Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year, New Goals

I started this list as a comment on SJDuvall's post Twenty Ten over at her blog, Forever Writing.

2010 Goals

1. Query Ivory – I want at least 200 rejections by the end of the year.
2. Finish first and second draft of either EIM or AF. Whichever I start working on, I have to finish.
3. Faithfully participate in Zette’s 2YN course over at Forward Motion for Writers.
4. Manage at least a 2.5 GPA this semester. I’m shooting for a 3.0, but I’m realistic, I’m not a great student.
5. I did have running a marathon on my list (next years Turkey Trot), but it’s now off the list. I have to get cleared to run before I can start working on that one. I could walk a marathon, but that’ll just take forever and I can’t imagine it would be all that fun.
6. Finish first draft of EIM or AF (whichever isn’t #2) Maybe NaNoWriMo?


I don't think these are in order of importance, except for the Ivory one. I've been taking WAY TOO LONG to get that manuscript out into the cold world of the slush pile.


How's Ivory doing now? Don't ask and you won't hear the bad news. Wait. I asked...crap. It's going slow. I knew it would. I need my husband to sleep in more often.

Hope you're all having wonderful holidays!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Lemon Merinque Pie


This is my husband's favorite pie. EVER. He can sit and eat a whole one. In one sitting.

Problem is, his mom won't share her recipe. (It's really a long, funny story. Not her being an evil mom-in-law or anything.)

So this is my second attempt at making a lemon meringue pie. The last one I made was 'too custardy'. Very helpful honey.

This time I'm using Alton Brown's recipe. You can find it here.

All I did differently was double the meringue, cause that's how he likes it.


BEWARE! If you follow the recipe exactly, you'll get lemon meringue soup. If you sit and read all 100 comments you'll learn that you have to put the stuff back on the heat after adding the lemon juice. I didn't know that.

So. Pie was a failure. My husband said it's okay and he didn't get why I was upset. Stupid soup. I'm going to try it again. He's been in Iraq for a year, the man deserves his pie!

I hope you all had a good Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Yep, I say Merry Christmas. Next year I need a pin. "You can say Merry Christmas to me, I won't get offended."

That's too long for a pin or button. Maybe just one that says Merry Christmas.


It's snowing. In Texas, on Christmas Eve. How awesome is that? It was nearly 70(F) degrees yesterday. I don't mind, I'm not going anywhere. Anabelle, however, is stuck at Dallas waiting on her flight. She started out stuck here, then got shuttled to another airport. I home she makes it where she's going today!

No offense, but Texans don't see to do well in any kind of weather that isn't warm and sunny.

Anywho, gotta go check on dinner.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Readjustment Fun!

Writing - Not going to lie, not getting much done. Today's the first day I've woken up before him. I'm guessing that's because it's the first day since he's been home he's been able to sleep in. (My husband's been home not quite a week yet. He's enjoying the fact that we have a mattress and he's not sleeping on a cot in a tent full of 300 other guys.)

He'll probably sleep till noon. I've got nearly a solid two hours to get some writing/editing in. Probably editing. I want to start my new project, but I want to finish Ivory's second draft more. Weird.

Food - Cupcakes didn't happen. Brownies did, sadly there is no evidence left to prove this. Cupcakes may happen this week. I will be attempting Annabelle's Chicken Cordon Bleu sometime soonish. It is delicious and I want to see if I can manage to recreate one of her recipes. I haven't managed it yet, even with the recipe in hand.

She's got a knack for cooking that I thought I had...

Life - Readjusting is always fun. My toilet seat is magically up more often than not now. I wonder how that happened. But then other weird things happen too. The trash changes itself, my hot chocolate makes itself, and my toes are always warm at night.

I think I can deal with the toilet seat being up. Takes a whole second to put it down.

My house gets messy REALLY fast, but I don't have to clean it all by myself now. I'm not allowed to go into the trunk of the car, apparently there are unwrapped presents in there. Ooo how badly do I want to go sneak a peak while he's still sleeping. I won't, but I can think about it. I found out when I was little, finding your presents early ruins Christmas. So no peaking for me.

And in case I don't manage another post, Merry Christmas! If you don't celebrate Christmas, happy/merry whatever holiday is next for you. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tag!

Snagged the tag from Anita Miller's Blog. I tag everyone, because I am awesome at tag.

1) A. What's the last thing you wrote? B. What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
A. Email to my cousin.
B. Autobiography that I started when I was like 10.


2) Write poetry?
Sometimes. Used to a ton. Now if I do it’s generally to help me flush out the vibe of a story forming in my head.

3) Angsty poetry?
Yep, when I was an angsty teen.

4) Favorite genre of writing?
FOR WRITING: Um. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve found it yet. I’m thinking it’ll end up being paranormal/sci-fi – ish. Not vamps and werewolves, but like psychics and super human crap. Maybe.
FOR READING: Pretty much everything. Classics, horror, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, … if it’s a book, I’m likely to read it.

5) Most annoying character you've ever created?
Minor bad guy who I killed off pretty quick. He thought he was the shit, but really he was the shit’s father. Excuse my language but I can’t think of any other way to phrase that at the moment.

6) Best plot you've ever created?
Don’t know yet. I have a short story one that I really like. Which is on my old laptop and I will eventually remember to transfer it over.

7) Coolest plot twist you've ever created?
OO! The one when the MC’s best friend turned out to be a traitor. Even I didn’t see that one coming. And I’m the writer!

8) How often do you get writer's block?
I don’t get writer’s block per se, I get annoyed and walk away from the computer for a bit.

9) Write fan fiction?
Nope.

10) Do you type or write by hand?
Both. I like to brainstorm on paper, outline paper/computer, main writing normally on computer, but sometimes I write scenes out by hand. Flows differently.

11) Do you save everything you write?
So far…kinda. I’ll trash paper that I’ve typed up. But if it’s not typed up I’ll save it.

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?
I’ve never abandoned one. I’ve come up with ideas, written a quick blurb so I wouldn’t forget and walked away. I say they are ‘marinating’.

13) What's your favorite thing you've ever written?
My autobiography actually. It’s fun to go back and read how I saw my life when I was younger. It’s so much fun to add to it every couple of years.

14) What's everyone else's favorite story you've written?
Yeah, I’d have to share more stories for them to have a favorite…

15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
Romance, as a subplot yes. Angsty teen drama? No.

16) What's your favorite setting for your characters?
Um. Don’t have one. Each story has its own proper place so far.

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Second novel draft, first novel draft and a couple short stories I REALLY need to finish already.

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Nope.

19) What are your five favorite words?
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pint

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?
I’m not sure. I think my first MC is most like myself. But I think all of them carry some traits I have.

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?
From the idea fairy. She rocks. Really, no clue where they come from, I’m just grateful I get them.

22) Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Yes. I have some seriously crazy dreams.

23) Do you favor happy endings?
Happy yes, but they can’t be fairy tale happy. That just annoys me in my writing. I do love reading them sometimes.

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Yes. Usually. Normally. Okay sometimes. I try to remember to go back after writing a section to check, but I’m still working on getting my writing routine down.

25) Does music help you write?
Sometimes. When it works, I get to the point where I don’t even hear the music, it just helped me get into that sort of trance-ish state where I’m totally into what I’m writing. Doesn’t always work, but when it does it’s awesome.

26) Quote something you've written. Whatever pops in your head.
Like I can quote my own writing. I should be able to, but I can’t. I’m not great at quoting anything really.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

YAY

LIFE
My husband is home!

Why am I writing this instead of ignoring the world? He's sleeping. It's so weird to walk into my bedroom and see someone sleeping on my bed.

I fell back into my writing-while-he's-sleeping routine really quick. Now if he'd just sleep longer...

Most of my Christmas shopping is done, Christmas cards are at least bought. And sorted. But not addressed, no notes written. I'm glad my husband is home. As much as his handwriting sucks, my wrist can't take writing that much. I'd print labels but the ink for my printer is way too pricey.

Medical note: I may get to have surgery on my wrist! I figured it was coming, I've had problems for so long. Getting some test done to see if I really need surgery at this point or not. I went to see my doctor about my knee and he caught me on my wrist pain. Needed to happen eventually. Did you know carpal tunnel can cause permanent damage if not treated properly? I didn't.

WRITING

No clue if my goal of having the 2nd draft of Ivory done by the end of the year or not is reachable, but I'm going to keep trying.

And I'm getting really excited to dive into the first draft of my next idea...gettin antsy.

FOOD

Making lots of Christmas cookies. I'll take pictures of some of them when I remember. The camera I have runs on AA's and I so ran out. Just bought more today.

Also might be making cupcakes. My husband, who hates cake, believes he likes cupcakes. Do I risk having to eat them all myself if he discovers he really doesn't like them, or just hope he really does like them? Ooo. Or he could bring them to work and give them to the guys. They'd love cupcakes. Sweet.

Off to get more 'work' in before he wakes up.

Laters!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Last Minute Cookie Swap!

Reposting from The Fancy Lady at Cupcakes and Corsets.


I should have thought of this earlier but i figured I'd give it a try now.
Were going to have a cookie swap open to US residents only since the shipping time is limited.
You are to send 6 cookies of your favorite recipe along with the recipe to your partner.
Last day to sign up is the 15th you will get your partners the 16th and have 4 days to send them out so by the 20th.
Just send me an email to thefancyladygourmet@yahoo.com with your address I hope to get at least 5-10 people so don't be afraid to sign up this should be fun!!



You could end up getting an awesomely yummy thing of cookies! And the recipe!

Go on, sign up. You know you want to...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Yay!

So I get a crap week followed by what should turn out to be an AWESOME week.

For starters, they knocked on my door at 9:01am yesterday to fix my heater. They had to replace some part and I got a shiny new thermostat. Yay warmth!

I can go part-time to the school that's an hour away. So if I don't get into any of the closer ones in time, I'll only be driving up there twice a week rather than all five days. 10 hours a week of just driving did not sound fun. So I'm calm about that.

I say 'so' quite frequently.

My husband should be home rather soon. I can't publicly post details. But soon. YAY! Which also means all writing is likely to stop and I'll fall off the radar for a while. At least that is what normally happens. This time around I'm going to try to not stop writing for quite so long.

My heater is fixed. I was so warm and comfy in bed, I slept in today. :D

I'm motivated to get as much of Ivory done as possible. Still shooting to have the second draft 'done' by New Years. Don't know if that will happen, but I'm going to try.

Anything exciting to look forward to for you in this next week? (I'm looking 7 days ahead even though that isn't a normal 'week' period.)

^_^

Monday, December 7, 2009

This Week Just Sucks - a.k.a. mini-rant

My heater is broken. It needs a new part. I rent an apartment, they are supposed to fix this stuff. The part apparently is very far away and will take 'a few days' to get here. I reported my heater not working Wednesday morning. It's now nearly Tuesday. A few days? They did give me a space heater so I'm not freezing my ass off, but still.

My husband is due home soon. Can't say when obviously, but soon. And my heater is not working. He'll be coming from living in a barely warm tent to an apartment heated with a space heater at this point. Him coming home is a happy time, but also extremely stressful and it's annoying.

My friend nearly got into a nasty car accident this afternoon. She managed to avoid hitting the guy that cut her off and severely messed up her car hitting the curb.

Did I mention my heater isn't fixed yet?

I'm still stressed about what to do for school. That will figure itself out though. I'll either get in to the closer school in time or not. If not, I get to drive an hour for a semester then transfer closer. :D

I also have Reynaud's. (Click here if you don't know what that is.) And yes, my fingers do turn that blue. So the non-working heater is a bit of a MAJOR thing. Tomorrow I get to go bitch at the office. They will fix this tomorrow or there'll be hell to pay.

A week? Seriously?

*breathes*

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Who Hit the Fast-Forward Button?

Time is flying! My last post was Nov. 13th and it's Dec. 2nd. I want to know who has the remote control for my life. I need a pause button badly right now.

Let's see. 10 of 14 second draft chapters of Ivory are done. Sadly, I already want to go back and tweak them some more, but I'm resisting.

I'm all registered for classes for the Spring 2010 semester, and now not sure I want to go to that school... It's a drive, an hour each way. It's a VERY good school. Originally I was going for their Professional Writing major, but then realized that I'd be better off going for something like accounting.

I need to know I'll have a not horribly hard time finding a job. Then my friend Anabelle brought up the fact that I can get an accounting degree anywhere. There are closer schools that are decent, not as good. So I have to decide if it's worth it to drive that far for a degree I can get anywhere.

At least nearly all my Christmas shopping is done. :D

Anyone else want a remote for their life?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wrist Pain

I'm not even doing NaNo this year and my wrist is acting up.

I'm on chapter 10 of 25, with nine days left. I'm planning to knock out two tomorrow. I haven't looked all the way ahead, but I'm hoping to be able to get two a day done a couple times. I know Sunday I'll only get one, it's a doozy. I'm pretty sure half of that chapter will be cut and fed back in elsewhere. It's a pretty big info dump. Relevant information, just not need in history report form.

My spellchecker doesn't like the word 'doozy'. It's in the wikionary! I've never been a huge fan of Wiki, in terms of factual information, but they have come up with some funny sounding words.

See how I get distracted? A red squiggle line throws me off topic completely. I'm hopeful that I will finish by the time I fly out for Colorado. But, Anita's post today, brief but wonderful, reminded me not to rush. So I'm going to get as much done as I possibly can, without rushing myself. I am motivated to finish before I leave, but I won't rush it. I don't want to end up having a fourth and fifth draft and still not feel it's ready for submission.

I'm going to finish this edit, get feedback on all of it and go from there.

See distractions? I started this post talking about wrist pain. I've got carpal tunnel. Okay well, I say I have carpal tunnel. I have all the symptoms and have for a long time. My father had to have surgery on both his wrists and an elbow.

I haven't told my doc about my pain because I don't really want to have surgery. And I don't want to go through the physical therapy I'm sure he'd want me to do before said surgery when I know I'll end up having surgery anyways. I did come across a short video today, it demonstrates some quick stretches that are supposed to help. I don't know how long-term of a fix it is for carpal tunnel, but for tendinitis it seems like a good fix. A couple of the stretches did alleviate my pain, but only for a short while. I'll stick with them for a bit and see if overall they help. If they do, maybe I can avoid surgery all together. :D

Oh, the link might be helpful.. Here ya go.

I know I could go back and edit this post into a much more cohesive, simply better post. But I'm tired, it's late. Editing fries my brain. I do enjoy it, but for me, it takes much more mental power then actually writing. There's no 'zone' for me when editing. When writing, I'll get into the zone and time and pages will fly. I'll stop, and feel like I just ran a race but am refreshed. After editing, I just want to nap.

I do apologize for the many grammatical mistakes I know I make on this blog. Grammar has never been my strong suit. I have been brushing up on it, I'll be taking an English grammar class next semester (hopefully!), so I am aware of it. Can I blame my bad grammar on the fact that I've lost my copy of Shrunk and White?

Like always, if any of you notice anything and it bugs you, feel free to leave a comment bashing my grammar. :) I really don't mind. Outside thoughts help me see my weak spots. I also know I use the wrong word when my brain is thinking too far ahead.

Example: I just used 'away' instead of 'ahead'.

Anyone have any wrist pain? Goals you hope to reach soon? A certain grammar mistake you make constantly? (I've learned I have comma problems.)

^_^

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Racing Myself!

So not going to make my goal. This past week has just been simply unbelievable.

I'm going to race myself, to see how much I can get done, before I head to Colorado on the 23rd. That's 11 days, counting today. I've got way more work left to do on Ivory than I should. I'm hoping the time crunch will get my butt in gear.

Short post, off to get some pages done. I've got a deadline!


So blogger keeps acting all weird on me. It hasn't let me post this post yet. Hopefully this time it'll work. I wanted to add that my ability to get distraction will become legendary.

I was working on a page, and somehow I then found myself on Google, searching 'cute welcome home cupcake ideas'. I have no idea how my brain went from focusing on the page to searching for cupcakes. Yes, I have been thinking about making cupcakes, my husband requested them as well as a lemon meringue pie for when he gets home. I've got about a month-ish. But still. How does that happen?

Blogger, please work! I'm off to work again, I'm seriously considering attempting the trick of turning your internet off. If I find myself searching for cupcake ideas again, I will.

Anyone else get distracted that easily?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sad Day

This is a sad day. For those of you that don't know, my husband is stationed at Fort Hood. He is currently deployed but I am still here. I'm fine, so far most everyone I personally know is fine. This is such a tragedy.


I have no more words. God be with them all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Music and Writing

Everyone that's doing NaNo...how are you doing?

I keep remembering on the forums how people would ask what music you listen to while writing. I would always said whatever is on the radio or that I'd have a movie playing in the background.

I've discovered that there is one album that helps me. If I play it, I'll be lost in the writing world forever. Whether I'm writing or editing. That album is A Fine Frenzy's One Cell in the Sea.

So I can now say that yes, music does help me write. It's kinda nice. I almost have a writing prep routine now. Turn off the TV, I'd put the phone on silent if my husband was home, turn on that music and get to work. So far it's working every time. :)

Do any of you have certain things you do before you start writing?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cake pops = Fail

Looks yummy though doesn't it?



Attempting Bakerella's Cake Pops did not go well. Didn't fail horribly. We just didn't want to eat them after the first bite.


I think this is where we failed:

The frosting to cake ratio was not ideal. I figured that out when I discovered we could do this:


Way too much frosting. Bakerella's look slightly more crumbly. We forged on and did our best to coat them in the candy. The candy tasted pretty good. The actual cake part of the pop tasted like uncooked cake batter. The texture was gooy in a very bad way.

I will attempt them again, with less frosting and probably a denser cake. The plan was to make presents and ornaments, as testers for Christmas. We were going to do green and red, but nixed the red as soon as we knew we had failed.

