Writing 101 Challenge: Day 1

Day 1 Writing 101 Blog Post

I’ve been MIA for a couple months. The good news is that I’ve been deeply involved in revisions on my novel KAOS. The bad news is that I’ve hopelessly lost track of my blog.

Imagine my joy when WORDPRESS announced it’s latest blog challenge, WRITING 101.  For the next thirty (30) day, the intent is to focus on writing craft and skill building but also to establish a regular posting routine for the blog.

Participants will respond to a daily prompt and will have the option to post what we’ve written or not. I’ve decided that, since I’m still in revisions, I will mostly update my daily progress. From time to time, I may actually post what I’ve written on any given day — like today.

Today’s challenge: free write for 20 minutes. In my novel, KAOS, I’ve been struggling to create a scene that demonstrates my male protag’s state of mind prior to the inciting incident. I think I’ve finally settled on a plan.  Disclaimer:  this is a very raw sample. 

Micah lingered behind as the last of corp team dispersed to their assigned posts in the park. Rita Morgan, Homeland Security rep had a hand on the knob when Micah called out.

“Rita,” his voice hoarse and low.

Her head came up like a deer scenting danger. She refused to look around at his call but a visible shutter ran over her body. Micah found himself right behind her without any conscious recollection of how he came to be there. He was close enough to see the sudden pimpling of the skin on the back of her neck.

“What do you want, Detective Hughes?” her voice low and husky, she turned slightly, her eyes lifted only as far as his chin.

Micah smiled grimly to himself. He was surprised by the look of fear on her face. It vanished as soon as it appeared but Micah had seen it. He hoped he threatened her. Her body told him that she was every bit as acutely aware of him and he was of her.

“What’s your rush?” Micah lightly touched her elbow and another cold draft of satisfaction washed through him at the aroused catch in her breath.

“My ‘rush’ as you call,” she made a half-hearted attempt to snatch her arm out of his grasp. “Is that we have a job to do. Right outside that door.”

“We’ve got a few minutes,” Micah insisted. “You’re looking good, Rita. When can I see you again?”

“The last time you “saw” me, you snuck out of my apartment and I didn’t hear from you for six weeks.”

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Hello 2014 – The Year of Favor

The year of 2013 year is almost gone. . . it really doesn’t seem as if we’ve just walked through another 365 days.  I’d declared 2013 as my year of purposeful living and writing, believing that expectations have a lot to do with what happens to us in life.  If we work and operate through our daily lives as if we CAN, we WILL accomplish our goals.

I tried to apply this concept to all aspects of my life:

Purposely completing at least one of the four novels I’ve been working on

Purposely pursuing whatever I needed to do in order to fulfill my dreams of becoming a published author

Purposely making my health a priority

Purposely taking responsibility for my own happiness

The results were mixed but overall, I have been really pleased with 2013!

1.  I applied for, was accepted to, and completed my first writing workshop in January.  VONA was a life altering experience and I would encourage all writers of color to experience this at least once.

2. My short story, The Gazebo won an award in Southern Writer’s Magazine.  Another short, Night Fishing, has been accepted into an anthology and is scheduled for publication in mid-2014.

3.  I’m a NaNoWriMo 2013 Winner!  I completed about 52K words towards my novel, KAOS in November and then finished a completed draft by Mid-December.  I’m currently in revisions with that story, making steady progress.

2014 feels ripe with possibilities and I’m eagerly anticipating each one.  In keeping with last year’s theme, 2014 has been declared The Year of Living in Favor.  Remember those expectations I mentioned earlier?  Well, the level of favor we experience in life rises in accordance with our level of expectation.

I’m expecting that each of you will have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!  I’m looking forward to our journey together in 2014.

Angelyn

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KAOS: an introduction

Revisions are underway and on schedule for my debut novel, KAOS.

I am really pleased with how the story continues to unfold and I’m having loads of fun organizing and fine-tuning each scene.

I promised a back cover blurb and you’ll find it below but I must admit, this was harder than I could have predicted. Summarizing a 200-300 page novel into a few paragraphs is definitely NOT one of my strong suits.

So, I’m asking, in my sweetest voice, that those of you who’ve done this before, please review and then offer helpful feedback on how to make this stronger.

Also, to readers, you know what encourages you to pick up or download a new book, help your girl out.  Can you tell me what works  for you and what doesn’t?

Thank you!

KAOS:  A novel by Angelyn Sherrod

America is under siege and the enemy is within.

The Brotherhood of Zion’s Call, self-proclaimed Lords of Chaos, a shadowy group of anti-government conspirators, has declared war on the United States.  Unlike other anti-government, segregationist hate groups, this one has no face . . . only deadly violence and a single-minded determination to bring America to its knees.

In the aftermath of a deadly sniper attack, the only witness to the group’s leadership and ultimate endgame, Ima De Costas, mysteriously disappears from the hospital hours after being admitted. 

Memphis police detective Micah Langston Hughes and his team, along with support from Homeland Security and the FBI, is tasked to investigate.  Their investigation leads to the obvious conclusion that Ms. De Costas, a political consultant to a presidential candidate and former Air Force officer, may not have been a victim or a witness after all . . . but a conspirator.

