Daily Writing Check-in: April 21, 2016

Words/Time:  627 words of free writing, continuing what I started yesterday, a scene showcasing Leahna and her relationship with her family, which is usually pretty strained. It ended up being a lot more involved than I ever expected it to be. Whether I continue it tomorrow or not, I can’t say. I’ll be working for probably around 12 hours tomorrow, so when I come home, I can’t say what state my mind will be in. But having a scene to jump back into is better than starting something from scratch, so who knows.

I’m letting this free writing (which  might actually turn out to be producing scenes that will work very well in the actual novel) ease me back in after my break. I remember that my revision is stalled at needing to figure out how to start the novel (after the prologue) with the narrator, rather than forgetting that he exists. Until I can figure that out, the revision will go nowhere, but at least I’ve got something to do.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 19, 2016

Words/Time:  566 words of free writing. Before I stopped writing for a while, I was planning to focus on one character during free writing time for a while, to try to draw them out a bit. Some of the characters in “Pursuit of Power” aren’t as developed as I prefer. Back in February, I started with Leahna, the secondary main character in the novel. I’m going to stick with her for now, and today’s writing started with me asking her the question, “What do you really want me to know about you?” This was because, as I mentioned once before, though she has a very big role in the novel, she’s been mostly one-dimensional so far. I think she comes across as being nearly flawless, so I let her ramble on a bit about that today.

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Wow, this place is dusty. I mean, really dusty. Layers of dirt and cobwebs everywhere. It’s not the first time I’ve taken an unintended break from my writing, letting it fall to the side for more than a month, but I think this is the longest gap I’ve had in posts since starting this blog. Previous breaks from writing were at least peppered with good intentions of trying to return, a day here or there where I’d post, and then still fall back into the break.

But it has been almost 2 full months since I posted even an attempt at keeping up with my writing. Which is because I haven’t attempted to keep up with my writing since February 17th. Looking back through my blog, it was even before that that I really started into this slump. It’s interesting to me, at least, to see the progression. It went something like this:

I finished revising my first novel, “Pithea,” to the point of even being able to send it off to a few publishing companies.

I dove right into revising my second novel, the first draft of which had already been written.

I got a new job on the weekends, which largely affected the rest of the week enough to make finding time and energy to write more difficult.

I hit an early roadblock in revising my second novel, and more time and thinking was required to push past it.

My new job started to ask more of me than I expected, including working during the week for a few weeks, thus exhausting me more and making things more strained at home.

I made a conscious decision to put off revising for a few weeks, dropped my daily writing habit, and let myself be lazy in the evenings (my normal writing time) instead of pushing myself to sit at my desk and get some writing work done.

It’s important to note that I am one who in the past has insisted that even people who lead busy lives should be able to find time to write. And I’m not saying now that it’s not true, but I definitely have more perspective on that now. It only took one change to my life and normal routine to throw me off enough to just give up on writing for a while. It took me two months to get to where I am right now, which is starting to feel a strong enough desire to get back to my writing that I’m willing to put aside the lazy evenings for more structured ones again.

It may take a few weeks to be back to where I was for 9 months before this break, writing almost every day. I don’t know when I’ll have time or ideas for another Write Every Day post. It may even take me a few wasted evenings of going back over what I was last doing in my work before I’m able to make any real progress. But the important thing is that I’m finally feeling up to it again.

Something else that bothers me about this break I took is that I fell away from all things writing and blogging. I haven’t read posts by others that I normally keep up with, and I know there’s no way I can find time to go back through 2 months worth of posts (not that I follow all that many blogs regularly).  I’m going to scan through my WP reader and try to hit the highlights, but I don’t want to take so much time reading that it hurts my attempt to start writing again.

I do want to say that I appreciate those of you who contacted me during the last few months to check in or ask if everything was okay. I’m sorry I didn’t respond at the time. I didn’t mean to be rude or anti-social, I just couldn’t get my head into the right space to think about any of this. Hopefully that makes at least some sense.

