Goodbye 2014!

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Via Pinterest

I feel like I wrote Goodbye, 2013! just yesterday. I blinked and now the end of 2014 is here and 2015 is right around the corner. Time sure does fly.

Last year, I decided to go through all my blog posts for 2013 and highlight them in one post in an attempt to recap and say goodbye to 2013. I am going to do that again to say goodbye to 2014.

Let’s see what happened in 2014…

January:
-I went over my New Year’s resolutions
-I continued to write Detective Florence and completed it
-I came up with the Short Story Sunday feature on my blog
-I started writing Inspiration Station
-I had a schedule of writing 5,000 words a day and changed it to writing 5,000 words Monday-Thursday, editing Friday-Saturday, and relaxing on Sunday
-I discovered the Reading Bingo and challenged myself to it
-It was Kris’s birthday

February:
-I decided to write only 1,000 words a day when school started
-I completed two Reading Bingo squares by reading Coming Clean and The Hobbit
-I continued to post my Short Story Sunday throughout the month

March:
-I planned on editing more than writing to help prepare for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo
-I completed another Reading Bingo square by reading I, Robot
-I was nominated for the Liebster Award

April:
-Camp NaNoWriMo started and I wrote Diary of A Killer
-I discovered the website Noisli
-I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award and the Howler Award
-Easter happened plus I was busy with work and school… I got behind on Camp NaNoWriMo
-I got 1,000 followers on Spilled Ink

May:
-I lost Camp NaNoWriMo
-I discussed what “Success” is
-I joined Critique Circle
-It was Spilled Ink’s two-year anniversary

June:

–Edited Detective Florence in preparation of Camp NaNo

July:

–Camp NaNo: wrote Detective Florence 2
Trying to balance life, writing, work, school, etc.
–I accidentally saved over my Camp NaNo novel (150 pages and 44k words) with my Short Story Sunday with five days left of Camp NaNo
–I wrote 50k in five days to beat Camp NaNo

August:

–I beat Camp NaNo in, more or less, five days
–I updated my Reading Bingo with many novels
–I discussed how my English degree is basically in nothing
–I got a new job
–Lucky Seven Challenge with Detective Florence 2
–I currently had 15 WIPs… yikes.
–I came up with a writing schedule for the rest of the year
–I went to Disney and discovered the “Writer’s Stop” store and met Peter Pan
–Reality checked back in after vacation with school starting, work, Sunday school, etc.
–I wanted to enter some contests, but missed the deadlines

September:

–I turned 21
–School started with a few creative writing classes
–Cookie the Beagle joined the family
–I tried to come up with a routine to balance homework, writing, etc.
–I discuss why I became a teacher, go to school, became a teacher/director or the Sunday school, write, etc.
–I updated everything in my life with my sister’s wedding coming up as well as November NaNo.

October:

–I decided to edit Take Over and plan to write Far Away for NaNo
–I started editing Take Over which I noticed I’ve grown as a writer in the past year or so
–I watched “Authors Anonymous” and the screenwriter contacted me. It also inspired a new potential story idea
–I watched a NaNo video on Blurb
–I decided to give myself a reward of one dollar for every 1,000 words I write for NaNo
–I changed my mind again and decided to write short stories for NaNo

November:

–I bought a new fish named Nano
–NaNoWriMo started and I wrote Short Story Collection and came up with new ideas for novels
–I did my best in balancing homework with NaNo
–I planned on finishing NaNo by Thanksgiving and did it
–I came up with a new novel idea called Fire and Ice
–I won NaNo
–Thanksgiving happened and I made a list of all I’m thankful for
–I compared NaNo 2013 to this year’s NaNo
–I edited while on vacation and discussed how that’s the best time to write

December:

–I came up with a plan for my Detective Florence series
–I finished typing the second draft of Detective Florence
–I wrapped up yet another semester of my Bachelor’s degree and made it out alive and with good grades
–I hand edited the first draft of Detective Florence 2
–I changed the title of my blog, bought the domain name from WordPress, and made some slight layout changes

So much has happened in one year. Some good, some bad, but I think it was mostly good. I’m happy to be where I am right now. I have a wonderful job, I’m going to school, and I’m on my way with my writing. There’s nothing for me to complain about.

