Welcome to the website of writer Erin Boatkicker

Erin Boatkicker is a young writer with grand fantasies of using a handful of words to change someone’s life. She’s constantly busy and sometimes even surprises herself by how much time she can find to write. She’s a university student majoring, unsurprisingly, in creative writing, as well as working two jobs, learning to drive a car, planning a wedding, and dealing with her crazy but mostly lovable family. Right now, she's put all her other writing projects on hold and is focusing entirely on Only Make Believe, a novel she started for NaNoWriMo 2010. She hopes to have the first draft finished before November 2011.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010: Week Four

Today marks the end of Week Four of NaNoWriMo, and I am starting to really feel proud of myself, in a peaceful way that I hadn't felt throughout the rest of this. Up until this point I was excited (which I still am!) and it made my pride probably unbearable for everyone else. Now I'm sort of just calmly reminding myself that I've got this in the bag (which I have!) and that this novel is going to be great (I hope.)

Believe it or not, until this week I hadn't actually started the most important part of my plot. Up until about Wednesday, everything was just build up. I can already see that a lot of what I wrote is going to end up being cut. Sarah had been slowly decending into insanity a bit already, but the things that push her really over the edge only started recently. Friday night, actually, is when I wrote that first scene. From the beginning i was so eager to write that scene, and I've finally written it, and it felt like gold. I managed to write 1749 words in only 45 minutes. For those of you who don't know, that's fast. I can type that fast on any day, but to actually create that fast, to choose the right words, and build a scene that fast..... I impressed myself.

I'm still right on track for winning, and I love that I can say that. Last year, as I've probably already mentioned I didn't make it even to 14k. Not even halfway. This year, I'm going to win it, and be very proud of myself for writing 50k in a month. My novel wont be finished, and I'm going to try and keep myself going at the same rate through much of December if I can, or until the novel gets finished. It's starting to look like it's going to be somewhere upwards of 100k. I'd hazard a guess at around 125k, but I can't say for certain. The 47k that I've already written was supposed to only be about half that length, so I wouldn't trust that number.

I'm rambling aren't I? But this past week there hasn't been anything noteworthy. THe words flowed from my fingers with very little effort. I even managed to exceed my word-count goal on Thanksgiving, and in truth I didn't expect to write at all that day. But one minute I'd sit down, and the next I'd be nearing 2000 words and I be like "hmm, how did that happen?"

I love when I get into a flow like this, but it's also a bit scary. Just like a coffee-high or a sugar-high, it's going to eventually be followed by one of the most painful crashes. But you know what? I wouldn't trade this writers-high for the world, even if it does come with a crash later on. Because of this high, I'm thinking I might just win NaNo this evening. I haven't started writing today, and there are still two days left after today, and I've only got 3000 words left to write before I can officially call myself a winner. I can do that. I did more than that on Day One. My goal now is to write as much as possible before Midnight on the 30th. See how much I really can do.

And then I can start planning for next year.

Monday, November 22, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Week Three Recap

Woops, I forgot to do this last night, and forgot again this morning. So let's all pretend that this isn't a day late.

Let's also pretend my landmarks are not all a day late. You see, this week, there have been two days this week where I haven't written at all. And another two where I haven't met my word count goal. Somehow, miraculously, I did not let that get me much behind schedule. I am still on track, I'm just no longer ahead. It seems that week three was feast-or-famine week for me. I've had two 3k days, and I'm progressing forward. I'm going to do what I can to do a BIG PUSH this upcoming week, and see if I can't finish NaNo by the 27th.

It's become very clear to me, over this week, that Only Make Believe is not going to be finished by November 30th. The 50k will be (I'm determined that it will be!) but the story wont. I'm at 37k, and it's November (in-story-timeline, not just real-life). If the story goes according to plan, it will finish on June 7th. I don't think I can' do a 6-month decent into insanity, in the course of 13k, and 7 more days. Especially when you consider that I also have to follow Amy (Sarah's sister, who turned into a main character by surprise) through a pregnancy. Pregnancy wasn't my plan when I started this story, and I have never been pregnant myself. It's going to take a little more research.

Regardless, I'm still excited about the story. I started to worry, last week, about whether I was going to get sick of my story by the end of November, but my love for it came back full force. I can do this. I will do this.

Let's kick some NaNoWriMo ass!

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Week Two

So if you read my last post, about my baby sister (forgive me, my teenage sister) you'll know that I mentioned to her that I had hit a bit of a block.

My problem was that I was SO READY to jump forward to January (on the book's timeline, that is.) The scene that I have been DYING to write since I started takes place right after the kids (remember, it's set in a second grade classroom) come back from Christmas/Winter/Holiday break. Last week I was totally ready to jump from September AAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the way to January, but there were a few other key scenes that I would be skipping that were important to the plot. It made me want to stop writing, because I didn't want to skip those scenes, but I also didn't want to write them.

Talking to my sister, knowing she wrote all that bunches of writing, made me want to write. She pulled me out of my block, and I had a FIVE-THOUSAND WORD DAY! Now to some, that might not be a lot. I have talked to a couple of other WriMos (or whatever the most accepted term is) who managed to write 10 or even 15k on day one. So I guess to them 5k isn't grand.

