Friday, November 30, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! (NaNo Day 30)

That's right! Despite not writing a total of 7 days this month, I managed to squeak by and get 50K words down. AND, I managed to actually finish the plot of my novel. Now, I need to go back and do a lot of character building, because I was focusing so much on the plot that I kinda made some rather large jumps in the personalities of my characters.

But that's what December is for. Or something.

Some stats:

Days: 30 (minus 7, if you want to be technical)
Words: 51358 (by my word processor; 50659 by NaNo's validator)
Pages: 164
Characters: 7 involved in the action, one more that plays a key role in the story, and four others that are named.
Happy Ever Afters: 4, I think. But the readers only explicitly know of one.
Sequels: ???
Number of headaches: 1. Right now. I'm going to lie down now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (NaNo Day 27)

It's almost over. Almost. I can just about taste it.

All I have to say is that I'm really glad that I: 1) had Thanksgiving break this month, otherwise I would not have been able to survive, and 2) have been on Family Medicine and thus have had time (during lunch!) to actually do this. I have a little less than 6,000 words to write to finish this thing up, and it's going to be tough. I'm eating dinner at a friend's house every night this week (I'm a guest chef on Friday), plus I have choir practice tomorrow night. Thankfully, my Fridays are half days, so I should have a few hours to get caught up before making a mad dash to the finish by midnight.

I hope that my word count isn't too far off the NaNo validator's word count. I'm not sure how many extra words I'll be able to squeeze out before midnight Friday.

At any rate, here's a teaser for this week. This is one of the first intersections of the paths of the characters that did not previously know each other. The others come in a little later.

“Can I help you?” Dawn asked, putting on her business smile.

The woman turned and a look of surprise graced her face. “Sorry, I was admiring this beautiful wheel from outside and wanted to get a closer look.”

Dawn smiled. “It belongs to my grandmother. An old family heirloom that she's rather proud of.”

The woman smiled and gestured towards it. “May I?”

“Of course,” Dawn replied, taking a step towards the window. The woman stepped up to the display and ran her fingers over the wheel, turning it a bit back and forth. She followed the thread back to the spindle and glided her fingers over the tip of the spindle.

“You say this is an old family heirloom. How long has it been in your family?” the woman asked.

Dawn shrugged. “Generations. Nana hasn't told me all that much about it. She keeps telling me that one day she'll tell me the story behind it.”

“Are you not curious to know the history now?” the woman asked, raising her eyebrow.

“It's been a while since I've thought about it. The display just adds a nice touch to the shop.”

The bell jingled again, and Dawn turned to see Rowan stepping into the shop. He glanced at the woman suspiciously and gave her a wide breadth as he walked over to Dawn. “Who is she?” he asked softly in Dawn's ear.

She smacked his shoulder lightly. “Don't be rude. She's a customer. Or rather, she saw the wheel outside and wanted a closer look.”

He continued to watch the woman wearily. “Something's off about her,” he muttered.

Hope you enjoyed it. I'll post again on Friday or Saturday with a final teaser for you, as well as my final word count. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Names (NaNo Day 26)

I'm horrible with names. I love picking first names for my characters, because I always give them a name that means something.

Blanche, for instance, is the descendant of Snow White. Blanche is french for White. Voila. Each of my main characters has a similar story behind their name.

But last names are my downfall. I picked one at random for Ms. Blanche, only to discover that the last name I picked was someone I went to high school with... who was named Blanche. Fail on my part. But rather than sit there and go through dozens of name possibilities, and making sure that the names meant something for the characters, I posted it to my friends. What should I name my characters?

So, I now introduce you to my main character cast:
Blanche Mitchell
Aileen Fisher
Jason Johnson
Rowan Maxwell
Dawn Stern

And my supplemental characters:
Madge Reynard (affectionately known as Nana)
Wilhelm Herrmann
Thomas Fisher (Aileen's brother)
Harold and Eleanor Johnson (Jason's mother and father)

Everyone else, at this time, who has a name does not have a first and last name. For instance, I have Susie, the receptionist at the office Jason works. I have David, a stablehand at the stables that Aileen frequents. They aren't important enough to the story to either get names that matter or get both first and last names. Poor things, I know. Of course, Jason's parents fall into that category, but since they're family, they get a last name too. They just got lucky that way.

