Thursday, July 28, 2011

FIELD RESEARCH

Current Project: Proposals
Status: Inching along

CIVIL WAR RE-ENACTMENT

Why do I love to do what I call field research for my stories? If you’re a writer, you can guess that part of the allure is getting out of the house and interacting with people in person rather than on the phone or online. I have to get out among people a couple of times a week to maintain my sanity and my social skills. One way to do that is to do some field research.


What exactly is field research? It’s learning through personal experience, observation, interviews, experimentation, and so on. I’ve met lots of interesting people in the field. This type of research is fun, challenging and often yields surprising results that lend authenticity to a story.

Obtaining permission to spend a day in Starbucks observing and asking questions prevented the baristas in my potential audience from throwing my book against the wall because the barista-characters in my story coffee shop (the setting for multiple scenes) don’t know barista jargon or the rules about hand-washing. Doing the same in a tattoo shop revealed that freedom to choose what music to play is a major perk among tattoo artists, that memorial tats are a major revenue stream in the industry (surprise), that many shops operate on a cash-only basis, and that custom tattooing is one of the only ways to make a good living as an artist.

EXPLORING LAVA CASTS
Without spending some time crawling through lava cast forest tubes on Mount Saint Helens, I couldn’t have imagined or described what it would be like to hide in one. What’s the temperature? Is there dirt inside? Bugs? Leaves, twigs, pebbles? Is the rock smooth, grooved, bumpy, rough, full of holes? What sounds do you hear? What scents do you smell? Are there damp spots? Are the tubes level, or angled? How long are they? How big around? How much light is there inside?

My ride-along with a Clackamas County, Oregon, Deputy Sheriff taught me that an officer in a cruiser has to be able to divide his or her attention between keen observation of the surrounding area, skilled driving, looking up information on the on-board laptop computer, and police radio traffic (at a minimum). I saw how quickly officers responded en masse when someone entered the station and became belligerent. And I learned that some devil-worshippers cover their faces with grotesque black tattoos (surprise).

I heard writer Minette Meador describe her ride-along with a Portland Police Officer. When she mentioned the book she was working on was a paranormal romantic suspense, the officer recounted his own experiences with paranormal activity around the city. She didn’t ask; he volunteered this information. (Bonus!)

What have you researched in the field lately? Any surprises?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Portland Author Event This Weekend

Hi, all.  Just a quick reminder that over 50 authors of all genres (including our own Paty Jager), will be appearing at the Northwest Book Festival this Saturday at Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square.


Learn more here:  http://www.nwbookfestival.com/

Quotes of the Day & Some Contests




A few more quotes on research to hopefully spark your imagination:

"I could write historical fiction, or science fiction, or a mystery but since I find it fascinating to research the clues of some little-known period and develop a story based on that, I will probably continue to do it." --Jean M. Auel 

"I don't believe in writing anything that I don't know about or haven't researched about personally. I like to transport the reader to places, and in order to do that I have to do the research." --Jackie Collins 

"I find I use the Internet more and more. It's just an invaluable tool. I do most of my research on the Net now - and certainly do the bulk of my communicating through email." --Nora Roberts 

"One book at a time... though I'm usually doing the research for others while I'm writing, but that sort of research is fairly desultory and I like to stick to the book being written - and writing a book concentrates the mind so the research is more productive." --Bernard Cornwell 

And lastly, a warning about the joys of research:

"I enjoy research; in fact research is so engaging that it would be easy to go on for years, and never write the novel at all." --Helen Dunmore



And also, here are some links to writing contests being run by Harlequin.  If you happen to have something that fits their guidelines, this is a good opportunity to get your work in front of acquiring editors:


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Harlequin Special Edition Happy Holidays Contest



July 13-September 15

The competition entry must consist of the first chapter (15-20 pages) and a one-page synopsis specifically geared to Special Edition and must have a holiday theme.

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Harlequin Blaze Aviator Day Challenge



June 1 - August 15


The first 1000 words of a Blaze manuscript that involves a man and a plane.

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Harlequin Intrigue Editor Pitch


July 11 - August 16

Must be available for online pitch August 24 at 10 am, EDT.

