My main character was in full force today. Yesterday’s gutting of the wrong words gave me the space I needed to get the right ones, and my three hours flew.

I mention in a previous post having dreamt of my half-sister (who died some years ago) being with me… and today she stepped into the story, not as she was, but as she could have been and would have been had life and the circumstances of her birth been kinder.

She is in trouble, of course (because she’s in important character in a novel written by me). She won’t be named Julie — naming her that wouldn’t fit the story, the world I’ve created, or who she was in real life — and I will not erase who she was in real life, because as long as I knew her, she did her best at everything she tried.

In my memory, she lives as she was — I will not erase the truth of her.

In the novel, she’ll live as she might have been in a world that was kinder to her and considerably more magical than this one.

Now, on to other things.

 


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Yesterday I finished with 22,297 words.

Today I started in a bit before 8 AM, full of coffee and certainty that I knew where I’d be going.

Ohio 3 2021 04 13 at 8 52 15 AM

First cut in word count

I picked up exactly where I left off, and adding to yesterday’s scene — and then, hitting a chunk of older material that was wrong — I pulled out 673 words.

Fine. It happens.

I was still working through the problem scene… and I thought I was near the end of it…

And then I hit a big chunk of text that was older, set off as a separate scene from a different POV, that I’d forgotten I put in there.

It had to have been some of the words I got last week, before I discovered the current path and why it’s better. That POV and its entire contents were wrong for the direction I’ve decided to take.

Ohio 3 2021 04 13 a 9 36 49 AM

Second cut in word count

So I cut all 1581 words of that. Big sigh here, but this is a novel, and it’s the middle book of the series, and a lot of pieces I’m pulling in from the first and second books at this point have to mesh.

So I removed what was more than a day’s planned words… and I kept writing.

I made great progress. I love what I got today, but no sooner had I finished the scene and started reading the stuff that followed than I discovered a third chunk of text that does not at ALL fit the new, better, much more compelling conflict that I found yesterday.

And this one really hurt. I cut out 2,249 words.

Ohio 3 2021 04 13 at 9 38 52 AM

Third cut in word count

I still wrote more, but after three hours and change, I’m still buried deep in negative numbers, and at this point I have to walk away to do the other stuff I have to deal with on Tuesdays.

So I end with a count of -1319, and I know that I got a lot of words, and I know I like what I finally ended up with… But DAMN.

I’m sort of dreading tomorrow.

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I read through last Thursday’s pages, where they’d had a good long time to cool.

The mistakes were clear, as were the things I had to show as important.

So I’ve been working for four hours, have done nothing else since I got up, and what I have is better… but I didn’t come close to getting the 1250 words I’d hoped for.

It was a good enough day, even if I still feel like crap.

I know I wrote well over my objective word count. With all the deletions and fixes, though, I don’t have that much to show for it.

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If it’s been a while since you’ve done a longer fast, you forget.

Intermittent fasting, where you maintain a no-snacks rule and eat at around six or seven every evening is dead simple. You adapt, you don’t feel hungry or deprived, and every day you have plenty of energy to do everything you need.

Longer fasting isn’t like that. You’re running on yourself — feeding yourself out of fat stores — and breaking down those fat stores requires a fair amount of energy. But the weird thing is, you have energy to burn. It’s hard to sleep, it’s hard to relax, because your body is keeping you up and running so that you can, you know, run down a gazelle or go out with the rest of the gang and bring down a mastodon.

The objective of our bodies is to keep on living. Our bodies remember starvation, because they’re the offspring of the people who survived it. 

They know that you burn fat to keep the body up and running, set its energy to HIGH, keep it awake, keep it moving, because the creature that keeps moving is the creature that has a chance to find food.

When food hits your system, however, Primitive Body says, “That’s enough of that.”

And the energy doesn’t just drop back to normal. It drops to way below normal, so that you can rebuild those necessary fat stores that will keep you going through the next famine.

