Sunday, February 22, 2015

ROW80 and Detective Skills

ROW80 rundown:

1. Write 500 words per day on any project.
I had a really good mid week check-in and then there was lots of nothing. I can't remember what, if anything, I did writing related for Thursday. I spent 8 hours trying to find a program that meets my needs for lesson planning only to be defeated on Friday. Saturday I was at a reenacting event and that took up most of the day. Here it is Sunday and I am at least working on the ROW80 and hoping to get some writing time.

2. Blog at least every Wednesday and Sunday.
Still keeping up with this. I had some trouble with this post because I like to add something besides the check-in, but there was just nothing and I was spending time I could have been writing trying to figure out what else to post.

3. Check out at least 10 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.
Success! I was able to make it to 10 fellow ROW80 participants and leave comments.

4. Use Twitter at least once per day.
I didn't get to Twitter on Saturday, but managed to post the other days and not spend too much time messing around.

5. Post on my author Facebook page at least 3 times per week.
I thought about this on Friday, but didn't have anything to post so didn't get to it.

6. Read 1 book per week.
Still working on Sherlock Holmes and not getting far. I reached the second part and was completely confused. There is a huge shift in the middle of a sentence from the perspective of Dr. Watson to another character in a completely different country. It was so jarring that I thought the file was corrupted. However, after checking reviews there were many mentions of the jump. Now that I am not as confused I can finish the book.

Photo by Pixabay

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Liebster Award Nomination

I was graciously nominated for the Liebster by fellow Lake Writer, Elise VanCise. The Liebster is a getting to know you kind of post. A fun way for bloggers and readers to get acquainted. The nominator picks 11 nominees and gives each of them a set of 11 questions to answer on their blog. In response, the nominees choose 11 new nominees from their circle and gives them a different set of 11 questions.

Basically, it's kind of like an interview. You might even be nominated more than once. Which is okay because you get to answer different questions and have more fun. Now on to my set of questions hatched by Elise.

1. If you could spend a day in a book which book would it be and what would you do?

Easiest question EVER! I would choose Lord of the Rings. My heart already lives in Middle Earth so getting to spend a day there would be a dream come true. The thing I would like to do most is spend time with Tom Bombadil. No he wasn't in the movie, stop looking at me like that. I adore that he was able to handle the ring and not be influenced by it's power. 
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow, Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow. None have ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster. —The Fellowship of the Ring
2. What are 3 things that are rarely known about you?

Secrets, embarrassing stories and confidential information. No, seriously I'm not gonna tell you.

3. What is your favorite coffeehouse treat?

Mile High Peanut Butter Pie from Austin's Coffee. Where they know not to include the whipped cream, but to double the peanut butter crumbles. I will go with it's because they love me.

4. Do you like to write with music or utter silence? If music, tell us what inspires your muse.

Usually I write with my husband yelling at the video game that he is playing in the same room and snoring coming from my son's room. Maybe this is one of my problems with the writing experience

5. Tell us what makes your hometown awesome.

We have the whole Disney World thing going on. Plus there is Sea World and Universal. When I lived in Orlando I was a pass holder and pretty addicted to Disney. I have literally been the last person out the Magic Kingdom gate. The staff never said anything to us, but followed us from Fantasy Land through the stores and to the front gate creating a human blockade to keep us from turning around. When they closed the gate there was loud and rowdy cheering. It was quite the experience.

6. What inspired you to become a writer?

There is a story in my head and I need to get it out so that I can have room for stuff like the bills and other things I am supposed to be doing. That and apparently I am into torturing myself.

7. What is your favorite book to movie adaption?

I don't really like movies that much. Yes, I have been told I am an odd one before. They are usually pale imitations of the tomes that they are portraying. That being said the costuming, scenery, visual effects and set building in the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit movies were stunning and made a part of that movie come alive for me. Not that my imagination couldn't experience it until Peter Jackson put it to film, but they left the Shire standing. I can actually take a trip there, if I could ever afford it. I think that makes them my favorite adaption.

