Row80 and WIPpet Wednesday Oct 30th

I was thinking I’d get a ton of stuff done yesterday, but then remembered I’d purchased tickets for a Halloween concert downtown AND a little table I’d ordered showed up and needed assembling.


Isn’t it cute? It’s sooo compact, which is great for the tiny amount of space my kitchen has available for any sort of table. I was actually fine without one, since I tend to eat in front of the TV anyway, but then I remembered sometimes I like to sew and sewing on the floor just isn’t going to happen. I love this little table though. It’s perfect and the fact that it’s a space saver is even better.



Finish line edits on SHADE. Progress made! I’m 80% finished with this bad boy and I’m hoping to crank the last 20% out just before NaNo. That way I can really relax and know Shade 1 is all polished while I’m making Shade 2. This will happen. I’m determined!!!

Read at least 2 new books. No new progress. I think this will take the NaNo schedule to get me back onto the commute schedule. Hopefully next week I’ll have something to report.

October NaNoWriMo Prep Work. Outline is decent. I’m trying to figure out whether a certain event I want to happen is too large and needs to get pushed back to a Book 3 or if I can still include it. The trouble is I’m not sure what to do between the “now” of the book and that event. I want to include a certain character that at this point makes more sense logistically if she weren’t there, but story wise makes no sense for her to “disappear.” I know I’ll figure it out, it’s just frustrating with a deadline. Maybe this is good practice for industry deadlines in the future.

NaNoWriMo Challenge. Coming in 2 days.

Edit/finish the short stories I do have. No new progress.

WIPpet Wednesday

A little more from the short story I gave you last week. I’ve tentatively titled this Yellow Rubber Bowls. It’s a flash fiction piece I need to do something with eventually.

Continue reading

Recharging Writing

I took a break from Shade my WIP. I had this other idea come to me, what I’m affectionately calling Code Name Clemmings. I wrote the first chapter, and then feeling too much anxiety over not knowing where the story was going, I paused and wrote an outline.

Before CNC I’d been focused mostly on editing and revising Shade and partly on a couple of short stories and if we’re being honest, doing some tourism training in San Francisco. I wasn’t getting as much writing done as I wanted, but sometimes that’s just the way life goes.

But here’s my point.

I’d been in editing mode so long, when I embarked on writing CNC for kicks and giggles and because my Pitch Wars mentor Marieke recommended I try something completely different after finishing revisions on Shade—when I finally sat down to write something new—it was like my brain had forgotten how to be creative.

I’d been focusing on editing for so long, which is very important, I’d let the flow of being creative run a little dry. Granted, I had written a couple of short stories in the meantime, so it wasn’t a complete creative drought, but I noticed something.

Editing, without spurts of creativity, can give more power to your internal editor than your internal creator.

Although I’m sure the same can be said, and should be said, of being creative and never doing enough editing. You might be in this mode if you get severe anxiety when it comes to editing. It’s a delicate balance as a writer.

So how does one maintain a good balance between the internal editor and creator? How does one embrace both the yin and yang of writing? Because when both are in balance, skill grows in both areas at an impressive rate.


I’ve been in editing and revision mode for a few years now. I feel like it’s something I know how to do well, and feedback from critique partners doesn’t sting like it once did. I’ve learned to uncover the root of the suggestions (if the CP is less experienced) and glean good advice. Often they’re right—at least about finding the weak spot. Their suggestion may not be on the mark, but they still helped me find weak spots, and that’s a very good thing.

Since I’ve been doing this for a few years, I’m very adept at editing and revising my work.

In order to get into this stage yourself, I recommend first of all, embracing the editing. I have an entire series on editing available for help, which is based on my experiences over the past few years. Read books on editing and making better story. And most importantly, take it to people who will be honest with you.

Start with softer critiquers if you need. These can be friends and family who help you catch easy to face things, like typos and grammatical errors. Then find those honest critiquers who tell it like it is. Sometimes you can find these people at writing conferences or workshops. With Google Docs and the like, doing this editing online has never been easier.