But it sure as hell is for me. So I managed to get past those scenes, I realized that there are a couple of other scenes I'm exited to write, and all in all, I've gotten past the dreaded "Week Twos" which are apparently a common problem (see, I never knew that until now)

More importantly, last year, I only managed to write 13,885 words (I thought it was 13,500 ish but I checked this morning) over the whole course of last Novemeber. This year, though I thought it would be awesome to reach 50k, I didn't think I would be able to do it. So my unofficial goal was to reach and beat my score from last year.

I've beaten it. And I've gotten far enough ahead of the game that I anticipate everything going smoothly from here on out. I reached 25,000 on Saturday. According to the "schedule" I didn't have to reach that until, well, today, Monday. So I'm confident now that I can win this thing!

I hit a bit of writers block earlier this week, but once again I'm back on track. I just keep telling myself: I will win NaNoWriMo this year. This upcoming week is going to be full of distractions: My birthday, the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1, my Dad's birthday. (along with all the regular things like college stuff, and working awful hours.) But I think I can do it.

How has your week two been?

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I've been writing my whole life, and when we were younger, I used to read my stories to my two little sisters. Sometimes, the older one would start to write her own version of the story. Usually, so that she didn't "copy" me, she'd change the names of the characters, but other than that, same story. I thought it was cute. She used to do a LOT of things in imitation of me, most of which drove me crazy. This one never bothered me.

But eventually she outgrew that. Stopped "borrowing" my plots, stopped re-naming my characters, and so far as I knew, stopped writing entirely.

I live 800 miles away, so usually I don't get to hear all the little details of her life. I'll ask "How's school going?" "good." "What have you been up to lately?" "Stuff." Mostly, when we talk, I'm the one doing most of the talking. Right now, she's in 7th grade.

Obviously, with NaNo being so much of a focus in my life right now, I told her how I was doing with it. Something along the lines of "Well I was doing really well, but I've hit a block and I don't know what to next."

Her response was "Well you should send it to me. We had to write a story for Halloween that was supposed to be between five-hundred and fifteen-hundred words. I wrote mine and it was three thousand. When I turned it in, he got annoyed that it was too long, so I went home to write another one, but it ended up even longer. I turned it in anyways, just to see what he'd do." I laughed, and asked what happened. Turns out that he graded them both (and both got As) but he did give her a sternish note asking her to follow directions and stay WITHIN the word counts next time. She then went on to tell me that she was writing another story, this one, just for her own personal enjoyment. When I asked her what it was about, she said that it was "a surprise" which hopefully means I'll get to read it when it's done.

It excited me. It feels so wonderful to know that the thing you love, brings joy to a person you love. It's also strengthens the connection that I feared we were losing. Despite our 7 year age difference, we were always really close, but we me far away, and her never talking much on the phone, we were slowly growing apart. Now at least, I have fodder for conversation.

Mostly though, I'm really proud of her for writing two great stories, and I can't wait to read them. Plus, that's a lot of writing in such a short time, especially for someone who hasn't written much at all in years. I'm impressed, I'm excited. I'm thrilled.

The writing bug is contagious.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Week One

Originally, I planned on writing a post here ever day, in addition to doing NaNo..... what am I? Crazy? Apparently so. Clearly that didn't happen, so I think I'm just going to do things at random as needed, and then do a weekly update every Sunday (because NaNo started on a Monday this year)

Day one was fantastic for me. I ended up writing over 3000 words, so I'm a day ahead of schedule, which is great, especially considering I have no hope of writing on Thanksgiving. My fiance's mother asked me to do Thanksgiving dinner with her this year. For me, that's a huge huge honor, and I'm very excited, but she lives almost 2 hours away, and between driving there, cooking, eating, spending time with teh family, and coming home.... there isn't going to be any writing time for me. So I'll probably end up not being ahead of schedule later in the month. Or maybe I'll get lucky and I will find a way to get even more ahead.

The week in general has been great. I've met my minimum-word-count-goals each day, my characters are coming to life... and my plot. OH MY GOD! SO GOOD! I feel so enthusiastic! I've had so many wonderful revelations, and I feel that everything is really coming together. I'm excited to write (though I haven't started writing today yet, because I have an assload of other things on my to-do list) I'm enjoying things. My MC is supposed to go completely insane by teh end of the book, and I was really nervous about how to do that, but I was looking though what I wrote last night and realized that she's already heading in that direction, naturally. I hadn't even meant to start her down that path yet, and it just happened.

Sometimes I get tangled up in the details, it's been a long time since I've been in second grade, and some things I never thought to research in advance... that's where facebook comes in. I am friends with so many different types of people that all I have to do is change my status to "How long in advance are field trips announced, and permission slips sent home?" and suddenly 4 people have commented on my status with various information, one telling me that permission slips are sent home 2-3 weeks in advance, the other talking about when the school board finds out about them, one mentioning that they're usually due to be turned in 2 days before the field trip. All useful, relevant information, but all different. So good!

My current word count (from last night) is 11,759. I've been keeping it update on my facebook, on the NaNo site, and now I'll keep mentioning it here too.

Good luck, to everyone else doing NaNoWriMo, as we go into week two. This week last year was my downfall. Let's hope it goes much more smoothly this time around.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm Absolutely Terrified!

