AROW80 Check-In: June 11, 2014

Today was the Day of Getting a New TV, since our old one got fried by lightning a couple weeks ago.  (Our phone and internet were also taken out, but were easier to fix since we didn’t have to buy any new equipment — just survive two days with no Internet…did you guys know Burger King has free wi-fi?).

So, upshot is, we’ve got a new TV and a brand new set of screwdrivers since the TV’s stand required a Phillips screwdriver and we only had a couple flat screwdrivers and I can now watch crappy movies like Ice Soldiers!

……..

Ok, no, really, I’m happy to have a TV again and Ice Soldiers….ok, I asked for it. I read the plot summary and knew it was going to be dumb going in and I still went ahead and watched it and…

Here’s the plot summary from Wikipedia:

A team of Canadian scientists discover genetically engineered Soviet super-soldiers buried beneath the Arctic ice. When the soldiers are revived, they go on killing spree.

What this leaves out? The soldiers were originally sent to attack New York City back in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis by some Soviet special forces extremists who…apparently thought that three guys attacking New York City could help push the US into World War III.  Their thinking seems to have been based on the idea of “These guys took out an isolated Siberian village by themselves so a city of 7.5 million-plus should be no problem, right?!”

The guys are revived, as the plot summary says, and go on a rampage (including an off-screen, heavily implied rape of the lone female scientist) and then wander off  apparently trying to walk to NYC.  The movie jumps ahead 50 years and a group made up of a couple scientists, an evil oil company exec (not sure if the company is evil or the exec…) and a private military contractor who is kinda/sorta evilish are once again looking for the genetically engineered super soldiers who got themselves frozen again!

And of course, they find them.  And the super soldiers revive and havoc ensues again. Including the evil exec being raped (lone female in the group, so, yeah…) — again, off screen but still pretty icky that the only two female characters to show up get raped for what seems no other reason than to show off just how EVUL!!! the bad guys are. I mean, come on, they’re gigantic, heavily muscled, blond Russians with buzz cuts — we KNOW they’re evil just looking at them!  We’ve all seen the ads for Rocky IV!

(Though, I will say? They show the nekkid bum of one of the super soldiers and despite the fact that all three of them look like buff versions of TV’s Frank from Mystery Science Theatre 3000, I gotta say…woooooo!).

The movie, already silly and stupid, gets sillier and stupider from this point but if you’re looking for a good doofy popcorn movie that you can yell at, try Red Dawn (2012) avoid Red Dawn (2012) at all costs and stick with Ice Soldiers.

Writing Goals:

As you can probably guess, I didn’t get to any writing this week. Or typing. But I am still working on the idea that I came up with the other day, so, progress is occurring!

AROW80 Check-In: June 8, 2014

Still no typing done but, there has actually been progress!  I figured out a way to justify the actions of my bad guys that will also help drive some of the plot/motivations of my good guys!

Also, I’ve been listening to the audio book of Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward, which is a) hilarious and 2) actually an instructive guide to writing a novel. Here’s the summary:

Meet Paul and Lacey Hansen: orphaned, pot-growing, twentysomething siblings eking out a living in rural Northern California. When a headless corpse appears on their property, they can’t exactly dial 911, so they move the body and wait for the police to find it. Instead, the corpse reappears, a few days riper … and an amateur sleuth is born. Make that two.

 

But that’s only half of the story. When collaborators Lutz and Hayward—former romantic partners—start to disagree about how the story should unfold, the body count rises, victims and suspects alike develop surprising characteristics (meet Brandy Chester, the stripper with the Mensa IQ), and sibling rivalry reaches homicidal intensity. Will the authors solve the mystery without killing each other first?

Also, I read Lindsey Davis’s Ides of April, the first book in her new Flavia Albia historical mystery series. The book follows the adventures of Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of Davis’s Marcus Didius Falco, main character of Davis’s other long-running historical mystery series.  Flavia Albia is grown up and following in her father’s footsteps as an informer (read: detective) in ancient Rome.  It’s described as Falco: The Next Generation.

Like Heads You Lose, this book was an entertaining read and also a useful example of something related to my own writing. In this case, namely how to move a story forward in time and change focus from one character to another. Flavia Albia mentions her parents and even goes to visit them several times in the book, but they don’t really appear on screen so they don’t steal the show from Flavia Albia.

Davis is also very, very good at writing her historical characters in such a way that they feel modern but are still creatures of their time. Since I’m also reading one of Lisa Lutz’s Spellman Files mysteries, it kind of amused me that Flavia Albia and Izzy Spellman would probably get along fairly well if they met up. After all, both are the daughters of PIs who are now PIs themselves, both have crazy families, both have odd living situations, and both have an interesting quasi-romantic relationship with a police officer.  Highly recommended!

AROW80 Check-In: June 4, 2014

Y’know how I was going to start typing things yesterday? Yeah, uhm, I didn’t. And I haven’t yet today, because my brain is just like, “No, typing hard! Play Candy Crush! And listen to podcasts!”

It doesn’t help that a storm is getting ready to roll in tonight and is making my head hurt.

Also doesn’t help that I’ve been wrestling with insecurity about my story for the last month or so, trying to convince myself that the idea isn’t terrible, that I’m not wasting my time, that I’m writing a story that only I’m going to be interested in, that <insert typical instance of authorial self-doubt here>.

But then when I look at my story, I get these happy little feelings of “Oh, this isn’t bad! This makes sense!” and “If I do this, this and this instead of that, then I can tie these plot threads together and it will make a better story!”  The problem, it seems, is to get my confidence up and keep it up and banish the doubts to the cornfield.

Well, that and actually start typing the damn book up…which I will do, uh…tomorrow? For reals?

So, yeah, chalk this up to a lazy day wherein the writer is doing a lot of thinking about things and considering options but not actually producing anything tangible.

 # # # # #

I was surfing around over at TVtropes and followed a link which led to a link which led to this article by Michael A. Stackpole that is very germane to my current issues of insecurity.  So, I thought I’d edit this post and share a quote from When Is Crap crap? by Michael A. Stackpole. 

 Crap is crap when the author doesn’t care enough to work hard; and doesn’t believe in himself enough to take pride in his work. Those who produce crap will sink without a trace. Not because of a rising tide of crap, but because they deliberately swim toward the bottom, open their mouths, and willfully suck.

AROW80 Check-In: June 1, 2014

Howdy! This month begins the month of typing…which is probably actually going to start on Tuesday since that’s my day off, but the typing will begin!

And since I don’t have much else to say, here’s another googly-eyed book cover:

DSCF0465

This is Doomsday Warrior #1 by Ryder Stacy which, in addition to being the source of the title of this blog, is also distinguished by having the goofiest origin for a group of survivors of World War III in all the books I’ve read.

Basically,100 years before the series begins, World War III breaks out and a group of people are trapped in a highway tunnel in Colorado near Denver when the ends of the tunnel collapse.  The people survive the bombing of Denver and then go on to use the tools and equipment they had in their cars and trucks to build what becomes a high-tech secret hidden Free City 100 years later.  High-tech as in, sophisticated computer libraries and hydroponics gardens using only what a random group of commuters and long-haul truckers just happened to be hauling through the tunnel on the day war broke out.

I not only have all 19 books of the Doomsday Warrior series, I also have the complete series of adaptations made by Graphic Audio (“A movie in your mind!”).  If you haven’t listened to a Graphic Audio book/heard of the company, allow me to quote Wikipedia at you:

GraphicAudio is an audiobookpublishing imprint of The Cutting Corporation. Its tagline is “A Movie In Your Mind”. The GraphicAudio format includes a full cast of actors, narration, sound effects and cinematic music. GraphicAudio has published over 900 action-adventure titles and 40 series in the fantasy, science fiction, post-apocalyptic, comic and western genres.

 

The company does an amazing job. The performances are incredible, they have a nice variety of genres and listening to the books, you really do feel like you’re listening to a movie. Admittedly, a lot of the movies in your mind are cheesy action movies but, if loving cheesy action movies is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

 

AROW80 Check-In: May 28, 2014

It has finally started to rain — a nice downpour that makes me want to go lay down and listen to Skeptoid podcasts about strange and weird things. So, y’know, that’s what I’m a’gonna do ‘cuz I am lazy.

Two more days until my schedule becomes less nuts! Yay!

Writing Goals: Still as they stand; read and ponder, ponder and read. Typing starts June 1st, like it or not.

Reading Goals:  Got a cool new book called The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch by Lewis Dartnell, which is pretty much what it says on the tin. He talks about building a kit of knowledge that would allow a post-apocalyptic society to rebuild a technological civilization. Things like, how to rotate crops and make soap (which leads to chemistry) and such other necessities that would make the post-apocalyptic life less nasty, brutish and short.   Highly recommend it, especially since he’s got a nice bibliography of other useful books.

AROW80 Check-In for May 25, 2014

Happy Sunday! The last couple days have been absolutely gorgeous around here which helps to lessen the impact of my schedule still being a bit nuts.  Luckily, there’s only a few more days of the craziness and then things should even out again.

I managed to get a bit of manuscript reading in last night — which did help me to shake off some inner demons that keep resting on the back of my head telling me the usual old saws of ‘This sucks; your idea sucks; you can’t do this.”   They’re not gone completely, but I’m feeling more confident — at least at the moment.

I’m going to start typing up my manuscript in June, regardless of how much further I’ve read. And I’m considering using at least a modified version of the ideas in this article while I do it: Writing advice you’re not going to like.   The advice in question is to not edit a manuscript, but to rewrite it. As in print it out and retype the entire thing.

For me, this will be modified advice because since my manuscript is mostly hand-written, I will be starting out by having to enter it in from scratch. But I do have some typewritten bits that I’m just going to straight up retype instead of cut and pasting them. Hopefully, this will help some — even during my rereading, I’ve come up with some places where I want to alter things so, consider my fingers crossed.

And, before I go, here’s another googly-eyed men’s adventure novel:

Googly eyes are the only appropriate response to an explosion that close behind you.

Survivalist #1: Total War by Jerry Ahern.

 

AROW80 Check-In: May 21, 2014

Things are still up in the air around here, so there’s not much to report.  I’ve gotten a bit more reading done on Defcon: Fade Out and I got a mad hair to put googly eyes on some of my post-apocalyptic novels.  Because it would be silly.

Here’s the first:

2014-05-20 18.22.56

Who’sa googly sub? Who’sa googly-woogly sub?! YOU IS!

