An update and an award

Usually, I post these self-shaming updates on Sunday, but I was too busy watching Roger Federer reclaim the top spot in men’s tennis.

One must have clearly defined priorities, right?

In between break points, I did manage to pull myself away from the television long enough to take a good hard look at my WIP.  I haven’t really done that since JuNoWriMo ended.  I was a little scared, but it wasn’t all that bad.  There are parts that work, parts that don’t, parts that scream WTF.   It could have been worse.   It needs to be better.

After reading through 90 or so pages of material, I decide that Anna needed a brother.  So, I added him, and then I killed him.  Cold, I know, but necessary.  It will add an emotional element and focus to the story that I felt was lacking.  Of course, adding (and killing) an important new character means that the underlying dynamic of my story has changed and therefore, an outline revision is in order.

I can’t tell you how much that thrills me.  You know, because outlining is my favorite part about the writing process.

Moving on.  I want to take a minute to acknowledge and thank Julie over at Word Flows for the Lucky 7 Meme Award she tossed my way a couple of weeks ago.  These sort of things always put a smile on my face.  Thank you, Julie!

Of course, this one is a little different from most.  It requires giving up a piece of my WIP for the world to see.  That’s not something I am comfortable doing outside of my writing group.  If it had been anyone else, I would have bowed out, but for Julie, I will do it.

The Lucky 7 Meme Award Rules are as such:

1. Go to the 7th or 77th page of your work in progress.
2. Go to the 7th line of the page.
3. Copy the next 7 sentences or paragraphs. Remember, they must be as they are typed.
4. Tag 7 authors.
5. Let them know they’re it!
 

So, here are my 7 lines – unedited and raw.

That’s all I’m willing to give.

“Rome, however, remained constant. The streets and lanes were still narrow and winding, paved in worn uneven cobbles.  The stucco facade of the old buildings were still faded and covered in graffiti. Smart cars, motor bikes, and scooters still clogged every conceivable inch of space.  Life moved on.

Anna inhaled.  Even through the fog of her grief, it felt good to be home.

She didn’t live far from the piazza, just around the corner on the Vicolo Moroni, a street so confined she could touch the walls on either side.  Her flat was on the top floor of a Renaissance era structure the color of salmon.  A heavy wrought iron gate shielded an intimate courtyard with a bubbling fountain and potted orange trees from view.   The entrance to the…”

There you have it.  Doesn’t tell you much, does it?

***There seems to be a formatting difference.  In Word, this excerpt is truly 7 lines.

“…and all nature laughed in the sunshine.”

I’ve been struggling with my writing a lot in recent weeks – okay, recent months.  I often wonder who the hell I think I’m fooling.  Am I aspiring to be something I’m not?  Do I really want to be stuck in self-imposed solitary while the words inside my head beg for release, torturing me with every breath, as they threaten to rip out my very soul and leave me withering on the floor in a huddled mass?

Whoa.  A touch too dramatic?

Just kidding.  I’m not going to put you through anymore of my self-loathing this week.  We’ll save that for the Sunday’s blog entries.  Today I want to acknowledge a sweet honor one of my fellow writers has bestowed upon me.

Sunshine.

Julie over at Word Flows nominated my blog for a Sunshine Award.  She had some very kind words to say and it always does the ego good to get a little recognition from one’s peers.  I sincerely appreciate it.

I thank you, Julie, for both the award and your encouraging words of advice as I struggle to find my toehold in the writing world.

As always, these things have conditions attached.  Here are the rules.

  • Thank the person who gave you the award.
  • Write a post about it.
  • Answer some questions below.
  • Pass it along to ten people and let them know they received the award.

And the questions…(drum roll, please – because I know you are just dying to know):

  1. Favorite color:  If you ask me this question, I will tell you my favorite color is green.  This is despite the fact the I have a red car, my Android protective case is red, and the primary color in both my bedroom and my living room decor is red.  So, ummm… my favorite color is…green.
  2. Favorite animal:  I like cats.  Until the recent death of the old lady kitty of the house, I had three.  But if I were to pick one outside of the realm of domesticated animals, I would have to say that primates and apes are my favorite animals.  There  is something reflected in their eyes – it’s like looking into a mirror and seeing your own soul.
  3. Favorite number:  I like the number 5.  I like how groups of 5 come together.  There is a certain implied symmetry there that I find comforting.  What?  Don’t judge me.  Take a minute to think about how you arrange things.  I bet you will find a numeric pattern in most everything you do.
  4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink:  Hmmm…I’m a big water drinker, but I do like my morning coffee.
  5. Twitter or Facebook:  Facebook.  I had a Twitter account for about a week once.  I never could get into it.  It just seemed like a lot of work.   Plus, I’ve always been a little ooged by that hash tag thingy.  No, not rational, but hey…have you met me?
  6. Passion:  Chocolate.  I have a passion for chocolate.  🙂  Seriously though, I do love to write, even if it doesn’t like me.
  7. Getting or giving presents:  What a loaded question.  I like both.  But at the same time I find both to be unnecessarily stressful.  Again, rationality is not my specialty.
  8. Favorite pattern:  Plaid and stripes – equally.  Love them.  Would wear one or the other or both every single day, for the rest of my life, if my family hadn’t staged that intervention.
  9. Favorite day of the week:  Monday.  Again – don’t judge me.   For me, Monday is a clean slate; a chance to begin anew with endless possibilities.  I believe the key to a happy, productive week is all in how you approach it.  Attitude is everything.  I never begin my week by rolling out of bed and cursing Monday for its state of being.  That would be like dangling an antelope carcass in front of a salivating tiger.  It’s never wise to tempt bad Karma.
  10. Favorite flower:   Dutch irises.  They remind me of my favorite Impressionists.  Bold, beautiful, and unapologetic.

Now to pay this award forward.  Ten is a lot.  I think I may break the rules and cut that number in half.

  • The Literary Mom:  I love her writing insight.  I can relate to her struggles and I draw strength from her successes.  I found her recent series on the query writing to be extremely helpful.
  • Helen Taylor:    I love the way she looks at the world.  There is a refreshing innocence about her entries that I envy.  She also takes some pretty neat photographs.
  • Bill Chance:  He will likely grumble at me for doing this, but I love his blog.  It is amazingly eclectic, you never know where he is going to take you on any given day.  He never fails to entertain me, teach me, or amaze me.

Okay.  Four.  I think that’s a good number.  Five would have been better, but I’m tired and I’ve been remiss long enough in my response to Julie’s kind gift.

Go read their stuff.  Be sure to check out Julie, too.  You won’t be sorry.

***Title is a partial quote from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte.