Deb's Morning Pages

My Writing Life. One Morning at a Time.


Leave a comment

A Brand New Season

null

The new season of The Real Housewives of New York City has started and not much has changed. Drama. Pettiness. And great clothes.

Last season was a train wreck and it looks like history may repeat itself. Last year we suffered through Jill’s fight with Bethenny (over a stupid voice mail) and this season she has a thing going on with Alex (I’m not sure why.) Alex has a stick up her butt but she views it as becoming more outspoken. I guess we each have our own perspective. Kelly right now is a question mark while LuAnn shows off her new lover. Ramona is funny. Love that she admitted she had the chance to warn Jill that Alex was going to the wedding out in the Hamptons but decided what fun would that be, so she kept that little tidbit to herself. Come on, you gotta love her. Oh, and Ramona also traumatized a handful of women who interviewed to be her new assistant. I don’t want to forget Sonja. Well, maybe I do. Then there’s the new chick on the block. Cindy. She’s edgy and she’s already fighting with Ramona.

Hard to believe we’re not talking about tweens. These are grown women. See for yourself.

I guess a big reason why I watch this show is because I love New York City. I was born and raised there and I am a city girl at heart. I love seeing the busy streets, the vendors and the stores. I go down to visit on a regular basis because my parents still live there. But these ladies aren’t the first New York City housewives on television. There were a few others.

Lucy and Ethel
null

Alice and Trixie
null

As for this housewife? I prefer to keep the drama on the page between my characters.

H = Housewives

Debra


2 Comments

Digging Out and Digging In

A record has been set (it had to have been) we received approximately 27 inches of snow in town. Wow. That’s a whole lot of snow. I woke this morning to a heavy snow fall that lasted until late morning, thankfully the storm moved across the state. So that meant it was time to dig out. But this time around (this is storm three since Christmas) we got to use our brand-spanking new snowblower, which I call Little Red. I love this machine. She may be small but she’s mighty and now we have a cleared driveway and walkway around our house.

I thought I’d share some pictures I took this morning outside our house. (Be kind, I’m not the photographer in the family.)

My husband said he hadn’t seen snow like this since he was a kid. I’ve never seen snow like this. Growing up in NYC, I don’t recall this much snow. All I can say is that I’m so thankful for Little Red, bless her little motor.

After we dug out, it was time to dig into my new WIP. I still needed to wrap up my Character assignment for my class. Answering 40 questions about my sleuth felt daunting at the beginning, I mean I barely know her. I just had a vague idea of who she was, her background and what she looked like. Pretty much what I’d have when I started a project. Bad writer, bad writer.

Since the course material isn’t mine, I will not share all of the questions I had to answer but I’ll share a few.

What unique personality traits make her a good sleuth, with special skills, instincts or insights others might not have.
Is your character’s name distinct and memorable?
What at the core of your main character that touches you emotionally?
Have you chosen a main setting that helps reveal and define your character?

Some of the questions were easy. Like her name. You bet it’s short, distinct and memorable. Other questions required me to think for a bit before I could answer. Creating a main character, in my case one I hope will be featured in a series, is challenging. She needs to be likable, she needs to be smart, she needs to grow and she needs to have a damn good reason for getting involved in a murder – over and over again.

I admit I’m itching to begin writing, to dig into the plot but I know these steps to creating multi-dimensional characters are crucial to the success of my story. Now I have to work on the murderer, the victim and the rest of the cast.

If you’re stuck home today because of the snow, enjoy!

100×100 update: Day 8, 174 words (finished my character sheet)

TTYL,
Debra


4 Comments

Recovering from Surgery

The week of Christmas one of my Shih-Tzus fell while in the care of someone else. The fall resulted in a fractured jaw which required surgery. The surgeon inserted a plate into Billy’s jaw. The animal hospital I had to take him to for this surgery is about an hour from my house but worth every minute of travel. Billy came home on the 23rd heavily medicated, a little thin and drooling. Oh, yeah, he had to wear one of those cones. Below is a picture of him the afternoon he came home.

For a couple of days he could barely eat. I fed him pumpkin puree with water to make a pumpkin soup and then I made soup out of his canned food with chicken broth. For those first few days he looked so bad I spent most of the time crying. And my other Shih-Tzu spent most of her time staying away from conehead.

The side of his face was swollen and his teeth were shifted and since he was barely eating he got thinner. Our Christmas plans changed, we couldn’t travel with him in that condition. We still haven’t given them their Christmas gifts yet. Slowly his appetite came back, he was able to eat easier and he started to act like his old self. And this past Friday his suture was removed. Yet, the cone remains.

In order to remove the suture he needed to be shaved again and I guess it’s itchy because he has been trying to scratch the area. So until his hair grows back the cone stays on. I will say, he’s a sport about it. When I approach him with it he simply slides his head into it without any resistance. Billy truly is a good dog.

