When The Sun Doesn’t Shine

Title’s a little misleading because I couldn’t think of one this morning. Basically I looked out the patio door, could barely see the foothills and the deck is wet. We’re expecting rain all day, I think. Haven’t checked the weather report. Anyways, when the sun doesn’t shine on a Monday morning I find my week starting a little slow and cloudy.

My true reason for this post is to report on 3-Day Novel Contest stuff. I was supposed to start a weekly post on the challenge, but obviously haven’t until now. It occurred to me this morning that since I started #fridayflash, I’ve gotten a little consumed with writing short stories. Certainly not a bad thing considering it’s one of my goals this year. Still, I need to get back on track, planning the somnambulist story.

This morning I noticed that the challenge is only 75 days from the start date, which doesn’t make me nervous because writing up the detailed outline last year took less than a week. However, it occurred to me while writing in my journal that I’m no where near as connected to the characters in this story as I am to Barry and all his friends in The Courier series. I also had a high-level outline written along with a lot of other artifacts. So I figured the best way to start this week is by taking inventory:

What do I have so far?

  • The high-level idea for the story plot is set in stone
  • There’s a clear protagonist and antagonist
  • The first chapter has been written
  • The Scrivener file is set up and ready to go

What do I need this week?

  • Short 1-2 sentence synopsis
  • Set up a page for additional ideas
  • Character sketches for the protagonist and antagonist

I’ll leave my goals at that for this week and will let you know how it goes next week.

Back to Blogging with a Goals Check-In

It’s time. My plan was to start blogging again June 1st and here I am. Considering we’re closing in on the 2011 halfway point, I thought I’d start with a goals check-in.

What have I been up to? Lots and lots of writing and editing, and I’m too excited to report that I’m over my target word count for both so far this year.

Rather than write another novel or two this year, I decided instead to focus on short stories. So far I’ve written 15+ new rough rough rough shorts, most still in my journal. Some of the stories are part of a whole vampire fairy tale series, just like I’d hoped to write this year. None of the stories will sit in my journal for too long. I’ve joined #fridayflash, a weekly Twitter group at http://fridayflash.org. This friday is week 4 for me, and I’m hooked. I might even write two a week, considering all the material I already have. I’ve been releasing the stories here and on the Vamplit Blog. Even submitted one of my stories to their second print volume. I also have plans to submit some of the others to online and print magazines and anthologies.

I’ve been pulling my hair out, trying to think of regular things to write here, but haven’t come up with much. Yesterday they opened registration for the 3-Day Novel Contest, which is another goal for this year. So I’ve added a once a week post about preparing for the challenge to the agenda and will blog through the contest like I did last year. I also enjoy writing wine reviews, so I’m kicking around the ideas of sharing our favorite varietals once a week. All my other blogging will be posted on the Vamplit Blog. In fact, I’ve already started over there with #fridayflash, and Vamplit’s #humpday #horrorchat, a weekly chat about all things horror we do every Wednesday on Twitter. All the directions you’ll need to join us available from the link. We’ve got a whole bunch of other stuff planned over there and will let you know as we implement it.

Oh, and I’m still ripping through The Courier. It’s gotten tricky because I’ve moved it to Scrivener to track the entire series. Much better than my old system, but *heavy sigh* the series is getting more and more complicated, so maintaining all the background information is pretty time consuming. The entire plot for the 5th book is figured out and I’ve even found a way to entwine it with another novel series I created years ago. Oh, and I got tons of editing done during NaNoEdMo, although I fell off the blogging during the challenge and never mentioned the final result. It’s only getting better and is still on target to complete editing before the start of the 3-Day. That and I’ve done a ton of work on a couple versions of the synopsis, which you may have seen me complaining about.

We haven’t done much work on Bloodlegger’s 🙁 R. J. and I have been off doing our own thing but we’re writing book 1 together for NaNoWriMo this year, so we’ll get back on the outline wagon soon.

Now that I’ve sufficiently bored you about novel progress, I’m off to make some meatballs for dinner.

Back on EdMo

After 4 days off of doing about nothing this week, I’ve been back editing the last few days.  Am up to 19 hours, a few hours further than the challenge suggestion of 16.5. 

What did I do during my 4 days off, in between naps?  Comedy therapy via Trailer Park Boys. I’m a little embarrassed to say I’ve sat through a little over 3 seasons since last Friday. But, hey, laughter is the best medicine, right.

No surprise, Trailer Park Boys showed up as a recommended watch on Netflix streaming, and I’d already enjoyed a few episodes on cable. So last Friday evening, when I found myself too tired and drained to do anything, I pulled up the first couple seasons and watched and laughed and watched and laughed. During this bout of anemia I could have literally laughed myself into the grave. Okay, that’s not so funny.

Other thing I’ve been doing is some creative writing exercises in Write from the Heart: Inspiration & Exercises for Women Who Want to Write. These exercises have taken the place of my regular daily new writing, but what’s surprised me is that some of the stuff I’m writing could actually make some great short stories.

