Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I'm no good at planning vacations. I can never make up my mind about what hotel, what at to stay at. I always think what if we get there we find something better. I usually fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to planning an itinerary as well. My sister on the other had plans everything down to the detail. She has a binder where she categories all of the research she's done.

Sometimes I'm extremely jealous of her planning abilities and other times I think she's so stuck to that plan that she doesn't open her eyes to other possibilites.

I'm kind of like this in writing. I don't write an outline. I have a general idea of where the story is going, but I don't necessarily know the stops along the way. Sometimes I run into a dead end and have to back track, but I enjoy writing that way. I've tried writing out exactly what happens, but I find that when I get to that part I've changed my mind.

For example on your current WIP, I had the two main characters being attracted to each other right away, which really takes all of the conflict and tension out of the story. Now I've back tracked and have planned a different route for them. One I'm very excited about.

How about you? Are you a planner or a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back Pain thrown in with some success

I learned this week when they say you should consult a physician before starting a new exercise program, you probably should.

A few weeks ago I decided I was going to get into shape by following the training program my son brought home from one of his university basketball camps, plus I was going to run 2x a week up and down a hill. My first clue should have been university, in other words young people.

It went well for two weeks. I was sore, but preserving through the lunges, squats, and push ups. But last Monday I bent over at work to reach for a file and threw out my back. I've had back pain before, but nothing like this. I couldn't move, I couldn't walk. It hurt to sneeze and cough.

I went home from work, had a hot bath and went to bed. The next day I went to physio where she shoved needles in my back and proceeded to slide them up and down in an attempt to loosen up the muscle around my back. On Thursday I went again and had acupuncture. There were needles everywhere; feet, ankles, back, wrists, and even the top of my head.

On Saturday, I was finally able to stand up straight and decided to go to my older son's basketball game, which they won and was exciting, but then I had to take my younger son to his football game. First they had to be there one hour early and the game before them was running behind. Needless to say I arrived at 2:30pm and left at 6pm. I was exhausted and my back was killing me. I was supposed to go to a soccer social that night, but called in sick, a first for me.

Sorry this has been a poor me post, but it does end on a good note. I promised myself (before I hurt my back) that I'd write three chapters a week and since last Friday I've written 6000 words on my new WIP, bringing the grand total to - 21,912.

I'm kind of excited because I've been working on the same project for so long that I was beginning to wonder if I could write anything else, turns out maybe I can.

Now just 40,00- 50,000 more words to go until the first draft is done.

Have you ever had to work through some pain and suffering to meet a real or self-imposed deadline?

Friday, September 25, 2009


I have so many different emotions after finishing a book.

1) Joy - depending on the book
2) Disappointment - depending on the book
3) Accomplishment - I felt that back in university after reading James Joyce
4) Sadness - either you wasted your time or you're sad the book is over
5) Anger - when characters disappear or you hate the ending
6) Excitement - especially if it its a series
7) Tiredness - which is always a sign of a great book

This morning I'm feeling 5 out of the 7 as I stayed up until 2am to finish the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Great book. I even pretended to go to bed with my husband, but when he was asleep got up and finished it.

And the good news is, there's a second. Yeah. Off to the book store this weekend in between two basketball games and two football games.

What do you like most about finishing a book?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

He had green eyes and brown hair.

There's so many different ways to describe characters. You can list off all of their physical attributes; hair color, eye color, stature, build, or bone structure. You can describe how they walk, how they talk, or how they eat their food. The list goes on.

With my new WIP I didn't realize there were no physical descriptions of my characters until my niece said what color hair does Oliver have?

I don't know
, was my response.

I guess I've never been able to see what my characters look like, at least not at first. (It would probably help if I could draw like Natalie does - what a wonderful talent). I see them as who they are; they're personalities, weaknesses, strengths. What they look like is almost secondary to me.

In my current project I actually don't describe what the main character looks like until chapter two and the other main character until chapter four.

What do you think? Do you need that physical description to connect with the characters, or can it wait?

Monday, September 21, 2009

What I'm trying to learn.

I'm learning that you can't eat well and exercise hard for one day and expect to lose weight.

I'm learning that the politics behind kids sports is almost overwhelming.

I'm learning that you really do have to add weight training to your exercise regime if you want to be stronger.

I'm learning that if threaten early bedtime, your kids will clean their room.

I'm learning that you do get a lot accomplished if you wake up early, but eventually you'll need a nap.

I'm learning that you have run more if you want to get faster.

I'm learning if you plan your meals ahead of time, life becomes easier.

I'm learning that in order to be a better writer you actually need to keep writing, not just think about it all the time.

I'm learning that if you use counting to get your kids to stop doing something, you should tell them what you're counting to.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cook Books

I love cook books. I spend hours peering over them, looking for a great new receipe to try. I make lists of the receipes I would like to try along with the ingredients I'll need. I especially love Company's Coming Cookbooks because they have great pictures.

