DTD—467 words, and Aleksa’s hypothesis

When Ki proves evasive, Aleksa proposes her on theory explaining Camel Coat, the extra head, and certain other oddities she has observed.

I’m back to struggling with Aleksa’s background. I have her a professor now, but I keep leaning toward moving her back to field archeology, where she started when I came up with the story idea.

Ki’s firmly established in NYC. There’s no reason Aleksa should be, and quite a few reasons why she would work better as a visiting lecturer in the city. Making her an outsider would be truly useful in some of the scenes I have coming up.

I’m still tired beyond words. I’m going to make it an early (for me) night, and check replies tomorrow.

Cheering your progress until then…

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

62 comments… add one
  • Debora Jul 22, 2009 @ 7:25

    Hope you will soon feel more rested, Holly. I am really looking forward to your next writing craft installment.

    789 words. I am starting to feel a bit scared, as my word count accumulates. The longer the draft, the bigger the burden — the more frightened I become. Have to make a conscious effort to overcome the fear, because I know that’s the only way I’ll ever be able to finish this book.

    Back to work.

  • Brittany Jul 21, 2009 @ 20:43

    I wrote 1,660 words today- which is good for me. Then I realized I’d have to write 7 more words than that each day for NaNo WriMo, and I got a bit scared.

  • ceecee Jul 21, 2009 @ 18:09

    736 words for Monday, 671 today. Also working on Scene Cards, Round I–only 9 more cards to go! Nice surprises showing up already.

  • Gina Jul 21, 2009 @ 17:44

    421 words for me today. Now I’m off to my day job.
    Rest well,Holly.

  • Dena C. Jul 21, 2009 @ 17:21

    478 for me today. I got about four hours sleep last night and my brain is tired. It’s going to be a mindless night with an early bed time for me.

  • Sal Jul 21, 2009 @ 15:51

    I’ve been slacking due to a bad bout of existential angst, but yesterday managed 292 words bringing me up to a total of 2129. Not a lot to show for 21 days, but better than nothing.

  • Lisa Jul 21, 2009 @ 15:38

    640 words, and I think it’s starting to get interesting! Would like to write more, but have to get some paying work done…hopefully will have more time later.

  • Greg Jul 21, 2009 @ 15:12

    I’m a little late joining in, as I’ve been finishing up my preparation for the first draft of a fun little story that will make a pleasant aside from a couple of heartier projects (and also the general rigours* of life!).
    Started today with a steady 557.

    * PS I’m English, so I apologise for seeming to post at odd times, and for any superfluous ‘u’s!

    • Nancy Jul 21, 2009 @ 16:22

      I LOVE superfluous “u”s — I learned to spell and make my numbers (I still cross my seven’s and zeds– er, rather “z”s) when I lived overseas, so I’m right there with you! Welcome aboard the crazy train to a finished novel!

  • Scarlett Jul 21, 2009 @ 13:28

    1463 words today – not too bad although nowhere near what I need to be doing. Feeling a bit rubbish actually, hope I’m not getting the dreaded SF. The more I write the more ideas I have so my book keeps getting longer and I seem to be getting nowhere near the end – at least I’m finding it interesting!

  • Colleen Jul 21, 2009 @ 13:02

    20 minutes stolen from The Paying Job got me 767 words – and I didn’t want to stop! I was in meetings all morning, and it’s a wonder that my various notebooks don’t have scribbles on them about my WIP.

    Dawning Sun is currently at 3390 words, and the MC just got even MORE unwelcome attention from the dowager. She’s about to flee to the temple for a little piece and quiet – not a chance that she’ll find it, though.

  • Talina Jul 21, 2009 @ 12:46

    750 words last night and I hope to finish my next scene tonight. Although I am making progress, I feel I should go back a take a few hours to make sure I am doing my best at fleshing out my characters. Then, after that I am going to revisit my world building just to refresh what I have read. Holly’s clinics are a blast to read..her writer’s humor make me crack up!