So let me be honest. I'm absolutely freaking terrified of writing this book.

For one thing, NaNoWriMo, though super exciting, is also just a Li'l bit scary. That's a lot of words, in not a lot of time.....

For another thing it's horror. 
Let me tell you a story about when I was in 3rd grade. It was around Halloween, and we had an assignment: write a scary story. I wrote it. It's title was A Little Girl's Horror. I worked so hard on it, and was so proud of it, that I brought it in to school early, and showed it to my classmates! Apparently, scaring your classmates in 3rd grade is rather frowned upon. I got in trouble, and was even made to see a therapist. I haven't written any "scary" story since then. Not one. Since I was.... about 88 or 9.  I turn 20 during NaNo.

I'm scared that I wont be good at it anymore. I'm scared that once again, people will get angry at me. I'm scared that once again, people will question my mental health. And I'm scared that once again, people will be disappointed in me. My mother was so upset by my story. When I was 8 or 9, her opinion meant a lot to me. Her opinion still means a lot to me. Right now, my relationship with my mother is strained, at best, but still, her approval means a lot to me.

And then there's just the accuracy-problem. My book deals with a condition called Selective Mutism. I was never a Selective Mute. I have never known a selective mute. In fact, until I read a memoir about a women who specialized in selective mutism, I had never even heard of the problem. I've read a bunch of books now, an scoured the internet for information. But some of my information may not be right, because I don't have first-hand knowledge of the condition. Even more of my knowledge my be wrong, because I choose to disregard it. Because it doesn't fit with my story. Plus my Selectively Mute character is my antagonist. She's my horror-monster. My bad guy. I don't want to offend anyone who has dealt with or knows someone who dealt with Selective Mutism.

I guess this is mostly just a rant.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Part 2

First things first. If you NaNo, add me here. Now, the more fun stuff

Welllllllll I talked Chelsea into participating. I'm glad to have someone I know IRL in this with me. Of course, I have all the amazing writers from Accentuate, who I love to bits, but as much as I love them, I love my IRL friends too. I think everyone should do NaNo. Yeah.

So, I think I should give you a little information on Only Make Believe, because really, I've shared it all with the rest of the internet, why not my blog readers?

(Unrelated: speaking of blog readers, I live for comments. Give me some love? I'm totally not above begging.)

I've drawn out these GORGEOUS character profiles. The have pictures of the characters, and small, not-overly-detailed, but substantial, list of things about them. I have a horrible habit of forgetting what my characters look like, so I also added a few small details about their appearances (things you cant tell by looking at the pictures)..... and I drew them by hand, and have a broken scanner. Perhaps tomorrow I'll line them up pretty to take pictures of them, but I feel silly taking a picture of them.

 In the mean time, I'll tell you a little about the story itself.

It's supposed to be horror. I haven't written anything even remotely scary since I was in 3rd grade.
Time now to write a scary story. Hope I can do it.
Since I'm lazy, I'll just post my synopsis here

Sarah Marsdon is excited to be back in school, teaching a second grade class, after three years in the 5th grade. What she hadn't counted on was a selectively mute student, Katie. Why hadn't anyone warned her? Katie appears to talk to her cousin Chris, also in Sarah’s class, but hardly even acknowledge anyone else. Katie is bright, that much is obvious, but so unbelievably withdrawn. Sarah attempts several times to reach out to the family, but they don’t answer the phones, don’t respond to the notes, and never seem to pick the children up or drop them off.
For Sarah, the questions and confusions of dealing with this difficult and confusing child become even worse when Katie starts talking. From one day to the next, she isn’t consistent in attitude, speech, and suddenly, not even school work.


Oh and I realllllyyyyyyy want this. Perhaps if I win the Lottery.... which wont happen because I don't play the lottery... but perhaps if I decide to play the lottery, and win it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010: Official

This is part one, because I'm sure there will be more parts and updates. I don't know how many or when they will be, but there will be. I;m officially signed up for NaNoWriMo 2010. For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. It's a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel (according to the official rules, a new novel that you hadn't started yet) in ONE MONTH.

 I've registered. If anyone wants to be my writing buddy, you can add me under Boatkicker. This month, pre-nano, I'll be doing two things.
1) Taking a break from The Circle. In fact, this break will be a two month break
2) Pre-planning for my NaNo novel, which is currently titled Only Make Believe.
3) Trying to convince my dear friend Chelsea to participate with me.

I think I'll post some of my pre-planning here, starting with a copy-paste from something I wrote over on the Nanowrimo forums. The thread was called "Things you will do differently this year."

