Unfortunately, blogs don’t count towards daily word quotas

WIP update: I’m 8,400 words in, and stumbling through Chapter 3. I also injected additional material into Chapter 2 and need to shuffle some stuff from 2 to 1. It’s not exactly revising, but it’s not exactly progressing either. So I’m trying to make sure I allot most of my daily word quota to moving forward through my outline. That April deadline is looking less and less likely, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop aiming for it!

To my credit, I am writing steadily, if not quickly. Last night I almost went to bed without finishing (or really even starting) my quota, just because I was so exhausted. Well, okay, I did go to bed. I shut down my computer, moved Riley to Andy’s side, and even got settled under the nice warm covers. But my guilt wouldn’t let me sleep. So I got back out and wrote. Darn you, conscience!

(Or really: thank you, conscience!)

I am still tired, though, so I’ve only got 2 thoughts for you today:


On Wednesday night, a girlfriend and I went to see Valentine’s Day. From a writing standpoint, there were a lot of problems. The ideas were good, but the execution was mediocre/rushed, probably because there were so many storylines. But overall I enjoyed the film, and I did guffaw embarrassingly on several occasions.

My favorite storyline was actually the one featuring Eric Dane, aka McSteamy from Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t want to give it away, so I’ll just say that it was unexpected and refreshing and really well done.


There are a lot of writing rules. Don’t start with conjuctions. Show, don’t tell. Always kill off a character. Never kill off a character. So on and so forth.

I think it’s good to know the “rules,” but I think it’s also good to break them sometimes. Because really they’re just guidelines, meant to help beginning writers develop their skills to a point where they (the writer, not the rules) are good enough. Good enough that a reader won’t care if they start a sentence with “And,” or tell us how the villain felt, or kill off a character and then bring him back to life. Or whatever.

Along those lines, Natalie Whipple held a contest this week, challenging people to start a story with weather. (Another no-no.) The results were pretty awesome. My favorite was the first place winner; I thought her story was incredible. So much packed into so few words! I was also quite impressed with the 12 year old girl who received honorable mention. Her first line definitely hooked me, and then there was a melancholy, contemplative tone that made me sympathize with the main character. Click here to read the stories. (They’re short, only 250 words each!)

All right, I’m headed home (from my Panera office) to play with my dog, read, and probably nap. Peace out, cub scout!

Like this:



On laughing, and doing things backward


Why Sandra Bullock gives me hope


  1. I thought Valentine’s Day wasn’t bad. The multiple storylines didn’t bother me, probably because I read (and write) fantasy, and that happens a ton. My favorite character was Bradley Cooper’s, for sure.

    Regarding the “rules” … well, no one ever had fun following the rules, did they? I think one of the biggest ways we writers find our voice is deciding we’re going to do things OUR way. It’s a huge self-esteem thing, totally naturally, and should be encouraged. People get so nervous about the rules, sometimes, that it drives me nuts. Just write@!!

  2. I’m excited you’re getting those words down! slow and steady wins the race.
    .-= • Recent post by Sarah Wedgbrow: Sleep on it… =-.

  3. Here’s one that gets broken all the time and truly annoys me (besides comma rules – don’t get me started about that): don’t split infinitives.

    And I love starting with conjunctions. So I won’t stop. And I mean never! But I understand that it annoys some people. And I love it when it annoys those who SPLIT INFINITIVES.

    .-= • Recent post by Sonja: In which I make six spring rolls =-.

  4. “Peace out, cub scout!” That saying made my day! You’re a life saver, Kristan! : )
    .-= • Recent post by Kimberly Franklin: Your Attention Please =-.

  5. Todd-
    The idea of multiple storylines doesn’t bother me (see: Love Actually, and to a lesser extent He’s Just Not That Into You) but I think they may have had one or two too many. That said, they did a pretty good job allotting the right percentage of time to each one.

    Yeah, I’m the tortoise that always wants to be the hare. :P

    Haha. I have to admit, I’m guilty of that a lot. But since becoming more conscious of it, I’ve definitely cut down!