  • Beckie Jul 21, 2009 @ 10:50

    I got 494 words on my suspense novel and I’m glad I took some time to plan and flesh out the characters. If I’d had more time I could have written alot more, since I know just what happens next.

    The Facility/1389/494

  • Lisa R Jul 21, 2009 @ 10:28

    I took a little time waiting for the boys for the doctor’s office and wrote a couple of sentences. The evening was packed with a dinner, cleaning house, and shopping. Hopefully tonight I can get some work done.

  • Shawn Jul 21, 2009 @ 10:03

    Well, I wrote 400 words yesterday and only 300 today. I had to stop before I was really ready to. At least both MCs are now clothed again and heading for the edge of town.
    Did you know that OpenOffice and MS Word count words differently? I go back and forth between the two depending on what computer I’m using. It caused me a bit of confusion when I thought I had done quite a bit of work and I pulled up the word count and found that I was only 100 words or so farther along. So, now I check before and after I write so that I can get a reasonably accurate count. I’m now at around 7200 words (depending on who you believe).

  • Faith Jul 21, 2009 @ 8:41

    Yay archaeology! I went to school for archaeology. Unfortunately, it’s not a career you can typically make a living in unless you: a) are also a professor (and run digs during the summer), b) are employed by the government as an expert on local history, c) run a highly successful excavation company, or d) are employed full-time by said excavation company, but even then your position may be shaky depending on the amount of contracts coming into the company that season. Needless to say, as much as I LOVED archaeology (and still do!!!), I simply couldn’t find a way to do it as a career and still pay the bills. I’ll do volunteer work on overseas excavations instead! That said, I’m excited to hear what you decide for Aleksa’s background!!! I love when I read about archaeologists in fiction and they’re done correctly… as rare as that is, *sigh*

    Hmm… we need a ’33 Mistakes Writers Make About Archaeologists’…! Heck, I can probably list about 50 mistakes off the top of my head… LOL.

    Oh yes, my own writing. I was stuck editing again yesterday. Got 15 pages done, and about 250 words of plotting for my new WIP. At least it’s something. πŸ™‚

    • Nancy Jul 21, 2009 @ 9:16

      Hey there, fellow archaeologist. I have a degree in that myself. And yet, here I sit, in this little grey cubicle… all because I wanted to live indoors and eat regularly. Dang.

      You’re right, most people don’t get them right (although knowing Holly, I’m sure SHE will!).

    • Red_dot Jul 21, 2009 @ 12:16

      My daughter digs “dead bodies” too. I forget what kind of Archaeologist she is going for, physical, cultural….did I even get them right? Well her friend is a Cultural Anthro and has a job working with troubled kids. Your degree is very diverse, if you are not going to be an Indiana Jones, you have to think outside the box for a career. She has one year left.

  • Khena Jul 21, 2009 @ 8:10

    Yesterday was a hard day. I still had a residual headache which made work a little irritating, but the underlying problem was the plans I had for my scenes. I’m not sure if skipping that one chapter was what is throwing me off, or they were just bad scenes. So I finished off a great scene, then wrote 100-300 words on three other scenes. Now i just need to find out what to do with those fragments. Total of 2171 words.

  • Karen Mahoney Jul 21, 2009 @ 7:49

    I wrote 300 Actual Words today. Amazing! πŸ™‚

    Have been trying out the voice of my main character. Trying something different & I think I like it so far.

  • Rob Jul 21, 2009 @ 6:39

    901 words. Just short of my 1k goal, but I ran into a snag as my muse is telling me I might have to restructure the plot. I’ve tried to pack too much into the beginning before a major plot turn that carries the book the rest of the way toward the end. So now it’s back to the plot cards to see if I can shuffle some stuff in later without breaking the whole thing.

  • Minze Jul 21, 2009 @ 4:13

    About 300 words, but I got stuck every other sentence or so. It felt like I was trying to make my heroine do what I wanted; as if I were moving a puppet on a string. I tried again a few hours later, cut the string, and got 577 words.

