Monthly Archives: October 2013

Happy NaNo Eve

Night before Nano

Here in SC it is a little less than 9 hours before NaNoWriMo begins. I decided when I went to bed last night that I was changing things completely. Different novel. Different character. Different setting. You name it, it’s different. It has to be the pantser in me. Has to be.

Ray Bradbury pantser quote

I’ve spent almost two months plotting a novel only to find that it is not THE novel I feel in my bones right now. A new idea hit me yesterday when I was napping. I saw the character, saw the plot. I woke up and I KNEW that was the novel. It’s based on a phrase my grandmother used to say when you were in trouble or trouble was lurking in the dark waiting to pounce.


So I’m now finding character names, now figuring out the name of the town my novel takes place in is actually the town I grew up in–Charleston (South Carolina for those of you not in the US or who think maybe it’s the Charleston that’s in VA). Downtown Charleston to be exact. The haunted townhouse my grandparents used to live in when I was a child. Yes, it was really haunted. I saw the ghosts and heard them myself. Many of us (cousins, aunts & uncles, my grandparents) did.

last minute change

So I need to get back to the basic stuff so I can start the good stuff at midnight. YAY! NaNoWriMo starts in less than 9 hours. 😀 And I’m truly excited. Changing things up at the last minute has me stressed out but relieved at the same time. I was becoming burdened, weighed down by all the plot/outline/structure stuff and it was taking most of the fun out of it for me.

only the plot


Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Life, NaNoWriMo, Outlining, Writing


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My real writing space

There’s a thread on the NaNoWriMo forums about posting a picture of your writing space…and I went through and looked at the writing spaces and was in awe of quite a few of them. Truth is, mine is a in a corner of my bedroom (for now). I won’t have my own writing room until after the end of December–once my son leaves to go to bootcamp. But until then, I have this:

My writing space IMG_1322

Back in April, my husband moved my writing space from the dining room to our bedroom so I’d have more privacy.


Dining room cubby

my little corner 001

Bedroom cubby

IMG_1063 IMG_1065

And here is what it looks like when I’m writing… My husband asleep in our bed as I write  😀



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Imagining my Writing Space

My imaginary desk

On December 30th my son leaves for the Army. Off to Missouri for bootcamp. I’m proud of him, to say the least.

proud army mom

I’m also happy about getting my ‘writing room” back. I’ll finally have an actual writing space again. No more being pushed into the corner, no more worrying about how the clicking of my keyboard might be irritating at 3AM, and no more bookcases and other writing things scattered around the house. Everything will be in one room. I’ll have my own personal writing space again. WOO HOO!.

The first thing I want to do before I move my stuff in there is paint the walls. Do I paint the walls a vibrant color for energy, inspiration, and productivity, or do I choose a more calming color to make me feel relaxed and comfortable. From what I’ve researched blue is one of the best colors to paint an office because it’s the most productive color, whereas red, for example, encourages appetite, and green promotes tranquility and health, or lavender calms the nerves and allows relaxation. And my husband would love it if I painted it a dark blue (his favorite color) but I’m more of a Red or dark Purple kind of woman.small book lamp

“Purple in its darkest values (eggplant, for example) is rich, dramatic, and sophisticated. It is associated with luxury as well as creativity, and as an accent or secondary color, it gives a scheme depth. Lighter versions of purple, such as lavender and lilac, bring the same restful quality to bedrooms as blue does, but without the risk of feeling chilly.”

purple writer's clockOnce I saw the pictures on the color website I realized I would have to go with what felt right for me and “eggplant” with white and a light shade of purple, with a few blueberry, and red colored accents would be right for me. Vibrant colors with a few light colors thrown in to help bring a well rounded mix of creativity, relaxation, tranquility, and productivity would make it my room.

pruple bookcasesI’d paint my desk and the bookcases in various colors and shades. New handles for the desk (perhaps I might find a few pencil or pen shaped handles). A new lamp (maybe one of those lamps that looks like stacked books). A writer’s clock, a sign for the door, a few trinkets to place on the bookshelves and window sill. And just think, this time next year I’ll have my very own writing room for NaNo.