Here’s to another great year in 2015!

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Slight Hiatus

…But not really.

When I say “hiatus” I don’t mean that I’ll be going away from my blog for a little bit (despite the fact that I already haven’t been on in a little while).  So, sorry for the lack of updates and lack of responses to the comments. Christmas was a busy time and now that it’s all over, I’ve been spending my time playing my new video games (who isn’t?).

Speaking of Christmas, I would love to share with you all how my holiday went and I would love to hear how your holidays went. However, that post is going to be saved for tomorrow… or the next day… or sometime in the near future.

Let me get straight to the point: we all remember that I said I was planning some “changes” to my blog for the new year, yes? Well, one of those changes is to change the blog as a whole.

In 2015 I’m going to work super, extra hard on Detective Florence. I have a schedule for myself through May (pray I stick with it) and it’s all writing, re-writing, and editing Detective Florence. My goal is to start querying the novel by this time next year. Hopefully sooner, but you can’t rush these things.

With that being said, if I’m going to take the next step to become a published author, I want a blog/website that looks more… professional, I guess you could say. Yes, I am finally going to change the URL name and buy the domain name from WordPress.

I think this will be a good step in the right direction for me. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time now and I think it’s finally time for me to take action. After two and a half years, I think Spilled Ink needs a change. I need a change.

I also believe that once this is done, it will be sort of like a reminder to myself. My blog will be telling me, “You’re actually serious about this writing business, so you better not let yourself or your followers down!”

With that being said, I am not going to be randomly disappearing. I will not post once a day every day for two weeks and then disappear for three weeks. We all know that I tend to do that.

I have planned posts; some are written, some are not. However, I will be more active and my blog will be a much better place.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I’m going to be switching my blog over today. That’s December 29, 2014 for those of you in a different time zone or reading this on a different day.

I do not know how long/short this will take. I do not know how easy/hard it will be. Needless to say, my blog is going to be a hot mess for today. Maybe tomorrow, too. I don’t really know what I’m doing.

So, I just wanted this “slight hiatus” to be a bit of a warning… if anyone comes across my blog and it’s all jumbled up and confusing–fear not! Your computer is not broken, I’m just breaking my blog into pieces unsure how to put it back together again.

I’m probably making it sound much worse than it really is…

Anyway, I hope the next time we meet my blog will look fantastic and it’ll be brand new and everyone will love it! Please bare with me while I work on this. Thanks!

Short Story Sunday #37

FOUND

            It wasn’t mine. I wasn’t entirely sure who it belonged to, but I found it. If I was the one who found it then that must mean that it was mine, right? If the person who previously owed it really wanted it, then they wouldn’t have lost it. Or maybe they lost it by accident, but they surely would have come back looking for it. Am I right?

I wonder who this belonged to in the first place. I wonder how they lost it. I wonder how long ago they lost it. Seriously, how long has this item been sitting in the middle of the sidewalk? How long has it been missing from its owner? Do they realize they lost it?

My mom always told me that if I found something that didn’t belong to me, I should turn it in to someone. If I found a lunchbox at school, I would have to give it to the teacher or the principal and they would find the rightful owner. You know how some people always ask you that hypothetical question like, “if you found a 100-dollar bill lying on the ground, what would you do? Keep it or take it to the police?”

I always told people I would turn it into the police. I mean, that is the answer they were looking for, right? There was nothing in the question that said I had to answer truthfully. I didn’t swear on the Bible or take an oath to answer a rhetorical question.

