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.

Just Write: Self-shaming Sunday Update

No, I’m not delusional.  I do, in fact, realize that it is Monday.

I’ve written a lot this week…

(golf claps all around)

…just not much in the way of fiction.

(boo)

Nope, this week has been devoted to the life and times of Thomas Hobbes.  The excitement is overwhelming, I know.  I feel largely the same and  I’ve only myself to blame.  As a returning student, and one familiar with this project, my Western Civilization professor allowed me (and two others) to pick my topic, in exchange for presenting first.  There is always a catch.  I tried to choose wisely, but my choices were limited.  He gives out topics as they relate to his lectures and schedules the presentations throughout the semester to coincide with such.  Ergo, I had a very short list from which to choose.  Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, or the War of Austrian Succession.

Hmmm…

I must admit, this is not necessarily my favorite part of Western history – the English Civil Wars and the Enlightenment.   I much prefer Imperial Rome or the Renaissance or the Cold War to the happenings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  But,  such is life.

I didn’t particularly liked this Hobbes fellow, though I understand his place in western society and his contemporary relevance.  I wouldn’t want to live in his world, or be ruled according to his Leviathan.  I fear it would be a dank and dismiss existence.  Having said that, in my research, I discovered some rather humanistic qualities about him that I found intriguing.  He played tennis until he was 75, he loved to sing, and he wrote poetry – not good poetry, but it is something.

So…my goals…

Last weeks goal – make progress on short story:  Goal met.

I finished the set up, brought a few pages for my writing group to critique, and outlined the next section of the story.  Hopefully, I will be able to decipher the chicken scratch that is my handwritten outline.

This week’s goal – finish up the next section and present it to the writing group for critique.

Wish me luck this week.  I am not a confident speaker, in fact, it scares the shit out of me. This time tomorrow I will be sweating like a pig, shaking like a leaf, and wishing the buzzing in my ears would stop so that I could hear myself speak.

Just Write: Self-shaming Sunday Update

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.  ~Henry Ford

I’m done.

I’ve decided that in order to avoid prosecution and a hefty fine for violating my county-wide burn ban, it would be prudent of me to take a step back from Retribution and let it simmer on the back-burner for a while.  I don’t feel that I am really ready to thoroughly explain my decision or what incident lead me down this path, but I know in my heart that I am doing the right thing for the story.  Boy, that sounds more dramatic than it should, huh?  Well, I must admit that right now I feel like I’ve just abandoned a dear friend on a desert island with only a pistol and a jug of rum.

Today, I feel sad but determined.  I am beginning the process of flushing out ideas, picking themes, characters and situations from my little box of randomness.  I am also going to take the suggestion of fellow blogger, Dawn G. Sparrow at Write Away, and my husband and write something different, something that I wouldn’t normally write.

I am going to write a short story.

This weeks goal:  Unmet

Next weeks goal:  One short story.

“Failure is the tuition you pay for success.” – Walter Brunell

Just Write: Self-shaming Sunday Update

Why do I suddenly feel like it’s weigh in day and I’ve just come down off of a ten-day junk food eating binge?  Could it be because I am feeling guilty?

Most definitely.

Let’s get right to the unpleasant self-shaming, shall we:

Last week:  28089 with 144 pages

This week: 30,299 with 154 pages

That is a grand total = 2210words written this week in Retribution.  Goal = 3500 words.

Goal not met.

So while I did make progress, I didn’t meet my expected goal for the week.  I am disappointed, but not surprised.  This week, the majority of the progress was made in the creation of a new scene.  I am usually more comfortable in writing in a linear fashion.  Skipping around confuses me and therefore, mistakes are made.  This new scene occurs much later in the novel than what I am currently working on.  However, it screamed at me to be written.  Literally grabbed me by the hair and threatened my life.

Okay.  Maybe not quite so dramatic, but the urge to write it was overwhelming and as I said before, who am I to argue?  Unfortunately, this scene caused a bit of chaos and controversy.  It brought to light and created some issues that need to be resolved.  I am working on that.  I suppose these kinds of things are a necessary evil, but it is frustrating nonetheless.  And I can’t help but feel a twinge of guilt for failing to deliver 3500 words.

But if there is one thing I’ve learned in the last few years, it’s that if you fall down and miss the mark, you get up and have another go at it.

Next week’s goal:  3500 words.

DSC01558

Just write: Self-shaming Sunday update

What a difference a week can make.  You may recall that this time last week, I was wallowing in a big old vat of homebrewed self-pity, bemoaning my inability to make any meaningful progress toward the completion of my novel, Retribution.  If you don’t remember or have not read my previous blog entry, you may do so [here].

In lieu of making an all-encompassing New Year’s resolution to finish Retribution by some arbitrary date, I decided to make myself word count goals.  When I dropped a good bit of weight several years back, this is how I did it.  I set 10 pound goals for myself.  As I progressed and met a goal weight, I reset it.  It is a practice that carries over into my daily workouts.  Now I use it to increase my stamina.  I call it my five-minute rule.  As I get stronger, I add five minutes to the end of my elliptical or bike work out.  I have found that I can put my body through just about anything for five minutes.

So, I had an idea.  (Cue the animated light bulb.)  Why not do the same thing as it relates to my writing?   I am convinced that by applying the same school of thought that I used for dropping 50 pound, I will finish my novel.   It might take me until the end of summer, but at least I will make noticeable progress, instead of floundering out in the wind, waiting for the book to miraculously write itself.

Last week I set a word count goal for myself.

Write 3000 words in Retribution by the next Sunday.

DSC01554This is how my numbers progressed:

Last week: 24940 words

This week:  28089 words

Last week: 129 pages

This week: 144 pages

That is a grand total = 3149 words written this week in Retribution.  Goal met.

Next week’s goal:  3500 words.

I’m going to call it my 500 word rule.

Baby steps.