  • Jess Jul 21, 2009 @ 4:03

    Holly – About Aleksa’s job, can’t she be both? Maybe she’s just become a professor due to an injury that makes the hands on work difficult, or she’s taken a short-term post to help out an old friend, or because she needs more money for her family, or maybe it’s just that she wanted a change or felt drawn to NYC? I don’t know much about archeaology or being a professor so I don’t know how plausible these idea’s are.

  • Julia GD Jul 21, 2009 @ 4:01

    Finally, I have something written. Not much, only 1500 words, but as it is mostly descriptions, it’s a good count for the evening of struggle.
    Descriptions are my most painful weakness. Even though I know how I should fix the total failure they present, I can’t. I overuse the verb “to be”, I spew multiple weak adjectives… Every time I re-read what I’ve written I feel that it’s dry and plain uninteresting.
    I am sure there are smarter ways about it, but so far the only one that seems working (a bit) for me is writing more. Trying again and again, until the room I am seeing in my head is at least to some, even smallest, extent reflected on a paper (well, on a computer screen) Headache is not helping for sure. But I already lost five days to it and the way things look, it will not be going away anytime soon. So I will be writing gloomy scenes and maybe start making my main characters miserable. πŸ™‚

    • megan Jul 21, 2009 @ 4:08

      one of my fav Monty Python quotes; He foudn himself in a tall dark room with sideboards

      • Julia GD Jul 21, 2009 @ 12:56

        Hmm, that’s somewhat fitting to the dismal place I am trying to describe too. And definitely great imagery.
        I, on the other hand, so far only found a good way to describe a carpet. πŸ™‚ But that’s something, right?!

    • Julia GD Jul 21, 2009 @ 13:07

      You know, Holly, how people don’t notice and elephant in a room? That’s me. I was so loopy from sleep deprivation yesterday that I read through your post without even realizing that your Aleksa is Archaeologist. O.O
      I am so glad you are writing in a totally different genre or I would give up my book right here. Not only my MC named almost the same, but she is also studying to become an archaeologist. The only modicum of comfort is that my MC is much younger and will never be anywhere around NY.
      So I’ll try not to despair much πŸ™‚
      Anyway, I wanted to ask since I saw people writing Archaeology with “A”, is it not a rule to capitalize the major, like in “she had a major in History with minor in English”? When I submitted part of my story for group discussion in my class, someone told me not to capitalize the subject.

  • megan Jul 21, 2009 @ 3:59

    I have just finnished my first 2 days at Tertiary school prior to planned uni course. THis will be 18 months!! But despite the dead notebook, I have found places in my time table where I have to hang around school and can write there in the library. so that is cool. Now all I need is a name for my 1/2 angel boy…

  • The Pencil Neck Jul 21, 2009 @ 3:10

    1415 words. But still hoping I’ll get the chance to add some more.

    This was the first scene that I could use from the original book and I ended up using almost none of it and seriously revamping what I did re-use. The story is so much different than the first version now.

    In this scene, one of our bad guys gets destroyed by one of our badder guys and this sets in motion his plans of revenge and destruction which will eventually lead to the final conflict with our MC.

  • Ieva Jul 21, 2009 @ 2:31

    164 words. I have some excuse (mostly not doing enough at work and having a party afterwards) but not much.

  • laurel Jul 21, 2009 @ 1:44

    Said goodbye to my x over a sad lunch where we returned things that were kept for many years at each others flat. I’m writing sad scenes for the novel to try to express what I am feeling in the writing.

    It is not easy to keep the entire novel from being far more sad than I wish it to be. How do you work with but also contain your sadness, or whatever you are strongly feeling, so that it does not change the tone of the book you are writing?

    Writing the sad scenes felt like a wise step and I plan to write more tonight.

    • Ieva Jul 21, 2009 @ 2:39

      Oh πŸ™
      Actually, I don’t try to keep my tone from getting sad. Or stressed out, or whatever. The healing of the writing process is sometimes more important than the end product, that’s one. This is only the first draft, that’s two.

