Sunday, August 30, 2015

House Hunting

I seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time on various realtor sites these days, trying to cull through the opportunities available to us as my sister and I search for our perfect home. On Friday, we spent the entire day running from one to the next. We're getting smarter in our attempts now. Instead of just writing down the address and price before we head out, we take the time to look at the pictures and make up a list of pros and cons for each. It's really helped us in the search, as we were able to eliminate four of the six we drove by today.

Which made me think of writing. Of putting together a manuscript from start to finish, of having a plot that works and is strong enough for a 70,000 word novel. I'd like to be a total pantser and just go where my muse leads me, but it makes me nervous if I don't know where I'm headed, and I don't have the time to explore dead ends, to have to tear off the last half of the book and do it again. But I also am not quite on the opposite end of the spectrum, either. I don't do outlines, but I do write out my plot points from start to finish, to see if there's enough story and if it's strong enough. I weigh the pros and cons of the story before I get too far into it. I guess you could say I do a drive-by of the story.

If I like the plot points, I'll usually go one step further and write a synopsis for the entire story. I'm not saying I stay true to the synopsis once I get going on the book, but it helps me see clearly where I'm headed and how to get there. It helps me fall in love with the story line and the characters. We're not at this stage yet in our house-hunting. We can't afford to fall in love with a house until we get a contract on ours.

Like books, there are millions of houses out there, all for sale and begging to be picked. Each has its strong points (usually) and each has some drawbacks. But, if the house is pretty enough, has good bones, and gives us at least most of what we want, we'll offer to buy it. Books are all begging to be picked, too. So they'd better have pretty covers and good bones beneath the cover. And if they deliver the message we were looking for, so much the better.

A Widow's Salvation is available for pre-orders now, and will be released on September 7, 2015. It has a pretty cover and I hope you'll agree it has good bones beneath the cover. Here's a snippet from the book:

A little more than an hour later, he arrived at Central Park. He rode for a while on the bridle paths, which were the best way to take in the park, but he wanted to get off his horse for a bit and walk. He spied a stable a few steps off the bridle path and entered the facility.
The man in charge saluted him, and Elijah suppressed a grimace. There was no getting away from the war.
“I want to take a walk through the park for a while. Can you stable my horse for an hour or so?”
“Happy to, Colonel. Enjoy your afternoon.”
Elijah set off on foot. He had an interest in bridges and wanted to see the Glade Bridge. It had been under construction on his previous visit, and the fact it was made from locally quarried sandstone enhanced its appeal to him. The design was as lovely as he’d imagined it to be, since it blended with the landscape rather than protruded from it. He spent a few minutes admiring the bridge from several angles, then moved on to the Bethesda Terrace, which was positioned in front of the fountain and the lake.
Elijah took his time descending the staircase, running his hands over the stone carvings of animals and birds, which adorned the banisters. Such attention to detail was part of what made the park so special, a jewel big enough for the entire city to enjoy. He inhaled a deep breath and stretched his back, feeling alive for the first time in a long time. There were other things going on than the ghastly war, a fact he had forgotten. He glanced up at the clear blue sky and then shifted his gaze to the vast lake. The city fathers had been so forward-thinking when they’d taken possession of a swamp in the middle of the city, upon which no buildings of any size could be erected, and turned it into a huge park and lake. Central Park would be a showpiece for the city for decades to come, especially after it was completed. Why had it taken him a year to return? To appreciate its beauty?
Because he’d been busy trying to save the lives of the brave soldiers who had answered the call for service. Now, thanks to a woman named Pepper Brown, he was trying to save his own life. For the first years after Elisabeth died, he’d wanted to join her, and nearly worked himself to death as a result. He no longer wanted that fate, and he was now taking the first steps toward a future without her. He walked toward the fountain and the lake beyond.
The laughter of children made its way to his ears. He scanned the crowd. So many children, so many people. This had been a foolhardy mission on his part. If he was going to take the time to escape the hospital and meet Pepper in a park, he should make certain to set it up with her first and to have a clear plan. It was getting late, and he needed to return to the stable, pick up his horse, and ride back to the Bronx before dark.
The sea of humanity parted just then, and Elijah spied the one person he’d been searching for. Pepper, surrounded by her children, glanced up from them at the same time his gaze found her. Her lips curved in an even wider smile, and she waved.
The Bronx could wait awhile longer. 

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  1. I love your analogies. I'm not yet in the position to be buying a new house (condo), I can relate to your writing. I am a pantser, and yes I somehow go down the wrong path. But I've been lucky and been able to talk myself out of those situations.

    1. You're lucky that you can talk yourself out of those wrong path situations and get back on track. I end up ripping that part of the book off and am left with half a book. And yes, I can make an analogy out of just about anything, can't I?

  2. Wow, what an interesting snippet you've included for us, thank you! I wanted to remark on your post though, about how are you searching for a new home. Are you just using internet searches and real estate websites? Making appointments with realtors can be quite annoying. How else are you searching? There's so much information out there it's hard to determine what's legit.

    Margaret @ Boston North Shore Real Estate

  3. That made me smile. I often choose a book by its cover, and I usually judge a house by the first impressions when I go to view it. Luckily I only like fixing up houses not books! Love the cover for the new book, it's really pretty and I'm sure the rest of the story is great, too.

    Doyle Hunt @ Real East Van