Total = 60,325 words

Title: Listening for the Sound

September 10, 2001 - 1310 words

WOOHOO! It's the magic 60K!! This thing is officially a novel now.  Griff found the last piece of the float and will get confirmation from his Great Aunt Rose that Walter Perry wasn't a good man. What's ahead:  putting the last piece into place, returning to the mausoleum for a clue to the Starfisher's whereabouts, a legal notice on the old inn's door, announcing the future site of Burger World.  The Danvers' family plays a legal card that sends Griff scrambling to find the document that proves he's the legal owner.  Finally, a trip into the Sound, finding a shipwreck, bringing Henry and Isabel together, and saving the Sundial.  Have a good evening!

September 9, 2001 - 1315 words

Less than 1K away from that 60K mark, but -- it's not going to happen tonight. I'll save that for tomorrow night. With this section, I'll move into the story's final movement. Tonight, Cassidy discovers that Isabel had been assaulted by her fiance's brother.  And the man who assaulted her was Griff's grandfather.  This revelation strengthens Griff's desire to make things right. Before Cassidy leaves the island for the weekend, she will see pictures of Henry Perry for the first time.  And this will setup the trip into the Sound to find the final resting place of Henry's boat, the Starfisher.  But they need one more piece of sea glass to complete the float and reinact the magic.  Once the wreck of the Starfisher is found and the float is whole can Henry and Isabel face each other again.  But the trip into the Sound may kill Griff and Cassidy when a storm forms in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and catches them in the storm.  Cassidy must finally look her fear of water in the eys and help Griff get the boat into safe port. So, a few more words to go before this book ends. :)  G'night.

September 8, 2001 - 665 words

Too tired to write much tonight. Gonna try to pick up more words tomorrow.

September 7, 2001 - 1250 words

Well, I left Griff and Cassidy in the middle of a mausoleum in the middle of the night.  And Cassidy hears whispering. Good place to pick up tomorrow.  Had to do a bit of research early on tonight, but I found what I needed quickly.  Also had to update my background/character file. Once I had the pleasure of having Lisa Collins copyedit a manuscript for me and she showed me a file she creates for every manuscript. In that file are names of characters, page numbers for their first appearances, and any other information important to a story's continuity. Ever since Lisa showed me this file, I've tried to create such a file for any novel-length manuscript I write. It really saves a lot of headaches when you can't remember what color hair/eyes a character has or what his mother's name is, who his grandfather is, etc. Thanks, Lisa! :)

September 6, 2001 - 1210 words

A little bit of forward movement tonight.  Getting very close to that 60K mark.  I should hit that this weekend. Gee, only a month late. But I knew I couldn't pull off a true dare when I started this novel (that life thing getting in the way and all).  After all, no effort yields no results. Nothing happens if you don't try, right? Regardless of how much time it took me, I'll still have a complete first draft. And that's what it's all about.  I'd have loved to have finished this draft a month ago, but it wasn't to be. That's okay.  I'll get those 60K in a month on the next dare. Yeah, there will be another one. For one reason and one reason only -- I don't get anything done without a deadline. :) G'night.

September 5, 2001 - 1305 words

Still moving forward.  Cassidy and Anna have gone back to San Juan Island to stay in Roche Harbor. There, she will learn the terrible secret that Isabel has been unable to tell her. It is a secret that will bring Cassidy closer to Isabel and more determined to recreate the magic that now separates Isabel and Henry. And that brings her closer to Griff Perry. But this revelation also brings her closer to taking that final step of facing her fear of water by climbing aboard a boat with Griff, to find the Starfisher's -- and Henry's -- final resting place.

September 4, 2001 - 1755 words

The story is moving into its final movement. I have one more section to write and then it'll be in the last part of the book.  Most likely, the manuscript will be in the 70 - 80k range.  I thought it would be barely 70k, but a few things have happened now that I didn't expect.  That's going to lengthen the story a bit. Which is fine because I'd prefer the book to be about 80K on its first draft. We'll see.

September 3, 2001 - 2060 words

Went back to work on the book tonight. Hit the 51k mark.  I'm only 9k from my 60k goal. This book will most likely end up 70K, so there isn't much left to write on this draft. One or two sections left in the fourth movement and then the last movement.  These sections will become chapters, but the book will remain in five movements.

September 2, 2001 - o words

September 1, 2001 - 0 words

February 21, 1985 to September 1, 2001

My brother Jeff's dog, Myia passed away today. She's been suffering from congestive heart failure for a very long time, but today, she was so bad that Jeff, Dawn, and I took her to the vet.  And my poor brother had to make the decision to end her suffering. He's a doctor, but it did very little to ease the pain.  Myia had come to him at a very difficult time in his life and was a very special dog. She helped him through a lot.  She was special to our whole family.  Throughout her 16 years of life, she slept in my brother's arms every night.  Today, she slept there for the last time. He held her in his arms, Dawn holding onto her torso, and me stroking Myia's ears as our vet gave her the shot.  She could barely breath before the shot, but her pain stopped only seconds afterward. Sleep well, Myia, we miss you.

Never have I felt so helpless as I did watching my brother's grief and knowing there was very little I could do to ease the hurt. Myia was his baby and he feels so lost without her.  It's a feeling I understand very well, but that understanding holds little comfort for him and for me. I don't understand much anymore. Do you ever just feel tired, I mean really tired in your bones, tired in your heart? I'm so tired of all the suffering, all the loss. It's too much, you know?  Is there more to life than pain and suffering and just trying to understand the senselessness of everything?  I'm tired of trying to make sense out of it because it just doesn't make sense. I guess I'm just not a very strong person because I feel like I've been torn up into little pieces these past few years.  I keep telling myself that it's going to get better, that things can't be bad forever . . .  that the job can't get worse, that my parents' situations will improve, that I'm going to be a writer someday, that people do survive cancer, but in the end, it just feels like I'm reading some outdated science book. Sorry for the downer post -- not looking for any responses.  Just exorcising the ubiquitous human trait of trying to make sense and significance out of senselessness.

August 31, 2001 - 250 words

My brother and his family came up to visit.  Thus, the small word count.

August 30, 2001 - 1085 words

Wow, exact same word count as last night.  Exact same late start, too. Storms moved through the area about 4 pm today, knocked out the campus' power for about 30 minutes, and created havoc for all us IT department folks. It was well after 6:30 pm before I left work tonight. Then I had to do those stupid bill paying and eating things. By that time, it was late.  But fortunately, I stopped in a really good spot yesterday, so the action kept moving.  Griff met Isabel face-to-face tonight and he and Cassidy are currently getting cozy in the haunted inn.  Yep, it's getting fun. :)  But it's late and I've gotta go to work tomorrow. G'night.

August 29, 2001 - 1085 words

Got a very late start writing tonight. My dwarf peach tree produced its first real bushel of peaches this year, but because the weather was so cold in the spring, the peaches just ripened last week. So-o-o, I had to pick the peaches, peel them, and make them into jam tonight.  I made one batch on Sunday. Tonight I made THREE!! That was over 12 jars of peach jam. I can still smell the scent of fresh peaches.  Tonight, ol' Griff surprised me by showing up at the Sundial Inn after he and Cassidy had yet another argument. But to Cassidy's surprise, Griff sees much of the Inn the way she does.  That little mystery will nag at her for a while.  Very soon in the story, Griff is going to ask Anna and Cassidy to spend the weekend at the Hotel de Haro. From there, he'll offer to take them out in the boat to search for the Starfisher's final resting place.  Looking forward to it!

August 28, 2001 - 765 words

Some cool stuff from Anna tonight! She brought in some Native American stories that I didn't know were there yet. Griff is telling them stories that his dad had told him about Henry and Isabel.  From the story, Cassidy is starting to figure out a bit about what happened the day of Henry and Isabel's wedding.  But there's a lot more to learn.  She just needs to find it. Later, she'll discover that Henry and Isabel stayed at Hotel de Haro with their families and that the hotel has more stories to tell her.  About Henry and about Griff.  As Anna says to Cassidy, "if you whisper your dreams to the winds, they will return to you with wings."  G'night.

August 27, 2001 - 1030 words

Tonight, Griff discovers some of the magic contained in the old glass floats.  And Cassidy discovers some of Griff's magic. Yeah, she's starting to fall for him.  Later, she's going to take him in the Inn for the first time and try to introduce him to Isabel -- and her friend, Deb.

August 26, 2001 - 730 words

With all the waiting room hopping and facility changes, it was impossible to get much of anything written. Getting close to that 60K mark...seems so far away.  Lots of things happened, too much to list here, but the shortened version is:  there are two options for my dad. He's going to carefully consider the surgery option and decide if that's what he needs to do. The other thing he has to do is to have a lung biopsy done in order to rule out the possibility of mesothelioma (a malignancy of the pleura caused by exposure to asbestos -- Dad was a carpenter in the 50s for about 10 years and worked with the stuff). Once this biopsy is done, they can rule out any other causes related to his lung problem.  So...with this info, they released us on Friday instead of Tuesday. My heartfelt thanks to United Airlines who, despite requiring a Saturday stay, waved this restriction (and any fees) and changed our flights from Tuesday to Friday. You people are awesome and this exhausted traveler really appreciated the assistance.  So I'm writing this entry from my desk with my kitties nearby. :) I'm so glad to be home, but I feel wiped out.  Gotta go to work tomorrow. G'night.

