Oh hail!

What a storm! I’m glad I missed it. I was a to work yesterday when I got a message from my mother telling me that hail broke out the window to my bedroom. Father boarded it up, since I couldn’t really do anything about it while I was an hour away. When I got home, the house looked a little worse for wear, especially the trees. Small branches and leaves littered the street and the yard.

I didn’t have much time to deal with the catastrophe of the broken pane since my nephew was celebrating his First Communion, and my the time I got home the sun had set and I just went to bed. Today, I needed to deal with the gaping hole on the wall.

I bought a roll of plastic and furring strips to keep the wind and rain out. My brother helped me take out the broken window, which is no easy feat. The trim around the window was already rotten, and my plan has been to replace them when I could, so the fact that the hail broke the window isn’t that big a deal. My main concern, as I inspected the framing, was that the outside wall and the frame be free of rot, which I’m happy to report it is.

I covered the window frame with plastic before covering it with plywood. Since the window is gone, we’re having to up the exterior project up. The back of the house, for whatever reason, has stucco which needs to be removed. As long as that’s happening, my other window will need to be removed, along with all the windows on the south side of the house which also sustained damage during the storm, but didn’t shatter as my south side window.

We’ll remove the stucco, ensure the walls are clean and free of rot, use a house wrap, then install the new windows and trim before installing new siding. It’s a lot of work, a job that we had planned on completing on one fine someday, but looks like Mother Nature decided to expedite the work. So be it!

Luckily, we have most of the siding already. It’s going to be a big job, and it’ll get rather expensive, but it needs to be done. For the short-term I’ll be down a window, but I’m fine with that. As long as the elements don’t enter the room, I can slum it for a while. The other issue I have to deal with is what to do with my truck that we worked on last year and painted. The hail dented the heck out of it! That, I’ll admit, has me a little more upset, but that’s a topic for another time.

Today’s update

I just finished rewriting the first scene of the second chapter, where my main character run into who will fast become her love interest. Doing so, I hope, will jump-start the action, like I stated on my previous post, but also resolve a persistent question that has been bothering me. Can two people fall so quickly in love that they immediately begin a relationship?

Maybe it is possible, but I’m not a fan of the whole love-at-first-sight story arch. Instead, I rewrote it so that I introduce the idea that they were classmates back in high school, and though Jasmine shoots down the idea that they were an item back then, there is an obvious chemistry between the two, one I hope to exploit to make their quick transition into becoming a couple a little realistic.

Of course, such a monumental change means adjusting everything that comes afterwards. I believe I can do the necessary work without disturbing too much of what I have already written. Further, I hope it succeeds in drawing the reader into the story sooner rather than later.

The Fix – The beginning

One of the complaints I heard from my beta-readers was that the story took too long to begin. Specifically, the actual hook didn’t come until the sixth chapter. I had to ruminate on this for a long time. I couldn’t figure out how I was supposed to start the story without destroying the integrity of the whole. I needed to introduce my main characters and set up the story first, right?

I figured out that I needed to introduce my main character’s love interest sooner in the story, before she runs into her ex. It’s her ex’s obsession with her that jump starts the action. It’s the idea that my protagonist has found someone who she’s interested in that motivates her ex into stalking her.

It’ll mean more rewriting, but I’m going to get this blasted book finished! Sometimes I think I should just let it go and move onto something else, something that’ll take a little less work to whip into shape. To bad I’m stubborn and I don’t know who to let things go. I will get this done. I will, won’t I?

The fix

I’ve been thinking about the problem that has had my stymied for the past several weeks. I just couldn’t find a way around this little stumbling block and I was at a stand-still. I’ll admit that even though my goal is to publish this year, I wanted to give up and move on to another project, one that I hope would be far easier to complete.

But I’m not one to give up so easily. While I waited patiently at work for customers to show up, and yes I worked on Mother’s Day, I pulled out a sheet of paper and started to jot down notes.

Who’s after Jasmine?

I began by writing down the names of my characters, the ones who are the most likely suspect to be terrorizing my main character, detailing their history and the reason why they may be stalking her. As I scribbled my notes, I had one of those moments of brilliance. I may have figured out how to save my story! I finally had my Eureka! moment.

And now the dread washes over me, hours after that brief elation. I realized that by figuring out how to fix what’s wrong with the story I would have to sit down and introduce a new character. Well, that not quite true. My savior is already in the book, but they haven’t been fleshed out thoroughly. My task is to beef up their part, including their motivation for seeking out Jasmine. Luckily, that all came to me while I jotted down my notes throughout the day.

I’m excited about this. The way the story ends has bothered me for some time. One of my beta-readers actually called me out on how I resolved the story. I made a liar out of my character. They are not duplicitous in any way. Awkward? Yes, but not malicious nor psychotic. Now, that character can be true to themselves while this new character gets to enjoy a promotion of a sort and fully embrace a role that I could never really develop.

It should only take a few minor rewrites to incorporate them into the narrative. I’ll have to tweak some dialogue and create a few key scenes along the way, but as I have already deleted some other scenes, I should do so seamlessly, or at least that’s my hope.

To think that I’ve been wracking my brains in search of an answer and all it took for me to find it was to write it down. It allowed me to focus on the problem while not confronting the issue. It worked itself out organically. I just hope I do it justice. Also, I hope I remember how to fix it.

Yellow City Comic Con

I attended my first Comic Con today, which was held in Amarillo, TX. Yellow City Comic Con was a small gathering of who you would expect would attend, various nerds and geeks celebrating their particular awesomeness. There were artists selling their artwork, most, oddly enough, focused on comic book characters, steampunk enthusiasts, cosplayers, authors trying to get their names out, food vendors, and people like me wanting to see what it was all about.

Since I was a first-timer, I didn’t know what to expect. Sure, I’d seen clips from sit-coms, internet clips from larger conventions, and okay maybe I had some idea, but it was all so new. Add to that the fact that I’m among unfamiliar people and character types, I felt a little like a fish out of water. It wasn’t an unpleasant experience, just a new one. It’s good for me to grow, or so I have been told.

My friend bought a few things, and I did buy a book for her, Splintered by A.G. Howard which the author patiently waited for us to purchase so she could autograph it. That was a awesome thing to do, in my opinion, in that A.G. was actually on her way out, her time at the convention having come to an end.

Also, and this was a bit awesome, she recognized me. She couldn’t remember how, but at least she remembered seeing me. I had already attended two of her book signings. I have all three hardback books signed on my shelves, the last of which I reviewed here on my blog. I know it’s a silly thing to be excited about, but leave me alone. I’m allowed to feel some excitement about things! Makes life worth living.

Unfortunately, we did miss the panel for Chris Sabat. That door actually said Pannel Room – hurray for spelling! – but I digress. I mean, I don’t know who he is, but my friend did and she was slightly upset. It didn’t help that I may have laughed a little. I’m such a horrible friend, but I did buy her a book. It evens out in the end, if you ask me.

It was an interesting experience, especially seeing the cosplayers walk around without any inhibitions. In fact, I envy them. To be able to be yourself and allow yourself the freedom to simply enjoy the moment is something I struggle with on a daily basis. Maybe one day I’ll work up the courage to wear a costume. I think I’d make a convincing and sexy Sailor Moon. Or not.

I want to go to another Comic Con soon. There’s one in Lubbock in February. I’ll make sure to keep that in mind. I also need to find out when Dallas has theirs. Also, and this is just me wondering aloud, how can I put myself out there to have a booth of my own to pimp my own books out? I suppose I need to finish one up. There’s always a catch!