When art imitates life

I’m not doing so well at Camp. I’ve not been editing or writing as long as I should, or even any time at all during the day. Too much on my mind, really. Housework, being the agony aunt for both the in-laws and the parents, trying to get some estimates on fixing up the house (and daydreaming about how my kitchen might look). There’s a lot swirling around me and writing has been put on the back burner.

However, I’ve been rereading a lot of my previous works-in-progress to see where I might pick up and finish the stories. So far Moonstrike! is the favorite; I have a lot of that written already and I even got a chapter edited and posted at fanfiction.net. (I have it here; I just need to format it.) But I picked up a previous story, one I have mostly done but not published anywhere. It’s called Brainstorm and in the second chapter, I found I’d written in a situation that’s part of my real life right now. One of our family members is determined that their spouse is going to pass at home and has asked for home hospice. I can’t believe I was writing about such a situation back in 2011 (which is when I first wrote this story), but there it is. A very surprising situation and one that took my breath away.

That’s all I want to say for now. Just have to find the quiet time to maybe edit and finish some of these stories.

The first day of NaNoWriMo 2017 was a success!

Well, it was for me and my region. We had a midnight virtual write-in in our ChatNaNo room with four to five people in there starting off the month with word wars and chats. Then a really well-attended write-in at Greenville Technical College’s Barton Campus library. It was our first time there and the librarians and English professors made us feel very welcome!

The Kick-Off was last Sunday at our usual park pavilion and it wasn’t as well-attended as I’d have liked–possibly because it was Sunday afternoon and probably because it was cold and windy out! Still, we gave out 10-12 goodie bags and had lots of food (there’s still lots of pumpkin dip here but we finally finished up the pumpkin chocolate-chip mini-muffins. Those are addictive!)

My superhero novel, entitled Superhuman Resources, is coming along. I still need names and powers for quite a few cast members, but my main character is shaping up nicely, I think. No one has been able to create character art for her yet; most of the artists in the NaNoWriMo Artisans forum do younger people, as most of the novelists write about younger people. Having a middle-aged superhero is something different and hopefully unique.

Speaking of superheroes, the theme this year is exactly that and I got my daughter, stripeysharpie, to do a superhero mascot for our region!

We’re still looking to name this character.

And… after all this great, gushing news, something that has put a definite crimp in my style as a municipal liaison: three broken toes and a Lisfranc injury. I’ve been told to “baby” my foot (the right one, as per usual) and I have a wheelchair to pick up tomorrow. Yes, you heard it. A wheelchair. I won’t be able to drive for at least four weeks and probably much longer. Which means the family will have to chauffeur me around for the foreseeable future–and I can’t make any daytime write-ins, which is really frustrating. They also are responsible for the housework, which is frustrating in a totally different direction. Had to print out a “how to wash your wife’s clothes” for Hubby after he put my favorite embellished jeans in the dryer (the tag says “line dry” for a reason!). So, the only thing I’ll be doing during the month of November is letting the dog in and out and keeping the cats from following (besides my usual sedentary stuff like paying the bills). That should leave me plenty of time to write, right? We’ll see.

Anyway, word count for Nov. 1st: 2226.

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I tried Camp NaNoWriMo again in July and failed miserably at it. Wrote hardly anything, possibly because a series of health-related issues among the parental units kept me on edge. In August, my husband and I went to visit those same parental units during a two-week long trip to points north. (We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary the first week.) I came back sick with a cold that hung on for a couple of weeks. Since then, I’ve tried to catch up with the housework and gear up for … yes, it’s NaNo season again!

This year’s theme is superheroes and it got me thinking about my writing. I realized, no matter whether I was writing fantasy or fan fiction, I was always writing about superheroes. Whether they used magic or technology, it was always superheroes! (A possible exception would be The Door to Anywhere.) So, before I even knew what the theme was, I had planned on actually writing about superheroes–comic book style heroes with colorful outfits, capes, masks, the works!

I’ve also decided to be a “plantser” this year. Normally, I’m a “pantser”, someone who writes by the seat of their pants, as opposed to a “planner”, someone who plans everything out. This time, I’m going to do some prior planning–character sheets, a bare-bones plot outline, and a bit of world-building as well. Maybe then I can make it to the actual end of my story and finish draft zero!

This is my 10th year as an ML for Greenville. I have a new co-ML in Tyffani Clark Kemp, a writer with her own publishing company. The library system has filled our month with write-ins; seven branches in all are participating. Tomorrow I have a table waiting for me at the Main library’s Southern Author Festival. It means I have to get up early to make sure all my ducks are in a row. So, until later days, y’all!

Questions you may have…

Did I reach my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo?

Uh, no. I didn’t. (Which is part of the reason I’ve taken over a month to update anything.) The story I set myself to, after finishing the Flash fanfic, just gave me no joy. It’s a story I want to tell but I may have taken too long to tell it. I mean, The White Winds finished in 2010 and this was supposed to be a sequel. It may be too late to go that route.

Have I posted the final chapter of the Flash fanfic?