8. Where is your favorite place to write?

My favorite place to write is at a coffee shop or a Denny's type place. Even with all the hustle and bustle it is still quieter or at least less distracting than my house.

9. Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)?

Yes, I have. I participated in 2011, 2012 and 2013. I decided to take a break in 2014 which I regretted a week or so into November. I will be back for the 2015 season.

10. Do you have a routine or thing that makes you feel ready to write? Like a special shirt or a writing exercise.

No, but I should probably get one of those. Maybe if I had a routine it would help me get in the mood to write faster and more often.

11. If the Tardis appeared outside of your house. What would you do?

If the Tardis appeared outside my house I guess I would load the gun. If the Dr. is here, shit just got real!

Well, there you have it 11 random things about me. Now it's my turn to pass the spotlight.

I would like to nominate 11 people, but to be honest there aren't 11 people who come to my blog on a regular basis. Instead I have listed 1 person from Lake Writers, 4 people who subscribe to my blog who also have a recent post and last but not least **YOU**. That still doesn't get me to 11, but sometimes your best is all you can do.

1. Katherine Starbird
2. Susan Says
3. ... MICHAEL DI GESU ... ... ... In Time ... ...
4. Menopausal Mother
5. Writing Off The Edge

Your questions are:

1. What is your name? What is your quest? What is your favorite color? OK so those aren't my real questions, but I couldn't resist.

The real questions:

1. What character from a book would you most like to meet and why?

2. What is your favorite TV show?

3. Have you ever suffered from writer's block and if so how did you get around it?

4. What is something only your family would say about you?

5. Where would you go on a dream vacation?

6. Do you have any hobbies besides writing and reading? What are they?

7. If you could live in another time, which time would you choose to live in?

8. Who would you rather be Pinky or The Brain?

9. What is your idea of a perfect date?

10. If you could have a supper power what would it be and why?

11. What 3 words describe you best?

ROW80 quickie:

1. Write 500 words per day on any project.
Monday: More of the writing in the book thing while on the road/indisposed.
Tuesday: 648 actually typed on The Most Magical Place
Wednesday: 1206 on this post (Probably too many, but fun.)

2. Blog at least every Wednesday and Sunday.
Still doing this and feeling accomplished.

3. Check out at least 10 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.
I only made it to 8.

4. Use Twitter at least once per day.
Check again.

5. Post on my author Facebook page at least 3 times per week.
As Meatloaf would say, "Two outta Three aint bad."

6. Read 1 book per week.
Not much progress.

Some images by Pixabay
photo credit: stop the writers block via photopin (license)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sorry Future Michelle...

...But you're going to have to take the hit.

There is nothing like the support of a friend, but a friend who has been where you are is priceless. In my last post I talked about problems I was having with not knowing the motivations of my characters. When I made it to my amazing writers group they had lots of encouragement and reassurances for me. The ring leader, Elise, also gave me an anecdote about not knowing why her serial killer had a certain MO only that he did. She said that it was about half way through the book when her detectives started working out the case that she figured why. So for now I will keep writing what is going on and worry about the why a little further down the line.

ROW80 rundown:
1. Write 500 words per day on any project.
This has kinda happened, but I can't give details because I wrote in a notebook instead of my word processor. I am SO not about to count those words scribbled down, but I will say for the purposes of this I believe that I met my goals. These are the things that happen when you must be on the go in a computer unfriendly place. I am proud of myself for getting something done and I like the things I wrote. Which may be a strong indication it is crap, but it is another thing we worry about on another day.

2. Blog at least every Wednesday and Sunday.
Yay for the blogging thing! I seem to have this added to my routine. I was loosing a lot of time finding pictures, but I stumbled across this blog post and landed at a site called Pixabay. It is quick and easy to use, but most importantly full of awesome.