I imagine a vibrant, cozy, and inspirational room.  One that looks like me, that embodies my personality and is functional. Since our guest bedroom/my daughter/ my step-daughter/my grandson’s room needs to be neutral I have yet to figure out what to do with it in regard to color. My step-daughter’s favorite color is purple. My daughter’s favorite color is red. My grandson is too little to have a favorite color yet. And my husband’s favorite color is dark blue. Yet if it were up to me that room would at least have some purple in it. And, since our bedroom has pale lavender with a grey undertone drapes and comforter I’d have to, of course, paint our walls a pale lavender grey. Thus, at least 2/3 rooms in our house would be some shade or other of purple. The dining room will be a shade of red…Which leaves the living room–no way the husband will allow purple in there. 😦purple writer's room

Back to my writing room…I’ve considered various ways: white walls with purple furniture, lavender walls with white, red, and some shade of blue furniture and accents… I have ideas. And now, while I’m (patiently) waiting for December to get here, I have time to figure things out. I’ll start hunting flea markets, garage sales, thrift stores, etc soon to find another bookcase, some shelves (or things to make shelves and/or bookcases out of)… I’ll figure it all out sooner or later. My husband is more conservative than I am when it comes to color, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m just so excited because by the time I’m able to put it all together I’ll have time to find accessories, time to paint the bookshelves I already have, time to find more shelving, time to re-do my desk and find creative handles, etc. The idea of having a purple chair, a chaise lounge… artwork, bookshelves galore…Just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

purple chair

purple writer's shedBut if I had the money… OH if I had the money, I’d have something like this purple shed. 😀


Posted by on October 26, 2013 in Books, Color, Life, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Room


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Outlining: From a Pantser’s POV

Outline for NaNoWriMo 2013

Outline for NaNoWriMo 2013

As I’ve talked about before, I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, but I’m trying my hand at outlining this NaNoWriMo. I’ve found more than a few different ways that writer’s outline, including the 3 act structure, Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” version, Larry Brook’s version of outlining/plotting from “Story Engineering,” and quite a few other’s. I don’t know which one will work best for me. I’ve tried outlining my novel with each form of outline as I read the various ways, and to tell you the truth–I still don’t know.

I wish I had someone who would do that part for me. I talk. He/she listens and takes notes. I come up with the ideas, the names, the plots, the themes, the B story, the world building, etc. and the other person does the outlining, the making of maps, the creating the world, and then I go in and write the story. Until I’m a famous writer making real money at my profession, the kind of money that would afford me an assistant I don’t see that happening so I’m stuck doing all the nitty-gritty work myself. And to me, that stuff is the nitty-gritty hard work stuff.

The writing isn’t hard. It’s all the crap beforehand that’s hard. At least for me. BUT, last time I really tried to create a novel for NaNoWriMo I got bogged down in the middle, lost in translation, misplaced my muse, and ended up losing horribly all because I didn’t know where I was going with the novel. I had a clear idea when I started. I pantsed. I knew who my character was and what she was doing, and what was supposed to happen, and I started writing. I wrote. She talked and talked, and then before you know it the character had taken over and then I ended up at the midpoint of my novel and I looked up and realized she was fickle and indecisive and had no idea of what she really wanted, “Hey, don’t blame me. You’re the writer!” she said.

Character Outline on the Corkboard in Scrivener.

Character Outline on the Corkboard in Scrivener.

This time that won’t happen. This time I’m plotting. I’m working on my outline. I’ll still stay open to what the main character needs, to what’s going on with the setting, the theme, the plot, the arc of the story and the characters, BUT I will have a map (my outline) to help guide me and keep me headed in the right direction, even if I randomly take a few shortcuts, or a few side roads.