250 word synopsis of a Harlequin Intrigue manuscript

must have completed manuscript

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Mills & Boon New Voices Contest


begins September 13 - details to be announced

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Researching The Impossible

Let's face it, researching in person isn't always possible for a myriad of reasons. I don't know about you, but the vast bulk of my research is done via the internet and books. It's amazing what you can find on the internet -- not just facts and figures, but so many amazing things that you and I might never get the chance to experience in person. For instance, take a look at this (be sure to click on the image and move it around--in particular look at the ceiling). Tell me you didn't just imagine yourself as the pilot or commander of the shuttle with an emergency and having to remember which switch to flick. (o-kay, just me then...)

This is all well and good, but what do you do when you need to research something that doesn't exist? Anyone writing paranormal, fantasy, or science fiction understands what I'm talking about. Although, if you're writing hard SF you're probably trying to extrapolate as much as you can from what's considered possible in science today (and good luck with not driving yourself crazy with that).

I'm currently writing steampunk romance and my story has an emphasis on fantasy rather than science (though that's in there, too). How do you research ray guns and aether and clockwork familiars? Well...you don't. You can't. Contrary to what I'd really like to believe, they don't exist.

What you can do is research technology that you plan to use that does exist, along with just about any other topic that might be useful. Look, In the last few months I've read more than I should probably admit about a lot of topics: airships, European royal families since the 1600s, history of ferries, steam engines, physics, electricity, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Caroline Herschel, comets, Queen Victoria, and the nature of invention, just to name a few.

Mostly I needed to know what is (or what was) in order to figure out what I wanted to change for the alternate history of my story world. Turns out I changed a lot of things. I still think it was easier to create my story world this way than to build a world out of whole cloth, but your mileage may vary.

That can only go so far, though. What about all those gadgets and widgets and clockwork devices? What about the magic? This, quite frankly is where I step off the Research Bus into terra incognita and, ahem, Make Stuff Up. There are rules to how magic and technology work in my alternate world and I try to make sure that the Stuff I Make Up doesn't violate those rules. So long as there's internal consistency, I'm good.

So there you have it -- I research the impossible by Making Stuff Up! There are days, though, when I really, really wish that ray gun actually worked...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, July 25, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 159 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 39750 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 79500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 119250 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 159000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 198750 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Current Project: Sharks
Status: finished a scene yesterday

Second time around, not a lot to say about research except it is my favorite part about writing historical romance. It is so much fun to find the trivia in history and weave a story around that event. At the moment I am writing a contemporary. Not so much in my element, but it is fun to toss in current slang and things from the present. I don't have to verify. Yay...

This week Genene must have sent me some positive rake (sp) because I finally received my reversion of rights. When I asked Kate Duffy at Kensington for reversion of Dakota's Bride and My Angel I received my rights in two weeks. Piece of Cake? This time I have been trying since september 2010. I have written emails, support tickets, registered letters and until I put attorney in my last email, I received little in the form of answers. So I am happy, although I believe I am going to have another 90 days wait. Still, I'm happy about all of this.

So, I suppose research can come in many forms. Could be for your book, could be for enhancing your career. Have any of you had horror stories getting your rights back? Or did the house you were published under act professionally as Kenington did?

WHEN IS RESEARCH TOO ACCURATE?

Current Project: LEGACY series
Status: Book #1 sent to publisher; editing Book #2
Posted by Genene Valleau


Research is fun, entertaining and sometimes too gross, disgusting or controversial (for me) to put in a book.


Let me give you some examples. Don't know how many of you read Paty's guest blog post about riding a stage coach (http://romancingthewest.blogspot.com). Very interesting! But nine people crammed inside with the people on the end of the seats having to hang their legs out the door, with their feet dangling dangerously close to the wheels? Not to my liking, thank you, to say nothing of the dust or snow or whatever weather blowing inside to permeate your clothing and cling to your skin--which you couldn't wash for a week or a month or longer. So you pack in nine unwashed bodies with a variety of bad habits like spitting or snoring or whatever--um, doesn't exactly set the scene for my idea of a romantic tryst, unless you're writing a parody.


Let's say I'm grateful most historical romance authors don't include all the details in their stories. :)


However, history isn't the only research that can be "too accurate." I've written stories with elements New York publishers said "wasn't believable," though those elements were based on real events I experienced while working for human services. Hmm.


