This blog is a wide variety of things. Most titles are prompts I have followed.
This journal is a wide collection of things. Some of it is just a free flow of thoughts. Some of it is from Earl's 31-Day Challenge a long time ago. The rest is from given writing prompts that I have found around the Net from various groups to which I belong. It's not often that I rant about life in general, but you will find some of that here as well. Things here are mostly prompts I have followed. Maybe you will find a prompt that inspires you.
Welcome to my blog!
|Fall is such a magical time of year. The leaves are turning. The nights are getting cooler, making them perfect for a good book and a cup of tea on the couch, curled up with a blanket and the dogs. Pumpkins spice everything is available. It's also hunting season, and I believe meat is fairly delicious.
But, the big deal, of course, is NaNoWriMo. I have been an ML for... I believe this is my fifth year. Time has flown by. I've done and won NaNo eight other times, so I do not expect to let myself falter this time. Not only is November NaNo month, but October is Prep month! Prep is fascinating to me, sometimes even more so than the writing itself. I always find out so many different things about my characters and I love building my worlds.
The prep challenge:
Having more settings than I need this year, I feel is really important. I am writing steampunk, so I really have history mixed with an alternative reality of sorts. So, the more I know about my world, the better. The more settings I have, the more I know about my world.... if that makes sense.
At any rate, for all of those brave souls out there attempting NaNo this year - I send encouragement and positive thoughts your way. Whatever your individual goal, whether it is the coveted 50K or not, I wish you the best and I look forward to celebrating with you as you pass your mark!
|I've recently taken over a steampunk group here on WdC,
But, I am excited nonetheless, to take the helm of this great steam ship and to guide it into the dystopian future, or past, as it were. If you're reading this, and you have a steampunk piece you would like reviewed, please send me an email. If you are looking to get into a group where we talk steampunk, and explore those themes, please click the links above. We'd love to have you!
|Sometimes, you go along in life and don't think a lot about most of it. You get stuck in your day-to-day... and then something happens. That has been the case for me in the last few months. My hubby (no, we're not married, but we've been together long enough that we could be) was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in December. Talk about a life-changing event. It took the better part of a month just to wrap our minds around what was going on. Now we are just fighting with everything we have. So far, he is handling the chemo well and he seems to be doing better than he was when he was diagnosed. But the CT scan they are going to take in 2 weeks will really tell the story. The hope is that the chemo is at least keeping the cancer in check. Obviously, it's been tough to talk about, and we don't have any idea what the future holds. One thing we do know, is that we will make the most of every day for as long as we've got and especially for as long as he is healthy enough to get out and around and do things.
We have a great doctor, and we have a lot of faith in his ability. But, at the same time, he's told us there is no cure. So, we do have a couple different natural and herbal sort of supplements that he is using that may help. Really, what do we have to lose? I think we almost owe it to others who may find themselves in this situation to try alternative medicines over and above the chemo that is usually prescribed. I think people need to do those kinds of things. What if one of these two things (or the combination) is something that really slows the progression of the disease? I think people would want to know that.
Of course, I am a firm believer that "treating" cancer is far too profitable for a cure to ever come to the general public from the medical community. It's just not going to happen that way. And it's not the doctor's fault that we see at our level. He or she usually isn't involved in that level of research. But.... it makes me sad to know that cancer should be curable by now..... but I did hear, as we were sitting waiting to go into the chemo room the other day, that they believe they have isolated the gene that makes people's hair turn gray! Well, that's good news!
I know that is over-simplifying things. I know there are different people who concentrate on different things. But it makes a person think, doesn't it? We may now have a solution for vanity, but not mortality. Interesting.
What I really want to bring to light with all of this - whatever you passion is, whatever moves you. Please don't let the world around you deter you from that. Be passionate about your cause. My cause at this point is pancreatic cancer. I hope I can, in some way, make a difference. I hope my "other half'" having this disease, and how we handle it, will help someone else somehow and someday.
Everyone has something they feel strongly about. Make your voice heard. Even if it is something controversial. Let your passion show and live your life to the fullest. You never know when life will make drastic and permanent changes. Follow your dreams and your spirit.
|So, when I finally landed the perfect job... as an outdoor writer for a local newspaper, I was in heaven. Well, I still am. I love the job. I get to write for a living and I get to cover outdoor topics - hunting, fishing, silent sports... the whole deal. And that's great.
What I didn't realize, though, was how hard that makes it to come home and want to write for fun. I love writing fiction, and this will be my eighth year doing NaNo. For most of the month, I really didn't think I was going to make it, though. I've picked it up a lot in the last few days, but there was a time, if you would have asked me, I would have said there is no way I'm going to win NaNo this year!
