I’m really hoping that when I finish this “masterpiece” I’ve been working on for so many years that the next one will be better organized.  It’s really disheartening when you realize that you’ve been focussing on the wrong area for the ENTIRE MIDDLE OF YOUR STORY!!! Could I have been more thick-headed?  It’s no wonder I couldn’t move forward — I was concentrating on a section too far forward in my plot.

Unstuck? Hmmm…

The Monster Cries Out

Watching a favorite TV last night and I was dumb struck. One of the characters was speaking about another and said those magic word: “He is a very talented writer.”

After all these years I’ve been trying to complete my novel, writing poetry and short stories, I have NEVER heard those words from anyone. Makes me really wonder why I am doing this. Am I wasting my time??? Feels like it. Am I feeling sorry for myself? No. I’m trying to figure out where to go with this realization.

I guess the bottom line is that I do love to write. So that in itself is reason to write, regardless of what anyone else says.  Quash the monster…

Writing silences the monster.

Writing silences the monster.

Aloha to New Changes

For many years, I have written under a nom de plume that I created back in 1986.  Well, It took me 30 years, but I’ve decided to write under my own name — sort of — from now on.  My author name has changed to NC Overton.

My greatest challenge right now, though, is whether to abandon this blog address and create a new one or keep this one (I cannot rename the web address).  Hmmm.  Changing feels like starting all over.  Well, I will decide that later.  There could be some perks in moving to a new site.  Like getting a fresh start, right?  Although, I really don’t feel like I need a fresh start, just a change.  So, I will ponder this question for a bit and will post my update another day.

I hope whatever I decide, my readers will stick with me.



(Yet Another) Year in Review

What is so amazing to me is that I have NOT been writing as I planned!  I have a new short in progress, and I have figured out how to move forward through the middle of my novel — middle muckiness is apparently quite common for novel writers — but I have refocused on my “real” life the as few months.  Reason for lack of new posts as well.

In my real life, I reactivated my real estate license, so I have been focusing on that.  I think I am now ready to divide my time between real estate and writing.

As for a review of my year, I didn’t accomplish half of what I wanted to with my novel, but I have high hopes.  I WILL FINISH THIS NOVEL, just in it’s own time.  I wish you all super success in your writing endeavors also!!

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!!

P.S. Some shameless advertising here… if you are ready to buy property on Kauai, please visit my site at Homes on Kauai.  You can connect with my writer side through Twitter and Facebook.

Post Writers’ Conference Hitch

Oh my goodness.  How am I supposed to get back to normal?  Attending my first writers’ conference in early May was a dream come true.  Really.  I learned so much more than I ever thought I would.  There is one little hitch though.  Now, I over-analyze everything I write.  Every sentence, practically every word.  It’s starting to get in the way of the plot because I am focussing too much on the words and structure.

So, exactly how am I supposed to get back to normal?  I mean, every time I write a few sentences, I start to think that they aren;t punchy enough or I have used the same word too many times or the structure isn’t right.  I am even finding myself fixing previously written text to accommodate what I learned at the conference.

Am I just over-editing?  Will I return to normal soon?  What am I supposed to do if all I think about is how mundane my writing must be?  Oh the conundrum!

As usual, writing things out, especially issues I have, seems to help me come up with solutions.  My first thought is to get back to writing and worry about the editing later.  Somehow I have to trust that my story is more important right now than which words I choose and how many times I use a word.  This has always been difficult for me, but now, trying to add in the nuances I learned about at the conference, is making me crazy!  Not to mention, the “Doubt Monster” is really tearing at what little confidence I have in my own writing abilities.  I almost feel as though I cannot write at all.

OK, ok, stop whining and practice not editing. See how that works out.  Hopefully I can return to some normalcy in my writing soon.

(also posted on She Writes)

Perfectly Placed Eye Lashes

I have a distinct appreciation for make-up, eye make-up to be exact.  I can get drawn in by the flawless application of color and lashes.  I look closely at the details. I focus on the closeups to see how the color was applied, where the shadows are, and how the lashes blend into the eyeliner.

smokeyeye1What has all this talk about eye make-up got to do with writing?  Nothing, on the surface; but if you think about it, it’s the same as writing a great story.  You draw your readers in with the flawless application of plot and characters.  Your readers will fall into the perfection of the scenes.  As a writer, I read other authors closely.  I scour the details, focus on the events, how the action is applied, and how the subplots blend into the main theme.  The meat of the story is in the details. It’s how I learn to write better.  It’s how I understand the structure.  The finishing touches, the satisfaction of the ending, reminds me of perfectly placed eyelashes.

