#WriteTuesday – Podcast Recording has Begun!

Last week, we unfortunately had someone drop out of the podcast I’ve been co-writing at work.  That meant we had to shuffle the cast a bit, which resulted in me being bumped from one of the side characters (Charlotte) to one of the main characters (Kaitlyn).  And we’re recording some of the Kaitlyn scenes Monday (ie yesterday)!

Cue me freaking out a bit.  I’ve been ready to play Charlotte for months now.  While writing the script, I could picture her voice in my head.  I knew her.  I could nail her dialogue.  But Kaitlyn was written for someone else.  While writing I was picturing her as the other actress, trying to tailor the words to her.  And suddenly Kaitlyn is me!  What do I do???  I’m not Kaitlyn!!!  😨

Well, one of the best things I did in the middle of freaking out a bit was message an actor friend of mine for some advice.  What do you do if you’ve been preparing for one role and suddenly given another one.  He sent me the most wonderful reply (thank you again, Kevin!!!) telling me to find the commonality between me and the character, and make sure I bring myself to the character.  So with that in mind, I spent a few days trying to figure out who Kaitlyn is as a character and how exactly we can connect.  And then I started playing with the dialogue a bit (that was an idea I had based off talking to my friend Scott about how Anthony Hopkins prepared for Two Popes), trying to deliver the lines in a way that is still me (I’m not going to lie, I also tinkered with the dialogue here and there if I had trouble saying something as it was written, too).  Between all of this, by Saturday night, I felt like I had a feel for Kaitlyn’s voice.

Kaitlyn’s character has changed a little bit in the process.  We originally wrote her to be more monotone and sarcastic, particularly with her humour.  But now that I’m the one delivering the lines, especially opposite the other main character, Darryl (who is absolutely ridiculous; he’s voiced by my co-writer, Derek), the monotone sarcasm felt hollow.  I found myself delivering a lot of the lines with a hint of laughter and light teasing instead of sarcasm as I was practicing over the weekend.  So the podcast is going to have a different Kaitlyn than originally envisioned, which will hopefully be ok!

Thankfully recording yesterday went really well.  Lisa, (another co-worker who was doing the recording), said Derek and I sounded really natural – the dialogue flowed well and sounded like a conversation (bonus points for our writing! 😉 )  We actually recorded more than we thought we would yesterday, which was another bonus – I can’t wait to hear the finished product! 🙂

It’s going to be a bit though before it’s available; while the scenes that just feature Derek and me are done, we’ve got a few more recording sessions scheduled.  There will be one for my character’s monologues, a few for a few other character monologues, plus a few involving almost the entire cast!

I’ll post more updates on this project as I have them. 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Slowly Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Alright, so the holidays are over!  Time to go back to regular life.  Now I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find getting back into a routine to be a bit of a struggle.  So I’ve been quite proud of myself, that I’ve managed to fit in some editing over the last week.  I was able to send one chapter back to its author, and now I’m working on another one.

Other than that, I was also really glad to get some stuff done around the house.  I cleaned up my Christmas decorations (as well as my kitchen in general). It’s always a bit sad to put all the decorations away, but now my place (especially my kitchen table, which doubles as my desk) feels a lot less chaotic; hopefully that will also help me get a bit more work done!

Hopefully this week will be even more productive. 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Merry Ukrainian Christmas!

lol, holiday season does stretch on for a bit on my family.  Today is Ukrainian Christmas; last night, my family had our last big dinner of the season.  We have 12 meatless dishes as tradition demands, but we’ve modified things a bit, having some traditional dishes (like kutia, borscht, meatless cabbage rolls, and perogies) and some non-traditional ones (I asked for more vegetable dishes because the whole meal is usually such a starch overload!)  My immediate family also has our own tradition: we started opening stocking presents on Ukrainian Christmas Eve as well.  This tradition has actually morphed over the years – originally we all spent $20 on everyone, but now we’ve made it a Secret Santa, and donate the extra money we would have spent to charity (every year a different person chooses the charity – this year was my sister-in-law’s choice).  Finally, we’ve changed it again: instead of buying something, you make something (with the same $20 limit for materials).  🙂

So once again I didn’t do much writing over the last week (although I did fit in some editing). But holiday season is mostly over, so hopefully I’ll have more to report next week!

Khrystos Rozhdayetsia!

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Interview #74!

The seventy-fourth author interview on TBPL Off the Shelf went live yesterday. This time I interviewed local author Clementia Kiele about preserving cultural stories for future generations, the folktale that inspired her picture book, and why she chose to write for children.  You can find the interview here.

