A Popular Thing # IWSG

So, I missed last week…because I was dead.

Mostly dead. I had Covid, which pretty much equates to being dead.

Have you had it? Then you know. Haven’t had it? Congratulations on keeping two solid weeks of your life intact because I don’t know where mine went. Oh, wait, yes, I do—to the couch. I practically lived there all day because I would wake up between 8 and 9 am—mind you I’m up naturally by 6:45—and I would slump my way to my side of the couch, grab my pillow, extend the recliner, and go back to sleep. I just slept. All day. I never thought I would need so much sleep, but apparently I did, because my body was fighting its own war, and all I could do was nothing.

When I wasn’t napping on the couch, I was hating all of our streaming services for making my eyes bleed and my head spin for having to click through everything. All the categories: Trending. Previously watched. What’s recommended based on previous viewings. No. Stop it. There’s too much to choose from, and most of the time, that’s all I was doing. Choosing what to watch instead of actually watching anything, which is incredibly exhausting.

The few times I cracked open the door to outside, I burned alive in the billion-degree heat (because it’s July in Florida), and all because someone just *had* to play fetch, even though I was OBVIOUSLY DEAD, APPA. Burning alive, bleeding eyes, and sleeping all day and night consumed the last two weeks of my life.

I’m telling y’all—I died. Batman right along with me.

But, we’ve emerged from our Covid comas and are (mostly) ready to get back at it! I’m again between jobs because that is my lot in life, but now that the Covid fog has cleared, I’m diving into the NEWEST (and can we say best?) rewrite of still-Untitled story, but I’m *loving* it. There’s actual action and reason pushing the events and characters forward, unlike the randomness I pansted my way through the first three (four?) drafts. This is the winner, baby. I can feel it.

Well, I missed the last IWSG post because of reasons, so no missing this one. If so, I lose my coveted place in line which I’ve been working for since 2014. That’s right. Seven years strong, so can’t fall off the track now. This month’s optional question:

What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

Well, this is embarrassing. I can’t think of a single book on craft I’ve read. I mean, I’m sure, I must have read some in the past at some point (right?) but none are coming to mind. I should note, I am a Creative Writing major and, not that that gets me out of anything, but we did read a lot on craft in all my classes. Maybe I learned all the stuff there? I’ve been meaning to pick up Romancing the Beat since every romance author swears by it. Just haven’t gotten around to it. Oh! I think I read something by Annie Dillard.

*runs to tiny library in adjacent room*

Aha! Here we go: The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

And at a bargain!

There were a few other books on craft, most from my FSU days (go Noles!) but I don’t remember much from them. I don’t remember much from this one either except feeling inspired, and realizing I’m not a total looney for wanting to transform all these thoughts in my head into words for someone else to read. It’s, like, a thing. A popular thing, I guess.

Well, anyway, there you go. Not dead anymore, still working on BEST version of untitled story, not losing my place in the IWSG line, newly unemployed, (but been here before), and also waiting on mysterious amounts of inheritance to show up and sweep me into my fulltime writing career where I can tend to my gardens and alpaca farm like Jennifer Armentrout, and continue to enjoy life with Batman and Appa.

One day…

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

Make it a great week, and survive Covid!

 ~ Lady Caitlin

Monday Was a Day

Y’all—Monday was a day.

Sunday afternoon had me ridiculously lethargic, and no, not just because I was standing around Walmart while Batman was purchasing a firearm. It’s Walmart—I could literally spend hours picking out things I’d buy when I become a millionaire/better paid in general. But I just couldn’t stand. I wanted to sit or lay down, so my energy level was strange. Then I found out a coworker tested positive. Same coworker I chatted with in close quarters end of last week. Also found out I was sitting in another coworker’s chair who was home sick due to the ‘rona. (No office announcement about the cases…)

*sigh*

I stayed home from work on Monday and Batman joined me—if I had it, he’d likely have it, and could spread to his office. So, we went to the only nearby clinic accepting patients for rapid testing. All other places didn’t have any openings for Monday. We checked in at 10:40 and told it was a 2.5 hour wait. Okay. No worries. We went home, took care of Appa, I did some work, and we returned at 1:15. Another hour or so. We went BACK home, ate some lunch, played with Appa (I did more work…) and then we went BACK again at 2:15 and waited for another thirty minutes. Finally, we were called in, and some Slavic-sounding doctor shoved the world’s largest Qtip up both nostrils. She did the same to Batman and less than an hour later, we found out we were negative.

Win!

Win?

Well, what the heck is wrong with me? Because, according to her thermometer, I don’t have a fever, but my eyes feel like they’ve been dipped in acid—the same acid currently residing in my throat every time I swallow. Call me old fashioned, but this sounds like a fever to me.

In my frustration of all the back and forth and work emails pinging (I’M SICK!!) I lost my shit on the kitchen sink faucet because it sprays everywhere, I saw tiny bugs (even though I just cleaned) and the darn faucet thingy kept springing back up, making it difficult to tsunami the bugs away so in a brilliant moment of thought, I hit the metal thing with my right hand. You know, the dominant one—the one I’m currently typing with (ouch by the way). Want proof of my idiocy?

Clearly, I lost the battle. The faucet has no bruises, and came off looking the same. I have an injured finger and injured pride, but no Covid, so that’s good.

I actually intended this post to focus on my first DIY project. I could save it for next week, but who knows what adventures await between now and then? Want to see what I did? Well keep reading if so. If not…I don’t know what to tell you…you should probably stop reading now.

For those who are interested: Batman and I bought this nightstand for $20 in a thrift shop. Not needing a nightstand, the idea to make it a plantstand popped right into my brain. So, that’s what I did. After googling how to paint wood furniture, and having Batman assist with the purchases in Home Depot, I set to work, letting the creativity fly! The result?

Fully finished with fake plants purchased from Michael and Old Time Pottery:

Think it looks not-terrible. And I’ll take not-terrible. It was a fun little renovation project, and I’m inspired for my next! Just hoping my finger and pride are restored by then. Also hoping the acid leaves my eyeballs and throat. Very hopefully over here for a lot of things, and that includes you having a stellar week! The more positivity, smiles, and laughing, the more we can change the world from being a giant dick.

~ Lady Caitlin

P.S. Word of advice – don’t punch inanimate objects when you’re frustrated. They always win. Bastards.

Another Complete Rewrite?

Listen to this crap:

I reached the “end” of Untitled, and it turns out, it’s not the real ending. Like, at all. Unravel it even further, and all of the “things” I started learning along the way, the “things” I wanted to sprinkle into the next draft have already changed the entire story. Again.

DUDE.

I don’t even think this is the same story I started writing the beginning of last year. The original scene that I wanted to write just because (with no intent to share—just for me and yet, it spurred entire book) is NOT EVEN IN THIS NEW VERSION. The way they meet completely changes, so it wouldn’t make sense.

*blink*

*drinks wine*

*drinks more wine*

This is weird. I’m all for following my characters down their freaky little rabbit holes, but these are huge changes. So why make them? BECAUES THEY’RE BETTER THAN WHAT I HAVE. I just reread my first chapter of the rewrite and my God, does it suck. Not just the telly-writing (we can forgive that; it’s first draft) and I could even *maybe* get past the cliché-ness of the cheesy-ass freshman-level formatting (always something to edit later) but it was just BORING. There was no risk. No reason to keep reading, and I knew it was desperately missing something.

So, I dug in, and it didn’t take long. I knew what my characters wanted, but by changing the urgency of the need, it propelled one of my protagonists into a different situation, changing her back story (and, in essence, her current story). *Ahem* Enhancing her back story, which was interesting, but lacked a deeper level I now had thanks to this change.

I really wish I could say more. Explain more. But, I’m still figuring this thing out myself. Because, and I’m afraid to admit it, I’m not sure if the conflict in the previous rewrite now applies to this version. So, what does that mean? Another complete rewrite?

*goes out and buys more bottles of wine*

Do I have the energy for another new rewrite?

I really want to say no, and that what I have is fine—but who just wants fine? We all want the best, and I want the best for this story. This untitled, constantly changing story that won’t even tell me what to call it. Fucking story. But, I do want to keep working on it. I have to admit that before (and, well, kind of now) it’s solidly based on just the romance, and I found myself asking questions about what happened outside the romance. The answer to those questions enhanced the characters (the heroine more than the hero) and again, now the situation has changed.

But it’s okay, guys. I’ll figure it out. Each change digs me closer to a more interesting plot and I’m excited I’m not just at the mercy of the romance. I want excitement in every aspect, which is probably why I was drawn to writing Harrizel, which I need to get back to…

Maybe the impossible has happened: I miss writing fight scenes? Could that be it? And there are some in this new WIP, but maybe it’s the over action I miss? Romance just for romance-sake can get boring. I guess I like a little adventure to go along with it.

Wonder what this one will come out looking like.

At his point, your guess is as good as mine.

~ Lady Caitlin

I’m in a Funk

I’m feeling funky.

Wait. Scratch that. That’s not right.

I’m feeling in a funk. In a mood.

Something’s off.

Did Mercury meet up with Venus in retrograde on the wrong side of the moon? I believe in the all the cosmic stuff but don’t understand any of it. Just like chakras. Sometimes it takes me a while to get something, so I’m sure I’ll learn what it all means eventually, but for right now, I just know I’m in a funk.

Or maybe it’s a metamorphosis? I am seeing 5s and, according to numerology—of which I dabble a bit—5s are the number of change, especially triple 5s (what I’m seeing). Typically, the change signifies a large shift like a marriage, job change, or baby. It’s something significant. Well, I’m married, and I don’t plan on any babies, and I’ve had more jobs than I can count, so I’m not sure. But something is off, and there IS a change coming, and I PRAY TO GOD it’s a good one.

I completely forgot yesterday’s post was the IWSG one, so that sucks. I try not to miss those, but Wednesday was NOT my day. Elsa tried to bring her shit, and I had errands that took me out of work and into the storm, only to go back into work to face a multitude of metaphoric fires. Not fun. I should’ve been proactive and written the post prior but again, there’s this funk. I’m feeling all sorts of weird, and it’s messing with my creativity.

I’m still writing no-name. Actually, I have one more chapter to go to finish this first draft of a complete re-write, and then it’s back to the beginning for draft # two. Currently sitting at 117,000 words, this chunky monster will *for sure* need to be edited down—but there’s so much more I want to add! Ah, the joy of writing and editing and rewriting and reediting and hating yourself because all artists do at some point because the work drives us INSANE.

Least we have vices to help. And it’s nice most of them are legal.

Alright, I’m heading back out into the world with this funk. This mood. Wish me luck and try explaining the cosmos to me if you can. I’ll take all the insight I can get.

~ Lady Caitlin

P.S. The highlight on Wednesday was watching Loki. Have you seen this show? I’ve never been a fan of Loki (the character) or Tom Hiddleston much, but watching the show, I can now say I’m fully invested in both.

No One Wants to Read That

Well, at least I’m being consistent with being inconsistent, so points there.

By the way, I’m still in the beginning of June mentally, so the fact that July is tomorrow is not even a reality, hence last week coming and going. Christmas might as well be next month.

Time is going just WAY too quickly, and it’s not giving me a chance to catch up. But it’s okay. I’m on track this week. I’m remembering to post since I’m acutely aware I missed last week’s because I feel guilt-stricken until I post again. Is this some weird blogger syndrome? Whatever. Consider this guilt-itch thoroughly scratched because I’m ninety-nine percent sure I’m posting this (got to account for the one percent where I forget. Not probable, but knowing—and being me—totally possible).

Still no title for no-name story. Also, the ending I had envisioned, and a decent part of what I wrote ending-wise ended up not fitting. I mean, it was okay…but I felt very blah about it. Never a good sign. It basically means I wrote the blandest version of an ending for this new draft.

