Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Layered Writer

Trying to meet a deadline for the Nocturne Cravings pitch at has taught me a few valuable lessons about writing.

First, I'm a very slow writer, even when I'm trying to free write. When I was younger, words flowed out of me like a river over a waterfall; those days are apparently over. The river has dried to a trickle. I can accept that as long as the water is still there.

Second, writing can be fun, but it can also be work. Before this, I had never had a real writing deadline. I wrote when I felt like it. If it wasn’t fun, I didn’t do it. To make this deadline, I must write for several hours every day on one project. It’s like having a second job. Don’t misunderstand; it’s hard but it feels good, like I’m seriously accomplishing something worthwhile.

Third, where once I was a one draft wonder, I am now a layered writer. I’ve discovered my mind can no longer see/write everything at once. I now need to layer my stories in multiple drafts. My first draft consists of description and action. This is how the characters look and this is what they do and say. In my second draft, I work in thoughts and emotions. These are the reasons the characters do what they do and say what they say. My third draft is for mechanics: grammar, spelling, style. And, so on.

So, even if I don't get my novella done in time for the pitch, I have discovered a renewed enthusiasm for writing. After the writing hole I've been in for so long, it feels amazing to actually enjoy writing and to look forward to it instead of avoiding it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Next Writing Tool

Outline 4DSince I've decided I'm going to outline before I write, I've found my next writing tool: Outline 4D. It sounds like a great program for outlining just about any writing project, including screenplays and novels. It integrates with popular programs like Word. I'm not sure if it works with Final Draft though, but I can get around that. They even have a website tutorial for it: (

Is anyone out there familiar with Outline 4D for the PC?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First Gentle Sex Scene

I'm writing my first gentle sex scene. I've put it off because I thought it would be a no-brainer. I've written hardcore sex before, this should be easy. Man, was I wrong! I'm not a prude. I like sex. I've had sex. I read sex. I even like talking about sex. It doesn't embarrass me.

So why can't I write about normal sex?

This concerns me because my chosen genre is erotic romance. Sex scenes are mandatory. My first attempt at heterosexual, loving sex read like an instruction manual--no passion, no inner dialog, no feeling. My second try was too much inner dialog and no action. I tried putting the two together but I can't make them flow. It's like switching between the Science and Soap channels.

I tried getting some refresher experience with my significant other last night. Unfortunately, we both have colds and had dosed ourselves with NyQuil. We ended up falling asleep on each other.

I now have a higher regard for writers who write successful sex scenes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A-Z Blogging Challenge

I've joined a blogging challenge for the first time. It begins in April. Bloggers have to blog every day, except weekends, and each day has to be on a subject starting with a letter of the alphabet, A to Z.

I know what you're thinking: Just what Lisa needs, another way to spend time not writing her novel.

Well, you might be right. On the other hand, writng is writing.

I'm planning on being through the first draft of my novel by then. And if I'm not, I look on this as a writing exercise. Twenty-six subjects in twenty-six days. In alphabetical order. That should get my creativity flowing. And if I keep the posts short and on a subject I'm familiar with, it shouldn't be too time consuming. I'm hoping to use it as a warm-up to working on a WIP.

We'll see!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Goodbye, Moe

A good friend died last week. He was the father of my first boyfriend. Even though Tony and I broke up in junior high, Moe remained a friend to my parents. I didn't really get to know him until after I graduated high school. He was at my parents' house almost every evening for dinner so he became like a second father to me. He helped me when my parents couldn't. I have him to thank for some of the best memories of my life. My parents used to call him the Vampire of the Dawn because on weekends he would sometimes show up for breakfast after having been out all night partying. As he grew older, he left the wild life behind and became a student of religion. He was on his way, in his 80s, to getting a bachelor's degree in religious studies.

He didn't want a funeral so there won't be a gathering of friends and family. No way to say goodbye. It's  not important, really, but I still feel the need to say it. There will be a get-together but not until August because his death was so sudden and his son lives in Alaska.

August is too far away. So, I'm saying goodbye to him here.

Goodbye, Moe. I loved you, though I don't think I ever said it.  I regret that but I hope you knew.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

At Last...

HQN is having an online pitchfest for Nocturne Bites. Great opportunity. The deadine is too soon for me to finish 16,000-20,000 words ready for submission, but it's made me want to write again. I've written 500-1,600 words a day for the last several days. No use beating myself up, but if I had continued to write during November's NoWriMo I'd have a finished Bites ready to submit.

Ah, well. The good news is: I'm writing!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Not-So-Happy New Year

I thought the end of last year was bad and eagerly looked forward to 2011. I just knew that life would settle down and I'd be able to get back to normal. Now the new year is here and things have gone from bad to worse.

So far, since January first:
  1. A close family friend is hospitalized and not expected to live out the week.
  2. I'm really sick with a fever/flu/cold and can't visit him in the intensive care unit to say goodbye.
  3. The love of my life just found a lump on one of his testicles.
  4. My elderly father's dementia has suddenly worsened. He got lost driving to a friend's house and can't remember the combination to his postal box. Last weekend he left the hose on and drained the water tank--twice.
  5. My elderly mother, who is in so much chronic pain they want to give her a morphine drip, may now be losing her eyesight.
  6. My cat, who has been beside me through thick and thin for twenty years, is fading away.
  7. With all the stress I've been under the last six months, I've succumbed to eating whatever I can get my hands on and my blood sugar is spiraling out of control.
  8. The brakes on the truck are squealing.
  9. My supervisor told me he plans to quit next month when he gets his degree. He's the only buffer between me and the Big Bad who took over our department.
  10. I haven't been able to write one word of fiction.
I've lived long enough to know that all this will pass and I'll survive the outcome (or not). Either way, Life is change. Sometimes the change is good, sometimes it sucks.

I'm so ready for a good change. When is that going to happen?