Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hanging on to summer

Although the kids have started back to school, we're not quite ready to let go of summer just yet. So we're spending one last weekend at the lake before being consumed by all the activity that comes with fall. 

It's mid morning and Superman has the kids on the water for already the second time today.  I opted for quiet time on the deck with the dogs and the latest Sandra Brown novel. It doesn't get much better than this. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Busy Writing

Yes, that's right, I'm finally busy writing. Scenes. I'm writing real scenes.

I completed my running outline which ended up around 15 pages long. I listed out every scene in chronological order that I thought would serve the purpose of moving the plot forward, along with either delving deeper into character and motivation, or creating conflict.

So, now I write. And the pangs of self-doubt really set in. But I take inspiration from one of the suspense genre's greats, Elizabeth George, who wrote:

Am I kidding myself about being a "creative artist"? Can I possibly be a creative artist if I approach this effort in so methodical and left-brained a fashion?

It obviously works for Elizabeth George. I can only hope it might work for me as well.

To be continued...

Honestly, how am I supposed to get anything written with this one around?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Writing view today

I'm working hard to finish the running outline of my book, but here's the biggest obstacle I face today.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Book Update: Outlining with Scrivener

I recently read that Diana Gabaldon doesn't plot or take notes before she writes, that she starts a book and then researches as she goes. I'd sooner try assembling my SUV than assemble a plot while I wrote the book. Give me a manual every time. So I outline.

And there's no shame in outlining. Dan Brown does it. JK Rowling does it. In fact, best-selling suspense author Elizabeth George said, "Because I do all this work (outlining) in advance, I generally don't have to sit in front of a computer agonizing about 'what's going to come next'...I now can involve myself in the sheer artistry of writing."

Plus, outlining is fun. It's entertaining to sit and brainstorm an entire story, start to finish. It's challenging, but entertaining. It was like planning a great vacation and charting my travel route on a giant road map.

I did a lot of research while planning and outlining my book, research on book-related issues like setting and possible plot lines, and research on general how-to-write-a-novel info.

In all my how-to web surfing, I kept coming across posts on the writing software Scrivener. A little research on Scrivener and I was intrigued. It looked tailor-made for the way I write--and outline.

I downloaded Scrivener to my Mac, and, with Scrivener, set up character profiles, research pages, a step outline, and am now drafting a more detailed running outline for my book. All of these files are in a single Scrivener file, immediately accessible while I write. So far, so good.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Real Housewives and my master closet

Ok, I'm very late to the Real Housewives game, but I stumbled upon an Instagram post that tagged Yolanda Hadid Foster that piqued my interest. As usual, when I'm intrigued by something (or someone), I did a little internet research.

After a weekend of web surfing and binge-watching Season 3 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, mostly fast-forwarding to the segments that included Yolanda Foster, I'm a Yolanda fan.

Her story is compelling. A young dutch girl plucked from obscurity and thrown into the world of international high-fashion modeling. Now a successful, glamorous entrepreneur and mother of three, albeit one battling chronic lyme disease.

But what really intrigued me was Yolanda's relatively sensible and down-to-earth demeanor despite her Beverly Hills lifestyle of shallow friends, designer clothes and Hermes bags. Plus, she's 51 and still drop-dead gorgeous with a toned body I didn't have even in my 20's.

Ah, well, it's good to have a goal. I want the body, and maybe a Hermes bag.

In a promo video by Bravo TV I stumbled upon during my cyber stalking, er... research, Yolanda gives viewers a peek into her stunning home that she helped her architect design (well that sounded familiar). Being in the throes of designing and building my own dream home, I devoured the video of Yolanda's house, then watched it a couple more times. Aside from the Malibu ocean views, what appealed to me the most, gave me ideas I could incorporate into my own home, was her master closet.

I love that she has more shelves than rods. I, too, prefer stacking t-shirts and jeans to hanging them. And look at the fabulous shoe and boot racks, not to mention the seperate drawers for belts, active wear and lingerie. I think I'll incorporate several ideas from Yolanda's closet into my own.

Here are a few screen shots of Yolanda's closet.

I want this belt drawer.

My preference for more shelves and fewer rods is validated. See, you don't have to hang jeans and t-shirts.

Here's a shot from a video done for ET. Of all the closets I've posted on Pinterest, this is my favorite.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Book update: Tweaking the plot

Yes, I'm still plotting. There are a few kinks to work out, but my rough outline is virtual done. Finito.

The general storyline and characters are in place. The setting is determined. It's almost time to write. And that's why I'm nervous. I now feel the nascent pangs of self-doubt.

Am I kidding myself? Can I actually teach myself how to write a novel by studying the works of a handful of my favorite authors? Can studying their plot construction, characterization and conflict techniques, dialogue structure, even counting the number of scenes in each chapter, really reveal the mystery of how to write a novel?

I'm about to find out. 

In the meantime, I'm ecstatic about my recent find at a local used bookstore -- an autographed copy by one of my favorites.

I'm thrilled, but Penny's not impressed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My brain after a two week vacation

Don't get me wrong, I loved our two-week trip to Alaska. But two weeks is just a wee bit long for me to be gone.

I'll post pictures soon, but for now, I leave you a visual representation of how I feel my brain is functioning.

This is an email my sister sent me years ago that I've kept because I find it so fascinating. And right now I find it a pertinent reflection of my limited cognitive ability.

Vacation pics posted soon.

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