Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Trotting Around a Bit

While not as fully back on the horse as I'd like, I have the saddle on and trotted around the yard a little bit. As I mentioned last week, the clean house helping relieve some stress at home, as well as finding my free-time rhythm again at work, has really helped open me back up to writing.

In truth, I spent most of the week just reading as fast and as much as I could to try to finish "Heat Rises" before the end of the month so I could be back on track for the reading challenge. Managed to read the whole thing in about 11 days. Still fairly slow for most people, but it got the job done.
Challenge by Reading Books Like a Boss
As I've mentioned a few times already in regards to this list and the Nikki Heat books, each book title is purposely a play on the detective's last name. So, I caved and finally put the third book in the series in the "name in the title" slot. There are 8 books to the series thus far, and an ninth one apparently dropped today! Also available today are two of Rick Riordan's latest works. "The Dark Prophecy", the second book in the Trials of Apollo series, along with the companion book "Camp Half-Blood Confidential." So, it's both a great day for me in Book World, as well as a crappy day for my wallet.

I'm most likely going to jump off the Nikki Heat train for a little bit as I switch over to "The Dark Prophecy" for this month's read. I'll drop that book either in the released in 2017 or favorite author category. I also have my father-in-law's copy of "Atlas Shrugged" that he wants me to read. On top of that, I've become so addicted to "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix that I feel I should give that story a read. Then there's an even longer list of "to read" backlogging, as virtually every person I meet demands that I "need to" read this book or that one. I'm not even touching my already extensive home library anymore!

I really need to get more reading time in, but I'm fairly slow at reading as I try to fully absorb the story. With my already limited time to read as is, plus not having much spare time to write, clean, or even touch a video game in close to a year, I really don't see myself reading any faster than I already am, nor do I see myself having more time to read. The world is just going to have to live with the fact that, aside from a few author's I'm dedicated to, such as Riordan, I'm going to be years behind the reading curve with new stories.

Kind of pathetic, though. I want to be a writer. I want people to read my stuff. Yet I can only do so well with reading what others have written. Oh, the great ironies that rule my life.

Speaking of my writing, ya know, the reason I'm sure you all are here, well, as I mentioned at the very beginning, I'm doing better.
Month didn't start off great, but finished fairly strong.
Look at all those smileys - or sorta smileys - that last week! YAY!
I didn't manage to do any further writing or editing on Please, Let Me Explain, so when it came to writing group, I went back to reading one of my polished writing prompts. Ended up reading "Nature Can Bite Me." People seemed amused by it. I threw most of them off though because I wrote a slice-of-life story instead of something fantastical. I just chuckled and reminded them that I can write non-fantasy as well.

As per usual for me, since I had a once-and-done instead of an on-going project, not much was said about my story, how to improve it, what was great about it, nothing. While I understand more and more each go that we probably should dedicate more time to the people with ongoing projects, it still irritates me slightly. I mean, these writing practices are just that: practice. A way for me to hone my skills so that I'm a better author when I am working on my WIPs. Yet, if I don't get any praises for a particularly good turn-of-phrase, nor am I critiqued on something I should improve upon, then what good are the practices? How are they helping me do more than simply fall into a steady writing rhythm? I don't know if I should start going into group with a small questionnaire to encourage feedback, but I feel I need to do something. Otherwise I'll only get assistance when I bring in on-going projects like everyone else.

The strange thing is that there are one or two other authors in the group that purposely only do short one-offs or personal essays. There is no intention of doing a long, on-going project that needs help. People seem to comment on their particularly good phrasing, or where they could strengthen something.

Wonder why I'm so different within the group....

Anyway. Still no progress on PLME, although Ronoxym did make a... few... comments in response to my multitude of notes. It's not much, but it's a start. Silly goose didn't comment on the stuff towards the start of the story though. So there goes editing.

I've filled my time though with reading, as I mentioned, as well as trying to at least not fall further behind with the writing prompts. Last week I wrote four prompts. Two of which were on the same day, which was exciting. I also started the week with my edit notes to Ron about PLME - the "smiley" on Monday.

Monday must be "bring netbook to work so I can edit" day, because I did the same thing yesterday. DFL was concerned about a choppy start to a scene she read to us. There were a lot of critiques and suggestions for improvement, but I feel the poor woman was overwhelmed. She ended up emailing us her slight update of the scene opening and asked for thoughts. Well, given that I was purposely waiting for the books to drop today and I had finished "Heat Rises," I decided I'd read other people's works to fill the void.

Besides, I've failed at virtually all of my other New Years Resolutions. I was going to hold firm for my beta reading one. I ended up giving her notes on her page-long rewrite. I hope I didn't overwhelm her. I tend to do that in group without meaning to. I give her a different perspective on her story, but I don't know if she takes my suggestions. I might not be the demographic she's looking for. It's her story, and it's her prerogative to decide whether or not to take my suggestions to heart. For all I know, she won't even look at what I sent back to her. Still, she asked for thoughts, and so I was going to give mine. Take them or leave them.

I also did some beta reading for ChibiSunnie. She's in an animation class, or something to that extent, and so she is using the class assignments to finally make headway on the cartoon she's been playing with over the past two years or so. For her final project, she had to sketch out the storyboard for an episode, or something like that, so she decided to tackle the hardest episode she's had in mind over the past few years. She didn't have the time to give me a polished version of the story prior to her needing to start storyboarding it, so my insight isn't going to help much on her final project. Still, I wanted to give it a read, if she wanted me to, so that she could take my critiques along with those of her classmates as a way of better improving the episode for when she can make it an actual show.

I cut it close on that week deadline though. She gave me the script last Tuesday. I gave her my notes last night. Still. She appreciated my effort, is pondering over my questions, and I kept true to my resolution to get beta notes back within a fortnight. I'm proud I actually managed to give notes on two projects back within a week! Granted, both were short reads which made it easier to go through them.

Going back to my writing though, I'm still not past the January prompts, but I now see the light at the end of the tunnel. I also managed to type up and edit one of my past prompts prior to this morning! Yay, progress! Still forgot to upload the darn thing until this morning, but as long as I can get this blog done on time I guess I could let that slide.

I went back to my Numenera character Jynna for this prompt. I also fell back into scenes instead of stories. I'll figure this out eventually.

"Pressing Forward"

In all honesty, I don't foresee myself doing much more with PLME until Ron's done with school at the end of this month. Might surprise myself, but it's a long shot. Instead, I'll have to pull myself away from my latest book long enough to continue with the writing prompts. At the very least, I could type more than one up a week for your reading pleasure. We'll see what happens.

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