I’ll be posting more as soon as I can find the cord thingy that lets me hook my camera to my computer.

Also, I’m going to post a review because I read Omega Sub and if I had to suffer through it, so should you guys! it is a cheesy, goofy little time capsule of the early 1990s and a lovely demonstration on how the end of the Cold War forced a sea change (no pun intended) on the post-apocalyptic men’s adventure sub-genre.

In the mean time, I want ice cream. Anybody else want ice cream?

AROW80 Check-In: May 18, 2014

Very short check-in for today. Still busy IRL, but I wanted to post today because I’m afraid if I get out of the habit of posting, I will fall completely out of the habit and back into slothful, slothful ways.

The irony of me posting this just before I go to take a nap before work is not lost on me.  And probably isn’t irony.

Writing Goals: 

  • Not done a blippin’ thing with my manuscript! Other than been doing some noddling around in my brain about ideas and such.
  • Not a writing goal per se, but I have been reading some of my post-apocalyptic men’s adventure novels to help refresh my mind about tropes and also to kill time at work. I am thinking about possibly doing reviews of these books as well.

Goals to work on: These were so nice, I thought I’d do them twice.

  • Keep reading through my manuscript.
  • Fill in some plot holes
  • Sleeeeep.
  • Check in with other folks

AROW80 Check-In: May 14, 2014

I’m going to be busy off-line for the next couple weeks, so my check ins are probably going to become sporadic. Suffice to say, that I’m still reading through my manuscript and while it’s taking me longer to do than I thought it would, I’m kind of glad I’m taking things slow and not trying to bull through too much at once. But, I’m pretty sure May’s going to end up the Month of Reading rather than the Month of Typing. Still, that’s what June is for, right?

I’m going to check in as I can and visit other blogs since that’s something I can do more easily. Hope everybody is keeping themselves at the right temperature for comfort (we just got the air fixed in our apartment yesterday, ohhhh so nice!) and that the weather stays sane where y’all are.

 

 

AROW80 Check-In: May 11, 2014

Howdy!

Writing Goals: 

  • Read over and took/made notes on Chapters 3 and 4 of Defcon: Fade Out tonight and managed to find a couple goofy continuity glitches.
  • Figured out a plot point/back story for the first book in the Defcon series that will help tie the whole series together (I hope).

Goals to work on:

  • Keep reading through my manuscript.
  • Fill in some plot holes
  • Sleeeeep.
  • Check in with other folks.

AROW80 Check-In: May 7, 2014 and IWSG

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2 Hello! Short (sort of) Long rambling post tonight; since I’m focusing more on replying to other folks’ posts since I’ve been bad about that lately.

Writing Goals: Started reading my manuscript for Defcon: Fade Out and making notes on it. I’ve been waffling back and forth between feeling like I’m making some progress and feeling like I’ve bitten off waaay more than I can chew. So far, I’ve been good about shaking off those feelings but it is hard — as I’m sure y’all know.  Still, only way through it is to do it! And I’m going to do it, because I know I can.

Personal Stuff: My girlfriend and I were driving home yesterday evening and our car was running funny (namely the air conditioning wasn’t blowing as strong as it should have been) so when I was stopped at a red light, waiting to turn left, I turned the car off with the expectation that it would turn back on.  It didn’t. Instead, it clicked at me and I swore at it. I swore at it a lot!

After several unsuccessful attempts to get the car to start (because, y’know, maybe if we turned the key just once more, it would start!), I got out and headed to a nearby drugstore to see if I could borrow their phone to call Triple A.  Because, y’know, my cell phone was at home — but that’s ok because my Triple A membership was expired (which I knew going in). I reupped my membership with Triple A and they sent a tow truck out so I headed back out to the car where my girlfriend had been waiting and getting to listen to people honk and swear at her because the car wasn’t moving.  (This despite us having the hazard lights on — which pretty much means “Dead in Road.”)

One very helpful individual yelled at her to move the (expletive deleted) car — because y’know, apparently we hadn’t thought to do that.  And, again, the hazard lights were on, dude!

I got back out to the car and we waited for the tow truck and played a rousing game of “How many people will ignore the hazard lights?”  It turned out to be a  number significantly higher than zero, though I was more annoyed with the people who were the first to pull up behind us — anybody behind them couldn’t tell we weren’t able to move. The tow truck driver showed up and I told him what had happened and he brought out a jump pack to see if he could start the car. It worked and he offered to follow us home just in case we stalled again on the way.

Which was a good thing, since as we were pulling into the intersection to turn, I turned on my headlights and the damn thing died again. And I swore again. So, another jump and I was able to get out of the intersection and pulled onto a side street.

We got another jump and I turned on the headlights again and the car died for a third time. This time, I swore and cried and told the Triple A guy just to tow it back to our house since I wasn’t sure what garage to take it to. Particularly since we didn’t have any way to get back home from the garage or back to the garage (because I had temporarily forgot about the concept of rental cars).

The driver was nice enough to ask Triple A to put in a note so that I could get the car towed to a garage today without it being counted against me. So, the girlfriend and I were waiting in the tow truck and I was feeling miserable and wondering if we’d be able to get the car fixed before I had to go back to work on Thursday and this very, very, very nice lady came out to the car carrying a cold glass of lemonade for me because apparently I looked just that miserable.  She hadn’t seen the girlfriend, so she went back and got her a glass as well.

The lady, whose name was Irene, offered us this advice: “A car is like a romance, when it is good, it’s wonderful and when it is bad, you are miserable but the troubles are temporary.” (I’m heavily paraphrasing; I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to remember things, plus the tow truck’s engine was loud.)  And it did help; so did the lemonade which was cold and not too sweet or too sour.

IWSG Aside: now that I think about it, that’s pretty good advice about writing; when it’s going well, you’re over the moon and things taste better and the birdies sing and when it’s not working, well, it’s grey skies and things taste like dust and the birdies…they aren’t singing, suffice to say. But, give it time and things will get better, the car will get fixed, the writing will get done, so keep on truckin’!

Back to the car story: To make an increasingly long story short, we got the car fixed today. Triple A kept their promise and towed the car to the garage I chose without charging me for it; the garage was able to fix the car today with no trouble — turned out the alternator had gone out (second lesson of the week: if the car tells you there’s a problem with the charging system, get it to a garage ASAP. Even if the car’s diagnostic thingy tells you that everything is fine.) And we were able to rent a car with a minimum of hassle — which I picked up about the time we got the call that our car was fixed so for tonight, we have two cars so, go us!

Nerd alert: The rental’s a Chevy Impala which made me go HEE! Because, y’know, that’s the car the Winchesters drive in Supernatural and why yes, I am that nerdy!

AROW80 Check-In: May 4, 2014

Happy May the 4th!

I’m not what you’d call a huge Star Wars fan, but the movies have been a presence in my life since I was a kid.  I can remember seeing the first Star Wars movie in the theater and being freaked out during Empire by the sight of Darth Vader’s exposed brain and taping the Ewok celebration song from Return of the Jedi when it played on the radio.  I can even, vaguely, remember watching the Star Wars Holiday Special — though I don’t remember much about it.

But even beyond the movies, there was still Star Wars here and there, tucked into the corners of my life.  The Droids and Ewok cartoons, the Wookie Storybook that I used to read to my cousin Bobby when we were kids, the Star Wars Christmas album with it’s toe-tapping holiday classic “What Do You Get  a Wookie For Christmas (When He Already Has a Comb?)”

On a camping trip to South Dakota, me and my cousins listened to an audio tape version of the movie. Plus, at our campsite, my cousin found three or four Star Wars figures that some other kid must have buried and forgot about.  And I bought the novelization of Empire Strikes Back at the campsite store (considering this was around 1980, I think Empire had just recently come out).

Writing this, I’m finding that there isn’t really a point in my life where Star Wars wasn’t there — acting as a kind of white noise in the background.  The Special Editions of the original movies — and while the fireworks at the end of Jedi were cool, but the “Yub Yub” song is still my favorite part of the end of the trilogy.   The Prequel Trilogy…which I can honestly say I don’t entirely hate, but which isn’t ever going to be MY Star Wars trilogy (and that is just fine).

Even right now, sitting in my living room, I can look over at my bookshelf and see Star Wars novels on the shelf (particularly the Republic Commandos series by Karen Traviss which is easily some of my favorite military SF). On my DVD shelf, there are boxed sets of the Clone Wars cartoon — which is/was awesome, even if the original animated movie was just…not. So not.

If there’s a point to this ramble, I think it is this: good stories can and do take on lives of their own and can bring inspiration and joy for generations to come. So, thank you George Lucas for taking us all to a galaxy far, far away and all the magic and wonder and silly, silly arguments you’ve inspired.

And though I am generally fairly even-keeled about things like this, I will fight to the ground* over two things: Han Shot First and Sev Lives!

*no, not really. The ground is pretty mucky around here right now and I got my new capris on. Also, I am lazy.

Writing Goals: Haven’t gotten a blessed thing done as far as rereading my manuscript goes. I did do some research, but otherwise I’ve been reading the Kate Burkholder mysteries by Laura Castillo.

Defcon Related Note: I was very pleased while doing my timeline research for the Defcon ‘verse to find out that Return of the Jedi came out well before November 10, 1983 (the day the war starts). Because a post-apocalypse is terrible; a post-apocalypse where you don’t know if Han got unfrozen is unthinkable!

AROW80 Check-In: April 30, 2014 — One Month Down, Two to Go

 The Month of World Building is over!  

Thoughts about this exercise:

  • First and foremost, I am pretty proud of the fact that I actually did some world building! I filled out three or four checklists and addressed some areas of the Defcon story universe that I’ve needed to work on.
  • Filling out checklists is hard, at least for me. I start off with the best of intentions to answer ALL THE QUESTIONS (to paraphrase Hyperbole and a Half) and lay out all of my ideas in a clear and concise format and end up staring at the page thinking “…answer all the questions?!” because I get caught up with the idea that I have to fill out the template or checklist as it stands.  Which leads to me giving up because I can’t answer one or two questions for whatever reason.
  • I learned this time around that one way around this personal stumbling block is to give myself permission to drop or alter questions to suit what I want to talk about.  Since 90 percent of the stuff I’ve written is likely never to be seen by anyone but me, it’s easier to let myself play fast and loose.
  • There’s a lot of world building that I don’t need to do, mainly because it’s already been done for me.  The Defcon ‘verse is essentially our world up until November 10, 1983 when all hell breaks loose. There are huge chunks of information that I don’t have to create myself – the geography of the planet, the languages spoken, etc. – just adjust and adapt to suit my needs.  This makes things a lot easier. Kind of like cooking one of those boxed dinners where you just add the meat.
  • On the other hand, while extrapolating from research and building off of the real world makes a lot of my world building a bit easier, it doesn’t cover everything.
  • There are lots of fiddly bits of this and that making up a world and trying to nail down everything is all but impossible.  That way lies madness, I am finding. Best to focus on the details that are important for the story at hand.
  • There is still more work to be done, but taking a month to pause and reflect has been helpful.

