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Posts Tagged ‘writer problems’

The work week continued being stressful with extreme student behavior, but I’m sure you’ve heard me moan about that enough. There’s a lot of residual tiredness, but I still managed to work on The Tale of the Drakanox. It’s well above 57,000 words now. I worked in a fun scene of bonding with Piyaro, Hawk Squad and Shonn traveling together. A bunch of young, energetic guys are camped out beside a lagoon. Sergeant wants them to wash up. What are they going to do?

If you said “massive water fight,” you are correct! The other two plot threads are getting intense, so the reader needs a humorous break. And so did I.

The other thing going on is Queen Titania’s Court, which begins in two weeks. Only four of the authors have turned in what I need, so I took a few minutes to poke everyone about it.

Besides that, my garden is calling me. It’s still too chilly to put my tomatoes and peppers out, but I have the soil amendments ready and seed doesn’t care so much about light frost. It will feel good to build something. Guess I’d better get out there!



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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It’s been a heck of a day. I’m not sure I’ll get much writing done tonight.

The high-stakes testing has begun, you see. Special Ed students get to take their tests in the Resource Room, with supports that General Ed students don’t get. That means we can’t run our regular groups in that room. I am still expected to run those groups on a full schedule, though. Fun!

I left for work early today hoping that I could find an alternate location and prepare material that I could teach without access to my normal setting. But, as I passed below a dark viaduct, there was something on the road. I got a flat tire.

After pulling over safely, I went through the telephone maze to call AAA and they told me someone would be there in an hour. So I started getting out my spare tire and trying to remember all the steps to change a flat, in case I could do it myself in less than an hour. Meanwhile, several people in shiny hummers drove by and gave me side-eye.

Luckily for me, a street person came by and said, “Oh, I can do that!” So the street person fixed my flat tire and I gave him a few bucks with thanks. Then I called AAA back through the phone maze and said I didn’t need them. I will never let anyone say mean things about street people again. If anybody understands how it feels when the world takes a turn against you, it’s street people.

Anyway, I was only 1/2 hour late to work and still before my groups started, so I scrambled the material together and I don’t think the kids noticed anything weird because we were in a different place, and that was already weird.

After work, I went to a tire shop, where the guy said, “Let’s take a look… Oh, I can’t fix that.” (Yeah, the tire had a visible 3″ gash.) An hour and a half later, and $300, I had a set of new used tires (because it’s a Subaru and the whole set has to match for AWD). Okay, the tire replacement was on my to-do list. This is not the way I wanted to be taking care of that.

So I’m really tired. But despite it all, I do have an idea for at least a few paragraphs. Guess I’d better get at it!



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? It’s been a damp and chilly spring, but my cherry tree is in bloom! Those beautiful white flowers are threatened by late frost, though. Despite that, I’ve been buying tomatoes, peppers and geraniums. This weekend I hope to put my first seeds into the ground.

What I’m Working On. The Tale of the Drakanox will definitely be my summer project. It’s grown to 54,000 words and the end is nowhere in sight.

What’s Next? I’m happy to say that I’ve added a few things on my calendar. After Queen Titania’s Court, next month, I have SpoCon science fiction convention in October, and Fall Folk Festival will be in November. It’s not much, but it’s something!

Fun and Games. As a birthday gift, my kid gave me a Pokemon game for the Switch. It seems I am about to go on a Pokemon journey. I find the battles a bit repetitive, and I miss the characters having voices. But it’s keeping me interested.

I hope you’re all enjoying new things this spring, too.



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Last weekend was pretty exciting. My husband and I went out and looked at new bicycles as a birthday gift to me. Last year, we took my old bike to a local swap event and sold it, thinking we’d be able to get me an upgrade. No such luck. I’ve been bikeless for a year (the exercise bike downstairs doesn’t count).

No longer! I’ve been looking forward to us both getting out on our bikes together, but it’s been raining all morning. Oh well, the forecast says tomorrow will be nice.

I also was hoping to get out and finish cleaning up my garden area. Maybe I could even put my early seeds in for radishes, lettuce, and such. That one I might still get to. It depends whether this is a drizzling rain or a steady soaker.

If outside work is not possible, there’s all the housework that I didn’t do on spring break. Or, gosh, I could pick something from my to-be-read pile! One way or another, I’ll keep busy.

This might sound like Episode # 62 of “Why I’m Not Writing Today,” but actually I wouldn’t be writing anyway. I always keep Saturdays open for things like bike rides.

What about you guys? Got any big weekend plans, writing or otherwise?



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Those of you who use Twitter, either for salesmanship or personal connections, have no doubt heard about the platform being under new management soon. First there were rumors of a hostile takeover by Elon Musk. Then there was a poison pill that held it off. But now the sale is peacefully concluded. It’s interesting, sort of, as a writer, to watch how organizations can publicly proclaim something, but then instantly double back and do the exact thing they were fighting against. I guess the resistance was just a tactic to increase the price?

I’m concerned about this, to be honest. First of all, Musk sets me on edge. People who proclaim so much about freedom of speech, usually turn about to against it. As sole owner, Musk will have too much power to censor speech that he personally doesn’t like. He has followers, sure, but he also faces skeptics on Twitter. Now he’ll have the power to silence them. Depending on how he enforces community standards, I can foresee a tidal wave of misinformation that swamps the world.

In addition, Twitter is also one of my main social medias at the moment. I get a lot of news on Twitter, even if it has to be followed up for accuracy, and I’m in touch with a lot of fandom. I promote my books more there than anywhere. Plus, where will I get my adorable “cape beansies” pet art? Anything that might tamper with the experience makes me anxious.