*yawn*

No one wants to read that. I don’t want to read it. And I wrote it. So…yeah. Redo. And that’s where I am: writing the second version of the new ending for the first draft of my complete rewrite. That’s right, and we’re still at the beginning because I have more ideas to sprinkle in the next draft. It’s so fun being a writer! (I mean that both sarcastically and honestly, but since the sarcasm works better here, we’ll go with that this time.) Good news? Still writing. Still dedicating time to the story and the words—though they will be edited later—keep coming. That’s all I need.

Life-wise? No near-death-almost-car accidents. Another win. Job is going well. I did visit my sister and mom this weekend which I love doing because we always have the best time. We share the same awesome sense of humor so I’m constantly burning calories from all the laughing. Another win!

Alright, next week is the IWSG post so hopefully I won’t be consistent again and forget to post. But I know me, so there’s always that one percent.

Hope you are having a fabulous day and week and month and year and lifetime. So basically, hope you are having a fabulous fucking lifetime.

If not, you should start now.

~ Lady Caitlin

P.S. Dad, loved spending time with you guys too!

Boring But…Slightly Thrilling?

Raise your hand if you missed another week posting.

*raises hand*

Raise your hand if you had a GREAT post and then just…didn’t…write it.

*raises hand*

Raise your hand if you had a RIVETTING, GREAT post about almost dying in a car accident but then life got crazy and the weekend flew and you passed out on the couch from wine and forgot to write it.

*raises all the hands*

Well, it’s true. Batman and I almost died. But at least we were together (aawwww). Wouldn’t have been as cute if we were pancaked like the universe suggested, but some deity took the wheel and Nascar’d me to safety out there. I don’t know how we survived, honestly, as a car to the left was about to smash into my side WHILST another car was coming from the right, about to smash in Batman (due to me swerving from the lady on the left). It was a hard veer to the right, followed by an ever harder veer to the left, up over the curb, into the plastic construction work sign, and back down on the street, miraculously missing OTHER CARS AND THE LIGHT POLE.

Magic, it was. Or Guardian angels. Or a combination if they’re even different. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t me, so I don’t take any credit.

Other than my brush with danger, I’ve been well. Yes, I missed last weeks post (boo!) but that’s because I’m lazy and don’t have an excuse. But thank goodness I care enough not to miss two weeks in a row. Hurray for having at least some set of standards!

Life is going well. Job is okay. Actually not sucking at it, so I’m feeling pretty good! I’m on the sales report I want to be on at work, so now it’s just about upping my numbers. And I shall, my friends *cracks fingers with confidence* I shall. Still writing every day, and I know one of them will grant me the title for the book I’ve been writing for over a year.

Any day now…

But I’m not complaining. Every day I write more, clean up stuff, and generally make the story better, so I’m fine calling it Untitled for now. The title will reveal itself when it’s ready. Guess you can’t force these kinds of things, but I’m ready whenever you are, Muse…

Wish I had more to report, but a near-car accident, maintaining employment status, and getting a lot of writing done is all I’ve got for you this week. Boring but…slightly thrilling?

Whichever way you want to go, enjoy the week.

Make it badass.

~ Lady Caitlin

Making It Better #IWSG

There is a chance—a good chance—that I missed the last post for IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group). I don’t want to ring my own shame bell, but I’d be lying if I said I’d had perfect attendance all year, and I definitely haven’t, so, let’s forget my shortcomings and just jump into the optional question:

How long do you shelve your first draft before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Excellent question! Mostly due to the appropriate timing since I’m a chapter and a half away (one week?) from being done with this FIRST draft of a COMPLETE re-write. So, the question is pretty much when do I swing back to the top with edits and re-writes and ways to improve the thing?

Right frigging away.

I don’t give myself a week away to get “fresh eyes” like lots of authors do. It’s never been my thing, and I think it’s because I’ll get beyond antsy if I don’t work on something. I mean—sure—I could find another small project to keep the creative juices flowing, but my heart knows I’m just writing fodder, and that none of it matters. What REALLY matters is going back through that completed draft and making it better.

