Monday, January 7, 2013

SPEEDBO-Firing a Warning Shot Across the Bow

Mary Connealy

I'm firing a warning shot to tell you that Seekerville will again be hosting SPEEDBO in the month of March.
Read All about SPEEDBO  HERE

So, here I am to WARN YOU
GET YOUR AFFAIRS IN ORDER. (Oh, oops, I didn't mean to make it sound quite so much like DEATH)

Last year I wasn't ready. 
So this year I'm doing something DRASTIC. I'm attending a writer's boot camp, sponsored by my local RWA group. It's called Rose's Plotting Bootcamp. 
You can find out more about it, here:

We are going to have an intensive three day boot camp to plot an entire novel. 
The boot camp start Friday, January 11 and lasts all weekend. 
I am the ultimate panster. 

 I just wrote to the Seeker loop about three weeks ago to say, "I found the moral center of my book." (I actually probably said something more along the lines of, "Hey, oops, (prolonged head scratch) duh…I might've finally figured out what my books about.")

Well, I'd already written 20,000 words. 
You can see how doing such a thing, discovering your book as you go along, can force a hapless author to do a LOT of revisions. Still, I'm a big believer in every writer finding out what works for her. And being a panster works for me.
The more authors I meet the more I see that what works for one person may not work for another. So I have always taken smug satisfaction in knowing that I'm ignoring the combined wisdom of hundred and hundreds of plotting advice books (most written by unpublished authors) and forged my own path.

Isn't that fun???

It is NOT too early to be planning, plotting, arranging extended camping trips for your small children. WHATEVER
So you can get ready for SPEEDBO!!!!!!!!! (I like to imagine a deep echo when I think the word SPEEDBO. Like maybe James Earl Jones' voice when he says THIS IS CNN.Please add that sound affect to the word SPEEDBO for ultimate effectiveness.)
Now, tell me what you've got planned for SPEEDBO, or tell me all the roadblocks you've got in your way and how you're planning to clear them out 
And I'm going to take this boot camp (there'd better not be any real push-ups involved or I'm doomed!) 

I'll report back to you on it later. With my perfectly plotted out book all shiny and in hand. (or I'll be telling you about a wasted weekend and a writing disaster, whichever comes first)

So, here's my question for you.

I will add here that I've got a book coming next month, book one in the TROUBLE IN TEXAS SERIES.
And my heroine is named none other than RUTHY. My hero is Luke Stone, brother to Callie Stone Kincaid in Over the Edge. Remember Callie got run off her ranch? Her brother had left Texas. Her father got killed. She had to grab her baby son and run? Well, Luke's heading home to set things right and ... oops ... he's accidentally stuck bringing a date!
Here's a little bit about Swept Away 

Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't all that upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. She prayed for a chance to get away, and then came the raging flood. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.

Swept Away will be in bookstores on March 1st and begin shipping from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on February 15th!


  1. I have a synopsis written for my next book, so that's what I'll be working on for SpeedBo.

    Line up, mugs in hand, at the coffee pot.


  2. Ohhh Mary, I can hardly wait. I still have to read Over the Edge, but this new series sounds fantastic!


  3. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I CANNOT WAIT for Swept Away!!!!!

    I missed my Speedbo goal last year by about 100 words - but I had a sinus infection [that turned into Bells Palsy a week later]. I *did* end up with about 69,900 and a finished first draft [for the record, I added the other words early on 4/1].

    This year's goal will likely be the same. A 70K rough draft. I'm also a total pantser [you have no idea how it warms my little writer heart to learn someone as prolific as you, dear Mary, is also].

    To prepare... I'm working on finished a rough draft of something else and doing at least one round of edits on multiple manuscripts. As well as retyping last year's Speedbo and turning it into a 3rd person thing instead of 1st person and adding some words to it. Dunno if I'll get all of that done, but I will likely drop whatever new writing I'm doing to participate.

    I've not got a clue what manuscript I'm going to write...


  4. Blogger ate my comment, again.

    I'm not sure what I'm joining SpeedBo. Right now I'm trying to finish up the 2nd biblical so it's ready to submit, and I'd like to loosely plot bk 3, but I've also got a complete western hanging over my head whose series is calling my name.

    Swept Away sounds fabuloso!

  5. Yay for SPEEDBO!! I am determined to be completely finished with my current project by Valentines Day (Lord willing), then write my outline to be prepared for SPEEDBO. ~ Mary, SWEPT AWAY sounds wonderful (and another great cover, I see *sigh*)! Thanks for this post to get us fired up. Blessings, Patti Jo

  6. Good morning everyone!

    Thanks for the coffee, Helen, in the new shiny pot and everything!

    Mary, do let us know how the boot camp goes. I've been trying to mend my wicked pantster ways and must say, I like this hybrid. I used The Snowflake Method (somewhat) on book 2 and have done about the same on book 3. It REALLY helped me.

    I can't quite bring myself to entirely use it, but can say for sure that when I don't, things pop up like today (bad guy needed to state his goal and uhmmm... I don't have it all worked out yet so gaping hole is staring at me now.)

    I'm with Carol - wonderful to know that you are a pantster and crank them out. Wshew! You give me hope!

    Still chuckling over the title of your new book and the heroine's name. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!!

    What has your namesake said about this, or does she know?! ;D

  7. /wiping egg from face/

    AND... *ahem* to the topic at hand...

    I won't exactly be doing Speedbo because my WIP is due in April.

    (Obviously I need some sleep. ZZZZZ.)

  8. I'm counting on Speedbo to finish my first draft! Last Speedbo was my first foray into intensive writing, and I surprised myself with how much I could get done even with two munchkins running around. I didn't finish my first draft before realising it needed a rewrite due to plot issues, and I'm 40K into that rewrite. So God willing, I will finish it with Speedbo - another 30K words should do the trick :)

    To prepare, in February I will go back over what I've written, review my plotting notes and basically insert my novel "disc" back into my brain so it's loaded into memory and ready to operate.

    I'm looking forward to Speedbo - bring it on!

  9. I've got my book plotted out. Will be working on it prior to speedbo, but expect edits this month so I don't expect to get far, hope that's all done by March so I can just write.

  10. Speedbo sounds exciting! I have a completed first draft I need to revise. Does that count?

    Helen, I hope you will be making extra coffee in March.

  11. Just preordered the new book with the gift voucher i won from captain Jack.

    now need to read over the edge. I hate i got so far behind last year.

    for speedbo i will become a cheerleader cheering you all an. I figure I know about supporting a team and cheering loud when I am the only supporter in a crowd of other team supporters so have a little practice. Doing this Thursday night going to a cricket game sitting in the members going for the other team! I even have my teams official top to wear! hoping to get it autographed on the back.

    to be cheerleader i will get fitter!

  12. Hi Mary:

    I think my analytical mind has been swept away in swirling undercurrents of confusion. Perhaps you can help.

    First there is information about Rose’s Plotting Bootcamp. I followed the link to Rose’s website and it seems to be an online course from Jan 6th to Feb 2nd. That’s like already started. However, you mentioned that you are going to Rose’s Plotting Bootcamp from Friday, January 11 and lasts all weekend. Now that sounds like it is not online. Rose has an address in Rogers, Arkansas which it not hard for me to get to. However, I would think that it would be hard for you to get Arkansas. Are you going to be in Rogers mid-month? I’ll go for sure if the live class is being held there and then and I can get to see you again.

    I think if we are not going to Rogers then I want to take the online course.

    Are any Seekers going to take Rose's online course? Did you ever notice that no one ever has a course on how to pantser? Doesn't that make you wonder? :)


  13. Hi Helen:

    You wrote:

    “I have a synopsis written for my next book, so that's what I'll be working on for SpeedBo.”

    You are a true heroine! You already have the hardest part done! I’m going to try and do the same. Maybe Rose’s Plotting Bootcamp will do the trick.


  14. Mine will be a Christian "women's fiction" that has 22,000 words written and needs another 60,000 odd, and I know what happens at the end but have no idea how they get there. Can not wait!

  15. Swept Away sounds fantastic! I probably won't be Speedboing this March. My daughter is expecting a baby and I want to be there some time around then.

    I am very happy. When we moved last fall I also left a job that I really liked and just last week I was able to start doing that job from home. That is a lot of computer time taken from my family so I will have to squeeze in writing time when I am not working and when my husband is not on the computer because he left his computer when he left his former job. All that is okay really, we are glad to be in the country again.

    All this to say I will be in the Speedbo cheering section along with Jenny this year.

  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  17. Mary, thanks for sharing.

    Helen, you sound ready to go!

    I'll work on a tiny seed of an idea. I'll start with creating my characters this week.

    When I say tiny, I mean almost microscopic.

    Have a great day!

    Jackie L.

  18. Good morning, Mary.

    I'm not sure yet what I'll be working on for SPEEDBO. That depends a bit on how January and February go.

    But I'm preparing by reading an interesting book. It's called WIRED FOR STORY. It's about how our brain experiences what we read, and how that should impact our writing (if we want to be successful).

    Off to the day job.

    Catch up later.

  19. Hello Mary, the new series for the new year sounds great and love your name for the heroine"Ruthy". I know this will be one of the books I read...thanks for sharing all the info on SpeedBo, I remember last year and all the busyness and I was one of the cheerleaders following the craziness. I have yet to finish the last book about Seth, Hey I get busy too.
    Happy New Year all....

    Paula O(

  20. No Speedbo for me this year, but I did it last year, and it really helped keep me on track. I'll enjoy popping in to cheer for everyone else :)

  21. Hmmm...I'd better start getting a chapter by chapter synoposis fleshed out.....

  22. My preparations are easy to identify, harder to do.

    I need to finish book one in the series, so I can work on the second. The one I'll be working on for Speedbo already has a great start but then it goes down hill. I'm going to try to jot most scene ideas before March so if my brain freezes, I'll still have something to write.

    Connie Queen

  23. Hopefully by March, I'll be done revising book two, finished the first draft of book four (currently at 46K) and I can concentrate on writing book three which is in the idea stage.

    Mary, whenever I read Speedbo, I hear Boomer's voice from the movie SkyHigh like when he says SIDEKICK!

  24. Hi Mary, hope you had a wonderful New Year's. Um, what is SPEEDBO? Sounds like men's swimming trunks. And what is a "panster"? If you're one it can't be too bad...

  25. I'll definitely look forward to hearing more about your Boot Camp, Mary! I haven't decided if I'm doing SpeedBo yet. I really, REALLY want to finish my book that I've been working on nigh unto forever--edits and all--before I begin a new book. But, my next story has been percolating in my brain, so I guess I'm going to be very pantster-like and wait a bit before deciding if I'm doing SpeedBo this year. :)

    Your book sounds fantastic. :) Looking forward to reading it!

  26. Hi Mary, I'm so jealous. I would love to go to bootcamp. I"ve been to those and they are amazing. They really help.

    So any of you who can go. Head out because it is worth it.

    And I can hardly wait to read Swept Away. So is Ruthy in the book anything like our Ruthy? Watch out!. LOL

  27. Oh, Swept Away sounds really good, Mary!!!

    Hey, I'm not waiting for March. I'm doing my own version of Speedbo FOR THE WHOLE YEAR! I'm getting a new contract (sh! It's still not official) and I have to write at least two, probably three books in the next 14 months. So I'm giving myself 4 months per book. Which means I have to FOCUS and get those words down!!! And these 90,000-word novels. FOCUS is my business word for the year. And today I'm starting the first of those three books. But I'm excited about this story! !!!!!

  28. I will clear up this one thing before I start answering all your questions.

    The Rose's Plotting Boot Camp is online BUT the two ladies who teach it also travel around and do these intensive weekend plotting events and that's what I'm doing, along with my local RWA writer's group. In Omaha. Real face to face with people stuff.
    I'm sure they do online boot camps every once in a while but I'm not in one of those.
    HOWEVER, I do know a lady who takes it for every book she writers and she said it really helps her. It's not like a class to learn how, it's like a real PLOTTING session.
    At the end of the boot camp she's got her book fully plotted and it's ready to write.

