Category Archives: NaBloPoMo

My Writing Niche (podcast): Episode #5: One more week til Nanowrimo!**

My Writing Niche (podcast): Episode #5**

Download episode *here*

In this episode, I discuss my sudden plot change and recommendations for music and podcasts during November’s madness.

Also if you would be interested in being my ‘Writing Buddy’ on the Nanowrimo site, my account there is also under the name ‘ganymeder.’

SHOW NOTES:

-Intro

found at http://ganymeder.podbean.com and also http://www.ganymeder.com

Waiting , my 52/250 flash and #SpokenSunday

Nanowrimo

Music and Podcasts

Sounds of Nature with Alpha Brain wave pulses – via Amazon

Podcast listings

I should be writing

Writing Excuses

Mur Lafferty interview on The Creative Penn

Archive of old Nanowrimo

Archive of WrimoRadio

*image courtesy of hiddedevries via Flicker.

**The podcast may be downloaded from the linked site or (for now) from the Ganymeder writing blog. I am currently researching domains to host the podcast. Thank you for your patience.

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National Blog Posting Month: 2010-02-28 Future Plans

National Blog Posting Month – Day 28

Yesterday, I titillated and regaled you with my tales of woe and success (not really, I just always wanted to use that phrase). So since today is the last day of National Blog Posting Month, I thought it fitting to outline my plans for the future. Edge of your seat stuff; right?

First of all, it was a great experiment, but I’m not going to blog every single day. I’m going back to once a week, maybe more if I have some other content I want to get out in a timely manner. It’s just too time-consuming, and I’d rather use that time to write fiction.  I only have a limited number of hours in the day, so I need to try to use them constructively. And honestly, I don’t have that much to say.  But once a week (occasionally more) I can put out some free fiction or write a blog article that someone might actually want to read.  So… if you are reading this after Sunday night (2/28/10), my next posting probably won’t be until Friday.

Second, I’m going back to posting #fridayflash every Friday via Twitter. I’ll post new fiction on my blog, then ‘tweet’ it with the hashtag #fridayflash. I love it. I love the community that’s grown up around #fridayflash, the authors I’ve started following via the hashtag, and really love writing very short fiction. I felt like I was getting much better at it when I took this month off to concentrate on my editing, but I don’t think I should have taken the break.  Looking back, I should have kept up, and maybe part of my lack-of-drive on the editing project had to do with my giving up something that I really got a lot out of.

Third, I plan on submitting more of my short fiction for publication. I’m very excited about being published in The Best of 2009 #FridayFlash Anthology, and I want to start submitting more of my work.  I’ve been nervous about it (terrified actually), but I don’t want to put it off any longer. I need to stop being a coward and just do it.  And who knows? Someone else might like my work too.

Finally, I want to keep experimenting. I’m not saying that I’ll stop any of my other projects, but rather that I’m not going to be afraid to try new things or experiment with novel approaches to old things.  If that means that I make mistakes along the way, well I’ll learn as I go. I was thinking (once I finish my edit of my first novel- which I will pick up again after a break) I might try writing a serial.

Until next Friday, have a great week!

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National Blog Posting Month: 2010-02-27

National Blog Posting Month – Day 27

Another late post, but I need to keep up on this. My monthly goals have been successful (or not) to varying degrees, and with only 1 more day of NaBloPoMo it’s time to sum up my monthly projects.  My main projects were both NaBloPoMo and editing my rough draft novel. The point of NaBloPoMo was to hold myself accountable by blogging every day about my editing progress. The possible embarrassment of having to admit I didn’t meet my goal was supposed to motivate me to edit my novel every day (complete by the end of the month).

While I have blogged every day this month, and I have edited most days of this month, I did not meet my overall goal to finish one complete edit of my novel. I’m 50 pages into what began as 156 page rough draft. There has been a ton of material cut from the draft, plus some (but not as much) added back.  When I realized that I wasn’t progressing as fast as I’d hoped, I tried to adjust my schedule so as not to take away from time with my family while still finishing at least half of the first edit. I still failed. I’m a third of the way (possibly more with the cuts) through the edit.

