#WriteTuesday – Happy May Long!

It was the May Long Weekend here in Canada – hope you had a great long weekend if you celebrate Victoria Day (or any other holidays!) If you didn’t have a long weekend, I hope you had a good weekend all the same. 🙂

My goals for the last week were to plan out the June Sustainably North posts and to start the edits on the story for Make Your Way. I accomplished the former, but unfortunately didn’t work on the latter; as the long weekend hit, I decided instead to read The Greenprint, the book I had decided to review for Sustainably North in June. I ended up getting about a third of the way through the book and decided it wasn’t for me (I didn’t like the writing); because I didn’t finish the book, I decided not to review it. Instead, I found a couple of other books that I think will be a better fit for my June topic at the library, so I’ve put them on hold. I will hopefully have them in a few days, and will decide which one to read and review at that time.

Since I didn’t get started on the Make Your Way edits as planned, it looks like this next week will be busy! Along with starting the edits, I’m hoping to write out a bunch of the June Sustainably North posts, and read a couple of books (I started one, and once I’m finished it I’ll start on the June Sustainably North one).

What about you? What are you currently working on? 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Back After a Break

Spinning Silver and my tea mugLike I said I was going to, I took the last week off from writing.  I’m not going to lie: it was kind of hard.  At the back of my mind I kept thinking that I really need to figure out what I’m doing for June on Sustainably North.  I was also tempted to start writing another short story for fun.  So I don’t know that it was a particularly relaxing week, but I stayed away from writing.

One of the best things to come out of this was that I finally read Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver.  I was a huge fan of Uprooted, and was really looking forward to reading her next fairy tale.  But I wanted Spinning Silver in trade paperback so it’s the same as my copy of Uprooted.  So for my birthday last year, my brother gave me a gift card for Chapters, and I waited almost a year, saving that card until Spinning Silver was finally available in trade.  It arrived late last week to the store and I picked it up on Friday.  I then spent most of the weekend reading it.

I’m not going to lie: it felt so good to be reading fiction.  I’ve read so much nonfiction over the last few years, many of which have been climate-related books.  They’re heavy, and honestly rather depressing.  So even though Spinning Silver is not exactly a happy read (the kingdom in question is besieged by the lord of winter, who is extending winter further and further into the other seasons so crops are dying) and is in its own way topical (dealing with crazy weather patterns), it was still fantastical and honestly just an all around good read.  (Although I freely admit that I thought there were a few too many point of view characters popping up – I think Uprooted was better because the narrative is much tighter).  Even though the nonfiction books I’ve been reading have been good in their own ways, it was wonderful to go back to fiction.

Once I was finished reading Spinning Silver, I then spent some time going through some old magazines.  I got through about five or so that have been sitting around, waiting for me to read them (I was especially happy to get through a few Maclean’s magazines – I was almost a year behind on them!!!)  Other than that, I found myself mostly hanging out with friends and family (happy belated Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there!)

This next week looks like it’s going to be rather busy.  Between work and other plans, I’m going to have to be really careful with my time.  I’m hoping to have June planned out for Sustainably North by next Tuesday, and have started the edits on the Make Your Way story (in a perfect world, I’m hoping to have the first full editing sweep done; we’ll see how that goes as the week progresses!)  So wish me luck, and lots of luck to you, whatever your plans are over the next week! 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Make Your Way Story Draft 1 Complete!

I did it!!!  I finished the first draft of the story I’m writing for the Make Your Way anthology!  I exported the story from the Game Book Authoring Tool; the draft is 28 pages long (13,661 words)!  Check out the completed graph:

graph of draft 1 sections

The final story ended up having 71 sections!

There are now 11 possible endings (the light green sections).  Since last Tuesday, I’ve added another 23 sections to the story.

Now that it’s done, it’s going to need some major editing.  But I’ve decided that I’m going to take a week off from working on it to work on some other things.  After all of the work I’ve done on this story over the last few weeks, plus all the work I’ve been doing on Sustainably North (I have all of the May posts scheduled!), I figured that a bit of a break is in order, just to clean up (my kitchen table is my work space, and it’s totally a mess right now as you can see…)

my messy workspace

So next week I’ll get to work on editing this story (and planning out June on Sustainably North).  But in the meantime I’m hoping to have a relaxing week (maybe I’ll even read a fiction book for a change!) I hope you have a great and productive or relaxing week, whatever the plan may be!

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#WriteTuesday – Progress on Make Your Way story!

On Sunday, I was really proud of myself – I was able to write and schedule most of the remaining Sustainably North posts for May!  Prior to Sunday, I got a few quotes and the May bUneke post scheduled.  But on Sunday I wrote and scheduled the two essays for May, as well as the final Friday post (it’s going to be another taste-test!), and of course the editorial post (which I didn’t want to write until I had the two essays figured out).  So all that’s left for May is to finish reading the book I’m reviewing, then write and schedule the review!

Then yesterday afternoon, I actually did some work on the Make Your Way story!!!  I was going to plan out all of the endings before writing them up, but as I started working on it again, I found myself doing a little bit of planning, then a little bit of writing.  Going back and forth really helped me when I got stuck.  I also had to remind myself that this story isn’t a full game book, so it’s okay to end some of the threads quicker than others.  I wrote up one ending (hurray!) then took a break for dinner.  When I got back to working on the story an hour or so later, I managed to plot out the endings for the rest of the story threads!  And from there, I actually got four of them written out!  Check out the new graph:

story graph with four endings

The different blues are RPG choices the player can make. The light green marks the endings. And the reds/purple were just for me to mark different story threads.

I added about 20 sections to the story today!

Since today is the last day of the month, I’m not quite sure if I’ll be able to get this draft done before May 1st.  But that’s okay; even if I don’t, I should be able to have it finished by the end of the week! 🙂

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April 2019 What Are You Reading?

So not much reading happened for me this month.

Nonfiction books:

  • The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy by Lester R. Brown

Fiction books:

  • none

I was reading The Great Transition for Sustainably North (in April I was celebrating the one year anniversary of the blog, and it came up when I went looking for a positive book on global warming).  Unfortunately it was a bit hard to get through, so I wouldn’t really say it was my favourite, even though it was the only thing I finished reading (I flipped through a couple of other nonfiction books this month, but didn’t actually read through them). Oh, I also read a couple of magazines (I took a few Canadian MoneySaver magazines out from the library and finished those, too – I’d probably say their February 2019 issue on Women in Finance was the best thing I read this month).

So what have you read over the last month?  Did you have a favourite book (or magazine)?

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#WriteTuesday – After the Easter Weekend

Happy Easter everyone! 🙂

I’m really excited – on Friday I finally finished reading the book The Great Transition by Lester R. Brown for Sustainably North (that was the book I chose to review on the blog for this month).  With it read, I was able to write a book review for it and schedule it for the end of the month; now all of the April Sustainably North posts are finished and scheduled!  Next I need to get working on the May ones.

But writing the May ones wasn’t part of the plan for this week; once I was done with the April posts, I wanted to get some work done on the Make Your Way story.  Now I don’t know what my problem is, but I’ve had a heck of a time working on it and getting that first draft written (this has been an ongoing problem since last year).  I actually Googled “why do you have trouble working on a writing project” and came across this article on starting but not finishing a project, which gave some great tips depending on what you have trouble with.  I know I’m definitely someone with starting energy who gets distracted by new projects, so I really need to sit down and actually work on it if I want to see it through.  I also found this article on recapturing your motivation for a project.