3. Check out at least 10 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.
I was able to read 10 blogs, but only commented on 8. I am pretty sure my phone hates Wordpress because it gives me fits and looses my comments. Have you ever noticed that when the interwebs eats your comments or post you are not as witty the second (or sixth) time you type it out?

4. Use Twitter at least once per day.
Honestly things have been demanding my attention and I wasn't even sure how often I posted in the last few days. Luckily I installed the handy Twitter plug-in and it held the information I sought. I have posted at least once every day. I wasn't able to make an original post on Friday, but that wasn't a requirement.

5. Post on my author Facebook page at least 3 times per week.
This did not happen. I will definitely try harder next week, but due to the hectic demeanor of the last few days I am not going to beat myself up over it.

6. Read 1 book per week.
Still reading Sherlock Holmes slowly. A friend recommended Go Rin No Sho or The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. It is a classic Japanese philosophy book. The quick things I have looked up say it is mostly about marshal arts, but the person who recommended it said it was about applying strategy to all things you do. I will probably give it a read just to see. I read that The Art of War by Sun Tzu, which is on my reading list, was inspired by The Book of Five Rings. So my curiosity has been piqued.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay and manipulated in Picmonkey.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chasing My Ghost Mouse

I spent time tonight talking out some of the parts of my story that are giving me trouble with a great friend. She had awesome ideas. I don't know if they will fit in with what I was thinking, but it was nice to talk about it and have some new eyes, or rather ears, on it. She asked me many of the same questions I have asked myself and I am still struggling to answer. I am not sure if I am just trying to force it or if there just isn't enough story there. It kinda made me sad to "pick on" my FMC, but without conflict there is no drama and without drama there is no story. I have ideas and things to happen and ways for them to be resolved, but when it comes down to the main WHY are they doing these things I just don't know. As long as they are all chasing the Maltese falcon it works, but if someone stops to ask why the problems start. Of course in the case of the Maltese falcon it was worth tons of money so lots of motivation, but my characters are cats chasing invisible things. I'm chasing a ghost mouse.

ROW80 rundown:

1. Write 500 words per day on any project.
Monday: I didn't write anything.
Tuesday: 200 words on a started blog post that I decided I need more research for and probably about 150 or so in a notebook. Mostly just questions that need answering.
Wednesday: 521 on this blog, but I will be at a writers meeting tonight so will probably add to that.

2. Blog at least every Wednesday and Sunday.
Working on this and made it in just under the wire on Sunday.

3. Check out at least 10 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.
I was able to make it to 10 posts from the list. It was much less worrisome after I accepted that I just couldn't get to 20 and gave myself a break.

4. Use Twitter at least once per day.
I am surprised to realize that I didn't use Twitter at all Tuesday. I was so busy that I just didn't have time. Which is odd because we had to drive a while in the car and I could have done it there.

5. Post on my author Facebook page at least 3 times per week.
I still have more time for this one. I think I like doing it on Friday leaving some space between posts seems like the right thing to do. I was interested to note that an awesome lady noticed my post that I was sad that didn't get any interaction and left some of the funniest advice on writing I have seen in a while. For some reason the comments seem to be out of order, but what can you do it's Facebook.

6. Read 1 book per week.
Still not done, but making progress. I will need to kick my rear in gear if I want to meet this goal by the end of the year.

Image by pixabay

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Lots of no!

Quick and dirty ROW80 rundown:

1. Write 500 words per day on any project.
I don't know what happened. I said Wednesday was more sneaky and the universe must have read that as a challenge for Sunday. I have gotten nothing new done and feel like I am write-blocked, which is different from having writers block, every time I sit down at the computer. I can't even point to one thing because it has been a constant barrage of everything. I know they say if it is important you will get it done, but there are things that are more important to me. Which is probably why the first draft isn't done yet.

2. Blog at least every Wednesday and Sunday.
As I start again it it 9pm on Sunday so I am racing the clock.

3. Check out at least 10 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.
I only managed to get to 3. Which is not surprising considering how crazy the last few days have been.