So, yes, I’m embarrassed. I set a goal that I was unable to accomplish. I could blame it on February (the shortest month of the year), family issues (a family emergency came up), or much tighter work schedule at home than what I’d anticipated. While all those things were factors, ultimately I still could have done it if I’d pressed myself a little harder. I allowed myself to get distracted with side projects instead of focusing on my main goal. I have only myself to blame.

On a more positive note, I did discover several things about myself and my writing. Those side projects, while I allowed them to interfere with my main goal (the edit), proved valuable learning experiences. I can easily see myself keeping up with them off and on for years to come.  Freewriting has been a great way to clear out the clutter in my mind as well as come up with some pretty good (in my opinion) ideas for short stories and poems. I looked into poetry some more, specifically free verse, and discovered that my thoughts about free verse were wrong. It’s not that free verse has no rules, only that the rules are set by the author for that particular poem. Some free verse is very structured, just not the way that a sonnet or ode or other style poem might be.

Also, I’ve started following a new blog that I enjoy called The Book Wyrm through NaBloPoMo. So, while I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do, I did accomplish some things I hadn’t anticipated. I discovered some new things, and I think I’m better off for the experience.

Have a great evening, and keep reading and writing!

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National Blog Posting Month: 2010-02-26

National Blog Posting Month – Day 26

Today’s post is later than normal since I’ve been feeling under the weather (read: depressed) all day. I didn’t get to my editing last night for my rough draft novel (Nanowrimo). I planned to do it in the evening, after a full day of school, cleaning, paperwork, etc. Guess what? I forgot. No excuses. Not I was too tired or anything like that. It just plain slipped my mind. I did some writing during the day, poetry and short fiction, but I was ‘saving’ the Nanowrimo edit til the evening. I should have done it during the day, inbetween, like I usually fit my writing. That’s what I get for procrastinating, and I have only myself to blame. I haven’t gotten nearly as far in my edit as I’d hoped. It started out fun, but right now I’m dreading every time I work on it. I’m a little ashamed that I haven’t accomplished more.

On a brighter note, my son’s writing for school has really taken off. I’m really proud of him. He’s been writing compare/contrast paragraphs once a day, and they just keep getting better and better. Plus, the unit he covered for composition this week was all about poetry, so he’s been writing them like crazy. So far, it’s the writing exercise he’s enjoyed the most. He’s written quite a bit, so I won’t post it all, just his latest poem.

Lightning of Heaven

Lightning is like a pole of fire
reaching down from heaven’s sky,
and when I see of course I climb it,
And then I ask, “Where is (pi)?”

I didn’t have any way of showing it, but he drew the symbol for (3.14…)pi. 😀

Now I must be off so that I don’t procrastinate editing tonight. It’s going to be hard. It’s Friday, when everyone posts their #fridayflash.
Must. Resist. Temptation.

Have a great day, and keep reading and writing!

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National Blog Posting Month: 2010-02-25

National Blog Posting Month – Day 25

After yesterday’s poetry post where I abused you with my verse, I am here to make it up with a poem by my son. His virtual school had a lesson yesterday where he wrote a (you guessed it) free verse poem. He picked his favorite animals.

Bats

oh bats you fly so high, so high
you may just go and touch the
sky, And I go see you, big or small
all of you are the best of all
And when I hear thunder
you go down and plunder
All the bugs in the night
It’s enough to make you
fright
Ill just go sound asleep
And I’ll close my eyes to
darkness deep
And when I wake up your sound
asleep
But I’ll never forget you in the night
And your makeshift of
darkness and fright

I typed it as closely as I could to how he actually wrote it on the paper. I love that he tried to make it look cooler by indenting some of the lines (lines 5-8, WordPress wouldn’t show the indents). I think he did a great job, though I know I’m biased. Not bad for a 9 year old; eh?