I’m not going to vow, as some friends have, to leave Twitter immediately. Maybe it’ll be okay. It isn’t as if I actually enjoy having comments appear in my conversations that turn out to be advertisements in disguise. Even as I have to remind myself to hype my books sometimes, it might be a good idea for me to look around and find a few new arenas for promotion.

Because, when all is said and done, there are few things I trust less than a rich guy who says he’s going to save my freedom of speech.



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Yes, I managed to enjoy my vacation! There were a few flight delays that made the travel portion of it stressful. Once we got there, it was all worth it.

We went to the Grand Canyon, if I hadn’t mentioned that. It was incredible. This national park is world famous, and I think everyone must have seen pictures. To be there in person was so much more. The scale of the place is hard to describe. You stand at the edge and it’s so far down. So far across. It extends both left and right as far as you can see.

There are layers of those colorful rocks — yellow/white on top, then blazing crimson, then a strange gray/green, and this craggy black stone at the very bottom. You see these eroded bluffs, but there’s another layer beyond, and then another and another. So many layers! Even the wind has a different sound in the vast gulf of the canyon.

We also had half a day of layover in Las Vegas. That was mind-boggling in a different way. The huge hotels were covered in lights, and there were these fabulous giant sculptures of tropical plants, Egyptian temples and Roman colosseums. My husband dragged me up and down in the heat, not going anywhere particular, until I set my feet and demanded ice cream.

I kept thinking that if I put something like the Grand Canyon or the Las Vegas Strip into a book, it would be mocked as overly dramatic. And yet, the real world goes beyond what any author could invent.

I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done. It was too far off my usual routine. But I did take my notebook along, and I came home with a few pages of scattered ideas. Something will come of it, I’m sure.

Eventually.



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? Spring break is here! My usual strategy is to spend the break doing heavy housework or yard work such as pruning roses. This year I’m actually taking time off. The housework can wait.

What I’m Working On. I’m still going at the first draft of The Tale of the Drakanox. It’s about 47,000 words now, or half a novel. My goal of 80,000 words is looking about right.

What’s Next? Not much, honestly. I have a few volunteers for Queen Titania’s Court, so there’s that to keep recruiting for.

Fun and Games. Two years ago, I got my husband a game called The Outer Worlds. He hardly looked at it, so I’m giving it a go. Evil corporations colonizing outer space, what could go wrong? Well, our Xbox appears to be dying slowly, which causes a lot of crashes. We’re looking for a replacement but so far they are not to be found. Good thing I have a Switch and can play Animal Crossing also.

Time to get back to packing. My vacation awaits!



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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About two weeks ago, the state where I live determined that it was safe to take face masks off indoors. As a result, the kids in my school got to take theirs off, too. I kept mine on, though. I have a trip planned over spring break, and it would suck if I got sick right before my trip.

Besides which, I haven’t been sick with anything in the two years since I started wearing a face mask. Why would I want to go through all that again?

Unfortunately, it might not be up to me. Kids have started coming to my groups sick this week. This morning, they went through half a box of Kleenex in three hours. One of them kept sticking his hand into the Kleenex box and squishing around like it was a toy. Another one told the teacher of a different group that she couldn’t smell anything, ha ha.

Notes were sent to classrooms, asking that these kids visit the school nurse, but who knows if they did? We’re back to the “normal” situation when parents sent sick kids to school because caring for them would be too much inconvenience.

Here we go again.



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I’ve mentioned working through a long conversation with a big group of people in The Tale of the Drakanox. So here’s a step-by-step of how I write these long scenes.

First, I write it in a very skeletal draft. The “bones” of the scene, if you will. In this scene there are potentially 15 characters in the conversation, so I cut it down to two representatives from four groups, or eight characters in all. I decide things about the setting, like where they are sitting and standing, and what furniture is there. Then I sketch out the dialogue to a tentative conclusion. It will be messy, with broken sentences like, “‘Head to hornwood be halfway there’ Bettain.” I try also to make sure every character has a chance to say something, even if they aren’t leading the discussion.

Once I have the flow of the dialogue, I go back and start putting on the muscles, so to speak. I complete those sentences and add in reactions from characters that haven’t said much. Everything and everyone gets described more fully. I fill in new ideas that have popped up, and make sure that I’m not forgetting important plot threads.

The last pass brings it all into focus and puts on the “face.” I make sure I’m not forgetting any plot threads. If it seems like the dialog is too much “Zathi talks, then Duessa talks,” I’ll switch who is speaking a few minor lines. I’ll also make sure there’s good energy in the scene and have more emotional language if necessary.

After all that, the scene will be finished enough to press on with the plot.

Now I’m curious how others approach this kind of writing challenge. Let me know in the comments!



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? We’ve had rain more than snow the past few weeks, which means winter is beginning to give way to early spring. I’ve been looking through seed catalogs and starting to plan out my garden for the summer. Coincidentally, one of the free give-aways at RadCon two weeks ago was a pack of seeds for Cleome, or Spider Flower. It’s a native plant, which is a priority for me, and I look forward to using those seeds this year.

What I’m Working On. The latest Minstrels of Skaythe novel, The Tale of the Drakanox, develops apace. My goal of a May publication is looking far less likely, but I’d rather reschedule to put out a great book, than rush something out on time.

What’s Next? It’s about time to begin the early planning for Queen Titania’s Court in 2022!

Fun and Games. I’ve continued mostly playing Hades and Animal Crossing. I think before long I’ll be ready to try something new, though.

Time to get back to writing! I hope all of your stories are going well.



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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