Getting Personal #209: Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020 Recap

Image Credit: NaNoWriMo

This was my fifth Camp NaNoWriMo session!

This Camp session was different. After getting valuable feedback from my two main readers of my first draft of “Experiences From Camp,” I knew it was time to start the first round of editing.


Original word count: 51,960 words (161 pages)

On April 1, I printed out my first draft for the first time ever! I made the 161 pages double-sided, hole-punched them, and put it in a binder.

Almost every night for the first week, I sat down with a blue pen and pink Post-It notes, and read through the draft.

I added page numbers, designated chapters, page breaks, questions about the plot, sentence structure, and recommendations from my two readers.

I was very pleased with my efforts. I faltered a bit after the initial read-through, but I read through nearly 52,000 words!

Because I was editing this time, and not really writing, this Camp session was very different. However, I met my goal!


Final Thoughts

I have a lot of work to do now that I’ve completed the first round of editing. I also started using one of the beautiful journals that I received for my birthday last year to ask additional questions about the work and jot down other notes and thoughts.

My main goal is to send the second draft of the novel to my two readers, Amanda and Mike, by the end of June.

Before I do that, though, I need to translate my handwritten edits and other thoughts from my journal into the Draft 2 document on my computer. For some reason, and I think it’s mainly fear, I’ve been resisting doing this for the entire month of May. However, I do have a couple of days off of work coming my way, so I’m hoping to finally sit down (Well, stand up at my desk, LOL) and knock these edits and additions out!


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #193: NaNoWriMo 2019 Recap

Image Credit: The NaNoWriMo Blog

It’s high time for me to announce my NaNoWriMo 2019 results!


This was a brand-new novel. I came up with the idea while listening to the StoryCorps podcast from NPR this summer.

The tentative title is “The Transformation House.”


Day 1: 30 = 30 total

Day 2: 0 = 30 total

Day 3: 2,044 = 2,074 total

Day 4: 0 = 2,074 total

Day 5: 505 + 810 + 320 = 3,709 total

Day 6: 8 + 569 = 4,286 total

Day 7: 944 = 5,230 total

Day 8: 282 = 5,512 total

Day 9: 541 + 333 = 6,386 total

Day 10: 645 = 7,031 total

Day 11: 1,054 = 8,805 total

Day 12: 186 + 406 = 8,677 total

Day 13: 672 = 9,349 total

Day 14: 698 = 10,047 total

Day 15: 274 + 988 = 11,309 total

Day 16: 226 + 703 + 773 = 13,011 total

Day 17: 0 = 13,011 total

Day 18: 107 + 669 + 375 = 14,162 total

Day 19: 1,063 = 15,225 total

Day 20: 166 + 1,056 = 16,447 total

Day 21: 566 = 17,013 total

Day 22: 0 – 17,013 total

Day 23: 409 = 17,422 total

Day 24: 723 = 17,485 total

Day 25: 0 = 17,485 total

Day 26: 398 = 18,543 total

Day 27: 0 = 18,543 total

Day 28: 667 + 923 = 20,133 total

Day 29: 563 + 776 = 21,472 total

Day 30: 675 + 657 + 212 + 596 + 1,489 = 25,101 total


Final Thoughts

I was so happy with what I accomplished in roughly 30 days. This was, by far, my best NaNoWriMo ever.

I went back and looked. My first NaNo was in 2012, and I wrote a little over 10,000 words that November. I’m pleased as punch that I surpassed 25,000 words!

For now, I’ve set this one aside. I’ve started to review the first draft of “Camp,” the novel I started in 2012.

I’m hoping to pick this one back up in either April or July during one of the Camp NaNo sessions!


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #98: “Backstory: Relevant Information or an Inconsequential Event?”

Found on A Writer’s Path

I’ve been following A Writer’s Path for a while now. There are many guest posts, and I learn something from every one I read.

Here’s the link to the Backstory post:

Backstory: Relevant Information or an Inconsequential Event?

As I ease into the first round of editing of the first draft of my first novel, this post struck a chord with me. I’m grateful for my friends who have already provided feedback on the first draft, and I’m eagerly awaiting a few more to chime in with their thoughts. Thank you, Melissa, Amanda, Janaye, Hannah, and Mike.

It’s also gotten me think about my characters’ backstories in my three other novels.

What is important?

What may not be important?

Did I leave anything out?

