Monday, January 29, 2018

Frogging It

I don’t really have any more to report this week than I did last week (which is why I missed last week’s post), but here I am anyway. :-D

As you may recall, one of my goals for the year was to spend more time doing crafts at night in front of the TV. There were two reasons for this. One, it keeps me from snacking, and two, it keeps me away from the mindless games.

The good news is, I finally sucked it up last weekend and went through my yarn stash. I have a long, red, knitted vest I like a lot, but it doesn’t go with a whole lot. So I found some textured yarn to try knitting myself one. Vests are simple enough, who needs a pattern, right?

I was going to do it in the garter stitch (which is just knitting every row), but after an inch or so I decided that looked tacky. So I started over in the stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl the next) and kept going until it was about 25 inches long. No, I didn’t get carried away, I do want a long vest.

This is where I had to decide how much to start decreasing for the arm hole and neck. I got the armhole looking the way I wanted to, but realized about six or eight inches later I was decreasing the v-neck a little too much. Which meant I had to frog it back, and not just a little, right back to the last couple of rows before the decreasing started because the textured yarn was a pain in the butt to unravel and at one point I even broke the yarn.

Now the point of this story is that this is what I’ve had to do with my current WIP. I’ve had to frog it back a couple of chapters so I can get it back on track. Like frogging back my knitting, it breaks my heart a little to have pretty much wipe out several weeks worth of progress, but for the story to move forward it has to be done.

And just like frogging back my knitting is going to make for a better vest, frogging back my writing is going to make for a better story. One of the hazards of being a pantser I guess, whether it be knitting or writing.

And I have to tell you, every time I hear the word frogging, this is the song that runs through my head. You can thank me later for the ear worm. :-D

Monday, January 15, 2018

Once More, With Feeling...

Short Fiction - 0
Long Fiction - 1140
Poetry - unknown
Total Words - 1140+
Paragraphs of Notes - 11

Well, that didn’t exactly work out like I expected it to.

Just when I thought I was getting things back on track I got slammed with the stomach flu. So no writing at all, let alone posting, last week. I was far too busy being sick and recovering from being sick. I did get a bunch of reading in, if that counts. Maybe I should start including a weekly reading report too - after all, reading is just as important as writing when you’re an author. ;-)

Now to be completely honest, I was recovered enough by the weekend that I could have spent some time writing, and I actually planned on it, however the characters in the book I’m working on stopped for a rest after escaping from some dark elves and now they refuse to budge. And that’s pretty much my own fault.

I’m not entirely sure where exactly the elven enclave that’s been taken over by the dark elves that my heroes escaped from is, let alone how far it is to the shrine they’re supposed to be headed for. In fact, I’d never heard of the shrine until they decided to head there. Apparently it’s on an island on an inland sea.

I need a map. And I need a proper map, not one of the namby-pamby ones I drew 15-20 years ago when I first came up with the idea for this story - it was more fun working on maps and character sketches than actually writing back then. Some of the names on those maps are cringe-worthy and a lot of the places have changed. Not to mention there are a bunch of places that have been mentioned in back stories that aren’t even on those maps. I need a map like this one:

Okay, maybe not as fancy as that one, but I do need a more comprehensive idea of the lay of the land. So as a starting point I figured I could use the outlines of my old maps and just fill in new details. Only I can’t find them. I have a file folder marked “Maps” that had several pages of maps that when pieced together made a really big map, only I can’t find it. Somewhere, in the Great Office Shuffle, I seem to have misplaced it, along with all my other notes, etc. on the Moonstone Chronicle universe.

Now after a very long frustrating search I did manage to find the maps I’d traced from the smaller pages onto three really large pages, but my first thought there was - TOO BIG. Which leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. Do I keep searching for smaller maps, tearing apart filing cabinets, drawers, and offices (and probably my hair) in the process? Try and trace the pertinent sections of the huge maps onto smaller, more manageable pages and make the necessary changes? Or suck it up and just make the changes on the big maps, which would take copious amounts of white out and leave me with a really messy looking map?

As excuses go for not writing, I thought this was a pretty good one.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Prompt Me - the Light

So... one of the things I was hoping to have time for between Christmas and New Year’s was to give some thought to revamping my Fiction Fridays. But as you know by the vast amount of whining I’ve been doing about it, my holiday did not go as planned. Now here we are with the same old, same old.

BUT. With a slight difference. The first Friday of the month will still be a picture prompt, and you are still encouraged to write whatever you like, inspired by that prompt - flash story, article, poem, whatever - but this time you only get a week to do it in. The second Friday of the month will have the results (if any) from that prompt.

Then the third Friday of the month will have a new prompt - this one will be words. Five of them in fact. I will pick five words at random from my big, hard back, Family Word Finder and you are going to include them in whatever you want to write. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? I’ll give you another whole week to come up with something, then hopefully I’ll be able to share again on the last Friday of the month.

So without further ado, here’s the picture prompt for the month:

You have until January 11 to send me what you came up with at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com and I will post it here on the 12th.

And then on the 19th I’ll prompt you with 5 random words for you to have fun with and then send me the results by January 25th so I can post them on the 26th.

If you’re too shy to send me anything to share, that’s okay too. This is just for fun to help get you writing. But even if you don’t want to share what you've written I’d love to hear from you either in the comments or through email letting me know what you think of the prompts.

Like I said, I’m trying to revamp my Fiction Fridays, but if no one likes the prompts thing I can always go back to just posting excerpts from works in progress.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

And So It Begins ...

