Writing in the Weather: #weekendcoffeeshare and #SoCS

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m very happy you’re here, because both the weather and my writing are unsettled. We’ve got thunderstorms and a tornado watch active on this first day of July. A bit less than three hours from now, that will expire, but we’ve had three thunderstorms already. The first was the fiercest – it came with hail nearly the size of ice cubes, and rain that made seeing to the end of my backyard impossible.

My daughter doesn’t like thunderstorms, and, due to the rotation of the storm and our basementless house, I felt it was wise to wake her, although she’d been up all night and well into the afternoon, when we were listening to Hamilton together.

I packed a bag with essentials, in case we needed to head off to emergency shelter.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this post began its life scribbled in a notebook that will fit easily into my computer bag. I decided to delete the last page or so, but, even though its now late Saturday evening, and it’s taken me longer to get back to this than I wanted or expected. That was due in part to the storms. All that turbulence led to a disruption in my rhythm that was followed by neighbors setting off fireworks. After all the thunder and lightning, I thought there was more weather chaos happening.

And then I’d tell you that I feel like it’s been too long since we visited like this. I’ve been writing, and plotting, and planning – not so much blogging. That always seems to be the thing that gets left behind when the creative surge tugs at me. I miss being here, chatting with you. Eventually, I’ll work things out so that I can both indulge my writing passion, and the one for connecting with others.

If we were having coffee, I might show you the notebook that currently holds all the relevant materials for my current novel-in-progress, The Far Shore. I might show you my emerging character work for the next novel on my agenda, Tsunamis. I’d tell you that, once these are added to A Rising Tide, which I finished drafting last week, that makes six novels drafted for my Kifo Island Chronicles series. It’s a solid start toward my goal of having the first dew novels ready to publish within a few weeks of one another, with more in various stages of production.

I’d tell you that I’m getting much faster at the writing phase of this venture. Now that I’ve done some research into story structure, and experimented with open-ended plotting methods, that part is moving along more efficiently, and I’m even getting faster. I try a new method for each year’s projects, and keep the best of each for my own. So far, I’ve explored Rock Your Plot, which I’ve kept quite a lot from, and The Snowflake Method. I’ve adopted a little from that, but, on the whole, it wasn’t a good fit for the way my mind works. I don’t see that as a waste of time; learning what doesn’t work for me is as important as learning what does.

This year, I’m loving my work with The Writer’s Coloring Book. I’m going to be keeping a lot from this – maybe nearly all. I love the way it engages both sides of my brain, and I get to play with color-coding, which I absolutely love. Like RYP, there’s a lot of layering, and a strong focus on developing characters before plot. Since everything I write is character driven, I find that approach intuitive and delightful. And both are open-ended enough that, although I end up with a solid outline and understanding of the story’s “bones,” I’ve got lots of room for the story to unfold and evolve, so there’s still plenty of surprises.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the part of the process that takes the longest, right now, is revision. I don’t know as much about it, but I’m learning. I’m gradually rough-editing Sea Changes, the first installment in the Kifo Island series, so that I can submit it, scene by scene, to my local critique group. After that, I’ll compile all the notes, and devise a revision plan I’ll be working on in the early months of next year (I’d like it to be sooner, but time is a finite resource…)

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that writing is not an avocation for sprinters! It’s more, even, than a marathon. It’s more like a decathlon!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I appreciate your letting me rant a bit before I dive back into the writing. I’d also tell you that this post is both part of Diana’s #weekendcoffeeshare over at The Part-Time Monster Blog, and Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: ‘long,’ used any way we like.

I’d also ask you to forgive me if I wander off into the worlds in my head. Feel free to finish your coffee; writers just do these things, sometimes…and sometimes we post random Hamilton clips, because it’s Independence Day Weekend, and because, well…Hamilton!


  1. The thought of tornadoes terrifies me. Thank God we don’t have that problem where I am… We get cyclones instead. Ahhh, weather! I hear nothing but great reports about Hamilton. It appears to have an addictive quality. Enjoy!

    • The music is astonishing, and it’s so much more of our history than I was taught in school (that Alexander Hamilton was the first Treasury Secretary, and that he was killed by Aaron Burr in a duel. I also learned he married one of General Philip Schuyler’s daughters, but probably only because the general’s summer home is in my home county I’ve actually blogged about visiting it with my kids.) So getting such a textured and layered view, with nimble language and a lot of Hamilton’s own words…might be that it’s the holiday weekend, might be that I’ve grown up with the Revolution as my neighbor, or that I love stirring music and personal history…I don’t know, but I’m far, far from alone!

      Tornado, cyclone…same thing, really. They are definitely scary. I’m glad my daughter is more able to deal with her fear than when she was smaller.

      I will – I expect I’ll be enjoying it for a very long to come.

      • It really makes me wonder how many fascinating and humanising details of famous people’s lives we’re missing. It probably leads us to misinterpreting their actions too, so initiatives like Hamilton are such a great idea.

        • They are a great idea. Hamilton was well researched, and based on a biography. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton’s creator, used that author-historian as a consultant, and a lot of Alexander Hamilton’s own words were used.

          But there is, of course, a fictionalized element, because, to weave such a compelling story of a long-ago life (Hamilton died in 1804), there needs to be some padding of details lost to time.

          My 14 year old observed, after listening to it straight through on his own (it’s almost 3 hours), commented that he was having trouble relating to Alexander Hamilton as a person, because the musical makes him more into a hero. That’s interesting, but still, I think careful treatments like this make a person and a historical period more textured, and connects them to our own daily lives.

          Certainly, there must be some good in that, right?

          • I think there is a lot of good in it, and I find your 14 year old’s comment intriguing. The work I’ve been doing on King David has made me really aware of issues like this. People appreciate him more as a flawed human than a hero, as few of us can relate to the glossy image of the victor. The broken guy who survives, does inspire us. Plus one thing David taught me: success is fleeting. A decade or two, his heroism was all bit forgotten, as people vied for his power as a King. I think all this is fascinating and if it makes us really think, all the better!

          • Because of Hamilton the Musical, I’m now listening to the Ron Chernow biography, Alexander Hamilton, upon which it was based. I’ve also downloaded Hamilton vs. Jefferson, regarding the longstanding rivalry between these two Founding Fathers; The Federalist Papers, written mostly by Hamilton, which defended the newly written U.S. Constitution; the Magna Carta, for comparison purposes; Common Sense and other writings by Thomas Paine, one of the early proponents of revolution; and 15 speeches that shaped America, just because there are bound to be both old favorites and new to me treasures there.

            I say that whatever inspires passion and curiosity is worth pursuing. Might take me years to go through all of those, especially now that the friend who introduced me to Hamilton the musical has loaned me her beautiful making-of book, which also contains a huge amount of historical meat.

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