Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNo Journal 26th- 30th

November 26: Big final push for writing this month. Did really good too considering I also subbed in a 4th grade classroom today. I didn't plan to make tonight my last official NaNo night but I'm over 90k, way behind in my Christmas ornaments, and have a short story to revise and edit. Validation and RSVP finished. Yay NaNoWriMo 2012! Personal best word count in 4 years. 6027/90784

November 27: I already validated so I haven't counted the words for what I wrote today. I said I would write every day so even though I'm not counting anything for NaNoWriMo '12 anymore, I'm still writing. Every day. I reread some of what I wrote this morning since I didn't have any subbing work. It isn't terrible. At least, my short story is in decent health and what I wrote on my 2nd series is good for a first draft. What I wrote on Immo is not that great and will probably end up deleted unless I can figure out how to turn it into...something that makes sense. We'll see. Housework to catch up on then pig ornaments the rest of the day.

November 28: So a change of plans for Christmas ornaments. I just got word that a few other family members are hoping for sock monkeys for their kids this Christmas. So now I'm up to something like 15?! Crap. So I've decided that for my grandma's side of the family, I'm going to make pig ornaments for Grandma's 7 children and everyone else (grand and great-grand kids) will get painted ornaments since I already have 75 of those painted. I should have enough for them, though I think I'll need to make more for everyone else. Those don't take long. I can crank out another 75 in an evening. Not so much on the pigs. It sucks, but since I already have the materials cut for the pigs, I'll focus on those for next Christmas for everyone else in Grandma's family and add some kind of decorative touch to make them new. Maybe a red and green bow or a tiny present...I'll figure something out. Sock monkey!

November 29: I'm contemplating sending a query to an agent. They don't rep epic fantasy though so it will have to be my 2nd series (urban fantasy). It needs an edit and a 3rd revision then a beta read before then though. Wonder if I can get all that done before New Years? Hmmmm...

November 30: Last day of NaNoWriMo '12. I will miss the fun oh so much. But TGIO is at an Irish pub so I get Strongbow so it evens out. lol Last year, I spent way too much on food. I think I'll eat before I go this time and save room and money for a couple drinks and then walk around the mall for 4 or 5 hours after- maybe see a movie. I wonder what is playing. BRB. Damn, this particular pub is nowhere near a movie theater. That limits my options by a lot. We'll see how this goes. I worked today and just got in so I'm beat. I need to hunt down the mouse that magically appeared in my bedroom this morning, clean, supervise the girls through their chores, read to them, and then do some reading for myself tonight. Thank goodness it is Friday or else the next 4 hours would be incredibly busy. :) Happy NaNoWriMo '12! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Until next year...

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Monday, November 26, 2012

NaNo Journal 19th- 25th

November 19: Just got word that we are definitely not doing anything for Thanksgiving here at the house. We'll be going to let G'ma and G'pa do a dessert the day of instead. I'm supposed to go to another family party the day after. We'll see how all that works out. Good writing day. Tried to fiddle with the short story but I'm drawing a blank. 3010/72539

November 20: I can't move. Bending hurts. Twisting hurts. Hell, breathing hurts. I'm so tired that my brain feels like mush. I've been tearing the kitchen cabinets apart, trying to get rid of the clutter like I did the living room and dinning room at the beginning of the month. E and L are trying to help but they are mostly getting in my way. Not much written today and I'm pretty sure what was written didn't make any sense. 1667/74206

November 21: Apparently yesterday's update didn't take. I must have forgotten to click update before closing the page. I think I wrote last night's journal entry with my eyes closed. I'm still working on cleaning the kitchen. 2/3 of it done now. Just need to work on the pantry. I'm so glad my family isn't hosting Turkey Day here at the house. More written today than some days but not as much as I would have liked. 2000/76206

November 22: Ah the damn kitchen is finally organized! I ended up throwing away 4 garbage CANS full of lids without bowls, bowls without lids, broken ceramics and glassware, warped plastic utensils, and food that expired in 2006 (yeah, our Jello was that old). It looks so much better. I'm so tired I just typed butter instead of better. *sigh* Time for a very long shower before dessert at Grandma's house at 7 with all the grand kids. Fun times- I wonder if there will be any dessert there that I'll actually eat since I don't eat any kinds of pie, very few kinds of cake, even fewer kinds of cookies, and nothing whatsoever with a cream or jelly filling. 2967/79173

