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Mid Month Update

Well, hey, here it is.  Friday. Time for another blog post. And time to go back to work. (Friday is my Monday; my weekend is Wednesday and Thursday.)

It’s also more or less the middle of the month, and I am… nowhere near the middle of my goal for Camp NaNoWriMo. (Closer to a fifth of the way if I’m doing the math right.)

I had wanted to get caught up over my weekend, but it was pretty busy. I spent way too much time and money shopping on Wednesday (food shopping – not even fun shopping), and cooking both Wednesday and Thursday. (My roommate and I are both nurses and both work on Sunday so we did our “Easter Dinner” yesterday.) I was pretty wiped out by the end of the day both days and feel like I need a day off to recover from my days off.

I am going to try to get a couple more pages done before work today, though. Every little bit helps, right?

Hopefully I’ll have some easy shifts this week so I can get more work done on the first round paper edits of The Academy of the Accord series. I’m currently on Book 10, and if I can get it done by the end of the month, and get Books 11 and 12 done by the end of next month, then I can try to get the concordance done by the end of the year, which will make the next round of edits go much more smoothly.  I hope.  I’m still shooting for a 2020 release for the series, and it’s almost looking possible.

Meanwhile, writing new stuff has been on hold, other than a flash fiction piece for the QSF contest and occasional Thursday Threads entries. And now I’m looking at maybe writing a short story or two to submit for consideration in an anthology…

Yes, I know I should be working on the sequel to Song and Sword, and I will be, but the deadline for the anthology is June 1st and it doesn’t really have one, so…

 

 

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Progress and a Plot Bunny

So, there’s this plot bunny starting to form.  I don’t actually have a story yet, just a main character: a Mexican demon named Charlie.  And I’m not sure, but I think maybe he can only possess pencils.

If you’re as totally unaware of trending teen things as I am, you’re probably scratching your head wondering what on earth I’m talking about, so here’s the explanation.

At work last night I was on a different unit than the one I usually work.  One of the aides there is also a preacher and is a bit… over zealous… at times.  I’m not sure what prompted the conversation but he asked another aide if she had heard about “the Charlie Charlie pencil game.”

She thought for a minute and said, “Do you mean the thing with the piece of paper with yes/no/no/yes?” and started to get a piece of paper to draw it out and was demonstrating how the pencils laid on top of each other for it.

He stopped her and said not to do that because it would summon a real demon.

He was completely serious.

And apparently it’s a Mexican demon. (Although he did say that demons don’t have nationalities.)

Anyhow, I now want to write about a Mexican demon named Charlie.

I’m just… not sure what his story is.

Yet.

Any work on this story (other than kicking it around in my head) is probably a long way from happening, but it’s so rare that I have a clear example of where a story idea came from that I had to share.

In other writing news, I started working through the bit that blocked me from working on entering changes to Onyx Sun. And I wrote (more of) a scene to be added to the first book of the Academy of the Accord series.  The scene seems kind of… not really necessary (although it will further character development, world building, etc) but it’s needed for a scene in Book 12, so…

And I got a bit more done on the Elven Bard novel that only has half a title.

So, there you have it. My weirdness and inspiration for the week as well as a bit of progress.

 

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Ti-i-i-ime

… is not on my side.

Halfway through the month already?  Didn’t we just celebrate New Year’s?

I’m doing pretty good on my writing goals.

Sort of.

I finished the first round paper edits of Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord and have Book 7 in the editing binder. I should probably stop and work on updating the writer’s bible for the series but I don’t think I can get that three ring binder to fit in my current backpack and I don’t feel like dragging out my MOLLE pack.  I think I’ll have to break down and carry an extra tote bag if I want to work on the bible. (Not that I have a lack of tote bags, mind you.)

I also have less than 2000 words to go to hit my writing goal for the month.

I’m not doing so good at getting changes entered to Onyx Sun (and haven’t even touched the changes to Book 5 of The Academy of the Accord).  I was actually doing pretty good on it, then hit a snag the other day, one of those things I talked about on Friday where, instead of fixing it as I was going through, I left myself a note “Westin? Intro him here instead of later” in the margin.

