Just Write Cat

One Writer, One Journey

Plugging Away… June 13, 2011

I’ve been remiss. I’ve let my writing take second chair. Well, second chair (or first, for that matter) isn’t taken – it’s given. So the burden of responsibility rests solely on my shoulders. Oh, I’ve been writing – mainly for local magazines and blogs – but I consider that something other than “working on my novels”.

I could point to a couple of external factors – problems due to the concussion I received two years ago (just started therapy for that, finally) or my recent involvement in my son’s PTSA  (funny how when you’re cell deep in your novel, you almost forget you have a real, live family). And the editor I worked with is on hiatus until the fall. I love that word, hiatus. Sounds like something requiring surgery. I had my hiatus removed, so the doc said I can’t lift anything over twenty pounds.

So, I’ve been plugging away at my manuscript (the wonderous third draft you hear so much about), trying to apply what I learned working with said (amazing) editor to the other 300 pages. I will state this: my first fifty are solid! Um, I think.

Here are my goals for the summer – finish my revision. attend the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference , prepare for the  International Surrey Writers Conference (both manuscript and confidence-wise), lose ten pounds (nothing to do with writing, but still a worthwhile goal. On second thought, make that an even twenty).

And how, pray tell, do you plan to spend your summer? I’ll ask another way – what writing goals have you set? Please share!

Cat

 

Who Writes Short Shorts? September 18, 2010

Filed under: Fiction,Write,Writing Contests — justwritecat @ 10:19 pm
Tags: ,

I LOVE entering those 100 word story contests (Janet Reid is the queen at coming up with those). I’ve found entering ‘shorts’ helps me with other projects. My writing is more concise, focused, snappy – at least, I think I’m seeing a difference. 

Improving my craft aside, entering writing contests is fun! Here are a few I’ve recently come across.

Contest #1 The Badger Games is hosting a fun contest. You have to write a query/blurb/something else on the cover of a book she recently found. Creative. My entry is somewhat long – hmmm, what was that about learning to be more concise??

Contest #2.  My good friend, Frederique, sent me the link for NPR’s Three Minute Story Contest. Now, why didn’t I know about the NPR contests before? Because I’m an uncultivated heathen, that’s why. So, thank you to my more cultured friend for thinking of me! Still working on that entry, though I think I’ve got a fun premise.

Contest #3 Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition  This one I knew about. I may not always listen to NPR (though I love Prairie Home Companion), but I do read WD every month. Front to back, several times.

If you know of any short writing contests, do tell!

Cat

 

Talk to Me… May 18, 2010

Filed under: Fiction — justwritecat @ 2:25 am

This is my entry for the Le’ts Talk Blogfest over at Fiction Groupie.  It’s a  scene between Joe Cooper and Detective Grace Gutierrez.  They’ve flirted with each other for the past few chapters, but now it’s time to put their money where their mouths are.  Or maybe something other than money.

Minutes before this scene takes place, Joe and Grace were at the latest crime scene.  Both were focused on the victim, but also on each other.  Joe heads out to the medial examiner’s office, only to find Grace already there waiting for him.  This scene is serving as double duty – for the dialog blogfest and the recent flirting blogfest I didn’t enter. 

             I picked up my pace and arrived at the lab in minutes.  I headed to the autopsy room, figuring I could make quick work of my examination.  I turned the corner, and then stopped.  Pacing the hallway was one Detective—stacked, racked and looking straight at me.

            “Gutierrez.”  I walked in her direction.  “Couldn’t wait for the results of my examination?”

            She leaned against the wall, hands folded in front.  She shook her head, then said, “Something about this whole situation doesn’t feel right.”

            “And what situation would that be?”

            She looked up at me, and her eyes closed the slightest bit.  “The murders, of course.”

            “Oh.”

            “What did you think I meant?”

            “You tell me, Detective.”

            She laughed, then looked away.  “I thought I might view the autopsy.”

            This was new.  And while I was intrigued, this examination called for a solo performance.

           “Why are you really here?”

            Her breath quickened.

            I moved closer, put my hand on her jaw and gently turned her to face me.  “Why are you really here, Grace?  Hmmm?”

            I sensed her heat, smelled her scent—musky, and sweet like almost ripe cherries.  She tried to turn her face away; I wouldn’t let her.

            “I don’t know.”

            “I think you do.”  I leaned in and kissed her, easy at first.   Her lips had a salty-sweetness that made me want to taste more.

            She murmured something.

            “Say again.”

            “I don’t…I’m not sure.”

            I kissed her again, harder, and her body become less rigid.  I teased her mouth open with my tongue and felt her lips quiver.  I kissed her lower lip, biting down just enough to make her feel it.  She moaned and suddenly thrust her tongue in my waiting mouth.  We kissed, deep and hard.  I heard her heart beat faster, felt the heat of her skin, picked up the scent of her desire growing stronger. 

            Suddenly, she broke free of our kiss and pushed me away. 

            She put her arms back in front of her and said, “I can’t do this.”

            I leaned back in and kissed her again, this time starting with her neck.  Her pulse quickened, and her arms fell to her side.  I put my hand on her back and pulled her closer, feeling the curves of her body, and the firmness of her breasts against my chest.  I ran my other hand down the curve of her hip, to the top of her thigh. 

            She pushed me away.  “I can’t do this.  I’m sorry, Joe.  I just can’t.”

            I stepped back.  Sure, I wanted her.  And yeah, I could’ve turned on that hypnotic charm and sealed the deal.  But that would be an unnecessary use of power.  And there was another body, behind that door, that needed my touch a tad more than she did. 

           I reached out to her, tilted her chin up, and said, “Darling, if you don’t like playing with fire, don’t light a match.”

            She looked at me, then turned around and walked off. 

            I watched her leave, then turned around and opened the door to the autopsy room.

 

Lost in Another World… May 17, 2010

Filed under: Fiction,Life,Where Did That Come From?? — justwritecat @ 2:59 am

Status Update:  Nothing new to report on the partials and the full.  Staying busy on current WIP, another urban fantasy.

I have a confession to make.  Uh, no – I don’t really believe in vampires (sorry Joe, please don’t bite me).  This confession concerns those darn demons of insecurity.  Yes, I finished my first novel.  And for that, at least one or two of said demons should have been banished forthwith and post haste.  Alas, either they found their way back or they bred like hell before they left. 

I allowed myself a couple of days of downtime after finishing the revisions on Set ‘Em Up, Joe.   Then a couple days more to decide what to work on next.  I’d already started the second in the Seeing Red series (the Cooper series), but thought it might be best to work on something else.  You know, Just In Case.  I had a few ideas on the back burner, but none that jumped out at me.  Unlike the story about Joe – that one not only demanded to be told, Joe just about threatened to go for the jugular if I didn’t write his novel NOW.  

So I jotted down a few things about each of those other ideas, such as audience & genre, primary characters, estimated word count (related to genre and audience), oh yeah – and plot.  🙂  I even went as far as working up a rough query for some of the ideas, just to see if any seemed to have more potential.  By potential, I do not mean in terms of marketing.  I mean in terms of being rich enough to build a world/story out of the concept.  I went back and forth between my list of five possible novels.  While I was excited by the idea of writing any of the five, none demanded my attention.  None of the stories begged to be told first.  That had me worried (here’s where the confession part comes in).

The way I figured it, if none of the stories held me captive – how could they possibly grab a reader?  How could I even stand to write it (or rather revise, because you have to LOVE your story and characters to get through the revisions.  And yes, I know there will be more revisions if my novel grabs the attention of an agent and then an editor)?

Then came the fear, the insecurity.  I was a one-trick pony.  A one-hit wonder, without actually having that one hit (yet??).  Joe’s story came to me, almost in its entirety, one morning.  I woke up and this guy is talking to me.  Nursing a scotch, telling me his troubles, trying to charm me with his compelling ways.  I outlined the larger story arc in a few days, complete with characters/relationships/conflicts.  I’m not saying I didn’t make changes as I wrote the novel – and especially after working with a developmental editor – but essentially Joe and his world were real to me from the start.  So real I easily became lost in his world at times. 

My family quickly learned that when ‘mommy has that look’, there’s no talking to her – because she isn’t listening, she’s not even there.  I was in Joe’s world, considering the possibilities, working on his story.  And those moments were not few and far between.  Especially when I wrote the first draft.  All I could think about was the story.  I mean, I couldn’t not think about it – you know?  And I know many of you understand exactly what I mean when I say this – sometimes, I wanted to be in that world.  I wanted to meet those people who felt so real to me in my mind – how could they not be real?  (uh, hello, Catherine? Vampires do not exist).  If Joe and his world could feel that real to me – could another world/story/character also have that effect?   For a few days, I feared the answer was ‘no’.   

So, back to writing those rough queries and sketching out the possibilities.  Doing all that felt fine, but again – nothing captured me immediately.  Until, one did.  Today.  While sitting with my family, enjoying lunch.

I’d been spending more time thinking about this one idea – working out the larger story arc, the protagonist’s personality and job and friendships.  But I didn’t have the plot – not really.  Or rather, not the inciting moment that had to propel her to change.  The Event that would force her to take that first step.  The Thing That Mattered, that made her and her story worth reading and worth writing. 

So, there I am at Panera Bakery, taking a bite of my salad – and suddenly, it all came together.  Just. Like. That.  I looked out the window, past the cars parked outside, past the trees in the distance.  Past the real world I was in, to another world quickly taking shape before my eyes.  I recall my husband looking at me for a moment, then turning to see what I was staring at.  Then I turned to face him, and he smiled.  “You got it, don’t you?” 

“Yep.”

And I’ve been lost in that world ever since.  Dear family – I’ll be back in a few months.  Promise.