Tag Archives: writing by voice

Using Dragon Naturally Speaking 9.0 to write, due to recurrent tendonitis of the wrist.

Slow progress.

Making very slow progress on Pirouette the Third.  I’ve been ripping it apart, deleting scenes or condensing them, and rewriting others.  I’ve got it down to 117k which is really cool.

I’m focusing on Alisia and Lucien’s relationship arc, as well as the subplot.  I realized that I may not have been as brutal as I should have been when I did the One Pass Revision.  I also found out some big flaws (thanks to my critiquers) that needed fixing.  But that’s okay, because I want it to be stronger, and it will be when I’m done.

I like what I’m getting.

Although sometimes it feels like I’m juggling three balls.

As for Soulfire, got a tentative plot in mind and things are starting to gel.  I’m very happy about that.  I have a possible first line, and the theme song.  And a 73-song playlist.  The theme song is Baba O’Riley by The Who.  I realized that it could be a metaphor for the future dystopic Earth I’m creating.  That really made my day.

Nanowrimo in 19 days.  I can’t wait.

Also did a major overhaul on my website yet again.  This version is simpler and cleaner, and I love it.  Check it out at http://www.erinkendall.com.  Most of the links aren’t live yet, however.  The Writer link is.

And lastly, I’m beginning to have problems with my wrist again.  So it looks like I’ll be voice reccing Nano again.  Was hoping to avoid that, but hey, I’m glad it’s possible.  I still have a good chance of getting 50k that way.

So that’s what’s going on. 

Nineteen. Days.

2008 in Review

Happy New Year to everyone.  I thought I’d reflect back on this year and talk about what I accomplished. 

The biggie of the year was finishing the Pirouette Rewrite on June 14th, which made it just under a year since I started it.  I managed to do that amid severe tendonitis, back-to-back surgeries (parents, not me, but still), learning and training and using voice recognition, and health issues.  For me, finishing it in 11 months was a bit of a miracle.  Starting tomorrow, I will be revising and polishing it.

I wrote just under 50k new words on Survivor.  I’d wanted to finish the first draft, but that didn’t happen.  Even so, Survivor is getting very close to the end.  My second priority in the new year is to finish it, give it the attention it deserves.  It’s been languishing waaay too long.

I wrote (and rewrote) Flamebound, the novella.  It, too, needs a revision and polish.  I hope to get that out the door in the new year, too.

I started my first contemporary romance, Like Summer, based on a short story I wrote many moons ago.  It’s on hold at the moment, because I’m not sure if contemporary romance is my thing.  We’ll see. 

I participated in NaNoWriMo, even though I didn’t plan on it, and ended with 54k.  And attempted to write a comedy, but being me, that just ain’t happening, but the book is quite unique and dark.  Just like me.  😉  It’s kind of my experimental draft for an e-course I’ve been in since July.  It’s called “How to Think Sideways” given by the talented and wonderful Holly Lisle.  What a course!!!!!  It’s funny, I’d worked up a few ideas for the course and had one set to go…..and then the one for Hereafter hit me upside the head after a stressful day at work.  It turned out waaay different than I could have imagined, and that’s okay, because damn it, I like surprises.

I beat my previous writing record for one week.  The record was 12,000, and I wrote it while on vacation using my Alphasmart Dana.  This year, I had to stay home due to severe burstitis, and I ended up with 17k.  I also pretty much began and finished Flamebound’s first draft that week.

I survived severe tendonitis and severe burstitis, both of which threatened to screw with my writing.  Not so.  I managed to produce despite all of that, and I’m damn proud of that.

Lastly, I’m finishing out the year with approximately 290k.  Could have made 300k, but this month has been rough for me in terms of time and motivation (yes, even I am sometimes unproductive.  Go fig).  But 290k is spectacular!!!!  Especially considering everything that happened this year.

Oh, and I moved into an apartment with my fiance.  That was another thing that halted the writing (and caused the burstitis, grrrr). 

I critted a few great novels, and I’m working on a few more. 

I discovered the shininess that is the band Nightwish, and I LOVE them.  And I’m still in love with Queensryche, fyi.

So alot has happened.  Alot has gotten done.  I’ve survived some big challenges, and I thank God for my intense drive to succeed and my motivation.  That’s one thing that I have that lot of people don’t: I’m driven to the point of obcession.  I have to do well, if not be the best.  I have to make my dreams reality.  Because if I don’t, what is life really worth?  Sure, I have family and friends and a wonderful fiance, but I would always wonder what if?  And yearn for what I didn’t have, what I didn’t try to attain.  I can’t imagine going through life never reaching for my dreams, never accomplishing anything of value.  It just isn’t in my makeup.

True immortality: writing.  I hope to God that I will get published and have my writing read by generations of people for many years to come.  If I keep working hard, it will be a reality.

See ya on the other side.

In the bag!

Yesterday, I hit the finish line on Nano with 50,078 words.  I am so happy to have done this — both the experience and making my 50k.  I was really worried in the beginning that I wouldn’t, because the voice rec was taking longer than typing.  Oddly enough, I was able to type more than voice rec.

Story-wise, it’s not over yet.  Johanna and Luke, the two main characters, have made a journey to the Void, where they will learn where Luke’s ancestral parents are.  They need answers to one very important question.  Only problem is, upon leaving, they won’t remember any of it.  Yes, I am evil.

My plan of attack is to continue working on Hereafter at a slower pace through December.  I estimate about 40k remains.  I still have to get to the meat of the conspiracy issue.  That’s one of things I really liked about this story — the conspiracy and what it means.  Also what Johanna really is — she’s not entirely human.  😉

Also, Flamebound needs an ending, so that’s happening soon, too.  And of course, the Pirouette edit needs to be completed.  So, I have enough to keep me busy through December.  Been toying with the idea of doing NanoFiMo in December — National Novel Finishing Month.  I did it last in 2005, and managed to not complete Pirouette’s first draft, true to form.

Another thing is that Hereafter has changed considerably from its outline.  The core of it remains the same — the love story and the conspiracy — but my way of getting there was different.  I hit upon the right plot points, but I twisted it all around.  And added a new character and a serious obstacle for the lovebirds. 

I tend to change things as I go — an outline is merely a guide, not an absolute, for me.  Usually on the fly things come to me and others reveal themselves.  And sometimes I will choose to take the scenic route instead of the highway.  But the end result is usually the same.

For me, that’s part of the fun: discovering the true story as it is revealed to me.  Without this, it just wuldn’t be as fun.  That’s why if you were to ask me if I’m a plotter or pantser, I’d tell you that I’m a hybrid of both.  I need my roadmap, but I also need to leave enough wiggle room to take the scenic route.

It’s a very odd process, but it works for me.  🙂

Nano progress and new goals

Just wanted to post about my progress on Nano.  I’m up to 27k and am officially ahead.  These weekends seem to be working out well to keep up the pace.  According to my Nano report card (a spreadsheet made to keep track of your progress), I should finish 3 days early.

Another thing that’s been helping is word wars.  They are basically friendly “wars” between writers where each writer tries to get as many words as possible in a set amount of time.  I’ve done 31 to date (yes, I’ve been counting!) and they’ve really helped me keep rolling, even when I didn’t feel like it.

The story is going very well.  I added in something I hadn’t planned for comedic value and conflict.  I’m up to Chapter 6, and this is where the mystery/conspiracy starts.  Fun.  *rubs hands together and laughs evilly*

The voice rec however is going okay, but the mis-recognitions are getting worse.  I think it’s due to not having the headset on in the exact perfect spot, and I’ve been experimenting with it.  I may need to train it some more.  We shall see.

I have been typing a bit, when my wrist doesn’t hurt, but have been following my rule: that if I so much as feel a twinge of pain, it’s back to voice rec.