  29. I just checked out that boot camp class. It sounds really scary. I think I will stick to my usual method--for now. Which is, brainstorm until I have the GMC for the main characters, and a few key scenes playing out in my head, and get the main research done. Then start writing.

  30. Mary, can't wait to read Swept Away!! I'm working through my TBR pile of Seeker books. Enjoying every single one!!!

    The bootcamp you're going to attend sounds interesting. Will be fun to see if you survive it unscathed. :-)

    Sandra, I'd say from the sassy heroine on the cover that Mary's Ruthy is much like ours.


  31. Good morning, Mary! I plan to fix some freeze-ahead meals and write my Seeker March blog post BEFORE March! I'm under contract for a book due in June, so really want to hit it extra hard in March to complete a draft in April and polish it up by the end of May. Last year I didn't get to particpate because revisions/edits hit in March, but I think they'll hit in February this round. :)

  32. Speedbo sounds fun! I'm in.

    I have no idea what I will be writing, since I will have to start fresh, but love the idea that I will have to get started on my next ms.

  33. Helen, your coffee may SAVE US during SPEEDBO (James Earl Jones, remember!)

  34. The first thing I will do is breathe and repeat: Stay calm, it's only Speedbo. Nothing to fear. You're among friends.

    Not sure what I'm going to work on yet - something old, something new? One part that is handled - lucky me, I don't have to cook for anyone but dh and he is dog happy with a beef or chicken sandwich every night. He just appreciates something on the table.

  35. WENDY, the new series is one that was really based on something so cool.
    While writing The Kincaid Brides Series, remember Callie met Seth because she went back east with her father to get her brother who was super sick after his stint in Andersonville Prison?
    Well, her brother got well faster than Seth and went back to Texas with her father while Callie stayed behind to nurse all the sick soldiers. That's when she met Seth and all THAT TROUBLE started.
    Anyway, her brother was half crazed from his suffering and ended up leaving the ranch. Callie's father died at the hands of man who stole the ranch. Callie, with a little baby, hated herself because she wasn't tough enough to hold the ranch and ended up running for the Kincaid Brothers in Colorado because that's all she knew about Seth...his brother's names and where they lived.
    She was pretty sure Seth was dead.
    So anyway, THAT brother. Luke Stone. He was part of a group in Andersonville prison that acted like security guards. There was plenty of trouble and violence among the starving prisoners in Andersonville. Yankee on Yankee violence.
    Luke helped keep the peace as part of a group called the REGULATORS.
    Some of the Yankees hated them for stopping their violence. Some of them saw the Regulators as traitors working more for the Confederate prison guards than for their fellow soldiers, which put the Regulators in constant danger and they ended up being very tightly protective of each other.
    These men, Luke's fellow Regulators, are coming to help Luke get his ranch back.
    And they are going to have their own stories.
    Luke Stone, the rancher who wants his land back.
    Dare Riker, who learned doctoring in Andersonville prison and now is fond of saying, "Jesus sent the disciples out to practice medicine without a license, so why can't I?"
    And Vince Yates, who calls himself a lawyer because he got trapped in a cabin in the Rockies one winter with a complete copy of Blackstones Commentaries on the Law. He's not a very GOOD lawyer but fortunately nobody in the wilderness in Texas wants a lawyer's help anyway, so he gets by.

    Rage on Writer Girl!

    I'm glad my crazed system of writing helps. (Poor baby!)

  37. CHRISTINA, A Biblical and a western. Good for you. I wrote all over the place, within the genre of Romance but just what ever interested me, I'm kinda locked into Cowboys now though, which is so stinking fun and I can't stand it!!!

  38. PATTI JO, this is why I'm talking about it now. YOU NEED PLENTY OF WARNING.
    Honestly, to get ready to hopefully write a whole book in a month you need to be READY. You need to have plenty of lead time. Two MOnths is NOT too much.

    Why is the song Born to be Wild runnign through my head?

    Get Your Motor Running
    Get out on the highway
    Searching for adventure (or a plot!)
    And whatever comes my way. (this would be the panster version of the song)

  39. Thanks Mary!

    I just signed up for the online course. I hope to see some peeps (is that right?) in the course. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be around all those people who actually want to plot! That’s not bootcamp (people who have been to the real bootcamp don’t kid about it) –that’s writer’s heaven! : )


  40. KC, see this is what I mean by every writer has her own method. You find what works for YOU.
    So anytime you ever hear me say, "THAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT."
    or, "THAT'S HOW IT HAS TO BE."
    Just remember that more often than not, I don't know what I'm talking about.

  41. Looking forward to Speedbo.

    Finished a manuscript late Dec and while I begin the process of finding a home for it have started research and plotting. Long way from actual writing of first scene.

    Last year managed first, ugly draft of story that continues to sit and age. (I'm hoping it reacts like either cheese or wine and not leftovers in the fridge.)


  42. HELEN that's so cool that you're using a SPEEDBO book to work on during March. I think that's great.

    Good luck with the MUNCHINS. Heaven knows they always cooperate!!!!

    (sez the mother of four children born in ten years...yeesh, the eighties and half the nineties are like hysterical amnesia for me!!! All I did was stay alive and keep them alive!)

  43. Mary,
    when I saw the word SPEEDBO in the blog post title, for a sec I thought it was this month (going WAAAAAAAAAAH) LOL! Not sure about March, but we'll see how things go.

    Love to read that you're a pantser! With your output I had figured you'd be an uberplotter. I find I can't plot without writing. So sitting down and thinking up the whole thing just makes my brain shut down. Once I start writing the first chapter though, everything starts coming together, and then it does sort of cook on while I'm not writing (creating those 'wah, how am I gonna remember all of this stuff when I can't write it down right now?' moments). I do however start with the internal conflict so I do know I've got a really strong one, and a basic idea of the faith theme I want to weave in. Everything else is pretty much flexible :D

  44. Melissa, good for you. You don't have to wait for March to start.
    You can all use SPEEDBO (JAMES EARL JONES) however works for you.
    Make a plan or just wing it.
    But this warning gives you a chance to make a plan.

