Tag Archives: 90 days

Drowning in Writing but treading my crafts

I was working through a book 90 Days to Your Novel. I was doing really well, even ahead of schedule, then I ran into the section that said write act 1, write act 2, write act 3. Ack!

It might have gone better at that point if I wasn’t working three rough drafts and a novel revision. So I fixed it. Now I’m only working through two rough drafts and a novel revision. It may not sound like much of a change, but I have been able to shift from getting nothing done to writing one to three chapters a week. Yay!

Enough writing. Pictures time.

What I am getting done is some of the crafts in my house. I might actually have a sewing room that is usable in a few months. Since my last post, I have:

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Made curtains. It may not be obvious from this picture, but this is a roman shade my sister and I made. It will go in the basement. It is backed with blackout fabric and uses 3/16 dowel rods to make crisp folds. We got the pattern and instructions from Sail Rite
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This is a quilt I have worked on for a few years on and off. My sister bought the pieces for me on a visit to Jamesport, an amish community. What I finished just recently was filling in the designs on the sunbonnets. Now that all the girls have hats, they must wait to be quilted until the rest of the other quilt tops waiting in line are quilted.

Good news there, too. Because I can now see my quilt frame and may be able to start working on the quilt that is in it.IMG_0067

This blue and pink quilt is a charity quilt. My oldest sister is a minister. At her church, a lady dying of cancer was given an unfinished quilt top. The person gifted it with less than a fourth of the quilt top stitched. I took the quilting out and machine quilted it ditch-stitching style. It was my first attempt to stitch in the ditch, and this quilt was big enough for a king bed. My little Kenmore protested. Its not perfect in any way, but it is done and in time for the woman to enjoy it. Kudos given to my sister who helped hand stitch the binding.

IMG_0123[1]IMG_0121[1]Here are a few more pictures. These are my brand new bench seat cushions that we made.

Don’t look at the wall beneath them too much because we haven’t put up the molding anywhere.

These cushions have been sitting in my sewing room for near four years. It is nice to have the giant rolls of foam out of my craft room. Each cushion has four inches of cushion inside. I managed to get a bead of trim around the edge of the cushion as well, making it the fanciest upholstery that I have done to date. Almost gives me the gumption to do other small upholstery projects I have sitting around.

Either way. Another big project out of my house.

Ok. Show and tell time over. There are still more projects to work on and more writing to do.

90 Days Wins

For those following my journey through 90 days to your Novel, results are in. In this battle of me versus the book, the book wins.

At this point I should be starting week 7. I am not. I am still struggling through week 6.

To be fair, I did not anticipate getting week 6 done in a week.  Week 6 was to write the first 1/3 of the book. Week 7 is writing the second 1/3. I think I’m going to still pat myself on the back if I can get through the first 1/3 of the novel in a week in a half or even two weeks.

90 days week 6

Is it cheating to be starting week 6? I’m not sure, but I am doing it anyway.

I am working through the book 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet. For 5 weeks, she has been dangling the prospect of writing the novel in front of me, forcing me to write scenes out of order and out of context. Yet my rule abiding nature will not let me skip assignments. Even when Easter and writer’s group and critique responsibilities get in the way, I do not skip.

Finally, week 6 starts with drafting the first chapter, first scene, first sentence.

Spoiler alert: For the first draft, I think I will start with: Fate hated Joe with the drama of a teen whose best friend stole her boyfriend and whose retribution started with a pocket knife to the offender’s prom gown.

We’ll see where it goes after a nap and a hot shower.

90 Days Week 5

By week 5 of this book, I expected to be writing. 90 days is approximately 3 months. There are four weeks in each month. Thus by the end of week five, over a third of the novel writing time is gone.  I’m nervous.

Captured from recruitmentbuzz.co.uk. Click the image for link back to the original website.

It seems like there is a running clock, and I’m not actively trying to meet the deadline.

To be fair, Ms. Domet is not asking me to sit around doing nothing. She has me writing every day for a few hours. I am writing scenes. The scenes are out of order, and I can’t check them for continuity or consistency, but there are scenes being written.

To be determined later: will the actual writing be less than 30 days and thus a guide to winning Nano? Only time will tell.

As a random tidbit, this morning I was working on the second assignment of week 2 and wrote: His ability to lie had the refinement of forty grit sandpaper, and when he did lie, it felt like he used that sandpaper instead on a washcloth to bathe.

I may have been feeling slightly dramatic at the time. 🙂

Fantasy or Real Life

Here is my dilemma. Should I be writing young adult fantasy?

Before answering yes or no, this is not just a question about what works best for a story, my vision, or altering my writing to fill a niche.

I was raised on fantasy books. I think many children in my generation read the classic fantasy books. If not The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, they possibly read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I had to read both as school assignments.

So now that I am writing, fantasy has a homey feel. It’s the windows open, the ceiling fan humming, baked potatoes in the oven, and the dog sunbathing. Fantasy is my comfort food.

As a comfort food, I pick fantasy books up first. When in Barnes and Noble, I drift to the fantasy section first. Fantasy book covers catch my attention and leave me wondering. Magical realms let me escape.

I’ve recently joined a few query contests. In these contests, aspiring writers like myself pitch our manuscripts. I have diligently read each query posted by the other contestants, and I have come to a few conclusions.