I’m in that trough right now (and reminding myself that intermittent fasting doesn’t have energy peaks or troughs, which is why I like it). I had to drag myself out of bed. It was an effort to shower.

And even thinking my way through this post is a struggle. So.

I’m taking today off. When I’m done, I’m going to stretch out on the couch and maybe read. And probably sleep.

And ask myself if I really want to make a three-day fast a weekly part of my regimen. Anti-cancer… very good.

Self-inflicted feeling like shit?

Maybe not my best choice when I’m getting words and finishing books.

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Really short post today because I’m desperately behind on everything else, but I love the words I got today.

1695 total (way over my 1250 objective).

Epic fight for a character to win a job she doesn’t want at all.

And the deeper race to see what happens to her next begins.

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I’m grateful for writing, and for being well into a story that holds my attention and makes me need to know what happens next.

Having been fasting since Sunday night, I’ve now had nothing but coffee, water, and vitamins for long enough that my hindbrain has started taking action against me.

My legs keep picking me up and walking me into the kitchen and toward the fridge — until my mind catches them at their treachery and turns me around with some difficulty and walks me back.

But all the news is good news.

Being notified last night that I’m released from jury duty until the next term when I’m drawn, I was able to focus on the fiction (in between the fights between my mind and my legs), and get some good, tight words.

1588, well over my 1250-word objective.

I threw myself into the story, and managed to not open the fridge, or touch any little “just something” snacks.

I am not by any means world’s greatest student of the art of fasting — but I can keep reminding myself that we’ll all eat tonight, and use that knowledge to reassure the part of my brain sending me in search of food when I forgot to block it that a meal is, in fact, not far off.

On today’s bit of the story: A father tells a daughter how she is to leave home — and why. And in her I found the replacement for the character who I’d planned for her role (while doing those five line-for-scene outlines), and who was entirely wrong for this particular part.

This is the third of five novels, and in it, a central battle is building — and NOW I have the right character to step into the role I’d arbitrarily assigned to an existing character who didn’t have the strength or the skills to carry it.

Total word count: 19,799. I passed 20% of the first draft finished when I hit 18,000, but didn’t notice.

And since I always run at least a bit long, today’s word count is probably closer to a true 20%.

Now I’m off to do the rest of the day’s work. And the rest of this week is mine without concern for being pulled away from my writing by jury duty. 


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Yesterday’s jury duty message was, boiled down, “Call again today.” So at 5:30 tonight, I’ll find out whether I’ll be working tomorrow or not.

Meanwhile, instead of my daily short fast (from the night before until around 4 or 5 PM, when I eat my daily meal) — I’m doing a long fast.

For folks familiar with intermittent fasting, my daily eating-to-fasting ratio is anything from 1:23 to 3:21. And some weekends are “any hours if it’s keto”.

But this week, my last food was Sunday evening. And I will have my next food on Wednesday at around five or six PM (or whatever time I leave the courthouse, if there is a session and if the day’s work runs longer than that).

Meanwhile, I’m a bit — skittery. A bit predatory.

I’ve learned that when you fast, after a couple days your body starts ramping up energy, pushing you to get up and move, to go out and hunt things, to find something tasty and kill it because you need to feed the fat stores — because those stores are the stuff you’re suddenly running on exclusively.

Fasting is very, very good for those of us who at one time had cancers fed by blood glucose — and being down about two thirds of the right side of my tongue to remove a lot of dysplasia and a tiny bit of cancer, and thinking I might prefer to hang on to the rest of my tongue, I eat very few carbs.

Carbs raise your blood sugar, blood sugar feeds susceptible cancers — and tongue surgery after the anesthesia wears off hurts about a hundred times worse that wide-awake no-medications-not-even-Tylenol childbirth. I’ve done both.

Anyway. 

