AROW80 Update for 4/17/19: Taco Wednesday

Longhairday!

My hair is getting so long (this is what it looks like when I brush it all forward). Not bad for a picture I took at five in the morning without wearing my glasses because that’s when I decided I needed to brush all my hair forward for…reasons.

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This is going to be another quick update, since I don’t have much to report since the last update.

We tried a new restaurant tonight, Rusty Taco. It’s a taco place, hence the name and it’s a pretty good place. I tried their beef brisket and beef fajita tacos and Amy had their fried chicken taco as well as a beef fajita taco. They’re yummy, as are their churros and sopapillas which satisfy the craving for crunchy sweet cinnamon-sugar covered stuff.

Writing-wise, I haven’t gotten much done this week because life got in the way but not in a bad way, just a few things came up that needed my attention, like paying taxes on Monday, sleeping in on Tuesday and running errands with the Amy (and trying the new taco place) today. It was actually kind of nice to take a break from my usual routine.

The good news, I did get an idea for Storm Warnings that will help me explain a few things and I had a separate idea for the larger universe that Storm Warnings and Omegas: Cake Walk are set in and I (hopefully)  will be using later on in other stories.

Catch you on the flip-flop!

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Boilerplate Links:  

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time.Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Feel free to join us on Facebook at ROW80 or follow us on Twitter at#ROW80.  Or you can do all of the above!

Visit 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook or visit the lady who started it all, Katharine Grubb and learn more.

AROW80 Update for April 14, 2019

This is going to be a quick update because I want to go take a nap. We’re in the middle of a tornado watch here because of course we are, this is Ohio, it’s mid-April, it is the time of the big winds!  Also, weather in general is just going completely nucking futz lately.

Haven’t done much of anything on Storm Warnings, though I’ve been watching a documentary about the eugenics movement of the early 20th century as part of my on-going research for certain aspects of this story and for the story universe as a whole.

Been chugging along with writing every day, not always related to Storm Warnings or any other project but I’m getting words on paper and trying to write in a more structured way.

Uhmmmm, anything else? Not much. Going to go take that nap now, catch you guys on the flip-flop! Have a good week, hope the weather where you are is behaving itself in a reasonable fashion.

Oh! One last thought and something I will try to get back to in a longer fashion at another time: I have discovered that when I’m setting goals for myself, it’s a good idea to set them fairly low. The lower the goal, the easier it is to achieve and the more likely I am to inadvertently exceed it. Which leads to me feeling accomplishment and wanting to do even better the next time, thus do we successfully condition ourselves to achieve!

Ok, now it’s nap time

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Boilerplate Links:  

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time.Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Feel free to join us on Facebook at ROW80 or follow us on Twitter at#ROW80.  Or you can do all of the above!

Visit 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook or visit the lady who started it all, Katharine Grubb and learn more.

AROW80 Update for 4/10/19

I was today years old when I found out that Die Hard was adapted from a book. I’m in the habit of listening to YouTube videos while I’m writing, especially when I’m at the library. This means that at least part of every writing session includes trying to find videos to watch. I like a lot of the video review shows on YouTube including one I’ve recently stumbled on called Lost in Adaptation.

Lost in Adaptation features Dominic “The Dom” Smith who reviews adaptations — he talks about the book and the movie as separate entities then discusses how well the movies adapt the books. He’s done all of the Harry Potter books/movies (enlisting the help of an alter ego/side character called Terrance the D-Bag Ravenclaw), and has done side projects that focus just on reviewing books as well as a series that reviewed the 60’s British TV series, The Prisoner.  Be warned: he does use NC-17 language, so these videos aren’t necessarily safe for work or for younger viewers, but he is very entertaining.

I’ll do a recommendation list of some other reviewers/commentators that I like as well as how I think these sorts of commentary can help one’s writing on another occasion. Trying to keep this short.

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I have not been working as hard as I would like on Storm Warnings, but I am trying to make up for that today. On the good side, I haven’t restarted it again! So, counting that as a win!