      I am a naturally somewhat distanced writer though (damn baltic temperament) so more emotions don’t mess with me usually. Except when I was a teenager, but then I set myself a challenge not to mention any single emotion in a story, conveying it all through imagery. There is a lot of magic in a stray white cat drinking from a puddle when the lilac blooms.

      • laurel Jul 22, 2009 @ 13:27

        Ieva

        All three of your suggestions are a welcome plot twist that sound wise and intriguing. She danced on the porch, far too close to the broken dangly opening in the balcony fence. It was snowing, a fire blazed in the next town, even she was not sure of the color of her tears.

        Laurel

        • megan Jul 23, 2009 @ 3:56

          **She danced on the porch, far too close to the broken dangly opening in the balcony fence. It was snowing, a fire blazed in the next town, even she was not sure of the color of her tears.**
          That is beautiful Laurel, so evocative, thanks for sharing

          • laurel Jul 23, 2009 @ 4:11

            Megan, Your enjoyment of my words means a great deal to me, and evoked a nascent smile.

            Thank you…

            Laurel

    • megan Jul 21, 2009 @ 3:57

      Hey Laural,
      sorry to hear that. I am not ure about your situation but recently when I was in a really depressed state I just channeled it and wrote a really black stroy. I have looked in on it a couple times and there are still thing I like, and might well one day use. So maybe you can just chanel it and see wher eit lead ysou and it might have it’s uses. Or not. Just my experience and how I used it. I was actually quite creative, just not sure if anyone would be ready for how black I was feeling ;-]

    • Lisa R Jul 21, 2009 @ 11:11

      Laurel, Sorry to hear you are struggling with life’s hits. I tend to have drama in my relationships with my sister and mom. What I do that helps me is similar to what Magan does, but instead of a story I free write the situation and emotions. Someday I will use these notes for something that will fit better in a different project. Once I get this note writing done, my head tends to clear and my other work goes better. Blessings.

      • laurel Jul 21, 2009 @ 14:49

        Both your ideas are helpful. Thank you.

        I’m off to flow into a free write from the intensity of sadness and see if it helps.
        The idea of having many free writes, written from different moods, to draw from in other writing makes me less sad and even a wee bit mischievous. I wish I’d written free writes from the myriad of life’s moods all my life. What a wealth of moods to draw from while writing, that would be. I remember, but to have the images and immediacy written down, would be better.

        Sometimes, though, when I dive into the feelings they grow stronger and can slip into the rest of the day. Ah well, I will see and we want our readers to feel as they read our novels; perhaps that is why I am reminded what this anguished despair feels like. I accomplished a great deal of writing while in a long committed relationship, now back in being single land and eventually dating my writing seems less protected, I will protect it, I am protecting it, I am single….dang it.

        Laurel
        http://www.symbolicbridging.com/
        http://www.aislingnano.wordpress.com/

      • laurel Jul 21, 2009 @ 14:55

        Both your ideas are helpful. Thank you.

        I’m off to flow into a free write from the intensity of sadness and see if it helps.
        The idea of having many free writes, written from different moods, to draw from in other writing makes me less sad and even a wee bit mischievous. I wish I’d written free writes from the myriad of life’s moods all my life. What a wealth of moods to draw from while writing, that would be. I remember, but to have the images and immediacy written down, would be better.

        Sometimes, though, when I dive into the feelings they grow stronger and can slip into the rest of the day. Ah well, I will see and we want our readers to feel as they read our novels; perhaps that is why I am reminded what this anguished despair feels like. I accomplished a great deal of writing while in a long committed relationship, now back in being single land and eventually dating my writing seems less protected, I will protect it, I am protecting it, I am single….dang it.

  • CLNorman Jul 21, 2009 @ 1:44

    350 words on my short story that I wrote the outline to yesterday. I spent most of the rest of the time beating my head against that imaginary wall in my head that traps the words and the desire to write away from the physical action of actually writing. One day I will break though it.

