Editing Goals

George Florence Editing Goals

I’ve been editing my novel, George Florence, since the beginning of January.

I’ve been doing really well keeping up with my routine. I’ve been editing every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning. Saturdays I’m able to edit more and I go to the bookstore to do it sometimes.

I wanted to have the whole draft completed by January 15, but I still have about 50 or so pages to go. So I’m hoping to finish it by the 19 instead. That will give me one more Saturday to really work on it a lot. Because I don’t write or edit on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

I feel as though it’s always tough to self-edit. Once I finish the first draft the manuscript looks perfect in my eyes. Then when I start editing I realize how untrue that is.

A lot of my editing is rewording things because I tend to through random words in that don’t need to be there (you can tell I wrote the novel for NaNo). I reuse the same descriptive words over and over again because I don’t want to interrupt myself and get a thesaurus.

The draft I’m working on at the moment is technically the third draft, but I’m calling it the first draft.

The first-first draft was written in George’s point of view. The second draft was edited as George’s point of view. During all of this Lilah kept trying to take center stage.

I rewrote the novel in her point of view just to see how it would work and I have to say that it works much better. It’s a completely different story, which is why I’m calling it the first draft again.

I have a lot of editing notes that I’ve jotted down here and there to keep on the lookout in the next draft. I’m going to need to so some research before beginning the next edit phase.

First, I need to figure out the setting. I’ve gone back and forth between then being in a small town versus a big city. I believe they’re in a city, but it’s nameless and I don’t describe their surroundings much.

Second, I’ve always lived with my parents. I’ve never had my own house or rented an apartment before. My sister has so I’ve seen the inside of at least one apartment complex, but that’s about it. I don’t know anything about rent, leases, etc. Since a huge chunk of the setting if in an apartment building… Well, I should probably look into that.

Third, I want to make a map of Lilah’s apartment building, George’s house and firm, maybe the key areas of their city. Visuals are easier for me and than I should be able to describe things better from that.

Fourth, how does one become a private investigator? That’s a key part of the story, so I should probably figure that out.

Fifth, I have to do math. I dread that part because I clearly prefer English over math. But I do need to figure out a timeline of sorts. The year, the ages, figure out the robbery, figure out the murder, and so on. That part will be fun.

There are a lot of other things I need to research as well. Most of it pertains to the robbery and the murder as well as basic police procedure, autopsy reports, funeral homes, the works.

I have a lot to keep an eye out for when I edit the second draft.

What are your editing goals for your novel?

Long Week

This week I have gone to work and babysat more than usual. I edited my short story and sent it to a contest and also edited the second-first draft of George Florence. I sent it to my writers group and then realized I won’t be able to make it to the next meet.

But I at least got the first part edited, so I guess I can’t complain about that.

I have been so tired that I’ve been coming home and plopping myself down on the couch and that’s my day.

I get my writing and editing done in the morning before work so I haven’t been skipping any days, but now that I decided to solely work on editing George Florence I’m out of things to work on.

I mean, that’s not really true. I have a huge list of ideas of novels for various age groups and genres. However, I want my sole focus to be on George Florence.

I probably will edit the next part, especially since I’m not going to meet with my group until the end of October at this point.

At the same time, it’s kind of nice to take a break from writing a novel.

I have a few short stories I would like to work on, plus some original pieces I want to work on for Wattpad.

It’s funny because I usually have a hard time trying to decide what to write because I have so many ideas and I want to write them all at once.

Now that list has kind of turned into a “waiting list” as I put certain ideas on hold so I can focus on George Florence for the most part.

He’s an attention hog, I guess.

So I pretty much already decided that’s what I was going to do, but I thought I would recap.

Next week will be less busy, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to make more progress. Although, I think I did a pretty good job this week balancing everything out.

Easy

Taking A Break

I got a lot of writing, editing, reading, and blogging done this past summer. It was great! With no work and no school to tie me down, I was able to focus on what I hope to be a career someday (soon… in the near future… hopefully…).

I had plans to finish my rewrite of George Florence by July 31. That didn’t happen because the rewrite came out a lot longer than the original first draft. So I changed the deadline to August 31.

I still didn’t finish writing it.

I was writing it the other day and found two plot-holes. You know, because this is the second time I’m writing it so why would I have discovered a giant hole in the plot the first time around? Even after I’ve outlined it twice and everything.

I’m trying to figure out how to fix it. One problem is an easy fix; it’s just math (blech). The other problem might take a while. I know I need to go back and add in a few more things in order for everything to make sense and come full circle.

With that being said, I’ve decided to take a break from writing the novel.

I edited the first 20 or so pages of the story to the best of my ability (I keep a list of editing notes as I write to remember for the revision process). Now I’m going to send that to my writers group.

After a couple of months of them looking at the first half of the novel I’ll probably start writing it again. We meet once a month so I’ll probably start writing it again come January. So by that time they’ll have read roughly 100 pages (I’m including January’s meet).

I’ll pick up the writing again to bring in the new year because by then I should have figured out a way to end the novel and make everything full circle. Plus, I can incorporate any suggestions I get from my group.

Of course if I figure it out before January, then I’m not going to wait until January. I just want to give myself some time.

Does that sound like a good plan? I hope so.

In the meantime, I don’t want to stop writing completely.

There are a few contests I would love to try and a few literary magazines I would love to submit to. I have a couple short stories under my belt and a few more ideas for short stories. I’ll be working on those for the time being.

I will also be working on other novels… or novellas, however they turn out.

WattpadI recently joined Wattpad and have a few ideas to put on there. I have yet to write them so it might take a while before these stories are posted, but I’m working on it.

