Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Day 8 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the 50K word marathon with excerpts

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By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I don’t know about the rest of the 500,000 people who are participating in the National Novel Writing Month around the globe, but I struggled today. I didn’t have time to check with fellow writers on social media.

Exactly one week into #nanowrimo, I logged in 1,200 words for today with the historical fiction piece “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova; that is less than the required daily rate of 1,667 words. I had to go to town and go about business, other than writing. And somewhere along the road, I caught the bug, sneezing and caughing all day. That all signifies that we’re getting the first snow tomorrow, that will actually stick to the ground.

Plus, I wasn’t completely sure, if I wanted to pursue the new story that required some research. But, I went for it, so the story will become a part of the new collection of stories: “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova. It is my clear intention to see this project to print.

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Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.

The story began to unravel itself with new characters like Nora and Doris, along with old historical characters, the Belding Brothers. That brought up my total word count to 18,605 words with the plot ready to go.

Here is an excerpt:

Nora worked at the Richardson Mill located on the banks of the Flat River. Every morning she punched the clock at 6 a.m. and sat at her station by the window with hundreds of other girls. They made silk thread used for making stockings, long before nylon or rayon.

Long days spent inside the factory were offset by leisure time in the city parks located on the Flat River and on the boardwalk leading to the library.

Nora and Mathilda walked the city streets together enjoying their youth and independence. The women flouted conventional standards of behavior of homemakers and were on the cusp of the women’s right to vote in 1920. The 1920s represented the jazz age, a time of liberation for the feminine form. Women’s clothing became more comfortable and simplistic. The flapper proudly showed her liberation by bobbing her hair, rolling down her stockings, dancing the Charleston in her shorter gown and wearing the new look in hats.

Signs of progress were touchable everywhere from the interior six bathrooms at the “Bel” to a space designated for women in the saloons of the bustling city. At the time, the city of Belding had four hotels.

Known as the “Silk City Girls” the young women spent much of their time weaving silk on spools. Silk at the time was on high demand as the major feminine fabric due to the existing shortage of woolens and cottons.

Nora and Mathilda worked together long hours at the silk mill earnings 47 cents an hour. The Belding Banner called the girls “Sweethearts in Silk” blasting propaganda about their happiness with headlines such as “The Silks with Happiness Woven into Them.”

The girls sat at their stations on the floor of the factory in orderly rows. The downstairs of the Richardson Mill was used for making stockings.

Note: As of March 1, I continue to revise the short stories in “Secrets.” As I move ahead with the publishing process, it is important to me to give full credit to the Belrockton Museum in Belding for inspiration, information and finally the cover of “Gossip.”

Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Day 7 #nanowrimo

National Novel Writing Month at full throttle

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Lowell, MI – I finished “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener” after considering several possible endings of the story, that no longer seemed like a short story after working on it for 3.5 days.

The new story,  a historical fiction piece from Belding presented its own challenges in the 50K word marathon, known as the National Novel Writing Month. The main challenge proved to be research, that I don’t have the luxury to do. After firing it up, I put it on hold to see whether I can come up with an alternative.

I did have the legwork done for “Cupcake Wine”, so I tied it together to include it in the upcoming collection “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova. I have a clear intention of getting “Secrets” published.

Gossip
Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.

Then, I went back to the historical piece to consider its possibilities by adding another a friend, Mathilda to Nora. I think I will be able to spin the story, just like the “Silk City Girls” spun silk threads at the Richardson Mills.

I became fascinated by the process of creating under pressure; in other words when you have no other choice. I found encouragement on the #nanowrimo blog from an author who was able to complete her novel thanks to #nanowrimo. She also suggested using pacemaker.press to keep you going once the creative project is done on Nov. 30. Now, that was a priceless tip. Try it, I did.

Most wanna-be authors never complete their writing projects because of the lack of accountability or the pressure of daily writing. I can second this from my experience from writing for daily newspapers. Once, you have no other choice than to write, you write. It’s like punching a clock at the factory or a store. I know what that’s like, but it works.

To quote Jodi Picoult:

“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

Excerpts from “Secrets”, the Belding piece

Nora arrived in Belding by train at the depot on a hot summer day in July of 1915 from the West Coast to work at one of the silk mills.

At the turn of the century, Belding known as the Silk City of the World, was booming with the silk industry. The silk mills founded by the Belding Brothers attracted hundreds of young girls that worked in its silk mills. In was the avantgarde era of the flapper dresses and hats. The girls worked in the mills for eight to ten hours a day.

Nora received the bigger corner room at Belrockton. The dormitory for silk girls was built in 1906 in classical revival style. She shared the room with Mathilda who came from Alpena.

Nora was making enough to send money home to parents. She came from a ranch out West, and wasn’t accustomed to city life.

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 6 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month creative project

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By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I wrote and I voted, equally diligent, and in that particular order. I am a morning writer. I get up early, do my yoga, walk on the treadmill and meditate to get into the writing zone.

In today’s meditation, I found out that news can be a potential stressor. The Wrimos (Writers and pep speakers) reiterated the same statement; stay away from TV during the 50K word marathon through Nov. 30. Our friend Dave T. suggested the same in the congratulatory letter to Ludek’s U.S. citizenship:

“All I can say is pay little or no attention to the ‘Cat Fights’ that are played out in the glut of political ads found on television! They are an exerci$e in how to wa$te million$ of dollar$ to make TV $tation$ rich!”

I did however like Google’s Go Vote encouragement instead of the usual doodles or caricatures.

“I Voted, Google.”

After four hours of writing “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener”, my inner editor kicked in and started questioning my thought process and my morals. I knew I had enough of writing and I headed out into the misty day to the polls.

I was voter no. 511 voting at Precinct 1 at the Vergennes Township Hall at 1 p.m. The ballot was crowded with state and county proposals. I was perplexed by the last question asking for funding of the early childhood program. How was it funded before?

I walked on the wet boardwalk from the township hall and put the “I Voted” sticker on my winter jacket before I lose it.

After I recorded my thoughts on how to end the story that doesn’t seem like a short story anymore on the banks of Murray Lake, I was relieved to do a little bit of website updating for Fallasburg.

Anyway, I logged in 13,050 words lowering the daily quota to 1,448 words. That’s still a lot of intense writing. I had to skip some of the motivational talks on Instagram in order fullfill the quota.

It is my clear intention to publish the anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova as a direct product of #nanowrimo. It is a sequel to my first book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories.”

Here are excerpts from “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener.”

Years went by faster than minutes on the clock on the wall, Sister Theophane went through more rigorous discernment. One Saturday afternoon, she decided to take a walk on the trails. She just followed the one that seemed familiar to her. There were the cherry trees on the left and the deer tracks on the right. The trail went a little up the hill and into another curve before the opening on top of the hill.

She stood by the bench under the big tree overlooking the rolling hills. The essence of that afternoon long time ago vaguely came back to her. Theophane could feel Kurt’s touch. She forgot completely what he looked like. They were too young back then to savor their memories.

Saddened by the moment, Theophane headed out on the trail looping back to the convent gardens. The gardening team was working along with other sisters. It was the Saturday work day. And the community was getting ready for another event.

Theophane was so immersed in her discernment and studies for the promotion, that she forgot what the event was.

“Hello, Sisters,” she said. “What’s the rush?”

“Mother, we have another 5K run coming,” said one novice. “Have you forgotten?”

Theophane looked into a distance bringing back that ominous 5K run many years ago.

“When is it?” she forced herself back into reality.

“In four weeks,” said the novice.

Theophane realized that by then, she would become the Mother of the Order. Karla passed away two months ago, and a directive came from the administration that Theophane will be taking over.

“You have only a few weeks to get ready for this important new service,” the note stated. “Don’t let your ambition get to you. Stay humble and pray.”

This time the ceremony was very private unlike the public final vows; no public was allowed. The chapel was full of other nuns and clergy.

Theophane kept her sister name. She learned to love and to respect it. From now on she would be leading the lively campus with many work teams. She would have to get acquainted with the team teams.

On a Monday, Mother Theophane went to introduce herself to the gardening team. As a girl she loved to garden. That all vanished with the increased requirements by the order.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude for your work that glorifies these gardens,” she said to the team. They bring so much joy to all of us.”

She noticed a tall tanned guy in the back.

Copyright (c0 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 5 #nanowrimo

Happy Monday Wrimos,

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We rolled into the first full week of the National Novel Writing Month at full speed with pep talks from author Andy Weir:

“First off, you have to accept that you’re not going to be blazing away in a creative euphoria all the time,” he wrote. “Next, you have to accept that your story will change as you write it.”

Now, that I consider solid and decent advice as I forge ahead with “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener” from the new anthology Shifting Sands: Secrets (c) 2018 Emma Palova. I have a clear intention to publish this sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

The characters have changed their roles and their names as they continue to evolve with the plot. This is my third day plugging away and it has taken young Zita from her disappointed world into a different one.

I struggled a little bit with the changes, but as Weir writes about the “rough patches” during the writing process: “When you read the pages later, you won’t be able to tell which ones you wrote in a good flow and which ones were hard.”

That’s something to keep us going through the inevitable “rough patches.”

I validated my word count at 10,016 words on http://www.nanowrimo.org

Yay!

The next writing badge is set at 25,000 words, but I will divide that chunk into smaller pieces to make it palatable.

Here is an excerpt:

As weeks went by, Dona grew accustomed to the feeling of emptiness. She stopped the numerous attempts to reach her daughter. Zita’s phone number did not exist anymore. She could wait for letters or messages; none ever came.

Summers turned into fall and winters, and these turned into years.

Kurt called Dona several times inquiring about Zita, if she had changed her mind. He was already back home from the college overseas, but he hadn’t forgotten his high school girlfriend.

“How is she doing, Dona?” he asked occasionally. “Is she okay?”

Kurt was the only lifeline from the past to Zita, so Dona always answered unlike other phone calls. She stopped talking to Wilsa, since she was the messenger of the bad news.

“I don’t know, Kurt,” Dona said. “We haven’t heard from her in five years.”

As winter arrived with first snow, Dona finally received an ornate envelope with the insignia of the Dominican Sisters order.

It was an invitation to Zita’s final vows at the convent. Dona was shocked to read the signature: Sister Theophane. That was Zita’s new name forever.

“This is the last time, we will see our daughter,” said Dona.

“No, you don’t know anything about it,” said Mike, “These Sisters can come out into the public.”

“I don’t want to see her anymore after this,” said Dona.

Veni Sancte Spiritus played in the background of the chapel with huge organ pipes in the front. Then, the Sisters sang psalms. Mike and Dona sat in the back of the chapel. Dona noticed  Kurt standing on the side by the stained glass windows.

Their beautiful daughter dressed in a white bride’s gown with a wreath of yellow roses on her head, now Sister Theophane, walked alongside Mother Karla to profess the final vows. Mother Karla stepped aside to make room for new blood. Sister Theophane prostrated on the wooden floor in front of the priest and then recited the vows and received a ring. As such, she was the “Bride of Christ.”

Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Being Faustina

Fuel and finish your writing projects  plus excerpt from “Being Faustina”

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By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI-  Like most writers, I struggle to finish my writing projects.  They seem insurmountable as I stare into the blank screen with the blinking cursor in front of me. Procrastination is my best and worst friend.

Yesterday, I found out about the National Novel Writing Month (NANoWriMo) creative project. Without checking too many details, I knew it would be a great tool to finish my  “writings.” So, I set up an easy account with a book title and a book cover.  My title is “Secrets.” (c) 2018 Emma Palova.

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Right from the get go, the goal is to write 50,000 words by November 30 in any genre. When I am in the writing mode, regardless whether fiction or non-fiction, I write on average seven plus pages.

I find the accountability of the project very motivating with goal and word trackers.

I had to  dig deep into my writer’s toolbox for inspiration, even though  NaNoWriMo has inspiration tools as well. I like to rely on my own experience.

“Get out of the office and look for a story,” said former publisher and editor Alan long time ago. “Don’t wait for a story to walk in here, because it won’t.”

This morning, I got out of my comfort zone (studio) and drove to St. Pat’s for All Souls Day mass.  And the inspiration came from a kid, who said his favorite saint was Saint Faustina. All Saints Day was yesterday.

After taking photos of the Celtic cross at the cemetery I drove home and penned second story in the book “Secrets”-  Being Faustina.

I logged in 1,820 words.

For more info about  #nanowrimo go to :  https://nanowrimo.org

Here is an excerpt:

Being Faustina

Faustina entered the church cautiously. She always did. But, today more than ever, she watched around her for souls who haven’t passed to the other side. In layman’s terms those were ghosts.

She made sure to sit in the second pew on the left side of the nave facing the shrine made of photographs of the dead. As she knelt, Faustina realized she forgot to sign the Book of the Dead placed by the entrance. It was big leather-bound book with hundreds of signatures.

The Book of the Dead was annually on display during the month of November; wide open for more signatures. It was chilly in the church, and Faustina shivered. She did not know if it was from the cold or from her eternal sorrow.

On this day only, she still wore black: a black dress with a black slip under and black undies and a bra, black pantyhose, black shoes, black shawl, black coat and a black hat. Faustina purchased the complete black attire 14 years ago when she found out Willy was going to die.

By then, she was ready. Together they went through the roller coaster of high hopes of healing and lows of despair. The highs became just as exasperating as the lows. In the final days of Willy’s life, the doctor team gave him one month to live a life free of pain numbed by morphine and Oxycontin opioids.

When Willy finally ceased to be in pain, he was so high that at times he didn’t recognize Faustina, the love of his life. They were high school sweethearts who met at a Valentine’s dance.

 

 

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Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.