November 23: I knew the whole "not doing Turkey Day here" was too good to be true. I was informed this morning that since we didn't do anything for Thanksgiving, that our family party will be Saturday instead. As in tomorrow. Mom is working on the the turkey now. I'm about to scream. I just spent 3 days fixing that freaking kitchen with the very high hopes of it staying fixed at least until Christmas when I know I can't talk anyone out of us hosting it. I went in the kitchen 3 hours later and there is flour and sugar all over the counter tops, the sink is full of dishes, and the cats are cleaning up turkey broth that was accidentally spilled on the floor. Anyone want to adopt me and let me live in your home? I clean, I am quiet, and I keep to myself most of the time. *sigh* Put my anger and irritation to good writing use, although I think one of my main characters died as a result. Oops. 3917/83090

November 24: I hate life right now. Mom spent all that time preparing an after Thanksgiving dinner for pretty much no one to show up. My brother and his wife couldn't make it. None of the cousins showed. Mom's brother didn't come over. It was just me, E & L, Dad, Mom, G'ma & G'pa, a 7 year old nephew of my Dad's, 1 of Dad's grand kids (age 4), Gran, and a friend of L's that randomly showed up last night needing a time out from her own family. So...11 people out of 25 expected. The fridge is so full of leftovers. Oy. Not a terrible writing day considering I was required to be social and then was the only one to help clean up the mess afterwards with Dad. I would have preferred to hide away in my room writing with Mom bringing me a plate after everyone left but I would have felt bad about that. Damn me for being such a loyal daughter. I got my short story written though! Need a good edit and revision then it is off to the writing group. 2967/86057

November 25: I could barely get anything written today due to a splitting headache. I had a touch of a headache last night when I finally went to bed but woke up with a blinding headache that kept me nauseated and in bed off and on all day. Ugh. So sick. Definitely a migraine. I miss my doctor in Alabama- all I had to do was call the office and tell them I had another one. My doc would call me in a prescription and email me a work notice so I could sleep the headache away until it was gone. Here, the doctor wants me to come in every single time. I can't afford that so I compromised with Tylenol PM and a glass of apple cider and Hot Damn to knock my brain out for a few hours. When I woke up, I hurt worse everywhere- my whole body felt like I got kicked by Babe the Blue Ox. Double ugh. 1667/87724

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Writing a Short Story

My region is taking a collection of short stories from our local NaNo writers with the express purpose of compiling them into an ebook. The sole purpose of this anthology is for the entertainment of our former ML who had to bail on NaNo completely this year due to her steadily worsening health.

We were told that our former ML has many things that she loves (and so we assume she would enjoy reading about in short story format). This includes: all things Firefly and Nathan Fillion, plot bunnies/ninjas, chick lit, zombies, Doctor Who, Supernatural, getting lost/stranded in Nebraska (that was the plot of a few NaNo novels in our former ML's time), cats, and pirates. By picking at least one element from this list, the current ML's thought it would make a welcome present for our wonderful many-year NaNo ML while she attempts to heal from this debilitating illness.

When I heard that she loves Firefly, I immediately thought that I should write a story about the crappy town where Wash is a hero. Then, I latched onto the idea that reavers are pretty much zombie plot bunnies. It is a stretch, I know. I spent many nights after I hit 50k trying to figure out how to start this damn short story and went to bed frustrated each time. Should I find a script and rewrite that script in narrative with the characters as anthropomorphic critters (so I can fit my zombie plot bunnies in, naturally)? Should I try to write a completely new story, sticking to the regular story of the show? What the hell am I supposed to do here?!

