Plowing forward!

I’ve been mostly heads-down on the non-fiction book I’m working on. I say ‘mostly’ because I’ve found it to be way harder to write non-fiction than I expected – or at least this particular book has been challenging. I know the subject really well, but keep finding myself questioning the ordering of sections, or holding back on my opinion when I’m writing about some topics.

This book will end up just fine – I’ve run into similar issues with fiction, and have learned that the hardest part for me is to get the first draft out. After that, everything feels easy in comparison!

And now, as promised, here’s an update on new things I’ve learned and experienced in the past week!

Learnings

I want to reuse last week’s lesson: writing non-fiction is completely different from writing fiction and not anywhere near writing something for my day job. Wow, has this been a learning experience!

But it would be cheating to repeat, and it probably would also be cheating to say what I’ve learned ist that if one of my best friends comes over to pick something up and happens to bring a bottle of wine, that I’m probably going to spend the evening drinking wine with her instead of writing. Obviously this is not a new lesson! 🙂

So instead I’m going to talk about something in vague terms, because I did actually learn a lesson – but because this applies to a book (actually, a series of books) I don’t want to give all the details away.

Back in April, I spent a week in Lincoln City, Oregon at the last writing workshop I’ll probably ever attend on the Pacific coast. This was a fantasy workshop taught by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and it was awesome. One of our assignments was to think of one of our own ‘superpowers’ – meaning, something we were each really good at. A day or so later we were, of course, given a short story assignment in which our protagonist had to have that same superpower. 🙂

One of my ‘superpowers’ is that I’m good at connecting people. When I decide I should introduce people I’m not always right – but I’m almost always right! I used this as the basis for my short story, and – as usually is the case with these classes – quickly realized I was writing the first chapter of a novel.

What I realized in the past week is that I can combine this idea with another idea I’d had for a cozy mystery series. I made some notes about this last week and got super excited! I won’t have time to work on this for a while because I’ve committed (or over-committed, depending on your interpretation) to a number of other projects, but I’m very excited about this idea.

Last week, I made a list about all of my cozy mystery ideas because I felt that I should focus on the one that I’d write first. This way when I’m out hiking with Rosie and Jasper I can think about the story, even though I won’t have time to actually write it for a while. I had a longer list than I’d meant to create, and decided to try to combine several ideas. I quickly realized that by combining several ideas I’d end up with a richer, much more interesting story. The more I thought about this, the better it felt.

Now the only problem is that I don’t have time to start on this for a few months! But that is actually a good thing because it gives me time to think through the overall plan and make the characters and the problems they deal with richer and more interesting – and more entertaining!

Experiencings

Jasper was a little nervous before we started.

This week’s most interesting experience was sharing a chiropractor visit with Jasper!

Yes, the little guy and I got adjusted together. 🙂 Jasper saw a different chiropractor once, years ago, and he’s seen a wonderful massage therapist who I keep failing to schedule him with. This past winter, we learned that Jasper’s back pain is partially due to the fact that he has hip dysplasia. I don’t know if seeing a chiropractor will help, but it’s something we haven’t tried yet, and I’d like to give it a go. Jasper is such a happy little guy that it’s hard to remember that he’s in at least a little pain every day. We’ve learned not to pet him much in a lot of areas on his back because it’s clearly uncomfortable. So: paws crossed that this will help!!!

I like including snippets of my stories in these posts, but it’s hard to do that when I’m not actively working on a story. Today my friend DeAnna tagged me in a post on Facebook, and I came up with an idea for a story – so I’m sharing this because it’s much more fun than sharing anything from my in progress non-fiction book. I’m actually very happy with my non-fiction book, but it’s more of a how-to book, so it’s useful – but not nearly as fun as this idea would be if I ever wrote it.

After Melba’s divorce from Alfredo, it occurred to her that she should to learn to cook her own food. This seemed like a perfectly normal skill to acquire – and, as Melba pointed out to her friend Burgundy, one she surely would have learned if she hadn’t lived across the street from a Thai restaurant after moving out of the dorms.

It was true that one should only eat pad Thai so many days in a row, but there had been plenty of other options on the menu. And then she’d met Alfredo, a charming man from Barcelona who’d swept her off her feet by making a spectacular meal of gazpacho, paella, and flan. Alfredo made the sangria at their wedding, and for a while it seemed as if they had the perfect relationship.

Fourteen years and several times fourteen pounds later, Melba and Alfredo realized they’d grown apart. They had an amicable divorce in which Alfredo got all the dishes and cooking utensils, and Melba got the lawn mower. Melba bought a little Victorian and returned to eating Thai food every night. Alfredo began dating his massage therapist, and every time he stopped by to visit the cat Melba noticed how much happier he seemed. She, on the other hand, was well on her way to gaining another fourteen pounds, and felt a lack of something from her life. She just didn’t know what.

One day, in a burst of motivation fueled by sampling different flavors of espresso at her favorite coffee shop, Melba attempted to bake muffins. This seemed simple enough but, for Melba, was not. While wiping batter off the ceiling, she discovered her house was haunted…by the very cranky ghost of a pastry chef. And the apparition was not at all pleased with her attempt at baking.

 
 

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