How Authors Handle the Dreaded Interruption

While some authors find it difficult to discipline themselves when it comes to butt-in-chair, fingers-on-keyboard, others have the opposite problem. They (I should say, “we”) can’t easily leave a story in progress. We think, “I don’t want to interrupt the flow of the story. What if I can’t get back into the mood—recapture the emotion, continue in that groove?” But is sitting at the keyboard hour after hour really the answer? Stay with a scene for too long and it can become stale. You may risk burn-out, not to mention sleep-deprivation.

How you handle this quandary? Do you easily adjust amidst distractions and interruptions? Or do you have to sequester yourself away for hours at a time in order to create the time and space to get it done?

My grandson worked at home for a few weeks while his office building was being remodeled and quickly learned how difficult (read impossible) it was going to be with twenty-one-month-old twins in the house. So he devised a plan that worked. He’d leave the house as usual, kissing everyone good-bye. Then he’d sneak around through another door and enter his office undetected where he could work undisturbed for the rest of the day.

I know an author who was having trouble adjusting to working at home after retiring from a corporate job. So every morning, he’d get dressed and head for a coffee house where he could chat with people. Then he’d head home and get right to work.

Many authors find a time during each twenty-four hours when they can work in peace—before dawn, for example, or (for the night-person) after everyone goes to bed.

But still, you must leave your story many times during the crafting and editing processes—often with unresolved issues. This can be a problem for some, who might say, “What if I can’t remember what direction I was going to take this scene?”

There are a couple of ways to handle this dilemma. One is to make quick notes in the manuscript before you take off with your kids to the park, to get a quick bite, or to engage in conversation with a long-distance friend or relative. When you return to your project, you should be able to pick up where you left off—if, in fact, you can actually remember what those quick notes mean. Oh my!

I’m learning to trust myself. The idea I had while deeply involved in the scene before being torn away from it, might not actually be the best one. Having relaxed some about leaving in the middle of a mystery or a crisis, I often return and tackle it seamlessly, as if I never took the respite. Other times, I look at the paragraph or chapter I’d been working on and create an entirely different scenario than the one I’d planned.

The truth is, adapting successfully to interruptions and distractions can mean the difference between completing a book in weeks or in years.

 

find the cost of your paper

Shuffle An Array

Today’s exercise comes to us from Leetcode via Reddit:

Given an array consisting of 2n elements in the form
[x1,x2,…,xn,y1,y2,…,yn], return the array in the form [x1,y1,x2,y2,…,xn,yn].

The Reddit poster claims to be new to Scheme and functional programming, and was thinking of a solution using length and list-ref, but couldn’t solve the problem.

Your task is to show the student how to solve the problem. When you are
finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your own solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.

Blog Tour Review: Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather

Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch, #2) by Adriana Mather

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Series: How to Hang a Witch, #2
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Source: Publisher

The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous “ship of dreams”—a story made all the more fascinating because the author’s own relatives survived the doomed voyage.

Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one. 

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship. 

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

Haunting the Deep is the follow up to How to Hang a Witch which follows Sam on another ghostly mission to break a spell that could quite possibly send Sam to watery grave. Anything and everything Titanic related intrigues me and the fact that this book follows Sam as she tries to navigate the mysterious workings that kept luring her onto the Titanic was just as spellbinding. Mather continues to impress by magically weaving a fascinating tale which was inspired by her own relatives surviving the voyage.

This book kept me immersed in its wonderfully woven mystery and never let go. I couldn’t put this book down no matter how many times I knew I needed to get some sleep before work. I couldn’t be more satisfied with how everything unfolded in this book. It was so great to live and experience with these characters. Fans of How to Hang a Witch will be thrilled that this book is just as captivating.

Haunting the Deep is a great follow up to How to Hang a Witch. The history, the magic, and yes the ghosts are just as enchanting. I would recommend this book to readers of all ages! It’s just that impressive!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Check out the book trailer!


Traveling West Virginia – Hawks Nest – New River Gorge Trail

We don’t do as much traveling as we used to. But we recently took a day trip to southern West Virginia.

Our first stop was Hawks Nest State Park. If you have traveled there before, you know where they get the expression half the fun is getting there – that is unless you are prone to motion sickness. If you are, then I would advise you to sit in the front seat of the car.

We have been to Hawks Nest many times, but this is the first time we ever rode the tram down to the river.

We wanted to ride the jet boats, but they were all booked up.

 So we did the next item on our list. We went on a hike. My husband has a bad knee, so he didn’t go with my son and me. He loves to talk, so he stayed and talked to the tram guys.

The hike was beautiful – a path filled with large rocks, rhododendron, foot bridges, caves, snakes . . .

Of course, my son had to climb up onto the first big rock we came to. Boys will be boys.

And speaking of snakes. This is where I encountered a baby snake wriggling under my shoe. I didn’t stay long enough to see what kind he was, but he wasn’t a black snake.

On the way back down the trail on this neat little foot bridge.

Our next stop was at a trail we had never walked on before. You drive over the New River Gorge Bridge, which is an experience I never tire of, and then travel a local road to a set of trails that take you to a great place for a photo op of the bridge.

I never took any pictures along the trail because we were in a hurry. We even sprinted in a few places. I never walked a trail so fast in my life. It was late and given the length of the trail we were going to be walking back in the dark. Thank goodness for cell phone flash lights!

The first mile and 3/4 was a fairly easy walk. But the last 1/4 mile was a heavy breather. This is approaching the end of the trail. And believe me when I tell you the view was well worth the huffing and puffing. 

This was as far out as I would venture. My son said that I couldn’t fall off unless I just walked off the edge. I said different — You could trip. You could slide. You could get woozy. So I played it safe.

We still got some great pictures. My son even took a few selfies.

After enjoying the view and taking a bunch of pictures, we started back. And yes, it was in the dark. I kept imagining encounters with wild animals, but none appeared.

My son said, “If we see Big Foot, shine the light while I take the picture.”
I told him, “Please make it a clear picture.”
For some reason all the pics people take of Big Foot are blurry. 😊

Press this link to a list of trails in the area. I would like to try them all out. The name of the trail we took is the Long Point Trail.

 Hope you enjoyed this Traveling West Virginia.

Have you ever been to either of these places?

If not, I hope you get to visit some day.