Feel free to follow me on there so you can get updates! I’ll most likely give updates on here, too. Let me know if you have an account on Wattpad. I’ll follow you… I need friends on there.

I want to get more of my original writing out there to share with you guys other than the Short Story Sunday and Time To Write features. Those are usually silly, quick things I write. Some turn out better than others. So I want to show you guys that I can actually come up with a plot and make it work.

I’ll probably post it once the whole story is written so I can update regularly.

I’ll let you know when the first story is up, which might be a little while.

In the meantime… Wish me luck!

July Wrap-Up

July is coming to a close, so here’s an update on my July Goals.

Reading:

My goal was to read two books a week totaling to eight books this month. I ended up reading more books than that. I have to say I really love having no work.

I ended up reading ten books, two more than I planned. If you want to see the complete list of books I read during July, head on over to my Reading List. I just updated it and it has a link to all the book reviews from July (and the whole year).

Writing:

I queried my children’s book, Nature According to Bobby, to five more agents. Some of the turnaround times are kind of long, so we’ll have to wait and see for that.

I also submitted a poem to the magazine Ladybug. The wait time for that is three to six months.

I wrote Hunter for Camp NaNoWriMo and hit 50k on July 19. I didn’t finish the story, but I think it’s almost done. It might have another two or three chapters? I’m not entirely sure. I wanted to finish the overall novel, but I got distracted with George Florence so Hunter is kind of the back burner for now.

The rewrite of George Florence is still in the works. I took a good break from it because I was writing Hunter. My plan was to write both at the same time, but I think that was a little overambitious.

I had hoped to finish rewriting George Florence by the end of July, but there’s still a lot I need to do. The rewrite is turning out much, much longer than the original first draft. A lot of new additions (good additions, in my opinion) got added when I switched POVs.

Blogging:

I posted a book review every Tuesday and Saturday like I hoped to. I ended up reading two more books than planned, as well.

I also started the Time To Write feature every Friday. I hope you guys enjoy that.

July was a pretty good month for me. I think I got a lot done. Here’s hoping August is just as productive.

 

 

Short Story Sunday #63

SSS Mystery Man Four

            “Dr. Laurie Dawson, it’s very nice to meet you.” A tall woman with short, blonde hair shook George’s hand and then Lilah’s. She smiled sweetly to them and then turned look at Joshua’s body on the ground.

She sighed, “I was his therapist. I have known Joshua for a long time… ten years, to be exact.”

“Therapist? Was he sick?” Lilah questioned.

“One doesn’t have to be sick to visit a therapist.” Dr. Dawson lifted an eyebrow at her. Lilah took a step back suddenly feeling small.

“Then tell us why Joshua has been visiting you for the past ten years.” George said firmly defending Lilah.

“His brother and sister-in-law passed away in a horrible plane crash. They were on their way to a business trip across the ocean. The plane malfunctioned and crashed into the water… no bodies were recovered; only little bits of the plane.” Dr. Dawson clutched a file folder tightly to her chest. She stared down at Joshua and sighed.

“He was grieving,” she continued, “he was grieving and he was suddenly a father-figure. He wasn’t ready to take care of a child. He came to me for help; for advice. He even brought Abigail with him for a few times. Now she’s my patient as well.”

Lilah twisted her head to look at Abigail. She still stood in the doorway staring down at her dead uncle.

“I took Abigail as a patient because she was only three years of age when her parents passed away. Joshua told her they were on a business trip, so she never fully understood that they died. To be honest, I still don’t believe she fully understands.” Dr. Dawson explained and then lowered her voice to a whisper, but Abigail didn’t seem to be paying any attention.

Lilah nodded her head. No wonder Abigail acted so strange; she was living a life based on lies. She probably expected her parents to come home any day now and they were never going to come. She looked up at George, who kept his gaze fixated on Dr. Dawson.

“So, Joshua was riddled with grieve. For ten years?” he pressed.

“He began to believe James had come back.” Dr. Dawson paced around the body.

“James?” Lilah looked up at George. “The invisible person?”

“Excuse me?” Dr. Dawson stared at Lilah puzzled.

“There’s a photo upstairs in Joshua’s bedroom. It’s a picture taken by him of himself. His arm looks like it’s wrapped around someone’s shoulder, but no one else is in the picture with him.” Lilah turned to look at Abigail. “Abigail mentioned that James was in the picture with Joshua… but again, no one else was there.”

“Ah, yes.” Dr. Dawson nodded her head with a sad sigh. “Joshua began to believe James was alive again. He was seeing James everywhere. He was hearing voices.”

“So he was sick…” Lilah muttered.

“I think I know where this is going.” George grunted.

“Dissociative Identity Disorder,” Dr. Dawson nodded her head in agreement with George, knowing exactly what he was thinking.”

“Split personality?” Lilah gasped.

“Joshua was so stricken with grieve and stress that he looked to his brother for help from beyond the grave. He thought it was a good way to cope because the deceased are never truly gone.” Dr. Dawson placed a hand on her heart. “They’re always with us.”

Lilah and George glanced at each other.

“It got out of hand is all.” Dr. Dawson stared at the ground.

“I thought people with split personality didn’t know the other personality was there?” Lilah questioned suspiciously.

“You’re right,” Dr. Dawson agreed, “but people with this disorder don’t understand what happens when the other personality takes over. They just can’t remember certain parts of their day. However, things would be moved around and Joshua’s life was being carried on. He assumed it was the work of a ghost; of his brother James. He believed his brother was trying to get in contact with him.”

“Was he?” George wondered.

Dr. Dawson stared George in the eye as she tried to think of a response. “I believe Joshua was so desperate to see his brother again that he made himself believe the unbelievable.”

Lilah bit her lower lip and turned to look at Abigail once more. She wondered if Abigail was paying any attention to this conversation and just how much she understood of it. Abigail remained in the doorway to the living room but was no longer staring at his uncle. She eyed Dr. Dawson soaking in every word she said.

“Given his background, it is believed that Joshua had enough of his other personality… of James.” The forensic scientist spoke. “We believed Joshua, in the heat of the moment, attempted to get rid of James, which sadly resulted in him losing his own life.”

Dr. Dawson nodded her head. “This folder contains my last few sessions with Joshua and highlights some of his worst moments. He was beginning to believe someone was following him. Someone was in his house with him, other than Abigail.”

Lilah looked up at George. “That’s what he said in the e-mail.” She whispered.

“Joshua was becoming aware of James. He would argue with him right in front of me in the middle of our sessions.” She continued.

Lilah nodded remembering that Abigail mentioned she heard two male voices from her bedroom. Joshua must have had one last argument with his other personality.

“Reading the reports in order, you can really see Joshua spiral downhill.” Dr. Dawson concluded.

“We’ll look over the reports.” A police officer spoke. “It’s looking more and more likely that Joshua might have killed himself, even if it wasn’t intentional. Thank you Dr. Dawson and thank you George for coming down. However, it looks as though this case is an open and shut one.”

Lilah and George turned around to leave as the officers began to wrap things up. Lilah then realized Abigail was no longer standing in the doorway. She was out in the hallway talking to a police officer; or rather, the officer was talking to her as she stared at the ground.

“Lilah,” George broke Lilah out of her thoughts holding the front door open for her. “I think our work here is done.”

*

Lilah sat down on the couch on one of the George’s office as he sat down at his desk. She let out a deep sigh and threw her head back closing her eyes.

“I have to say that was the quickest case I’ve ever worked… and we’re not even getting paid for it.” George grunted. He turned his computer back on and stared at the screen as it lit up.

“George?” Lilah lifted her head once more. “What do you think is going to happen to Abigail?”

“Well,” George sighed leaning back in his chair, “my guess would be that she’ll be put into the foster system. Unless she has any other family who can take her.”

“What a sad story.” Lilah shook her head in disgust. “First she loses her parents without knowing it and then her uncle commits suicide while she’s in the house.”

“Not all cases have a happy ending. Remember that one, Lilah. It’s awful, but it’s true.” George said softly.

Lilah nodded her head. She turned on her laptop once more. This case was definitely the quickest one yet, but it was also the most sad. She couldn’t imagine grieving for ten years only to have the deceased lingering behind you, haunting you. She thought about Abigail finally understanding why she was so strange and emotionless. Lilah hoped Abgail would improve as she got older and that this wouldn’t haunt her for the rest of her life like Joshua.

Once Lilah’s laptop was fully booted up, she logged onto her blog. She had already written a post for the day, but another one couldn’t hurt. She took a deep breath and began to write.

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/22-6/26

Weekly Wrap Up

 

From my June Goals list, I’ve accomplished quite a bit this week.

Reading:

Yes, I just said that I’ve accomplished a lot this week, but reading has not been apart of that. I’m almost done with Dog On It by Spencer Quinn, but reading has been pretty slow this whole month. I’ve been so preoccupied with other things.

Writing:

And when I say “other things” I mean my writing. This was my first official week off from work and I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. Sure I miss the kids, but I’m happy to finally put more time and effort into my writing.

As stated in my Routine Is Key post, I decided to schedule my time wisely now that I’m not at work six and half hours of the day. Five days a week, I want to get at least two hours of writing in. I tried for a certain time (8:30am-10:30am) and that worked for a couple of days.

The week was kind of crazy because it was the last week of school for my cousins so the time got changed a few days. Now that I don’t have to drive them to school anymore I can actually start writing earlier if I want.

Whatever the time though, I’ve been getting two hours in every day as planned. Which is great for me because I can never stick to schedules like this.

I’ve been rewriting George Florence and as stated in the update post, it’s going really well. I may have to do another update post sometime in the near future. I was talking to Kris yesterday and had a lot of realizations about my novel. There’s so much to think about… it’s nuts.

Blogging:

Included in my new schedule, I’m going to use Fridays as blog days. There are a lot of posts that I write in advance, so I’m going to take advantage of my Fridays to do that.

I’ve already been planning my July posts instead of finishing up my June posts… oops.

Next Week:

I’m going to continue rewriting George Florence. My original goal was to have it finished by the end of June so I could edit in July, but the novel is coming out a lot longer than expected. The scene I’m in the middle of writing at the moment was page 40-something in the original first draft. In the first draft of the rewrite it’s page 101. So… I have yet to decide whether this is a good sign or not.

In other words, July might be spent writing Hunter for Camp NaNoWriMo, finishing the rewrite for George Florence, and then start edits on George Florence. This should be interesting.

How did your week go?

Update On George

Back in May I posted Problems with Protagonists. I voiced my concerns about dealing with a protagonist who just doesn’t seem to want to listen to anything I have to say.

The protagonist I’m talking about is George from my George Florence series. I mean, the series is named after him… the least he could do is cooperate, am I right?

With a little help from my writers group, I came to the conclusion that the way I was writing the novel was just not working out. I was thinking of changing it for a while, but when other people noticed the same thing I was, I realized it was time for a change.

Considering I wrote a post about my problems and so many of you gave me advice, I figured I owed it to you guys to give you an update.

I’ve been spending on the month of June rewriting–not editing, rewriting–George Florence, book one. I decided to put books two and three aside so I can focus on the first book.

When I say rewrite, I mean that I changed the POV from third person-George to third person-Lilah. I always visioned the two of them to be equal protagonists. George, the main male and Lilah, the main female. Except Lilah was pushy and started taking over. George was a pushover so he allowed her to do this.

Well, Lilah finally has the spotlight and I have to say that I’m glad I listened to my characters. Here are some reasons as to why the novel is coming out better than the first time around:

1. The novel is flowing more freely, yet slower at the same time. George Florence is a mystery and they were finding clues and evidence way too fast not giving the readers time to think about it. Since Lilah isn’t a detective she needs to stop and really think about the cases. She has to ask George if there’s anything she doesn’t understand. This gives the readers a chance to really think as well.

2. George acts more like a detective. He’s just getting back on his feet after being let go from the police department and he’s having financial woes. He’s bound to be a bit shaky on his feet. However, he’s toughened up a bit and I think that’s mostly because he’s trying to help Lilah along. He feels as though he’s responsible for her.

3. I have a better understanding of the cases George and Lilah are trying to solve. I keep a lot of notes and outlines with witnesses, statements, clues, the works. But I never understood what they meant. I just went along with it because it seemed to make sense. Now that George and Lilah are working through it day by day and George seems to have a lot more knowledge than he did before, I’m doing a lot more outside research. That was always something I was saving for the edits, but now I’ve realized that was dumb of me. Now I know what I’m talking about (sort of)!

Sure, the novel still has its problems just like every other first draft. But as first drafts go, I think this one is pretty good. It’s going much better than the other first draft (and that was the best first draft I’ve ever written!) so I think I’m making some real progress on this novel.

There will be more updates as I go along. I hope to finish the first draft by the end of June and edit it during August… along with writing for Camp NaNo. That will be fun!

Short Story Sunday #62

SSS Mystery Man Three

 

(Read Part One and Part Two)

            Lilah got down on her four knees and lifted up some blankets hanging off the bed. She took a peek underneath the bed and shook her head. She stood back up shrugging her shoulders to George on the other side of the bedroom.

“Even under the bed is spotless. There’s not one dust bunny.” Lilah said in amazement.

“So they like to keep a clean house. You do, too.” George opened the closet door and stared at all the clothes hung up neatly and wrinkle-free.

“Yeah, but I’m not that good. They must clean multiple times a day.” Lilah folded her arms across her chest and wandered around the room looking for any clues.

George pushed parted the clothes and looked behind them and in the back of the closet. “There’s absolutely nothing in here… just clothes.”

“That’s what closets are for, buddy.” Lilah replied. She stood by Joshua’s dresser and lifted up a picture frame. She stared closely at it in confusion.

“Yeah, but I use my closet for storage as well. It’s just empty in here.” George sighed closing the door.

“Does this picture look odd to you?” Lilah turned around stretching out her arm to hand the picture over to George.

George took the frame in his hand and stared at it closely. He tilted his head to the side and then held it away from him. “Is he putting his arm around someone?”

“That’s what it looks like, doesn’t it?” Lilah muttered.

Joshua had one arm stretched out as he held the camera back to take a picture of himself. He was smiling happily and his other arm hung in the air as though it was wrapped around someone’s shoulder, but he was the only one in the picture.

“He looks like he’s at the beach. That’s the ocean behind him, isn’t it?” Lilah stared at the picture.

“I think,” George shrugged. He put the picture back down on the dresser. “That’s just weird.”

“Joshua was an artist. He liked to take pictures; especially of himself.”

Lilah jumped in surprised and both she and George turned around. Abigail stood in the doorway of Joshua’s bedroom. She had the same composure as she did when they first arrived at the house. She stood still and tall, her eyes burning into Lilah, but still with no emotion behind the stare.

“We can see that.” Lilah replied cautiously.

“Who is in the picture with him?” George asked. Lilah looked at him with uncertainty. They just discussed that no one else was in the picture with him. Lilah wondered if George was just trying to figure out how crazy Joshua—and Abigail—were. They sure were a strange family.

“His friend, James.” Abigail replied with no hesitation.

Lilah turned back around quickly and squinted at the picture. She still couldn’t see anyone else present, though.

“Have you ever met James?” George glanced at Lilah before looking back at Abigail.

“No,” Abigail said shortly.

“Can you point to him in the picture?” Lilah wondered.

“No,” Abigail shook her head and took a step back so she was no longer standing in the doorway, but in the hall.

Lilah and George exchanged confused glances when a police officer poked his head into the room. “George, Lilah? They’ve finished looking at the body. You should probably come down now.”

“Thank you,” George replied leading the way out of the bedroom. Lilah followed closely behind.

“After you,” George motioned for Abigail to go first. Lilah let out a sigh of relief. She did not want Abigail to be walking behind her.

Abigail obeyed and led them down the stairs and back into the living room. She stood by the doorway and George and Lilah pushed past her. George stopped and stared at Abigail.

“Why don’t you come into the room and sit down?” he pointed to the couch.

“I don’t like being in the living room. I only like being in my bedroom.” Abigail replied dryly.

“Can we say crazy…?” Lilah whispered.

George shushed her before anyone could hear.

Lilah shrugged and then turned her attention back to the scene. Her stomach flipped over when her eye caught Joshua. The forensics team drew a white line around his body, but then flipped him over to examine his wounds more closely.

Joshua laid on his back, his eyes rolled to the back of his head, and a steak knife sticking out of his heart. She didn’t realize someone could die from a knife as small as a steak knife, but she supposed if it was sharp enough and pierced directly to the heart, then it was possible. No wonder they couldn’t tell what the wound was when he was lying on his stomach; he was lying on the knife.

Lilah shuddered and looked the other way at the forensics man.

“As you can see,” he began to explain, “Joshua Coops, 34, died of a stab wound straight to the heart. He most likely died instantly, as the wound is deep into his heart.”

“Was he murdered?” George questioned.

Lilah glanced behind her and looked at Abigail. Her head was cocked to the side and she stared deeply at the knife stuck inside her uncle. Lilah still couldn’t read her face. She would have assumed a 13-year-old would be mortified at seeing such a scene. Yet, she seemed to be completely unfazed by it all.

Abigail made Lilah feel uncomfortable and made her wonder if Abigail had anything to do with her uncle’s death; despite her denial when they first arrived at the house.

“Yes and no.” the forensics man tilted his head from side to side.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Lilah piped up. She hugged herself trying to wrap her head around it all while not looking at the body at the same time.

The forensics man looked Lilah in the eye and explained. “The fingerprints lifted off the knife are none other than Joshua’s, but he wasn’t the one who put the knife through himself.”

Short Story Sunday #61

SSS Mystery Man Two

(Read Part One Here.)

            “We got an e-mail from a man named Joshua. He said he needed help because he felt as though he was being watched and there was possibly a stranger in his house… this house.” Lilah pointed to the ground. “Do you know anything about this?”

The girl shrugged her shoulders. “I did not know he sent an e-mail. However, that man on the ground… his name is Joshua.”

“Great…” Lilah sighed.

George squatted down beside the man lying on the ground and pressed two fingers to the side of his neck. He then groaned standing up.

“Well,” he said, “there’s no pulse, but the body is still quite warm.”

“And you wanted to dilly-dally outside the house.” Lilah glared at him.

“Can we ask you some questions?” George ignored Lilah’s comment and turned his attention to the girl, who refused to step foot inside the living room.

“Fine,” she shrugged.

“First, tell us about yourself. What’s your name, do you live here, how do you know this man?” George rattled off basic questions taking out a small notepad and pen from his pocket.

“My name is Abigail,” she looked up at the ceiling thinking, “this is my house, and I do know Joshua. He’s my uncle.”

Lilah eyed the body and stared at it. Judging by the bit of blood staining the rug under him, it was clear he was wounded from the front. There were no other marks on his body, which led Lilah to believe there was no struggle. The room wasn’t in disarray, either. In fact, the inside of the house was just as clean as the outside.

“Does Joshua live here, too? Or was he visiting you?” George questioned.

“He lives here, too. I’m only 13, so I need an adult to stay with me.” Abigail explained. “Both my parents are away on business trips.”

“I see,” George nodded writing some more information.

“Abigail, do you have any idea what happened? Supposedly Joshua thought there was someone else in the house. Did you get the feeling there was someone else in the house?” Lilah wondered walking away from the body.

“No,” Abigail shook her head.

“Did you at least see what happened?” George continued.

“No,”

“Well, did you at least hear anything out of the ordinary?” Lilah added.

“Yes,” Abigail nodded.

There was silence. Lilah and George stared at Abigail expecting an explanation. She stared back at the two of them with no emotion and clearly no intention of speaking further.

“What did you hear?” Lilah finally asked in a grunt.

“Joshua was talking. There was a man talking back to him. I don’t know who the man was and I don’t know what they were saying to each other. I was upstairs in my bedroom.” Abigail stated.

“You didn’t leave your room to find out?” George wondered.

“No,”

Lilah took a deep breath trying not to get frustrated. Abigail was young and her uncle was dead with both of her parents out of town. Lilah felt for the girl, but she wished they were able to get more information out of her.

“Abigail, did you hear anything else? Like… a gunshot, perhaps?” George questioned.

“Nope,” Abigail shook her head and linked her fingers together in front of her.

Lilah looked down at Joshua. She couldn’t tell what kind of wound he had since he was lying on it. She certainly couldn’t touch the body until forensics arrived. She lifted her head and thought about that for a moment.

“Abigail…” Lilah began, “when did you discover your uncle dead? He clearly died not too long ago.”

“I found him not too long before you guys came knocking on my door.” Abigail replied in a sassy tone.

Lilah was taken aback by her tone, but shook it off.

“Did you call the police?” George stared at Abigail suspiciously.

“Nope,”

“Why not?”

“They would think I did it. Just like how you guys think I did it.” Abigail glared at George.

Lilah swallowed a lump in her throat and stared at George, who stared back nervously. Then he turned his attention back to Abigail clearing his throat.

“We need to call the police. They can help us handle this. Then do you mind if we take a look around?” George asked.

Abigail nodded her head and then turned the other way.

George took out his cell phone and dialed the police. “In the meantime,” he said to Abigail as he listened to the phone ring, “you can stay right here with us.”

Lilah walked around to the side of the body and tried to see if anything looked out of the ordinary, but nothing jumped out at her. Everything was so neat and tidy that it was hard to believe someone was murdered.

George hung up the phone and looked at Lilah. “They’re on their way.”

Lilah nodded and poked her head into the next room. It was the kitchen. There were no dirty dishes in the sink, the countertops were spotless, and the kitchen table was cleared. She turned back around and shrugged her shoulders to George, who scratched the top of his head in response.

Abigail stood in the doorway of the living room watching their every move. Her face was expressionless and it made Lilah uncomfortable. She stared closely at Abigail when she noticed Abigail was focused on George. Abigail stood still as a statue, her hands still clasped together in front of her body. She took deep breaths through her nose and wouldn’t open her mouth or even blink.