I’m just so thankful to Scrivener. Without Scrivener there is no way I’d be able to create an outline that still allows me freedom to change things around without going absolutely crazy. For allowing me to switch things around in the binder. For enabling me to color code things so it’s more convenient and efficient for me. I LOVE Scrivener. I’m still learning, and I really wish that the Windows version was as fancy as the Mac version. (Hello people, not all of us can afford a Mac or prefer a Mac. I’d have one if I could afford it, even if it meant learning everything all over again.)

So now I’m going to go to bed. It’s almost 4AM (my time) and I’m exhausted. I’ve posted on both blogs now, and I’m ready to fall asleep curled up with my husband’s pillow (that still smells like him) and fall asleep watching something on Netflix–Friday evening can’t get here soon enough–I miss him!


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Tossing and Turning

I’ve been preparing for NaNoWriMo by researching mapmaking and world building, by working on my outline (which is difficult because I’m more of a pantser), and finding the rest of the pictures to use as visuals for my characters and town. I was also busy helping my husband get things together so he could fly to TN for training for the new company he’s working for now. YAY new job!

He flew out of Charleston Sunday afternoon and as I waved goodbye I realized this is the first time we’ve been separated for more than a day since we became serious (2 1/2 years ago). We’ve only been married for 13 1/2 months so it’s sort of a big deal.

I spent last night tossing and turning. When he called earlier this evening he said, “Well at least you’ll be able to work on your writing without distractions,” and my thought was, “You not being here is a distraction,” but I didn’t say it. He’ll be back Friday evening, which isn’t soon enough for me, but I’ll be fine–I’ll just curl up to his pillow and fall asleep to Netflix (which will be happening soon).

When he’s here I take a break from writing, researching, etc., and just enjoy my time with him. Since he’s been gone, which has only been two days, my routine is askew and I feel restless and I’m not sure of what to do with myself. My breaks are now random, instead of on a routine, and my routine has been thrown out of the window. I’m not going to sleep until I’m utterly exhausted, in part because of the pain from my rotator cuff being messed up and the meds I’m on, and in part because I miss my husband and I sleep much better with him next to me than all alone in our queen sized bed. I used to sleep just fine by myself. Hogging the middle of the bed is not fun when you’re by yourself. Nor is hogging the covers.

So I’ve made a note to myself to get up in the morning and get back into my routine. I prefer the routine. I need the routine and I’ll really need it once NaNo starts November 1st.

My TO-DO list for tomorrow:

  • Get back into routine
  • Finish town map
  • Finish character sketches (I only have 2 left)
  • Finish outline for Part 2 (at least) & Part 3
  • Work on organizing bookshelf
  • Go to sleep Tuesday night by midnight (or at least try to)
  • Make shopping list for NaNo supplies

And now I’m off to find something to fall asleep to on Netflix, and hopefully I’ll dream about my characters tonight so I’m inspired in the morning 😀



Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Books, Life, NaNoWriMo, Outlining, Writing


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Plot, Conflict, and Outline

I’ve been working on character, plotting, and setup for the first part of my novel (which has 4 parts: Part 1 is Setup (of course), Part 2 is Response, Part 3 is Attack, and Part 4 is Resolution, which I got from the book “Story Engineering” by Larry Brooks.


Part1: the Setup of my novel, which is called Blue Moon (that is definitely subject to change and probably will), should introduce the reader to hero and what is going on in the hero’s life (backstory, character empathy, what is at stake, what the hero needs in her life, what “trials and tribulations and opportunities” she is “facing before the arrival of the primary conflict” so that the reader cares about what is going on with the hero.

So my first 4-5 chapters are all about the Setup and right now I’m debating on whether to name my chapters or not. To name or not to name?  That is the question.

In chapter 1, the  reader finds out that my character Jynx was orphaned as a child and went to live with her fanatically religious aunt Avena when she was seven years old. Her parents were killed in a plane crash. She wanted to go live with her uncle Bourne who has spent time with her, but her aunt, whom she’s never met, gets custody of her and raises her. We get a glimpse of how much of a zealot the aunt is when Jynx receives a letter from a lawyer stating that requests her presence at her uncle’s funeral and for a reading of his will–she calls her aunt and finds out that the aunt refuses to go to her own brother’s funeral because he was a heathen. We learn that Jynx has psychic abilities and that she hid them from her aunt.