Thanks for reading my rambling. I hope things get back to normal around here soon. I miss my story world, and even the blogging world I’d created.

A Monday Moment: Growing Closer

The following is the main character of “Pursuit of Power,” Alexander, musing about his relationship with Leahna, the secondary main character. The musing is directed at Drear Dark, the narrator of this series of books, years after the events in the book would have happened.


I’m not sure I could tell you when Leahna and I started to become closer. I know you’re looking for accuracy and details for these accounts you’re compiling, but I’m not sure I can be very specific on this one. I’d like to say that’s because our friendship just grew so smoothly it’s hard to find the point where we became as close as we were by the time I met you. But the truth is, it’s probably just because I was so wrapped up in my own stuff, I didn’t pay that much attention. In fact, for a while, it was almost as if we were both avoiding becoming friends at all.

When we first met, we both kept our relationship professional, almost to an extreme. I was only intent on practicing my Power use, and on not giving her a reason to decide she didn’t want to train with me any more. I was paranoid about that a lot, after some time of running through Clerics. If it hadn’t been for my mom, I’m not sure we would have ever started to feel more like friends than training partners.

I will say that I probably faked familiarity for a while. Not on purpose, really, but I think part of me felt that if I made her feel a sense of loyalty to me, out of friendship, then she would choose to continue training with me, despite being very busy at the time. When you write about this, make sure you include that I felt terrible later for the way I treated her. Pretending to be her friend, all the while lying to her.

In fact, when I finally told her the truth, that’s probably when things changed at least a little bit. Well, and because of what happened shortly after that. You know how tragedy can put things into perspective? We certainly had our share of that.

It was probably when she started calling me “Lex.” If you know Leahna at all, and I guess you do, you know that she is very polite, even formal. My mom’s the only one who ever called me “Lex,” but there was a point that I first noticed Leahna was referring to me by that nickname. It was while we were in the desert. I’m pretty sure she’d been using it for longer than when I first realized it. It felt natural, not weird like I would have expected it to, out of her mouth. So I guess that’s about it, the answer to your question–sometime between me telling her the truth and our time in the desert. That’s when we became best friends.

Daily Writing Check-in: February 9, 2016

Words/Time:  1 hour working on “Pursuit of Power.” Most of that time was spent copying & pasting the entire story into Scrivener, one scene at a time. My next revision task has been trying to figure out how to get an important plot to start sooner. In the image below, the red is the main plot. The blue, though is an important plot line that will carry into the sequel to this novel. It’s also the catalyst that makes the red plot go where it needs to go. But there’s a lot of red at the beginning (which is mostly just my protagonist growing up and being positioned where he needs to be when the blue plot starts).Scrivener scenes PoP
I have two ideas for how to go about getting that blue to come in sooner, and I’ll probably have to incorporate both of them. I’ve already taken the first 3 or 4 blue scenes and spread them amongst the early red. And I may try to condense some of what happens in the red. It may not all be vital to the story, though so far, it seems vital enough that I can’t condense it much. But that’s always the problem with revising your own story.

Daily Writing Check-in: February 8, 2016

Words/Time:  638 words of free writing to try to develop a secondary character, and 37 minutes of revision, working up a possible prologue for “Pursuit of Power.”

Despite my beliefs that my little vacation from writing would still result in some free writing being done now and then, that didn’t happen after the first day. The truth is, once I step away for a day or two in favor of just being lazy and relaxing in the evening, it’s just too easy to not go back. That’s why I normally try to do at least a little writing work every day that I have any time for it. Without the habit, I’m lost.

In the end, the break turned out to be a really helpful thing. Not because I got any clarity in my writing, but because it was relaxing to just not worry about it for 10 days. I thought often about what I’d be doing when I got back to it, but I didn’t have any grand epiphanies or anything.