August 21, 2001 - 900 words

Long day.  Tomorrow will be even longer. I *REALLY* miss my cats. :( Work situations aren't going          well in my absence either -- and I'm 1000 miles away. Sigh.  Dad's blood test showed his blood way     too thin, so it's a little tense here tonight.  If he's careful, he'll be all right, but the fear of free bleeding          is a little high tonight. Hopefully, things will be better tomorrow.

August 20, 2001 - 0 words

Travel day.  Didn't get time to do any writing.  Did arrive here in Denver safely though.

August 19, 2001 - 540 words

Low word count tonight -- trying to get ready to leave tomorrow. I'm flying to Denver tomorrow with my dad. He's going to go through treatment at the pulmonary hospital there. It looks like I may have some connectivity while I'm out there, so you may see a few entries here relating to word count. However, it is entirely possible that this will be my last entry until 8/29 (if things go well).  Take care.

August 18, 2001 - 1210 words

Boy, did we have one hellatious storm!!  Lots of rain, wind, hail, and lightning.  It was a scary one this time. Griff and Cassidy have finished their argument and are buds again. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to bring him into the Sundial Inn now or later.  I'm leaning toward later. I don't think he's quite ready to go inside yet. Soon though. I've got to heat up this land dispute now as well as Cassidy's discoveries from the past.  The culmination of Cassidy and Griff's story is the trip into the Sound on Griff's boat to search for his grandfather's resting place.  This will be the final piece that Cassidy needs to recreate the broken float and reactivate the magic, bringing Henry and Isabel face-to-face again after nearly a century.

August 17, 2001 - 1045 words

Got a late start tonight, but still managed 1K.  A really bad day at work today, so it was good to have this story to come home to.  I left Griff and Cassidy in the middle of an argument about the Sundial Inn.  Cassidy is about to tell him about the strange goings on inside the Inn, but Griff doesn't seem like he wants to believe in such things yet.  But he will. What she tells him next will poke at him until he feels compelled to investigate.  That won't happen until he and Cassidy form a bond between them. That's a little ways off.  Cassidy needs to go back to Roche Harbor. In those turn-of-the-century bricks lie the echoes of the past, words and events that if she listens hard enough, she'll hear them unfold around her. And she needs to learn more about what happened that night -- from Isabel and Henry's perspectives.  Have a good evening.

August 16, 2001 - 1150 words

40K -- woohoo!!! A little bit of a spark ignited between Griff and Cassidy tonight. Griff has fessed up that he lied about not knowing anything about his grandfather, Henry Perry and has agreed to tell Cassidy and Anna what little he knows. He seems interested in the ghostly things that go on inside the Sundial Inn. To him and Anna and everyone else, the Sundial is a rotting old building that should be torn down, but they don't see the 1910 splendor that Cassidy sees every time she passes through the front door. Griff knows nothing about Isabel's Tears or the  ghosts forever tied to the Sundial Inn. But he will soon -- sooner than he realizes. He's going to be launched head on into Isabel's mystery and when the Danvers finally agree to sell off the place, the battle over the land will heat up. Cassidy, Anna, and Griff will have to race the demolition crew that has been hired to destroy the Inn and forever doom Isabel and Cassidy's friend Deb to be tied there. Things are really starting to go deliciously haywire now. :) Ooooohhhhh -- I *JUST* this moment made a very important connection here to Samish Indian legend and a major plot point. Yay!!!!  I've been wondering why Anna had to be Native American -- wow, now I know! I love it when the answers have been there all along, waiting for me to find them. [Ron -- I'm still in the box -- thanks for caring...] I can say that I'm truly excited about this story for the first time since I started it.  I see some of the things I've been trying to work through in my personal life unfolding in this book.  It's a place where I've been trying to deal with my friend, Bev's death, my own disillusionment, and trying to find those magic little places that help me rise above those things.  Thank God for the writing. It never fails to be my sanctuary. G'night.

August 15, 2001 - 1625 words

A slightly better night at the keyboard. Cassidy had her second run-in with Griff Perry, but they have formed a temporary truce. Poor Griff has no clue what he's about to walk into. He's locked in a two generation legal battle with the Danvers family over a prime piece of land.  He learns that Cassidy has been living in this dilapidated old building and accuses her of being in league with the Danvers family. Little does he know that he's going to get pulled into solving the mystery of Isabel Danvers' wedding and the disappearance of his grandfather. Things, I hope, will start heating up soon.

August 14, 2001 - 100o words

Cuddle Up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine, a duet first recorded in 1908 by Edison Records.  Believe it or not, that's what I spent half the evening researching.  Turn-of-the-century popular music.  This song was #1 on the hits chart in 1908. Granted, the song is only background to the story, but I wanted the music that Isabel plays on the Victrola true to the period.  I've done quite a bit of research for this story because the ghosts in the story are circa 1910.  1910 meets 2001 in this story.  At any rate, the research took a bit longer than I'd hoped. I've been playing period music all night as I wrote this movement, just to keep me in 1910. I have a fascination for this time period (as well as the 18th century). Write what moves you -- so, I'm writing about the Gilded Age of America as well as the new century.  There's really a lot in common there.  Ah, well -- time to go bed. By the Silvery Moon. G'night.