We being myself and my friend, who I really don't think would like having her name on here, we'll call her 'Anabelle'. Why Anabelle? 'Cause I like that name and she has no vote. :D




Separate Note

I'm making progress towards my goal. It's not always great progress, but I'm moving in the right direction.

And I keep spelling progress wrong. I want to spell it 'progess'. Why? I have no idea. Just like why I randomly spell words with the European/Canadian spellings. Like colour. I know I just like how that looks. But still.

And I'm rambling again. I do that a lot lately. Not much focus. Anywoot.

I hope you all are doing decently well.

:)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Things I Like (And an extra cupcake tidbit!)

Taking my cue from Anita's Post, here's a list of things I really like/love. Some are things, some are events.

* Trying a new recipe and having it come out super delicious.
* Rainy days when I can actually sleep in with no one nagging me.
* Having everything I HAVE to do, done before noon.
* Double stuffed oreos. ..oreoes? Oreo's? Brain fart.
* Deep dish pizza, from domino's.
* The welcome home ceremony on Cooper field. Something I don't mind only going to once every 2 years. :D
* When someone stops my husband to shake his hand and say thank you. (Only happens in his uniform, random people don't thank a 22 yr old in flip flops.)
* Writing.
* Reading.
* Pizza rolls.
* Cold winter days. Don't get many down here in Texas.
* Blooming flowers. From a distance, I have crazy allergies.
* Good friends hanging out having fun.
* My new mattress. It's all of 4 days old. :D
* Mop 'n Glow.
* Being able to rent a carpet shampooer.
* French fries.

Okay so the fact that five of my things related to food doesn't escape me. What can I say, I love food.

Cupcake Tidbit:

Just stumbled onto this blog, Mini Baker. She's running a contest to win this awesome looking cupcake book. I know most of my followers are writers, not bakers, but it's cute! The book claims anyone can make those cute cupcakes!

Go check it out. :D

Monday, October 19, 2009

No Excuse!

I have 30 days to complete my goal. One month. Woot!

I will not be doing NaNo this year. (nanowrimo.org, check it out if you don't know what it is.)

I love the rush of it, but 50k in a month makes me way too sloppy. Going back and editing a NaNo novel is just not fun. Maybe next year, when I've just gotten better at writing in general.

I've got 25 chapters total. I have 6 done, and the prologue. I also want to give it a read through when I'm done, I'm figuring two days for that. I'm a fast reader and I will only be stopping to add notes, or to fix anything MAJOR. No line by line editing this time around. And I'll be looking for messed up tense. I switched from present to past. Why I wrote it in present I'll never know.

I have no excuse not to finish this. Now if my husband suddenly came home early, that would count. But that's not going to happen. So no excuse!

Oh and I have plans to attempt to make Bakerella's Cake Pops sometime soon, so I'll be sharing my hopefully successful adventure.

And I can't wait to start making Christmas cookies. My aunt has the best recipe...

gonna go before I start baking now. Laters!

:)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Presents and Goal Fixing



That is a wrapped Christmas present. For this year. Bought this year, not wrapped and forgotten about from last year. Have I really gotten to the point where I am buying and wrapping presents in October? How did that happen?

I am disgusted with myself for how long it's taking me to finish the second draft of Ivory. I've been using my birthday as a goal for this novel. So, I will have this second draft DONE by my birthday. At that point I'll give it another read through, fix any MAJOR blunders then pass it on to the people that have been waiting for me to finish it. (Really I want all that done by my birthday. So that is what will happen.) My birthday is November 18th.

I don't know if any of you watch Family Guy, but one of the running jokes is that the character Brian is writing a novel, and has been for quite some time. I want to finish this so I can try to get it published, either way I want to be able to file it under 'Done'.

Then I need to find a better goal than my birthday every year. I do not want to take another year to write a first draft. I think I'll shoot for June. I know my writing will basically stop right after my husband comes home. So June will give me about 6 months of active writing time to finish the first draft of my next novel.

Sad thing is, I already started that one. Then scraped it because I didn't like the style I was writing it in. I may just scrap the whole idea and try out another one. Sometimes stories just aren't ready to be written.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Early Morning Musings



I am not a morning person. Never have been and never will be. I prefer seeing the sunrise because I stayed up all night, rather than waking up for it. I love to sleep. Anyone who knows me will gladly agree. You don't wake me up even a minute before my alarm goes off. I'll curse and yell, turn my alarm off and sleep for another hour.

Then there are days like today where I had to be awake and functioning well before my normal time. How do I manage it? I sleep until the last possible second, rush around like crazy, yelling at myself for not getting up even 5 minutes earlier.

Every year this changes. When my husband is home I'm awake by 7. That's early for me. When he's not home, I manage to make the habit of being up by 9. This morning, I should have gotten up at 6:30, instead I crawled out of bed with literally 20 minutes to shower, get dressed, pack my laptop and writing stuff up, eat breakfast and get out the door.

I need 45 minutes to do all that calmly. So what didn't make the cut? Breakfast. I don't think I've ever taken a quicker shower. Before today, 12 minutes was my best. Managed it in 8 today. It's just not pleasant rushing a shower.

I don't like skipping breakfast. When I finally eat later today, it will open up a floodgate of hunger. I'll feel like I'm starving after I've eaten a full meal. Then I'll be hungry when I'm trying to go to sleep. So I'll finally give up trying to sleep and go eat something. Then I'll sleep, a few hours after the time I wanted to be asleep.

It's a viscous cycle. The only way I've found to get out of it was to simply stay up all night and go to bed on time the next night.

I do seem to be much more productive when overly tired. I would say I'd love to be like this all the time so I would write more, but then I remember my mad dash out the door this morning, my tendency to speed more, and I really don't want to do that. It stresses me out.

I'll (hopefully!) be starting college classes again next semester. The schedule won't require me to be leaving my house until 9:30am, but my husband will be home, so I'll have to be getting up for 7 anyways.

I know 7 am isn't early to a lot of people. My mom-in-law's idea of sleeping in, is 7am. I think she said she gets up at 4:30 every morning. Why? I have no idea.

Point to this post? I'm tired, it's my own fault. But I'm writing. Well, revising. Either way, I am writing new bits while fixing the old. The most fun I think I have when editing is reading over my work and saying to myself "Why did I write THAT?" The whole 'what was I thinking' thing.

Do any of you manage to stick to routines you set for yourself?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away.

We need the rain down here in Texas. But I'd rather it be 65 degrees and sunny. Yes I am a New England girl complaining about 65 degrees in October. I think this is the coldest October I've had so far in Texas, and I'm going on 4 years here.

One thing rainy days do for me is make me want to write. Or nap. Usually writing wins unless I'm really comfortable.

My memory keeps going out on me. I'm hoping it's just stress. I don't really want to be literally losing my mind at 23. Okay 22. I'm almost 23, so I'm just trying to get used to the idea now. I know. Wah wah. It really feels like I was a teenager just the other day. But no.

Just like I still look it awe at my printed out novel. How did I write so much? Then I look at my little progress on my current work and remember. It took looonnnnggg time. Eventually I'll speed up, for now I'm happy with the fact that I'm writing.

I've finally got a 'desk' area. It's really my kitchen table, but I never use it as such. Yay desk! I was always sitting on my sofa or bed trying to write. I'd get so far then turn the TV on... I have to start just going to B&N to write. Or something. It's relaxing there on the weekdays. Everyone is still at work. :D

Where do you write?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ya'll Rock

Thanks for not making me feel horrible for being away for so long. It's nice to be reminded: it happens to all of us.

Those willing to critique and/or swap I'll be bugging you later this week. I'm taking baby steps getting back into my routines. Yes, I am quoting FlyLady. Not necessarily a writing reference, but a life reference. She's got some good stuff. Take a look if you have a moment.

Anyone else want to skip Halloween and go right for Thanksgiving/Christmas? I think Halloween would be more fun if I had kids and if my neighborhood had more kids. At this point my plans are to hang out at my friends house, since she should be getting tons of kids. I'll be lucky if I get 3. I'll leave a bowl by the door. Don't want to get egged. Also the fact that my husband is due home around Christmas might be slightly influencing my desire for Halloween to be over.

I keep doing this thing where I drop or add inappropriate endings. Example, my second paragraph. Before I checked it, it said 'Those will to critique...' And I just forgot the -ed for checked. Anyone else do anything like that?

And if anyone can tell me how to fix my blog title, I'd bake you brownies! My brownies rock according to my husband's platoon. :)

Later!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I'm Alive. And Still Writing.

Major life crisis, laptop crash and just overall life being a pain has kept me away. I think I went almost two months without writing a word.

It was horrible. To want to write but not being able to wrap your brain around it. I don't deal with stress in a healthy manner and I know that. I just never thought it would keep me from writing.

But I'm writing again.

How are the rest of you doing? I'll be popping around to say hi.

Anyone up for critiquing a sci-fi short story? I'm up for swapping.

