Hello. My name is Arlene, and I have a confession. Meg & Matt are real lookers … and I don’t mean that in a good way.

I’m not kidding. I’ve noticed that Meg & Matt spend a lot of time looking β€” at each other, at the ground, at whatever is around them. Whenever they don’t know what else to do, they LOOK.

Needless to say, I’m going to have to work on that. Admitting there’s a problem is the first step in fixing it, right? πŸ˜‰

I owe my (not so) startling revelation to one of my RWA sisters. As newsletter editor for NARWA, I have the privilege of receiving articles from all the other RWA chapter newsletters. I review them to decide whether to include them in ours, but I also find myself learning from them whether they end up in our newsletter or not.

One of the articles did include in our most recent issue (in e-mail in boxes today, for those of you looking) was “Hunt those pesky repeated words” by Missouri RWA’s Shawntelle Madison. She confesses to using “snapped,” “noticed” and “saw” too often.

That made me think about the words I use more than I should, and “look” topped my list. At least in “Beauty and the Ballplayer,” they seem to be looking all the time.

At least it’s a problem specific to Meg & Matt. I think I’d have noticed if Kari & Damien or Brad & Erin spent all their time gaping at one another. (Erin spends a fair amount of time staring at Mike, at least at first, but that’s another story!) πŸ˜€

What words do you find yourself using more often than you might like?

February 27, 2010

Meg & Matt, Progress, Stories

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Not much new to report here, but I thought I’d give you a quick update on my progress.

I wrote 401 words on Meg & Matt’s story today, bringing my total since I started tracking on Jan. 17 to 19,855. That’s nearly 20K β€” one-fifth of my 100K-word goal.

Still mulling a title for Meg & Matt. “Beauty and the Ballplayer” seems to be the clear favorite amongst those of you who’ve weighed in.

I’m working this weekend, and want to get in at least one decent workout for the week. But I’ll be trying to sneak in some writing, too. It shouldn’t be all that hard. I’m kind of on a roll β€” I know exactly where things have to go. It’s just a matter of getting down the words to get them there.

February 24, 2010

Meg & Matt, Progress, Stories

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It’s been a slow couple of days on the writing front. I managed to squeeze out about 200 words Monday and 400 Tuesday.

Today would have been better, had I not spent most of the day in my La-Z-Boy with a migraine-like headache. My head hurt so badly that I couldn’t even eat the lunch I made. I took a few bites and decided I hurt too much to eat.

I hurt too much to even move. I sat in the chair, half dozing and half listening to “The Doctors” and then “Oprah” while I wished I had the energy to get up and grab some Tylenol … or even reach for the bottle of water I had beside the chair … or grab a blanket off the couch to help me stop shivering.

I must have slept, because the next thing I remember, I was awake β€” and hungry. Unfortunately, I still didn’t feel quite well enough to do more than waste time farting around online. (I find it the best way to procrastinate. Don’t we all?)

Luckily, I buckled down at around 10:30 and cranked out a page and a half or so on Meg and Matt’s story.

General consensus so far is everyone likes “Beauty and the Ballplayer” better than “The Baby and the Ballplayer.” I think I’ve finally found my title. Woo-hoo! That’s cause for celebration. πŸ˜€

On procrastination: What’s your favorite way to avoid writing?

I’d have to say mine is either playing Bejeweled or checking out my favorite blogs. Writing blog posts is another way I procrastinate. I have three … four if you count the one over at SparkPeople. This one, of course, is my writing blog, but I have two weight-loss blogs plus SparkPeople.

February 22, 2010

Meg & Matt, Progress, Stories

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Even though I had to work at the “day job” (which is really an afternoon/evening job), Β this has been a productive weekend.

Today, I wrote more than 2,000 words on Meg and Matt’s story. Yesterday, I went to plot group and had fun chatting about Meg, Matt, Brad, Erin, and Kari and Damien. There were only two of us there, so we covered a lot of ground.

With Pat’s help, I even came up with a tentative title for Meg and Matt. I’m leaning toward either “Beauty and the Ballplayer” or “The Baby and the Ballplayer.”

Either one might work. Matt, of course, is the ballplayer. That’d make Meg the beauty, though she hardly considers herself one. He does, though, so that counts for something. “The Baby and the Ballplayer” lays out both characters’ initial secrets, though. (She doesn’t know he’s an athlete and he doesn’t know she’s pregnant.)

When not writing, I’ve been playing with the “chart wizard” in Excel, which has led me to some startling realizations.

  • Since I started charting words written on Jan. 17, I’ve put out 18,451 of them. That’s 35 days (I think), giving me an average of about 527 words a day. Not prolific, by any means, but it’s a start.
  • My highest-output days are about 2,000 words. Some days it’s all I can do to squeeze out 200.
  • My goal of 100K words by the end of November is about 18 1/2 percent complete. I can do it!
  • Meg & Matt’s story is now up to 29,819 words. If I’m shooting to make it a category romance, which I think I am, that means I’m a wee bit past the halfway point. That’s exciting.

I take that back about 527 words a day not being prolific. I just did the math. If I averaged 500 words a day, that’d be 182,500 in a year. That’s approximately TWO single-title books or THREE category romances of 60K apiece. Wow!

Of course, I know I can’t keep writing at that pace. There’ll be more slow days … days when I do more editing than writing … days when I end up not writing anything at all. (I can already count 13 since I started keeping track.)

Even if I end up averaging just 200 a day, that’s 73K in a year. And considering I’m going to do the NaNo again, I’ll get 50K just in November (I hope. I plan to actually finish NaNo this year!)

I’m really not much of a statistics junkie … but cool charts could just help change my mind. πŸ˜‰