Archive for the ‘Writing process’ Category

My view 80% of vacation

Laptop packed? Check.

Fully charged battery? Check.

Cameras charged and ready? Check.

Writing journals, notecards, and Donald Maass book packed? Check.

End of vacation writing progress?  NONE!!!!

Has anyone else ever done this? Gone on vacation intending to get in touch with your creative side?   Thought the beautiful landscape would inspire you? 

I pictured that beautiful Hawaii and its beautiful beaches with endless peace and quiet would equate to an eruption of creative juices.  (Pun intended) Not so much.  I thought of writing just a little but then the beach chair must have some sort of brain activity suction somewhere.  Literally my butt hit the chair and my writing motivation wriggled itself in the soft warm sand right along with my toes. 

I do have somewhat of an excuse.  My children and parents were with me on the first leg of the vacation so many of you mothers  know exactly what that can do for the probability of high brain function .  We can only register so much.  Did I put the 30 SPF in the backpack?   Are the pool toys in my backpack or his?  Where is the lip balm?  Oh, wait.  Let me pack a few hundred more snacks so the kids won’t bug me for another six hours about being hungry nor will I have to take them to the pool side restaurant that thinks their hot dogs must be laced with gold by the prices that want to extort. 

I had no room for the “me” stuff.  However, I absolutely loved the time with my parents and the kids.  My kids had never been to the ocean before so their enthrallment with the beach and snorkeling and all things Hawaii made my heart full.   It was like that first time when your kids saw fireworks and I am not talking the pathetic highway stand fireworks.  The ones you pack a picnic basket full of dinner, blankets, chairs, bug repellent, and plenty of cold beverages while you claim the perfect spot for the big show. 

They were so excited that my ten-year old was doing cartwheels down the beach.  My seven-year old ran through the surf as if he was auditioning for Baywatch-The Next Generation.  My four-year old dug in the sand with crappy little plastic toys and found umpteen lava rocks and coral as if each one was truly a treasure.  Those moments will stick with me forever.  We snorkeled, took a catamaran day trip to Lana’i, saw whales and spinner dolphins, shopped, ate, exercised, met new people, hiked a waterfall, oh yeah, and laid on my backside 80% of the time.   Even though I lugged my stupid laptop across 4 time zones for nothing, I think I will have some pretty wonderful memories that can lend some ideas for a story down the road. 

And for those of you that live in Hawaii….I hate you.  I mean that in the nicest way possible. 

Does anyone have any great places they visited and were inspired to write?  Any other writer mamas out there that intended to write but had the same problems I had?  Please feel free to share!!

Mahalo and Aloha,

Hallieieilu (my name in Hawaiian) (I am kidding)


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I just read a three-part interview with Diana Gabaldon done by Kathleen Bolton on the blog Writer Unboxed.   I let out a big sigh after reading it, for a couple of reasons. 

First reason is she mentioned in the interview that there will be another book after AN ECHO IN THE BONE. I am currently reading A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana which is her second to last book in the Outlander series.  I am dragging it out because I don’t want to stop reading about Jamie and Claire.    I am still iffy on reading about Lord John Grey.  I have Claire’s back on this one and feel like I would betray her by reading it. 🙂  Her books do that to you.  Totally suck you in and make you feel like you know her characters personally.  Well I might as well call Claire a close friend.  God knows I have spent enough time reading about her and cheering her on like any great friend would do.

The second thing about the interview was that she admitted to not using an outline.  Diana lets the characters take her along the plot, while she overall has an idea of how she wants the story to look.  She compares the storyline to a DNA molecule with parts connected.  I love that she does that.  I started with an idea and storyline and did an outline before I started.  I hated every second of it.  I felt like I was back in Jr. High in my early English classes trying to figure out my first outline.   The more I “organized” with the outline, the more disorganized I felt.  How much was too much?  Did I have enought?

As I started writing, I realized that the story needed something different than what my outline told me-a different route to get to part of my plot.  So I switched things up and cut out a bunch of manuscript.   I didn’t trash it however.  I saved it in a “bits and pieces” area on my computer to use again if need be.  I know I will never use it but it is like throwing away bad photos.  They are still evidence of someone or something’s existence, no matter how out of focus the picture is.

So now I have basically been writing by the seat of my pants.  I still have the beginning, middle, and end of my story in my head but I am not so rigid about how to get there.  It is refreshing and helpful to know that an author like Diana Gabaldon doesn’t have a very conventional way of writing as well.  By no means do I compare myself to her.  It is just that I started to wonder about what the hell I was doing and if this story would make sense without the skeleton of an outline.  Well, if Diana Gabaldon can do it, then so can I.  Therefore, I will continue to write willy-nilly between trips to the gym, fixing lunch for my son, picking up kids from school, etc.  Heck, that is what revision is for, right?

Check out my link to Writer Unboxed and you will find Diana Gabaldon’s name on the list of author interviews.  It is an interesting read for all of you Diana fans.

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Okay, I am working on a historical romance and I am hitting a roadblock.  I have thought about it and thought about it and I still haven’t come up with a solution.  How far am I going to go with the love scenes?  I mean I have neighbors and friends, and egad, family that might read this someday.  If they don’t, there will be another attempt at a published novel if not this one.  How does one decide on how far to push it? 