  • KQ Jul 21, 2009 @ 0:32

    1542 for me. This is the big, bad scene I haven’t wanted to write bexause I don’t know how it works. I have done the other scenes that I could, and am back to this one. I know that I should just forge ahead, but I’m scared to have it all wrong. The words I did get, I didn’t much like, but I wrote. On a brighter note, I have over 90,000 craptastic words! I’ll have much more before the thing is finished, so I have a lot of room for editing. It is nice to see others liking what they’re getting.

  • Jessica Jul 21, 2009 @ 0:18

    300 or close to it – didn’t get a chance to actually count it. Realized my MC is a huge coward – her instincts for self-preservation are to call for help, and untie the baddie’s shoelaces – granted she’s too weak to do much else, which is her own fault really. They only wanted confirmation of her abilities, she’s the brilliant one who nearly broke a rib doing it!
    Left myself in a good spot to pick it up tomorrow.

  • Red_dot Jul 21, 2009 @ 0:08

    Finished floor Sunday! I am now on chapter 5, 578 words today. Interrupted 4 times while writing. Does anyone listen to music while they write? I like to put music on just enough to take out some background noise, but still hear the voice in my head. Worked on compilation of songs that put me in the mood for my book.

    • The Pencil Neck Jul 21, 2009 @ 2:41

      I find I write better when I have instrumental music playing. So, on iTunes, I created a playlist of instrumental jazz and fusion. I put that in shuffle mode and go at it.

      • Red_dot Jul 21, 2009 @ 12:20

        Thanks for the replies everyone. Funny everyone throws the “Muse” word around. My vocabulary is shallow. I had to look up the definition. Most of the time I listen to the group Muse, plus my book is based on my interpretation of a Midnight Oil song. I should email the lead singer and let him know.

        • Debora Jul 21, 2009 @ 18:56

          You should sign up for Holly’s Think Sideways course, or at least download her book, Mugging the Muse, which I believe is a free download. But if you want to write, you really need to understand the concept of listening to your muse. This is a left-brained versus right-brained activity, which I do not myself feel myself capable of explaining, but is essential to understand if you have any struggles with your Evil Inner Editor.

          I did not know there was a group Muse. I will look them up!

          • Red_dot Jul 22, 2009 @ 1:24

            Thanks for the tip. I have been around on her site it is so much to absorb. I am kinda crazy doing this. It was either write a book or start rock sculpting.

    • Debora Jul 21, 2009 @ 7:14

      Yes, I listen to music, too. I put it on just before I open up my writing software and start browsing through what I’ve already written in order to encourage my muse to start feeding me words.

      I have a two-CD set of Romantic Adagios, which I just love. The first CD starts with Samuel Barber’s famous adagio for strings, which is a really intense work and almost always sets the right mood for me to start writing. It’s such a beautiful piece that I have to fight really hard to think over it, or in spite of it! But that’s what I need, something to shut out all the chatter that goes on in my brain.

    • Larkk Jul 21, 2009 @ 8:07

      Music is essential to my writing! I sometimes wonder if I’m stealing words from somewhere, somehow as I listen when I write, but lately I’ve been listening to acoustic guitar instrumentals and still getting words, so that can’t be it. I think music must keep the part of my brain that says “You are nuts for doing this, you will never finish a novel” quiet. Yesterday my playlist was classic rock, Dylan, Doors, Zeppelin, unusual for me because most of my music is modern rock, with some ambient electronic thrown in, and as I mentioned, the acoustic guitar stuff. For me, the music creates a soundtrack for the scenes that play themselves out in my head while I write, so there are playlists for many of the scenes in my book.

    • Brian Cansler Jul 21, 2009 @ 9:21

      I listen to a lot of eclectic stuff while I write. I listen to Enya on a regular basis, and she’s often a choice to get the creative juices flowing. Lately, I’ve also taken to more “indie” music, but only for writing. Regina Spektor and Eisley really put me in “writing mode” now.