And edit other people’s stuff, even if you think you suck at editing. You’ll learn a ton about writing, either in seeing what good writers do really well, or seeing mistakes to be avoided.


Often this is the least hard part to do for most writers. It’s the most enjoyable part. I probably don’t need to tell you how to have fun creating, but you may feel like writer’s block is knocking at the door or maybe you’re not sure what to write or maybe you’re losing the passion—whatever it is, you need to recharge.

The solution: read.

Okay, that’s not really the solution I’m going to talk about, but it is a big part of the equation. Have you ever said anything like this phrase: I’d love to read, but I’m too busy using what little time I have writing.

Maybe liar is a bit harsh, but the truth is you do have time to read, you’re just using that time to do something else. Even if you can only get a chapter in a day, READ.

Back to the other part of the solution: write.

I know, I’m probably driving you crazy. But I’m serious. Write. Whatever your genre, pick something completely different, and write a short story about it.

I highly recommend flash fiction. You must be brief, you have little time to info dump, and you have to create empathy for characters quick. I’ve found this to be extremely helpful in streamlining my novel writing. It’s also very refreshing. You don’t have to spend the same amount of time as a novel (although you may later if you really like the idea, but save those for after the flash fiction). You’ve finished something, which has its own sense of accomplishment. And you’ve done something a little different, so when you go back to the regular genre, you’re rejuvenated.

I think of it as always having to eat Italian food for every meal. Italian is really good, but after a while, no matter how good it is there comes a point when you’re done with Italian and you’re desperate for anything else. So you have a little Greek or a little Thai and suddenly Italian has all its delicious flavor back.

It’s not a long commitment, like a whole other novel. Plus, with flash fiction, you can enter it into contests and get yourself more writing creds if you intend to eventually query your work.

Write flash fiction or short stories and you’ll find a renewed sense of energy in returning to your longer WIP. Plus it’s fun. And just so you know, flash fiction is—up to this point—just about this long.

Get recharged. Grow as a writer. And keep the balance.

What do you do to recharge your writing? Is your writing yin and yang out of balance? Have you written flash fiction or short stories before? Did you find the process invigorating? Anything you would add?

Row 80 Check-In July 24th

robert dansie pioneer

Robert Dansie the Pioneer

Happy Pioneer Day! Oh, what? You don’t celebrate Pioneer Day? Oh… Well, I never really did either, until I moved to Utah. And guess what? Got the day off. Thank you pioneers! Your holiday is much appreciated!

No, but seriously, I am grateful for the pioneer’s efforts. After all, Jae’s great-great-great-great-something or rather grandfather came across the plains back in the day. We Dansies are made of tough stuff. We figure if we can get through Wyoming with a wagon we can get through anything. And having been out to the area of Wyoming where lots of people died, my hats very much go off to those pioneers. You have to be a real cowboy to survive in Wyoming.

Onto the goals.

The Goals

1. Read at least 10 more Anton Chekhov short stories to add to my progress of 50 of 201. No new progress. Still just up to 54. Read them here free!

2. Finish reading both The Fire in Fiction and On Writing. I checked out some Spanish materials from the library and have been giving them my attention, but this goal is going to happen eventually.

3. Submit Trick or Tree to another writing contest. Finish Dog Shy and write at least one other short story, all to be submitted to contests. No new progress.

4. Write a flash fiction story. Started another flash fiction which is fast approaching the 750 word mark. Hopefully I can keep it under the limit for contests. It’s interesting writing flash fiction. I feel like because you really must make every word count you tend to keep your words more succinct even on larger projects. I highly recommend delving into flash fiction. This is where I put my plotter to rest and go all the way pantser.

5. Do at least one thing every week that increases my fluency in Spanish and Japanese. Check and check!  Teaching Tunes Tuesdays and I made it past the first unit of an intermediate course. Plus I’m coming across lots of great music via Pandora and recommendations from my co-worker. Latino Rock is awesome!