While I hate what happened to him, I know it could have been worse. I’m grateful that we had a skilled surgeon operate on him, I’m grateful the hospital staff was so dedicated and kind to us, I’m grateful that friends and family ask, email, text and call to check on him. He also has been getting Facebook well-wishes.

In six weeks he goes for another set of x-rays to make sure his jaw has set correctly. Fingers crossed all goes well and that the cone is no longer needed way before then. 🙂

Now, I’d hate for Susie to feel left out. So here’s a picture of her curled up on her bed for a nap.

As Billy recovers things are getting back to normal in our home and hopefully we will never have to go through this type of trauma ever again. There’s a part of me that never wants to let either one of them out of my sight but that is unrealistic. Accidents happen but I think what makes it worse is that a dog can’t tell you what happened. I hate that part. I guess I’ll have to dig deep to find the strength to leave Billy and Susie with the people I trust. Luckily I’ll have a few more weeks to work on that.

Before I forget:

100×100 update: Day 7, 107 words.

TTYL,

Debra


Leave a comment

A Sleuth’s Dossier

null

My homework assignment a couple of days ago was to write my sleuth’s dossier – vital stats on her, personal background, her occupation, her fears, hopes and desires. As the instructor said, “the story starts and ends with character”. So whether you’re planning to write a single-title or a series, you have to know your characters inside out.

So, what makes a good character?

Believable.

Hands down, readers love to read about characters that they can relate to on some level. You’ll need to dig deep into your character’s life to find the traits, quirks and habits that make her/him believable. Your characters should be multi-dimensional because people are not cardboard cutouts.

Flaws.

How can you not dislike somebody who seems to be perfect? Come on, fess up, there has been a time in your life when you ached to knock someone off their pedestal. (It’s okay, we won’t tell.) Creating main characters who have no flaws doesn’t draw readers to them, instead it pushes them away.

Growth.

During the course of your story your characters should grow. They should learn something and change because of it. In a romance, the hero/heroine will begin with one view of love and will go through experiences in the novel that changes their views and that allows for the HEA. In a mystery, the sleuth begins with one view of the world and during the course of the investigation is changed forever. As a writer, you cannot be afraid of change or your characters will never reach their full potential.

This is the first time I am sitting down and writing a dossier and going through a list of questions, hard questions, about my main character. In the past I viewed it as a step that didn’t need to be done, hey I was creating the sleuth in my head so why did I need to do all this paperwork. I now see the value in doing this extra step. So, I’m off to continue with the rest of my character development assignment.

100×100 update: Day 6, 100 words.

TTYL,
Debra


Leave a comment

Day 5 of 100×100

null

I wanted to post a quick update on my 100 words for 100 days challenge.

Day 2 – 704 words
Day 3 – 106 words
Day 4 – 119 words
Today, Day 5 – 301 words

I’ve been mostly writing my sleuth’s back story and I’m getting to know her and her family. I also found something out about her I hadn’t expected, she doesn’t plan anything. Huh. I found that interesting since I plan most of what I do. Having a sleuth that doesn’t plan will be interesting to write.

Well, it’s Sunday and there are things to do. So this post is extra short, I just wanted to check in.

Have a great day!

TTYL,
Debra


Leave a comment

100 x 100 Challenge

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever done a 100×100 challenge? I haven’t but over at WritingGIAM I signed up for the loop and I am going to give it a try. What could be the worse that could happen? Surely I can write 100 words a day. Right?

I posted this morning for the first time and I got such a warm welcome from the ladies on the loop. I read their posts and they are so supportive of each other. And every writer needs that. While we may have friends and family members who are supportive our of efforts, it’s different when it comes from another writer. She knows what we’re going through. She knows the struggle not only to get 100 words on a page but to get to the last page of the manuscript then to write the synopsis then to sweat the pitch before we send our baby out into the harsh world of publishing. So that seemingly little “way to go girl” when you’ve only written 100 words means the world to a writer facing a blank document every day.

We like to think writing is a solitary job but it really takes a village. 🙂 We all committed to the same challenge and we’re going to see each one of us through it.

My plan for the month is to write a minimum of 100 words a day about backstory, character profiles, plot, dialogue, scene snippets because I need an outline before I begin writing the ms. in February. There’s also something else I want to accomplish. I want to get into the habit of writing on my laptop. I’ve had it for years and barely use it. Of course now I’m dying to buy a new shiny one that’s ultra-thin and shiny but since I really can’t justify the purchase until I use my current laptop on a regular basis (and selling something would help out my cause a great deal) I have to make due with the one I got.

Today’s word count: 113

TTYL,
Debra