4. Use Twitter at least once per day.
I accomplished this at least and have not spent the huge amount of time I was spending there.

5. Post on my author Facebook page at least 3 times per week.
I was able to make another post one my FB page on Friday, but it was only seen by 3 people and no one interacted with it. Oh well, that wasn't the goal, but I would like to have more engaging content.

6. Read 1 book per week.
I am reading, but not at the rate I want to be. I am now reading 3 books and haven't finished additional.

CONCLUSION: My rundown looks and makes me feel sad this check-in. Let me know in the comments what do you do when you get blocked by people or situations to make things flow smoothly again?

photo credit: 2003_06_10_077 via photopin (license)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What's in a Name and ROW80

Monday night after meeting my word goal and making some effort to brain storm a place where I was a little stuck I was getting a frustrated. At this point I gave myself permission to watch some TV. We don't have cable and don't watch TV often, but when we do we turn to Netflix. I was flipping through the suggestions not feeling too thrilled about the offerings. I had almost decided to rewatch Charmed for the hundredth time (which I would happily do) when I stumbled across Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. I had never seen it or the remake from 1995, but remembered it had been mentioned in another of my favorite shows, The Gilmore Girls, so I decided to give it a try. I really liked it, but Oliver Larrabee's character said something like who gave Thomas Fairchild the right to name his daughter Sabrina which got me thinking why would he "not have the right" to choose that specific name and what does the name of a character say about it?

I am having trouble naming some of my characters. The FMC and MMC had their first names almost immediately, but I haven't even thought about last names. While I was writing I got tired of writing "the father", but told myself just to keep moving and then the MMC's parents were in the same seen with the FMC's father which made things a little confusing and now I am thinking it may be time to give those poor characters names. I stand behind my decision even if I have no idea how or what to name them.

My first move is to Google it and there are like a billion pieces of advice on tons of posts. There are standard things that many people do when naming a baby like check out a what is the most popular baby name site and what does a name mean site. You also have the Social Security Administration site that lists most popular first names in any given year or decade after 1879. Though remember to look about however many years before your story begins your character is old.

My story is taking place in the United States, but these characters would be much more likely to choose English, Welsh, Scottish and such names. It is an urban fantasy, current setting with a magical overlay so I have some other choices as well. New Age names could be interesting and a fantasy name generator which I used often in my roll as DM during my extreme D&D time. (Other generators)

My daughter is OBSESSED with Homestuck and I have heard more than enough about it today, but for some reason during my research I ran across a reference to it. In this universe humans have 4 letter first names and 6 or 7 letter last names. This is interesting because he has found a way that works for him and it provides something unifying for the characters which can be comforting for readers.

These are some tips and tricks I have found that I thought would be most helpful. So now all that's left is get down to the business of actually naming them. What do you do to give your characters that prefect name?

ROW80 Rundown:

1. Write 500 words per day on any project.
Monday - 527 on my WIP. On a side note I am really tired of calling it WIP. Technically I already posted it's working title in the Hiveword graphic, but I wanted to share it in a more digestible form. I feel like I need a drum roll, but it could be nerves making me stall. I have taken to calling it "The Most Magical Place". What do you think? What does it make you think of? I would love to know what images and concepts the title brings up in your mind.
Tuesday - 300 words typed on The Most Magical Place and many others scrawled in a notebook while my husband was driving so I wouldn't scream, wet my pants or criticize him while he was driving.
Wednesday - 1,134 on this post

2. Blog at least every Wednesday and Sunday.
Still going strong on this one. I almost forgot that it was time to write another check-in, for some reason Wednesday seems to sneak up on me more often than Sunday. I was saved by my amazing daughter asking me if I was going to work on it. I am trying to convince them that if I am working on my laptop they should ask for my attention and then wait until I acknowledge them. I am having varying degrees of success, but the process is just beginning. I feel it is also important for me not to wait too long to get to them. So many things to remember I kinda feel like my head is going to crash.

3. Check out at least 20 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.
Not great here, I was only able to get to 10. I think I am going to have to revise this and aim for 10 with comments because I have been commenting on most anyway. No shame or pressure just a readjustment which is the best part of ROW80.

4. Use Twitter at least once per day.
Hitting Twitter once isn't a problem, but there are so many things that I want to look at that I am loosing significant chunks of what could otherwise be productive time.

5. Post on my author Facebook page at least 3 times per week.
Not so far, but there is still time because I am measuring this from Sunday to Sunday for this goal.

6. Read 1 book per week.
Things and stuff have come between me and my reading. I started the Sherlock book but didn't read the description well when I downloaded and it was just a sample. Which is really irritating, but what you get for not reading things thoroughly. I went to Project Gutenberg and found a free copy there, but my Kindle app won't open it. So I went to the Google Play Store, as a dear friend suggested, and they only had a sample as well. So back to Project Gutenberg and download another file type. Now it is opening in a program I don't know, but it is uploading and downloading repeatedly. So the possibility that I have a virus or something of the sort is creeping up on me, but there is also the real possibility that my technology has simply outstripped me.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

WIP, Education and ROW80 Check-in

Maybe throwing a tantrum on my blog was a bad idea or maybe it was just what I needed. The overwhelmingly kind response to my frustration and disappointment was humbling. I appreciate my Lake Writers and ROW80 families even more now.

I wanted to take a break from my WIP and try writing something else for a while, but it is haunting me. My dear writer friend Elise VanCise has been telling me for a long time to try Hiveword to keep my writing organized and safer so I have been entering characters and settings as background info. That way I am still working on the story, but not as intensely. For the purposes of ROW80 I will be counting any work on Hiveword towards my writing goals.

Photographer Keven Roberts was at the Renaissance Faire and he took a ton of pictures. None of me, because who wants a chick in garb answering questions when they can have knights and squires beating the heck out of each other. I have permission to share them so I figured that I would include the one I liked best. Sir Geoffrey Maynard The Great Turtle educating Squire Ampersan.

ROW80 rundown:

1. Write 500 words per day on any project.
Thursday - 292 words on the beginning of this post. Yes, I felt the impact of your writerly love that soon. 100 words in Hivemind. For a total of 392 which is still short, but much better than I had been doing.
Friday - 1,063 words on WIP and Hivemind due to Crazy Weekend of Writing which started out as a comment on the Facebook NaNoWriMo group and turned into some CRAZY people writing together. Maybe if we do it again we can make it a thing and see how many more crazy people out there would like to join us.
Saturday - 406 on WIP and Hivemind
Sunday - 291 words on this post, but at the time of this posting the day is still so young I haven't slept yet. I will get crazy when I wake up.

2. Blog at least every Wednesday and Sunday.
Much success. I started the bones of this post way before it was due and that really helped. I will try to do that more often.

3. Check out at least 20 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.
I made it to 16. Still not quite there, but I am not ready to reevaluate the goal yet. I have been missing it regularly so that might be something I have to do in the future.

4. Use Twitter at least once per day.
My Twitter addiction is still going strong. I stumbled upon a nifty sight called Tagboard. It puts out a display of cross platform posts that include a specific hashtag you search for. There is also information about how often it is used and if the posts were positive, negative or neutral. They also have other similar hashtags to search. I have found it very helpful in my quest to locate content that I want to share quickly. Which is something I have been having a problem achieving. The best part is I can respond and retweet right from their display.

5. Post on my author Facebook page at least 3 times per week.
For the first time since I jumped in this is a happy yes! The third post wasn't amazing, but it was there. I will work on content soon enough. Baby steps.

6. Read 1 book per week.
Not so much. I have made little progress on the book I was reading. I did however start reading A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for my mystery. I can read it on my phone after the lights go out and not bother my hubby as much.