I worked with social workers for about twenty years and developed great respect for the work they do and am still amazed how they can help people turn broken lives into stellar accomplishments. Yet I also saw people who should never have been in social work, were overwhelmed, had their own addictions, were struggling with personal issues--the whole gamut of human emotions and experiences. And kids were neglected or seriously injured or killed because workers weren't superhuman every day to deal with caretakers who, for a variety of reasons, shouldn't have been around kids.


Do I put details of real cases in my stories? Nope. Some people aren't comfortable even with the glossed over version of child abuse.


I've also had multiple bad experiences with law enforcement and the courts where searching for the truth doesn't even seem to occur to these people. They have agendas of their own, they are playing political games or are looking for numbers to receive more government funds, or they are menopausal and have a personal ax to grind. (I truly did have a public defender tell me she was going through menopause as an excuse for not having a clue what was going on in a case.) There are also very dedicated law enforcement and court personnel who truly want to bring out the best of whatever part of those systems they can influence.


Sigh. So my rose colored glasses are cracked and the frames bent and twisted a bit. I think my negative life experiences are why I write happy endings. It's a way I can change "reality." I create heroes and heroines with the courage and integrity to do what is right, not what is convenient or what will benefit them personally. Yes, they sometimes crash up against the systems they are part of, whether they are social workers, police officers, priests--even prostitutes or abused spouses. They make mistakes. They fall face first into trouble or sometimes they pursue it. But at the end of the story, the bad guys meet Justice in person, and the heroes and heroines get their happily ever after. At least until the next crisis tests their integrity once again. :)


CAUTION: SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION -- That's the basis for my LEGACY series. I'm sharing the cover of the first book with this blog post. (Release date scheduled for March 2012.) The hero is a cowboy cop who had bad experiences with social workers as a child, and the heroine is a child welfare worker who swore she would never get tangled up with a testosterone-charged lawman. However, they discover her determination to help people make positive changes and his integrity in protecting the citizens of his tiny hometown are a perfect match to bring an unexpected villain to justice and find a baby the loving home he deserves.


NOW BACK TO OUR REGULAR BLOG POST AND ASKING FOR YOUR THOUGHTS -- Please share what research or reality is "too accurate" for you, either as a writer or a reader or both. What details do you simply not want to see in a book? Or do you want all the gory, intimate details revealed?


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A whirlwind weekend

Current Project: Plethora of things
Status: Keeping my head above water

I spent the past weekend hanging out with the authors of the Eastern Oregon Writer's Guild. We talked writing, politics, history, small towns, and marketing. The weather on Saturday was less than cooperative when you had racks of books you needed to have out for the public to see. It rained off and on all day. And I'm told(it was my first sit-in with this group) that it was not a good weekend. But I sold a few books and made more acquaintances in the writing world outside romance.

In between sitting and visiting, I went to the library and dug up more info for the upcoming WIP. Learned a few things from some of the writers and historians who ventured into the booth and chatted, too, that helped me solidify my story line. Once I get caught up on the blogs, e-mails, and next book to upload to Kindle, I'll start writing the book.

But first I have to survive the visit of my grandkids. Monday we took all eight to the Boise water park. Let me just say... the Avalanche is NOT a ride for the weak of heart!!

What have you done lately that had you yelling, "Holy Crap!" and thrusting your stomach into your throat?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, July 18, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 166 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 41500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 83000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 124500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 166000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 207500 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Targeted Research Equals Productivity Gold

Current Project: Requested Proposals
Status: Inching Along




I’ve learned many things the hard way about writing, including this little gem of wisdom: targeted research is worth its weight in productivity gold when done in the pre-writing stage. Don’t make assumptions about anything that is pivotal to plot or character, because laziness in this regard will come back to bite you in the metaphorical ass.

The hero of my first novel is the new police chief in a very small Iowa town. The heroine is a girl he grew up with who has been framed for murder. I originally had a scene where the hero catches the heroine breaking and entering, but he’s already fallen for her and he doesn’t arrest her. After all, he’s a small town police chief. He has more discretion than a big city police chief, right?

Wrong. Before revising my first draft, one of the things I did was to read Deb Dixon’s book, When You’re the Only Cop in Town. I also read the brilliant and detailed police procedurals Eleven Days and Known Suspects by ex-Iowa-small-town deputy sheriff Donald Harstad. I learned that small town cops, at least the ones in charge, may exercise discretion more often than their big city counterparts. However, no honest police chief will stretch the law for his own benefit, which is pretty much what my character did in Draft 1.

