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I figured out that in order to write 10,000 words a week, I have to average 1,429 words a day.  I've written a first draft, this morning that is exactly that long.  :)

First-drafting used to be my greatest weakness, but fortunately it is the skill that I've developed most this last year.  I feel so much more comfortable at it, now. 

The following was improvised, moving from paragraph to paragraph with no real plan as to where it was going until my fingers typed each word.  I may actually develop this into a professional submission sometime very soon, but for now, I just wanted to show that I am working hard.  ;)


Scritches - First draftCollapse )

Off and Running

Today - Monday, the 4th of January - is the first official day of my two creative New Year's Resolutions, to write 10k words per week and to make six drawings per week.  Why today, as opposed to three days ago?  Because today is the start of the first full calender week of the year. 

I spent most of last week in Emmetsburg, the town I grew up in.  I got to see the whole family, except for my grandmother who was in Eastern Iowa finalizing the sale of her home.  It was a great trip.  My brother Ryan (who just retired from the Army) took me out to his new house, out on 28 acres in the middle of nowhere.  Nice quiet place in the middle of one big snowdrift.  It's actually a great place with lots of "fixer-upper" potential. 

I was planning on coming back on Sunday, but my mother woke me on Saturday morning to tell me that it was -34 out and that she was a little concerned about the pipes in my apartment since I had turned off the heat before leaving.  Now I have actually discovered that the southern exposure in my apartment really helps with heating my apartment, as does having wimpy neighbours on two sides and below, so I wasn't overly concerned, but  -34 below windchill is a touch worrisome, so I came back.  Turns out, the pipes were fine and it was in the upper fifties in my apartment, so no worries.

It's funny how I didn't even realize I was badly in need of a vacation until I took one.  I had Christmas dinner with some friends of mine that I met at NaNoWriMo meetings in November.  They'd heard that the expected snowstorm on Christmas Eve had cancelled my travel plans, so they invited me over.  I bought over a board game and improvised a recipe for hot apple cider that everyone seemed to love.  Dinner was great, and we all had a lot of fun, and then I had a really bad seizure.  :( 

I was overdue, really.  Fortunately, I'm not the first person they've known with seizures, so they were really cool about it all.  It did, however, have lingering effects.  I spent most of Saturday and Sunday in a daze, and Monday morning, I showed up to work and had a serious attack of Depression.  I checked my vacation time available, and found that I had enough to take the whole week off, so I asked the scheduling folks and they approved me in like two minutes.  I'm lucky.  They've always been very understanding about my seizures and the aftereffects.  Mind you, it helped that that particular week is our worst annually for incoming business, so there's nothing to do.

So, anyway, I took a vacation and only then realized how much I'd badly needed one.  It was good just to see the wide open spaces and farmlands of Iowa for a bit instead of the urban sprawl I'm too accustomed to.

This entry has gone on longer than I'd planned but the point is I'm alive and well and I'm at work on my resolutions.  My Internet is still spotty, but I'll at least do weekly updates.  Wish I had more time to respond to all your posts, but I'm trying.  Love you all!  *BEAR HUGS*

Getting started!

Okay, guys!  It's not officially the new year, yet, but I'm getting started on the new year's resolutions.  I'm officially starting the word count on Sunday (start of the first full week), but I did put in 1292 words this morning as a sort of warm-up.

I had trouble thinking of something to write, but once I thought of the aftermath of a new year's party, it started rolling out pretty well.

Here it is:

Miko - cut for lengthCollapse )


I am finally home for the holidays.  It's a nice feeling.

A couple of months ago, my sister moved herself and her family out of Omaha to spirit Lake, a town about 50 miles from our home town (Emmetsburg).  As a result, I haven't seen her or her darling little girls in months and months.  (which is much longer than I'm used to.)  We took a major detour on the way home to stop in and see them.  The girls (8 and 10 years old) were really excited to see me.  They wanted to show me everything about their new home, including their new kitten.  They wanted to rough-house, smacking me and tugging at me, but we didn't have time and it was too late at night.  I was only there for maybe an hour, but it was so worth it.  They might be over here tonight, which I'm hoping they are because Sis is on administrative call at the hospital for the rest of my stay and won't be able to visit after tomorrow.

Everyone else is visiting sometime today, at the very least.  I'm excited to see them all.  I haven't been home in thirteen months.  I'm going to take pics of the house and the relatives and the town and everything. 

Will post again soon.  Had a good Christmas Day, afterall, so I'll post details.