      I’m too much of a drum major to listen to instrumental music: I always start conducting instead of writing πŸ˜›

    • Colleen Jul 21, 2009 @ 12:56

      I use music to set the mood, but it helps that I tend to choose music that’s either instrumental, or in a language I don’t speak. The current WIP is based on Egypt, so I’m listening to Arabic pop music while i write. Gives me a sense of music in that locale, and words I can’t possibly understand, not speaking Arabic.

    • Nancy Jul 21, 2009 @ 16:16

      I mostly listen to instrumental when writing, unless there’s a particular song or style that suits the flavor of what I’m working on (I did a project once where the best fit for the flavor was a NIN CD — yikes). I find, too, that if I’m stuck on a story, just putting the music I use for writing on in the car during my ridiculous commute often will break writer’s block for me, because my brain associates the music with the story and gets my subconscious mind going.

      • ceecee Jul 21, 2009 @ 18:05

        I use music, too. I have several stations set up on Pandora. My favorite right now is called Instrumental Folk, which is almost exclusively guitarists like Leo Kottke, John Fahey, Tommy Emmanuel and others like them. They don’t have everything in the world but Pandora’s introduced me to a lot of artists I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

        • Debora Jul 21, 2009 @ 18:44

          Oh, man, I have loved Leo Kottke for years. Way back when I was in college, in the seventies.

          Eight miles high!

  • Larkk Jul 21, 2009 @ 0:04

    Fun day today, had a scene pop into my head during a walk, took the laptop out onto porch (after freewriting it a bit) and came up with about a thousand words. Those turned into 1449 after some light editing. This one could be a keeper.

  • Jim Mitchel Jul 20, 2009 @ 23:59

    I went camping with my wife and kids over the weekend, so I was not able to post last Friday.

    I’m continuing to work in chapter six. The male and female MCs have been speculating, to the other heroes, about the magical threat they are up against.

    I keep thinking to myself that if any of these characters actually knew what they were about to face, not one of them would leave on this mission. But luckily, for me they don’t know enough to say β€œno.”

    Word count for last Friday: 384

    Word count for today: 408

  • Dana Jul 20, 2009 @ 23:54

    I got 1,056 words today, completed 2YN lesson 20, and went over lesson 21 to do tomorrow. Things are coming along. I used today to figure out the arrangements of the town my characters live in. Blacktree, Ill. has a few skeletons in its closet, that’s for certain!

  • Jamie D. Jul 20, 2009 @ 23:34

    329 tonight, and the plot just keeps getting better. Most excellent.

    Rest well, Holly. πŸ™‚

  • Clare K. R. Miller Jul 20, 2009 @ 23:03

    511 words today. She’s got her ride out of there! I’m tired today, possibly from taking my dog for a walk? I’m normally not the one who does it. Hopefully, this means I’ll sleep well tonight.

  • Sarah Collins Jul 20, 2009 @ 23:02

    259 words today. I had almost no time to work on it, though, so I’ll take it. I did some editing in there as well.

  • Nancy Jul 20, 2009 @ 22:50

    I took a day off today — hubby and I spent a long afternoon trying to clean out our closet. VERY scary.

    The morning was supposed to be writing time, but there was a crisis at work so I was drawn into email barrages a couple of times. Still wound up with 1015 words and managed to (finally) get the kid off the bridge and into the raging river whereby the MC jumps in after him.

    It was like pulling teeth and the distractions didn’t help either. Don’t know if I’m taking a wrong turn in the plot or whether my energy and attention is flagging. The third in my mystery series is calling — but other projects usually call to me when I get towards the middle of a project, so this is a familiar pattern. To resist the call or give in, that is the question. Ah well, tomorrow is another day.

    Holly — hope you’re feeling more up to snuff tomorrow!

    Hope everyone had a productive day!

  • Eve Jul 20, 2009 @ 22:43

    Have a good rest, Holly.

    I’m so not into writing today. I feel kinda crappy which isn’t helping. I did, however, manage to add 646 words.

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