AROW80 Update for November 5, 2014 + WIPpet

It is cold and wet and rainy and very much November here. I haven’t been writing as much as I wanted to for the first few days of this month — combination of work and lack of oomph — but I got a bit written last night and I’m planning on working on some more tonight and hoping to get close to a goal of 10,0002 words by tonight.

I’m working on a short story set in my Gem City (aka Reverse Batman) universe. From my original post on the idea:

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.

The plot is that Will Cartwright, private investigator and owner of QC Investigations, has been hired by his college friend Kylie (aka Wildheart) to help clear her father, the hero Howler, from a murder charge. This scene is Will arriving at the 247th precinct to talk to the detectives investigating the crime.

Detective Sergeant Luna Bastigan was at her desk when I arrived. She looked at me like I was the first plague rat off the boat. She was a short, stocky woman who looked like a cross between a bulldog and a fireplug. She’d come up through the ranks of the GCPD, making detective almost as soon as she was able. She shook her head and leaned back from her keyboard to study me.

 

“Should have known you’d be here sooner or later, Cartwright,” she said. “Let me guess, Howler’s girl hired you to clear her Daddy’s name?”

 

“Close; she calls him Pop-pop,” I said. “She’s pretty convinced that he’s innocent. She’s got a theory and I have to say, it’s got some merit to it.”

 

Bastigan snorted. “I’m sure it does,” she said. “Problem is, she’s not a witness and she’s got a vested interest in lying through her fake little fangs to protect her-“ she snorted. “Pop-pop. Whereas on the other side, I’ve got at least five witnesses willing to swear that Howler did it, was glad he did it and would have done it again if he could have.”

 

“And none of them have any vested interests?” I asked. “C’mon, Bastigan, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ remember?”

 

“Don’t try to school me, Cartwright,” she said. “I know my job. Problem is, the Third Coast Crusaders have a hell of a lot of pull in this town and Tyler Rose is the top of that particular heap. It’s more than just an investigation; it’s a political freaking nightmare.”

There’s more about the Gem City ‘verse here: The Semi-Quasi-Mostly Official Handbook to the Gem City Universe 

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AROW80 update for 10/29/2014 + Nanowrimo Plans and Schemes

I have finished typing up the last of what I’ve got written (so far) for Defcon: Fade Out and the grand total is 145,247 words. Which blows me away but would make me a lot happier if it was one solid cohesive story. Instead, I’m pretty sure what I’m looking at is actually two separate books — or at least two separate stories that are related by a common thread.  Since the inspiration for this series is cheesy men’s adventure novels from the 1980s and those books did sometimes do “doubles” (i.e. two books in one) I might have this book be one of those.  I have to ponder the plan for this a bit more, but I’m fairly confident I can make it work.  Once again, it comes down to a question of figuring out where the gaps are and writing the bits to fill in those gaps.

Nanowrimo Plans:

I’d originally planned to use Nanowrimo to help fill in the gaps. The original plan was to have things typed up and the inventory done by the first of November. This isn’t going to happen, mainly because I don’t want to half-ass the work trying to get it done over the next two days and I want to hit the ground running come November 1st.

And, to be blunt about it, I need a break from Defcon: Fade Out. I’ve been working on it more or less steadily for a few years now and it’s time for a vacation. So, I’m taking the month of November off and working on something else.

Once again, I’m taking the Nanowrimo Rebel approach to the month. In my case, I’m not going to be working on a novel, I’m going to be working on some short stories. So, call it NaShoStoWriMo instead. The idea is still to try and write 50,000 words but instead of them being one novel, I’m hoping to get at least three or four stories out of the endeavor. I’m using the following word count categories from the SFWA as my guidelines:

  • Short story: less than 7.500 words
  • Novelette: at least 7,500 – 17,500 words
  • Novella: 17,500 – 40,000 words

I’m hoping to keep things within the novelette category. The plan is to make myself work on writing shorter pieces with an eye toward improving my writing’s tightness and my writing speed.  Toward that end and in keeping with the whole Nano-Rebel thing, I’ve actually already started working on one story. It’s an expansion on an idea that I posted a snippet of back in December of last year (it’s the second one in this post).