Continuing with the dream journal — it’s now about 25 pages long, so…yeah, I’ve dreamed a lot of dreams over the last couple months!

Still been doing the freewriting thing too. That’s up to a little over twenty pages as well, which goes to show that I can ramble like an [obscenity] when I want to. Now to harness that energy toward writing fiction! *Rar!*

I’ve checked in with my accountability partner and we’ve set up a plan for this round. *fingers crossed!*

While I have not come close to finishing Omegas: Cake Walk, I have figured out a side plot that I think will actually help make the next draft of the book a whole lot better and will tie things together nicely. *fingers again crossed*

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I’ve been listening to a J.D. Robb novel in the car. This’ll be the fifth or sixth of Robb’s In Death books that I’ve listened to and I’ve already selected another one to listen to once this one’s done (which’ll be in a day or so).  I shied away from Robb for a while because of some really kind of stupid and petty reasons, most of which center around the fact that Nora Roberts is a romance writer and I don’t read romance.

Side Note:  Yeah, much as I hate to admit it, I used to be one of those folks who sneered at romance novels as being trash (and no, the irony of being a science fiction fan who did this is not lost on me). It was in the early 1990s when my attitude started to change. The internet started becoming a thing and I started looking for information on writing and that led me to a site called All About Romance, which reviewed romance books. For the first time, I got the chance to see romance readers discussing romance books in critical ways and I learned that yes, Virginia, it’s entirely possible to enjoy romance novels and still have a brain in your head.

I actually have read a few romance novels in my time and enjoyed most of the ones I’ve read. It’s almost like any genre can be entertaining if you find the right thing, weird huh?

All of this is a long way of saying that I avoided the In Death series for a long time and finally picked up an audiobook because I was like, “I need something to listen to in the car, we can try this out and see if we like it, if we don’t, eh I’ll bring it back and find something else.”

Long story shorter: I like J.D. Robb. I like the In Death series. I like Eve Dallas and Rourke and Peabody and a lot of the rest of the series. I like the world building Robb did for her version of the future and I can also see it as a cautionary tale for folks wanting to write near-future science fiction series.  More on that in a later post.

I also really like the voice actor who performs the In Death books, Susan Ericksen. A good voice actor can really make or break an audiobook for me. They can also encourage me to read other books just because I want to keep listening to their voice. Ericksen is one who I will look for on other books in the future, as is Ray Porter, Johnny Heller, Bernadette Dunne and Kate Reading (is that not the perfect name for an audiobook reader?!) among others. Oh! Bronson Pinchot is another one — Cousin Balki has some serious range.

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Boilerplate Links:  

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time.Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Feel free to join us on Facebook at ROW80 or follow us on Twitter at#ROW80.  Or you can do all of the above!

Visit 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook or visit the lady who started it all, Katharine Grubb and learn more.

AROW80 Round 2 2019 Check-In and Updates

Howdy, howdy, howdy!  

The newest round of A Round of Words in 80 Days started yesterday (Monday, April 1st) so I’m posting my goals for this round and giving a bit of an after-action report on Round 1.

Round One 2019 Summary/Review:

Back in January, I set myself the following goals for the first round of AROW80 – here they are with updates:

Goal: Finish Storm Warnings — which I have now started about five times, but I’m currently working on a draft that I’m liking. Writing short is freaking hard, people.

Status: Storm Warnings is still unfinished. And as of today, I’ll be restarting it for the sixth and hopefully last time (more on that under the Goals post for this round). I’ve revised a few decisions I had made about the story’s length and focus and this time, fingers crossed, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I think I’ve finally struck upon an outline that will work.

Goal: Finish Omegas: Cake Walk — which is still in the same limbo it’s been in for the last few months.

Status: Omegas: Cake Walk is still in limbo but that’s ok.

Goal: Post in my blog at least weekly as part of my checking in with AROW80.

Status:  Didn’t quite make it to weekly posts, but I have posted more frequently than I did in the past.

