Yay television…

As the clock counts down we are coming closer to NaNoWriMo. I’ve struggled this year getting prepared. I’m not exactly the kind of person to just drop the ball. But what I have realized is that while last year’s novel is still my number one priority this November I’m going to go a different direction.

Last year I had quit my job and focused solely on writing. I learned a TON and felt incredibly prepared. This year I have a job and many, MANY new responsibilities. It is kind of writing law to write a little every day, and understand that it is important. We don’t find time to write we make time to write. Don’t forget to do writing exercises too! This is why I feel less prepared this year. I haven’t done that exact thing.

Alas! There is still time if you’re in the same predicament I am. It is still September and we don’t begin those stressful hours until midnight on October 31st. So study and do research! We can still accomplish those 50k and stand proud!

I want everyone to work their tails off! 50k isn’t easy! It’s writing day and night. It’s breaking only for food and bathroom breaks. It’s mentally draining and emotionally exhausting.

My tips from my first year are as follows :
1) Start your research early. If you need any information on locations or anything begin now.
2) Compile your plot points in order. When you’re writing it gives you an excellent road map. If you’re the kind that loves to make it up as you go, cool. But make up the in-between. Trust me!
3) Gather your resources into one place ( preferably tidy). I use One Note. It gives me searchable notes and is one single place that all my devices can connect to. If you add it to One Note on your phone it’ll be there on your laptop, tablet, our PC when you get home.
4) Don’t forget to eat!
5) You still need sleep too. But do keep a dream journal beside your chosen sleep spot.
6) Sleep is slightly overrated.
7) KEEP WRITING. We can’t edit unless we have something to edit. Anything!
8) NO EDITING!!! If you even think about editing I will personally come to wherever you are and brutally beat you with Post-its! ( Okay, I won’t actually do that. But I will think it.)
9) Remember your goal. It’s not impossible. Also check your word count often! The check program on your computer and the one on Nano is a little different.
10) Don’t quit!

Nano is hard. It takes you on a journey that is totally worth having. Last year I was completely exhausted. I wanted to laugh and cry when it was all over. ( Which I may have done…) The 50k word challenge is a long and trippy road. It is one you will never forget.

I’ve also heard having a group makes it even more fun. I plan on weaseling my way into one this year.

Most importantly, have fun! NaNoWriMo is AWESOME!

Have a good one!

Theft…

“Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso

When I was in school someone introduced me to Japanese animation. The Japanese have a unique animation style and lots of quirky characters. I loved the look of their books and shows. So in order to learn how to properly draw in that same fashion I decided to pick up some tracing paper and copy what I saw in books.

After a while of doing that I’d lay the page beside the original and try my best to draw it myself. Later, I would buy character cards and draw them onto a sketch pad. I still remember trying to draw a female character and, while failing repeatedly to get her symmetrical, wanting wanting to shout out “I can’t draw breasts!”, but that would have garnered looks.

All of these steps led me to being able to freehand loads of characters. It’s the same when writing. How many times have you as a writer read or seen a character and just thought “that’s brilliant!”? You see this character and want to be able to create just like that.

Well, steal!

Every artist steals. At least on some level. I’m not saying greatness can’t just come out of thin air, but everyone has a muse. The whole point of doing writing exercises is to get that mind of yours turning and flying with new ideas. It’s where those ideas come from that’s stolen.

Think like this; there are millions of stories about vampires. Some more vicious than others. Dark Matter Heart for example is more gory whereas Twilight is nearly family friendly. But they all are stealing the vampire persona.

How many times have you recommended a particular book to someone based on a character similar to another they already know? Reading the Tempest Series by Nicole Peeler and then picking up any of the True Blood books you’ll find many similarities.

When you are beginning to write it’s okay to try your hand at fan-fiction. Take favorite characters and put them in crazy situations. Once get I the habit try changing things about that particular character. His back story or his name could provide interesting new problems. But what if you change his home planet or his style of dress? Maybe your favorite character is more shy and introverted and you put him in a clown outfit. It draws attention, especially from children who he’s never been around. Now he has to make balloon animals. This could be a funny unknown talent.

So it’s not bad to copy in order to find your style. If you steal you get the entire package and can alter it to your liking. You like a certain world? Use it to your advantage! Steampunk? Design your own mechanical devices to fill it with.

Always remember to put your own touches in. I don’t mean like the remake of Psyco, more like using the story and creating new characters to fill it. You use the setting of Romeo and Juliet for characters from Teen Titans.

Have a good one!

Just dive in…

Years ago there was a song by Christy Carlson Romano titled “Just Dive In”. It was just a little song but occasionally it comes to mind. Usually when I’m feeling a little unsure of something the better part of my brain is certain of.

For example, when I was in hair school we spent weeks going over the proper way to cut hair. We had to learn how to correctly hold our scissors and comb, how to have a consultation, and how to section off for whatever we needed to accomplish.

Naturally we all felt like babies. Everyone constantly called out to our teacher for aid and assurances. These were people after all.

Then one day our instructor was absent. Instead of getting something easy like a color client I got a cut.

My first instinct? Flee!

But that wouldn’t work. So I did the next best thing – I dived in!

When we try anything new there comes a modicum of fear. It’s perfectly natural to have fears. It just means you understand that this is new and different.