But, now that seems to be back on track. Now, if I can just write another 5K on Sunday, and then another 5K on Thanksgiving Day... I should be in great shape! That gives me about 1K or so every other day. And then I should make it. Shwew! I could never dream of not winning NaNo before. I'm an ML, for cripes sake! But, now I know some of the things that keep people away. For me, it's writing full time for an actual employer while also trying to keep a few freelance clients. And then spending the rest of my time on fiction writing. Boy! That was a pretty ambitious goal at the outset. Now things are settling down, though, and I'm getting into a routine. I think it will all work out in the end. But... I totally understand the many reasons why people may not "win" NaNo. And I can honestly say - it doesn't matter if you hit the 50K mark, in reality. The thing is - you put forth an effort that many don't. You've taken on an awesome challenge that most will not. And, no matter how many words you've written. It is WAY more than you would have written without the challenge! So, NaNo away my friends! And good luck to all who have entered!
|I realized the last few days looking around the site - how much I have missed coming here and reviewing and writing and ... just interacting with everyone on the site. I've started a career as a freelance writer. It's been up and down and, honestly, I didn't expect to "make it" in just the first year, but I have work and I'm doing okay. The big problem for me, until recently, was that I just let my fiction writing go. I did NaNo last year. That was about it for fiction, though.
Not long ago I took my NaNo novel from last year and started working with the characters more. A lot of the freelance (non-fiction) work I've been doing is outdoor writing. So, I kind of combined my NaNo from last year with my outdoor writing, and expanded that novel into a series of four. The other 3 are just ideas now, but each is related to an outdoor activity - one for each of the four seasons. That link, I guess, has gotten me back into wanting to write more fiction again. I miss my characters. I miss plots. I miss plot bunnies that hop off my my good intentions to get a story to go one way or another. Scenes, dialogue... all of those things that come to you in the middle of the night, while driving to the store, walking the dog... I really missed all of that. And I missed all of my friends here at WdC.
I am happy to say that I am back on the site now and I'm looking forward to working on some of the old stuff in my port as well as adding some new stories and entering some of the awesome new contests I've seen on the site now that I'm back. I've been a member here since 2007, and I'm always amazed by how things change. Sometimes I am sad to see old friends go and activities fall by the wayside. But there always seems to be more friends to make and great new activities to take the place of the old ones. I've been here for almost 8 years, and I'm looking forward to what the next 8 year have to bring!
|Hee Haw/ Laugh-in!
As I'm reading through all of the prompts to my question about old TV shows coming back, my mind has been flooded with great childhood memories of TV shows. I live in Wisconsin, where it's dark by 4 or so in the winter, so there was opportunity to watch TV rather than be outside in the winter.
Hee Haw cracked my up each and every week. I am not sure that I ever saw a first-run of Laugh-In, but my mom had a couple Laugh-In albums that I loved just as much.
Archie Bunker? Totally politically incorrect, but still had some great laughs as the show made more fun of Arch himself than anyone.... Boy the old LaSalle ran greaaaat..... Those were the dayyyyyyys!
|The last thing I got butterflies-in-the-stomach excited about....
It was last fall. I had made my first Championship tournament in a bass fishing series that I only fished for one year - and one tournament the year before, but I could hardly count that. We made the Championship. That meant we would spend three days and two nights in a town about two hours away from home. We left the pups in good company. I knew they would be fine... but as a "parent" of fur-kids, you always worry. I knew one of the three probably wouldn't eat the whole time we were gone, but I resigned myself to the fact that this would be his own fault (the puppy-sitter spent WAY longer than anyone could ask to get him to eat a few crunchies at every meal, bless her heart).
I was fishing a body of water that I knew nothing about - nothing other than the fact that it was very long and very narrow.... well, that and the fact that some boats had been almost swamped by other, faster boats shortly after take off during the qualifier tournament on that lake. Now, in a tournament bass fisherman's life, this isn't really a bad thing... it is almost to be expected to an extent. Best laid plans try to ensure that does not happen. But, let's be truthful - it just does.
Now, let me say a little more about myself versus the "average tournament angler" (if there is such a thing). First of all, I cannot swim. I don't float, which poses a problem in the area of swimming in general. I wear an inflatable life jacket at all times when I am on the water. If I hit the water, it blows up almost like a car airbag going off. They are pretty sweet, really, but I don't want to see mine in action, to be honest. Another difference between myself and the "average tournament angler" is that I have absolutely no desire to go over 45 mph in a boat... especially at take off when the water looks like the old Frog In a Blender game and boats are bouncing around in and out of the water (it all looks terrifying, but I think it looks worse than it is). Most bass boats will go over 60 mph, and many around 70... or more. At any rate, I am not a big fan of that. I understand that sometimes you need to be the first to the spot to capitalize on the fish that will allow you to cash a check in any given event. I totally get that. It also makes me a bit sick to my stomach to think of it.
At this point you are probably wondering why I tournament fish at all. Well... because I really enjoy the rest of it. I don't like going fast in the boat, but I love figuring our the puzzle. I hate take offs, but I love coming in and talking to other anglers about the day. It's strange that a geek-o-saur-us like me would pick tournament bass fishing as a hobby/sideline. But I did. And that brought me to this day.
I'm a couple hours away from home, fishing with my hubby but against a bunch of guys that I don't really even know - I just know they will do what they have to in order to win, even if that means flying by us in a narrow part of the river (which is okay, but still makes me nervous). I don't get to sleep in my own bed, and there is a lot of hype about the tournament going on. The rules are read and anglers are joking and laughing.... and I have butterflies in my stomach that will not quit. I try to sleep that night - to no avail. Thankfully I was up early enough and sleep-deprived enough from a long work week that I finally drifted off, much later than I should have.
In all, we did not fair that well in the tournament, but the good news is: Everyone was really cool; there was a 3-hour fog delay on Day 2, and I got to know a lot of the people better that I will fish against again this year; the flowage was not as bad or dangerous as I had made it out in my head; and I did not have to test my life jacket! Yay! In the end, I realized that the butterflies were as much about the things I couldn't control as they were about the things I could: my ability to catch fish and to be recognized by these bunch of guys as "one of the crowd" rather than the one girl fishing with her husband in the series.
It was a great experience, and I know it has made me not only a better angler, but also much more prepared to take on the same challenge again this year.
|I think I'm turning the corner with my writing. I've been stagnant for too long. It's been months since I've written any fiction. But the other day I queried a publisher about one of my manuscripts. It didn't take long until I had a response... and they asked me to submit it!
Since then it seems as though I've "had more time" to write. Obviously, if nothing else has changed in my life, I don't "have" more time, but I'm making more time.
I think I learned a lesson from that... I won't ever "have time" to do anything unless I "make time" to do it. Every year for the last five years I've written a novel in a month during NaNoWriMo - but I don't "have time" for the other eleven months of the year to write more than a story or two? Interesting. I guess I can't say, anymore that I don't "have time". It could be argued that I don't have motivation, I suppose... but "I don't have time"? I think I've debunked that myth, at least in my own case.
|I just finished my 5th NaNoWriMo a few days ago. I have to say this one was a bit more difficult. I really lacked enthusiasm for the project about halfway through. It was about then that I did something I haven't in a while... I sat down and wrote part of my novel on paper. I just wrote and wrote and didn't stop. It took a lot longer to write everything longhand, it seemed, but it changed the way I thought about my novel.
Then, in a few days, my novel took a surprising new twist. I thought all that would happen is the "bad guy" would get his just desserts, and everything would work out for everyone. Ah, peaceful. Then, as my protagonist was being saved... she should have been safe in a squad car going to see her husband in the local hospital where, by then, he would have his wounds bandaged and be recovering nicely....
It was there that the novel took a turn I did not see coming. The cop driving the squad car, the people at the hospital - none of them wanted the world to know what my main character and her husband had uncovered. They thought they had successfully buried these secrets long ago. Now it was all fresh and dug up again, and it filled the air with a stench they could not stomach.
So, the novel went on, long after I originally planned for it to be over, with corruption and some action that I hadn't expected, and... yeah, an ending I was really happy with once it was all said and done.
There is definitely more to write of this novel Whispering Waters, but I have the basics down (some parts are definitely told rather than shown), and I made it to 50K for the fifth time. I hope others reached their goals, too - whether that be 50K, 10K, or just to write each and every day for a month. It truly doesn't matter if your goals align exactly with anyone else's goals as far as writing as concerned. For me, it's mostly the journey of getting there, and learning things along the way.
|I'm sure many others have experienced this problem... but I'm not sure how many have experienced it this late in the novel draft process that is known as Nanowrimo. I'm over 38K in word count. I'm wrapping up my novel (and I have more than enough scenes to go back and flesh out to get over the coveted 50K), and I realize that a large part of what I wrote actually occurs before the novel!
Also, I realize that, in the novel this will eventually become, the sheriff's department and the hospital staff will not see my main characters as people who have righted any wrongs or who have saved the small town from its past. They will keep the pair sedated until they determine what to do with them. Another character, one deemed of "lesser stature" by the small community and the 'old boy network' may take the fall for the whole thing.....
This is such a better novel than the "really good" novel I thought I had before. I never know what will come out during Nano, but when my main character suddenly felt uncomfortable when the sheriff (a man she knew as a kid as the teen all the girls had a crush on) stopped his squad car to talk to her and another person that was in the squad after what I thought was the culmination of my novel.....well, then things all changed. Because we're so close to the end of Nano, I just told her to shut up because he's a nice guy.
Then, when she got to the hospital, the nurse creeped me out a bit, too. That was when I realized that this could all go terribly, terribly wrong. That is the wonder of this thing we call fiction writing. We really never know what will happen until it does... and we're never, ever in charge of any of it!
Write on, All!