Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I've been looking at a manuscript I wrote as the first part of a series several years ago. I really like this story. The quality doesn't fall into the, oh my god, how awful category—those stories are long ago in a galaxy far away, um, that would be in a hidden box. It’s full of old manuscripts written through the years and won’t see the light of day anytime soon. 

I digress. This story has good bones but could be told in a better way. I knew that four years ago, when started editing it. There are two editions both a bit different than the other the original and #2 is from my first pass of edits. It still wasn't quite right. Editing is not my favorite part of writing.

To make it what it needs to be will take some pretty ruthless work. The third file of this story has pieces spread out everywhere. It's kind of like having all the pieces of the fabric for a quilt but no pattern handy to reassemble it so it looks like a quilt and not a stack of bright colors. It's daunting. There are pieces mixed in that aren't necessary in creating the quilt.  

In writing I need to know many things that my reader doesn't. To complicate things more the story starts in the wrong place—cut about 5 chapters and you have the true beginning. I also know the plot needs tweaking. I have the main story and a couple of sub-plots. I need a clearer picture of where I want this story to go. Need to get rid of those things that don't move the story forward and add other scenes that will.

When I look at the mess of pieces it overwhelms me. Where the hell do I start?

I've been thinking about that a lot lately. Just as with creating a quilt (which I've done) or any art form  you first have to have a pattern. The base pattern has to be a clear picture in your mind. The shape and scope of it. That clarity determines what sort of accents and in what material and textures are needed to compliment the pattern. Make it pop.

So, I have my answer. I need to start with the pattern (plot). Get a clearer picture of it in my mind and then set out the pieces (chapters and scenes) that fit the pattern and baste them together. I need to decide, once that's done, what will add better texture to the story. Adding more layers of emotion and motivations. Add the contrasts of environment and description to match the picture in my head.

Easy-peasy right? Pfft. Not hardly.

It’s still in pieces and I don’t kid myself about the time involved to take this story from okay to great. Even after I have the pattern clear and the pieces and accents where I want them I know there will be several more editing passes after the beta reads.

But that’s for the future. Right now my focus is on getting the pattern straight. I’ll worry about the rest later.

Bear with me folks, I had a severe allergic reaction Monday evening and I'm still weak and wimpy. I will get around to visit but it will be in ;-) bits and pieces. 

Monday, November 3, 2014


The sun is peeking over the black hills. Golden fingers of sunshine crawl across the fields flicking aside blue and purple shadows as it flows west. Sparkles of light dance in the tall frosted grass. The sun caresses the long stalks releasing subtle splinters of color. Black silhouette of trees sway in the wind as if inviting the sun to move along. The remaining leaves sigh and wave against the deep purple and magenta of the sky. 

As I sip my coffee, bundled up against the cold, I watch the leaves flame gold and orange in the morning light. So bright against the shadows of the tree limbs. Crows and ravens arrow east across the morning sky to seek the warmth of the sun. They dip and sway in the slender rays of sunshine, calling strident good morning.

A vivid flash of red in the branches of a tree catches my eye. A family of cardinals have found the sun, chattering and fluffing feathers to take in the warmth. Blue Jays are swinging below on the bird feeders as they grab sunflower seeds. The squirrel above isn't too happy having to wait for its turn at the feeders. Its broadcasting its displeasure for all to hear. The cardinals will await the sun before dropping to the ground to break their fast.

I can’t help but smile as I watch a couple of cats chase the leaves that blow across the field. They’ll get down to serious hunting in a bit but first the fun of chasing the leaves. 

My horses are standing under the community tree waiting the warmth of the sun to reach them. Sassy nickers a good morning and saunters over to the fence
Doctari in the sunshine
Patiently waiting for a cookie
with hopes of a cookie but I didn't bring any out. I’m too lazy, um, cozy snuggled in my chair with a cat on my lap to want to move. She arches her neck over the fence, nostrils flaring—she has hopes I have one or two hidden. If there wasn't a fence she’d be on the patio with me, snuffling my body for hidden goodies. “Later, me darlin’ Sassy, later.” She tosses her head and goes back to the herd.

Morning has broken. The sunshine is warm on my face. The land is shimmering in the morning sunshine. My coffee is about gone and my hands are cold. Time to go back inside and start my day.

I take a deep breath scenting the rich smells of damp earth, fallen leaves, the bite of morning chill and sunshine. It's good to be alive.

It’s going to be a great day!

The community tree.