Tag Archives: writing

#WriteTuesday – Wading Through Old Notebooks

Over the weekend, I visited my parents and we watched Gone in 60 Seconds (the newer one, with Nicholas Cage), a movie none of us had seen in awhile.  Part way through it, I was reminded of some old characters that I’d created many, many years ago, but I couldn’t remember their names.  So after I got home, I went on a quest through some of my old notebooks, wondering if I could find anything on them.

I haven’t actually looked at any of my old notebooks for quite some time.  I’ve scanned a few of them (which I have not looked through for those characters yet), but the others are sitting in a bin in the basement, still waiting to be scanned.  I wasn’t really sure where, if anywhere, information on those characters might be, so I picked a notebook at random and just started flipping through it.

The first notebook I flipped through started out as a sort of journal.  It was kind of fun to go back and flip through my thoughts from so long ago.  The other ones were a bit more typical for me: sometimes they had thoughts about what was going on, but more often they were full of story and character ideas.  I was blown away by the amount of them that I encountered that I’d completely forgotten about!  I’ll definitely need to see about bringing some of them to life, maybe even later this week (I’m trying to stay as socially isolated as I can right now; while I’m currently doing a bit more reading and house stuff, I’m hoping that by the end of the week I’ll be writing a bit more!)

Stay safe everyone, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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ThunderCon Pictures Now Uploaded!

watermark I made for my photosIt took quite a bit longer than I expected, but I have now edited and posted the Day 2 pictures I took at ThunderCon last weekend! The Day 1 pictures were all posted to both Facebook and my Flickr page straight out of the camera (I wanted to get them up on Facebook that night so there were pictures showing people what they missed and might look forward to on Day 2). But the Day 2 photos included some pictures for ThunderCon sponsors (which have not been posted anywhere), so I wanted to make sure they looked good. My dad sat down with me to help with the photo editing on Friday night, then I finished up on Saturday (it took all day, on and off, to get through them all!) I also created a watermark for my Day 2 pictures (the SK Photography logo pictured). The pictures are all on both ThunderCon’s Facebook and my Flickr page, so check them out if you have a minute!

So now that ThunderCon is over, I’m turning my attention to the big project I mentioned in June: I’ve been contracted to edit a nonfiction book! 🙂 I’m super excited about it (and kind of terrified because it’s so much bigger than anything I’ve edited before).  I’m also writing a chapter that’ll appear in the book, so all around it’s a very exciting project for me. 🙂

My first order of business though is to figure out how to write the chapter in an engaging way. I finished a first draft a little while ago, and right now it’s very boring to read (it’s literally just the timeline of events typed up into prose). I started researching how to improve my prose in earnest yesterday; I even asked Twitter for some advice on the subject (but haven’t received any replies). I think a lot of my problem is that I’m writing about a place rather than people; writing about people usually lends itself a bit more to story (in my mind anyway). So yesterday I started reading the other chapters in an attempt to see how everything will fit together as a whole (and to see what exactly the story is that we’re all telling).

Have you ever written any nonfiction? How did you make your prose engaging? And as always, what are you working on? 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Goodbye Sustainably North

Apologies for missing last week’s #WriteTuesday.  I was dealing with some health stuff and wasn’t at all thinking about blogging or any other writing (and honestly was having a bit of a hard time concentrating on stuff).  So I’m dealing with that now and altogether feeling better (I don’t want to get into any details on it, but I have type 1 diabetes and was having a lot of low blood sugars).  It’s going to take a bit of work, but I should have things back to normal soon (and I’ve already seen a difference – I mowed the lawn over the weekend without going low! That was a hugely positive step!)

While I was dealing with everything, I was also kind of thinking over my priorities and goals for the future.  I really do want to get some of my game and writing projects finished.  But I keep putting them off, in large part because of the pressure of having Sustainably North going consistently (both writing-wise and reading-wise thanks to all of the books I’ve been reviewing there, too).  I’ve bought a few books on blogging that I had every intention of reading before now in an effort to improve the blog, but I’ve been putting them off, too (generally in favour of the reading I’ve done for Sustainably North, which I don’t regret – I’ve read some extremely interesting books on the environment, which I probably would not have read if not for the blog). But between Sustainably North and a few special projects I’m working on at work (which I am very excited about), I feel like I’m stretched too thin right now.  Something has to give.  And unfortunately, even though I have really enjoyed writing the blog, it has been too much of a time sink, taking away from the other projects I would really like to see done.  Plus if I don’t put even more time into it (through reading those blogging books), right now I lack the tools to improve Sustainably North.  😦

While the decision to stop working on Sustainably North was made over the weekend, it’s been on my mind for at least the last month, if not even longer.  As I said back in June, I have other projects that I want to finish.  And I have a large project potentially lined up for the fall (which is not official yet though), so I’m very aware that time is going to be at a premium for me soon.  So something really does have to give.

So while I am proud of the fact that I’ve been consistently posting on Sustainably North for over a year, it’s unfortunately time to say goodbye to it, at least for now.  I’ve paid for the hosting until the end of the year (which is honestly the reason I didn’t give it up sooner than this).  But after a talk with my brother about it, I decided that it was okay to let it go now, rather than continuing to stress out about it.  I told another friend about my decision and he suggested that maybe I should just take an indefinite break from the blog.  I suppose that’s an option to consider, especially since I have paid for the blog hosting until the end of the year.  At the very least, I intended to save the blog’s XML files (and possibly move it to a free WordPress site at the end of the year).  But that’s a decision I’ll make down the road.  But for now, this is goodbye to the blog. 😦

If you’ve been reading my posts on Sustainably North, thank you so much for supporting it!  There are still posts scheduled until the end of the month, so you’ll still be able to read a little bit more new content on the blog if you’d like.  🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Actually Feeling Productive!

Sorry, this is a bit later than normal. I meant to write this sooner, but I’ve had a pretty busy day and just sat down to write now!

So this has been my first week where I simply focused on Sustainably North as my writing project, without the added pressure of the Make Your Way story.  And I have to admit: it felt really good to take that added pressure off of myself.  I also had a book I wanted to read (Sharon Shinn’s Jeweled Fire, which I absolutely loved!) so reading kind of took priority over writing.  But I managed to get yesterday’s editorial post written, plus I found some quotes for the next three Fridays on Sustainably North.  I didn’t get any other posts written like I had planned to, but that’s okay – I still feel like I’m doing loads better than I have been over the last few weeks!

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to just focus on the Make Your Way story this coming week like I had planned because I have to get a few more Sustainably North posts written.  So I’m going to see what I can get done tonight for the blog, with the hopes of turning my attention later in the week towards the story.  But whatever happens this week, the Make Your Way story is going to be my priority for next week!

So how about you?  How are things going? 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Back from Vacation!

Hi everyone – thanks for the birthday wishes last week! 😀

Originally I thought I was going to get some work done last week.  But between my birthday and going away with my family for a few days to the Bluefin, I ended up taking the entire week off.  It was a much needed vacation, but now I’m back and working on some writing once again.  I didn’t get any work done on the Make Your Way story, but yesterday I did get the last few June posts written for Sustainably North, so that was exciting.  I need to get going on the July ones because this month is already half over!

So I just got word that I’m going to be working on a project this fall (I’m not giving any details here until after everything is finalized).  I’m very excited about this opportunity, but now I’ll need to decide on what my priorities are going to be for the rest of the year.  I had a rough plan for up until December, but that will necessarily have to change.  So over the next week I’m going to try to work on that (along with getting the July posts for Sustainably North written); if I have some time, I’ll do some work on the Make Your Way story.  I hate to put it aside for another week, but that might be necessary – we’ll see how things go! I’ll also need to rethink my Sustainably North plan for August; I was thinking of doing a bunch of book reviews, but I’m going to change that, too.  It’s going to be another busy week!

So how about you?  What’s new?  What are your plans for the upcoming week?  🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Edits Begin!

I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t actually get the Make Your Way edits started this week.  I gave myself WAAAY too many goals, plus the week was rather busy.  But I started them yesterday! 🙂

I was actually rather happy with the story; it’s in a lot better shape than I thought it would be.  So far I’ve read over it once and made notes of things that need to be changed.  This coming week I’ll actually work on those changes in the Game Book Authoring Tool file.  My plan is to tighten up the story first; once that’s done, I’ll work more on the dialogue.

June is coming up faster than I thought, so I did some work on the June posts for Sustainably North.  The topic for June is going to be commuting; I chose that because I signed up for the Commuter Challenge through my work.  Unfortunately, I can’t finish all of the posts now until after the Challenge is completed on June 8th, so I got what I could done and scheduled for now.  I also decided on the June book, Urban Cycling, so I’ve started reading that (but it’s been a bit slow going because the book I chose is more of a reference manual like You Grow Girl was, and so more suited to flipping through rather than reading cover to cover).

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

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#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 – 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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#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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