Lilah shivered. Supposedly there was a second man in the house and he was the possible suspect, but she wasn’t about to let the 13-year-old get off that easily.

Read Part Three!

And The Winner Is…

I received 19 votes on last week’s poll, What Should I Write for Camp NaNo. I have to say that the results were kind of close. All three novels were tied up for most of the race (which was why I spammed my social media accounts for more votes).

In the end, one did pull ahead and actually stayed in first for a while. The winner is…

Results

Hunter!

The picture might be a bit hard to read, but Hunter came in first with 9 votes. Cybertra and A Job To Get Done both came in second with 5 votes each.

I have so many novels that I’ve started and never finished because new ideas always pop up in my head. These are only three of the many novels that are half-finished.

A Job To Get Done was started a long time ago at a writing session with my sister at Barnes & Noble. I forget how the idea came to me, but it was spur the moment as I couldn’t decide what to write that day. I did write it for Camp NaNo one year, but didn’t get too far. The novel only has seven pages written.

Cybertra was a novel inspired by Iron Man. I decided to write that for Camp NaNo one year and never finished. The novel has 97 pages written.

Hunter was yet another Camp NaNo novel (trust me–I didn’t think of that when I put them in the poll together… I only knew they were all started and never finished. I remembered I wrote Cybertra for Camp, but not the other two). Believe it or not, I never finished that one, either.

However, Hunter is actually already completed. It was the second novel I ever wrote and finished at 221 pages. I started writing the sequel shortly after completing only the first two chapters before I came up with the idea for George Florence.

A few people mentioned they didn’t agree with me writing Hunter because then I would be writing two series at once. I agree with that, but I need a change of pace (no offense, George!) and need to write something different. I think a month is a good enough break.

I’ve edited Hunter a few times and while editing the most recent draft I realized it needed some serious rewriting. So, that’s just what I’m going to do for Camp.

Despite it being part of a series, you guys actually picked the “easiest” one for me to write. Wish me luck!

I hope you all know what you’re writing for Camp; we have about 20 more days.

Thanks to all those who voted! I think it’ll be a great camp session!

Short Story Sunday #60

SSS Mystery Man One

            Lilah placed her laptop on her lap and watched the screen light up. She picked at her fingernails patiently not knowing what else to do as she waited. She glanced over to George who was sitting at his desk on the other side of the office. He was clicking away on the mouse of his desktop computer looking very serious. Lilah wondered if he was in the middle of something important, but they didn’t have any cases for the time being. When her laptop finally turned on all the way, she pushed the thought out of her mind and logged onto her blog.

She smiled at the many views she had on her blog stats. She had a lot of “likes” on her recent blog posts, many new comments, and also a few new followers. Lilah responded to the comments and typed away on a new blog post to publish.

Her blog was based on the Private Investigator agency George had set up a few months back. For publicity, Lilah started a blog telling the types of crimes they’ve solved, criminal justice information, and also what to do in certain situations. It was becoming more and more popular each day and with each case they solved.

After publishing a new post, Lilah opened a new tab on her Internet browser and checked the e-mail linked to her blog. Instead of leaving comments, some people left feedback on the “Contact” page of her blog, which sent straight to her e-mail.

There was only one feedback message and the subject read, “HELP.”

Lilah’s eyes grew wide and she clicked on the message with curiosity. She didn’t know what to expect. She did sometimes get spammers through her blog. She couldn’t imagine someone would actually be calling out for help through the Internet.

Her eyes darted from left to right as she read the message. She gasped and called George over to her.

“Hold on, Lilah. I’m in the middle of a level…” George muttered without taking his eyes off the screen.

“Get over here!” Lilah growled.

“It’s not my fault you introduced me to this silly game. Now I’m addicted.” George grumbled back.

Lilah grunted and got up from the couch carrying her laptop over to George’s desk. She turned the monitor off George’s computer and placed her screen in front of him.

“Now I’m going to lose…” George’s voice drifted as he read the message in front of him. “Where did this come from?”

“Someone used the contact information on my blog to send this to us.” Lilah pointed to the screen. “How do I respond to this? They gave an e-mail address as well a house address.”

“Well, it sounds as though this is urgent. I don’t think e-mailing him back is going to help anyone.” George stood up from his desk and lifted his trench coat off the back of his chair.

“So are we going to go to the house?” Lilah took a step back.

“I think that’s the only way to investigate this. I just hope it’s not someone playing a prank.”

“It sounds pretty serious to me, George.” Lilah sighed. She closed her laptop and led the way out of the office.

*

Lilah stepped out of the taxi after George and watched him as he paid the driver. She bent her knees bouncing in anticipation. When the driver finally drove away, she darted toward the front door of the house, but George lagged behind.

“What are you doing?” Lilah stopped and called behind her.

“We can’t rush in there. We don’t want them to get suspicious.” George replied walking casually with his hands in his pockets.

“This is life or death, George.” Lilah glared at him.

“Right; so we don’t want to startle anyone.” George nodded his head. “Just stay cool, calm, and collected.”

Lilah growled under her breath, but she waited for George to catch up. She looked around the lawn and nodded her approval. It was freshly mowed with a blooming garden off to the side of the house. The house itself was in great shape on the outside. If she didn’t know any better, she would have assumed the house was newly built. The maroon red shudders and mint green siding shined in the harsh sunlight.

Lilah looked at the clear, glass windows and realized the blinds were down in every one. She turned around and looked at George pointing it out.

“I know, I know.” George whispered. He walked up to the front door and rang the bell.

Someone shuffled along inside the house and a few clonks and clangs were heard. Lilah and George looked at each other in wonderment, Lilah biting her lower lip nervous.