In terms of the word count... I'm back to being a day behind, but I've finally gotten a rough layout of how I want the novel to finish up, so maybe I'll be able to get all caught up and finish the thing by Friday. I'm debating whether or not I want to enter the Virtuosos competition. I'd like to think that I wrote a pretty good novel, but I know it needs heavy editing, and I'm not sure I'll have the time to keep up with things come January, when I start Surgery.

Well, I suppose it's a moot point if I don't finish the novel by Friday midnight. So I guess I'll just wait until then to see where I go from there.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday (NaNo Day 25)

So... I got behind again this week. Actually, I never really caught up. So much for thinking my vacation would stimulate me to actually write. Mostly I've just been lazy. Which is perfectly okay, since I haven't had a break in 9 months, but it's hurting the word count a bit. I'm working on it still. I still til the end of the week to finish.

This week's six comes from the rising action as I rapidly approach the yet unknown climax. It is a conversation between Aileen and Rowan that takes place after Dawn is incapacitated and Rowan is frustrated with being unable to help.

He grumbled as he dabbed his jacket with a napkin. “Not that it matters much. She's far too interested in her dress-making than she is in a relationship right now.”

Her response was measured. “Did it ever occur to you that she feels the same way, but doesn't want to lose your friendship? Why on Earth would she go looking for another relationship when the guy she wants to be with is around her. ..."


For more sixes, visit Six Sentence Sunday. Be aware that many erotica authors participate and there is no restriction on the content, so enter at your own risk.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (NaNo Day 20)

Well, ladies and gents, I've almost managed to catch back up from last week's no writing fiasco. I'm up to yesterday's word count goal, which means all I need to do is write about 3000 words tomorrow and I'll be all caught up again.

Shouldn't be too hard, right?

It's a good thing I'm on break all this week. If I try really, really hard, I might even be able to finish completely before going back to school Monday. Stranger things have happened...

Of course, now I've reached the turning point in the novel, and I'm having to go back and explain some things that I've come to realize I need to let the readers in on earlier in the novel.

Which is where today's excerpt comes from. Previously, I have talked about how Aileen is a horse whisperer of sorts. But it seems as if she's having a bit of an off day now. Poor thing. I just keep doing mean things to her. To all my characters, really. But it's okay, they'll bounce back just fine in the end.

When she arrived, she found David calming down her horse. She approached slowly, and the horse neighed loudly, dancing away from her. Frowning, she sat down against the fence and waited until David put the horse back into its stall. He came out and handed her a bottle of water, sitting down beside her.

"I was worried when he showed up without you. What happened?"

She took a generous gulp of water and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. "Something is up with him today. He was a bit skittish when I was getting him saddled up, but I figured he was just antsy about getting out, since I haven't been by in a few days. But he kept tugging at the reins the whole time I had him canter, so I tried to stop him. He didn't like that very much... he threw me off and ran back here. I managed to jump off so I didn't land on my back, but I twisted my ankle when I landed, so it took me a little while to get moving again."

David shook his head and took a swig from his own bottle. "Wonder what's up. You don't usually have any problems with the horses, and he seemed perfectly content to let me put him back in the stall."

She shrugged and tugged off her boot. "Maybe it's me, then. I must be having an off day." She pulled off her sock and winced at the black and blue splotches covering her ankle.

He whistled. "Looks like it hurts. You sure you don't need me to bring you anywhere? I mean, I know you're superwoman and managed to walk back up the trail by yourself, but it's only going to get worse now that your boot is off."

She squeezed her ankle slowly, her breath catching every so often from the pain. "I'll be okay, I think. Just need to get home and get some ice on it." She made to stand and quickly lost her balance.

"Oh, no you don't," David said, catching her arms. "We'll get you set up in the office until the swelling goes down. Then we'll wrap you up. You're not going to be able to make it from the car to your place with how it is now."

Thanks for reading!

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday (NaNo Day 18)

Yeah, I've been really bad at writing this past week. As in, I managed to get all caught up with everything on Monday, and then didn't write on Tuesday-Friday. And yesterday, the writing went very slowly. I have several thousand words to catch up on (still have roughly 7000 at the time of writing this). Good thing I have no responsibilities for the next week, huh?

This week's six is hot off the press, so to speak, seeing as how I just wrote it last night. So many things have developed in the past week, and our character's lives are intersecting in some interesting ways.

The scene takes place at Stitch in Time (the dress shop Dawn and her grandmother own), after Dawn is found unconscious by Aileen. She has been brought to the back room, where a bed has been set up for her. Rowan has arrived and is none too happy about the situation.

Rowan paced the room anxiously, constantly looking at the bed. “We should bring her to the hospital,” he argued.

“I told you before, Rowan. It will do her no good to go to a hospital. They cannot help her,” Nana said calmly, carefully examining her granddaughter's hands.

“What are we supposed to do then?” he snapped, then ran his fingers through his hair in frustration.

Nana can certainly handle her own, can't she?

For more, visit Six Sentence Sunday. Be aware that authors from across the genre and audience spectrum participate, so several entries are rated M (Mature). Read at your own risk.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday (NaNo Day 11)

Welcome back! I've been hard at work this weekend, trying to keep my word count up. My region is having a slumber party next weekend, and since I'm free from clinical duties, I might actually go this year. I'll have to make an effort to go to at least one write-in before then, though, so I don't seem to randomly show up.

Bit of mystery in this week's post. You don't get to know who the characters are :)

"Good girl," the man said harshly. "All I want is your wallet, phone, and that pretty necklace you have around your neck."

Nodding, she mumbled against the hand. The hand tightened over her mouth, killing the sound in her throat, and his voice sounded in her ear again. "If you scream, I will make you pay," he warned before sliding the hand down from her mouth to lock his arm across her shoulders.

She swallowed harshly and fought the hysteria bubbling up in her throat.

I will tell you that this mugging is no coincidence, and that something taken from her will play a significant role in the story. Any ideas?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NaNo Day 8: Meet Dawn

Sorry I neglected to post yesterday. I was frantically trying to make up my word count, since I got 1000 words behind. I managed it pretty well, but I crashed right after I finished. Which might be the same thing that happens tonight, but I'm going to eek out a post first.

So far, you've met Blanche, Aileen, and Jason, and have seen a bit of the interaction between Dawn and Rowan.

Let's meet Dawn, then.

Dawn works in her grandmother's shop, Stitch in Time, as a seamstress. She got a degree in clothing design, and makes full use of it, designing a number of the formal dresses that they sell in the shop. She's quite proud of these dresses, thinking them an accomplishment. She's very much an introvert, and would much rather spend time in the shop working than heading out to bars to meet people her own age.

She also lives with her grandmother, feeling the need to act as guardian now that her grandmother's husband has passed. Her parents are less than approving of the whole situation, thinking her grandmother quite odd, and have thus severed contact with her.

She's best friends with Rowan. Everyone, except Dawn, is convinced that Rowan is madly in love with her, but she'll insist til her dying day that they're just good friends. He couldn't possibly see her that way, and he certainly makes no effort to hide the fact that he dates a new girl every time he goes out.

Right now, she's so focused on keeping her grandmother's shop running that she hasn't stopped to think about what she wants in life, but if you press her, she'll tell you the usual love, family, and success.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (NaNo Day 6)

Hope you all have been enjoying the little tidbits so far. I'm starting to hit a bit of a wall in writing myself, not because I'm not sure what to write, exactly, but because I'm not sure how I want to write it. I know the basic events I want to happen, but I need something to happen in between them, and I'm not sure how much of each character I should be writing.

At any rate...

Today you get a bit of a larger sample. Not too much, mind, but more than the 6 sentences you got on Sunday.

