End of week 1

Two weeks ago, I decided I would pick up the pen again.  Or in this day, the keyboard.  The first week, I slowly made my way through In God’s Name, editing — again — the first 13 chapters.  And then last Sunday, I started chapter 14.

I promised to write for 30 minutes a day.  With a blog post on the weekend. (Here’s post three.)  And I have.  Thirty minutes isn’t very long, but in the week, I’ve written chapter 14 with 16pages, and I’m into chapter 15. 

Small, slow steps at first. My goal is to finish by Christmas.  And I will, even at this pace.

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What I’ve been reading

Crucible Zero by Devon Monk

I have binged on this writer in the past.  I discovered one of her  books,  read its sequel.  Then I went to her earlier series and read all of those.  It took me maybe a week.  And then I had to wait for this conclusion to the original series.

I really admire Ms. Monk’s work. I also appreciate watching her talent mature.  And Crucible Zero didn’t disappoint.  It was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.  Wouldn’t really stand alone, but I don’t expect book three to do so.

It was, however, extremely straightforward. When I was growing up there was an old hymn that said “We’re marching, marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion…” I often hear that song (usually sung loudly and slightly off key) with plots like these.  No real twists.  Straightforward objective.  See the hill, take the hill and then go home.  Or to Zion.  

It can be done well, as it was here.  Or not so well.  Or just flat out boring.  But I’m always left a bit flat.  It seems to me that plots are best circular — a spiral actually — that return you to the starting point, only changed for better or for worse.  Straight line plots are like straight roads across the plains.  You get there quickly, but the scenery gets old.

The Lost Series by Cynthia Eden

I usually read Cynthia Eden’s paranormal books.  But this suspense series (two books so far) caught my eye.  I like her books, and these return to a lower-key writing style.  

I particularly like her ability to create characters who have emotional scars but who open up to love one more time.  Sounds sappy, but her characters never are.  

Aurora: Eden by Amanda Bridgeman

I’ve had some issues with this series, and I’m not sure I’ll buy the next one.  This book rambled and took a loooong time to make very little progress in the series arc.  Meh.

But more troubling is the gender roles.  And now the complicating issue is the parentage of the twins by different fathers.  Much is made of the fact that the fathers and grandparents need to be involved in his child’s life alone.  It seems to me that the actual genetic father is irrelevant. I expect parents with genetic and adopted children to love both equally.  Yes this is a bizarre twist,  but the drama over it doesn’t work.

It seems like the author needed a plot device to increase the emotional trauma,  and is milking this one for more than it can really give.  She has so many good ideas that really this one isn’t needed.  Most certainly its being asked to do more work than it should.

Getting Back Into Writing

I lost my focus.  Pledge Allegiance came out a year ago and I haven’t done much since.  Not a blog post even.  I revised the first chapters of In God’s Name (sequel to Trust No One) and then spluttered out.

Life got in the way.  After Pledge Allegiance came out, I decided I needed to give up my farm.  Health issues.  So I put the farm up for sale, and I moved to Ashland, Oregon.  To a cottage in a condo complex.  I love it!  And then I settled in, nested.  Spring, I tried a writer’s group, but couldn’t make it work for a variety of reasons: health, not the right group, so on.  (More on writing groups some other time.)

So here it is, a year later.  And I’m committed to beginning again.

Baby steps.  Barbara Sher wrote about resistance in one of her books.  Pick the smallest unit of movement toward your goal that you can do without triggering resistance. Because resistance — otherwise known as writer’s block — is a bitch.  My words. 🙂

My goal is to have In God’s Name Done by Christmas. My plan is to write an hour a day, about 300-400 words.  This week, however, I just committed to baby steps toward writing. One each day.  Day 1 — charge the laptop battery. Day 2 and 3 (today) read the existing chapters.

They’re pretty good.  Not to brag, but this is the fourth or fifth read through and I still am enjoying it.  Fixing small stuff. Getting reacquainted with the story.  Baby steps.

I set other goals too.  Blog once a week.  Do a marketing task once a month. So here’s week 1.

In God’s Name due out Dec. 15.  Online near everyone.