A young girl opened the door a small crack and poked her head out. “May I help you?”

Lilah stared at the girl in confusion. She was definitely older than this girl. She looked like a kid.

“Yes,” George gave her a friendly smile. “My name is George Florence and this is my colleague, Lilah Williams. We’re private investigators. We received a message that someone needed help at this residence?”

The young girl and opened the door all the way. She turned around and led the way into the next room. Lilah looked at George motioning for him to go first and he obeyed.

The girl stood off to the side in the doorway sighing.

Lilah stopped beside George and stared in horror at a dead body lying face-down on the carpet, stiff as a board.

The girl stared at George with unblinking eyes. “I swear I didn’t do it.”

Part Two

Change of Plans

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

About a week ago, I posted my May Goals. I’ve been checking back on that post every so often as its helping me stay on task with my reading, writing, and blogging.

I reread the post the other day and realized that some plans have already changed. I know, I know… we’re not even halfway through the month yet.

Everything is pretty much the same except I decided not to type up the next draft of George Florence 2.

After meeting with my writing group a few weeks ago (which is explained further in my Problems with Protagonists post) I decided that the first book need my undivided attention and all the love it can get because I have a lot of decisions to make with that book.

1. Should I change the POV?
2. Should I make Lilah the protagonist instead of George?

Those aren’t simple changes such as deleting a scene or changing a character’s name or appearance. Changing the main character and the POV will ultimately change the entire dynamic of the novel–of the entire series.

So, I’m going to put the second book aside for the time being and focus my attention on the first book. My writers group has one more meeting before we break for the summer so I’ll spend my summer focusing on that novel. That way in September when I meet with my group again it’ll be like I’m giving them an entirely different novel.

With that said, my other writing goals for May remain the same. I’ve been writing one Short Story Sunday a day, I’ve been slowly working on critiques for my next meeting with my writers group, I’m getting my children’s book ready to be queried, Kris and I started working on a writing-related project, and I’m keeping my eyes open for magazines and contests and submit to.

20 days left in May… I hope I make it!

May Goals

May 2015 Goals

April has come and gone and boy, did it go by fast. Spring is officially here (let’s hope the weather stays nice) and school is officially over for me which means that I’m going to have more time on my hands. More reading, more writing, more blogging.

That being said, I decided to set monthly goals for myself to get myself into a better routine. I’ll still be spending six hours of my day at work, but that’s all scheduled so it’s easy to set goals.

Reading:

With five Saturdays in May, that means five book reviews. These books may change depending on my mood, but as of right now here’s what I’m thinking of reading:

1. TTFN by Lauren Myracle
2. L8R, G8R by Lauren Myracle
3. The Sight by Erin Hunter
4. Dark River by Erin Hunter
5. Outcast by Erin Hunter

The Lauren Myracle books are books two and three of the Internet Girls series. I already read and reviewed book one, TTYL.

The three Erin Hunter novels are the first three novels of six in the third Warriors series. I haven’t read that series in a while so I decided to get back into them.

As stated, those books may change. Books may also be added depending on how quickly I can get through those five novels.

With that being said, my Reading List was updated with April’s books.

Writing:

For my writing group I need to edit parts two and three of the first George Florence novel. I need to look at part two and the critiques I get on that and then look at part three to send in by the 15. Then I have a meet with the group on the 30 so I also need to critique their pieces by then.

I have to type up the next draft of George Florence 2 and take a closer look at that and the first novel. That way my next edits can possibly be the last.

I plan to write one Short Story Sunday a day giving me 31 short stories by the end of the month.

I’m going to start querying my children’s book. I’ve been slowly gathering information on different agents over the past few weeks, so I think it’s time to get rolling on that.

I also may or may not try to find some contests and magazines to submit to depending on if I have time to write submissions or if I already have something to submit.

Kris and I are also going to start working on a big project–not a book, but it’s writing related. There will be more on that much later, though.

So, there’s a lot of editing and querying to do this month and only a little bit of writing. I have too many manuscripts written, but not edited. I may or may not leave the writing to NaNo months for the time being. We’ll see.

Blogging:

Nothing has changed on the blog. I’m just going to continue posting every day hoping each post is better than the last.

Overall, May is going to be a super busy month. Between reading, writing, blogging, and work, I have my plate full. At least I don’t have to worry about school anymore… I can’t wait for my diploma to arrive in the mail!

Short Story Sunday #52

Anonymous Tip Excerpt

I entered the kitchen, hoping to keep quiet enough so I wouldn’t wake Lilah in the other room. To be honest, I was surprised she was even still asleep at this time. Most of the time she would wake me as early as six in the morning just because she was bored and wanted someone to hang out with.

I turned on the kitchen light and took out a pan from a drawer under the oven. I thought of waiting to make breakfast for when Lilah woke up, but I was hungry and she was able to fend for herself when it came to cooking. I took out the eggs and butter from the refrigerator and placed them on the counter next to the sink. Then I rolled up my sleeves and turned on the water to wash my hands.

“ACK!” I shouted in surprise.

I immediately turned off the faucet and looked down at the giant wet spot covering most of the front of the shirt. Breathing heavily from shock, I looked at the faucet to make sure nothing was wrong with it.

That’s when I saw it: a rubber band tied around the squirt nozzle.

I grinded my teeth together and shook my head. I willed myself not to get frustrated; that’s exactly what she was going to expect from me.

“Good morning!” Lilah greeted in a sing-song voice. She entered the kitchen without bothering to look at me, but she had a wide grin on her face. She opened the refrigerator and put her head in.

“Let me guess,” I leaned against the sink glaring at her. “You’ve been awake this entire time and have been waiting for me to come into the kitchen to soak myself.”