But the main reason it was helpful is because it kept me from stressing over whether I could get to my writing work or not this last weekend, when I had a huge change in my life. I started a new job. This is a pretty big deal, because I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. I already work for my dad, but I work an average of a day a week, and I take my kids with me. This will be the first job outside of my home/family that I’ve had since before my almost 14-year-old son was born. The job wasn’t sought out, but was offered to me, and it will be part-time out of necessity (because I do still have 2 kids to take care of and homeschool during the week).

I’ll be working as a game master at an escape room company, which means I’ll be behind the scenes running the room when groups come in to play. For as much fun as playing a room is, watching others play it is the next best thing. I honestly can’t believe I’m going to be paid to do something so much fun.

My first day was last Friday, which was right when I was ready to start back to writing. I was set to work until around 11:30-12 at night, though, which is pretty much the end of my normal writing time. So I just extended my writing break until the end of the weekend. From this point forward, I’ll be working most Friday and Saturday evenings, so my writing time on the weekend might be severely limited in the future. But I’ll still have time the rest of the week, and it’s worth it for a job that promises to be a blast.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 29, 2016

Words/Time:  512 words of free writing. A minor character in “Pursuit of Power” actually just disappears about a third of the way through the novel. I never planned for him to even be there; he just showed up while I was writing. And then there was nothing for him when things started picking up (because he wasn’t meant to be in the book), and so he just slipped away. I’m going to allow that, but I wanted to give him a reason to slip away, which I’ll include in the story now. That’s what I wrote about today.

My updates for the next week will look different and may be sporadic. My husband suggested tonight that I take a week off from writing. He thinks that I’m beginning to stress too much over how long it takes for me to get to my writing time each night. He’s not exactly wrong, but I told him that taking a break from my writing isn’t necessarily going to alleviate stress, since it’s something I enjoy so much. So I’m meeting him halfway. I won’t plan to work on my revision work every night for the next week, so I’m not upset when normal family issues threaten my writing time. But if I do have some time after kids are in bed, I will still do a little free writing.

He thinks of it as a week-long vacation from my writing “work” that might help me de-stress, but I don’t see how it will change anything for after the week is over. However, since it’s only a week, I’m agreeing to it. Who knows what’ll happen.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 27, 2016

Words/Time:  1 hour, 15 minutes listing out the rest of the scenes in “Pursuit of Power” in Scrivener. While doing that, I realized my timeline wasn’t entirely accurate in some areas. I hadn’t referenced the timeline while writing, apparently, and I’d made the first part of the timeline many months before writing the first draft. I had to make some decisions about whether to change the dates in the timeline or to change it in the story. I could have saved that work for when I start reading soon, but it was bothering me.

Scrivener scenes PoP

This is my novel in a very boiled down, zoomed out, and color-coded sense. The different colors are different plot lines. The red is the main plot. The purple is the one I need to work on most. It may seem unimportant and worth deleting entirely, but it’s the personal life of the secondary main character. I always found it difficult to remember to include what was going on in her life throughout the story, and when I did, it seemed like a waste of time. So I need to spend some time figuring out what about her life is important enough to include, and the best way to slip that in here and there.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 26, 2016

Words/Time:  45 minutes revising “Pursuit of Power” during the writing group meeting at the library. To start the real revision, I’m writing out a list of scenes and color coding them by plot line. I’m also tagging them with the characters who are involved, and may add setting to it later. Hopefully this will help me to make sure my subplots are tight (and worth including) and that there aren’t random plot strands that shouldn’t be in the story.  It’s also giving me a chance to re-familiarize myself with the story as a whole before starting to read.

I was going to do this on paper with a pen, and then highlight different plot lines with different color highlighters (I got the idea for this here, but the rest of the process I do in a different order or a different way). But at the library, I didn’t have a pen, only a pencil (which wouldn’t work well with highlighter). So I figured I’d see how it worked in Scrivener. Once I figured out how to color code it and how to add characters to each scene that could be grouped later, it went pretty well. And I can see the whole story board at once, which is nice. I got through about half the story today, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to finish it tomorrow.