End result? Much revising and rewriting that could have been avoided.

What about you? Has there been a time when targeted research before your first draft would have saved you a lot of time and effort? 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quotes of the Day



Some authors' comments on research:


"Research is formalized curiosity.  It is poking and prying with a purpose." --
Zora Neale Thurston


"If I get blocked, it is generally because I don't know enough about some aspect of the story or the characters. The answer for this is generally more research, or making more background notes, so the place and person can be more fully realized inside my own mind." --Sarah Zettel 

"I cannot say how strongly I object to people using other people's writing as research. Research is non-fiction, especially for horror, fantasy, science fiction. Do not take your research from other people's fiction. Just don't." --Laurell K. Hamilton 

"From the beginning, the series has been story driven - I began with a story idea - but research feeds it." --Jean M. Auel 

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” --JRR Tolkein, LOTR

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Witnessing the End of an Era

I had the opportunity last week to do some research in person and I'd like to share my experience with you.

I've just returned from Florida where I was fortunate to witness an historic event--the launch of STS-135 Atlantis, the last Space Shuttle launch, on July 8th. It was also personal, because my cousin Rex is one of the mission specialists. This is his third time in space, but it's the first time my husband and I have been able to be there with the rest of the family to watch the launch.


As a guest of one of the astronauts, we watched the launch from the causeway about six to seven miles from the Shuttle (just us and around 20,000 of the four astronauts' closest family and friends). It's funny, though, it didn't feel at all crowded where we were and we really were fortunate to be so close.

The day before, all the weathermen predicted the launch would be postponed. The local news people were all doom and gloom, saying there was a 70% chance of scrubbing due to thunderstorms coming in from the Gulf of Mexico. A couple of hard downpours with scary lightning on Thursday made those predictions seem very likely. Still, we got up at 4:30 in the morning full of hope and headed for the Kennedy Space Center.

We needed to arrive by 7:00 am and though we were only about 16 miles away we only made it with 15 minutes to spare. Traffic crawled along the Nasa Parkway until we reached the security checkpoint. We had a special parking placard and were allowed to continue on; those who didn't have the placard were turned away. A lot of cars were turned away.

It was a day of lines and waiting. First the traffic, then standing in line at KSC for a security check, then standing in line for the buses, and finally, waiting (and napping) on the causeway to either see the launch or hear that we'd have to do it all over again on Sunday. Still, I doubt there was a single person there who wouldn't have gladly returned on Sunday if that's what it took to see the launch--including me.

The day was nothing like the weather people forecasted. There was some overcast, but it broke up fairly early into blue sky and clouds. The thunderstorms never materialized and the temperature stayed in the low 80s (they'd predicted 90+ degrees). Hope--and anticipation--grew with each moment that passed.

I should mention the safety warnings. We were told these after we were on the bus heading out to the causeway. I guess they didn't want to scare us away--not that it would have. LOL! In case of lightning, or something happening to the shuttle, or the unlikely event the winds shifted and blew the toxic rocket exhaust our way before it dissipated, we were to take shelter in our bus. Oh, yeah, we weren't supposed to pass the yellow ropes and walk the three or so feet to the water because of the alligators. I wanted to ask what we were supposed to do if the alligators decided to take a stroll our way, but I figured I'd just head for the bus if that happened. ;-)


Finally, all of the safety and weather checks and pre-launch procedures were completed successfully and the final countdown started. I'd seen video of other launches and I thought I was prepared for what was going to happen. I couldn't have been more wrong. The moment we saw the smoke and the NASA commentator said, "We have liftoff!", I was overwhelmed with unexpected emotion. As the Shuttle climbed into the sky on top of that incredible flame, the sound finally hit us from across the water and it really was like being buffetted by a physical force. I had tears in my eyes as I watched that amazing vehicle disappear into the clouds and when I looked at the people around me I realized I wasn't the only one.


I can't believe this is the last time the Shuttle will go into space. Yes, the technology is old, but it's been around for 30 years. No, wait, what I really can't believe is that the Shuttle is being retired before we have a viable replacement. Can you say short sighted? I knew you could.

As for the astronauts, there's still a mission and a landing to complete. So please hold them in your thoughts until they return safely to Earth. Godspeed, Atlantis!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, July 11, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 173 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 43250 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 86500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 129750 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 173000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 216250 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Current Project: Sharks
Status: 2 scenes finished

I love research. For me it is looking into the past. I pick a time and a place then I read everything I can about that era. I have not always been able to visit the country I am writing about before I have a finished manuscript. I have written westerns set in the Rocky Mountains and the Lakota territory. I have been there, seen the country firsthand. It is amazing how much better a story comes together, for me, when I have seen the land, the trees, the fauna and the way sky looks.

When I visited Scotland and England I brought home so many books my bag was over weight. I actually watched them search my suitcase on the tarmac before they loaded it on the plane. Kind of embarrassing and the incident left me feeling violated for several months afterward.

I have books from Hawaii, myths and legends, which I'm sure will eventually become a book. When I travel I take pictures. Digital cameras are so amazing because you can take sooooo many pictures. Some of the pictures have been used on my covers. Highland Song, the cover is a picture I took in Scotland. It was, allegedly, Queen Victoria's favorite spot.

I'm heading for New York and Atlantic City this fall. Hmmmm.... what kind of research will I do? I don't intend to buy books, but who knows. They are irresistible. And I could have a War Between the States or a Revolutionary War in the back of my head.

Happy researching to all. How do you research?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

FICTIONALIZED RESEARCH

Current Project: LEGACY series
Status: Book 1 done; editing book 2
Posted by: Genene Valleau


It's ironic our topic this month is research, as I'm doing that for one of the books in my series. My research process usually involves doing broad, in-depth research before I begin writing, then specific--and hopefully minor--research as needed while writing the book. However, this research may become more intense than I anticipated.


Like Paty, I research in a variety of ways. If possible, I like to visit the setting of my stories. In the case of my series, the town is fictional, but I visited the Eastern Oregon gold mining area where this fictional town is located. I also drew on my experiences growing up near a small town to add realism to my story town--but fictionalized, of course!


Character careers also develop from a variety of research processes. One of my heroines is a social worker. I worked with child welfare workers for nearly twenty years. A number of the heroes in the series are police officers. Part of my research was attending a Citizen Police Academy that offered a wealth of information about law enforcement.


Some people also suggested watching certain television shows, though I'm rather cautious about using that method unless it can be verified from another source.


I also do a lot of research on the Internet. Again, I try to verify the information from more than one source.


Fiction books also give me a good insight for how a character in a certain career might act or feel. It's also incredibly valuable to talk to people in the same career as my hero or heroine, say a firefighter, because their actions or mannerisms or how they respond to questions tell me a great deal about how this person might react to situations in my story.


However, research can only take a writer so far. Much to my mother's bafflement, there comes a time when I just let creativity loose and make stuff up. What I write isn't based on "real" people or settings. For me, that's one of the really fun parts of being a fiction writer!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

My Favorite Topic- Research

Current Project: A little of everything
Status: Staying Sane
Research is my favorite thing about writing, and ultimately, the part that slows down the process the most. Like now. I'm waiting to get more information about logging in a particular area so I can begin the final plotting(yes, even though I'm a seat of the pants writer I need to know how the historical information will figure into the story and either use the knowledge for character development, plot, or just historical accuracy.

I have a good friend who has been with me on my journey to getting published. She isn't a writer but an avid reader. When we go out to lunch (usually once a month) she asks me about the book I'm working on and when I start discussing the research I'm doing or need, she always comments, "I love how your books convey all the information you dig up without me even knowing it."

That is the comment I like to hear. If I can condense my hours of research down into my book to where it enhances without pulling the reader out I'm a happy novelist!

And I explore all avenues I can think of. My heroine in the next book is Norwegian so I am ready a book on Norwegian folktales. You never know when something in there will jump out and say I need a spot in your book. I did that with the Nez Perce myth and legends. Including a little bit of a legend in each of the books.

Since this next book is about logging, I'm going to try and highlight little known things about loggers into the story rather than the usual knowledge or myths that most people think of about loggers.

How about you...Do you read for pure entertainment or do you like to finish a book and have been entertained and learned something new?

www.patyjager.net

Monday, July 04, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, July 4, 2011.  (Happy Independence Day!)

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 180 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 45000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 90000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 135000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 180000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 225000 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.