So, why wait?

I certainly don’t. And I don’t plan on it with this story either. And, like all the other ones, the first draft is already weighing in at *quite* the length. Still have the remaining part of this chapter to write, plus another one, and I’m sitting at over a hundred thousand words. But it’s all good. I’ll edit the thing down to its rightful length, and if he’s still a chunky monster at the end, so be it. I’ve written my fair share of chunky monster books. Must be my thing.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

Think that’s all I’ve got for this week. We’ll touch base again next Wednesday, sound good?

Have a badass week!

~ Lady Caitlin

Magic Comes to You

Well, here I am, midweek in my first week being on my own. That’s right—I get to choose when to take lunch AND don’t have to worry about making sure I’m doing something correct for someone else. It’s all me, baby. All what I put into it. It actually makes me feel like an adult. Of course, I’m talking to you Day One. Let’s see how I feel Day One Hundred. Might want to be a kid again or have a kid job. I don’t know. But, I’ve tried a lot of other things and they didn’t work out…so…let’s see how I do with this.

Remember, getting good at this job might help me with the salesy part of writing that I DETEST, and so, this isn’t just the next job—it’s the next challenge to make me a better version of me.

(Again, ask me on Day One Hundred how it’s going…)

But I’m optimistic.

I have to be. The alternative is just too depressing, and I’m sorry, I just spent a year dealing with Covid bullshit, so no need to look for darkness when you can anticipate, hope for, and focus on the light.

Truth time: I was getting down on myself for a while because I wasn’t writing a lot. In fact, I was writing very little—the bare minimum I would force myself to write to still feel like I “worked.” For a few nights it was only a handful of sentences. Other nights, barely a few paragraphs. I crept along at turtle-speed, feeling like a creative failure. I was looking for darkness and found it. (Not recommended). Then I did something crazy. I forgave myself. Instead of berating myself for only getting a few sentences in, I applauded myself for inching my work that much more because if I hadn’t forced myself to sit down and focus for even a little bit of time, I wouldn’t have made the progress. I wouldn’t have advanced the story. I would have been just as far from the ending as before, so any work, even the *tiniest* amount counts. I know this—I’ve known this—but we tend to forget. So, when the epiphany sparked, I relaxed and let the darkness go. And then the craziest thing happened: I went in with the mindset of only writing a few sentences but after I reached what I expected would be the limit, I kept going. Kept writing. I wasn’t finished. Not only did I want to write more than a few sentences—I had to. Story was pouring out.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. It IS like magic. And look, I’m not saying it’s because I’m a Hogwarts Alumni or anything, but sometimes you submit yourself to the light and the magic comes to you. I’m going with this because statistically, it’s worked for me in the past.

Actual book update? Still no title. I’m past the Black Moment now and working on the denouement, the part of the story where things get explained and everything wraps up. Not a thousand percent sure how it’s actually going to end, but, I’ve pansted my way through this whole thing so why should the ending be any different?

On a final note, spent the weekend in Orlando with the family and had an awesome time! We went to Universal Studios on Sunday and I loved showing my nephew the Gringotts Bank ride in the new Harry Potter section. (Also: the ride is awesome. You should go if you haven’t. If you have, you should go again.) Now that the Orlando trip is behind us, it’s time to start setting my sights on summer.

I’m smelling a lot of barbecues in my future…

Have a badass week 😊

~ Lady Caitlin

Excited For This

It’s a big week for me. Well, it’s the last week. For me for training at work. So, I guess next week is a big week because the training wheels come off and we’ll see how good I do at this sales thing. That’s the other thing I’ll admit about this job: it’s in sales.

I don’t think I could’ve ever guessed that I’d try my hand at something like selling. Usually, I give up after a little resistance, but something about uncapped commission had me shrugging and saying, sure I’ll try. Also: I haven’t given up on this writing thing and while that’s, like, a *huge* part of the job, the other part is making people aware there’s a product, and that they should try it. No selling means no sales means pretty much what I’ve been doing with myself for the last decade. So, maybe this position will give me some tools and help with my writing gig?

