STUDY HALL: Write with us, beginning each Monday at 10 a.m.!

IMG_0259We check In each Monday here to give each other support and encouragement to work in those writing projects we might otherwise put off. Everyone is invited to join us by including below a brief comment about what you’re working on today. Afterward, please let us know how it went. If you can’t make it at 10 a.m., leave your comments when you can, before you start, by the Study Hall post dated today. Better late than never, better now than not at all!

Simone the Yorkie says, “We’re here for you!

Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, August 22, 2016: Clip Art

It’s cut and paste time for my new novel. Any large project can get a bit out of whack: scenes out of place, sketchy “bridge” material where you didn’t quite know how to write, and so on. In a multilinear novels with more than one voice and thread, this can happen times seven.


So the easiest thing for me is to print out the novel, separate it by chapter on the flooor, read each chapter, cross out what doesn’t work, and cut out the good parts. Then I attach the clipped bits to new paper with tape, move them around till I’m satisfied, and voila! A new improved draft. From there it’s easy to move the offending parts around in the word processing software until I’m satisfied, and then to rewrite portions, especially the bridge material that opens and ends chapters. 

However, I can’t do that today because I don’t have a printer. I will next week, though. So for today I’m off into fantasy land with new material for the short story collection I call, Space Walk

Love and luck to you all, whatever you’re doing today. Leave me a note to let me know, will you? 

Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, August 15, 2016: Cafe Day

One of my favorite ways to do Study Hall is Cafe Day. Why? Because it gets me out of the house but the goal is to keep writing.

Not every task works well for Cafe Day, though. I find that I can edit, look for consistencies, write a quick first draft, even draft a new scene while sipping my Chai Latte and watching the world go by. However, there is no getting in the zone, or deep explorations of character or last draft editing possible within earshot of easy distractions. 

That’s how it is for me. I know writers who can write through a thunderstorm punctuated by a rousing game of hide and seek in the family room and a delivery at the front door every fifteen minutes, and still stay in the zone. Not me. I need a little more space and quiet to be really there, immersed and writing my heart out. 

Today, I am drafting and redrafting scenes where I have a strong notion of where we’re going, and I’m not yet in final or even hold-on-maybe-that’s-it draft. So it’s off to my favorite watering hole in Dodge City, where I can hide in a corner and still have that lovely Chai Latte. 

What are you doing today? 

Proud Gypsy Traveller: What’s in a Name

We Roma are a continuing lesson in why it is important that people define themselves. Many people confuse us with an attitude, a lifestyle, or simply with anyone who bears behavior that fits their stereotypes. But we are not confused.

This exhibit shows you why.

http://www.proudgypsytraveller.co.uk

Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, August 8, 2016: Whoaa, Nellie!

Do you get distracted when you write? I do.

The act of writing itself brings up ideas like a percolating coffee pot so that I’m flooded with new stories, poems, even novel ideas. And then, there’s life. Living in Kansas for a while has given me the need to put horses in everything I write. A new essay about living idealism? Sure, there are metaphors about white knights and riding to the rescue. You see what I mean. It’s solely because there are horses down the street from me in both directions, and many in my way to and from everyday errands, so I am always admiring them, talking to them, watching their nuzzling companionship. But do I really need to make horse story every project? Nope.

What to do? Well, I have a stable that’s a center of action for one new novel, so I’m trying to pour all my horse preoccupations there, and let the rest go.

Of course the more I write about the Romanies I know, the more horses crop up, because I’ve never met a Romani person  who doesn’t love horses. (Many of our families have traditionally bred or trained or shoed horses.) But that’s a horse of a different color, so to speak. Horses there are not extraneous. 

So today, off to work on a novel set in Chicago with nary a horse in sight. Unless, perhaps, a Chicago policeman riding a horse is needed. . . . 

 

Who could resist talking to her? We used to call these milk horses.

 
 

Horses in corrals like this are eveywhere in Kansas.

 
 

These two remind me of James Wright’s poem. Do you know it?

 
A Blessing 

BY JAMES WRIGHT

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota, 

Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass. 

And the eyes of those two Indian ponies 

Darken with kindness. 

They have come gladly out of the willows 

To welcome my friend and me. 

We step over the barbed wire into the pasture 

Where they have been grazing all day, alone. 

They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness   

That we have come. 

They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other. 

There is no loneliness like theirs.   

At home once more, 

They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.   

I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms, 

For she has walked over to me   

And nuzzled my left hand.   

She is black and white, 

Her mane falls wild on her forehead, 

And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear 

That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist. 

Suddenly I realize 

That if I stepped out of my body I would break 

Into blossom.
There. That’s enough horses for today. Back to work. 

Write With Me! Study Hall, Monday, July 25, 2016: Escape Valve Needed!

Living with two very large dogs and two busy humans sometimes leaves little room for writing. Big dogs don’t ask for attention, they demand.

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So today, I’m headed to my favorite coffee house to do a little concentrated scene revision. In particular, I’m inserting some scene work about two characters’ favorite books and what they mean to them, and working the two bookstore cats into more scenes. In this way, a) I’m deepening the character descriptions; and b) creating continuity for readers. And what could be more fun than writing about favorite books and cats! (Of course, there will be some autobiographical choices of book favorites and memories about wonderful cats I have known, because I’m the author, and why not?)

So I’m off to Cup 0’Jones in Dodge City to sink into some deep writing. img_4497How about you? Please let us know what you’re up to today.

If you’ve been lurking for a while, check in, why don’t you? 

Short Stories Should Work Toward the Mysterious? 

Short stories are still very hard for me to write, which is why I keep trying to write them. This interview with Joy Williams I found very challenging. In fact, I’m not sure that I understood a word she said at an operational level. Which is why I will try a few of her tips and see if they help me with this obstinate (for me) genre. 

What do you think of her advice and comments in the interview? 

Joy Williams on writing short stories

Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, July 18: Weather (and other stuff) Happens

Hi, All, 

Kansas weather in the summer is like a melting Popsicle struck by lightening. Kinsley, where I am at present, is the exact middle of the country, which means every weather system that is produced anywhere on the continent at least has an intention to make it thus far, and many do. 

This is my way of saying, today I am in fibromyalgia hell, and thus late with everything. In fact, I’m still in bed and I write you from my cosy sheets and blankets. (One of the side effects is I’m freezing in the middle of a heat spell.)  

 But I will STILL get hands on my manuscript today, and I urge you to do the same. Because that’s what successful writers do. We are the creative equivalent of the postal service: Gotta do it, no matter what. Or, you can take a tip from the crows, who have all that corn to steal, and never quit. 

Of course, now and then life throws us a curve, but if we’re ready to write everyday, we should be able to write MOST days. And that’s all we need to get things done.

Love and respect to you from the middle of the country. Now, ready, set, GO. 

Always, Glenda

Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, July 11,2016: Express Yourself

Hello, everyone! Are you ready for the next step in your writing? 

Samantha and I are in the hospital for minor surgery, but we are talking writing and I’m ready to fill my waiting time with work on the new novels. See us preparing to work below?

The novel is largely set in a bookstore and today I’m amping up the descriptions. One fun background motif for the store is the two cats who languish and play there: Ishtar the Luxurious and Jericho the Magnificent. They are cool observers of the passions going on around them. 

Whatever you’re writing today, I hope you have as much fun expressing your self as my cousin did in the photo at the top of this post. 

As always, let us know what your goal is today, and how it’s gone.

Write With Me! Study Hall, Monday, July 4th, 2016: The Season of Generosity

  What, me take a day off? If only my brain would. Alas, it pours out ideas at the least opportune times, such as in the middle of family dinner–a prime source of inspiration, family–or in the doctor’s waiting room. What if my calm, sensible doctor met my wildly dramatic cousin at a beachside bar? That sort of thing.

It’s hard not to be distracted I. This season of abundance–more daylight, more time to travel, and the berries! 

Nevertheless, I find it easier to write knowing I can squeeze in chores before or after, take my walks early or late, and still have time yo watch the sunset.
Today, I’m going yo be refining the plot of my next novel, as some big revisions need to be made. And in between, there will be time for good food, watching fireworks, and maybe even a movie.
Happy Fourth, you Americans, joyous summer to all in the Northern hemisphere, and love to all ! 

  

Ten Reasons to Order It’s Not Like I Knew Her, right now! 

In an ascending order, of sorts: 

10. You like to feel so deeply embedded in a place like Northwest Florida that your skin sweats mosquitos and fried fish and sun sinking into the bay. 

9. You live to read about someone who desperately wants to rise above her circumstances by a writer like Pat Spears, who knows every inch of human longing. 

8. You really care about all the ways there are to love and to be loved by flawed, precious, exasperating  

 humans. 

7. You really love a heroine who cusses, and drinks whiskey, lies, steals, and loves so deeply you can feel her teeth ache with longing. Jodie Taylor is her name, and she will live right in between your breaths as you read this book. 

6. You can’t get enough of exquisitely fashioned sentences that make your heart leap. I could give you examples, but one can’t copy nearly the whole book here. 

5. Thinking about why the world is, in all its sorry, glorious variety, is something you crave, and you leap at the chance to read a writer who makes you think.

4. You are, or know someone who is, “peculiar,” and you long to understand their/your world better. 

3. You have waited years to find another book that does not assume that LGBT is an identity that should only concern those who live within its circle. Yes, that rare.

2. You want to watch a writer transcend good to greatness. If you read Spears’ first published novel, Dream Chaser, and thought it was great, now watch her hit the stratosphere. 

1. You have a spot on your bookshelf waiting for a novel that truly inspires. 

Yes, I’m not kidding, this is Spears stepping up to a dais of writers who can deal with hard truths by wringing our hearts out, then showing us a glimmer of hope. Dorothy Allison comes to mind, Annie Proulx, Toni Morrison–, oh, just go order it. Now, before it sells out and you have to wait for the next printing. Because it will. Oh, yes, it will. 

Order it at Twisted Road Publications 

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