In this bit, you get to meet another character, Jason. Jason is near and dear to my heart, because he represents the frustration with my own schooling at the moment. But things will work out for him just like they're working out for me. Just as a quick background, this takes place at Jason's parents' home, where he goes for weekly dinners. He's just come from his work... he is a doctor-in-training, more commonly known as a resident.

Jason scoffed. “Just because I didn't want to spend my entire day in the library trying to cram information into my head during undergrad and medical school doesn't mean that I'm not driven. I am a doctor, after all. I'd wager that it's much more difficult to become one now than it was when you were in school.”

His mother placed her hand on his arm lightly. “Come now, there's no need to be upset. We're here to enjoy a nice family dinner, not to bicker. Harold, our son has done quite well with his life. Jason, we don't expect you to be the same person as your father.”

Jason rolled his eyes and Harold took another sip of his drink. “No, indeed. I've long given up on that expectation.”

Frustrated, Jason stood and left the room, seeking out refuge in the library. He wondered now why he insisted on putting himself through the torture of coming to this weekly dinner. Running his hand through his hair, he glanced around the room, taking in the large volume of books that filled the shelves. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw something shimmer. Frowning in confusion, he turned to get a better look. After scanning the area for a moment, he saw a cloth tucked between two books. Slowly, he walked over and fingered the cloth gently, then gave it a sharp tug. One of the books it rested between shifted and fell to the floor, leaving him holding a piece of silvery cloth about the size of a handkerchief. He rubbed the fabric between his fingers and it seemed to shimmer more intensely, leaving a slight tingling feeling on his fingertips. Curious, he turned the cloth over, inspecting it closely.

The doorknob rattled, signaling the arrival of another person. Acting quickly, he shoved the cloth into his pocket and turned towards the door, forcing a smile as his mother walked into the room.

“Dear, I'm sorry about your father. He seems to be in one of those moods tonight,” she said, grasping his hand in her own.

He shrugged. “He's always been that way. I shouldn't expect him to change. I do have to get going, though. Got a busy day tomorrow, and I like to try to read up on my patients a little bit before I see them.”

She smiled beautifully and kissed his cheek lightly. “Of course, dear. Will you come back next week?”

“It is our tradition, isn't it?” he responded, giving her a small hug. Once she returned the hug, he pulled back and took his things from the butler. “I'll see you next week, Mom.”

She smiled and walked with him to the door, waving as he slid into his car and pulled away.

What is the cloth, you ask? He doesn't even know yet, so why should you :P Stay tuned for more!

Monday, November 5, 2012

NaNo Day 5

I'm making steady progress. My average word count is up over 1700, which is pretty good. I think I'm going to end up completely trashing at least one of the scenes I've written so far, but I'm going to keep it as a placeholder at least until I finish the book and think of what I can replace it with.

Final word count for today was 8729.

So far, you've met Blanche, seen a bit of Dawn and Rowan, and gotten a couple of snippets from the plot itself.

Today, I want to introduce you to Aileen.

Aileen is by far the most outgoing of the girls. She's spunky, loves to throw herself into situations she probably shouldn't, and is good at going with the flow. She's currently in vet school, and has a talent for, shall we say, 'speaking' to animals.

“As I said, you're a natural at interacting with the horses. I've always wondered how you do it,” he said, squeezing her arm slightly.

She shrugged and discreetly ducked from under his arm. “I dunno. I just seem to get what they're going through and what they want. Some of them want attention. You ignore them and they calm down. Some are scared, or nervous. You reassure them and they're fine.”

David shook his head. “As I said, I don't get how you do it. I can't even do that with people I can talk to, and you can do it with dozens of different types of animals.”
She smiled and rolled the ball of her necklace between her fingers, backing away from him towards her car. “I guess I'm just talented.”

She's friends with both Dawn and Rowan, having gone to college with the both of them. What will be coming down the line for Ms. Aileen? You'll just have to wait and see.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday -- NaNo Style!

