The fifty-sixth author interview on TBPL Off the Shelf went live today. This time I interviewed Marion Agnew about “translating” technical information, writing creative nonfiction, and why she considers Thunder Bay her true home. You can find the interview here!
Over the last week, I unfortunately haven’t done a lot of writing. Well, that’s not exactly true – I did get an article written for work, which *should* be in the paper next weekend (depending on whether or not the paper actually publishes it). But I didn’t get a lot of personal writing done.
What I did do though was a bunch of planning for Sustainably North. I decided I’m going to try treating that blog like a magazine. By “magazine,” I mean that I came up with some monthly themes; my hope is to write an intro blog post for each theme at the beginning of the month, then two regular posts and one book review. During months with five weeks, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do for that last post. I’m currently thinking I’ll do another Article Roundup, but I’ll have to see once that happens. Nearer the end of the year, I’ll assess whether or not this strategy is working.
So for June, I’m going to continue writing about gardening stuff. I’m already doing that a bit, so I thought it would be an easy topic to continue in order to transition to “magazine” in July. Ideally I’d like to have my posts all written ahead of time (so far I’ve been writing Sustainably North posts pretty last minute), so I’m going to hopefully use June to help me get that set up. I also have a book picked out for a June review, so I need to get that read, too!
Other than working on Sustainably North stuff, I also did finally type up the handwritten first draft of that short story I wrote over the long weekend. I’m really glad I did it too – the notebook I’d written it in was sitting out on my table for like a week! Feeling fed up with it sitting out was what finally got me to stop procrastinating and get it typed up. I’m hoping that over the next week or two, I’ll have a chance to start revising it. 🙂
So last weekend was a long weekend here in Canada. I set myself a couple of low-grade writing goals: get a post written for Sustainably North (that’s kind of a given), and write a first draft of a short story. The Sustainably North post ended up a short rant about garbage and what to do about cat litter (I don’t have an answer to that last one – if you have any ideas, please let me know on the post!)
So that left the draft of the short story. I knew what I wanted to do – I found a market on Duotrope that wants short stories about monsters (and not the usual ones either). With a bit of thought, I decided to write about a monster from Imezza (specifically a kraken, because why not?) I originally started developing Imezza specifically to write short stories in it, so this seemed like an easy choice. Unfortunately, as much as Imezza is developed, there are still gaping holes in the setting. Which makes it very hard to stay focussed on writing in the setting right now because I keep getting sidetracked by research needs.
The main problem I was having last weekend was that I decided to focus on a character whose species hasn’t been very well developed by me to date (whoops!) And then the kraken itself started giving me grief. Do kraken look like octopus? Squid? What do their eyes look like? That last question sent me onto the internet for probably 45 minutes or so. I now know how octopus eyes see colour. But I never did track down what colours exactly octopus eyes come in (I ended up having to image search octopus eyes to see what colours they come in).
Despite all the research quagmires, in the end I did succeed in crafting a first draft of a story. It’s going to need a whole lot of work, but at least it’s a start. And in the process, I hit my writing goal for last weekend, so that’s a win in and of itself. 🙂
I’m rather proud of myself: I’ve managed to successfully post on Sustainably North weekly for over a month! When I first started that blog, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it (considering my track record on here hasn’t been great). I don’t know that I’ve managed to find the proper voice for the blog yet, but it has been getting a bit easier to write posts. I don’t want to stretch myself too thin or get overwhelmed (I have a really bad habit of that because I always seem to take on too much or try to work on multiple big projects at the same time), so I’m going to keep Sustainably North going at one post a week for now.
With that going well, I need to start adding in other things too (but nothing too big because I don’t want to get overwhelmed). Specifically, I think I need to start working on some of my goals for the year. I’ve already managed to read 16 novel-length books (8 were actual novels), so I’m not too worried about my reading goal. So that means it’s time to either work on one of my RPGs or look at writing a short story.
Oh, thinking of short stories: I WAS working on one back in early April. I found a market that sounded intriguing and started writing something for it. But by the time I got through most of a draft, I realized the story wouldn’t actually fit the market very well. So that got shelved and unfortunately I haven’t been working on anything else since.
So I think my plan of attack for this week is going to be to start working on another short story. I need to either find another market on Duotrope that interests me, or else pull out one of the stories I’ve shelved and actually finish it. I’ll see what catches my interest over the next few days. 🙂
Today I updated my website. The website was long-overdue for an overhaul; I don’t believe I’ve made any major changes to it since the last update in 2012. I have made some minor edits here and there, but they were all really piecemeal. I also wasn’t very happy with a lot of the pages on it, but other than vaguely thinking “I needed to change these,” I wasn’t really sure what to do.
Updating the site took me most of the afternoon, and a few hours this evening (interrupted by watching my first city council meeting via a live-stream). Here are the changes I made:
- Updated my bio on the About page
- Renamed the Articles page Nonfiction
- Rewrote the information on the Nonfiction page – it’s now much shorter (and far more concise)
- Changed Other Writing to Blogs
- Rewrote the information on the Blogs page (again, making it more concise)
- Rewrote the Home page (it now has a shorter bio about me on it)
- Deleted a whole bunch of unused pages on the back end of the site (there were seriously like 10!)
- Changed the banner picture (it’s now the dragons my friend Austin Alander made for me many years ago – he made it using concept art for a game we were working on together at the time)
- Minor updates on the Games page
- Changed out the pictures I had of myself for a new one I took yesterday
I’m much happier with how the site looks now. 🙂
So recently I started a new blog, called Sustainably North. I’ve been worrying a lot about the future lately (mainly global warming, but also the sheer amount of plastic that’s everywhere); rather than just endlessly worrying, I decided to try to do something to help work towards a better future. I specifically decided to focus on trying to live a more sustainable life locally because I wanted to feel like I was making a difference (even if it’s just in a small way). I also get upset and overwhelmed with the way things are here…like we’re a small city with terrible transit, and the city has long had a weird mentality that since we’re so isolated with lots of space we can just sort of do whatever (and move the dump if it gets full sort of thing).
I started the blog in earnest in early April (I planned for it in January/February, but due to other commitments I didn’t actually launch it until this month); I thought April was a fitting month because that’s when Earth Day is. I’ve decided right now to aim for one post a week – I didn’t want to over-commit to posting in case I wasn’t able to keep up the momentum (I figure I can always add another day if I feel like I can keep up with it). Right now I’m really struggling with the fact that I don’t quite know what I want the blog to really be; plus I don’t have a voice nailed down for it, nor do I know what the posts should look like. But I’m sure these issues will resolve themselves with time, so I’m not really worried about them (I just need to keep writing and see what happens!)
Even though Sustainably North is on the go, I will still be around on here, since this is my blog for my writing more generally. I’ll probably be talking a bit more about Sustainably North in the future, too, as I work on developing a format and voice that I’m happy with.