One, I need to learn how to tighten my query. I’ll learn. Just give me time and guidance. Two, lots of people write young adult and/or fantasy books.  Three, agents seem to be looking for middle grade or adult books.

Taken from Elsa Mora’s blog. Click the image to link to the blog.

Now, I have two works in progress.  My critique circles are working through the story of Nik the alchemist/drug dealer/prostitute on the run from a bounty set by his brother. For the book 90 Days to your Novel, I am drafting a story about Joe who finds a bag jewels in a wreck from a flying car.

Here is my dilemma: Neither book is a true fantasy. By that I mean, the magic system does not play a crucial role in the plot.

Joe could easily find the jewels in a car abandoned on the road side and be obsessed with NASCAR instead of Sky Races. Nik’s brother could hate him for being his father’s favorite and good at chemistry instead of a genius at alchemy.

While I call my stories fantasy, generally they are closer to magical realism in that the magic is germaine to the community and not a plot issue. Because the changes are minor and I am still in the drafting phase, should I give up the fantasy element because it is me choosing meatloaf instead of trying the sushi, or do I stick with what I know?

90 Days and counting

Day 21, done. I’m working my ways through 90 Days To Your Novel by Sarah Domet. The first 21 days is all about outlining. As a believer in outlining, I loved the built in outlining time.

IMG_0102[1]Day 22 is the start of the novel draft. I’m bouncing up and down in excitement to start. (Literally, here is a picture of the exercise ball I am now sitting on  while I write.)

In honor of the drafting, I am giving you the 250ish word synopsis/summary of the story I am working on. Here it is:

Joe is nobody with empiric dreams. But that changes when he finds a bag of jewels. Like a thief in daylight, Joe pockets the prize. His dreams are only a sale away.

The local auction house tells him selling stolen goods is illegal and will get him arrested.

Dive bars are the movie solution. Instead of a sale, he is trampled by a pig. The nurse listens to his pain-killer induced story and offers to help him.

He meets the nurses’ connection, a pawn broker, who wants a new thug not a jewel sale. The nurse arranges a second buyer.

Joe meets her outside the La Fata mansion. The mob head finds Joe suspicious, and the nurse’s mother wants him as a son-in-law. Joe could live without a cloud with a La Fata-lining.

Joe peddles home to find his house trashed. At work, the nurse calls with the zeal of charity solicitor at Christmas. His co-worker suspects he connected to the mob. Between the mob and a pushy nurse, Joe agrees to a date.

The nurse takes him on a race-fan dream. The pawn broker finds Joe and agrees to the jewel sale if Joe will stay away from the nurse.

By the glow of the pawn shop lights, Joe meets the pawn broker who heard Joe was engaged to the nurse. He takes Joe’s jewels and leaves him beaten on the street.

Beaten and without jewels, Joe must figure out what he truly wants in life.

90 Days and Crafting

Amazing how plans always change. I intended to post evenly about crafting and writing. Turns out, I binge hobby, spending weeks on one thing and completely ignoring the rest.

Easter Church Display 2014
Easter Church Display 2014

My sister and I do most of the big displays at our church. It’s not that impressive because the church is small and we fall into the age bracket that can still climb ladders. In preparation for Easter, I experimented with making homemade glue and the best ways to soak yarn in glue

Easter Alter 2014
Easter Alter 2014

and then pull it out without creating knots. The result are the cute Easter eggs lining the aisles.

The alter is mostly fake flowers we already had at the church and table cloths attached to the ceiling.

Easter down, only 6 weeks to Bible School decorations. 🙂

On the writing front, I am falling behind. I wanted to be done with day 16 today. That would have kept me on target for a 45 day novel. I never realistically expected to keep that schedule, but a girl can hope. Between critiquing, editing, participating in my first query contest (which left me hitting the refresh button hoping for pointers on my submission), and Easter, I finished Day 14 and started Day 15.

As ever, Ms. Domet is cleverly having me pre-write the whole novel. Days 14-16 are particularly interesting to me. I’m a checklist kind of person. Ms. Domet has given me a checklist for what each section of the novel should do, the questions it should answer, and the goals it should obtain.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are taken by real world activities, but I’m lifting a cup of tea to getting back on track next Monday.

The Sly Brilliance of 90 Days

I am working through a writing craft book called 90 Days to Your Novel.

Being the diligent student, I began at the beginning. Each time the author gives an assignment, I do it. No cheating.

From Clipart Guide: Images by Pamela Perry

At first, the assignments were too basic, but I did them anyway. Then I decided to apply an existing story line to the assignments. Suddenly, even the super basic instruction have become brilliant. Because I already have a plan I am working toward, each exercise is pre-writing part of my novel.

Day 9 was all about picking 1st or 3rd person to write in. Again, the assignment was to choose a scene and write it in both 1st and 3rd person and choose which fit the story better. I switch pretty regularly between the two styles. I chose 3rd this time because I am hoping to add some comedy to this manuscript. Not being a funny person, I may fail horribly, but I’d like to try just once.

Day 10 wants me to flesh out the main characters. It involves free writing about the main characters to learn more than just a character sheet about their personality, physical description, and motives. Then, the second part of the assignment is to write a scene introducing the main character. Sound like an opening scene to anyone else?

By the time this book tells me to write my first chapter, I will have a snippet from almost every scene in the book. Very sly Ms. Domet. I’m on to your tricks. 😉