6. Finish feedback edits on SHADE and get it queried. CP had tons of stuff going on, including vacation, but I should be getting it soon and then I’ll probably be consumed with editing.

Bonus Goals. I’ve got about 2 chapters of a new novelette project I’m calling Code Name Clemmings. I feel like I need to get a first draft out before making actual title considerations. It’s been interesting writing something new with all the editing knowledge I’ve gained over the last year. First drafts definitely become better drafts than previous first drafts in my writing career. That just means editing will make it that much better.

5am coach is still a struggle, but mostly I’m winning!

How are you doing on your goals? When it comes to titles, do you know what you’ll call the story from the start or do you have to get a first draft out before one comes to you? Or do you struggle with titles anyway?

Row 80 Check-In July 17th

Hooray for Wednesdays! Middle of the week, goal check-in, life is good.

Speaking of life is good, those of you who’ve known me a bit know I’m a foodie. Well, remember on the 1982 version of Annie when they’re talking about what’s for dinner, and the cook talks about Baked Alaska (about 1:50 in)?

I’ve always wondered about what Baked Alaska was, all this time, and I’d heard it was a difficult dessert, so I put off making it for awhile. But for some reason it came to the surface again recently, and I produced this:

baked alaskaThe BFF’s favorite part was using the torch to give it that lovely golden-brown color. What is baked Alaska you ask? Three things: cake, ice cream, meringue. Based on a few lemon meringue store-bought pies I’ve had in the past, I thought meringue was kind of nasty. Not so! Fresh-made = delightful sugary awesomeness! And it doesn’t really “freeze” so it’s always good. The cake and ice cream, however, can become solid as bricks, so this is a dessert best eaten after baked or torched.

Okay, this is about goals after all.

The Goals

The book editing has come to an end, which has helped to supplement my Amazon buying addiction. I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked, but progress still hath been made!

1. Read at least 10 more Anton Chekhov short stories to add to my progress of 50 of 201. I’ve read up to 54. It has certainly helped with writing short stories. I recommend to any of you to read Chekhov if you want to write short stories or even flash fiction. It teaches your brain about how long the story should be. Very helpful. And free!

2. Finish reading both The Fire in Fiction and On Writing. Last time I crossed those out to finish up Chime and Finnikin of the Rock. Finished Chime, which was decent-ish, and I’ll share more on that in a mini-review later. Finnikin, well… Let’s just say there was a reason I “finished” that so quickly. But onto the books. I think maybe On Writing first, since I’ve already read a couple Donald Maass books.

3. Submit Trick or Tree to another writing contest. Finish Dog Shy and write at least one other short story, all to be submitted to contests. No other short story, yet.

4. Write a flash fiction story. Wrote a flash fiction of 500ish words or so. I’m letting it get cold to see if it’s any good. It was fun to do and very fulfilling in a sense of finishing a story so quickly.

5. Do at least one thing every week that increases my fluency in Spanish and Japanese. Check and check! Still doing my Teaching Tunes Tuesdays and I checked out loads of Spanish-learning materials from the library. This morning I learned a phrase I hadn’t considered before: ¿Cómo te trata, la vida? which means, How’s life treating ya? I even tried this out on my Mexican co-worker, to which he responded in very quick Spanish something I didn’t catch at all. 😦 Oh well, carrying on.

6. Finish feedback edits on SHADE and get it queried. CP still on vacay.

Bonus Goals. It’s been fun to brainstorm about Book 2 (SHADE’s sequel), because I’ve changed a lot in Book 1 so ideas I had for Book 2 have also had to shift. I’m often faced with the “how does this scene work now that this has changed?” It’s fun to come up with answers. I love being a writer!

I’ve been doing fairly well keeping the 5am coach fired, at least when I make efforts to keep him fired he stays away. Now I’ve just got to get to bed a little earlier so I have a little more time for writing in the morning.

Are you accomplishing your writing goals? Have you ever tried Baked Alaska? What tips or tricks do you use to help you write flash fiction?