Meg, alive and writing :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

All Better

The only remaining sign that I was sick for two weeks is the amount of weight I lost.

I'm all better.

Writing progress has been made as well! Not while I was sick, but this morning anyways.

My short story, LIGHT IN THE DARK, is finally moving again. I'll finish it up today for sure. I know I'm in groove as I am procrastinating while mulling over this one sentence.

*crickets chirp*

Figured out that sentence, and the next paragraph. I missed this! I really missed just getting lost in the writing. Feels like it's been forever.

Anything funny ever happen because you were lost in your writing?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sick

Failing miserably at the posting three times a week. Seems I've been fighting off a nasty bug that finally it's hitting full force.

I may be MIA for a bit, or posting like crazy because I don't have energy to do much else.

Making progress writing-wise. The first Ivory edit is almost done, minus the needed heavy revisions. Those will be fun actually. I just want to finish the first draft of Entry Into Madness before I dive into Ivory again. Fixing mistakes is one thing, rewriting scenes and writing whole new scenes is another.

I don't want to mix up my stories. :D

Do you work on multiple projects at a time?

Gonna try to sleep this off. Laters!

:)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Redecorating

I bought a new matching bathroom set. It's a pretty chocolate brown with this jewel blue accent. Love it. Next I'm redoing the decor in the living room, then finally the bedroom.

This is when I know for sure I'm procrastinating. I like to call it reorganizing my mind. When my house is set and calm, I write with more ease.

Still have yet to figure out how my novel is going to end. First time I've tried writing anything without any sort of idea of how it would end.

It's rather exciting. Not having it all planned out. Maybe the anti-outliners have a point...

Outline or no outline?

^_^

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cook's Apple Pie

I used that phrase in my first novel. The character wasn't asking for the apple pie, he was asking for a safe haven.

How do you use food in your writing? If at all?



TGIF!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Progress and Stereotypes

No, I'm not stealing Matt's Mid-Week Update, just happened to want to post my progress on a Wednesday. :D

15 pages down. Yay! Not where I would ideally be, but I'm making progress. I'm still ignoring word count. NaNoWriMo is great and all, but it made me word count obsessed.

Stereotypes bother me, yet I use them and label people with them everyday. In my mind, I've labeled my characters like this: bad guy, bad guy's boss, good guy, good guy's helper, dumb kid and overachiever.

There is much more to each of these characters, I just find it odd that I label them so generically. Does anyone else do that? They have names, yet I only actually use them when writing.

How are you all doing? (Writing-wise, life, daydreams of being on a tropical island with palm trees, a nice sea breeze and a fruity drink in your hand...) Okay so that's my current daydream. :D

LAters!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Things Change so Fast

Life can change in an instant.

A horrific car crash, an unexpected joy of a baby, discovering you've been cheated on, your house catching fire and burning down. All sorts of things can change your perspective on life in an instant. The same can be said for your characters.

Their world can come crumbling down in so many ways. Makes for great stories. It is hard to write something like that unless you've actually faced it in your own life. Or at least that's how I feel. I have had tragedy in my life, I honestly can say it has helped me understand how people react to life-changing situations so much more.

Whether it made me a better writer or not, time will tell.

Have you drawn from any major life experiences in your writing?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Creating Characters

Character Creation. Google that and you'll get 13,200,000 results (in .32 seconds on my computer). That's amazing. All of those results don't pertain to writing, they have video game character creation, role playing games and so on.

I have probably done every character work-up sheet findable on the internet. Thing is, they don't help. Does it really matter what my character's favorite color is? How tall he is in feet and inches?

I get the ones that ask about deep, dark secrets. Greatest fears, those make sense. I have yet to ever use any of those answers to write. Most of the time, I forget my answers until I find the paper at the bottom of some pile.

I thought I prepared quite a bit before I started writing. In reality, I don't. I do write up all this information beforehand. It is supposed to help me get a feel for the characters, to know their story before I start writing. Once I start that first page, everything I've 'prepared' goes right out the window.

The only preparation tool that sticks around is my outlines. But even those are hardly glanced at unless I get stuck.

Am I alone in this? Does anyone else do lots of prep work to never even glance at it? Or a better question, can anyone see a benefit to doing all that prep work that I can't?


:)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Didn't reach my goal for this morning. I want to have 10 pages done everyday. I've got three. When I wanted to be at 2.5%, I'm at .5% of 100k. I'm at least happy that I started the first page without any major first page jitters.

Does anyone have any tips on how to get yourself to wake up earlier than you want? I've tried the last few days, but I always end up back asleep until I have to get up or be late for work. I want to get up early, to have more time to write in the mornings.

The story is coming along nicely in my head. I am trying to implement what I learned from my first novel into this one. Main thing is, I learned I go extremely light on description, of everything. Almost to the point where my characters are floating in an air bubble talking.

Writing the first novel was hard. I know writing the second won't be any easier. If I can finish it in a decent amount of time, and have less revision work to do, I'll be happy.

When do you fit writing into your life?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Posting Schedule

I know a while back I said I would never say which days of the week I would post.

Well, posting whenever I felt like it hasn't kept my blog all that active. I want to change that.

I will post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Writing posts, yummy recipes, whatever comes to mind. But I will post on those days. I promise.

:D

This is part of my plan to make the time in my life to write. My work schedule isn't as awesome as they told me it would be. We have to stay until all the stock is done. Sucks, but it's a paycheck.

I've made some serious strides on my outline for Entry Into Madness. I think I'm going to stop where I am and start really writing the first draft now. I'm not sure how I want to end it, so I want to let the story take me where it wants to go.

Just talking about it makes me want to get to work. I love writing.

Oh. And I will be more active in the blogosphere (is that even a word?). Don't be surprised if I take forever to reply though, I'll probably be active early in the morning then not around till late, if I even think to turn on my computer.

I like working, as much as it cuts down my free time, it's kind of fun.

Laters!
Meg

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ignore

oops. Come back tomorrow!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm Bad at Titles

It's no secret I'm bad at titles. My first novel got it's title because I finally decided to just steal the MC's name. Blog posts aren't any better.

Excitement! I got a job! It's a good thing, I've been trying since January. It will be nice having a set schedule. It's a part-time job, with an awesome schedule. 8am till noon. How hard is that? I may start the waking up early routine to write before going to work.

Other excitement. I'm procrastinating. That's also a good thing. When I'm actively procrastinating from writing, I get more writing done then when I just ignore my computer all together.

All the other news in my life isn't so pleasant, most of it private and thankfully not directly involving me. Just indirectly involving me. I am an optimist. I see the best in people and hope till I can't hope anymore that they will be the best they can be. Just like I try to be. Doesn't happen very often I'm learning.

I go off on random tangents, but I finally finished Stephen King's On Writing. I rather liked it. I will admit it took me several reading sessions to get through it. I did better with the memoir parts over the technical parts. I will be keeping it as a reference though. Even if I just read a little random bit of it to remind myself we all have to start somewhere.

I just will not let work ruin my writing time. I love that I feel that way so intensely. I'm looking at my schedule, seeing it getting crunched for time and I am making damn well sure there is time for writing. And I love it.

It's funny. When faced with plenty of time to do whatever I wish, I get nothing done. But being faced with too many things to do, I get everything done. I guess I work better under pressure...

Back to writing reference books. I have...a few. First one I ever bought was Shrunk and White's. Love it. Sadly, I lost it so I get to buy it again. Then the order gets fuzzy, but I have Stephen King's which to me is more of a 'hey, this didn't happen over night' kind of smack on the head, I have one for editing. Writer's guide to self-editing or something like that. It's the one with text all over the cover with blue pencil marks. I have a couple more random ones that I think are for nonfiction.

What do you have in your writing closet?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Life then Writing Chatter

LIFE:
The fact that I am willing awake before 6am should tell you something about how my day is going so far. Not bad, so much as. I'm awake before 6am. Awake since 5am really. I am not a morning person. Not one little bit.

I have two giant red marks on my chin, previously zits. I have a job interview this afternoon. I have to exercise and go grocery shopping this morning. And then shower and all that fun stuff before the job interview. And I'm awake before 6am. Since 5 actually, first got woken up around 4 I believe.

This is my life during deployments. I can't give you any of the gooey details, this is way too public for that. But that's what it is. Whenever he's awake and able to just sit at the computer for a while, I'm awake too. Not that this happens all that often, but when it does, it's on days when I really could use the sleep. Totally going to suck if I do land a job, but the extra money coming in will be worth it.

And I either have a headache and runny nose from the lack of sleep/allergies, or I'm getting sick.

WRITING:
I know I started to write a post about how I finally did some writing again. I think I forgot about it and just went to bed the night before last. Short story is that I've dived back into writing. Forgot how much I loved it. I'd been stuck in 'editing only' mode. Not anymore!

I started working on a small scene for Ivory. It needed some help, mainly because it was lacking in description. Pretty sure I mentioned before that the entire novel is lacking in description. I have one part, the part I actually wrote first, that has a good amount of description. Everything else is on a description diet.

