Thursday, November 26, 2015

I Met a Demigod This Week

To all of my American readers, Happy Thanksgiving to you. For all of my non-American readers, today is still a real nice day to reflect on the past year and note all the blessings/good things in your life. Dwell on the positive; something Humanity seems to have forgotten how to do. 

Me? Well, I'm watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and then prepping a small meal, enjoying the food and football, and then heading to my mother's for the weekend. Shortly followed by Hubby's birthday.

In other words, not the most productive time for writing purposes. At the same time, I knew this already. It's never a good time to think about writing the week of Thanksgiving. Always on the go preparing for the holiday, and the trip to my mom's, and then getting set for Hubby's birthday.

At the same time, I don't have a new writing prompt to share with you fine folks today. However, both tie together, because next week will be the same as this week. Namely, filled with me mulling more things over in my head while waiting for a moment to write those thoughts down.

I stated this last week, but I'll do so again today as a refresher. Last week, one of the writing prompts that was emailed to us was a quote: "The difference is, I lie for a living."

Now, I had already completed my short story based on the two Dove chocolate wrappers - which was well received at the writing group - and so I wasn't really all that focused on this quote prompt. It still took hold of me, though. I'm still trying to figure out who lies for a living, and why that tidbit would be brought up. Here's what I have so far, and I apologize in advance if you have one of the below professions and are offended by the generalization. I worked at an ad agency myself for a few years, if that's any consolation:
  • Lawyers
  • Ad Agents/Copywriters
  • Con-artists
  • Politicians
  • PR Reps
  • Prostitutes/Escorts
  • Sales Rep
And for the situations:
  • Cheated on a significant other
  • Caught for a crime
  • Reassurance that lying won't be hard
  • Explaining why one got away with something the other didn't
I'm still brainstorming, but I KNOW there's a story there. I just need to find it.

I've also thought a bit more about Please, Let Me Explain. Is that part any sort of surprise? Anyway, I think I may have thought of a few changes that might help with a few sections that have been bugging me lately. I wrote up my notes and sent them on their way to Ronoxym. In surprisingly quick fashion, he already responded. Seems the things that were bugging me about the story were exactly the same ones bugging him, he just couldn't put his finger on why. Now that I pointed it out to him, he's a geared up to fix those issues. We may have some progress yet again. However, as I mentioned above, this week is a crapshoot when it comes to writing, so please don't expect any update on PLME next week.

That is, of course, unless I just can't get it out of my head. For instance, while pointing out my issues to Ron, I realized that I might have some studying and researching to do. Something I might work on throughout the ten days of my vacation from work.

The other thing I've been really thinking about all day yesterday, is the NaNoWriMo story that DFL is writing. At the Tuesday meeting, she talked about how she finished the story, but she's still a few thousands words shy. Her struggle now is to go back and quickly fluff up the story before Monday in order to "win" this year. She seemed frustrated, to the point of shaking and having difficulties talking, but at some point that shaking transitioned into excited anticipation. She really wanted to dive back in to the book when she was done with our group. I love that! That's one of the great reasons for having a support group around you. They're people you can talk to about your story, which helps you iron out the bumps, as well as keeps you excited to write.

Anyway, back on topic here, not only did she talk about her story some more, but she READ some of it as well. Of course, just like with poor Ron almost two years ago, or Delaroux close to four years ago now, the story just erupted inside me. It took hold, and I wanted a part of it; even a small one.

The entire time I was at work, I thought back through DFL's problem, as well as remembered the opening chapter she read to us. For me, little miss wordy, it was easy to pick up on tons of places where she could erase some repetition, as well as add description in order to increase that dreaded word count. Over the course of my lunch break, I wrote up an email to her explaining my perspective of things.

True to form, she started off by acknowledging that they were sound points. Very diplomatically. She didn't say one way or the other whether she'd use the suggestions, just that they were valid ones. I dig that. I disregard suggestions about my work frequently enough that it's only fair I understand that others might disregard my opinions too.

The long and the short of this story is that I might be back into Beta Reading, unintentionally, because I agreed to read through her backstory in order to help give some insight. So, that will be neat to check out.

Keaton didn't bring anything to share, and we focused a lot on the rest of the group on Tuesday. Yet another reason she reminds me of an older version of myself. Even when I ran the in-person writing group among my friends, I always seemed to focus more on the rest of the group and getting a dialogue between them. No room for my writing troubles or triumphs. I feel like Keaton's in the same mindset. Anyway, she didn't bring anything to share, and DFL only brought her NaNo story. So, moving through that part of the meetings went by super quick.

In truth, I was the only one there that night that had followed through with the Dove chocolates assignment. That's fine though, it was crunch time for DFL to get her NaNo story done, so I had no problem focusing on helping her.

I also met a "new" member on Tuesday. I say "new" because she actually joined the group at the start of the year when she moved up here from NYC. She just hadn't been to the group for a few months, and so it was the first time I met her. Seeing as she openly admitted to have both dyslexia and ADHD, among others, I just HAD to promote Rick Riordan and his Percy Jackson series. She seemed intrigued, but she also could have just been humoring me. Either way, until I think of something better, her blog nick-name shall be Demi, for demigod.

Demi is both a short story writer and a poet. You can feel the raw emotion in her poems, and the short story she read to us was amusing as well as equally raw. You can tell the woman was hurt, and is working through it via her writing. And I love it. It's so beautiful, and I'm grateful that she's allowing others to peak into that hurt.

She has also self-published for years, and is now trying to transition into traditional publishing. Self-publishing is just too much work and not enough writing for her tastes. I can see that. I'm hoping to learn a lot from her.

So glad I joined this group; so diverse!

Alright, I can't really think of anything else, and I really should focus more on my turkey now. Enjoy your day, and remember to reflect on those good things. I know you have some.

Take care, everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Too Many Bunnies

"Peace For France" by Jean Jullien
First and foremost, I want to say that my heart is with all of those in France. It was heartbreaking to hear the news of the terrorist attacks there. Still having vivid memories of the September 11th attacks here in the United States, I can only imagine the shock and fear the French are dealing with. However, I also know the strength that comes out of tragedies like this. So, stand proud and firm, France. We are with you in your time of need.

I'm also going to get a bit political here, so please bear with me. It is a shame that the Muslim community – a generally PEACEFUL people – has always had to face some sort of persecution and ridicule. It's also a shame that because of extremists – like Crusaders or Zionists – the whole Muslim community faced extreme hate, fear, and prejudice after the September 11 attacks. Even worse that they are just barely shaking off the stigma from that, only to yet again be blamed as a whole for the atrocities a small extreme committed. My heart and prayers are with you all as well.

May France and the Muslims weed out the evil that infects them, and may they find peace. In the meantime, may the world understand that a whole is not always the sum of its parts. Just as your whole body isn't a disease simply because you have cancer in a part of it, a whole community is not evil simply because a part – that the rest cast out, by the way – creates so much violence.

On a completely unrelated note. Today, the third Thursday in November, marks the Great American Smokeout. An event promoted by the American Cancer Society, where Americans are asked to give up their tobacco vice for the day in hopes of taking the first step towards quitting. If you're thinking of quitting, check for hotlines and other sources in your area for help.
In the US, the hotline is:
Or go to the following sites: 

Alright, enough of that. Let's get to why you're here: my writing.

I was determined to have this post up on time this week. It's killing me to have to work Thursdays now that I determined they are my new update day. Happens every time. I watch to see when I regularly have a day off, change my updates to that day, only to then have to work it every following week.

Once again I used first thing Sunday morning for writing time. I updated on the X-Future boards, and then I finished up my writing prompt for the writing group. Thing is, DFL sent out an email reminding everyone about the meeting this upcoming Tuesday, while also including the writing prompt for those who weren't there last time. The writing prompt is different in the email. Maybe she came up with a random one to make up for the fact that there were people that weren't there to eat some Dove chocolates?

Well, actually there's two prompts to choose from. The first one is to use two Dove messages: Lend an ear, and a chocolate." as well as "Wing it!" The second prompt option is the quote "The difference is, I lie for a living." Since I am already done with the prompt I had, perhaps I'll again have two to read off. Maybe I'll work on one of these prompts so I have something new to post next week too. I'm not completely determined to do so, but it would be a fun practice. Keep your eyes open for those possible updates to Writing Prompts: An Anthology.

