between them every time they got too close. She wished Jessica was here. Of course she knew what Jessica would say. Jessica would tell her to stop being such a wuss and go for it.
Normally she wouldn’t hesitate. She’d had a number of boyfriends but things never got overly serious with any of them. But Kaelan . . . there was something different about him, and it wasn’t just because he was an elf. She could very well lose her heart to him, and that scared her more than anything. Because it could only lead to heartbreak. She couldn’t stay here, and he wouldn’t want to come to her world. Would he? There was only one way to find out.
Stretching upwards, she whispered to Epona, “Do you think you could move up beside Kaelan please?”
Epona’s ear twitched and she whickered, but her stride lengthened.
“Thank you,” Ellen whispered.
Kaelan looked over at her in surprise. “Is anything wrong?”
“No,” Ellen said, trying to control her blush response. “I was just curious about the Wild Woods Realm. Is it like the Darkwood Forest Realm?”
“No,” he shook his head. “For one thing it is much smaller and there is no city as there is in Darkwood, just a handful of villages and a town in the center. Truthfully, it has been a long time since I have been there.”
“You don’t visit your family there?”
“The visits became fewer as I became older. There never seemed to be time.”
Ellen was trying to picture Kaelan as a child. She’d bet he was just as cute as a little kid. Elf. Whatever.
“Didn’t your mother’s family ever visit you in Darkwood?”
“My mother’s family did not wish her to marry my father, despite the fact he would be able to provide well for her. To marry meant she would leave them.”
“But love will out,” Ellen guessed.
He glanced over at her. “It did indeed. They have been very happy and my mother never regretted her decision to follow her heart.” Smiling, he faced forward again. “My father says they met when he was delivering a set of silver gauntlets to the lord of the Wild Woods Realm. There was a festival and he was invited to stay over for it. Mother was with a group of young women who kept fawning over him, supposedly because he was from outside the realm. Mother was the worst of the lot and wouldn’t leave him alone until he danced with her. After that she was determined to make him hers and chased off every other woman who approached. Apparently the magic was strong in her blood. By the end of the evening he truly was hers, heart and soul.”
Ellen laughed. “And what does your mother say?”
“Ah. Mother claims this cheeky apprentice silversmith noticed the setting up for the festival and wheedled an invitation from the lord of the realm, who gave it to him only because he was so impressed by the quality of his work. He was making such a nuisance of himself, pestering all the young women for dances, that she took pity on her friends and made the supreme sacrifice of dancing with him herself. By the end of the festival he proved his way with silver also included a silver tongue, because he sweet-talked her into running away with him.”
“And which story do you believe to be true?”
“The one that my grandmother tells, that my mother noticed my father lurking on the fringes of the merry-makers and, feeling sorry for him, went over to see if she could convince him to join in. From the moment their eyes met they were lost to each other, and my grandmother knew she had lost her daughter, but gained a son.”
“I think I like your grandmother’s version best,” Ellen said with a smile.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Dreaming and Procrastinating
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

Jamie’s quotes last week were for the most part short and sweet, but inspirational nonetheless. My favourite of the bunch was this one:

You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills.
~ Jim Rohn

Pretty straightforward, right? I look at writing as a learning experience, one where we strive for constant improvement. We aim high, dream big, and build the skills we need to reach our goal. But if we’re not willing to learn, then we need to dream a little smaller.

Often writers are accused of being nothing but dreamers. I take that as a compliment. Dreams, fueled by our imaginations, are where we get our inspiration. We dream big because that’s what it takes to succeed. And we continue to learn so we can keep up with our dreams.

In contrast, the quotes I used over the past week seemed to be on the long side, and as none of them seemed to go along with the quote of Jamie’s for the week, I went with the one I liked best:

As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It's a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. Having anybody watching that or attempting to share it with me would be grisly.
― Paul Rudnick

It’s a well known fact that writers make the best, or maybe that should be the worst, procrastinators. But I have to wonder why this is. We must enjoy writing, otherwise why do it at all? So of course I did some research to see if I could come up with some answers.

It’s human nature to put things off. Sometimes we’re not even aware we’re doing it. But just as there are many different ways to procrastinate, there are many different reasons why we do.

Often fear is one of the most common reasons why we procrastinate. We have a fear of looking bad or foolish when we don’t reach our goal. A fear of failure. But sometimes we also have a fear of success. Success comes with its own pressure of having to do better next time, of perhaps stepping out of our comfort zone.

Another reason we procrastinate is that we’re perfectionists. As long as we don’t finish something, then we’re not risking others seeing something that’s less than perfect.

Hand in hand with perfectionism is our tendency to judge ourselves too harshly. We don’t like what we’ve written so we put off finishing it, or even working on it. Maybe we’ve received some unfavorable criticism in the past so now everything we write is suspect.

Sometimes our procrastination stems simply from a lack of time management skills. We convince ourselves that we need a big block of time and have only little blocks, or we get a big block of time and don’t know what to do with it. So we put off the writing until a more auspicious occasion.

Or maybe we’ve just been working too hard. It can be draining to work on something that has very little return for the hours we spend on it. Procrastinating can give us a much needed break, but it also makes it more difficult to get back into the writing habit.

It’s not easy to overcome procrastination, especially once it’s become a habit, but here are a few things to try:

Try to find a distraction free area to work in. Turn off that phone, disconnect from the internet. Maybe find a place outside the home like a coffee shop or library so you’re not tempted to clean house instead of write.

Set some realistic goals. Not something like “I want to write a best seller” or “I want to be as rich as J.K. Rowling”. These can backfire by putting too much pressure to succeed on yourself and make you procrastinate more. Instead, make a list of the reasons why you should write instead of doing anything else.

