Category Archives: For Fun

Right Tools for the Right Job

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I just realized it’s been over a month since my last post. Oops. Time, too often, zips right by on me. My weekends for the last few months have been consumed by juggling two big projects: finishing the first draft of the new book and destroying/putting the house back together.

The house project continues on and seems endless. It’s not, but, crap, it sure seems like it. The book has gone well, and I wrapped up the first draft two weeks ago. I’m wicked excited for this new novel and shockingly enough, I’m not dreading the editing part of things. Normally I despise editing, but not this time. I took a couple of weekends away from writing/editing to just be away from the story for a bit and focus on the house. I’d planned to pick up editing after the holidays wrapped up, but I was getting antsy to start. So I worked on painting the living room yesterday and have started the dive into editing today.

Like a house project, things are more easily done with the right tools. It’s been over a year since I took some kind of writing workshop, so I am signed up for an online course that I’ll start in Jan (unless I get antsy for that too and jump in early). The one I took last year with Art Holcomb was a 10 week run that was incredible. I used a lot of techniques from that course to write this newest story. By the time I sat down to start typing the thing out, I had the first draft completed in under 4 months. This is writing only on weekends and not every single weekend due to other life things that sometimes interfere. Oh, and the first draft comes in at 97K words which I never bothered to check until I was done. I’m shocked by both the timeline and word count myself.

Sure, I’ve landed on a system that clearly works for me and works darn well, but I can always learn more, even if it is learning things that don’t work for me. So, I’m excited for the new course because I’m guaranteed to learn something new either way.

Hope everyone has a great winter regardless of what holidays you do or don’t celebrate. We have snow on the ground in Maine, and I’ve gotten to take The Decimator (aka monster snowblower) out for a couple of runs. We’re both quite happy thus far this winter and ready for some good blizzard action.

 

image by sxc.hu

NaNoWriMo

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November kicks off National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. A lot of folks across the globe participate in this event, and a lot of stuff gets written. There is loads of buzz that starts late Sept through Oct to gear up for November writing. I think NaNoWriMo gets bigger each time it rolls around since I hear more about it every year, and that’s a good thing.

My only concern is the quality of what comes out of it. If you’re going to whip out a novel in 30 days, I sure hope you have done sufficient planning or at least have a solid idea of what you’ll be writing. There is a crap ton of work that goes into a novel unless you’re a write by the seat of your pants writer (panster). Some (very few) pantsers are good at what they do, others suck. I’m in the latter category, so I am a 98% planner with a very light dash of pantsing in the mix.

Personally, I don’t have anything to do with NaNoWriMo other than be fascinated by the event as a whole. It’s great for getting people together for motivation, writing, and such, but my process works a bit (OK, A LOT) differently. The idea of cranking out a novel in 30 days hurts my wee brain in ways you can’t imagine.

I need more time for planning. Setting a goal of X words per day is asking me to fail. Trust me, I’ve tried the daily writing thing, and I have worked with writing coaches who say it is a must. For me, it doesn’t work.

Writing isn’t my only gig. I can easily pull a 60+ hr week with work plus travel. The number goes even higher if I’m working overtime. To try to do anything after work other than walk through a hotel door with my knuckles dragging the ground, incoherent words tumbling from my mouth, and leaving a trail of drool that resembles something left by a massive slug, well, just ask for the freakin’ moon why don’t ya? Writing after a day like that? Hell no. Not happening.

I have my routine, and it works great for me. If it didn’t work, I would not have released five full-length novels in three years. I mean really think about this: two books in 2013, one in 2014, and two in 2016. The first book has been overhauled and comes out as a second edition next month, so now we’re talking six books in four years. It boggles even my own mind with everything it’s been up to in the last few years.

So, if you want to jump into the mix with other writers and get after it as a group, look into NaNoWriMo. I think it’s a great idea but not one that’s a good personal fit for me. And with my prior mention of my own routine, it’s time for me to stop fooling around today and get after it on my newest Story. I’m around the 65% completion mark of the first draft after 5 months of writing on it (planned for probably 4 months before I ever typed the first word). :D

 

Image by sxc.hu

Fall is Coming

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Last week I finished my round of edits on the first book and sent it back to the editor. It didn’t take me as long as I though it would, which worked out well since I had such limited time with other things in the mix.

I ultimately had to admit defeat on the house project when it came to the drywall. I got the new walls installed, but the mudding/sanding part kicked my butt. So what do I do when I’ve been clobbered by a house project? Leave!

I bailed after work on Friday to spend some time with friends vacationing in Belfast¬†before coming back home. I had so much dust in the house from the interior work, a deep cleaning was in order. Yes, I’ll have to do it all over again once the interior work resumes, but that’s OK. The dust bunnies were getting large enough to carry off small children. They had to go.

I’ve hired a guy to finish the drywall for me, and that is supposed to happen this week. I’m a couple of weeks behind schedule on that room overhaul, but I don’t really care at this point. Once the walls are mudded and smoothed out, I can start slapping primer and paint. The new flooring arrived last week, so I’ll put that in after the painting is finished.

And I’ll flip back over to The Monster Within work once I get the final revisions back from the editor, which I imagine will happen over the next week or so since I can’t seem to function without juggling multiple balls in the air at once. I’d compare myself to a clown in this respect, but let’s face it, clowns are creepy as hell.

The temperatures here have taken a significant turn toward fall, and I’m back to living in my hoodie. My apple trees are full with ripe fruit, and a few leaves are showing hints of turning. Good times! I am seriously loving this long weekend, and I hope you are too. Enjoy!

Photo taken by me, 2016, off the Golden Rd in northern Maine

Still the Best

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I still think this is the best meme ever. Still makes me laugh.

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend, hopefully it’s an extra long one too! I have vacation for the week, so I’m on the super extended version. This will be a good week of new experiences.

I bought a grill that arrived while I was still in MD. Yesterday I put the grill together and cooked food on it today. Didn’t even burn the house down. Burnt the veggies a bit, and the meat was under-cooked. I’ll throw it on the stove later. Hey, it’s all a learning process. Tomorrow I’ll experiment with grilling salmon. Should be interesting. Worst case scenario is I screw it up and have cereal. It’s a decent plan B.

For the house project, I got the painting done today and will start installing the floor tomorrow, after I learn how to use my miter saw. The thing is so huge I bought a stand for it so I could move the whole rig around. The assembled stand and attached saw is now sitting in my dining room. That’s where it’s supposed to go right?

It’ll live in the dining room for a while. I can easily use the stand to roll it out to the deck when I need to cut the floor planks and bring it back in when finished. Sure, common sense dictates that the saw should live in the shed where I roll it out there for the night, but that’s just silly talk. Saw lives in the dining room – check. (It’s of course right next to the nail gun I have yet to unbox).

Nothing like the impending arrival of company to get a procrastinated house project moved up on the priority list! So with that shuffle of painting/flooring moving up the list, editing has slipped a few notches. I’m almost half-way done with running the book through Autocrit, so I’m not panicked for time yet. Plus I’ll have time tomorrow and next week provided the floor installation is uneventful (I’m not holding my breath).

Happy 4th, kids. Don’t blow off any digits!

New and Interesting

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I’ve always enjoyed learning new things, having new experiences, and the like. I seem to be on a roll for doing new, bizarre, things that are far more interesting, and fortunately non-hazardous, when a little too sleep deprived.

Sticking both contact lenses into the same eyeball and wondering why everything looked so fuzzy had me stumped for more than a few minutes until I figured out the issue. ¬†Two lenses in the same eye don’t make your vision twice as good. Now I know!

Last week I tried to open the hotel door with the car keys. When the hotel that I’ve been staying at with work travel for the last 2 years has NOT changed their key cards, for me to suddenly try to use a rental car key fob to open the door was just plain baffling. No shocker that the door wouldn’t unlock with that method. The good news is I figured out the problem before going back to the front desk to report the issue.

So after taking a couple of days off to regain a few wits to get me through to the end of this week, I’m hoping I don’t do something doofus-like in the near future. But things tend to run in threes, so I’m due for at least one more to come. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll laugh about it just like I did with the contacts and the hotel door.

Book update: Editing for the second edition is in full swing on The Monster Within, and I’ve pre-ordered the new cover for it to start that work in August.