Writer, Reader, Tea Drinker, Chrononaut

Category: writing Page 2 of 11

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 11-12

Day 11

My goal for today was 4000 words, and I hit it. It helps to have 3 (or 4?) story threads: the main case to solve, the ticking clock (pay the debt by Friday or consequences), and now police have called in our heroine on a new case. I just keep chugging away at it. Lots of cleaning up of earlier chapters, filling in description and details, then taking a run at moving the story forward. Conflict between characters is always good, especially when they are friends. Keep putting Butt in Chair, keep writing, keep telling myself that it can be awful and it doesn’t matter because no one has to ever see it. Keep amusing self.

30″ 327, 45″ 675, 20″ 154, 10″ 49, 10″ 132, 5″ 60, 25″ 146, 30″ 568, 30″ 753, 40″ 609, 40″ 729 (280″ 4202 words)

Day 12

One of the things I emphasize in my “How to Write a Novel in 30 Days” presentation is to back everything up. It doesn’t matter how—cloud, USB drive, emails to yourself, photographs, photocopies, handwritten copies. Just back it up to something that is reliable so in case SHTF, you will still have what you have written.

I live in Evernote. It backs up to a cloud. I thought I was safe.

I was wrong.

The good news is that I only lost a hundred-ish words (they weren’t the bestest words ever, but they were decent and I regret their loss). The bad news is that I lost a good chunk of my faith in Evernote, and I realized that perhaps I need to change how I do things.

Nevermind that this is the way I have been doing this writing thing for years.


So my blissful trust has been smudged and I now look over my proverbial backup shoulder constantly. Which sucks.

Managed to get an hour of writing in, even after dealing with Evernote issues, and more importantly got more words in the story. Exciting news: heroine under suspicion regarding the new police case. Doh!

10″ 31 (lost), 10″ 98 (lost), 40″ 1137

TOTALS SO FAR: 955″ & 14,142 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 9-10

Day 9

I have no idea what I’m doing, but I just keep writing words. I keep cycling back through previous chapters and then forge ahead with new chapters. Not dizzy at all. Ha.

60″ 411

50″ 1406

15″ 326

Day 10

Ugh. I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and that this is pointless. I should be writing adventure/romance, not ‘mystery’ which I don’t feel in my bones. Maybe this would be easier if the story wasn’t about a cold case. Maybe. Is writing this novel stretching me? Oh, hell yes. Is it fun? Not really, although I love the talking cat [spoiler]. Does it have to be publishable? No. Does it have to be done so I can move on and get over my ‘mystery genre’ writing hang-ups? YES.

Maybe if I think about it like some of the urban fantasy novels I love that have at the heart of them a mystery, wrapped with strong strands of romance and friendships—then maybe I can make this work. Maybe.

40″ 449

10″ 127

5″ 44

40″ 1038

TOTALS SO FAR: 615″ & 8674 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 6-8

Day 6

Not many words or time today because I was focused on other writerly things (updating the blog, revising the newsletter). Planned to get an hour of writing in; I was lucky to get twenty minutes.

20″ 592

Day 7

My goal on weekdays is to get an hour of writing in, and I nailed that today, even if I only got 500 words. Ideally one hour would net me 1000 words, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. Still cleaning up the first chapters.

30″ 81

35″ 422

Day 8

Feeling very uncertain about this detective fiction thing. Regency fantasy romance? Sure! Time travel to WWII London? Absolutely! Space opera in an intergalactic coffee shop? No problem!

But a mystery? Egads.

So of course I had to go learn about mysteries and detective fiction because MORE RESEARCH IS ALWAYS GOOD (um, not really). I did learn some things which should be useful, so that’s a win.

180″ 2411

TOTALS SO FAR: 395″ & 4893 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 4-5

Day 4

Holy hell. I don’t know if it’s post-election exhaustion or, more likely, my Perfectionism coming to the fore, but man, I put off writing all damn day. Thankfully, I had an hour that I was forced to sit away from a computer and do nothing, so I wrote longhand, or tried to write, and everything in my head was a constant battering of self-doubt:

“Do I start here?”

“Do I open with setting? What is the setting? What is the mood? What is going on here?”

“Maybe I need a writing prompt. But not that writing prompt. Okay, geez, I thought that writing prompt would work and now I don’t know what to do with it.”

“Do I scrap everything I wrote back in August and start over? Or do I try to make it work?”

“OMG, I suck and I cannot follow my own writing advice. How the hell can I teach people how to write when I hit Nanowrimo and I am a freaking mess?”

And then just as I start trying to actually write, the Evil Critic in the back of my head pops up to offer his charming insights:

“Wow, you really don’t know what you’re doing. You are such a hack. When you wrote other stories in this world, you had fun and now you’re struggling, so the earlier writing must have been inspired and you used it all up because now you’ve got nothing. Wow, this is terrible writing. Maybe you should go study some more because you clearly have no idea how to write detective fiction, so you are going to fail miserably. After all this time, all you’ve managed is 200 words? Such a loser…”

So, yeah. Despite the mental distractions, I managed to write one page of the novel today, which feels like a monumental victory.

As Scarlett O’Hara said, tomorrow is another day. Hopefully this was just the initial stuttering, like trying to start a car that’s been parked in a garage for years. Just needs a little bit of a jump to get going.

TOTALS SO FAR: 25″ & 298 words

Day 5

Now that I got that out of my system, time to get to work.

