Week one

Okay, so the dealio from the Master Class and James Patterson (and he has 76 bestsellers, so I’m going to listen to him) is that I need to write an outline. Remember back in elementary school, when we were taught to outline our stories. Well, newsflash, pantsing isn’t working for me any longer and I’m going back to the basics.

So, I have outlined (WIP) has to be a work-in-progress because the title may change and who’d have thunk, it has been an incredible help. I have 28 chapters (and growing). James says once you have your chapters outlined “start writing” and that’s what I plan on doing. It helps to have a road map. But like any road map, I want to feel comfortable taking detours that may add better conflict, better suspense and offer a better story.

My initial trepidation was that I would feel too locked in with an outline and that has not been the case. I actually feel that I have  a better handle on what I want to do with the story. For example, there is scene around chapter 26 that I know needs to be foreshadowed in chapter 5 or 6, much earlier than I knew or even had an idea about. Without the outline, I may have missed that gaping hole. And even though I have an outline, I am not confined. I feel a flexibility that new ideas may crop up as I’m writing and I may want to side road it and now have the tools to get back to the main highway. Yeah, I’m having fun with the metaphors.

My next step is to take everything that I hand wrote and transfer it to notes in Scrivener so that I can start writing the chapters. My goal is to write a chapter a day. I’m gonna hedge here since I am not going with an actual word count per chapter.  Some, I’ll complete in one seating and others may take a little longer.

Happy writing.

New Year, New Challenges, and no more BS

Okay, so here’s the goal. I’m taking the James Patterson Master Class. It (so far) has been worth the $90.00. I am going to get real with myself, my goal towards making a living as a writer and stop the madness of procrastination. That excuse has left the building. In order to move forward, I will post all word counts daily. I will encourage conversations about where you may be with your writing, your goals. What’s keeping you from moving forward? I can tell you some of the things that get in my way:

  • Playing games on Facebook
  • Getting a darn cell phone in 2014 (when I was cell-free for 10 years)
  • Binge watching television shows when I have already seen them
  • Thinking I need to wait for “a Muse” to somehow get my butt in gear
  • Fear of failure and fear of success (that’s the dumbest of all)

So, I’m over it. And by posting daily, I’ll hold myself accountable. Even if no one is listening, the tree still falls in the forest.

Happy writing 2016

How 2015 was an incredible year

It’s that time of year. Resolutions are being written to usher in 2016 and resolutions are being forgiven for their incompletion in 2015. I don’t write resolutions anymore.  I write goals. This year, I hit some, came close to others, excelled in a few but overall, it was one of the best years of my life.

In no particular order, here are the ways 2015 rocked for me:

  • Courtside tickets to the MN Lynx championship game in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • 2 rows off courtside to the MN Lynx championship game in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Visited Savannah, Georgia for the first time (lovely place).
  • Promoted to Manager (okay, officially it was 12/15/14) but I never got to put it in a blog post, so there.
  • Only 2 years left on my student loan debt (yeah, you don’t want to know how much).
  • Treated my wife to a birthday trip to Cancun.
  • Have 3 works in progress. (I know, lame, should be finished).

Have a wonderful, productive 2016.


“After Shock” opener

     “Thompson is gone.”
Perri sat the phone in the cradle. She heard it, repeated it to Antoinette, and should have been giddy with excitement for being right; but all she felt was defeated for also being wrong.
I did this, she thought.
“It’s my fault,” she said, plopping on the edge of Antoinette’s bed. “I shouldn’t have been all gung-ho. I knew something was up.” She punched the bed.  “My gut doesn’t lie. But I didn’t think it was about an escape.”
Antoinette moved slowly towards the bed. Her body and mind ready to just sink in the waiting tub of hot water, to wash away the blood, sweat, bruised muscles and pain of the last few hours.
“You got me out,” she said. A tentative hand on Perri’s shoulder. “It was bad. Badder than you know and about to get a lot worse.”
Perri just stared at the carpet. It didn’t matter that she had ‘saved’ a bunch of civilians or even Officers, she fucked up and she needed to fix it.
She stood up abruptly, letting Antoinette’s hand slip from her shoulder, not noticing the tears pooling in Antoinette’s eyes.
“I need to go back in,” she said, a rush of adrenaline coursing through her, still not looking at Antoinette. “I’ll check in on you later. If that’s okay?”
Antoinette hesitated for just a small beat.
“More than okay,” she said softly, but her arms wrapped tightly around her body.
Perri was already moving towards the bedroom door, ready to hurry back to the prison where she worked. Where, last than 24 hours before, the inmates had laid siege to one of the cell houses and used innocent civilians as hostages.
Moments before that phone call, she’d felt like she could have crawled into the bed with Antoinette and slept the day away.
Her eyes fell on the .22 on the nightstand.
She saw Antoinette follow her gaze.
“I’m a bouncer in a bar next to a Federal Penitentiary, remember.”
Perri just shrugged.
As she closed the door, her adrenaline pumped harder and she got angry.

     Perri stood outside the car, looking up at the house. Only the upstairs light was on in Antoinette’s bedroom. She was torn. She just went through a traumatic ordeal and I’m running back to the scene of the crime, she thought.
The phone call she took.
They only told her that Thompson had escaped, no one said she needed to come back in.

     She drove slowly back to the prison. She didn’t want to get stuck in some ditch in the country. With each plop of snow on the windshield spreading out into snow crystals, she tried to think of the connecting lines that lead to this escape. She knew if they didn’t find Thompson on the grounds, the local law enforcement agency would need to get involved and possible the FBI and as selfish as it sounded, she might not have a job when this ended. She was moving on coffee fueled energy and she needed to get as much out of it as she could before she passed out from exhaustion.