An accomplishment for my check-in

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I haven't posted a ROW 80 check-in for awhile. I've been a bad writer and blog reader. I got lazy and didn't write much or read other people's check-ins. This past week though I pushed myself to quit messing around and do more work. I decided to pull out my short stories and see what I could finish off for the sake of typing the end to something at long last. (So many WIPs, sigh)

The short story push is partly from reading a bunch of other people's short stories like The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales, The Secret History of Fantasy, and Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded. I also have Dragons and Dreams from the library and Happily Ever After from the bookstore waiting for me to read them.

My troll story didn't pull me much. I'm still not sure how I want to tackle the middle. I gave my wolpertinger story a try and on the 26th I wrote 343 new words on it and then cut them off and moved them to the remnant file. The direction it took didn't sit right with me. I added 195 words to my half-orc bard story on the 27th. Those weren't bad, but my brain didn't want to stick with it.

But on Friday, I pulled out my Red Riding Hood story, determined to get something finished. I knocked out 1685 words, one of my top word tallies. (300-500 is more my typical sort of count) And yesterday I came in with 731 words including The End. Ding ding ding! Yippeeee!

Oh, it still needs massive work: a completely redone beginning and an expanding out of noted bits I'd had to skip to keep me from bogging down. But I completed it. I've proved to myself that I really can finish a story. I was totally giddy yesterday when I did it. And then I went through and read several check-ins from Wed to cheer on other folks.

I'm still way behind on reading my blog roll, taking today to work on that, but I want to say thanks to the unspoken pressure to get something accomplished on my goals. Finishing a story wasn't technically one of them, but it is something I've had hanging over me for the past few years. Everyone who has ever said good luck, or hope you make it, or some other variant of encouragement here on my blog or other online places I hang out: Thank you.

My other goals might get tweaked later since by the end of this round, I intend to finish the first round of revisions on the Red Riding Hood story, maybe even come up with a title other than RRH. I'm not sure how I want to break down the revisions into smaller check-off-able chunks yet, but I'll work on that too. I'm also behind on posting book reviews here, so I intend to have 4 books reviews during the month of August. Hope you'll check back for them. I think I already know which one I want to cover first. It'll be up tomorrow (if I write it tonight) or Tuesday (after I get back from the Buffalo Museum of Science).

Hope everyone has a productive week!

Filk Friday: Cat Macros

Friday, July 29, 2011

I'm in the mood for something silly, so here is Tom Smith's Cat Macros. If this video ever comes down, I will be very sad, because the pics perfectly fit the lyrics. I'm sure some of them were the ones that inspired the words. Hope you have fun watching this. Cat Macros and other Tom Smith songs are available on iTunes.

I'm still lousy on my overall writing goals, but today was fabulous: a thousand words, and I'm going to go back and knock out some more. I'm closing in on finishing the first draft of a short story I've had sitting around. The beginning needs to be totally redone, and I have a couple gaps to fill in, but this might be the first piece I get to type The End on.

Filk Friday: The Doctor And I

Friday, July 15, 2011

After a little poking around this morning, I found this gem. Yes, it is really John Barrowman singing The Doctor And I, a parody of "The Wizard And I" from Wicked. Jack Harkness is a great character. According to a comment, Barrowman knew the composer of the original song and got permission to change the lyrics. I wish I could get it on iTunes, but from what I understand it was a special release on iTunes UK a year or so ago. I don't know if it's still available.

And now I'm wishing again that the new Torchwood episodes weren't on STARS. Sigh.

ROW 80: Check-In 7/10/11

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sorry that I didn't do much on Blogger at all this week. It's been crazy here with getting my father-in-law packed up for his new contract job (he'll be gone for a year, aside from breaks) and helping Mom-in-law with "spring" cleaning (not done yet, but getting there). I also did lots of weeding in the front garden. It was overrun with clover.

This meant I didn't get as much accomplished on my writing as I'd intended. So many house projects needed done that I felt bad sitting at my computer when they were working on the list. The past few days have had zero writing time, but at least I wasn't goofing off. Earlier in the week, I did get my daily hour in, but it was hard to stay focused with various interruptions.