Maybe?

I wrote the Black Moment, guys. Do you know what that is? In romance, it’s the part when the couple hit their iceberg, their emotional climax. It’s kind of the part when it seems like all hope is lost for the relationship. I wrote it and barely past it. Know what that means? I’m in the homestretch! I have a vague idea of the next few things that need to happen to bring the book to an end—first draft of rewrite almost done baby!

This is very exciting. It would be more so if I could refer to it by the title, but by the way it’s going, I won’t know until I’ve written the last word. And I still think my muse is going to hold onto it a little longer. Which is fine. It’s all good. I’m just happy the story is falling out of me, because I slowed down there for a little while, and it always makes me nervous when I only manage to squeeze out a few sentences a night. But this past weekend I wrote like a madwoman and I’m really excited for this!

I’m excited with the new direction it’s going.

Like the first storyline, this revised one will be long. Of course, we always trim in editing, so I’m hoping to shave off a bunch. But I think this will be better. Much better.

Okay, so, NEXT week is the big week at work. Every day is a BIG day for writing Untitled and hopefully soon, I’ll share the good news that I’m 1) still employed and 2) onto my second draft and 3) I’ve titled the damn thing (but don’t hold your breath)

Here’s to a fabulous week!

~ Lady Caitlin

Whoever’s In Charge

I started Mother’s Day with a massacre.

The plan was to open the window and get some beautiful weather in the house. The plan was not to see a ginormous brown spider on the floor at its base. It was also not the plan to spray it to death and watch the spider scuttle away, leaving behind its BILLIONS OF BABIES.

ON MOTHERS DAY.

*internal vomiting*

I would have to commit so much murder, and so, so early. Holding my breath and praying to everything holy, I grabbed the Ant/Roach can and sprayed the billions of scattering brown pinwheels until a white foam enveloped them while SIMULTANEOUSLY killing their scarily-giant mother who took a ridiculously long time to die on the opposite side of the window. On Mother’s Day. All before coffee.

Just like I dreamed it would happen.

How was your Mother’s Day? Hopefully a little less eventful than mine. And hopefully, a lot less massacre-y. Whatever you did, I’m rooting for the opposite of what I did, until I shared some mimosas with family, because that was definitely more enjoyable than the first part.

So…

BACK-TO-BACK weeks guys. What! Where did I go?? What was I doing?? Nowhere and nothing. Super lame, I know. I should’ve come up with an amazing story about impromptu cliff-diving or llama-farm-franchising, but feel honesty is the best policy, so, here we go: my lame butt has been going to my full-time job and then home to Batman and Appa every day. That’s it. That’s really it, and I’m just tired. Totally not an excuse (especially since we don’t have kids) but it is what it is. I’ve been a tired adult. But I’m here now, filling you in on all the lameness so you don’t have to worry if I’ve taken an impromptu cliff-diving trip and fallen off the cliff. I didn’t. I’m not dead. I’m here and alive and still contributing to society while I type away on a keyboard at night, weaving together name-less stories.

Regarding Untitled: it’s going well! I’ve managed to write a bit more each day, and feel myself rounding off toward the third quarter mark. Progress has definitely slowed since the new job, but it hasn’t stalled, and in the last few days, I feel it’s picked up a bit. So, I’m riding the wave of inspiration or dedication or whatever it is, and keeping the tunnel open as long as the words are flowing! So, keep em’ coming, Muse! Or Guardian Angel! Or Writing-God! Or whoever’s in charge up there. Or wherever you are. You know what I mean.

Everything else is good. Life is good. And, other than starting Mother’s Day on a killing spree, I’m in a happy, calming spot.

What about you? How was your holiday? Ever tried to open a window and slaughter a family instead first? Ah, happy times.

Well, off to write more of Untitled. It’s clearly not going to title itself, so why would I think it’d step up and write itself either? These demanding stories making me do all the work. Butler and Maid are yet to show their faces either. The nerve of some people.

Enjoy your week!

~ Lady Caitlin