Monday, July 31, 2017

First Draft vs. Revisions

I've found that many of the writers that I've spoken with prefer to work on revisions, edits, or rewrites than write the first draft of a novel.

I'm the exact opposite. I find it much easier to write the first draft than have to go back through the completed work and look for plot holes, proper grammar and sentence structure, pacing, and inconsistencies such as changes in hair and eye color or names, and time of day or the timeline in general... The list goes on and on.

One of the reasons I prefer to write a first draft than work on editing or revisions is while I try to use proper grammar and keep inconsistencies to a minimum during that first draft, I don't sit there obsessively worrying whether I'm following the "rules" and such. The words usually flow from my fingers to the keyboard. When I'm working on edits or revisions, I feel like the words come in drips and drabs if I have to flesh out a scene or add a new one. I'm too worried about those rules, whether everything flows and makes sense etc.

It seems to take me two or three times as long to revise a completed manuscript than it does to write a first draft. I'd like to find a way to do revisions/edits that doesn't take quite so long and doesn't make me want to pull my hair out during the process but at the same time, improves the novel to the point it is the best I can make it.

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. :o)

Friday, July 28, 2017

This I know for sure...

A city about an hour or so away from where I live has a NFL football team. Every year they hold a training camp open to the public for about two weeks in early August at one of the major universities in the the city where I live. 

Whenever I think about football, I equate it with the fall season so every year when the football training camp starts, I get a bit depressed because it seems like summer is ending already. I know in my head that there are at least four or so weeks left of the summer season, but as soon as people start talking about football and the training camp practices and games, it seems like summer is all but over.

It seems like it takes summer forever to get here and is gone before you know it. Having the NFL team come and practice as they get ready for the upcoming season just seems to make the summer go by even faster.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress):  My goal last week was 50 pages revised. I only finished 25 pages, but I don't feel too badly about it. I knew going in the goal was probably a bit unrealistic due to other commitments.

Quote of the Week: “Know your reasons. This is the difference between resolutions that fail and resolutions that succeed. When your reasons are good enough, your resolve will make things happen.” ~ Unknown

What I'm reading: I started reading Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout on Sunday night. This is the first book I've read by Ms. Armentrout. I didn't realize she wrote other genres besides YA (Young Adult).

Random Thoughts:  The squirrels are so determined to dig in every pot I've planted something in, they even tipped over the pot that still has old dirt from last year in it. It got left out on the porch under a chair over the winter and spring.

Random Photo of the Week:

                              Mrs. Green sleeps with the tip of her tongue hanging out.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Half Year Review

It's hard to believe the first half of 2017 has come and gone already. My mom has always said that the older you get, the faster the years seem to go by. I'm starting to agree. I remember when I was in school, even while in college, the summer break was long and leisurely. Now it seems like summer barely gets here and the next thing you know, it's September already.

I spent some time this past weekend looking over the goals that I set back in January. I knew before I started that I was off track to where I thought/hoped I'd be at this time in the year. I'm about three months behind in where I planned on being. While it's a little disappointing, I'm doing much better than I did last year.

I revised a couple of goals going into the end of 2017. The first and most important one is to get the revisions for Spellbound completed, the synopsis written, and the query letter sent out to the first round of agents/editors by the second week of September.

The second goal is health related and goes into the end of the year. It is to get more regular exercise and to eat more along the lines of a Mediterranean diet. I exercise now, but it's kind of hit or miss - one or two days one week, three or four days the next, then back to one or two days the following week. I need to get more consistent with it.

How are you doing with your goals?

Friday, July 21, 2017

This I know for sure...

I'm eagerly waiting for Autumn and cooler weather. Not that I'm any real fan of fall only because it means winter is soon to follow and will last 6 months. It hasn't been really unbearably hot this summer. We've only had two 90 degree or higher days this summer. Last summer we had twenty-seven days of 90 degree or higher weather. It has been more humid than usual though even when the temperatures have been in the 70's. We don't usually have humidity unless it's in the mid-80's or higher.

The reason I'm looking forward to the cooler weather is that I have a bunch of new bread and cookie recipes I want to try. I refuse to put the oven on when the heat or humidity is already making the day unbearable. In my eagerness, I've already gone through the recipes and put them in the order that I want to make them.