This year I will
1) (Hopefully) Not get a computer virus at the end of week 1
......1a) If I do get a computer virus, I will NOT spend ALL of week two fixing my computer. Instead, I will keep writing on paper, and if I have time after meeting my daily word goals, THEN I will work on the computer.
2) If I get behind, I will not give up. Last year, the virus got me way off track, and being so far behind everyone else unmotivated me. I lost at 14,000
3) I will participate in lots of word wars. Oddly enough, some of the best writing I did last year came from those short bursts. Last year I only did a few. This year, I will do many!
4) (If there is one in my area) I will go to a write in. I've never been to one before. It sounds like fun.
5) Research BEFORE November. Last year I didn't do any research before starting. Then, I wrote slowly because I was researching as I went along. I've already started this!
6) Appearance lists? Yes please. Most of my characters jump into my brain with mostly-formed personalities and NO physical appearance. In editing last years novel I noticed that I had a black-haired brunette blond with red hair. No, I'm not kidding. Missy's hair color changed several times... without any hair dye. And another of my characters was both "extraordinarily short", and "rather tall". This year, I will be keeping track of what everyone looks like.
Last and most important 7) I WILL WIN NANOWRIMO!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Internet and Ellipsis

For the past several days, I haven’t had internet. I just moved (yes, again) 800 miles. The place I’m in now doesn’t have internet. I have a laptop. I can go to the library. It’s right up the street. About 200 yards away. Not far at all.

But I haven’t except to do necessary things. The libraries where I grew up were so numerous compared to the number of people living there. About one library for every 4 square miles or space. There were hardly ever more than 12 people in any given library at a time (and in some libraries, considerably less than that) They were always so private. It felt like you were alone, which for me, was comfortable.

Relevance? I went to the library here yesterday, and there were at least 60 people. It felt crowded. Over populated. I can handle crowds just fine, but not in my library. I was made really uncomfortable by it. I know that sounds silly, but to me, I library should be a private place to be alone. (Funny side note- despite the large number of people, this library was actually quieter than any of the libraries I grew up in)

I didn’t like it. So I’ve just been sitting in my new home. No internet. All my books are packed away in who-knows-which boxes, but we don’t plan on living in this house for more than a few months, so we aren’t unpacking much of anything.

No internet. No books. Lots of free time, because I’m not unpacking, and because I haven’t found a job yet in this new place.

Two days ago I wrote 5,000, FIVE-THOUSAND words. That’s a lot of words. I’m really liking this no-internet thing (except for the fact that I can’t get anything BUT writing done)

I get internet installed tomorrow (hopefully) but I think I’m going to make it a point not to use it until I’ve written 2000 words/day (until I get a job and start going to school, than I might... MIGHT cut the number back a little)

Those are almost NANOWRIMO numbers. Last year I failed. This year I wont. I’m already planning for it. Haha.

I meant to talk about Ellipis, but I try not to make my posts too long, so those will have to wait.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I have an 11 year old sister who asked me to go with her and her friend to a pond near our house to swim. Although I was tired, I agreed. The weather was getting a little chilly, so instead of swimming with them, I sat on the bench on the shore. The little beach, though public property, is unnamed and secluded; only people who live in our neighborhood even know of it's existence.

Bored, I watched a frog that jumped around in the water, and was suddenly inspired to write. I had no paper, of course, since I hadn't planned on writing, but we were alone, so I pulled out my cell phone and turned on the voice recorder.

I spent the next hour telling the next scenes in my book to my phone, and watching my sister, bunches of fishies, a few frogs, and a turtle.

Water does this for me. I do my best thinking in or near water. I can't tell you the number of plot-holes I've filled while washing dishes. I can't explain how many ideas I've gotten while in the shower. The writing I do when sitting on the shore or listening to the rain is better than any other writing I have.

I think I'm going to start going to the pond more (also, I need to find the headphones that go with my phone, so that if I need to record things again, No one else has to listen to me tell a story, and retell it, and correct myself, etc)

On a slightly different note, I am now going to start closing ALL my posts with a word count of whatever it is that I've been working on lately.

The Right to Write

Okay, you caught me. This is just a rant. A rant about writing, but still just a rant.

Several years ago I wrote a story, a piece of flash fiction, which I now call The Human Cycle. Only one person besides myself has read it. I posted it online for two hours one night, but I took it down soon after, before it got any hits.

If you ask me, it's the best thing I've ever written. I have never been prouder of anything. I love that story. It's only 926 words, but it took my 8 months to write.

So who is that one person who saw it? And why wouldn't I show anyone else?

The person who read it was a friend of mine. She had watched me labor over it for months, but hadn't read it. When I finally finished it, I printed out a copy and handed it over.

She read it, looked me in the eye and said "Have you ever heard the phrase 'write what you know?' How do you know what it's like to be in the delivery room. You have no right to write this." She shrugged, like it was no big deal, and then tore the two page story down the middle.

She was right. The opening scene was about a woman giving birth. It's a short paragraph, but very emotional none-the-less. I have never given birth, and I have never been in the room when someone else gave birth. I have no personal experience with it. Maybe that did make me unqualified. I am now afraid to show it to people.

I have been told probably hundreds of times that my writing wasn't good enough. It's been implied even more than that. But none of that ever bothered me more than necessary. I can handle being told that I suck. I can't handle being told that I'm not "allowed" to write things.

I know better now. I know that I have the right to write whatever I want, but now I can't bring myself to let people see The Human Cycle. It's become too private.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I'm going to be honest with you all. I've been scared. I thought I was seeing some symptoms of a terrible situation that I have been in, in the past. A lot of times before, I've written a few thousand words, gotten a little stale, forced through it, fell out of it, moved on to something else, and never gone back. I have been absolutely TERRIFIED that I was about to lose The Circle.

