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Saturday, February 27, 2010

AFDOC week 8

Short and to the point this week. Got two more chapters done - about 90% rewrite with major additions and changes. Had a couple of deadlines this week that got away from me and too many meetings. I set aside my mornings for writing and the world seems to invade with a strong will that sets me back on my heels. I've got to get tougher - do a better job of being my boss! On the bright side, I met two new writers who are busy, busy with their novels and trying to get them published and another friend was contacted after he sent in a query letter. It's always affirming to see other writers moving ahead in this crazy process.
Welcome back cj. It's been lonely out here.

Here's this week's tribute to the 50's. A little dab'll do ya!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

She's baa-ack . . .

Everyone take a deep breath, cj is in the building. Been gone to help eyes heal after surgery. Hasn't happened yet, but I can see well enough to blog. My visit to the opthalmologist three weeks after surgery to have new glasses prescribed went thud. My vision isn't stable enough so I have to wait another month. Biggest bother is that they get tired and "burny" (that is a word, I'm sure) after a few minutes of reading/writing, so I'm not doing much of that. And boy, does that mean my timing is off.

I had signed up for an online course on how to expand my characters with non-verbal communication cues. (Mary Buckham's course is through Sisters-in-Crime.) I'm not participating in the exercises, but I am reserving them for later as well as the lectures. There's a TON of NVC stuff to learn that simply works! (Or works simply.) Ms. Buckham ( will also offer a course on sexual tension beginning in March (, but I think I'll have to pass until these eyes get fixed. But it does sound interesting. She says "it's geared to any writer who wants to make sure the dynamics between their male and female characters are coming across the way the author intended." Best of all, it's not just for romance writers, which I am not. I'm hoping the month-long class will be offered again next year.

Well, the eyes are giving out so I'm giving in.

Keep on keeping on, people. I will.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

AFDOC Week 7: Write it to Right it.

Made it to Chapter 12 with humongous additions and deletions and new ideas and solidified some personality traits I had been toying with for a few of the characters.

I truly never understood until I started tearing my book apart that all the writing books and almost all the speakers on writing that I've listened to were right. Duh as the kids say. You have to write it before you can right it. {I just made that up. Isn't it neat?} This is my new mantra. One of my writing friends and I commiserated last week about how complicated the revision process is and how much easier it is to cut those sacred cows we've been hanging on to for so long. I wonder why that is? Have we grown wiser? Are we better writers? Nah, I think we're fed up and want it over with. NOT! Also as the kids say. It's a process - a real honest-to-goodness process. What a joy to reach this stage. I've been blessed with some excellent mentors and they haven't failed me yet. Writing in isolation is not where it's at - another good kid' saying.

Last week's fifties picture was a turn-table disk that allowed you to play 45rpm records on your stereo. Here's a new picture from the fifties. Try mailing manuscripts with this baby.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

AFDOC Week 6

My granddaughter met another milestone this week, since - wonders never cease - it snowed in Mobile! A whole 1/4 inch stayed on our lawn for a couple of hours, just long enough for her to get a taste of snow as the flakes fell on her tongue and melted, just long enough to thoroughly confuse our six dogs {yes, six-five of which are rescues} and just long enough for us to scrape enough off our cars and make some snowballs to throw at each other. Other places in Alabama were lucky enough to get enough of the white magic to make snowmen, most of which were decorated with Roll Tide hats and scarves. And another milestone was met in our household this week. I got back on track with AFDOC, spending a minimum of four hours a day at the computer.

I made it through Chapter 9, incorporating comments from my critique buddies, rearranging scenes, writing new scenes, shortening others, and spending an inordinate amount of time changing backstories to present time, which, of course, required changing all the verbs and some of the tenses. The biggest surprise of the week, besides the amazing snow on the Gulf, was finding that I had two Chapter Twos. I was, and still am, completely bumfuzzled as to how I managed that after not only keeping a complete list of chapters with the word count of each in an Excel file, but hanging the chapters and their scenes all over my dining room. It was easy to fix, of course, but for an organization freak like me, it was off-putting, to say the least.

I also got all my throughlines charted and hung in my office to help me stay on track, which given the chapter challenge above, I hope was not a moot exercise. I had a word-of-prayer with my WA (writing angel for those of you playing catchup) and she agreed to help keep things in better order from now on. I'm really stoked to have so much revision done and somewhat overwhelmed at how much I'm changing on the pages and how much more I'm planning to change. And I also remembered with a jolt this week why I've been dragging my feet a bit getting started. I'm living inside this book every minute of every day. Taking notes last Monday night in the theology class I'm taking (my 5th month of a 12 month process) I found myself making notes in the margin about how well a certain Biblical reference and/or book and verse would complete scenes in the book. Caroline {pronounced with a long i} my protagonist. and her family have moved into my mind lock, stock, and barrel.

It's a little worrisome when, in a conversation, I try to remember where I heard something I felt was important only to realizie with a start that it's a scene I just wrote. That's just too weird to explain, so I gracefully exit from the conversation and don't try. Since AFDOC is set in 1958 - 1959, I'll be adding a picture to each weekly post from now on to get you in the Fifties Frame of Mind. Contact me if you know what this week's picture is. Mahala

Hint: This little plastic device brought us the sounds of Elvis and Sinatra.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

AFDOC Week 5

AFDOC and I did not spend much time together this week. However, I did write quite a lot - short stories and editing for several contests, including a non-fiction piece on the WAVES during WWII. My mother was in the WAVES, and I've had a short piece on hold about the fabulous women that defend our country for some time now. I'm expanding it to enter a contest and hopefully pay homage to them. Finished a ms I'm reviewing for another hopeful writer, whose work looks promising, so it isn't that I wasn't busy, but..... You know the story. And in my defense, I had one at home with a GI bug and one with another problem that required a doctor's visit, and then there was homework to catch up on and the beginnings of her first book report, etc. etc. etc.

AFDOC and I have a date every morning next week and I hope to be back in the groove. Oh, did I tell you that I've started the underpinnings of another novel? Yes, I spent time on that as well. What could I do? My writing angel woke me up in the middle of every night last week with ideas popping. The characters were lined up and ready to introduce themselves and the opening chapter was champing at the bit to get typed onto the page, so I now have six pages of new story info {one I have notes on as far back as the 70s} and it's clambering to get inside my head and push AFDOC aside, so it's obvious I've got to get back on my regular writing schedule or I'll have multiple personality disorder in no time.

I subscribe to what John Irving said with one caveat - STAY ON TASK!

The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn't behave that way you would never do anything. ~John Irving (1942 - )