Finish the damn book

There’s one thing about doing a writing challenge.  Once you’ve reached your goal, the motivation dries up.  You don’t write.  The spark is gone, the desire a thing of the past.  At least that’s my experience in the four writing challenges I’ve participated in.  Will I stop?  No, there’s a freedom you can’t find anywhere else.  The inner editor is firmly locked away, and the words take over.

The next time, my goal won’t be 28K or 32K.  It will be THE END OF THE BOOK.  If I can pound out 200 pages, I can do 250-300. (Is the 400 page manuscript dead?)

Now, I have to get back in the groove to finish Ghost Lover then take another look at two more manuscripts that are >this close< to being finished.

How about you?  Do you have manuscripts hidden under the bed that are salvageable?  What keeps you from finishing them?

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Day 24

I’m in day 24 of my 28 day writing challenge.  I had planned to hit it yesterday, but lost my writing time on Friday.  We were rear-ended (no one hurt) so my mind was less on writing and more on margaritas. It doesn’t matter, I wrote an awesome 5.5K words Saturday and Sunday and am at 29,547.  It’s in sight, people.

Things I’ve learned:

  • Turn off the TV and internet.  I’ve written in the girl cave, Panera’s and my living room.   Surprisingly, I squeezed the most production (1K in 1 hour) at Panera, where free wi-fi wasn’t available.
  • Don’t erase or backspace if you think of something more clever.  Type it, too.  Word count is word count and that includes editorial comments.
  • The internal editor is hard to kill, so I allow her <5 minutes a day, mostly by highlighting word wrap and graying out the least favorite of two phases.
  • Sex is easy to write.
  • Intimacy is hard to write.
  • You can still read books at lunch and in the car, but not any other time.

Have you taken part in a writing marathon?  What tips have you learned?

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It’s time to write sex. Yes, yes it is.

I might have mentioned it.  My writing group ( is in the middle of a writing challenge.  32K in 28 days.  I started “Ghost Lover” on Feb. 12th at our meeting, and expect to have at least 32K written by March 12th.  It’s very similar to National Novel Writing Month (  In fact, we call it Winter NaNo.

My inner editor has been banished.  The object is word count only.  Vomit drafts are allowed (throw up all over the page).  Dreck is expected.

Yesterday, I finished four days of solid writing.  It wasn’t easy.  My characters did what I told them, and I struggled to think of the next scene.  Then, as I passed the 16K mark, they started doing things on their own.  Unexpectedly, Clare, my heroine, got pie-eyed drunk and phoned Adrian, the hero.  And they were off and running. . .

There’s nothing sweeter than hitting the zone and letting your characters take over.    Some call it imagination.  Others call it Muse.  I prefer the “Girls in the Basement.”  Barbara Samuels came up with the term.  Jenny Cruise borrowed it, and I stole it from her.  Basically, its the deep, deep subconscious, the place where research and ideas marinate.  Then, once in awhile, the girls send up something, and it’s the perfect piece to the puzzle you’re writing.

Imagine my surprise when the girls told me my characters had to have sex.  No!  They barely knew each other.  She was drunk, and he’s not the type to take advantage of the situation.  But wait, one of the plot devices allows them to meet during their dreams.  And I’d planned for dream sex.  Why not now?  She’s in one room asleep.  He’s in another.  Such proximity could be the catalyst to their first dream encounter.

So, tonight I write sex.  It will be hot.  I’ll let them tell me what keys to hit on my laptop.  I’ll only control one thing – they won’t remember it the next morning.  Aren’t I evil?  No, it’s the girls.  Bless their hearts.

Have you ever had your characters run away with your story?

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