It wasn't just The Circle I was losing interest in. I suppose I was just going through a phase of distraction in general. I haven't wanted to post because even though I have been writing, I wasn't making progress on anything special. I've written a few words on my as of yet untitled psychological horror novel. Some on a short story that I meant to submit to a contest. Some on a few old projects, and I've even started a few new ones. But a hundred words added to everything still doesn't count for much.

NOW! I found it. I found my drive and inspiration again. My muse is back, and I am writing again. Thank God! I was actually going crazy with my inability to write more than a hundred words in one sitting. I was forcing out as many as possible, never giving up, but nothing was happening. I wish I knew what changed my mind. I wish I had a miracle cure, in case this happens again.

Sorry for the rather scattered-ness of this blog post. I'm back in the writing groove, but this isn't what I want to be writing right now. I'm off to go write down what my characters are doing, before they run away again.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Burn Out

That focus on one story thing that I was doing for The Circle? It's not working out for me. I'm burnt out. Creatively stifled. Just not feeling the story. I have been craving some good writing time, but every time I open The Circle, I look around and find something else to do, or else I force out a few paragraphs of crap. Forcing it just wasn't working out for me.

So, I've made a decision. I'm NOT going to give up on The Circle. I'm NOT going to totally put it away. BUT I'm going to allow myself to work on something else. Another idea that has been haunting me for about a year. That isn't long, for me. I like to let things stew in my head for a bit. Usually I have a story in there for several years before I actually get off my ass and try to write it.

I may have hinted at it before (Have I ever mentioned my memory is utter crap?) or maybe I never did. It's a sort of psychological horror, about an elementary school teacher with a bubble gum addiction. No, in case you're wondering, the gum has nothing to do with anything. I mention it because I just now found it out, when Renee DeLuca (that's her name!) started chewing yet another piece of gum.

I'm struggling with it already. I know I mentioned a long time ago that I have trouble with titles. This extends to naming characters. It's never much of an issue with my main characters. They usually pop into my head mostly-whole, with a first name, appearance, and some bits of personality. Sometimes they have a last name, sometimes their personality is fully formed, sometimes there are other things.

Minor characters, however, usually don't have all that. I usually have one bit of information on them: either a purpose/profession, a personality, an appearance. Something. But it's never much, and it's hardly enough to give them a name. Renee DeLuca's story (which is unnamed, as usual) revolves mostly around her in the classroom, as a second grade teacher. Obviously her students, at least some of them, will need names. I've got nothing. They've got a purpose, but most of them don't have personalities, or appearances. I could go on Facebook and say "Make up some names and personalities for second graders" but that almost feels like cheating. It's fine to ask for names, but asking them for personalities too?

Well anyways, I'm enjoying writing this new piece. I'm still working on The Circle, and.... things are good. Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stress Induced Writers Block

I've had this horrible case of stress-induced writers block and it's been wonderful.

Instead of sitting down and writing, I've been reading my manuscript (not hard, since it's so short) and trying to make note of holes and mistakes. This particular story is on its seven-billionth draft, and sometimes I forget what I included where. Sometimes I rearrange scenes or cut them, and can't remember where I moved them too, or why I got rid of them. I've caught a lot of mistakes that I'd missed on the hundreds of times I've already read this. I even referenced a scene that I had cut. Maybe the right thing to do would be wait until I've finished writing to do this sort of editing, but if I've accidentally forgotten to add a major plot or character-related scene (usually because I thought I added it) and then its not there, I might have to re-write the whole book. I will probably end up doing that anyways, but it's best to make as few mistakes as possible, at least story wise.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gone For A While

I'm moving, and wont likely be writing much, and consequently, not posting much. It's an 800 mile move, our lease on this place ends in a week, and we've only just barely started packing and cleaning. I don't write well when my mind is even under a little stress, and because this is such a big move, my stress level is a bit above "little."

Just felt like letting you know that I'll be gone, if anyone is even reading this blog yet.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Beauty of Re-writes

The version of The Circle I'm working on, was originally my Nanowrimo novel. I did not win it. I was only at around 13,000 words. I added a ton more that December, and January, and then started another draft at some point. Can't remember the date on it. That means, this draft is actually the second draft (except the end which I haven't written yet at all).

Some days I write without looking at my first draft. Other days, like today, I flip back and forth between the drafts. The great thing about this is, that you pick up on things you never noticed before. Things that don't quite make sense, or things that are almost way-too-much-of-a-cliche to exist.

For example, today I was writing the after effects of a fight scene. Missy, my narrator and main character (I've probably said that in several posts. This is the last time I'll mention it, I promise) was doing a LOT of running. She isn't a runner by any stretch of imagination. There is no logical way that she could do that much running without hurting the next day. And yet, in the first draft, after all that running, several miles worth, she's fine. No aches, no sores. She's not even unusually tired.... or at least, she wasn't. She will be now.

I love finding logic errors like that, because the more I find, the less will be in my final draft. It's only a little thing, but it's still something.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Twin Drafts

Working hard on The Circle again, but I've got two matching drafts. Right now I'm focusing on the one I call "Christine's Surprise."

So why two drafts? Glad you asked. You may remember from my earlier post that Christine is pregnant. I've made peace with her internal debate over keeping the baby, but that didn't solve all my Christine's-Pregnancy-Related-Issues. This one I have been dealing with even longer than the abortion issue, but I figured it would sort itself out. I still think that eventually it will sort itself out, but this blog is about my writing process, so I thought I would share what's going on with all this.

I'm not sure how exactly Christine finds out she's pregnant. I have two different drafts with two different scenarios, neither of which I like. Originally, Christine confided in Missy as soon as she was suspicious, Missy got her a home pregnancy test, and when it came out positive, they went to the doctor. This is the way Christine and Missy handed it naturally.

However, in the end, Christine's pregnancy is only mildly important. It's such a minor part of the story that I almost feel guilty having all that build up for nothing. So I cut it all out. Christine thinks that "something is wrong" but doesn't say what. She goes straight to a doctor and finds out that she's pregnant. This works better plot-wise, but it's not the way that Christine would handle things. Call me crazy, but my characters are real people, and I don't like to force them to do things. If she wants to confide in Missy, let her.

Right now I have two drafts, and really wish I knew which one worked better. After a while it not longer matters how she found out, so I have skipped that bit for now and am working on what scenes come after. Sometimes it's best to let things sit and stew before you make a decision, and that's what I have here. I have written two beginnings for now, and wont touch them again for a while.

And a quick note on the subject of letting things stew, I have a few new story book ideas in the works. More about them in another post.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Sometimes you fight with your characters, and you don't write.
Sometimes you obsess over titles, and you don't write.
Sometimes you worry about what the readers will think, and you don't write.
Sometimes your idea well runs dry, and you don't write.

Sometimes, you need some sort of prompt to get you back into shape.

I like to use some of the writing prompts on the Accentuate forums but it has seemed the past couple days those haven't been working for me, so I am trying a few of my other old tricks. I thought I would share them here in case anyone else is going through the same thing.

1) I go back to some of my older stories. I have a ton of unfinished works on my computer and in my filing cabinet. This benefits me in a lot of different ways. For one, It also reminds me of how much I have improved, and I like the sudden moments where I remember something about the story that I had once forgotten. It also gives me a chance to not worry about my current major work(s). Because most of these stories are abandoned and "retired" in my head, I don't have any expectations for them, no hopes, and therefore, no fears. It takes the pressure out of writing.

2) I have one story that I call the "Writers Block Story" (WBS because I'm too lazy to type the full name) that I use a lot when my idea well has run dry.  I sit down, and I force some writing out. It's NEVER good writing, but once I get a bit done I feel a little better about writing. it flows more naturally the more I do it. My WBS has characters and a (partially) planned plot to help when I'm really stuck. I have a few set "rules" for it
  • a)No adding new characters. Often when I have writers block I will just add characters in. Introducing someone new can fill up a few pages nicely, but then I end up with 20 characters who have vague personalities because my writers block prevented me from fully developing them.
  • b) No stopping for at least half an hour or two pages, whichever is LONGER. emergencies and bathroom breaks not included
  • c) No popcorn.I somehow ended up with (and later deleted) three different scenes where the characters sat around eating popcorn in various rooms of the house and chatting about the whether and other mindless things,
3) When you go on to google and start to type it gives suggestions. I will sometimes type the beginning to a sentence and then use one of the suggestions as a writing prompt. One page about one of the suggestions.

I'm having a brain malfunction. When I started writing this I had 6 ideas, and somehow I only can think of three. This is exactly why I have these. To get my brain functioning when it's not working. I guess I will have to post a part two of this list some day.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Titles are Terrors!

Everyone has their quirks. Things that they obsess over. Some people spend forever naming their characters. For me, it's titles.

I can never come up with a title I'm satisfied with. Not for a short story, a book, or even a blog post. The blog title here, Making Waves, came from a friend's suggestion. I have working titles for most of the things I write, but I wouldn't want to really publish under any of those names. Most of them are the names of the lead character, or else the main setting. Baby, Cammie, and a second draft Cammmmmmmie, CaraInHospital, Celeste, Chapter1, Chapt1, ChapterOne, (I can't remember what those are!) Fire, Grandparnets (yes with the misspelling), Jess, JohnRook, StellaSuccubus, MrButtons, and NicolsAnna are the names of all the stories I've started that haven't been sorted into my subfolders. I'm usually crazy about organizing my folders but these are things that I'm not sure about yet. 9 of the 15 have names in them, or 10 if you count the one that should be Grandparents.

My point? I suck at titles. The books in my as-of-yet-unnamed Series all have bad titles.
1) Plague (because it's about a plague)
2) Enemy (because its about two people who are enemies in war, but friends in reality)
3) Reysore (because it's set in a place called the Reysore Colony. There originally was another book after this one but I think I will combine them.)
4) The Circle (Because it talks about an organization called The Circle. I'm creative, aren't I?)

What am I going to do if I ever try to publish? Titles are terrors. Will a publisher help me with that? Or do I need to find myself someone who is good at titles to read and title it first?

And what do I call the series? That's what started my mind on this course to begin with. I want a name for the series. That's all.

Friday, April 23, 2010

3/24/2010 St. Albans

My Fiance invited me to go to one of his classes with him yesterday, because they were having a medium come in. The class was Religion and Death, incase anyone was wondering.

