Monday Blues

It’s a non writing group Monday…though I didn’t have one last week, either, due to my in law’s 40th anniversary party, and the mod was sick (or so the text message I got said…Facebook implied otherwise.  :D)

I’m not quite ready to start my serial spoof just–I thought I was, but then I realized I might actually want to stockpile a few posts before I went live with it, as life with the husband home 7 days a week is…different, and not as conducive to writing.  I like to do a lot of my writing in the early evenings, and with him home, that means I spend my early evenings cooking and cuddling on the couch instead.  I just need to see if I can reset my internal writing clock to early afternoon, instead.

I’ve been thinking about how fun the “seat of your pants” style writing is, but how bad it is for actual novel content.  I remember for my first NaNo novel, I wanted to write a mystery novel.  My mom used to give me the books she had read, and she read a lot of mystery novels.  So, I figured I’d try my hand at one of those.

I crafted a story about Jolene Manning, who was a secretary at a small printing firm.  She comes in early to work one morning to find her boss murdered, sitting in her office chair.  I had no idea who the murderer was, so planting red herrings was…easy, I guess, as I’d write their part of the novel as if they were the actual killer.  Then, I’d realize that no, this is NOT the killer…and I’d fix it so they couldn’t be the murderer and move on to the next person.

Tell you what, when I finally discovered who the murderer was, I was as surprised as Jolene was.

However, I’m sure if I went back and reread that novel today, it would be full of plot holes so big you could drive an 18 wheeler through them.  Oops.

The next year I was a bit more prepared.  I was writing about Jolene again, but I put her in a setting I was more familiar with, picked an unusual murder weapon, and actually knew who the killer would be this time.  In case you’re wondering (and I can say this because this novel is trapped on a dead harddrive in my basement, never to see the light of day again), it was the dirty controller with the pepper grinder on the back dock of the country club where she worked.  At the time, I worked at a country club, and we used to have these…ENORMOUS pepper grinders, and I figured the 2 feet of heavy carved wood would make an excellent murder weapon…not that I ever contemplated bludgeoning someone to death with one…no, never, not at all.

Seriously, a pepper grinder would make an excellent murder weapon.

While I seat of my pantsed a great deal of that novel, I still had a plan, which made crossing the 50k finish line with almost a week to spare plus a couple thousand extra words a lot easier than the previous year, when I’m pretty sure I finished at 11:30 on November 30th.  I always seem to forget a plan is a good thing and just barrel full tilt into the novel with very little preparation.  Those are the years I just barely squeak out 50k words right before the deadline.  In comparison, Wolf Girl ended at around 57,000 words with a couple of days to spare.  I actually had an outline for Wolf girl!  This year, I’m determined to learn that lesson and actually be prepared for NaNo with some sort of outline.  Yes, yes, even if I have to tatoo “have an outline” backwards across my forehead so I read it in the mirror every time I brush my teeth!

What’s your style?  Seat of the pants?  Outline to the nth degree?  Some combination of both?  And do you stick to your outline?

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Writing projects!

I have so many projects I should be working on…

Camp NaNoWriMo the August edition starts in like…5 days.  FIVE!  I still don’t have an outline or a definite starting point.  Eep!  I don’t have plans to actually try to win, but I do want to use it as a kick in the pants to get WG2 started.  I also need to find a new sticky notes program–I really like the current one I have, except it becomes a complete memory hog and will lock up if I leave it open too long.

I started a new short story on Friday of last week.  It’s about 600 words long so far, and I have some really neat ideas as to where it’s going to go.  Sophie’s going to get a big surprise when she finds out her “ghost story” is actually true…

I have a collaboration that’s just going…nowhere fast.  I think part of the issue is we started to big, thinking this was going to be novel sized.  I think we need to scale back and collaborate on something smaller first before moving up into the novel size range.  Perhaps from the same universe with our characters, but more of a vignette than an actual book.  Oh, and that needs some sort of outline, as well.

There’s my mostly finished but not quite really NaNo from ’10.  I figured out with about 3 days left in NaNo and around 15k words left to cross the 50k finish line that my story had about 25k left in it, and if I really wanted to just…get the thing done, I would need to skip a chunk (I was just…spinning my wheels where I was at in the storyline, adding useless material just for word count purposes) and get straight to the ending.  It worked–I did get past the 50k mark, but then I was left with a story with a HUGE GAPING HOLE in it.  I’ve gone back occasionally to keep trying to fill in that hole, and it’s not quite as big as it was originally…but it’s still there.  Still gaping, and yes, it does mock me every time I see the file name.