    By the way, while lying (laying? grammar Queen?) awake last night, I decided I needed to heat things up between Vince Yates and his nemesis and love interest Tina--yeah, I know, I'm just having waaaaaaaay too much fun with this).
    Tina is a pill. She's busy trying to get the saloon to close by picketing it in her spare time. No one is happy with her.
    The fake doctor, Dare Riker's love interest in named Glynna. She's been widowed twice and she's mighty sick of men. Dare's got his work cut out for him with her.

  45. Glad that you confirm that every writer has to find his or her own method. There's no formula for success, then on the other hand there's no 'wrong' way either. You just have to pay a lot of attention to what the house you're targeting wants. But with the internet, and editors and agents coming out a lot to share their tips, it has become much easier to stay informed!

  46. Oh, and on the laying/lying: think of the grammar classic called Dogs Don't Lay. You're bound to remember that one... (at least I do... LOL).

  47. TERRI it absolutely counts if you want to do intense revisions during Speedbo. The real point is setting goals. Focusing.
    I heard once that of all the people in this world who are 'WRITERS' only about 20% of them ever actually finish a book. Do you get that?
    Do you get how to actually FINISH sets you apart and makes you SPECIAL???
    So we want finished books. we want forward progress at least.

  48. JENNY, thank you so so so so so so so much for pre-ordering Swept Away. You really can't know how much I appreciate that.
    God bless you.
    And God bless Captain Jack for helping out, too. :)

  49. Melanie,
    good luck on your(hush hush) new contract and having to do all of those books this year. 90-100K is a lot! But when you're excited about the story, it'll all come together!

  50. You know, VINCE I think you're onto something. A conference course on how to be a pansters. WHY NOT!!!!
    Are we ASHAMED of it????

    I have this private theory that honestly, pansters plot quite a bit and really, plotters, deviate from the plots and just wing it plenty of the time.

    I think a lot of the terms we use to talk about write, Plotter and Panster, Goal-Motivation-Conflict, RUE-Resister the Urge to Explain, Show don't tell......a lot of this is just people trying to put into works something that's just really HARD to put into words.
    So pantsters plot and plotters pant (why am I picturing a tired, thirsty dog???)

  51. The synopsis I have written is book ONE in a new three book series for Bethany House.
    I'm working on Book Three in my Trouble in Texas series right now, the VINCE-TINA story. LOL
    So that is to be done before March and I can start the new series. I had to pitch a three book series idea to Bethany so they FORCED me to do some plotting.
    But I came up with an idea I really love.
    I'm not going to go into it right now because it'll take yet another ten inch long comment but fundamentally, it's about women who fought in the Civil War disguised as men.
    And the aftermath when three of them, sisters, find out they liked wearing pants and want to stay living as men. Until they start falling in love.

  52. Joanne, that sounds so like me.
    I always know how the book is going to start. I love the mental gymnastics of exploding a book...and I know I'm going to have HAPPILY EVER AFTER. But man oh man are there a lot of words between the explosion and the HEA. THAT'S THE TRICKY PART!!!

  53. Mary, I think you're right about plotters.

    I always thought I would be a plotter, I mean I make lists and follow them to the tee, organize everything I see at a register (business cards, signs) and make sure the inside of my work desk drawer is in order. I even created a binder with a play-by-play of our daily activities on our last family vacation...

    So, of course I would be a plotter.


    I tried it and even go super frustrated with myself because I couldn't plot the book. Then, just to get words on the page, I just started writing.

    What a relief! I can't plot it. Have to wing it. Who would've thought?

  54. MARY CLINE, sweetie and new grandbaby is a majorly good reason to be occupied. CONGRATULATIONS!!!
    And good luck wrestling that computer away from your work AND your husband. :)

  55. JACKIE we all start with a seed.
    Isn't there an appropriate Mustard See Parable to insert here???

  56. POL (Paula) My Ruthy heroine is a little bit like Ruthy.
    Hard working, red head, a little bossy. :)
    But my Glynna and my Tina are not much like Glynna and Tina.
    Glynna (after Dare kills her nasty husband) can't cook and she's running a diner. (thus the title, FIRED UP) And Glynna has two half grown children, one a teenage boy who might, just might, be trying to kill Dare. They're not sure it's him but someone sure wants Dare dead.
    And Tina is a persnickty little reformer who lives to torment Vince Yates, is the sister of Jonas Cahill, the town parson (another of Luke's Regulator friends who found the Lord in a trench during the war after a misspent youth running with outlaws) and rail against Demon Rum. (okay, that's EXACTLY like Tina)
    Book Three with Vince and Tina is called Stuck Together.

    Swept Away
    Fired Up
    Stuck Together

  57. MIA, make sure and stop in anyway, we're going to be doing giveaways and just trying generally to have a lot of fun while we write.

  58. HI ROSE!
    Surely you're writing a book every month whether there is SPEEDBO (James Earl Jones) or not. I trust you, girl!!!


  59. CONNIE QUEEN, can you possibly solve the 'going downhill' part of your book by SHOOTING SOMEONE.

    (Just a suggestion)

  60. BRIDGETT HENSON, it sounds like you're on a roll, girl.
    And any echo-y voice is aceptable.

  61. MARY!!! Six books from Bethany?!?!?!


    Plus, I saw who you're writing those novellas with for next year. Nice group :D.

    I'm at the library. I'm supposed to be writing.

    So that was a quiet squee.

    And a quiet squee with some jumping around for Mellie :D.

  62. KATHY, any resemblence between SPEEDBO and SPEEDO is strictly coincidental (and icky)
    Go click on that link at the end of the first paragraph of my blog and it will take you to a description of SPEEDBO, but basically what it is is SEEKERVILLE's version of NANO.
    November is just a tough month for a lot of us to do a writing sprint with the holidays and such things. We thought March was a better choice so we tried it last year. We had over 100 people sign up and had so much fun we decided to do it again!!!

  63. AND KATHY, a panster is someone who starts a book with little or no idea what the heck they're going to write. They write by 'the seat of their pants'.
    Where as plotters have a good outline and character sketches and a a solid PLOT all figured out ahead of time.

  64. JEANNE when you said Panster-like I read PANTHER-like and saw you all coiled and dangerous preparing to LEAP ON YOUR BOOK AND BITE IT'S NECK.

    (which could be a very troubling euphamism for getting it written.)


    (oh, wait, maybe it does mean that)

  66. Jennifer if you're ready to start fresh then SPEEDBO (James Earl Jones) is perfect for you. ALL NEW. ON YOUR MARKS.....

  67. LYNDEE I like to think I help everyone keep calm by being an abject failure. So if you want to feel good about yourself, compare your forward progress to MINE!!!
    (sometimes shiny objects distract me!)

  68. VINCE, you're taking the Rose's online writers bootcamp right now?
    I want to hear all about it.


    (Now I'm getting scared. What do you supposed I really signed up for this weekend?)

  69. ELLEN the best part of old finished manscripts that aren't all that great is, we can look back on them and say, "I'm better. I've learned."

  70. VIV, you've got your own system, that works for you. GOOD GIRL. And don't let Ruthy tell you you're wrong. (we have to watch her every minute!!!)

  71. JENNIFER that's why we have to be so careful telling writers HOW IT'S DONE.
    Like it's a commandment or something.

    Somethings just don't work for some people and that is OKAY!!!!!!!

    Good for you for discovering what works for you.

  72. i've tried NaNo twice, only able to write a couple of days before life butted in (was in Masters program at the time, what was i thinking?) now, i've a three year old who covets mommy-time, but i'm thinking i've several ms's percolating in the abyss of my brain - perhaps i shall try this SPEEDBO (james earl jones) thing. march is usually a better month for writing for me. (too many birthdays and holiday stuff in Nov).
    now, to focus on my word for the year DISCIPLINE...
    i think i shall prep by deciding which ms to focus on and get my characters a bit more fleshed out so i can better wing it when March arrives. (or maybe open up that snowflake program thingy i've loaded on my laptop)
    thanks for the warning shot, Mary.

  73. Mary, thanks for the reminder that March will be here in a flash!

    Kids are back to school today in my area of the country. Folks are back at work. The holiday is over, and I'm at my computer.

    Brainstorming a new story tomorrow...I'll call it my SPEEDBO book for 2013!

    Great tip, Glynna, to get my March Seeker post written ahead of time.

    Congrats to Mel with the new (Shhhhh...) contract. Snoopy dancing in GA!

  74. CAROL, thanks for the excitement.
    And beside the six book Bethany House contract there is this NOVELLA ANNOUNCEMENT

    A Bride for all Seasons, a novella collection with Robin Lee Hatcher, Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton and Me, coming in June

  76. Oh, hey, DEBH, that reminds me. My word for the year is (it's two words actually) BLACK BOOTS.
    I need a new pair and it's usually a lot of work to find them. I MUST FOCUS ON BLACK BOOTS!!!

    Uh........that's what One Word means right??? (confused)

  77. More Mary books. Happy sigh.

    SPEEDBO (James Earl Jones) will be a month of finishing a WIP. The proposal is out there in some editors' email inboxes already, and I estimated the completion date to be the end of March.

    So I have the plot outline, synopsis, GMC's, first five chapters, moral premise and the research done. Well set up for the last 80K words during SPEEDBO, right?

    Meanwhile, trying to get a different WIP finished before then.

    I'm finding that working a couple months on one WIP then switching to another one for a couple months is good for my creative whatevers. I come back to the story with fresh eyes - probably because it's been cooking on the back burner during the break.

    And has anyone mentioned that we're cooking up great SPEEDBO surprises over at the Yankee Belle Cafe for March? Keep tuned!

    One last thing - Mary, I had four children between '84 and '93. We were probably both in the same diaper/Barney the Dinosaur/playdoh fog during that time.

  78. Hi Mary:

    Here is the first assignment for the Plotting Bootcamp.

    “Assignment: Identify your Theme, write your Logline and Premise. You can do it!"

    These instructors mean business! You can tell they have done this class many times! I’m already deep into it.

    I’m a plotter but I have a firm rule: ‘a plotter must always be willing to change the plot at anytime a change will make it a better story.’ In other words, you can’t fall in love with your plot. I plot because I insist on having a great ending to motivate me to finish. Other than that, I pantser as much as I can get away with.

    To be totally honest, while they may not have a writing class on ‘how to pantser’ almost any class on “Creating Ideas” (and there are many) would also be a class on pantsering. I think I could give such a class right now: “How to harness the Power of Controlled Pantsering to Obtain Undreamed of Writing Success”. Maybe I could give this at the next WIN meeting. :)


  79. Whoa, Mary!!! You are actually going to PLOT????? I will be on pins and needles (cliche alert) to hear how that goes. The very thought of plotting an entire novel AHEAD OF TIME just makes me want to hide in the closet!

    Oh, and Grammar Queen said to tell you it's "lying awake."

    Which I did for a while last night after reading an email from my agent that arrived late in the evening with suggestions about a manuscript we've been hashing and rehashing for a few years now. It may turn out to be the best book that never made it into print--LOL!

    Actually, not LOL. More like SOLABHAW. (Sobbing out loud and banging head against wall.)

  80. I'm a little ahead of you, Jan. (or another way to put it, I'm a little OLDER than you)
    I'm 1979 to 1989 from the birth of the first little Connealy daughter to the fourth.

    You sound so super organized and ready, Jan. Wow, good for you. I used to love jumping genres. For a while there for Barbour I was writing the Cowboys and a series of contemporary short romances for Heartsong plus three cozy mysteries for Heartsong Presents Mysteries. I felt like it was energizing to change.

  81. Speedbo time again already?? My, my, but time does fly. :p

    Mary, obviously pantser-ing(??) works well for you, so why tamper with a good thing in the first place? :p

    Boy, to finally finish my WIP in one month would be amazing. Hmm. Not sure how to juggle the jobs around that, but even getting a drastic height to my current creeping word count would be a winning situation to me.


  82. Vince go for it. A true Panster/plotter combine workshop. Long overdue. What could we call this method?
    Plotster? Pantplots? Plants? PanPLo (I think we need James Earl Jones for PanPlo)
    Flexi-Plot? Plantastic?

  83. SOLABHAW should definitely become a famous acronym, Myra. Plenty of that around!!!

  84. Good morning! Love the cover of your new book, Mary!

    I did Speedbo last year and will attempt to this year as well. Not sure what I'll be doing - but I do have a germ of an idea for a contemporary - so maybe that!

    Remind us again in February to prepare for this!

    Thanks, Mary.


  85. WHITNEY, here's the thing. I just want to go to Omaha and hang out with Writer Friends. We have this retreat every year and we try different stuff all the time. So this year, we're trying this.

    It's only now dawning on me that I'm going to have to actually PLOT.

    I sort of had a lot of talking over LUNCH envisioned.

    (I'm doomed)

  86. I am intrigued by this SPEEDBO concept. I wish I could go to the boot camp thing, too. It'd be awesome to buckle down for an entire weekend and work on plotting a book (without the constant distraction of crying children and diapers that need changing). Ahhh...I'm thinking yes for SPEEDBO. Time to start preparing.

  87. Congratulations on your new book, Mary!

    I don't have anything planned for March except for Speedbo so I'll be ready to roll. But I'm going to outline first because otherwise I'll flail.

  88. My word for 2013 is FINISH and I have decided that I will finish a draft on two WIPs in the first six months. I am targeting to write "the end" on one rough draft by the end of February (book already over 2/3 written).

    Then, for Speedbo, using an already written scene-by-scene synopsis of another book that's already started, I plan to kick into high gear and get as much done on that book as I can.

  89. Can't wait to read your new book Mary. Congrats. :)

    The plotting boot camp sounds like what I need for my new book I'm working on, or plan to be writing during Speedbo. So what am I doing to prepare? First a little R & R with my hubbie as we head to Florida to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Can't wait. Then when we return, I guess I'd better come up with my own plotting boot camp. :)

    Don't forget to let us know how your plotting session goes.

    Jodie Wolfe

  90. ANNIE RAINS you should contact these plotting bootcamp ladies and see if you can get them to come to your local writer's groups.
    I have no idea what they charge but the cost of this retreat is $50, plus the hotel room of course, and there are??? 20 or 25 of us involved so I'm not sure if that money all goes to them or if it's split between them and our RWA group.

  91. WALT, way to go. It's an ambitious plan, good for you.

  92. Mary, you crack me up! Love it.
    I've migrated with each MS to the plotter side, and it makes for so much less work on the back end with revisions but still allows me to make any changes I want as I go.
    For me, the hardest thing to get over was that feeling "locked in" to my outline/plot plan once I started writing but it didn't at all.

    I'm not doing Speedbo this year because I successfully completed Nano and am deep in revisions and edits on two manuscripts I'm getting ready for Genesis. But I'll be cheering everyone on who is!

    And that's a nice looking cover you've got there. =)

  93. Mary, the word was inspired by a kick in the pants sometime late last year from Ruthy. I didn't realize she could kick all the way from New York.

  94. Interested to find out what all this is about...

  95. Ruthy Long Foot, that's her Iroquise name.

  96. Nancy, okay, gulp, I'll behave and try more plotting.
    I'm going to be a nice big grown up girl.

    (Also, I reserve the right to ignore whatever I come up with this weekend and just DO WHATEVER I WANT!!!)
    I learned that from my two year old grandson...he's perfected it!

  97. Misty, are you talking about the plotting boot camp? Or SPEEDBO (JEJones)?

    Or is it more of an existential metaphysical question? What's it all about?
    Why are we here?
    What is the meaning of SPEEDBO? (JEJ)

  98. LOL, Mary!! I am confirming for you that your email to the loop was more along the lines of "I think I figured out what my book's about." :)

    I'm so glad we're doing Speedbo again! I do plan to take part this time. I hope to have a new contract by then to be working on!

  99. Oh, and to get ready, I'll try to do blog posts ahead of time. That sort of thing.

  100. "What would Mary do?

    Shoot someone. Of course.
    I'll try it.

    Connie Queen

  101. You can shoot someone metaphorically of course, Connie. Emotionally.

    But that's way harder!!!!!!!

  102. Wheee -- very excited that you have a new book coming out soon. Gobsmacked at how much you have going on the horizon as well! And your titles -- do you come up with them yourself? I hear that lots of times publishers change the title on the author.

    I'm in for Speedbo -- have two possibilities that I'd like to explore. Not sure which one I'll do, but I appreciate the notice.

    The biggest thing that I can do to prepare is find a comfortable way to sit at the computer for a long period of time. I have a gimpy foot that doesn't like sitting...or standing for that matter. I'm looking into a half bicycle contraption (the pedal half) that you can fit under your desk. Hoping that keeping my foot in constant motion will keep the owies at bay. But if not I have two months to figure out something else. :-)

  103. Holy Macaroni. You guys are chatting.

    I am looking forward to Speedbo to help get me through the dead month of March.

  104. Thank you, Viv! :-)

    Mary, I don't think I will have to keep the secret very much longer! :-) And my husband just got a call asking him to interview for a great job in St. Louis. Seeing Julie IN Person on a regular basis was the first thought that came to mind! Oh my stars, what kind of havoc could Julie Lessman and I play, in person, on a regular basis??? ;-)

  105. Kav, have you considered going to an office supply store and consulting with them about what would help your foot? Or a doctor? Or a physical therapist? They might give you some really solid, practical ideas. (Maybe that's where you got the idea for the pedal!!!)

  106. Hey, Tina. I'm writing your book right now.
    Picture yourself protesting outside a saloon. Picket signs. Confrontation.

    Mud wrestling.

  107. I'm tellin' you Mel, NORTH DAKOTA is where the action is. Their unemployment rate is so low they're making people work TWO JOBS.

    Nebraska's good too, but we're no North Dakota.

  108. I am so ready for Swept Away! Why can't it be out this month? (whine) Oh well. If I must wait, I suppose I'll just pout awhile and then get back to work.

    Like Nancy, since I managed to successfully complete NaNo, I'll be working on that manuscript. I'm a turtle compared to all you rabbits. :-) But I'm really liking the plot and characters in my story and am excited about polishing and revising. So, I'll be a cheerleader along with Jenny.