I really liked the example the author gave with a character’s fear of spiders. On the surface, it could be a minor detail. But, that fear can also be developed into something significant, involving the main story and potential conflict. It changes from something minor to something major.

And, as I prepare to start my fifth novel during NaNoWriMo next month, I’m keeping this post in my back pocket.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #177: Camp NaNoWriMo July 2019 Recap

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019

Image Credit: Camp NaNoWriMo

This was my fourth Camp NaNoWriMo session!


I wanted to give my 2014 WIP, tentatively titled “Discussion of Differences,” some attention this round. It was a bit painful, recognizing the influences that one of my ex-friends had on this particular work. However, I pushed through the pain and awkwardness, and made decent progress!

Goal: Write 20,000 new words.


Here’s the synopsis I put together:

Online conversations can inspire great change. Six friends, almost on a whim, decide to leave everything behind and head to Europe. But, will they come to regret this snap decision? Travel along with Bethany, Hunter, and their friends, as they discover more about themselves, each other, and the facts of life.


Original word count: 16,237 words (48 pages)

Day 1

Today: 7
Total: 7

This was strictly reading through my original 48 pages and getting reacquainted with the work.

Day 2

Today: 346
Total: 353

Day 3

Today: 159
Total: 512

Days 4-14

All zeroes
Total: 512

Day 15

Today: 300
Total: 812

The slump was finally broken!

Days 16-17

All zeroes
Total: 812

Day 18

Today: 731
Total: 1,543

Day 19

Today: 468
Total: 2,011

Day 20

Today: 409
Total: 2,420

Day 21

Today: 570
Total: 2,990

Day 22

Today: 0
Total: 2,990

Day 23

Today: 926
Total: 3,916

Day 24

Today: 597
Total: 4,513

Days 25-31

All zeroes
Total: 4,513


Final Thoughts

I was very pleased to add more than 4,500 words to this WIP! I fell short of my goal, but it was a combination of pushing through the pain of the influences of this work, and pure exhaustion with real life. However, I feel like the story is progressing in a good direction!

I’m excited to work on something brand-new for NaNoWriMo in November!

Current word count: 20,780 words


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #168: Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019 Recap

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019

Image Credit: Camp NaNoWriMo

I was thrilled to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo for the third time!


Because I’m finally finished with my first draft of my 2012 novel, I decided to focus on my 2013 WIP, tentatively titled “Specialton.” I knew I wanted to change the overall POV of the novel, so for this Camp session, I was trying to accomplish two goals at once.

Goal #1: Change the POV in the 28 pages already written.

Goal #2: Write 20,000 new words.


Here’s the synopsis I put together:

John, an aspiring architect, dreams of building a different kind of community in the 1950s. As he launches his business and starts making his dream a reality, a beautiful woman enters his life. Will Evelyn help John, or will other plans be made for them?


Original word count: 14,303 words

Day 1

Today: 211
Total: 211

Day 2

Today: 225 + 224 = 449
Total: 660

Day 3

Today: 838
Total: 1,498

Day 4

Today: 426 + 56 = 482
Total: 1,980

Day 5

Today: 447
Total: 2,427

Day 6

Today: 948
Total: 3,375

Day 7

Today: 595
Total: 3,970

Day 8

Today: 747
Total: 4,717

Day 9

Today: 173 + 669 = 842
Total: 5,559

Day 10

Today: 523
Total: 6,082

Day 11

Today: 344
Total: 6,426

Day 12

Today: 453
Total: 6,879

Day 13

Today: 841
Total: 7,720

Day 14

Today: 254
Total: 7,974

Day 15

Today: 0
Total: 7,974

Day 16

Today: 0
Total: 7,974

Day 17

Today: 515
Total: 8,489

Days 18-28

All zeroes
Total: 8,489

Day 29

Today: 841
Total: 9,330

Day 30

Today: 939
Total: 10,269


Final Thoughts

I was very pleased to add over 10,000 words to this WIP, after not touching it for several years. I’m excited to see where this one goes!

I’m looking forward to the next Camp NaNo session in July!!

Current word count: 24,572 words


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until thenext headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Adventures #3: Finishing The First Draft of My 2012 WIP

finish-line-900

Image Credit: Cottonwood Creek

Welcome back! I haven’t posted any new Writing Adventures posts for several months, but I’m excited to get back to it now.

Here are the links to my previous posts:


I’m very excited to be *this close* to finishing my first draft of my 2012 Work in Progress (WIP). I set a goal earlier this year to finish the first draft before December 31, 2018. I’ve mentioned before that my best friend, Melissa, has offered to edit the first draft for me. But, I have to finish it first!

Reading the last two Writing Adventures posts made me so proud of myself. I’ve made so much progress on this piece just this year!

In June, right before the second Camp NaNoWriMo session of 2018, here were my observations about “Experiences From Camp”:

  • I started this during NaNoWriMo 2012, which was my first-ever NaNoWriMo. I wrote around 10,000 words by the end of that month.
  • In March, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo for the very first time, thanks to Madi’s encouragement.
  • During Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018, I exceeded my goal and won Camp! My goal was 20,000 new words. On April 30th, I surpassed my goal with approximately 20,256 new words! Yippee!
  • June 2018 monthly goal: Write 1,000 new words.
  • Sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018 before the end of the month.
  • Set my Camp NaNoWriMo goal before the end of the month.
  • Current word count: 34,130 words.

In August, I posted my Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018 recap.

  • Before Camp started, my word count was 34,719 words.
  • In 31 days, I added 11,916 words.
  • I was so excited to add almost 12,000 new words!

Now, as of today, December 8th, here’s where I stand.

  • Current word count: 46,646 words.
  • Countdown to 50,000 words: 3,354 words.

I feel so confident that I will reach 50,000 words, or more, before the end of the month. I can feel it!

In fact, I think I’ll end this post now, so I can get back to it!


What about you? Are you writing anything special?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #144: NaNoWriMo 2018

NaNoWrIMo 2018

Image Credit: BookBub

After four years of not participating, I decided I wanted to commit to NaNoWriMo 2018!

After my success with both Camp NaNoWriMo sessions earlier this year, I wanted to try the November event again. I’ve also published excerpts of my most recent NaNoWriMo attempt from 2014.


I’ve dropped a few hints, here and there, about an idea I’ve had percolating for a fourth novel.

So, for NaNoWriMo 2018, I want to finally put my fingers to the keyboard and start fleshing this out!

Working Title: “Tunnel Vision”

Synopsis: On her way to her milestone birthday party, Nicole, a dedicated Newport News, Virginia police officer, gets stuck in traffic at the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel. As the tunnel stoppage unfolds into a true mystery, Nicole finds herself reflecting on her career, family, friends, acquaintances, and the criminal justice system. Can she help solve the mystery in one night?

I’m excited to dive into Nicole’s world, and help tell her story!


What about you? Have you ever done NaNoWriMo?

Come back around the beginning of December to see my results!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

 

Getting Personal #134: Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018 Recap

Camp 2018 - Participant - Profile Photo

I was very excited to do Camp NaNoWriMo again for the month of July!

Since I was very close to the 35,000 word mark at the end of June, I decided to set my Camp goal for an additional 15,000 words. I felt like I could finally reach 50,000 words! This has been a dream since 2012!!


Previous Stats

May 2nd

  • Current word count: 33,507 words

June 16th

  • Added 623 words
  • Current word count: 34,130 words

June 23rd

  • Added 339 words
  • Current word count: 34,469 words

June 30th

  • Added 250 words
  • Current word count: 34,719 words

And, now, here’s how I did!


Day 1

Today: 539
Total: 539

It wasn’t until that evening that I could sit down and write for the day, but I was happy with my first word count! Onward and upward!

Day 2

Today: 0
Total: 539

I didn’t write anything on this day, mainly due to hosting our friend Mike for the evening!

Day 3

Today: 624
Total: 1,163

Another evening writing session. I felt really good about this one!

Day 4

Today: 742
Total: 1,905

I’m really getting into the groove of writing in the evenings. More progress!

Day 5

Today: 208
Total: 2,113

I made progress, but not as much as I hoped. I felt distracted, a bit sidetracked. Plus, I wrote later this evening than I have during other nights. But, there’s always tomorrow!

Day 6

Today: 676
Total: 2,789

Today was much more productive! I felt really good about the scene I wrote today, too. Excited to see what happens this weekend.

Day 7

Today: 830
Total: 3,619

I wrote this afternoon, when Al was in the shower. Here’s to more words tomorrow!

Day 8

Today: 1,131
Total: 4,750

Al mowed the lawn today, so I took advantage of that. This was my highest word count so far!

Day 9

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

I felt like I hit a wall.

Day 10

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

Lacking inspiration.

Day 11

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

Not feeling this writing thing at all.