While neither of those articles specifically answered what my problem is with this particular writing project, they at least reaffirmed that I need to just get it done.  So even though I (for reasons still unknown) didn’t want to work on it, on Saturday night I made myself read over what I had written to date.  The story is in definite need of editing, but the basic threads seemed pretty solid.  I also flipped through my notes a bit. Unfortunately most of those were from when I was working through a couple of issues with the City of the Dead setting (which is where this story takes place) and not actually notes on the plot.

Of course, rather than getting to work directly on the plot, I ended up going through this blog and eliminating some of the categories I had.  I really had way too many (I didn’t count, but there were three full pages of them!)   I’m hoping to cut the categories down to 15 or less, which is going to be a big job (especially once I’m through all the really small sub-categories).  By the time I finished for the night, I was down to 33.  I also rediscovered the blog post I had written back in 2014 about Keith Barker’s Stories and Dice, and decided to post it rather than delete it.

But that was okay.  Sunday was Easter dinner, so I spent the day cleaning and cooking.  The plan was to get back to the Make Your Way story on Monday.  But then I accidentally set off a fire extinguisher Sunday night in my storage room, and had to spend Monday cleaning that up, too.  I didn’t get nearly as much writing done this weekend as I had hoped to, but life’s like that some times.  Hopefully I’ll be able to cram everything I want to get done into this week instead. 🙂

So how was your Easter weekend?  Anything planned for the coming week?

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Keith Baker’s Stories and Dice

A few years ago, I stumbled on Keith Baker’s Stories and Dice blog post.  Keith got a gumball machine from his wife which he would like to fill with dice.  But rather than just buy a bunch of dice, he was asking people to send him dice along with a story.  The story doesn’t have to be about the die.  I sent him one, but it never did end up posted on his blog.  I’ve actually had this post pretty much ready to go since 2014. Rather than just delete it, I decided I’d finally just post it here.

There were many stories I could have shared with Keith.  But I knew exactly which story I would tell him: the very first time my brother and I roleplayed.  After talking it over with my brother a couple of times, rehashing the details (this happened a very long time ago), here’s the story I sent to Keith:

Years ago, my brother, Alex, used to take piano lessons at my friend Dennis’s house.  One day a week the two of us would get a ride there after school.  I would hang out with Dennis for the full two hours; Alex would come and hang out once his piano lesson was done.

One day, Dennis was flipping through the Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Game (PFRPG).  He had recently enjoyed playing it with some friends, and so talked Alex and I into giving it a try.

Now, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the PFRPG, but it is a rather complex system, especially for people who are brand new to role-playing.  It took Alex and I weeks to build our characters (remember, we only had two hours every week), but finally we were done and Dennis was ready to GM for the first time.  Our very first quest was to deliver a package somewhere.  I don’t remember most of the quest’s details except that we were told we couldn’t open the package or it would explode.  Alex wanted to try anyway, but Dennis wouldn’t let him.  And so our characters set off to deliver the package to a nearby town.  After travelling down the road for awhile, it was time for a random encounter.  Dennis’s choice was truly random: he ended up sending some sort of ogre-like creature after us.  The ogre was far too powerful for our level one characters; predictably it killed both of us.  And thus ended our first foray into role-playing games.  It was several years later before we attempted to role-play again (with a different system!) 

D10 for Keith Baker

Unfortunately, the die I chose to give Keith has nothing to do with my story.  Several years after this disaster with the PFRPG, a different friend invited me to play the Middle Earth Role Playing Game (MERP).  I had a lot of fun, and tried to find the book for myself.  I went into a local store and the guy working suggested I give Vampire: the Masquerade a try, saying it was similar to MERP. He didn’t actually have the Masquerade, but did have a copy of Vampire: the Dark Ages instead.  So I bought that.  While Vampire is NOTHING like MERP, it was still a lot of fun; Vampire: the Dark Ages ended up the game that actually got me and my brother roleplaying.  

Vampire and the other White Wolf games use D10’s.  I ended up buying a lot of D10’s, and so it was one of those that I chose to send to Keith for Stories and Dice.

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