When I came to that point I didn’t have time to do it because I had to get ready for work, and then the weekend blog hops happened, and…

And here it is, Monday, and the same page is sitting here staring at me.  I have figured out how to work him in (and add description and setting to the scene as well) so all is not lost and I might have time to get it fixed before work today.

I’m hoping to make some headway on getting those changes entered over the next two days (my “weekend”) but tomorrow is going to be packed with errands.  (Dog to groomer, dog licenses, dog food, bank, post office, Aldi’s, Sam’s Club, Wal Mart, Dollar Tree, getting stuff printed, and taking the dogs to the nursing home to visit because I am not leaving the house on Wednesday after all of that.)  Fortunately, all but Sam’s and getting stuff printed can be done here in my town: for those I’ll need to make about a half hour drive. (The printing can actually wait, and just might.)

Maybe if I get started and on the road by 8:00 in the morning…

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January Goals Check In

Just over a week into the month so I thought I’d take a look at where I stand with my writing goals.

I have not entered any of the changes to Onyx Sun. I have, however, put it into a different three ring binder and have moved Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord to the flex cover binder that I carry in my backpack, so I’ve been working on the first round of paper edits to it, and they are going much better than expected.  In fact, another good week at work staying on my regular unit and I should be finished with it.

That doesn’t mean that all is peachy-keen and wonderful in my writing world.  This is one of the books that intertwines with two others and I’ve crossed out huge sections to delete and left notes to move stuff to other places, and “cut this but keep that and move it to …”  and made various other sweeping changes that are easier to do on paper than on a screen.

Plus, there are a lot of notes to check stuff in other books.

So I think that when I finish this round of first edits I might take time out and work on putting together my Writer’s Bible for the series. I have it started but I need to get caught up on it a bit and see if I can answer some of the questions I’ve asked in it. (I don’t want to try to put the whole thing together after I finish all twelve first edits. I may be crazy but I’m not insane.)

Anyhow, this week on my days off I have to get to work on Onyx Sun.  I changed my profile picture on Face Book to the makeshift cover I made for it once upon a time for NaNoWriMo to help keep me focused on getting it done.

As for writing… I’ve added maybe five hundred words to the next Elven Bard book. (It’s a sequel to Song and Sword.)  I started it for NaNoWriMo but didn’t get very far due to some events that I let throw me off (and which spawned a bunch of baby plot bunnies that I started writing instead of working on it) so I don’t even have quite 5000 words in it yet.  I want to be at 10K for it by the end of the month.

So, all in all, so far I’m doing pretty good on my goals for the month. I haven’t touched my traveler’s notebook for my writing stuff but that can happen tomorrow or Wednesday when I’m off.  I still need to find a way to track where everything is in the process… I think I’ll spend some time perusing the posts and files in the Bullet Journal Writers group on Face Book to see if anyone has any good layouts.

And then I need to, you know, start using my planners…

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Words For The Year

No, it has nothing to do with a projected hoped-for word count. (Although between NaNoWriMo in November and the two Camp session, plus other writing, I’m looking at writing over 200,000 words this year, maybe 250k, which would be a quarter of a million words. (I never looked at it like that before. It’s kind of awesome.)

But the title has nothing to do with that.

I’m not sure how many of you have seen people posting their “Word for the Year.” I asked a friend and she’d never heard of it so maybe it’s more of a journal thing than a writing thing.

But anyhow, basically, as I understand it, it’s a way to summarize what you want to be or work toward that year.  One word, rather than a list of resolutions that no one keeps for more than a few weeks.

This is my first year doing it and I actually have two, although they do go hand in hand.

One is “Create.”

This not only applies to writing, but to other crafts as well, things that I enjoy doing (or want to learn to do) that have taken a back seat to writing for the last several years. (And who knows what else may come of that word?)

The other is “Focus.”

I need to stay focused on my goals and not dashing off to a billion other shiny things. My main goal right now is to release Onyx Sun this year.  Yes, I am working on the Academy of the Accord series as well, but until Onyx Sun is off my plate I’ll be torn between the two projects and not fully focused on either, which means I won’t make much progress on either because no matter which one I’m working on I’ll feel guilty for not working on the other.

(I should maybe make a goal about run on sentences while I’m at it.)

So the two do go hand in hand but there doesn’t seem to be one word that combines the two, so I’m going to have two words for the year. (I’m kind of a rebel that way.)