I also did some more research into ‘free verse’ poetry. It seems that Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass was filled with free verse with some notable exceptions (‘Oh Captain, My Captain!). Honestly, I’ve never been able to get through Leaves of Grass. And now I know why. I just don’t like his style. But it turns out that I have read some that I’m very fond of, though I didn’t realize it was free verse. From my research, free verse has been likened to songs that don’t rhyme. They have a rhythm, the words bring emotion or mental images, but the rules for each song (or poem) are created by the author.

The poet might choose to write in a style where the speaker would pause for breath at the end of each line, or they could end lines when making a specific point. It’s an interesting idea. I think I’m more of a traditionalist; I love sonnets, odes, even limericks. But I think well done free verse would be a challenge, maybe more so because the writer needs to make up their own rules.

So, in the interest of experimentation, I think I’m going to try this. I was thinking of also trying my hand at writing poems where the placement of the words on the page visually represent what the poem is about. I’m not sure what that’s called. I’m a bit embarrassed about this, especially since I made a point of saying how I really don’t care for free verse in general, but what’s life without a little risk?* I’ll probably post some in the next few days. Criticism is always welcome, as long as it’s polite.

The thought that keeps bouncing around my brain is that lots of people write poetry. Lots of people think they write well. That doesn’t mean they do. They might, but who can say? My efforts might be fine, or they might be awful. I’ll just do my best. Either way, it’ll be fun! Wish me luck.

Have a great day, and keep reading and writing.

*I actually have one more free verse poem written, but I’ve been embarrassed to post it. I’ll get over it and post it anyway soon, but remember I’m a beginner.

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‘notebooks’ and ‘moleskine’

A Poetry break

I’ve been exposed to poetry several times over the last few days. My son and I reread Where the Sidewalk ends recently. I met with fellow Nanowrimo authors this weekend, one of which is a published poet, and discussed free verse versus more formal styles. Yesterday my son’s schoolwork for Language Arts covered poetry as well. I’d taken some notes the other night, inspired by my freewriting exercise, intending to convert to a more formal style later (maybe a sonnet). Since I’ve never really cared for free verse, of course my unstructured notes sounded better to me than the poem I created from them. I’ll post them both so they can be compared. In notebooks, my free verse poem, I’m guilty of using the same adjectives more than once, but I was simply trying to capture my feelings. I think the more structured moleskine is prettier, but I admit that I prefer the free verse in this particular instance.

notebooks

my shelf is filled with beautiful journals i’ve never written in
dust covered but lovely just the same
the papers were never marred
by pencil
ink splotches
stains from food or drink
they are pristine
except for the dust
nothing ever seemed good enough to put down on the pages
or i’d dedicate a notebook to a single subject
but nothing was ever good enough
to stain the perfect pages
so most of them stayed blank
and sat on my shelf
safe and dusty
i wonder what i would have written
if i had dared to ruin them

now that i’m older
and wise enough to know i’m not
i don’t care if the pages are pristine
i dont care if they aren’t the way i envisioned them
all i care about
is the feel of the notebook cover
pliable and soft in my hands
watching the ink glide over the creamy surface of its pages
i choose all colors that i think are beautiful
that way
whatever mess i make
will be a lovely rainbow

they are my notebooks
my mess
i wonder what pleasure i missed
by denying myself so long
the pleasure of failing

*

moleskine*


Beautiful journals
only dust adorned them
Pristine cream pages
Lonely, lovely, empty

Bendable and soft
covers conform to touch
Rose and lilac ink
blossom delicate scrawls

Stray thoughts captured there
bound with ink and paper
My charming nonsense
pleases imperfect me.

*

As far as my current project goes, I completed some pages but spent the better part of yesterday trying to organize the various files I’d created for my rough draft novel edit. I’ve gotten the desktop files organized, though the format needs to be fixed. I might need to spent more time researching formatting solutions during my break after February. I have one more free verse (sigh) poem to post, plus a pretty good rough draft of a flash story that’s been in my brain awhile. So next week when I go back to posting flash, I’ll have one almost finished. It just needs a polish.

Please leave comments if you can. I’d love to hear what you have to say. In the meantime, have a great day, and keep reading and writing!

*The title of my poem, ‘moleskine’, is simply because I love their notebooks. I am not associated with the company in any way.

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National Blog Posting Month: 2010-02-23

National Blog Posting Month – Day 23

Time is running out. Will I make my deadline of one complete edit before the end of the month? No. Will I suffer utter embarrassment after boldly declaring that I would make the deadline despite the odds? No, not particularly. The thing is, this month was the worst month I could have possibly picked to do this. Not only is it the shortest month of the year, but as a family all sorts of crap kept coming up that couldn’t possibly be put off. Normally in November I can plan out ahead and either work ahead or procrastinate my other duties so the month is free. No such luck this February. It just wasn’t in the cards.

I did learn what Shel Silverstein said so eloquently in ‘The Little Blue Engine,’
“If the track is tough and the hill is rough, THINKING you can just ain’t enough!”

I’m not going to moan about it though. I got a lot accomplished, tried some new things. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – right? I’m not all the way through my Nanowrimo edit, but I’m about 35% done with this first run. I’ll have more done by the end of this week. Last night I spent some time organizing my files for this project on our desktop computer so that I can work more quickly; I’ll be better prepared when I pick up this project again. I’ve discovered some glaring plot flaws of which I was blissfully ignorant. Between now and whenever I pick this up again, I’ll have time to mull them over and jot down ideas on how to fix them.

Yesterday, I accomplished a lot! I edited some pages in the morning, exercised with Wii Active for a half hour, posted my NaBloPoMo, freewrote, wrote down some good ideas for some other writing projects, organized my writing folder on the desktop computer, and even spent some time before bed on the eliptical machine. After my post this morning, I plan on doing the Wii Active again before my son’s school day begins. Wish me luck!

Have a great day, and keep reading and writing!

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National Blog Posting Month: 2010-02-22

National Blog Posting Month – Day 22

My joints and muscles ache from last night’s exertions. You know that sounds exciting, because I’m talking about Wii Active. It’s a customizable fitness program that we bought over the weekend to help the whole family get in shape. I haven’t touched the Wii since we got it at Christmastime. I’ve played a few games when my son or hubby asked, but nothing on my own. I’ve never so much as turned the thing on. I might love Star Trek and Esperanto, but my nerd tendencies don’t stretch toward video games or comics (with the notable exception of Watchmen which is not technically a comic but a graphic novel). Now…where was I?

Oh. I’m sore. And now I need to find the motivation to work out again. I’m hoping to squeeze it in this morning after I post my NaBloPoMo post for the day but before I have to get my son up for his virtual school.  He may not need to physically go anywhere and we can start when we want, but we do attempt to keep to a regular schedule.  I have my laptop handy to try to edit my Nanowrimo, though I doubt I’ll get much done on it before tonight. Mondays are usually busy.  I’ll most likely edit on my laptop while at my son’s karate lesson tonight (which counts as P.E. for school incidently).

I also plan to do some more freewriting today to try out the exercise some more. That’s something that I can slip in when I have a few extra minutes between other work around the house. My tea is cooling as I write this. I’m allowing myself a few more minutes of procrastination before I need to go (*gasp*) exercise. Then I can get on with my son’s virtual schooling, my daily chores, and writing. Wish me luck!

Have a great day, and keep reading and writing!

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National Blog Posting Month: 2010-02-21

National Blog Posting Month – Day 21

Yesterday the Off-Season Nanowrimo group met at Panera for fun, discussion, and large quantities of caffeinated beverages.  I enjoyed seeing everyone again, not to mention someone new. He had participated in the 2009 Nanowrimo but attended all the meetings that I missed. Our conversations varied from what we’d done with our Nanowrimo novels – mostly nothing, but a couple were still being tinkered with. I think was the only one currently editing, though that doesn’t mean much since I’m just winging it. Another wrimo and I discussed editing strategies. The group topics ranged from dieting strategies to Stephen King novels to Brandice’s upcoming book signing (a poetry book called Columbus Groove).  I told her that I’d heard about a local author day at our library, so she might check that out too.

Last night, while I was websurfing, another author tweeted about his freewriting progress. I’ve heard the term before, also known as stream-of-consciousness, but I wasn’t entirely sure what it was.  After some googling, I decided to try it. It worked for Kerouac; right? To be pefectly honest, from what I’d read and heard before it didn’t sound productive to me, but I figured (as I’ve done so many times), ‘What the hell?’

So, if I understand correctly (and I’m fully prepared to admit I don’t), the general idea of freewriting is to write without rules for a set amount of time, simply putting words on paper, whatever comes into your head without regard to sentence structure, grammar, or anything else- sort of like this sentence.  By doing this, you can go back and reread whatever nonsense you’ve written and pick out the little gems that might make good stories. It’s also a way to break out of writer’s block.  In a way, it reminds me of Nanowrimo.

Today I tried freewriting for the first time. I’m not sure how helpful it was, but I did enjoy simply putting pencil to paper, especially since it gave me a chance to fill up some more of my bigger moleskine notebook. I thought about freewriting in another notebook or my small laptop, but they weren’t as convenient to carry around. I know some of the blogs I read said that you just discard what you’ve written afterwards, but I think I’ll keep it. It may be nonsense right now, but it’s my nonsense.  And maybe later something else will come from it.

As far as my editing progress goes, I’m will attempt a few pages tonight, though I promised myself no editing pressure over the weekends.  To be perfectly honest, I still haven’t figured out what works best for me as I try to revise my rough draft novel. Sometimes it’s fun, but a lot of times it’s just a chore. I know that it’s not always going to be fun, but I just don’t have a clear picture of what I’m doing. I think part of the problem is that  (as I revise) I have trouble envisioning the entire story. When I edit my flash, it’s all I can do to make myself stop tweaking it. They’re short enough that I can see the impact of my work in a glimpse. I’d hoped to at least finish my first complete novel edit this month, but there is just no way. None. I’m on pages 40-50 of 152. Also, at the rate that my Nanowrimo’s shrinking by the time I’m done I’ll have a novella instead of a novel- if I’m lucky.  That’s okay, but it wasn’t really my goal.  Of course I might also add more things, but I don’t think I’ll add enough to make up the difference of what I’ve cut.

As I’ve learned more about the craft of writing, I’ve discovered I really enjoy the flash fiction more than anything else I’ve worked on so far. I’ve written some short stories in different genres and occasionally some poems, but I feel my best work is my short fiction. I enjoy the challenge of telling a short, complete story with tight prose. I’m not saying I’m going to stop trying other things, but that’s something I’ve learned about myself as a writer.

Next month, when this National Blog Posting Month is over, I’ll return to writing flash and short fiction, maybe dabble in some poetry and other writing styles, and take the next month or two off from editing the rest of my Nanowrimo. I’ll continue reading about editing techniques, and hopefully by my next crack at it, I’ll make more headway. In the meantime, I continue plugging away at my keyboard and scribbling away in my moleskine and immersing myself in good books.

Have a great day, and keep reading and writing!

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Announcing: The Best of 2009 #fridayflash Anthology

I’m very honored and excited to announce that my story, A Hell of a Job, has been selected to be included in The Best of 2009 #fridayflash Anthology! This will be the first time any of my flash has been published outside my blog. I am waiting to find out more in the next month of so about the publication. There is talk of a possible web badge for authors blogs, so I will post more as I find things out. Thank you again to J.M. Strothers, the man behind both #fridayflash and the Anthology, as well as all the other wonderful volunteers and authors that participate.

If you are unfamilair with #fridayflash, it’s the brainchild of author J.M. Strothers (@jmstro). The idea is to drive traffic to the blogs of authors by offering free short fiction. To participate, simply write a flash fiction story of 1,000 words or less, post it on your blog on Friday, then post a link to the piece under the hashtag #fridayflash on Twitter. Fridayflash has really taken off with tons of great authors just giving away their work for your enjoyment and hopefully a few helpful comments.  If you aren’t an author, readers are welcome and needed. Authors LOVE to have people read their work. Come and try it out next Friday! Just search under the hashtag #fridayflash on Twitter, and get ready for a real treat.

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