In the meantime, you can check out the current update based on the Dove chocolate prompt “Learn something new with an old friend, and rock a bad hair day.”
"The Power of Pink"

My anthology updates are now one crime scene from the perspective of a possible suspect, one fanfiction about a crime lab show, and one semi-autobiographical story about a Murphy Day.

While I do like having the variety in order to test the waters with an assortment of narrators and styles, I hate that I've lost focus. I wrote a variety of things for the MasterClass too. Aside from Please, Let Me Explain, I haven't had any real focus on one story in a while. Honestly, that really bothers me.

The last writing group session, as I mentioned, was more socializing than actual discussion of writing. Myself included, no one really critiqued anything that the others read. Granted, it's a bit easier to critique something when you can see it and mull it over, and so it's a bit hard to critique based solely on listening to a passage, especially when it's just one listen. Add in that none of us are the greatest orators and tend to trip over what we're reading. So, yeah, it's a bit rough to pick up on things to critique, but still. How are any of us going to grow if the only point is to meet up, socialize, hand out a prompt so it's still writing focused in some regard, and then part ways for two weeks?

I figured, “Well, maybe if I bring something there specifically to talk about...” only to realize I have nothing. I don't have a spot where I'm blocked because that involves me actually being actively writing something in the first place. As I pointed out in the last update, I have an ever-growing Plot Bunny Farm, and I lost focus on which bunny to cultivate next.

I'm just too fixated on PLME still. I NEED this story to be completed. Or, at least have the massive middle section figured out so I can upload it. I haven't updated that story since March, or something like that.

But when I pretty much blew a shotgun-sized hole through the outline Ronoxym wrote, he had to go back to the drawing board, and I haven't heard from him since. The worst part is, now I'm obsessing over Devon.

I think I'm annoying my husband, because I see the potential for Devon, and so now nearly every male character we see IS him. Any time there's a male character whose well-intentioned actions are misinterpreted as villainy: Devon. Whenever a male character is trying to convince a female one that he's “not that bad”: Devon. The male character shows an interest in fire, or refers to himself as a pyro? Devon. Heck, ever since his heel turn, one of the characters from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reminds me so much of Devon, and Hubby doesn't see it at all. Granted, the character embraced his villainy eventually, and he can definitely kick way more butt than Devon could, but I still see so much character similarity. This guy is what Devon could be if he embraced his villainy, or, if the character remained as loose and fun but returned to being a hero – or at least anti-hero – it could be what Devon would eventually mature into. Hubby still sees the guy more of a Screwdriver; another of our original Brotherhood of Mutants character, similar to Trish. However, Screwdriver has a complete bloodlust that the Agents character doesn't seem to quite possess, so he lies somewhere between Screwdriver and Devon, I guess.

Point is, I'm seeing Devon everywhere. And anything brings me back to PLME. Even songs. There's one or two out on the radio right now that makes me think of Devon and his anguish while trying to show Willow he's not evil. I can't get the character or the story out of my head.


Maybe that's what I'll do. Maybe I'll focus on my interpretation of the ending based on Ron's goal for the story. Send it to him. Maybe we can find a happy medium between the two, or it can at least inspire him to redo the ending his way. Something to get this back on track, so we know where we're headed. Once that's figured out we can go back and edit the middle section, and finally post that at least. Ya know, before spending another seven months working on the next part of the story.

As of right now, we have the two chapters I already posted. The third one could really be three in and of itself, but there's no natural stopping and starting point since it all happens as one really long scene. The fourth one is relatively small, but I can't get to it until we finalize the third chapter, obviously. Based on Ron's outline, I can see the end of the story having another three chapters or so. Which means the finished project SHOULD have about seven chapters, at the rate we're going. A possible sad ending as well, which could possibly spin off into a sequel story, but let's not go counting chickens before this story's hatched.

I just need to get Ron writing again! I wish we either lived closer to each other, or I had a reliable car. I'd be stopping by his place at least once a week for writing sessions; drag his wife Cyhyr in too, since I haven't heard mention of her doing any writing since she started her job. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda. Unfortunately, he still lives something like forty minutes away, and so I can't poke him into writing as much as I'd like.

It is what it is.

Still, I don't know if the physical group I go to is of the right audience for me to bring the outline of PLME to them to ask for advice. Which leaves me with the original conundrum of figuring out what I should bring to the meetings to get assistance on.

I could bring my list of plot bunnies and see what takes. Then again, I tried forcing myself to write something for MasterClass, and I STILL haven't even finished figuring out the names of my characters for that Percy Jackson fanfiction. There's that, I guess. Maybe try working on that story a bit more and bringing that? I did say last week that I've got an urge to go back and rework my NaNo project from a few years ago. Perhaps that? Or work more on the rebooting of X-Future into a comic? I also have the option of continuing X-Future: The Second Generation Begins. Or writing Devon/Trish's fight scene. Or working on Willow and Chayse in Japan for their summer vacation. Or Lia and Ripley in New York City for THEIR summer vacation. Lots of X-Future options. Then there's still world building for Gyateara. Lots of possibilities, but only one passion: Please Let Me Explain.


I need to figure this out. I hope to have something more solid to focus on along with my writing prompts next week. Let's see how that goes.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Getting Closer to My Writing Group (And 7 Deadly Sins)

Sorry for yet another late post. My last day off was the 2nd, and even then I spent the entire time battling the mess I call “home.” So, I haven't really had a day to sit and unwind in about two weeks now. I'm boarderline homicidal rampage mode. To calm the beast, Hubby has had me snuggle with him: Netflix and Chill. It works wonders for destressing me, but it's crap for my productivity.

My place still has that wonderful “recently ransacked” look, and my mind can't really form anything cohesive enough for me to call “writing.” Worse part is that my day off – FINALLY – is Sunday; Football Day. So, you can bet I STILL won't get anything accomplished. Then it's again Full Steam Ahead, until my next day off: again, Sunday. Then chugging along until Thanksgiving and visiting my family out of state. Followed by Hubby's birthday, as well as Spink's birthday spent at David's Bridal looking at bridesmaid dresses for her wedding. Sprinkle in rush jobs on my crocheting projects in order to get them done by Christmas, and productivity for the remainder of 2015 looks grim.

Not all is lost, though. While I failed at my New Years Resolution to go through one of Ali's webinars, I DID do the MasterClass instead. So, there's that. I do plan on still going back and doing Ali's modules, but that might have to wait a bit more. I've also made sure to not allow myself to slack off completely. While I'm not doing NaNo this year, I DID just join a writing group. I need to write at least every other week for that, so that's something to make sure I don't completely fall off the writing wagon again.

Speaking of which, Tuesday was my second go at the local writing group. Spink and the two guys from the college didn't attend this time, but neither did two of the “regulars.” On the plus side, that gave me time to start figuring out what to call them when I refer to them here.

My friend's mom has vibrant red hair, so until I come up with something better, she's Red. “Future Me”, as I referred to the one woman, is laser-focused on her novel about the silent movie actor Buster Keaton – so much so that even the writing practices HAVE to somehow relate - so she's Keaton now. The last woman – who was actually the first one to introduce herself last time – claims that no one person is in charge of these meetings; we're all on equal footing and may run the group if we have something we want to share. However, she's the one who sends out the group email reminders, and seems to be the one that directs the conversation whenever there's a lull. So, she's basically our de facto leader. As silly as it is, until I think of something better, I'll refer to her as such: De Facto Leader, or DFL for short. And thus I yet again showcase my amazing naming abilities.

It was a lot more of a relaxed and social environment this past go. We each read off what we wrote for our writing prompts, and then I asked DFL how she was doing on her NaNo story.


Day 10 out of 30, and she was already well over half-way to the 50,000 word goal! I can't even to 25,000 in a month, and she's surpassed that by the tenth day of the event! The Worst/Best part? She didn't even take the full ten days! She spent the first week writing out an outline and finishing up some quick research to prepare herself for the story. That way she wouldn't get stuck throughout the month. Then she wrote over 27,000 words IN JUST FIVE DAYS! That's about 5400 words per day. I struggle with the recommended 1667 words per day in order to “win” NaNo. Which, in and of itself, is an odd fact considering I typically write 1000 word blog posts...