For more information about choosing a word, see:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephenie-zamora/choosing-your-guiding-word-for-2016_b_8885498.html

http://myoneword.org/

http://oneword365.com/

 

 

 

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Better Than I Thought

So, I pulled out the print out of Onyx Sun to see how much more I had to do on this run through, and the answer is “Nothing.”

And “A lot.”

Apparently I’d made it through the manuscript again, tweaking things per beta reader suggestions, so the only thing left to do is figure out where to put the two additional scenes I’ve written, and plan a few others. (Again, all in accordance with beta reader suggestions.)

One of the scenes ties firmly into the plot. The other is more along the lines of character development so is harder to fit in.

(And I thought that the headache I woke up with this morning was bad!)

I also need a couple more scenes to set things up a bit more. I figured out one of them while I was in the bathtub, so all I have to do is write it.

At any rate, I think I can start entering the changes tomorrow (on my day off) and pack up Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord to go to work for first round paper edits when I have free time. (I have the feeling I’ll be taking a lot of notes as I go through this one.  Things get really messy starting here and Book 7 is going to be a disaster to edit. But I’ll get there.  I need to focus on what I’m working on now, not on what’s waiting for me when it’s done.)

Now, let’s see if I can actually make this happen…

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January 2017 Goals

Yay! I have a new (well, refurbished) monitor so I have my PC back.  It’s a smaller monitor, and square instead of a rectangle, but at least it stays on. On my days off this week I’ll be making sure that I have backed up all of my files though.

So, anyhow, now that I have access to all my files it’s going to make my goals for 2017 a lot easier to manage.

Actually, I don’t have overall goals for the year, other than releasing Onyx Sun at some point. (I’d like to make it through first round edits of the rest of the Academy of the Accord series, but I’m not holding myself to that as some of these books are a total mess.)

Anyhow, instead of setting a bunch of goals for the year, I’m going to just do one month at a time.

So, without further ado, here are my January Writing Goals:

  • finish the first round of revisions of Onyx Sun
  • enter the changes
  • get it printed for round two
  • enter changes made to Academy of the Accord Book 5
  • do the 1st round paper edits of Academy of the Accord Book 6
  • Add 5000 words to the Elven Bard book I’m working on
  • set up my traveler’s notebook that is dedicated to writing stuff
  • inserts will include:
  • notes for current WiPs
  • notes for new ideas/stuff not started
  • stuff that’s in progress but not currently being worked on (I need to find a way to track where each project is in the writing process.)

That looks like a lot more when it’s typed up than it did when I wrote it down… I’ve probably over-committed myself again. As usual.

But I’ve set smaller deadlines than “by the end of the month.”  I want to have Onyx Sun‘s first round revisions done by the 13th, for instance, and the changes entered – and the file ready to print – by the 27th. Meanwhile, I’ll be entering the changes to Book 5 of The Academy of the Accord with a goal of having them done by the 13th, and then I’ll work on the paper edits of Book 6.

So it looks like a lot, but with smaller deadlines and alternating modalities (paper edits of one while entering changes of another) it should be doable.

And the 5K words?

Piece of cake. I can do them with 750words.com and not have to worry about cutting into editing time.

So, there’s January.  That’s all I’m worrying about right now.

 

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Due to…

Well, since I can’t cancel the rest of the year due to technical difficulties, can I cancel it because…

I don’t know. Think of something.

Lack of interest?

Too much to do and not enough time to do it?

I’m still recovering from the back to back doubles of the weekend and have one more shift to go and then I’m off for two days. (“One more shift. Just one more shift.” has become my mantra for the day. I’ll be switching over to counting hours soon.)

On my days off I have to clean the rat cage, clean off the back porch, clear off my desk, and set up my goals for next year.

And on the goals front, this month of a nearly enforced hiatus from writing and editing has done wonders for me. My mind has shifted back to wanting to write and revise and edit. I’m running through scenes in my head, and every plot bunny that ever existed is screaming for attention. (No wonder I have a headache!)

It’s going to be really hard to decide what to focus on first. (And nearly impossible to start on the 1st unless my new monitor arrives early so I can access everything on my PC.)