Looking Forward:

May is the Month of Typing – i.e. the month where I turn my hand written manuscript which still has missing chunks into a cohesive, typewritten whole that has a beginning, middle and end. For realsies!  Ideally, I’d like to have a complete first draft by the end of May but I’m fairly certain that the Month of Typing is going to end up being The Two Months of Typing With Additional Handwriting to Fill the Gaps.

So, here’s the plan: I’m going to start off by reading through what I have and taking note of what I’ve already done and seeing where the larger holes in character and plot are.  I’m planning on taking a couple, three days for that and maybe start actually typing by Sunday or so.  The good news is, I’m a fast typist so I can knock out a few pages at a time here and there at odd moments.  This is likely going to be a marathon, though, not a sprint.

During the down time at work, there’s going to be more world building, especially trying to expand on the plots and ideas important to the first four books in the Defcon series and also working on character development.

Personal Stuff:

Had an appointment with my primary care physician on Monday and found out that, since January, I have lost 18 pounds – 12 in the last month, most likely due to the Invokana I’ve been taking since my daily walks have gone by the wayside.! I’m now about 242 pounds, so go me!

 

 

Reblogging: Confirmation bias, epic fantasy, and you by N.K. Jemisin

Confirmation bias, epic fantasy, and you.  by N.K. Jemisin.

Confirmation bias doesn’t cause the phenomenon of Mysteriously Whitewashed Medieval Europe. (Or Peculiarly Denuded of Women Europe, or Puzzlingly Focused On The Nobility Europe, or any of the other bizarre things we tend to see in medieval Europe-flavored fantasy.) Confirmation bias causes the freakouts that occur whenever somebody points out these phenomena, and names them as inaccuracies.

 

For a variety of reasons, this is relevant to my interests since post-apocalyptic stories in general and the post-apocalyptic men’s adventures I’m trying to riff on with Defcon are loaded with their own confirmation biases that I want to poke many, many holes in.

 

AROW80 Check-In: April 27, 2014

Quick update time! Because it is late and I am tired — y’know, typical Sunday morning ’round these parts!

I finished a fictional species template checklisty thing tonight; I cobbled it together from a few different ones — namely How to Create Fantasy Races or Species, Part 1Sentient Life Forms and Template for Creating and Building a New Fantasy Race for your Fictional World or Story with some additions from Lee Killough’s Checking on Culture

World Building Goals:

  • Noodle a bit more; I found an Extreme Culture Checklist that I’m going to mine for things to work on. Since I’ve decided to continue working on world building/character development next month, there’s not quite the urgency to get things wrapped up that there was but I’d still like to fill the notebook I’m working on by Wednesday night. Just as a goal/stopping point.

Other Goals:

  • Get ready for the Month of Typing (i.e. May) — which will begin with the Reading of the Manuscript. And the Gnashing of the Teeth and the Wailing of the “WHAT THE WHAT?!”
  • Check in with folks since I’ve slacked off lately. Grr.

 

 

AROW80 Check-In: April 23, 2014

Happy World Book Night! Found out about this charity today because a friend of mine is participating as a book giver. The idea is to give books — both newly published books and established classics — away for free to adults to help encourage reading.  There’s also a free ebook available for download.

In other news, I’ve been working on world building and generally being a bit of a lump.  In addition to this being the Month of World Building, it’s also been the Month of Upper Respiratory Annoyances. I got a cold at the beginning of the month, which turned into bronchitis and this week, I had allergies or something.  None of which was debilitating, but I’ve spent more time sleeping stuff off than I really wanted to.

I’ve gotten some stuff done, not as much as I wanted to but I decided the other day that I’m probably going to continue world building after the 30th since I can’t type up my manuscript at work and I need something to keep me occupied.

What I’ve gotten done:

World Building Goals:

  • Finish the Phlebotinum-Development Questions and move on to some shorter form stuff that I want to make notes on.
  • Get ready to start reading through my manuscript and making notes before I start typing up, since I know going in I’m going to have to write some new bits to make things make sense.

Personal Stuff:

Found out the Endodontist that my dentist recommended is out of network for my insurance, so I’m going to call my insurance company and find out how much I will have to pay. A friend recommended his endodontist as well, so there’s another option.

 

AROW80 Check-In: April 20, 2014

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it; everyone else, hope you have a generally lovely day.  I am once again posting wayy too early in the morning before I go to bed, so here we go!

What I’ve Been Doing: I’m still working on the 13 Worldbuilding Questions.  I’m up to #9 and will be working on that tonight. Since I’m trying to do world building for the Defcon series as a whole, and since each book takes place during a different time period, I’m answering some questions by time period to make note of the changes.

I used my car for research purposes tonight, which was kind of cool and fun.  Because World War III is sparked by an asteroid strike, I used an online calculator to figure out the size of the blast I wanted. And the calculator told me other cool things, like the size of the crater that the blast would create — with the information I gave told me the crater’s final diameter would be 2.65 km.  Since I don’t have the best grasp of distances, especially in metric measurement, I used the metric setting on my car’s odometer to get an idea of how long 2.6 kilometers is and…wow, that’s one fairly big crater…

World Building Goals:

  • Finish fiddling with my charts and spreadsheets, re: targets
  • Refine some of my geography
  • Finish the 13 Worldbuilding Questions and move on to the next checklist.

Personal Stuff:

SCHEDULE MY ROOT CANAL! I am calling on Monday and if I don’t…then I will call on Tuesday but I WILL CALL this week because the ache is driving me nuts! The cold gets into the tooth and it’s just this dull ache that…arrglefargle!

AROW80 Check-In: April 16, 2014

The destruction of the world — well, parts of it — continues apace! I’m making charts and spreadsheets, including one based on the largest cities of the world circa 1980 which is helping me to better visualize the information.  And is also a heck of a lot of fun.

AND I finally finished the Original Religion Meme that I started the other day. It topped out at 20 pages’ worth of notes and I’m really happy with how well it turned out.  For one of the questions, which was about what the religion discourages I used the Seven Deadly Sins as a checklist within the checklist and contrasted them with the Seven Heavenly Virtues. (If you look at the Original Religion Meme, it’s part of the question about body modification, which I adjusted to talk about discouraged things in general).

I’ve started working on a new checklist — 13 Worldbuilding Questions.  It’s a short list and I’m thinking it will be good for getting a rough sketch of ideas down.

World Building Goals:

  • Finish fiddling with my charts and spreadsheets, re: targets
  • Finish the 13 Worldbuilding Questions — I’ve got the first two questions done, so I’ve made a start!

Personal Stuff:

I got the second half of my dental cleaning over and done with yesterday. Getting the shots for the anesthesia wasn’t quite as bad as last time. Still sucked, still hurt, but I at least knew what was going to happen.

Still need to schedule the root canal…. Eh-heh…

 

AROW80 Check-In: April 13, 2014

Howdy howdy! I got a late start at posting today’s update based on being dead-dog tired when I got home and not in a frame to think beyond ‘Cheerios are yummy’ and ‘Go to sleep!’

Ok, and also to do some mucking about with charts and spreadsheets for my world building project.

World Building Goals:

I’ve gotten back into the swing of things and I’m revisiting a subject that I’ve been circling around for a while: how badly the US was hit during World War III and what cities were targeted. Like I told my aunt yesterday, it’s not so much world building as it is world destroying.

I’ll admit, I’m very likely putting in wayyy more work than I really need to, but this is one of those things that is going to bug me until I map it out to my satisfaction.

As far as the rest of the world, that I’ve done in some fairly broad strokes based on latitude. Roughly speaking, if the country is located near or below the equator, the better off it was.  Above the equator, the hardest hit areas are between 30 and 60 degrees north latitude, with most of the damage being done to the United States, Soviet Union and Europe.

In less demographic news, I started working on one of the checklists that I’ve been needing to get to. It’s for a religious sect that’s going to play a role in several books.  I’m hoping to finish that checklist tonight and hopefully work on some other checklists about the history of the world and stuff.

I’m almost to the halfway point of the Month of World Building and while I’m not as far along as I’d like to be, there’s still time to catch up so that’s what I’m going to work on this week. CHARRRGE!

Edit to add:  Had a very productive night at work! I managed to get further along in the checklist. I added about ten pages (not full pages, since it’s in an outline format but still! Progress!).

AROW80 Check-In: April 9, 2014

Happy Wednesday!

My aunt and uncle came into town yesterday for a visit, so I’ve been spending the last couple days with them. Today we went to Carilllon Historical Park here in town and showed them the museum and the historical buildings on display. It’s a relatively small museum, but it packs in a LOT of Dayton’s history into that small area.  They even have one entire building dedicated to the Great Flood of 1913.

And, in the main museum building, there is a carousel that features, among the horses, things you can ride on that are Dayton-specific: like a bag of Mike-Sells potato chips — which is apparently the oldest potato chip brand in the US.  And a huge exhibit of classic cash registers with an interactive display that talks about the model and use of each register.  Some of them are pretty fancy-schmancy looking, with scroll work and stained wood finishes. They’re definitely a step up in the pretty department from the bland beige plastic ones we see now!

I’ve always loved museums — primarily because of the aunt who came to visit who took me to them when I was a kid.  I’ve been to Carillon Park a couple times and I always learn something new and interesting there. Ditto for the Air Force Museum which is about 20 minutes from my house and which is an all-day event and not for the feint of feet. I mean, any place that can house several dozen full-sized planes is not gonna be small!  (We didn’t go there today; my aunt and uncle aren’t much for militaria but I gotta shout out for the first Dayton landmark I ever visited).

Though, in a slightly Defcon related note, the Air Force Museum is the home of Bock’s Car, the bomber that dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. On a more cheerful note, there’s also an extensive exhibit dedicated to the Berlin Air Lift, including a discussion of Uncle Wiggle Wings — an American pilot who would drop candy for German children as part of the supply runs he flew during the Berlin Blockade of 1948-1949.