I look at Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas and they write gorgeous love stories with plenty of sexy detail.  It doesn’t offend me because I have read romances for so long.  I thought for a long time that you HAD to write the love scenes a certain way to make it a true romance novel.  Then I read Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander and it totally screwed that theory up.  The Outlander isn’t a typical romance novel and it isn’t really categorized that way.  However, I still got the “Oh my gosh, they HAVE to end up together” and “I really want to meet Claire and Jamie  because they are so awesome together” feelings.  She writes the loves scenes without actually writing them.   She gives you just enough to set the stage and then lets you imagine the rest.   Normally, I would be ticked if I am left hanging without those details but somehow the novel didn’t need it .  Many times she gives the foreplay and then stops when things get a bit more, ahem, you know. 

So here I am.  Trying to figure out what kind of romance writer I would like to become.   I guess I should just write the love scenes and see if it feels “right” and if it doesn’t, then change it until it does.  It is a lot different reading it than trying to write it.  I commend all successful romance writers for doing it so well!

If anyone has any advice, feel free to post.

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Well, simply it is that I have some things I want to talk about and need the adult conversation.  Whether or not you care to listen and respond is up to you.  But you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t follow this blog. 

You see, I am a mom raising three children and sometimes I just need to talk.   I am not a fan of talking on the phone (as all of my friends painfully know) so there goes that avenue to converse.  So I thought blogging might be the next best thing.  Of course, I twitter and do the Facebook thing but I need to expand my circle and talk to others that don’t know everything about me already. 

Another reason I am blogging is that I need the daily writing practice.  You see, I am another one of those avid book readers that think she can also write one.  I realized after reading multiple blogs and web sites that it more important now then ever to have some credibility rather than just a great story.  We all have great stories in us just a matter of you are willing to take the time and risk of putting it out there.  I am ready for the risk and I am trying to find the time.  I need something for me.  My oldest child is ten and I quit working to stay home when she was three and her little brother was born. 

I have painfully realized that all that I used to be has faded into the background when I decided to stay home and raise kids.  It is my own fault but after having each one of my children, my needs and wants didn’t seem that important anymore.  However, as time moves on and kids get older, I find myself wondering where I went.  I used to love riding my bike on the trails near our home, loved playing tennis, meeting friends for lunch, and going to Happy Hour.   The only time I ride my bike is when the dog is lost and I need a quick mode of transportation.  My tennis game consists of playing with my four year old in the driveway.  I have been on about four or five lunches with friends since I started my stay-at-home occupation and most of those have happened in the past year.  My version of Happy Hour is having a glass of wine while I cook dinner.

 Everything has been for them because that it was I chose to do.  However, now that they are older and my youngest is in preschool a couple of days a week, I miss me.  I don’t have an income so it is very hard for me to ask my husband to fund any self-involved activities;  tennis club membership, paying for a babysitter so I can go shopping (without those pesky kids putting unwanted things in the cart or wandering away just far enough to send me into a panic), continuing education courses, etc.  These are some things that I would love to do but feel guilty even thinking about.   Don’t get me wrong.  I am not one of those doting mothers that takes her kids to the childrens’ museum every Thursday.  I don’t take them to the library to sit for an hour each week to peruse the aisles with them for just the right book or play with the blocks with them.  I don’t even know where the childrens’ museum is anymore and we are in and out of the library so fast the kids don’t bother taking off their coats anymore.  No, I am not one of those moms. 

I think I am just out of practice of taking time for me.   At least I used to be.  A few years ago, when Oprah’s book club was such a big deal and everyone wanted to read what Oprah was reading, I got back into reading.  I used to read all the time as a child and all throughout my teen years.  However, I stopped reading after college and reading enough text books to sink a ship. Well, maybe a small dinghy.  Okay, okay, more likely a canoe with a hole already in it.  My first job required me to work long hours and I was usually exhauted when I got home. 

Oprah renewed my love for reading and I have strayed away from her list which I find overly depressing.  There are some inspirational books there but  I prefer the happy ending 99 out of 100 books and not the other way around.  That is why I read them!  I like to escape and lose myself into another world as I know it.  I am not sure what book I had just read that made me think I had it in me but I started to think of a character.  Then I started to think of the setting I would love to see her in.   Then I thought about writing it down.   That is all I could think.  I bought books on writing various genres, borrowed research books from our local library, and even bought some journals to start writing an outline.  That was two years ago.  

I am still working on the book but my commitment and attitude has changed.  I realized this is the thing I had been looking for.  That thing just for me.  Even if this book doesn’t get published, I know that I did it.  Then I can do it again and hopefully better the next time.  I want to inspire my children, not just be the person that takes care of them really well and even that is highly debateable.     So here I am, renewing my relationship with myself and trying to do something just for me. 

I love to read and I hope to give some entertaining reading material to others.  I know it is going to take a while to get to that point where others are going to enjoy what I have to say, whether it is fiction or whatever I put on this blog.  I have to flex my writing muscles so here I am.  I always thought blogging was weird and narscasstic just like Facebook and Twitter.  I joined Facebook almost two years ago and Twitter a few months ago.  So here I am.  Blogging.  Never thought I would do it but then again, I didn’t know I was going to write a book a couple of years ago either.  

I hope you enjoy what you read but it really isn’t for you.   It is okay if you don’t care. You won’t hurt my feelings.  Feedback and comments are always welcome, however.  🙂

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