AROW80 Check-in for November 27, 2013

Introduction, Part Two: Electric Boogaloo: (cheesy, I know but does it help that I did see both Breakin’ movies in the theater back in the day?)

I bit the bullet and switched over to a WordPress blog because for one thing, it seems to be the most popular option among folks in the challenge and for another, it looks like a better way to get feedback than Tumblr.  I’ll probably get around to deleting the Tumblr blog I started eventually. But if it’s still there in 2016, don’t be surprised.

So, since this is kinda/sorta a fresh start, I’m going to introduce myself again.  My name is Kathy, I’m 43 years old, I work in a call center and I’ve been writing off and on since I was 17 but making up stories and worlds and assorted oddness since I was little. I can still remember being about five years old and talking to myself before I went to sleep and having to stop when my mom would come to bed — and then there was that magical day I realized that I could keep talking to myself when she came to sleep if I just started talking to myself inside my own head. Mind. Blown.

I also owe my cousin Kate a debt of gratitude for getting tired of me, at 12, saying “One day, I’m going to write a story about…*insert blathering about characters and situations*” and telling me, “Why don’t you DO IT THEN?!” with all the wisdom of her then-ten year old self. Thanks Kate! You are the reason I now know that it’s possible to make a notebook go football shaped if you insert enough Post-it notes into it!

My current project is the fourth book in what will eventually be a five book series.  It started off as the first book in the series but somehow has managed to morph into the fourth book.  Has anybody else ever had this happen?  Because it’s freaking me out a little bit that once I finish this book I need to write three more to get caught up. Though, I at least have a better idea of what’s going to happen in those books and most of the heavy lifting as far as worldbuilding has been done so it’ll be easier to slip into those worlds and only do the research that will be specific to their plots.

The working title for my current project is Defcon: Fade Out.  I outlined what it was about in my first check-in, so I’m going to reproduce that here:

 For the past few years, I’ve been working on a novel series set in a world where, in 1983, a nuclear war was accidentally sparked by a massive asteroid strike in the Kamchatka Peninsula in the former Soviet Union. The series takes place at various points in time after the nuclear war and follows a group of characters through the slow process of recovery. The general idea behind the series was to create a world that harkened back to the spirit of the old post-apocalyptic men’s adventure novels of the 1980s that I used to read and enjoy when I was a kid — but without the racism, sexism and other massive amounts of fail that make me cringe upon rereading them as an adult.

This project is a chance for me to write the kind of books I wish (now) that I could have read back then and also a chance for me to play around with my own love-hate nostalgia for the 1980s and the Cold War.

What I’m Thankful For, As a Writer, This Year:

  •  A girlfriend who supports me, even when I’m not so supportive of myself
  • Pilot G-2 pens and all the various colors they come in. Also graph paper notebooks.
  • Having finally struck upon a writing system that seems to work well for me and that provides both structure and flexibility.  And the necessity of multi-colored sticky notes
  • Multi-colored sticky notes. Also, graph paper sticky notes.
  • Pretty much graph paper anything. For some reason, it is extremely fun to write on.
  • That Stanislav Petrov was at work on September 26, 1983.

Goals For This Go-Round: Right now, these are pretty much all writing-related.

  •  Finish Defcon: Fade Out in its entirety from beginning to end.  What I have so far is essentially a very patchy collection of scenes that need to be tied together.  So, I’m currently trying to write the book out in order, following an outline and patching the scenes I have together with scenes I’m writing.  So far, I’m at five chapters written and have just started on chapter six!  And I’m averaging about a chapter a week so, yay!
  • Keep track of the plot holes and research questions that have popped up while I’m writing and do whatever research/plotting work necessary to turn this book into what I want it to be.
  • Put some (more) work into detailing the plots for the first three books, since they have an impact on the events in Defcon: Fade Out.
  • Put some work into figuring out ideas for the three other projects that have been on the back burner/recently come up thanks to some weird dreams.  These include:
    • A book about 3rd shift vampire hunters — they work 3rd shift as vampire hunters, rather than hunting vampires who are 3rd shifters.  This one, much like my current project, is in a state of being patchily written and needs something of an overhaul.
    • A story about a Reverse Batman-type character — his parents were supervillains in the 1960 who were killed by a rogue hero and because of this, he now works as a private detective doing things like keeping superheroes accountable and such.  He’s also the guy you call when you want to serve divorce papers on The Thing. This might end up as a series of short stories.  I’ve got a few scenes written and some supporting characters in mind.
    • A story about a scruffy space pirate-type guy who helps fight Cthulu-like aliens and who annoys the other space pirates by flaunting one of the basic rules of their society.  This one plays on my enjoyment of classic space opera-style SF like C.L. Moore’s Northwest Smith stories, Edmond Hamilton’s Starwolf trilogy of books and Alan E. Nourse’s Raiders from the Rings – among others.This one has a scene written and is still needing to be noodled with.

Other Things I am Thankful For This Year:

  • My girlfriend and her love and support
  • My family and friends and their love and support
  • Being in a good place in my life.

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20 thoughts on “AROW80 Check-in for November 27, 2013

  1. Welcome to WordPress! I wish all of my blog friends were here. It’s nice to be able to “like” posts, even when I feel like I have nothing to add to the conversation, and I hate the Captcha-go-round when I try to comment on Blogger blogs.

    Also, all of the cool kids hang out here. 😉

    Your books sound fantastic, and I hope we’ll get to read some of those stories about that detective. The mental image of someone serving divorce papers on the Thing? Fantastic.

    I’m supposed to be writing right now, but I’m glad I stopped by!

    • Thanks! I’m slowly figuring things out, which is why this post has changed about four times in the last five minutes as I’ve been adding tags and categories and such. We’ll see how long that organization thing lasts…

      And I’m glad you like my ideas and also that you stopped by! As I mentioned over on your blog, I have had my Tim Horton’s and now it is time for sleep.

  2. Great list of goals — good luck on them!

    One thing to consider regarding your blog: the older I get, the harder it is for me to read white on dark — it’s like the white starts glowing and the words run together. I might need new glasses, but it doesn’t happen to me with black on white. But maybe I’m the only one!

  3. Hi Kathy,
    Welcome to WordPress. If you need any help, or have any questions about the platform, feel free to give me a shout.

    Your book sounds interesting and I look forward to more updates!

    Have a great week!

  4. Loving this introductory post, Kathy. Thanks for stopping in and visiting my blog (and other WIPpeteers and ROWers… we’re, I think, a very welcoming bunch)..

    And you’re so very right… People are still going to want to read when the world comes to an end (I always loved that image of the English library too).

    • Sorry for the delay in getting back to you!

      Yes, yes you guys are! I I do have a question about WIPpet Wednesdays: do they work the same or at least similar to ROW80?

      As for the library: yeah, that would be me once the fallout cleared out/ashes from the asteroid impact settled/alien overlords were defeated by the sniffles/etc. I would seriously be looting the bookstores, probably before I went looking for food. I honestly think the most sadistic episode of the old Twilight Zone series was the one where the guy finally has all the time in the world to read and his glasses break. It’s like, “Rod Serling, that is NOT FUNNY!”

      • No problem about delays. It’s a holiday weekend for many people. And even when it isn’t… life happens.

        As for the WIPpet and the ROW80… They are different things with different posting etiquette and ‘rules’.

        The WIPpet only happens on Wednesday, and basically it’s a way to give us a chance to show off our work as we move through the process. Most of us post the rules right along with our posts, so you can always catch up that way too. Pretty basic stuff… A sample of a Work in Progress that somehow (no matter how convolutedly achieved) relates to the date.

        The ROW80 is more of a “how to get the writing done while Life is having its way with us” project. We post our goals, we make updates on our progress Wednesdays and Sundays, we check in at the linky… And then we try to visit a few other ROWers and cheer them on. I don’t think that any of us visits every ROWer each check-in,,, We’d never get any progress made on our own goals if we did. We do try to visit a few people each check-in, and sponsors usually visit a few more than that.

        Some amazing writerly friendships have come to me out of both projects. I hope you’ve find the same happens to you too, Kathy.

        Re: looting libraries… I’d certainly be foraging them, but I’d bring back the books once I was done. Books are meant to be shared and touched and experienced by as many hands as possible, imho.

        • Re: WIPpet — sounds good; is there a main blog where you go to sign up or is it like ROW in that you just add your linky post?

          And thank you for your words of encouragement; they mean a lot.

  5. I really enjoyed reading about your writing process . . . and your idea for a reverse Batman-type character – that I want to read. (Please keep me posted. It sounds intriguing.)

    Isn’t it wonderful to have support family and friends? They’re the best!


    • Thank you very much! (I feel like I am abusing the exclamation point, but I seriously mean it every time I use it) I will most assuredly keep you posted on the Reverse Batman. And yes, yes it is.

      *grinning like a goon*

  6. Hi, Kathy!

    Because of you, I finally learned how to comment on Tumblr (that’s a useful bit of information!), bur I’m glad you’re here on WordPress now, so I can follow you!

    I love your book ideas, and your process reminds me a lot of mine. I had been scribbling notebooks full for years and gooping up all the margins with notes…and I was stymied, because the world I most love to play in is Star Trek, and I wasn’t sure what to do with all the original fantasy stuff that grew from it…

    Until one day, soon after I started ROW80, it occurred to me that i could write two interwoven series, one fanfic and offered for free (I don’t want to make money on Star Trek; only to share my deep and abiding passion for Spock and my new fascination with T’Pol -yes, I do love the pointy-eared ones!), and the fantasy elements for sale…

    As you said. Mind. Blown.

    Of course, I spent decades puttering and playing, and I jumped willy-nilly into the first several, so the last books in each series are about to undergo first reisions while the first books in the series are only about halfway through their rough drafts, and the ones in between are not in any sequential state of preparation…it’s a muddle, now,but I console myself with the thought that, once I have the first books ready to go, I should be able to get them out fairly close together.

    I love the way each of us has our own journey and discoveries, and I love when others share theirs. I love it even more when they share happy bits about their lives and loves!

    As for WIPpet, there is a linky. If you click on a WIPpet Wednesday blogpost (Eden’s up there is one), there is usually a little blue froggy fellow somewhere in the post. Click on him, and you can enter your link. I’d like to place an order for Reverse Batman, please – the entire concept intrigues me. I used to have a thing for the Thing, when i was 10 or 11.

    You can decide each Wednesday if you want to participate; I try to get to everyone each week, but usually manage about half.

    And, although I’ve known Eden about forever (she introduced me to Star Trek, NaNo, ROW80, and WIPpet Wednesday, along with many many other Great Things), I second what she said up there. I, too, have had wonderful friendships sparked by these challenges and blog hops, and it’s deeply sustaining to the writer in me, who needed that desperately.

    So happy you are here!

    • I am definitely enjoying WordPress more for commenting and talking to folks. I like Tumblr for sharing things but trying to communicate over there leaves me confused.

      And thank you! I’m glad my ideas are intriguing to people — and I’ve even started writing a bit in the Reverse Batman ‘verse because of the interest in it. And I’m probably going to post some for the next WIPpet Wednesday (cue me now flailing because I’ve committed myself. EEEK!)

      I used to have notebooks and scrap pieces of paper full of writings when I was younger — most of which are gone now, which…is probably for the best. I do have some fanfics posted up, mostly in the Transformers and GI Joe universes. When I started getting more serious about writing original works, some of the things I learned from fanfic writing bled over. And one of my writerly fantasies is imagining what kind of fics people might one day write about my characters. *hee*

      I haven’t been in ROW80 for very long, but I’ve already noticed a change in myself. It’s absolutely wonderful to be back in a writing community and I feel very welcome here. So, I am belatedly thankful for all of you guys as well!

      • If you do ROW80 for a year, you may be amazed at how differently you see yourself as a writer and a person. There’s something about the open canvas of choosing and being accountable for your own goals, being able to change things to suit your needs and passions, that opens up whole new worlds…

        I tend to see possibilities now, far more often than I do limitations. I’m not afraid to set complex long-term goals, because I know what I can do in a way I didn’t before. I’m not afraid to claim my fanfic as being as important to me as my original work (I agree with you – I have learned so much from it!).

        I no longer feel like a failure if I drop a goal, or it takes a lot longer to get to it than I thought it would. I tend to see my goals as a buffet to choose amongst, rather than something I have to do…

        And where, in high school, i was ridiculed, chastised, and punished for writing, now this passion is celebrated and taken as seriously by others as I take it myself.

        And the advice – oh, my! I have learned so very much!

        You now have me wondering what GI Joe and Transformers fanfic is like – and original Transformers, or the modern incarnation (I’m 44, so I think of the cartoon and the toys – I got really excited, a few years ago, when my son bought a Bakugan set that went together like a Transformer).

        Every member of the ROW8 family adds something unique and wonderful to the mix and I’m so glad you’re here to add you! =D

        • I’m already noticing a bit of a change, particularly in being more willing to try working on more than one idea at once, so it’s going to be really neat to see what difference a year makes!

          My Transformers and GI Joe fics were largely centered around the original 1980s cartoons/toyline/comics, but there are fics centered around just about every version of both. I watched both cartoons when I was a kid, back when they first came out, but didn’t get involved with the fandoms until I was nearly 30.

          As far as subjects go, pretty much anything you’ve seen in other fandoms, you can find in fics in the Transformers and/or GI Joe fandoms.

  7. Pingback: Weaving 444 Threads and 122, 488 Words: ROW80 Update, 12/1/13 | shanjeniah

  8. You know, WordPress will cross-post your entries to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and/or LinkedIn if you want to. I’ve been posting links to Twitter for over a year and just started doing the same with Tumblr.

    Anyway, welcome to, and congratulations on finishing NaNoWriMo, even if yoiu didn’t “win.”

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