Category Archives: Interruptions

Writer’s Cave, Here I Come! by Katy Lee

It’s crunch time. With a deadline looming for my third Love Inspired Suspense novel I need to say goodbye to my family and friends. I need to bid adieu to my social life. (Ha…like I have one of those anyway, but if felt good to say.) I need to prepare my home for a disappearing mama. But I can’t just hole myself into a room with no preparation. So here is my checklist before I shut that door.

1) Food Shopping – My pantry is stocked with easy meals the kids and husband can makeFODR-00015873-001 on their own. If they’re at a loss, there is always cereal. I bought thirteen boxes of their favorite varieties. And of course, I bought chocolate for me.

 

 

list2) The house is clean and chore lists are given out. I do love writing those lists. It could be the writer in me, or it could be the fact that I’m getting a month off. Yippee!

 

3) Special one-on-one time with each child, and of course husband, has been dispersed. Love banks are full.cats

 

a sign4) The talk has been given. The sign is in place. You know the sign. Do not disturb unless someone is bleeding…a lot. They’ve been reminded that a closed door means I love you.

 

 

5) My Whack-a-Doubt Monster club is by my chair. I’ve batprepared well. I’m ready to go. I’m sure not going to let that creepy thing ruin it all. Nuh-Uh. No way.

That’s all, folks. I’ll see you all on the other side. But please do tell if you have something to add. Is there a certain thing you do to make your cave experience a success?

The Sugar Crush

Hi, Scribe Friends. Suze here. Glad you could stop by.

I’m working on the second novel in my mystery series (details of which I hope to be able to release soon!), and while I’m excited about it and making progress, I’m also finding myself not making my 1,000 word goal most days. And that’s a problem, because I want this puppy done by August 15.

I’ve also found myself procrastinating on other items on my to-do list, simple things that can and should be accomplished in ten or fifteen minutes (or less) but are nonetheless piling up and stressing me out.

thCABE2757But do I blame myself for all this? No! It’s not my fault! I blame …

Candy Crush Saga. This stupid, insanely addictive game is the world’s biggest time suck! There’s a sister game, by the way, called Farm Heroes Saga, but I just can’t warm up to those overly cute vegetables.

Anyway, the first step to conquering a problem is admitting you have one. Over the last few weeks the game has dragged me deeper and deeper into sweet, sticky oblivion. I’m at the hard-crack-ho stage on the candy thermometer. Just one more game. No, just one more game until I win. What? I’m out of lives? Sure, I’ll gladly wait twenty-eight minutes until I get another one, and in the meantime I’ll just surf the web and ogle Joe Manganiello and Channing Tatum, or google recent archaeological/anthropological finds (did you see the one about the Siberian female tattooed mummy? Click here, but only if you trust yourself to come back!). Wash, rinse, repeat until hours have gone by.

When my son gives me attitude, he loses privileges. It only seems right to give myself consequences, too, when I’m misbehaving. Therefore, daily, until further notice, no Candy Crush until I’ve completed the following:

  • Write 1,000 words on my manuscript
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise
  • Complete the most-pressing thing on my to-do list (the ones that take 15 minutes or less)

I’ve already been detoxing for a couple of days. So any of you Facebook friends out there, don’t expect me to be sending you lives or extra moves for a while until I get this under control. Or until I make my daily goals, above.

And come August 15, when this book is done, there will be one giant Sugar Crush. Tasty!

How about you? What’s your biggest time suck and how do you handle it? What are your personal addictions?

#1KID is Back to Talk Writing

Hello, friends! I’m #1KID as you may know me from visiting here last year when I told you all what the Top Ten Secrets from a Writer’s Kid were, or maybe you’ve#1kidribbon read my own blog, Road2Gold! Either way, I’m Katy’s kid!

I’m here today to tell you about my latest experience with a book I just read. It’s actually a book I’ve been waiting to read for about six months.  I’m sure many of you can relate to the excitement of when a book is released..

But as I read it, I noticed something different I’d never picked up on before. The author had a thing with “head-hopping”. If you don’t know what head-hopping is, then let me fill you in: Head-hopping is where the Point Of View (Or POV) all of a sudden changes. One paragraph you’re feeling what the heroine is feeling, then bam, we’re in the hero’s head.

Head-hopping is impossible when writing a first-person book, (which is what I write and usually read) but seeing that this book was in third person, I found it happening a lot. Like I said,  I’d never noticed head hopping before, but now it was like reading had an antagonist of its own. It slowed my reading and really jolted me out of the story. Sometimes I had to go back and reread the paragraph.

Can I ask if this is just me, or is there anyone else who experiences this? And why had I never noticed it before?

What especially bothered me was when the author head hopped into the POV of a secondary character. It tripped me up and confused me. Do we need to know what a secondary character is thinking?

I realize I’m a new writer, but if any of you Scriblings can explain why authors head hop, please tell me.

As for me when I write, I put the squiggly in between POVs. ~ Sometimes I put random symbols.( ψ Ω ∞ ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ ) I don’t plan to be published until I graduate high school, so I can be weird in my books. I write about angels, so a symbol of a pair of wings would be really cool.

My character, Vera North, with her wings
My character, Vera North, with her wings

In the publishing world, what is the customary symbol to use for when an author doesn’t head hop and changes POVs? Thanks for your help and thanks for hanging out with me today.

Thanks Scribes for having me here today. But before I leave, I want to tell you that tomorrow is my first blogiversary! (Yeah, yeah… I made that word up.) I’m soooo excited! I’ll be celebrating in a few days on my own blog, so be sure to join the party!

Later!

#1kid

Starting the New Year … In Retreat!

Happy New Year, everyone! Suze here.

Have you ever been on a writing retreat? That’s what I’m doing for the next few days with a couple of my Sister Scribes—J Monkeys and Katy Lee. We’re in a time share out in the very cold and snowy Berkshires, complete with comfy living quarters and a fully stocked kitchen. Plenty of snacks, hot tea, and wine, and no Wi-Fi!

I’ve got two short projects I want to finish while I’m here (synopses for two to-be-written books), and one longer one that I don’t expect to finish, but will make huge progress on (revisions on a story I’ve had gathering dust for a long time). What a great way to start the New Year!

So here are the top three reasons a writer should go on a retreat:

IMG_20130102_211507You get to work in your pajamas. Check out these Betty Boop fuzzy lounge pants my mom got me for Christmas.  Trust me: I could live in these things, and I will be doing so pretty much for the duration.

Distractions can be kept to a minimum. Without Wi-Fi, there’s no ability to waste time surfing the web. We’re keeping the television off, and our e-readers holstered. There’s nothing to do but write! Unless, that is, I decide to pop out to a Redbox later–wouldn’t a viewing of Magic Mike be the perfect reward for three writers who’ve been working hard all day?

You can spend quality time with other like-minded peeps. This one is priceless. I get that not everyone can work with other people nearby. Personally, I love it. Just hearing someone else’s keys a-clacking and knowing that stories are being created around me motivates me to press on with my own work. Stuck on a plot point or can’t think of the perfect word? You’ve got other writers at your beck and call, ready to assist you. Or to force-feed you Reese’s Pieces and/or mini pizzas when you’ve been writing long enough and need to take a break.

What about you? Have you ever been on a retreat, either a formal, organized one, or a casual one like I’m on now? How did it work out?

Taking A Vacation From Writing

I spent the weekend in Maine with some friends. The trip had been planned since February and I had been excited to go all along but as the weekend neared I began to grow panicky. Why you ask? Was I afraid of bad weather? Not getting along with my friends? Spending hours in a car with little to do to occupy myself?

No to all of those things. I was panicky because I knew I wasn’t going to bring my laptop. Since I decided I wanted to be a writer I have written every single day without fail. And now that I have deadlines looming and characters begging for their stories to be told I really feel the pull to get the words out of me. But I was going away and while I can have hours of fun writing I know that my friend and her sister wouldn’t get as big of a kick out of it as I would. I told myself I could write anytime. That writing would always be there for me. Time with my friends might be limited. So I left it home.