Speaking of NaNo projects, I guess you could count NaNo ‘o9 as being “in the works” as well.  I have a copy of it printed out to go through and edit, but as I’m not happy with *any* beginning I come up with for it, I’m stalled on that, as well.  That one I really enjoyed writing.  It’s kind of a cross between Pelham 123 and Dexter, though Pelham 123 the movie came out AFTER I wrote the NaNo novel (though the book was published way before).  I came up with the idea for it one day while waiting for a Metro train in the DC area–all that enclosed space…yeah.  That one was a blast to write!  Editing it, however, has been a complete pain.

My husband recently got a new job, which won’t help.  He’ll be home 7 nights a week now, instead of his usual weekends.  It’s not that I’m complaining that he’s home…just that he’ll be around a lot more demanding attention.  Today, when I should have been planning and writing this particular post, I instead went to 5 Guys Burgers and Fries (with the MOST AWESOME COKE MACHINE EVER), then to see the Avengers (which was MORE AWESOME than the Coke machine), and then to the grocery store.  See?  Not conducive to writing.  He will, however, be starting his new job on Monday, so I’ll be able to get back into my regular writing schedule, I’ll just have to plan on being finished by the time he gets home.

What writing projects are you in the middle of?

Wolf Girl Wednesday: Location, Location, Location

Introducing a new feature here at A Random Flood of Words–Wolf Girl Wednesdays!  I generally always have ideas floating in the back of my head about Wolf Girl 2, the untitled wonder, along with things like how I’m going to make 120k gold in WoW when I hate farming, what book I want to read next, and how long I have until my husband comes home for the weekend.  I figure dedicating a day of the week will keep me from either talking too much about Wolf Girl, or not talking about it at all.  I may not post something every Wednesday, either–it depends on how much work I do on the novel.

Every week, on the whiteboard I appropriated from my husband, I make myself a To Do List for the week–it gets added to as I go and think of stuff I need to do (and yes, I will put things like “shave legs” on my whiteboard, because if I don’t…I won’t get around to it).  Here’s this week’s To Do List:

Yes, that does say “Hulk Smash!” in the lower middle right.

The left is the actual To Do List.  See Outline W.G. 2 up there at the top?  It’s been there for three weeks now.  *FLAIL*  I’m having a rough time sitting down and actually outlining this, because I really don’t know exactly what direction I want to take.  I know that Ansley will probably need to end up in a major metropolitan area (as in this book…oh, wait, that’s a spoiler…never mind) to do what she needs to do for the main plot point of this book.  Yes, I do know the main plot point!  I also know the main plot point of the next book, too!  I think once I nail down which city I’m going to send her to, I’ll be able to actually write a functioning outline.  Until then…

Cities I’m currently considering include New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.

The pros of New York City are:  Wolf Girl started out in NYC, and I’d be able to bring back Ansley’s best friend Niamh, Ansley is familiar with the area (while I am not so much), there can be an awkward scene where she runs into Kemp.  Cons are…well, I’ve already been there, done that.

The pros of Los Angeles are putting in cameos of my favorite celebrities, the possibility of Ansley getting “discovered” in and it be a scam plotline, and Disneyland.  The cons are that it’s…well, it’s LA, and how feasible is it that there are werewolves in the LA area?  I guess the same could also be said about NYC.

The pros of Washington D.C. are the fact I lived out there for almost 2 years, and it’s the seat of our government, which would work well for the Major Plot Point.  A big con is the sheer size of the D.C. Metro area–traffic is horrible.  Of course, I am writing this and I can make the traffic less…I don’t know.  While D.C. probably makes the most sense for the Major Plot Point, it’s probably lowest on my list.

Of course, I’m also leaving out cities like St. Louis, Atlanta, Houston/Dallas, and New Orleans that could also be strong contenders.  Having Ansley running around New Orleans discovering voodoo and beniegts could be fun!  Or the wolves taking a night off and hosting their own rodeo in the Dallas area?  AWESOME!  It is possible that I’ll need to send Ansley to several metropolitan area, so I also need to keep that in mind.

