Thursday Writing Prompt No. 142

F is for Febrrrr..uary

It’s been some time since I’ve written a Thursday Writing Prompt, and since it’s Valentine’s Day next week, a romantic theme might be just right for this week’s exercise. So without further ado, let’s get down to business at the keyboard (or pen and paper).

Your task for this week is to come up with your characters for romance story. Give them both names, and then write a brief resume of that person’s life: their background (siblings, where they grew up); their current job (or lack of one — maybe they’re in school yet); their likes and dislikes (food, drinks, sports, hobbies, pets); and most important, how they view their life. This doesn’t have to be a long paragraph or pages of writing. In fact, writing a bullet-point list might be a better option.

With the list format you can make up a batch of characters for use in whatever stories you want. While I was drafting Seacombe I came across some websites that offered enneagram tests. In case you haven’t heard of an enneagram, it’s a type of personality test. In any case, I found it useful for figuring out some of my characters’ personality profiles. You might find that using an enneagram test or some other personality test will help you sort out what it is that drives your characters. Once you know who they are and what they want, stories are much easier to write. Good luck with your character lists!


February Chatter

One month into the new year and my fitness plans have been mostly sidelined because of a shoulder injury. But I have signed up for a virtual 10K race, the Run to the Deep, which is really pushing myself because I haven’t been running or walking for some time. And I have only about five weeks until the race. Well, I’m focusing on walking and getting myself back into the habit of doing something, and I got my race shirt this weekend so it’s pretty official! And the shirt has a kraken, so how can I not like this?

And speaking of kraken and ocean life, I’m finishing the final edits to Seacombe. I’m revamping parts of the last chapter, which is really all that’s left, but I have some sorting out to do to wrap up the plot points. And I need to check for a few inconsistencies, but I should have the rewrites and copy editing done by midweek, unless my mighty insomnia superpower deserts me.

Seacombe will be published by Corrugated Sky, and we’re hoping for a March 1 release date, so stay tuned!

January 2018

I had no inspiration for the title of this post! But here we are, almost through January already. The holidays were packed with work, work, and more work, and despite using several vacation days at the end of the year it feels remarkably like I didn’t have any time off.

This year I’m taking a slightly different approach to tracking my writing progress: instead of setting word-count goals, I’m listing the projects that I want to work on and focus on getting them done, no matter how many words it takes. I’m still going to use an Excel file to keep tabs of how much I write (and editing counts as 1,000 words an hour), but the raw number isn’t the goal.

On the nonfiction front, I’ve just completed working on updating some athlete bios for an encyclopedia, and I’m involved with the production of an open access textbook. I also have a local history that I’m pitching to a publisher and I need to get an outline/scope of work done for that. If that’s not enough, I still want to develop my thesis into a book, but somehow that project keeps sinking to the bottom of my list. Enough of the excuses! Time to get to work on it, too.

Fiction is coming along, too: I’m finishing up edits to my novel, Seacombe Island, and I hope to have it ready for publication in March. And we Corrugated Sky writers are brainstorming our third anthology. I have a few other project ideas, and some short stories that I need to finish. This year is going to be about completing projects!

Makin’ Smoke

Whew! November is over, and NaNo is over, and we’re halfway through December. I’m struggling to get back on track with several projects, although I’m making some slow progress on editing my novel and I have a few short articles to get done before the first week of January.

I haven’t written much about my story “Hekatite,” which appears in Smoke and Steam, the second anthology published by Corrugated Sky. In this one I get top billing. We’re calling them novellas because the stories are fairly long, and the book comes in at 260 pages. “Hekatite” takes place in the same universe as my forthcoming novel, Seacombe Island, and includes some of the same characters.

Writing the novella was a fairly straightforward plot, but it was an interesting way for me to fill in some of the backstory for the novel and figure out the dynamics between characters. As sometimes happens in writing, one of my secondary characters has become a favorite and is in danger of eclipsing my main character. But as I go through Seacombe with my final edits, I’m finding ways to strengthen the main character because I’ve finally figured out how some of the interactions need to take place.

What I need now is a good long vacation to deal with the task of writing, but unfortunately that isn’t going to happen. I’ve been using up my remaining vacation time a day here and a day there, and pretty much squandering any downtime by running house errands, and whether I travel or not, the holidays are not good writing time for me.

So, here we are nearly at the end of the year. My goals through the first week of January are to get at least halfway through Seacombe edits, finish four short articles on athlete bios for Salem press, and get back into research on my nonfiction book on Victorian detectives. And wrap up my author proposal for another book project. Not too many things, eh?