If time management is a challenge, try breaking the writing process into manageable chunks. Write a single scene, or even a single paragraph, at a time. Set a timer and write only until the time runs out. Give yourself a daily word goal. Once you’re back in the habit, gradually increase the length and duration of your daily goals, but remember to keep them reasonable.

Reward yourself on a regular basis. Finished that chapter? Meet some friends for coffee. Wrote 500 words a day for an entire week? Treat yourself to a movie. I bought myself a book that I don’t get to read until I finish the edits on one of my WIPs.

Make yourself accountable to someone else. Maybe it’s a writing buddy, maybe it’s a family member, but if you have someone who checks in with you on a regular basis, it will help you stay focused on the finish line. Maybe you can even join a writers group that will give you positive feedback.

You may not ever completely eradicate your procrastination, but with time and effort you can keep it to a manageable level.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Writing Vs. Rewriting Vs. Editing

Wandering Wizards is really starting to tick me off. As I’m sure I mentioned before, I wrote the first half of it during NaNoWriMo, but I wrote it with only a vague idea of what was going on because it was part of a series and I hadn’t finished the book before it. And now I’m paying the price.

There were changes to be made; it was almost a whole new book. But silly me, I thought it would be faster/easier to incorporate as many of those 50,000 words into the new version than to just start from scratch. And yeah, a lot of what I’d written can be used pretty much verbatim, but a lot of it can ... not.

Along with a lot of little changes, there were a couple of big ones. One of these changes involved a crucial piece of information that was found near the beginning, and then repeated later on with no indication we’d read it before. Would it be better left in the beginning or later on? Decisions, decisions. I spent about a week changing and re-changing the beginning to set up the inclusion of the crucial information later on, and then started reading from the beginning, and ... almost immediately ran into another section that needs to be changed, this time to agree with something I wrote in the previous book.

Man! And I thought the previous book was the story that never ends! Although I guess it’s not the story itself, just the writing of it that seems never ending.

So why, you may ask, don’t I just soldier on and finish the darn thing, then go back and make changes? Because that’s what I did with the previous book, and the editing was a nightmare. Changing stuff as I go along is more like just a very bad dream. LOL

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,811 words total
Not bad if I do say so myself. Although I missed last week’s update post so the word count is from the week previous to that. But this past week not only did I get all of my posts done, they were up on time. Mostly.

0 words total
Still haven’t been doing the reviews of the books I’ve been reading lately, but at least I’m keeping track of them. I finished a boxed set of SEAL action/romances on the Kindle - man, were they good! If you have a chance to read anything by Sharon Hamilton, do so. You won’t be sorry. Then I found another from that series and kind of devoured it in one sitting. And I finished A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain - it was a nice change from all that SEAL action. ;-)

0 hours total
While I did get some editing on Elemental Earth, it wasn’t as much as I’d planned. But any progress is good progress at this point. I even went so far as to buy myself a carrot -- the latest Lynsay Sands book. I'm not allowed to read it until the edits are done. I’ve come up with a vague idea for the cover, too. I just lack the PhotoShopping skills to make it happen. ;-)

New Words
11,752 words total
Before you get all impressed with the large number (for a change) remember that we need to spread that over two weeks. And I have to be honest here and admit that some of those words were already written, just needed some judicious editing.

Weekly Goals:

Last week (or two):
Did not finish editing Earth.
Did not start An Elemental Spirit.
I surpassed my 2,000 word goal for Wandering Wizards, but only because it’s been two weeks since I updated here (again).
This week:
Continue, if not finish, the edits on An Elemental Earth.
Minimum of 2,000 new words on Wandering Wizards.
Start catching up on my book reviews.

Since it’s really the only thing I have going on at the moment, once again the excerpt is from Wandering Wizards:

The hour was growing late and it was decided they would stay the night as Aracelia’s guests and start off in the morning. While Howard and Aracelia chatted amiably about magic, Ellen remained quiet at dinner that evening. Without her anger to sustain her, she was finally feeling the impact of what had happened.

“You are troubled,” Kaelan observed.

“I was just thinking that my parents must be going out of their minds with worry,” she said, picking at her food. “I didn’t exactly have time to let them know I’d be going away.”

“I’m sorry,” Howard said, looking a little guilty. “I should have told you what I was up to.”

She waved him off. “What’s done is done.”

“Perhaps I could get a message to them,” Aracelia said thoughtfully. “I am sure I would be able to open a portal small enough for a wind imp to slip through.”

“A wind imp?” Ellen asked.

“Each of the elements have creatures linked to them. A wind imp is the most useful of the air elemental beings.” She sent one of the servants for a quill and paper.

“This is so cool!” Ellen said, dipping the quill into the small bottle of ink. She wrote a deliberately vague message to her parents about a sick friend who desperately needed her help, apologizing for the short notice and asking them to let the boutique where she worked know that she’d need a leave of absence.

When it was dry Aracelia folded it carefully and summoned the wind imp. It was smaller than the letter the elf gave it to carry, invisible but for an indistinct outline of its body. “Hold the image of your parents’ home in your mind,” she told Ellen.

Ellen did as she was told and Aracelia muttered a gutteral sounding incantation under her breath. A small hole opened up in the air in front of her and the wind imp, carrying the letter, slipped through.

Ellen couldn’t hold back a smirk.

“What?” Howard asked her.

“Gives a whole new meaning to the term, ‘air mail’, doesn’t it?”

The pair of them laughed while the others at the table remained mystified as to what was so funny.