No. I wanted to give myself some space before editing it and still haven’t gotten around to doing so. It shouldn’t take long to do, really. I’ve just found other things a priority–like housework.

Will I be doing Camp NaNoWriMo in July?

I plan on it. My physical therapy should be finished by then and I can actually spend some time going away from home to write. Trying to write here with the pets and the responsibility of keeping the house clean is difficult.

One thing I’ve discovered about myself, however, is what I tend to write when I write original stories. For the past few years, whether I’ve written fantasy or science fiction, I tend to write superheroes. This hearkens back to my early days as a budding girl geek, when my favorite show was Batman and my favorite character was Robin. Back to the time when I collected comic books almost religiously. There’s something about them that fascinates me. I started daydreaming about a character for another fix-it fic for the Flash but this time, instead of bringing an already established DC Comics canon character into the universe, I wanted to write an original character. However, by the end of the season, all the reasons why she would be needed were answered (sort of) and I thought, why not write her in an original story? So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, that’s what I plan on doing. Whether I write her tale in July for Camp or start building my cast of characters and my world for November’s main event, that will be my focus.

Now that I’ve said all that, I’ve also followed a new group on Tumblr called WIP Week. I understand the idea is to work on the WIPs (works-in-progress) in my catalog. It might push me to finish one of the Thunderbirds stories I started posting. We’ll see; like the story I picked up for Camp in April, these have been languishing for years. I still know where I want to go with them. It’s getting there that’s the problem.

Nearing the end

Well, I’m a hair over 45K in word count now. The story? I have no idea where it’s going. I have another murder, I killed another secondary character (brings the body count to three). Sherlock Holmes is a bad guy, so is Watson (unless he’s totally clueless in the Nigel Bruce fashion), Moriarty is at least Chaotic Neutral, and Henry Jekyll has yet to meet his Mr. Hyde. My main character’s boyfriend is having blood-tinged visions and the Door has broken down at least once so far. It’s been hard to word war when I haven’t even made a list of characters and am using the terms “whatshisname” or “whoever” to designate names I’ve forgotten.

On top of all that, I’ve missed the last two write-ins because on Monday I got the result from my x-ray: it’s Charcot foot again. Now I’m waiting for either the referral office at my doctor’s practice or a call from the orthopedic office. That won’t come until Monday at the earliest now so I am being very, very good at staying off my feet. Fortunately, Son #1 showed up earlier than expected and took over most of the Thanksgiving cooking. I was stressing out tremendously over the fact I really couldn’t do what was needed to prepare. But between his picking up the cooking slack and the Girl doing a yeoman’s job of cleaning, I was able to rest my feet and write in the evenings.

I think once NaNo is over I’m going to pick up the story I’ve been working on for so long and do a rewrite. Get it finished and in a proper first draft. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this story it’s how to focus on my main character. I tend toward ensemble writing, as if I’m writing a drama on TV, with little glimpses here and there of other characters but, on the whole, keeping a core group as the focus. That doesn’t exactly work all the time. I think a third-person limited is going to work better for me in the long run. We’ll see.

In any case, more words for the validation file and less for my general word count later today. Even though I can’t be at the write-in, I can join them virtually and continue slogging through this current project.

Took a day off

I’ve been keeping up pretty well with the daily word count and am up to over 12K, which is higher than yesterday’s total. Today’s is 13,334, so I have a bit left to go to reach it. Mostly I’ve been reading and cooking and doing laundry while mulling over where the story is supposed to go next.

I’ve already had a character do something unexpected. For those writers who are planners, this doesn’t happen. Even those who aren’t necessarily planners might say the same. “You’re the writer! The characters do what you tell them to!” I haven’t found that to be the case, really. Sometimes a character busts loose and does something that totally blindsides me. It often leads to a new direction for the whole story.

Not so much in this case. Not only did it derail what little plot I’d planned, it also put my main character in a bind, so much so that to get her back on track, I had to kill off the obstreperous character. Which turned my sci-fi adventure into a murder mystery and a budding romance, to boot! (I do not write a lot of romance!)

It’s probably an issue with my main character, Phoebe. I made her a bit unpleasant and someone who deals mostly in logic and science when she needs to have a bit of imagination. Her job as a historic librarian (I probably have to look up the proper title for the things she does) has her dealing with books as objects and not repositories for stories. I can see her as someone who loved reading when she was younger, but her vision has narrowed due to overexposure. She deals with books all day; in her free time, she delves into history and science, things related to her field. I have to write her rekindling that love of reading for pleasure, too. So far, that has happened too quickly. I probably need to slow that down but still get her on the research team.

I also have the nagging feeling one of the researchers–the one who invites her out for a date–isn’t quite what he seems. That he might end up being the Big Bad. Not sure of this yet. I’ll see how it goes.

In any case, I should get back to writing. I’ll be adding this post to my word count, too–just because I can. 😉

So much for Camp

Totally, utterly derailed by the whirlwind preparations for a parental visit. Cleaning took most of the week as did rearranging furniture to make way for a gift of a new-to-us dining room set (gifted to us by aforementioned parental units).