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Hello 2020!

Oh my gosh, it’s a new year already! I can’t believe how fast 2019 has gone!

Last year I did things a bit differently.  My plan was to set smaller goals every month to give me the flexibility to accomplish more through the year (especially as plans inevitably change).  But then that didn’t really work; the goal I set for January (finish the Make Your Way story I started writing) – took until May to finish the first draft, September to finish edits, and I finally submitted it in November.  And by the time fall rolled around, a few other commitments popped up (ThunderCon and the book editing I’m still working on), which pretty much brought me to the end of the year.

In the beginning of 2019 I was also trying to balance working on Sustainably North with other writing goals.  I even dedicated the entire month of March to working on the blog.  But over the spring, I started to feel like I was spending far too much time on the blog to the detriment of everything else; by the end of July, I decided to stop working on Sustainably North.  As much as I was sad to do this (and still am – I feel like Sustainably North was a good thing to be working on), stopping the blog freed me to work on other things; I’m pretty sure if I didn’t stop working on it, I’d still be trying to fit in finishing the Make Your Way story!

One thing that I did in 2019 that I was very proud of was I started setting weekly goals for myself.  In a notebook I’d write down the things I wanted to accomplish in a week, then break them down into really small-pieces and check them off as I accomplished them, like so:

weekly goals example

Here’s an example page from September 2019, where I broke down editing sections of the Make Your Way story.

This worked surprisingly well for me, keeping me on track and motivated, while allowing me to chip away at things and a very sustainable pace.  Unfortunately I haven’t been able to use this method with the book editing project because I have no control on what I’m working on when.  But as soon as that is finished, I’ll definitely be going back to this!

I also did accomplish the year-long reading goal I set in 2019.  I actually blew past my goal of 25 books in June, finishing with 40 (well, Goodreads says 40, but it was a bit less because I added a few short stories on at the end – my goal for the year was 25 novel-length books, which doesn’t count those or graphic novels like Die, which I added because I loved it so much).

Based off of what happened in 2019, for this year I’m going to go back to having only one or two major goals I’d like to accomplish for the year, rather than trying to break things down by month.  I’m also going to just list personal projects and goals, rather than the book editing project which I have been contracted for (even though that is a big project I will be working on, at least for the next few months!)  So with that in mind, here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish in 2020:

  1. Read 25 novel-length books. 25 books continues to work really well for me so I’m going to keep the same goal.  This number takes the pressure off of me and makes reading more fun.
  2. Finish Memories.  The RPG I’ve been calling Memories is close to being done. The game is pretty much built, but I need to fix up a few points and figure out how to end it.  I really want to finish it this year!
  3. Edit two of the short stories I’ve already written so they’re ready for submissions. I’ve got several stories on my computer right now (including “A Friend from the Deep”) which definitely need to be edited.  I may not have places to submit them to, but having some of them ready to submit would be fantastic!

So what about you?  How was your 2019?  Do you have any goals for the new year? 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Happy New Year!

As last week was Christmas Eve, I wasn’t paying attention and forgot to post on Tuesday; I didn’t want to make the same mistake this week, too, even though it’s New Year’s Eve.  As I’m sure we’re all busy with the holidays, I wanted to wish everyone all the best for 2020!!!

I’ll hopefully get back to posting regular #WriteTuesday posts next week. 🙂

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December 2019 What Are You Reading?

Happy Boxing Day everyone!  I hope your holidays have been great. 😀

I actually did quite a bit of reading this month (mostly while on vacation in Florida).  As you can see, I spent my time catching up on some fiction (those Matt Forbeck books were part of his 12 for ’12, which I actually backed in 2012 – I’m still behind on them though as there are two more trilogies to read!!!)

Nonfiction books:

  • Stress Less, Accomplish More by Emily Fletcher

Fiction books:

  • Die by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans.
  • Hard Times in Dragon City by Matt Forbeck
  • Bad Times in Dragon City by Matt Forbeck
  • End Times in Dragon City by Matt Forbeck
  • “The Mooncalfe” by David Farland
  • “Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages” by Dean Koontz

I also read a Women’s WorldPreventionYoga Journal, Modern Cat, and Uncanny Magazine while on vacation, too!

My favourite was definitely Die by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans.  I read the volume 1 graphic novel and absolutely loved it.  I originally got it from the library, but I purchased a copy for myself because I loved it so much. 🙂

So what have you read over the last month?  What was your favourite book?

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