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.

NaNoEdMo Starts Tuesday

It dawned on me an hour ago that it’s the end of February, and there are only a few days until NaNoEdMo begins. So I decided to drop by the NaNoEdMo website and check on a 2011 badge and add posts in a few discussions. Unfortunately, no badges and it looks like their forum has been invaded by those damn spammers. Also, and there are forum bugs because the site wouldn’t allow me to post until I logged out and logged back in. It’s obvious NaNoEdMo is a baby contest compared to NaNoWriMo, so I’m being patient. I’m even thinking of of helping them out…do I dare go there?

Still, I’m pretty psyched to get started on Tuesday. Figure I have to edit 2 1/2 hours a day if I only edit 5 days a week and that’s doable because I do more than that now. Well, most days of the week. My goal, edit 4 hours a day, six days a week, at lease.  Hmmm…that’s 96 hours. Cool, almost double the requirement.

Other news, I received a certificate in the mail for the 3-Day Novel Contest, pictured below. Put it on the cork board beside a picture on a Native American that reminds me of Oscar, one of the main character’s in The Courier. Threw me off when I received it in the mail. Brought a smile to my face though. Reminders of achievements are always welcome.

3-Day Novel Contest Certificate
Oscar and 3-Day Novel Contest Certificate

Bloodleggers #3 on Blood Reads

I owe everyone an apology for causing the delay of the next part of Bloodleggers.  A couple hours after I woke up on my birthday back on the 17th of the month I realized I’ve been dealing with writer’s block for quite some time.  I wrote about it in my blog in Okay, I’m Blocked…Now What? back on the 19th if you’d like to know more.

Anyways, R.J. had a part ready for editing while I was throwing my 10th draft into the trash can a few days before the part three release date on the 25th.  Hooray for responsible writers!  So we got to work last week on editing his part.  It was supposed to post yesterday, but I set the date to 2011 instead of the current year.  OOPS!

My family decided to spend another day in the mountains yesterday, so I didn’t realize until this morning I’d made a boo-boo.  Luckily, I took another look at the post because I’d also left in a three paragraph discussion between R.J. and I that copied in from the comments on the manuscript.

Okay…all is well now.  To read it, just click here.  Or use the link in the left column.  ENJOY!!

A Book That Makes Us Laugh

This week R. J. and I are sharing a book that makes us laugh.  Over the past year I’ve found that writing comedy is not an easy task, so I respect any author who can do it well.

Again, for me (W. J.), there are a few, but this week I’m highlighting only one.   A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore is the most recent book I’ve read that made me laugh my ass off.  In fact, I read this book and then got the audio CDs and listened to it a month later.  There are certain authors that I prefer to listen to their books, and Christopher Moore’s one of ’em. 

Poor Charlie Asher is a Beta Male who loses his wife after she gives birth to their daughter.  He witnesses a man collecting his wife’s soul vessel and soon finds he’s become a soul vessel collector himself, whether he likes it or not.  The most hilarious parts of this book are not related to Charlie collecting soul vessels though.  His interaction with the supporting characters like his relationship with his young daughter are some of the most hilarious parts of the book. 

In my life, I’ve (R. J.) found very few books that make me laugh out loud, and it seems that the ones that do all have come from British authors. Maybe it was the fault of my parents making me listen to too much NPR as a child, but I find the dry, sarcastic humor (or should I say “humour”) of the Brits as the height of written comedy.  So, for my book that makes me laugh, I’d have to choose Douglas Adams’ masterpiece, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as my favorite. The way that he weaves absolutely insane situations into the life of poor straight-man Arthur Dent always brings a smile to my face. Not to mention, the analogies he uses to set up scenes are also outstanding. I will never forget the phrase, “The great yellow ships hung in the air in exactly the way bricks don’t.”

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