Category Archives: Writing

Camp NaNo, Round 1

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Yup, I’m doing Camp this year. Project: VC part 3 -Ostara. 

This part is the least complete, therefore its prime Camp fodder. I’ll do prep work for the rest of this month and, outline and unanswered questions in hand, tackle this nugget on my days off in April. 

I’ve been working on a play list, too (Spotify is an awesome tool), and a lot of the music which spoke to me is being added to other projects’ play lists as I go along. The downside to a virtually neverending supply of tunes is the ability to get distracted like a squirrel. 

My word count goal is 5,000 words, which averages about 500 wpd. Maybe I’ll get lucky and surpass that. 

Fingers crossed. 

How We Learn to Write 

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In the however many years I’ve been writing, there are only a few resources which have really helped me. Here are 2 of them.

Gabriela Pereira’s DYI MFA and Judy Reeves’s A Writer’s Book of Days. I’ve been working with both for about 3 months and, truthfully, I’d recommend them to writers at any level. Well, except maybe those who sell more books than the GNP of a small European country. And even then, if a prolific writer’s content has gone stale, it could be of major use.

Pereira’s book, while fast paced, is basically a MFA is short form. She breaks it all down for us and provides fantastic acronyms for certain processes. There’s even a website for readers to get some freebie info. See the brass fasteners at the pile’s bottom? That’s the biggest freebie of all. Once you buy the book – and it is totally worth it – sign-up for her newsletter and get that workbook. You won’t regret it.

Reeves’s book is organized by month, and has daily mini-prompts tucked in between anecdotes and helpful guidance. I actually started this Sept 1, but with the way my day job interfered, I decided to start fresh Jan 1 and do the whole book through til New Year’s. I’m keeping the daily prompts on my Kindle and doing them in the morning over coffee before work. As a bonus, I’m using the prompts to beef up scenarios for one of my WIPs and it’s working like a charm. At the end of the month, I’ll email them to myself and save in a master doc.

Each book is unique and each reader will take something away different than someone else. I’ve combined them to create a highly-personalized curriculum to coincide with my days off to get the most benefit from the “course” I created. It’s already making a difference in my writing. Like I said in my last post, writing will be a priority in 2017 regardless of what’s going on in my life. In a way, I’m “hacking” my writing process.

December, You Sneaky Bastard

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I’ve got some interesting news to share, today. Other than it being December, of course. Grab a cup of something warm and settle in. This is kind of a long post.

I’m coming off a 10-day vacation (yay) and go back to work tomorrow (boo). It was a really good vacation, too. We didn’t go anywhere, but we did spend a lot of time together just chillin’ out. I made a big Thanksgiving spread (which we’re still eating), watched Jessica Jones on Netflix, got some Redbox movies and took a lot of naps. By the way…Detroit Lions whooped Philadelphia Eagles ass on Thanksgiving.

I’m sad to see the vacation end, but you know how it is. Back to the grind and onto the interesting news.

This year I co-hosted the WriYe Tumblr blog, something most of you were aware. Back in September or October, one of the mods approached me to help out on the actual site for 2016. Like, the official WriYe forum site. I hemmed and hawed and finally submitted the “application” that the team was requesting from interested people.

Imagine my surprise after not hearing anything for awhile, I get a notification that I’ve been added as a Global Moderator! Next thing I know, I’m signing up to handle 2 forums and adding the Twitter and Facebook accounts to my list. A fair amount of time each week will be dedicated solely to WriYe, on top of the Tumblr, which I agreed to oversee for 2016.

Just like when I do Tumblr, my activity and participation will be done on days off from work. Most of it can actually be done on my phone while at work (during down time, of course) if it doesn’t require a cut/copy/paste situation.

Which leads me to my plans for December…

  • 12 Days of Consistency Challenge (write a certain minimum word count each day for 12 consecutive days) – I chose 320.
  • New Moon Challenge 12/11
  • WriDay 12/15
  • Full Moon Madness 12/25 (I already have an idea for this one.)

These are all challenges hosted by WriYe, and they really do get a chunk of that word count goal eaten. Well, they would if I participate(d). I’m also going to…

  • Go through the 2016 Writer’s Market and look for contests and publishing opportunities
  • Make a list of WIPs and decide which projects to focus on next year.
  • Make a list of WIMs (works in mind) and choose a couple worth exploring.
  • Update all my social media places
  • Write as much as I can.

I’m not going to make any hard deadlines, yet, since each month’s writing plans will have to work around my day job and the schedules don’t come out until after the 17th. Even then it could change, so yeah. Soft deadlines, it is.

Which leads me to my New Year’s Resolutions. Yeah, I’m making them early. This way I can ease into them, instead of going cold turkey balls out on the 1st…

  • Eat better and move more
  • Sleep better/more
  • WRITE MORE
  • Be more aware of my body’s signals and slow down when it tells me to
  • Get back on my spiritual path
  • Go outside more for fun (helps satisfy pretty much all of the above)
  • Get more organized
  • Donate unused clothes to charity.

I should be able to keep at least 1 of those, right?

What are your writing plans for December?

 

So…Writing.

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A NaNoWriMo’s Brain

As you can see I’m a smidge behind. Almost 12k behind. There is a bright spot, though. At least, I think there is…

I have the next 3 days off. 3 whole days.

Right now I’m sitting at the dining table, trying to thwart Kallie’s plans of using her tree house as a jump point to canoodle (which is a real word!) with the tv. She has no idea what’s happening; I sympathize with her.

There are 3 hours left in today and, with 10 hours of sleep in me last night and a short shift at work, I could easily spend tonight writing. And the wee hours of tomorrow. Honestly, I just want to watch tv and eat junk food. But, I won’t. I’ll write and eat junk food 🙂 Sour cream & onion chips or M&Ms, that’s the question.

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Oh, and I figured something out with the story I’m NaNo’ing. It will fit nicely in the “Viktic Crossing” story collection I’ve been writing (off and on) for 2 years. All I need to do is change the names and I’m golden. Then, I need to go back and rework the generation or 2 before it. Shit, I don’t know. Soon I’ll start questioning the whole project. Again.

I decided on the chips.

So, yeah. I’m thinking, because “VC” is a collection, I’m going to finish at least a couple of the stories in it for NaNo. They count… I’ve figured out that I lose steam on a story about 10k words into it. If I really sit down and hammer out some content on at least 2 stories over the next 3 days I should be close to, if not on, target and caught up. Feast or famine, baby.

Sadly, I have to move to the couch.

Oh, and Tuesday 11/17 (according to the WriYe calendar) is WriDay. It’s a long-distance sprint, if you will. You choose from 5k, 10k, 25k, or even 50k (it can be done) word clusters and just bang that shit out. Tip: If your goal is 1,667 NaNo words/day and are behind 3 days, go with 5k. you’ll make up 3 whole days of writing! Genius, I tell you.

I want another soda. Like, really want. And there are less than 3 hours til Midnight, now. Do I really need the soda? Pfft, no, of course not. But I want it, and technically it is my Friday. I limit myself to 1 soda per day, most days. Well, I try to, anyway. Opps, need to take my meds…And fix the coffee pot for tomorrow.

Oh, look. Angels & Ornaments is on Hallmark Movie Channel. I have a serious case of the Christmas Spirit this year. It’s pretty amazing. For the last several years, I had little or none. This year, though. Tons. I’m already listening to holiday music and buying holiday-themed things (mini-stockings and hand towels). Started shopping for gifts. We’re not doing an actual tree – the aforementioned acrocat – but will string garland on the curtain rod and around the dining room light. And window clingies. I love window clingies.

Down to barely 2.5 hours…I should write.

Ok, I’m gonna write.

It Begins…

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That’s right. It’s November. And you know what that means.

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I threw my writer’s cap in the ring late last night after about a month of careful thought.

This year is different. This year, I have a job. One that tends to wipe me out most days and leave little room for much else. Plus, I’m still co-mod’ing the WriYe Tumblr blog. Part of me was like, “Oh, it’s only 1,667 words per day.” Another part was “But it’s 1,667 words a day. Don’t we want sleep this month?” Clearly, I’m doing NaNo. Over there —> you’ll see my handy word count ticker thingy.

Day 1: 2,064/1,667

Translation? I win Day 1.

Now, granted, not all 2k words are part of the same story. But I wrote, which is basically the entire purpose of NaNo. I spent 200 words chronicling Mike’s ESO game play. Another 250 on something that could potentially be a short story…maybe. The rest could become a side line in a current project. And, sadly, that project was been sitting there whimpering like a kicked puppy. So, attention inadvertently paid.

What are potential obstacles to making NaNo my bitch this year?

Work, illness, TV (especially if there’s a Vikings or Good Witch marathon), The Cat, lack of coffee, naps. You get the idea.

What about all of you? How’s your NaNo so far? Pantsing or planning? Hopped up on caffeine or sticking to water? What do you put in your NaNoWriMo survival kit? I’ll post a pic of mine in the next week.

Writing, What?

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The outline for the Bayou Project has been released from its prison (the butterfly clip in the back cover of my planner) and given a once-over. This poor creature needs a major overhaul. Right now it’s roughly 12k words. If anything, the story is done but will get bits taken out. There’s a problem with flow and the characters don’t feel right.

“Rising” has seen better days. The story itself is decent, but (again) doesn’t flow. The characters don’t have much consistency (in evolving/devolving), they don’t know what they’re doing, and half of them will probably be taken out or taken out.

I created blogging schedule sheets (because I’m a dork) for here, Tumblr and WriYe. It’s September, an odd month, so that means most of my writing/online time is spent working on the WriYe blog. Figures I’d pick a crazy month to get back into my personal blogs. I’ve got a great support for my writing (thank you, babe) and blogging is a big piece of that.

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Now, I do have an idea for a short story; I’ve mentioned it before, I think. Like, a month ago. Starting next month when things calm down a little, I’ll start blogging it. Actually writing it here for you all to see. It should be an interesting experiment, if nothing else.

My writing support station has all the guides I could possibly need, until I find a new how-to book I can’t live without. Also, I swear I don’t work for Writer’s Digest. Just wanted to put that our there.

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I’ve been rolling the concept of ‘genre’ around in my brain lately and decided I don’t have to conform to a single one. Not that I really ever have, mind you. It’s fun to take elements from a few and meld them together. I’m also learning there’s a great possibility of imbalance if not used properly. Cross-genre writing is pretty cool. It can open doors to new/different audiences.

Helloooooo!

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So. It’s been a while, eh?

Chair Thief

I’m sitting on the floor of my office because the cat has taken control of the chair watching Netflix (binging on Longmire) and basking in the productiveness that has been my Monday. Crazy, I know. It’s my day off and I got shit done.

For over a year we’ve (occasionally) tried to get our blu-ray player wifi’d up. No luck. Today, being in the Get-Shit-Done mood, I sat down and tamed the stubborn bitch. That was, ohhhh…7 episodes ago? Maybe 8? Anywho!

I wrote 677 words on a new piece of fiction – a small but wonderful accomplishment.

Then, I decided it was a good time to upgrade Shiny to Windows 10. Um, it’s interesting. If you go with W10, plan a day doing other things because it takes about 90 minutes. It also doesn’t look anything like W8/8.1.

That time was spent in a few of the writing books I have. And, I’m very glad I did this. Anyone who reads this knows I’ve been struggling really hard the last several months with my writing. It might be a little late in the year but I grabbed 2015 Writer’s Market and Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction, and started going through them section by section. Highlighters and stick tab things came out of the drawer, pens scribbled in the margins. It was amazing!

I think I finally got my writing groove back.

Wednesday Wish Day

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It’s my first free day in a week. What do I do?

I caught up on dvr’d shows and played Diablo: Reaper of Souls for about 45 mins. Then, I checked out that new SyFy show Olympus – don’t bother; it’s not that good. Out of the blue, creativity sort of struck. I’ve spent the last couple of hours roughing out a handful of story ideas, came up with over a dozen titles and character names, and am now considering a bubble bath. But that will have to wait, I think.

Today is Earth Day, too. In my mind I’m celebrating. It’s kind of nice just to sit still and not have to go anywhere or do anything. Tomorrow I’ve got some errands to run, though, and I might include the library. I definitely need to get some writing done regardless of my out-n-abouts. Perhaps I’ll take my writing stuff?

Which leads me to my CampNaNo progress. Eh. I have some words. At this point the only material written will be for one of the new story ideas. I’m burned out on Rising and the other WIPs. I can’t help but realize that once I get to the end and do the content editing, I can barely think of stuff to fill in the gaps. And I wonder if I’m cut out for writing anything over 10-15k words. Honestly, I don’t know how I wrote Timing. So, here’s what I’m thinking…

Stick to short stories. Nothing outside 10-15k. I’ve figured out that’s my average before I start losing oomph and ideas on a single story idea.

Plus, if there are similar stories I can always do a collection without planning for it. That’s another revelation.

I plan and plan and plan. Most of the time I fail, get all sad and then don’t want to write. I’m giving it up to the Creatives, now. They have the con and will nudge me when the time is right.

In the mean time, I’m going to just chill out, watch Food Network and tumble some story ideas around. Maybe flesh one out enough for an outline. Who knows?

Ladies and Gentlemen: Eloise De Sousa

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When I decided to have guests stop by once a month for 2015, the first name on my list was Eloise De Sousa. Kind, sweet, smart and witty, Eloise always makes me laugh and brings excellent content to her blog. How could I not ask her to be part of my adventure? Without further ado, I turn this space over to her.

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Fancy joining me for a cup of Peppermint tea?  I’m all out of Darjeeling unfortunately…unless you’d prefer a coffee or something stronger.  It’s five’clock somewhere in the world!  Jessica has let me loose on her blog and I thought it would be a perfect time to meet you and share a cuppa.  Take a seat and I will pop the kettle on.

I met Jessica last year when I started my own blog and have found a lady I enjoy following and reading.  She gave me a leg up when I started NaNoWriMo late last November and provided support for me to finish my book.  She’s pretty awesome like that!

Do you take milk with your drink and how many sugars?
Whilst I pour your drink, I’d love to know how you met Jessica.
The blogging family are important to me because they have given me the confidence to further my writing and strengthen it.  Writers, artists, fashionistas and musicians all meet together for one common purpose – to share ideas, thoughts, words.  It’s those words that drew me to this place.

My own blog has no real identity, though I’d like to think it’s a promotional page for my writing!  Instead, it has diverse posts, poems written on the spur of the moment and shared posts from fellow authors. Being an author (the pretend name I give myself) has its benefits.  I get to write whacky stories for children and delve into a more sinister, sometimes romantic voice for my adult books.  There are so many more stories to be told and time will tell if I get to write them all.

Would you like a biscuit?  Chocolate or some shortbread?
By the by, have you seen Jessica’s book page?  I have my eye on Obsidian Kept and have added it to my wish list on Amazon.  Her poetry collection called Cravings is next and Timings too.

What sort of books do you like reading?
I prefer a mixture of romance, adventure, horror and of course action.  My favourite would have to be Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series.  Those are characters I would enjoy meeting with their kick ass moves and Magnum style approach to being private detectives.  Well not Joe Pike – he’s just kickass!  You’ll understand if you pick up one of Crais’ books.

Writing romance has its benefits.  The characters can have their flaws and readers still love them.  When I delve into the darker parts of the relationship I always wonder how far I can push the bar.  What do you think?  Is there a limit?

The clock is chiming on the wall.

Gosh, look at the time!  I hate to push you out the door, but Jessica will be back soon and I have to put everything back in order before she does!  Thanks for stopping by and I hope to get a chance to see you all again.  Don’t forget to come visit me if you get a chance.

Nice meeting you!

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Thank you SO much for coming by Eloise! I hope my readers have enjoyed getting to know you as much as I have. 

To connect with Eloise or pick up her book, she can be found on Twitter, her blog and Amazon.