August 13, 2001 - 1040 words

A little more awake a little better word count tonight.  Cassidy is returning to Anacortes with a few more pieces of the float than she had before. She and Anna plan to return to the island next week. But what Cassidy doesn't know is that the island will return to her on Monday in the form of an angry Griff Perry who discovers Cassidy living inside the old Sundial Inn. Ruh roh...g'night.

August 12, 2001 - 500 words

It's only 8:30 pm, but I'm just exhausted tonight. Can't keep my eyes open. I'm going to crash now.  Think I'll take the file with me and maybe write a little more later.  G'night.

August 11, 2001 - 775 words

Tonight, Cassidy faced her fear of water and succeeded in her first test.  She has touched the ocean for the first time.  She'll have to face this fear again, in a way she hasn't even imagined yet. I left her and Anna on the beach still searching for sea glass.

August 10, 2001 - 585 words

Well, it's not much, but hey -- it's better than nothing.  Had a rough week at work and unfortunately, that's being reflected in my word count.  Stress levels have been overwhelming. :(  But I'm doing my best to hang in there. A scene that I hadn't expected just sort of popped up tonight. Cassidy and Anna have gone to the Deadman's Bay before sunrise to search for Isabel's Tears (remnants of the century-old floats from Isabel's boat that sank). It was a fun scene.

August 9, 2001 - 1040 words

Climbed back into the box tonight. It was tough to stay there, but I managed 1K.  At this rate, I'm going to be here awhile.  Why did I have to pick such an introspective and just plain weird book to write?  The words don't come in the same way as they used to -- and I'm not comfortable with that. Whine, whine, whine -- just write it.  That's it for tonight though.  Tomorrow night, Cassidy and Griff go round two and things get messy again.  G'night.  [p.s. -- 11 years ago today, I got my little Sevilli-kitty. :) :)  ]

August 8, 2001 - 0 words

Allergies= 1, Writer= 0

August 7, 2001 - 1000 words

It was a real struggle to write tonight. Major allergy problems have just made me miserable for a couple of weeks, but this week, it's been just awful! I took an Allegra and that helped quite a bit. I was really surprised when I checked my word count and found that I'd managed 1K. It felt like about 200 words if I was lucky. Yet despite the cranky, tired writer getting in her way, my bloody main character decides she's going to have a breakthrough on the beach. Sometimes I go into scenes not knowing why I'm "going there" and then the character shows me why.  I thought I just wanted to write about the lighthouse because I wanted to write about the lighthouse.  But I'll be darned if there wasn't a good reason all along for it to be there. That's beginning to unfold now.  And it even makes sense. Gotta like that. [stay in the box, stay in the box :>] G'night.

August 6, 2001 - 1085 words

I've brought Cassidy to the first glimpse of the little lighthouse.  It will play a large role in this story -- or at least that's the way I've envisioned it.  I've moved into the story's third movement now. It's all I can do to not go back to the beginning and start fixing all the things I know are wrong.  But I'm resisting that urge and pressing on with the story. Have a good evening.

August 5, 2001 - 1000 words

Exactly 1K on the money. There are some really cool things beginning to happen in the story and the pace is really going to pick up in the next 5K or so. Cassidy has learned more about the sea glass and she knows what she has to do now to release Isabel's ghost.  But folks are going to start getting in her way now.  Starting with Griff Perry.  Anyway, I'm rather pleased with some of the magic that emerged tonight.  Cool stuff that I didn't even know when I first started this book. We'll see where it all leads.  By the way, GREAT full moon tonight!  Just breath-taking. Check it out.

August 4, 2001 - 2210 words

Woohoo!!!  Best word count I've had in a while.  AND...I hit that 30K mark!  At last!!!  I'm halfway there.  Sad, since I should be at 60K now -- but hey, at least I'm writing, y'know. This book is so very different than anything I've ever written before.  It just one of those stories that's quiet.  That's part of the reason for the above title.  Every night before I start working on this draft, I have to really *LISTEN* for the words. Does that make sense at all? Like tonight.  At twilight, I grabbed a diet coke and sat on the front steps, watching the fireflies and the hard edges of the world soften.  It was difficult to see, so I just closed my eyes and listened. The pulse of the cicadas in the willow tree next door.  The rustle of the maple leaves as the wind touched them, the whisper of tires against the road. I just listened to what was around me, letting those familiar sights and images go, letting the sounds create the words. When it was too dark to see, I was ready to touch the story again. And now that it's twelve thirty, I'm gonna call it a night and go play with my cats. :) G'night.

