Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Football Is Taking Over... MC Week 5

This week just flew past me. I think my house is in MORE disarray from me attempting to clean. Granted, it was actual CLEANING instead of my normal organizing. So, everything is out of the bathroom while I bleach it down, and my stove is completely dismantled while I'm scrubbing the year's worth of caked on burnt...whatever... that's been piling up.

On top of all this chaos, my husband's aunt is coming for a visit in a few days, and so my mother-in-law is harping on how I need to organize my house for the aunt's arrival - even though she'll be staying with the in-laws, and will probably never even set foot in our house.

Oh, and football has taken over my life.
Preach it, Squirrelly, preach it!
In the past, I was kind of whatever about American Football. I'd watch it with my dad, but after he passed away my sister and I generally only cared about the Giants games. It was my dad's favorite team, and we sort of inherited it as our favorite as well. Anyway, this is how involved I was in football for most of my life.

Then last year Hubby and I found out our friend Quarthix really enjoyed football - and his fiance didn't hate watching it - and so he would come over every Sunday. This got me more involved in the game, as I was hosting Sunday Football now. It also brought me and my sister closer as we would chat about the Giants games every week.

Still, except for a good Thursday night match-up, Sunday would be the only "Football Day". Well, this year Hubby decided to try his hand at running a fantasy football league, and convinced me to join. We're a baby 8-man league with Quarthix, his fiance, MadDog24, his wife 2-feathers-and-a-stone, and two former co-workers we watch the Sunday night games with.

For those who don't know what fantasy football is, you play the part of a team coach/owner. Just before the regular season starts - generally after watching summer training camps and pre-season games - the players hold a draft to pick real football players they'd like on their fantasy team. Once the teams are filled, the players can then choose who to have "play" and who to put on their "bench". Each week your team's line-up - active players - must be set before the games start. Then your team earns - or sometimes loses - points based on how - or poorly - the players you selected do in their games. At the end of the week, the person with more points beats the other player they are pitted against. Towards the end of the regular season, the leagues have their own version of a playoff to determine whose team was the best out of all the league's players.

Some leagues are just playing for bragging rights among friends, but others are "money leagues" in which you win money either weekly or at the end of the season. It gets pretty intense.

Anyway, the whole point of me going on and on about that, is now I'm super involved. I about more than just the Giants, because I have fantasy players on so many other teams. Every game is exciting because I'm competing against a friend, and we cheer or boo individual players now; not just teams. We also want to watch all of the games as we bite our nails to see who would be victorious.

This means that I'm not just hosting and doing other odd-jobs on Sundays; I'm actively watching all three games - four, if you count switching between the two 1pm games. I'm now giving up about three or four hours of my Thursday and Monday nights to football as well.

Not very good for cleaning or writing. Especially since we generally don't watch the night games at our place anymore. We don't have the channel for the Monday night ones, and so we go to Quarthix's place, we go to our neighbor's house for the Sunday night games since he tends to have a gathering anyway, and it's up in the air where we see the Thursday night games.

Oh, Football, how you make me so unproductive....

I had completely forgotten to watch my MasterClass webinars on Monday again because of this chaos. I've also missed out on so many of my 5pm writing hours as well. Football goes through January, and so I really need to figure out how to balance my life around it if I'm going to get any writing done again.

Alright, let's start off with a refresher of my assignments for this past week.

First up was the lesson on dialogue, which had me writing without any action or descriptions. Mine ended up about twice as long as the one that James Patterson claimed was "too long". Still, I'm kind of confident that the drama remained there, and that it moved the story along. You learned a lot about the characters and their interaction with each other in my finished product.

At least one "fellow student" read and commented about my dialogue, though. He/she felt it was boring and a bit repetitive, and in desperate need of action. I agree that it's rough to not have any action to break everything up, but the assignment specifically said not to include any. Also, I didn't notice any sort of repetition when I reread with the critique in mind. Even if there was any, it was supposed to be the woman harping on her husband and work as a way of nervously getting him back out the door before her lover is discovered.

I'm not entirely sure what made it boring, but it's just one person's posted opinion. Without others to gather an average feel for my piece, I don't really know if I should take the person's critique to heart. I would read virtually an entire book of nothing but dialogue, because I'm so focused on character development. Maybe there's people who are the opposite and prefer action and plot development. Maybe that's why three pages of just dialogue seems boring.

Geez, I don't know! Part of me feels I should take the critique to heart in order to improve, but since I still don't see what it is that I need to improve - I'm not noticing what the commentator saw - most of me feels I shouldn't stress about it.

Although, there was a lot of dialogue repetition in Please, Let Me Explain. It's what most of the editing was that I did over the spring. Difference there, though, is that I could actually SEE the repetitiveness, and so I could fix it.... Gaaah, this is annoying. I'm gonna let the comment drop for this assignment, but keep a more watchful eye for the future.

Moving on to the assignment for the Chapter Building lesson. For this webinar segment, we were supposed to choose one of the chapters from our outline, and then write said chapter from multiple points of view too see which is the most compelling one to use.

I didn't even attempt this one. Mostly because how can I write in the POV of characters I don't know yet? Last week I mentioned that I might try to just free-write to get to know the characters, but I just drew blanks. So, I ended up breaking out about three different character surveys and checklists in order to try to learn who my characters are. However, it's four days later, and I still haven't done enough playing around to know much more about either main character. I really just need to think of this project as my reworking of the Marvel canon X-Men into original characters for my X-Future reboot.

Once I figure out one key catalyst, all the other pieces should fall into place. I just need to figure out where that jumping point is for each of them.

I've decided that Pernilla is indeed Spanish, and that she never uses contractions due to her age and the fact that she had to learn English as a second language; well, actually, it was probably her third or fourth language. She most likely also still speaks in a more British-English than Americanized one. She won't have a British accent - it will either still be a Spanish one, or it would be American by now - but she would say things such as biscuit instead of cookie, or lavatory/toilet instead of asking for the public bathroom. Those sorts of things. Simply because she would have learned English when Mt. Olympus moved over England. When all of the Greek gods traveled further west to the United States, there would be no need for Pernilla to "relearn" English.

The only thing I have figured out for Pernilla's love interest is that I want him to be non-Caucasian. Possibly Native American or African American. I don't want him to be Latino since Pernilla's Spanish. Seems too convenient. I might make him Asian, but I'm picturing him with darker skin. Maybe middle-eastern then.... Still trying to sort that out.

The "last" assignment - since I forgot to watch the last webinar video scheduled for the week - asked me to write my third chapter as if it were a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. I was supposed to come up with a "wrong turn" that my character would go down, read both options to a friend, and see which she'd prefer. If the "wrong turn" trek was the more interesting of the two, could I recover from that?

Well, my main issue with this is that it works great if one were writing a mystery novel; which Patterson seems to exclusively do. However, the "modern fantasy" genre really doesn't have "time" for wrong turns. Rick Riordan's novels - which I'm basing my off of - usually take place in the span of a few days to MAYBE a few weeks. If they take a wrong turn at all, it's all over. They have to make sure that every lead is the right one; luckily, it turns out that way.

I can MAYBE see where my characters can hit a dead end, but certainly not in the first three chapters. Especially since Chapter 3 is when the two realize they care for each other and decide to part ways to prevent Artemis from killing them. The only other thing I can think of is for them to decide then to run away; roughly three chapters early. While it is possible to rush the story along by having them make this decision, but after serving Artemis for over three centuries, it just doesn't feel right that Pernilla would turn her back on the Hunt so easily.

Yes, she realizes that she cares deeply for the kid, but she still has only known him for a few days, maybe a few weeks. Her logic would dictate that it's far too soon for it to be love - she'd be wrong, but ignore that - and wouldn't believe it worth angering Artemis, and endangering someone she grew fond of, over something that might not last. No regrets. She can push the guy out of her mind and heart once he's gone. It's just a crush.

I may just be too stubborn to do this assignment, at least right now. Perhaps once I'm in the process of actually writing the manuscript I can cave and attempt the "two parallel universes" idea.

Well, normally, this would be the part where I give you fine folks a list of what my assignments are for this week, as well as my views on how I'll tackle them. However, I have yet to watch the videos this week. I may just take a break in order to concentrate on cleaning. Besides, my wedding anniversary is this Friday. I want to be able to just take the day.

So, yeah, I think I'm taking a vacation. I'll see if I get inspired in the process of taking the pressure off. I'll be sure to keep you posted on how I do.

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