I've got my first reader helping point out where description is lacking. One chapter...it was is first note and it was for the whole chapter. That's when I decided to start back at the beginning and go though it again. I just have to break it up into scenes. I seem to do better staring at a scene then a chapter. I don't do the chapter a scene thing. My chapters range in the number of scenes.

I'm rambling.

My point is, my life is pretty crazy right now. So the fact that I managed to get my butt back to work is amazing. And I'm proud of myself for it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Guys Lit Wire

Most, if not all, of you have probably seen this. But I love the idea so much I had to pass it along.

Guys Lit Wire blog. They are trying to get a library put together for the boys in the LA County Juvenile Justice system. They have a wish list set up and it tells you where to send the books.

Everyone should have a library.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Haven't Done a Thing...

Haven't edited, haven't written, haven't outlined...I haven't done anything writing related in like two weeks.

Life just got a wee bit crazy, and lack of motivation.

No new recipes either. I totally butchered my meatball recipe today. Didn't add enough pepper and bread crumbs. Still tasted good, just not great. I'm overly critical of my own cooking. But I'll eat my friend's mushy spaghetti and say it's not that bad. lol

My plan:
Monday - Finish LIGHT IN THE DARK (short story) that I was supposed to finish...3 weeks ago.
Tuesday - Working on my outline for Entry Into Madness and type up two chapters of Ivory, fixing the tense as I go and adding description as needed. (Turns out, I'm very light on description.
Wednesday - Break day to get new tires on the car.
Thursday - More Ivory chapters, hopefully get at least 3 done. Proofread short story.
Friday - ...not sure yet. It'll depend on how the week goes.

Why nothing for tomorrow? (Sunday)...because I know I'll get busy, all of my friends happen to have Sunday either off completely or half days. And I really need to fold up all my laundry. I've got two baskets sitting, drives me crazy but I haven't had a chance. Okay, I'm all for honesty, I've just been lazy. It's all stuff that has to get folded and I'm not a huge fan of folding.

I have been trying to have a point to my posts. I guess this one is that we all have off days/weeks and it's the desire to get back to work that makes us writers. I think about writing all the time. I had a crazy dream last night, and when I woke up after I wrote it down, I started thinking about how I could turn it into a story. Maybe that's why I'm all for getting back to work. lol.

How are the rest of you doing?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs

Crazy week. Not even really sure what all made it seem so crazy, but I feel like this week went by so fast. This coming week isn't looking like it'll be any better. Tomorrow's packed with errands and helping a friend with stuff at her new house. Tuesday I've got my first physical therapy appointment in the morning for my knee, dinner Tuesday night with the FRG. (Army's Family Readiness Group.) Friday I'm helping another friend move into her new apartment.

So I've got Wednesday and Thursday to: finish a short story, write two quick blurbs for two other short stories, finish the chapter of Ivory I'm still working on, and get the next section of my outline for my next novel (currently calling it 'Entry Into Madness') done.

Oh and either tomorrow or Tuesday I need to finalize an event calendar for the FRG. On Tuesday night, people can look over it and give me their feedback. Then I can have it polished for the meeting in May.

I know that may not sound like much for most people, I don't have a super busy life normally. I can't honestly handle super busy all that well. I get frustrated. I'm good with organized chaos. It's when life throws wrenches into things that I get stressed.

I know what made last week seem so crazy. The car. Stupid throttle sensor went wacko making the check engine light come on and made my engine rev all funny. I freaked thinking I was going to have to drop cash into fixing it. Turns out it's still covered under warranty. :D

How do you handle stress? Or how do you cope when life throws a wrench into carefully made plans? Or anything you feel like sharing. :D

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What I've Learned, So Far. #1

What I've Learned:

~ Actually think about things like tense before getting too far into the first draft. I'd rather fix it at 50 pages than at 400 pages.

~ Detailed outlines ROCK!

~ After writing for the day, go back and do a quick edit for grammar, typos, etc. I'll save so much time.

~ Don't dwell over the word count. I get obsessed and spent more energy figuring out how many words a day I can write to finish it in a certain amount of time. Worry about it once the story is done.

~ While cookies are good motivation, I never manage to get past the first goal point before eating all the cookies. Way to fix that: Have someone hold the cookies hostage. Someone who can't be bribed.

~ Carry at least a small notebook EVERYWHERE. I need to put a big one in my car. The little one in my purse can only do so much.

~ Routines rock, but are so hard for me to stick to this year. So I've learned not to stress over it. It is what it is.


I figure I'll be updating/changing this constantly. Every time I 'learn' something about my writing process. What's easier, what works, and definitely what doesn't work.

What are some things you've learned as you've advanced in the stages of writing?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Challah Bread

This is probably should have been posted before Easter, but as I made it on Easter, I'm posting it now. I do think I'll be making it a lot. This bread is delicious. It's just so good.

This is the original recipe: Bread Machine Challah II. Makes two of the loaves pictured below.

I first saw my mom make it one Christmas when I was 11, I think. She burnt the tops because of the egg wash, and not watching it closely. Taught me to watch anything that browns quick. :D I'm not Jewish, apparently it's a traditional Jewish bread. Kudos to them, it's delicious.

I'm not going to do my normal list out everything and my take on it, the recipe is almost perfect. All I changed was adding an extra 1/2 cup of bread flour. Several of the comments on the recipe said the dough was too sticky, one I saw suggested the extra flour. I tried it that way and it is perfect.


Laters!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Motivation

I've found the best way to motivate myself is to give myself rewards. Doesn't always work though.

I need to buy a kitchen timer. I had one, but it is long gone. I like to set it when I'm taking a 'quick break'. 15 minutes turns into an hour very easily with me. The TV is also evil. I turn it on in the mornings to watch the news, but if I don't shut it off right away, I get sucked into whatever is on next. I've gotten good with shutting it off though.

The big issue for me is I always have good days and bad days. I'll go maybe a week straight being productive then it's like someone flipped a switch and I get nothing done. Writing wise. Other stuff I have to do, no matter what.

Food is a great motivator...except when it's junk food. I have to be careful with promising myself ice cream. Example: If I just finish that edit on chapter whatever, I can have a mug of ice cream. I'll end up get lots of chapters done, and eating lots of ice cream. Probably making myself sick in the process. (Can't have too much dairy.)

On a day to day basis how do you stay focused/motivated? Are you a daily writer? M-F? Or just whenever the inspiration strikes? I'm always curious about how other people do things. :D

Laters!
Meg

Monday, March 30, 2009

Uncertainty

Life is full of it. Whether you're a writer or not.

Main focus right now came from a quick comment on Charlie's blog, Approaching Utopia. Mentioning that I had nixed my prologue but after my first readers major confusion, I added it back in. (All the questions my reader had, were answered in the prologue..) Charlie replied to my comment, mentioning a post by Nathan Bransford that had just been posted, I hadn't seen it yet. It's about prologues. You can find it here, if you don't already read his blog.

Besides not knowing whether I should keep my prologue in or find a way to make the first chapter explain stuff without over loading it, I am uncertain about writing in general. Really the publication side of it. Should I try to get an agent? Should I submit directly to publishers that accept unsolicited stuff? I know self-publishing wouldn't work for me, I might sell a few copies to friends and family but it would probably stop there.

Once I'm happy with my current novel(it's a fantasy), and am sending out queries and such, should I keep writing in the same genre? I know it is generally not a good idea to switch genres as a never published writer, but I have been ironing out an idea for a sci-fi novel. In case my fantasy novel sells, should I shelf that idea and write another fantasy? But then, it may not sell and I may have better luck with sci-fi.

As a general rule, I do my best to avoid the 'what-if' game. Not working so well today. For now, I'm going to keep my prologue and attack it with the scissors. I know I can make it more to the point.

Question: Do you read prologues? Do you think they should only be used in certain genres or in certain cases?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Eyes Wide Open

Editing sure is an adventure. First I'm changing tense, that is always fun. Second, I'm combining almost every other chapter so far. I'm up to the original chapter five, it is now part of chapter three. I'm cutting a lot out of the beginning, I went a little backstory and info dump heavy. Backstory or back story? One spellchecker likes backstory, the other back story. Google was no help either. Anyone know?

I also don't think I'll be participating full force in NaNoWriMo this year. So much of my editing is due to the craziness of NaNo and the fight to get as many words as possible. I have added so many contractions to dialogue, it's crazy. I'll definitely be participating, I'll just be focused on writing well, rather than getting as many words as possible no matter what it takes. It's just not worth it on the editing end. :D A little extra time when writing, will save me so much more time when editing.

I'm sure I'm not the only writer out there that has learned things the hard way. It really is different on this side of the novel though. It's like once you finally stop being a teenager and realize that you really don't know everything. It took me until 20 to really get that. Figures it would take me until now to realize how much work a novel really is. Now being two and a half years after I decided to write a novel. (I'm 22 now...not a fan of counting half years in age anymore though. hehe.)

I have honestly fallen in love the site Forward Motion. It's an awesome site for writers. It's a huge site at first glance, takes a bit to get used to, but I'm loving it.