Anyways, I thought it was pretty cool. Some of the stuff the medium said was really interesting. Other parts, in my opinion, were total crap. Do I think spirits might be hanging around any given place at any given time, sure. I’m cool with that. Do I think scribbling on the mirror is going to call evil spirits into my home? Nope, that seems ridiculous. And unlikely, considering how many scribbles have been all over my own mirrors over time. If random marks called evil sprits in, I’d have had a lot more problems to deal with in my life.

Oh. Wait. Maybe that explains everything. Hahaha.

The medium (I’ve forgotten his name. Woops.) mentioned this place near here called St. Albans. Apparently it used to be a mental hospital and before that it was a boys school. The building is, as far as I know, standing empty right now. Local legend says its haunted. The medium described a room that is covered in papers with kids hand prints all over, finger-paint style. He said he was creepy. A student in the class confirmed that it was a creepy room, and mentioned some hallway that “seemed out of place” in the building. The medium then told a story about how he met with the spirit of a former student in the attic/bedroom area and the boy was looking for his mother and playing on a dumbwaiter.

Does this sound like an awesome setting for a book? For some reason, despite all the medium said, and the supposed “Creepiness” of the hand print room, it doesn’t feel like a horror story to me. Of course I’d have to go there myself to be sure, but my Fiance said he might take me there. I think that would be totally awesome. I’d love to see the hand print room. The whole place seems like it would be interesting. I plan on doing a little research on the place sometime this evening. I tried to last night, but the internet was down. This place had definitely sparked my interest. I have a thing for old buildings. :)

I'm adding backdated posts

I have, besides this blog, a personal blog. My daily rantings and ramblings about my family, friends, and general life. I have posted a few very writing-related posts on there, which I'm going to also copy over to here.

I'll format them with the date I originally wrote them in the subject line. If you see strange things pop up, now you understand.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm Writing a BOOK

I was about ten when I decided I was going to be a writer. I started writing a book called Erica Herenn (which by the way is pronounced HERN, it rhymes with fern.) I would talk about my book, or my novel, or Erica Herenn. I was excited. A young writer who was proud of herself. The more I devoted myself to writing, the more I talked. I probably drove people crazy!

I was told, on more than one occasion, that I wasn't writing a book. I was writing a story. Books are published, and they're written by professionals. I was just a kid, so I didn't write books. I wrote "novel-length stories." This made sense in my 10, 11, or 12 year old brain. I got into the habit of referring to my stories. And you know what? That is what I do. I write stories. But I also write books.

The difference isn't in the fact that one is published and written by a professional, the difference is all in the presentation. A book can have a story, but that's not all it is. A story can just be one sentence. But you certainly wouldn't buy a book that was just a sentence. That would be a waste of money. You'd spend more time at work earning enough to pay for it, than you would actually reading it. One sentence stories can be good, but they aren't what makes a book.

Books aren't just stories. They're about everything. I'm not really sure how to define what a book is. It's a story that can keep your attention. It's sometimes about the subtle difference between two words that are otherwise considered synonyms. Sometimes its about the editing. A poorly edited book is HARD to read.  Sometimes it's more about one character than the actual plot, the actual story. A book is long. You have to sit with it writing out all these words. It's time consuming and sometimes tiring. Sometimes it hurts, and makes you cry. Sometimes its lovely and makes you laugh, or even  get up out of your chair to dance.

Anyone can tell a story, and anyone who knows their ABCs can write a story. But not everyone can write a book.
Or rather, not everyone is willing to put forth the effort to write a book. I think anyone CAN write a book, but very few people have the drive to put it through.

I got a little off track...... Must watch for that.

My point is, a story is just a story, but a book is more than that. I'm writing a BOOK! A BOOK and putting in all the extra effort that goes along with it.

Side note, story is different from Short Story. A short story is a comment on length, whereas story just by itself is intended as a diminutive in my experience. They are different things.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Age Appropriate

How do you know if something is age appropriate in a book? My book, The Circle, is YA, and that's recently put a bit of a hold on my writing. By definition YA is 14-20. However, I remember reading YA books when I was 8. I'm certain that my book isn't appropriate for the standard 8 year old. I wrote a few thousand words, and moved beyond a key scene. But now I want to go back and get rid of it to make it more age appropriate for your standard 8 year old.

Even when I was a kid, I found myself second guessing everyone I said to kids younger than myself. I couldn't remember what I had known about when. I was afraid to swear for fear that they would be scared. I found dirty jokes to be the funniest thing ever, but I was afraid if I even hinted at them around kids a little younger than me, that I would either confuse them or horrify the. When I was 12 I wrote in giant letters in my diary "TWELVE IS ENOUGH" meaning that if I was talking to someone who was 12 or older, I shouldn't be afraid of saying something that the kids didn't know. Those words have stuck out in my head since then. I remember eating lunch at school with my best friends and making all sorts of sexual jokes. Pointing out second meanings of things, and swearing like a sailor, just because I knew that school lunches were minimally supervised and I could get away with it. The funny thing is that I was the "good girl" the one who wasn't supposed to know about anything. The one who at 16, you'd still wonder whether she had even heard of sex.