Hope all my friends are well, especially you, Mindy.  *HUGS*


No home for the Holidays. :(

I know I only seem to post bad news, lately.

Unfortunately, my plans for Christmas have been cancelled. A major snowstorm is predicted in this area for the next few days. Even if it were safe for someone in my family to come pick me up, most of my family wouldn't be able to get to my parents' house to see me. My parents think it would be wiser to wait a week and plan for me to be home for New Year's instead. I'm forced to agree.

so, I'm stuck home alone. Well wishes and hugs would be appreciated.

I am sorry that I haven't been on much. Internet connectivity has been spotty of late. I hope all my friends are well.

You especially, Jasmine. *major bear-hugs*

Happy Holidays to all, whatever holiday you observe.


Getting ready for the New Year!

Based on my success in this year's NaNoWriMo, I've decided to do at least two resolutions for the New Year:

1 - I'm going to write ten thousand words a week. That's ten thousand words of anything at all, be it short stories, flashes, writing exercises, blog entries, or even rambling crap.

2 - I'm going to draw six things a week. Even if it's just a cartoon watch or my lunch, I'm going to draw something. (and it can't be just a doodle.)

The idea here is to develop the discipline necessary to be successful at writing and art. I still want to do the webcomic ideas I had a long time ago, but still suck at drawing (in my own humble opinion.) The only way to get better at either is to do it every damned day. In this case, I made it so much practice every day so that I can provide myself a little flexibility. No guilt if I miss one day.

So, to help make myself accountable, I'm going to post weekly stats here on the writing (and samples, of course!) and I've created a brand new account at deviantART! Observe!

And seriously, people - I want my friends to hold me accountable on these goals. Bug me about it. I'll post stats and samples on both sites on Saturdays. If they're not up by Sunday, get on my case. please. :)

There will actually likely be more resolutions to come, but this is a good start. :)

OOPS! I Forgot!

I completely forgot to mention that I won NaNoWriMo!

I finished on Sunday, November the 30th, at the last write-in of the year. It was an all-day affair at a local Panera Bread. I got there at one in the afternoon with another five thousand or so words still to go.

It turns out that OpenOffice.org (my favorite word processor) has a bug in its word count function. When you put something in quotes, it counts the first quotation mark as a separate word, so my word count on my machine was about fifteen hundred words ahead of NaNo's word count verifier. I was just a little frustrated about that by the end.

Anyway, I had completed the actual storyline at about 39,000 words and had to think of more stuff to write. I did a few scenes that I had accidentally skipped over and did a bunch of stuff that happened a few days after the end of the main storyline. Interesting little exchange, here:


“No. I'm heading in to quit.” she told him.

“Excuse me?” he asked, suddenly looking much more awake.

“Chesire left me several hundred million dollars in her will,” she told him. “As much as I love my job, I don't think I can do it with that knowledge sitting in the back of my brain. I'd grow too impatient with all the nagging little annoyances that go with being a cop. I love my job, so I'm going to stop and leave with good memories and a good reputation before the money poisons that.”

He nodded in understanding. “I can understand.... wait.” He sat up in bed, a panicked look in his eyes. “Several hundred million dollars?”

“Yeah, a little more than half a billion, actually. Why? Did I forget to mention that before I married you?”

“I think so, yeah!”


LOL I got a nice chuckle out of that one.

As Panera was closing at 8:30, I'd finally run out of ideas and couldn't think of another thing. Everyone was standing up to go, and I wanted to finish while I was there with them, so I hastily pounded out three hundred words' worth of "and they lived happily ever after." Made it just in time to celebrate with my friends. My final word count was 50,017.

Since then, I haven't even opened my netbook until a few minutes ago, when I got to Borders. I've been working on an idea for a new short story, but I've just been mind-mapping it on paper, so far. Work is at its annual peak, so I'm going out of my mind, there. All I do is sit and talk to people, and I come home after work wanting to do nothing but sleep.

For my next big project (starting Jan 1) I'm going to be drawing at least one thing a day. I'll be starting with really simple things and working my way up, but I really need to knuckle down and learn how to draw. I still want to do both of those webcomic ideas I thought up a few years ago.

So anyway, I won - woo-hoo! - and I'm back to work writing other stuff, now. Details to follow, and all that. Toodles.

300 word version of Happily Ever AfterCollapse )


Almost there...