So…upshot is, I like museums. Doesn’t really matter how big or how small it is, I will generally find something of interest in them.

Worldbuilding Goals:

Because of company, I haven’t been writing much though I did type up a brief list of how World War III affects crime — a lot of my notes boil down to ‘due to depopulation, this becomes a lot easier’ but I’m also betting on there being a rise in things like rustling and agricultural crime.

Also, the exhibit on the Great Flood sparked a few ideas for the aftermath of World War III and how communities banded together to help each other and is also going to play a significant part in my vampire hunting novel, Butcher’s Bill (which is set in Dayton).

And visiting with my aunt has given me some ideas for the aunt/niece relationship in Defcon.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back at work so I’ll be doing some more writing and answering of some world building questions and working on some character development.

AROW80 Round 2 Goals — April 7, 2014

Hallo! Welcome back to everybody who has returned to AROW80 for this second round and to everybody who is starting out this time around, Welcome! So glad to see you! You can do it! Yes, even you!

I talked about my round 2 goals in an earlier post but I’m going to restate them here.  I’m approaching things a bit differently than I have the last couple rounds, where I was working on finishing a draft of Defcon: Fade Out, a post-apocalyptic story.  This time around, I’m approaching my goals on a month by month basis.

April:  is Defcon Series World Building Month.  I started, technically, on April 1st with the overall goal being of looking deeper into my story world and figuring out the plots of the books that precede Fade Out as well as trying to make my world feel realer and more concrete to myself — in the hopes of having it translate better to the page and to my readers.

So far, I’m not making as much progress as I’d wanted to — in part because I’ve managed to get myself saddled with a case of bronchitis so I’ve spent a lot of time this month dozing and generally recuperating (it’s not a severe case, but is hitting me just hard enough to give me a hitch in my git-along.  But I have gotten some work done and figured out some areas where I need to work harder — namely in figuring out plots for the books and then worldbuilding based off those plots and the questions about the setting that they raise.

I’m using a notebook — well, a couple notebooks — and a cool little program called A Novel Idea which allows you to record ideas for plots, characters and scenes as well as to link them to each other and to novel ideas.  You can also email your collected ideas to yourself or someone else.  I’ve got it on my iPod and I find it very handy for recording those late night ideas that come when you’re trying to fall asleep.  Best yet, it’s a free ap, though sadly, it appears only to be available for iPods/iPads.

May: is to be the Month of Typing. I’m going to start typing up the manuscript of Defcon: Fade Out and trying to whip it into a fully cohesive shape. I’m taking a month off to try and come at the typing in a fresher state of mind. Since there’s probably going to be some rewriting, I’m giving myself a month at the least for the typing.

June: is to be the Month of Letting People Read My Manuscript, aka “AUGHWHATHAVEIDONE?!” Month. To distract myself, I’m planning on taking a look at some of my other projects — i.e. non-Defcon stuff, because I’ve got something of a dream in mind. A dream I’m hoping to make a reality by this time next year.

My Dream: To make a sale of something I’ve written by the time I’m 45. Preferably a novel, but I’ll take selling a short piece of original fiction. It’s something I’ve wanted for a while now and I think I’m getting to a place in my life where I can make a decent sized stab at that goal. So, I’m putting it out there to the universe in hopes that this will keep me honest and on track.

Also, while we’re talking about dreams, I’d love a stuffed trilobite. Because trilobites are awesome and a soft, squishy flat stuffed trilobite to curl up with would be a treat.

 

Insecure Writers’ Support Group Post for April 2, 2014

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2

 

This month, I am tackling the problem of world building for an entire series. Namely, the Defcon series that I’ve been working on for the past bit (ok, ok, on and off since 2007).

I’m facing a fear — or at least an insecurity — by making myself work on creating characters and a world that will be comprehensible and hopefully enjoyable to other people.  This is a big and ambitious project, in part because I’m creating characters who are nothing like myself and who live in a world that I literally can only imagine.  But, I’m going for it because I’ve worked this hard and I’m not stopping now!

CHARGE!

(Well, ok, technically I have yet to get started since I got sick on Sunday night and have spent the last couple days recuperating and trying to sleep off the sick but I’m still mulling things over so that counts, right?)

GOAAAAAL!

As of 4:50 am local time this morning (March 30th, 2014), I reached 100,000 words on Defcon: Fade Out!  The 100,000 word was ‘with’ from the sentence, “Considering she threatened to break my jaw with a tire iron if I ever contacted her again, yes, I do remember her vividly.” 

Tonight and tomorrow, I’m going to write a bit more, to finish up the scene that sentence is in and work on a possible ending for the book.  The novel isn’t quite as finished as I’d wanted it to be, but I am a lot closer to a cohesive draft than I was when I started back on November 1st.  And I feel a lot more secure about taking April off to knock out some much needed worldbuilding.

Though, because the book as it is is almost entirely located in a pair of notebooks and some loose-leaf pages, I’m going to take advantage of the free scanning available at my local library to make an electronic copy of everything I’ve done so that I don’t spend the month of April wearing my manuscript around in some kind of writer’s version of a Baby Bjorn.   (Or at least, if I do, it’ll be in a flash drive that’s going to be a lot easier to carry around).