The world wasn’t going to end without it. And even though when I woke up early some mornings with my fingers itching to add to my WIP I was okay without it, because I ended up needing to take a step back. I always think of myself as a panster, but in reality I’m not. Before I start writing I know how every book I write is going to end, the major turning points and the black moment. And each day I sit down to write I always have a plan for what I going to put down on the page. But lately in a rush to get my word count up I was writing things that had no purpose, scenes that didn’t move the story forward. I’m not a girl who spends a lot of time editing after the book is done, so it’s important for me to get it right the first time. (I know some people say it’s okay for your first draft to suck and it is okay for some people, but I’m not that kind of writer and if you aren’t then that’s okay too.)

My favorite store in Kennebunkport.

It was good for me to take a step back because it allowed me to think of my book as a whole instead of just scenes slapped together. Instead of reaching for my laptop I lay in bed and thought about all the little things that make a book good. I want my book to be good. So I knew I had to dig deeper and find what it was missing.

On the second morning of the trip after a very fun day of shopping and a night of watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies my mind was clear enough to actually plot the second half of my book scene by scene.

I grabbed my phone and typed myself the world’s longest memo. I knew that I wasn’t going to add any new words to my WIP but I knew that when I did I wouldn’t have to rack my brain for words to put on the page. In the end even though I didn’t spend anytime actually writing I managed to get a lot of work done.

Now I’m back home enjoying my last free bit of weekend before I have to return to work. My trusty laptop is with me but I have decided that I’m not going to write a single word until tomorrow. My vacation from writing hasn’t ended yet.

So what about you? Do you ever allow yourself to take a step back? Are you really a panster? Like Maine? Ever see that giant liquor store on the highway in New Hampshire? Any and all comments are welcome.

Oh and I am heading back to Maine next week (a different part) with my family and I am lugging this bad boy with me. I missed it!

Writing Interrupted?

Happy New Year! Katy Lee, here. Today I’m wondering how many resolution people are out there? I’ve visited many blogs and sites this week and have read quite a few resolutions (some serious, some hysterically funny), and honestly, I hope they reach them all! (The one who plans to make a million dollars in book sales—Go for it!)

Now, I am all for making a plan, but I am not a resolution person. I know life is filled with too many interruptions for them to stick. For example, I would love to lose twenty pounds, but I keep getting interrupted by breakfast, lunch and dinner. (I do love my food)

But seriously, I would love to make a resolution that this year I am going to complete four novels and sell two of them. It feels great to say, and in fact, having the New Year start today just motivates me more to sit my butt in the chair and get it done. But I know something will come up.

Picture this:

I’m sitting at my computer, writing like crazy. The thoughts are flowing too fast for my fingers to type. I am in the zone, and then, Bam! My son is sick. I am ripped out of my chair and all production stops for seven to ten days. (That’s what happened this week.)

After taking care of that interruption, I crack my knuckles and get back in the chair. My fingers begin to fly again; gradually I return to the zone, and then I swear not fifteen minutes go by when my husband calls, “What’s for dinner?” “The phone is for you.” “The kids need a bath.” “What’s for dinner?”

Oh, yeah, and let’s not forget the big 10 day interruption this year… “The Power’s out!”

Anyway, after jumping up and down, up and down, I’m lucky if I can get a line or two in before the next interruption.

I’ll be honest, many times I just want to throw in the towel and say forget it, and I’m sure that’s how a lot of resolutions get forgotten. Plans get interrupted. It’s not that we want to fail. I mean, seriously, who sets out to fail? And, I don’t know about you, but I can start to feel a bit resentful when I think I have.

I don’t like that feeling.

Writing is something that makes me happy, and I want to keep it that way. So, I suppose the only resolution I have is to make sure I keep my writing enjoyable through all of life’s interruptions. I understand that not everyone has the luxury to write to their heart’s content, and even some who do, choose to take their writing slow. In fact, I read somewhere that J.K. Rowling likes to write at a snail’s pace. She savors the process like a warm cuppa tea.

I also understand that each of my interruptions is food for my stories, so instead of taking out my anger, I take notes.

The Unlocked Secret:  Keep your writing enjoyable, even if you’re only savoring one line a day. Don’t get resentful about your responsibilities and interruptions. Complete them, learn from them, and use them. They’ll only make your stories stronger. And, whatever you do, don’t throw in the towel just because life throws you a curveball. Even though every day is not a New Year, it is a new day.

Question: So, go ahead, spill. Do you have a resolution this year? I do love to hear them.