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#81 [url]

Feb 14 13 6:36 AM

Connie, understand that the frustrations and road blocks are all part of the process. Part of that process is finding the holes and going back for more research. A story is a piece of art, we can't possibly see exactly how it will look and everything we will need prior to beginning. I can't help you with the house renovations but I can sympathize, I've been there. 

Deb, I would have to say the same applies. Having to do more research is not a bad thing, as long as you keep writing as well. You say your paternal grandparents fascinate you even though you know little about them. I would sit down and explore exactly why they fascinate you? What is it about them that has captured your attention. What questions do you have about them? Write your feeling on the matter but also dig deeper into your research to get those answers and you'll have a makings of a lovely memoir. Don't forget to interview family to help you answer those questions. 

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#82 [url]

Feb 14 13 1:53 PM

    What a wonderful discovery!!!  It truly gives you insight into her feelings and fears.   I was blessed similarly. My mother was going through her mothers things to clean out the old house and came upon a stack of old letters tied neatly together with string.  She started to throw them in the trash.  I begged her to give them to me.  They turned out to be a gold mine!  Letters from my uncles to their mom during WWII from all over the world!  My mom had absolutely no interest in history and had I not been there that day, they would have been burned in the trash.  Congrats on your great find.


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#83 [url]

Feb 14 13 5:51 PM

I'm continuing along with the biography of my grandfather. I have been keeping up with and/or slightly exceeding my daily word count of 250 words. I mentioned several days ago that I mostly had been writing the easier "factual" stories that I have (including in some cases just copying his own words into my narrative - with credit, of course - so I'm not actually writing my "own" stuff sometimes), and hadn't yet addressed the "meatier" sections on his character. Part of that was because I didn't really have a theme yet. In the past few days, as I've written in the thread on "theme", I've come up with the idea of my grandfather as an adventurer who came full-circle back to his family in later life. So, now I've got something to tackle! 

I do find, though, that I'm really tired at night when I sit down to write, so I also think that some of the reason why I have only written the easy parts is that I'm just too tired to tackle anything else. Here we are now at 8:45pm, and I'm only just now sitting down to the computer after working all day, making dinner, getting my daughter to ballet lessons, running errands, picking her up, and getting the kids in bed. I was up at 5:45am this morning to leave for work at 7:45; I am a morning person, and would prefer to do it in the morning, but I just can't get myself up earlier than that!! I do only work part-time, but even then, I'm busy with the house stuff - laundry, cleaning up, food shopping, etc, plus having to do some paperwork at home for my job, that I haven't had time during the day on my days off. I'm taking next week off work, though, and am making a committment to myself to tackle some writing during the day, since I will definitely have extra time. 

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#84 [url]

Feb 14 13 7:07 PM

It has been tough the past week getting in the right frame of mind. The daily encouragement message helps but often does apply directly to the stories I have set out to write. But before I call it a night I did decide to share a Valentina's day card my father made for my mother early in their relationship. You can find it as top article on my blog. So check it quickly as it may be taken down tomorrow.


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#87 [url]

Feb 15 13 10:33 AM

The email messages the last couple of days have been especialy helpful.  Yesterday's could be the therme of my family history.

Though I was pretty happy with the story of James and Christina Sample, an email to the church where I'd found a reference that he was a board member led me to a pamplet they had prepared for their sesquecentennial celebration that talked about the board members standing in a circle muskets in hand to protect from Indians while the congregation worshiped, and that James was not only a board member, but one of 3 men who formed the corporation that began the church and was the President of the Trustees who held meeting every Friday morning to conduct the church business.  You did find things in unusual places sometimes.

Connie from WV stuck here in Florida

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#88 [url]

Feb 16 13 5:32 AM

The past couple days have been crazy due to schedules at work (mine & my husband's). We actually got to spend "some" time together in the morning before Valentine's Day for breakfast, and dinner out the day after. After all, the relationships we have are what we're writing about, life goes on... Now...back to the challenge.

Called my Mom on Thursday. She lives in Western MA...retired Undergraduate English secretary at UMASS/Amherst. She spent her life as a proofreader, typing and editing manuscripts. Before that she worked for the Psych. Dept. at the university working on a journal...and before that a proofreader for Mack Printing. Read her what I had so far...very encouraging! She's my toughest critic! She still has so many connections with the English professors she worked with...but my biggest critic will be author Jay Neugeboren, one of my former profs. He always encouraged me to get it now, I have hope that I certainly will. Mom said she felt my shift from the Isaac Carter book to this one first was a good move...more current, would provide greater readership. Hoping she's right.

Now...back to what Deb had said earlier about going back to do more research: I will share with you what happened to me last year in the Challenge. I did just that...and before you know it, it slowed me down in the writing. What I'm doing this year is leaving a place marker by inserting a comment that this is where I need to look for XYZ. I'm getting the draft down first! Then going back. Otherwise, I'm afraid I'll be caught in research mode the majority of the time. So far this is working well.