I got 1446 words, and met the character I needed to meet today, and she’s talking to me from her point of origin — but the voice I originally had for her is wrong. I’ll be able to keep a lot of today’s words, but my start tomorrow — if I’m here writing — will be to read through from the point where she starts speaking and bring the first bits of voice up to the stuff I got toward the end that is better.

If I don’t… well, she’ll wait.

I’ve met her now. I like her. And introducing her to my MC before the event that happens on (book time, not real time) Friday before the concert is going to be interesting.

The words weren’t perfect. But they were good enough to take me where I need to go.


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Today was a goooood writing day. This was a solid Monday in which I leapt into my story world, discovered a massive and necessary secret behind my main character’s origins, found my way through a fair amount of backstory while avoiding what would otherwise have been exposition, and came out the other end knowing something about my main character that had been a complete secret to me before this.

She makes more sense to me now.

And today I discovered the Five Worlds. Nothing more on that except that I find them really cool, and they give my MC something she didn’t know she had.

And if I DON’T have jury duty for the rest of the week (which I won’t find out until 5: 30 tonight), I’m in a great place to pick up with the next scene tomorrow morning.

And I’m so looking forward to writing it, so I’m really hoping they don’t need me.

Meanwhile, however, in case this is the last post from me for a while, I’m throwing in a picture of Sheldon, just because I think he’s very handsome, and his personality inspires the that of the cat in the series. A little bit, anyway.

IMG 20210306 102143 333


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I’m still ahead of my target completion date for finishing the first draft, though I’m only gaining ground in little bites.

Little bites, though, are repeatable — and a lot more fun than running up against “to hit my deadline, today I have to write 10,000 words.” I’ve done that before.

It’s an exercise in misery that makes me hate the job.

ANYWAY…

Today the story is taking my main character into her family’s past — into the truth behind the mystery of her father’s identity.

The words ran well (though I started a bit late and pretty rough, and took more that three hours to get them), and now I can head off to do the rest of the day’s work.

Before I go, though, I discovered a feature of Fleeter that allowed me to make things on my desktop organizer easier to find. I discovered that the little icons in each box were optional. I wanted a way to differentiate between support documents, unfinished manuscripts, and the stuff that was either finished or absolutely critical to what I’m writing currently (for all future definitions of CURRENT).

So if you look at the third row, I now have my Current First Drafts of Ohio #1 and Ohio #2 in plain blue boxes without any icons. And spaces for the other three when they’re done to the right of those. Each, when hovered over, shows the complete text for the abbreviation. I’ve shown the detail text for Ohio 2 Complete Unrevised First Draft beside its box in the screenshot below.

Screen Shot 2021 04 02 at 9 18 22 AM

The two half-with boxes on the next row, lacking icons and outline in orange, are 5 Ohio Synopses and Ohio Titles Brainstorming.

So… hope you have a good weekend.

And (ONLY IF I DON’T HAVE JURY DUTY NEXT WEEK) I’ll see you on Monday.

If I do, both this blog and the Tuesday Writer’s Mailing List are going to be without emails for a week. (Maybe Longer).

I’ll post what I know here as soon as I know it.


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The words just flew today.

It started out being pretty tough going — it took me a while to find them, and when I found them, they were emotionally difficult. I was with my character in her head, and looking through her eyes at the terrifying future she’s facing alone, without any family…

But then she came up with a solution to locating her family that I hadn’t even thought of, even though I’d set up a process for it at the beginning of this book — it’s really cool, doesn’t put them in danger, but will, IF she can locate them, at least let her know that she is not the last of her people.

And my fingers flew, getting it all down.

I found myself crying while writing it — because I already know the truth about what she’s just hoping to find.

She does have family out there.

They are not going to be what she expects.

But while it won’t look like it initially, finding them will eventually turn out to be a good thing for her, and for them.

I’m now off to get all the other things listed in my bullet journal done.

And to let what happens next in Ohio #3 percolate a bit in the back of my mind, so that when I pick this back up tomorrow morning, I’ll have someplace cool to take it.

 

 


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