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Coming To The Home Stretch

I’m nearly done with writing my second manuscript for book 2 Soul’s Little Lie: Whispers in the Hall. I figure I have 5 more chapters to go. I could be done by late October or sooner. We shall see.

My goodness, I haven’t posted anything on my blog in a month or more. This time I want to showcase my progress from my dry erase board of the past few months. On each photo, about four of them, it will show my regular life schedule that also mingled with my writing.

You’ll probably notice a great gap in mouths and gaps in between weeks. Writing is hard at times, especially when that pesky writer’s block kicks in. The story is all there, it’s just life stresses keep you from writing. The darkness inside you of the doubt you have in your craft tries to weight you down with that massive or even small writer’s block. It’s no joke when people say: writing is hard.

What they mean by ‘writing is hard’ isn’t the writing part of typing up and hand writing words on a page, it’s getting the words out from your mind to your fingers to the blank page. That blank page can be intimidating at times. You just don’t quite know how to put the words together in telling the story of what scene or situation or conversation comes up next from where you left off.

Now that I’ve broken free of this nasty writer’s block that lingered for a collective total of six months or more, I’m almost done with the story. This second book has been the hardest cause you ‘feel’ as though the story is done with just that one first book, but oh know, it’s far from over.

At NorWesCon 2016 author Jennifer Brozek gave me some well needed words of encouragement that I will never forget:

“The hardest part in writing a book series is that second book. Most beginning writers have the hardest time writing a second book cause inside they believe that first book is the finished story. If you can show that you produced a second book in a series, that will help you get noticed by publishers. Until then, just keep writing and finish that second novel.”

I may have not repeated exactly her words, but it’s damn close to my ability in remembering them.

Now, onto what my work load looks like. Mind, I write on the board what I have produced and what happened in the day later in the evening. I don’t write a deadline to myself. It psychs me out and upsets me.

I gave up on the original idea of making a deadline, with posting a timeline of each week of which chapters to write, as seen in the first image on the left for the month of February.

In the second image, June 23-July 20, 2016 I began showcasing my real home life of what an author goes through in between ‘writer’s block’ and real life and then finally the writing that flows. Same thing for the third image of July 21-August 17, 2016.

What I used to do back when I wrote the first Soul’s Little Lie manuscript was, I kept all of this in my head of how I was producing chapters. Writing 1 chapter a week or more which spanned a total of 9 months. This time for the second book, it’s been a fussy child to me. I’ve been working on the second novel since late fall 2014. What really bogged me down in my writing for the first year or two was the constant interruptions of my elderly parents. They could not respect what I was trying to achieve. Now, you can see I’m more focused far, far away from them.

To add, I’ll do this little ‘writer’s tag’ questionnaire that I found on Jenna Moreci YouTube channel.

#1 What do you eat or drink while writing? – Maxwell House Coffee w/ International Delights Creamer of a flavor I’m in the mood for, usually it’s Almoretto Cafe and sometimes tea, but in between each cup of coffee, usually 2 cups one in the morning and one at night, I’ll drink a few 8oz water bottles of water. Oh, I don’t eat while I’m writing. I’ll take my food into the living room or watch videos on YouTube while I have my snack or lunch or dinner. Never, ever while I’m writing will I eat.

#2 What do you listen to while writing? – I have a large eclectic collection and it all depends on my mood in the scene I’m working with. I have a few soundtracks strictly for Soul’s Little Lie series. I arrange them in order of the story and use that song that comes up next as a ‘tuned in’ marker for my mind.
#3 What is your biggest distraction while you’re writing? – The negative hurtful words of my mother telling me I’m no good at anything. That then turns into a few days to a few weeks of depression and fear about my work. That emotional manipulative bs of my mother’s voice really hurts my time in the hours I could be writing.
#4 What is the worst thing that has happened to you while writing? – My first manuscript that I wrote by hand, that then I typed onto a Mac computer back in 1996 in computer class, decades later the hard floppy discs became corrupted and I lost all the files of all 200+ pages. Thankfully I printed the file out way before the corruption occurred and I have only one copy left. Recently though, 1 out of 3 hand written notebooks of said first original manuscript, along with 3 hard bound notebooks, artwork sketches, other odd notes and 2 hand written poetry books are in limbo at the USPS Distribution center in Federal Way, WA. The mailing location address was ripped off somehow and I’ve been waiting ever since, for nearly a year, for the box to return to me. I’ll have to just drive down to Federal Way location to get it that way even though I LOST the tracking number in the process of my move back to WA. Yeah, I’m on edge about that and that’s part of my writer’s block. I want my novel materials to come home to me so badly.

#5 What is the best thing that has ever happened to you while writing? – Currently getting Soul’s Little Lie book one published. Gotta consider each publication is a stepping stone to something bigger for my main goal.
#6 Who do you communicate with while you’re writing? – I don’t talk to anyone while writing. No one really should talk while they are writing cause you have to focus your whole energy onto your craft. If you must talk to someone, make sure it’s during a break so you can write down the notes during your talk. Or, just talk to yourself, since that’s where your writing is coming from – your inner soul.

#7 What is your secret to success and your biggest writing flaw? – I don’t have any ‘success’ to speak of yet. I just have one book published and have many more to write that will get published when they are ready. My biggest flaw would have to be – doubting myself and ‘listening’ to my mother’s harsh words. I have to break that habit if I am to ever succeed to my main goal.
#8 What is your inspiration? What makes you productive? – Music, my mind and my dreams that I remember when I wake up in the morning. Seeing that massive goal at the end of all of this. Can’t tell you what that final goal is, it’s a secret.
#9 What is one thing that you do or that other writers do that is super annoying? – There is this one author, I won’t say her name, that I met at NorWesCon2016. She kept on boasting this at the panel and in public at her booth – “I just want the fuck it all money!” Let’s just say, putting the cart before the horse and boasting that the cart can move, when it can’t, is a bad bad thing to do in one’s writing career. I don’t care how many books you’ve published or who your publisher is or how many you’ve sold. You don’t boast about wanting the ‘fuck it all money’ cause there is no guarantee of that ever happening. She was also very rude in how she spoke to me and other fledgling authors as though she was the ‘bell of the ball’, the ‘I’m better than you, cause I have this publisher’.
#10 Are you willing to share something you’ve written? – Since book 2 isn’t finished yet, I don’t want to share that just yet. I’m really not too keen on sharing book 1 either cause I need to clean it up for republication. I’m so sorry, but not at this time. I want to make sure both books are finely polished before sharing them in small bits.

Well, that’s all for today. A fairly long blog post as of late. Hope you enjoyed reading it and got a visual in how I do my work. If you’d like to see more my writing in what I’m up to, follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Soul’s Little Lie paperback at Amazon and BnN

In case anyone can’t find the links to my book for purchase….

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Souls-Little-Lie-Tara-Dobbs/dp/1940315786/ref=la_B00UIESXFC_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432588266&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Soul-s-Little-Lie?store=allproducts&keyword=Soul%27s+Little+Lie

Soul’s Little Lie:

Vivian Warren has been practicing magic all her life and has finally found herself face to face with her spirit guide. The sorrow in the man’s eyes compels her to go with him on a journey to his home in Lowell, Massachusetts. Hot on their trail, Detective Jacob Umari must uncover the link between this mysterious man with Vivian and a cold case file. The Soul’s Little Lie series is a haunting, psychological soft horror mystery filled with love, fear, and a glimpse into the workings of a broken heart.

Excerpts can be found here:

Part 1 – https://www.booktrack.com/content/read/f9430a21c6fc415fbd24a3fd1e551b60

Part 2 – https://www.booktrack.com/content/read/ad7ad8ce917245e4a671158035242ed0

 

Power of Words: Old Style vs New (A Comparison)

Which is best: modern dictionary with thesaurus or old; well loved thesaurus publication? Here are some examples as I thumbed through both.

The New Roget’s Dictionary & Thesaurus Form – Edited by: Norman Lewis (edition 1931, 1936, 1959, 1961, 1964 by: G.P. Putnam’s Son

idol: n. – image, golden calf, graven image, fetish, (worship); beloved, darling, dear (love)

celebrity: n. – luminary, personage, notable (fame)

 

The Little Oxford English Dictionary and Thesaurus – 2003, 2008 copyright

idol: n. -1)  icon, effigy, graven image, fetish, totem 2) hero, heroine, star, celebrity, favorite, darling; inf. blue-eyed boy

celebrity: n. – star, superstar, personality, household name

 

While I compared the two widely different examples, I noticed something very disappointing: the English language is diminishing before our eyes. The language in which we speak is losing its luster and stamina.

While editing my novel “Soul’s Little Lie” I noticed something about my writing from the early stages. I repeated what I was taught in simplicity of word style. The words I used in how I wanted to express the feeling of the story and character interactions were weak; had no power to hold up against the pages. While using my old 1930s Roget’s Thesaurus I learned of words I never knew existed or the context in which they are used. My eyes, my mind expanded to a whole new (perhaps old) world. I dove into this new found adventure and began adding what I had now learned.