So while I love the summer and hate to see it end, I'm looking for those 60 degree or lower days so I can indulge in my love of homemade bread and cookies.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I met my goal for last week and revised 60 pages of Spellbound. My goal this week is to do 50 pages. I think it might be a bit ambitious because I have an appointment tomorrow that will take up my writing time and Friday is the rehearsal dinner for my niece's wedding which will take up some of the writing time. 

Quote of the Week: “Start where you are. This is different (and a million times more effective) than thinking from where you are. Thinking is good, but you need to make the start official with action.” ~Unknown 

What I'm reading:  I started When All The Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz last night. 

Random Thoughts: I'm starting to feel old. A nephew got married last summer and he and his wife are now expecting their first child. This weekend one of my nieces is getting married. It's hard to believe my nieces and nephews are getting married. 

Random Photo of the Week:

                  Mrs. Green enjoying the afternoon sun by trying to lay in the window. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Well Loved?

I read a book recently that described a room with floor to ceiling bookshelves. The shelves were packed and included books ranging from expensive leather bound editions to paperbacks. The paperback books were described as having lines on their spines from being cracked and read so much that it was obvious they were well loved.

My reading of the scene came to a screeching halt. "Well loved?" I thought. Or maybe not loved enough to have proper care taken with them.

You see, I was brought up that if you loved something, you took good care of it. This ranged from toys to books to shoes and clothing. For example all of my shoes (except running shoes/sneakers) go back into the boxes with the toes stuffed with tissue paper just like when you first purchased them. And books...You didn't crack the spine by laying it flat face down or opening it too wide, you didn't fold the corner of the page to mark your spot. All of the paperback books that I have purchased, loved, and kept over the years look brand new as though they were just bought the day before.

My sister says I've taken the "take good care of your belongings" rule to the extreme when it comes to books. Her books all have cracked spines, some have stains where she accidentally dripped coffee on a page. Some have pages that have come loose that she's taped back into place. She says that people know by looking at her books that they are well read and loved.

What do you think? Do you fall into the "cracked spine, dog-eared pages" equals well read and loved camp? Or do you fall in the "keep like new or in good condition" equals well read and loved camp?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, July 14, 2017

This I know for sure...

As I mentioned in Wednesday's post, we have a new kitten in the household. Her name is Mrs. Green and she's approximately 14 weeks old.

Still mourning the loss of Petey, I wasn't all that excited about getting a new cat so soon, but since the vet suggested it to help our other cat, Somebody, deal with the loss, my mom and brother went to a local shelter and picked out the new kitten. I had planned on going myself, but just didn't have the heart to. It felt like I wasn't honoring Petey's place in our family, like he didn't mean anything and was easily disposed of and replaced.

At first, Somebody was very wary around the kitten. He would back up every time she came with in a few feet of him. He's been very good with her in terms of not attacking her or hissing at her, though he did bop her on the head with his paw a couple of days after she'd been with us.

Yesterday he started playing with her, lying on the floor and teasing her with his tail so she'd jump at it. Later when she was sleeping in the cat bed we keep in the living room, he stopped, sniffed her, and then started washing her ears until she sat up and looked at him. (He would always wash Petey's ears when he was sleeping.)

He seems to be doing so much better than he was without the kitten. He's back to eating and drinking normally and he doesn't walk around crying for Petey any more. While I wasn't ready to get a new kitten, I'm glad we did because it definitely seems to have helped Somebody. And having a new cat around the house is infinitely preferable to putting him on anti-depressants even for the short term. If you've ever tried to give a pill to a cat, you'll know why I didn't want to do that.

It also doesn't hurt that she likes to crawl into your lap and take a nap while purring like crazy. Here's a picture of her making herself at home on the sofa.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week:

My current WIP (work in progress): I've made a good start on revisions of Spellbound this week. My goal is to get at least 60 pages revised. I'm about 1/2 way there.

Quote of the Week: I'm not sure this qualifies as a quote. It's my horoscope from yesterday. "To succeed at the aim, it helps to be in love with the goal. And it helps even more to be in love with the process required to get to the goal. If you're not in love with process, it's still possible to reach the goal. It's just harder."

