Posted in NaNoWriMo, Summaries, Writing

Unwritten: A Summary

For April’s Camp NaNoWriMo I decided to write something completely new. I’ve been working on so many projects so I thought I would add words to existing works or edit.

However, it’s still NaNo, even though it’s Camp. I always feel like I’m cheating if I don’t start something new. I was going to just suck it up and add words onto my mystery series or something when one random day I thought of a brand new story idea.

I kept thinking about the idea thinking of new scenes and clever lines. I wrote them down in a notebook filling up a couple of pages. The next thing I knew, Camp NaNo was emailing me to set up my novel as April was just a month away. So, I thought, why not write this new novel?

It’s not going to be a priority after Camp is over, but who knows? If it turns out well maybe I’ll post it on Wattpad or even deem it worthy enough to publish someday.

In my March Goals post. I mentioned this new novel briefly. I wanted to give myself some time to outline and really give the plot a good look-over before explaining the story any further on the blog.

Since Camp begins in less than a week, I thought it was time to finally share what the story is about.

I have no idea if this summary is going to do the story justice or even if it’ll change down the road, but this the basic gist so far.

When Scott O’Malley loses his wife, he doesn’t think his life can’t get any worse. But in addition to losing his best friend, work hasn’t been going well either. His assistant is a college intern who doesn’t know what she’s doing and on top of everything else, he loses his promotion.

He’s frustrated at work and his home reminds him too much of his late wife. He soon loses all will to do anything, until he meets his new neighbor, Lily Bloom.

Lily is too happy for Scott’s liking as she flies by the seat of her pants, taking in each and every day as a new opportunity, and giving a positive outlook on everything no matter the circumstances.

Lily takes it upon herself to get close to Scott as they come to realize how alike they are. The more Scott shuts himself away from the world, the more Lily is determined to show him how to live his life again and to rewrite the path of his own future.

What did you think? Is this the type of story you would read? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

Advertisements
Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 153: Welcome Baby (Dear Diary)

sss-153

            Lisa wasn’t due to have her baby until March 7, 2016. It was a leap year and she prayed and prayed that the baby would stay in her belly until after February 29. She wanted her son to have a birthday every year as opposed to every four years.

So, around 12:45 in the morning on March 1, the telephone rang. I didn’t have a phone in my bedroom, but I could hear it ringing from my office across the hall. I laid in bed with my eyes open, suddenly wide awake, but too afraid to move. Whenever the phone rang in the middle of the night something bad had happened. My uncle has Lifeline so my mind immediately wandered to him.

Then I heard the caller ID’s robotic female voice announce my sister’s name.

“Kris?” I whispered hoping she was awake.

She grunted.

“Why is Lisa calling?”

“I don’t know…”

“Is this it?”

“Maybe,”

We both remained in bed for a few minutes. I don’t know what was going on in Kris’s head, but I was trying to process everything. Why else would our older sister be calling in the middle of the night if the baby wasn’t on his way?

After a few moments, and realizing that the phone had stopped ringing, Kris and I both leaped out of our beds. We ran downstairs where Mom was standing the kitchen talking to Lisa. Dad stood in the hallway outside of the bathroom staring at Mom waiting.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Lisa’s in labor.” Dad said.

Kris and I smiled at each other and I remember jumping a little, but it was only about one o’clock in the morning. We were all still pretty tired and out of it.

Mom hung up the phone and grinned from ear to ear. “They’re on their way to the hospital!”

We all cheered and stood around in the kitchen for a couple minutes not knowing what to do next.

“Well, I’m going back to bed.” Dad turned around and left the kitchen.

“That’s it?” I asked.

“We’ll visit them in the morning. There’s not much we can do.” Mom had said, which made perfect. We all needed our sleep for a big day ahead.

Luckily, it just happened to work out, that I had the day off from work that day. Dad still had to go to work, but Kris and Mom called out and we all went to the hospital together.

I don’t like hospitals. I felt on edge as we drove there, telling myself that we would be in the maternity ward. It wouldn’t be that bad.

I started tearing up in the car and Mom stared at me through the rear-view mirror.

“Are you okay?” she had asked.

“I’m an aunt!” I exclaimed through blurry eyes. Mom and Kris started laughing at me because I cry at a lot of things, good or bad.

We made it to the hospital and entered Lisa’s room and I immediately burst into tears again. I didn’t like seeing her hooked up to a machine with wires and needles coming out of her, even though I knew there was nothing wrong with her or the baby. This is one of the reasons as to why I don’t like hospitals and get nervous.

We spent most of the day waiting around. Kris and I decided to go home around 1:30 in the afternoon. Mom said they’d call if anything was to happen. So, of course, as soon as we got home, we both got a text message from our brother-in-law stating that Lisa was going to start pushing soon.

