To write a book…

charlie-chaplin-392926_1280When I was in school I hated American History. I thought it was boring. I thought that since other countries had been around so much longer, they were obviously much more interesting.

Now that I am older, I am no longer so excluding. For the past few weeks I’ve been focused on the American Civil War. My attention was peaked last year when I did some family history research. It was more recently that I received a book of local ghost stories that pinged that interest again.

Then I spoke with another writer who I greatly admire. I told him that I had been thinking about writing a book that takes place during the civil war. I recounted what I had found out about my family, and he said: That sounds like a good place to start. Why don’t you?

That “Why don’t you?” Has been echoing around the empty cavern of my skull for weeks.

I tried to use the excuse, “Well, life has so many changes going on right now, with the new job and going back to school…”

My inner writer answered with, “You don’t work on the weekends and part of your degree is going to be in History anyway.”

Then the dragon of self doubt raised its head and said, “Do you really think you can find anime_dragon_1024x768-634320the time to write a book? Look how well that has worked in the past. You have three unfinished novels sitting on your computer right now. And remember that rejection letter. The one that hit the mark so well.”

The dragon almost got me. Then I remembered the rejection letter it was reminding me of was the catalyst I needed to pull up my boots and march back to school. The three unfinished novels reminded me that my current way of writing isn’t working very well and I need to try something new. (Not that those three will never be finished. Two are honestly in a rewrite stage but I changed things and got stuck in the muddle in the middle. Then proceeded to wallow in the muck.)

So now, with so many things already on my plate and with so many new challenges to face, I find myself stacking yet another task on top. I’m going to write a book. Sanderson Quote-800wi


Hello Monday!

10502233_10201355538529691_2457240744323550533_nHello Monday! It has been a busy weekend. My son had his 10th birthday Saturday. His party was a success as far as kids having fun. But then what isn’t to love about box forts and water balloons?

I am excited that the kids go to school today. It means that I will have my computer to myself for a few hours. Ever since their’s have been in the shop it has been a constant stream of “Mommy can I borrow your computer?”  So far they haven’t fought over it much. They take 1 hour turns. The problem is I don’t get a turn, and it’s my computer.

I have plans of writing today. I also have to go to the chiropractor. I’ve done something unpleasant to my shoulder and my back has been hurting for days.

I am pretty sure the writing is going to get messy today. I have had too many writing road blocks lately and people have gotten on my nerves. I also just watched this video about this high powered gear chopper thing that shredded large objects. I am sensing a steam punk story with an epic battle sequence worthy of a 90’s action flick.


Bad neighbors, a rant

Sunday morning dawned wearing a foggy cloak and with air thick enough you could drink it.  The temperature outside was pleasant enough that the humidity wasn’t choking. I greeted the day with a smile.

It took two hours for that smile to be wiped from my face.  I have a neighbor; a bony thin, shaved head, scarecrow of a man who owns a pelt gun and likes to shoot doves.  Now, I am mourning_dove_sim_2well aware that mourning doves are considered game birds.  I understand people hunt them to eat.  I don’t have much of a problem with that. (Especially with the way grocery prices have risen.)

However, I live in a subdivision inside city limits. The elderly woman directly across the street, has a bird feeder in her front yard and I some times toss out old bread for whatever wants it.  There are many birds in my neighborhood and almost just as many cats.  The two seem to mostly coexist except for the occasional blue jay corpse I find half eaten on my door step.  (The blue jays delight in stealing cat food off the porch. So this may be a case of it’s in my bowl, I’m going to eat it.)

I looked up from my computer and out the window Sunday morning. I was not happy to see my scarecrow of a neighbor walking down the street, swing his pelt gun around like a color guard from a bad marching band.  In fact I saw red.  I don’t like people shooting any type of gun in near my home, but especially if they don’t respect the weapon.  And yes, a pelt gun is a weapon. It can kill, as Mr. Dove-killer proved.

