Sunday, September 26, 2021

Getting My Groove On

 I had an idea months ago for my ghostwriting client to produce a series about four guys lamenting the lack of ladies in their town. The client gave me the go-ahead, but then realized he needed Christmas stories more than he needed the Lonely Hearts Club series (or whatever he'll end up calling it.) So, I put the idea on the back burner and focused on Christmas. 

Now, I'm resurrecting the series idea and getting back to work on it. I'm nearly 2/3 done with the first book, and am enjoying this concept and the characters, who will appear intermittently throughout the entire series. This should keep me busy until the end of the year. When I sit down in the morning and reread the previous scene in this book, I'm enthusiastic about where the story is headed. It should be a great way to wrap up the year. I'm in the groove.

As for my own story, which was mired in the mud portion of my brain, it's still stuck. All I'm doing is thinking about story lines for books I'll never write. For example, yesterday there was a young couple sitting across from me as I waited for my dinner partner. The guy glanced over at me and told me he was ten days sober. I congratulated him and told him I liked his tats. The woman he was with laughed off my comment, as if someone my age shouldn't even know what a tat was. There's a story line there, if someone wants it. As for me, I'm in the writing groove, but I'm living in the 1860s in Colorado, not modern day North Carolina. Far safer, from my perspective. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Hopelessly Lost

 As most of you know, I'm a plotter who works from a sketchy outline when I compose my manuscripts. None of this writing out of sequence stuff or coming up with a plot twist willy-nilly for me. I like to know where I'm going and how to get there. Some surprises might show up along the way, or the plot line might alter a bit during the writing phase, but I usually have a good idea of the how the story will progress before I start. 

Not so, this time around. 

I wrote the outline and sent it to my writing buddy, who shot it down, starting with the first graph. There were still parts of it that were good, so I took her critique to heart and began again, ironing out the problems. I got the first part of it written, and then looked at my outline again to see where the path was to go from here. 

It was like I was reading a totally different story. Nothing about the manuscript matched any of the outline, except for the name of the hero and the fact he began the story wearing an eye patch as a disguise. 

So, I've spent the last week splashing around in the pool on a floatie, staring at the ceiling and trying out various scenarios in my head. Usually, this works and I come away from my physical therapy sessions with hips that don't ache and a solid idea for the next scene. This past week, though, all I've come away with are good hips. 

How do I get my H/H out of the south with a runaway slave and a belligerent horse? How do they get to participate in hanky-panky while hiding said runaway? What mode of transportation will work? Will the hero give up in disgust and ride off into the sunset on the belligerent horse without a backward glance? 

I'll keep staring at the ceiling until the answers emerge. Or maybe I'll break down and write a new outline. That would definitely make life easier. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Back To School Time

 I'm no parent, but once upon a time, I was a child, and the Labor Day holiday meant the fair was over and your new school shoes had been adequately broken in after two weeks of wear, so you were set for the school doors to open the day after Labor Day. The final week of summer spooled out in long, hot days, lying in a field, staring up at white puffy clouds racing by overhead, as if to escape the walls of school that were closing in on us. 

It wasn't so much that I hated school. I would have rather just been outdoors instead. With my nose in a book, one of my own choosing rather than being told what to read. With my feet bare rather than in ill-fitting shoes. But, I must admit, some of the lessons I learned in school were unexpected and have helped formulate the adult I've become. Case in point:

My best memory of high school was my first day as a sophomore, when I was on the committee to select our class jackets.

A few of us wanted to push the envelope and try a new style but the majority went with the teacher's recommendation and decided what had been popular the last ten years would once again be the norm. I elected not to order one. And for that, the teacher labeled me a rebel. 

I've tried to live up to his assessment of me ever since. Here's to you, Mr. DeMarco. 

And, to anyone who started back to school this week, I offer this advice. Take a breath of the outside air, keep your nose in a book of your own choosing, and run your naked toes through the grass. Keep that rebel spirit alive. You're going to need it as a grown-up.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Christmas Is Nearly Over

 Over the past few months, I've been tasked with writing several Christmas-themed novellas as part of my ghostwriting work. I promised my client two stories for certain, and, if I had time, a third. I turned in the two promised ones, but then he did something not done before by this particular person. He sent me a rough outline of a story he wanted written. Usually, it's been up to me to create the story line and run with it, but this time, he'd put the story together for me. All I had to do was write it. 

Since I sensed this was important to him, I agreed to write a third story. After all, he'd done the hard part and come up with the storyline. I fleshed out his basic idea and began writing the story a few weeks ago. 

I'm closing in on the ending now, and should have it ready to send off early in the week. This story will bring to a close my Christmas story-telling for the year. I'm pleased I got so much accomplished, but come December, it will all start again, this time not in a story. Will it feel like an after-thought?