Category Archives: Writing

#WriteTuesday – Working on City of the Dead

Last week I actually did sit down and think through a couple of the City of the Dead worldbuilding kinks I’ve been putting off for two weeks!  I’ve been needing to properly think through some of the fantastic ideas my brother gave me about the setting when I told him what I was working on.  At the time I was trying to puzzle through whether the undead need to sleep.  My brother and I discussed what the different undead within City of the Dead are like and as I mentioned before, he made some suggestions about the undead that were fantastic but had huge repercussions for the entire setting if I decided to use them.  Having mulled them over for a few weeks, I finally examined what those suggestions would mean in practical terms last Tuesday night; in the end I decided to use them (I kind of thought I would because they really were fantastic ideas!)

Of course, all of this led to more questions I needed to answer about different kinds of undead.  I continued working on worldbuilding City of the Dead for a few days until I felt I had sufficiently found answers to my outstanding questions.  Then I finally turned back to thinking about the actual story for the Make Your Way anthology.  My first order of business was figuring out how all of the new worldbuilding changes impacted the characters.  Once I’ve got all of that figured out, I will be able to get back to actually writing!

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Filed under #WriteTuesday, City of the Dead, Worldbuilding, Writing

#WriteTuesday – What I Did on My Vacation

Apologies everyone – I was a little bit confused as to what day it was and wasn’t thinking about posting on here.  Luckily it’s still Tuesday (just a little later than I was planning on posting!)

So last week, when I was taking some me time, I was also on vacation from my day job. 🙂  The week off was fantastic – I made as little plans as possible because, as I said last week, I wanted to slow life down a bit and get caught up on some things I’ve been putting off.

Last Tuesday was #GivingTuesday. I wasn’t expecting it, but bUneke Magazine asked for all their volunteers to post on Instagram their #givingstory.  So I shared this picture to Instagram, Twitter, and my personal Facebook page (although the latter two weren’t flipped like Instagram’s was).  Once I was finished with that, I decided to keep working on some Sustainably North stuff.  For yesterday’s Sustainably North post, I wanted to recreate the paper wreath that I put up on my door this year (I included a picture of it with my November column in bUneke Magazine).  So I made a brand new wreath last Tuesday, and took a lot of pictures of all the steps for making it.  Then for next Monday I wanted to talk about the banana bread I also pictured in that column (it’s my grandmother’s recipe).  So on Wednesday I installed WP Ultimate Recipe to Sustainably North. I did a bit of research because I knew I wanted a professional looking recipe post on the blog – Shivar Web recommended WP Ultimate Recipe.  I installed it and tried it out; it seemed to work fine so I stuck with it.  I then baked some banana bread to take pictures of the entire process (although I barely used any pictures for the actual post, which will be on Sustainably North on the 10th), and later wrote and scheduled the post.

While taking the pictures of the banana bread, I was having a bit of trouble with my flash because I was getting a shadow from my camera.  I ended up trying out a flash diffuser my dad gave me some time ago and it worked like a charm! 🙂

freezer drawer full of bananas

This was my freezer door last Wednesday night!

Oh, and I also need to give a shout out to my friend who provided the walnuts for Wednesday’s banana bread baking!  I always forget that the recipe calls for walnuts (and is way better with walnuts) and I never seem to have any on hand (although I have a freezer door full of bananas).  When I texted her to ask if it was okay that the banana bread wasn’t going to have any (she was waiting to help me eat it), she said she had some “nut pieces,” which turned out to be walnuts!  🙂

After that, I started working on a draft of a book review to post on Sustainably North on December 17th.  Once that’s done, I’m going to talk about the article I wrote for the December issue of bUneke Magazine (I feel that it’s a perfect topic for Christmas Eve), then do another Article Roundup for December 31st.  And that will get me through until the new year!

I’ve been pushing to get all of these posts written for Sustainably North because I really want to reassess what my plan is for the next while.  Back in June I made a plan for the rest of 2018 on Sustainably North.  And then I proceeded to completely ignore that plan and kind of wing it.  I know that things did change a bit because I wasn’t expecting to be writing a monthly column in bUneke Magazine.  But now that I’m feeling rather on top of things again I think it’s time to stop running by the seat of my pants.

Wednesday was also when I started reading Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacob.  While writing the banana bread recipe I realized that I had no idea how recipe writing was actually done….so I read a whole book on food writing.  Most of the book wasn’t very relevant to my needs, but I found it pretty interesting to read all the same.  Once I finished it on Saturday, I went back and edited the recipe on Sustainably North; I feel a lot more confident about how the post and recipe look now. 🙂

Saturday ended up a rather productive day because I also edited and scheduled the book review for December 17th for Sustainably North.  That means I’ve just got two posts left to write and schedule for 2018!

The new issue of bUneke Magazine came out on Saturday, so over the last few days I’ve been reading it over and scheduling Tweets about it for @SustaintheNorth as I do every month.  Once that is done, I’m going to take a break from Sustainably North to actually think through that City of the Dead worldbuilding stuff and hopefully get on with that story for the Make Your Way anthology.