We all have experienced that moment where we feel abandoned. While we know in our heads what we need to do, we just don’t know what we CAN do. We are afraid to press on in fear of making a mistake.

If you’ve ever seen the movie Meet the Robinson’s you will know my next thought. Without mistakes we can’t “keep moving forward”. It is by making those mistakes that we learn. ( Although I do feel the need to insert this here, watching someone make a mistake doesn’t mean you have to as well.)

So I cut the woman’s hair. And you know what? It came out perfect! The substitute teacher (aka the night school hair instructor) double checked it and found nothing wrong.

To be honest I was nervous the entire time. But that’s what it means to face your fears head on.

So whether it’s writing, cosmetology, being a surgeon, managing a department store, or your first day on the job sometimes you just gotta dive in! Because you’ll never know until you dive in.

Have a good one!

Genre crossover…

Sometimes we come to an extremely difficult moment. Usually these moments are characterized by a feeling of loss, anger, joy, or even hatred. The moments I’m referring to? Ending a series. But luckily there is a solution!

Find your new love.

If only it were that easy.

You see, when I walk into my local bookstore ( because I still do that no matter the technology) I take in the scene before me. That great divide. Fiction or non-fiction? Mystery or romance? Sci-fi or fantasy? Oye!

Honestly this drives me insane. Technically there are only two genres; fiction and non-fiction. From there you get the others. But where’s the mix? When you write a novel you have many different characters that create your story. Each has an impact, or should. It’s what their circumstances bring about that determine their classification.

So when I’m looking for my next long-term commitment it’s difficult. I don’t like “just” mystery or “just” fantasy. A detective can do his job well but without some form of wit or personal interest I’m bored. A king can send his knights out to slay whatever dragon but without some princess to save what’s the point?
It’s hard for me to go to a bookstore or library and browse a particular section. Aside from the young adult section because they have a blend of everything. Moving through the rest of the store can take hours. I want a bit of mystery with some fantasy. I want some sci-fi with a bit of history. So where do I look first?

Any person who wonders why it takes a bookworm so long in the store is this exact reason. In the dream bookstore it would flow from one series to the next recommended seamlessly. How many times do we know the story we’d like and not the author?

How do you find the elusive new series? Do you wander from section to section or use recommendations?

That’s my rant for the day. Have a good one!

Harder than Anticipated…

The past week I’ve decided to do something that seemed simple. I decided to abstain from Facebook. In my world Facebook is a time hoarder. It’s what I do when I’m sitting at the table, when I’m bored at work, when I wake up, and just before bed.

Recently, I’ve noticed all I do on there is bicker and let random things eat at me. And I realized that I’ve given all of these posts my time and energy, not to mention anxiety. So I chose to withdraw from it and just live my life.

Then I got a new phone. And it got infinitely harder. I want to play! And I use Facebook for work stuff too.

But now I’m realizing that there’s so much more I can accomplish when I let go. You see, Facebook for me seemed like something I only did out of boredom. When in all reality it was something I used to escape reality. To shirk my duties and come up with some seemingly valid reason I hadn’t done laundry, exercised, cleaned, etc.

I always thought I had a good reason to pick up my phone and glue my face to its screen. But unfortunately I now my magic mirror showing me that my work on my blog and on my reading actually is worth my time. Social media really accomplishes nothing for me. Sure I can see family and friends updates but it isn’t bringing in work, it doesn’t give any feedback on valid topics, and it is really self-centered. And I know it can help with something like work but I just don’t use it that way. My posts are opinions or nonsensical.

So, I’m letting go. If it’s not a necessity it doesn’t get posted. I’m not posting random thoughts, what my sandwich looks like, how many times I’ve gone to the girl’s room. I have a life. And it’s worth living.🌺

Have a good one! And unplug!

Blameless…

by Gail Carriger

Lady Alexia Maccon is pregnant! A development that Lord Maccon can’t seem to grasp initially. How can this be?! A dead werewolf and a soulless woman? It would seem impossible. Although, it would seem all the more implausible. After a rather vulgar display from the Earl, Lady Maccon is banished from her newest home. And after bouncing from her parent’s home to the vacated Lord Akeldama’s, Alexia is getting anxious. After recruiting the ever ready Madame Lefoux and Floote, Lady Maccon flees to Italy for her own safety. It would seem the vampires are out for her neck. But why?

And with a price on her head, an inebriated Alpha is in no right state of mind to aid the Lady. So it’s up to professor Lyall to save the day. While dealing with the pack is enough, having to handle all of BUR’s affairs is a whole other kettle of fish. He must find out where Lord Akeldama has vanished to, how to keep Lady Maccon safe and prove her faithfulness, keep the Earl out of his laboratory, find Major Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings and that dandy Biffy.

Alexia Maccon and her “infant-inconvenience” keep on the move throughout this whole book. Meeting some lovely as well as vile characters. There never is a dull moment when the Maccons are involved. And though some people are more fiendish than they seem, others are more clever than previously credited.

I found this novel ridiculously funny! Gail has an amazing sense of charisma and knows just when to hit the nail on the head! I am always having to momentarily put the novel down just for a happy dance. I love this series and will give this piece another nine out of ten! I totally encourage you to devour this one!

Have a good one!