August 3, 2001 - 625 words

Small word count tonight.  I had to do some back-tracking and consequently, I had to cut some things.  But everything is back on track again. I plan to be a bum tomorrow and not leave the house, so maybe I can get some serious wordage done tomorrow. Of course, you know how those plans have a way of getting changed. :/  Hoping not. I'm beat, so I'm going to call it a day. Have a good evening!

August 2, 2001 - 1030 words

Steady 1k progress.  Not much forward movement in the plot tonight.  I'm getting close to that 30K mark. I think this first draft is going to weigh in rather lightly.  65K is my guess.  For some reason, this book needs to be told in layers.  I really enjoy the revision process, so that works well for me. After I finish this first draft, I'll need to let this first layer settle and then come back to it. Probably will return to it in September. Of course, this book may surprise me and explode at the end, but I'm expecting this draft to be a little short of marketable length.

August 1, 2001 - 1050 words

Happy Birthday, Bev...I can't believe it's been nearly five months since you passed away.  Tonight, when I was the only one in the office, I played your favorite work song.  Hope you heard it.  We went out to lunch at one of your favorite restaurants today.  Wish you could have been there. We haven't forgotten you.

Managed my standard word count.  Feeling really down tonight.  I'll feel better tomorrow.

July 31, 2001 - 1040 words

Sheesh!  This was the night of a 1001 interruptions. Just unbelievable...I didn't think I'd EVER get to write tonight.  I struggled to get at least 1K and thankfully, I succeeded.  Woohoo! Hit that 25K mark, too.  It wasn't because I didn't have anything to write either. I had to stop right in the middle of a cool scene, too.  Sigh. Oh, well, more motivation for me tomorrow night.  G'night.

July 30, 2001 - 1035 words

A nice night at the keyboard.  Not a lot of forward movement in the plot, but I really enjoyed writing the current scene. Cassidy is at Roche Harbor, discovering a resort that has seen the turn of two centuries.  At this point, I think I'm going to intersperse parts of Isabel's story with Cassidy's story. Also, when Cassidy meets Griff Perry, he is rather a jerk, angry about who was the rightful owner of the Sundial's property.  He's involved in a legal battle with the Danvers family, claiming it was given to the Perry family as a wedding gift. Anyway, some good conflict coming up.  Looking forward to it. G'night.

July 29, 2001 - 1240 words

I *FINALLY* got Cassidy to the island tonight. Sheesh, I didn't think that would EVER happen. Well, she's there now and she experiences an intense feeling of homecoming after arriving. Hopefully, the whole story should start heating up.  This book is going to need A LOT of fleshing out on my second pass through it.  For now, I'll forget about that and concentrate on that first pass. :)  G'night.

July 28, 2001 - 0 words

Attended Matthew Farrell's booksigning in Indy and managed yet another in a series of 0 day word counts. Ah, well -- had fun at the signing and had dinner with good friends.

July 27, 2001 - 760 words

Disappointing night at the keyboard. Just too tired to write much tonight.  By Friday, that work week really catches up to me.  It's going to be difficult to get much done this weekend. More company arrives this weekend. They leave on Tuesday and more arrives on Wednesday.  Sigh. Oh, well -- I'll manage something.   I usually do. I'm good at sneaking out for a bit. I can always hole up in the bathroom with my notebook computer.  I find that people don't ask you many questions when you're in that room of the house. ;> Writing secrets from the trenches. G'night.

July 26, 2001 - 1010 words

It was a struggle to write tonight.  Just didn't feel like it. I did a lot of equipment and furniture moving at work this week.  It caught up with me tonight. :/  But was determined to put down 1K no matter what. I've *almost* gotten Cassidy onto the island where she meets the love interest and gets involved in some of his problems. Seems there is a question over who really owns the Sundial Inn.  The mere mention of the Danvers name or the inn, sets Perry off. But first, Cassidy's got to get to the island -- not so easy when you're character is terrified of water (because she almost drowned). We'll see. Hopefully, I can get her to the island tomorrow night. Y'know, I haven't looked at my outline once since I started writing this book.  Don't know if that's good or bad. G'night!

July 25, 2001 - 1500 words

Woohoo!!! Hit the 20K mark tonight!  Got a late start, but managed to crank out 1500 words.  If I hit 2K in one night, I might faint. A twist in the story has just popped up that I hadn't expected.  A cool one, too.  Tomorrow night (I hope), Cassidy will meet the love interest in this story.  Griff Perry.  The story has just entered its second movement -- the raven.  The first movement was the dragonfly. I don't know how these movements will translate into chapters, but we'll see. I imagine they'll take on the standard format, but thematically, there are now five movements to this story -- even if it's only in my head. :)  G'night.

July 24, 2001 - 1125 words

At the close of the current point in my story, Cassidy will meet the final major character in the story. She's just learned that the lavender sea glass is called Isabel's Tears and she's learning why it is called that. And she learns a little bit more about the ghost that haunts the Sundial Inn. But in order to help Isabel, she has to confront her fears.  More letters from the dead tonight, too. Overall, I'm pleased with the direction of the story and I'm already looking forward to the first rewrite.  I see all these things that need to be fixed and it's all I can do to stop myself from going back and rewriting.  At the rate I'm writing, the draft will OBVIOUSLY not be completed in a month.  I had hoped I would get close, but I knew it wouldn't be there.  It was one of those spontaneous ideas that was totally impractical because of the steady stream of guests at my house.  But that's okay.  I needed to get back on the horse again.  Have a good evening.

July 23, 2001 - 1000 words

Story continues to move forward. I'm getting close to that 20K mark.  Tomorrow's writing will move the plot into a faster pace. Hopefully, the story's pace will pick up dramatically after tomorrow.  I hope so anyway. Have a good evening!

July 22, 2001, - 1125 words

Well, I survived my talk today.  The group was small enough that it wasn't intimidating. I hope that the information I presented was helpful. The audience was a great group of people and I really enjoyed meeting them.  Thanks to everyone who offered speaking tips.  They were very helpful and I used all of them. :) Now...onto the writing gig.  Turned in yet another meager word count. But there's a reason for this consistently small word count. It comes from Maass' book Writing the Breakout Novel. He talks about inspiration and writing from the heart in this book, spending more time on the work, etc. So, for this Novel Dare, I've tried to slow down my pace quite a bit -- of course, it helps that I'm very rusty at the dare, so slowing down the pace wasn't hard at all. :)  After all, everything is an experiment. So, the 1k novel dare continues. In other news, it looks like I will be going to Denver for a week in mid-September. The doctors here are sending my dad to the pulmonary hospital in Denver for testing and treatment. Good thing I have lots of vacation at work.

July 21, 2001 - 0 words

No writing tonight.  Got a busy day tomorrow.  I'm doing a talk at the county library tomorrow, so I've spent most of my day trying to prepare for that. And I have to tell you, I'm SO INCREDIBLY NERVOUS...I'd love to back out right about now. I can't believe I actually agreed to do this.  It's just going to be *ME* up there. Sigh.  I sure hope the group is small and that they want to talk about writing. Because I really don't want to try and fill an hour with my writing career.  I'm a writer not a public speaker.  It'd be different if people had read my work and were interested in the behind-the- writing stories.  I'm going to feel like such a pretentious idiot tomorrow. God, please don't let me be boring! They're going to expect me to be a novelist, not a short story writer--groan...send good thoughts my way tomorrow.

July 20, 2001 - 1100 words

Woohoo!! Hit the 15K mark!  Hit a reflective moment in the story tonight. Cassidy is trying to figure out how to confront her fear of water and she's planning to visit the Danvers family, owners of a boarded up inn that has sat vacant for 90 years. Cassidy wants to find out why the grandchildren haven't sold the inn or at least rented it out.  The place sits untouched and deteriorates more and more every year.  Except through Cassidy's eyes who has been staying at the inn since she arrived in Anacortes. Through her eyes, the inn looks just as it did in 1909, including its proprietor, a woman who's been dead for 90 years.  Cassidy and her friend and boss, Anna struggle to understand the connection with Cassidy and solve the inn's mystery. Yeah, I'm really enjoying the work right now.  The writing needs a lot of work, but I feel a strong need to just get the clay on the wheel before I do anything else.

July 19, 2001 - 1315 words

The story progressed well tonight. Some of the things I wanted to write about in this novel are really taking shape.  I revealed part of the ghost story mystery that Cassidy is trying to solve.  Already, there are several things that I need to change, but I'll worry about that later in the rewrites that will follow. I still have yet to bring in one of the main characters.  Griff won't be on stage for a while yet.  He's the captain of a whale watch charter.  I need to develop some of the problems facing the supporting characters. Isabel Danvers is my ghost and her story is slowly being revealed, but Anna and her mother, Se'nia have problems that are not yet revealed. Haven't even gotten to Griff yet. Some really interesting ideas came out of tonight's work (and some research).

July 18, 2001 - 1655 words

Good night at the keyboard!  I got a late start tonight because it was my dad's birthday!  Happy birthday, Dad!! We had dinner and birthday cake with him. I bought him one of those hands free cell phone adapters for his car.  It was almost nine when I sat down at the keyboard, but I managed the best word count of the dare.

