Tag Archives: writing

Opening Scene of my NaNoWriMo project

Here it is. The opening scene of my #NaNoWriMo project. It’s only a first draft (and mine are usually horrendous), subject to change, the cutting room floor, or the dust bin never to see the light of day…


~ 1 ~

Jessica leaned forward in the driver’s seat as she eased her Chevy Aveo around the corner on the crest of the hill. Not only was it a blind summit, but a blind summit on a curve. Once moving straight again, she glanced down to the passenger seat and the picture of the house – her house – she’d printed before leaving home. A cursory glance at the GPS showed she was within a block of her new-to-her home.

From the time she first saw the real estate listing for Hillcrest House on the Internet, she knew she had to have it. The entire transaction took place online via websites, emails, scans and e-transfers.

She knew the house would be on her right so she slowed to a crawl and watched out the passenger window.

“You have reached your destination,” the female voice with a British accent said.

Engrossed in looking for her new home, the noise startled her causing her to jump.

When Jessica set up the GPS unit, she chose a woman’s voice over a man’s. She’d never taken orders from a man before and wasn’t about to start now. Besides, this voice was the least abrasive of the available selections.

Flipping on her right signal light, she pulled her car over to the curb and shut off the engine. Climbing out from behind the wheel, Jessica stretched. It had taken her about five hours to get here and her body knew it. She raked her fingers through her short, auburn hair then turned and leaned on folded arms on the roof of the car.

The granite, Victorian mansion stood to one side of the lot. A wrought iron fence mounted on a stone wall surrounded the property. Patches of bare metal showed through the aqua green roof. Weathered plywood replaced glass in some of the upper windows. Others had gaping holes in the panes.

Paint peeled from the pillars and balusters of the sweeping verandah. Sections of the railing were missing. This once elegant home had fallen into a serious state of disrepair.

The blip of a siren startled her. She whipped around in time to see a police cruiser come to a stop behind her car. The officer emerged donning his Stetson as he approached. He was well over six feet tall and fit. Why did she have to notice his physique? She swore off men when her marriage fell apart. Now she was ogling a cop? She needed to get a grip.

“You can’t park here. Didn’t you see the no parking signs?” He pointed to one near her car.

“No. sorry, I didn’t.”

“Pull around the corner and park on the far side of the street.”

Jessica climbed back in her car. She didn’t intend on taking orders from a man but this one wore a uniform and carried a gun. She drove around the corner and pulled into the driveway. A chain stretched between two stone pillars prevented her from going any further.

Parked on the property, there would be no reason for the cop to hang around. But when she exited her vehicle, the cruiser was across the foot of her driveway.

“What’s your interest in this place?” he asked, standing with his hands on his hips.

“I own it,” she announced with pride. If he was trying to intimidate her, it wouldn’t work. She’d been through far worse. This guy, arrogant as he was, didn’t frighten her at all.

“Really. Got any proof?” he asked, folding his muscular arms across his chest.

“As a matter of fact, I do,” she shot back and leaned in the window. Jessica grabbed the strap on her enormous, suede handbag and pulled it towards her and out the window. Placing it on the hood of her car, she rummaged through it until she found the envelope from the lawyer. “Here,” she bragged thrusting the envelope in his face.

He removed the papers and looked them over. “Everything seems to be in order,” the officer said handing the paperwork back.

The wind picked up making it difficult for Jessica to return the contents to the pouch. As she turned to place them in her purse, a face and hands appeared in the window over the side porch. “There’s someone in there,” she gasped pointing to the location.


So there you have it. Potential? Maybe. Time will tell. For now it’s keep NaNoWriMo-ing. Plenty of time for improvement in the coming months.


Week 2 of NaNoWriMo is over… is your enthusiasm waning?

Still feeling the enthusiasm? Or is writing your magnum opus becoming more of a chore?


Are you vomiting words onto the page on a daily basis? That’s a good way to put it since to succeed at getting 50K words at the end of November, you have to write 1667 words per day.

