Jilly: The Big Step

It’s been months since I worked on a new story. I’d almost forgotten how it feels 😉

I had a solid draft of The Seeds of Power finished by summer last year. Then I spent the rest of 2019 dealing with edits, more edits, proofreading, formatting, and uploading the book. Not to mention setting up author accounts, claiming author pages, writing blurbs, bios, and all kinds of other indie publishing stuff.

It was interesting and oddly enjoyable, rather like my desk job back in the day. I was pleased with the final result, but it’s only now I’ve started working on the next Elan Intrigues story that I realize how much I’ve missed writing.

I’ve started a novella that links The Seeds of Power with the next full Elan Intrigues book. The point of view character is Prince Daire. He was the most important secondary character in The Seeds of Power, but he didn’t have a point of view in that book, so the reader never got an insight into his head.

Even though I had a pretty good understanding of Daire, it’s taken me most of the last month to find his voice. Now, finally, I’m getting there. Here’s the key to Daire: his family motto is The Price of Privilege is Duty, but his personal mantra is Whatever Happens, Smile.

It’s early days, and it’s only a novella, but I can’t overstate the thrill I get from feeling that I finally got inside Daire’s head. He’s a fictional character, but suddenly he’s become real to me. I care what happens to him. I’m excited to tell his story. I want to solve his problems. Don’t tell my husband, but I kind of love him 😉

I know it won’t last, but right now I want to write the next scene, and the one after that. I go to bed thinking about the story and wake up raring to write. It’s wonderful.

I said at the beginning of the year that my watchword for 2020 would be WALTZ, symbolizing my efforts to balance writing, publishing, and marketing. I realized this week that a waltz may comprise three steps, but they don’t have to be equally weighted. You can take one big, swooping creative step and then balance it with two smaller, stabilizing ones. I think that may be my kind of waltz.

It’s been a good week here in London. What gives you that excited, buzzy feeling?

Michaeline: A Writing Staycation

“My goodness, this might actually be pretty decent!” (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve been on Twitter an awful lot since I’ve gotten my new phone; I set up an alt account called “fooling around on my phone” and instead of trying to be on-brand and promote my writing (at this point, my only public writing are these blog posts and some earnest advice on obscure Reddit subs), I lurk on other writers’ threads and enjoy some weird bots that tweet famous authors’ works. (When Gilgamesh, Sappho and Vonnegut line up on my screen, I get some pretty amazing reading.)

I should probably quit spending so much time on the internet, but I have to admit that Twitter is quite inspirational. I’ve almost put down the phone and started writing MANY times; I have screenshotted some amazing ideas to use later.

This weekend, I’m finally taking action. At least two people have shown up on my Twitter feed saying, “Going off-line. Writing retreat. See you Monday!”

So, I’m inspired. I won’t go off-line (ha! As of this writing, I’ve already scrolled through about 50 tweets, watched three YouTube videos and texted my mother, despite my best intentions). But it’s a beautiful weekend to have a writing retreat at home! Here’s how I’m doing it. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Just a Reminder

While searching for something else on my computer earlier today I came  across these quotes from Anne Lamott and Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I figured we could probably all use the reminder; I know I certainly can.  These days I alternate between procrastination and deleting more words than I write.

So go put some words on the page.

Even if they are crap.

You can buff and polish them later.

Besides, if you write enough, there is bound to be a diamond in there somewhere.  Right?

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Congratulations for making it through another week.  As a bonus, here in the US, that means it’s time for a 3-day weekend, courtesy of President’s Day.

Yay!

Although Valentine’s Day is a well-known holiday, February 15 marks a slightly lesser-known celebration:  Singles Awareness Day.

By placing Singles Awareness Day on the day after Valentine’s Day, the undertone of self-pity and sadness was removed from it, and it instead became more of a celebration and a day of pride. It became an alternative day to Valentine’s Day for single people who may have felt left out, and it reminds everyone that being single is okay. It celebrates the love between friends and family, and love for oneself.  Celebrants also spend the day volunteering, traveling, and treating themselves to things they enjoy.

Although celebrating the day with a little traveling sounds like a great idea, I’m pretty sure my boss would much prefer that I spend the day in the office.  Sigh.  Ah well, at least I can mini-celebrate with some of those left-over chocolate strawberries and heart-shaped cookies left-over from yesterday.

Always a bright side.

Before I call it a day and officially kick-off the three-day weekend I think I’ll give today’s random words a shot.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and, if you were in one of the areas with earthquakes, high winds, lashing rain, blizzard conditions, or just politics-as-usual, that you have survived unscathed.

It has been a hectic week at the Day Job, so I’m looking forward to some downtime and dinner with friends this weekend.  If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, then you’re in luck.  Saturday marks the 3rd Annual Women’s March.  The main march will be in Washington, D.C., but there are satellite events scheduled across the globe, including one just blocks from my office.  If you’re interested in attending, check here to see if there will be a march near you.

Not in the mood for marching this weekend?  Well, Saturday is National Popcorn Day, so maybe you can celebrate by heading off to the movies with a big bucket of buttery deliciousness.

I’ll be here curled up on the couch with a cozy blanket, a mug of coffee, and a lazy cat, alternating between reading the latest Louise Penny book I’m in the midst of, and doing some writing of my own.  I’ve got a story with a sagging-middle that needs some work, but before I tackle that I think I’ll try and jump-start my creativity by giving today’s “what-if” and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

How has your week been going so far?  More bright days than dark, or are you living under the cloud of our country’s current game of chicken?  Hopefully it’s the former, not the later.

Things have been going pretty well here at the Writing Castle.  The vestiges of Christmas are still hanging on, but the tree’s days are definitely numbered, no matter how much I enjoy coming home to the sparkly lights.

The other thing I’ve been enjoying is, unexpectedly, getting a fair number of words on the page.  Obviously my Girls in the Basement are fickle – as soon as I told them, don’t worry, take a break, we’re going to focus on fun for a while – they started throwing up thoughts and plans for my Cassie & Nicolas manuscript that has been sitting on the desk, neglected and gathering virtual dust.

Not that I’m complaining.

Though “fun” is still front and center on my radar, I’m going to give the Girls their heads and let them play around with today’s “what-if” after work.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Michaeline: Go Ahead and Bang Some Rocks

A monkey sculpting a bust of a woman

Banging rocks can be a fabulous hobby. Who knows what can come out of it? (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Efficiency, productivity, streamlined, maintenance . . . buzzy buzzwords that can keep our butts in the chairs and us writing our hearts out. However, sometimes, The Girls in the Basement (our inner muses) send up something that seems just . . . useless. For almost two years, my mind has been pre-occupied with David Bowie and the ukulele. I’ve written two short stories and worked on a longer piece thanks to the David Bowie obsession, but the uke? It hasn’t paid off – except I love doing it, and it’s brought me a lot of joy and feelings of achievement. As hobbies and obsessions go, you can’t ask for much more than that, really.

However, my upper mind – the Censor in the Attic, perhaps – is terribly concerned that I should be Writing, and not just any old writing, but Great and Wonderful Stories that Will Enchant the Masses (or at least a few Niches). It’s almost a daily battle between the Censor, who wants to direct things, and the Girls, who just want to have fun. Sadly, as is often the case in war, neither side wins on many days.

But this week, I stumbled upon a 2016 Atlantic piece that soothed my censor a little bit. Ed Yong’s “Rock-Smashing Monkeys Unintentionally Make Sharp Tools” really resonated all over for me.

Here’s the basic premise: Continue reading