Anyway, she stated that this was the first time she had an outline set up before working on a story, and it worked wonders for her. Further proof that James Patterson was on the money while preaching about outlines.

I commented as such, and added that he feels so strongly about starting with a solid outline, that he spends about four months just writing one. Going back through, tinkering the story, adding suspense, adding details, cutting scenes or characters that don't work. Essentially perfecting the story before a word of it is written. It really helps with the revision process as well because you don't get stuck with a character or passage you really love and don't want to cut. The outline should be considered a vague story in and of itself. The reader should know exactly what happens, but without the details or dialogue.

Well, after I was done going on and on about Patterson and his love of outlines, Keaton kind of rolled her eyes and grumbled about how OTHERS write his stories; not him. Well, that's true, but only SORT OF; based on the Co-Author lesson from MasterClass. She didn't seem to really want to hear the counter-argument, though, so I let it drop.

Thing is, he does spend a lot of time on the outline. It truly is the story in and of itself. Then he passes the outline over to his co-author who adds the meat to the bones of the story he created. The details are added in and the dialogue is written. That doesn't mean he doesn't write the stories, though. Nor does it mean his co-authors aren't just as skilled. It's not a matter of them writing the story and then having him tag his name to it in order to sell more copies. Nor is it him passing the story off to someone and then stealing credit at the end in order to avoid doing work. He puts in all the effort in the start. They put in the effort in the middle. They work together in the revision to make it a blend of both of their efforts. And I'm not just assuming as much, the co-authors interviewed stated just that.

Saying they're not true co-authors is like saying the director and script writer aren't equally involved in a movie. Granted, in that case it's the director who gets most of the credit and is the name that sells the movie, and they DO tend to have more involvement just because of everything they need their hands in, but still. The script would be nowhere without the director to bring it to life. The director wouldn't have that movie to tell if a script writer didn't write it first. They both are equally important to the story.

As are both Patterson and his co-authors.

I think I also took some offense to that because it's so similar to how ChibiSunnie and I work. When we co-write stories – or that Jungle Movie fan-written script – it's usually Chibi coming up with the fantastic ideas and the over-all outline of the story. Then I take what she wrote and I run with it. I plug in the details and the dialogue to bring it to life. At no point is this HER story with me just hopping on to pick up the slack. Nor is it MY story since she never wrote a word of it in the actual prose/script. It is BOTH our story with equal effort put in.

Alright, enough of that.
*Hops off High Horse*

While attempting to change the subject off of James Patterson, DFL passed out some Dove chocolates to everyone. For anyone who hasn't had them, the Dove brand has something amusing, sweet, or inspirational written on the inside of each wrapper. DFL thought it would be brilliant to use these sayings as our writing prompt for this week. Keaton wrote down what everyone had, and we agreed that you could use any of the prompts that anyone at the table got, as well as write using as many prompts as we wanted.

I had already interpreted that what we were doing was finding a way of combining the two wrappers we each got in order to write a short piece, so I basically ignored what everyone else's were. Mine were “Learn something new with an old friend” and “Rock a bad hair day.”

At first I was going to go with something to the extent of two mothers who gave up on how they looked; pulling their long hair back in ponytails and messy buns just to get it out of the way. They decide one day that they need some “me time” and set up an at-home spa day while the kids were off somewhere for the weekend. This “spa day” leads to them attempting new hairstyles by cutting each others' hair; it doesn't end well. They proudly rock the bad styles because at least it's something new and exciting, and they never really cared about their hair anyway.

I may still write that story, but when I started up the prompt at the library I ended up writing something much more autobiographical. I still put a creative spin on it, though, so it's more “inspired by” something that really happened to me. I'm still working on it, so I don't have it to share today. Next week, kiddies.

In the meantime, I DO have the prompt from the last writing group session. Or rather, the prompts. I managed to write both Sunday morning after dropping Hubby off at work.

This first one is what I thought of, and started writing while at the library that first meeting. I hit a bit of a hiccup and switched to the second version before coming back to finish up.

"Fashion Gone Bye"

When I read my prompts off to Hubby, he joked that “Where's the time capsule?” is a question asked by a drug dealer to some punk he's beating up. I really liked the idea and was going to run with it. However, I couldn't find a way to explain that “time capsule” is a name of a drug without it seeming spoon-fed to the reader. That's when the FanFiction side of me kicked in, and I realized that maybe my binge-watching of “CSI: NY” was exactly what I needed for this prompt, especially since the place I got was New York City. Perfect!

Hubby was watching another episode after I decided to got to bed leading into his Sunday overnight shift. I heard the muffled sounds of the characters describing what they figured out in the lab, and the dialogue just hit me. Granted, it's probably not the best in the world; a bit rushed, but that's because it was really hard to write in prose instead of a script, and I tried to limit myself to the page or two recommended for easiest reading while at the group.

Anyway, I polished it a little bit Sunday super-early morning before work.

"Memory Tap"

It's not much. Between the two of them, I think I wrote about 1800 words. Still, I was the only one who had to relatively distinctly different stories based on my one writing prompt, so there's that.

Now to just get some more actual writing done! I do have some posts on X-Future I need to respond to, and maybe poke Ronoxym into working on our outline a bit more. Then again, I have had the NaNo spirit hitting me a touch, and nudging me to open up “A Race to Destiny” again. See where I can go with that. Maybe I should start with reworking the outline and the backstory lore so it's not so blatantly “Fable meets Legend of Zelda; now with more InuYasha.” Hubby and I also just finished up a quick Netflix-exclusive anime called "The Seven Deadly Sins" and I sort of want to do something based on that.

Each Holy Knight that made up the squad known as "The Seven Deadly Sins" has a mark of a sin on them; represented by a different animal. Having never read the manga, this is all I know:
  • Wrath is the Dragon Sin
  • Greed is the Fox Sin
  • Sloth is the Grizzly (bear) Sin
  • Envy is the Serpent Sin
  • Lust is the Ram Sin
  • Gluttony is the Boar Sin
The anime never introduces you to Pride - something that annoyed the heck out of me, but they at least acknowledge it at the end of the season - and I don't recall them mentioning an animal we weren't introduced to. So I'm not sure what animal is supposed to be connected to Pride. Lion, I'm assuming. All the more reason to dislike not meeting him; lions/great cats and foxes are my favorite animals.

Most of the characters didn't seem to portray either the sin or the animal they were linked to - although we were shown a little bit why Wrath, Greed, Sloth, and Envy had their sins - but I still really like the concept. Also, there are five main races - or "tribes" - in the world of "The Seven Deadly Sins", which also appeals to me. There's obviously the Human race, but there's also the Fairies, Giants, Demons, and Goddess. The Lust character comments about each one of the five Sins present at the time being from a different race. Interesting note, which leads Hubby to believe Lust is from the Goddess clan somehow... the actual race is never mentioned, but it is poked at on occasion.

Point is, I really like the idea of people being marked by an extreme character trait. Each Sin was dubbed so based on a crucial, defining part of their past where they themselves felt they failed the most. That if they had conquered that "sin" back then, life would be a lot different and better. It's their greatest regret; their cross to bear. Another way to look at it, is a Fatal Flaw. I also like the idea of it being symbolized by an animal that seems to perfectly portray that fatal flaw. Dragons, for instance, are almost always thought of as beings of wrath and rage. Foxes do seem quite greedy, although, I'd peg that more as an American raccoon. Boars, or pigs in general, are obviously very gluttonous, etc.

I'd really like to try my hand at this concept myself, but I need to find a new angle for it. There's already so many animes centered around the Seven Deadly Sins, or that demons/The Devil isn't really evil, or animal possession. It's hard to find a new angle. I know it's out there, though, because another manga/anime always seems to find it.

Either way, another one to add to the Plot Bunny Farm. Geez, lots of writing possibilities bouncing around in my head. Perhaps I'll start bringing them up at the writing groups.

No promises on getting the blog update up on time next week, but I should have a prompt for you at least. Catch ya then!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I'm So Bad At This Remembering Thing...

Yes, I took the time to watch "V for Vendetta" today.
Personally, I'd be content with remembering what day of the week it is...

I haven't had a moment to stop all week. Between Halloween, and football, and work, and cleaning, and the Daylight Savings Time switch; it's chaos. I mean, you KNOW I haven't had a moment of down time when I haven't been on Facebook in the last five days! Which also means I haven't really had a moment to write. Sadly, this results - as many long-term readers may have guessed - in me being a moody crank all week.

Seriously, it's like when an athlete can't exercise. I get angry easier, I get mildly depressed, I start tearing up at the drop of the hat, I get sluggishly sleepy, and I get lethargic when I do have an hour or two of down time; now too stressed to focus enough on writing anything.

So, I am sorry, folks, I neglected to work on that "co-author" assignment YET AGAIN. I WILL get to it, I promise you. Perhaps if I have a day off again when I'm not volleying between frantic cleaning of my apartment and raging about how I just want to blow it up and forget about the mess.

On the plus side, Ronoxym finally continued Please, Let Me Explain; so to speak.

I'll hand it to James Patterson, those outlines really do wonders. I went through everything we hand so far, all 27 pages of it, and wrote down an outline. That way Ron didn't have to wade through so much in order to refresh his memory and jump start his muse. Unexpectedly, since the story is so long, and I wanted to include every main action so far so we can watch for redundancy or parts that don't belong, the outline was still 9 pages. I went over the outline to create an even broader one, just the main bullet actions, that's it. However, add in questions like "What is the point of this scene?" and "What feeling(s) should the reader get?" to each scene - of which there ends up being 16 of them - adds a few pages. The "broad" outline - which was meant to be a brief overview of the story - clocks in at TEN pages after Ron kept going. Whoops. Either way, it's important stuff.

Especially those two questions. Something else I learned from the MasterClass lessons. Each scene should have a set purpose. That purpose can drive the characters or plot forward, but it has to do at least ONE of those two options. Then, make sure everything - EVERYTHING - in that scene falls into that pre-established purpose. Next, figure out the feeling of the scene. What are the characters conveying and/or what should the reader feel. Make sure every action portrays that feeling.

You're pretty set if you follow those two guidelines.

Anyway, so the outline was done and sent to Ron. It kept him a day or two, but he went OFF with it. Sparks started up again; gears turning wildly. After an "emotionally exhausting" writing session, Ron finished off as much of the plot - via the broad outline - as he could. The last bit relies on how Willow reacts to a "grand reveal" and he wasn't really sure where to go with that. Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out the result myself. I see it going horribly, horribly awry.

It kept me a couple days - again, I've been non-stop - to get to read the outline. I have to admit, while I was excited for Ron writing again, and I enjoyed what he came up with, it wasn't as strong as his opening. Probably because he hasn't been with the project for a year or two, whereas I feel like I've been living with it daily for that long.

Also, the real reason the newest part doesn't seem "strong" is because it doesn't push the story forward. So, I blame it on my improved knowledge of story writing. Don't get me wrong, like I said, the plot is good. It just feels like it belongs in a companion story or an anthology of some sort. When I read that Ron write Willow huffing to Devon that he needs to get to the point already, I almost snorted. She's so me! I was honestly thinking the same thing: what's the point? Why does this belong to this story? If WILLOW thinks this, why wouldn't the reader? And if RON wrote it in the outline, I think at least a part of him feels the same way.

So, I'll help him work on what he originally wrote at some point, but right now we're reworking so the back end of this story actually stays on track. We'll see how that goes.

I really wish there were more writing-related news to report; this post feels so short, and after being so late to boot! However, as I mentioned, there really wasn't a lot of time for me to do much of anything.

I'm really REALLY hoping to do better this upcoming week. We'll see how it goes. Especially since I have the next writer's group meeting on Tuesday. So, I REALLY need to kick my butt into gear and write at least ONE of the two concepts I had for my writing prompt.

Good news! That means I'll have SOMETHING for you guys to read next week. Possibly a start to a new anthology; a place for all of my writing prompts to sit together. Yay.

Alright, I got to jet. Catch you next week, and hopefully on time!