Friday, December 23, 2011

Scheduling the Muse

Knowing that my commitment to the FamilySearch mission is coming to an end January 4th, I have been gearing up for resuming a more frequent writing schedule--a real schedule, not just  a when-the-muse-strikes kind of schedule. Conventional wisdom says I should write 40 hours a week, just like a real job. I know the realities of my life, and that will not work. I have 11-12 days a month blocked out in January and February for writing. I will re-evaluate after that.

Lately, my writing has been sporadic, almost non-existent. It often takes place for 4-5 hours in the middle of the night after I try to get to sleep and can't. Sometimes when I settle down in my dark, quiet room and get all warm and comfy, my imagination fires up, drills down to one little incident in the story and then kicks into double-time putting it all together in my head. Since I know sleep is not an option at that point, I usually decide I might as well get up and write.

I probably will continue to do that, but in addition, I will have the schedule.

In Family Secret, I am focusing on the chapter about Carp's Vietnam War experiences, which are based largely upon of those of my husband. Very gripping incidences. This chapter actually became a writer's block for me. I have wanted to write it for many months. I kept putting it off, but not because I did not  know what I wanted to write. I felt overwhelmed and did not know where to start. In addition to the emotional impact, there is enough information on the Vietnam War for a whole book instead of a segment of a book. I kept wanting to do more research instead of just planting my seat in the sofa, parking the laptop on my lap and writing the segment.

Most chapters, I start at the beginning and, over the course of days or weeks, I work it until the end. With this one, I have found it better to get my thought processes focused on an incident and then type up only that incident. Hence, the middle-of-the-night writing episodes. I will worry about what order they go in and how to tie them together later.

Now I have decided to "eat that elephant one bite at a time", I find I am finally making progress on this chapter.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chapter 13 - The Lucky Chapter

I am finished up through Chapter 12 of Family Secret. Man, that was a hard chapter. It was where Jennie's husband really gets pig-nasty rotten with her. But, that is over, and on to Chapter 13, the scene where Jennie is fortunate enough to be the first in her family to persuade her Grandpa to talk about some of his Vietnam War experiences as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding the family secret.

Chapter 14, now that will be a tough one. I will largely be borrowing from my own husband's Vietnam War combat experiences. It could be a book in and of itself instead of a long chapter. But, the heart of the message of this chapter will not be the blow-by-blow account of the action that took place. Rather it will be the effect on the people involved and how it continued to influence their lives even after they came back home.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Moving right along with Family Secrets

Wrote Chapter 11 yesterday and 1320 words of Chapter 12 today. Chapter 10 was a long -- long chapter. It was the one where I introduced GOFTS (Golden Oaks Family Ties Society) and their members. That took 3 days of writing over a 10 day period.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Correction: GOFTS

Correction:  The acronym for the name of the local group in the make-believe central California city of Golden Oaks, home of Jennie Graves and her family, has been changed to GOFTS. That is because this acronym now stands for Golden Oaks Family Ties Society.

No, this change does not make the acronym for the club's name easier to remember or pronounce. If anything, it is more awkward. However, I decided I liked the revised long version of the club/society name better. It is more descriptive of the objective of the group of women who meet once a month to share presentations on a multitude of disciplines, give advice and moral support to each other in order to -- yes, you guessed it -- strengthen family ties.

Whether it is GOFFS or GOFTS, their families teasingly give them the nickname of goofs or goofy ladies.

Every family needs at least one goofy lady like the women in GOFTS.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

No More Dilemma

I was writing two books side-by-side because I was debating if I should make Armitage a stand-alone historical novel or if I should make it part of the Jennie Graves series. I added the chapters to make it fit as the novel to follow Family Secret.

The dilemma is over.

After getting about eight chapters into both of them, I have decided that  Armitage is going to be a Jennie Graves novel. Now I am focusing on finishing Family Secret to introduce the series.

I want to write about "Carp" and his memories of Viet Nam. (Thanks, Hubby, for letting me pull heavily from your stories. Unlike many men, including "Carp", who would not or could not discuss their war experiences with anyone, my husband was able to get past his by talking them out.) As much as I want to tackle this block-buster chapter now, I first need to finish the two preceding chapters that will lead up to it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

February Updates

1.  I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest which closed the first of this month and made the first cut. Out of 5,000 entries I was in the top 1,000. The next cut -- the quarter-finals -- closes March 22nd. Based on the novel synopsis, the field will be cut to the top 500. Here's hoping! Everyone please wish me well.

2.  I am working on my next series which is geared primarily to women. I call it the Jennie Graves series. Yes, there is a play on words for my main character's name. Each book will have a dual storyline. One will be the life of Jennie Graves, her family and friends who live in the vicinity of Golden Oaks, a mythical community in the greater Sacramento area. One will be the family history lives of the ancestors of her family, friends and the members of the club to which she belongs.

I struggled over the name of this club, but came up with the GOFFS which is an acronym for Golden Oaks Family Focus Society. This society is not a genealogy society, although there are a few genealogists among the members. However, the members have a variety of interests centering around the theme of family. The club is set up so they meet once a month for members to share their accomplishments and so each can take a turn giving a presentation in their area of interest or expertise.

Back to the Jennie Graves series. My first book lays the groundwork for the series. I thought I had the first five chapters of the first book, Family Secret, pretty much rough-drafted out, since I actually started this series before I wrote Aurora Rescue. However, I experimented with third-person voice and first-person voice. Then I got excited about a storyline I wanted for another book in the series, titled Armitage. It was only then that I decided on the voice I want. All well and good except that when I went back to the opening novel -- the one that lays the groundwork for the series -- I found most of the chapters that I wanted in third-person voice were written in first-person, and vice-versa. So, here I have my adult reader/critiquer ready to read the first five chapters of both novels side-by-side since I have some very specific advice I wish her to give me on these two books, and they are not as ready as I thought. I have been busy re-writing the chapters of the Jennie Graves first novel, Family Secret, to get them into the voice I want. I hope to be able to do this by this weekend or Monday at the latest. Then I will double-check the first five chapters of Armitage and get them off to her along with my questionnaires, i.e., opinion surveys.