Improvements

Taking a break from writing critiques. Been writing a lot of critiques lately and not just for the group. I’ve written some book reviews that were more helpful critique than review. Several of the self-published works I had read, over the past few days, were really raw. Lots of potential but lacking in various areas so I figured I’d offered up some thoughts. I’m still new to this story writing game but I am a very avid reader. I know flaws when I read them.

On the matter of the writing game, I’m in software heaven right now. I discovered a few days ago that a Windows Beta version was out for Scrivener. Last time I had checked out the software, it was Mac only. No idea when the Beta came out but I love it and hoping the full version comes out very, very soon. The reason I really like this software is because it matches quite a bit of my existing writing process and has other bonus features I find immensely useful with the editing of Reaper’s Moon.

The current process involves putting all my ideas down on a large white board in my office then writing random pieces as the prompt words inspire me. The software as a ‘cork board’ feature which operates very similarly to the white board. Each piece gets it’s own page, I can easily rearrange the pieces and when I’m done, the software will compile all the pieces into one document for me. Since I was copying and pasting text like no tomorrow to compile before, I’m very happy to cut down on such a task. A task that can be fraught with peril due to accidental deletions of text and  improper transfer of text.

I’ve put most of Reaper’s Moon and its unfinished outline thoughts into the software already. I’ve done some writing and editing to Reaper’s Moon since the transfer. Feeling accomplished. Also feeling really great about my new higher powers/entities for Reaper’s Moon. They are working their way nicely into the current verses. There’s only a few minor things I need to change to be more in sync with the new culture base and other new personality elements. Finding that I need to get some language help to make things a little more grounded into the idea of my entities. Already found the resources I need. Just need to take some time to go through them.

Today is a rather upbeat and optimistic day for me. Feeling good about everything I’m working on. There’s still a lot more to do but I’m in a happy place and that is all that matters for the moment. Now if I can just convince Anubis to come and lay on my cold feet, I’d be a very happy camper. Oh and being down 16 lbs does wonders for the mood too. 🙂

Success! Maybe…

Today I went to the location of the Writers’ Critique Group’s  informal chat early in an attempt to get some work done. Feeling better today, I thought I give work a shot. I didn’t get much done in the 1.5 hours before the chat. Well, I had hoped to accomplish more. I did research primarily and made some revision notes. I came up with a good idea to replace the Greek gods who had weaseled their way into Reaper’s Moon so some research was required. I knew from the beginning that Greek gods are very overdone in fiction and the critique group stated it too. I had considered getting rid of the portions with the gods but the story came across hollow in places. While overdone, their presence – after a fashion – is needed for the story.

So I was faced with the decision of replacing them with entities not overdone and perhaps a little unusual. I did come up with something I think is a little unusual and may be perceived by some to be a little blasphemous. Blasphemy isn’t my intent, I just wanted something different. Something I hadn’t read in the paranormal & post-apoc/dystopian genres before. I need to do research for the appropriate names and personality quirks to make the new entities to work with in the verse already written. Some re-writes are needed to make everything fit properly but, all in all, it will be minimal revision.

I also decided which verse should be the new beginning. The verse in question was originally written in past tense third person so I spent today’s time rewriting it into present tense first person. The verse isn’t complete yet but it is getting there and I like it a little better in first person. Still figuring out how to work in the other critique suggestions but one step at a time, one step at a time.

Best Laid Plans Thwarted

While hyped up on hormones and subjected to a very restricted diet, I do not have much energy for things. Just going to the grocery store is exhausting. I was hoping – for this round – that I would have energy to continue work on Reaper’s Moon. Sadly, no. I’ve put a lot of thought into things to change per the critiques I received but my brain and the words just aren’t playing nicely. I should know this issue by now. During the rounds of hormones & diet last year, I spent most of my time sleeping or reading because I was too tired, weak and hormonal for much else. I’ve been reading quite a bit the last 3 days but today, I find myself feeling very apathetic towards reading. Not feeling the books in general and not liking what I’m trying to read.

This is an odd thing for me. It really is. So now, I feel like a complete slacker. I have a huge pile of research books waiting for me (along with all the fiction) and they are going to continue to sit there, waiting. Tonight was a meeting for a book club geared towards vampire fiction. I was very much looking forward to going but my body had other ideas as I battle severe nausea that anti-nausea medication isn’t helping so home instead. Pondering sleep even though it is barely 7pm. I feel awful and think curling up in my bed under warm quilts sounds heavenly. The Big Bang Theory beckons to be watched though so I’ll stay upright long enough to watch.

For all the discomforts I suffer at the hands of hormones & diet, I can’t argue with the results. Tuesday morning clocked in with 5.8lbs down, Wednesday with 3lbs and today with 2.2 lbs. This cycle is normal for the weight loss for me. The idea is to keep it above 1 lb lost each day but my body doesn’t always cooperate and often gets down to just 1/2 lb a day which is still better than nothing.

Tomorrow, some of the folks from my critique group are having an informal meeting to discuss the writing process. I want to go, I hope to go but, in the end, health will decide. Fortunately, the meeting is earlier in the day than the book club so there is hope that health will cooperate enough to let me attend.

*headdesk*

I’ve been quite sick the past few weeks. I spent the first two just very run down and weak. Just before New Year’s, upper respiratory crud hit with a vengeance bringing pink eye and an ear infection along for the fun. Still not feeling all that great but I managed to be somewhat productive. Discovered yesterday that my primary email account had glitched in late December thus not sending out my critiques to three members in the Monday night writing critique group. So embarrassed. I managed to salvage two of the critiques/emails and sent them out today. The third is MIA and the piece is no longer up so I cannot download it and re-write the critique. So very embarrassing. I remember the piece sort of but I’d like a refresher.

Today I found myself at the library for awhile – salvaging critiques, doing a few line edits to Reaper’s Moon and put about 10 lines of verse down on the ‘Last Christmas’ section of Reaper’s Moon. All in all, not all the productive but it is better than nothing. I’ve barely touch Reaper’s Moon since November and I didn’t do any writing beyond critique since December 15th or so.

I did finish out 2010 with a fairly impressive count towards books read. 510. Not quite as good as 2009’s book count of 533 but still impressive in its own right since I did not read all that much during NaNoWriMo.

I recently tasked myself with finishing Reaper’s Moon by the end of Feb. At this moment, that is entirely unrealistic. Hopefully, I will feel significantly better by next week so I can get back to my speed writing ways that helped me get from 11 days behind in NaNoWriMo to being ahead of schedule by the end.

I wish I had a portion of Reaper’s Moon ready to critique for the meeting next week but I’m not sure which section I want critiqued and still uncertain if I want to share. I’m feeling very shy about my verse novel. I like it but at the same time, I’m concerned it is a giant ‘clusterfuck’. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and put it out there for critique which might be a very good idea.

Music, Pets, Books…Oh My!

Been an odd week and a half over here at Al-Bisslii.

Anubis keeps ending up with facial injuries. Not sure how he keeps injuring himself but he does. Just last night, I discovered a new wound on his right lip. All the hair is missing. Fortunately, his wounds seem to heal quickly and the ones from earlier in the week already have fur growing back in. I find myself wondering if he’s somewhat masochistic…

I re-read books 1 through 6 of the Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughn. Also discovered that two of the books were autographed. (I had gotten the two as thank you gift kind of thing.) I finally read the last two books of the series for the first time. I found them to be quite good. Have yet to write any kind of review for them on Goodreads. Ever read a book where you enjoyed it immensely but are at a loss on why that is or at least fail to be able to put the reason into words?

Attended my first ever poetry jam. I had a good time. One of the new members is a musician, John Mieras, and he played some music for us which I really liked. I don’t typically go in for folk-ish music but one of his songs, Broken Spells, really resonated with me and it has been on constant replay since the meeting where he was kind of enough to give me his new CD, Painted Glass, even though I was without cash to pay for it. I will certainly bring cash next poetry jam for him. I really like the whole CD but the songs Broken Spells and Constellations are my favorites.

My holiday-oriented writing piece, The Last Christmas,  ended up not being very contest friendly as – taken out of the context of Reaper’s Moon – it makes very little senses or reads like there is a piece of the story missing. It’s a childhood memory of the main character so the context is important. Oh well, I got another piece of Reaper’s Moon done and that is important.

Aside from continued minimal work on The Last Christmas, I have not gotten a lot of writing done. More along the lines of a big fat zero. I did start line edits on Reaper’s Moon over the weekend but did not get very far. It was a pretty busy weekend.

Today I am suppose to be doing more line edits as well as reading two critique pieces for the writing critique group I am attending later today. Haven’t done any of that yet. Oops. I paid bills, cleaned out the email inbox, battled with the (once again) malfunctioning washing machine, cleaned off the computer desk, procrastinated with blog and dealt with an extremely needy Anubis cat but not much else. Sad since it is noon now. Where did the morning go? I had lots of plans for today…denied! Need to focus on the critique pieces because it would be really horrible if I attended my first ever meeting with the group and was unprepared.