Tag Archives: NaNo

Fall Liverworts Flourish

Wanting to reacquaint myself with the ravines as I get ready to work on “The Carduan Chronicles”, even though this is November, not February, I walk back into the first one after the rain stopped. Water is flowing over the rock shelves and making small waterfalls. Dead leaves cover everything. And the liverworts flourish on the rocks along the water.

liverworts flourish in ravine

Last winter this pond was frozen over and a white ice river extended up the ravine above it. The white ice river moved into “The Carduan Chronicles” for one adventure and a bit of exploration. The ravine itself has influenced the imaginary ravine the spaceship lands in. for now the ravine is a lovely walk looking up the slopes at the fall colors and admiring the mosses and liverworts on the rocks near the water.

November is National Novel Writing Month, that annual challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. And I am attempting to return to Cardua and finish my draft long neglected as I finished two books, “My Ozark Home” and “Mistaken Promises,” over the year.

I do remember the premise: Spaceship Nineteen from a convoy ferrying colonists and supplies to a new Arkosan colony is dropped out of a disintegrating worm tunnel into a February ice storm and lands in an Ozark ravine where the three crew members and six young Arkosans are stranded leaving them to learn how to survive in an alien environment. Reading through the draft has helped me remember the incidents and interplay between the Arkosans now Carduans as they name their new home Cardua.

Walking through the ravines is to help move me back into the story. My walk was working until the liverworts distracted me.

Liverworts flourish in a pile on a rock

These liverworts pile exuberantly over this rock and each other. This would be a Carduan point of view as I put the camera on the ground looking at the rock.

Liverworts are one of those primitive plants mentioned in biology texts that teachers have probably never seen. There is a picture of a liverwort. The class yawns and forgets all about them.

Much of the year the liverworts around the creek and up some of the ravines merit only that yawn. These plants like lots of moisture and cool temperatures. Summer may have the moisture, but not the temperatures. Winter freezes them. Spring and fall are the best times to see liverworts.

new liverworts flourish

Evidently this is a new liverwort colony. The tongues are growing outwardly, branching and creating a pretty pattern across the rock.

Last spring lasted about three days.

This fall the liverworts flourish. Long green tongues stretch out over the rocks. They branch, pile over each other and almost glow in the dim light under the clouds.

Even being distracted I noted several things I may use in “The Carduan Chronicles” over the course of the month. And I have an added reason to visit other ravines: to see if the liverworts flourish in them as well.

November Madness Writing

Killing frost will probably be this week. Taking plant pictures is almost done for this season. Now is time for November madness to begin.

Most people think about the coming holidays. November is Thanksgiving. December is Christmas or Hanukah. Then a new year begins.

I think of November madness. NaNo is coming! National Novel Writing Month will begin in less than two weeks.

November madness during NaNo

The Challenge: Write 50,000 words in 30 days.
The payoff: A short novel draft, a writing schedule, a feeling of accomplishment.

I am not ready. I am ready.

A writer is supposed to write every day. I do try over the summer, but other activities often interfere.

The garden needs tending. The goats and kids need tending. Wildflowers are blooming. Making cheese takes up one day each week.

This is why I anticipate November madness so much. It makes me get my writing schedule back on the front burner.

Edwina by Karen GoatKeeper

This has been a disappointing writing year for me. I started the year with such big plans. Only two books got done, Edwina and Running the Roads.

Running the Roads by Karen GoatKeeper

There was supposed to be those and Mistaken Promises, the third Hazel Whitmore book; Waiting for Fairies, a picture book; and my Planet Autumn series was supposed to be ready to write.

Instead I focused on plant pictures all summer. It did pay off. I have now completed all pictures for 150 plants with some or most pictures done for another 200. And I’m not finished going over all the pictures I did take over the growing season.

But my writing didn’t happen.

So, November madness is fast approaching. The imagination is working overtime. I’m having trouble staying focused on daily tasks as daydreams, those origins of writing ideas, distract me.

What will I write this November? My genre will be science fiction. My setting will be an Ozarks ravine invaded by aliens. They are in trouble. The Ozarks in winter can be a dangerous place, especially if you are only four inches tall.

November madness Ozark ravine setting

Imagine being four inches tall and negotiating your way around in this Ozark ravine. This is summer. Try this in February.

Will I post my rough draft? Sorry, no. My rough drafts are writing disaster areas. What about the first draft?

I’m planning a serial of short chapters. Yes, they will be available early next year, I hope. Each chapter will need a picture and that will depend on my illustrator’s schedule.

For now, I am creating the planet Cardua and those who will be arriving in the Ozarks.

Hurray for November madness!

New Writing Year Starting

This past year has been a disappointment for my writing plans. Numerous reasons come to mind but all have the sound of excuse. But a new writing year is about to begin.