See why I’m having such a hard time choosing a location?  Every time I think I may have narrowed it down, I think of another great city that could be a contender for various reasons.  I worry slightly about travel, but…well, how long would it take to get anywhere during the full moon when you can run on four paws, and Ansley doesn’t seem to have any fear of flying, either.  Me, however…I think you’d need to sedate me to get me on a plane these days.

As for the rest of that To Do list?  Yeah, does someone want to come and clean my air filter for me?  I’d love you forever!

books on the "shelf of 10"

11 books for my “Shelf of 10” reading list

A few months ago, a friend from my book club mentioned that she was trying out something she found from someone she follows on her Twitter Feed (it looks like, according to my Google-Fu, that Twitter user @joe_hill proposed the first Shelf of 10).  The idea is we all have books we keep meaning to read, but just…never get around to it.  As a voracious reader who has a hard time actually getting to some of the “older” books I own (I always want to read the new, shiny stuff I just got…), as well as someone who tends to read 4-5 books at one time, I thought this was an excellent idea.  In the next couple of days, I gathered up the books I’d been meaning to get around to and picked out 10 of them.  My first “shelf of 10” included:

Awakened, A House of Night novel, PC and Kristin Cast
Paul is Undead, Alan Goldsher (in progress, the Beatles as Zombies)
Body Count, P.D. Martin (in progress, australian FBI agent chasing a serial killer that abducted a fellow agent and friend)
Curse of the Spellmans, Lisa Lutz (in progress, PI family “memoir” style book as told by the eldest daughter)
The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd (no clue, but it’s supposed to be good)
Isabelle, Kelly Gregson Plante (werewolf book)
The Royal Treatment, Mary Janice Davidson (no clue, but I like her vampire queen series)
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (rare nonfiction, saw most of Capote on Thanksgiving morning and was intrugued)
Gone, Jonathan Kellerman (shrink who solves crime, series)
Daughters of the North, Sarah Hall (dystopic future fiction)
High Hunt, David Eddings

Again, that is also 11 books, but the first 4 were books that I had started and was making no progress on because…well, I was reading 4 books at once.  The first one listed was the one I picked to finish first, and was, technically not on the shelf of 10.  I managed to make my way through 9 of the 10–I never did actually get into High Hunt.  High Hunt…well, I read the first few pages and it really didn’t hold my interest.  I love David Eddings’ writing (until it got too repetitive), but High Hunt was…not very good.

I really enjoyed all of the books, except for Isabelle.  I didn’t realize until I actually started the book that it was a vanity press novel.  540 pages of…okay writing.  I am proud of myself for finishing it, though.

I found myself, again, starting to start books, but not finish them again, so it was time to break out the Shelf of 10 again, which I named “Shelf of 10 redux” on my Goodreads shelves.  You can see the current shelf pictured at the top of the page, and the books selected are:

Awakenings, D.S. Toles
Double Dexter, Jeff Lindsay
A Long Fatal Love Chase, Louisa May Alcott
A Slaying in Savannah by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
(blank spine)On the Downbeat by Kylan Toles
Evernight, Claudia Grey
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Edenville Owls by Robert B Parker
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow by Fuyumi Ono
A Lion Among Men by Gregory McGuire

This shelf includes books by friends (Awakenings and On the Downbeat), some classics (Friend Green Tomatoes and Fatal Love Chase), some YA (Evernight, Edenville Owls, Twelve Kingdoms), some paranormal (Bitten), some general fiction (A Lion, Double Dexter), and the obligatory “bad” book (Savannah).  I think it’s a good mix and I’m looking forward to diving headfirst into it!

My shelf of 10 only includes print books, NOT anything on the Kindle Fire my brother got me for my birthday this year.  It looks like I may have to start a “Kinde Fire Shelf of 10” though…

If you are interested in checking out or purchasing the books by D.S. Toles or Kylan Toles, you can find them at:

On the Downbeat at CreateSpace.com
e-book format coming soon!

Awakenings by D.S. Toles at Createspace.com
at Smashwords.com (e-book format)

Published in: on June 29, 2012 at 10:00 am  Comments (1)  
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