But when it comes to actually buying the groceries and cooking the meals, I'm afraid I fall short. I have a tendency to stick with my old stand by's of chicken and potatoes, spaghetti, tacos, and home made pizza.

I'd really like to try something new and sometimes I do, but I never know if my family will like it. If they don't I'll have gone to all the effort of making something new only for them to end up having a bowl of cereal.

Sometimes I do this with writing. As I started writing a new project I realized there are certain settings, character types, and even names that I like to use. For some reason I like my tunnels and caves. I love the name Oliver and I'm fond of dark forests. Evidently I need to get out of my comfort zone and try to make some new receipes of maybe a big city, skyscrapers, and no one named Oliver.

How about you are stuck using the same old receipes or do you try to mix it up a bit?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Best Laid Plans

Yesterday I wrote 2143 words on my WIP. It all just came out and only took me an hour and a half. So I was super excited for today because it was my day off.

I got up early ran 5 km, got groceries, cleaned my kitchen, vacuumed, and even visited with my sister for a little bit, all by 10:30am. The kids were at school, the house was clean, and husband was gone to physio (he works out of the house). I went down to my computer and checked my email, then I checked facebook, and then I checked my blog. There was nothing.

I could delay no longer. I opened a new document and typed Chapter Seven at the top. I wrote a paragraph, but hated it so I erased it. Tried again, but hated it even more. I must have stared at that blank page for an hour.

Finally I decided to do some research, maybe I just needed some direction. So I looked up dragons, because right now my MC's in a cavern and about to fight a dragon. So where do I go to find out information; Youtube. Actually they had a very interesting documentary from Animal Planet on there. Apparently a dragon was found in some ice caves in Romanian. Did you know they have two sets of lungs; one set for breathing and the others are filled with hydrogen. They called them flight bladders. Isn't that a great description, flight bladders.

After watching the 4 parts of the show I started to feel tired so I went upstairs to have a nap. I thought if I just get some sleep I'll be able to finish the chapter. Instead husband comes home and wants to talk; so much for my nap.

I go back down to the computer, still nothing. I can't think of anything. It's horrible and frustrating. The words flowed so effortlessly yesterday, my hands could barely type fast enough and I type pretty fast (60 wpm).

It's now 2:15. I decide to go do an errand and pick up daughter from school, except daughter and friend are no where to be found. The bell rang early and they didn't stay by the doors. I ran to the bus, not there. Luckily she was back in the office waiting patiently for me. We had a scare with her a few months ago, which is a completely different story.

Came home after telling daughter to stay by her classroom door if I'm not there right away. Listened to older boys tell me about their day and then I went to the computer again. Still nothing. So I shut it down and watched my son play Halo 3 before making dinner.

After dinner I went and helped my husband with basketball evaluations for younger son, went and picked daughter up from grandma's house then picked other son up at football. Fed him and took him to basketball practice.

Now that I finally have the two younger kids in bed I'm writing this post instead of working on Chapter Seven. I figure nothing came to me all day so I'm leaving Chapter Seven blank and hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

Do you have days like that? One day you can't write fast enough and other days: Nothing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I am a worrier. I come by it honestly. My mother is a worrier, as was her mother.

It's amazing how through your life you worry about different things.

As a child I worried about not being invited to a classmate's sleepover. (I was and it wasn't that great)

As a teenager I worried about boys, a lot!!!! (Too much actually)

As a young adult I worried finding a husband. (Turns out I found a great one)

When I was first pregnant I worried about what kind of mom I would be. (The juries still out)

When I had a new born I worried about dropping the child, what certain rashes were, and whether they were getting enough to eat. (Didn't drop anyone, rashes went away, and since one of my children is taller than me, I think it's fair to say they get enough to eat)

When my kids started school I worried about what kind of friends they'd make. (So far alright, had a few issues with older child, but those are long forgotten now)

When I finished my book I worried if anyone would like it. (Family seems too, hopefully others will too)

Now that I'm entering the time in my life where the decisions we make for our child could really define their future I beginning to worry more than ever. Are we putting too much pressure on them? Have we taught them to make the right decisions? Have we done enough? It's all very stressful.

I'm definitely a worrier, but I try to remember the past. The things I worried about then seem to be nothing now and in time this will too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Backhoe, shovel, broom

I work at a forensic engineering firm. Yes, it's a little like CSI, except that instead of dead bodies we investigate car accidents, fires, and property damage.

It's my job to proofread the reports that the engineers generate. I go through pages of technical writing regarding seat belt use, burn patterns, and electrical voltage. Some days it makes it hard to come home and be creative.

Today we were having a meeting and the subject of report writing came up. One of our engineers is having trouble writing his reports. He has mental blocks and can't write, (sound familiar to anyone). Anyway, another engineer suggested he just open a blank file and randomly write down all the facts of the case. He said that sometimes we get bogged down in trying to make it perfect the first time around, (sounds familiar again).

Then another engineer made a perfect analogy. He said it's like trying to remove a dirt pile with a broom, attempting to make every brush stroke even. Instead you need to use a backhoe and get rid of the majority of the dirt (write as much as you can not worrying about the mess). Then you can use a shovel to pick up the small chunks that the backhoe missed (the first editing process). After that you use a broom to clean up the little things and it may take you a more than one stroke. (edit after edit).

I thought it was a great analogy and had to share.

Here's hoping we all get to the point where we can put all the dirt in the dust bin.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I love this pen. It's the Bic Orange Fine. Although the picture shows it with a black lid, I prefer blue. This pen is considered a classic and therefore very hard to find. I've searched all over for it. I tried different stationary stores, but no one carries the Bic Orange Fine, at least not here in Canada.

I gave up and found a different pen that was somewhat comparable. The Bic Soft Feel Fine, but it wasn't quite the same.

This summer I was visiting a friend in the small town where she lived. My husband, who as you know was recovering from ankle surgery, needed an ankle brace. We went to the local pharmacy and as I trolled the aisle, waiting for him to pick out a brace, I found it. Packages of my favorite pen.

There was three packages of two and I bought every single one. I now guard them like a protective mother bear. You see I'm very particular about my pens. When I start a new project I like to carry around a coil notebook and jott things down when I think of them; like possible scenes, names of characters, or potential plot twists. If I don't have the right pen I don't like writing, so I'm very excited to have found my pens.

Is there anything that you love to use when writing.

Now I've followed Jessie's example and put up a followers list. It's a big step for me. To repeat what Jessie said; I am prepared to follow and be followed.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's a known fact...

It's a known fact that when women are with their friends they eat 20% more.

It's a known fact that when you have well hydrated women athletes there's a line up for the bathroom.

It's a known fact that shopping malls love women's weekends away.

It's a known fact that when 16 women get together in one hotel room, they can sound like a small jet plane.

It's a known fact that unless someone in the car navigating, women will get lost.

It's a known fact that men rebound from being taken down at the knees a lot faster than women.

It's a known fact that three games of soccer in three days is hard on anyone's body, let alone women over 35.

It's a known fact that coaches get nervous too.

It's a known fact that gold is thought to be better than silver, but I think I like silver the best.

Had a great weekend with a wonderful team who played their absolute hardest, became even closer friends, and had the time of our lives.

Thanks ladies.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

If I don’t know what I want for dinner, how can I decide what my character wants for dinner?

We’ll all seen them in magazines or on-line. Personality quizzes.

You know the questions:

You like to be engaged in an active and fast-paced job – sometimes.

You enjoy having a wide circle of acquaintances – depends on the day.

It is in your nature to assume responsibility – only if I feel responsible.

Your actions are frequently influenced by emotions ­– not as much anymore.

You often do jobs in a hurry – all the time.

Sometimes I have trouble figuring out my own personality let alone my characters. I’m not sure how people have their character all figured out before they start writing. I’ve started a new project and I really can’t decide what kind of personality I want this character to have; moody, caring, emotional, or all of the above. I’m even having problems with my main character. The one I’ve already written a whole book about. I don’t know how I want to her to be feeling right now.

I’ve really become stuck and I know I need to write through it and see what comes out, but I know how much work it was to edit the last book.

Anyway besides climbing a mountain, it’s been a very frustrating week. Any thoughts on how you develop your characters many dimensions would be helpful.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


We climbed our mountain.

On Monday, the day before school started, we left at noon and arrived at the mountain in Canmore at around 1pm. It was hot 28 degrees (83 fahrenheit). We filled up our camelbacks with water and snacks and began the hike. Ten minutes in my daughter was struggling. I put her thick hair back and gave her some water. Ten minutes later she wanted to rest again, so I gave her some food. Five minutes later she fell down on a log and exclaimed that she couldn’t go any further.

We stood over her and thought about what to do. Certainly we couldn’t continue up the mountain with her stopping every five minutes, so once again we decided to turn around. Apparently it was too hot, she wasn’t well rested, or she hadn’t eaten enough. I was pretty sure it was all of the above.

We had promised the kids we’d take them out for dinner in Canmore after we completed the mountain. Being faced with having to try to do a mountain again on another day and no dinner out, my oldest son insisted he could carry his sister up the mountain. He took off his back pack, gave it to his dad, and put her on his back.

He carried her for about ten minutes and when he put her down she raced to the front and led the way. I think a lot of her problem was more psychological than physical. (I can relate to that).

Whenever she got tired her brother carried her and when he got tired, he put her down. When it got too steep for a ride her dad pulled her up the mountain.

So after two hours and twenty four minutes, and a tough scramble at the end, we made it to the top. It was a beautiful day and felt great to complete another mountain.

It took us an hour and half to get down. Me and my husband were so sore. His ankle was throbbing and my calves burned. As for the kids, when we got to the bottom, they ran to the car.

It’s so not fair.