The chapter I'd been working on for almost a month is finally done, but I'm going to try writing it again. After looking back over my chapter goals in my plotline, the chapter doesn't match, and what I'd intended makes more sense than what I wrote. The chapter has great stuff in it. My crit group has said that the characters are cool, the tensions interesting, and the woman's backstory revealed in this part fits smoothly. But it's off track. I think that's why the characterizations have been so hard to keep a grip on.

However, it's still useful. I have the woman's backstory in her words and I have some judgements from the old man. I may end up keeping it and then tweaking to fit better, but I want to see what else I can come up with. Most writing advice would say to leave it and just keep charging forward, but this part has critical moments between the two characters. I can't just leave it unless I have the what-happens and what-is-said pegged right. Those matter to how much the two main characters learn about each other, which will affect how chapter 3 plays out.

I'm off to get as much done as I can on the alternate version of chapter 2 before supper. Later tonight, I'll start reading through the blogs I've missed this week and stop by some of the other ROW 80 check-ins. Thanks to those of you who came by on my first check-in.

New to the ROW 80 challenge

Monday, July 4, 2011

Well, I haven't been a Monday poster for awhile, but today is the first day of Round 3 of A Round of Words in 80 Days. You can be in the midst of a WIP, starting a new draft, working on revisions, or any combination of steps. Any project counts, even non-fiction. I just heard about it yesterday, so I'm not real sure yet what I'm doing with my goals.

It's very different from NaNoWriMo. Instead of focusing on a huge number of words in 30 days, the idea is to develop long term writing habits that take into account that most of us have lives we can't bail on. As it was described, NaNo is like a sprint, but writing a novel is more like a marathon. And many people, including myself, cannot write quickly or consistently.

I'd done pretty good with NaNo last November. Until Thanksgiving week that is. Then because everyone was underfoot due to first my son being sick and then my mother-in-law getting the crud, they didn't go to my sister-in-law's like they'd planned. That effectively derailed all my plans and threw off my stride for the next few months. Around February, I started to push myself back into a writing schedule, and at the beginning of summer I made some writing goals. I'm not great at following goals, but having reasonable ones pushes me to do more than I might otherwise.

My writing goal had been to write 60,000 words by Aug 31. I'm sitting at 9767. Yeah, I should be about double that by now. If I'd written every day, I probably would be right on track. It wasn't all on my novel, but I counted the words I wrote toward my article for the culture share on Juliette Wade's blog.

The nice thing is that ROW 80 will help me toward my summer word count goal. Here are my tentative goals for the challenge. I may adjust after I see what other people are doing.

1. Finish rough plotting my WIP (it's about half done). My sort of plotting--when I do any in advance--is essentially chapter goals. Any details beyond that are brainstorm ideas that may or may not get used.

2. Write a chapter a week. This may or may not be as silly for me as a word count goal. Some scenes write easily and some are really tough. I have one scene right now that is really long and still not done yet. It's also an emotional one, making it harder to write.

3. Write 60 minutes every day without getting on the internet. This is my BIC goal. It's easy for other distractions to take over my day. And an hour is a reasonable amount of time I can get my family to leave me alone for. Today will be hard with being a holiday, but I will try for at least a portion of that. I'd say 5 days a week, but it's too easy for me to lose momentum if I take a couple days off. Now if I get in a phenomenal day's work, I might take the next day off, but otherwise it's better to keep going.

If anyone wants to join this challenge, here are the rules and the theory behind it. There are check-ins on Sundays and Wednesdays. You can jump in at any time, even midway through the round. You are the one to set what your goals are, so it doesn't matter when you join.

Book Blogger Hop

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Today's question:
What keeps you reading beyond the first few pages of a book, and what makes you stop reading a book and put it back on the shelf?

I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to books. Even ones that don't totally suck me in will still pull me through the pages, but they won't keep me up reading late into the night. I can put them down, walk away, come back sometime later when I feel like it. Only curiosity to know how it turns out makes me keep reading. I just don't read those ones again or often. The ones I sacrifice sleep for have brilliant writing and characters that grab me.

Ones that do make me put them down, assuming I picked them up in the first place. Excessive unreasonable violence, MCs doing things I cannot root for and antagonists who are just as bad (stories from the villain's view where I can root for the antagonist aka hero are different), excessive swearing, a sequence of events I cannot find at all plausible in the context of the world setting, a total snooze fest, or very confusing.