I'm about thirteen thousand words from finishing, and my story might be finished too soon. :D

I'm at the final revelation, the one that reveals who did the dirty deed. It's a bit of a complicated scene, but not thirteen thousand words. It's going to be a little rough stretching this scene, the capture, and the wrapping up stuff afterwards out that long, but I'll find the way.

I'm making a big push to finish it, tomorrow. I've got no family in the area, anymore, so I'm pretty much on my own for the day. If I spend the vast majority of the day sitting in front of my netbook cranking like crazy, I should be able to do it.

In the meantime, here's a short clip...

“Keller!” The Captain had called her name, so she snapped back to reality.

“Sorry, Captain. Viewing memories.”

“Oh, yeah. I want that thing cataloged and examined, by the way.”

“Oh, this is the wrong one. This one belongs to a witness by the name of Vanessa Teng. We got the chips turned around and so I'm going to have to go and pick the right one up from her.”

The captain stopped and stared hard at her for a long moment. “Did you just say Vanessa Teng?”

She shrugged. “Yeah, I know her through Chesire. We're old friends.”

“Oh,” he said. “I... think you should come see this.” He waved her into his office, where a monitor on his wall was running newsfeeds.

CNN's Cathy Sullivan was in the street with Police lights and throngs of Rescue and Police milling behind her in a scene surrounded by bright yellow guard tape. “If you're just now joining us, folks,” she was saying, “the tweets you have been receiving are all true. Vanessa Teng - Grammy Award winner and protege of Chesire fell from her Manhatten hotel room just moments ago. She is dead.”


Bad Morning.

So, one of the important things I was doing last week instead of writing was learning how to use a new feature on my Ubuntu Operating System. It's called Ubuntu One, and it's essentially, an automatic file backup / file sharing system.

Essentially, it creates a special file folder for the files that are most important to me. (like my NaNo.) I keep my NaNo in that folder and then every time I hit the Save button, not only is my project saved on my local machine, but Ubuntu One automatically backs it up on their server, so there's two copies in case anything happens to mine.

Or, that's the theory, anyway.

Truth be told, I think it's entirely my own fault. I think I disconnected the network before it could finish backing me up. I got up this morning, and there were two files on my Ubuntu One directory, and one of them said something about an "Ubuntu conflict." It was empty. The other file was my NaNo, but from a couple of hours (and almost 3,000 words) back from where I'd finished last night.

Like I said, I think it was my own fault. I shut down the program without making certain it was finished. :(

So, I managed to recover a few hundred words from the excerpt that I posted last night, and did one hour of quick writing to clear my head and get the blood flowing and did 2,000 words. So, I'm almost recovered from this little tragedy, but I am still starting from behind, today.

I'm not going to let this little setback get me down, though! I am SO going to kick NaNoWriMo's ass, today.


Good day!

So, after the unexplained loss of 2,000 words, last week, followed by a lackluster performance in writing the following day, I spent a good part of this last week struggling to get any writing done.

Now, mind you, I was making a serious effort every day, I just wasn't accomplishing much. Part of that had to do with all the stress at work. I'm telling you here and now, folks. The closer we get to Christmas, the more tensions go up and the more I.Q.'s all over the world just drop like stones. People just get inexplicably stupid, this time of year. And grumpy! I have been cursed at with foul language more in the last few days than is even close to normal. I've been coming home from work just worn out. One day, somewhere in there, I actually slept eleven hours! My normal is just six.

So I wound up totalling only about a thousand words for the four or five days that I've been away. I started out this morning at about 21k. To be on track for the month, I would have to finish today at 35k, leaving me 15k words (about eight days) behind. :( I wasn't in very high spirits when I started out at Noon, but I set goals of 8k for today, and 9k for tomorrow to try my very best to catch up over the weekend.

I've got a really cool recording of a rainstorm that's an hour long. My plan was to pace myself through an hour of typing, take a quick break, and then do another hour, etc... My first hour, I thought I'd only done a few hundred words, but it turned out to be more than 1,500! I got revved up over that. The next hour, I did 1,900 and another 1,900 the hour after that! I took an hour-long break somewhere in there, but kept up a good pace. I kept challenging myself to beat 2k in an hour, but only accomplished it the last full hour before my brain hit a full stop and I couldn't do any more.

Final word count for today: 11,721 words! Woo-hoo! :)

I'm not caught up, yet, but I'm awfully close, and that is without a doubt my highest daily word count ever! I'm going to get an early start tomorrow and see just how far I can get!

In the meantime, here's an excerpt:

Bastet learns about the mirrorCollapse )