Read 'em and weep


Written on Friday, April 25, 2008 by haleigh

I'd like everyone to take a close look at the progress bar to the right. Then click on Christie's blog and take a look at her progress bar.

That's right......I'm ahead of Christie.

I know it won't last, but right now I'm so proud I can't even stand it. Marnee - you're still in the lead, but watch out!

So I read on all these blogs and read such wonderful authors and they're all pansters. It's very rare I come across another plotter.

And pansters always describe it in such romantic, literary terms. They get to watch a story unfold, they get to be surprised, they can let their characters grow and change!

I'm jealous of all this, I must say. So for the past few weeks, I've been working hard not to plot ahead. To just write, and let my characters follow their whim and take me where they will.

I wrote nothing.

Scratch that. I wrote a very odd scene where the hero pulls a gun out of his waistband and shoves it against the heroine's head.

Uh, not quite how I'd imagined their relationship developing.

So yesterday, I gave my students their second exam, which means I sit for an hour and a half and twiddle my thumbs, while watching for anything that might appear like cheating. And during this time, I decided to give in and plot. I had a legal pad and a pen and started writing. I filled four pages, with motivations and developments of all my main characters, including the bad guy who is working behind the scenes. I found ways out of all these out of sticky situations I'd been mired in. I even drew a little chart that used solid lines to connect my plot and dotted lines to connect my themes.

And I got home and started writing and was able to crack out 4,000 words in two evenings.

So, much to my efforts to the contrary, looks like I will remain a plotter.

Anyone else a plotter wishing they were a panster? Or a panster wishing they could plot?



Written on Sunday, April 20, 2008 by haleigh

Today, for the first time in over two weeks, I was actually able to write something that was mildly legible! Woohoo! All I managed to write was sex, but hey, that's still writing. Right?

* * * * * * * *
Shae opened the fridge and bent to grab beer bottles from the bottom shelf. The temptation to grab her from behind, push her up against the counter was overpowering. Bury himself inside that sweet body she’d been tempting him with all day and forget everything except her.

She bent farther to push aside the leftover’s from Maura’s lasagna to reach the beer. Without thinking, he stepped up behind her and rested a hand on the back waistband of her jeans.

She gasped and straightened, swung around to stare at him with wide eyes. He didn’t give her time to react or object. He grabbed her around the waist with both hands, pulled her body flush against his own, and took her mouth with his. His tongue slid into the sweet honey of her mouth and everything else ceased to matter.

He could feel the tension draining out of her body, as if she wanted to fight him but couldn’t keep up the ability to do so. Her body softened, sank into his. That was it. He slid his hands lower, to her hips, and pulled her against him. She was so soft, so warm. And that ass. All day he’d found his eyes drifting there and now...he ran his hands around to grab it, lifted her. Walking her backward, he lifted her onto the kitchen counter, stepped between her open thighs.

She moaned and pulled him closer, her fingers closing around his upper arms. She was kissing him back now, her tongue sliding against his. Christ. The intensity of his desire for her blew his mind. It was just like that morning, all he could focus on was the thought of stripping her down, spreading her legs, settling himself right there.

Her legs wound around his waist, pulled him against her, so tight that his cock was pushed against her center, so tight he could feel her heat through her jeans.

“Christ, Shae.” He dropped his mouth to her neck, her throat, raised a hand to cup her breast through her shirt. Nothing was sticking in his mind - there were fragments of thoughts about condoms and consent, but he couldn’t focus on anything except her breast, her lips.. “You’re sure?”

“Yeah.” Her voice was husky, her breath coming in gasps. Her fingers found the waistband of his jeans and popped the button.

A loose thought about condoms was still in his mind, but he couldn’t keep his attention there long enough to remember where he had put them. There was a pack somewhere. Bathroom? Bedroom? She pulled his zipper down, her fingertips brushing against his cock. Christ. Why weren't they in the kitchen?

“Come on.” He got his hands under her ass, pulled her off the counter, and carried her toward the bedroom. Her arms were around his neck and she was still kissing him. He caught his hip on the edge of the recliner, spun, kept walking. The feel of her mouth, her tongue...