Oh, and I almost forgot – I had a book review published in the Chronicle Journal on Sunday (republished on TBPL Off the Shelf yesterday) about Patricia Briggs‘ Cry Wolf.  I actually read Cry Wolf last year and have been hanging onto this book review as a spare.  Over the last few months I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction books that the library didn’t have, so I felt now was a good time to use this review.  Also regarding TBPL Off the Shelf, this month’s author interview is going to be a bit later than planned (thanks to me being off last week) – I’m hoping to get it posted tomorrow night, but it may have to wait until a bit later in the week.

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#WriteTuesday – Taking Some Me Time

This week I’m trying to slow life down a bit to get caught up with things that I’ve been putting off.  To that end, on Sunday I finally uploaded the pictures I took from the second day of ThunderCon to Flickr (they’re in this album), as well as all the pictures I’ve taken with my phone over the last few months.  You can find all of my pictures on my Flickr photostream. 🙂

While going through my pictures (specifically the ThunderCon ones), I was a bit sad that some of them really didn’t work out.  I’m hoping to be able to work on taking better pictures, specifically of people in low light settings, so if I’m taking pictures for them again next year my pictures will be better in the future.  That being said, I still got some fantastic shots (especially of the Fire Eater, but he was outside so I think that helped a lot!)

Along with slowing down a bit, I’m also trying to take this week to kind of reset myself both mentally and physically.  Over the weekend I was eating a ton of pizza (as well as just way too much on Saturday night at a Christmas party).  So today I went to buy some mandarin oranges (they’re my favourite holiday treat!) and some ingredients I need for some no bake energy bites that are great to snack on.  If you follow me on Twitter you may have also seen a few Tweets I’ve sent to  – I signed up for her 30 Day Challenge, which sends you a 15 minute workout every day for 30 days.  I’ve felt super sedentary over the last few months, so I’m hoping to be a bit more active and healthier with her help.  So far her workouts have been pretty great!

On the writing side of things, this week has been rather quiet.  I went for coffee with my brother last Tuesday and mentioned the worldbuilding kinks I’ve been working through with City of the Dead.  As we were talking, he gave me some fantastic ideas, so now I need to see how well they actually work with the setting.  Unfortunately these ideas may have some far reaching consequences for both the setting and the specific story I’m working on for the Make Your Way anthology , so that’s set the story back a bit.  But hopefully I’ll be able to work through everything and be back to writing soon!

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Filed under #WriteTuesday, City of the Dead, Conferences, Photography, Worldbuilding, Writing

Last #WriteMonday (It’ll Be #WriteTuesday Going Forward!)

Just to warn everyone, this is going to be the last #WriteMonday.  I was thinking about it, and since I generally work on things on Monday (and so never really have a consistent time when I post on Mondays), I’m going to move the weekly update to Tuesdays instead.  That way I can do all my writing without trying to remember to post on here simultaneously! 🙂

Fitting in with this change, I also decided to move the monthly Tuesday Book Talk to Thursdays.  So starting this month, that will now be happening on the last Thursday of the month instead of the last Tuesday.

This last week has been full of brainstorming and worldbuilding and plotting, all for the Make Your Way Story I’m working on.  As I mentioned before, the story is going to be set in City of the Dead.  After finally finishing bingeing through the Pitch Meetings on Youtube (they’re by Ryan George for Screen Rant), I started thinking a lot more about this story.  I don’t know why, but I was having a really hard time working on it, so I forced myself to go over things and see what the matter was.

My thoughts led me off in some unexpected directions: the original story I envisioned had a man looking for his betrothed, but I wasn’t really clear on how he realized she was missing.  Thinking through that, I thought it made the most sense that they separated because of an argument and he realized she was missing when he went back to apologize to her.  But the more I thought about their argument, the less sense the story made as I had originally envisioned it.

What made more sense within the story was to have the lady looking for her betrothed instead. That meant I had to change some aspects of the characters I had originally envisioned, too.  At its most basic, she was originally going to be a revenant, but now he would be instead (revenants are the soul that remains when a zombie is made – I talk a little bit about it in this post from 2015, and wrote a short story dealing with revenants and zombies for Apocalypse Madness).  Making that change led to some unexpected worldbuilding problems within City of the Dead that I had to work through (specifically whether the world’s magic is capable of affecting a revenant).  That question took an unexpectedly long time to answer (about two days!)  But that was okay, because now that I have answered it, I feel a lot more confident about this new version of the story.  And now that most of the worldbuilding is out of the way, I’ve been able to start re-plotting the story.  That has (of course) kicked up a few more worldbuilding things I need to think about, which will hopefully take a bit less time than the last one did.  But no matter how long it takes, once I’ve figured all of this out I think both the story and the setting will be much stronger!

Once I’m finished with working through the plot and the few worldbuilding kinks, I’ll get back to actually writing the story.  Unfortunately the changes I’ve made mean that most of what I had already written will be scrapped.  But that’s okay, these things happen (remember when I was working on that story for the Dark Crystal Author Quest? I wrote 5+ drafts of that story, many of which involved huge structural edits like this!) The main thing is that no matter how many drafts this takes, I end up writing the strongest story I can! 🙂

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#WriteMonday – A Very Productive Weekend!

Despite spending a lot of time watching Pitch Meetings on Youtube (they’re by Ryan George for Screen Rant – sooo funny!) this was a fairly productive weekend.  I managed to actually work a little bit on the story I’m writing for the Make Your Way anthology.  I’ve had such a hard time sitting down with it lately so I was very happy to go from 326 words to 687 on Friday night.  Unfortunately I hit a bit of a snag in the story, so I need to sit down and actually figure out how to get past that before continuing.

On Saturday, I realized that I still needed to finish editing today’s Sustainably North post.  So I did that and scheduled it for earlier today.  The post ended up being called “Why I’ll Never Be Plastic Free” and goes through a lot of the plastic I generate just from having Type 1 diabetes.  I had a really hard time writing the ending, so this took a lot longer than I thought it would.

Then yesterday, I wrote and scheduled the next two Sustainably North posts.  Next week’s is going to be about this month’s article in bUneke Magazine, which is about homemade gifts. From there I decided to write some posts about the wreath and banana bread that I have pictured with that article.  So the end of the month talks about the paper flowers.  I haven’t written them yet, but I’m also going to write some posts for the first few weeks of December about making the actual paper wreath and making banana bread (I think I’ll share my grandmother’s recipe for that one, too!)

So with Sustainably North taken care of for a little bit, I’m hoping I can turn my attention back to my gamebook short story and hopefully get a lot more done on it!

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Overwhelmed!!!!

Last weekend was ThunderCon.  It also happened to be a weekend I booked off from work intending to do some writing and other stuff around the house; I booked it off before realizing it was ThunderCon.  It was also the weekend before Halloween, so I went to a few parties over the weekend, too.  By the time Monday rolled around, I was feeling rather overwhelmed by all the things I had intended to do and hadn’t had time for.

So earlier this week, I started trying to tackle what I could so I’d feel a bit less overwhelmed and a bit more in control of everything.  I tackled a whole bunch of emails (I’ll be honest, it was a lot of newsletters that I let pile up, mostly from Pinterest).  Later in the week I sat down and got some Sustainably North stuff organized, which also made me feel a whole lot better.  I edited and posted the blog post for Monday, and I finished editing the column for the December issue of bUneke.  For the bUneke article I had to find some pictures for it, too; I should have everything ready to submit by the end of the weekend.  The editor of bUneke had asked me to send her a few articles based off of Sustainably North blog posts to have as backups; she wants to use one for the January issue, so once I’ve submitted the article for their December issue I can start working on the one for the February issue!  I’m really glad to be a bit ahead on that. 🙂

And now that we’re at the end of the week, I made sure that this weekend is much more low key than last weekend was! Hopefully I’ll be feeling a lot more on top of things by Monday! 🙂

Ooh, and I should mention – the new issue of bUneke Magazine is out and it’s got an article I wrote about homemade gifts in it!  I’m hoping to read over the magazine this weekend. 🙂

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#WriteMonday – Lots of Doubt

Over the last week, I found myself really struggling with doubt when it comes to working on the short story for the Make Your Way anthology.  Specifically, I’ve been doubting myself and my ability to write this piece.

Deep down I know this doubt is silly.  I’ve worked on similar projects in the past, most notably Holdfast.  Holdfast is a game book that was developed by Black Chicken Studios.  For Holdfast, I worked on two separate story lines.  I developed the characters, and had to write out a branching story (rather like a Choose Your Own Adventure story) complete with a couple of RPG choices.  And I did it all within a week.  This experience is exactly what I need to call on for the Make Your Way anthology.

Perhaps part of the problem is that this specific experience happened five years ago.  Yes I have done it, but I haven’t done anything quite like this recently.  And in truth, this project is a little more intense than Holdfast was (even though all the work I did for Holdfast happened within one week, which is a very tight turnaround time); where in Holdfast I was just writing the story stuff, this time around I’m designing the RPG system, editing everything, and having to randomize the sections at the end, too.  So it’s possible that this stuff is intimidating me a little bit, too.

Another thing that I’m worried about is the story ballooning out of control.  Being a choose your own adventure style story, having multiple paths increases the replayability.  But it also means the story becomes physically much bigger.  While Make Your Way didn’t have any word length specifics, they do remind you that whatever you submit is just one part of a bigger book, not a standalone book on its own. How do I keep the word count down while making sure the piece is fun?  Should I sacrifice replayability by making it a super linear story?  I don’t really want to, but it might be the only way forward.

While grappling with all of these doubts, I have made a bit of progress.  I have the main characters figured out.  And I’ve brainstormed a lot of individual story elements (including a possible bad ending!)  I think at this point I really just need to sit down, start writing, and see where things go, even with all the doubts.  So wish me luck as I do that this week! 🙂

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