Frustrated with a blank page, I turned to a creative outlet that always lets me rid myself of frustration- doodling. In the end, I ended up with a critter drawing based on every Firefly character. Mal became a wolf. Inara, a sexy cat. The Tams became parrots (cuz parrots are super smart- duh!). Wash- 100% raccoon. Shiny! Zoe became a jaguar. Kaylee is the cutest puffy cheeked squirrel you'll ever see. Jayne- a ferret (because while they sometimes do incredibly funny things, mostly they seem to bite and cause a ruckus). Book- the sage turtle. And last of all- my reaver bunny. The pencil sketches were alright, but they didn't pop on the page until I added ink outlines. I tried to add clothing to each character that would signify who they represented. Wash has a loud obnoxious shirt. Mal has his long coat. Jayne is wearing his hat. Book has his hair. You get the idea. Anyway, I took some creative liberties with my reaver bunny. I colored them in with a combination of markers, wax crayons, colored pencils, and MS Paint with varying results. Most of them looked better as plain ink line drawings.

So that was over a week ago. When I sat down to write this morning, I was nowhere closer to figuring out how to write this short story than I was at the beginning or middle of the month. I gave up. I can officially say this: I do not write fanfiction. It is not my forte at all. However, my reaver bunny stuck with me and I decided to stick with just him. Once I made that decision, the flood gates of inspiration opened for me. I wrote 1.3k in about an hour. No outline. No clue about a plot. I just wrote in my normal fashion- pantser all the way, baby.

This "Firefly fanfic that was" has morphed into a thriller/horror about a zombie rabbit. I read it to L once I finished. She listened like any 10 year old who adores her big sister would. When I finished and asked her what she thought, she smacked me and told our mother that if she can't sleep for the next month, it is all my fault. So I guess I at least got that part right. It is scary enough for a 10 year old at the very least.

So will this short story ever see the light of day? Who knows...I don't have a clue. Maybe it will serve a purpose at some point. If the ML's decide to actually sell the ebook, I'll be sure to provide a link for it for anyone that is interested. Until then, I thought I'd share my zombie bunny (or the "Reaver that was"):

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Sunday, November 18, 2012


One of my favorite parts of NaNoWriMo is NaNoToons!

The comic started with Debbie Ohi and has evolved into a collaborative effort between Errol Elumir and Debbie over the years. You can read their biographies on the page linked above, as well as character bios for past and present characters and find the archive for past NaNoToons all the way back to November 2006. Take my advice and start from the beginning!

Also, you can find a link on the web page to Errol's project NaNoMusical! They are up to episode 3 out of 6 for this video web series and it is fantastic. I'm waiting anxiously for the next one to come out! Good luck to everyone NaNoing this year. We're more than half way through!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

NaNo Journal 12th-18th

November 12: Excellent writing night. Spent a good deal of time on the blog today too. So productivity all around. :) Getting into a meaty section of my book and very glad of it considering I finally crossed 50k tonight! Woot. 6925/50070

November 13: I had hoped to make it to a write-in by now but its just not happening. I don't have the gas money to go driving around the county more than a couple times, and that has been ear marked for the Kick-off Party and the Thank God It's Over Party. That sucks since I really love the write-ins but oh well. When things are finally better money wise, I'll go and sit in a coffee shop and drink over priced drinks and pretend I have awesome writer people for company. *sigh* 1667/51737

November 14: Barely made to goal tonight. Such a long day. I'm ready to sleep for six years. 1667/53404

November 15: Did more crafting than writing today by far. Made word count for the day only because I wrote the word "for" about a dozen times as I thought of what was happening in my story. I'll fix it later but for NaNo, it stays. Go away inner editor. I know it is wrong without you screaming at me about it. 1667/55071

November 16: Much better day today. The inner editor must have went back no vacation. The kids were good today so I didn't have to waste 2 hours of writing time getting their butts in gear. E asked if she could go to bed early. That always makes me nervous- usually means she is sick and she was just at the doctor last week! *sigh* I'll be up and down all night checking on her I guess. 6203/61274

November 17: Today's word count is a guess as I slept way late today then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening in the E.R. with E. Poor kid went to the doctor 2 weeks ago with strep-like symptoms. Strep test was negative but she had a 10 day antibiotic med anyways. 3 days after the antibiotic is done, she coughed so much that she passed out. She has bronchitis and a sinus infection. They said it isn't pneumonia yet so I'm glad we went but the 7.5 hours in the E.R. was spent writing by hand in a notebook. I'll transcribe what I wrote out in the morning. I know it was at least the goal so we're going with that tonight. Checked blogger and saw that I'm about 13 views shy of 14,000 total views. Pretty awesome! Breaking out some apple cider and Hot Damn to celebrate. 1667/62941