He pushed her up against the wall between the bathroom and bedroom doors. Where the fuck had he left the condoms? Her hands were busy, pulling his shirt up, trying to get it out of the way. Then she got her own shirt off.

“What’s wrong?” she said.

He yanked down on one bra cup, enough to get access. “Condoms.”

“Under the sink.”

When he dragged his gaze from her breasts to her face, she was grinning, an impish, mischievous smile. “Glad I’m so curious now?”

* * * * * * * * *

Hopefully I can keep up the progress, though that's not a sure thing. Christie, Marnee - how are you guys doing? Anybody else break through this week?



Written on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 by haleigh

So who is making progress in this race of ours? Because I know it's not me! I got stuck somewhere around Sunday. I sat, staring at my computer, for five hours. In that time, I managed to flip through 800 channels, buy stuff I don't need online, and write exactly one paragraph.

I feel like giving myself a big thumbs down.

So while on this hiatus from any productive form of writing, I decided to take up my husband's hobby of watching TV. There are a couple shows I love, though I rarely end up sitting down to watch. Bones is one of them, and I watched a re-run from season one.

So Agent Booth (otherwise known as David Boreanaz, or Angel, or soooo hot) is stymied on an investigation. And he turns to Bones and says "I'm getting no where on this case. Usually by now I have a sense of the victim. I know what she likes, what motivates her, what she was thinking. I can't figure out who killed her if I don't know her."

(or he said something similar to that...)

Not that I want to compare my heroine to a murder victim, but it made sense. If I don't know her, more specifically if I don't know what motivates her, I have no idea how she would react in the situation I've shoved her into.

Hence: I'm stuck.

So I spent last night trying to get to know this girl. I've been having this sinking suspicion for the past few weeks that she's really a huge bitch. Turns out I was right. There are things about her that I don't like. I'm already finding myself trying to think of ways to redeem her by the end. I've been trying to convince her to act in a more responsible manner, be a bit nicer, be a bit less selfish. She disappeared and I've written a grand total of 500 words in a week. comes the bitch. I'm letting her out to play. She wants to save her job, and she has every intention of doing whatever that takes. Even if it means lying to the one man trying to help her, hiding evidence he needs for his investigation, and (inadvertently) putting innocent lives on the line.

Maybe she'll redeem herself, maybe I'll still want to punch her in the jaw in the end. I guess we'll see.

Anybody else have a character they can't control? I feel like I'm trying to discipline a two year old or a small puppy. I put one hand on my hip, point the other to her nose, and say "Young lady, you will start following orders and stop caring so much about your damn job."

She wrinkles up said nose, flips her hair, and next time I see her, she's dancing with some strange guy at Eugene's (or whatever they're calling that club nowadays).

Christie, Marnee Jo, anybody are you guys coming? Christie, I noticed you took down your word counter. Don't make me waggle my finger in front of your nose too! How are you coming?

Chapter 1....take 2


Written on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 by haleigh

So in thinking about characterization, I realized I did not know my heroine well enough to continue writing. So I decided to crawl around in her skin for a while, and this is what came out. I'm reading this book called "Setting and Description" (yes! A whole book devoted to how to show, not tell!) and I think I took it to far.

Shae McCrary let her head fall back, closed her eyes, and waited for the beat of the music to seep through her, to fill her until her entire body moved in a timeless rhythm. Strobe lights flashed, their cadence matched to the music, illuminating the backs of her eyelids for a brief second before snatching it back away, as if even her own body lit up from the inside in time with the music. The bass drummed under her feet, pushing her into movement, her hips swaying first left and then right, her arms drawing over her head without any conscious effort on her part.

Sweat cooled on the back of her neck and her chest. Her face felt flushed, though that could have been the exertion or the vodka. Thump, thump, thump. Her body moved and all of it faded: the close press of other bodies, the dull roar of voices straining be heard above the music, the scent that stuck in the back of her throat of someone near her wearing too much perfume.

It was here she could turn her mind off, empty it, let the stress of the day drain out of her in time to the latest pop icon up on the stage. Let the alcohol thicken her blood and dull the reminders of just how badly she had fucked up her life.

It wasn’t working.

