Accidents + Urgency 

I think I was jarred into a paradigm shift yesterday. My husband and I were in a car accident yesterday.

This picture was taken by Cedric Thual.

If not for my husband’s quick reaction I would have been hurt. He swerved away from someone about to t-bone us. 

I hurt my ankle in the crash (see you later pointe shoes). As I sat on a gurney waiting to be X-rayed, I had a lot of time to think. This past week I’ve not been meeting my goals writing for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve felt poorly and we’ve had a house guest. 

I saw this last night when I woke up hurting and couldn’t sleep: 

While I’m not going to beat myself up over last week, I’m going to keep pushing through. Often my husband and I find ourselves doing things out of duty instead of for pleasure. Too much duty drains one. 

The plan is to use this accident for a renewed sense of urgency in my writing. 

How do you stay on task?

#amwriting #amreading

Camp NaNoWriMo is here again and for the past few weeks I’ve been researching. I’ve read two books by Dean Wesley Smith and have almost finished another by Joanna Penn.

In Smith’s Stages of a Fiction Writer I had to examine myself and my writing.  While I’m not where I’d like to be, this helped give me an idea of how to get there.  One of the things that he comments on is Heinlein’s Rules.  These seem to have some controversy over how effective they are especially in modern markets. Reading Dean Wesley Smith’s Heinlein’s Rules changed my approach, but I haven’t been able to implement this yet.

Here are the rules:

1 – You must write
2 – You must finish what you write
3 – You must refrain from rewriting unless to editorial order
4 – You must put it on the market
5 – You must keep it on the market until sold


I have sometimes followed rules one through three but never four and five.  For the past year I’ve finally been able to show my work off to someone I’ve never met without desperate fear (having a writing buddy).   I also experienced beta readers for the first time this year.

Smith pushes for short stories touting that this is the best market since the 1940s for short stories and an easy way to get published, practice writing, and experience rejection. Eden Glenn has done workshops locally about short fiction, but I haven’t been able to attend those. I hope she’ll do another one soon. In researching places to submit short stories, I came across several and starting writing one.  I haven’t finished it yet.  I got to the midway point of the story and wasn’t sure how to finish it.  It’s hard to cram three acts into short fiction.

I found a great article about short stories, and this is the structure that Phillip Brewer suggests on his blog from Geoffrey A. Landis:

  1. Require the character to make a choice,
  2. Show that choice by actions, and
  3. Those actions must have consequencescreativewriting

The other non-fiction book I’m reading right now is How to Make a Living With Your Writing by Joanna Penn.  In this book she mentions the importance of diversification – creating both fiction and non-fiction works, and creating a series of books.  She also dispels the publishing industry. Please note that Dean Wesley Smith and Joanna Penn come from the school of thought that deeply values indie publishing versus traditional. To play devil’s advocate, here’s an excellent blog post by lit. agent Evan Gregory about traditional publishing.
Since I’m waiting for a few people of my beta readers to finish, I’m broaching a new project – Syzygy.  I’ve put Threads of Fate to the side for at least this month to work on a story that has been burning in my mind for about two years now. I had to dredge up the digital outline.   Back to Camp NaNoWriMo!



Raising the Stakes

Novel Conclusions

Cliffs at Étretat by Gustave Courbet via Wikimedia Commons Cliffs at Étretat by Gustave Courbet via Wikimedia Commons

With National Novel Writing Month looming (frequently known as NaNoWriMo), I’ve been thinking quite a bit about outlining.  Last year, I participated in NaNoWriMo without an outline, and the results were less than stellar.  Having an outline helps me write the nitty gritty of the story itself more quickly and more cleanly.

There are all kinds of resources out there to help you outline, but what matters most is what you put inside the outline.  One of the most important things holding your plot together will be the stakes and the ensuing tension those stakes develop.  The stakes for the same situation will be completely different depending on your character.  All of the Bennet girls in Pride and Prejudice had a strong stake in finding good marriages – as soon as their father passed on, they would be penniless and basically homeless…

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