There are ways to to use words in explaining a time period or a type of character in how they speak. Say, in the 18th century a character would speak in a more colorful manner. So using, ‘older style’ words would be appropriate. However, that’s cheating us out of the beauty of words. I would ravel in the joy of using ‘notable’ than ‘superstar’ to describe an idolized person.

The way words are used today are extremely simplified so much that this generation and the next will not know the art in which words are created. There are many words in different languages that mean the same thing  just like the English language does, too. The difference is, older cultures try to keep to the same ways of language as long as possible. More modern, faster growing; expanding countries like the United States throw away or shift words around too much. Everyone seems to want to keep everything around them fresh, ‘novel’ as though they can’t sit still long enough to enjoy what they already had.

I ask you now, readers and writers alike: Open your old, beloved thesaurus with renewed vigor. Dive into those dust stained pages. Let your fingers do the walking. Play with the idea for a while in what new; old words you can use in your future works. You will not be disappointed. I promise you that.

 

Comfy Locations Are A Must…

Having written two novels, first original manuscript is being completely reworked now, I have found that comfortable locations to set down to work is important. I’m not just saying a place where it is most covenant – I’m saying it’s best to find multiple locations whenever possible.

You’ll have your typical locations where your desktop or laptop are located: living room, bedroom, din, or kitchen table. Those are all common places that are good to work at as long as it’s quiet and you get no disturbances. (‘Disturbances’ is for a new blog sometime) I’m talking about the uncommon locations. My current ‘uncommon’ location I’m typing right this very second and have been for the past two hours is reclining on my Liberator brand Esse chair. The chair is located in my studio/bedroom semi-apartment where I’m currently living with my elderly parents. This chair is black, velvety soft and curved to the contour of your back and legs. Plenty of pillows to support my head and neck. Price tag: $499.99 purchased at any adult sex toy shop online or in person. Comes in many different colors and a larger size, too.

Why this chair, you ask? Well, it’s comfortable for me. It’s away from my main location – my art studio desk and terrible gray; old fabric office chair. I knew I should have gone with my Dad to get a free, new office chair last month. The real, logical reason to change my location where I type is simple: the feeling, the energy to continue said scene was stagnate and unmoving with emotion. I had to find a place to feel comfortable mentally. It’s what painters do to find that right place of inspiration while they paint or draw. Same applies with writers.

Sometimes I’ll type on my bed, but that isn’t very comfortable simply because it’s where I sleep. While I typed “Soul’s Little Lie” book one, I did lay on another bed from time to time when I was married. The reason – the energy was there at that time. I even typed parts of it sitting in my childhood 1930s wood oak desk in the living room of the apartment. (since then I gave the desk away and I think I should not have, oh well.) However, trying to type in the ragged; falling apart recliner that was my ex-husband’s, didn’t fair well in energy. It smelled and was dusty. It was comfortable for a few minutes, but not for long. Then I’d find myself back in the queen size bed typing away a few more pages.

Another location I tried and I don’t recommend this for everyone, was at a cafe called Zippy’s. The atmosphere was inviting. Charming with little nick-nacks of bikes hung on the wall. Pictures of Zippy the dog. Local artists finished canvas paintings up for sale. The coffee was good. The black bean, cheese, spinach quesadilla with hummus was fantastic! However, it was noisy but not too much. I plugged in my IPod ear buds and turned on my ITunes collection. No matter how much music I drowned out of the background noise it didn’t work. I had barely typed one full sentence before I realized there were too many people around. My eyes kept getting distracted with movement around me. I would sense the presence of someone about to get up from their table or chair, or even the couch. (They had great couches there with plenty of pillows) Zippy, the male black spotted; white coat dalmatian, was walking around checking out all the customers and even came to see me. I realized this was not working. Ate my tasty, homemade quesadilla, packed up my laptop and headed home.

The basis of a comfortable location for any writer of any level is this: when the energy strikes pulling you to a part of your house or apartment or even a location in your school, listen to your instincts. The proper location can make or break the time you take to write a new story, article or full novel. Yes, by all means write anywhere when the mood strikes and always bring a notebook and pen with you just in case ideas start flowing. Not all of us have those fancy IPhones or IPads or other tablet devices.

Just like location is everything for a new store to take root, this same principle applies to writing – location, location, location. Find a place comfortable that feels just right for that special energy that will propel you forward into your next best work. When that ‘typing location’ goes stale, pick up your butt and your work and move to a new location. The same applies with finding just the right place for a picnic or a perfect tree to lean against to read a good book.

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