I looked up at Kris. “So… Does this mean we go back?”

“We should probably be there when the baby comes, right?” She responded with a question.

“I want to be one of the first people to see our nephew, yes.” I replied.

“Alright, let’s head back out then.”

Kris and I hopped back into the car and we were on our way. She drove while I the GPS on my phone. We have never driven to the hospital on our own before and have never been to that part of the town, so we had no idea where we were going. Neither one of us paid much attention when Mom drove us back and forth earlier that day.

Kris was pretty calm behind the wheel as I freaked out in the passenger seat.

“Holy crap, we’re aunts. Kris, we have a baby. We have a nephew. There’s a baby coming. Lisa’s a mom! A mom, Kristen!”

“I know!” Kris exclaimed excitedly. “Now tell me where to turn next so we can actually be there when the kid comes.”

As I directed her from the GPS, Mom kept texting me.

“Are you guys coming?”

“Lisa is beginning to push.”

“The baby is coming!”

“Hurry!!”

With each new text message, I freaked out more and more causing Kris to freak out.

“We’re going to miss it!” I shouted.

“We’ll be fine, we’ll be fine!” Kris pulled into the parking lot. Except there were no spots. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me…” she muttered.

After three floors down in the parking garage, I pointed to a spot right by the stairs. “There! Go there!”

She pulled in and we both jumped out of the car racing through the parking garage. We were both giggling like mad as we were both nervous and too excited at the same time for our own good.

We raced up the spiral stairs in the garage. I nearly knocked into a man who had to be at least two feet taller than me as I shouted, “Auntie’s coming!”

Kris burst out laughing as I almost took out the fully grown man and we dashed through the lobby of the hospital. We ran into the elevator. As it rose to the third floor, Kris and I leaned against the wall trying to catch our breaths.

An older woman was in the elevator with us and gave us a strange look.

“Our older sister is having a baby.” Kris explained.

The woman smiled. “First one?”

“Yeah, we’re aunts now!” I grinned.

“How could you tell?” Kris said sarcastically.

The woman chuckled. “Congratulations.”

We said our thanks to her and ran out of the elevator as soon as the doors opened. We jogged down the hall only to run into Mom.

“Do we have a baby?” I asked.

“We have a baby!” Mom exclaimed.

We group hugged each other and jumped up and down in the middle of the hall.

“We don’t know anything as we’re not allowed in yet. But a nurse came out and told us that he’s here and everyone is doing great.” Mom had explained.

We waited in a small waiting room with Lisa’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law. We waited for about another half hour and our friend came in the meantime. We all sat and chatted with one another as though nothing was going on. We were just trying to pass the time.

Finally, Nick, my brother-in-law, came into the room. He explained what had happened to all of us. Everyone was doing well. The baby was born at 4:49 in the afternoon, and he was 12 inches, 6 ounces.

The grandparents went in first. My poor father wasn’t able to leave work, but he visited them later that night before visiting hours ended.

I remained in the waiting room with Lisa’s sister-in-law, Kris, and our friend. The four of us chatted about random things trying to pass the time some more. We knew it wasn’t going to be too much longer since the grandparents were having their turn. The nurses just didn’t want too many people to go in right at once right away.

Before too long, however, the nurse came in giving us permission to go into Lisa’s room. There, I held my nephew for the first time of many. I fell in love with him immediately as I looked down at him through my blurry, happy tears.

Words: 1,343

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

Posted in Book Reviews, reading

Gatecrashing Europe by Kris Mole

gatecrashing-europe

Title: Gatecrashing Europe
Author: Kris Mole
Published: 
August 2015 by Valley Press
Genre: Nonfiction travel
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

In 2007, Kris Mole flew one-way to Stockholm with a vow not to return home to England until he had visited every capital city in the mainland European Union. He set himself eight simple rules, most importantly A) that no money would be spent or handled during the journey, and B) no credit cards would be used either. Thus, the great Euro Freebie Challenge began: twenty-three cities to be visited, 6000 miles to be covered, without spending a single penny on the journey – to raise money, in fact, for Cancer Research UK.

The colourful story of this six-month trip was first told by charismatic, wise-cracking, semi-anti-hero Kris via a series of blogs, and followed by readers of The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and the BBC website. Readers found Kris drawing on his formidable resourcefulness to acquire all of life’s necessities for free, resting wherever he could find a place, and travelling by foot, hitch-hiking, or stowing away on trains – experiencing, as you might expect, a wild emotional ride in the process.

August 2015 marks the first appearance of this epic journey in book form, with the author donating 10% of his royalties to Cancer Research UK.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I don’t typically read books about travel, but I do enjoy a good memoir from time to time. What the author did was pretty inspiring so I was intrigued on how his travels went for such a good cause. I couldn’t say no when he reached out to me about reviewing the book.