I’ve also been thinking about next year and have made a few changes to my goals.  The priorities now are to finish the first edit pass of Pirouette the Rewrite and start the revision.  Also, finish Flamebound and at some point, start its edit/revision.  And lastly, I want to finish Survivor and start the rewrite.

Pirouette needs to get out the door ASAP.  It’s been languishing too long — I’m more than ready to work on it.  But Nano was a last minute decision, so I had to set it aside.  I will be going back to it in December, whether it’s fulltime or parttime while I finish up Hereafter.  I’m almost positive that Hereafter won’t be finished in 50k.

Second, Survivor has also been languishing.  I stopped working on it to write Flamebound, and the plan was to get back to it and finish it this year.  Not happening.  So I want to devote as much time as possible next year to making some major progress on it.  It’s been 4 years.  And I still believe fervently that it’s brilliant and quite possibly be a bestseller (yes, I’m confident).  So it means some serious work.  So that’s the plan as of right now.

So, I think I]ll be making my 50k, and that makes me happy because while I wasn’t dead set on winning, I was hoping to.  And with the voice rec, it’s been a huge challenge.  To win with voice rec would make my year, I think.  😀

NaNo by voice.

To update, I just broke 19k on my NaNovel, Hereafter.  The bulk of t has been written using voice recognition, as my wrist is not a happy wrist right now.  And all my data files are on my dead computer, so it’s been slow going, but I am making steady progress.

I just wrote a scene that I hadn’t planned on writing.  I tend to be organic when it come to details.  I mentally rearrange and refigure things from the outline.  I have a really good memory, so I can go weeks without looking at it.  Sometimes I think it’s a gift, because it allows me to fill in the blanks, come up with stuff on the fly.

I’ve been pretty tired, as voice reccing 2k a day is pretty trying.  But it’s teaching me that it is possible to write more with VR.  Sometimes I get headaches from the headset, so lately I’ve been taking breaks.  Seems to be working.

I’m trying for 15k or so per week, which would leave me a whole week to finish it up (or catch up, as it were).  I was behind for awhile, and then caught up and got a bit aead last weekend.  Thank the Lord for weekends!

A small snippet:

He put his hand up as if he was going to reach for me, but then he dropped it. “I’m okay with the challenge. What I’m not okay with is the outcome.”

“You’re truly afraid for me, aren’t you?” I mused, glancing at Patricia, who just entered the field. She was carrying a longsword. “Um. Why does she have a sword in her hand? I thought we were fighting.”

“You are.”

I couldn’t take my eyes off of the sword glinting in the twilight. “So…. we fight using swords?”

Wow, you are brilliant tonight. Simply brilliant.

Luke nodded. “That’s correct.” He reached behind him and produced a similar looking sword. “This sword is mine. I like you to use it.” He held out to me reverently.

I grasped it by the hilt, taking care not to cut myself. It seemed to glow …. a curious aquamarine color. Like his eyes. “It’s beautiful.”

Luke leaned in towards me, placing one hand behind my neck, pulling me closer. “As are you,” he whispered. Then his lips met mine–

“What are you doing?” Two things happened: I jumped, letting the sword drop to the ground, and Luke spun around, nearly knocking Patricia over. “Is that what I think it is?”

Luke assumed an expression of pure innocence. Tough to imagine as he was an incubus. But still. “Nothing’s happening here. Johanna and I were just talking.”

“That’s right,” I said. “No need to worry.”

Patricia nodded slowly, as if she had to puzzle out each word. Maybe she was truly a bimbo. I didn’t know and I really didn’t care. “Okay. See you later.” She had this dazed look on her face, as if she were hypnotized– oh shit. He didn’t hypnotize her, did he?

Muwahhhhhaaaaa.

SO close.

Pirouette is thisclose to being finished, and I can’t wait.  It’s sitting at 186k, and I think I can finish by 190k.  Of course, I said that about 120k, 150k, and 170k…so we’ll just have to see.

The Final Battle is over, and Alisia is learning that someone she loved deeply is ….. well, that would be a spoiler.  Suffice to say, it’s sad.  😦

I’m trying to figure out how to accomplishment 3 things in the final scene.  That I’ll be pondering.

