Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Life has been full of ups and downs lately, not to mention fires, ants, and a rapidly disintegrating fence.  Naturally I’ve been comfort reading to balance things out.  Sure, I’ve been calling it research, but that’s only true in the slightest sense.

I’ve been reading my way through Georgette Heyer’s Georgian/Regency romances (I finished off her mysteries several months ago) both for enjoyment and to get a better feel for her wording, speech patterns, and conversational styles that do such a wonderful job evoking the period her stories are set in.

Since I’m in the process of revising my own Regency story, which feels a lot like a contemporary dressed up as a historical, I’m hoping all the reading I’ve been doing will be of help as I work to make the story sound more historically accurate.

I’ll be doing a little more reading, once I finish with this post, but then it will be time to get some my own words on the page.  I think I’ll get things started by trying my hand at writing something that sounds historically accurate – possibly incorporating some of today’s random words.

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Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

I was at the store yesterday and they had a display of Halloween costumes out already. That’s just crazy. There’s still more than a month of summer left. I guess it’s lucky they didn’t have Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas trees out already too, though I’ll admit I wouldn’t have minded if they had decided it was time to bring out the pecan pies.

Yum!

This weekend I’ll be heading off to a festival where there will be delightful things like apple fritters, fresh pressed apples, and vendors selling all kinds of things that I absolutely don’t need, but may very likely still buy.

Before that, however, it’s time to make sure I still qualify as being a “writer” by actually sitting down and writing something (other than blog posts). I’ve been working on my contemporary mystery manuscript all week – I’m hoping to get a few more scenes finished on that before Monday. As a precursor to that, I think I’ll wake up my creativity with a session of writing sprints.

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Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

A congratulatory shout-out to Eight-Lady-Jeanne, whose Amazon author page went live this week.  Her first book, The Demon Always Wins, which comes out September 1, is up and ready for pre-orders.

As of 3:23pm PST 8/22/2018, the book had reached #1443 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Paranormal category.

How exciting!

I’m vicariously enjoying watching the whole process and can’t wait for release day.

Seeing Jeanne’s book up on Amazon is just the motivation I needed to focus on my own writing.  While I’d love to see my own Amazon author page, that’s a bit further down the line for me.  The current goal I’m working toward is getting my two draft manuscripts buffed and polished so I can submit them to the 2019 Golden Heart contest.  I hadn’t looked at one of the manuscripts for quite a while and there’s a bit more work needed than I initially thought – just what Jilly experienced when she dusted of her own Contemporary story to get it ready for the same contest, so at least I’m in good company.

After the Day Job today I’ll be working on filling a few Regency plot-holes.  I think I’ll warm up my creativity with some writing sprints before I dive into the story.

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Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Happy Friday (or close to it)!  As you’ve probably noticed from this week’s posts, the annual RWA conference is over and done with and things are getting back to normal.  I’m busy trying to go through all of the notes I took in the workshops and make some sense of them.  I’m sure they made sense when I wrote them, but now I’m wondering about a few of them.

Writing-wise, the conference was productive for me, since I took advantage of some of the Writing Sprint sessions that were offered.  Getting up for a 7:00am session was not my idea of fun but getting words on the page was.  I’m hoping to keep up that momentum now that I’m back home, thought it undoubtedly won’t be quite the same sprinting in my pajamas from the comfort of my couch.  It was very motivating being in a roomful of other writers who were busily typing away.

I’ll be busy at the Day Job all day today, but when I get home, I’ll be doing some sprinting on my Regency manuscript – trying to make some changes, based on ideas I picked up at the conference.

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Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

By the time you read this I’ll probably be knee-deep in information overload at the RWA national conference.  While the conference is a great place to learn new things, it is, more importantly, a great place to network and can be a great way to re-focus and re-energize one’s writing.

There are a number of great sessions on the agenda, many of them happening concurrently so I’ve been forced to make a valiant attempt to be in two places at one time.  So far so good, though a magic teleportation device would certainly be a handy thing to have about now.

One set of sessions I’ve definitely made sure to attend are the hour-long “Writing Sprints.”  The first such session was hosted by a couple of my favorite authors – Tawna Fenske and Kristan Higgins.  It was appallingly early in the morning (for me at least), but was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss, even if I needed an extra-large jolt of caffeine to get me going.

There will be another such session today.

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Elizabeth: Notes from a Public Typewritter©

I was perusing the local bookstore the other day (which sounds better than desperately trying to come up with a blog-post idea), and Michael Gustafson’s book Notes from a Public Typewriter caught my interest.

I’m never quite sure what causes a book to jump out and catch my interest (that’s probably a post for another day), but for this book, it was a combination of the cover and the promise the title suggested.  The book was featured in an NPR Books article this past April (which I vaguely remember reading) and you can read the details here.

Basically, Michael set up the typewriter in his bookstore in Ann Arbor and let customers type away.  He initially thought maybe one customer would start a story and others would add to it over time when they passed by.  Instead what he wound up with thousands of pages of:

“Love letters, poems, quotes, sprawling meditations on life. Notes written over the top of others, single words, perfectly spaced paragraphs”

“It’s just been a wonderful sort of diary of a town,” says Michael, “happening in a bookstore.”

It’s always fascinating when something like this grows organically into something totally unexpected.  Last year I talked about  a similar type of unexpected project – the Big Ball of Paint – which was intended to be a 1000-coats-of-paint project  to see what the paint-layer cross sections would look like that evolved into a still-growing 14-foot (circumference) 2.5 ton ball of more than 25,000 layers of paint that is part tourist attraction, part collaborative project.

The ball of paint didn’t turn into a book like the typewriter notes did, but it was equally collaborative and creative.

Going back to the notes on the typewriter, although the experiment didn’t turn into the single long-story that Michael envisioned at the onset, it instead turned into a book full of stories, all told just a few words at a time.

I can’t wait to read them all.

Also, I feel a strange need to go unearth that old typewriter from the garage.  Who knows, maybe there are stories lurking there too.

Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Oops – I was so busy trying to finish the latest murder mystery I was reading that I almost forgot it was Friday.  On the plus side, I figured out who the murderer was before I reached the end of the book, so it was time well spent.

Now that I’ve finished my book and have no immediate plans to start another, it’s time for me to spend equal time doing some writing.  I have a full day at work to get through first, but then it will be all about getting words on the page.

I think I’ll start off with today’s writing prompt and see what happens from there.

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