July 17, 2001 - 1015 words

I'm beginning to rethink a lot of things in this story.  The reason for my questions is a wonderful, wonderful book written by Donald Maass called Writing the Breakout Novel. This book is filled invaluable information from an expert in the field who has spent a great deal of time analyzing what is termed as a "breakout" book. Whether a bestseller or a big jump from previous sales, these books share certain similarities. This book is not a formula for writing a bestseller, but it is a detailed discussion of works that have generated mass appeal among readers.  It's about taking your fiction to the next level.  I highly recommend it.  My rethinking is more of an excavation of my surface ideas and seeing how deeply I can take them. A good place to stop for now.  I'm in part four of the stories first movement.  Why don't I just call them chapters?  Most likely, I will when I finish the whole thing, but for now, I want to retain the sonata-like quality that I'm shooting for. For now, I'll just be weird. :)  Have a good evening.

July 16, 2001 - 1100 words

Still feeling under the weather today. I think it's my arthritis acting up. I did manage to break the 10K mark tonight.  The story is starting to move into an interesting direction that I look forward to exploring.  Some cool news tonight -- First, congratulations to Ron Collins, whose novelette won the Compuserve HOmer award! Second, my story, The Spirit House (currently appearing in the anthology, Outside the Box) got a really good review in Tangent! Haven't seen one of those in a long while. Needless to say, it really made my day.

July 15, 2001 - 1020 words

Not feeling very well tonight. Glad I managed at least 1K though. I think I just need to go to bed early and get some decent sleep. Still gotta finish shopping for my dad's birthday present. He turns 72 on Wednesday, 7/18.  Ugh....I'm exhausted.  Gonna knock off early.  I'm almost at 10k.  Pathetic word count at this point, I know.  In the old days, I'd have had at least 2-3k a day.  Ah well, at least I'm persistent. I may not succeed, but dammit, I'm persistent.  :)  Good night.

July 14, 2001 - 1020 words

The legend that is a central plot thread through this book took shape tonight. Had to do some research on lighthouses tonight. I needed to pinpoint the right locations and setup the players a bit, so that Cassidy will know where she's going from here. I have a good idea, but I'm too tired to pursue it tonight.  Tomorrow will just have to do.

July 13, 2001 - 1125 words

A modest output tonight, but I left the section at a bit of a challenge point. [Hit 7k though. I'll feel more comfortable with this book when I'm over the 20K mark.] It's a very intriguing point though, even if I'm not quite sure where it will go from there.  I just setup an important piece of the story that will manifest itself at the story's conclusion.  Between Isabel, my character from 1910 and Anna, my Native American character, I will soon setup a legend and a ghost story.  These plot threads will lead Cassidy to try and solve a mystery at a lighthouse, but in order to solve the mystery she has to confront the trauma of her friend's death and her near drowning. I don't quite know yet how all of these things will fit together (or if they will), but that's where my brain's playing, so I'll keep stacking the chips on the table and see what happens.

July 12, 2001 - 1375 words

Doing much better tonight, too.  Had a sluggish start, but the story drew me in and carried itself to where it needed to be. And I didn't get in its way or anything. :)  Cassidy has made friends with the Innkeeper and she's just found a job -- at the Espresso and Bead Shop run by a Native American woman. Things are going well. I have no bloody clue where this falls in my "outline."  I'm just letting go of the reins and seeing where it takes me.  I know the story. It's been in my head for a very long time, but I just didn't know that until now. This whole thing just feels good somehow. The act of writing what I feel, what I see, what resonates in me -- no categories, no constraints, no boundaries, just the words, the undiluted, untempered words of my imagination is so incredibly freeing.  My internal critic tried to squash this dare right out of the box, but I turned off that boring radio program. Hell, I laughed at it. I'm writing what I want, how I want. I feel this enormous sense of freedom. All from throwing away one simple word:  Category. I'm free!  And from the simple act of tossing the Marketing Hat back onto the hat rack.  From now on, I'm only going to wear my writer's hat at this keyboard. This is my writing resolution for the year.  Yeah!!  Oh, man -- I Feel Like A Writer (sung to the tune of Shania Twain's "I Feel Like A Woman") Okay...enough already -- g'night!

July 11, 2001 - 1035 words

A little better night at the keyboard. No blue screens, no spilled Diet Cokes.  Everything went smoothly, but I'd have liked to have written more than this.  Hopefully, I will get more done this weekend.   And I think I hit my stride with the story tonight! I'm terribly excited about that. And a little surprised that it's taken me 4500 words to get warmed up.  I figured I'd be struggling about now.  :) 
An odd element cropped up in the story that wasn't ANYWHERE in my outline. Something I hadn't even thought of really.  A Bed and Breakfast from circa 1910 has slipped into my story.  But it will tie in very well with a legend about the area (that I made up). This little plot thread has grown out of some research I did on a 19th century hurricane and a stay in Port Townsend last year. I never could make use of these little fascinating facts that have poked at me for a long time. Heh, heh -- more proof that no research is ever wasted.  I can't wait to get into the ghost story portion of this book and another bizarre idea I had about letters from the dead. The hardest part of this story was getting Cassidy to the Pacific Northwest.  Now, I can just let it all loose and see where it goes. Woohoo!  Can't wait to see what happens tomorrow night.  G'night!