As I'm planning my next novel, I'm looking at it with a whole different perspective. I am still looking forward to it with excitement, just with a realistic view. I'm not going to let it take me two years to finish the first draft this time. Once I start writing it, I'll have a deadline set. Self-imposed deadlines do not usually work for me, the key is for me to tell as many people as possible about the deadline. Some of my friends actually find some kind of joy in tormenting me when the deadline is looming and I'm behind. hehe. It gives me the boost I need to finish though.

Deadlines, good or bad for you? Any little gems of knowledge you've learned as your writing adventure has progressed?

And I promise, eventually I will get the hang of writing posts that stick to some central thought rather than bouncing all over the place. Maybe. I'll try, we'll see. :)

Laters,
Meg

Edited: My NaNoEdMo progress? 29 hours. 21 hours left and 5 days. Basically 4 hours a day if I want to get my 50 hours. Might happen. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oh My! A Post!

Even with my lack of regular posting, this was a long dry streak for me...I apologize.

Updates on me. NaNoEdMo hours sit at 31 hrs and 15mins.

Chapter wise I am done with my prologue and chapter one. I'm almost done with the new chapter two. (It's the new chapter two because the original got combined with chapter one.) I'm calling all of them my second draft. It's awesome to say that. Second draft. I never thought the first draft would end.

I did start a post about past versus present tense, but after doing some research into the topic I saw how heated the debate can get. I doubt it would get like that here, but I'd rather avoid it then risk it. I like to keep my stress to a minimum.

The main reason for my silence is that I went back to fix my prologue and it practically consumed me until I got it right. Okay not really the main reason, but at least the last week's worth of a reason. :D I just get distracted easily and don't realize how long since the last time I posted is. I think I'm going to shoot for at least one post a week. I'm not great with routine type things, but I think it'll be good for me to give it an honest try.

For my next project, I'm at the outlining stage. This time around I'm trying Lazette Gifford's phase method. She details it out in her article It's Just a Phase.

On a life note, new neighbors are moving in upstairs. It's been a noisy two days so far. I'm hoping they are all done moving furniture in and rearranging it. Normally you don't hear much from the neighbors here, but heavy furniture hitting the floor really makes a bang.

How are you all doing? (Or in my new Texas twang, Hower all ya'll doin?)

Laters,
Meg

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Done the page edits!

Or line edits. Whatever I'm calling them today. I finished the last page at 9:43pm, central time, on March 11th. I couldn't sleep so I decided to start the task of imputing the changes into the Word document. It's been so long since I started that I felt I've been away from the beginning of the novel long enough.

It took me almost 30 minutes to be happy with the first two pages. Well. The first two pages after I finally decided to nix the prologue as it added nothing to the story and was only there to show off the backstory I had written. Didn't delete it completely, just out of the second draft file. I am an avid saver. Even if I'm deleting a sentence, it gets copy-pasted unless I know I have it saved elsewhere. Now that I'm working on the second draft, I don't have to copy-paste, everything is perfectly preserved in the first draft file.

I really do think I am going about this in the most difficult manner possible, but it is what is working for me. Next time I'm ready to edit a novel, I'm sure I'll try something else. It will help that I am a much better writer than I was when I started writing the first novel. Seeing how many careless mistakes I made really taught me a lot. And I learned that spelling out all words simply for NaNoWriMo word count really is NOT worth it later. I don't think I used a single contraction in the section from NaNoWriMo.

Overall, I am happy with how the editing process has gone so far. I only found one minor plot hole. I managed to find all the big ones while I was still writing. Okay, two plot holes. One minor and one just silly. My characters were last seen at point A heading for point B. The next time we see them, they are on their way to point E with no explanation as to how they ended up going that way. I knew why, but I kinda, sorta forgot to tell the readers that.

I also discovered I overuse the word 'quickly'. At least in my mind it is overused. I wouldn't see it for pages, then I'd use it five times on one page. It's my crutch word.

I am wondering about tense in novel writing. This one is a fantasy novel, so I'm thinking past is the best. I know, I've already written it, why am I asking about tense? Because I wrote it in present tense and am now switching it to past as I type up the fixes. I write all my stories in present. I see the story in my head as if it is really happening right now. So that's how I write it. I don't like reading present tense. 'said' disappears on the page a lot easier than 'says' does to me. Of course I still have time to change my mind as I've only managed to type in three pages worth of corrections.

What do you think? Do you like writing past or present? Which do you write in? Does genre really matter? I honestly want to go to the library now and pull random books off the shelves and see which one wins. I believe past is the 'standard' of novels, but I'm not really sure. I'm still a newbie in terms of the novel writing world.

Have a good day, (and I actually mean that!),
Meg

P.S. I totally don't mind if anyone notices typos or other errors and wants to point them out to me. I'm notoriously bad at actually noticing errors on screen.

Friday, March 6, 2009

45 pages to go

I am literally 45 pages away from being done with the line edit. I'm so ecstatic I'm at a loss for words. These last two weeks have really been wonderful writing wise for me.

Now I'm just wondering if typing up the fixes is going to end up taking longer than I think it should. I'll find out. Hopefully starting on Tuesday. :D

Laters

Monday, March 2, 2009

Editing

My editing is going well. I'm line editing still. I'm on page 220 out of 398. Once I'm done procrastinating here, I'll be getting back to work. I tried to do the evaluate the scenes thing first, but I couldn't stand passing over stuff I know needed to be fixed. So I'm line editing, making notes about the scenes and chapters as I go. It's working for me.

I sit down to work and time just flies by. I seem to do around 10 pages a time before my mind has me look up, check the clock or check what page I'm on. It's nice. Before I'd be checking the clock every single page. Once I'm done the line editing I'll be typing it all up. Making changes with the scenes as noted, so far I only have one new scene to write, the rest either need to be rearranged or multiples turned into one.

Then I haven't decided, but I think I'll be printing it out again to give it another read through. At that point I think I'll also be willing to send it out to my first readers. And the first chapters to Critters. I like editing. It just is a lot more work than I thought. I didn't believe people that first drafts are really bad. Haha.

I'm trying to finalize an outline for my next project. It's not going well. I just switched which story I'm going to work on too. The one I wanted to work on is just not inspiring to me right now. The other one is. EIM. haha. That's what I label the pages about it as. Entry Into Madness is it's title. I started working on it forever ago. Then Ivory (the one I'm editing) took over and it got forgotten. Then the idea for the other one hit(that one's Atlantis Found) and I forgot about EIM altogether. I found the notebook I started working on it in. That's when I decided to switch my writing focus to it.

I use too many 'then's. And 'so'. But I've gotten good about editing that out.

Back to work for me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cheesecake (Mini)

I give in to my food cravings way too easily sometimes. I wanted cheesecake. First I tried making little mini ones, in my head that meant I'd be able to eat them sooner, even though all cheesecake needs to season at least overnight. Yeah. Then just yesterday I made a normal one. I forgot to take pictures as I was making the big one, so I just have a final product shot of that one. I've got step by step of the mini ones though. What isn't included is my mad dash to the store because I was out of muffin tins. The one thing I always have a ton of.

This recipe is a product of my brain and reading tons of different cheesecake recipes.

First the crust. I use my blender to make the crumbs. I used half graham crackers, half vanilla wafers. This recipe makes way more than is needed for the mini cheesecakes, I actually ended up using the rest of it for the big cheesecake. Ran a little short on the crust for the big one, so that crust is thin. This recipe can be used for the big one's crust or for the minis. I'm going to double the cheesecake mix for the minis, that will use up all the crust.



Crust:
2 cups cookie crumbs, I did 1 of graham crackers, 1 of vanilla wafers.
1/4 cup of normal white sugar
6 Tablespoons to 1 stick of butter, melted.
1 tsp. cinnamon. This isn't necessary, but I like it. :)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all the ingredients together. I mix all the dry first then add the butter, the 6 tablespoons first, adding more if needed. It really depends, you need the crumbs to stick together a little, be able to form into the pan basically. I use a fork to mix the butter in.


For mini cakes:
Line a normal muffin tin with the muffin cups, I used the foil ones with a paper liner, they worked perfect for this. If you are one of the lucky ones, with a mini cheesecake pan, feel free to use that, I don't have one. I'm guessing you would grease it like a normal springform pan. Spoon a soup spoonful into each muffin tin. Oh. This will make 24 minis. So two of the 12 muffin tins. (You know, I bet you could use the giant muffin tins too, just would have to increase the cook time.) Set aside till you're done the batter. (No baking of the crust needed.)


For the batter for the minis:
2 8oz packs of cream cheese, (two boxes) softened. Just pull them out of the fridge before you even start the crust and it should be good by the time you get to it. Unless your kitchen is exceptionally chilly.
1/2 cup of normal white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Cream the sugar and cheese together, then mix in the eggs and vanilla. Mix it just until it is all combined, you don't want to sit there and stir it for an extra 5 minutes just because you can. Cheesecake batter is picky. I just used a spoon for this batter. Didn't pull out the mixer until the big cheesecake. Now you'll want to spoon the batter into the muffin tins evenly, using again, a soup spoon. I'd suggest starting with just a little in each, then going back over to make sure they are all as even as possible. As you can see, I ran out of batter. :)

Bake them in the oven for 12-14 minutes, it took the full 14 in my oven. You want the centers to be a little wiggly still, but just a tiny bit.


