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How to UP Your Word Count and Write Like a Boss! (Part 1)

Ingrid's Notes

Guest post by Sheryl Scarborough


I just finished the first draft of a new novel… my third.

I wrote it fast, with a vengeance.

280 pages, 63k words, 10 weeks. BAM!

That’s Wham, bam, thank you ma’am speed. Finishing this novel so quickly has restored my writer power. I’m excited and enthused, ready to roll up my sleeves and settle in for the revision stage. But looking back I’m a little amazed at my accomplishment. So, before my process becomes a hazy memory I want to document it and understand it, so I can do again. (And again… and… well, you get the idea.)

But before I get into my process, let’s take a look at how the Big Dog (and even some little dog) authors muscle through their drafts. You’ll find this interesting.

Sheryl_HemingwayErnest Hemingway… averaged 500 words per day.

… would begin his writing day in the early…

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My 2-Year-Old Judges Books By Their Covers

101 Books

My son will be 3 years old in June, and I love the fact that he’s into reading. A day usually doesn’t go by without him asking me or his mom to sit down and read a book with him.

During all those reading sessions, I’ve learned that he’s an imaginative little guy.

So I decided to put that imagination to use and see what he thinks about the books I read, not just the books about Elmo and Thomas The Train and Lightning McQueen.

So I grabbed a bunch of classic books, got him to sit in my lap, showed him the cover of each book, and then asked him one question: “What do you think this book is about?”

He took it from there:

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The Trees That Held Up Our Neighborhood

Monday Blogs


Flash Fiction

The Trees That Held Up Our Neighborhood


So, imagine if you will, set far off from the road, a light-mossy-green painted house with a wrap around porch, a swing on one end, and on the other two Great Oaks. In between these oaks was the best treehouse anyone could imagine painted the same mossy-green as the house. You had to climb high on a ladder and crawl through a hole and you had yourself a treehouse. There were no walls on the treehouse. There weren’t any windows and absolutely no roof but that didn’t matter to me. Camping out there and seeing the stars above my head was the best place to be.

But those two Great Oaks weren’t the best climbing trees, they had grown in that ground for so long there were no limbs to be reached. No, the best climbing tree was in the neighbor’s yard across the street. It grew to be climbed and climbed it we did. We felt like giants. But my mother said I couldn’t go in their yard unless they were home. She said it was not okay because that would be trespassing. In my mind, I understood the “tres” to be the front of the house. Why? I truly do not know. I imagine that’s just the way my mind worked at that age.

There was a lady in our neighborhood who sprayed her hose on every kid on the block who stepped in her yard, even if they fell off their bikes and just landed in her yard. But she didn’t spray me for some reason. I think it was because she and my Grandma were friends. Or maybe I told her while on her front lawn about the “tres”of her house and she took pity on me. Didn’t want to do more damage than was already done!

Back at our yard, behind the treehouse was the part of the yard that no one in my family used—except me. Yes, you are right, it was my secret garden, so to speak. The bricks that were laid long ago to separate neighbor from neighbor were overrun with ivy and on that ivy was my very favorite flower—honeysuckle. I loved that flower. I sat with my back against the ivy and smelled their scent and if a bee came by why I just stood still and it didn’t bother me. It was probably just as happy as I was to be hidden in those honeysuckles.

There was a man who lived in that great house before us that worked at the city Botanical Garden cutting bulbs for tulips and gluing them back together. Imagine that! But each time he did, he brought a glued bulb or two home in his pocket and then planted it in my special garden. If I was chasing after our dachshund, Gus or Gump, our St. Bernard was chasing after me, I always found deep red bottomed tulips with white tops or orange and yellow striped ones. It was like an Easter hunt, but the treats were laid for me a long, long time ago. I’d stop and look at them if Gus and I were playing and think they just grew for me. If Gump and I were playing, well I didn’t have time to stop! But I loved all of them tulips as if I was the only one to see them. And I guess I was!


I just saw a flash  fiction request by the lovely Ellen Mulholland (@thisgirlclimbstrees) and thought I would join in. The WordPress site (http://www.thepointofthequill.com) is taking up so much time trying to fend off hackers with my knife and sword, it gets daunting.






tulips  botanical garden



heart free photo from shutterstock_97614038The people in our lives that our there tangentially, during the times of difficulty become a part of us that never leaves our true nature as they have helped to strengthen us. In all cases, they our closer to our heart and soul than words can say. In the case of loves, that bond is so much stronger. The old saying that youth is wasted on the young applies as we don’t know what gem we held until we see the breadth of humanity; or lack thereof. Regrets are natural, but I prefer to look at the great wonder that brought them into our lives, the fun and special times we had together, and the lessons that they taught me. I see that as one of your strong suits as well in your writing. Even when writing of others, it is amazing how much of ‘us’ seeps through. The beauty of the art if you write from the heart

From one writer to another.

Image: Shutterstock

Can Anyone Give Me a Hand?
authors, autoimmune awareness, ironic

Can Anyone Give Me a Hand?


It is time for me to roll out the red carpet for my awards ceremony thanks to TLN and his award. I will have to wait a bit though as I have had an injury of sorts.

Before I go further, I want to thank the beautiful Cheryl Moore for dedicating part of her ongoing story to me. She writes and draws at Unbound Boxes Limping Gods , an incredible work in progress. Both her words and artwork are a dream. I had written her after being transfixed with a drawing of one of her characters, Ancille , that seemed to me to move off the page, so enlivened was her artwork. The amazing thing is she thanked me for her work of art. How that generosity of spirit manifests is itself a thing of beauty. Thank you, Cheryl.

I haven’t written lately due to a hand injury. I had lost the use of my dominant hand. I couldn’t will a finger up if I tried. Now there is a revolving door of sweet nurses, talented physical therapists, occupational therapists; and I must leave shortly for a doctor’s appointment.

Thanks to an angel of a friend, I have now Dragon, the speech-to-text software which still is trying to learn the funny ways of my speech and thanks to a dear friend, Jen, a wonderful headphone and mic. Thank you, Jen.

The hand is getting better, but it has been very frustrating. This happened just after I was accepted with a scholarship to The Story Cartel. I am reminded of the injury my brother sustained as a violinist when he broke a wrist bone. He went into a severe depression due to his limitations. Though my reaction has been somewhat different, there have been periods of, well, even a writer finds it hard to find words for the abysmal feelings we must fight against as if our very soul depends upon it. In many ways, I believe it does; our soul must create and any wall we encounter to that goal seems higher as our spirit is crushed further. My fight has been both physical and spiritual; but I am fighting. I am fighting the good fight, as a writing friend has stated.

Though it sounded quiet Freudian to me, it turned out to be an autoimmune reaction; as it was explained to me. The circuits between the hand and brain just stopped. Okay. Whatever; I just wanted my hand back. It was quite timely as May is the month of Lupus Awareness Month. Ironically, the Lupus Association decided this year that a symbol of awareness and solidarity for a cure would be to hold your right hand up in an L-shape. I just had to laugh as this disease is nothing if not ironic.

I must go to the dreaded doctor but I will be back to post more and will be visiting all of you as I have missed you. Be well and happy.