Tag Archives: writerslife

2018…Meh.

So. It occurs to me, that I did not do an “end of year” review type post. Honestly though, I don’t really have anything to write about for this year. It was 2017 when all the “important” crap happened. The tumor behind my eye was discovered and removed. Sis’ skin cancer was discovered and removed. The first full year without my brother-in-law. Everything and anything happened that year.

Sis ♥

This past year…the only thing of any note was that my vision has improved. Oh, and I finally received my first rejection letter (which, considering the publishing house in question, I expected). I got to visit my family in Arkansas, and introduced my sister to filters. We found a graveyard from the 1800s, and it turns out, most of the people in it are related to us. I introduced my niece to Doctor Who, and she binge-watched it within about two months? Something like that. She completely devoured the show, and is now a dedicated Whovian. I rediscovered my love for VIXX, and decided to give learning Korean a try (spoiler alert: the alphabet is like, a million times easier than Japanese, but pronouncing it is a bitch).

I found my writing tribe, participated in Twitter author events. Made it through an entire summer without a single tornado warning (!!!), and missed out on Trick or Treating with the kids because they both decided to act like first-rate jerks. Added a minor to my degree (I am now minoring in Social Sciences), and am starting my senior year of college. Had two scary instances with our doggo (see the skunk incident and the brownie thief incident), and two with two of my aunts (and they say bad things come in threes…).

Dragons, Faeries, and Time Lords, oh my!

I won the award for favorite aunt this Christmas, when I gave my niece a laptop, and my roommates got me gifts very fitting for a writer of sci-fi and fantasy.

One of my roommates is now working at the same place as me, and the other is annoyed with me for buying her stuff for Christmas and her birthday (her birthday’s the 28th).  

Funny story there, actually. Our family is a Batman family. We have Batman; his wife, Alfred; I’m Nightwing; and the kids are Batgirl and Robin. Well, everyone had to work on Alfred’s birthday. Batman was working 6am-4pm, I was working 5pm-9pm, and Alfred was working 9am-6pm. Since there wasn’t going to be a time where we would all be together (the kids go to bed before 9), we decided to give Alfred her presents the night before. I knew she was going to be mad at me for one of the presents I had for her, so I gave her the two I knew she wouldn’t mind too much, and then waited. On her birthday, I left her last present on her desk before I left for work (remember, there was an hour gap between when I went to work, and when would be getting off). I got to work…and waited for her reaction.

She did not disappoint.

So yeah, it’s been an interesting year, but not one to really look back on and go “oh yeah, that was crazy…”

I’m honestly not sure if I’m hoping for an eventful 2019 or not…

Happy New Years!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com[

Why, oh why, can’t I do the “New Year, New Me!” thing? Probably because I’m pretty settled, I suppose, but it’s still a bit frustrating to see everyone else setting goals and being all gung-ho about their new year resolutions, and I’m sitting here going “Nope.” It doesn’t make any sense, and I am perfectly aware of this – I mean, half of them don’t even make it to the end of January before they’re dropping their “new me” crap like it’s nothing, but maybe that’s why it bugs me? What’s the point of making a resolution if it’s not something you plan on actively pursuing? Bandwagons are rarely a good thing to take a ride on, I’m just sayin’.

That being said, setting goals is something I approve of. I mean, it’s always good to have something to strive for, you know? Just…don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself. You are not going to change your entire way of life overnight. (There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but those are far and few between.) Instead of saying “I’m going to work out every day!” try “I’m going to be more active.” Instead of “I will find Mr./Ms. Right this year!” try, “I will make the effort to meet more people.” EASY goals that you can work on throughout the year.

I have a few easy goals I’ve set for myself, but the only ones I’ll be sharing here are the ones that will actually affect you guys (as readers).

Pyramid plans FTW?
  1. Pyramid plan
    This is something I found a while ago, and forgot about. Then The Biblio sent it to me, and I remembered. Yay! for having an actual plan!

    On the plus side, this gives me an actual writing goal to work with.

    On the downside, this means it may take me longer to post updates on stories, because part of the pyramid is going back and editing. Something I wasn’t doing previously. You guys all got the chapters as they were. No edits, and only one beta-reader.

    Of course, I’m not entirely sure I will be editing “Don’t Feed The Trolls” before I post it – maybe I’ll focus more on editing Etlan. Maybe I’ll go back and edit “Say ‘No!’ to Zombies” some more. The main point, I believe, is just to get in the habit, and that’s something I need to do.

    Something I can tell you I will not be doing is reviewing an outline. I cannot outline. It just doesn’t work for me. I make an outline, and my brain shuts down (storywise). It’s frustrating, but I’ve learned to work around it.

2. Write more
Gee, I wonder how this affects you guys? Oh, wait…

Yeah, I’ll be focusing more on getting stuff done around here. Writing blog posts, writing stories, writing reviews…you name it, I’ll (probably) be working on it. Don’t really expect to see much until next month, at least, but I’m working on it. Most of it will probably be flashfiction, just a heads up, but writing is writing.

Yuck, but necessary.

3. Get health issues taken care of.
You might be wondering how this one is going to affect you guys, but some of the issues I’ll be (hopefully) taking care of this year are going to put me out of commission for at least a week or two, and it’ll be more than once. (Long story short: teeth are terrible. Getting them fixed, and it’s going to take at least one surgery. At this point, I don’t care how many it takes, I just want this crap fixed.)  

And that’s it. Everything is are just things that I want to work on for myself, and should not have any real impact here. Basically, just trying to live my best fucking life, beech. (You can thank the Biblio for that one. Also, if you like rollercoasters, go check out her blog. Her mind is an interesting place to take a ride through, even if it’s not the best place to live in.)

The best intentions…

Alright, so. The past two weeks have been interesting, but not good for writing. You know the old “Kids say the darnedest things”? Yeah, well, one of the munchkins in our household decided that school was the best place to say those darnedest things. Twice. On top of his older sister coming up with the brilliant idea of doing all her Image result for kids say the darndest thingshomework…and then not turning it in to the teachers. How on earth this made sense to her, I have no idea, but last week was spent dealing with all those fun times. I had one sentence written for the next chapter of Don’t Feed The Trolls. Not good, I know. I had planned on making up for it this week, but then the eldest kiddo was sick, and then there was Halloween night…ahh, fun times.

Let me explain something real quick. We have a dog, Dexter. He’s an idiot. I love him, but gods all bless, he. is. an. IDIOT. Wednesday night, my roommate took Dex out for his nightly walk. Not even ten minutes later, I smell skunk. Now, I fully cop to being weird. I love the smell of skunk, so my first reaction was “Yay! Skunk!” and then…”Wait…didn’t B just go out there…with…Dex……oh no.”

Then I heard the cussing. And the sneezing. And the whining. B comes in, still cussing. I looked at him, me: “He didn’t…?” B: “THE HELL HE DIDN’T!” Apparently, Dex decided that the black “kitty” outside looked like it needed a dog nose up its butt. The “kitty”Image result for skunk disagreed. It was too late that night to give him a skunk bath, so we just tossed his kennel in the backyard and he got to spend the night outside. We spent pretty much all day yesterday dealing with the skunk mess, and giving the dog, like six baths (he still smells, but not near as bad).

Honestly, it was kinda fun, but it has definitely pushed back the new chapter of Don’t Feed The Trolls. I’m hard at work it, I promise, but yeah. No update this week (in case you couldn’t tell).

Also: I am not taking part in NaNoWriMo this year (or any, for that matter), but I encourage anyone/everyone to go cheer on those who are.

Cross your fingers and hope really hard that this week is a bit better for writing, yes?

 

Update: On Zombies and School.

One of these days, I will fall into a regular posting schedule. Maybe. Eventually…you realize I can hear you laughing all the way from here, right?

Right, well, anyway. Some of you may have noticed that only the first five chapters of “Say ‘No!’ to Zombies” are still available. This is because SNtZ has reached a critical stage: querying. Image result for querying

Yup. That’s right. I have officially begun to send my baby out to the scary world of publishers and agents. Currently, I still plan on posting the sequel, “Don’t Feed the Trolls,” to this blog and the associated ArchiveOfOurOwn account, but that may also change. I make no promises on that front, beyond that I will try to keep you all updated. On that note, right now, the best place to go for updates is my Twitter.   

Looking forward, you will also be seeing a lot of changes going on around here. A new look, new content, pages reorganized, etc.. It’s part of my coursework this semester, which is good news for you guys, and not so great news for me. I always struggle with what to write here – a common enough struggle, from what I understand – but I like getting good grades, so. Fun times ahead for all of us.

For those of you wondering when I’ll start posting “Don’t Feed the Trolls” chapters, I am aiming for Thursday, September 20th.

The death of a story.

No author likes admitting that it’s time to give a story a merciful death. It feels like we have failed the characters and the readers, both. But it happens sometimes, and now is one of those times. 

As much as I hate to say it, “Blood Runs Black” isn’t right. Or maybe it’s just the characters that aren’t right, I’m not sure at this point, and that’s a problem. I’ve tried to work around this, thinking, “oh, maybe it’ll just be a novella. I’ll get Alex to ****, and then we’ll move on.” But that’s not working either. I don’t feel Alex’s voice in this, and skipping to another character in the story just feels like a cop out.

So, for now, I must say goodbye to Alex and “Blood Runs Black.” This doesn’t mean I won’t return to it, mind you, so it’s not really the death of a story, I guess. More like cryogenic storage.

In the meantime, I have some (kinda) good news. Just because I am putting away Alex’s story, doesn’t mean I am putting aside the zombie tale completely. Instead, I will be moving forward with Shelly’s side of the story. This part of the work will be picking up after Alex’s tale, and it’s going to take some planning, so bear with me awhile. I’ll keep you updated as I know more about what I’m doing with this series.

And who knows? Maybe I’ll finally hear Alex’s real voice along the way. The only promise I can give is that I will try.

New year, Old me.

It’s the New Year, so of course, everyone is making resolutions for the year. Some people are being smart about it, keeping it to things that are actually within reach (looking at you, Nikki ), and to you guys, I tip my hat. The rest of ya’ll are just crazy, and I wish you the best of luck.

Me? My only promise is to still be me. I know better than to try and make any sudden changes, and honestly, there’s not that much I want to change about myself. I’m not perfect, but I am me. I am the product of my life, and I am okay with that.

Now, I’m not saying there won’t be changes (in general), but the changes coming are about me finally getting off of my butt and getting serious about my chosen profession. That means more blog posts (dang it), more writing in general, and less Facebook games when I should be writing (really not liking that one…).

I’ve already gotten started on the more blog posts. I have two more posts about World Building in my queue to get finished, and I have another about Creative License vs. Laziness waiting to be written. There’s life working at a gas station (more exciting than you’d think, believe it or not), and life being a nanny of two kids who are characters all on their own.

For the more writing part, I’ve started work on “Storm Warning” again, and book two in my zombies series, “Blood Runs Black” went live on New Years Day. I’ve also joined the monthly writing challenge over at WritingChallenge.org , along with Nikki over at thebibliofeels. It’s only day 3, but we’re doing well so far. We just have to keep at each other, and that’s not exactly a problem for us.

The Facebook games…ugh. That is the tough one. I really only play one, but then I spend the rest of my time playing The Sims (4, of course) or DC Legends, and those…those are time killers like no other. In fact, I’m pretty sure Time sees those coming and just starts begging for mercy. It never gets any, but at least it tries. The other problem is that when I’m not playing those games…I’m playing Playstation. I don’t have the fancypants PS4, but PS3 has enough games to keep me occupied, and my roommate just added another one (more on that later).

So yeah. No new years resolutions, but a whole crap load on my plate anyway. Ah well. Fun times, amiright?

NaNoWri-NO!

I swear. Every other year, I see/hear about people participating in NaNoWriMo, and I ask myself “why not?” and I decide to give it a try the next year. Halfway through, my word count is at half of what it’s supposed to be (and that’s if I’m lucky), the feeling of failure starts sinking in, and I suddenly remember “oh, this is why!”

know we’re not supposed to get discouraged. I know that every single word, even if we only write five for the whole month is still five more than we had before, but it doesn’t help. Especially when there are people calling out their word counts, and you can’t help but compare theirs to your own and feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

I fell into the NaNo void this year. I am currently about 20k words behind, and Thanksgiving week, when the kids will be home from school starts on Monday. I also have two major assignments coming up that same week, and the week after, during the last week of NaNo. I’m not counting on catching up. I’m pretty much making this post to remind myself not to fall for this again. I’m still writing, don’t get me wrong, but I am refusing to let myself feel bad for not reaching the goal.

For those of you who are participating: Best of luck.

For those of you who are so far behind that you’re about to give up: grab a cup of coffee or tea (or whatever) and join me. We can sit together and enjoy the wooshing sound the NaNo deadline makes as it goes flying by.

World building: Keep it together!

I’ve recently began helping a friend build a world for a novel she’s working on, and I figured I’d pass on my suggestions to other beginning world builders.

Please note: this isn’t about the building of the world, itself. That will come later. This is about making things easier on you, the Builder of Worlds, as you begin your path to nerdy (or so I’ve been told) glory. Think of it like a shopping list, if you will.

Before I get started though, I feel I should explain that I am OCD as hell when it comes to organizing, and it carries over to my world building, so by all means, tailor the following suggestions for your own needs.

  1. Get a binder.
    It doesn’t have to be fancy, but trust me, it will make your life a lot easier.Now, binders come in different sizes, and different…forms, I guess you could say. There are hard back binders and floppy plastic ones (you’ll see what I mean the minute you start looking at them). So you’ll need to think carefully about what kind of world you’re building, and what all you will need to go into the details of.

    For example, in my Etlan series, I have multiple houses, and some of those houses have other houses they’re responsible for. I also have certain skill based powers, and elemental powers. It has its own language that I’m having to create, including spells and texts. Then there’s the research I’ve done for all of the above. With all of that information, I needed to get a good sized binder. The one I’m currently using for Etlan is 2 or 3 inches, and has a hard cover. It was more expensive than I preferred, but I splurged on it anyway because I needed one that was going to last.

    The one I have for “Say ‘No!’ to Zombies,” on the other hand, is only a 1 inch binder, and I think I got it at the dollar store. The reason for this is simple: not as much information needed. I have their supply list, the traits of the zombies, the timeline, and basic character profiles, and I still have plenty of room left over for any other details I might think of later. I’ll probably be able to use that single binder for all four works I have planned in the series, and then some, if I wanted.

    Think it out, plan it out.

    Which brings me to…

  2. Dividers (tabs) are your friend.
    Again, tailor this to your need. SN!tZ currently only needs four tabs, and that’s stretching it. Etlan, on the other hand, has over 30, and I’m not done organizing yet.

    tabs

    Seriously, this thing is a monster!

    I ended up having to make dividers of my own, because I wanted half-sized tabs and to have tabs at the top. Most of the dividers that come with tabs on top, have tabs that are just too big for what I need. If you aren’t picky, however, any old divider will do (I recommend taking advantage of “Back to School” sales).
    Get a bunch of the regular dividers and have fun with it. There are dividers that have write-on tabs – I do not recommend those. They start out fine, but if you make a mistake, you’re out of luck, unless you use pencil (which tends to smear), or keep white-out on hand. Personally, it’s just not worth it, especially when the cheapo dividers work just fine, and you can get them for about a dollar at Walmart or Amazon.

    There are also dividers that come with pockets. Those can be very useful as well, especially if you’re a person who jots down notes on anything you happen to have nearby. You can just slip them into the pocket in the right category, and there ya’ go. I would suggest copying the notes down onto an actual piece of paper and putting in the binder, but that is entirely up to you. You’ll end up paying a little bit more for the tabs with pockets, so consider your budget carefully before you go on a buying spree.

    A word of caution: Beware the Table of Contents!

    I know it’s tempting to make one, but unless you are 100% sure of the way you have everything organized, it is in your best interest to stay far –far- away from a Table of Contents. If you are not completely certain about the way you have the binder set up, or if there is even the slightest chance that you might add something/remove something do not make a Table of Contents. Everytime you add something or move something, etc., you will have to redo the ToC. It is time consuming and just not worth it. Wait until you’re done with that world (or at least the first book in that world), before you even think about making a ToC or an index.

    Use whatever dividers you decide on to…

  3. Get ORGANIZED.
    Seriously.This is one of the most important things when it comes to world building (besides the world itself). The more complex your world, the more you will need to make sure you have your stuff organized. One of the most aggravating things, as a reader, is when it’s like the author doesn’t remember the rules of their own world.

    If a certain race only has blue or green skin, do not introduce a being of that race that is, oh, I don’t know, yellow, without some kind of explanation (skin disease; mutation; crossbreed, etc.). You might think “Oh, no one will notice. They probably didn’t pay any attention to the different races.” To that, I say: ask a reader about the differences between a Tolkien elf and an elf from the Shannara Chronicles. Just warn me ahead of time, so I can pop me some popcorn. I would also suggest using the bathroom and clearing your schedule first. The bottom line is, a dedicated reader/fan will notice the differences.

    Now for my final bit of advice for this post:

  4. PLAN IT OUT.I know I’ve already said this a couple times, but I cannot emphasize this enough, and I am speaking from experience. I have reorganized my Etlan binder so many times, it’s ridiculous.

    Granted, that was because I started out with only one set of dividers, and had to work with what I had, but that is why I’m telling you now: get LOTS of dividers. You might end up not using them all, but it’s better to have them and not need them, than to have to reorganize the information a couple hundred times.

    The best thing to do, before you start buying anything, is to sit down, either with pen and paper or with a document and start outlining what you need to organize.
    Mine would look something like this:
    2017-08-05

    If you are creating a world (or planet) with different races and religions, you will also need to think about those. A sample of that outline might look something like this:

    2017-08-05 (1)

    A VERY simple outline.

    Use your outline to determine how many tabs you’ll need to buy. If the number is over 30 like mine, I would suggest making your own. If enough people are interested, I’ll post some instructions on how to do that.

    Try not to over organize. That was one of the mistakes I made in the beginning. Believe me, it is possible to go overboard with this stuff, and it’s a pain to fix. Keep it simple.

    Shopping list:

    I said at the beginning that this is a short of shopping list, and it kinda is. I already suggested binders and dividers, but here are a few more items you might want to see about picking up:

    • 3 hole punch
    • Notebook paper (if you like making notes by hand) 
    • Sheet protectors (if you prefer typing the notes and printing them out)

    If anyone else has their own tips and tricks for keeping information straight, feel free to let me know in the comments.

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