A Tuesday Tidbit

Happily, I’ve been working on the rebuild of Death Out of Time. To the extent, however, that I’ve drawn a complete blank on a post topic for this week. Even the drafts I have started didn’t trigger any ideas.

So, I thought, how about a few tidbits from the revised opening chapters?

______________________________________________________

“Maddie? You okay?”

Avery’s voice broke through her thoughts.

“What? Yeah, fine. Just waiting for you two to get acquainted.” She rejoined her brother and Jenna. “Should we continue? I don’t mean to rush you, but I really need to finish this burial today.”

Jenna checked her watch. “You know, how about we do this in your lab next week? It’ll be more comfortable, and I could run some errands. That traffic held me up longer than I thought.”

“Do you have to leave so soon?” Avery asked.

“I should. But I’ll still see you tonight, right?”

“You bet. I’ll meet you at six.”

Madeleine’s lips twitched as Avery’s gaze followed Jenna’s quick steps down the path, returning to the site only when her car had disappeared from view.

Avery sighed. “Well, now that the lovely Jenna’s left, what are we working on?”

“I’m working on a burial. I’m not so sure about you.”

______________________________________________________

And from a following scene where Madeleine is speaking first:

“How did you get in here? The building’s locked.”

“Er, not the door I used.”

“I’ll have to report that. So where’s your friend?”

“Alexandria,” he said, looking out the rain-lashed window.

“Oh. I would’ve thought Colonial Williamsburg. You’re in the wrong city. This is Arlington. Maybe you should call him for directions.”

“Call him? What’s . . . I mean . . . I can’t. I don’t have a way to reach him.”

Who doesn’t carry a phone? Madeleine wondered. I bet even Civil War reenactors hide one in their uniforms.

“So you don’t know how to get to Alexandria? If you have his address, I could get you directions.”

“You don’t understand. He’s very close. But why aren’t we in Alexandria? Arlington didn’t exist. . . .”

So there they are. I hope you enjoy them—and the rest of the novel when it’s finally complete! Now, if I can just come up with a good idea for next Tuesday….

My email notifications from WordPress are still hit-and-miss. So I apologize if I’ve missed some of your posts. WordPress is apparently aware of this problem, but it’s taking a long time to get fixed….

52 thoughts on “A Tuesday Tidbit

    • Thanks, Vanessa! The Reader has been problematic for a number of folks for a long time. That’s one reason why I still prefer e-mail notifications. But now both are unreliable, which is really frustrating. Some days I get the e-mails, but most I don’t. And I’m wondering if anything’s really being done to fix the problem…. Grr!

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  1. It’s not easy coming up with ideas to blog about each week is it? Times slips past so quickly and when your head’s lost in your book, blogging day wheels around faster than ad breaks. Lucky you have such entertaining snippets of your manuscripts for us to read 🙂

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    • It’s not easy at all, and I’m thinking I might just take a break around Christmas and New Years. So many bloggers disappear then, and it might be a good time to concentrate on the WIPs when I’m not busy with work and holiday preparations. My fingers are crossed that I keep making progress before then, too. I am enjoying this new spin on Madeleine’s story…. 🙂

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  2. Great tidbits! Thanks for sharing. I’m also experiencing WP difficulties. I haven’t received any posts by email over the past couple weeks.

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    • Thanks, Gwen! I’ve had this problem for a couple of weeks, too. But I know of other bloggers who have had trouble for a month or more. Some days, I get the digests. But most—nothing. I’d really like to know if WordPress is focusing on fixing these problems rather than “new shinies” just now.

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    • Thanks, Rhiannon! I do have the two Meghan Bode “shorts” on their own page here if you’re ever curious about them. A novel for her is also in the planning stage, although I’m riding the hot horse just now with Madeleine’s new ideas for her novel. Just a little juggling to do…. 🙂

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  3. Nice dialogue, JM. It flows very nicely. I love writing dialogue and it appears you do too. It’s funny, my main character in my never-ending novel is also named Madeline!

    Oh and there are other glitches in Word Press. Sometimes I’ll try to make a comment and it will simply give me this: “Sorry, your comment could not be posted.” No other explanation. Then I’ll have to try and figure out another way. Then it won’t show up. Then I’ll write another one and the one I thought wasn’t going to show up, shows up. So then there’s two comments that say the same thing. Grrrr. The good ole’ days when WP didn’t have so many glitches. Don’t get it!

    Anyway, again, love the dialogue!!

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    • Thanks, Brigitte! I’ve been lucky to not encounter the commenting glitches very often. And I’ve had good success with simply reloading the page on those occasions when the comment doesn’t appear after hitting “post.” That doesn’t work for the error message cases, though. As I said to Gwen above, I really think WordPress should focus on fixing the existing problems before continuing work on so-called improvements!

      I do love dialogue. 🙂 And I think it’s become one of my strong points in writing. When done well, it really moves a story forward. Of course, when done badly, it can be excruciating to read. 😉

      We may not be the fastest writers at getting our stories completed, but there’s nothing wrong with that. We’ll get there in our time, right?

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  4. Loved reading your excerpts. I look forward to the day I’ll be holding your book in my hands (or e-book on my iPad…). And I’m SO glad I’m not having these issues with WordPress. Of course, I probably just jinxed myself.

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    • Thanks, Carrie! Someday, I will get there. With this particular story, I honestly believe the character changes will help me write more believable/realistic interactions between them. And that’s a major factor in creating stories that capture a reader’s attention.

      I hadn’t had the notification problems at first, either, but then they showed up a couple of weeks ago. Some bloggers have been dealing with them for a month or more, and that’s just not right. Let’s concentrate on fixing the problems, WordPress!

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    • Thanks, Smak! I’m curious, on a perhaps unrelated line and knowing you have a background in history, if you chose that particular battle for any particular reason….

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  5. After reading your note to us, I understand now why I didn’t see an email notification this morning. I had to think twice about whether it was indeed Tuesday before I asked myself, “Why didn’t JM post today?” That’s what you get for being so dependable, and what I get for being so dependent on your dependability!

    So, no, I didn’t receive an email notification, for this post, or for anyone who might have posted today. I didn’t realize WP was having such problems — maybe taking the summer off was a blessing in this regard. I missed out on the hassle.

    Intriguing scenes, I have to say. Of course my mind is going to be spinning as I think about how these changes play into the novel!

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    • The last I read, “instant” notifications are still coming through fine. But I follow too many blogs to have them come in at that rate. So I set my notifications to daily for some blogs and weekly for others. Those two are where the problems lie. When bloggers do get responses on the forums, the word is WordPress is “working on the problem.” But this has been going on for more than a month. That’s a heck of a long time to not be solving the problem!

      When the story’s ready for you and others to read again, I think you’ll notice some very significant changes. 😉 And I hope they’ll solve the problems I wasn’t fixing any better than WordPress is with the notifications!

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  6. Very intriguing JM, can’t wait to read more – and sometimes it’s more important to focus on the WIPs than on the blog – I posted late this week because the WIP has been going well for once!

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    • Thanks, Andrea! I think the WIPs have to take priority for us, no matter what some social media gurus would have us believe. Because if we spend our time “connecting with an audience” but then never finish our projects, what was the real purpose of the blogging/tweeting/FBing/etc.?

      And let’s hear it for WIPs going well—may that continue for all of us!

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    • Thanks, Helga! Of course, as I just mentioned to Andrea above, those WIPs should take priority over social media. 😉 It’s been a struggle this summer, but I’ve really tried to keep to my schedule. Come December, though, I may just need to take a break for the holidays. We’ll see.

      I much prefer that four-letter word to the five-letter one I struggled with for much of this year:
      B-L-O-C-K!

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    • Thanks, Mouse! When you read what the man in the scene is wearing, Madeleine’s Civil War thought is really understandable.

      The non-notifications are getting tiresome. Why are there some days when I get them? But then most days I don’t? That’s not making any sense to me. I’m sorely tempted to do a “poll post” that asks readers to share which problems they’re having. Something like that just might go viral, though….