Off topic, found this bit from the book inspiring.

What matters is your ability to open up to the breathtaking and spectacular adventure that happens to be your life. Your job is to experience it, see it, feel it, live it, and write it down.

– in Write from the Heart by Leslea Newman,

Back to NaNoEdMo, I’ve not reached the point where editing flows easier, but does it ever, I wonder, like new writing does? Instead, I’m afraid I’m headed into the “I hate this story. Will this ever end.” doldrums. Will make the next 20 days a bit painful if it does.

Bad Start to a Challenge

What a difference between NaNoEdMo and NaNoWriMo. There are so few participants, you can hear crickets over on the EdMo website. That and the site has been attacked by a spammer, which seems to be keeping people away. There’s no leadership and no one communicating to the group except for a few posts by the editing support staff. Still, I’m set on completing the challenge. I’ve even started some discussions in the Horror & Thriller and Colorado forums, where we have a total of 3 participants in each.

I love these contest challenges and wish I would have joined them years ago. Then again I’ve always enjoyed competing against myself, seeing how far I can advance passed a previous accomplishment. This has been a rough one to start though. Yesterday my health was crap, and I only got in 15 minutes of editing. Today was better though. I grabbed the paper copy of the manuscript and took the ‘start big’ advice that I read in the forum. Basically got through 40 pages in four hours, identifying major issues to fix first. Sure beats the 6 pages I got through Monday.

Warning: Fibroid Tumor Discussion

Here in the blog, I haven’t mentioned my health issues for quite some time because there came a point I felt they became me. Well, I’m breaking my rule today. Unfortunately, I started off NaNoEdMo with my fibroid tumors out of control. In fact, they’ve been a pain in my ass for the last 5 months. Yesterday, I got through 15 minutes of editing before I felt like another trip to the emergency room might be necessary. One gallon of water and a half gallon of orange juice later I felt I’d live through the night.

It’s mostly my fault I’ve gotten to this point though. Fibroid tumors are controllable via lowered levels of estrogen which includes a diet from hell, exercise, stress reduction, and progesterone cream. I’d had mine under control until the holiday season, when I’d let it all fall apart.

Here’s the real reason I decided to bring up the fibroids. I learned a week ago that fibroid tumors are seriously on the rise in women. One of the major contributors, plastic. Okay, I decided Monday to avoid foods and drinks stored in plastic. People, you have no idea how hard this is unless you take the challenge. Even organic health foods are packaged in plastic. ARGH!!

I’m so irritated by this vicious cycle we live in. In my case, increased hormones injected into animals and plastic containers that act to increase the body’s estrogen result in fibroid tumors that force me to seek medical treatment, including a $3000 trips to the emergency room. According to Western medicine, my only options: surgery to remove the fibroids which will likely grow back, loss of my uterus that will screw up my hormones worse and/or drugs that will make me sicker. The final price tag is equal to thousands and thousands of dollars, which really pisses me off.

On the other hand, if I exercise, eat the right diet, and avoid plastic and stress, I’m healthy and it costs a little more for glass containers and $70 for the occasional massage. For me it’s a no brainer to go with this option, and It’s been pretty successful as long as I don’t fall off the diet.

Now consider this. I watched a documentary recently where a low-income family said they couldn’t possibly eat a healthy diet because they can’t afford low-fat meat and fresh fruits and vegetables. Surprise, surprise, they were all over weight. This is the same thing a friend of mine told me after he lost his job. He gained 40 pounds. So think about it. Someone with a low income is less likely to heal via natural means which is actually less expensive. My head’s spinning so fast I may fall off my soap box.

1 Day Down, 30 To Go

Yesterday was a mellow first day, editing The Courier for NaNoEdMo, just as I hoped it would be.

I’m taking a different approach during NaNoEdMo than I did writing 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, hoping I don’t burn out by day three. When it comes to new stories, I can write like a crazed maniac for days and days. Editing is such a different process though. That approach would probably put me in an asylum by the end of week 2.

Prior to starting EdMo, my approach to editing could be described as “writer with Attention Deficit Disorder.” Today, I forced myself to edit in hour long increments, in between which I’d take a break for ten to sixty minutes. IT WORKED!!

Main obstacle I encountered was that dreaded perfectionist in me. I started editing a scene that is heated, action packed and a transition point in the story. Not a wise decision. I only got through six pages in 3 3/4 hours. YIKES! So my goal for tomorrow is loosen up and let the editing flow a little faster.

There’s one other thing that slowed me down. I recently read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. A book I wish I’d read before starting at my Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers critique group.  I absorbed some of the best advice I’ve read anywhere from this book.  I pulled out the checklists and am meticulously sifting through the draft, fixing text that strays from standard rules like show vs. tell, too many I’s, repeating words, inserting beats, just to name a few.

That reminds me.  Know about Wordle?  Found out about it in the EdMo forum today.  Nifty tool for writers that counts your word usage.

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