Category Archives: Writing

NaNoWriMo and the Dreaded Rewrites

NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner

Friday night, after a mere 20 days of writing like a crazy person, I hit 50,000 words and won NaNoWriMo 2015!

I had a lot of fun doing it, especially the Word Sprints, and it taught me a very important lesson about getting your first draft out, even if it’s less than stellar. That’s what rewrites are for.

Speaking of rewrites, my editor got back to me with some helpful suggestions, which means I get to go back and add scenes, change perspective, and basically add another ten pages or so. This is a lot harder than it sounds and I’m really glad I finished my NaNoWriMo novel when I did because trying to do both of them at once would have been a nightmare.

Her suggestions were excellent, and I kind of wish I’d had them earlier because it would have added a ton of words to my novel. It also puts me in the position of having to do the exact same thing with this one that I’m going through with Detective’s Brother, which means I’m not going to let it see the light of day until I get it rewritten. Besides, Framed is next on my rewrite list. That one will be kind of fun, since I haven’t started editing it yet and it still needs a couple of chapters anyway. I can add stuff in as I go and it won’t be as much of a hassle as it is right now.

I’m hoping I can keep this editor on my team for the rest of my books. She seems enthusiastic about my work and I like the suggestions she’s giving me. It seems she’s interested in helping me polish it in addition to the usual editing and I’m grateful. It’s kind of fun going deeper into my hero’s mind, even if it’s filled with thorns and tragedy.

For now I’m feeling a little sad after NaNoWriMo’s ending and a little frantic because of the rewrites, so there’s no crochet news to report. However, my Christmas exchange squares are on the way so hopefully I’ll have them to show off next week!

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Retainer

The first thought that went through his head when Taylor walked through the door of his lawyer’s office was that he knew where his money was going. He’d never seen a koi pond indoors before but there it was behind the desk, black marble and just deep enough for a couple of fish that were, oddly enough, nowhere to be seen.

His aunt had kept fish and her house had always hummed with filters and aerators. It had been a calming sound for him, but there were no sounds coming from the aquariums around the walls of the office. It didn’t matter. He was already calm.

He was alone in the room, left there by an anxious young man that had introduced himself as Ms. Dayton’s personal assistant. That had surprised Taylor; he had been expecting a paralegal. The assistant seemed to be hovering on the edge of telling him not to touch anything but for twelve hundred dollars an hour he was going to touch whatever he damn well pleased.

A gang of tiny, colorful fish flitted into their plants when he approached the tank and he pressed a finger to the glass, daring them to come out and savoring the power he held over them.

“Don’t touch that.”

Taylor turned around, expecting another assistant, and found himself face to face with a woman whose every motion felt as if she was carving herself out of ice. He took his hand away from the tank and the assistant hurried forward to wipe his fingerprint off the tank. The woman came over to him and looked him up and down.

“Natasha Dayton,” she said, extending a hand. “Your credit card says I’m your attorney now, so let’s get down to business.”

“Nice to meet you,” Taylor said, shaking her hand. “I’m—“

“I know who you are,” Tasha interrupted. “I watch the news, and unfortunately so does most of America. If they don’t watch the news, they read blogs. Everyone knows who you are and what you did, so let’s dispense with the dance and discuss how I’m going to make sure you keep sleeping in your own bed.” As she passed the tanks, the fish came out of hiding and followed her to the edge of their small, shifting worlds until they had nowhere else to go.

“Are those real plants?”

“Of course they are,” Tasha sighed. “They help keep the water clean. We aren’t here to talk about my fish tanks. We’re here to create a plan of action.” She sat down behind her desk and pulled out a piece of paper. “First things first, tell me your version of the truth.”

“I killed the guy,” Taylor said with a shrug. “I watched his house for years, I waited long enough so that no one would immediately connect me to his death, and then I slit his throat while he was watching trash TV. What else do you want to know?”

“At least you’re honest,” she said, shoving the paper away from her. “Try not to be that honest with the judge. We’re going for a winning verdict here. A dismissal, to tell the truth. It may not be pretty but I think we can get you off with most of your career intact.”

“I don’t care about my career,” Taylor said. There was a fountain pen in a wooden holder on the side of the desk closest to him and he focused on it for a moment until the thumping in his ears subsided. Blood. Just like Kinsey’s. “I’ve got plenty of money, I don’t need to work.”

“Well I care about mine.” Tasha shook her head. “How much dirt are you willing to let me dig up? Are you a big fan of morality or are you all right with my making witnesses cry? I hear one of them has cancer and the other is mentally ill.”

“You know,” Taylor said with a grin, “I think I’ve definitely picked the right lawyer.”

Knock

The sound was so soft that he almost didn’t hear it over the television. It was a scratching, scuffing sound that made Tom think of knocking the mud off his shoes when he came in through the back door. It could have been anything and he wasn’t the sort of man to jump at strange sounds so he settled deeper into his chair.

He was dozing, wrapped in the sort of warmth that came from security and nearly good health, and was almost asleep when he heard the sound again. The same scuffing, just underneath a green and fragrant crackling that he knew was coming from the side of the house.

“Dammit, Lee,” he muttered under his breath. He was sick of his neighbor letting that damn dog nose through his bushes. It always preceded a massive bowel movement and left both his bushes and backyard in a sorrier state than before the dog arrived, and Lee refused to do anything to stop it. Tom had spent the better part of a year trying to figure out the best way to confront his neighbor but he didn’t have the stomach for conflict anymore.

The sounds stopped abruptly and he let his eyelids droop again. It wasn’t worth it. He’d take the scooper out the next morning and get rid of the evidence so he could spend another day pretending it wouldn’t happen again. He’d give just about anything not to have to deal with it anymore.

“And now to our red carpet coverage,” the host of the celebrity news show said amidst an exciting sting of music that forced Tom’s eyes open. “Kima Carpenter is wearing a daring dress by one of the newest, hottest young designers, and doesn’t she look fantastic in it?”

“You can say that again,” his co-host said in a bubbly blonde tone. “Not many people can pull off those sorts of patterns but Kima sure does. Wow.” Tom reached for the remote control. He had zero interest in what the next big thing was wearing, and not just because he didn’t represent her. It had no bearing on whether or not he wanted them in his stable, and if he was being honest he preferred potential clients to come in dressed as simply as possible.

“Now here’s a good looking couple,” the host said. “Alyssa Duvall and Taylor Kyle, who still won’t tell whether or not they’re a real couple or just a pair of friends who like to keep us guessing. They’re both wearing Versace, making us wonder whether they do their shopping – and anything else – together.”

“I hope not,” Tom muttered. Taylor Kyle’s style left plenty to be desired as far as he was concerned, and always had. Bright colors were one thing, especially now that everyone was wearing them, but the man had some sort bizarre attraction to patterns and it seemed like fashion was determined to accommodate him.o The tuxedo jacket he was wearing had lapels of shocking red paisley and Tom groaned. “Thank God I dropped you when I did,” he said, turning the channel.

To his dismay, Taylor Kyle was on that channel as well. There was something about his smile, something too-wide and deep-rolling to express that gave Tom the shivers. He was handsome, no two ways about it, but there was something else there that he just didn’t like.

At first he thought the knocking he heard was at the front door, but it was too close. It almost sounded like it was coming from the kitchen, then the hall. It was soft and traveling, and by the time he figured out that it wasn’t knocking but the snaps of shiny, shiny shoes on his hardwood floor the knife was already at his throat.

Gaslight

The back door wasn’t locked, so Kara let herself in without a moment’s hesitation. It
was late, far past dark, but she was expected. The night and flickering porch light gave her ample cover should anyone happen to see her, and if they did they would and wouldn’t recognize her. She locked the door behind her, though. This was no one’s business but her own.

Kara walked through the kitchen, admiring the brushed stainless steel appliances and the shine on the toaster that allowed her to see every line on her face and every gray hair that she combed her hair carefully to hide. She passed through the dining room with its perfectly centered tablecloth and then through the living room to the stairs. Everything was neat and ordered, and she was slipping into it all like putting on a beloved pair of jeans.

She unbuttoned her own jeans as she thought this, stepping first out of her flats so she could pull them off and drop them in the hall. Her jacket came next as she walked, and she left a trail of her clothes behind her. The clip in her hair was cast off as well, sending a sheet of straight blonde hair down her back.

Empty spaces along the hallway where pictures had obviously once hung made her uneasy. It was completely at odds with the front part of the house and the two halves clashed magnificently, something Kara had been expecting from the moment she pulled up in the alleyway of the house.

They were out of town, the people in the missing photos. She knew this. It was the reason she had come tonight and brought her own camera, and a set of frames in the back seat of the rental car. She paused to look at one of the bare spaces as if trying to come up with their measurements just by looking, then unhooked her bra and dropped it onto the floor.

By the time she reached the bedroom she was completely naked and it seemed right to be standing in the most private of places, a blank slate to be filled with drawings and laughter by a woman who looked as if she hadn’t so much as cracked a smile in years.

The bathroom door was shut and her heart began to pound in her throat as she closed her fingers around the knob, wondering if it would be locked. If it was she had come for nothing, leaving her old skin behind her in the hallway and allowing the faintest ghost of hope to spark in her chest. It would be unlocked, though, just like the front door. The pictureless walls told her that for sure.

Kara turned the knob and pushed the door open, her entire body relaxing as she stepped through the door. The bathroom was steamy, and she didn’t know if it was due to the lack of a fan or the fact it hadn’t been turned on. She would find out, though. There would be plenty of time to find out.

She stopped at the side of the bathtub and looked down at the woman who was almost submerged in the water. Long blonde hair floated around her face in a halo that moved as she breathed. Her breaths were slow and deep and for a moment Kara thought she might be asleep. A moment later she was standing up, water streaming off a body that was pink from the heat.

“It’s my turn,” Kara said as she looked into the same bright blue eyes she had seen in the mirror that morning. The woman smiled and held her hand out for a towel, which Kara provided. “Where are they?”

“Away. It’ll be morning before they’re back.” She dried herself off and wrung out her hair. “They won’t notice a thing.”

“Sure they will,” Kara said. “But isn’t that the point?”

NaNoWriMo Prep Season

That’s what they call the month (or months!) when you start trying to figure out what you’re doing for your novel.

November is going to be crazy for me because not only am I going to be getting started with editing for The Detective’s Brother, I’m planning on trying to write a novel in 30 days!

When I first started out back in the day, I heard a lot about NaNoWriMo from various sources and it all seems to be very enthusiastic either way. On one end of the spectrum you have the people who say it’s wonderful, a good exercise and helps to get you going on a project you might otherwise never have started. On the far opposite end you have people who will argue with you and say that writing 50,000 words in a month is useless and doesn’t make you a “real” writer.

As for me, I’m doing it because I think it will be fun to challenge myself to write most of a book (I highly doubt 50,000 words would be enough for me to finish a book) in a month. I might not be able to do it but at least I’ll have had some fun trying!

I pulled an old story idea out of mothballs and have been using Scrivener to get it all arranged so that I’m ready when November hits. I feel like having a good plan is essential to me getting the story moving in the right direction, even when I’m tired out after work or stealing a few minutes to type during my lunch break. I’ll post a couple of in-progress updates, and maybe even an excerpt if you promise not to hold it against me if it’s terrible. If I get most of it done and then finish it up later, it might just become my next book.

Actually, that’s probably not the case. I’ve already got another book written that just needs an ending and a little polishing, and that will most likely be the next one I publish providing people like Detective’s Brother. I’m excited but nervous about it, a feeling that I’m sure will intensify once we actually start edits and the book cover is finished.

I may be a little crazy for trying to do NaNoWriMo when I also will be looking at doing editing and starting the publication journey for real. But according to some of the people on the site, that’s part of the fun! I’m just hoping I can squeeze all this stuff in with my job, my crocheting, and the mountain of family stuff that is constantly threatening to overwhelm me.

If you want to be my writing buddy, I’m Becca Lovell on there. I think you can add me now but they say the site re-launches on Monday so you might wait until then. Either way I would love to have lots of writing buddies!

Only 30 days until November!

Putting Myself Out There

I’ve been thinking for a little while about how to get myself out there as a writer, and one of the most terrifying but necessary things you can do is submit your work. I always feel a little like I’m kicking a baby bird out of the nest when I do it.

After some consideration I decided that I’m going to submit one of my very short stories to some romance magazines and see if anyone would like to publish it. I would love for it to get a wider audience and get my name out there a bit more. I have a few shorts that I was planning to put up here on the site but there hasn’t seemed to be much interest in them so I’ve been focusing on my books instead.

I’m also thinking of doing some of the Yeah Write writing challenges! They’re fun weekly writing prompts and a great way to make new writer friends. I’ll try to keep them in the realm of Texas historical fiction and you never know, it could end up being a book idea or further writing prompt!

I was reading a blog from an old friend and saw that she used to participate in a weekly writing challenge called the Trifecta Challenge, which looks like it was a lot of fun! Unfortunately it closed in 2011 so I had to look around for a similar challenge. Writing a very short story a week might be a little much for me, but their microfiction challenge might be fun to try.

Last night I officially made it to 31 Christmas squares! I’ve got the last 9 white centers made, so now I start on adding the red rounds, then the green and woo-hoo! I’ll be finished with the swap and can focus on the scrapghan squares. I’ll probably post each square as I finish it on Twitter with a weekly roundup here, so if you want to see the progress as it happens, follow me over there and read all the other goodness I post.

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I’ve been putting my swap squares in these plastic stackable crates and they’re the perfect size for 40 or 50 squares and one of those one pound yarn skeins that I use for the joining. It leaves me a significant amount left over but that’s what the scrapghan projects are for, right? They stack perfectly too, and fit right under the clothes in my closet so they don’t take up too much space. The only problem is that they’re all full right now!