I watched from my window as he looked to the power lines searching for prey.  Finally sighting a target, he shot at a dove two houses down. It took him at least four tries to kill the poor thing. (I know he hit it a couple of times before he killed it because I saw feathers fly.)

Mourning doves mate for life.  Life for them, in the wild, can be up to 10 years but they mdovem1have a high mortality rate. Often chicks don’t make it through their first year but they are not endangered or anything.

I would like to say that I stepped out of the house and confronted the man.  This isn’t the first time I’ve wanted to.  But calmer heads than mine have cautioned me otherwise, because if he can kill a bird what is to stop him from killing a cat?  So instead I seethed from inside the house and sat down to write about it.

I should also say that I have other reasons to dislike this neighbor and those reasons may also be fueling the anger I feel.

Him and his family have a black mongrel on a chain in their front yard.  My mom has sneaked over to their house to untangle the animal from its chain and to give it water in the Summer.  Its a sweet dog but not cared for.  I like animals. I don’t like people who neglect them.

There is a low speed limit in residential areas for a reason. Children play up and down my street.  My children play in our drive way. These neighbors however, like to squeal tires and burn out of their drive way getting up to 50 mph.

At 2am, 3am, 4am, ect. I am often woken up by revving motors.  There are always three to four cars in their driveway.  I used to like to sit on my front porch steps and star gaze. I can’t do that any more because of the spot light in the yard across the street.  My dad was a mechanic. I understand about late nights trying to get a car fixed…but every night?

Right now my hope is that they will move.  I think they are renting the house rather than have bought it.  If they actually own the  home and are planning on staying for boilinggood…*sigh* I pot can only boil so long before it over flows.




Alice_in_wonderland_1951I’ve been reading poetry lately.  Yes, yes I know. Nasty habit. All those feelings and thoughts expressed in just a short space with precise words.  But sometimes when things feel too close to heart it is nice to know that others have felt them as deeply.

Now I am not saying that such things can not be expressed in prose.  Of course they can. However, as a poet myself, I understand the need to get a sudden intense feeling down on paper.  Really you are just trying to express things that hit you hard right in the heart.

I often don’t even have the words for whatever it is I am feeling until I start to write them catapillerdown.  And it can be about anything.  Headaches, coffee, heartaches, sleeping children, dreams, simple musings, cats sitting on your feet…I’ve written about them all.  (Okay, all except that last one.  But I have a very soft fluffy white cat putting my left foot to sleep right now, so I should.)

In fact I’ve written two or three poems just this week.  Not that anyone else will ever see them. I wrote one to express frustration, one was a random musing on sanity, and the other… Well, okay that one did end up on face book but it was only a few lines about a headache that wouldn’t go away.

6_950_alice_in_wonderland_blu-rayI love poetry that echoes things that I have felt before.  I love elegant uses for words.  I love harsh slashing phrases that bring feelings to life.   I read Keats, Wordsworth, and Shakespeare but I also seek out newer poets too.   It is the words I am interested in.

I don’t know why I am surprised when I find out that some writers I know are poets as well.  I am, my dad is, why can’t others be?  Writers play with words all the time.  Words are treasured friends.  Is it really a surprise that when we feel things deeply that words are what we turn to?


A New Year Confession

confessionalI have a confession to make.  I didn’t write very much in December.  In fact, I had a great internal battle about whether I should give it up entirely.

Anyone who is a writer knows, you can’t just stop writing.  It is something that comes out if you want it to or not. (And more likely when plathyou don’t want it to, rather than when you do.)   I pondered for a while but I didn’t talk about it.  First, I was afraid my friend would think that I was looking for sympathy or pats on the head.  Second, I was afraid my friends might deliver swift hard smacks to the back of my head.  (Or even scarier, what if they agreed that I should give up my silly writing dreams?)

Eventually, the simple fact that I was afraid I would be told to give it up, finally sifted through my self doubt to make me realize I didn’t want to.  Because if I did, wouldn’t I be feeling relief rather than dread?

anime_dragon_1024x768-634320I am still wrestling with that dragon of self doubt. It keeps asking me questions that I don’t have the answers to.  Am I good enough? Does anyone want to even read what I write?  Why would someone chose one of my stories over all the many others out there?  What if I finally get my stuff where people can see it and they scoff and toss it aside before giving it a chance; because I over looked something simple, like a spelling or grammar error?   (That last one really scares me. I have friends that do that so I know it isn’t just paranoia.)

Writing is a very solitary thing.  You spend a lot of time in your own head.  This means you face the good and bad about yourself all the time.  You struggle with it.  When you can, you pen it down on a page. (Pun intended.)

I am not writing this to seek sympathy.  I am writing to…well, write it out.  Things look o'connormuch clearer on a page than they do all jumbled up in your head.  I am not giving up even though I still feel a bit downhearted at the moment.  I am told that many writers go through the “Am I good enough?” struggle.  Big names with many book contracts under their belts still doubt themselves sometimes.  It’s a hazard of the occupation.

The important thing, the thing I have to remind myself, is to just keep putting one word in front of another.  If I can do that then I’m bound to get somewhere eventually.dream time


I’m Back

white rabbit 2I’m a little late. We are well into the first week of December, and I said I would only be gone for the rest of November, but  I have been struggling with writing lately.  I don’t know if it is post NaNoWriMo depression or what, but putting words down has been difficult.  Even a facebook status update or a tweet seems to take too much effort.

I did not win NaNoWriMo this year.  I only made it to around 43,000 words.  I could nanohave won. I could have forced myself to spew forth those other 7,000 words. But I didn’t.

bobross  You see, I really like the story I wrote this year. I got all the wide sketch strokes down. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  But it deserves more time.

I like this one enough that I refused to force it. Sounds like an excuse right?  Maybe it is and maybe it’s not.

Last year I really liked my story too but I forced it and…well it’s not quite right. Therebox are bits missing that didn’t get time to develop and I am not sure it can be made better. Time will tell with that one. It currently gets to live in that box under my bed.  Maybe one day I will take it out and rebuild it, who knows.

I did not want that to happen to this story.  So for the first time in four years, I did not win NaNoWriMo.  In a sense I threw the fight.  But in doing so I may have saved the life of this book.  At least that is what I am hoping anyway.

21 days until November

0autumn_wallpapers_EA54095We only have 21 days until November.  For some this means Holidays and Christmas shopping.  For others it signals the beginning of a massive creative endeavor, National Novel Writing Month.

Every year thousands of people attempt to write 50,000 words in just 30 days during one of the busiest months of the year.  If you have never attempted NaNoWriMo, I highly nanoencourage it.  It is a lot of fun, which is the whole reason I do it. For fun.  Not to produce a critically acclaimed book that will win hundreds of awards.

There are writers out there who frown and boo National Novel Writing Month simply because when novices take up a pen and produce a large quantity of words, they often think it is the most wonderful thing ever written and must be shared with the world.   50,000 words in 30 days is quite the necronomiconaccomplishment.  It should be celebrated.  But no one really wants to see your baby covered in the after birth…and honestly there are some books written during NaNo that should never be allowed out in the daylight.  (I have written a couple of those myself.  In fact often my NaNo ideas are completely silly things that I wouldn’t normally attempt.)

So while I greatly encourage all to come NaNo with me during the month of November, I ask that you let the word count high settle during December and then re-read what you have written before sharing it with the world.  Sometimes NaNoWriMo produces gems that are usable sometimes it doesn’t.  But always remember that first drafts are diamonddiamonds in the rough.  They need to be cleaned, cut, and polished before they truly can shine.  And for the love of ink slingers everywhere, please please let someone else read your book before sharing it with the rest of the world.  It will save you and the world a lot of heart ache. Trust me on this one.  (As mildly dyslexic and a natural bad speller I am speaking from experience.)   I will probably be posting more on the Pros and Cons of NaNoWriMo as the month passes.  Though if anyone wants to register early (its free btw) don’t forget to add me as a writing buddy.  I am thecoffeefox.coffeefox