I'm not 12 anymore, and I'm thoroughly embarrassed thinking about all I said then. I'm questioning the wisdom of "Twelve is enough." I'm also wondering how deep into it I can go, logically with my writing. I'm not talking specifically about sex, but things that surround it. One my characters, Christine is pregnant. Christine isn't a kid, she's 30, but she's childishly stubborn, and refuses to take responsibility for her actions. On top of that she is ashamed of her pregnancy, because of her current life situation. She confides in Missy, my narrator who IS just a kid. Christine is considering abortion. I'm considering skipping that part of the story. Unfortunately that puts a huge plot hole in the story. If Christine isn't pregnant adn questioning abortion, the events following it wouldn't happen the way that they did. So she HAS to be pregnant. and she HAS to be considering abortion. Should I just scrap that whole bit and then try and find another logical reason for hte events that follow? Should I just scrap the events that follow adn change the entire plot-line of the entire story? Or should I just say I don't care about the 8 year olds who read my story. But then what about the non-8-year-olds who find it inappropriate to even put a controversial topic into something like this? Because I'm sure there are a few. I'm actually quite certain family members of mine wouldn't approve, and I really do want my family to approve.

I know the standard rule is "Don't write for the reader, write for yourself," but how can I be proud of my book if everyone I know thinks I crossed an uncrossable?

This is unfinished. I haven't yet decided what to do. I'll touch back on this once I figure out what the right thing to do is. Meanwhile, I'd totally love to hear your take on this.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What would I do?

Today I was reading Rissa's Blog which was about what you'll do when you sell your book. Honestly, I have never thought about it before. I have fantasized about seeing my name on the NY Times Best Seller List. I have imagined my children, when I have them, telling their friends that their Mommy is a writer. I imagine reading my own book to my elementary school class.

But that's all of the unreal sort of fantasy. It's the type of fantasy that little girls have when they dress up and pretend that they're movie stars. It's not what they really believe in, what they really expect, or even necessarily what they want. It's just a game. Some fun other life to try on, but it doesn't mean anything. I will attempt to find a publisher because it's a fantasy that would ROCK if it came true, but it doesn't really matter to me. I write because I love to write.

I will publish because there is no reason I shouldn't, but I realized that I really don't care. There are only 3 things I want from my writing.
1) To write. I'm already doing that. YAY!
2) A fan. I really only need one. More than that would be lovely, but I'd be quite happy if I could just have that one.
3) A copy of my book printed and bound. Something that I can hold in my hands and say "LOOKIT! I DID IT! I MADE A BOOK!" I'd be happy on a personal level, even if I just self-published it. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people are hoping and expecting more from me, and if I just gave up when it got hard, and self-published, I'd be somewhat ashamed too. I'd love being able to hold my book, but I'd never be able to show it to anyone and be proud. I might not even be able to let it sit on a visible book shelf. (This only applies to my novel. I do plan on writing at least one book specifically for my sisters, and since they are the only ones I want to have that one, it will be self-published. That's different. I'll be quite proud of that one!)

I started rambling. Oops.

My point was, I never really thought about what I would do if I got something published, because it never mattered much to me. So starting now, I'm making it matter.

But I still have no idea what I'll do. Any suggestions?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Making it Seamless

I have been working on a short story that I plan to enter into the June Accentuate Contest. Originally it was intended for May, but I can already tell that it wont fit into the Sorrow theme was well as it will into the Regret theme. The death of a loved one IS sorrowful, but the story isn't really about that. It's about three sisters who haven't spoken much in 10 years. They fight a lot, but the reconnect when the middle sister Madison finds a teddy bear named Mr. Buttons.

I have what I actually think it a decent beginning. I have GREAT ending...... and nothing else. I have no middle. I have the first hundred or so words, and the last 200. I don't even have an idea for the middle.

This happened to me last time I tried to write out of order, and I swore to myself I would never do that again. But this time I started with the ending of the story, and then went backwards. Bad Boat! Bad Bad Bad.

If I don't get at least some sort of a middle by this time tomorrow, some idea, maybe a couple hundred words, I'm going to lock myself in the laundry room (there isn't any internet there, so I wont get distracted) and not come out until I have.... something.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dreaded First Post

I started writing my first post here, and somehow blogger managed to delete it. I started writing it again in wordperfect, and somehow that ate it too. I've decided that my original first post just isn't meant to be.

I'm not sure where to start. Starting something, be it a new blog, a new book, or meeting new people, is always hard for me. It makes me a little nervous, because I wonder whether things will work out in the end. Starting a new blog about writing, after I just had a three day breakdown in which I didn't write AT ALL makes me even more anxious.

Am I supposed to say what I'll be doing here on this blog? That's easy. Talking about writing my books. Talking about books I read.

Do I talk about where I am currently with my writing? That's a hassle. I don't even know where I am. I started with 5 individual novels, was focusing on one, and then somehow, they all merged into one lovely series. Oops.

Maybe I introduce myself? But no, that's what I have a Bio for. Right? I'm bad at introducing myself, so that will have to do for you. Whatever isn't mentioned there you can figure out as you follow me on this crazy journey I'm taking. (I had a silly metaphor here, but I took it out. I love metaphors but this one was bordering on too tacky to exist. I point this out because I'm sure you'll find a few more of these in other posts.)

I think I'm done. Now that I've got the dreaded first post out of the way, I think I can write something decent.

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