December 3, 2020

Chicken Noodle Soup and Novels

 (i wrote this post ten years ago and i'm happy for the reminder as i start to write again.)

yeah, weird title, i know but the two really do go together, or at least they did in my mind last night when i was making chicken noodle soup for dinner. i use my great grandma's noodle recipe and my daughter rolled out the noodles and cut them with a pizza cutter. they were all different shapes and sizes and i thought, "i could get a pasta machine and then they would all be uniform." but then i thought, "what's the fun of that? the soup wouldn't be the same." i love the texture of the lumpy noodles.

so then, of course, i thought about writing and how we try so hard to make our books perfect for publishers or agents, and in the end, after all the editing, etc. maybe our stories don't have the same texture they did before. 

i also noted that the soup was different last night because my husband did the cooking. the soup was fine, but it tasted different because he added more herbs than i do, and he used leftover brined turkey from Thanksgiving, whereas i always use chicken. (to me, turkey DOES NOT taste like chicken, and especially not when it's brined.) i have to say i like my version better. it reminds me of Gramma and that's half the reason i make it.

that also made me think of my writing. the story i want to write might change as i let more people get their hands on it. crit partners and beta readers are great for helping you find plot holes and broken character arcs and not enough description, but in the end, if they start telling you to change the flavor of your story, you just have to put your foot down and say, "No." it's not that their suggestions are bad, but there comes a point where you have to decide who's cooking the soup.

December 1, 2019

NanoWrimo and Eldala's sequel

so if you've been following my NanoWrimo writing progress on Facebook, you may be wondering what comes next after writing 31,000 words. (if you haven't followed me on Facebook, you didn't even know i was writing this month. surprise. i wrote 31,203 words in 30 days.)

first, let me define NanoWrimo with this blurb i found from the internet:

National Novel Writing Month is an annual Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. Participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript between November 1 and November 30. 

i used Nano to write my first novel back in 2005, and it will always have a special place in my writing journey. the event has been around for about 20 years and has evolved over that time. most participants use it to start a new novel, whether they're brand new to it or seasoned veterans. others use it to finish a novel they started before November. this year i used it to add fresh material to a story that i've been trying to finish for a long time.  

i started Black Heart (the sequel to Eldala) ten years ago. over the course of the last ten years, i finished a first draft and a second draft-- and then we moved to Montana in 2011. there have been major life adjustments, a second move into our new house, depression, and health issues. i've tried on and off to finish the sequel, or at least make progress on it. 

i have files labeled Black Heart 1, 1.1, 2.0 - 2.5, 3.0, 3.1, 4, 6 (i don't know what happened to 5), BH Nov 2018, BH 2019, and BH July 2019. I also have Eldala 2, Eldala 2 2016, and Eldala 2 2018. Under those labels, i have 2126 different files that amount to 194 MB of data.  

my son started helping me with the villain and the new plot a few years ago, so some of those files are typed-out brainstorming sessions we've had together. thankfully, he's really good at remembering all the details so i don't have to keep them all straight, but i still need to find a way to keep them straight so i can write the novel when he's not around.  

participating in NanoWrimo this year gave me 30 more documents, labeled Nov. 1, 2019 - Nov. 30, 2019. the words were important because they gave me some new information about characters and plot points, and how it all fits together. more importantly, it got me back into the habit of writing every day because i hadn't written in a very long time. 30 days later and i don't like the idea of not writing. i've remembered what it's like to let myself write badly so i can get the words out. 

so you might be wondering, with all this new material, how close am i now to finishing the sequel? well, that's a good question, and it's one my friends (who read Eldala when i first published it in 2007) have been asking for ten years. 

at this point, i still don't know, but i'm a lot closer to finishing than i was before. i still have to weed through at least a third of those 2100 files to find the things i want to keep, and write new material to fit into a plot change we decided on a few months ago. they aren't major changes, but they're fiddly changes, and they take time. so that will be another draft in a long list of drafts. 

after that, there's the process of editing, proofreading, getting a few friends to read through it to make sure there aren't huge plot holes or inconsistencies, more editing and proofreading, and then getting it formatted to publish through and Kindle. 

i hate to put a date to when it will be finished because i've done that so many times and then didn't make the date. i hope to have it published by the end of 2020, but it's very hard to tell. 

how ever long it takes, i appreciate all of my friends (old and new) who are cheering me on as i take this writing journey once again. thank you for your patience and encouragement.

---> as a side note, a friend asked me how many pages 31,000 words make and how many do i have to go -- if i remember right, my first novel is 132,000 words and 511 pages (double spaced in a Word document - i think that's 412 in a book). 31,203 words in a Word document, double spaced make 129 pages.

that being said, i don't know how many pages those 31,000 words will make because not all of those words will go into the novel. and i don't really know how many i have now from other versions that will go into the novel. 

May 7, 2019

pain meds, rocks, and a new friend

it's time to tell the story of how i came to spend a day with my dear, new friend Gayle.

if you're in the world of junk journaling, you already know who Gayle Agostinelli is. if you've come from my writing blog, i need to give a brief introduction so this story will make sense. (and if you don't know what a junk journal is, here's a good definition on another blog.)

to read the rest of this post, go here: pain meds, rocks, and a new friend. 

April 27, 2019

the 100 day challenge and YouTube

once again, i had very good intentions about blogging every few days for the 100 day project. but then i found YouTube.

ok, it's not like i hadn't heard of YouTube, or watched more videos than i can count on every subject from Marvel movies to junk journals. but i'd never uploaded any video content. i was just a watcher. now i'm a content creator.

(at first, i was going to say "YouTuber" but according to Wikipedia, "A YouTuber, also known as a YouTube personality, YouTube celebrity, or YouTube content creator, is a type of internet celebrity and videographer who has gained popularity from their videos on the video-sharing website YouTube." as of today, i have 118 subscribers, so i'm not one of those.)

(you can find the rest of this post on my other blog, Joyful Michelle.)

April 9, 2019

a new blog (again)

i've started a new blog. if you want to check it out. it's called Joyful Michelle. i'll leave this blog up because i still like the content, but mostly i'll be posting over there for now.

April 14, 2018

first draft humor

i found this on facebook, and it looks like it originally came from

this could also be a chart for any of my subsequent drafts. i think i'm on 6 now. or is it 7? i don't know whether to laugh or cry.