Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Best Laid Plans

Sometimes, no matter how much resolve one summons, it’s impossible to follow through on a plan.

Last December, when I was setting my goals for 2016, I blithely assumed I’d write another 50,000 word draft of a mystery novel during NaNoWriMo. After all, I’d done it three years in a row, so why wouldn’t I be able to do it for a fourth year?

Life, that’s why.

After I published Royal Purple Murder, I sat up and looked around me. I’d been so wrapped up in launching the African Violet Club Mysteries, I’d pretty much neglected the house and yard. As it is with indie publishing, with a house you can either spend time or money. I didn’t have the money to hire a landscape service to maintain the yard or a cleaning service to maintain the house. Furthermore, I didn’t have the money to have the house painted inside and out, replace the worn carpeting, or think about new furniture.

My only option was to spend the time to do it myself—as much as possible. Painting the outside of the house wasn’t something I was ever going to tackle. But I’m not young any more, and a couple of hours weeding in the yard would often result in a couple of days with aching muscles and an arthritis flare-up, leaving me with no energy to keep on going.

I also realized I had enjoyed my months as a full-time author, where my first priority each day was to work on my novels, schedule promotions, study writing craft, and figure out how to design book covers and advertisements. It was what I really wanted to do with my life, not shampoo carpets or paint ceilings.

There was one solution: sell my house if I could and downsize into an apartment. I wasn’t even sure this was possible, but I had to try. So I spent a month of preparation, hiring those cleaning people and getting the yard weeded and decluttering to some degree. And then I called a real estate agent and asked what I could sell the house for. By this time, I would have been happy to leave the house debt-free. When she told me I could get more than I expected (although not as much as I’d paid for the house), I put it on the market.

There followed two months of showing the house, negotiating the offer, packing, looking for an apartment, and moving. I have been in my new location for a month now, and I still have boxes in my office and the living room. I haven’t hung pictures or done any decorating. And I’ve had multiple issues with the apartment and many visits from maintenance to resolve them.

But I thought I could still do NaNoWriMo this month. It turns out, I can’t. The outline has been a struggle. I have eight new characters (four of them suspects) who need to be fleshed out. I have at least two new locations that I’ve had to envision so I can describe them for my readers. I could easily spend two more months on preparation.

But I won’t. At least, not right away. I seem to reach a point in starting each novel where preparation isn’t enough. I have to start writing the story to know where it’s headed. I reached that point this week and wrote the second scene in the novel. It took me two days because I’m rusty. But I’ve got 1100 new words this week, and I’m comfortable with what I wrote.

That’s hardly NaNo speed, which is why I haven’t been posting my progress. With any luck, I’ll have the first draft done by the end of the year. Well, not luck, but work. And maybe next year I’ll be ready to write a NaNo novel again.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

NaNoWriMo Days 3, 4, and Probably 5

I'm still working on planning and outlining. I'm getting good ideas, but it's going to take a while to put a complete outline together. Tasks always take longer than I think they will.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 2

So this morning I hinted at what was going on with my NaNo novel. I decided I really needed to create at least a cursory outline in order to write this book. So I spent several hours brainstorming and making lists and looking at the story structure guidelines I've picked to use for this book.

Then I decided I needed to tackle some more boxes. I must be about at my limit of unpacking because after three boxes of kitchen stuff (which required climbing on the stepstool to put in overhead cabinets and bending over to put in the under-the-counter cabinets) my arthritic back was killing me. It hasn't hurt this bad in years.

So I took Aleve and sat in my recliner and read. Then it was time for the World Series (which is in a rain delay as I write this).

So a lot of explanation to say:

0 words written

NaNoWriMo Day 1

The first day and I forgot to finish it by posting my progress. LOL

1395 Words

This looks like I didn't do enough, but I set a schedule of writing only on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Tuesday has multiple Bible study classes and Sunday is church and a well-deserved day of rest. So, technically, I'm ahead, but I won't be. More on that tonight.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016


In three days, the annual madness that is National Novel Writing Month will start. As I have for the past three years, this year I will be working on a novel in my African Violet Club mystery series. This will be the first original writing I’ve done in 2016 (other than blog posts) and it feels strange to say that.

Because I had the three AVC books in first draft form, my priority this year has been to revise and publish them. That’s what I did, but it left little time for writing new fiction. Okay, it left no time for writing new fiction. So this week I hunkered down in earnest to plan book four.

I heard the cogs in my brain screeching as they fought to break the binds of the accumulated rust. There was a period of time when I thought I might not be able to write another book. However, I know that Agatha Christie and Tess Gerritson each felt the same way before starting and that the only way to find out was to try, so I picked up my pen and notebook and started writing things down.