Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Non-Discretionary Hours

Why is life similar to writing a novel, or launching a blog?

Because something else always seems to come up that is too enticing to resist.

Writers' guides suggest creating a website or blog long before the 3-book contract is signed, before a publisher consents to publishing your novel, and even before an agent agrees to represent you. That's why I have been working on my blog's creation for months. The initial plan, before the revised Thanksgiving date, was to launch the blog . . . well, before now. Then those enticements started showing up, just as they do to disrupt my writing.

Weddings, reunions, and funerals all consume the discretionary hours of a person's normal life. Plans change as emergencies and other unexpected situations arise. Then the hours scheduled for writing the next chapter of that current novel disappear, turning scheduled writing hours into discretionary hours. The trick is to keep the writing hours in the non-discretionary column.

Which projects or daily chores do you have difficulty completing, what hours do you find almost impossible to keep in the non-discretionary column?

The obvious solution, easier said than accomplished, is multi-tasking.

The next time an unexpected event presents itself, I'll continue to write between doing laundry and packing; while waiting for the last boarding call to wherever; and during the flights as I eat my salted pretzels, rather than viewing The Karate Kid for the third time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


When I chose 'The Day After Thanksgiving' as the date to launch my blog site, little did I realize the biggest shopping day of the year would arrive so quickly. My only regret in selecting this day is missing the murderously long checkout lines at Macys and Walmart.

I've been intrigued by many a well-written murder mystery over the years. But early on, reading was not enough so I took up writing mysteries. My first story, drafted at age nine and entitled Ergo Death, involved the demise of a person who fell down the coal chute in our basement. My focus wasn't on depth of characters back then. With practice, my stories developed a bit more complexity.

26-year old Pepper Bibeau is my protagonist in FOR EVERY ACTION, the first novel of a planned series (print date pending*.) Through several revisions and much editing, Pepper evolved into a tenacious insurance investigator who deals with an eclectic collection of characters. One literary agent I spoke with early in the protagonist's development suggested that the career I had initially chosen for Pepper was not substantial enough to carry the story or a series.
I've learned two beneficial life lessons from this agent's suggestion:
1.) A strong personality generates attraction.
2.) Honest criticism deserves consideration.
My protagonist ultimately became an Insurance Investigator, a career that allows her to travel around the country and step or tumble into trouble every couple of years!
Now that I have taken action and launched this blog, I'm off to read the last three chapters of the final Harry Potter novel (on the lanai, with a tall glass of iced tea lemonade.)  

I'll return each Wednesday to share tidbits of topics and personal experiences gathered while writing my first Pepper Bibeau novel, FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences.
Won't you join me for some blood-orange, lime, and lemonade on the lanai?

Aloha, Gail

*Publication Date: April 7, 2011 in trade and eBook format at Amazon.com