NANOWRIMO, Kittens, and Life

28 Nov

So I should be at least into a new novel – I did *technically* start a new one, but I’ve barely been at it at all. Most of my word count has been on the current WIP, and even that is kind of abysmal. Now, before I go blaming Calypso, here’s the backstory:20171110_124927

Coworker found her crying on a freezing night, Halloween to be specific. This coworker happens to own a dog that can only not be trusted, but can be expected to eat the kitten. You ever sit around the table and compare stories? We medics do that a lot – and occassionally, we bring up our pets. This dog WINS; they have a second, very well-natured dog. Anyhew, mutual coworker I’m friends with posted the pic on FB. I’m watching all this, meanwhile she has extreme allergies to the kitten. We had cats when I was a little kid, and I already have a dog, so I figure – hey, what’s one more? I hastily looked up names for Tortoise-shell cats. Calypso came up; technically it is the name of a character from the Odyssee, I thought of the music. Before you say, “What is calypso music?” You probably recognize at least one song:

So I was feeling really good and well about being friends with animals, but in the meantime, my neighbors who I am attached to – they had two dogs when I moved in, two yorkies, one was a puppy, younger than Dodger. They got rid of the boy (the girl is maybe 5 lbs and roams the neighborhood, honestly I don’t know how she stays alive on base) about a year after I was in, saying they had no time for him. Naturally, six months later, new dog. Big, fluffy, neglected Riggs, who as a puppy roamed the neighborhood, but buddy here is 80-100lbs and about as good natured a suck as you wouldn’t expect.  I walked him every once in a while so he’d get exercise.

Anyway, he stopped being chained in my attached back yard and last month, ending up chained to another yard (he was an escape artist) and recently, he was roaming the neighborhood at night. Yeah, we had snow on the ground before Halloween even though it’s been unseasonably mild, this dog likes the winter but still: I’ve pulled in both dogs when it’s raining because some people can’t pull their dogs in. Rigg’s picture is currently at the pound in Portage la Prairie. Let’s just say, I’m not happy, but I’m capped at two animals and, my hope is some farmer comes in and gives that dog space to run. So if I’m testy or ornery about animals, I should know better but I’m tired of this. I helped with an animal, and I know bloody well that I see so much abuse, neglect and general incompetence and people act like it’s not weighing on their souls.

But as for Calypso – she took a little while to warm up to others but seemed to be relieved to have someplace safe and warm to be, food is plentiful and she stalks the dog. I’ve mostly been keeping an eye on those two to make sure he isn’t being too rough, technically she was too young to be taken from her mum and Dodger’s honestly been pretty good about everything, I just want to make sure it stays that way. Other work excuses for not getting my novel finished/started include reorganizing my spare room and shredding a lot of old paperwork I don’t need anymore. I’ve been looking at properties and ideally, I’ll find something for the Spring, but I’m in no rush so we’ll see what happens over the next few month now that I’m approved. The goal for the end of the year is to get this rough finished, edit one novel and have another that’s just needing some finishing touches taken care of. I said it was going to be a goal to work on Terran in 2017, but I’ll be honest and say I haven’t really touched it, but depending on whether or not I sneak off or stay for my vacation end of January might see me doing heavy writing-related work. Work has honestly been really decent and I’ve barely done any OT, so it feels nice to not be stretched so thin for the time being. That means time to start reassessing and setting goals, but in general, things are pretty good, so hopefully I’ve grown as an artist in 2017 and that growth will continue well into next year.

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NANOWRIMO and an Apology

31 Oct

So I fell off the bandwagon for the WIP Joy for October. If you follow me on FB, you’ll note that I was posting pictures for Inktober as well. And then, a sudden… full stop.

I used to draw quite a bit – I never got good at inking, and I attempted to ink my work and it… wasn’t good. But I didn’t think the pencils were particularly good, either. I figured I’d keep at it and get inspired at Winnipeg’s C4 Comic Con. Didn’t really feel it this year, which is surprising, because I didn’t have to rush off to work (though not for lack of offers, hah!) so yeah – I’m making it a thing to keep drawing. I’ve been drawing more than I’ve been writing lately, and I figured it wouldn’t be a terrible thing as NaNoWriMo is just around the corner.

Writing wise I was patting myself on the back for being around 90k, but I’m thinking I’m cutting a major thing out of the book. In a nutshell, in book I introduced the idea of a character being able to see possibilities of the future, however jarbled and moldable. This idea carried over to book 2, and I came up with the idea about the past catching up with a character, and not being able to outrun it. This was also in the planning when I had one major plot going, but for whatever reason, I’m running an A plot and a B plot simultaneously, so adding segments of a character’s past that seem to have no connection at first sounds artsy fun, but my goal right now is to keep the word count from looking too intimidating, plus this book has been way more fun to write then others in the series.

So yeah – I’ve been around 96k for about a week but my guess is that’ll drop down to at least 70k, because I wrote a good chunk of the past. As for what I’m doing for my NaNo, I’m leaning towards science fiction. I’m a pantser, honestly I’m tempted to be workign on two books at once, writing 1k daily on the current project and 1k on a new project. I also set myself up some end-of-the-year goals that I have to hit if I want to travel in the new year. I’m behind, eeee.

WIP Day 7

7 Oct

A writing tip that has helped you!

This is about catching the mistakes on the page in terms of sentence clarity. Microediting, not macro (content).

When you do revisions, the best thing to catch the microediting mistakes is to give the prose time so you’re not staring at something you are already extremely familiar with. Unfortunately, we’ve all had things that were due and you don’t have the luxury of time.

The best best way to edit your own work is to change the format. Change the size, font, or print it out. Honestly, all of those plus using a printed copy someone else has scribbled on is my preferred method. This usually helps me catch repetitions or things that I thought were taken out but left behind.

An additional step is to read a paragraph backwards. This sounds awkward, so here’s an example:

 

From “The Drawing of the Three” by Steven King:

Nerves, the great oracle and eminent junkie assured him. Just nerves. All part of the cool turkey experience, little brother.

If I were to check it for context, take that paragraph and read the sentences line by line, bottom up:

All part of the cool turkey experience, little brother.

Just nerves.

Nerves, the great oracle and eminent junkie assured him.

What this does is allows me to go sentence by sentence, and ensure that there is clarity. It doesn’t help when there are pronouns and you might need to clarify, but if the sentence doesn’t make sense by itself, it’s worth considering revision.

 

How about you, how do you check your sentences for clarity?

WIP Day 6

6 Oct

One’s on Twitter and the other is on FB. I’m probably doing this wrong. Oh well.

#FF: awesome #WIPjoy-er’s to follow!

Bethany A. Jennings –

She made this challenge

Celesta Thiessan

The one I got this from

Oct WIP Day 5

5 Oct

Ask a question other writers may be able to help with!

I hope this doesn’t come across as arrogant.

My question is about etiquette across genres. I know romance novels get a lot of disrespect, and a good reason why is when unhealthy character relationships get portrayed. I get that it can be a fantasy and one shouldn’t mistake what happens in certain texts with real life wants. And for the record, I’ve read extremely well written romances that are on par with “literature” at least in terms of prose quality.

Often, when individuals who are unfamiliar with genre in a writing group, they tend to say, “I don’t read X” as if everything was written in another language. I get that certain writing rules can be ignored if it’s common in that subgenre,  Is there a way to bridge this gap? I mean, I get it when someone says, “I know nothing of 16th century French Politics, you got me” if I was a fact checker, this would be problematic, but for the average writing-feedback, is there a way to have a respectful conversation, admit when giving feedback “Well, I happen to know next to nothing about X, but I liked the drama. I didn’t like character Y, I thought she was a cliche faux action girl and you weren’t going for subversion.”

This applies to the reviews as well, but is there a way to bridge the conversation? Let’s put it this way: I’m a hardass reviewer. I’m extremely sure I’ve pissed people off while I go on a tangent nobody else probably cares about. It’s not about disrespecting the writer, so much as talking about the idea the book tried to portray. Can we make this less about my fragile ego, and more about the theme?

If that one is too hard, any advice for working with editors, especially if you have someone who is dallying in your prose and you’re being a diva, especially if you don’t want to be a diva?

 

Oct WIP Day 4

5 Oct

A Line that Expresses your Theme

 

I couldn’t do it in a line. Here’s a small snippet of dialogue, which will be rewritten about a dozen times if not cut altogether.

 

“I don’t care about fancy palaces and jewels if this is what it costs you,” Iona said. “Don’t you see? This is another cross-road. We can leave – you and I, right now. We can escape to some place where Lecancia and the others will never find us. They care about castles and kings – why would they bother us anymore?”

“You don’t understand,” Radij said. “If I betray Lecancia, she will take what power I have away. She might kill me, or she might leave me for someone else.”

“There has to be a way – those northerners. They kill mages, don’t they?”

“Lesser acolytes.”

“Yorun.”

She said the archmage’s name as if that was all the proof she needed. “Yorun had taxed himself fighting other mages, Iona. The vermin exploited him in a moment of weakness, nothing more.”

Oct WIP Day 3

4 Oct

What’s your favourite place/way to share your writing online?

 

Besides this blog?

I like goodreads as a general place to talk about books, but I’m not nuts about their review policy as it pertains to those who are posting negative without reading a book (for the record, your review, however you want to do it, is your review. I don’t care). I like facebook because I feel like I can chat with people casually, but on this platform I usually proofread it and think about it, so the content is a little bit more sophisticated. I used to be all over the place with livejournal, but I’m not posting to my old account anymore.

I’m contemplating discussing books like I have movies on this blog in the future. For when it’s not so much a review, but my thoughts on it. I like to keep reviews as well, reviews – whereas I can spend a heck of a lot of time discussing a book’s theme or idea, so you might start to see this in the future.

As for talking about writing – I think I’m getting a little better at talking about books that are coming up. I think there’s still a lot I need to learn in terms of marketing, but I’ll get there.