What I'm reading: I started reading Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan a couple of days ago. This is the 3rd book in the From Manhattan with Love series. I haven't read the first two books in the series, but I'm not feeling lost at all. I'm really enjoying this book and will be reading the other books in the series.

Random Thoughts:  I mentioned last week that I was looking into adopting a new kitten to help our 2 year old cat, Somebody, cope with the loss of our older cat, Petey. We have a new kitten. I'll post more about the new addition on Friday.

Random Photo of the Week:

I have miniature sunflower blossoms. Finally. The squirrels have been eating the buds so I wasn't expecting any to actually get a chance to bloom.

Random Thoughts

Monday, July 10, 2017

Writing More

Last Wednesday's motivation quote - “Setbacks are normal. They will happen. It’s something to accept, along with the responsibility of getting back up and into the game.” ~  Unknown - spoke to me quite a bit. I've been having trouble getting back into the regular routine of writing if not every day, at least on a more regular basis.

Between appointments both scheduled and those that cropped up, the changes in my day job situation, and then the loss of our beloved Petey, I've been struggling to get time in front of the laptop for writing despite my efforts to do so.

So starting today, it being the beginning of a new week and all, I'm going to follow the quote above and get back up and into the game. My goal this week is to get at least 30 pages revised on hard copy and then any changes transferred to the latest version of the manuscript.

Here's to never giving up and always moving forward no matter the pace.


Friday, July 7, 2017

This I know for sure...

As I mentioned in Wednesday's post, our 12 year old cat, Petey, passed away on Monday. We also have a two year old cat named Somebody. Somebody is missing Petey intensely. He walks around looking for Petey, crying for him. He's barely eating or drinking. He has been spending a lot of time in the basement sleeping near the spot where Petey used to lay on the carpet.

I called our veterinarian and asked what I should do. The vet said some animals barely notice the other pet is missing while others do mourn the loss of a companion deeply to the point where they become so depressed, medication is needed to help them so that they don't become ill themselves. He said because Somebody has never been alone, coming directly from a litter of 4 to our house with Petey, he might not only be missing Petey, but feeling lost and lonely without another cat in the household. He said that if I thought I might get another cat in the future, it might be better to get one now as it will help Somebody with the grieving process and also provide a distraction for him, keeping him from feeling lonely.

I'm not sure I'm ready to adopt another cat/kitten so soon after losing Petey, but I'm very worried about Somebody. The vet did say that if Somebody hasn't shown any type of improvement by today to make an appointment and he would administer an appetite stimulant and could prescribe a short term anti-depressant. I made an appointment to take him in tomorrow morning. I really don't want to medicate him with anti-depressants if I don't have to so after work today I'm going to go to a local animal shelter to see what cats/kittens are available for adoption. I'm really ambivalent about getting a new pet right now, but if it helps Somebody get back to his old self it might be for the best.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress):  Our older cat, Petey, passed away on Monday. No writing this week as we deal with the sudden loss.

Quote of the Week: “Setbacks are normal. They will happen. It’s something to accept, along with the responsibility of getting back up and into the game.” ~  Unknown

What I'm reading: I started How The Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell. This is the first book in the Disgraceful Dukes series. It's also the first book I've read by Ms. Bell.

Random Thoughts:  I'm a bit worried about our 2 year old cat, Somebody. He's been walking around crying and looking for Petey. He's not eating or drinking as much as he usually does. He seems very mopey, not his usual playful self. He's not even eating his treats which he always would eat and then want more. He's never been alone, coming right from his litter to living with Petey. I've spoken to the vet and was told that some cats do grieve the loss of a companion. I'm going to give him a couple more days and if he's still the same I'm going to take him in for a check up to make sure he's ok. The fact that he's not really eating or drinking concerns me even though the vet didn't seem overly worried as long as he was eating and drinking even if it's not his normal amount.

Random Photo of the Week:

      Somebody and Petey (he's the black cat) trying to snuggle in a bed meant for one.

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Bit Early...

I realize I'm a day early but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July. 
I hope you and your families have a great holiday.