This won’t be a typical review as it’s non-fiction, so bear with me.

rp-plot

The major “plot” of this is that the author, the protagonist, Kris, was attempting to explore the EU by visiting every capital without spending a penny. There are 23 capitals and well over 6,000 miles to travel.

You think, “How can he possibly do that without spending any money?” Well, he did it. And at the age of 24, no doubt.

It was interesting to see how he managed to get from one place to another whether it was from a kind citizen hearing of his cause and buying him a bus ticket, he hitch-hiked, or he simply walked.

It’s a good challenge, an exciting one, and as difficult as it is, it’s a simple one as well.

rp-characters

Kris himself was ambitious and determined that made him a great fit for the challenge. He began the challenge for Cancer research as his grandmother was sick. While on the journey, he received word that she had passed on.

He continued on the journey for his grandmother and everyone else who battles Cancer.

I can’t even begin to explain all the various people Kris met on his journey, but I’ll just say that he met some really nice people and then some pretty interesting characters.

rp-writing-style

Kris’s writing made the book easy to read as the pace was steady and each chapter flowed nicely right into the next. Every time he crossed another capital off his list, he laid it all out at the beginning of the chapter. How many capitals he had left to visit and which ones they were, how many miles he had traveled, and how many days he had been on the journey.

His writing was also humorous as he wrote exactly what he was thinking at all times. It definitely catches your attention.

rp-overall

I can’t stress enough how inspiring this book is. It’s hard to believe that anyone was able to achieve such a feat and make it all the way back home. If you’re interested in a feel-good kind of read, then this is the way to go. Plus, you get a little geography lesson in the mix.

Gatecrashing Europe by Kris Mole gets…
5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“How could you hate so many things about a place you had never seen with your own eyes.” –Kris Mole, Gatecrashing Europe

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

*This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Guest Posts

Rhythm

Guests appear on my blog three times a month. If you would like to know more about this, please visit my Guest Bloggers Wanted page.

Today’s post is brought to you by Thompson Crowley. Thanks, Thompson!

guest-thompson-crowley

There’s a certain rhythm in everything. Life, reality, whatever you want to call it, it’s all just a collection of vibrations. For us experiencing it, each and every type of scenario we can encounter trots along at its own unique pace, enveloping us, immersing us, tuning us in. There are some that flow with more ease than others and some that are a little awkward and stuttered; but all move in the direction to which they are heading.

I can’t help but notice the different rhythms in my life, they play such an integral part. For example, in my writing, what I’m doing right now. I take such pleasure in floating along the strings of sentences which effortlessly flow out of me, luring out sweet phrases and thoughts that I didn’t even realise my awareness contained. I feel so free and boundless, restricted only by my knowledge of the English language, which fortunately, for me, is full of a vast diversity of ideas and meanings that I can piece together to get my point across.

Music is the big one though. We all agree on this. When the first note of your preferred style hits you, instantly you are swept away onto a rainbow of flavoursome sensations; a rhythm which glides through you, under you, and above. Like flying in your dreams. And when I’m writing music I get to tap into this flow; I get to muddle through the intricacies, merging my own tempo with that of the sweet, sweet sounds. And when I get to throw words, poetry into the mix, that’s when it becomes even more fun.

I read a short article once by Robert Pinksy, about how all poetry is a physical thing; how it stems from your body, like dancing. And I have to agree with this. When you are writing the words, the sounds, the meanings, the shapes, you can feel them in your chest; throughout your whole being. There’s a reason why certain sounds, certain muscle shapes and thrusts of air, developed into certain meanings; it is embedded deep within us. And when you’re writing that’s what you are tapping into, that ancient, timeless, deep, ingrained, metaphysical, yet physical manifestation from your soul. And that’s why anything well written, anything you read that truly speaks to you, that truly leaves its mark, flows; it has rhythm.

So, whatever your passions: music, literature, sports, conversation, building, drawing, painting, gardening, dancing, computing, whatever; just find the rhythm you feel most comfortable with and indulge yourself deservedly; take endless pleasure in riding it as it is your own. Because that’s the only thing we’re here for…

About Thompson

After many years wandering around Britain in campervans, tents; on bikes; with prams, bags, buggies, I now find myself in Spain, preparing to flee to Australia. I’ve spent my life writing songs and performing with bands, as well as writing journals about my wayward adventures. I now look forward to doing the same down under.

Connect with Thompson

Facebook | Facebook | Twitter

Posted in Author/Site Information, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Currently Writing…

March is coming to a close a lot faster than I expected it to.

As a teacher, this month drags on and on with no breaks until the end of April. As a writer, however, this month goes always seems to come and go in the blink of an eye.

