Tuesday, January 31, 2017

15 at a Time

This week was sorta fail again. On the one hand, I managed to finish my book for the month and I did manage at least 15min of writing for four days this past week. That's about all the positive I have, though.
I hit my 3 zero-day cap, but managed to get something in the rest of the week.
It's been a bit of a mentally trying week. I'm giving "learning how to adult" another try, and so I'm using most of my outside-of-work time still cleaning and rearranging my home. I'm dealing with the chaos that the United States has been thrown into since Donald Trump has officially become our president. Thursday was a complete mental break-down day after an argument with a friend; resulting in me spending three straight hours curled up in bed with my book because I didn't have the energy for anything else. Also throughout the week, I did a sorta-major "oopsie" at work that kind of made me shrink in the corner, mentally wishing I wasn't there. Hiding away inside a book helps with the vanishing act, but wanting to become invisible doesn't help with wanting to write. Saturday is a blur that I can't really recall why I didn't write. Sunday I had off, so Hubby and I just used it as a "downtime day" to try to recoup from the rest of the week.

I still have those four smiley faces though!

Sadly, aside from that Tuesday smile representing this blog, the other three are all at work, and all only about 15min stints where I attempted to finish the same writing prompt. I didn't actually complete said prompt until yesterday, a week after I started it.

The new Sales Manager at work apparently has been with us long enough to decide to make some major changes and overhauls. When we're not with customers we have a bunch of new operational tasks to complete, and we also have a whole new set of sales modules we need to do. Once we're done with the modules, we are to do them again, and again, and again, until it is basically ingrained in us.

Which means the main draw of this job - making money while also having the downtime to write and read - has now practically vanished. Bummer. Especially when I've spent the past year rearranging my life so that I write and read at work and do things like clean, socialize, and catch up on movies/video games outside of work. Trying to work writing and reading into my already limited outside-of-work hours will take some readjusting again.

So, yes, I did manage to sneak in 15min here and there - mostly while eating lunch - but even then, I was getting interrupted by customers or these new duties/trainings before I finished the scene. It kept me four attempts, and a solid week, to finally finish the January 3rd prompt. I have a feeling I'm not going to get all 365 done in this year....

And yes, the prompt that kept a week to finish is the same Amara story I referenced last week. I haven't had time to type up or edit it, though, so I'm not capable of sharing it this week. I was able to type up the two I wrote the previous week. Both are vignettes that should be super quick to read. One benefit of listening to Judy Reeves, and writing long-hand in a journal: I get about four handwritten pages in, feel that's long enough, and conclude the scene. Since it's long-hand, by the time I type it up the four pages turns out to be barely 900 words.

How to keep me under 1000-word stories: Force me to hand write them.

Anyway, here are the two stories. I also sent them to Ronoxym as my accountability for his flash/vignette challenge roll-over from last year.

"Mental Noise"

"New Home of Ash and Soot"

So, I'm now up to January 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 13th written for the year of writing prompts. It's January 31st. Yup, this is going to work out well.

At least I'm writing something most days. That's the main point. I also have something non-tech to bring with me to Writing Group, if I so choose. I may indeed choose to do so tonight since we're planning on taking a "field trip" to a local gastropub instead of meeting at the library, and I don't know how good the outlet situation would be.

The downside is that with the limited writing time, I wasn't able to even open the document for "Lost Loves and Paramours," not to mention attempting to continue it. First week of the winter challenge over at Writers’ Huddle, and I not only neglected to work on my project, but I also didn't log onto WH at all this week; let alone attempted to check in.

On top of all that, I completely forgot that I have yet to finish my Year in Review post, or start my Book Review post for last year. Talk about poor timing!

Fail. Fail. Fail.

I also haven't cracked open "Ready. Set. Novel!" in a while. It was an exciting part of my day, and now I just haven't found time for it. I do plan of making my way back to it at some point, though. For the duration of the WH challenge, however, I feel the book will be put on the back burner. I'm going to focus on finding writing time, catching up on writing prompts, and getting back to Jolene's story. Once the challenge is done I'll refocus on RSN! and Jolene's NEW story; ignoring anything that happened in the actual role-play. It will be interesting to see this brand new take on her post-wanted-posters life.