  109. Love reading all the comments, lot of laughing going on!

    six books, that's fantastic!

    I feel your pain for the book that doesn't seem to want to turn out right. Sometimes the idea is right, but to get it on the page right is a whole different ballgame!

    loved the first assignment you got for the online course. Logline can be a great thing to identify theme and GMC. You all have to cram it into say ... 25 words? It also helps to write backcover copy of no more than 100 words. Then you really have to focus on the basics.

  110. Emily Rodmell did an article on getting the essence of your story down into two sentences. Basic message: if you can't get it down into two sentences, the essence isn't clear enough in your mind yet.

  111. Annie,
    belated congrats on your birthday. And what a terrific suggestion Mary gave you to see if the plotting ladies can come to you. If you can find enough people willing to join in, it should be doable!

    have a great anniversary trip. Florida makes me think of pie!

  112. Viv, I remember the first time someone said, "Tell me about your book in 30 words."
    "Tell me about your book in one sentence."
    I believe that was when I first started typing:

    A primal scream on a keyboard.
    Hard as all get-out to do.

  113. LOL, Mary. but I can totally understand why they ask that. I mean, you can go like 'well, there's this guy and this girl and they meet and the story explodes (sorry, couldn't resist) but that doesn't tell them a whole lot about what the book's actually about. And like an agent once said, if you don't know, how are they gonna know?!

  114. Wait - Mel! Your first thought wasn't "Do you know how close I'll be to Carol?!?!?!"

    Granted, not as close as Julie, but way closer than now ;).

    I'm trying to type while walking on the treadmill. Retying the first to third person thing. Not sure how I like it...

  115. Clari- how is your mom (mom in law?) doing?

    Still praying for her tooth issue!

  116. Some agents tweet about the queries they're reviewing and in those short statements they often say: unclear what the book is about, no clear conflict. So it really, really pays to condense the information and include those elements agents and editors are looking for. Even if it is indeed not the easiest thing to do...

  117. Virginia,
    Thank you for the prayers! My mom is doing a little better. The antibiotics are helping and the pain isn't as severe. (In other words, now the ibuprophen can actually ease the pain.) She's still waiting to get into an endodontist. At this point, she won't see one till next Monday.

  118. So glad to hear that!!

    There's nothing like tooth pain. I've been through natural childbirth and I'd choose that any day over needing a root canal. :(

  119. My mom will agree with you 100%! She's had six children (three of them at home) and she'd choose that over dentists. She's hoping that they'll knock her out if they need to pull anything or do a root canal. She said when she had her wisdom teeth pulled that ten shots didn't numb the pain. Dad had to physically sit on her feet while the dentist worked. To say she's worried is putting it rather mildly. :-(

  120. Clari, Glad to hear your mom's pain is better!


  121. Thank you, Mary! I didn't know about SPEEDBO. November is always so busy with holiday preparations, that I haven't successfully finished a NANO. March sounds PERFECT to me--as long as our second grandchild arrives near his due date. I'll be plotting away until then, so I will have no excuses.....

  122. Wow, Clari, tell me you're plotting a horror story, not really talking about your mom and dental pain.

    And I'm sure they're very nice human beings (somewhere deep inside)

  123. I have this firm, firm policy.
    I never say Thank You to a dentist for hurting me and charging me a zillion dollars for the priviledge


    I never say THANK YOU to a policemen when he hands me a speeding ticket.

    A woman's gotta have rules!!!!!!

  124. Sherida you know, that's what we thought. November's just a bad month for this, it seems like.
    We toyed with February. It's a short month but it's also a BORING month. So it'd work. but it takes a pretty fast turnaround from the holidays. I feel like I need the whole two months from now until March to get all things in order, finish what I'm working on, plot the next thing. Stock up on canned soup for My Cowboy to live on. (Oh, yeah, right, like I'm ever gonna work so hard I miss a meal!!!!)

  125. PS I had my babies quite a while ago so it's changed but my babies cost about what a root canal costs now.
    And I ended up with a sweet little baby instead of a gold crown that doesn't show and doesn't work well to chew with.

  126. LOL, Mary.

    Unfortunately, the horror story is non-fiction. My poor mom.

    Johnny Carson said, "Happiness is your dentist telling you it won't hurt and then having him catch his hand in the drill."

    Mason Cooley said, "If suffering brought wisdom, the dentist's office would be full of luminous ideas."

    Ogden Nash said, "Some tortures are physical, and some are mental. But the one that is both is dental."

  127. MARY--Your visual made me laugh. :) There's not much "panther-like" about me. Hopefully I will be diligent like the ant and get it done though. :)

  128. Congratulations on signing with Bethany.

  129. Okay - I WILL do SpeedBo. I WILL!!
    I'm currently snowflaking my biblical - four steps to go until I'm writing the first draft. Will see where I am by March 1 before I decide what my goal is, exactly. REALLY wanna be ready to write by then - but if I'm not? Part of Step 9 MAY be included.

  130. JOANNE, way to commit, girl.
    Step 9?
    I'm confused, I think Steps and Pansters are mutually exclusive.

  131. A little birdie told me Swept Away JUST MIGHT be up on NetGalley.

    Or maybe I was scrolling through Bethany's books for review over there...

    Either way... the request has been sent... ;)

  132. Hey Seekerville,

    I am officially a plotster (or whatever the combo word is). I felt all alone in the world as some weird, hybrid, in-between person until Ruthy said it was okay to work this way in a comment she wrote a few months back. I write my way in for a few chapters--just a few--and then plot the rest. It's worked so far and I will probably do the same for SPEEDBO even though the on-line workshop looks mighty tempting. (Cue JEJ) SPEEDBO went well and allowed me to get a draft down last time. I look forward to the exercise again. Thanks for preparing us Mary!


  133. Carol, I remember you getting so sick last year. I couldn't remember how you got from Point A to Point B. Wow!

    Speedbo... I must clear the decks for Speedbo this year.

  134. ok, Mary, the women disguised as men in the war wanting to stay men until they marry is such a great concept...why didn't I think of that first! ;)

  135. PIPER, THERE YOU GO! your own way.

    I think there might be a Frank Sinatra song that is all about YOU. I gotta be.....PIPER!!!!!!


  136. Melissa the cool thing is, this really happened. They have very vague evidence of up to 700 women who fought in the war disguised as men. Some were found out but some served their enter enlistment and were never revealed.
    So much interesting research.
    And I came up with it while researching the Trouble In Texas Series when I read that a BABY HAD BEEN BORN IN ANDERSONVILLE PRISON. A woman was in there with her husband and the child was theirs. No one knew she was a woman until the baby was born and started crying. Jane Hunt was the mother's name. It's absolutely true. And i've read several stories about women who fought as men. Some went to stay by their husband's side. Some went when a husband or brother died to avenge him. Some went to fight to preserve the union they believed in.
    Every story is fascinating and many of them didn't come out until years later when someone found an old journal or something that the women had written talking about their war experiences.

  137. Carol, that was my SECOND thought. My third was, Oh good, maybe now I won't end up in debtor's prison while my kids spend time in the orphanage Oliver Twist made famous. Just kidding. Sort of.

  138. Mary -

    The women-as-men in the Civil War is fascinating. I'm looking forward to all of them.

    Just pass me the laptop under your front porch.

    You do have wifi right?

    Mel - I hope, for many reasons, it comes to pass.

  139. Wow, wow, wow. What an interesting topic. It's always refreshing to see not EVERYONE has every last detail of their stories pegged before they start writing. Those plotting and how-to writing books make me break into a cold sweat and start gnashing my teeth.

    So for Speedbo . . . I hope to participate this year, but I doubt I'll be writing from the beginning. Either I'll be finishing my WIP which is under contract, or revising this other story that I fell in love with and have almost finished but don't have a contract for. But either way, I should be busy working during Speedbo.

    And if someone told me my assignment was:

    “Identify your Theme, write your Logline and Premise. You can do it!"

    This sweet little pastor's wife would suddenly start conjuring up some pretty nasty words. How on earth can you know all that stuff BEFORE the story is written???

    And Myra, in my short time working with our agent, I've learned to NEVER open those SOLABHAW emails before bed. You always wait until the house is empty so no one hears the sobs, and you have a big bowl of ice cream and a box of tissue beside you. And then after reading the email, you turn off your computer and go watch Pride and Prejudice or Man from Snowy River or something else that makes you forget books even exist.

  140. Okay, okay, okay. How is Melissa (and others) surprised by this women-as-Civil-War-soldiers thing? I knew it, and the Civil War is probably my least favorite time in American history. Women dressed as men and worked as sailors, too, if that gives anyone a story idea or two. :-)

  141. Naomi said:

    How on earth can you know all that stuff BEFORE the story is written???


  142. Thanks Carol! :-)

    And Mary, I really love the whole Andersonville thing. When I first read Seth had been there, I went "Wow, why didn't I think of that?" Andersonville survivors is a really cool spin on the Civil War. And even though I'm not the world's biggest Civil War buff, I am a POW fan. In fact I've got three different prisoner ideas for my French series, and that's set 65 years before the Civil War, and on a different continent. :-)

  143. Mary, I love, love, love reading their stories and the women who tame them. *le sigh* I can't wait to see mine in print, thinking I need a couple good, solid critiques though. I've done just about all I can with it and I'm not figuring out why it's not 'there' yet.

  144. I think I'd choose natural child birth over a few things. Root canal, kidney stone, gall stone and some migraines.

    Clari, praying mil gets in soon.

  145. wow - Congratulations to Melanie and Mary on the contracts! This is fabulous! :)

    I'm about to turn in (was up way too late last night for my own good) and Alabama is cleaning up!! WAHOO!

    Hope they continue on!

  146. Ummmmmm, naomi, I knew about the women dressing up as men in the civil war, it was the wanting to continue to pretend to live as men afterward in that era that was the intriguing idea.

  147. Oh, awesome news, Mary and Melanie!!!! Congratulations!

  148. Excellent! Swept Away comes out in plenty of time for me to finish reading it before Speedbo.

    How am I prepared for Speedbo? I have two characters' names. I know the name of the town. I have the ending scene clearly in my mind. And I know there's one crazy misunderstanding after another -- I just don't know what they are. That's a lot more than I've started with in the past :-)

    Nancy C

  149. Melissa and Naomi, some of the stories I've read about women getting wounded and being sent home are so intereting. One woman was fighting with her husband. He died, she lived and fought through the rest of the war.
    One woman, possibly the most interesting, stayed in the army after the war, then lived out her whole life as a man and earned a pension from the army. Then lived in a home for retired military in the early 20th century. Only when she became very very ill at the end of her life did it finally come out that she was a woman. She'd lived her whole life disguised.

    Probably some issues there, huh?

    Iv'e got another twist on it but I think I'll just feed those details out slowly. I've got the Luke Stone book series to get through first. I'm thinking way too far in the future here.

  150. Christina, in that women dressed as men series it's the MEN who tame the women.

    In fact the working title series is Wyoming Wild Women. They head west after the war, determined to be utterly independent and never answer to a man again. Of course, of the three sisters, one isn't all that thrilled. She kind of likes lace. And long curly hair. And flirting. She falls first. :)

  151. Sorry, that's what I get for skimming comments yesterday and not reading all of them. I thought Melissa was surprised by the women dressing as men thing, not them staying men afterwards.

    I would say that was really weird, but when you consider all the things men could do and women couldn't . . . Yep. I could see women putting up with being men, at least in public. It's the in private, close living quarters of the army, things that make me thing of women Civil War soldiers and go "Yuck!"

  152. Oh, drat ... late for another Seeker post, so I'm sorry, Mare, but I was actually getting ready for SPEEDBO (low voice here) by finishing my NINTH book!!! No Mary Connealy by a long shot, but this one was a booger, so just glad to have it done. :)


  153. Hi there, authors. As a reader, i'm here to cheer you on. And i will be watching to see what you come up with...and off and running. (if you need reviewers once the book is finished, you know where to find me.) What would we do without Helen and her coffee?

  154. James Earl Jones... yeah, okay... but if you'd said Sam Elliot? I'd be hooked. ;)