I might be premature and totally wrong about the derailment. Perhaps once the ‘rents are gone and the kitchen faucet is replaced, I’ll have time to make up my word count.

Perhaps. We’ll see.

Ugh. Behind, as usual.

Here I am, five days into Camp NaNoWriMo and I’ve written less than 300 words. Yup, that’s right. Less than 300.

I just can’t write at home anymore. There’s too much housework and responsibility swirling around me, pressing down. Cats walking across my desk and making themselves at home on my mouse pad. Dogs whining for no apparent reason and children lying on the sofa with headphones on, ignoring the dogs. Not to mention that my desk chair’s hydraulics are accelerating their downward spiral to non-functional status. My idea to update my WIPs is falling quickly by the wayside; I almost feel I should totally rewrite the stories from scratch! Plus, I checked out Jukepop today and I kinda want to finish off my first Hex Majestorum story to post there. It sounds like an interesting way to possibly monetize my writing.

My goal tonight is to go to bed at a decent hour so I can get up at one as well. I’ve left my husband with a list of stuff I’d like him to do, leaving room for him to play a game or two with the boys before the oldest goes back to his apartment. I also need to sit down with the two remaining kids–I use the term loosely as they’re both adults–about them pulling their weight here at home. Then maybe, just maybe, I’ll feel less pressure from the housework and be able to write. If not, plan B is to take the van every day and go elsewhere: the library, a restaurant with or without wi-fi (I prefer with so I can access Thesaurus.com), the Y, just somewhere I can set up, tune out, and plug into my writing. Even two hours would be helpful!

Resolutions–at last

I’ve taken my own sweet time trying to figure out some New Year’s resolutions for myself this year. I’ve a bad habit, as many people have, of making resolutions and promptly breaking them. But I think I have a couple this year that I can stick with.

One, is to try and get back with FlyLady. When I was working with her system, my house stayed cleaner and my life felt better organized. I’d like that feeling again.

Two, to try and stay on top of the checkbook. I’ve fallen down on that a little so far, but I can catch up fairly easily, I think. I really need to know how much money we have in the bank and where it’s all going.

Three, try and write something every day. This is where using FlyLady can be to my advantage. She advocates doing things in baby steps, using a timer and doing housework 15 minutes at a time. If I can write for 15 minutes a day, using a timer like I often did during NaNo, I might be able to get more done.

Four, respond to reviews. Starting this year, I’m going to respond to every review I get. Like today, I got a review for Serendipity, which I’ve started posting at Lunaescence Archives. Surprised the heck out of me, but I responded as quickly as I could. I’ve responded, too, to a couple of recent reviews for my little Incredibles ficlet. It feels good to respond to those who have taken the time to review, and I think it makes me look less… stuck up. (There, I said it.)

Those are the top four resolutions. I might just open up my little sticky note app on my computer and put those down where I can see them. (Along those lines, does anyone know of a Magic 8-Ball app for XP? I have one for Vista on my laptop and like it a lot.) 

Enough for now, I guess. Better get a move on and maybe get some sleep.

Familiar, yet unfamiliar

School started today. The kids were up bright and early, and were ready, dressed, with breakfast eaten, lunches made, bright eyed and bushy tailed… by 7 a.m. I couldn’t take Boy #2 to school until 7:30, so we waited around (I checked my email and reviews) and at the dot of 7:30, he was out the door.
 
So I took them to school. Dropping Boy #2 of was fine (other than idiots parking in the car line). He got off at his school every day. Very familiar.
 
Then on to the middle school. Familiar route, familiar going around the block to the drop off point. But… here’s where it got weird. The wrong child got out!
 
Not really; it was Boy #1, who was supposed to be there. But all year long last year, it was his sister that got out and passed in front of the car. To stop and have him get out instead of her really struck me as strange… my familiar routine had suddenly become unfamiliar. It was like I did a double take on life as it shifted around me.
 
Then, off to the high school. Yes, this was new and unfamiliar, but because it was new and unfamiliar I didn’t have the same sense of my world being rocked like I had at the middle school. The Girl fussed about being three minutes early and though she told me that all t-shirts were supposed to be tucked in (and she tucked in hers, as ludicrous as I thought it looked) not one other student had theirs tucked in. I just shake my head at her sometimes. I told her that if she wanted to be on time instead of early she’d have to take it up with littlest brother; he was the one who wanted out and off to school so early this morning.
 
So there are adjusments to be made in the following days. Hubby did catch the bus this morning, for which I was thankful, though even if he didn’t we would have had plenty of time to get him to work and the kids to school. I stopped by Chick-Fil-A for a couple of sausage breakfast burritos and a cup of their much improved coffee. Wish I had called Dragonlady to have breakfast with me; I’ve lost touch with her and now we’ve got kids in the same school again. Maybe later this week, a bit closer to pay day.
 
The White Winds 10 went up last night as did Overtures 2. Found out that ff.net doesn’t allow quotation marks in their summaries or chapter titles. I might see if I can fudge it and use two apostrophes, that would suffice.
 
But today I enjoy an empty house and get some work done around here, particularly in the area of folding clothes!