Today's Writing

Yippee! I wrote 828 words today. Nearly finished the new Chapter 7.

Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck

Work Backwards

This is a writing technique that might work for you, especially if you're in the beginning stages of a story.

Start With the Ending

I've been writing/editing/whatever Yesterday's Gone for a number of years now, and I think I'm finally getting to the endgame. (Taken with a grain of salt, as I've said the same thing for...many years now. ;-))

Anyway, I read a suggestion somewhere that sometimes knowing the ending and working your way back to the beginning gets the juices flowing.

But, you wonder, how might it help me, the Person Who Already Has the Ending and Needs a Spark to Get Back Into Writing Again?

Well...this particular idea might not spark a damn thing, but you never know.

It Might Make You Rethink a Thing or Ten

Ugh, you're thinking, rethinking means editing again. Yeah, I know, brother, do I know! If I didn't like the characters of my current WIP, I think I would've trashed it a long time ago. I also think the story is worth telling.

I decided to try a workback from the ending, and almost immediately came up with another idea to make the ending (and what comes just before it) a tad more interesting (Rita had better keep on her toes!). I also rethought certain parts I'd last inserted and realized they were boring and didn't really do anything good for the story. Cut, cut, cut! (Although I haven't gotten to that point, as yet.)

An Example (Sort of)

Let's say you want to write a murder mystery. You start with the ending, where the murderer is uncovered. Maybe before that your heroine is smooshed in the fact with a pie with a stick of dynamite in it. (I figure if cartoons can have a plethora of TNT without any good reason, so can I.) Before that, the heroine is running through the spooky mansion, trying to get away from someone she thinks is coming after her with a knife (psst - no, no, Ms. Heroine; it's D-Y-N-A-M-I-T-ETM).

I think you get the idea. This might just open up a portion of your brain and tweak it in such a way that leads to some really great ideas. (But skip the dynamite stuff above; I have trademarked that idea, as you can see by the little "TM" above). :-))

With me, I usually have the ending all figured out in addition to the beginning; it's the stuff in between that makes me want to pull out my hair. ;-)

It's basic, but it just might be the trick that helps you get your story written - or rewritten.

Love and kisses.

~Nancy Beck


What I'm Thankful For

In the past, I would stuff my face full of turkey, watch the football games, and snooze on Thanksgiving Day. I would give the "thanks" part of it lip service, if I thought of it at all.

Not this time around.

No, this time I need to reflect and truly be thankful.

Because I could've been six feet under.

That's what happens when you have a ruptured brain aneurysm.

So I send out my thanks and deep appreciation to:

  • EMTs. Several people where I work - and I don't know their name, unfortunately - have EMT certifications, and am I ever grateful for that. When I came to (which I think was after a few minutes or so), three or four EMTs were already in the bathroom, holding onto their gear. And they'd already called the ambulance, too. Thank goodness none of them paid attention to what I was saying (silly things like, "I don't think I have to go the hospital." Yeah, right!). May all of them be prosperous and healthy.
  • The Emergency Room at Hunterdon Medical Center. Although they originally took me in, thank goodness for them to recognize that there might be another medical center - and doctors - that might be better equipped to deal with my condition. They wasted no time in getting me back into an ambulance and whisking me off to Overlook Hospital, which is, literally, on the other side of where I was (fortunately for me, Route 78 goes through Hunterdon County, and it's a fairly straight shot to Overlook).
  • Dr. Benitez and Overlook Hospital. This hospital, located in Summit, New Jersey, is known for its work with all things neurological (and having to do with the heart, too). Although I don't remember actually arriving at the hospital nor of meeting the good doctor, I can't speak enough praise and thankfulness. Dr. Benitez has actually written peer-reviewed papers on taking care of brain clots/aneurysms. I actually read of one man in his 30s or 40s who had a stroke and had to be airlifted to Overlook. Dr. Benitez saw a clot in his brain, yanked it out using what's called coiling, and he was able to go back to work part time three months later. Sound familiar? Although I'll be going back on a part-time basis two months later; it all depends, naturally, on the severity and where the clot/aneurysm was located. I was fortunate in that I only had a bit of brain fog, which the speech therapist helped tweak quite nicely.
  • Cards, letters, emails, well wishes from friends, acquaintances, co-workers. I can't tell you how much this helped me. I received three separate bouquets of flowers (all lovely), and an absolute ton of cards. For those who didn't send cards or flowers - your well wishes were quite a help, believe me.
So try to remember that Thanksgiving Day is more than just about turkey and football games.

Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck


What I'm Reading Right Now

I started reading A Secret Atlas, by Michael A. Stackpole last week. It has an Asiatic feel to it, and I'm not just talking about the martial arts aspect of it, although that definitely helped decide me on its Asian flavor.

There are certain warriors (for want of a better word) who live a very long time, and don't strike out at the least provocation. As the story opens, one of these warriors sends a female bandit (with decent sword mastery, according to that warrior) to a school to become an even better master of the sword - minus the banditry, of course.