Kaua`i Writers’ Conference – A Retrospect

This past week-end, I was thrilled to be attending my first writers’ conference!  I’ve been to many conferences, but never one devoted to writing, my craft of choice since I was a child penning my first poem.  I looked forward to three full days of talks from authors, agents, and editors.  Not knowing what to expect, I just wanted to learn from these people who had somehow successfully navigated the process of writing and publishing their work.  I wanted to know everything.

Because I live on Kaua`i, it’s difficult to find anything more beautiful than being on the beach here.  Unless you want to take in the gigantic rugged mountains, or the lush valleys.  But, it really doesn’t matter to me where a conference might be held as long as the presentations are relevant.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the beach is a close view from the conference room and the tropical breezes are wafting through the open air dining room at lunch. It’s what people expect in Hawai`i.

I can’t say enough about the organizers and hotel staff.  From start to finish, the service was seamless, and the presentations were definitely relevant.  I am amazed at the amount of information I absorbed.  I had an excellent first experience.  I never imagined I would have all my questions answered or that so many others had the same questions that I had!  Writing is a solitary business up until the time you set out to publish, so we forget there are others out there creating their own works of art.  That in itself makes attending a writers’ conference worthwhile.  But having first class presenters talking about everything you ever wanted to know but didn’t know HOW to ask, well, all I can say is, “Priceless.”  Yes, that may be cliché, but it is certainly true.

While much of the information is still percolating, I have to say that I took so much more away from the conference than I could have anticipated.  I am inspired to continue my journey writing my first novel.  Thanking everyone involved for such a lovely and educational three days is a must, and I do!  I look forward to next year’s conference and hope that I will have something to share then.

Mahalo nui loa!


Grammar-ease: When to Capitalize a Season

I know many writers think the publisher’s editors will correct all the bad grammar in our writing; but the truth is, they really don’t have time for it. They are busy trying to make you book read and flow well so that it will sell.  They  shouldn’t be bombarded with poor grammar.  Having just been to a writer’s conference with agents, editors and authors, one thing is clear: editing your own work before you get to the agent is crucial.

Then there’s the question of self-publishing. If you don’t have a good grasp of grammar, you are doomed.  Taking personal responsibility for your writing includes at least attempting to spell-check and grammar-check your work!  So, sit back and take a moment to read this wonderful post from Lisa J. Jackson (Live to Write – Write to Live). It will do you a world of good!

Live to Write - Write to Live

So, here in New Hampshire, we had one of the coldest winters (or is it Winters) on record, weeks of single-digit and below zero temps.

Then we had April, definitely labeled spring (or is it Spring) on the calendar. It was filled with temps averaging in the 40s.

daffodils_april_10_03_editedNow it’s May 4th and temps are in the 80s.

To say we had a short spring (or is it Spring) is crazy, but, honestly, 80 degrees after weeks in the 40s? I’d say summer (or is it Summer) is here! It’s definitely shorts and t-shirt weather!

To the topic of this post — it’s a common question: Do you capitalize the seasons when writing about spring, summer, winter, or fall?

The short and simple answer is: no.

You only capitalize the season of spring, summer, winter, or fall when it’s part of a title…

View original post 121 more words

Changing My Blog’s Platform

Over the past year or so, I began using my blog as a sounding board, but it seems to me that I am just exploring my feelings and I can do that in my personal diary.  So I am changing my blog’s platform to discuss things I am learning about writing a novel.  Much of this will be personal learning, but I think a readership of other artistic people may find their own challenges addressed.

It is already the end of April and I am still stalled, but I have resolved to use this as a learning experience and devote most of my free time to writing.  After some major reality checking about why it is taking me such a dreadfully long time to write this novel, I have learned a few things.  First, I need to learn to say, “I’m working, please do not disturb me.”  Or simply, “No.”  I am semi-retired, after all, and I intended to finish my book last year.  Second, I need to learn to push through those disturbances and go back to my writing.  Third, I have not been thinking of my writing as a job.

My challenge is all the little unnecessary disturbances begin to feel like sabotage.  If I don’t stick to my guns and insist on the time to write, the situation will never change.  It’s the equivalent of doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results.  There’s a reason for that statement.  It’s absolutely true!  So, while the interruptions are a challenge, I know my story, I know what’s supposed to happen, so I should not let the interruptions get to me.  When left to my own time, I will write.

As to the last revelation, Thinking of my writing as a job is crucial to my success.  If I don’t feel like this is a real job, then it becomes a little hobby I can put away in the closet while I focus on more important things.  Not anymore!  I write.  I am a writer.  This is my profession, my job.  All too often we look at an activity as being a job only when we get paid.  Well, if I don’t write, I don’t get paid.  Simple.

These are my lessons for this week.  I’m sure I will discover more as I move through the process to the finish line.  Then it will be time to start on the next one. Next week, I attend a writer’s conference.  I’m sure I’ll have more pearls of wisdom and revelations after that.  I am looking forward to it.

Happy writing!