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#89 [url]

Feb 16 13 8:42 AM

Thanks Deb, well each year I learn a little more. I learn from the past challenges and what the members are looking for and what they respond to, their questions help me to focus the newsletters. I certainly don't pretend to pass myself off as an expert...such as slippery term. I can only speak from my own experience, knowledge and research. I will take what I've learned from this challenge and shape it into some even better for next year. 

 I recognize that multiple voices can help to bring a message into focus. Mariann and all the guest authors help to add some variety to the challenge so you don't get tired of my nagging. Mariann has been a dear consort this past year and I look forward to working with her further in the future. I've been following your progress this year Deb and I'm excited for your new direction, while a challenge certainly, I can hear the confidence and conviction in your words and I know your new focus will bring great things. 

With over 700 members in the challenge this year it has been an amazing month and we're only halfway. The forum this year has far surpassed my expectations with some wonderful conversations. Let's keep them coming. And thanks Deb for being with me these past 3 years. We are all learning together. 

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#90 [url]

Feb 16 13 5:21 PM

When I read, "my nagging," I just had to laugh out loud! Never take it as such! I grew up with two perfectionist parents...Mom checked my math, science & Spanish homework, and Dad checked my English, Writing & Art. I've seen a lot of red checks and comments in the margins with LOTS of do-overs! LOL  I continue to be amazed at some of the "Pros" professionalism & leadership...and I see you right there, Lynn! Thanks again!

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#92 [url]

Feb 17 13 3:52 PM

Day 17 - got my 250 words (270 in fact) written in the nick of time - it is 11.50pm here! But so far I have managed to stick to my daily target each day so I wasn't going to miss a day now. Enjoying the writing. 

Still only on my second story but the material is so rich. This one is about my 4x great grandmother who Clan records claim died in 1797 - in spite of her being mentioned in a will in 1803 and having at least 2 children after her apparent death! The story is about how I tracked down the real Henrietta Campbell and made a surprising discovery.  Right now just writing - will then need to edit and reorganise - this one is the detective story. If anyone knows any good examples of short stories written as detective stories I'd love to see how they are constructed.


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#93 [url]

Feb 17 13 10:23 PM

Lynn, thanks for the supportive words.  

I realized that when I sit down and just write I'm not looking at the word count til the end and I'm going over my 250 daily goal.  Can I count what I've written so far (2545 words) minus where I should be than I am behind 1705 words,  and I'm okay with that.

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#94 [url]

Feb 18 13 4:13 AM

On Day 17's writing prompt RE: what you would never write about:

For me it is mostly about my indiscretions of youth...although, it might also have some genealogical implications. It could certainly make a book, but let's not put the whole thing out there. Unless I felt "called" to write about the effects of teen depression, I don't think I'll go there.

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#95 [url]

Feb 18 13 9:33 PM

    I am so grateful for the daily writing tips and the encouragement.  It really helps me to look in to my story and see where I need to improve.  I will save these for future reference as well. I look forward everyday to checking my emails.


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#97 [url]

Feb 19 13 7:41 AM

Your writing tips have been wonderful, and have addressed most of the issues I've been having, today maybe most of all.  It could very well be fear that is causing all my other issues.

Connie from WV stuck here in Florida

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#98 [url]

Feb 19 13 8:00 AM

Like, Deb, I've had family relationships to look after, but I'm coming along on the writing. 

I'm also having to force myself to NOT keep researching as I go and leaving notes to myself in the manuscript for needed further checking.  Like yesterday.  I had to pull myself away from trying to find the date the University of Cincinnati bought our street, my childhood home, to build a women's dorm.  I wanted to know that date!  Have to keep writing and hope I can find it eventually.  

Regarding writing what we don't want to, I'm with Deb on this too.  My teenage rebellion and subsequent depression.  However, I have to write about it because it's part of the story.  Tried to stay away from this during last year's challenge, but can't this year because I rearranged my theme.  I love this challenge!

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#100 [url]

Feb 19 13 2:36 PM

After being busy all last weekend I put the keyboard on overdrive and have written four stories the last two days totaling about 2600 words. I have been reading the daily dose and trying to incorporate some of the suggestions. And as I write I do have to reference my research to keep things moving. These are first drafts so mostly just to catch up on being behind schedule. Comments here or on my blog posts would be appreciated. 

I should mention the three tools that are really helping me besides Shrivener are: 
1) Notebook by Circus Ponies Software which I have used to capture notes the past 5 years.
2) my online genealogy database for quick confirmation,
3) Email searches for information received from cousins. 
And it helps to have good photo management software. 


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