In chapter 2, Jynx moves into her uncle’s home and learns that her uncle, along with her mother and grandmother, were all psychics, which is why her aunt disowned them–they were sinners, psychic ability=sinner/satan. She figures out that her aunt raised her to keep her away from her uncle because her aunt thought that her uncle would corrupt her with his “demon” powers and that her aunt thought she might develop them, especially if she were around him. She wonders why her aunt didn’t have psychic abilities if they run in her family.  She also wonders why her uncle, who was a lawyer, didn’t fight for custody of her instead of allowing her to live with Avena.  Her uncle owned the bookstore in town, which is now Jynx’s, and Jynx wonders what to do with it. Should she sell it? Run it?

In chapter 3, Jynx meets a few of the town’s people, including the librarian Carita who was friends with Jynx’s mother. Carita is Jynx’s godmother and has a box of letters that she wrote to Jynx but that Avena returned to sender. Carita knows about the psychic abilities that run in Jynx’s family, and is willing to teach Jynx how to use and manage hers….

So I’m wondering if I should name my chapters…And if so, how do I decide what to name them? Something to think about and research as I continue to plot my novel for NaNoWriMo.


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Part of my routine each day is to check out my WP reader, FB, email, and the news. Yesterday (or maybe it was the day before) I found a post entitled 10 NaNoWriMo tips & tricks. In the post she gives a shout out to Rainy Moods and I’m now a fan and am hooked. Even my husband, who doesn’t write but is a musician, loves it. We fell asleep to the sound of rain last night and it wasn’t raining here.  I’m picky about listening to music when I write–most music distracts me so I often listen to classical, movie soundtracks (the songs that don’t having vocals), that kind of thing. Now I feel like I’ve found the perfect music for the mood I’ll need for this novel. Yesterday evening I was telling my daughter about the character I’ve chosen for my NaNo novel. Her name is Jynx and she’s a 25 year old graduate student. My daughter asked me what color her hair was, and I told her black or red, and she has gray eyes. My daughter said, “You should give her violet hair. Dark purple.” And you know what, she’s right. I thought about for a minute and nodded to my daughter. So now I’m on the hunt for a picture that comes close to what I feel like the character looks like. (Thank goodness for google, creative commons, and pinterest.)

One of the first things I do in the morning is make coffee. I normally drink coffee out of the Goofy cup my brother gave me. (This morning I’m having coffee with spiced pumpkin creamer–Oh, it’s so good!) I take a shower while the coffee is brewing–on a good morning my husband and I take our shower together, and come next week he’ll be back on the road so I won’t see him but on the weekends–FROWN! I open Word Press, Facebook, and my email account. I check all  of those. Then I either write a blog post or wait until later on in the day (some days I go straight to my novel).

Funny thing about routines is that once you get used to them it feels weird when you do something different. Lately I’ve been working on the outline for my NaNo novel instead of working on the current WIP and I’ve been reading Larry Brooks‘ book “Story Engineering.” For Camp NaNo in April, I read several books beforehand. My favorite Stephen King’sOn Writing,” Baty’s “No Plot? No Problem!” and “Ready, Set, Novel!” as well as quite a few others like “Creative Writing,” “Finding your Muse,” “Rock Your Plot” by Cathy Yardley, “Write Good or Die,” and “You’ve Got a Book in You.” Finding out what works for you when writing is important. I am more of a pantser than a plotter. Lately I’ve become a plotster because I’m determined to have less writer’s block, more writing time. I got stuck at the midpoint of my novel–not a good thing when you have a deadline.

So now, I’m working on getting my routine in order for NaNoWriMo. It’s getting closer and closer and I’d like to have my outline and character outlines finished before it starts.


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