So, there I was face to face with this question that was in fact real. It was no longer hypothetical. I was in the situation for real. It wasn’t a dream. It also wasn’t a 100-dollar bill, which I had to admit I was pretty disappointed about. If it were a 100-dollar bill then there would be no question about it. I would pick it up, put it in my pocket, and walk away without another thought.

Yes, I did say I would bring it to the police, didn’t I? I know turning it in would be the right thing to do, but no one is perfect. Not everything does the right thing when they are supposed to. Besides, what are the police going to do with so much cash? The bill’s owner doesn’t have GPS on it. They can’t keep track down who dropped money while they were walking down the street. Why did they even drop it? We can’t figure that out, either.

I’m getting off topic, aren’t I?

How about this: when kids find something they always say finders-keepers, am I right? Can’t that rule apply to adults, too? The item was lost, the owner doesn’t seem like they’re coming back for it anytime soon, and I found it. So that means it’s mine. I think that makes perfect sense. In fact, it’s logical. Kids are so smart these days!

I was still standing in the middle of the sidewalk. I didn’t even bother to pick up the item because for some reason I was thinking so deeply into the matter. I walked over to the curb and sat down with my feet sticking out into the street. The road was quiet as it was in the middle of the day so most people were at work. There were barely any other people walking down the sidewalk, too. I’m sure if there, someone would have picked the item up by now.

I looked to the left and then to the right. A young woman was turning the corner holding onto a little boy’s hand. They were walking in my direction. I turned the other way as I didn’t want to make any eye contact with them. I needed to think.

Should I take the item and keep it? Should I take the item and try to find the rightful owner? Should I just leave the item on the ground and wait for someone else to come along and give them my troubles?

Am I thinking too deeply into this? Would anyone else sit on the side of the road and think about such an item on the ground in the middle of the sidewalk like I am? Would they just walk by, pick it up, and bring it home? Would they just walk by and leave it on the ground not bothering to give it another thought? Maybe other people would walk by and they wouldn’t even notice the item sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. I kind of wish I didn’t notice the item. Then I wouldn’t be so late for work at the moment.

I twisted my neck and peeked over my shoulder. Sure enough, the item was still sitting on the ground. It was mocking me. I felt as though it wanted me to take it home, but then I felt as though it was going to want to go back to its rightful owner. Someone was definitely going to be missing this item.

I turned back around and thought for a few more moments. After thinking and thinking and thinking some more, I finally stood up. I dusted myself off and turned back around to face the item on the ground.

I decided that I was going to end up taking the item home with me. Who knew how long it had been out here? It was only going to get ruined if no one claimed. So, I was going to claim it. Except… it was gone.

I looked left and then I looked right. The young woman with the little boy was turning the other corner, walking away from me. There, in the little boy’s hand I noticed the item.

He didn’t seem to think twice about picking up the item and taking it home with him. I had wasted too much time thinking and now I was never going to be able to get the item. It was gone. It was lost, but it had been found. Then I lost it. And the little boy found it.

Short Story Sunday #36

LATE ARRIVAL

            “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t want to come.” I smirked to the host as soon as she had opened the front door of her home. My hands were shoved into my pockets and my breath was rising into the air with every word I spoke.

“Well? Aren’t you going to let me in?” I winked.

“Oh, uh… sure.” The woman stepped aside making way for me through the doorway.

I stepped up off the porch and into the foyer looking all around the room. I nodded my approval and slid my jacket off my body. “So, how’s the party going so far?”

“It’s going well, thank you.” The woman held out her arms to take my jacket.

“Oh, well aren’t you a wonderful host.” I smiled mockingly.

She glared at me, but brought my trench coat over the closet and hung it up. She closed the double doors and pointed into the next room.

“Myself and all the other guests are in there having dinner. Won’t you care to join us?”

“Hm, depends… what are we having?” I stroked my chin with a raised eyebrow. “You know I don’t like anything too fancy. You didn’t cook lobster or sushi or anything like that, did you? Is there caviar or maybe a little escargot from your trip to France?”