One main reason for this is because I’m trying to prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo that begins on April 1st. Plus I’m working on other writing projects. Not to mention that I’m trying to get my blog in decent order by April so I can focus more on Camp than I do with writing blog posts.

I think it’s been a while since I’ve really talked about what I’m currently working on writing-wise, so I thought, with Camp around the corner, this was a good time as any.

My goal at the beginning of 2017 was to have either the first novel of my mystery series or The Lost Girl be 100% completed by the end of August (and the other completed by the end of 2017). At this rate, I’m not sure that will happen.

Of course, I’m still going to work towards those deadlines, but I’ve realized that I have much more to work on in addition to those novels.

I’ve felt stuck with my writing lately only because I’m unsure what I should be working on. Which projects take priority?

I have three novels to work on (if you include Camp’s novel), plus I plan on posting two stories on Wattpad by the end of the year. That’s five novels.

I’ve always been submitting to contests and magazines at least twice a month, so I’ve been working on short stories and poems. Not to mention that I’ve been trying to get my foot into the freelance writing world at the same time.

Stir reading, blogging, and video games for Double Jump into the mix, and you’ve got a pretty good reason for as to why my head feels like it’s going to explode.

With all that said, I’ve realized that I haven’t gotten too much writing done in the past couple of months. I’ve been working on my blog and other things trying to think about how to tackle my writing projects without actually implementing my plan of attack.

I’ve written a few things, of course, for submission on other websites and magazines and the like, but I haven’t worked on any of the novels I planned to work on in 12 months. Well, now we’re down to almost nine months left and I don’t have much progress to show for it.

I realized that Camp NaNo is exactly what I needed. Because of Camp, I’m going to get myself back on the right track with my novel writing.

Sure, because of Camp, an extra novel got thrown into the mix, but it’ll be fun to think about a different project than the ones I’ve been working on for so long. Plus, I can take my time with it as I edit it bit by bit and submit it each month to my local writing group. I only submit about 15 pages (or one chapter) a month to my group, so it’ll take a while for the group to get through it.

In the meantime, I’m going to tackle editing The Lost Girl and George Florence as well as plan and write the two Wattpad novels (one of those novels is based off this Short Story Sunday everyone seemed to love so much).

I’m going to start this as soon as possible. Hopefully, by April, I’ll be in a decent enough routine with it so I can work on more than just my Camp novel. I know that will take priority for the month, but I hope to get other things done.

I’ve updated the “My Books” page with deadlines for each of these novels. Go check that out if you want to see the timeline I’ve planned for each novel (and if you want to hold me accountable for the deadlines… that’s why I posted it on the blog for all to see).

Where do you stand in your novel writing at the moment? Are you just as swamped as I am or are you working on just one project? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

 

Posted in Outlining, Writing

Why I Outline As I Write

Most people outline before they being writing their novel.

If we learned anything last week, it’s that we can outline before, during, and after we write the novel.

This isn’t something I realized I could do until recently, though. I always thought I had to outline before I started writing. Last year for Camp NaNo I didn’t finish my outline in time and ended up outlining as I wrote the novel.

why-i-outline-as-i-write

After spending the time before the writing process to outline and adding additional writing time to outline some more as I put words to paper, I discovered a brand new world and realized that I had been outlining all wrong.

I mean, for me, anyway.

I used to outline each scene, picking out plot points and important things here and there before I began to write. Then as I wrote, I tried my best to stick to it. Of course, outlines always change and characters have a mind of their own and decide to change course without telling you.

So, as I wrote my novel I stuck with the guideline, changing it as I saw fit. I added to it when I wrote new things, rearranging the scenes, and taking some away. In the end, it was a pretty big mess. I found myself working more on the outline than the actual novel. I was spending more time trying to figure out what I was trying to say rather than just saying it.

For the next novel, I decided to outline differently. I summarized each chapter before writing as well as made a list of characters, plot points I hoped to get across, settings, and more. I realized summarizing the chapters would allow me more wiggle room rather than practically writing the story scene by scene, just minus the extra details and words.

Then I started writing.

As I wrote, I realized something else. Why can’t I map out each scene like I had before as I wrote? By the time I get to the editing stage, the scene map would be more accurate than the chapter summary allowing me to find certain points easier and understand more of what’s going on, what to edit, and how to edit.

In the end, I have a list of characters, settings, and more, alongside a rough summary of each chapter, and then an accurate map of each and every scene.

It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s actually not that bad at all. My mind works in strange ways and it helps.

So, that’s why I outline before and during the writing process. Will this work for you? I don’t know, but feel free to give it a shot. It can’t hurt.

How do you typically outline? Do you outline as you write, too? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature