Kenny & Kristi


My writing output seems to drop in direct correlation to any increase in blog reading. That’s a problem, I know — but if I don’t take the time to read a few blogs, how can I expect anyone to read mine?

Besides, if I stopped reading, I’d miss out on gems like this one from Janice Hardy’s blog, The Other Side of the Story. She writes:

Choices that don’t cause trouble are wasted opportunity. The whole point of a book is to show someone overcoming adversity to win. If there’s nothing to overcome, there’s no point in the winning.”

What a way to put it!

It’s no secret that I struggle with conflict. (I blame it on being a Libra. Libras strive for fairness and avoid conflict.) Judges’ comments I got on my first completed MS — even after several new drafts — consistently said “not enough conflict to sustain the story.”

What? You mean a girl falling for one guy when she’s trying to “snag” another one altogether isn’t conflict?

Not according to Hardy. She writes, “A choice between two good things with no consequences for making that choice is probably not going to hold your reader’s interest.”

Well, I already knew Brad and Erin’s story needed help. I tried to remedy it in subsequent drafts by casting suspicion on him … I even hacked out their original “black moment” (such as it was. The “Battle of the Birth Control” was pretty silly when I look back at it with a more experienced eye.)

The key for me is to remember that my hero and heroine have to make choices. And those choices have to mean something. The potential for disaster should loom around every corner.

I think that is the case in my more recent stories. Bethany’s decision to talk Cody into applying for the TV show lands them in a heap of trouble. When Kenny asks Kristi to pretend to be his fiancee, things get out of hand quickly.

Hmm. All my blog reading must be teaching me something about the craft.

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Guess I’m an overachiever: I hit my NaNo goal tonight.

The story’s not quite finished, though. I probably have another 5K to write. For a few moments, however, I’m going to revel in the accomplishment.

That’s it for now. After writing a couple thousand words  today, I’m fresh out. I’ll leave you with this sight worth  celebrating:

Isn’t that a song title?

More importantly, it’s where my NaNo novel is as of tonight. Yes, I crossed the 25,000-word mark … important because 25,000 is half of 50,000. See, Ma? Even though I’m a writer, I can do math! 😉 That’s important because it means I’m halfway finished.

My stats, so far:

  • Words Written Today — 2233
  • Suggested Daily Word Count — 1667
  • Cumulative Word Count — 25164
  • Current Day — 11
  • Suggested Cumulative Word Count — 18334
  • Average Words per Day — 2288
  • At This Rate You Will Finish On — Nov 22 (Oh, if only I could keep up this pace and finish before Thanksgiving!)
  • Days Remaining — 19
  • Total Words Remaining — 24836 (less than I’ve already written …) 😉
  • Words per Day to Finish on Time — 1308

Pretty nice, eh?

I keep comparing this year’s experience to last year’s, though. In 2009, I signed up for the NaNo for the first time with the intention of writing 40,000 words to finish my 90,000-word manuscript. By the end of November, I’d only written about 25,000 words.

While that was 25,000 words I didn’t already have — and I finished that MS a couple of weeks later, before Christmas — I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped.

Tonight, I sit here having already written as much as I did all month long last year. It’s a heady feeling, but a little worrisome all the same.

Is what I’m writing now any good? Or am I writing too quickly, meaning I’ll have to go back and throw three-quarters of it out when I start editing?

Maybe my speed has something to do with starting with a blank slate. Sure, Kenny and Kristi have been bouncing around in my head for years, but I only wrote one scene in which they made an appearance — and that was told from someone else’s POV (Kenny’s brother Brad, the hero in my first book).

Or maybe I’m just in better (writing) shape this year. I have been putting in a lot of practice since January. (More than 120,000 words written since Jan. 19 — and that’s without my NaNo count.)

On the plus side, Kenny & Kristi finally did the deed today. (And yes, I wrote the scene @ Starbucks. Oh, if anyone peeked over my shoulder at the screen, they would have been embarrassed … Or maybe I would have been embarrassed. Someone’s cheeks would have been cherry red, for sure.) 😉

Sometimes, the timing’s just not right.

After trying again — unsuccessfully — to get Kenny and Kristi to cooperate with my plan, I decided they just weren’t ready yet.

I moved past it, getting them off the couch. Now the story’s flowing right along. I already have 1,000+ words for the day. Hope to get another couple hundred before bed tonight.

I’ve come to that point in my story: You know, the one where my characters stop doing what they’re told.

That’s right. Although I  want them to, my hero and heroine stubbornly refuse to do the deed.

I had them right where I wanted them — alone on the couch at Kristi’s house. I even managed to initiate some hand-to-knee contact (his hand, her knee). But they refused to cooperate by going any further.

Sighing, Iput my computer to sleep for the night. When I woke up with a renewed desire to finish my scene, Kenny and Kristi still wouldn’t play ball.

I’ve already mentioned that I tend to write better sex scenes in a public place. I packed up my computer and headed off to the Barnes & Noble Cafe in hopes that they’d be more in the mood.

Even there, they refused to oblige my whim. Finally, I gave up and scrolled back a few pages to work on other scenes.

My theory is that they’re just not ready yet — even if I am. Perhaps if I add another few scenes between there (the moment they started getting hot for each other) and here (where they’re on the couch, being stubborn), they’ll actually start to behave the way I want them to.

A writer can dream, right? 😉

I'm ready — are you?

So far, work on the NaNo novel is going swimmingly. Not only did I cross the 10,000-word mark today (11,087), my hero and heroine had their first heavy makeout scene (followed closely by their first fight).

The handy NaNo stats page assures me I’m making great progress, averaging 2,772 words per day:

Current Day  — 4

Total Words Remaining — 38,913

Days Remaining — 26
This is my favorite stat so far: Words per Day to Finish on Time — 1,497

That’s right. Less than 1,500. I no longer need to log that magical 1,667 words per day to hit my 50,000-word target. If I keep producing a few hundred extra words a day for the next week or so, I’ll be sitting pretty when those Thanksgiving holidays roll around.
On a somewhat related note, I find myself disturbed on two counts:
  1. I seem to end up writing some of my most sizzling sex scenes in a public place.
  2. My characters tend to get it on — at least for the first time — in a vehicle of some sort. (Today it was Kenny’s Ford Explorer.)

I guess that’s fodder for another post, though. 😉

I’m setting this blog post to publish at 12:01 a.m. (I think), so I won’t be lying — and I won’t have to miss out on prime noveling time to post!

Kenny and Kristi — and their quirky, wonderful love story — are beginning to take shape.

This is going to be a blast! 😉

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