Lilah stood up straighter and grinned looking me up and down. “Are you wet? I didn’t even notice.”

“Lilah,” I growled.

“Oh, you already took out the eggs and butter. Perfect.” Lilah muttered closing the refrigerator. She walked past me, still smiling, but not looking at me.

“I hate you.” I muttered as she walked by.

“Hate is such a strong word, George.” Lilah looked me in the eye right after putting a glob of butter on the pan. “Besides, it’s April Fool’s Day. You didn’t expect me to carry on like it’s a normal day, did you?”

She turned on the stove and watched the butter melt before she proceeded to crack a few eggs into a bowl.

I sighed watching her. No, I guess I couldn’t expect Lilah to treat a day dedicated to pranking people go by wasted.

Lilah Williams was my colleague for my private investigation business. She came walking unexpectedly into my house a few months ago giving me my first freelance case. When that case turned into a homicide and we figured out the real cause of death of her father, Lilah ended up staying a lot longer than intended. She even decided to move in with me.

It wasn’t bad having Lilah live with me. It was nice to have the company and she was a big help with my agency. She advertised a lot for my business through her blog, which was extremely popular on the Internet. If only her blog would start getting me regular cases, then we’d be all set.

“You want scrambled, right?” Lilah broke the silence. She had just finished mixing the eggs in the bowl and was pouring it onto the melted butter in the pan.

“I guess so.” I shrugged. She had already turned the eggs scrambled anyway.

“Good, because I forgot to ask before I started making these.” Lilah snickered.

“You were too busy laughing at my pain.” I said melodramatically.

“Oh, please. You got a little wet. You didn’t melt, did you?” Lilah looked over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow.

“I guess not,” I muttered and stood up straight once more. “I am going to get changed before breakfast, though.”

“Well, hurry up. It’s almost ready and eggs cool fast.” Lilah sprinkled some salt and pepper over the yellow puddle in the pan.

Once I finished getting dressed for the second time that morning, I went back to the kitchen and wrinkled my nose. Lilah sat at the kitchen table sipping on a cup of coffee, the scent taking up the entire kitchen.

I sat down at the table across from her and ate my eggs as quickly as I could.

“Slow down,” Lilah scolded. I noticed she had already finished eating her eggs.

“You know you’re not allowed to make coffee while I’m in the house.” I muffled with a mouth full of food.

“That’s never stopped me before. That’s a stupid rule, George. It’s a smell, get over it.” Lilah tipped her head back and gulped down the rest of her beverage. She placed the mug on the table and sighed with satisfaction.

“We should go for a walk this morning.” Lilah announced.

I finished eating my eggs and leaned back in my chair eyeing her.

“It’s supposed to get up to about 65 to 70 degrees today. Spring is officially here!” she cheered knowing she needed to convince me more.

“You are more than welcome to go for a walk, Lilah. In fact, I think it’s a great idea. Then I can have the house to myself for a little bit.” I bared my teeth in a smile.

“Don’t be such an old man.” Lilah smirked. “It’ll be fun. It’ll be good for us.”

“We walk enough.” I complained. “And I didn’t use to be an old man… you made me this way the moment you first knocked on my door.”

Lilah stared at me with a serious expression.

I sighed, “Fine, we can go for a walk. This isn’t going to turn into a daily thing though, is it?”

“It can,” Lilah perked up, “I think that would be a great idea! Walking is excellent exercise.”

I rested my head on the table pushing my empty plate to the middle.

Lilah grabbed my plate and put it in the sink for me. I sat up slowly watching her with a close eye. I expected her to rinse the dishes and then place them in dishwasher; she couldn’t stand any mess and dirty dishes in the sink was a huge pet peeve of hers.

I had to wonder, did she remember…?

“AHH!” Lilah shrieked the moment she turned on the faucet.

I grinned so wide my face began to hurt.

Lilah turned around with her arms held out as though she herself was contaminated. A huge wet spot stained her blouse. She narrowed her eyes at me. “Don’t you say a word.”

I began to laugh. “Karma!”

Camp NaNo: New Characters

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

I wrote 3,010 words this morning. My official word count for Camp NaNoWriMo at the moment is 19,034 words. I would have liked to hit 20,000 words this morning, but I wanted to post on here and then I have to get ready for work (technically, I should be getting ready for work now).

I think it was on day two or three of Camp that I introduced a new character into my novel, Anonymous Tip (which is  a George Florence novel).

I didn’t expect her to come into the story. I didn’t think she would even exist. Her name is Celeste and she’s the mother of two side characters, so obviously she exists because those other two characters had to come from somewhere, right? Yet, she wasn’t supposed to make an appearance and she managed to push her way through anyway.

If you knew her personality, which is a stubborn and head-strong, you can easily see why she made herself known in the novel.

It’s a good thing because poor George and Lilah had a case, but they didn’t have a client. Well, this woman barged into my story and into their lives and now they have a client. So, I guess she has a purpose after all.

This morning, another new character came into play. I debated on introducing her to the series eventually, but I didn’t think it would be in this novel.

Her name is Ingrid Florence. Yes, George’s mother.

She and Celeste butt heads a lot. So, naturally when Celeste made an appearance, Ingrid felt as though she needed to join in as well.

Ingrid hasn’t actually been in the novel, yet. She left a message on George’s answering machine, but already I can tell that she too has a strong personality. Yet, she seems a lot nicer than Celeste.

I wonder if Ingrid and Celeste are going to end up in a scene together? I’m sure that would be interesting to see.

How are your novels coming along? Have any unexpected characters come for a visit?