As further attacks take place and the death toll rises, can Micah discover the true enemy in time to stop a treachery so violent, it could de-stabilize the American government?

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The Cowardly Novelist

You know, most of the time,  I think of myself as Superwoman; the whys of which I’ll save for a different post.  But today, I looked in the mirror and you know what I saw?

YELLOW!

Yep, I’m a coward.

This may sound harsh but I really want to move past this bit of self-destructive habit.

When there’s something I want, REALLY want, no one ever knows.  It goes under ground.  Buried.  This action is fear-based.  Fear of what?  Failure?  Success?  Both?  Who knows?

The point is that it’s destructive and counter-productive.  While I’m working so hard to keep my desires, hopes and dreams buried, I’m wasting energy that could be used to bright them to fruition.

So, here’s what I’ve been hiding:  I finished the first draft of my novel, KAOS.  A fully formed beginning, middle and end!  Beginning to end completed in less than six weeks!

That’s a big, freaking deal!  And I was/am so very proud and pleased to have produced it.  From just the seed of an idea, I now have a 200+ page manuscript.

You wouldn’t know it though, cause I’ve been sitting on this piece of awesomeness since Saturday past!

See, if I acknowledge that it’s done, that sets up expectations and trust me when I say, my own expectations are set higher than any of my worst critic.  If I can’t pull it off, during the revisions process . . .  well,  again, another post.

I am publicly calling myself out because I refuse to allow fear and insecurity to cause this story to be buried for another two, three or more years.  KAOS is a damn good story (*that’s Superwoman speaking; she just swept THE COWARD to the corner*) and while it may or may not be your cup of tea, it’s a story I’ve been called to tell and that makes it all right.

So, here’s the plan and I asking for your help:  I am in the process of setting up a revisions schedule that I hope to complete by the weekend.  At that point, I’ll prepare regular updates, probably weekly, just to keep me on track.   Most of the research has been done, so I really should be able to let my creativity flow in the next few months.  The thing that The Coward does not want me to see is that the hard work is already done.  This first revision should be pure pleasure as I explore different ways to present the story and keep up with the various plot twists and turns that my agile mind has already created.

I’m working on a sort of back cover blurb and my tag line and will share that with you soon.  Y’all, I mean YOU, please call me on my shit.  If you haven’t heard from me in more than a week, let me hear it with both barrels, because it means that I’ve let the other set up residence again.

For those of you who’ve already produced/published manuscripts, how do you work through your anxieties?  I’d love to hear them.

Soon!

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Day 27: NaNoWriMo Winner

Yippee!

I met the 50K word challenge!  Three days early! Man, this feels good.

I still have quite a ways to go but these last 27 days have helped me see that I can write daily, despite the demands of my day-to-day life.

Even if I choose not to produce the same healthy word counts, I have carved space into my life that allows for the daily production of SOMETHING.  My too-live-crew, otherwise known as “the family” give me peace and quiet when I retire to my office to “get my words in”  with minimal resentment of having to lose my attention for a few hours.

I’m not quite ready for revisions,  I want to get a complete draft down before going back in from the beginning.  I still need to block a few things but I am definitely well into the second act.  The murky middle doesn’t feel as murky as before I started.

Anyway, this is Thanksgiving Eve and my presence is required in my kitchen.  I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to my friends (you know who you are) who have cheerleadered me on this entire month.  I’m only now recognizing that evening phone calls and chats have been kept to a minimum . . . thank you.

Also thanks to new and established WORDPRESS friends.  Your comments  and really, just your presence and willingness to read through these daily posts have inspired me more than I can express . . . thank you.

I pray that each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, that family drama is left at the curb, that the turkey is tender and juicy and that you leave credit cards in your wallet/purses when you head out for Black Friday shopping.

Have an awesome weekend.

Angelyn

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Day 26: L’amour

Ah, l’amour, l’amour!

LAWD hav mercy! 

I figured out how to get those two together.

**fanning**

I was having so much fun that I almost met the 50K challenge today.  I’ll probably keep going through the 30th, however, just to maintain my momentum before I start the rigorous process of revisions.

Today’s word count: 3569

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Day 25: still no sex

Y’know, it’s kinda hard to have a sex scene when I can’t figure out how to get two people together in the same room at the same time?

Furthermore, it doesn’t help that she’s a fugitive and he’s the cop huntin’ her ass!

I can’t stand contrived love/sex scenes.  This is probably why I’ve never successfully crafted a romance novel.  Falling madly in love and planning a life long commitment within twenty-four hours of meeting each other strikes me as utterly ridiculous.

A drunken grope against a wall outside a bar?  That’s doable.  Okay, so I’ve heard . . .

Anyway, I do want this couple to have a happily-ever-after . . . eventually.  But it will take far longer than the 72 hours that I plan to cover in this manuscript.  Not to mention that both characters are emotionally closed, for different reasons.  And though emotions are heightened as a result of the danger they face, it’s not the stuff of longevity.

The seed has already been planted for a follow-up story featuring both protags.  Perhaps I could grow their love across the arc of three books and not just this first one; because two books does not a series make.

I need to get through this one first.  As I’m typing, the idea of grief sex just popped into my head.  I said SEX, not love.

Today’s word count 2223

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