For me the new writing year begins on November 1 when NaNo begins. It’s that time when I play with a new novel idea, put my writing head back in order, my writing schedule back in place.

For those unfamiliar with NaNo, this is National Novel Writing Month, 30 days of insanity out of which sanity comes. The NaNo challenge is to write 50,000 words – a short 200 page navel – in 30 days.

Participating in NaNo isn’t necessary for me to write. I love to write. I love starting new projects and drag myself to finishing old ones.

Old writing projects abound on my computer. At the moment I am continuing the saga of Hazel Whitmore in the third book in the series.

Broken Promises

In Broken Promises Hazel began as a twelve-year-old living in New York City. After the death of her father in Iraq, life disintegrated only to force a new beginning in Crooked Creek, Missouri.

Old Promises

Old Promises lets Hazel try to adjust to a rural lifestyle. It is complicated by an old family feud between her two grandfathers.

The third book in the series doesn’t have a title yet. It revolves around the aftermath of the terrible consequences of the feud in Old Promises.

I had hoped to complete this novel last summer. Obviously it did not get done.

No, I haven’t forgotten about Ridge and his love of road rally. That draft is done and has been sitting for months. This is part of the writing process for me.

road rally car

The rally car fishtails down a hill, slides around a turn then speeds off down the road exciting rally fans and inspiring those like Ridge who aspire to one day be behind the wheel of such a car.

I write a draft. It is full of loose ends, extra plots, confusions, timing errors and more. With Ridge there are two plot lines converging. Each has a different time frame that must somehow be melded together. The story after the two merge is done.

The draft is set aside for a time. It is not forgotten but simmering on a back burner. This lets me catch up on research and sift through the problems in the draft. It lets me distance myself from the writing a little.

Then I go back to the draft to rewrite it. This solves the problems or tries to. An edit fixes grammar and spelling along with any other loose ends I missed the first time.

At times there are several rewrites and edits. I do not enjoy reading a novel full of errors and assume my readers feel the same.

My target release time for this novel also still without a title, one of the last things I do usually, is March, 2017. Perhaps the third Hazel novel will be done then too.

But both of these hinge on something my new writing year needs: structure. Over a busy summer my writing schedule falls apart.

NaNo lets me put my schedule back together again. Yes, I will start another draft maybe even complete it. Yes, I do have character ideas, plot ideas, a theme and am planning my short outline out.

By the end of November my new writing year will have me back on track. Hopefully it will last until my writing year ends next November.

November Madness

Somehow I’ve survived to the middle of November. The book signing is over. My new books finally arrived and are now sitting in boxes on the floor waiting.
Waiting for what? The book signing is past. There is another one I could go to. Maybe.
Winter weather has moved in making work outside unpleasant. Even snow is trying to make an appearance as I gaze out the window.
The holidays are coming up but they are simple affairs here. Preparations won’t start until next week.
Two more weeks of November loom over me. They shouldn’t. I am signed up for NaNo – National Novel Writing Month. That mad challenge to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November.
There is even a novel idea with outline. Yet I have barely begun. A mere 7,300 words sit on my computer page.
This novel cum memoir was a dream of my mother’s. When I started writing, she asked me to write about a trip our family took around the country. Memories of this trip were important to her.
I remember this trip too. It was interesting to see so many places around the country. That six months wasn’t enough time to really see all the splendors in all the states. It was enough time to touch the highlights and begin to appreciate the entire country instead of the little piece I grew up in.

cat Chief Grey Foot

Chief Grey Foot was a family pet. She became an international traveler visiting 47 states and parts of Canada.

The idea of writing about the trip nagged at me. But that trip was in 1972, a lifetime ago. The country has changed tremendously since then. The country we saw is now a moment in history. Why write about it now?
Time slipped by. The idea settled into a blurb on the computer. How would I write about this anyway? How could I make this listing of places and information interesting?
Most of the pictures are gone in a house fire. My father with his memories of the trip is gone. My mother is also gone. I do have her notes, trip log and the letters my father wrote to his mother about the trip. I have my pictures and memories.
The trip is interesting to me. Bits and pieces interest other people from time to time. How can I make the entire trip interesting? How can I fit such a journey into a book?
After all, this was five people packed into a VW bus for six months. That bus carried us through 47 states [We’d been to Nevada and it didn’t fit easily on the route.]. We visited historic sites, museums, natural wonders and met lots of people on the way.
I forgot one passenger. Chief Grey Foot. We took our cat on that trip. How many people take a cat on such a trip?
This novel/memoir may be based on my mother’s and my memories but it is Chief’s memoir. She had a wonderful time. She had lots of adventures, saw many of the same things we did and some we didn’t. It changed her life too.
Maybe my mother’s dream book will get written after all. I still don’t know how to stuff all six months into one book. Perhaps that answer will come when the draft is written.