This week has been horrible migraine-wise, and I can’t dictate b/c the headset makes things worse.  Sooo, I handwrote 4 pages front and back, of Alisia and her …discovery.  Will dictate them soon.

This month is shaping up to be sllloooowww for words.  I think I’m up to like 3.5k or something.  Still time to make that 20k happen, esp once I delve into Survivor – that’s next – but it’s so unlike me to not get the words.  But then again, this month has been a bit weird health-wise.  It is what it is.

Plenty of time to ponder changes and stuff for draft 3.  After a respectable break, of course.  I’m thinking a few weeks, minimum.

11 months on this thing, straight through, if I finish this month (which is very likely).  Long time to be working on it, but overall I’m happy with my progress.  I so didn’t want to take a year.  And it looks like I won’t.

Will update once it’s DONE.

On Sven.

What an experience.  I made my goal of 70k, and Pirouette  is almost in the bag.  Marathons are good for me, because they keep me working steadily and honest.  Very honest.  Last night when I discovered I was 400 words away from hitting 70k, I wrote more.  It wasn’t just the number — it was the knowledge that even though I’ve had some issues this round (voice rec and migraines, mostly), I still managed to write 70k in three months.  For me, that’s a major accomplishment.

So thank you Sven, and the sponsors and all the sweating challengers.  🙂

Two more scenes to go, and Pirouette will be finished.  I can see the end as I rush headlong toward it.  It’s always such a rush.  To be this close, and not yet done.  To know that with a few more days work, the book will be complete.  To know that more work awaits me — but that’s okay.  It’s another step toward making it publishable.

And I will get it published.  There is no other option.

In the home stretch. And a little bit of history.

I estimate another 4 scenes and Pirouette will be finished.  It’s exhilerating and a little scary to be this close to the end.

It will still need some work before I start doing the agent rounds, but that’s ok.  I’m just one step closer to it being ready.

I’m a bit stumped on a plot point, and that has derailed me today.  I’m pondering it, throwing out ideas to myself, seeing if something will stick. 

Pirouette  is now at 167k.  I’m hoping to finish it on or near 170k, but we’ll see.

10 months of hard work has come down to this.  It has survived a divorce, a move, 2 parental surgeries back-to-back, recurrent tendonitis and a transition to voice recognition.  It has haunted me and kept me motivated for three years.  It has kept me grounded, kept me guessing, and has given me more pleasure that I can even express.  I absolutely love this book, and the Pirouette world.  The characters have grown and deepened over time.  Alisia is always fun to write.  Alisia and Lucien together rock good.

This book started its life as a short story called “Salvation.”  It was to answer the question: what if your salvation was really your hell?  Alisia started out as Emily, a woman who gets into a near-fatal car crash and almost dies.  Lucien, a doctor, offers to save her –but only if she become a vampire — his vampire mate.

It made it to 12 pages, and then Nano rolled around, and I decided to expand it.  Emily became Alisia, and became a ballerina/necromancer.  Lucien lost his M.D. degree and ended up becoming a vampire Prince.  And countless other things were added and twined together.

And now, with the second draft almost in the bag, I can’t help marveling at its evolution. 

Next up is Survivor.  I’ll be taking a short break from P after finishing to recharge the batteries, and I can’t wait to dig into it.

On 70 days of sweat, I made my goal of 60k, and then some.  Not sure if I’ll officially finish P by the end (May 16), but if I don’t, I know I’ll be pretty darned close.  Thank you, Sven.

 

Time keeps on slipping, slipping….

Thought it was time to do an update.  I’ve been very busy working on Pirouette.  It is up to 152k, and I estimate that it will come in at about 170k, which means some major cutting will be in order.  But I’ll worry about that later.

I have been voice reccing it exclusively, and the wrist is doing alot better.  Still may need to see the doc, but I’m hoping that will be unnecessary.

I also have been thinking about resurrecting an old short story and expanding it into a novel.  It’s called Like Summer, and it’s about (among other things) a marriage of convenience and the healing power of love.  Contemporary romances are shorter in length, and I thought that if I could bang out one within the next six months, I might be able to shop it around and perhaps even get it published.  Alot of my favorite authors started out with comtemporary romances.  And, it could get my foot in the door at a certain publisher I’m looking at for my other stuff.  And, I’m looking to spread my wings a bit and try something new and different.

We shall see.  It’s plotted and ready to roll.

In wedding news, the beloved and I booked our ceremony location a few weeks ago.  It’s a beautiful little chapel.  I knew when I walked in that it was The One.  And the price was right, and they offer other services (photography, flowers, etc) at discounted prices.  Works for me!

On 70 days of sweat, I’m up to 46,955.  I’m doing wonderfully.  I’m so glad I joined the challenge.

For the month (and April Fools — another challenge), I’m at 22,080.  Going to try for 25k.  It’s one of my highest monthly counts to date.

Well, that’s it for now.  Spring is here finally!  Whooohoo.

Update and an anniversary.

One year ago, on Easter Sunday, I started this blog.  It has had more than 1000 visitors since then.  🙂 

Granted, Easter was in April last year, but let’s just pretend this is April.  Thank you.  🙂

Update -y

Pirouette is up to 132k and growing.  I’ve entered the final third of the book, and I’m hoping to finish in by May (to coincide with the end of 70 days of Sweat).  I’ve been primarily voice reccing it, but this week, I switched back to typing because my wrist has been fine.  I imagine I’ll have to do more voice than typing overall, but that’s ok.  At least I can produce during my flare-ups.

Been doing alot of thinking about themes.  Because I’d like to try to work them into the next draft.  The original theme was redemption.  It still is.  But I’ve added a few more to that: silencing the ghosts, balance, and tough choices.  Alisia has to deal with all of these at some point in the book.  I want this book to go deeper than just the surface story.  I want it to resonate, man.

Also considering what comes after I finish the draft.  I might take a few weeks off and work on something else, to give myself distance.  That something else will prolly be Survivor, because it’s nearly done and next on my list.  It has been calling to me for about a year now, and I miss it terribly.  It’s one of my strongest stories.

Another book has called to me, too.  So strongly that I saw the opening scene in my head vividly.  It’s Darkweaver.  Wynd, the protagonist, has been pitching a fit in my head.  I keep telling her to wait her turn, but she’s a persistant little wench.  I might at some point write that first scene just to shut her up.

Something that’s been on my mind (if that isn’t enough, LOL) is Pirouette’s sequel, Blood Dance.  I have two potential plots that I’m trying to work out.  One will be the plot, and the other will be held back for a future book.  One involves a very unique type of mating and the other involves doppelgangers and insanity.  I wish I could do both, but the book would be mammoth.  So I gotta figure that out, too, so I can put together an outline.

And finally, I am happy to report that I’m back in the the darkroom.  Last weekend I took the plunge and developed a roll of film.  It was not without trouble, mind you — it’s been about two years — but I’m proud to say that it came out beautifully, and so did the resulting prints.  It’s my goal to get my backlog done before I move in June, as well as try out another type of infrared film.  Infrared film is a special kind of film that makes everything glow, plants turn white, and people’s skin becomes translucent.  It’s really neat, and tough to use/process but it is SO worth it.  My favorite kind, Kodak HIE, has been discontinued, so I found a comparable type: Rollei 400.  And I’m going to buy some and run some tests.  If it works, I’ll continue to use it, and do more shooting. 

It feels good to have my hand in photography again.  I’m also updating my website, putting up new pictures and redesigning the pages.  It’s very outdated.  And, I want to be able to show possible editors of photo mags current stuffs. 

So that’s my grande plan.  Muhaaaaa.

On 70 Days of Sweat, I’m up to 16,640 words.  Not bad for 22 days, eh?  And most were dictated, too.

Happy Easter to everyone.