    Glad I made your day twice then! ;D

  6. I totally agree that we need to learn the rules and then break them. There are some GREAT books out there that are all told and not shown. In fact, it gets on my nerves when people in my writers group insist that everything be a scene. There is a place for summary. I just read a whole memoir told in summary (An Education), and it was great.
    .-= • Recent post by Meghan Ward: iPad prophecy and why I’m not blogging =-.

  7. I really liked the 1st place and Honorable Mention pieces, too :)

  8. By the way, what’s wrong with writing about the weather? I’d never heard that before. I think that writing about weather can be very important, especially in an atmospheric story (pun intended but also not intended, if you know what I mean).
    .-= • Recent post by Sonja: In which I make six spring rolls =-.

  9. “It was a dark and stormy night.” Heck, it worked for snoopy and look how well he did! I’ve also nominated you for an award over on my blog. Come check it out! http://jayeckert.blogspot.com/2010/03/creative-writer-blogger-award.html
    .-= • Recent post by Jay Eckert: Creative Writer Blogger Award =-.

  10. I did quite enjoy Love, Actually but let’s face it, anyone in that film could act the pants off Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Alba. Hugh Grant’s discarded toenail would have been more believable as a flower shop owner.

    I’m not saying a person couldn’t have appreciated the multiple storylines, or that I’m super-special for not getting bugged by it… especially since I was ultimately bugged by it. While the last couple of scenes (not involving Kutcher & Garner) were touching, they were a little too “gotcha” for me.

    By the way, it might seem like I have something against Ashton, but when you call someone the Twitter Jesus that gives you a free pass to bash them for the remainder of the year.
    .-= • Recent post by Todd Newton: Fantasy Covers =-.

  11. Meghan-
    Seriously. Exposition is not necessarily evil. Just like adverbs!

    Sorry, it’s not that you can’t write about the weather, but nowadays supposedly you’re not supposed to start with weather. The whole “It was a dark and stormy night” thing. Apparently it’s cliché and thus evil. {shrug}

    Snoopy is the man! (Er, the dawg.) Thanks! I’ll be over in a hop, skip, and a jiffy!

    LOL Hugh Grant’s discarded toenail. There’s a visual I didn’t need. A-Kutch is not usually my fave, but I thought he was “aight.” J-Alb is so pretty it’s like who even cares what she does, lol. Honestly, for me that might have been part of the charm: so many pretty, or at least familiar, faces, that I was kind of awed. I thought Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Hector Elizondo, and the little boy were pretty quality.

  12. Albie

    they’re more like “guidelines”… lol sounds like pirates of the carrib :P

  13. Congrats on getting your words down. That’s a great feeling. And yes, Natalie’s contest did get some awesome entries. You have a great blog here, and I just wanted to let you know that I’m here following your from Kimberly Franklin’s.

  14. Albie-
    Just call me Jack Sparrow.

    Sarah Jayne-
    Aw, thanks for stopping in! :D

  15. Jon

    If blogs don’t count in terms of daily quotas I am totally behind this week! Oh well, writing this week, with all that has been going on, has been near impossible. Good to hear you have that work ethic. Much kudos.
    .-= • Recent post by Jon: Stephenie Meyer vs. Just a Writer =-.

  16. I need to go to a novel writing workshop. Don’t know any story rules, only grammar rules. And, I like breaking those ; -)

  17. Jon-
    Ooo, what’s been going on? (Or will you blog about it?)

    While I don’t think you *need* it per se, I actually think you would quite enjoy a writing workshop. :) I met a woman at the Kenyon workshop that reminded me of you, actually, and we loved her.

  18. Good for you! after a major productive streak came to an end a couple weeks back I have been struggling – as you know – to get back into it (yes, still). 500 words. 500 words. I am going to keep telling myself that.
    .-= • Recent post by Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist: Reading is Fun! (I feel like a 3rd grade teacher as I write this.) =-.

  19. I’m a Panera writer too! I work from home so it’s fun to switch up my office. Plus, bagels are really good.
    .-= • Recent post by Samantha Bennett: Detail Disoriented =-.

  20. Rebecca-
    You can do it!

    I’m a big fan of the quiches and mango smoothies. ;)

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