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    • Thanks, Char! I think I’m getting a better feel for Madeleine’s voice with this change. And I already like her brother and the dynamic between them. My fingers are crossed that this rebuild doesn’t take as long to write as the original story.

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  7. Wow my curiosity is peaked! Especially with the second scene 🙂 It’s exciting to get these glimpses. I’m so glad the gears are turning for you JM!!!

    (By the way, I’m having the same problem w/email notifications unfortunately, so I’m trying to rely on the Reader, but I know I’m missing plenty!)

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    • Thanks, Arlene! It feels so good to be working on this story again, even if it will entail a lot of work!

      I’m thinking we should all start posting at least once a week about the continuing WordPress notification problems. Maybe that would get the ball moving on fixing them?!

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  8. Nice tidbits! The dialogue sounded realistic and the part about the Civil War reenactors made me smile. I’m so happy you’re getting back into your WIP! I can’t wait to read more.

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    • Thanks, Sheila! And so good to see you back in Blog Land. 🙂 It’s a good feeling to be working with Madeleine again—even if it’s now with her brother instead of someone with whom she’s in some kind of relationship that I could never get right….. But I can already see where Avery is more than up to the challenge. 😉 Hopefully, this rebuilding draft won’t take as long as the original!

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    • I’ve now had two consecutive days with daily notifications. Yes, please, let that mean it’s fixed! But I’ve had days where I received them and others when I didn’t, so I think it’s too soon to tell. But until the Reader lets us group notifications or at least hide the ones we’ve read or want to skip, it can’t beat the emails. Are you listening, WordPress? Do you understand the difference?

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  9. I really like that closing line: “Alexandria didn’t exist…” !
    So good to hear you’re back to working on the manuscripts, JM! Do you feel refreshed with DOoT, now? It seems like it – I can almost feel your excitement in the post, around the words and the characters.
    I like the banter-y dialogue best, I think. The more mundane details – like about work and meetings – are probably important for the moment and setting, but the characters really get a chance to reveal themselves more fully when they’re being thoughtful or snarky.
    Nice work!

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    • Thanks, Mayumi! I do feel refreshed, even if I must say goodbye to a great character and hello to a new one. But I’m already getting comfortable with Madeleine’s brother Avery. I have a good grasp of their relationship, and I think I can pepper the story with some fun banter between them. The story may deal with some serious issues, but it’s meant to be a fun read. (Sort of like the disguising of education in an entertaining presentation). And I think I’ll have a better chance of getting that across with Avery. Now, to just get down to the brass tacks of banging on the keyboard!

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    • Thanks, Kourtney! I really think this rebuild will result in a more polished and cohesive story, even though the amount of work is daunting. But I think I’m up for the challenge. 😉

      Weather Channel says 75 for a high in Sterling (Potomac Falls) on Wednesday, which is really nice for this time of year. This is going to be fun! 🙂

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      • It’s funny, I cut my teeth on Reckonings and I went through so many rewrites and revisions. But eventually I was able to get it right. I think there is something to be said for returning to earlier manuscripts and revising them. Especially when you really love the story. LOL. We had great weather that day. Too bad traffic was so awful. Glad we got to have a drink and talk writing. 😉

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        • I do love the basic idea of this story, which still remains despite the rebuild. 😉 It’s funny, my husband had to head back that way yesterday for a meeting. It only took him 40 minutes to get home when it took us about 1.5 hours to get there last week. Ah, the power of rush hour…. 😛 But it was totally worth it!

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  10. I LOVE the snarky nature of this line: ““I’m working on a burial. I’m not so sure about you.””
    Sheer perfection! You don’t even need to know a thing about the plot or what came before to get what this implies!
    I’m happy you shared your writing again…reminds me how much I miss hearing from Ms. Bode!

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    • There has to be some snark between siblings, don’t you think? If I didn’t put some jabs in Madeleine and Avery’s interactions, I bet they wouldn’t come across as real. 😉

      Meghan is working on her story in the background, and for now she’s content to let me work on Madeleine’s. I suspect that could change at a moment’s notice, though!

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