November 18: When I woke up, I saw that the blog passed 14k visitors some time through the night. So freaking awesome! Planned to got to a friend's house for time away from needy children, manic cats, and stress inducing family. Didn't work out that way though- I read the E & L instead after making buffalo chicken dip. We are reading The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson. We were reading another book but it was stupidly boring and had some darker elements that a 9 and 10 year old are not ready for...and I'm not comfortable reading to them. This one looks much better- its about a cat. lol Sometimes I wish NaNo was in a more manageable April. No one does anything in April in this family. Maybe I'll start doing my own NaNo in April. lol I got yesterday's writing transcribed early this morning. It was better than I thought so I added the difference to today's count. 6588/69529

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Monday, November 12, 2012

This is my 400th! Post

Goodness! I can't believe I have reached 400 posts. There for a while, I was posting statistical information about posts when I reached certain milestones and I thought I would use my 400th post for just that purpose. Prepare to be bombarded with links!

1st post: I had not really took to blogging before creating Dee Declares on June 9, 2011. I tried of course, but they never lasted longer than 10 posts or so. I just got too bored with them. This blog has lasted almost a year and a half and for a while, I posted every day. I'm trying to get back to that- honestly. Social Media is more work than people want you to realize. Anyone that says it "is easy and only requires 5 minutes a day" isn't putting enough time or thought into their posts. The original purpose of Dee Declares was to begin to build my writing platform and has turned into a personal soapbox on some occasions, a showcase for my crafts, a cheering ground for important milestones, etc. I am incredibly proud of this blog!

100th post: My 100th post was not a happy one. This post was regarding the aftermath of the London riots from August 8, 2011. I posted articles, videos, and links to find help for those affected by the riots, those wishing to help clean up the city, those that just wanted to know what the hell was going on. I also ranted about the celebrities that were incredibly mum about the rioting, while praising the 3 (Neil Gaiman, David Krumholtz, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) that at least mentioned it. It was a very scary night and I was half a world away!

200th post: I had to laugh when I reread my 200th post. It is the first of my 2011 NaNoWriMo journal posts. Last year, I hand wrote a journal and then transcribed them to Blogger at the end of the week with annotations relating to what I wrote. I tried to keep the transcription as true to what I wrote as possible but it was hard not to edit what I had already written to make it clearer and less manic. I remember that night at Star Bucks very well. *cringe* This year's blog isn't annotated and is much shorter.

300th post: This post went up January 14, 2012 and was edited to remove all photo content on August 15, 2012 due to reports of bloggers being sued over the use of other people's images even in the case of taking pictures down immediately after a take down notice, linking back to original sources, openly stating non-ownership of the images, and giving credit to the actual owners/originators- all on blogs that do not generate income themselves. I have been very resistant to putting AdSense on my blog because I for one hate ads and never click the ads on blogs or other social media. I find it distracting and invasive. That said, I can see both sides here. I deleted the images and replaced them with the disclaimer that is now on the page (and several other pages). It took forever to go through every blog post and delete images. Ugh. You can read the post relating to the image take down here.

Did you know that part of my signature that appears at the end of every post from August 14, 2011 onward- minus the one here and there that I completely forgot- is a line said regularly on NBC's The New Normal? Alright, it isn't probably specifically from my signature as it really is a common sense phrase (love is love) but since I've been using it for more than a year prior to Ryan Murphy, I'm claiming credit. :P And yes, I freaking love that show. That original post was about an article posted on LGBTQ Nation about what Jesus would do if he were invited to a wedding between two men or two women. Here is the post and here is the article.

Over the past near year and a half, I have taken to voicing my opinions on pop culture, current events, and politics. I participated in the social media blackout protest of SOPA and PIPA. I voiced my displeasure of the indefinite detention article of NDAA. I wrote an essay letting people know exactly what I stand for and what I stand against. I wrote about some of my favorite shows/movies, performers, authors, and books.

And finally, since this started out as a writing blog, I have added a link at the top of the page where I have compiled all of my writing specific posts. You can scroll to the top and look at the banner under the title. You'll find these links at the top: Blog, About Me, Journey of Shadows, and Writing Information. The blog tab will take you to the latest 10 blog posts; about me is a link happy semi-humorous biography; JoS includes the cover art (shout out to Alberto who made my amazing cover- seriously, go look at how amazing it is), links to purchasing my book from Smashwords or Amazon, and a pronunciation guide for words found in the book; and Writing Information will take you to a list of writing specific posts (not including all the NaNoWriMo posts- maybe those will go in another page some other time).

This blog has survived post-a-day marathons, elections, riots, computer crashes, two NaNoWriMos (alright, so one is in progress right now), political turmoil, copyright issues, lax maybe-5-a-month posts, and more since it started in June 2011. I am close to 800 views per month and expect to reach 14,000 total views this month. I couldn't be more proud of Dee Declares. Thank you for coming by. I hope you'll comment, share, like, etc. and continue to come back for more randomness by me!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Homemade Holidays 2012

Since my flurry of activity yesterday (I admit it- I couldn't sleep), I have received  several emails from friends and regular readers asking when to expect pictures of this year's homemade Christmas stuff. I didn't plan to post anything until after NaNoWriMo since I haven't really had time to work on them but I decided, since I'm at 43k for the month already, to go ahead and take some pictures. If you'd like to see last year's posts, check out these posts for a reminder: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Enjoy!

First up, hand painted North Pole Candy Cane signs. These signs are made using card stock and wooden craft spoons. I still need to attach the ribbon hangers for these but that will only take a few minutes. I made 75 of these in total in September or October. These wooden ornaments will go to friends and family outside of my Grandma's side of the family who are getting the other ornaments (more on those in a moment).

Cute right? I tried to vary the number of stripes, directions of the signs and the lettering so that none came out looking like another even though they are basically the same thing. I hate handmade items that are carbon copies.

For my Grandma's side of the family, I'm making fleece pigs. They are little pillow-like ornaments. Grandma collected pigs so this year I decided to make a pig for everyone. I'm making 90 of them. I hope it is enough because they take a long time to make. I'm trying to convince Mom to help me with some of the sewing since I'm in the middle of NaNo but quickly running out of time to get these babies done. Here is a step by step picture demonstration of the materials and the work from beginning to end. Click the pictures for a bigger image.

 This is the materials for several pigs. I'm using pink and white fleece that I found on clearance, hair cutting sheers for a good crisp cut, two different kinds of ribbon, and 5 different colors of thread.

Here is the material for one pig. I picked a pink ribbon and tried to match the ears, legs, hands, and snout based on the size of the triangle I chose to use. I have 4 different sizes of triangles from 2.5 inches across the bottom to 6 inches across and varying sizes of ears, snouts, and appendages so that I can change up how they look.

 This is the two pink fleece parts that make up the body of my pig.

 I haven't sewn the pieces on yet, but this is how the ribbon, ears, arms, and legs sit on the inside of the back piece of felt. I'll attach them to the back so the thread lines don't show on the front.

 This is the setup for the front of my pig. White and magenta thread, the snout, and the front of the body.

 Here I have attached the snout with a simple cross (an X basically) and then decorated the face with magenta nostrils and white/magenta eyes. The stitching is very simple!

Here is the finished product with the back part and the front part sewn together. I'll be tucking the corners in on some of them to get more variety in the pigs. Overall, they are going to look super freaking adorable.

It took about 3 hours to cut out all the material. I have the noses sewn on about half of the fronts. I'm trying to do everything in shifts. I'm getting the noses done first, then I'll do the face details in a second round. Then I'll attach the hanger, ears, arms, and legs. The last part is putting the two pieces together and stuffing them. The part I'm trying to get Mom to do is sew the two sides together on two of the three edges, leaving me to stuff them and sew up the last side. If I did them one by one, like this pig, it takes about an hour for each pig. We'll see if I can get her to help me out in time for Christmas presents!

I'm also making sock monkeys for the kids. I gave one to my newest family member, my cousin's daughter. I'm not sure if I posted it or not. Here is a picture in case I haven't.

So what do you think? Do I have time to finish NaNoWriMo, 10 sock monkeys, and 90 pig ornaments? I certainly hope so. :)

All these pictures are mine but feel free to share them around. If you want step by step directions for the pig ornaments or ideas on other homemade holiday stuff, post a comment and I'll try to help you out!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Grammar Article

I ran across an interesting grammar article. It isn't the same ol' "there/their/they're" grammar list that everyone is probably used to by now. Check it out here. #12 drives me crazy and I always second guess myself. I have seen half a dozen rules on the matter of apostrophes and words ending in "s" that depend on if the word naturally ends in "s" or is plural. Argh!

Oh yeah, I finally joined LinkedIn if you were interested. The link is here though there isn't really anything there but biographical information. Also, you can now sign up for email delivery of my blog posts. Look on the left under followers. :)

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

NaNo Journal 5th-11th

November 5: Slow day today for writing. I worked at one of the girls's schools today. That was fun. Totally enlightened about her school work now. She is in so much trouble. *sigh* I'm writing, but it is slow going. Just barely made the goal tonight. 1667/19821

November 6: Went to vote today. Not much written. Too nervous about the election. Plus the girls were home from school so we went to the library for new library books and stopped by McD's for lunch because they were giving out free Big Macs for 3 hours on election day. Not a total wash though; at least I met the daily goal. 1667/21488

November 7: No work today. That sucks but it is expected for subbing. Crossing my fingers for tomorrow and writing. Better day today than the last few days. Still not the fantastic 8-10k days that I really like. 4211/25699

November 8: Crossed 25k last night. Made me very happy. Struggling through some scenes today. Misread the sub schedule. I went into work this morning prepared to get started when the secretary informed me that the sub position was for tomorrow. So another day of no work. Joy. Wrote off and on while trying to help move furniture and deep clean the living room and dinning room in preparation for guests on Thanksgiving. We still need to get to the kitchen and utility room. I'm convinced that the girls's bedrooms are lost causes. We'll just shut the doors those days and be done with it. 3544/29243

November 9: Woot! I'm officially under 1k words per day to finish on time now. That is one of my milestones that I watch for each year. Very pumped! I go for milestones of every 10k, a daily writing count even if it is just 100 words, and getting the WPD under 1k. I'm getting there! I continued cleaning today after work so I still didn't get have a huge writing night, but it was definitely a good night. Lots of action. It is only a little past 9 but I am so ready for bed. I'm going to try like hell to cross 50k by the end of the weekend. We'll see if that happens. 3681/32924

November 10: Well, the weekend has not given me that huge writing bump that I really hoped for yet. Between workers showing up to seal the driveway, the girls acting like animals, and the animals acting like animals, I spent most of the day cleaning up after everyone. I did get some written though so it wasn't a total loss. 3591/36515

November 11: Much better writing day! With everyone gone to church, I finally had some peace and quiet so I got a much larger amount of writing in this morning than usual. Enough that I'm going to stop for the day even though it isn't even 5pm. Time to get the girls in action working on their rooms and start dinner. Maybe with some luck, they will be finished in time for me to read some tonight. We've only been trying to ready all freaking week. *sigh* At any rate, today was a very good day. Less than 400 words per day to finish on time. Woot!  Happy Veteran's Day to the vets out there! 6630/43145

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Sunday, November 04, 2012

NaNo Journal 1st-4th

November 1: I stayed up until midnight to start writing like usual. Only this year, I didn't have a clue on how to start. I'm working on the 3rd book in The Immortalis Trilogy. I honest to God have no idea how to start this novel off. I decided to tinker with another piece while I thought about Immo3 some more. I ended up writing over 6k before I finally went to sleep. I just wish it was 6k on my planned novel, not a new one. I missed the chance to go to work for the first time in a couple months thanks to sleeping through my alarm. Even after going to bed at about 4am, I was up at 8am. Just in time to find out that E is sick and needed to go to the doctor. Joy. Got some more writing in between 8am and noon. And then from 5pm until 8pm when it was time to crash. Crossing my fingers for more work to come my way tomorrow. And more words. Preferably Immo words but I'll take what I can get. 8735/8735(words today/cumulative word count)

November 2: I worked in a classroom for the first time in nearly 2.5 years. I have missed that so much. It was worth getting up at 5am and missing breakfast to spend the day in a classroom with students. <3 I didn't get nearly as much written today as yesterday, but I'm absolutely exhausted and need sleep. Still met the daily WC goal so all is well. It is officially the weekend so hopefully I'll have two really good writing days and be way ahead of schedule come Monday. :) 3479/12214

November 3: Spent most of the day reading The Land of Stories to E & L. The girls love this book and I'm finding it so hard to say no to them when they beg me to read. Very little written today. Made the daily goal but didn't get it posted in time for it to count toward the 3rd. I'm counting it anyways dammit. :) 1667/13881

November 4: So much done today. Grocery shopping that really couldn't wait any longer. We finished reading The Land of Stories just before bedtime. I got some decent writing done. Two of the cats tried to kill each other over a freaking bowl of water. Wood carried in for the next few days. I've written almost 3 times as much as my daily word count goal. I'm super stoked, even though I would rathered cross 20k tonight. But, it is 11pm and I'm tired. Crossing my fingers for another work day tomorrow. 4273/18154

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Mistakes Writers Make

If you Google “mistakes writers make” then you will find list after list of things writers do wrong in every genre. A lot of those mistakes show up in multiple lists. Trying to hard is one of the ones I read about a lot- try to be funny, try to be relevant, try to be impressive. I thought I’d come up with my own list, based on my experiences and the experiences of a few friends.

  • Proof reading is lax: Some writers are so swept up in the art of writing that they forget an important part of a finished piece- editing. Grammar, comma usage, apostrophes, etc. benefit by a few rounds of proof reading. The most common advice is to put the piece away for a few days (or weeks) and come back to proof read/edit/revise with a fresh set of eyes. That is 100% correct advice in my experience. I’ll go one above that- do your proof reading/editing/revising from a printed black and white hard copy. You are less likely to miss mistakes on the printed page. If you like an old school approach, do your hand edits with a red pen.
  • Erroneous expectations of instant success: There is nothing “quick” about the writing/publishing industry. Writing takes a long time. Editing and revision takes a long time. Querying/submissions take a long time. Everything in this industry takes a long time to work though. There is a reason my motto is “passion, persistence, and patience” in life and in writing. Have some patience, drink a cup of coffee, and start a new work in progress while you wait for the gears to turn on your work in submission.
  • Focus on deadlines kills quality: This is especially true of established writers. I could cite a dozen popular writers that have eventually caved to the pressure to churn out works for the voracious appetites of their readers. Their work becomes rushed and quality goes down in exchange for popping out a dozen books in 2 or 3 years. I worked on my first book, Journey of Shadows, over nearly three years. The 1st draft only took a few months, but then I kept going back to it, rewriting until I felt confident that it was ready.
  • Timid writing: This is what holds a lot of potential writers back from actual writing. Some people are so scared of being judged for their writing, or of upsetting someone with what they write, that they stare at a blank page until the urge to write just goes away. Writing, despite the genre, is a product of passion. There is no room for fear.
  • Writing to please others: This also holds a lot of writers back. Instead of following passion, these writers have fallen into a terrible cycle. They write only what they know will be accepted by their readers. They avoid topics that may upset anyone. Basically, they limit themselves to writing about fluffy kittens. Fluffy kittens are awesome, but I can find those free on the internet. 

As you can see, this list isn’t the traditional “mistakes writers make” list. It is far better to overuse clichés and metaphors than to pander to an audience or stare at a blinking cursor with dread. Writing is an art form that requires a time commitment, dedication, and fearlessness. Practice will help! NaNoWriMo is the perfect place to practice. It isn't too late to join in the noveling marathon. Really, you're only 2 days behind!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Ready, Set, Write!

It is officially that time of the year. 12:01am, November 1st, 2012. As I am most assuredly writing away with manic abandon (or snoozing...), this is pre-blogged for your kick off pleasure.

2012 NaNoWriMo logo design

Start your novel now! Add me as a NaNo buddy (my profile- text beside my picture will say "add as buddy" and "send NaNoMail") if you'd like. I'll happily exchange NaNoMails with you if you are looking for encouragement during NaNo. Considering donating to the program to help ensure they have enough funding to do this again next year. $10 gets you a fancy digital halo for your account like I have.

I will be posting my NaNo journal again this year. You can read the posts from last year here. Read from the bottom of the page to the top if you want them in order. They were posted in a sort of weekly digest format rather than a daily journal. I may do that again this year. We'll see what time allows. Happy writing folks!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS