Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Goals

I've noticed a lot of you aren't making goals, but alas, I must, how else would I be able to exercise my rebellious nature? If I didn't have my own goals to ignore and rules to break, I might go out there and start breaking other people's rules and who knows where that would lead me (maybe over barbed wire fences or teenager stalking again). So these are my goals that have absolutely nothing to do with writing because that is one area where I don't need to make goals (I'm already a completely obsessive freak in that area).

1. Clean my house once a I mean week, once a week.
2. Make dinner at least four or three, well probably two times a week.
3. Exercise sometime in the coming year.
4. Venture out into the "real world" (church, Candi's house, or the grocery store do not count) more often than now (which is never).

Phew! Those are some lofty goals. I'm already thinking of ways to break them, thus accomplishing my overall agenda. Good luck to you with your goals as well. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rinse and ... Repeat?

"La de da, la de da." (That's me singing in the shower--very badly)

"Gracie," I say in my mind.

"Don't call me Gracie."

"Sorry, I mean Grace. Why are you so surly? Is it because of your mom?"

"Ya think?"

"So that's it? Your mom?"

"There's more."

"What though?"

"Figure it out."

"I'm trying to. And what about IK, why are you always so happy when he's around?"

"He's funny."

"He is pretty funny. But there has to be more...hmm," I finish rinsing my hair and turn off the water. I wrap my hair in a towel and start to step out of the shower.

Did I wash my hair, I wonder. I don't think I washed my hair...did I? With a sigh I shut the shower door, turn back on the water and wash my hair.

So either I have really clean hair today or once washed hair, I still don't remember. (And please don't pay attention to the fact that I didn't wash my hair until noon)

Don't you love it when your characters are talking so loud that you can't think of anything else? I better go write.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

No More Vacation

I'm officially home. Although it was way too cold and snowy for my warm blood, I had a great time. I love my family. I married into the best family ever. And it's constantly growing. On Christmas day, my niece had a baby (congrats, Kaylie) which means I'm a great Aunt (well, I was already a great aunt, but now I have the title to prove it).

I know I said while I was out of town that I wouldn't blog, but I obviously couldn't keep myself away from you all. Now that I'm home, I've discovered something: When I take a vacation from writing the only thing it does is fill my head with new ideas. New ideas equals more work. So no more vacation for me. Back to constantly thinking about the book I'm writing so that new characters can't creep their way into my mind. But for the record, I started a new book today, just to get the idea that came to me on vacation out of my brain so that I can finish my WIP, which is halfway done.

Back to work for me. Yay! I can't wait until agents are back to work too so that I can get some more rejections. I'm ready to send out my new and improved query.

Quote of the Week

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Secret Formula

Okay, while we're on the topic of throw-up (and I promise you [well maybe not definitively] that I will never speak of it again) I have a secret formula for you that will save you a lot of headache (and laundry). It has come in handy over the last ten years with my four children (and myself) and since it has, I always feel the need to pass it on. Name it what you will, but I call it: the water treatment. It goes like this. You or your child throws up, don't eat or drink anything for one hour. I know it's hard, especially when your child is screaming, "Water." But you must hold out. After one hour you give them one tablespoon of water every ten minutes for the next hour. That's hard too, because they will want more. After that hour, you can give them more water and start on the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet. I usually do it for that whole day. The next day, they can eat as normal. If at anytime during this process they (or you) throw up again, you must start over. I swear by this treatment. My children usually only throw up one time when I apply this process. You're welcome. :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Blow by Blow

Christmas Eve 2008, my husband and I were blissfully watching the last 5 minutes of "It's a Wonderful Life" (I should've known right then that something was amiss. I mean don't get me wrong the movie is okay .... alright, I'm not gonna lie, I hate the movie. I know, I'm unAmerican, I'm unChristmas, I'm incapable of sympathy or compassion for humankind.) when from the back room we heard the unmistakable sounds of a sick child. We looked at each other. The theme music from jaws rang through the air. I knew we were in serious trouble. And that is how it began. Contrary to the title of this post, I will actually spare you the gory details of the twenty-four hours that followed. Now that I'm feeling better they are too painful to want to remember. But, I will give you the stats.

People afflicted: 7
Loads of laundry done: 8
Bodies used as carpet savers: 2
Baths administered: 5
Runs to the bathroom in between gift opening: 3

My oldest woke up this morning and said, "Mom, thanks, I really do love all my presents." I don't think she even realized what she got yesterday. It was quite an experience. I'm glad it's over. Now, me and my sister-in-law are going to Provo to watch Australia. What's that? I've already seen it twice? I know, but she hasn't seen it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa loves me more than you

How do I know? Because for Christmas he brought me the stomach flu. How many of you got that for Christmas? I thought not. He not only brought it for me, but for the whole family. Yes, we are indeed a loved bunch. I will give you a blow by blow (wrong choice of words?) of our day, tomorrow. Believe me, it's quite an entertaining story, you're not going to want to miss it. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The luncheon in my head

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I am meeting Natalie and Renee today. I hope I don’t say anything lame and or awkward. *looks out the window* There she is, oh I’m so nervous. *walks down the icy front steps* Don’t slip, don’t slip, don’t slip. *opens the car door*

“Hi, so nice to meet you. Hug.” Was that lame? Did I really just announce that I was going to hug her? What if she doesn’t want a hug?

“I feel like we already know each other,” Natalie says as we hug.

Okay that’s good. *looks at Natalie* Oh, she’s super cute and super cool. She’s too cool for me. Oh no, she’s going to know she’s too cool for me. I better talk incessantly so that she doesn’t have time to think about it.

“Blah, blah, blah,” I say. What am I saying? I don’t even know what I’m saying. Oh well, I’ll just keep talking because not only am I nervous, but I am really cold.

*We get to Olive Garden and the hostess leads us to a booth where we wait for Renee. I stand when Renee comes*

Wow, she’s really tall and beautiful. “Hi, so nice to meet you.” Don’t announce your hug. Just give her a hug.

“Hug.” Doh.

*We all sit and talk for a time*

This is going well. These girls are super fun.

“Blah, blah, blah, I’m not even kidding you right now,” I say. Isn’t that the fifth time I’ve said that phrase. Do I really have to tell them that I’m not kidding?

*Waiter comes by and fills my glass for the fourth time*

I don’t believe I’ve drunk four full glasses of water. I really have to go to the bathroom, but I’m not ready to leave yet. If I get up and go to the bathroom they might take it as their opportunity to ditch me. Oh, wait, Natalie is my ride, she can’t leave me.

*Waiter starts to walk by*

“Will you take our picture?” I call out. Proof. Now I will have proof that these girls hung out with me.

And here is that proof. My virtual friends turned real world friends. I had a blast, girls. (Did I really just say blast? Is that an old lady phrase? Are they going to think I’m old? I am old.)

Monday, December 22, 2008


"Chaukie," my two year old son screamed, running towards the table.

"No, you've already had enough chocolate," I tried to reason.

He jutted out his lower lip and in true swiper-the-fox fashion said, "Aw man."

I placed him on the floor next to the toy cars and went back to the bathroom to finish applying my make-up.

"Cars, cars, cars," I heard him growl then squeal the word from the other room as he tested out different qualities of his voice.

After applying some eye shadow, I reached for my mascara. It took me a moment to realize it had become quiet. I quickly made my way down the hall, where I found my son sitting at the table, a pile of hershey's kisses in front of him, his lips outlined in chocolate, and a big smile on his face.

He met my serious stare. "Chaukie," he told me happily.

I laughed and sat down to eat a few myself.

My son's newly discovered indulgence this year is quite obviously chocolate. What do you indulge in over the holidays?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm here ... it's cold

This California native is FREEZING her tail off. I know, I know, I should put a coat on. Looks like I'm going to have a white Christmas this year. Like really, really white. Aren't the mountains gorgeous though?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it. " David Sedaris


In my post, dated December 16th, I made the statement: "My husband is the funniest person I know." I have since been accused of libel by the aforementioned husband and have been asked to make a formal retraction of the statement. I have been given two phrases as acceptable replacements for the one I used. The first option I am allowed is: "My husband made me laugh once." The second choice is: "Occasionally, I find my husband mildly amusing." So, take your pick and hopefully my husband will now feel less pressure to be funny if/when he meets any of you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, I'll be off visiting family for the next ten days, so I doubt that I'll be able to post much while I'm gone. But I just wanted to say I hope everyone has a great Christmas. I hope to relax, eat too much, and sleep longer than necessary. Maybe I'll even get some writing done (yeah, I know, I'm dreaming). I'm so excited to see my family and friends. Merry Christmas.

Update: Is it always the case that when you know you're supposed to be doing something (like packing) the ideas for your book seem to come more readily to your mind? I'm trying to pack and my characters are yelling so loud that I had to sit down and write a scene. I will eventually get on the road.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Be Quiet

I think my entire writer's group tonight would have loved to say those two words to me at several points during the evening. Perhaps they might have even wanted to yell, "Shut up!" You see, I'm a nervous talker. So, since my piece was being critiqued tonight, I just couldn't keep my mouth shut. Not only was I extremely nervous, but I also felt the need to explain every thing they commented on. I wanted to tell myself to shut up by the end of the night. In fact, I think I did. Sigh. It's not my fault. I like to talk. :) I'll try harder next time ... maybe.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Real World Observations

Well, as much as you all tried to talk me into staying in my house last week, I decided I would continue my weekly goal of trekking into the real world. Okay, I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t want to go. My husband “forgot his lunch” and I was compelled to leave the house. But, the point is, I did. Here is what I learned:

1. Funny people have funny friends. My husband is the funniest person I know. Granted, I don’t know Stephen Colbert or Ricky Gervais, but still, even if I did, my husband would be right up there (after Stephen and Ricky). It seems as though all his close friends are also very funny. He has a friend at work who dropped by his office today while I was there and they proceeded to spend the entire time making jokes. Among other things, the two of them think it is hilarious, to walk by the receptionists (or whoever really) and make farting noises, causing them to look around for the culprit. They just casually keep walking as though nothing happened (yes, they are very mature for a couple of stock brokers). Apparently another one of their hobbies, I found out today, is to pull up my blog and find out what is going on in my world. So, Sean, I threatened you after all your jokes that if you looked at my blog today, your name would be on here. And look at that there is your name. So no more handing out my blog address to your clients. ☺
2. Moutains are beautiful, especially if you only get to see them a few times a year (and that’s not because I don’t leave the house). I live in the central valley. Mountains surround us, but we never see them because the air is so bad. After it rains though, like it did all day yesterday, the view is clear and I just want to stare at the purple, snow-capped mountains and the endless cloud-filled sky all day long. Well, obviously not all day since I am now inside writing again.

Now, on to the second part of my new goal—the cleaning. Save me.

Monday, December 15, 2008


My husband got a rejection letter today. It is so unfair because I had to write a book before I got one of those. Actually, it was meant for me, but because my email address is under his name they obviously just got it off of that instead of the letter itself. The funny thing is that it felt so much better to see his name at the top of a rejection than mine. But can you imagine if that was the actual letter where an agent was requesting more book? I would've felt so gypped. But, seeing as it wasn't, I'm perfectly fine with it. I've committed a few typos myself in the wonderful query world. One time, instead of sending Rachel Vater a query, I sent Rachel Vader one. Apparently I thought she and Darth had gotten married. Another time I left out the 'r' in University. Of all the words to misspell.

But my very favorite letter typo story goes to my good friend Nicki Broby. She's not a writer, so this isn't a query story, but I laugh about it every time. This is her story, in her own words: When using Word, the automatic spell checker’s first suggestion for 'Broby' is 'Booby.' About 2 years ago I received an email from the head guy in SLC for the humanitarian program. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t check the automatic typing his spellchecker put in. You see where this is heading… Yes, I received an important email with the heading: Dear Nick’s Booby! He then sent me a second email to apologize. I immediately sent the hilarious mistake to my entire family, and my roomies still tease me by calling me Nick’s in public.

Tell me that isn't the funniest story you've ever heard. So what about you? Do you have any funny query mishaps that you can share? We will then proceed to point our fingers and laugh at you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I've been tagged

And can I just say I am so excited because this is my first tag ever. Thanks Renee. Hopefully I do it right. I think it's called Bookwormed.

Here are the rules:

1. Open the closest book - not a favorite or most intellectual book, but the closest at the moment - to page 56.

2. Write out the fifth sentence on the page, as well as the two to five sentences following.

3. Then open your ms to page 56 and write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five additional ones.

4. Tag five (or more) buddies to do this same exercise.

Okay, so here you have it. I actually had two books right next to my writing chair, but since I am mad at Charles right now for toying with my emotions, I will go with Miss Ann Brashares "The Second Summer of the Sisterhood" (or SHOT 2 as Candi and I call it):

"Can you believe that? I was worried I was underdressed, but he said I looked perfect. Those were his exact words. 'You look perfect.' Can you believe that?"

And my ms:

They were back outside. She was surprised to see that the sky had darkened to ominous. Drops of rain splattered on her face. Hailey glanced over to the tree she hadn’t noticed before.

“It’s not really the jail tree,” Toby whispered, obviously noting her gaze.

“I didn’t think so,” Hailey said.

“The jail tree is somewhere else entirely.”

I choose to tag:


Britten (I know you don't have a manuscript, so either leave out rule 3 or make up something fun, I know you can)



Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rhetorical questions are not meant to be answered...

Yesterday my five year climbed up on the arm of my chair while I was writing, cuddled against my arm, and said, "Mom, who's your favorite kid."

I smiled and said, "I don't have a favorite. I love all of you just the same."

"I know, but who's your favorite."

"I can't pick a favorite. What about you, who's your favorite, mommy or daddy?" I asked her this question to show her how impossible it would be to choose. She was supposed to say, 'I love you both.' 'I don't know' would've worked fine too.

Instead, she looked up to the sky for a moment, pursed her lips together, and then said, "Daddy."

Well, I know who's not my favorite now. :) Apparently using a rhetorical question on a five year old is not a good idea.

Friday, December 12, 2008

She really is a ninja cyborg...

...and apparently so is her first paragraph because it kicked some butts, around 1300 actually (including mine). Congratulations Natalie on being one of the finalists in Nathan Bransford's first paragraph contest. According to the rules, she's not allowed to campaign for herself, but nobody ever said I couldn't. I'm being absolutely fair and impartial when I say her paragraph is the best. But head on over and decide for yourself and then agree with me because we all know I am always right. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In My Dreams

Last night (in my dream), my husband took me to see Australia (the movie not the country) for the third time. As we sat down, I looked over and sitting two seats away was Christian Slater (don't ask me why, I haven't been obsessed with him since my pre-teen days).

I said, "You're Christian Slater," in a very excited voice.

He responded, in his high timbre, yet gravelly voice, "I am."

The previews started showing and he was in one of them. I looked at him with a smile, "That was you," I decided to tell him. "I'm sorry," I added, "I promise I won't talk to you anymore."

He must've found me very charming and witty at this point because he reached across the seats that separated us and grabbed my hand. My husband didn't seem to mind, so I just went ahead and let him. The movie began with a scene of a bus floating down a raging river (which is not in the real movie). My mind must've decided that Hugh Jackman and Christian Slater could not be in the same dream.

This was about the time my two-year-old son appeared out of nowhere, climbing up and down the stairs. I looked over to my husband thinking, where did he come from? My husband just smiled as though he was thinking, isn't he so cute? Soon my son became unruly, though, and my husband decided to take him out, leaving me and Christian dangerously alone.

"Do you want to sit by me?" he asked.

I thought he was joking, so I just laughed. But he got up and moved right next to me and draped his arm around my neck. I was feeling slightly guilty, but also really happy. That's when I thought (and I'm not kidding you, I really thought this in my dream), I need to give Christian my blog address. :)

Just before I could, my leg started twitching. He looked at it. "Are you okay?" he asked.

"I'm fine," I responded, wondering why my body decided to invent this weird malfunction at that moment.

"I think you need to see a doctor," he said. "I'm going to go get your husband."

My husband came and we started walking down some stairs in the movie theater to a doctor that apparently held his practice in the basement. I looked at my husband and asked, "Where is our son?"

"Oh, Christian Slater is babysitting for us," he said.

"Oh, good," I said as if this was perfectly normal. And then my dream ended.

When I told my husband my dream this morning he said, "Wow, Christian Slater is really nice. He's my new favorite celebrity."

I responded, "I know, right?"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dear Charles Dickens,

Please tell me why I love you so much? You torment me with your archaic language. You spew realism as if it’s going out of fashion. You break my heart over and over again and just when I think the world couldn’t possibly get any colder than you’ve made it, you save me from eight hundred pages of misery and give me twenty pages of pure, unfettered joy. Quick, hand me “Bleak House” I need to start the process all over again.

Love, Your Tortured Fan, Kasie

P.S. A fantasy writer should not enjoy your works so much. Please tell me what sort of magical concoction you used in the creation of them that might explain my admiration.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Real World" Observations

My brother called me a recluse the other day and I said, "Am not," with an indignant pout. But I so am (before today I hadn't left the house since Friday. In my defense, the pink eye has taken over around here) In light of admitting this, I've decided to become proactive and force myself to "live" and "clean." (This way, I have more stuff to write about) Today, was a good start. I left my house AND did some laundry. Yay me! I actually got some Christmas shopping done too. Yay Old Navy! The following are a few observations I made from my trip to the "real world":

1. I've always wanted to be a biker. Not a motorcycle rider, but a bicycle rider. Today my desire was further confirmed when I saw a bicyclist in his spandex, wearing a helmet (of course) with a REAR VIEW MIRROR attached to it. Yes, it was so cool. I wanted it for my very own. The only problem with this goal of becoming a "biker"--I'm lazy. Don't get me wrong, I have great respect for those who work out. So much respect that I contribute money to my local gym every month to support the people who use it. But for now (forever) I will only stare at those herds of bikers with admiration and longing.

2. Since we are on the theme of physical activity, I also saw today, two women out speed walking. Not only were they speed walking in sync, but they wore matching black outfits and high, messy ponytails. They were fairly young too (not that I'm saying being older would change anything) This is not okay. If you want to go speed walking with your friend, please call her before you meet her and find out what she will be wearing. Yes, the person who doesn't work out (me) has rules for those who do.

My new goal is to make a couple of observations every week to prove that I have indeed ventured into the bleakness of the outer world. I know, you should be worried about me, it's scary out there.

Have you observed anything fun or funny this week?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Yes, I'm Selfish

After posting yesterday and then reading everyone's comments today (again) with a happy sigh, it suddenly hit me. I am so selfish. I didn't even ask any of you where you draw your inspiration from. I just wrote and basically said, look at me and my inspiration, I'm the greatest, me, me, me. Now, I normally don't mind it when things are all about me (what am I saying, I never mind it when things are all about me), but then I thought ... I wonder where they get their inspiration from. So my question to you, in case I haven't made it abundantly clear up to this point, is ... well ... where do you draw your inspiration for whatever your interest is, writing, photography, poetry, etc? What inspires you to do what you do?

By the way, in case you haven't heard (I know, you already have) Nathan Bransford is holding a super cool contest where you can submit the first paragraph of your WIP. The prizes are fun, so get over there and do it. His link is on my sidebar under 'agents.'

Sunday, December 7, 2008

In the Moment

Perhaps you've noted my new theme. I love Arizona. I will always love Arizona. Some of my very favorite people live there (and not all of them are fictional). I thought, though, since I am 33,000 words into my new book that I needed to display some of my inspiration (live in the moment).

The beautiful tree (adorning the top of my blog), General Sherman, resides in the gorgeous Sequoia National Park, which is the setting for my new book. This tree is the largest in the world, standing at about 275 feet tall. The base of It's trunk has an impressive circumference of 109 feet. It is truly an amazing sight.

Whereas Arizona is a love I discovered after starting my series, this park is something I have always loved. You see, I grew up (and still live) sandwiched between two wonders of nature--Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings. Both parks are about an hour from my house. It's hard not to be inspired when visiting these gorgeous landmarks.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Take Me Away

Paint fumes hung in the air. A constant pain pulsated behind my eyes. My neck ached. My temples throbbed. In the other room I heard my daughter coughing, but there was nowhere to go. The normal places of refuge (my mom’s house or my best friend’s place) were off limits because both my kids had pink eye, not just minor cases either, their eyes were blood red and oozing with goop.

I was trying to write, but my characters were trapped behind a layer of pain and they kept trying to hurt people in the story. My supposed “cabinet painting break” was going up in a migraine inducing cloud of fumes. I went downstairs to see how much longer he would be spraying and I came to a halt when I saw the black, industrial gas mask he was wearing. My jaw dropped. He was wearing a gas mask! And there we were breathing the poisonous air like suckers.

I whirled around and marched back upstairs, retrieved a suitcase, and packed some clothes for the night. Grabbing the port-a-crib and my kids on the way out, I checked into a hotel. My kids were excited. It was like a mini vacation. They watched television and even got to play in a hot tub. After several extra strength pain relievers, my characters finally didn’t want to kill each other anymore and I was in a much better mood too.

Apparently I was living in an alternate universe (I generally am) if I thought that a week without my kitchen was going to be a vacation. Oh well, it’s done now and I’m happy with the results.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's Too Early

Yesterday my husband, being afflicted with pink eye, asked me to sub his early morning bible study class. This class consists of about fourteen teenagers, all juniors and seniors, who get up by at least 6am every morning to make the class that starts at 6:30!!! I am obviously thoroughly impressed by any teenager who willingly wakes up earlier than s/he must. I could hardly drag myself out of bed when my alarm went off at 5:30. As I opened the garage and saw that it was still dark outside, I moaned. No one should have to get up before the sun does. In class I played a game with the kids that I called, "how many times would the teacher (me) yawn during the forty-five minute class." The guesses ranged from two to twenty-seven (no faith in me). The boy who guessed nine won. I am not a morning person. My husband does this every single morning though. I don't know if he gave me this "opportunity" to live a morning in his shoes so that it would make me appreciate him more, but if that was his goal, he accomplished it. My husband is awesome!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Answer

When I first realized I was going to be without my entire kitchen for one week (yes, you heard that right, ONE WEEK) I nearly had a panic attack. But as the cabinet painter started covering my oven and microwave it hit me with heart swelling happiness that I would not have to cook for an entire week. Hallelujah! No cooking equals more writing, more writing makes my heart sing with joy.

I didn't draw this, but this is about the extent of my drawing abilities. And you must imagine the big, red 'X' through it.

As for the second picture (from my last post), as individuals all of those children make my heart sing. Four of them are my own, the rest are my adorable nieces and nephews. BUT, as a collective group they are capable of mass destruction in less time than it takes for me to do .... well, just about anything. All eleven of them were at my house for Thanksgiving and the following picture shows just a portion of what they accomplished. I'm having a panic attack just thinking about it again. My house still hasn't recovered.

So, I guess, technically speaking, Natalie was right with her answer of "both." And since she said her answer was up for my interpretation as to what she meant by "both," that makes her even more right. :) But everyone else's guesses were pretty close too. So you are all winners. You win a nice big, "Good job! Thanks for playing. You guys are the greatest."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Game

Following are two pictures. One makes my heart sing, the other causes a near panic attack. Tell me which is which and why. I will give you the answer in picture form tomorrow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." E.L. Doctorow

I'm not crazy, I just have voices in my head.

"Plot springs from character... I've always sort of believed that these people inside me- these characters- know who they are and what they're about and what happens, and they need me to help get it down on paper because they don't type." Anne Lamott

I honestly believe this. Sometimes I'll start a project with only a vague idea of a plot, but with my characters firmly in mind. I did this with my WIP. I just hoped that they would eventually tell me what was going on in their world because I was at a loss. Sure enough, over the weekend, my character told me what she needed to learn and how she was going to learn it. I felt like singing Hallelujah because at 20,000 words in, I was beginning to worry.