Naturally, the warrior and the bandit aren't just talking by the side of the road when they come upon each other, but I don't want to give out everything.

Basic Premise

The basic premise of this story is that there was wild magic two thousand or so years before which physically iced over the world (among other things). No one dared travel anywhere during the time the ice covered continents, for fear of never returning - and/or being a victim of that wild magic.

After the ice began to melt, one man made it his mission to draft maps that would guide the seafarers/traders of the world - for a price. He figured it would make him and his family rich - which it has.

But there are still unchartered regions of the world where the ice has not melted, and tendrils of that wild magic still exist. That dude who drafted the maps is still alive and still wielding his oomph around the world, to the point where he still sends out family to go out and map more of the world.

So Far...

I'm up to Chapter 8 of this 600-page book, and it's held my interest so far. There is a lot of intrigue, and I've just gotten to a place in the story where beings that aren't human have arrived at the map dude's house (he's invited them). This is taking place during a festival (kind of reminds of "Festival! Festival!" and Landrew of the original Star Trek series). Anyway, I'll have to see if anyone goes mad in this story; not that I would be disappointed if no one did. That there's court intrigue is something different for me, and I'm enjoying some of the pettiness and shrewdness that's gone on already.

Interesting Aside

Believe it or not, this particular book is dedicated to - Senator John McCain, of all people (it was published in 2006), and I'd forgotten that when I picked it up last week. Funny, in light of election year, eh?

Another interesting aside is that four years ago I couldn't stand either candidate the two major parties put front and center, so I went the write in route.

Aw, could you guess it? Yup, McCain.

This time around, I couldn't vote for him because of his running mate (and I have my own reasons as for why), so I voted for Obama. I think four years ago was McCain's time, not now, but it is nice to see him offering help to the President-Elect.

And we all should hope for the best for the President-Elect, no matter what our party affiliation (I'm an independent, BTW).

Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck


I'm Writing Again

I'm going to try to update this blog as often as possible now. I feel a new vim and vigor that I haven't felt in a while.

I've already reworked Chapters 5 and 6 in the past 3 days, typing about 250 words on Sunday (before heading off to Mom's for a nice lunch), and then about 280 words today.

A Possible Goal

My thinking - and this could change at any time, depending on how I'm feeling - is that I'm going to try to do about 500 words a week between now and the end of the year. That includes new words and editing.

I'd really, REALLY like to send this thing out beginning next year. Yeah, yeah, I know that means the drudgery of putting on my thinking cap and putting together a query letter, but I don't care.

I think this could make some money for a publisher, not to mention the agent. :-) And I've decided agenting is the way to go right now. If I don't get any nibbles after 2-3 months, then I'll think about reworking my query letter. The good folks over at Absolute Write will be a good help, I'm sure.

Other Goals

Goal Number 1: Reading

I started reading novels again, too, but I'll talk about that in a separate post. What's good about the current novel is that it's written by a man; for some reason, I have a bias against male writers - and I don't know why.

So far, so good on this one, but, again, I'll write a post on that either tomorrow or on Friday (I'll have a special post on Thanksgiving Day, in between watching the football games - and YES, I understand football, so there's never been a football widow in this house).

Goal Number 2: Starting on Another Story

I'd also like to start thinking about another story to start in on, once I'm satisfied with the current one. I have a few ideas (in the fantasy realm, naturally), but I'm not going to decide just yet. I've written the beginnings of two, one that's been kicking around in my brain for some time, another that just kind of came to me after seeing a documentary about the Dust Bowl on the History Channel.

There's also one other one I'm considering, and my best guess is that's the one I'll probably go after. It's also a potential series, so we'll see how that goes.

Goal Number 3: Write 500 Words a Week

Considering I'll just be getting into the swing of things workwise next month, I feel 500 words a week is doable without overtaxing myself. I can't tell you how good it feels to be working on something again, and to be going onto some of the writing sites/blogs again.

Writers are so awesome. :-)

Goal Number 4: Learn How to Buzz My Book

I'm thinking of the social networking sites, of which I haven't bothered to even look at. Rather than bother with that stuff during the day at work - where I probably wouldn't even be allowed, anyway - I'll set aside about half an hour to an hour a day to get to know the ins and outs of My Space, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

After what I've just gone through, it doesn't sound in the least bit daunting - and could be quite lucrative: Look what Stephanie Meyer has done with Twilight and her other books (how many millions did the movie make over this weekend? Something like US$70 million or something?). She did some social networking to get buzz going on her book.

Of course, she had to written a pretty good book to begin with.

Goal Number 5: Write More Interesting Posts on This Blog

I think I'm going to start writing more on tips and tricks and stuff that's helped me. I've kind of gotten away from that (for obvious reasons), but I'd like to start offering that stuff again.

Why? Because I find it fun and interesting. And if it works for someone else - even better! :-) If people don't find it useful - or if I'm just writing for just me - that's fine, too.

Need to keep Ye Olde Braine stimulated, ya know.

Have a prosperous day, week, and year!