Monthly Archives: November 2012

One NaNoWriMo day left! I think I can, I think I can …

Here it is down to the wire. One day left in National Novel Writing Month. ONE DAY!

I do not have 48343 words written, which is the total suggested for the 29th day in the challenge. What I do have is 31737 words captured. Yes, I am way behind, but in looking at what I managed last year I am ahead. In 2011 at the close of the 29th day I had 24133 words.

In checking over my progress in 2010 and 2011, I see that the most words I added to my total in one day was 8017. That was last year on the last day when I was making a valiant attempt to get closer to the goal. This year I have to write 18263 words on day 30 to have accomplished a win at 50000 words! 

I think I can, I think I can …

That’s if I need that many to finish this novel. I really don’t know even yet. I can probably stretch it out, make it longer that way, if I have time to do it. There is much that I can play with later in pulling the story together during editing to make it really work. The main thing is to finish this novel! As I have said before, that is my main goal, secondary being a NaNo win of 50K words.

As I am nearing the end of NaNo I am also gaining ground in pulling together some threads that will bring this story to an end. I just hope it can be sorted out later, because in writing it this way there are conflicting statements and unintentionally duplicated scenes that have to be fixed. But, that’s for later. For now I have a story to write.

First things first — I am about to catch some zzzzz’s and then in the morning – Day 30 – I will start writing again, because …  I am going to finish this novel! That is the plan, anyway. :)

How do you do with your deadlines? Do you write better under pressure or do you need lots of time to get there?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

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NaNoWriMo’s nearly over! Can I complete the challenge?

Another day has ended, a day of little writing for me. I simply was stuck … no words sprawled themselves over my paper (remember, I write longhand) until late in the evening. Not a good sign.

Here is it November 25 already and I have not made it to the halfway point yet in my NaNo Novel writing for this year. My word count stands at 43%. This does not look good for me.

Let’s see now … comparing my totals at this stage of the NaNoWriMo challenge, by the end of DAY 24:

  • in 2010 I had written 32,179 words
  • in 2011 I had written 8,722 words
  • in 2012 I have written 21,651 words

Looking at it this way, I could make it! If I take the next six days and write like crazy, that is. Six days to go to midnight of November 30.

(And I am grateful!)

My goal is to find the end of this novel by then, too, so my questions to you are:

Do you think I can write 50,000 words by the deadline?

If you think I can, do you think I will?

And, do you think I will finish writing my novel in this challenge?

Let me know your opinion about this. Send me a little encouragement if you want, I can use it!  :)

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

 

 

A Thanksgiving gift for you

Canadian Thanksgiving was in October, but today is Thanksgiving Day for all my friends and readers in the United States. 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

I am doing something a little different this morning by including a little gift for you who are celebrating this occasion. Just click on the link at the bottom of this post. It takes you to a safe site – EGreetings.com – and right to the card I selected for you. There is no special message there as would normally be if I were to email it to all of you. Instead here is my message, which is for everyone whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not:

Take a few minutes today to think about all there is in your life for which to be thankful. Hold onto that feeling of thankfulness and carry it with you. A grateful heart makes a huge difference in how one walks through each day.

For those who are thankful to our Creator GOD:

O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures for ever! – Psalm 107:1

O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. – Psalm 95:1,2

click here for your card    It is on a safe site.

I appreciate and am thankful for all of you who visit me from wherever you are in the world. Have a wonderful, special, creative, beautiful day full of happy thoughts. :)

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

My word is GRATEFUL: Remembrance and Thanksgiving

Lately, I have been finding it hard to write. If you have been following my progress during NaNoWriMo you will have noticed there is not much moving forward the past few days. I am so far behind now there is little hope for me to end the challenge with a high word count. I’m even wondering if I will finish this novel no matter how many words it takes to get there.

For some people, when things are going wrong in their lives, or they are just having a down time, they write. It helps them through it. But for me … I can’t seem to think that way. The creativity gets put on hold by whatever is troubling me. I seem to fall victim to my emotions, and that’s not a good thing.

Remembrance Day is a special day for this family. Our dad is a WWII veteran and we are very proud of him, especially as he was one of the young Canadian soldiers who bravely liberated the Netherlands. For years, with Dad we have attended the ceremonies and the Veterans’ dinner following the special service. This year things got a bit confused and it was difficult for awhile – my week “on duty” so it was more upsetting for me. It got straightened out but left me with a troubled heart. That affected everything since I just can’t seem to separate myself from it all even when I get away for my week at home. I think if I were good at writing through things, I would have had a lot more done on my novel by now!

