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Several posts ago, I wrote that I have a goal to complete two chapters on my thriller by the end of March. I’m happy–no thrilled–to say that I’m sure I’m going to make it. The last two weeks have seen a real turnaround in how I’m working on the story and how I feel about what I’ve written.

It started with–index cards. Just the lowly index card. Part of my problem was being uncertain about part of the plot and the time line of the story. I finished the first chapter in the two-chapter goal, looked at it, and thought. “It won’t work with the time line. I am going to have to friggin’ well dump this entire chapter.” This did not make me happy. Think of it–you spend two weeks bullying your way through a chapter only to say to yourself when you finish, “it won’t work!” I suffered a crisis of confidence. (Translation: I felt very grumpy.)

I’ve kept my outline and story notes in a notebook, specifically an Apica CD-15 notebook, along with legal pad sheets of dialog and ideas. It’s very linear. Written from one page to the next, it’s flat and set. I got a bunch of index cards (alas, I did not care whether they were fountain pen friendly or not…) and put one plot element on each card and then started shuffling. I worked with that for a weekend, and the plot line fell into place. Fortunately, the chapter I had written and thought I would have to dump also fell into place. Scenes and dialog started coming more easily, more naturally to me. I’ve found the groove for this story again.

I’ll make my goal by the end of the month. The chapters won’t be perfect, but I feel like they’ll be good solid first drafts. Even better, I’m looking at the following pieces with a lot more confidence now.

Oh, index card statistics: Rotring 600 w/medium nib and Mont Blanc Bordeaux ink. Waterman Expert II w/fine nib and Private Reserve Midnight Blues ink. Index cards–whatever probably 10 years old from Office Depot, yellowing and fading slightly. There was *some* feathering from the Rotring, who really, who the hell cares? It worked! ~chortle!~

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Apica CD-15

Apica CD-15

I have a friend who is a poet. A few months ago I gave her an Apica CD-15 notebook and a Pilot 78G broad nibbed fountain pen for Christmas. I didn’t know how she had been writing her poetry–with a ballpoint (yech), a gel pen, rollerball, typewriter or on Word (how lifeless, how mechanical!), but I knew that poems written with such talent deserved a fountain pen. So I packed up a spare CD-15 and a pen and sent them on their merry journey out of the country.

She became Apica-addicted. She likes these neat, smooth and creamy little notebooks so much that she ordered 25 of them from Molly on eBay (Take Note Writing Gear). Now all she has to do is discover that if one fountain pen is good, two is better, and three fountain pens do not make a crowd! From there, she can go on to ink and various types of paper and notebooks.

Last night, I found out that she had used the Apica and fountain pen to write a book of poetry for her husband for Valentine’s Day. That, I have to say, is the gift that keeps on giving.

Now, the only thing I wonder is if Molly will give me a referral fee the next time I place an order with her!

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