“Michael, don’t do this tonight. Please?” She frowned at me sounding exasperated already and I had only just walked through the front door.

“Mike,” I corrected with a glare, “or Mikey. Remember you used to call me that even though I preferred Mike? I let you call me Mikey anyway because I liked you. And you liked me at some point too, if I recall correctly.”

“Mike,” she sighed, “I know you don’t exactly approve of this, but this is my engagement dinner. Can’t you please just support me and be happy for me?”

“No I can’t do that, Julie. Sorry.” I shrugged.

Julie closed her eyes and rubbed her temples while taking a few deep breaths. I kicked at the ground waiting for her to look at me again. For a moment, I felt ashamed for the way I was acting. Then again, she should have been marrying me… not her new boss!

“You don’t even like any of this stuff.” I stated. “You live in a big, fancy house with a butler, a maid, and a cook. You eat foods that you don’t even like. You go on trips that you have no interest in. Did you even like France?”

“It was… an interesting experience.” Julie stated matter-of-factly.

“In a bad way,” I rolled my eyes, “you two are complete opposites.”

“Opposites attract, didn’t you know that?” Julie commented.

“That only counts with science. This is chemistry we’re talking about.” I growled.

“Chemistry is science.”

“Not when we’re talking about people!”

“Keep your voice down.” Julie glanced into the other room. “I don’t want you to be making a scene.”

“I think your fiancé does a pretty good job at doing that on his own.” I grumbled.

“You’re just jealous because he got to me first.” Julie glared at me. “I invited you because we’ve been friends since we were children. You’re my best friend, Mike. You’re my biggest support system, you always have been. I’m able to tell you everything. I–”

“Then tell me the truth,” I interrupted, “do you love him?”

“Excuse me?”

“Answer the question.”

Julie stared at me with even eyes. It was difficult to read her expression or figure out what she was thinking. I couldn’t tell if she was hesitating because she in fact did not love her fiancé or if she was just trying to get out of answering because she thought I was utterly ridiculous.

“Do you love him?” I prompted.

“Maybe our friendship would have gone on to the next level if you weren’t such a child all the time.” Julie responded.

“That… had nothing to do with what I just asked you.” I said with a puzzled tone.

“Maybe if you had just got the courage to ask me then this engagement dinner would be for you and me. Did you ever think of that?” Julie frowned.

“I am thinking about it now. That’s why I’m asking… do you love your fiancé?” I took a step closer to Julie and stared down at her.

“It doesn’t matter whether I love Jack or not.” Julie looked up at me with a glare. “I am getting married to him and that doesn’t change the fact that you and I aren’t together. Don’t you understand that?”

I kissed her on the lips.

Julie took a step back with a look of horror. “Why did you do that?”

“A kiss usually gets the girl to come to her senses in the movies.” I shrugged and looked down at the ground. “Did it work?”

Julie opened her mouth to respond, but she looked passed me instead. I turned around and saw Jack standing in the doorway. How long had he been there? How much of our conversation did he hear? Did he see the kiss?

“Darling, are you coming back to the table? The guests are asking for you.” Jack looked right through me as he spoke to Julie.

“I’m attending to another guest out here.” Julie replied promptly.

“Yes, I can see that.” Jack glared at me.

“You can go back into the dining room, honey. I’ll be in there in a minute. Michael was just leaving.” Julie looked directly at her fiancé and didn’t dare to bring her eyes back in my direction.

“Good,” Jack stated and disappeared back into the dining room.

I took a deep breath and turned towards the front door. I didn’t have anything else to say to Julie. I didn’t even want to look at her. I put a hand on the door knob and then pointed to the closet.

“That trench coat was a gift from my mother… I’ll just take that with me, if you don’t mind.” I said to the door.

“Mikey,”

I turned and looked at Julie. She was holding my jacket out to me, her eyes filling with tears.

