Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Family Secrets is fini -- finished -- done -- The End.

A little over 86,000 words, so along with all the usual editing and proof-reading, I need to trim some fat. Still, moving right along.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Family Secrets Countdown

Jan 23rd - wrote 6706 words
Jan 24th - wrote 3395 words
Jan 25th - wrote 1651 words
Jan 26th - wrote 2868 words
Total for four days - 14,620 words
Total word count for Family Secrets so far - 78,156
Chapters remaining to be written:  1
Moving right along. After that last chapter is written, then it is on to the editing, proof-reading and all that other good stuff that is involved in trying to get a novel sold.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Engineer Battalion (Const) in Vietnam War

This weekend I did a lot of Vietnam War research, particularly regarding the engineer battalions that were sent over there and the projects they worked on. I have my husband's stories for my novel, Family Secrets, but I wanted to flesh them out a little by getting the "bigger picture".

Served in U.S. Army Co. D 84th Engineer Battalion (Construction) 1967-68
Actually, what prompted me is I ran across the coffee can in which my husband had stored his original DD-214, patches and ribbons from his army service. My husband is not a coffee-drinker. But, coffee cans are among his all-time favorite containers for storing items, especially in his shop, which is where I found this little jewel.

Unfortunately, you can see from the back of his DD-214 (which I used as the backdrop) and some of the ribbons, not all his war memorabilia stored well in the coffee can.

It was interesting to learn more about engineers, the role they play in the military in general, and about his unit in particular during the Vietnam War. I will eventually mount these items in a shadow box for display in my living room along with the framed memorabilia I have from my father's WWII experience. But for now -- well -- except for the DD-214 that is in a plastic sleeve, they are still in that coffee can (in the house, not the shop).

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Today was not a writing day -- it was a Daughters of Utah Pioneers day -- but I managed to get in some writing.

I wrote the final chapter of the book. It's a shorty. No, I am not finished with the book, yet. I still have four heavy-duty chapters to go. I wrote the conclusion now because I want see where each of my three story lines need to end up.

My Webster's Desk Dictionary defines epilogue as it applies to a written work (as opposed to a speech) as follows: 1. a concluding part added to a literary work.

I often read novels with epilogues. An epilogue may tell the consequences of the main story either in the time period immediately following the end, or it may tell what happens decades later. It's kind of like, the story is over now, folks, but just so we don't leave you hanging, we'll tell you how things turned out for the characters in the long run.

The last chapter I just wrote is not an epilogue. There are no concluding parts to add so the reader knows what happened to the characters after the story is over because this novel is only a segment of a larger story. Therefore, for my final chapter, I only needed to tie up a few loose ends.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Three Thousand Words

I wrote about three thousand words today, plus I edited a bunch more. Let me assure you, that is a lot of words for one day.

The big Vietnam chapter is complete. I was happy to get that one put together. Of course, I still need to sleep on it and edit it.

All in all, it has been a good day. I still feel like I am writing mode, so I probably am not finished yet.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Title Shuffle

Not only am I willing to shuffle the chapters around if I decide it will help the story flow better, I am not above shuffling around titles.

GOFTS is going to be plain ol' GOFT. These ladies are not really a society, just a group of friends. At best, they are a club. So, I am taking the "S" off the title of this group and adding it to.....

Family Secrets. I have been fighting the urge to change the name of this novel from a singular "secret" to the plural for quite some time. I finally decided to listen to my subconscious on this one. There is the one big secret, but it is surrounded by other little secrets which, as they are revealed, help Jennie deal with her personal issue that she is keeping secret as much as possible.

The third title shuffle is the name of the series. This was the Jennie Graves series. Instead, they are going to be the Golden Oaks series. Yes, I intend to keep Jennie and her family among the predominant cast of characters in future books. However, I think by shifting the focus of the series to the community, I can broaden the options for future books.

After all, the GOFT ladies (or "goofy ladies", as their family members like to tease them) are an interesting bunch. Each of them is unique. Focusing on one or the other of the members of this group occasionally could keep future plots interesting.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chapter Shuffle

Today is writing day #4 since the conclusion of my FamilySearch mission.

Reworked another Christy Chapter in Family Secret -- just have the final Christy chapter to do.

Reworked one of the Carp in Vietnam vignettes. In a flash of creative inspiration I made it its own chapter and placed it earlier in the book.

I reshuffled the order of my chapters. It is good to have a general outline from the beginning, but I experience no guilt about being flexible when, as the story progresses, I decide changes need to be made.

Almost time to send a section of chapters to my beta readers.

Five more full chapters and two partials and I am finished writing Family Secret.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Changing Christy's Voice

Yesterday was my last day on the FamilySearch mission. Today was my first day on my writing schedule. Time to finish my novel, Family Secret.

I put in six hours total -- so far -- not including the half-hour break to unpack my new Brother PQ 1500S sewing-quilting machine (I love PayPal and their six months, no interest program. I love that I was able to find a quilting machine that did not cost more than my car.). That was enough to totally distract me from my writing for the day, but I did not allow it to happen. (Major victory!)

I set aside the chapter on Carp's Vietnam experience to work on Christy's story.Christy's story I wrote from beginning to end at the start of Family Secret. Since then, I have chopped her story up into five chapters.

The other issue is, I had not found my voice in this novel at the time I started writing Family Secret. The first several chapters I wrote in both first-person and third-person in order to see how I wanted the story to flow. Since then, I have decided that Jennie's voice -- the present-day voice -- will be in third-person. My historical voices are in first-person. Today, I converted a chapter of Christy's story from third-person to first-person, plus did some heavy rewriting. I have not looked at this part of the novel for at least nine month, so it needed it.

Lesson for today:  Try to figure out what voice to use in my novels BEFORE I get too far into the writing thereof. It is a mess to try to catch all the third-person language and change it at this point in time. And, as I read over some former chapters where I already made the conversion and did the proof-reading, I can see that it will take even more heavy-duty proof-reading to catch everything before I am finished.