Hands skimmed her waist and she opened her eyes. Marc? John? Whatever he had said his name was, he was cute. Flashes of light illuminated surfer hair and green eyes. He smiled and his hands slid to circle her rib cage. Maybe that’s what she needed tonight. He looked like he could get the job done.

Matthew, maybe?

She realized what he was going to do a second before he did it, his head dipping and his lips touching the side of her throat. She sighed, snaked her arms around his neck and let the first languid tendrils of heat slide through her.

But her mind refused to cease its torment. Snippets of words replayed themselves over and over again. One week....salvage your career...facts, not conjuncture....find yourself in Sheboygan writing the local gossip column about who gave Big Bertha the bad perm!

The beat changed, the music shifting into something with Latin undertones. It didn’t matter. She could plunk herself into a vat of vodka, flood her body with music so loud it burst her eardrums or have mindless, anonymous sex with whatever-his-name-was. It wasn’t going to change anything, but pile on more consequences of one stupid decision made after another. She smiled at her date and stood on her toes to yell ‘thanks for the dance’ into his ear.

He made a grab for her hand as she turned and walked away. She dodged him, but it wouldn’t have mattered. The crowd swallowed them each, sweeping them in opposite directions. It propelled her through the mass, past sweaty bodies and waving limbs. Someone’s elbow landed in her ribs - a twenty-something in a tube top who didn’t miss a beat. Shae skirted a bare shoulder and a leather-covered knee before spilling out the door into the chilly, laden air of Manhattan.

A taxi flew past, a yellow blur, shooting a wall of water toward her. She jerked back, one foot in mid-air, and somehow managed to not get sloshed. The air was still heavy under the weight of the storm that had passed through that afternoon, mist clinging to her bare arms, and warm, choking steam puffing up from the subway grates.

She walked West, sticking close to the buildings to avoid the wake caused by taxis taking advantage of the abandoned streets to fly from one red stoplight to the next. Or as abandoned as the streets of Manhattan could be, even at two in the morning.

Her head spun, after effects of the alcohol, as she put one foot in front of the other. A jacket would have been smart, or telling Analise she was leaving, or even getting into a taxi herself. But her apartment was only a few more blocks. She stepped around a group of laughing girls who looked too young to be out on a school night. Jazz music poured from a bar, and patrons still swaying to the beat cluttered the doorway to smoke.

Two more blocks and she was inside. As soon as the door to her building’s foyer locked behind her, she slipped off her heels. She went barefoot up the three flights of stairs and once she made it into her apartment, sank back against the closed door.

If she lost this job...

She straightened up and pushed at the fear trying to clog her throat. That wouldn’t happen. It couldn’t. She dropped her shoes on the floor, pulled her ID and money from her bra and set those on the table bedside the door.

She just need a plan. She stripped her slinky, silver top over her head as she walked to the bedroom and let it fall on the floor. Her jeans followed, then her jewelry. A plan that could salvage both her career and her reputation. She yanked on a pair of men’s boxer shorts and a tank top and piled her hair on top of her head. A plan that wouldn’t send her scurrying back to Wisconsin, her tail tucked between her legs, investigating abandoned jet skis on Lake Michigan.

She flipped on the stereo in the living room and grabbed the plastic bottle of cranberry juice out of the fridge. There was still a bottle of vodka somewhere in the back of her freezer. Bag of peas, pizza, pork chops she had bought on sale in an effort to learn how to cook, French fries, there it was. A half-full bottle of Stoli’s. She poured both into a plastic cup - almost half and half - and took a swig.

A plan...

Bad feng shui, that was the problem. The couch should be under the windows and the TV should definitely be against the far wall. Better lighting there - no glare. She refilled her cup and carried it around while she pushed the couch. The wooden foot caught the edge of the rug. She grunted as her stomach hit the armrest, her body’s momentum continuing despite the couch’s abrupt halt, the contents of her cup sloshing over her hand.

“Stupid rug,” she muttered as she strained to left the edge of the couch. Maybe she just needed a new rug. This one was beige with deep red flowers - she must have been in a much better mood when she bought it then she was now.

It took two more drinks and the armchair against three different walls before she could close her eye without panicking. She crawled into bed and pulled the down comforter to her chin. Tomorrow, she’d come up with a plan.

Description to the point of boredom?