Last Thursday was my birthday. I won’t say which birthday, I’ll just leave that for you to guess if you want to.  I’d been talking to God, telling Him (as if He didn’t already know, but I had to admit it) that I need help. I need help to get through this. The day before my birthday two friends called me, two friends totally apart from one another and whom I hadn’t talked with in awhile. Neither knew my of increased stress, both conversations were ministering to my need.

The next morning, November 16, a really interesting thing happened when I woke before my feet even hit the floor.

First, by way of explanation — There is someone who has a website or blog who chooses a word for herself at the beginning of each year, and challenges others to do the same. That word – individual to each person – is to be their word by which to live all that year. (I’m sorry I don’t recall who that person is, but if you know please remind me in a comment.) I had tried to come up with a word for myself, but nothing came to me. What is fascinating to me is that as I was waking on the morning of my birthday  .. there it was! My word. GRATEFUL.

My word is GRATEFUL!

Now, let me tell you, that word makes a difference. The trick is to remind myself of it in the midst of disappointment, worry creeping in, feelings of inadequacy, frustration, sadness, depression raising its ugly head, anger over things beyond my control … GRATEFUL chases it all away!  

Notice my word is not gratefulness, but I feel gratefulness when I am grateful. :)

Here is the definition for gratefulness: 

  • warm friendly feelings of gratitude [synonyms: thankfulness, appreciativeness]

The definition for grateful:

  • 1: feeling or showing gratitude; “a grateful heart”; “grateful for the tree’s shade”; “a thankful smile” [synonym:thankful] [antonym: ungrateful]
  • 2: affording comfort or pleasure; “the grateful warmth of the fire”

When negative feelings or thoughts come upon me, I remind myself that I am grateful or I have much to be grateful for and those negatives are washed away. It’s an attitude of gratitude that has to become habit for it to be most effective. (I did remember to thank God from my grateful heart for the help He sent me.)

Our Canadian Thanksgiving was October 8, USA’s Thanksgiving is coming up on November 22, so it seems quite fitting to have this word now. Try it out and see what it does for you.

My questions to you are:

  1. Do life’s struggles set your writing free? or does writing free you during times of stress?
  2. If you write when life hits you hard, how do you do it?
  3. Do you have a word to live by for this year?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

We have a winner of The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge!

The draw has been made for a winner of The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge!  The names of you who left comments were put into a little basket and my dad drew out one.  “I’m sorry” everyone who didn’t win, but – Congratulations EDITH! You will be hearing from me for your mailing info so that Christine can mail you a copy of her book.

Thanks to everyone for entering the draw, for leaving comments, for reading the review and the interview.  There are more reviews and interviews to come.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

Nolfi book giveaway reminder & NaNoWriMo updates

Hi everyone!  Just a quick post today –

Because I’m posting between my interview (<– click here to read it) with author Christine Nolfi and her book giveaway here on November 10, I’m tempting you with a reminder of what her book looks like. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge.

 

I want to update you on my NaNoWriMo progress. On the right of this page you can see the percentage graph showing my total words written. To see the whole list of daily reports please check out my updates page here.

What you will find is that I got off to a rough start, but not as slow as last year’s. Even so, I am far behind what the suggested total of words is for day 7. They suggest 11,669 words by midnight tonight and at this moment in time (4:15 PM AST) I have the big total of 2330! Okay, so it’s not a big total, but it’s something. I have a LOT of writing to do. I’m trying to steal time out of my days for it.

What I found is that when I started with NOTHING for NaNo 2010, once I began writing it was easier to let the story happen than it was to later pick up where I’d left off and keep writing and adding to it. In 2011 I had such a slow start because it was hard to get back into the story. This month I read it all again right before beginning to add to it, and saw my struggle at the end of November last year. It was a mess. It lacks flow and uniformity. It is choppy, and obviously I was grasping for vision.

Now I am again adding to my novel, ignoring the confusion and hoping for a completion during this NaNo. I don’t know if it will take another 50,000 words, but it’s okay if it doesn’t. I have a feeling I will be writing the whole month anyway. And I don’t even want to think about revisions once I find the end of my first fiction novel. That is going to be even more of a challenge to plow through.

I hope you will join me by following my progress in this writing challenge. I won’t be posting updates  this way daily, but I will be keeping track on my NaNoWriMo updates (2012) page. I invite you to please follow along. If you want to leave me a comment, please do – here or on my updates page.

Do you enter writing challenges or contests?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Interview with Christine Nolfi and book giveaway

I won’t keep you waiting for this interview any longer. 

I’m pleased to introduce to you Christine Nolfi, author of the adult fiction The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge. Be sure to read my review.

In 2004, Christine Nolfi began writing fiction full-time. Her debut, Treasure Me, is a finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards and appears on the Midwest Book Review’s Bookwatch as, “A riveting read for those who enjoy adventure fiction, highly recommended.” Her second contemporary fiction novel, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge, continues to earn 4- and 5-star reviews on GoodReads and Amazon. Her third release, Second Chance Grill, was released October 30th.    

Christine, welcome to my blog! I’m delighted you agreed to this interview. Would you please begin by telling us a little about yourself? And do you have a family, a job outside the family?

Lynn, thank you for the invitation to visit today! I’m a full-time novelist and a recent transplant to Charleston, South Carolina. Three of my adopted children are now in college; the baby is a high school senior. I remarried last summer on a beach – Barry and I both feel blessed to have received a “do-over” in our fifties. Prior to writing fiction full-time, I owned a small PR firm in Cleveland, Ohio.

You seem to lead a full and satisfying life. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Who or what inspired you?

Honestly, I can’t recall a time when I didn’t write. Vignettes in childhood and later, short stories. In high school, I usually received top billing in the annual literary magazine. I wrote my first novel at age nineteen and turned down an offer to sell it at age twenty-two. Don’t ask why. Thirty years later, the reason seems silly.

Aw, darn. Now you know what question I really want to ask next! *sigh* Okay, I won’t. Instead: as a writer, do you do much reading? Who were/are your favourite authors or books?

I read several hours each day, whether it’s The Economist or Wall Street Journal, or the latest novel to catch my eye. Presently I’m reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Heart of the Matter by Emily Griffin and The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. My taste in fiction runs toward literary, but I read across genres and can’t imagine choosing a favorite author.

Have you ever felt like giving up? When did you finally believe in
yourself so you can say “I am a writer”?

Some weeks the sheer volume of promotional work on my “to do” list becomes quite intimidating. I’ve never suffered from doubts regarding my abilities because I worked as a freelance writer for so many years.

Do you have a motto or Bible verse or quote that you try to live by
and that helps to keep you going?

I use “Bible flipping” daily: open the Bible, and read the passage that first catches my eye. The practice brings both comfort and hope. Frankly, I couldn’t have survived all the years of single parenting without my faith.

What do you remember about your very first time to be published,
how did that happen?

In my early twenties I sold a short story entitled Night Hour to Working Mother Magazine. The editor called to say she loved the over-the-transom submission about a mother who finds the courage to march into the basement rec room and confront her teenage daughter before the girl and a teen boyfriend have sex. The editor was convinced I was a working mother who’d written a story about experiences with my own teenagers. Needless to say, I was happy to let her think what she wanted – and was even more delighted when the magazine’s two million subscribers read my first published work.

Now, that’s an exciting start! Do you mind mentioning some of what you have written thus far? Of what you have had published, what means the most to you? Of those, what do or did you most enjoy writing?

I’ve published three novels with two more currently under edit. My debut Treasure Me was cited by USA Today as among the best of the indies and recently became a finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards. The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge has even higher scores on Amazon and GoodReads but hasn’t yet reached the contest circuit. My third novel Second Chance Grill was released October 30th.

Whether I’m writing lighter books like Treasure Me and Second Chance Grill or a darker, closer to literary work like Tree of Everlasting Knowledge, I invariably fall in love with the characters. The work-in-progress becomes my favorite book.

Congratulations on your success so far! What method do you use to keep track of your writing ideas?

I rarely veer off course once work commences. Compelling fiction begins with deep characterization, and I spend months researching and fine-tuning the characters destined to populate a book. If I’m not satisfied with the completed manuscript after several revisions, I file it away. Some books need a cooling off period and fresh perspective before final revision work and publication.

What process do you go through when writing and perfecting your work?

I’ll write a chapter or two then return to the beginning and edit. Then I’ll write several more chapters and edit again. After the first draft is complete, I take the Word document and create a landscaped version resembling a paperback novel and edit, revise, cut, and add new passages in longhand fashion.

Very interesting! What inspired you to write The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge?

Tree explores problems related to the U.S. foster/adopt system. As an adoptive mother, caring for the world’s abandoned children is an issue dear to my heart. The idea for Troy’s dilemma in the novel—which I’d rather not give away here—came about after I conducted interviews at an adoption network in Cleveland, Ohio.

How long did it take you to write The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge? Did you have to do any research?

The work required extensive research into foster/adopt law in the United States. I also conducted interviews with social workers, a birth mother, and coordinators at an adoption network. The novel went through extensive revision on at least three occasions. I set the work aside when Treasure Me gained notice in The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards then picked Tree back up for one last revision in early 2012. All told, the novel took three years to write.

It was worth it, I would say. Did you find any part of it hard to write about or pull together?

Writing scenes from child Emma’s point-of-view proved gut wrenching. And Troy’s pivotal scenes with Buck took many months to write.

Why did you decide to write about such a difficult topic, that of violence in varying degrees?

Originally I planned Tree as another book in the Liberty series with the much lighter Treasure Me and Second Chance Grill. A literary agent on the West Coast had put me in contact with an amazing private editor who quickly concluded that Tree was much more literary than my other works, and deserved to release as a stand-alone novel. Her advice set me free to write a book both heartbreaking and uplifting.

I agree, it is both of those. Did you write a little of yourself into any of the characters?

Certainly the children Walt and Emma are inspired by my experiences as a mother of adopted children of color. Troy and Ourania? I’ve probably put some of my personality in both of them. I hope I don’t share any traits with the loathsome Buck Korchek, the most difficult character I’ve ever written.

How did/do you go about getting published? Why did you choose the route you took?

I worked with two literary agents, had two “almost sales” to Random House then New American Library. The problem? My books incorporate features of the romance, mystery, suspense and literary genres – never a good thing when a NY editor needs to decide where to place your debut on a bookstore shelf. My critique partners finally convinced me to try indie publishing. Naturally I’ll happily embark on a traditional publishing career if the right deal ever comes along.

How do you write consistently? Do you have writing goals? daily?
weekly? monthly? long-range?

Having owned a PR firm for many years, I still work as if I’m in the Marine Corps. Early start, break at noon for a workout at the gym, return to my office to edit the morning’s pages. I stop at dinnertime. Writers who burn the midnight oil or put in 18-hour days are asking for an early death. Any artist needs to recognize that her body is as sacred a gift as her boundless creativity.

That’s something to seriously consider. What other interests do you have for a change from writing?

I love to cook, garden, stroll the beach with my husband, walk my sweet mutt in Charleston’s early morning sunlight – and read. In between books, I try to read as many novels as possible.

Do you have another project in the works?

I’ll publish two shorter romances in early 2013 then release the third book in the Liberty series. Or I’ll release a longer, literary novel set in Istanbul. It’s a real dilemma. I’ve already written a portion of the Istanbul book, but the amusing antics of the characters in the Liberty books are hard to resist!

That’s just the kind of dilemma I imagine a lot of writers would love to have.  :)  Finally, do you have any advice for hopefuls?

My best advice for hopefuls? Join a critique group. Read often and well. Write an entire first draft then revise. And revise again. Research the publishing industry before submitting your first query to a literary agent, or uploading your first novel independently. And always believe in your singular gifts.

Thanks, Christine. That’s great advice. Thank you for the insight into your writing life.

Readers, here are some links Christine invites you to check out:

Author Christine Nolfi’s website: http://www.christinenolfi.com

Find her on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/christinenolfi

Find her on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4811669.Christine_Nolfi

Find The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Tree-Everlasting-Knowledge-ebook/dp/B007IO78QK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1340741334&sr=1-1&keywords=the+tree=of=everlasting=knowledge

Now leave a comment and your name will be in the draw for your chance to win a copy of Christine Nolfi’s The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge. Tell us what you found most helpful or interesting of what she had to share. On Saturday, November 10 at 6 PM EST one name will be drawn out of the basket. I will contact that person for his or her mailing address and when the winner gets back to me I’ll inform Christine who will send a book to the winner. So, leave a comment to enter the draw!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)