The new year is upon us, filled with infinite possibilities...

Usually I take the time between Christmas and New Year’s to consider my goals for the year ahead, and figure out what changes I want/need to make to help reach those goals. Unfortunately this didn’t happen. I was a lot busier than I’d counted on and didn’t even have time to relax, let alone contemplate the future.

So January 1st caught me totally unprepared. And the shame of it all was that it fell on a Monday, perfect timing for my regular Monday post. But I had nothing to share, so I bought myself more time by going over last year’s goals and whether or not I met them. Then I spent the next couple of days staring at the blank screen, trying to figure out what I wanted to accomplish in the year ahead. And you could almost hear the tumbleweeds blowing around in my empty mind.

Then last night I pulled out one of my notebooks and started a list. There are a lot of doodles on the page with this list, and I added and deleted many times, but finally I had a list I could be happy with. It may not be a life-changing list, but I think it will take me where I want to be.

In no particular order:

Write every day - at least 500 words
This may seem like a no-brainer - if you’re a writer you write, right? But it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Even during NaNoWriMo there were days when I didn’t write a word, but also during NaNo I proved to myself that when I find my focus it’s possible to amaze even myself with my word counts. It’s just too bad my focus and my muse took off for an extended vacation at the beginning of December and haven’t come back yet.

Less time gaming and checking social media
One of the things that helped me when I got my writing mojo back during NaNo was I limited myself to the amount of time I spent on the internet playing games, checking Facebook, and checking my email. While I get email notifications on my phone, I do not have the Facebook ap on it, nor do I want it. And don’t even suggest I get Pinterest!

Shut down by 11 p.m., 12 at the latest
I go to bed around 1 a.m., and to be honest, the last couple of hours on the computer I’m usually too tired to do more than play games. So unless I’m on a roll with the writing, I think it’s reasonable to give myself an hour of reading time before bed.

Spend more time doing crafts
Last year I had this vision of making a lot of my presents for Christmas. And I was going to do this in the evenings while watching T.V. But invariably I found myself watching TV with the lap top open on my lap, one eye on the program I was watching and one eye on the game I was playing. I want to get my word count in during the day so I can start crafting while watching TV at night. Not only did I not get any crafts done for Christmas, for the first time in a long time I didn’t even get a new ornament made for my tree.

Make better use of my Neo
Another of the things I credit my spectacular word count for the last week of NaNo was that I stayed off the lap top. I used my Alphasmart Neo which has no bells, whistles, or internet. I also type faster on it than my lap top - I have no idea why, I’ll just go with the flow.

Organize my poetry
I started out writing poetry. I have a lot of poems - some printed out, some on the computer, a lot of it is both. Some of these poems have been saved more than once. I would really, really like to develop some kind of system to keep track of my poetry. I’m thinking a database so I can cross reference forms, subject, mood, whatever. All I know is that right now my poems are one hot mess, and good luck finding a specific poem.

Journal more often
I have a personal journal and a writing journal and I’m pretty sporadic with both of them. My personal journal I’ll promise myself I’ll update it tomorrow and before I know it a week has gone by and I’ll end up making these massive, multi-page entries that are pretty hum drum. My writing journal I just plain forget to use. It’s supposed to be for thoughts and ideas and notes about stories, but...yeah. Maybe part of that hour or two before bed could be spend writing in one or both of my journals.

So there you go. My goals for the coming year. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing arduous, just things I’d like to get in the habit of or accomplish over the course of the year. Good habits to get into, methinks.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I still have 500 words to write today. :-D

Monday, January 1, 2018

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Time for resolutions!

Although to be honest, I don’t like the word resolution, it’s too black and white. I prefer to set goals rather than make resolutions. But first - let’s see how I did on last year’s goals:

1. Keep up with the good reading habits, but include a non-fiction book every once in awhile.
I don’t recall reading any non-fiction, and most of the time I kind of binge-read. I wouldn’t read anything for days, and then for days I’d do nothing but read.

2. Get back on the healthy life style band wagon.
If you discount the last two weeks, I’ve done really well on the eating properly and exercising front. I’ve brought my A1c down a whole point, and I’ve lost 10 pounds. The weight may be coming off slowly, but at least it’s coming off.

3. Get out of the house once a week. And by out of the house I mean something other than babysitting or grocery shopping.
If anything, I became even more of a hermit.

4. Less gaming, more crafting.
I had big plans to make a lot of my Christmas presents and I only made one. I didn’t even get any ornaments made - not even for my own tree, let alone anyone else’s. That’s the first time this has happened in a long time.

5. Find a routine that balances what I need to do with what I have to do.
There were a couple of attempts, and I know what I want, but ultimately I kept putting things off and then regretting it.

6. Write every day.
While I did better with this than the year before, I still consider this a fail. There were way too many days when I wrote no words at all.

7. Write a flash fiction or short story once a month; maybe even submit one or two.
While I did write more short fiction, I did not submit any of it.

Holy moly Batman! I didn’t do so great on the goals, did I?

Last year was a black hole as far as creativity went, and it was only a small comfort to talk with other writers and interact with them via the internet and know I wasn’t alone in this. It was like something in the air, seriously. Hopefully 2018 will be a kinder year, creatively speaking.

The last couple of weeks have been so crazy busy I haven’t had much time to be thinking about my goals for next year, so I’m going to give myself a couple more days to whittle down the list. Join me here Wednesday to see what I have planned for the year ahead.