Monday, September 15, 2014

Spring Floods, Hail, Cedar Point and the need to Outline for Novels.

Before I get to summer, I have to mention some extreme weather we had the spring. There was one storm that blasted through where I thought the windows were going to explode because of hail. It went from a summer day to winter in about fifteen minutes. Dark green clouds hung in the sky while the lights were out. This was followed by no power for two days. 

Hail in the backyard (I live in south-east Michigan)

Also…flooding occurred twice in my front yard in the spring. I have a large front yard with a horseshoe driveway. The first time it flooded was due to melting snow, much more than usual due to the harsh winter. The second time it flooded was from a torrential downpour going on for hours during the night. I woke up in the morning at 5:30 a.m., looked out the window and said, “Nooooooo!” I didn’t know if I could get out of the driveway or not. At work, I had to be there too because they were switching over to a new patient charting system. It was only the second day of that phase. Thankfully, I managed to get out of the driveway and we have not flooded since. 

That gray line in the distance is the road I had to reach. 

As for summer, it was much cooler than usual in Michigan. I have one of those blue Intex pools that you have to set up every year, and I didn’t get much use out of it. However, I enjoyed the cooler temperatures because in previous years it’s been hot and humid day after day. This year I saved money not having to run air conditioning near as much. 

I finally had a vacation. Before, I was contracted and went from job to job without gaining any vacation. I love where I work now and have almost been there a year. During my week off, I went to Cedar Point in mid-July mainly because my daughter wanted to go there. We stayed in one of their cottages along Lake Erie. The only little problem with that was I spotted a mouse darting around. It shot out from under the bunk bed and went in the bathroom where it escaped through various small holes, manmade ones for pipes, etc. There were mouse droppings under the sink and other places. When I mentioned it, there was no offer of a discount or anything. Cedar Point is mostly run by college students, so there are issues, but overall it was a good time. 

The Power Tower: I didn't go on this.

The cottage (Lake Erie on the other side) 

Max Air: I went on this and wanted off in a hurry

Wicked Twister and Lake Erie (Picture taken from a huge Ferris Wheel)

As for writing, I had a lot of frustrations trying to finish my Shifter story. It’s turned into an alternate historical, paranormal romance set during the time of the American Revolution. The bad part is I have done a lot of revisions. It was going to be an expansion of my short story TransShifter, but it’s changed so much that I can only say it’s inspired by TranShifter. I have 42K words written, even though I have written well over 100K. It seemed I was never going to finish it. During a moment of great frustration, I concluded that I had to be going about this the wrong way and I started to outline. Why did I not think of this before? 

Mainly because outlining has never worked for me. In the past, unexpected plot holes have emerged and better ideas have led me well beyond the outline. However, I couldn’t tolerate any more revisions, so I had to change and made myself finish an outline before doing any writing. So far this has kept me on track and I feel hopeful about completing the novel. On a positive note, the writing I did over the summer was not a total loss. It led to ideas, world building and characterization.

Sometimes I forget about the other things that have slowed me down. In 2013, I had a new job in April and then changed jobs again in October (where I am now.) So going through two job changes made things difficult writing wise. Lastly, I had an editing job this year that went from February to July.

And now I must get back to writing.

Have a great week everyone.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hope the outline makes a big difference for you.
Glad you got vacation time, although I would've raised hell about the mice.
Our winter was harder and the summer very mild. So much for global warming.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

It sounds like your summer was much harder than mine. It's rained too much this year for my personal taste, but I haven't had to suffer through flooding. I hope the winter treats you folks good over there in Michigan.

Sherry Ellis said...

It's been a long time since I've been to Cedar Point (I used to live in Ohio.) It sounds like you had a decent time there.

My dad (who still lives in Ohio) just commented about all the rain, today. I hope it's not an indication of what kind of winter we'll have.

Pat Dilloway said...

I lost track of how many times the carpet of my apartment flooded. It even flooded the last day I was there--on Labor Day. It was a cool summer, but hopefully it's not as cold as last winter.

Jay Noel said...

Love your pictures!

I was up in Michigan three weeks ago (Kalamazoo), and it was very cool. Nice, but cooler than normal.

Hey - I'm also a recovering pantster. Outlining has drastically cut the time it takes me to write a full length 100K word novel, and it's focused my 7 point story structure. Big time.