Hm. I wonder if I can use that as an excuse to start working on something new?

I should just use it to work on paper edits of Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord

Or maybe I’ll use it to work on Book 2 of The Other Mages.

So much to do, so little time.

Suddenly 2017 is too close… and too short.

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Mid-December Status

We’re halfway through December and I would like to announce that I am conquering my writing goals for the month.  (Apparently I had set some – or else I just renamed the file of October’s goals.)

But first, a funny story unrelated to writing.

On Wednesday, my Boxer, Riley, got his stitches out from his tumor removal. We took Jazzy along for the ride and on the way back we stopped at my mom’s for a bit, then came home and went to the nursing home for a visit.  Both dogs were pretty worn out when we got home so the three of us dozed on the couch while my roommate went to get a new cell phone.

They were snoring and I got up and went to the bathroom (yes, writers do that too) and then threw a load of laundry in the washer. (Yes, we also do laundry.)

I came back up from the basement and was heading upstairs to get online when I heard three short sharp barks from the front room so I detoured to see what was wrong, thinking maybe Sue was coming home.

Nope.

Apparently Riley woke up and I wasn’t where he had left me.

He’s been my shadow pretty much since we brought the two of them home last month, but he’s now become velcro-dog. This morning he managed to open the bathroom door while I was in the tub, and, after some petting, he took up a position on the bathmat and dozed until I got out.

Anyhow.

As I said, I’d like to announce that I am conquering my writing goals for the month.

I’d like to announce that, but I can’t.

In fact, I’m announcing that we’re halfway through December and I haven’t even looked at the file that contains my writing goals for the month until last night when I happened to notice it on my desktop.

I have been thinking about them. I was going to work on Onyx Sun revisions last night at work but ended up not really having any downtime.

The goals were (are – I still might get to some of them):

Academy of the Accord:
enter changes to Book 5

Maybe:
edit Book 6 (first round paper edits)
try to get books 1 through 4 (maybe 5) in the concordance

Onyx Sun:
finish going through current print out
list additional scenes needed
write additional scenes
insert additional scenes
print it again

maybe:
third round paper edits
find a cover artist
write a blurb
format the novel
release it

Misc:
rough draft outlines for sequels to Song and Sword (and a prequel)
write at least 1000 words a week in an existing WiP
spend at least one hour a week on some other hobby/craft

So far I have, um… well… *sigh*

I do have outlines at least started for the Song and Sword sequels and prequel.  And one of the sequels was started last month.

On a brighter note I’ve so far managed not to add any more “important papers” to my computer hutch.

At any rate, I think I’m going to just agree to let December be a wash and work on setting goals for next month (and next year). (Although I am still going to try to work on Onyx Sun if I get a break at work.

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Inside the Computer Hutch

So last Monday I mentioned that I was “clearing out all of the “important” papers in my computer hutch. All of the stuff that I shove under my monitor – and beside my monitor when I run out room under it – because it’s important and I need it and need to refer back to the information on it.”

I ended up with a plastic bag full of random scraps of paper and partially used notepads and I’ve been taking it to work with me to sort through during down time.

So, what all did I find in my “important” papers? Here’s a brief list:

a work schedule from a year ago
pages of potential Wednesday Words prompts
the phone number of a guy that a co-worker recommended to fix my laptop
several lists of names to use for characters (now consolidated into one list)
plot bunnies
quotes I’d saved
lists of goals, writing and other
a lot of notes about stuff I’m writing
a couple snail mail addresses
and a lot of miscellaneous because “Everything can be filed under Miscellaneous.”

I wrote anything important in a notebook and tossed the papers, except for stuff that I had printed out for novel-writing – story starts, outlines with handwritten notes added, etc.  It’s much neater and more organized now.

So now my next step is to decide what sort of permanent home the notes go into. Some are goals to work on so they’ll go into my 2017 planner. The writing stuff will go into appropriate folders and notebooks.

And the rest… I’m not quite sure yet.

I think once I get the big categories done I’ll be able to get a better handle on the small stuff.

And then I’m going to try to keep just one notebook or notepad by my computer and sort out its notes on a weekly basis.

And meanwhile, I’ve rediscovered a dozen or so feral plot bunnies that need taming.

*wanders off to find a whip and chair*

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