“I’ll have the maid help me pack. Wait for me in the car?”

Without any hesitation, I kissed her on the forehead. “I’ll leave the engine running.”

Passed A Deadline

So, I made a schedule for myself for my Detective Florence series up until the end of May of next year. My first deadline was yesterday and guess what? I missed it.

School has officially ended so I don’t have that commitment anymore (yay!) and work is winding down with the holidays approaching. I have the rest of this week and Monday and Tuesday of next week and then it’s winter break. However, they’re still full days so it’s still six hours I’m missing from each day.

Speaking of the holidays, Christmas is right around the corner. I finished all my shopping and wrapping, but there’s still so much to do; clean the house, help with baking, prepare for upcoming Christmas parties, etc.

This past weekend alone I was barely home. I had work Friday morning and then a Christmas party that night. Kris and I went out Saturday morning to Barnes & Noble (so I got a little writing done then) and then we went shopping. Then we had company over the house that night. Sunday we had church in the morning and then went to my uncle’s house to celebrate his birthday. It was a busy weekend that flew by and before I knew it I had to wake up early for work again.

Yesterday I was supposed to have the second draft of Detective Florence typed up and ready to be printed for another hand-edit. I haven’t been writing the ten pages a day like I was supposed to. I have 30 pages left to go.

I plan on finishing it today. However, I won’t be able to start hand-editing the first draft of Detective Florence 2 today. So that will put me a day behind, but I’m hoping I can catch up with that tomorrow after work since I don’t have anything else going on.

In other news, I’ve been continually planning and preparing things for my blog for the new year. I’ve been writing certain posts that will be weekly or monthly. There are a few posts that will be written in advance, but most posts will be written as my day got on and I start rambling to you guys as usual. However, I need the planned posts in order to keep up a good pace with my blog and also because I have no idea what next year is going to bring. Between school, work, babysitting, and everything else under the sun, writing the posts in advance is a good choice at the moment.

So, after work I need to type up those last 30 pages of Detective Florence. Then tomorrow I’ll start on my next deadline. More on that tomorrow as well as an update of the second draft of Detective Florence and how well/not well it’s been going.

Short Story Sunday #35

CATS

            Oh, to be a kitty on a snowy day. It’s one thing to not have the responsibility of anything in the world, but to have the actual opportunity to relax whenever and where ever you want was a blessing in my eyes.

Cats had it so easy. They didn’t have to go to school, they didn’t have to go to work, they didn’t have to worry about money; they didn’t have to worry about anything that us humans have to worry about. The only things cats had to worry about were where their litter box was, who was going to fill up their food dish, licking themselves clean, and where to sleep. Oh, and maybe they worry about when they have to go to the vet next.

However, that doesn’t seem like a lot. I would love to sit around all day taking naps, only to wake when I was hungry. The most stressful thing in my life would be going to the vet.

It was the first week of November and snow was beginning to fall from the sky. It was the first snow fall of the season. People complained, but for once in a long time Mother Nature was actually being appropriate weather wise.

I had to go out in the snow. I had to go to church and teach my Sunday school class. When I left the house, it was cold, rainy, and raw out. I had a puffy winter, water-proof coat with my hood over my eyes as I watched the ground while walking to the car. I didn’t like the cold weather to begin with and adding rain to it was just making the day worse.

Of course, while I was at church snow began to fall. As the hour went on, the rain officially stopped and the snow continued coming down harder and harder. The flakes were a decent size, but none of it was really sticking to the ground. That meant there was going to be a bit of slush on the ground which, to me, was just gross.

I gazed out the window with a sigh. Today would have been the perfect day to sleep in and stay home all day. I would have loved to stay in my pajamas, make a cup of hot chocolate, and curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and a good book or even watch a good movie. It would even be nice to take a long, hot bubble bath. I had too much to do that day, though. Relaxing wasn’t going to be an option.

When church was over, I drove in my car with the windshield wipers going on medium speed as the snow smacked into the windows. The backseat windows were completely covered in snow making it hard to see as they fogged up.

When I made it home, I was completely chilled to the bone. I made myself a large cup of coffee to warm up and also to keep myself away from all the other things I was going to have to do that day.

I entered the living room with my cup of coffee steaming in my hands and I noticed my cat lying on his back in the middle of the room on the brand new carpet. I took a sip while snickering to myself. He looked as though he had keeled backwards and died; especially when his right hind leg twitched suddenly.

Placing my mug down on the coffee table, I kneeled on the floor beside my cat and rubbed his belly. Most cats don’t enjoy getting their bellies rubbed, but my cat loved it. I startled him and he meowed at me as he shot his eyes open. Once he realized it was only me, he rested his head back down on the floor staying rolled over on his back and allowed me to continue rubbing his belly.

“It must be nice to be a cat; especially on a cold, raw day like today.” I sighed.

His long fur made him feel so warm. Add that with the carpet and the fact that he was sitting right next to the heating vent; he was probably so toasty warm that he must have felt like he was sitting in front of a fireplace.

I stood up, glancing out the window. I looked back down at the cat who was now sitting upright right next to my leg. He looked up at me with wide eyes and let out a soft meow and then purred. I bent down to scoop him up in one arm and I grabbed my coffee mug with my other hand.

I brought him up the stairs and into my office. I set him down on the couch where he laid back down and fell straight to sleep. I put my coffee down on the coffee table in front of the couch and exited the room to go into my bedroom. I changed back into my pajamas and grabbed a couple of blankets off of my bed. I brought them back into my office.

I searched my shelves for a long movie and decided on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. It was a long enough movie to keep myself occupied for a few hours. I turned it on, curled up in the blankets on my couch, and my cat snuggled up close to me. Together, I watched the movie while sipping on my beverage and he fell back to sleep again.

Oh, it must be really nice to be a cat; especially on snowy, cold days. Of course, it wasn’t that bad to be a human on those kinds of days, either. Every once in a while it was nice to just sit down, relax, and enjoy the company of the cat.

No More School

I hope everyone had a great weekend and a good Monday yesterday. I had a busy weekend with my church’s annual Holly Fair. I work the raffle table every year. It’s fun and I do it with my family and friends from church are there so it’s a good time. Tiring, but fun. I also wrapped all my Christmas presents, so that’s out of the way. In addition to that we got our Christmas tree. The holidays are finally arriving!

Needless to say I did not get any editing done. That’s something that I really need to pick back up again this week, but guess what?

I finished all my homework! The semester officially ends on Saturday, but I completed all my assignments I’m all done with school. I am pretty excited about that!

Instead of waking up, doing homework, going to work, then coming home to potentially write/edit or work on more homework… I can wake up, edit/write, go to work, come home and write/edit some more! Or you know, get other things done, but the time is there if I need it.

I’m still going to be busy, of course. I still have two weeks of work before the break and the holidays aren’t going to let me slip by so easily. I have quite a few Christmas parties this year. Most of my weekends are pretty filled up. It will still be a lot easier without homework in the mix, though.

With that being said, I expect to get a lot done between now and Christmas writing-wise. This morning I finished my homework and then worked a bit on this blog for next year. I’ve been working bit by bit on the blog every day so I’m ready for New Year’s.

That’s where I stand for now. Now I’m off to get ready for work and then come home and… get stuff done, whatever I have to do.

Happy Tuesday!

Short Story Sunday #34

STRAWBERRIES

            “Sorry, I’m allergic to strawberries.” Maggie Henderson smiled sheepishly.

“You… are?” her elderly neighbor frowned. She looked at the counter in the kitchen and stared at the food set out as a buffet.

“Yes…” Maggie frowned now as well. She didn’t mean to upset the old woman.

“Oh, dear,” her neighbor sighed, “if only I had known. I am so sorry.”

“No, please don’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault.” Maggie shook her head trying to defend Mrs. Ravens.

Mrs. Ravens had a prize-winning garden in her backyard. She was never married and she didn’t have any children of her own. So, once she retired, she took up gardening as her hobby. It ended up becoming more than a hobby, but the sole reason of her existence. When she wasn’t able to garden in the winter, she hibernated because she didn’t know what else to do with herself.

When Maggie received an invitation to go to Mrs. Ravens’s “Garden Party” she assumed all the food would be from her garden. This would include lettuce, carrots, corn, pumpkin, squash, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, and many more; including strawberries. However, Maggie just figured she wouldn’t eat the strawberries.

Apparently, unknown to Maggie, Mrs. Ravens decided to experiment with strawberries and only strawberries that past summer. Everything in her garden, aside from flowers, and the occasional vegetable to accompany dinner, were strawberries. Mrs. Ravens discovered how the Internet worked at the beginning of the summer and decided to challenge herself through her gardening.

She found recipe upon recipe for strawberries through the Internet and because of that she wanted to try them all out. She started looking up recipes that used pumpkin so she could grow only pumpkins next summer and have a pumpkin party. This would continue on with different fruits and vegetables for summers to come. Unfortunately for Maggie, this summer just happened to be all about strawberries.

Everything served at the party had strawberries in it; real strawberries, too. Mrs. Ravens didn’t bother to use strawberries flavors or anything artificial in her cooking. She only and always used natural ingredients in her food.

“I wouldn’t have invited you if I had known, dear.” Mrs. Ravens was pouting. She didn’t blame Maggie, but she blamed herself.

“Don’t feel bad, Mrs. Ravens. I’m sure everything is delicious. I’m just sorry that I’m not able to try any of it.” Maggie looked around the kitchen. She watched her other neighbors wander from dish to dish, scraping food onto their plates as though they were at a buffet. The food looked good. The food smelled good. Maggie wanted to try a taste, but she couldn’t risk it.

Mrs. Ravens scratched the back of her head. “Well, I would still like you to stay for the party. I have milk in the fridge and I have some cookies. I made strawberry cookies, but I have Oreos as well. You can have that for dessert, if you like.”

Maggie opened her mouth to agree, but Mrs. Ravens continued to rummage through her kitchen to find other things.

“For dinner… I don’t know what I can give you for dinner.” She murmured to herself. She opened a cabinet and smirked hopefully at her young neighbor. “Peanut butter and jelly? I have fresh home-made bread.”

Maggie frowned and shook her head slowly. “Uh, I’m allergic to peanuts… sorry.”

Mrs. Ravens sighed and let her shoulders droop. “Were you always allergic to these things? I watched you grow up next door. How did I not know any of these things about you?”

“Well, I’ve never eaten at your house before.” Maggie shrugged. “Don’t worry about it, though. It’s all okay.”

“But what am I going to feed you?” Mrs. Ravens asked in a panic.

“I can eat when I get home. I would love to have some Oreos and milk, if that offer still stands.” Maggie suggested. She wanted to make Mrs. Ravens feel better, but she didn’t know how to go about that.

Mrs. Ravens nodded her head with a smile. “Of course you can still have cookies and milk, dear. I just feel bad that I can’t give you anything else.”

“Don’t worry about that. I just appreciate you inviting me to this party in the first place.” Maggie attempted to make her elderly neighbor feel better.

“Well… are you allergic to anything else? I plan on having a party like this at the end of every summer, but just with something different I’ve grown in my garden.” Mrs. Ravens explained cautiously.

“I am only allergic to strawberries and peanuts.” Maggie confirmed.

“Next year I plan on using pumpkins in everything.”

“Pumpkins are fine,” Maggie nodded even though she didn’t like pumpkin all that much. However, she was willing to try it for Mrs. Ravens.

“So you’ll be able to come to my party next summer and you can actually eat?”

“Yes,”

“Wonderful!” Mrs. Ravens clapped her hands together and walked over to the cabinet again. She took out a cup and poured a glass of milk for Maggie. Then she took out the Oreos and handed Maggie the entire package.

“Eat as much as you want,” she explained, “You know where the milk is. If there is anything else that you would like to eat, just let me know and I’ll tell you if it has strawberries or peanuts in it.”

Maggie chuckled. “Thanks, Mrs. Ravens.”

Mrs. Ravens patted Maggie on the shoulder with a smile and disappeared into the other room.

Maggie poured her glass of milk down the sink drain and placed the empty glass in the sink. She took out three Oreo cookies and stared at them.

A young boy who lived a few houses down the street stared at the cookies in Maggie’s hands. Maggie put the package away and handed the three cookies to the boy.

“Do you want some?”

He nodded and took the cookies with a smile.

“Don’t let Mrs. Ravens see.” Maggie explained and watched the boy eat the cookies quickly right in front of her.

Maggie sighed. She didn’t have the heart to tell Mrs. Ravens that she was allergic to milk as well.

30 Pages

The third day of December was shot due to a headache when l came home from work. I ended up sitting on the couch too exhausted to do anything. Needless to say l did not edit 10 pages yesterday.

Lucky for me l had the day off from work today due to parent/teacher confrences. Kris and l decided to go to Barnes and Noble, but we both felt kind of crappy when we woke up. We both have colds and hope we’re not coming down with anything else.

So we stayed home.

I ended up editing 30 pages though. 10 for yesterday, 10 for today, and 10 for tomorrow. So l went above and beyond.

So that’s where l stand as of right now. Tomorrow is Friday and l’m barely going to be home. However, l finished my homework for the week so l can edit before work.

Cutting Out Extra Words… Or Pages

I typed up about 12 pages of the second draft of Detective Florence today. That puts me in a small lead since I’m supposed to do ten pages a day. I keeping thinking it would be nice to do extra pages and I probably will every once in a while, but… today is not that day.

I ended up doing two extra pages because three of the pages had the note written on them: “Simplify or take it out!”

Would you like to know what the three pages were about? Well, it was George laying out all his notes about the current case he’s working on. In other words, he summarized the entire novel from start up until that point. Um… why do we need a summary when we just read it all? There is no good answer to that question.

I wrote the first draft for NaNoWriMo 2013 so it’s obvious that I was stuck and just needed the extra words. That certainly worked at the time, but now I need to think about quality over quantity.

I ended up “simplifying” instead of taking it out completely. My mind may change in later drafts, but as of right now I think it’s a good move.

George was writing notes in am attempt to organize the events of the current cases (yes, there’s two mysteries going on). He added in a lot of extra stuff that no one needs to be reminded of, not even him. So I reworded it all so that he made a list of questions. You know, the standard who, what, where, when, why, how. He answered the ones he could and left questions blank that he didn’t know.

This definitely helped me keep everything in check. It was kind of like writing a list of plot questions that I need to remember to answer by the end of the book. I’m sure it will help keep the reader focused and organized as well. Plus, I’m sure real detectives sit at their desks and organize their thoughts like that all the time. Mysteries are a big headache.

Rewriting that bit took me from three pages to about four paragraphs which is just shy of a full page. So… yeah, I was clearly trying to boost my word count for NaNo.

I’m on page 156 in the second draft which is about 20 pages shorter than the first draft. It doesn’t seem like I cut out much, but I’m sure there will still be more cutting left; especially in later drafts. I’m sure there will even be some scenes that get cut, then brought back, then cut again.

Like I said, I reworded that scene because I think it’s a good idea now. However, when I’m on my Nth draft I may think it was a stupid idea and end up cutting it completely.

One just never knows.