I have three other story ideas that I want to work on. Another one is set in the Gem City superhero universe, one in the Defcon universe and one that takes place in the Butcher’s Bill vampire hunting universe.  Going with the 50,000 total word goal, that gives me an average of about 12,500 words per story but the ultimate word count would be whatever is needed to finish the story.

Part of the reason for this interest in short stories is to work on finishing a complete story and another reason is to work on trying to get some things ready to submit for publication. One of the things I want to work on for 2015 is submitting something for publication. Toward that end, I’ve picked up a copy of the 2015 Writer’s Digest Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market as a way of encouraging/goading myself onward.

Come December, I’m going to start working on turning Defcon: Fade Out into that elusive goal: a finished piece. I’m also going to take another look at my old attempt at writing a Butcher’s Bill novel.

So, fingers crossed and here goes something!

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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!

 

 

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.

 

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.

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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!

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AROW80 Check-In for March 19, 2014

Hello, hello, hello! Hope everybody is doing well as we come into the last week before the end of the round.  Other than it being a grey and gloomy day outside and feeling a bit under the weather, I’m doing well.

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Personal Goals:  I started walking on Saturday and have managed to go for at least half a mile every day this week except for yesterday. I’m still not close to 10,000 steps a day, but I’m at least being more active than I have been in a long time. And, I’m up to taking the full dose of my Victoza. Yay! 

Writing Goals:

  • Defcon: Fade Out has hit Chapter Twenty-two and I may actually be up to Chapter Twenty-three, depending on where I decide to put the bits I’m working on now.
  • Word Count: I’m at 89,691 words as of last night. It helps that I’m able to count some large sections of a previously written scene that I was editing last night.  Even if I hit 100K before the 31st, I’m going to keep writing up until 3am on Tuesday April 1st (which is when, technically speaking due to my work schedule, my Monday night ends). Then, April 1st, begins the Month Of Worldbuilding!
  • Ending: Still working on this.

Goals for this week:

  • Make a damn root canal appointment. 
  • Keep working on Defcon: Fade Out and aiming for 100K by the end of March.
  • Celebrate girlfriend’s birthday next Monday!

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 16, 2014

A quick, quick, quick update — oddly enough, because I waited until I woke up instead of writing it up before I went to bed.

Personal Goals: Still taking the Victoza, I have my second cleaning on April 1st and I still need to schedule a root canal, and I have started walking (as of yesterday). I did a mile yesterday and…I dunno, whatever 900 steps turns out to be today.  Would have been a longer walk, but I went out without a hat and the temps are in the 30s with strong winds.  Not a smart girl, me.

Writing Goals I have hit the 80K mark! 82K+! I just started Chapter 21 of Defcon: Fade Out! W00t!  I am on my way to my 100K by the 31st goal though I am a bit worried that I’m going to run out of stuff to write about. But, that is what rambling is for! Can do!

Hope everybody is having a great week!

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AROW80 Check-In for March 11, 2014

Happy Wednesday! (Ok, so it’s Tuesday night when I’m writing this but the sentiment remains the same.)  I hope everybody’s having a great week; mine has been…interesting? In the proverbial sense of the word.

I’m going to switch up my usual format and put my check-in stuff up here at the top of the post and then talk about my interesting week after that.  The reason for doing this is that I’m going to be talking about my first dentist appointment and there’s probably more than a few folks who might be squicked by that, so I’m going to make sure there’s a goodly buffer so those who want to can skip such talk. 

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Personal Goals:  These are still going more or less as they should — well, except for the walking thing. Judging by my use of the pedometer, I average less than a thousand steps a day. My doctor wants me to be up to 10,000 — hopefully, now that the weather is attempting to be somewhat decent (except for today when it’s supposed to go nuts again), I can get off my fat butt and do some serious walking.

