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Southern born, Southern reared. It's a quirky place and we are unique folk... These are my people and these are my stories.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

20 Days, 52,000 words to go

Yeah, that's right. The number of days has gone down; the number of words has gone up.

Don't worry, this is the good news!

I met my husband for lunch today at one of our favorite cafes. I arrived before he did so I took out my notebook and wrote down "what has to happen next" along with the number of words I had to accomplish it. By the time the huggy hubby arrived, I had ordered our meals and worked myself into a frenzy. There is no way I can write the rest of this story in 30,000 words.

I took out my iPhone and pecked out an email to my editor (cc'ing my agent).
HOW MANY WORDS CAN I STRETCH THIS MS. TO? I asked her.

Then I waited. And ate my fries.

A few seconds later I heard the "bling" of my phone, indicating I had a new email. I opened it. Sure enough, my editor had sent back a reply.

HOW MANY WORDS DO YOU NEED?

The fries were really good, which meant I was in a pretty happy mood. So I wrote back:

250,000.

I giggled as I added: (ARE YOU BREATHING??) followed by: 100,000??

O, Happy Day! The reply came back: A lot of historical novels run up to 120,000. Try not to go over.

So now what you see if the new goal. I may or may not get to 120,000, but now the feeling of sheer panic is gone.

Meanwhile, I dressed one of my characters in this dress today. It's called a "dressy suit."

What do you think?


Friday, August 22, 2014

23 Days, 30,890 Words To Go

It's the middle of the day and I'm far from done, but I had to share with you what's happening here in WriterWorld.

First, the last two days have been a struggle in the writing department. I wrote, yes, but I hated nearly every word. I couldn't seem to get away from the fact that I only had between 30- and 40,000 words left to tell my story. I know that for some of you, the notion of writing that number of words is tantamount to getting a root canal. But for the writer of fiction, as he or she dashes toward the end ... the finale ... the denouement ... it's horrifying.

I told my husband this morning that I could hardly sleep for worrying over it. He said, "You have five women and, let's say, 40,000 words. That's 8,000 per character."

I suddenly felt better.

Then I got an email  from fellow author, Sandie Bricker, who penned: YOU CAN DO IT.

I got back into the story with new vigor!

Today I did a little research on what folks listened to on the radio in 1952 on a Sunday night. I came across The Big Show with Tallulah Bankhead as the lovely hostess. I also listened to some of the broadcasts. Check out #29 ... this is the one I "referenced" in Five Brides. It's all of 30 minutes and it'll make you want to go back to a simpler time. Check it out HERE.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

25 Days to Go, 35,962 Words To Go

Inspiration for Inga
Today I edited (down) some of what I'd already written and then charged ahead, writing about 1600 words by the end of the day. It's 8:34 p.m. and I'm calling it a night.

Gosh, I hate writing the "bad stuff," but Inga (Magda's sister) is about to make a big mistake. She's not the first in the world to do so, but it makes me sad when my characters take wrong paths.

She'll learn, though.

I just hope I can see it through within the next 36,000 words! Not to mention what must take place with Magda, Joan, Betty, and Evelyn.

Poor Evelyn ... talk about misguided!

I called my agent today. Rather, he called me after I sent a text that read: Call me. Told him I may have to try to squeeze in at least another 5,000 words. So, really ... this blog should be titled 25 Days to Go, 41,962 words to go. That's 1679 words a day. No slacking off.

I can do it ... as long as life leaves me alone. :)

By the way, that's Inga up there. Can you name the actress I've been inspired by? The first to do so will win a copy of this book when it releases!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

26 Days, 36,827 Words to Go

MY INSPIRATION FOR MAGDA
(CAN YOU NAME THE ACTRESS?)
Now, when I tell you that I only wrote roughly 750 words today, you'll think I failed in my quest to get at least 1,500 penned each day. But the truth is, I took part in an online Word Weavers critique group from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., then had a session with another writer at 11:00 ... then had an editing project to do ... then a private session with one of my coaching clients from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and then I listened in on a Christian Writers Guild webinar offered by Jeff Gerke from 8:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

And, I edited 7,500 words of Five Brides, so really ... it was a banner day.

But, let's talk about the 750.

I realized this afternoon that I have five young women in 1952 who have yet to meet the men they are going to marry and only, roughly, 40,000 words to make that happen. I've got some speed writing to do!

Not that we want to rush love and marriage. Oh, no ... but ... don't panic, Eva. Do. Not. Panic. You can do this. You can. All you have to do is get off the roof without jumping and ... write.

Whew. So ... now I'm all about getting these five women to the man of their dreams. And to the altar. In one dress.

We begin with Magda. She's already met Mr. Right ... she just doesn't know it yet. :) Can't wait to tell her!

Ah ... 

27 Days, 37,553 Words to Go!

(For your listening pleasure, as you read the remainder of today's blog, go to: GLENN MILLER, In The Mood)

So, yesterday Magda made a big decision, which will have great impact on her life.

She also made a great argument against Karl Marx's line: Religion is the opium of the people.

In the beginning of my planning and plotting, Magda had such a small, insignificant role and now she's carrying such weight. Her lines of dialogue are incredibly deep. I love her!

Here's another thing that happened ... Magda is having a conversation with her boss that is going to change her life, but she doesn't know it. Not yet, anyway. I do, but she doesn't.

Looking back on your own life, can you think of a time when foundations of the most significance were being laid, but you didn't realize it? Let's talk about it!


Monday, August 18, 2014

39,303 Words. 28 Days

So here's the story.
Back around June 30, I had two and a half months to re-write approximately 95,000 of my upcoming novel, currently titled Five Brides.
Five Brides is based on the true story of five women who met in Chicago after World War II. They became roommates for "a season" and during that short period of time they each put $60 in the "pot" and bought a beautiful wedding dress from the iconic Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company. 

Each woman wore the dress on her wedding day.

I have had the joy and privilege of meeting one of those women. Joan is now in her early 80s and a woman of great influence. As far as we know, she is the only living member of the five. Because most of the women were only roommates and not friends, there is no story on the other four.

Which means, this writer gets to make it all up.

So, where am I right now in this re-write?

I wrote over 4,000 words yesterday, which brought me to over 55,600 words.

My characters are: Joan (from England), Evelyn (from Georgia), Betty (from Illinois), and Magda and Inga (sisters from Minnesota). As of yesterday, Betty is about to right a wrong, Magda is about to make a positive decision, and Inga is heading head-first into a very, very bad decision. And Joan? Well, Joan has a new job which will, in time, impact Betty. Greatly.

For the next couple of weeks or so, I'm going to post my progress. Some of the sites I visit (after all, I wasn't even alive in 1952!) and some of the songs that inspire me.

Let's have some fun at my expense, shall we?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

And the Winner Is...


I've read all the entries ... great job, everyone.

But I've narrowed it down to first, second, and third place. Only First Place wins, but I wanted to acknowledge second and third.

So, drum roll please:

Third Place goes to: Rona Jeanne Evartt!
Second Place goes to: Stacie Salvo!

and First Place goes to: Tina Hunt!
Congrats, Tina! Email me at PenNhnd@aol.com with your preferred email address so I can send your Amazon gift card your way.