Tuesday, January 31, 2012

She's only two. This is the tip of the iceberg.

My husband and I have a two year old daughter. Being a Mommy has been a real learning experience. Here are 10 things I’ve learned since becoming a mother—

All of the songs in ‘Dora: The Explorer’.

However much time it took go somewhere or do something without a child, double it.

Four hours of sleep is more than adequate if I have enough coffee.

How to do everything one handed.

And how to do most things with an elbow because my hands are occupied.

How to get in and out of a grocery store, with enough food for a week, in less than 20 minutes.

If we have to do an outfit change twice in one day, I call it a good day.

If I put brand new clothes on her, one way or another, she’ll stain them. Every. Single. Time.

In an average day, I play the roles of wife, writer, mother, T-Rex, pony, monster, Queen, and swordfighter.

When I’ve prayed for patience, God didn’t drop some on me and suddenly make me a better mom. I’ve asked, and He continues to provide opportunities for me to grow and learn how to love like He loves us.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Writing has been rough recently, but I think I've got the ball rolling again. Last week I only wrote 32 words. No, not 3200. Just 32. It wasn't a good week.

I've started working on one of the hardest, most monstrous chapters of my book. I say it will be hard for several reasons. It requires new worldbuilding, explaining some magic, introducing two new characters, advancing the main plot and roughly eight subplots. Plus two warring armies of undead. (And really, who doesn't love armies of undead?) It's something I've imagined for years. I've literally thought about this specific chapter hundreds of times. Oh, and it's titled 'Shadow', which speaks to five separate themes in the chapter.

If you're thinking, "Charis, this sounds like an awful lot to put in one chapter." You would be right. It is. But complex layering, in-depth themes and masterfully weaved subplots are what make an epic fantasy so epic.

It's a big undertaking and a bit intimidating. I know that probably sounds odd, that I'm intimidated by something that I'm creating, but it's true. I know I don't need to get this draft perfect, but I have to try. Writing is for laying the groundwork, doing the heavy lifting. Someday I'll have a manuscript I can edit. That's when I'll be able to really perfect the tiny stitching of my sub-plots.

Oh, and happy belated year of the dragon! Doesn't this seem like the perfect year to finish a fantasy manuscript? I think so.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Writing Update

I longhand wrote 2700 words in one 4 hour session tonight. That's an entire chapter, start to finish. I knocked my weekly writing goal out of the park!

Best Thing You've Watched In A Long Time?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Writing Update

I just finished typing Chapter 11. When I finished it longhand, I remember thinking that I should just quit now. I felt like I had just created a piece that was truly the best that I can do.

Rereading it, that emotion may have been a little melodramatic, but not too far off base. It's nice when I have moments while reading my work that I think, "Why haven't I read this before? Why isn't this in one of my favorite books?"

It's a pretty satisfied feeling. :-)

In other news, I've decided to enter ACFW's Genesis contest for 2012. I can't be certain that I will even be able to make it to Dallas this year for the conference, but if nothing else, I will be getting at least three critiques at a pretty low cost. And we all know how much I love improving my craft.

Oh, and the current word count for 'Demon'? 31,494.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

She's changing her name from Kitty to Karen

Tonight, I'm a girl who stays up late. I hope I can be a mom who gets up early.

Good news? I'm staying up to type. Bad news, it's sort of dissolving into a CAKE dance party. Not that there's anything wrong with a CAKE dance party. They're probably my favorite sort of dance party. But if I'm going to still be awake at 1am, it probably isn't the most productive thing for me to be doing.

Man, I love CAKE. Except for their new album. I wish I could pretend Showroom of Compassion didn't exist. But my imagination isn't that active. (And I daydream about dragons....)

New CAKE just doesn't have awesome lyrics anymore.

But old CAKE rocks. And by old, I mean 2004 and earlier. "She uses a machete to cut through red tape." What does that even mean? Did she literally cut a red Grand Opening ribbon with a machete? Does she elegantly over-do things in a charming matter? Does she use her feminine wiles to cut through procedures and protocols? It's interpretive. I feed off that stuff. She can be whoever you think she should be.

Man, I love CAKE.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hard Copy

I write longhand, and I often catch a lot of slack for it. I know it's much slower than typing, and I lose time when I have to convert all those pen-and-ink pages into typed files.

But I love the feel of notebook paper that's been scratched and stained, so I do it anyway.

That old-school tendency has led me to print off my manuscript and keep it in a three-ring binder. This has also caught me some slack because that binder will probably be 7 inches thick and not at all practical for carrying around.

But I love being able to see what I've accomplished. It motivates me to keep going. And it really paid off yesterday.

My husband has started to read my book. He came into the office and said, "I finished chapter 2, but chapter 3 doesn't make sense. I don't know how I got from where I was to where I am. Did you change ideas and not change your work?"

That sounds a lot like me. Despite being an avid outliner, sometimes things change in my head as I'm writing. And rather than go back and make the changes, I just start the next paragraph with the changes and keep going. Example: If I were writing a different book, I might put my characters in a convertible, but if halfway through the scene I decide to have an off-road chase, I just change the car into a Jeep. But I won't go back and fix that convertible bit. It can make things confusing.

So when he asked if I changed anything, I shrugged my shoulders, "Maybe." And then I checked the file. Turns out, I was missing three pages and two scenes. Some computer digging turned up a page and a half, but the rest of the digital files were no where to be found.

So I turned to my binder. And there it was, Chapter 2, completed as I wrote it. Sure, I had to re-type what had gone missing from my computer. But thanks to my old-school blood, those pages weren't really lost after all.