Day 12

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

This week at work has been exhausting, and it’s Thursday now. Maybe tomorrow?

Day 13

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

I feel a bit guilty, but I just haven’t had the energy, or desire, to write.

Day 14

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

I thought for sure the weekend would bring some inspiration, but not today.

Day 15

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

Today was so busy with church and other things, I wasn’t even thinking about writing.

Day 16

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

Now I’m super irritated with myself. I didn’t make any time to write this morning, and I didn’t have any time to write this evening. Hopefully, tomorrow, this wall can come down!

Day 17

Today: 595
Total: 5,345

HOORAY! The streak of zeroes is broken!!

AND – I passed 40,000 words overall! I’m a very happy lady!

Day 18

Today: 0
Total: 5,345

Stupid writer’s block.

Day 19

Today: 0
Total: 5,345

Still no inspiration.

Day 20

Today: 0
Total: 5,345

No time today!

Day 21

Today: 622
Total: 6,022

A later-evening writing session was a success!

Day 22

Today: 0
Total: 6,022

I felt uninspired again today.

Day 23

Today: 0
Total: 6,022

Pure exhaustion today. However, I felt a bit of inspiration rising throughout the day. Hopefully I can put my fingers to the keyboard tomorrow!

Day 24

Today: 451 + 825 = 1,276
Total: 7,298

Yay! I’m so proud of myself. TWO writing sessions in one day?! Woohoo!!

Day 25

Today: 0
Total: 7,298

I was hoping to write a little bit this morning, but with all the preparations needed for Thursday, it just didn’t happen.

Day 26

Today: 752
Total: 8,050

Having a rare Thursday off from work was helpful for a productive afternoon writing session!

Day 27

Today: 853
Total: 8,903

I’m finally feeling more consistent!

Day 28

Today: 845
Total: 9,748

Yeah, baby! Getting there. Excited to write some more tomorrow – Maybe hit 1,000 words?

Day 29

Today: 530
Total: 10,278

Woohoo! I passed the 10,000 word mark tonight. Pretty excited!

Day 30

Today: 345
Total: 10,623

I’m still here, still writing, word by word. I’ll take it! Also, my husband is the best cheerleader!

Day 31

Today: 1,293
Total: 11,916

I closed out Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018 with a bang! I’m so proud of myself!


Final Thoughts

I was so happy to add nearly 12,000 new words to my novel! I fell a little short of my overall goal, but I’ll take what I can get.

I can’t wait to participate in Camp again next year!


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #120: Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Recap

Camp 2018 Writer Profile Photo

Image Credit: Camp NaNoWriMo

I was inspired to write this post from my friend Madi Grace!

Here are the links to her Camp NaNoWriMo 2017 recaps:


Here are the links to my posts where I mentioned Camp NaNoWriMo, and announced my decision to participate for the very first time:


As a reminder / refresher, my goal for Camp NaNoWriMo was to write 20,000 additional words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo endeavor / attempt, tentatively titled, “Experiences from Camp.”

Synopsis:

Kristin, a teenager from Kansas, has heard of this experience called “Camp” in Maine. However, everyone who has gone there can’t accurately describe their experiences – Just a lot of mystery, suspense, some thrills, and a lot of chills. When she’s selected to go, she’s excited to meet Brennan, and see “camp” for herself. From the start, Kristin doesn’t get what she’s bargained for, and her excitement turns to absolute terror.


Previous Stats

March 27th

  • Current word count: 11,216 words

March 31st

  • Added 2,025 new words between March 29th and March 30th.
  • Current word count: 13,241 words.

And now, here’s how I did!


Day 1

Today: 785
Total: 785

Not a bad start!

Day 2

Today: 0
Total: 785

There were several days throughout the month where I wrote absolutely zero words!

It was frustrating to not have written anything on Day 2, but I persisted.

Day 3

Today: 602
Total: 1,387

More progress!

Day 4

Today: 892
Total: 2,279

This was my highest word count so far.

I felt like I was on a roll!

Day 5

Today: 0
Total: 2,279

This was the start of a days-long slump where I just did not make any time to write.

Day 6

Today: 0
Total: 2,279

Again, little to no time was carved out to write.

Day 7

Today: 0
Total: 2,279

Day 7 was the start of the first weekend of the month, and we were so slammed that I came home utterly exhausted.

Day 8

Today: 0
Total: 2,279

Day 8 was also part of the weekend.

But, I was bound and determined to break out of this slump!

Day 9

Today: 983
Total: 3,262

That’s more like it!

This was my highest word count since camp started.

I was rejoicing!

Day 10

Today: 329
Total: 3,591

I started to notice that if I wrote a high number of words one day, then the very next day, my word count was typically lower.

Oh well, at least I added words!

Day 11

Today: 1,198
Total: 4,789

Holy moly! I knocked the daily word count (667) out of the park!

This was my highest word count of camp at this point.

The only way to go is up!

Day 12

Today: 0
Total: 4,789

Day 12 was shortly after my family started experiencing a big crisis.

So, I’m not surprised that I didn’t write much on this day.

Day 13

Today: 667
Total: 5,456

Nailed the daily word count, down to an exact science!

Day 14

Today: 0
Total: 5,456

Another weekend day – No progress.

Day 15

Today: 1,530
Total: 6,986

After a rough day, this was the highest word count of camp at this point.

My high scores, so to speak, were increasing!

Day 16

Today: 0
Total: 6,986

Utter exhaustion again.

Day 17

Today: 435
Total: 7,421

Much better!

Day 18

Today: 1,006
Total: 8,427

Even better than the day before!

Inching closer to the halfway mark!

Day 19

Today: 0
Total: 8,427

Another rough day.

Day 20

Today: 820
Total: 9,247

I was thrilled that I exceeded the daily word count.

Just inches away from the halfway point.

Day 21

Today: 455
Total: 9,702

Word by word, I felt happy that I was getting closer to the 10,000 word mark.

Day 22

Today: 660
Total: 10,362

Hallelujah!

I crossed the 50 percent mark today.

Cue the happy dance!

Day 23

Today: 635
Total: 10,997

As the numbers increase, I’m hoping that I can actually succeed with my goal!

Day 24

Today: 795
Total: 11,792

The word count today was better than yesterday.

I’ll take it!

Day 25

Today: 0
Total: 11,792

Another weird day.

Feeling a bit stagnant, and unsure.

Day 26

Total: 1,080
Today: 12,872

In spite of the ongoing family crisis, I felt really good with today’s results!

Day 27

Total: 1,230
Today: 14,102

Amazingly, I exceeded yesterday’s word count.

I also took the day off from work, I needed a decompression day. The family crisis turned into mourning. My family lost three uncles within two weeks of each other.

But, I’m very pleased with my progress!

Day 28

Total: 3,051
Today: 17,153

It’s amazing what can happen when your husband takes a long nap in the afternoon.

This word count absolutely crushed all the other high scores.

I was on cloud nine!

Plus, the finish line was in sight.

Day 29

Today: 1,063
Total: 18,216

Inching closer and closer.

I really felt the pressure today!

Day 30

Today: 2,040
Total: 20,256

Oh, my goodness. I DID IT!!!!

I REALLY DID IT!

I exceeded my goal for my first-ever Camp NaNoWriMo!!!!

Current word count: 33,507 words.

Camp 2018 Winner Facebook Cover

Image Credit: Camp NaNoWriMo


Final Thoughts

Wow. I’m stunned. Astonished. And thrilled!

I was immensely apprehensive about signing up for Camp NaNoWriMo, especially since I didn’t participate in “regular” NaNoWriMo in 2015, 2016, or 2017.

But, through the encouragement of Madi, and several other friends, I decided to take the plunge.

I felt 20,000 new words for this novel was a very lofty goal, but I was very pleased that I not only met it, but I beat it by 256 words. It’s so inspirational!

I loved the camp environment and atmosphere. It was like a virtual writer’s retreat for a whole month! Also, you had the option of being placed in a “cabin,” so you could meet and interact with other writers! We had several lively discussions and cheering sessions in my cabin. So much fun!

I cannot wait for the next Camp NaNoWriMo in July. Bring it on!!


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Wednesdays #25

Image Credit: inspiremykids.com

Image Credit: inspiremykids.com


Welcome back! Happy Wednesday!

Today is a bittersweet day. This Writing Wednesdays post marks the last section of the NaNoWriMo novels.

However, this does not mean the end of the Writing Wednesdays posts!

As I start to revise the first draft of my 2012 novel (finally, I know), with the working title of “Experiences at Camp,” I will be sharing the new material, several pages at a time, just like I have here for the last 25 posts.

I’m excited, albeit a little nervous. These three novels are the first ones that I am fully committed to editing and finishing (meaning that I want all three to have an ending, and that ending to land around 50,000 words, which is the ultimate NaNoWriMo goal).

I’m looking forward to this journey!


And now, the conclusion (for now) to “Discussion of Differences.”


That first Skype session charged the six of them. There was pure motivation to get this adventure planned and set in motion. Everyone was electrified, and no one wanted to lose that steam anytime soon.

In between wedding planning, Anabelle’s graduate school work, and looking for a house, Bill and Anabelle set to work on their adventure assignments – Food and groceries, and the general itinerary. Unknowingly, Bethany had essentially married their loves together – Food and travel. Almost every night after that first Skype session, Bill and Anabelle themselves were on Skype, pointing to a huge map of Europe and using all of the Internet resources to put pins and stars on the map – Multi-colored pushpins for traveling, and stars indicating the best food regions, wineries, and more.

Lizzy made it through her finals by the skin of her teeth. She aced all but one of her exams, and her final grades were decent.

Hunter saw the relief in Lizzy as he helped her move out of her LT apartment for the last time. She was finally finished with school – Possibly for forever. She hadn’t breathed a word of graduate school or any further kind of study. Her field was tricky – Double major in microbiology and chemistry – but she was determined to find some sort of job. She knew that it was likely going to be minimum wage and retail, in the beginning anyway. Lizzy did know one thing – She wanted to get that job and save up enough money so that she was out of her mom’s house in the least amount of time.

She was seriously considering moving closer to Hunter – There were more opportunities there, both for entry-level jobs and possible work in her field. There were three major universities within 100 miles of Hunter’s town. She started to entertain the possibility of starting graduate school at one of them and being either a grad assistant or a research assistant while studying – It looked like a win-win. But, for this moment, she wanted to be making money. She wanted to save every penny she could and be back on her own as soon as humanly possible.

In the midst of everything going on with Bill and Anabelle and Lizzy and Hunter, Will was planning his proposal to Bethany. He’d had this tradition of giving her jewelry every Christmas since they’d started dating, and he wanted to give her the ring around that time as well.

He’d already sat down with Bethany’s parents and asked for permission – They said yes.

Mission number one, accomplished.

Now he needed to plan what he considered to be the perfect proposal. They had started talking about engagement and marriage several years prior – Will had basically promised Bethany that his proposal to her would be as romantic and sweet as possible – and he wanted to deliver on that. The problem was, how romantic and sweet could it be around Christmastime? Christmas was such a common time for marriage proposals – Will wanted to do it right, for Bethany.

It got to the point one night where Will was truly stuck. He had tried to think of everything creative, witty, funny, heart-melting, and all of that had basically gotten him nowhere.

He essentially put his head on his computer desk and sighed. (Don’t worry – Bethany was actually with Anabelle, working on her wedding).

The little voice in Will’s head started cheerleading, “Come on, think! You can do this. You love Bethany so much. What would she be blown away by?”

Will started pacing the wood floor of his bedroom, but his own steps were driving him crazy.

Finally, he flopped on his bed on his stomach. Groaning, he rubbed his temples and closed his eyes. He lay there for a few minutes.

He then remembered that his phone had buzzed with a text from someone an hour ago.

Hey, buddy. How’s life treating you in Virginia?

Will smiled. It was his best buddy, C.J. They’d been friends since second grade. C.J. had gone into the military several years earlier and had been shipped off to a base in Arizona. Will had seen C.J. twice in the last four years, so hearing from him was always a treat.

Will typed slowly, Hey, bud. Life’s good. I’m stuck though. I’m trying to figure out how to propose to Bethany.

C.J. laughed. He had married his wife, Carrie, almost two years earlier.

Excited for you, man! That’s great. Bethany’s a great girl, and I’ve seen how happy she makes you. All I can say is – Make this moment something you’ll both remember forever.

Will smiled. All the worry started to clear away. He began to think about their very first date, nearly four and a half years earlier, how Bethany brought that up in conversation a lot, and how so many people thought it was literally perfect.

Thanks, buddy. I feel better already. Miss you. Hope to see you soon!

C.J. chuckled and shook his head.

No problem. Hey, I’m getting out of the force soon. Moving to Wyoming in January or February – You know how stupid the force can be about letting people leave. Once we’re settled, you two should come out and visit! Can’t wait to hear when the engagement’s official.

Will smiled and cleared his messages screen. He saw Bethany’s smiling face back at him. He knew now what to do.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