If your project was outlined in advance, this second week may have flowed as easily as the first one. Or maybe not.

My NaNo project wasn’t outlined and for the most part the words have flowed well throughout these past fourteen days.

At the end of week 1, I had 7207 words (less the 1301 I started the month with).

Yesterday after finishing week 2, my count was up to 15,010. So I’ve added another 7803 words!

Okay, I’m not going to set any great records with my writing speed but the project I’m working on is a novella and according to word length charts, they’re between 17,500 and 40,000 words.

Yesterday, I found myself editing some of my previous work. I hear you gasp since editing isn’t supposed to happen until December 1st at the earliest. Most of said editing was cutting and pasting so the only thing that was affected was the length of time I could actually spend writing.

How are you managing at the end of a full two weeks of NaNoWriMo? Are you still ‘feeling the love’? What are your tricks for staying motivated?





Five Mistakes to Avoid in Your NaNoWriMo Novel from Grammarly

Avoid these Mistakes…

The folks at https://www.grammarly.com/grammar-check have put together this handy infographic to help you avoid these five mistakes in your NaNoWriMo novel.

Five Mistakes To Avoid in Your NaNoWriMo Novel Infographic

But don’t stop and look for them now. Wait until December or even January to proofread your epic tome. Get the words “on paper” first then proofread and edit in the coming months.

Happy NaNoWriMo-ing!

Week 1 of #NaNoWriMo is over – how did you do?

Week 1 of NaNoWriMo is behind us. I hear you breathing a sigh of relief. I am, too, well sort of.

How did you do? If your plan is to write 50,000 words this month, you should be sitting at a word count of about 11,667 (based on 1,667 words per day). But we all know that we have days where there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish that goal.

Week 1

I ‘fess up. I’ve not been writing 1,667 words a day. Most days, I only manage 500 or thereabouts. But as I’ve said in a previous blog post I’m only striving to write every day.

I’m pleased to say that I have written every day, which was my goal and at the end of week 1, I’ve written 5,906 words.

I hear you scoff at such a paltry number. To me it’s huge! After all, I’ve written every day this month. And so far I’ve stuck with the piece I’m pantsing. Things have been coming together for me on this piece really well so I’m happy to stick with it.

Today was another great day for me, but it falls into Week 2 so I’ll save my progress for another post.

How did you do the first week of #NaNoWriMo?






How do you #NaNoWriMo?


How do you? Does your writing process change just because it’s November and #NaNoWriMo?

My process definitely does. I usually write in fits and starts. And I use that term loosely. I write until I get bored with what I’m working on. Then I’ll go off and read for a while (like half a dozen books) before I even think of ‘putting pen to paper’ again. By which time, I’ll start something else.

So I’ve managed to write four days in a row and amass a whopping (tongue-in-cheek) 4,272 words.

I have two projects I can work on during NaNo. I’m pantsing the one that’s currently getting my attention.

The other I’ve plotted and outlined to death. But when I open that document up, knowing what comes next… I wonder at the wisdom of why is that in so-and-so’s POV? Wouldn’t it be better in someone else’s?

While I ponder those issues, I’ll continue with my pantsing. Or should I call it plantsing? Or plotsing? I know the ending – just don’t know how I’m getting there. But that’s the fun isn’t it? Knowing where you’re going and enjoying the ride and the surprises along the way?





Will YOU succeed at #NaNoWriMo?

succeedDo you have the desire, discipline, story to tell and most importantly, the motivation to succeed?

If you can check all those boxes, then you’ll have a successful month of NaNoWriMo-ing.

But how to you manage when you work full-time, be a domestic Goddess when you’re not holding down your day job?

It’s not easy but it can be done. I’ve not figured out a winning/working formula yet but in time I will.

The only thing I know is, after working on a computer for 8 hours a day, trying to spend a few hours writing at the end of the day, doesn’t work well.

So, since I have a laptop, I take it to work with me and grab a few minutes on my lunch hour. Today I managed about 45 minutes writing time and cranked out 552 words and before the end of the day, sketched out ‘what happens next’. That will make tomorrow’s work much easier.