Goal: Post and track my progress in the 365 Day Challenge on the group’s spreadsheet.

Also, Friday is my birthday! I’m going to be 49 years old (I’m a prime number squared!) – which means next year, I’ll be 50. And while I don’t have 2020 vision, what I want to do for myself for my 50th is to finish at least one story and get it ready to be submitted for publication. I’ll keep you posted how that goes!

Status:  I’ve been tracking my progress with my own spreadsheet and I’ve been posting my updates pretty regularly in the official 365 Day Challenge spreadsheet.

Goal: Write at least 4 times a week and produce a total of at least 2,500 words.

Status:  This is the goal I have been knocking out of the park. I’ve been consistently meeting or exceeding my weekly goals. Since January 25th, I haven’t missed a single day of writing and each month, my word production has been going steadily up. So, color me very happy about that.

That said, there are some things that I want to improve upon going forward, especially in regards to what I’m writing. As it is right now, I’m including just about any writing than I’m doing as part of my word goals. Some of that has been my work on Storm Warnings – both the actual writing of the story and the plotting/general noodling around with ideas that I’ve been doing. I’ve also started a couple of other things that I’m using to flex my creative muscles.

The first is my own take on a dream journal. I take notes on what happened in my dreams and write it up, along with whatever book I happened to be listening to when I went to sleep (I usually listen to audiobooks to help me drift off). The idea is that this is a way for me to potentially mine my subconscious for ideas. And I’ve had a couple dreams that are ripe for being turned into stories, so I’m calling that a win. I’ve also gotten some ideas for characters and potential scenarios as well.

What’s really interesting to me is how often things from the audiobooks I’m listening to don’t appear in my dreams. In the month or so that I’ve been doing this, there’ve been maybe two or three times where I can make a direct link between something in a book and something in my dreams. Don’t know as this proves anything about subconscious learning, but it’s kinda neat to me.

The other is also a kind of journal, which I’m using to do freewriting as a way to get ideas and thoughts out of my head and onto the page (and to make a word count on days when maybe the fictional creativity isn’t wanting to flow like I’d like it to). That’s a little less structured than the dream journal and is more just me rambling about stuff as it comes to me.

And, as of this week, I’ve started an idea bank – I’m using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of ideas for my various fictional universes. The reason for using Excel is so that I can sort the ideas by various criteria. This is especially helpful for story ideas like the universe that Omegas: Cake Walk  and Storm Warnings are set in where stories can be set in entirely different time periods.

What I’m hoping to do going forward is to start focusing on counting work that actually goes somewhere – the journals are good but I want to start actually producing work that I can show to other people. Specifically, work that I can start trying to send out to sell. Because ultimately, I want to get published. Preferably traditionally published, but I’m not about to turn my nose up at self-publishing. So toward that end, here’s my goals for Round 2.

Round 2 Goals:

  • Finish Storm Warnings – I’m working on this for the April 2019 iteration of Camp Nanowrimo. The good news is, I have finally struck on a formulation for the story that does what I want it to do and I actually managed to outline the whole thing from beginning to end so that inspires confidence in me!
  • Touch base regularly with my accountability partner – I didn’t do this as well as I should have last round and I am sincerely sorry about that. I’ve gotten out of the habit of talking to folks online and I need to get better about that.
  • Stay the course on my dream journal and freewriting – Because I enjoy doing both and I think they have the potential to be very useful for future endeavors, whether that’s story ideas or blog posts.
  • Finish Omegas: Cake Walk This is something that’ll probably be on the back burner until May or so, since I’m putting my main energy into Storm Warnings, but I do still keep nudging at the story in the back of my head.

For now, going to wrap this up with the boiler plate links and talk to you folks soon!

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Boilerplate Links:  

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time.Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Feel free to join us on Facebook at ROW80 or follow us on Twitter at#ROW80.  Or you can do all of the above!

Visit 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook or visit the lady who started it all, Katharine Grubb and learn more.