Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuesday Tally, MMO dream, and Writing meme

Status of my novel

total words to date: 60,544
pages: 262
completed chapters: 11

Last week's goals:
  • keep working on 100 day challenge - did good
  • be ready for WW meeting - couldn't find usb cord for printer, but Liz came to the rescue and printed pages for me.
  • put excerpt on website - it's up! read it here
  • two new scenes for WIP - wrote two and a half

Goals for this week:

  • keep working on 100 day challenge
  • finish chapter 12
  • finish storyboarding ch. 13
  • make a plotboard for Mirror so I can see better where it's unbalanced and how to fix it
I had an odd dream last night. A couple was late to their own wedding because they were busy playing an MMO. Once they showed up, they rushed through everything because they were merely AFK and wanted to get back to the game. I hope no one out there is that addicted to a video game! Hopefully the couple's commitment to each other rivals their commitment to the game.

The Wilcox Writers meeting went great. Five of us were able to make it. We went to Golden Corral, where we took our time eating while we talked and read each others writing. I brought the first three pages of Mirror, and everyone thought it was a good start to the story.

I'll end this post with a Writing Meme - started by Kelly McCullough over at Wyrdsmiths.

What do you find ______ about writing?

Hardest? Showing the passage of time. Big weakness I struggle through. This is the main reason I have to rework the last part of Mirror.
Easiest? Coming up with new story ideas.
Most fun? Writing the scenes I've pictured so many times in my head.
Most tedious? Completely rewriting those scenes that I botched so badly the first time.
Coolest? Worldbuilding. It is so cool to create a land and magic and creatures and see them come to life through my writing.
Least cool? Having to stop a great writing flow mid-scene and do research - how long would it take to get from A to B; is there an herbalistic treatment to hypothermia; and other plot related issues that I can't just note and say look this up later.
Best? Having my readers (few that they are) say they connect with my characters and are emotionally moved when they read my story.
Worst? Writers block - wanting to write, but the brain is blank, the words just won't come. I can't call that the hardest, 'cause staring at a blank screen or unmoving cursor isn't hard, it's just awful.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Inklings, Website, and Poetry

I recently wrote an article on Inklings and Writing Groups. I've also been looking at my website with an eye for improvements. I've added a scene excerpt, and made notes of some pages that need updating. I feel guilty for letting it go stale for so long... Erica is doing a series on websites, so I will be reading that diligently.

I've decided to board the Monday Poetry Train. I'm beginning to doubt that I will ever get paid for my poetry, though I will continue to submit to magazines. In the meantime, I may as well share some here.

The following is a poem I wrote back in February. I remember I was trying new poetry forms, but don't recall what form this one is. Silly me forgot to write it down. Without further ado,

Neapolitan

Spoon caresses polar mound,
scooping gently, then ascend -
bound for where it's most renowned.

Open wide to comprehend
bursting tastes in my mouth sprung -
three distinct clear flavors blend.

Silky chills seduce my tongue;
chocolate melts dark and sweet,
strawberry goes not unsung,

last, vanilla seals this treat;
love for this is so profound,
goosebumps trickle to my feet.

Steel withdraws without a sound;
once again it does descend -
spoon caresses polar mound.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Revisiting Mirror

As some of you may recall, I've written a story (novelette length) called Mirror, a retelling of Snow White. I finished writing it in early June, and haven't looked at it since. I know it needs a lot of revision before even sending the whole thing to my sister/crit partner. Recently I've been thinking about it again, and have decided to bring the first three pages to the writing group meeting this Saturday. I reworked the first scene, essentially doubling it in length, but showing more character motivation and emotion from Lady Sophia (who becomes the "evil step-mother"). Next week I'll make a goal to go through the rest of the story, marking it up for revision. Now, if only my son would take a nap so I could print these pages... ah well, still have tonight or tomorrow.

P.S. I'm sure you'll be seeing more strikethrough text, particularly during Tuesday Tally, now that I have finally looked up the code to do so...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday Tally, books, and exercise

Status of my novel
total words to date: 57,758
pages: 250
completed chapters: 11

Last week's goals:
  • keep working on 100 day challenge - did at least the minimum
  • blog 3x/wk - unless updating my 100 day progress counts... which really it doesn't... only blogged twice
  • three new scenes for WIP - complete
  • find a couple good standalone scenes to share - found a few which might work

Goals for this week:

Borrowed another stack of books from my family when we went down for my nephew's birthday party last Saturday. I started reading The Fairy Godmother, but Mercedes Lackey. Elena is a Cinderella whose happy ending didn't come because the prince was too young. Instead, she becomes an Apprentice Fairy Godmother. I'm a few chapters in and thoroughly enjoying it. This is the first of the Five Hundred Kingdoms books, all standalones in the same world, of Harlequin's Luna imprint. If I like this one, I also borrowed the second book, One Good Knight. Lackey wrote a third one as well, Fortune's Fool, but my sister doesn't own that one yet.

I've been exercising! Past the super painful part and starting to feel more energized after instead of exhausted. My abs were sore for three days after my first workout last week. Not muscles I'm used to having sore that long. The vacation incentive helped me resist using the muscle aches as excuses not to keep my routine. Yay for goal incentives! They really do work. :-)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Contests & Giveaways


5 Minutes for Mom is always giving away neat stuff. Tomorrow is the last day to enter to win a 37" Flat-Panel LCD HDTV! How awesome is that? Totally hope I win. A rare moment here, to thank Best Buy for sponsoring the contest.

Nikki is also having a giveaway. She's no longer scrapbooking, crocheting, and painting crafts. If you're into those hobbies, check her blog this week as she gets rid of her stuff. All she asks is that winners pay for shipping. I've already won something, but won't feel too guilty if no one else enters for the rest of the giveaways.

Serenity Collector's Edition comes out August 21! I know, I already have the regular edition... but I got it used, and none of the extras work. Though I love having the movie. If I buy/win the Collector's Edition then I will giveaway the regular one (either to family, or here on my blog, so you'd have to wait and see). What about this edition excites me?

  • Cast commentary with Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, and Ron Glass.
  • "A Filmmaker's Journey" - Joss's experience making the movie
  • "Session 416" - a special about River
  • most of the extras from overseas editions and the ones I wasn't able to access on the original. See What's New and What's Not

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tuesday Tally

Status of my novel
total words to date: 55,336
pages: 240
completed chapters: 11

Last week's goals:
  • keep working on 100 day challenge - the progress train is still steaming ahead
  • storyboard chapter twelve - did twelve, and the first few scenes of thirteen
  • finish both fantasy newsletter and Wilcox Writers newsletter and submit/send this weekend - both complete and sent
  • start habit of blogging three times a week (Tu, Th, Mon) - good for week one. on to week two

Goals for this week:

  • keep working on 100 day challenge
  • blog 3x/wk
  • three new scenes for WIP
  • find a couple good standalone scenes to share
Not as productive a week as last. I did get those two newsletters done, but struggled with my WIP. I've noticed that happens a few consecutive days each month... at least this time around I didn't drop into the depressive thoughts that my work is no good - I just didn't feel like working on it. Maybe all the self pep talks are starting to stick.

Next week is the Wilcox Writers meeting. I'm excited. We haven't gotten together since... what, May? Did we even have one then? Or did we last have an official meeting in March... Oh, my. Been too long. We've seen each other at family functions, but haven't sat down for a formal meeting in far too long. I'll have to decide what I want to bring - new/revised first scene to Emergence, beginning of Mirror, or some poetry. Then again, I could practice reading aloud one of those standalone scenes. Hmm, decisions decisions.

Well, enough dilly-dally. I must get some writing done so I can exercise during boy's naptime (Even have new exercise pants, so no excuses.). How is everyone's writing and other goals coming along?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Motivation

Multiple times over the past couple years, I've tried getting into an exercise routine. A few times I succeeded for a couple months, then got sick or something else interrupted the routine and it died off. I realize a big problem has been the lack of motivation. I'm not counting pounds, or running a marathon, so it's hard to measure progress. I simply need to be healthier and have more energy. But that takes too long to start showing. I need short term motivation, especially to get past the initial painful/exhaustive stages. I tried rewarding myself with a candybar after a good week, but that had two problems: 1) more sugar isn't exactly a good reward for acting healthy, and 2) we tend to have treats on a regular basis so it isn't anything special.

Today I brainstormed rewards, and worked on my list of goals. Inspiration flashed. Combine two of them! One thing I really want/need is a vacation. I'd be happy to settle for a night in Vegas. But it's been six years since I went on a real one. So, I'm going to set aside a few dollars (exact amount to be determined) every time I exercise, to put in a vacation fund for Fall 2008. The more I exercise, the better I can afford. Seeing those dollars add up will hopefully keep me working out. I have my own money from babysitting, and it will be easy to set aside. In addition to motivating me to exercise, this will make the goal of a vacation more attainable and realistic. Now to determine a reasonable dollar amount...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

River of Tears

I am easily emotionally moved by books and film. The tears flow so easily that my hubby fondly calls me his crybot. Though it's one thing he'll never make fun of. Even a Pokemon movie has made me cry. But two shows stand out in my memory that really opened the flood gates. The first is The Notebook. I think I sobbed for an hour straight after that one. The second movie is Premonition, which we watched last night. Both had engaging characters and heart-wrenching endings, that may not be happy but were right for the story. I don't think these movies would have affected me as profoundly if I wasn't married. I can better relate to the characters and can imagine being in their shoes - thus the tears. The wonderful thing is, these shows have more than emotional impact: they make you think. I would definitely recommend seeing them.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Tuesday Tally

Status of my novel
total words to date: 54,761
pages: 237
completed chapters: 11

Last week's goals:
  • keep working on 100 day challenge - the progress train is still steaming ahead
  • finish chapter eleven - success

Goals for this week:

  • keep working on 100 day challenge
  • storyboard chapter twelve
  • finish both fantasy newsletter and Wilcox Writers newsletter and submit/send this weekend
  • start habit of blogging three times a week (Tu, Th, Mon)
Over 3,000 words progress on Emergence this past week! If I keep up this pace, I'll finish before my birthday with time to spare. I'm learning how to fit in writing time even while babysitting, without killing my head. That has surely helped the word count. I want to fit in extra blogging as well. I picked Monday and Thursday to add to my regular days, as my husband is home the rest of the week. I still feel awkward blogging when he's home. Something about someone noticing my thoughts as I'm writing them, or interrupting by asking what I'm writing about this time. Same reason I can't write in my physical journal when he's around. I don't care so much if he reads it, just if he's aware of it at the time of writing. Does that make any sense?

My fantasy newsletter this month is going to be on The Inklings, and benefits of a writers group. I need to do a little more research before writing it though. At least researching something I'm interested in is more fun than hassle. :-)

Watching my son grow

My son is developing some good and bad habits as he grows older. He is about three and a half years old now. He loves to help out with, well, anything - laundry, dishes, even insisting on carrying in something after grocery shopping as well as putting said something away. On the not so good side, he's been showing a temper. More than just a fit, there's door banging and (today) pushing down someone smaller than him. I really hope it's a phase thing, not an emerging trait. Not acceptable at all. Makes me hope he doesn't have a fit at school.

Speaking of school, he starts again on September 5! He'll be going to preschool for a couple hours twice a week. Due to overcrowding, his class has moved to a different school. He'll have a different teacher, but should have some of the same kids. I think kindergarten starts after a kid turns five, so he has a couple years of preschool still to go. Hopefully we'll be in a house by then.

My son still isn't speaking much (though he's plenty noisy). He does have a small vocabulary of regularly used words - uh-oh, daddy, bye, banana, ball, bubbles, "i love you", and "thank you". There are other words he can say, but doesn't use them on a regular basis. He's getting better at repeating words and phrases.

Another area he is making progress in is potty training. I think he's close to readiness. He will say "uh-oh" while pointing to his butt when he needs changing, and is willing to sit on the potty (booster on the actual toilet, as that way he knows what it's for) before bed, though has yet to use it. Maybe someday soon he'll warn me before he needs to go instead of telling me after.

I babysit four times a week, two long days and two short, watching a one year old boy. One thing this has done for me is convince me how happy I am to only have one kid! With two, they get each other in more trouble, have squealing wars, get more hyper-active, occasionally fight over toys, and overall make a lot more noise. After a long, stressful babysitting day, I wonder how my mom survived with nine of us kids. I can barely keep my sanity after a whole week with two! I'm sure as my son grows older I will gain an even better appreciation and understanding of my parents.

I've said before that writing my novel is the most challenging and enjoyable thing I've ever done. That wasn't entirely true. It's the second most challenging and enjoyable. Being a mom would definitely be the first. I love my son. :-)