July 10, 2001 - 750 words

Okay, this is becoming laughable!! Just lost every single word I wrote tonight. Damned software fragged itself and page faulted my computer.  GGGGGRRRRRRRR  To quote Charlie Brown, "AAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" Anyway, I retraced my steps and I'm now back where I started from.  Talk about bad karma--sheesh! This is becoming the 500-words a day Dare. Oh well, at least I'm writing. And I will finish this book, come hell, highwater, and blue screens. Tonight, Cassidy saw Elliot Bay and flashed back to her friend's drowning. She almost drowned that day too and it's left her terrified of water, but she discovers that the handful of seaglass that belonged to her friend has an odd luminescence/calming quality about it. Just can't take the fantasy out of this writer, I guess. :) .

July 9, 2001 - 525 words

Yeah, I'm sucking at this, but I don't care. I may not finish this book in 30 days, but I will finish it. Tonight, I got Cassidy off to the Pacific Northwest.  Hopefully, things will be a little quieter here this week, enough to let me get a decent word count. We'll see. For now, the plot is moving forward as a struggle for a foothold in this book.

July 8, 2001 - !@&$*#%(^&&

It just amazes me the obstacles that the writing gods have thrown at me this week. gggggrrrrrr. We had an incredible storm here yesterday. So incredible that it knocked out the power until 11 pm last night.  Sigh. Needless to say, in my sweltering, dark, overcrowded house (we had guests all this week), not a single word got written yesterday.

July 7, 2001 - 1000 words

11:30 pm - 500 words

A rather unimpressive start here.  I did manage 1K total today though. This book is intensely personal, so at times, it's hard to touch some of the nerves that are bared in these early scenes.  I think I'll be okay once I get Cassidy in the car and off to the islands, but the inciting incident is one that I currently dealing with,'s tough. I thought that the best way I could make sense of the losses I had this year was to write about them.  It's taken me five months to even consider writing about them, so diving into the deep end is tough right now.  I'll keep writing about it though.

1:30 pm - 500 words

Stole an hour to write a little more.  I should be able to get some more words in tonight, some more substantial progress, I hope.  I really need to make up a few words from yesterday.  Myia is much improved today, so hopefully there won't be anymore crises.

July 6, 2001 - 0 words

Yep, that's not a misprint.  No words at all tonight, but that's okay. My brother Jeff really needed me tonight.  His dog was in severe pulmonary distress this afternoon (from congestive heart failure) and had to be rushed to the animal hospital. Much chaos ensued, prescription problems at every turn.  About 10 pm tonight, my sister-in-law and I managed to get the right medications.  Myia is resting comfortably now and is just now starting to breathe a little easier.  I don't know how many days/ weeks/months/years she has left, but for the moment, she's doing better.  I knew this wasn't the best week to start this book, but at least I got it started.  If there are no traumas tomorrow, I should be able to fit in some writing time.  That's after I take my niece and nephew to see Cats and Dogs.  It's a crazy world out there, but without family, it'd be a lot scarier.  The writing challenge continues, but I won't let this derail me. I *will* finish this book.


July 5, 2001 - 1250 words

Wow, I'm really rusty at this...told myself the story on paper then outlined the story. After that, I got the opening scene going and it's starting off with a bang! Cassidy, my main character, is already thrust into her inciting incident and she's struggling to survive it.  This incident is what sets her into motion on a new path. I'm trying something a little different with this book. First, I'm going to try marketing it in a different genre. Why? No reason really.  Just think the story may appeal to a larger audience and -- big surprise -- as an experiment. Another experiment I'm conducting is to structure the book in six movements.  The book is a ghost story with magic and native american themes set -- ooh, another big surprise -- in the San Juan Islands.  The story's high concept is:

    Struggling to deal with the trauma of a friend's drowning and the lost dreams of her twenties, Cassidy runs away from her life.  She packs everything into her Subaru and heads for the quiet magic of the Pacific Northwest. Guided by her insightful Native American employer (who runs a bead shop and espresso bar), a quirky New Age apartment manager, and a whalewatch charter captain, Cassidy confronts the past, rediscovers the present, and embraces the future.

I'm halfway through the inciting incident. Cassidy has just survived the accident that killed her friend. Now, the aftermath. It's late though and I think this is all I'm going to get done tonight.  We've had company since I came home from Seattle, so stealing any writing time has been difficult.  I don't expect to get a lot done over the next five days, but hopefully after Monday, things will return to some semblance of normalacy.  Then I'll be able to devote my full attention to this story.