Anyway, as I mentioned at the start of the blog, I did manage to at least complete reading my book for this month. I'm not doing nearly as awesome as Spink, who was rereading "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" as her "book with red on the cover," and then just kept going with the series. As of Friday, she was finishing up the fifth book out of the seven-book series. Granted, the final book is about the size of the first three combined, or something like that.... Still, way better than my one novel and two workbooks.

Either way, I'm proud of myself. I completed a series; one I was kind of "meh" about the whole time. I also completed the book in just ten days! Granted, curled up and reading for three-hours straight to conquer mild depression doesn't hurt, but still, TEN DAYS! Not bad considering it kept me pretty much all of 2015 to get through the second book in the series, and I feel it kept me at least a month, if not longer, to finish the first book.

I don't know if the quick read was because the book was more action-packed and enticing to read than the other two. I don't know if I read so quickly because my brain was kind of shut down this past week, and it was a way to keep me occupied when my mind didn't want to do much else. In other words: I had nothing better to do, so I read a LOT. I don't know if I plowed through the book because I'm now in a "reader's mindset" that I didn't have for the previous decade. I don't know if I raced through the book so I could make sure to have a check on the reading challenge this month. Perhaps it was some combination of those elements.

I do know that I did enjoy the novel, but still hold that something about the characters just aren't as endearing as the ones Riordan created for all of his other series: Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, Trials of Apollo, or Magnus Chase. I can't put my finger quite on it, but Carter and Sadie Kane just don't seem as lovable or "real" as everyone else that Riordan had created.

Maybe it's the idea of bouncing between the two of them narrating, while also commenting about asides the non-narrating sibling is saying in the background. Maybe it's the format of the novels being transcriptions of audio recordings the Kanes sent to the "author."

Maybe it's how both siblings almost instantly counter positive comments about each other with an insult or "I know, shocking, right?" I mean, I get the series takes place over the course of nine months or so, and that for the better part of six years the siblings barely saw each other, which created a large rift of resentment and envy between the two. I realize that these two were not close at all, but the trials they went through created a bond tighter than possibly even twins could have. I also get that it's hard for a 15 and 13 year old to admit that their feelings for their sibling changed so drastically after acting like they hated each other for half their lives. I get it. I do. I just think that the way Riordan presented the transition and the mock hesitation to admit they love, respect, and even admire each other just.... it didn't work for me.

Also, Egyptian mythology used to be my favorite subject as a kid, and yet I felt the least drawn into that culture with the Kane Chronicles, compared to how heavy Roman and Norse culture is portrayed in "Heroes of Olympus" and "Magnus Chase." While Greek culture itself isn't as heavy an influence within "Percy Jackson" or "Trials of Apollo," the Grecian mythological monsters are so well known that the main characters being attacked or otherwise encountering these creatures is enough of a draw.

"The Kane Chronicles"? I didn't feel as involved with the Egyptian mythos.

The story is good, though. While Sadie kind of annoyed me, and Carter wasn't the best lead for my tastes, the background characters - especially Walt - are wonderful. The conflicts are intense, and the danger feels real. The stories are a bit predictable, but they're aimed at middle-schoolers, and they were still towards the start of Riordan's career.

I have the Kane/Percy cross-over digital short stories downloaded somewhere. I need to track them down and see how some age/experience and mix-in with Percy Jackson does for my interest in the Kane Chronicles.

Enough about that, though. How about we look at my score-card:
Challenge by Reading Books Like a Boss
I went ahead and picked "Ready. Set. Novel!" for my red-cover book over "A Writer's Book of Days." Mostly because I intend on taking the full year to read the latter, and I'd like to be able to check off that category sooner than December 31st. Also, out of the two, RSN! definitely has red all over the cover, whereas WBoD has red font, but little else. Either way, I have RSN! listed as my red-cover book. I'll just have to wait until I'm done with the workbook for me to officially check it off.

Now to figure out what to do for February. Still looking for suggestions for "outside... reading comfort zone" or "recommended... that [I] wouldn't have picked for [myself]." Feel free to drop some novels you think I should read in the comments below.

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