This is how they look right out of the oven. You want to let them cool in the pan a minute or two, then pull them out and put them on a wire rack. Then into the fridge they should go, overnight is best. But I think if you made these first thing the morning they'd be good for dessert.



This is how they look on my plate. I didn't wait, I ate some right away, when they were still warm. I was not impressed. Cheesecake really does need to sit. The next day, my friend was over and we tried them. These are so delicious. They really are worth the wait. You can top them with practically anything. The favorite for me is strawberries. Sadly I cannot get decent fresh ones down here. You can use frozen fruit, pie fillings, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, the limit really is your imagination. I'm quite happy eating it plain until I get some good strawberries. When I have fresh strawberries I slice them up and put them in a bowl with about 2 teaspoons of sugar and let them sit. They get super juicy and delicious.


For the big cheesecake. You need a lot more stuff. Mine failed rather wonderfully. So I'll not be posting the recipe I used. I'll be tweaking it and trying again sometime soon. I can't stand when a recipe doesn't work, I have to fix it and try again. :)
How did it fail? First I messed up the crust by only using what I had leftover from the mini ones, rather than making more. So the crust is very thin. Second, the cooking instructions with this recipe are faulty. The cheesecake didn't cook enough. I was trusting, the middle was still wobbly,but it was supposed to be. I made it yesterday, today, the middle isn't right. It's super creamy, like the texture of coolwhip. The edge is nice and cakey though. The thirdly, it calls for almond extract. I figured I'd give it a try. I don't really like it, but with everything else that went wrong with this cheesecake, I'm not ruling it out forever, I'm just shelving the idea of almond extract instead of vanilla in a cheesecake for a while.
I am giving the cheesecake another day to season. Hopefully this recipe just takes longer to season then most. Who knows. We'll find out. Right now I am not expecting it to change much, but it may.

Enjoy the minis! You can cut the recipe in half to make just 12 of them. Depends on what you're making them for and how many people will want them. Two a person seems to be the magic number with these ones.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Laughing at Myself

This is why I am so glad I can laugh at myself.

Dave recommended this book to me in the comment section of this editing questions post. Helen Ginger backed up the recommendation on the same post. So I went out on a mission to find the book. None of the bookstores around here had it in stock. Didn't want to order it, I kept hoping the next store would have it.

I finally gave and decided to look it up on amazon. As soon as the picture popped up, I recognized the book cover. I stared at it for a moment, convinced I'd seen it before. I go to my bookshelf, dig to the back, and voila! There it is. With pages tagged with sticky notes and everything.

Turns out I got it early last year when all I could think about was getting to the point of being able to edit my novel that then, was still sitting at a dismal 52k. (post-NaNoWriMo blues) I bought it, read through it leaving sticky notes for parts that looked good, stuck it on the bookshelf and promptly forgot about it.

I just stood here, holding the book in my hand, laughing at myself for a good five minutes. Only me, would go searching store to store for a book I already had. If I had just looked at my bookshelf closely, I would have noticed it.

I will be spending the rest of the afternoon, going through the book again. What made me decide to check amazon today? I spent almost a hour trying to figure out how the heck I ended up with a scene 17 pages long, and half page scenes before and after it? Totally unbalanced and it was driving me crazy. :D

I hope you all are able to laugh at yourself when you do something silly.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sleepless night wanderings--semi-rambling

I often have sleepless, or at least near sleepless nights. At least when my husband is out of the country due to work.

Tonight I ended up at my cable providers website as my cable went on the fritz around 1:30am. I have already received a reply stating they have sent the reset signal to my cable box and if the problem persists to reboot my cable box, and if it's still there, to reply back saying it still is a problem. I haven't gotten to checking to see if it works. First today (okay, yesterday) my phone service went out, only to find out it was the phone itself, not the phone service. I don't feel like dealing anymore with customer service at the moment.

On to my wanderings. I ended up on WikiHow, because I can never remember the time to cook bacon in the microwave. Yep, I eat bacon at 2 in the morning. Mainly because my awesome fry pan is dirty. Then it lead me to Make Framed Eggs, which I make a lot, don't call it that though. I call it the toast thing with the egg in the middle. Now I want to go wash that fry pan, make one while taking pictures to update the site. I've never been a big wiki fan. But I like pictures when it comes to cooking.

Then I ended up on Forward Motion. I think Forward Motion is going to become a pretty awesome site for me. The site is huge and it is a lot to take in, but there is a ton of useful information, so it's worth it.

I decided the other day I wanted to attempt to switch to the Dvorak typing set-up again. What is Dvorak? I tried out some typing exercises on a different site after switching my keyboard to the dvorak set-up. (Pretty easy, my Windows XP came with it already, just gotta turn it on. And then not look at the keys.) I did pretty well on the typing exercises, just got bored and switched back. It is much easier on my wrist. I just already am a fast touch-typer(touchtyper? touch typer? and my spell check doesn't like typer) so it is not so easy to quickly retrain my fingers and brain.

I played on Ticker Factory for a while. It is not the best for writing progress trackers, but it's got some cute stuff.

I am making slow progress on editing Ivory. I could totally make good use of my sleepless time, if I didn't feel like I should be sleeping. Basic problem is I can't sleep when I'm tired. I have to be exhausted. My brain does not work so well when tired. I don't want to risk screwing up my manuscript by editing when tried. I will however, write when tired. I can always fix it when I'm editing. :D Might just be making more work for myself later, but at least then I'm being semi productive.

I always want to vacuum when I can't sleep. I normally hate vacuuming. I live in an apartment so vacuuming at 2am is not all the good for neighborly goodwill. I can sweep and mop at least.

I am an avid to-do list maker. More often then not, they actually work and I get most of the stuff done. Sometimes though, they become the bane of my existence. I crumple the page up and chuck it in the trash with vengeance. I like adding stuff to the to-do list that is so easy or normal routine just so I can check it off. Like I sometimes put 'wake up'. Just so I can start my day by checking something off the list. :)

Alright, my wrist is done for the night. Day. Till after I sleep. Good morning!

Meg

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Weather

For the last three days the weather guy down here has been warning us of possible severe thunderstorms starting as early as Monday lasting till tomorrow (Wednesday) night. The storm they were talk about, finally passed over us about half an hour ago. It was a nasty storm and its still heading west. It took a whole 20 minutes for it to pass over us. Gave me a taste of whats to come for this spring. Reminds me how much I hate tornadoes. The one thing in weather I truly am scared of. I grew up with blizzards, ice storms, loss of power for days, but the thought of a tornado rattles me.
The fear does give me awesome fuel for stories though. Always an upside to most bad things in some form. There's nasty weather scattered all over today. The Weather Channel is in their element for sure. Winter weather in the north, spring/summer fun in the south. The rain here did cool things down. If I had to go out, I'd grab a light jacket. Earlier, before the rain, I got sweaty in a t-shirt.
I have a doctors appointment tomorrow, and this time I'm going to remember to grab my binder of stuff to-do. I always forget it, and the doctor is always running behind. I'll bring it this time, and the doctor will be on time, just to mess with me. hehe.
I hope none of you are getting thrashed around by this weather.
Meg

Friday, February 6, 2009

Questions

Do you ever stop and ask yourself, “What the heck am I doing?”
I feel like I should be asking myself that. Instead I am forging ahead with my writing.

The first goal I set for myself, that I honestly tried to reach, was finishing my first novel. I made it with two days to spare. I gave myself a year to write it. Okay, 15 months. But I did it. And that was an awesome feeling. I keep plowing ahead because I want that feeling again. I want that sense of accomplishment. That is what keeps me going everyday. Except the days I don’t care and just crash on the sofa all day. Those don’t happen too often thankfully.

I was wondering, I know I only have 2 followers, but how do you edit? I printed out my finally finished novel and have been attacking it with my red pen. And then typing up fixes, finding more fixes while doing so. Is there a better way? Or is it just one of those whatever works for you deals?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Not Another Superbowl Post

Only thing I'm going to say about the Superbowl: The game was awesome, and the Comcast prank that I learned about today, if I had kids I'd be pissed but I don't, the prank was hilarious. Prank, hack, whatever it is being called. I don't have Comcast so I was spared the interruption of the Superbowl.


Editing while writing is WORKING. I don't lose my focus as often while I've got that red pen in my hand, and I think I am writing much better on my new piece then I did with the first one. I swear sometimes when I'm editing I stop and just shake my head. Some of the sentences I came up with. I can't believe half of the trash I wrote. I didn't really believe people that said that about their own work. But it's true. First drafts are mainly complied of junk. Especially first first drafts. This was my first ever complete novel. My first ever attempt at a novel too.

Editing by hand and then fixing it on the computer seems to be working well. While I'm fixing stuff in the word document, I'm noticing things I missed while I was page editing. This good be a good thing. :D Hopefully it will make my second read through much cleaner. So far I've only had one page that the red pen didn't touch. And it was a half page at the end of a chapter...hehe. Totally a beginning writer here. I'm just happy I really am continuing to learn and I can already see the benefit of knowing I'm not the best writer out there by a long shot.

Off to type up more fixes, later all.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Blueberry Crisps

Blueberry Crisp (I call it a crumble but everyone else seems to call it a crisp)

Thank you Alton Brown! The original recipe is here -Individual Berry Cups Below is the same basic recipe, with what I did and added.

The crisp topping recipe makes about double what you need for the actual crisp recipe, so if you double the recipe, you do not need to double the crisp topping. I don’t know how it would work if you cut this in half. I’m planning to make another one soon so I just made it as is.

You’ll need: Various measuring cups and a teaspoon. A medium mixing bowl, another medium mixing bowl, a mixing spoon, a sheet pan and 4 of the (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. I have two 7 oz ramekins so I just made two and saved the mixed to make again and the two I made are already gone. :D

For the Crisp Topping:
AP flour, 5 oz (about a cup)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ cup quick cook oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup chopped almonds
4 oz (1 stick) butter, cut up into cubes and chilled

For the Filling:
12 oz frozen blueberries (normal bag size)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups of the crisp topping mix




To make the crisp topping:

Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nuts and crackers into a large mixing bowl and combine. This is when you nix the spoon and the fingers take over. Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until it is crumbly. You really have to squish it together. It’s kind of fun actually. You can store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use as topping for crisps, cobblers or grunts. (It’s also quite yummy mixed into oatmeal or other hot cereals) Measure out 2 ½ cups for the crisp below.


To make the Blueberry crisps

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the frozen berries, sugar, cornstarch and 1/2 cup of the crisp topping into a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. Divide the mixture evenly between 4 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins (Here, I sprayed the dishes with cooking spray first).

Top each ramekin with 1/2 cup of the remaining crisp topping. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is browned (took 30 minutes in my oven). Allow the crisps to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Writing Lifestyle

Writers, whether it be novel writers, screenwriters, playwrights, or poets, have this historical stigma of being addicted to some variety of a bad habit. Whether it be alcohol, drugs, gambling or their 13 year old cousins. I like to think that is changing, and that it mostly applies to discussion of classic writers. Such as, *insert drum roll here* Edgar Allen Poe. Most of it is romanticizing writers I think. Some crazy class of people that only are able to do what they do because they were drunk or depressed while doing it.

Sometimes I do wonder how some authors come up with their ideas, say Stephen King. He says he dreams up a lot of them. That I can totally understand. Except he must have some crazy dreams. A dream of mine turned into an amazing plot twist. I’m not a drunk, I’m not a chronically depressed person, I’m not addicted to drugs or gambling. I’m pretty average with an above average imagination. If I don’t write, or jot down ideas pretty regularly, I start rambling on to my friends or husband about some wild possibility spurred by some random thing. I think the last one was when I couldn’t get a hold of one of my friends and I managed to envision this wild adventure she might be on and that’s why she wasn’t answering her phone.

Cowboys did make a small appearance. That is when I decided I needed to be writing while I’m still editing. I always carry a small little notebook with me, but honestly, it gets used for doodles more than notes. It is the notebook by my bed that gets all the ideas. It seems that just when I’m ready to lay down and sleep is when my imagination goes wild. It is also great for jotting down great ideas from dreams. Once, my handwriting was so horrible it took be about 30 minutes to decipher what I had written. That was the awesome plot twist. :)

I have a small binder full of pieces of paper with one or two sentences on them. At some point my organizational skills will take over and I’ll copy them all into a much neater pile. But for now it is a mess. Are any of you, my few, yet growing readers, super organized with all of your writing related stuff?

And I find deciding on a Title very hard sometimes.

Laters!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Editing/Writing Combo meal

Editing, but not writing has started to fry my brain. I've decided to start my next project, while editing. I have no idea how well this will work. I've never tried before.

I shall post on my success or failure at this attempt. I'll be starting tomorrow as I need to sleep now.

Laters
Meg

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend Blogs

Most bloggers seem to see their blog as a M-F job. Rarely does a blog about writing in any level, post on the weekends. I get why most don’t. Agents and editors that have their own blogs, write during the work week and take the weekends with their families or whatever. I even get when people who write from home only post during the week. Their husband or wife works a normal job and is home on the weekend. For me, my husband doesn’t have a normal job. Probably why I’m willing to post on the weekends .:) I’m not saying no one posts on the weekends, just this morning The Blood-Red Pencil had a post. I’m just making a general observation.

I am not a professional anything. I’m not a published author, I’m not an award-winning cook. I’m just me. Tomorrow I have every intention of taking out my red pen and getting back to work on editing my novel. I have shadows of ideas that need to be molded into the light for my next work. Thing is, I have to decide which one I want to focus on.

I’ve never been good at writing two different projects at once. I do envy those that can. Not green-eyed, drive me crazy envy, just wistful envy. The same goes for people who are able to stick to routines and they actually work for them.

I’m sitting here typing this, watching football. I love football. My team sadly didn’t make the playoffs this year, but a couple other decent teams did. I really don’t like the halftime stuff except at the Superbowl. It’s just a bunch of guys sitting around talking. All of which I have no idea who they are. I bet though, in ten years, I’ll know some if them. Might as well just say it, I am a Patriots fan. I’m a New England girl through and through. Yes my thing says I live in Texas. That’s because I do. It’s where my husband is station. No, I will never convert to being a Dallas Cowboys fan. Ever.

And yes, I figured out how to add links properly.

Hopefully next weekend I’ll be attempting to make General Tso’s chicken. IT is so good. Thing is, down here I haven’t found a place that makes it the way I grew up liking it. Nice and spicy. So, going to be attempting to make it on my own. I made it once with my MIL back in 2006, it came out great, I just don’t have the recipe and she can’t find it. Yay trial and error to begin. If it comes out well, I’ll post it. I don’t think I’m trying any other new stuff this week.

I wish I like lemon meringue pie better. My husband loves it, his mother has a great recipe, she won’t share. She says she’ll give it to any kids we have. It’s a joke. But she really won’t give it to me. So I’ve had to try different recipes. I found one that was close, but the lemon part was ‘too custardy’ to quote my husband. I’d love to keep trying different ones while he’s deployed but I don’t want to make a pie just to try a bite then trash it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

English Muffins

Nope. This is not a recipe. Although English Muffins are delicious. I want to someday attempt to make my own English Muffins, but for now I’ll stick with the ones that come in a bag. I don’t know why I keep capitalizing it. I don’t think it is supposed to be.

I have no routine, I don’t do well with routines. I’ve tried, so many times to set a writing routine and it just fails horribly. So this year, no writing routines. I’ll just write when I want to. For how ever long I want to. So far it’s been going well. Haven’t written much as I am still in the planning stages and am still editing Ivory. I have set a goal for that. I want to be done the edit of Ivory by the end of the month.

I bribed myself with Crackerbarrel’s Sunday Chicken as a reward for finishing the edit. I’m a Northern girl. I had never had Southern fried chicken. It was so good. I think I could eat it everyday if I knew how to make it. Which I don’t. And I don’t ever want to learn. I’d rather be able to just enjoy it on occasion.

All I have for now, laters.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Third Draft?

Looks like Ivory will be getting a third overhaul. I'm getting some really awesome revisions in right now, but I know earlier chapters are severely lacking.

I'm going to finish this run-through and hope it will continue to go as smoothly as these last two chapters went. If I managed that, maybe a third time through will go VERY quickly as I will hopefully just have to go over the first few chapters.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Silly Blogger Phobia

I read a few blogs daily, or as daily as they post. Whenever I feel compelled to leave a comment, I never sign in to blogger first. I just post with a name, not even my actual name. As much as I want people to read my blog, I have this fear that they will hate it and compare mine to all these other awesome blogs that I love to read.

I think I'm near the point where I'll start posting comments signed in. The fact that I'm posting again is helpful. I doubt I will ever make a commitment to a certain number of posts a week or I'll post on certain days. I'll post when I have something I want to post about. I'm all for posting more than once a day, or not posting for two days. It does bother me when a blogger says they will post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but then don't post at all until Thursday. Almost every week. If you're not going to be able to stick to a commitment, don't make it.

I'm horrible at commitments. I'm doing great with my marriage, but time commitments. I can't say, 'oh I'll have that done by Wednesday.' I won't have it done until Friday, after I've come up with some excuse as to why it isn't done. I've gotten very good about not making commitments I know I won't keep. I used to agree to things all the time, because all I cared about was pleasing other people. I am not like that anymore. Finally clicked with me that you can't make everybody happy all the time. Just doesn't work.

And I'm out of steam. Laters.