I subscribe to the nownovel.com website and there are some excellent tips there to keep you motivated for the month of November.

Cheers and happy writing! Wishing my fellow #NaNoWriMo-ers success this month!


#NaNoWriMo – Day 1

Day 1 ~ November 1st

eureka moment

Day 1 of #NaNoWriMo went extremely well for this writer. As I said in yesterday’s post, I’m not aiming for the magic 1667 words per day. I just want to make myself write every day.

So how did I do, I hear you ask? Drum roll, please…

Day 1

How about 2350 words. Not a bad day’s work, if I don’t say so myself. And today also included three loads of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away and making a curry for supper.

Speaking of curry, it’s been simmering in the crock pot all day and it smells delicious.

Tomorrow will be the true test of my writing every day resolve. It’s back to work so will have to squeeze in words over my lunch hour and when supper is cooking. After that, my poor brain and eyes will be done for the day.

And this post is 163 words in length. Does that count towards my daily word count? I think so. #amwriting


#NaNoWriMo Eve…

It’s #NaNoWriMo Eve – are you ready?


If you’re this frazzled now and #NaNo hasn’t started, what will you be like at the end of the month?


T’is the day before #NaNoWriMo and all through the house…
No one is awake – not even your spouse.

Okay, so that’s a bit over the top but it is the last day before National Novel Writing Month (aka #NaNoWriMo) begins.

Have you girded your loins (perhaps an exaggeration), got your ducks in a row, an idea outlined, characters created and the like?

50,000 words in 30 days? I hear you gasp and quake with dread. But don’t think of it that way. With a mere 1667 words every day, you’ll reach that goal.

My goal for #NaNoWriMo is to write every day. I have two projects on the go – one which will only be about 15,000 words at the very most but with it and the other project (which is outlined to death), I could possibly come up with 50,000 words.  I figure when I get bored or run into a wall, or the voices in my head quit talking to me (yes, I hear voices),  I can switch off to the other.

Are you taking part in #NaNoWriMo? If so, I’d love to hear what you’re working on. Let me know in the comments.

Good luck everyone at reaching your writing goals!


The Hemingway Editor

Tools for Writers – The Hemingway Editor

I discovered the Hemingway Editor app through a blog post on Triberr the other day so thought I would try it out. I copied and pasted some text from one of the pieces I’m working on and clicked ‘edit’.


Using different colours, it tells you sentences that are hard to read, very hard to read, simpler alternatives and not seen on the screen shot above, adverbs and uses of passive voice (highlighted in blue and green).

The online app is free to use, but you can also purchase a copy which will reside on your computer for $9.99 US for those occasions you want to edit but have no Internet access.

So, what do I think of it? Well, I’ve tried it and in some ways, I think it stifles my writing voice by suggesting shortening my sentences or splitting them into two. But on the other hand, finding instances of passive voice are extremely (egads an adverb) useful.

Why not give the free app a try? You’ve got nothing to lose… FREE is good.

I’d be interested to hear what your impressions are. Let me know in the comments.

BOOK TITLES ~ Finding the right one

Do you struggle with finding the “right” title for your writing – whether it’s a short story, novel, poetry or even a blog post?

Do you have to have your title before you begin to write?

How many times do you change your title before you’re finally happy with it?

The title for my debut novel, A Shadow in the Past, came from a sentence in the book.

book titlesThe cover was designed around that. It works, don’t you think?

I thought I would use the same concept to come up with a title for the second book in the series and in keeping with the time-travel element, came up with Shadows From Her Past.

Don’t get all excited. Book two isn’t out yet. Book two isn’t anywhere near being ready. Book two doesn’t have a synopsis or back cover blurb yet (and that’s a whole other story – and yes, it will also require a title).

So finding a title can be an arduous task but I’ve looked around online and found these three sites that might be of help to you. There are more, but these were in the top of the google search results.




I’d love to hear how you deal with this conundrum. Drop me a line in the comments sharing how you find the “right” title for your work.