Writing Goals:

  • Defcon: Fade Out has hit over 77,000 words! In fact, I made it up to and past 77,777 words on Monday night/Tuesday morning! Next goal is 78,901 (for 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
  • Word Count: If all goes well, I am on schedule for 100K by the end of March!

Goals for this week:

  • Make my root canal appointment.
  • Keep working on Defcon: Fade Out and the 100,000 word goal.
  • Be better about checking in with other folks
  • Get my ducks in a row for next round.

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!

Now, on to the squicky stuff!

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Why Regular Dental Check-ups are a Very Good Idea. or How I Made the Waiting Room at Aspen Dental Very Uncomfortable:

I had my first of two teeth cleanings today. Because it has been over 15 years since my last cleaning, the process is a bit more involved than the ‘every six months’ cleanings you’re supposed to get — and which I will make doubly damned sure I GET from now on because I do not ever want to have to do this again. Well, except for the second appointment because right now I have half a cleaned mouth and that can’t stand. 

With the type of deep cleaning that my teeth needed, I had to be numbed up. Which, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, meant that they were going to be putting a needle in my mouth. I felt a little better after I found out that first they would be putting a topical anesthetic on my gums to numb them before I got the shot. I figured, hey, if I can’t feel the shot, how bad can it be?

Oh, me of earlier this week, you silly naive thing!

For this type of deep cleaning, they do half of your face at a time. This time around it was the upper and lower left side of my face — which is also where the tooth that needs the root canal lives, so I was expecting some tenderness there but was hopeful that the numbing stuff would make that a non-issue.

Ok, the numbing stuff tasted kind of good — it’s cherry-flavored — until it got to be overpowering and made the left side of my face feel all smooshy and weird.  The hygienist waited a bit to make sure that it had taken effect so the dentist could give me my shot.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve recently started taking an injectable medication for my diabetes and that, happily, it turns out that those shots cause little or flat out no pain whatsoever. Likely, it helps that the needles are small and that I’m injecting them into the fat of my stomach where the nerve endings are few and far between.

Turns out, there are a hell of a lot of nerves in your mouth. And not a lot of fat to cushion the impact.  Also turns out that when a dentist says a shot is going to be ‘uncomfortable’ what they mean is ‘this is going to be the worst pain you have ever felt in your life.’  Because it was. And I got to feel it six times — three shots in the upper gums, three in the lower. Maybe more, I’m not sure. I kept my eyes closed as much as I could.

I’m not too proud to say that I lost any sense of dignity I had during those shots. I screamed, I whimpered, I cried.  About the only thing I didn’t do was bite either the dentist or the hygienist. Because honestly, my dentist is a sweet lady who told me jokes while she gave me the shots and the hygienist patted my hand and talked to me soothingly and kept me breathing through my nose.

I honestly did try not to scream but it hurt like…insert your favorite metaphor for intense pain here. It was a deep, stabbing horrible pain and what made it worst of all was that it wasn’t just a one and done thing, it was done multiple times.  I really did scream loud enough that folks heard me in the waiting room — which is a lot less impressive if you know that the floor plan of the Aspen Dental I went to is more or less open and I was in the exam room closest to the waiting room.  I know this because once the shots were done and over with, I asked if my girlfriend could come back and sit with me since I had to wait ten minutes for the shots to take full effect.  I was hyperventilating and shaking and just a mess when she came back. She says it’s the most scared she’s ever seen me — and we’ve been together long enough that she’s seen me at my worst a few times.

The actual cleaning? Fhhht. That was nothing. There were a few uncomfortable moments and the sight of the ultrasonic scaler she used on my teeth made me flinch because it looked like a needle but other than that, it was a doddle. She did make sure to tell me, before she gave me an antibiotic treatment that the syringe she was using was just for irrigating between my teeth and putting the antibiotics where they needed to go.

I have the second cleaning appointment on the first of April and I’m not looking forward to it but at least this time, I’m going in with the knowledge of exactly what’s going to happen and maybe, just maybe it won’t be quite as traumatic the second time around. Probably not, because sweet red peppers, those shots HURT, but where there is life, there is hope.