It's Sunday, which means for today's NaNo entry, you get a snippet of the novel. Since this entry has to go live practically before I get up in the morning, I don't have much in the way of progress today. No worries, I'll get you back up to date tomorrow.

Yesterday, you met Blanche. But, there are many other characters that are followed throughout Found. Two of them are Rowan and Dawn. You'll learn more about them in the coming weeks, but for now, here's a snippet of their interaction.

He smiled and leaned over the table to look her in the eye. "But I do enjoy it so much. You get all flustered when I irritate you."

She rolled her eyes and began cutting a long piece of fabric. "There are so many girls who would die to have you look at them like that, but instead you're here, in a seamstress' shop, wasting away all that free time."

"If you're so worried about me finding a girl to love on, why don't you ensure that I spend some time out looking for them?"

Yup, I think I'm going to like writing the two of them. They remind me of so many couples I know.

You can read other Six Sentence entries by visiting Six Sentence Sunday. Remember, there is no censoring in this group, so the entries may not be rated PG (or PG-13, or even R). Click at your own risk.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

NaNo 3: Meet Blanche

This novel is very different from those I've written in the past in that there's not a single main character. The story revolves around a group of people, all of whom are very important to the story, and all of whom have their own stories to tell.

Blanche is the first you're introduced to, though, and she's the one I developed first. So she has a special place in my heart.

Now, it's time for you to meet her.

Chelle: So, Blanche, tell me a little about yourself.

Blanche: Well, I've lived in the same town my whole life. My dad left when I was little; I remember a little about him, how he used to smoke his cigars on the back porch. My mom raised me after he left. She struggled, and I did my best to help her, even when I was little. She died recently, from a massive stroke. She's the only family I really had left.

C: I'm so sorry to hear that. Did you go to college?

B: I actually got several scholarships to go to college, so I was able to go without my mom having to get a second job to pay for it. I studied History while I was there. Now, though, I'm just working as a teacher's aide at the local community college. It doesn't pay very well, but I manage to get by with it.

C: Is there a special someone in your life?

B: Sadly, no. I was in a relationship for a long time through college, but it ended. I haven't really had much of a chance to date since, or at least, I haven't really made the time to go out and meet people. Now, with my mom's recent death, I'm afraid that my mood is too sour for most people.

C: What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

B: I love to read. I devour books all the time. Nothing like escaping reality for a few hours at a time.

C: Alright. Thanks for answering my questions. I'm looking forward to getting to know you more in the coming weeks.

Follow my progress this month:

Friday, November 2, 2012

NaNo Day 1 and 2

So, I didn't write anything on NaNo Day 1. I have a good excuse! I was working all day (until 5), and then I had to study for an exam I had today. Since I was bad and slacked off on studying the past 4 weeks, I had a lot of studying to catch up on.

But, I'm over halfway through catching up today, now that my exams are done. Only another 600 or so words in the next 3 hours (then I have to leave for dinner, and then an afterparty... I'm a busy girl, after all) and I'm set. I think I can manage that. Maybe I'll even get a bit ahead for tomorrow.

Since I'm still getting to know my characters, today you get an excerpt. This is from the Prologue, where we first meet Ms. Blanche. Enjoy!

She pulled out several pieces of old, crumpled newspaper, dated back to before she was born. Frowning, she rummaged through the box until she encountered a solid object. It was wrapped in the newspaper, much like dishes were wrapped in preparation for a move. She unwrapped it slowly, feeling a combination of anticipation and some unfounded sense of anxiety.

As she pulled back the paper, she revealed an antique appearing comb, the type used for hair decorations in the Victorian times or earlier. The silver had tarnished considerably, but she could make out the beautiful filigree pattern on the top of the comb, twisted into the shape of a rose. She brushed her fingers over it gently, her mouth relaxing into a small smile. Setting the comb onto the table gingerly, she continued to explore the contents of the box. The next object she pulled was much more solid and heavier. She turned the wrapped object over in her hands for a moment before opening it.

Any ideas on what the second wrapped object is? (Fallon, no cheating :P)