I'm back from visiting our daughter and had a wonderful vacation. The weather was gorgeous, the sightseeing was fun, and it was a joy to see the progress my grandhorses have made in their training. I took over 1500 pictures (ah, the joys of a 2 gig card - plus two 512 mb cards - and a good camera!) and there are lots of good painting subjects among those pics.
The break was a great help to my writing. When I had a chance to read, I worked my way through half of literary agent Donald Maas' book How to Write the Breakout Novel. A lot of what he said is stuff I've read before, or thought out on my own, but some of it is really useful to me. One thing he said that hit home was about conflict. "What's the worst that can happen?" Think that, then make it happen and find a way for the hero to work his way out of it. As I was pondering that, the climactic battle and aftermath of my second novel popped into my head. I've known all along I'd want certain things to happen in that battle, but suddenly, there it was! So today I'm going to write down those scenes while they're fresh in my mind, despite the fact that only the first two chapters of the novel are actually written. I've planned out the rest, very loosely, but I do know where I'm going. Now if I can just keep it down to a reasonable number of words. . . (120,000 or so).