The good news: yesterday’s words weren’t as bad as I thought. Not great, but not awful. So that’s a win.

Spent today going over what I wrote yesterday and then fitting that in with what I wrote back in August. Lots of smoothing things down and filling things out and trying to keep it all consistent.

The writing still feels awkward, but I’m making some progress. I’ll take it.

20″ 137 words
40″ 264 words
45″ 688 words
[for the day 105″ 1089 words]

TOTALS SO FAR: 130″ & 1387 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Day 3

Still getting warmed up here. I spent an hour reading the last of the three short stories in the Genie Colt* world (it was the longest at 7,200 words, with the other two running around 2,000 each) and taking notes for the ‘story bible’.

Holy hell. I have an entire world already created.

I’ve got an opinionated main character (don’t get her started on fake plants, bad coffee, or McMansions) in a city with wizards, old Norse gods, and mer-people, and a seedy supernatural underbelly that has its own infrastructure that includes bureaucracy, crime scene cleaners, and a motley assortment of residents (daughter of a garbage truck driver and a fairy? Check!). And did I mention the wizard ex-fiance that has our heroine annoyed and intrigued?

Okay, so I’m starting to get really excited, and a little nervous. This thing could be, in the parlance of my childhood, AWESOME.

But no pressure.

Now to review the story idea I had back in August, and see how I can use that.

<twiddles thumbs breathlessly>


*Genie (Genevieve) Colt, occult PI. Set in Astoria, Oregon.

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 1-2

Day 1

National Novel Writing Month officially started November 1, which I spent doing everything but Nanowrimo in an effort to tie up other writing loose ends before embarking on the new novel. I finished up four flash fiction stories, worked on the cover to my upcoming “Seven Territories” print collection, and sent out my newsletter.

I’m not panickingyetbecause I’ve had Nanowrimo years where I didn’t start writing until Day 3.

Day 2

Back in August, I started writing a “revenge noir” story as part of my “Write a Story a Week” pandemic challenge. The story had all the proper attitude of a noir story (lots of attitude) and took off with magic, supernaturals, and an occult PI in Astoria, Oregon. I was having a ball writing it, and then realized that what I was writing was not a short story, but had all the makings of a novel.


So I wrote a different story and shelved the occult PI noir story, promising myself I would give it the space and time it needed.

Oh, look! Nanowrimo to the rescue.

I’ve already written three stories in this funky urban fantasy-noir world, so I spent today reading through those stories and making notes in a ‘story bible’ that I can use as I make my way through the novel. No need to come up with new backstory/world building (or spend time trying to remember what I had come up with) when I already have some of that worked out.

At this point, I may be slightly cheating by having started the novel already (that said, it’s only 2,200 words), but I’ll still be writing 50,000 over the course of the month. And I might end up rewriting the beginning anyway.

The real challenge for me is writing a mystery novel, which has me a little on edge. I’ve written two mystery stories so far, but nothing long form, so we shall see how this goes.

Happy Release Day!

Wilde and Sweet coverNew in The Seven Territories series is “Wilde and Sweet”. It’s a charming short story about love, magic, and demons, set during New Year’s in the alternative Wild West world of magic, zombies, and Chinese mythology.

An Army deserter makes the mistake of kissing the mayor’s daughter at the town Christmas party, and demonic chaos ensues. If you like twists and turns in your historical fantasy stories, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

So if you haven’t gotten your fill of holiday stories (or you’re not quite yet ready for stories about sunny tropical beaches and 4th of July celebrations), check it out! The story is available at the usual digital marketplaces (Amazon and everybody else).

Happy Release Day!

Tea and Treachery coverOut now for your digital consumption: “Tea and Treachery,” the first story in the Seven Territories series. The stories all take place in a post-American Civil War world, where magic, demons, and zombies exist (and may have been behind the War Between the States). Think “Old West” with wizards, Chinese mysticism, and some actual facts mixed in (it is “alternate history” after all).

“Tea and Treachery” is about a woman mage at the end of her proverbial rope: her fiancé is dead, her magic was stolen, and her future is now hopeless. So what’s an ambitious mage to do? Get her magic back at any cost. But is the cost too high?

The story is available in digital form at the usual suspects (Amazon and the other guys). The print version will be available in early 2020 in a collection of the forthcoming Seven Territories stories.

Get ready for a wild Weird West ride!


It’s alive! (well, online)

My (very) short story “Bitter Spell” was included in the Halloween episode of the Alone in a Room with Invisible People podcast, and Rebecca Galardo did a fantastic job reading it. It’s so different to actually hear your written words spoken aloud (esp. by someone else), versus hearing them in your head as you read. As I listened to the story, I thought, “I wrote that? Wow.”

You can hear the story here (at the 1:58:35 mark):

Episode 71: 2nd Annual Halloween Special: Listener Edition – Part Two

Credit goes to Holly Lisle and her “How to Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck” course (it’s free!).

And now back to the writing…

I won!

Out of numerous entries, my (very) short story, “Bitter Spell,” was chosen to be read on the upcoming Halloween episode of the Alone in a Room with Invisible People podcast.

Curious what this may look (er, sound) like? Check out last year’s Halloween episode. (Skip over the first 30 seconds to avoid the creepy intro.)

I’m excited to hear my work read outloud by a voice not my own, let alone possibly by Holly Lisle, whose classes I have taken. Validation FTW!

Have a Happy Halloween, and may your zombie ex-husbands not come after you.


Page 2 of 11

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén