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WIPpet Wednesday: Genie on the Doorstep

Happy Wednesday! I’m thrilled to be back. We took a trip to Cooperstown for the baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I’m back, better rested than I was on Monday. But I’m still very, very sore from the sunburn. Note to self: 5 hours is too long without reapplying sunscreen.

ROW80 Update:

Due to travel, I missed my writing goal, and I’m not sure if I’ll get to a blog post this week. We’ll see.

  • Write in Passing on Faith one hour/day: Nope. Missed Saturday and Sunday due to travel.
  • Read 30 min/day: √ Yep! Finished the book I was reading. Go, me!
  • Write one non-ROW80/WIPpet post/week: Not yet. I’ll let you know Sunday.

On to the WIPpet!

For this week, I’m sharing part of Chapter 2. Micah is surveying the horribleness of the house he inherited and wishing he didn’t have to deal with it. I tend to think he’s avoiding dealing with a lot of things at the moment. This is still fairly lighthearted, but the story itself is overall taking a somewhat more angsty turn than I expected. This is a good thing, I think, but we shall see.

My WIPpet math: (7 + 3 + 0) + (1 + 4 – 2) = 13 sentences.

Although he knew he should get to work, that was the last thing he wanted to do. He flopped down on the couch, sending a puff of dust into the air which caused him to cough. Surveying the rubble from his meltdown the day before, he curled his lip in disgust. He leaned back, groaning, and ran a hand through his hair. It would be the perfect time to discover a magic lamp in among the knickknacks. If only he could produce a genie to make everything disappear.

A knock on the door startled him out of his miserable reverie. Hauling himself up, he slumped over to the door and opened it. There stood his new neighbor, notebook and cell phone in hand. This time, Cat was dressed in a vivid orange t-shirt—how he got away with that given his hair color was anyone’s guess, but it looked surprisingly good—and a pair of well-worn jeans. His Converse were the same shade of orange as the shirt. Under the v-neck collar, a thin gold chain peeped out. He still had the same dangling leaf earring he’d been wearing before, and now Micah had a better look, he saw exactly what it was.

I’ll bet you can guess. 😉

Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting, as always. Don’t forget to check out the other entries and add your own. Just connect it to the date (see my math above for an example) and link up with us. Happy writing!

WIPpet Wednesday: Fix ‘Er Up

Hooray! It’s Wednesday! Time for a new WIPpet and ROW80 check-in.

My goals:

  • Write one hour/day in Passing on Faith The plot bunny still won’t leave me alone, but I used it to my advantage to work out a key plot point. So, win.
  • Read 30 minutes/day Haven’t missed any since last check-in.
  • Write one blog post/week other than WIPpet/ROW80 Yep, posted it on Monday.

I’m skipping my Sunday post because we are going to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame inductions. That’s going to derail my goals for the weekend as well. I’ll still get my reading in, but no writing and probably no extra blog post next week, since I’ll be catching up and the kids will be done with camp.

I admit I’m struggling with this novel. I’m over halfway through, and this is the point where my last one hit a bump, too. I began having it beta read in order to overcome the slump, but I’m not at that point with this one for a number of reasons. Consequently, today’s snippet is a little dull. I’m just posting what comes immediately after last week’s. Part of the problem is that I don’t want to reveal too much too soon, and some things I’m not sure about revealing at all. This damn story has too many potential spoilers!

Boring math, too: 7 + 2 + 3 = 12 paragraphs. Sigh.

Cat’s eyebrows shot up, but he didn’t ask for more information. Instead, he looked around. “This place is a dump.”

“Tell me about it,” Micah grumbled. “That’s part of the problem. It’s truly not livable. I have to go back to town and get a hotel room until I’ve cleaned out most of what’s in here.”

“You want some help?”

“With what, finding a room? I’m an adult. I think I can manage.”

Cat rolled his eyes. “No. I meant fixing this place. I’m actually pretty handy with a trash bin, and I know just about everyone in town. We’ll get your house in shape.”

Micah desperately wanted an excuse to say no. He wasn’t anxious to get acquainted with the locals, nor was he interested in being indebted to Cat for his help. On the other hand, he had no idea what he was doing. If Cat—or anyone else, for that matter—could assist him, he might be able to get the house ready by the end of summer.

He found himself saying, “All right.”

“Good.” Cat stood up. “Let me make a few calls, and I’ll tell you what I’ve got. We can at least figure out what needs to be fixed.” He cringed a little. “Um, can I have my glass back?”

Micah laughed. “Sure.” He drained the last of the lemonade and handed Cat the glass. “I’d wash it for you, but I’m not sure what would come out of the tap.”

“No problem. See you around?”

“Yeah.” Micah offered a real smile this time, and Cat returned it.

Maybe, just maybe, he could get through the summer after all.

I’ll try to find something a bit more interesting for next time. If you want to read some less dull entries than mine, go here. Feel free to add your own, associated with the date however you choose. Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting, as always. Happy writing!

So…what exactly is it you write?

I had the *ahem* fun of trying to explain myself as a writer yesterday.

You know that special moment when you aren’t quite sure what to say to people when they ask you about your job? No? Well, perhaps you have a nine-to-five desk job and your very own cube. That’s nice—people relate to that. But maybe you do something at your job that’s hard to explain or doesn’t fit in a neat box or is potentially embarrassing. Maybe you’ve gone to a family or class reunion with a bajillion people you haven’t seen in twenty years, and they all want to know one thing: what you do for a living. Only you have a sudden case of nerves when telling them because you have no way to gauge their potential reactions.

Yeah, it’s like that for me as a writer. Don’t get me wrong—I love, love, love telling people that I write. The magic of saying my book is due to be published has yet to wear off; I still glow just a little every time I think about it. You know what I don’t like, though? Answering people when they say,

So…what’s your book about? I’d love to read it.

My typical reaction goes something like this:

Um.

Well…

It’s kind of…

There’s this guy, see, and…

Oh, shit.

There is absolutely no good way to tell some of my friends, “No, you most definitely do not want to read this thing I wrote.” Because realistically, of course I want people to read it! I want to sell lots and lots of copies! I don’t relish the idea of explaining to my friends that perhaps it wouldn’t be their cup of tea.

My husband covered for me, which had me laughing so hard I thought I might drop off my chair. He just flat out told one person, “No, you probably don’t want to read it.” He explained it wasn’t the kind of thing he would want our kids reading. Which, no shit, Sherlock. I don’t write kids’ fic or YA, so even if it were so clean you could read it out loud in church, it probably still wouldn’t be for children.

The difficulty is in explaining to certain adults why they wouldn’t read it. That brings a new level of awkwardness when you’re sitting in a church basement, enjoying a pizza lunch, surrounded by your children and their camp counselors and your friends of varying levels of conservative Christianity—and you aren’t quite sure which ones are at which end of the spectrum.

(Taking off my hat and placing it over my heart. Please trust me when I say I have only the most love and respect for these folks, regardless of our political and theological differences. *Deep breath*.)

So I finally settled on just telling people that I write romance novels. Which in one sense is kind of true, it’s just not the whole picture. The good news is that it’s highly effective in getting men to stop asking questions; not so much with women.

I made that mistake exactly once before yesterday’s hemming and hawing. A friend at church asked; I answered, hoping she was one of those super-religious types that would just shut the hell up because she knows what’s in most romance novels (hint: the characters are not “playing tent” under the sheets). Instead, she had verbal diarrhea about some friend who writes those nauseating Amish romances. I guess the good news is that she, too, finds them crappy, but it didn’t help when I had to tell her, “That’s not what I write.”

Which brings me to the sad conclusion of this tale: I still don’t know how to answer people when they ask that question. It’s my own failing, really. I have trouble navigating the social contexts in which it would be safe to be fully open and honest about the content of my novel. It’s clearly not a great idea to explain to a room full of people with more…traditional?…values what it’s about. But there are people of a more liberal stripe who would be equally displeased with me. What’s a writer to do?

I guess all I can say is, if you bother reading my blog at all, and have done so any time in the last six months, you know damn well what my novel is about.* You know what the next one’s about, too, more or less. And if you still like me after that, well, then you are a pretty special person, and I’m lucky to have you in my life.

Also, yes. You should read my book. Even if you’re a dude or conservative or just really, really straight-laced. Even if it makes your cheeks flush or your jaw drop or your eyes pop out of your head. Even if you turn to the nearest person and mouth, What on God’s green Earth was she thinking? Even if you throw the book out a window (when you’re done, of course). Because if I haven’t put you off with the snippets I’ve shared, then you aren’t likely to be too upset with the rest of it—or with me, for that matter. Heck, you might even end up enjoying it. ♥

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*If you’re still in the dark, pop some popcorn, settle into your favorite chair, and click here for all my WIPpets. They’re in reverse order, so find the oldest one and start there.

ROW80 Update: Sunday Edition

I’ve been super productive with both kids in camp. One more week of camp and then I may regret making my goals. Ha!

I’ll make this quick, as I don’t have much time. I need to make dinner. As my writing partners can affirm, I’m always eating whenever I write. Apparently, it makes me hungry!

To sum up:

Write 1 hour a day on my current WIP, Passing on Faith. Started a new project as well, which I won’t keep up on. It was just a way to let the plot bunny have a say without compromising the novel.

Read 30 minutes a day. Only missed one—didn’t read yesterday because I didn’t have time. We went to one of those murder-mystery dinners.

Write 1 blog post per week that isn’t ROW80 or WIPpet Wednesday. Yep, accomplished earlier in the week.

How are your goals going?

Giving this Round of Words in 80 Days thing a try

I thought about it. I considered it in April. Then I considered jumping in when that one finished. But I hedged, and I missed the first week. I don’t normally like to come late to a party; I feel foolish walking into everyone’s established conversations. But I’m making an exception because I need to stop doing this alone.

So, here I am. I’m committed to making some positive changes in my writing life. I’ve always been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of writer, and I don’t expect that to change. I don’t outline. I don’t make many notes. Heck, I don’t even jot down ideas as they occur. (Instead, I mostly just complain that writing on my phone is a pain and my best ideas show up in the shower.)

I confess to not having enjoyed NaNoWriMo due to the crunched time and the expectation that I’m going to have some semblance of a (badly-written) novel at the end of that time. I don’t write a story start to finish, chapter-by-chapter. I tend to go, “Ooh, there’s this thing I want to happen between these two people here. Gotta put that in!” Sometimes, I write the end first. More often than not, those elements change. But I like having them there to play with. All of that makes NaNoWriMo hard for me. Last year, I was a NaNo Rebel—I wrote 50,000 words, but they were part of an established novel that I was stalling on.

Instead of stressing over word count and “winning,” I’m trying out the ROW80. I can make reasonable, manageable goals for myself while still holding out hope for the bigger picture. It makes sense to me!

Here are my goals for the rest of the 80 days:

1. Write an hour a day on my new novel. My hope is to finish it, but if I don’t, at least this gives me a good chunk.

2. Post something on my blog once a week that isn’t a WIPpet (snippet of my work in progress) or an ROW80 update. I don’t have anything specific in mind, though I do plan to write several book reviews.

3. Spend 30 minutes a day reading an actual book (all right, probably a Kindle book and not paper, but close enough). I’ve gotten into the bad habit of just messing around playing mindless games before bed. I could take the exact same 30 minutes and read something instead.

Those feel like goals I can work with. So far,just going over my last week, I have managed only one of those—I wrote for about an hour (at least) every day on my current novel-in-progress. Here’s to getting on track and making these goals my priority for the next 73 days, right?

If you’re interested in following my progress, I check in on Wednesdays and Sundays. If you want to play along, with or without linking up, go to the ROW80 blog. Best of luck, and keep writing!

Guest Post on Praying the Rosary

Woo hoo! I got to write a guest post for Carly Gelsinger‘s series From Grape Juice to Red Wine, stories of people shifting from mainstream, conservative, or fundamentalist evangelical to “high church” liturgical traditions.

I had the chance to meet Carly in person at the Faith & Culture Writers Conference a couple of weeks ago.  She’s really cool, the sort of person who makes you feel like you’ve known her forever even though it’s only been a single weekend.  She has a way of putting people at ease with her warmth. The coolest thing was finding someone else who shared my own experience–that of choosing (rather than having it forced on us) a conservative evangelical path before finding our way out again.

I’m excited to add my voice to the conversation, especially because it echoes my own journey so well.  Go check out my post, and while you’re at it, give Carly some bloggy love on her other writing.  Happy Friday!