AROW80 Final Check-In for March 26, 2013

Final Thoughts:

This is, technically, my first full round with AROW80 (I started near the end of the last round of 2013).  Looking back at my last final check-in post, it feels like I’ve been participating for a lot longer — in a good way!

How I did on my goals this last time ‘round: When I did my final check-in on December 26, 2013, I was at Chapter Ten of Defcon: Fade Out. . As of today, I’m getting ready to begin Chapter Twenty-three and am at 94K — with a goal of being at 100K by next Monday, so not too shabby!

This round, I’ve focused primarily on one work — Defcon: Fade Out, which is the fifth book in a series set in a post-apocalyptic world where World War III happened in November of 1983.  The book is my homage/riff on post-apocalyptic men’s adventure novels of the 1980s.  (You can read more about it and some of my other projects on my Current Projects Index of Explanation.)

Of course, I say it’s the fifth book but that’s only in the chronological sense — technically, it’s the first book because it is the first and so far only book to be written. Well, mostly written.  And once I get Fade Out finished, I need to start working on the first four books. Which brings me to…

Interim Plans:

I’m going to be approaching Round Two a bit differently. Starting April 1st, I’m going to begin a Month of World Building, focusing on hammering out some details of the Defcon story universe  — including trying to sketch out rough plot outlines for the first four books in the series.  I have a lot of ideas about the Defcon ‘verse that are currently in my head and that I want/need to get down on paper so I can look at them in the clear light of day. So, April is going to be dedicated to answering world building questions and mulling things over.

Technically, I’ve started writing some odd ideas down already but in April, I’m going to try to approach world building with a more focused effort.

I won’t be sharing everything I come up with, but I will share bits and pieces of ideas that I think are interesting and maybe also be writing about the process of world building.

In May, I’m planning on starting to type up my draft of Defcon: Fade Out, which currently exists in two notebooks and a collection of loose pages. Since I can type pretty fast, I’m hoping that this won’t actually take an entire month but I’m giving myself the entire month, just in case. Particularly since I know I’ll be editing and fleshing out as I go.

And then comes June, wherein, once the manuscript is fully typed up, I’m giving copies to friends at work to read it and tell me what they think. That’s for June.  Other plans for June include being a nervous wreck because OMG, people will be reading the ideas that have existed in my head for the last few years and auuuuugh!  I’m seriously thinking of taking some time off and/or giving the manuscript to my friends to read on days when I won’t be at work and thus won’t have to be physically present and freaking out about what they think of my work.

Come June, I might also take a break from Defcon and work on one of my other story ‘verses for a change while I wait to see what people think. It beats chewing my nails off, right?

Personal Goals:  I had a meeting with the diabetes doctor today and she’s very happy with the progress I’ve made in the last few weeks with the Victoza. She’s also prescribed me a new pill called Invokana that’s supposed to help reduce my sugars and help lower my weight (if I’m remembering the conversation right).  And, I lost six pounds!

Other personal goals include getting the @#$# root canal already! And surviving my next cleaning on April 1st. *whimper* Also, walking more.

Hope everybody had a great round and I’m looking forward to seeing everybody come April 7th!  And if anybody has any favorite world building questions/topics, feel free to share in the comments!

Powered by Linky ToolsA Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. You can learn more here and if you want to join, you can Click Here to view this Linky Tools list and to enter your own link as well!

 

AROW80 Check-In for March 23, 2014

Writing this on Saturday night for posting on Sunday morning again. At this particular moment, I am sitting on my couch not wanting to go to work. In fact, I’m not wanting to get off the couch period.

Sunday Morning Kathy:  And I’m back home and sitting on the couch again and once again, not really wanting to get off of it.  The sad part? I feel more awake now.

# # # # #

Personal Goals:  I’ve managed to walk more days than I haven’t and the route I’ve been taking is 4/5ths of a mile so there’s some happy.

Still haven’t made the root canal appointment yet. It’s not fear so much as waking up in the mid-afternoon and not remembering to make the call until I’m at work. Also, not remembering to check if the place the dentist recommended is covered by my insurance — which I could do right now but will I? While I’m actually thinking about it? Noooo! Maybe I will tomorrow morning before I post this.

Sunday morning Kathy: I actually went and tried to check the insurance company’s website and it is down for maintenance! I tried, I really, really tried! Gahhh…

Writing Goals:

  • Defcon: Fade Out I’m working on Chapter XX, which may end up at the beginning of the book. OR may end up on the cutting room floor, but it’s at least letting me explore some of my antagonists’ motivations.  — SMK: I think I have figured out the purpose of Chapter XX. I think it might be the actual beginning of the book.
  • Word Count: I’m at 91K+ words as of Friday night/Saturday morning. My goal for tonight is at least 92K  — SMK: Haven’t done a final count of what I wrote tonight, but since the last point I stopped at was 91,901 and I have 3 pages worth of writing to count…yeah, I think 92K is in the bag!
  • Ending: Still working on this.

Goals for this week:

  • Make the expletive deleted root canal appointment. 
  • Keep working on Defcon: Fade Out and aiming for 100K by the end of March.
  • Celebrate girlfriend’s birthday on Monday!
  • Prepare for the Month of Worldbuilding!

Powered by Linky ToolsA Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. You can learn more here and if you want to join, you can Click Here to view this Linky Tools list and to enter your own link as well!