And, on a somewhat braggy note, the hygienist said that for someone who hadn’t had a cleaning for over 15 years, my teeth were in amazingly good shape. So, go me!

To bring this all back to writing, one plus side of the whole experience is I now have a better appreciation for what pain and terror feel like.  And, also, I’m definitely putting some skull work into what dentistry is like in the Defcon ‘verse.

AROW80 Check-In for March 9, 2014

Happy daylight saving time day! As a third-shift worker, I have kind of a love/hate relationship with DST — I love the spring, when the clocks move forward an hour and I get to leave work (technically) an hour early and I hate it in the fall when I get stuck at work for an extra hour (ok, I get paid for it, which makes up for the hour I don’t get paid for in the spring but still…).

So, upshot? I’m home an hour early from work! And it is light-jacket cold out! And it didn’t snow (there was a possibility of flurries tonight).

Maybe this spring thing will happen this month after all…

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Went over to the girlfriend’s mom’s place yesterday and watched Gravity with the family. Here is my spoiler-free review: Wow, that was awesome! There was a bit of a split among us about whether the ending was a good one or not — personally, I think it worked and was nicely understated. I liked the decision to keep the story focused on the astronauts.

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Personal Goals:  Since these are the same as they’ve been the last few times, suffice to say that I am continuing to do what I’m supposed to be doing as far as my diet goes — or at least, doing my best to do what I’m supposed to do.  Giving myself injections has continued to be easy and relatively painless.  I went to the dentist on Thursday only to find out that they lost my appointment so the cleaning has been rescheduled for this Tuesday, which works out better since I can recuperate at home without worrying about having to go to work.  And I got a pedometer so I can track my steps.  I am, so far, averaging about 1,000 steps a day so yeah, I need to ramp up the walking considerably to get to 10,000 steps a day. 

Writing Goals:

  • Defcon: Fade Out has hit Chapter Twenty! I’ve upped my estimate of chapters to twenty-five or thirty so this is no longer the end goal that it originally was but I’m still making progress so I am happy!
  • Word Count: I’m at somewhere in the range of 74,000 words. My goal now is to try and hit 100K by the end of the month and to use that as a stopping point for this draft if I don’t have an ending by then.  If I can hit 75K tomorrow, I should be able to make it if I average about 1200 words for the rest of the month.
  • Ending: Still working on this.  And I’m thinking that I might need to take a break from the manuscript and come back with fresh eyes. Which brings us to…
  • Rest of the Defcon Series: more on this in a minute.

Goals for this week:

  • Keep my appointment for getting my teeth cleaned and make an appointment for my root canal. — still need to do that. I’m honestly not putting it off for any reason other than I keep waking up too late to call.
  • Keep working on Defcon: Fade Out and aiming for 75K by tonight.
  • Be better about checking in with other folks; I let that slide the last couple check ins and I want to apologize to you guys for that. I will be better about that this time around.

Plans for Next Round:

Specifically April. Originally, I was thinking about trying the A to Z challenge in April but I can’t really think of a topic for each letter.  Instead, what I’m now planning on doing is using April as a month for working on worldbuilding for Defcon — mainly because so many of the notes I’m making to myself about it are related to questions about the world.  I’m using Patricia C. Wrede’s Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions  as well as Lee Killough’s book Checking On Culture and some other resources to come up with a list of questions/topics I want to answer/focus on. A secondary part of the plan is to organize some of the materials I’ve come up with. Tentatively, the plan is to post snippets/progress updates rather than post full on articles. Particularly since most of the information will be of little interest but me but also because most of it is going to be written by hand while I’m at work rather than typed up.

I’m hoping to use this as a chance to take a break from story writing and then come back to start typing Defcon: Fade Out up in May with fresh eyes.

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Character creation questionnaires and Worldbuilding checklists

A bunch of checklists I found here, there and everywhere posted for my and others future reference: